Tag Archive | "Better Geek"

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Be A Better Geek: World’s Greatest Criminals Pt. 1 Golgo 13: The Professional

Posted on 10 December 2012 by DM

Vinnie’s Introduction

This theme is a bit a cop-out on my part. Lupin III, Golgo 13, and Black Jack have many things in common but that is more to do with story-telling method and things like that. Also, I am fan of all 3 franchises and the 3 films we’ll be covering in the next few weeks are great introductions to the characters.

This time we’re taking a look at The Golgo 13: The Professional. Golgo 13 is the greatest assassin in the world. Based on the long running manga (longest running currently) this movie has all the things that make Golgo 13 great, impossible shots that only he can make, sex scenes where he doesn’t move, weird governmental plans, it’s like classic James Bond if 007 wasn’t part of a government organization.

DM’s Take

Golgo 13: The Professional

OK I will start with the fact that this was a really bad movie.  It had some redeeming qualities but only in the scenes containing so much ridiculousness you had to role your eyes.

Itemized:

Voice Acting: It was par.  Nothing above and beyond.

Animation: Not my favorite style.  It seemed like it was trying hard to be artistic but failing pretty hard.

The Story: It was simple but not horrid.  It was an expectedly formulaic story.  I do not necessarily dislike this type of story but prefer them to have a bit more dark comedy involved.

So if all of what I listed is tolerable, then what really made me dislike this movie? Two things.  I am not a prude but the gratuitous and frankly poorly done nudity was distracting.  The big loss on my part was the brutal rape scene.  While they could have inferred what happened they decided to take you through it moment by moment. Moreover, continue into its aftermath in an additional scene. It was really kind of surprising and too much for me.  Maybe the writer felt it was necessary to the plot but I think they could have communicated it much more tastefully.

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The Vision of Escaflowne 1-11

Posted on 15 October 2012 by DM

Vincenzo’s Introduction

I had intended not to do another giant robot show this year but I realized that there had yet to be a sword and sorcery Being a Better Geek yet. Slayers came to mind but I don’t want to watch 26 episodes of flat-chested jokes. It had to be Escaflowne. I know that it is from much of the same staff as Macross Plus (I like this but Diego was less hot on it).

Even though this is a mecha show, there are more then superficial differences from shows like Gundam and Evangelion. Those shows were aimed mainly at a male audience. This show has elements of a show aimed a female audience. This is more evident is character design and story elements. All in all, this is a show that I have enjoyed over the years with great music throughout that gives this show a much more cinematic feel than many others.

DMs take

To start I am going to be doing this review in one large chunk rather than episode chunks because A) I am sick and this is the energy level I have and B) I think Escaflowne does not lend itself to a stop and start narrative to well.

I think that I will start there.  When watching the show, I kept waiting for an episode block to reach a natural end so that I could write about a chunk of it and leave it at that.  That never happened though.  Instead, the episodes seem to me more like soft chapters in a prolonged narrative.  Rarely did they have the same start stop feel that other shows seem to.

The storytelling is spot on. Being a fantasy series, there is a certain formulaic predictability to it that one has to expect, but that does not mean that they have left it boring at all.  Instead, they have countered that predictability with interesting characters and some wonderful animation.

The characters are, within a certain range, predictable as well.  However, they are also compelling in their own way.  Hitomi is the embodiment of a normal girl in an abnormal situation.  It is always a great pleasure to see how she will react. Merle was my first cat-girl and I’m not sure what to think.  Are they all supposed to be that annoying?

While the animation is not on the level of a feature film, I do think that it is quite well done for a twenty-something minute show. More than once, it made me look twice to really get a good appreciation with what is going on.

The show is not without its flaws though.  I am starting to run out of steam here so I will mention the big one: the villains.  Villains are supposed to be ridiculous and unlikable but Dilandau is completely over-the-top. It is ridiculous to believe that no one has removed him from a command position due to gross sadism.

In any case, until next time

DM

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Being a Better Geek: Penultimate Farscape Season 1

Posted on 30 June 2012 by VinnieAve

Well a little but late and a slight bit short episode quality wise but still some strong showings I think.  Reading Vin’s reactions I see we are, as usual, in disagreement about some things.  I often wonder if forcing someone to watch stuff like we do takes away from the enjoyment at all or makes us more critical.  I suppose we will never know.  In any case, enjoy!

DM’s Take

A Human Reaction: I do like this episode but it can be difficult for me to watch.  To start, the big reveal is hinted at too strongly from the start.  It’s difficult to not know what’s going on the first time you see it let alone the 12th.  Well maybe not exactly what is going on but definitely the gist.  The episode also asks the question of would this happen to alien visitors.  I do not really know for sure but I suppose I give it even odds.  I think my favorite part of the episode has to be the scene where John tries to go into the ladies room.  Something about it always makes me crack up. At the end of the day, I think this is an interesting ponderance of an episode that has lasting ramifications throughout the series.

