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The Nightmare Before Christmas (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Chris Sarandon
Offered by Van Buren Boys Entertainment
Price: $58.00
13 used & new from $28.22

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3D as value added feature works, September 4, 2011
I only had this film on DVD and needed an excuse to upgrade, this combo package gave me the excuse I needed. I am a huge fan of 3D when it is done right, and I recognize converted films don't always look great in 3D, but this one is actually pretty nice. The 3D does work very well by way of adding depth to the film, it's like you're watching through a window, though this feature is more like a value added bonus, it doesn't really add anything to the film itself because the film was not originally intended to be a 3D film. Still it looks good as a nice bonus and you shouldn't shy away from this package, especially if you were turned off by Clash of the Titans, this film makes the case that you can have good 3D conversions.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 9, 2011 1:11 AM PST


VIZIO E3D420VX 42 Inch Class Theater 3D LCD HDTV with VIZIO Internet Apps (2011 Model)
VIZIO E3D420VX 42 Inch Class Theater 3D LCD HDTV with VIZIO Internet Apps (2011 Model)
4 used & new from $579.00

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great entry level 3D TV, August 19, 2011
I am happy to report cheap 3D is ready for Prime Time.

3D TV sales are slow, according to the guy behind the counter at Best Buy in Murray, Utah. The company considers it a "now" technology with an uncertain future. What happens to 3D beyond the next couple years is anyone's guess.

The FYE salesman I spoke with in Murray offered a contrary opinion as FYE is seeing sales of 3D Blu Ray movies gradually increase. Two different outlooks from the retail front, one bleak, one cautiously optimistic. Can 3D survive? Yes, but only by dispelling some of the misinformation floating around out there, and thankfully, I now have the personal experience with a product enough to help with that.

I had been renting to own a 2D TV that if I had completed the purchase it would have cost me another $3,400.00. It was getting too expensive so my wife and I decided it was time to do something to resolve that debt. However, in our current living situation (renting out a basement) one needs a TV in order to at least feel independent. We can always retreat to our basement and turn on a movie to escape.

I was delighted when I found that Sony has released a new line of inexpensive LED-LCD hybrid TVs called the E series. Cheap, sturdy and affordable Becky and I bought the 42" TV and we have a lot of good things to say about it, which will help dispel the rumors that I only complain about stuff. Not true, this TV is awesome.

While not as bright as a Plasma or truLED TV the picture is plenty crisp and the TV also includes limited Internet connectivity allowing you access to Hulu, Vudu and even Netflix, but it's best asset is it's approach to 3D. I can happily say that rumors of Passive (Cinema) 3D loosing resolution is no longer true. Older models lost picture quality due to the polarized screens which helped to generate the illusion, the pictures were grainy but it was a cheap alternative to the Active Shutter 3D glasses (now $50.-$70.00 each). Inside the year since passive 3D first hit the Market Sony seems to have resolved that problem as this E-Series presents lossless 3D through the same $2.00 glasses you get at the theater, so save those because now you have a reason to take them home. You can watch your 3D movies with full High Definition and not worry about loosing a single pixel but it gets better.

The other drawback to Passive 3D in theaters is that the picture is rendered about 25% darker by the glasses. This is not as big of a problem on the E Series TV which comes equipped with an LED backlight to help reduce the loss of luminosity. It's still there, but the loss is more like 10% meaning you still maintain a picture that is plenty bright.

Now you gamers out there will likely ask "yeah but how does it do with games?" Pretty good, though not as good as a plasma, admittedly. The PS3 is the only system that I have capable of 3D as 3D does require HDMI, which my older 360 does not have. Now I do not know if this is a limitation of the TV or the PS3 but 3D games will max out their resolution at 720p, not a big deal for TVs between 30-50 inches, and this series stops at 47" so far as I know. Movies still play in full 1080p High Definition. The brighter-than-theater picture eliminates the headaches (at least for Becky and I) caused by the eye strain which the darker picture of a theatrical presentation creates. All in all this is the best way to experience the next logical step in film evolution on the market at this point.

Talkies never went away... I'm just saying...

With the cheapness of the TV, and the glasses and the glasses being much more comfortable than the more expensive Active Shutter lenses Sony has resolved one of the biggest complaints about 3D TVs. Granted it would be great to have glasses free 3D, but the technology isn't quite there yet. The Sony E Series is a great stop gap to hold us over for the next few years, and for those who enjoy Avatar and Transformers 3 it's a great way to have that breathtaking experience from the comfort of your living room.


