Monday, August 17, 2015

Deadpool's Powered-Up Movie Review Of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'

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MOAR DEE BEE ZEE!!! Every time you think it's over, more of it comes back to slap you in the face and call you horrible names behind your back. I have to say, it's a complete shock to me (even a few years later!) that we're still getting more Dragon Ball Z at this point. This series had 293 epic... -ally drawn out episodes with action, shouting, and declarations of who the greatest warriors in the universe are. And fans are STILL NOT DONE! On top of these new movies (of which we are now on numero dos), there is also a new series called Dragon Ball Super, which appears to be the same story of these movies, but longer and more drawn out, so you can all continue to live out that "To Be Continued..." fetish that you love so much. But one glorious testosterone-infused thing at a time here, people.

What's this new movie about? I'm glad you asked... FRIEZA IS BACK MOTHERF#&KERS!!! That's right folks. That no-good, whiney, angry, lies-about-his-"true final form," "behold-my-circular-ears," "longest-five-minute-fight-ever" crackpot has returned, and this time with a new death metal theme song! I'll try to go into more details about how any why he came back later, but for now, just know it's all pretty damn outrageous. Did I mention he's now sporting a new form made of GOLD!? That's right! Hot off the cat-walk, here comes Frieza, sporting the latest in menacing Japanese villain attire. "You got the gold chains?" "Bitch, I AM THE GOLD!!!"

I'm sure I'll come up with more jokes regarding gold later, but for now, let's move on. Goku and Vegeta (after the events of the last movie) have been training hard with Whiz, that blue person who is way too happy to just watch the world(s) burn. Beerus is there as well, but plays no major part in this movie, other than eating a lot of food and complaining about irrelevant things, usually involving said food.

Because we cannot seem to get Emperor Pilaf out of these stories, he and his gang are still around, trying to find the dragon balls (again). They are then apprehended by a former minion of Frieza's, Sorbet (because why WOULDN'T that be his name!?). Sorbet's icy delicious goal, is to revive Frieza with the dragon balls and use their technology to put him back together; after Future Trunks went all slicey-dicey on his then cyborg-ass. Somehow, this actually works, and Frieza is back to taunt us about scouters and power levels all over again with his then scaly ass!

Where would a Dragon Ball Z storyline be, without the main heroes of the story being thousands of light-years away from the danger happening on Earth? Well, they'd be outside of the realm of clich├ęs for once, that's where. Unfortunately, that's where this movie starts out... and stays... for a long time. But in some ways, that's okay. I mean, let's face it; did you really come to this movie theater and sit through that crappy pre-show for any reason other than to watch Goku and Vegeta beat the ever-living crap out of Frieza's now golden ass!? That's what I thought. Well you get that and more here! Yes, Akira Toriyama listened to the complaints about the first movie having such a short amount of fighting in it, and decided to completely up the ante. This time, the movie has almost ALL fighting and less of a story, don'tcha know.

And again, it's O-KAY if the fighting is the only reason you came. This is Dragon Ball 'Effing Z, is it not!? If I come into a new Sailor Moon movie, it'd better have Usagi flirting up a storm with Tuxedo Mask, while shooting magic beams out of her tiara, or I'm asking for my damn money back! It's just the principle of the thing. In this case, you expect shouting, grunting, powering up, and changing hair colors. That's their thing. It's what they do.

So was the movie ultimately satisfying? Yes, I'd say it was. It hit all the right notes that you look for in this type of series, even if it didn't speak much regarding the grand scheme of things, and where in the hell this is all going. Perhaps by the next movie (and yes, there WILL be a next movie!), we'll have a clearer picture of where this is all going. In the meantime, feel free to re-watch Frieza getting destroyed again and again in glorious high definition!