Through the Looking Glass: OK nothing much happens in this episode global plot wise and for once I really really love an episode with this aspect.  We get an episode where the writers are thinking outside the box in terms of science, which is very good.  There’s some issues with the Moya and the baby vs the crew which I think are probably warranted.  I do not know but something about this episode rings true with the characters, the action, and the story.  Oh and John saves everyone again.

A Bugs Life: It is not quite a filler episode but its close.  See we needed something that happened in this episode to happen but other than that, it is just somewhat blah.  That said I love it when John pops on the ole Peacekeeper accent for an episode.

Vincenzo’s Reaction

So we’re reaching the end of the season and the end of another Being a Better Geek project. So here we go:

A Human Reaction

I was hoping that at some point in the show that we would see what was going on back on Earth. This episode has Crichton return home in a nice dramatic moment with the characters losing a close friend. However, we he gets back he’s put in prison, there’s a neat little episode that tries to be a neat character study but fails a little bit throughout.

Through the Looking Glass

This was a pretty standard action episode that doesn’t quite stand out from the rest of the series or in any way overall. The ship gets split into four universes and in each they have to do the same thing to get out of this mess. There is also something with aliens in there, this is was in pretty forgettable.

A Bug’s Life

I’m sure you’ve all seen John Carpenter’s The Thing, right. Well take that movie and remove any audience uncertainty from the story, that’s this episode in a nutshell. We had some Peacekeepers come back and not really be interesting, they were the roughnecks of the Peacekeepers, something we’ve seen before in other things

 

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Farscape Week 3 Episodes 7-9

Posted on 09 June 2012 by VinnieAve

Some interesting episodes from our quest into Farscape this week.  Hopefully you are following at home and have some interesting comments to offer as well.

Vincenzo’s Take

I, E.T.

Every so often we are reminded that Crichton is a total geek. This is episode does a good job of that. Moya lands on a planet with people who haven’t yet discovered space flight and haven’t met another species just yet (like earth). Crichton meets these people who look oddly like humans (this is pointed out, not me complaining). This was a fun one for me because it poked fun at things like aliens looking human even though they evolved on another planet.

That Old Black Magic

So it seems there is magic in this universe as well as super science (this always confuses me), Zhaan’s abilities are magic, not a biologic power, and they can be used for healing or harming. This all comes up because an evil wizard captures Crichton and then summons Crais to have them fight in a maze, this is starting to sound like a Star Trek: TOS episode. In this we get some backstory on Crais, another one where we build on the characters and it’s not just an adventure. This show has promise.

DNA Mad Science

This is was kind of wacky, mainly for the odd use of the word DNA, just to mean genetic info, if all those species had DNA I was be highly surprised. Beyond that this was pretty cool because usually the characters have a universal goal but now they’ve been pitted against each other, at first it’s D’argo, Rygel, and Zhaan taking off Pilot’s arm (which he only seems to passive aggressively mention to them). After this the other three are pitted against each other. There’s also a weird bat creature but that story isn’t nearly as important or interesting

 

Dm’s Take

I, E.T. : OK this was a nice one to have John realize how far he has really traveled. Would it have done well as the second episode as originally intended? I am not sure about that.  However, as I said it does well to really push some of John’s issues that he may be glossing over due to the extraordinariness of his experiences.

That Old Black Magic: I adore this episode.  Zhaan has some incredible character development (not to mention a great flirty scene) and we have some good old-fashioned action.  The episode pace keeps moving well and that helps a great deal.  On top of that, we get to see Crais again (who also has some intriguing character development…hey wait, isn’t he supposed to be a mindless villain?!), helping us not to forget that he is our Captain Ahab.

DNA Mad Scientist: I am really not a fan of this episode.  It has some character development and does put you in touch with the foreignness of alien psychology but because of this, the characters seem at points to act out of character.  I am intrigued that this is the first but definitely not the last point in the series that indicates DNA carries with it some form of genetic knowledge.  hmmmm

 

That’s it for this week folks.  See you next week same space time same space channel….(also lets hear it for Vincenzo who presented to a full panel room this weekend at AnimeNext.  Hip hip hooray!)

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Be a Better Geek: Farscape Season 1 E4-E6

Posted on 01 June 2012 by DM

DM’s Take

Throne For a Loss: This seems a fairly average episode for the first season. Definitely not my favorite by any means. I’m not a fan of the constant bickering that carries through most of the first season. It comes on strong and keeps hammering at you. As such this is an episode that I was glad to get past.