Mortal Kombat - Playstation 3
Mortal Kombat - Playstation 3
Offered by Fulfillment Solutions Wholesalers, LLC
Price: $21.75
147 used & new from $5.50

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MORTAL KOMBAT! A moderately successful reboot, May 7, 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I hate reboots. Generally speaking reboots attempt to and fail to revive a series that has been lagging resulting in remakes that they don't want to call remakes. On occasion, however, you run into one that went well. Castlevania Lords of Shadows certainly exceeds the original title upon which the premise is based containing a deeper story and encouraging you to care about the whip wielding Belmont at your control. In movies Batman Begins was done after a huge amount of time had passed and audiences had all but forgotten the abysmal Batman and Robin, but also went above and beyond the previous versions of the film series, improving greatly upon the formula.

Sometimes there are reboots that work, but really aren't any better than the original version of the franchise like Star Trek which was entertaining, and even worked within the established rules to reboot the series without giving it a complete overhaul. It was okay, but not the epic improvement a reboot should offer. Most reboots fail utterly.

Mortal Kombat is actually the ninth installment of this ridiculously over the top and gory franchise. It is a reboot, and not a reboot, kind of like Star Trek. The story goes that Shao Khan won at the end of Mortal Kombat Armageddon and achieved immortality and invincibility which he then used to annihilate all of the Kombatants including long time rival Raiden, however before Raiden is killed he sends a message to his past self, a cryptic finally thought "he must win." Raiden, who had previously been a competent leader and mentor to Lui Kang and co becomes a bungling idiot as he tries desperately to figure out what the message meant. His visions unfortunately lead to the death of practically everyone, but at least this time Shao Khan is defeated before he can become invincible... also Quan Chi and Shinnok may have been trying to alter time for their benefit too... Leading up to an inevitable sequel I'm sure... That will have everyone who dies alive and well again. Honestly I don't know why the developers keep killing anyone off at all in this game, its like killing off the X-Men... Death has no permanent meaning in Mortal Kombat, but still this is a pretty decent story by MK standards, though it pales in comparison to the riveting "Deception."

As with any new installment of MK the graphics are far and above anything its predecessors offered, the animation is (for the first time ever) smooth, and combos can be chained together with greater ease than ever before. This installment has modified the controls so that the game is accessible to button crunchers which will make a lot of folks happy I am sure. This game also looks better, perhaps, than any competing fighting title out there, but its design philosophy has changed little since the 1990s and it's the costumes and over all character designs that warrant some criticism.

Women in this series have never been treated with the respect they deserve, at least not since MKII. The costumes of the women in the game are far too revealing. In an era when video game women, including Laura Croft, are moving toward greater realism MK does a great disservice to the gaming community by adhering stricty to a design philosophy only appreciated by 15 year old boys who have no girlfriend and no prospects of obtaining one. As a married 31 year old I find the unrealistically proportioned women in skimpy outfits at this stage outright misogynistic. As a martial artist myself, albeit a fat one, I know many female martial artists and none of them would enter a fight with so little clothing. You can't fight dressed like that.

The other primary problem with the characters is that they seem to be a fusion of Greek statues and porn stars, too perfect to reflect any sort of reality, and too chiseled to look attractive. Again, it shows a great disrespect to women and it is really sad that this series hasn't evolved beyond the 15 year old boys that played these games when we were young. We're 30 now, we mostly have wives, some of us even have kids (who will not be playing these games) so why hasn't this series matured along with us?

Of course the gore is more detailed than ever before, but still ridiculously over the top and unrealistic. Despite its cartoonish means of dispatching a vanquished foe the game does actually have a few fatalities that are admittedly unrealistic, but are actually quite disturbing on a level past games have failed to capture. The new X-Ray power moves are simply amazing but are so detailed you almost feel your own bones break in sympathy for your poor digital avatar... of course after having their necks broken and their spines shattered in a feat only Wolverine could be expected to pull off your characters kip up and they are back in the fight. The X-Ray moves should have had greater consequences, as while they are wicked cool the over the top cartoonishness of this game is wearing thin for this grumpy 31 year old "extremist shrill voice on the right." Resident Evil, and Silent Hill and numerous other games I used to play as a kid have all matured and moved toward trying harder to more accurately represent something believable. Mortal Kombat has better character models than ever before, graphics that are jaw dropping and awe inspiring, yet immature and impish at the same time.