8 Out Of 10

This was another fun romp, but this series needs to stop resorting to the same old tropes, or else people are going to get bored real fast. Luckily, we haven't reached that point yet, but jeez, I don't want to either!!! But seriously, where can I pre-order that new Super Saiyan God Goku figure? >_>

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Book Review: "Armada" By Ernest Cline (2015)

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I can't say I know of many people who haven't come out of Ernest Cline's first novel, "Ready Player One" with less than sheer enthusiasm. It managed to be both relatable (in the sense of the main characters, their actions and motivations, etc.) and fun/exciting all at once. I read a quote, describing the book as "Willy Wonka meets The Matrix," and I'd have to say I agree with that statement. Cline's next novel, "Armada" is now out for all to jump into, but does it live up to the hype of its predecessor? Strap yourselves in folks; this is going to be a bumpy ride.

"Armada" stars another young boy, named Zack Lightman. Zack is a gamer (like his father before him), who starts seeing spaceships in the sky, thinking he's gone completely insane as a result. As if dealing with school bullies and his widowed mother wasn't enough, Zack also has to fight with conflicting feelings as he tries to convince himself not to believe what he is seeing. He frequents a game called "Armada," in which he is currently ranked #6 in the world. The skills Zack displays in this game eventually lead to a sequence where he is asked to join a Federation, in order to use his abilities to aid in protecting the planet from an oncoming invasion.

If bits of this sound like "Ender's Game" or "The Last Starfighter" to you, that's because it's more or less supposed to. Cline makes no hesitation to list his inspirations throughout the story, and they make plenty of sense in context. Here's where things are also about to get a bit rocky however. If you've read the stories that Cline mentions throughout the book, then you're likely going to end up a bit disappointed by the lack of actual surprises in the plot. Every time I had hoped I was going to be wrong about a direction the book was taking, it ended up going exactly as I had predicted. Others may go for this type of set up, but as someone who's already read and watched way too much science fiction in my day (which seems to be the target demographic for this book anyway), I was hoping for a little more than I actually got.

That's not to say this is a bad read by any means, but after the success of "Ready Player One," I thought we'd be able to hold Cline's writing to higher standards by this point. It turns out, this second book actually should have been proofread a few more times, as the writing style/grammar was a bit off-putting in places. Cline throws in all kinds of references to media of the past (just like in "Ready Player One" once again), but unlike the author's first novel, the use of these references feels much more forced this time. It's a shame too, since this was one of the factors I loved the most in "Ready Player One." While I'm glad the author still likes to throw these into the pot, it just doesn't prove to be purposeful or relevant in any way this time around.

The characters are mostly likable on their own (especially the crew that Zack later teams up with), but none of them get any real time to develop beyond a few small conversations. I had read through about 3/4 of the book, beginning to wonder why more wasn't really happening by that point.

Unfortunately, pacing is another big issue I had with this title. While it's great to be very descriptive of your environment and sciences (Isaac Asimov was brilliant at this concept for example), things just didn't seem to come together very well here. The dynamic and the events themselves all seemed to simply "happen" for no real reason or significance. I hate to say that the ending (without going into spoilers) didn't really add much to the story either, other than giving us the notion that there could be more to come someday.

Perhaps it's the concept of the book itself that disappointed me the most. It's not a unique concept by any means. It's been done before multiple times, and better in many cases. This simply did not live up to the hype of predecessor. While it is still an enjoyable read and a great way to spend a couple of lazy afternoons, it won't make you want to jump for joy like "Ready Player One" did. This does not sway my positive opinion of the author in any way however, and I will happily read more as Cline decides to write it.

While most people aren't likely to assume "Armada" would be a better story than "Ready Player One" before reading it, I think they are also going to come out with some sense of disappointment here. It really doesn't have enough ground to stand on its own, besides the author's name. Do yourselves a favor: Read "Ready Player One," as it is truly an incredible debut novel and ode to geek culture of all types. Only give this one a shot afterward, if you desperately feel the need (like I did). You'll be glad you read it once, but you likely won't see much to come back to a second time around.

6.5 Out Of 10