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About baekgom84

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  • Birthday 04/18/1984

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  1. I could not agree more with Danielle's opinion on Alien: Covenant (and everything else she said about the Alien films). I don't think it's a very good film, but it fails in ways that are much more interesting than many other films with a similar budget do. Unfortunately, it also fails in ways that are just incredibly stupid and, in many ways, suggest a basic lack of care or attention to the direction or to the script. That's by far my biggest problem with the film.
  2. I watched it the other day and was quite disappointed, even by the low-ish standards I had going into the cinema. I didn't love Prometheus but certainly I didn't hate it either, and I think of it as a film that was flawed rather than just bad. I also can't say that I hate Alien: Covenant, but I think it's significantly worse than Prometheus. It's not nearly as interesting or ambitious, or even as tense. Without even getting into spoiler territory, among the many things that ticked me off, one thing that I don't really see being talked about much is how clean and 'futuristic' the ship and the various electronic devices look, in both this film as well as in Prometheus. The monitors for instance are full of the same overly-visual, cliched techno-babble bullshit that seems to be present in all casual sci-fi. Like, no-one is going to go out of their way to design an elaborate GUI for the kind of work these people do, especially an interface which contains so much information that it couldn't possibly be tracked all at once. This kind of futurism is acceptable in something like Star Trek, where the cleanness, presentation and efficiency of everything are a representation of an optimistic future for humanity, but the Alien films do not represent this vision. Even Alien Resurrection understood that. It also seems absurd to me that the Covenant could possibly co-exist in the same universe as the Nostromo (and in fact predate it by decades). I'm starting to think that Ridley Scott has gone full Lucas, or at least 3/4 Lucas. He is running with scripts that seem like they barely made it out of a first draft, and then just flooding them with excessive amounts of CG. I actually think that he has forgotten some of the details of the original film, which is why there are so many contradictions and loose ends that seem impossible to tie. I also think that while the original Alien and the Star Wars films were truly collaborative efforts, the failure of these prequels are a product of both Scott and Lucas being given too much unchecked creative control.
  3. Just wanted to weigh in on my thoughts about Cloud Atlas. Like Rob had heard, I also thought that it was sort of a secret masterpiece. It's not nearly as thoughtful or subtle as the book, and it can be a bit heavy-handed with its philosophical musings (I mean, these are the same people who did the Matrix sequels), but I thought it was a rather brilliant and entertaining take on what must have been a very difficult source material to adapt. So obviously, the controversy about the film is that there are some prominent Asian characters in the film portrayed by white actors. It's definitely true that Asians are grossly underrepresented in Hollywood, and even when they are represented, it's often through tired stereotypes, many of which are demeaning and insulting in some way. But I think Cloud Atlas is a little bit different in this regard. Reincarnation, karma, and fate/destiny are all central themes in the text, and the book makes definite allusions to the idea that some characters in earlier timelines are directly linked to characters in later timelines. I suppose the movie could have cast different actors for each of the 'linked' roles and given subtler clues to indicate that those links, but the filmmakers are going for accessibility here, so they went with the idea of having the same actors portraying multiple characters. As you watch the film, it is really obvious that there are connections between each timeline, so it lets you focus on the more interesting question of 'what do the links mean?' The difficult part is that different timelines occur in different environments, so a white character in one timeline is linked to an Asian character in another, and vice-versa. That's why you have Jim Sturgess and Hugo Weaving in 'Asian face' that mostly looks distracting and unconvincing. But on the other hand, you also have Halle Berry and Bae Doo-na in 'white face', among others, and Hugo Weaving playing a woman. As a white male myself, I have absolutely no right to tell you how to feel about this, but I do get the sense that this was a very carefully considered move on behalf of the filmmakers, who ultimately decided to court a certain amount of controversy in order to execute a vision they had for the film. Contrast that with a film like 'Aloha', where Emma Stone portrays a woman of Hawaiian and Asian heritage for no good discernible reason at all. So I do think the casting decisions in Cloud Atlas are defensible in a way that many other examples of 'whitewashing' are not.
  4. Dune