That said if you have been a fan of the game in the past you will still likely enjoy this entry. Its sad the game's concept stopped growing and developing after Armageddon, the last trilogy introduced several welcome new ideas, all of which were drop kicked for this "back to basics" reboot. I hope that the next one will indeed take the series forward in more ways than just better graphics and more detailed gore.

3 out of 5 stars.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2011 2:50 PM PDT


MEGA MAN 9 [Online Game Code]
MEGA MAN 9 [Online Game Code]

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mega Man 9 is terrible, April 3, 2011
I know my video game blogs are the least read, but I actually do have people asking me to review them from time to time. I just think its good to talk about a variety of topics so that people know I can have a life beyond politics.
I have a long history with Mega Man, it was one of my favorite game series as a child. Mega Man, alongside Zelda, Final Fantasy and Castlevania ate up much of my spare time in my youth, but Mega Man 8 ruined the franchise. In addition to the terrible voice overs the levels were often nightmarishly hard and what was worse they strayed away from the series usual on foot exploration with near impossible rocket sledding which required you to jump and slide at ridiculous speeds while fighting enemies at the same time without super tight controls rendering your button inputs unresponsive. Then Mega Man and Bass came out. I only beat one of the bosses before giving up.
Mega Man 9 was supposed to fix all this by going back to a Mega Man 2 style. Well, mega Man went back to the Mega Man 2 style, however the bad guys didn't get the memo. Mega Man has been stripped of his sliding ability and the super awesome mega buster both of which are necessary to compete in this game fairly.
You see enemies attack as aggressively as they do in the most recent sequels, but now you have only the walk jump and shoot (slowly) to deal with this. As recently as Mega Man 8 (which sucked for different reasons) you had the ability to slide under attacks, charge up and release a power shot, you could even upgrade your normal weapon to fire faster, and even got a shot gun like spread to fire as many as 5 pellets at once. Fighting baddies was not the primary problem Mega Man 8 faced, but rather its absurd rocket board levels and poor designs behind the "robot masters" you fight. (Come on, clown man? Seriously?) Everything about Mega Man 9 sucks.
The level design is uninspired and literally oversaturated with spikes. It's as if they got a 14 year old as their chief designer whose core design philosophy was, "and then, for the next big surprise, we'll put spikes on the wall!" Dodging is next to impossible with mega man walking, not running, and now unable to slide beneath attacking enemies. You feel especially crippled when attacked by a mutant rock in Jewel man's stage. The enemies are harder to fell without being able to deliver a power shot and the worst part is that there seems to be a halfway decent story for the first time in the series... that is if progress in the game were possible at all. As a game series goes on players should feel gradually more empowered, gaining new skills and building upon the enhancements of the last game, or at least giving you new abilities all together to meet the new challenges. Instead Mega Man 9 takes away your gains and makes you start with only the same abilities Mega Man had in Mega Man 1.
To make it all worse they couldn't have even been bothered to at least make this game look as good as Mega Man 8 (if 8 can be called good). To date Mega Man 8 remains the best looking game of the series, and given that this entry to the series came out in the late 90s making a comparable 2D side-scroller comparable to its predecessor could have been done on the cheap as well. It would not have been much more of an investment for Capcom to put some real effort into this game beyond spikes... and more spikes, and still more spikes.... Oh and did I mention spikes? In fact why don't they just do a Spike Man robot mater at this point and get it over with?
At this point someone will have to tell me if they fixed these problems for Mega Man 10 because I have a rule, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Mega Man 8 and 9 were utter disasters. I don't think I can stomach the idea of laying down any more money for what has become a series only enjoyable to sadomasochists. Mega Man 9 defines deep hurting and should be avoided even by longtime fans of the series.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 28, 2011 7:28 PM PDT


Tekken 6 - Xbox 360
Tekken 6 - Xbox 360
Price: $19.89
87 used & new from $5.53

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worst one yet, October 31, 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tekken 6 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Among my favorite fighting games has always been the Tekken Series. In the past the game has prided itself on realistic martial arts battles as opposed to Street Fighter where you basically have two dudes tossing fireballs at each other all day. Tekken's slogan was "The burning in your chest is from your broken ribs, not from some fireball." True that the game featured occasional forays into the supernatural, like Devil, who, unfairly, had a laser beam while you of course didn't. Seems to me that Ogre in Tekken 3 didn't though. Its been a while since I've played it, but Ogre was beatable, shoot even True Ogre went down if you applied the right combos. Heihatchi was the boss of part 4, and he too was beatable (though the overall Tekken 4 experience wasn't as good as it should have been.)