PK Tech Girl: What do you know?! There are sane Peacekeepers out there. We get some character development with Rygel and Aeryn and a little romance as well (not between Rygel and Aeryn). My little space adventuring party works as a team here and that is pretty cool. Plus upgrades for Moya.

Thank God It’s Friday Again: This is a first (at least in Netflix viewing order), we get a somewhat humorous episode. As much as Farscape ever gets at least. D’Argo has left the ship in a rage and gone to a local planet to become a beatnik. Worse, the beatnikitude seems to be catching. John as always gets into some hijinks in an effort to save everyone and Aeryn gets to continue to break out of her role as a warrior. This is a great example of what makes Farscape great.

Vinnie’s Take

Throne For a Loss:

If someone asked me what was the most generic thing in American sci-fi this episode would be the go to piece. We have a major character kidnapped, there’s a cursed weapon. It’s got nothing original, it feels like a bland adventure, nothing stand-out happened.

PK Tech Girl: I was not thrilled by this one, it wasn’t bad but really the best part of this one was Rygel, it was good to see him severely humbled due to his past. This is the first time I can say this show had promise.

Thank God It’s Friday Again: This was sadly the best of the bunch, even though it was the moral episode. We have a group of people who are traditional agrarian and a group of outsiders come in and command them to plant this drug, that makes everything seem pleasant. It’s not bad, not great it seems like a decent but not standout episode of other better sci-fi shows.

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Be a Better Geek: Farscape Season 1 E1-3

Posted on 24 May 2012 by DM

It came as something of a shock that we would be doing Farscape for this segment of Be a Better Geek. Frankly I hadn’t considered it. At all. It was a given in my mind that a geek of Vincenzo’s calibre had seen the show that redefined space operas for me. Obviously he has not and so we take you down the rabbits hole that is the Farscape Universe. Like many series, Farscape has a weak first season. That said, it is well worth watching. I bid you to settle in and discover, along with John Crichton, the wonders of the universe.

 

Premiere

I love this episode because with little background it dumps you into an unknown world moving at a dizzying pace..the viewer, much like John, is left to try and pick up the pieces of what’s going on. The effects are fantastic for a lower budget show and the cast is superb…except for Captain Aha…..ahem Crais.

Exodus From Genesis

Here we find John still on the biomechanoid Moya with little idea of how things work in the universe and feeling like the rest of the crew finds him to be an idiot at best. Queue a John takes charge episode (actually most of them are like that when it comes down to it). Character development is rampant in this episode as we find out more about D’Argo’s biases and Peacekeeper ways. This is the first episode where you see that glimmer of understanding that what you are actually watching is a space rpg with a new party.

Back and Back and Back to the Future

Three cheers for scifi tropes! After an accident John begins seeing the future and must navigate these visions in order to save everything. Netflix does us no good service by placing this episode in the third slot as opposed to the fifth where it should be. In an episode where you can play with killing characters and causing all sorts of emotional mischief we just don’t have enough attachment yet. I think this episode could have waited even a bit past five to the point where we have a bit deeper of a connection to the crew of Moya. Oh and the Aeryn vs Matala combat scene has got to be the worst thing on record. What is that martial art called? Get as much of your body exposed as possible fu?

Premier

This is the beginning of yet another Sci-fi series. I think that the worst part of this being a better geek think is sitting though a first episode every few weeks. This one has a fun premise. Earth scientist John Crichton is testing a personally space shuttle is the near past of earth. Clearly not the present day since that is mighty past-tech. He is hurled into another part of the universe where Moya (a living ship) is part of a prisoner escape. Among this group of escapees is a warrior, an anarchist/priest, a betrayed royal, and some sort of space turtle. Due to an accidental collision when being flung out of a worm-hole our main character becomes the sworn enemy of the villain.
This show seems pretty generic for now. What makes it stand out is its visual style and use of one of my favorite things in the world, practical effects. I haven’t ever watched this show before but it is super-recognizable due to its use of Muppets for a few of the characters and the make-up. This allows a more striking visual than most sci-fi shows out there.  Sadly, there is also a lot of cg in this show which do not age nearly as well as the puppets and make-up.

Exodus from Genesis

This wasn’t that strong. There was a bit of a cool idea. There was a good use of the time, if not it might have gone a little fast, trying to get a lot done in the time. So we have an invasion of space cockroaches that need a certain environment that is not good for some members of the crew. It wasn’t particularly strong but it wasn’t particularly bad. I’m enjoying some stuff but not really loving it. We had some use of the characters bodies. Given that this is the Netflix order, this might not have been the best second episode. It seems like we already know the characters a little better and it might have been better a little later in the season after getting some more character interaction.