    Looks like another crack at turning Dune into a film is in the works: I think even the most ardent fans of Lynch's adaptation will admit that it's deeply flawed at best, and I for one would love to see Dune get a screen adaptation that is more worthy. But I just think the challenges of adapting the material are going to pretty hard to overcome. The internal monologues and Bene Gesserit voice/mind control techniques are pretty essential to both the narrative and the world building, and I've never seen that kind of thing conveyed very well on screen, without resorting to cheesy voice overs.
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    I've always thought "The Empire Strikes Back" is a pretty awesome title.
  6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Finally got around to seeing this and... I actually really enjoyed it. In many ways I enjoyed it more than The Force Awakens, which I also enjoyed quite a bit. I might just be the perfect audience for this film; I'm not so into Star Wars that little details or inconsistencies bother me, but I'm into it enough that I give certain issues with the film a pass with an, 'Oh that's just Star Wars,' that I might not give to other films. I liked most of the characters. Jyn was a bit weak for a protagonist, and Donnie Yen and his buddy seemed unnaturally forced into the plot, but other than that I didn't have any problems. It surprises me that Diego is getting a pretty lukewarm treatment, as I really enjoyed his character. For me he had possibly the most interesting character arc of the movie, going from a ruthless and loyal agent of the rebellion to someone who learns when to question orders and when to trust others. I also think the third act did a great job of conveying the desperation of the rebellion. I don't think even the original trilogy did as good a job at expressing the gulf in firepower and material resources between the empire and the rebellion. I found the final battle quite tense, despite knowing what the outcome would be. And I wasn't really bothered by CGI Tarkin. I mean it was pretty obvious and looked a bit video-gamey, but at the same time I just... didn't really care. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people who don't know about the CGI thing don't even notice it. They might just feel that something is a bit off. In any case, I think he's a pretty underrated villain generally, and the movie shows how scarily competent he can be. The Leia cameo at the end is cute too, I don't think it would have been the same if it had just been a shot of her from the back, as some people have suggested.
  7. I agree that Alien 3 does a lot right with regards to tone, but I think it overdoes the bleakness. The combination of Newt's death, the violent prisoners, the presence of the alien queen inside Ripley... it's a bit too much for me. It's probably not fair to say that 'Alien films should be about x and not be about y' because only two films existed before this one and they were fairly different from one another... but I do think that in both previous films, there was an element of hope that isn't really present here. Much of the tension of those films came from the idea that we were rooting for the characters to survive against an extremely lethal and hostile threat, which they just might manage to do if they could hold out long enough to escape or to be rescued. But Alien 3 is so torturous that I want Ripley to be put out her misery, which is a problem from the film's perspective because she is just about the only sympathetic character. It baffles me that they decided to have her impregnated (is that the right word?) with an alien queen, since not only do we now know the alien won't hurt her, but she wants to take her own life as well. That pretty much sucks all of the tension out of the film.
  8. For me it's not so much the fact that they aren't in the movie as the fact that the movie just kills them off instantly and then does very little with that fact in terms of narrative or theme. I mean you can probably take or leave Hicks, but Ripley's relationship with Newt was a big part of her character development in Aliens, and then to make a direct sequel to that movie while basically ignoring that aspect of Ripley's character kind of suggests ignorance on the part of the filmmakers. Personally I would rather have left Ripley out of the movie entirely, her story was finished. The idea that Ripley must always be the protagonist of an Alien film is, I think, a large part of why the later films were so unsuccessful. I agree with you about not just making another Aliens again though. I love Aliens, but if there's one thing Alien 3 does successfully, it's that it steers the franchise away from a timeline of endless space marine-oriented action movies of rapidly diminishing quality. Not that the franchise hasn't already suffered from a massive dip in quality, but at least it's an interesting dip in quality.
  9. I would take a Force Awakens-style reboot/remake/homage to Alien at this point, as long as it's just a good film on its own merits. The Alien franchise desperately needs to restore some respectability, after years of disappointments (Alien 3, Prometheus), soulless cash-ins (Alien vs Predator), and a hot mess of a film that should probably be incinerated along with Ripley's tortured clones (Alien Resurrection). Honestly, I think Alien: Isolation is the best thing to happen to the Alien franchise since Aliens came out in 1986. As a game it has its flaws, but as an experience its incredible. If Alien: Covenent turns out to be The Force Awakens of the Alien series, then Alien: Isolation is its Rogue One.
  10. Civilisation 6