Then part 5 something horrible happened. The end guy was a super powered mega-demon with all kinds of fireballs and other super-powers which made him extremely difficult, verging on impossible for a casual fan such as myself to beat. As if a collective cry of anger from franchise fans went out to make that boss battle more fair Namco/Bandi released Tekken Dark Resurrection for PSP, PS3 Network, and arcades, and the end boss was significantly easier. To give you an idea, I have everything unlocked in Dark Resurrection, all endings, etc. I could only get a few for the original version of Tekken 5.

Tekken 6 has a lot wrong with it, as much as I'd like to love it. Its fighting engine is the same old same old, the arcade mode features no story elements, which is an area where part 4 and 5 nailed it. Instead the game forces you to go through the games scenario mode in order to see the beginnings and endings for each character that should be a natural part of the arcade experience.

The game's scenario mode makes several mistakes. Level designs could have been done two generations ago. They're repetitive, unimpressive, and uninspiring. The combat itself is clumsy, as it takes an engine designed for an arcade one on one fighter and crams it into a brawler which needs a more custom tailored engine. My biggest problem was the fact that there's simply no effective lock on mechanism so you often find yourself overshooting your target and exposing yourself for painful retaliation. Many of your opponents will block excessively with no penalties to them and because of the way the combat engine is set up the throw commands just don't work very often, whereas in arcade mode they work fine. It's a terrible frustration. The scenario mode also experiences a dramatic increase in difficulty toward the end of it, and it's sudden. The games bonus levels are also virtually Impossible.

Then there's the coliseum, which is where you have to unlock the individual character's back stories and endings. This means fighting Azazael, the end boss, and like Jinpachi before him he comes with all kinds of tricks that you don't get. You don't get fire balls, he breast crystal pellets. You don't get to teleport, he does, you don't get magic hand, he gets magic claws, oh and did I mention he's got an optic blast? An optic blast! I hear you have to fight the NANCY robot too at some point, and that it's even worse.

Tekken, what happened to you. You used to mock the fireball fighters, now you put your players at a nightmarish disadvantage by pitting them against characters who are loaded with supernatural powers. I mean we didn't mind Devil, or True Ogre because they were at least balanced enough to be beatable in a couple of tries... Not so much with the original Jinpachi, and Azazael is far, far worse than Jinpachi was... except, oddly in scenario mode where he goes down in a flash... But not in the coliseum, and not in arcade mode where he is an all but unstoppable force of evil... Like the Democrats!

The sound is alright, par for the course, really, but there's too many dialogue boxes which need to be read and not enough voice work, which would have been fine last generation, but for this one is inexcusable laziness. Furthermore, most of what dialogue there is, is in Japanese, which is fine for those who want it. But I am no fan of reading subtitles and would have preferred to have an English language option, especially since some characters DO speak English and receive responses in Japanese. It's an odd choice, and one that doesn't work that well. What voices are done in English are not done well, which is especially sad because Tekken, as a series, is a game with a convoluted storyline which could benefit from some decent voice work.

Speaking of convoluted stories... What the heck just happened? I got some key elements of the story, but most of it is just gibberish. I get that Lars is actually the half-brother of Kazuya, and that he's out to stop Jin from unleashing evil on the world... apparently there's a world war between two corporations... cause the free market's always the bad guys and governments are never ever responsible for wars, right? Right? Yeah, an ounce or two of left wing paranoid stupidity makes its way into what little discernable plot there is. Someday they'll figure out that its governments that get us into wars not corporations... but until they do we'll humor them. The story moves painfully slow, and the scenes are shot poorly. In a nutshell there's too many shots where there is nothing going on but the characters standing their with their mouths hung open, and these shots go on, and on, and on.