Back and Back and Back to the Future

So I’m a sucker for working with time travel. This episode was enjoyable to me. There are two guests in this week’s episode visiting Moya. It kind of reminds me of one of my favorite books, Slaughterhouse 5. I like the time can change. Again, these episodes are not that strong but still enjoyable. There is a difference between good which anyone can enjoy and decent that I can enjoy if its hits some of the right bottoms, this hits some of my buttons. These are probably about the same quality as Buffy but Sci-fi adventure> teen horror/comedy.

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Be a Better Geek: Buffy the Better Vampire Slayer episodes 1-4

Posted on 20 April 2012 by DM

Why I picked Buffy the Vampire Slayer

How could I not? It started in march of 97 with a short season off twelve episodes about high schoolers making there way through the jungle of adolescence. And yea there are vampires. And demons, werewolves, and a plethora of other threats. It was a simple concept, one pulled from the early recesses of Whedons career. As such it has well constructed plot lines, witty dialogue, and talented actors. It carries something of the 90s with it. Coming from within that decade, I can’t really tell you if it caries to this century well but perhaps Vincenzo will enlighten you. Make no mistake BTVS is a cornerstone for a great many geeks. It carries with it ideas of sacrifice, female power, and the idea that yes, friendship is in fact magic.

A couple of quick thoughts on this weeks eps

Pilot: Rough and perhaps a little too simple. That said I love that the tendency to make fun of the horror genre and itself starts early and often.

The Witch: ah a boy and his unreciprocated crush. It had to happen. It’s a trope yes but there was no avoiding it. That said this is on of the early classics. It’s about a girl who doesn’t fit in that just tragically wants to fit in. And parents can be real dicks.

Teachers Pet: Oh yes my friends we have hit pay dirt. Nothing truly gothic about this one. Just a giant praying mantis and a need for some virgins. And talk about IILFs!

Vinnie’s Take

Welcome to Hellsmouths/The Harvest
So scifi/fantasy pilots come in two varieties, those that give you a crazy story and those that try and set up the characters. These two try to do a little bit of both. We’ve got a pretty standard story about a vampire supreme (or whatever) called The Master (not from Doctor Who) who is trying to break free. The vampire part of this show isn’t what makes it fun to watch, honestly if it was just that it would be the most boring thing to watch on the planet. Luckily it isn’t that bad, they also have some high school nonsense. There are some pretty obvious set-ups for jokes and quick lines. But wait there is also this mysterious character who seems to know something about what’s actually going on. This show isn’t painfully bad, but I doubt I would continue with it unless I agreed to.

The Witch
This episode was better than the previous two-parter. Buffy is trying to fit in at her new school and does this by trying to join the cheerleading squad. There is a pretty obvious plot about a girl whose mom wants her to be a cheerleader involving magic or some-such nonsense. I have mentioned this show is very 90s from the clothing to the camera direction. This one is kind of cool and was the best of the bunch.

Teachers-Pet
If the previous plot was obvious this one takes the cake for well-duh plot. So there is new biology teacher who is super-hot and all the boys are utter infatuated with her. Also she is talking a hell of a lot about praying mantises. But wait she is one! This is crazy OMG! Yeah, not a great episode I hope DM doesn’t say this is one of the best.

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Being a Better Geek: Mobile Suit Gundam 31-33

Posted on 31 March 2012 by VinnieAve

Vinnie’s Take

I will freely admit that I am the reason there is such a small batch this week. I flew out to California for a conference and didn’t have much to watch much. That being said, at last we have left Earth and are now making way to ending the series. I think its hilarious that Zeon is so impressed with White Base that they will pursue it so heavily that the real fleet can move out into space. The mobile armors keep getting sillier peaking with the Zakrello. The last important thing this week was the introduction of Sleggar, big dumb asshole, who while is a good pilot and gunner has decided that the will keep hitting on Sayla and Mirai. Speaking of Sayla, she’s back to obsessing about Char and making sure she doesn’t kill him.

DM’s Take

While Vincenzo is the reason for our short run of episodes this week, I am the reason for our delay.  So let us get to it.  First off before I rag on Amuro anymore; how badass was it with him dueling in space with the enemy mobile armor and just casually killing some folk in the spaceship.  I am pretty sure our little boys grown up a bit but I think we can honestly say his mother would not be proud.

Poor Fraw Bow! She really gets no respect from Amuro.  Sleggar is introduced in this set of episodes and I love him. I spoke with Vincenzo about this earlier this week and he expressed some surprise about the fact that I’m digging Sleggar but let’s face it, anyone who can keep Amuro a notch down is ok in my book.

OK really?! “Oh, hi Amuro.” That’s what he gets? Brain damaged or not that’s kind of ridiculous.  Between that and Mirai betrothed this was a fairly silly episode.  Till next week.

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