    Just on the housing/amenities thing, I really hate how the housing penalties kick in when you are one population away from max capacity, as opposed to when you actually exceed the capacity. Maybe for some people it's not a big deal, but it just feels so unintuitive to me, and I find that I often unwittingly incur penalties because I failed to notice that the limit was about to be exceeded. I don't know why they did it this way, instead of just reducing the maximum by two and applying the growth penalties only once that number was exceeded. Maybe there's a balance issue that this addresses that I'm just not seeing, but until they can convince me otherwise, I would love to see them change this system in a patch. I've not heard of anyone else complaining about it though, so maybe it's just me.
  11. For me, the issue with the character deaths is that to some degree it takes the events and themes in Aliens and renders them pointless. I mean, what is the point of Aliens really if the relationship that is built between Ripley and Newt is abruptly ended forever at the beginning of the next film? I understand that for many people Aliens is not a sacred cow, and I hear your points about entertaining bleak ambitions (and the Alien movies are nothing if not bleak) but I think that if you are attempting to build a series of movies with meaningful continuity, you can't just take things from previous films and flush them down the toilet. There's still some hope; as far as I know, after Alien: Covenant is done, Neil Blomkamp has plans to direct what would essentially be Alien 5. I think he is planning to completely ignore the events of Alien 3 and Resurrection, and Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn will reprise their roles. Don't know about Newt though (the actress who played her didn't go on to make a career of it, although it wouldn't be at all difficult to just get someone else to play an adult version of her). There's great potential here for a real revival of the franchise, but I have my concerns about Blomkamp has a director. I enjoyed District 9 and didn't see any of his other films which received mostly mixed reviews, but I haven't seen any evidence that he can pull off the right tone for an Alien film. Still, I'd rather he make an attempt than to see nothing at all.
  12. Yeah I pretty much echo your thoughts on Prometheus. It disappointed me in many ways, but I certainly can't say I hated it, and I still find myself thinking about it from time to time. I would describe it as 'deeply flawed' rather than just 'bad'. Did you watch the theatrical cut of Alien 3 or the director's cut? I've heard that the director's cut, while not a great movie, is a big improvement. From what I know of Alien 3, it went through a tortured pre-production that basically set it up for failure. I don't see a path to success when you immediately kill off two popular characters from the previous movie, and then ask us to care about a group of pretty unlikeable prisoners. Also, it just seemed like lazy writing to say, 'oh yeah there were two facehuggers hiding on the ship that they didn't notice'. Like, they fought a fucking alien queen on the ship before they went into cryosleep, you'd think they would have swept every inch of it to make sure there was nothing else hiding in there. But I'm not sure that I like the idea of the wooden ship/planet with space monks either. That sounds like an interesting idea in isolation, but for me it sounds a bit too out-there for a sci-fi series that kind of built its shtick on 'blue-collar space people are confronted with an alien terror beyond their wildest imaginations'. I would absolutely love a sequel to Alien: Isolation though. In hindsight, one of my favourite games of all time, despite its flaws.
  13. Civilisation 6

    Yeah, I was excited to hear about limited stacking when the details were being announced, but pretty disappointed to hear that it's only something that happens late in the game. I would love to see them play around with a more robust stacking system in patches or expansions, but I imagine they are still pretty committed to 1UPT.
  14. Gonna bump an old thread that is relevant to my interests. I've been playing Twilight Struggle with 21-day turn timers, and I'm loving it. It's really nice to be able to sit down and leisurely plan out your next move, as well as plot out your overall strategy. I'm now wondering if there are any hidden asynchronous gems out there. I know of some obvious ones, like Frozen Synapse (which I just never realy gelled with). The Steam 'Asynchronous Multiplayer' tag is a bit of a joke; it misses some obvious titles, and includes others that don't even seem to be turn-based, let alone asynchronous. I'd love to play something like Civ, but that obviously has too many turns - especially if you play with multiple players. The best options are probably board game conversions. I think the ideal game for me would probably be something with around 2-5 players, with turns that take a good deal of planning, but where the total amount of turns averages around 50 or so. I've heard Dominions 4 is pretty popular for PBEM, but that game looks pretty complicated, and the fantasy trappings don't really appeal to me.
  15. Recently completed video games

    I just finished Wolfenstein: The New Order. It's no secret by now that the game has surprisingly good writing and characterisation. I find it really ironic that this game has (in my opinion) better dialogue and voice acting than any of their RPGs, or even Dishonored. I was also quite engaged by the story early on, but did feel that it lost a bit of steam after about the halfway point. The shooting bits are alright if uninspired (pretty similar to Call of Duty etc.) but the stealth sections were surprisingly fun, probably because they are more or less optional. I really hated the armoured/robotic soldiers though, as they were generally a huge difficulty spike and I just found them really frustrating to deal with. Surprisingly I didn't hate the boss battles, although I still found them unnecessary. Overall a pretty good game, but there's no real reason for me to ever return to it.