The graphics are the biggest disappointment. When PS2 came out Tekken Tag Tournament was right there to push the fighting game industry forward with jaw dropping graphics. Tekken 4 stepped it up again, and Tekken 5 almost looked (in its day) like it was a Next Gen title. It was awe inspiring for its time, especially for the weak PS2 hardware. This game may have looked good had it been a PS2 or Xbox game. On today's hardware, and given that it's been around three years in development, the overall package feels dated, and not worth $60.00 Some of the texture work for the characters looks decent, but after we've had Resident Evil 5, Metal Gear Solid 4, the recent Call of Duties, and even the surprisingly good looking (albeit poorly animated lip synching) Silent Hill Homecoming it just looks dated. Tekken 6 should have been a launch title for the new systems. By current standards it just doesn't even compare, especially when up against the drop dead gorgeous and highly stylized Street Fighter IV.

On the plus side the game features 40 characters, the largest roster of the series yet. It even has a character as big as I am that is handled respectfully and is quite a bruiser too! That's a nice juxtaposition to SFIV's idiot fat guy Rufus, or of course the reason fat martial artists never get taken seriously, Beverly Hill's Ninja... Go ahead underestimate me, but if this game were played by motion captures, Azazael would prove no match for my Tiger Claw...

All in all a decent two player head to head, but a scenario mode which leaves much to be desired, and a cheap and nearly unbeatable final boss in arcade mode and the coliseum which leaves the player frustrated. This game feels rushed and incomplete, which is inexcusable for how long it's taken them to get the game done. Three years should be plenty. Add to it disappointing graphics and uninspired sound and too much text, and a useless customization mode with over priced clothing that does nothing for the character (unless you find the goods in scenario mode's treasure boxes) it's an awful lot to have to pay $60.00 for what ends up being the worst installment of this series. My hope is that they will make it up to us by selling DLC which will tone Azazael down.

In all, with all its disappointments and frustrations its hard to justify giving this game more than 2 and ˝ stars out of 5 if you are only examining the single player experience. I will give it a 3, however, in that its multiplayer is a blast, as always, but Tekken is moving down the path toward unplayablility for casual player such as myself, I hope Namco/Bandi will pull back the difficulty in future installments, especially for those of us playing on easy. Remember, some of us have jobs. I don't have all day to memorize every little nuanced combo, and how to count the frames so I can land my attacks just so. Developers making fighter games need to factor that in. Easy mode is supposed to be for the casual player who doesn't have the time or desire to really master the game, which I think is... well most of us.

A 3 out of 5, but that is me being very generous.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2011 1:11 PM PDT


Silent Hill: Among the Damned
Silent Hill: Among the Damned
by Scott Ciencin
Edition: Paperback
29 used & new from $4.85

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A convoluted mess, May 17, 2006
Silent Hill is supposed to be a mystery. There are some questions that cannot be answered... yet at the same time none of the games have featured stories that were next to impossible for me to follow. This comic was guilty of that crime, as it bounces around way too much, and the artwork is perhaps too sloppy and muddy to make it clear what is going on. By the time I finished reading this comic I had a whopper of a headache trying to follow this story.

I hope the other Silent Hill comics fared better. I'm more tempted to blame the art work than the writing on this one because if the art work had been clear enough to convey the story I might have been able to follow it better.

I was disappointed when I learned that the Metal Gear Solid features similar art in their comics, and simply I plan to avoid it too, I simply cannot interpret the story from this slop.


Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Takahiro Sakurai
Offered by 40K ITEMS ON SALE
Price: $9.01
296 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awkwardly paced, but visually stunning, May 2, 2006
Final Fantasy VII is in an awkward position these days. Fans of the original still bask in the fond memories the (for its time) revolutionary title brought to them. Newbies, however, are now turned off by the (now) archaic graphics, inconsistent character models, and poor localization that resulted in severely bad English.

This game is in dire need of a remake, and rumors have been going around that one is in the works, but in the mean time fans have this little treat to hold them over.

For the first time since the original Mortal Kombat a video game movie takes place within the continuity of the game it's based on. This makes it already leaps and bounds better than any other game to film conversion. That said the film is far more visually stunning than its competitors, and the animation is simply breath taking. It brought tears to my eyes when I realized that one day the actual game could look this good, if they remake it... And theoretically it's possible that a PS3 remake of the original could come close. It's beautiful, and unlike other recent CGI films with quasi-realistic characters, Advent Children's characters feature very lifelike eyes, and deliver mostly believable performances except the gravity defying stunts defy suspension of disbelief, yet remain true to the game as many of these stunts are based off of the FFVII Limit Breaks! And they look amazing, even if I don't believe that Cloud could fall several hundred feet and not break anything.

The film's story, however, is somewhat problematic. Non-fans shouldn't even bother trying to follow it. There was potential for a very deep film here, but sadly what story there is minimalistic and serves as a device to move from one action sequence to the next. You can tell that the writers of this film are too used to writing for video games, as this sort of writing works well there, but here it leaves a lot to be desired. I was especially disappointed that the party (Barret, Cid, Caith Sith, Yuffie, and Red XIII) didn't really get all that much screen time. Had this film been longer then there could have been some seriously cool character developments. I was particularly disappointed with the final battle, which looked awesome, but really didn't do all that much for the story. Had the Remnant remained the main villain instead of a device to resurrect Sephiroth I would have handled the story a little more seriously. Cheesy resurrections don't go over that well with me.

Cloud is the only character that receives any significant character development here. And I'm glad he is able to make peace with himself, but at the same time I am sorely disappointed that there wasn't much by way of romantic developments between Tifa and him. Tifa is obviously in love with him, and I know he's in love with Aerith, but she's dead, and he should have realized by now that Tifa is ga-ga for him and done something about it at the end.

This story is not un-enjoyable, its just not very deep. It runs circles around Silent Hill, and would have been a much better expenditure for theater viewing. FFVII isn't going to win an academy award for best screen play or picture, but it certainly wets one's appetite for the rumored remake.


No Title Available

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cool but not scary, and not exactly true to the game, April 24, 2006
Back in the late 90's we had been playing Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark for a while, and the horror fans of the world were already complaining that the game play had began to turn stale. We're always crying for innovation (especially in films, but I'll spare you that complaint.) Konami answered our cries for innovation by presenting us with a very different kind of horror in Silent Hill.

Most horror games relied heavily on zombies, and quick "Boo... Ahh!" scare to get it's job done. Silent Hill didn't do that very often, but what it did do was expose you to extremely disturbing images, and monsters that defy any conventional explanation. Are they Demons? Are they undead? Or more disturbing, Silent Hill 3's "They look like monsters to you?"

The best thing about Silent Hill was it's amazing story which revolved around a young woman named Alessa Gillespie who had extraordinary powers, powers, her mother Dahlia wanted to use to benefit the Cult of Samael. Everything that happened to Alessa was at the hands of her abusive mother, including being lit on fire. Dahlia even went so far as to misguide and trick Harry into working against Alessa who was trying to prevent the coming of Samael when Harry had to break a seal at a certain place and time where Alessa would be doing some sort of incantation, thus halting Alessa's progress... what I'm getting at is that it's true that in the Bad and Bad+ ending of Silent Hill Alessa was the end boss, however, and it is true that she was the root cause of the twisted world of Silent Hill. But, the witches, Dahlia, and the Order (AKA Cult of Samael) were indeed the bad guys, and in the ending I got Samael herself was the end boss. (I say her because of Silent Hill 3's revelations.)

Silent Hill the movie starts off similarly enough to the game that for the first hour or so a fan of the game will indeed be at the edge of their seat waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the scares to come. People who haven't played the game may enjoy the story, and the visuals, but aren't likely going to be getting scared by this film either. Non-fans will say that they never got the impression that Rose was ever in any real danger. The moment death was at hand the enemies (Whether they be skinless demon children who now have eyes and mouths making them less creepy) or the infamous Pyramid Head (Originally a delusion by James Sunderland in Silent Hill 2) just dissolve the moment Rose is about to be killed, thus eliminating any real feeling of danger.

Fans of the series can simply complain that Christophe Gans strayed too far from the original story. While he nailed most of the visuals dead on the plot doesn't seem Silent Hill like at all. For a while this film was code-named Centralia. I left this film wondering if the original story was going to be Centralia, but that Konami, who was seeking to do a Silent Hill film felt that the two were similar enough that they could both save some time and money by combining their efforts. This, if true, hurt the production. Silent Hill's original story could have saved this production, and or Centralia could have been saved by not limiting itself to the Silent Hill universe. If Gans wanted to do his own thing, he should have, instead I now have no way to present the original story that I love to my family members who don't play games, and I had talked this one up quite a bit.

The first half of the movie, as I stated, is not scary, but is pretty cool nonetheless. Pyramid Head doesn't do anything uber-disturbing like his video game counterpart, but he does cause a really awesome fatality to one of the unimportant characters. Later on when the towns folks start screaming " a witch! A witch!" I found myself feeling nostalgic for Monty Python rather than the original Silent Hill. These movie folks need to stop straying for the original material.

The story also starts out following the original plot closely enough but looses critical things like the hallucinogen that the Order was using, Dr. Huffman was nixed, and although Nurse Garland makes a brief cameo her character is changed dramatically. As I stated earlier, the original plot didn't deal with Alessa being nearly killed by witch hunters, rather being subjected to abuse at the hands of the Order, and eventually suffering from being burnt alive by Dahlia, which is why in her room you see messages like "Mom... mom kill..." and "help me..." It's true that Alessa's soul was split up like in the movie, but Alessa lured Harry to Silent Hill to help her to defeat the cult of Samael, not for revenge against a bunch of witch hunters.

Perhaps the biggest complaint I have about Silent Hill the movie is the ending. I know that Silent Hill spreads. It chooses who it wants, and when it will let people go. It's possible that Rose and Sharon were simply not yet allowed to leave, but many people felt that the ending meant that they had died in the car crash, similar to one of the bad endings in the original game. If this is the case, however, I do wonder how on earth Gans will follow this film up, especially since Alessa is the lead in Silent Hill 3. That's right, you play as Alessa. The bigger problem is that since the 6th Sense too many writers and directors think that the "Oh and at the end they're revealed to be dead" ending is still unique. If indeed that is the case here then, no Christophe, this is not a unique ending. It's another "me too" 6th Sense rip off. If there's more too it than that then it simply was not clear enough for the uninitiated.

For Silent Hill fans it should be noted that although it nails most of the visuals dead on, the creepy feel of Silent Hill is lost, largely in part for Gan's silly "A Witch! A Witch!" replacement of the original story. Fans will likely feel, as I did, that the movie is very cool, especially visually, but will be disappointed that Gans strayed so far from the original plot, and that the monsters are under whelming, and even misused.

One such example is the demon nurse sequence. The demon nurses work well in the game. One or two at a time the way they move is extremely creepy, but in a large group like this it looked to me like they would break out into the Thriller dance routine. It was silly, not scary. And Pyramid Head should have had a lot more to do with in this film.

Non-fans will likely walk away with no clue what just happened or what made the game so great.

Books and game adaptations do have to undergo some changes to make them work on film, and I understand that. However, pretty much every video game to film adaptation except Mortal Kombat has been absolutely terrible because they stray too far from the source material. Hollywood does their own thing, and then slaps a well-known label on it.

But I have to ask, if the story from the game is good enough to make one want to do an adaptation, then why change the original premise? Silent Hill and Resident Evil have both nixed the original protagonists in favor of less interesting female leads. I felt more for Sean Bean's Christopher than I did for Rose. Rose was never in any real danger, Christopher was fighting loosing his entire family. That element of the film worked well on an emotional level. There is no good reason that Harry Mason needed to be replaced with a woman. None. Whatever excuses Gans throws out there the only reason this was done is because recent horror films have this idea that women should be the lead protagonists in all horror films, likely because they scream better than men. Fans of Lord of the Rings would have screamed bloody murder for this had Frodo been made a woman. I have nothing against women in lead roles. In fact, in original stories like the Ring or the Grudge I encourage it. But if the lead in the original story the film is based on is a weakly thirty-something male writer who is a widower with a sickly 7 year old girl it aught to stay that way. It is not okay to change the lead protagonist when adapting a book, the same reverence for source material that Hollywood has for novels needs to be extended toward video games as well.

Simply put this movie would have been infinitely better had it stayed true to the original story, but like Resident Evil before it, it falls apart when it begins to stray. That said, unlike Resident Evil, this movie is still pretty cool based on its visual merits.

With that said this movie is not un-enjoyable, and is the best video game adaptation since Mortal Kombat. Just don't expect anything super special, let alone scary.


Resident Evil Deadly Silence - Nintendo DS
Resident Evil Deadly Silence - Nintendo DS
Price: $21.99
55 used & new from $12.75

11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The cheese is back!, February 16, 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Anyone questioning how powerful the DS is has a relatively good answer now. The original Resident Evil on the DS holds its own pretty well on the handheld with clean graphics, slightly improved over the original. Basically, on the small screen, the game resembles the N64 RE2. But those of you who are not interested in retro gamming may not exactly be excited about yet another port/remake of the original RE. It's not the masterpiece that the GCN version is, and what was scary a decade ago about this game is laughable now. To be truthful, aside from a couple of DS exclusive puzzles, and the knife fights, and a couple of much needed tweaks to the interface Deadly Silence really doesn't offer anything new or innovative so the motivation for picking this title up has got to be entirely about reliving the cheese-fest that was the original PS Resident Evil.

The game is fun, as it always was, but doesn't light a candle to its GameCube counterpart. In fact, the original live action fmvs are included, intact, as is the original horrible voice acting (the only element of the game that really is scary). Ever wonder what all the hoopla about the "master of unlocking" is? Well now's your chance to wince in pain as the dialogue passes through the DS speakers into your unsuspecting ear. But that's where the fun lies. We can use this game to remember how far the survival horror genre really has come over the years, and more importantly, we finally have a Resident Evil handheld game that isn't completely unplayable (Unlike RE: Gaiden).

My only gripe really is that this game is the original RE... Again. I picked this up only because I want RE games on handhelds that are good, and also because you can't resist an old favorite on a handheld. It means there's actually time to play it. It's also the reason that I've picked up the re-releases of Final Fantasy for the DS/GBA despite having their PS1 counterparts. I have more time for handhelds.

Even though there are nearly as many ports of RE2, I think that one would have been a better choice to port to the DS. Mainly, it's voice acting (while still bad) isn't nearly as horrid as RE1, and it didn't have the glory of being remade into a masterpiece of gaming for a newer console like RE1 did, basically playing RE2 would feel more natural, since I don't have memories of significantly better graphics and dialogue to contend with.

In all REDS is a fun addition for the DS library for a handful of reasons. It is the first M rated title for the DS, making it a milestone of sorts. It's a classic, it's so bad it's funny, but still retains enjoyable game play and even has a few new surprises up its sleeves. I just hope Konami sees how good this turned out and brings Silent Hill to the handheld as well.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2011 1:15 PM PDT


Halo 2 - Xbox
Halo 2 - Xbox
Price: $19.99
211 used & new from $3.25

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Isn't hype wonderful?, February 2, 2006
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Halo 2 - Xbox (Video Game)
What did you expect? The first Halo was a lot of hype. I was truly amazed that the game got as popular as it did with it's clichéd story, and it's sluggish controls, and uninspiring graphics. Nevertheless the game has become one of the most popular titles out there. A sequel was inevitable, and people lined up around the block, and camped out for this sequel only to walk away from the story uninspired, and sorely disappointed.

I wasn't expecting much from the story. I only ever bought the two Halos so that the cry baby gamers I play games with can't say "You wouldn't beat me if this were Halo". Well, now it is Halo, and I'm still beating you so neyah!

The multi-player mode is where this game shines. There is really a lot going on, and a huge variety of game play options, and admittedly some pretty neat weapons, but it seems that Bunjie has all but abandoned the single player experience, as it never really lived up to its potential. I still don't care about Master Chief, I think the name is both ridiculous and silly, I don't know much about this "dark and foreboding" anti-hero, and I feel no emotional attachment for him. Now why is that? Well I guess you're not supposed to feel for the guy who plays the lead in a sci-fi shooter... the game is all about blowing stuff up, after all, isn't it?

That is probably enough for most gamers, especially between the age of 14 and 18. But at 26, my tastes are evolving. I am beginning to feel that if you've played any first person shooter you've played them all. They're are all either a knock off of Goldeneye 007 (IMO still the best FPS ever made) or Halo, so playing this title late, AFTER playing through the mega disappointing Perfect Dark Zero I just wasn't able to develop any love for the Halo series outside its superb multiplayer mode, or the silly parody Red V Blue. I am simply having trouble identifying or feeling the emotions of the story. The potential for something more refined and sophisticated is there, I just hope that Bunjie can capitalize on that in the 3rd installment rather than making another Jerry Brokheimer the video game.

At any rate Halo 2 falls into yet another ho-hum sci-fi tale that will probably excite the average gamer, but being that I prefer more sophisticated stories it didn't do much for me.


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