Archive for Narrativ

Sumtjin ’bout Overwatch

This game is super nice and in some aspects all I wished for. Not only because it is very fun to play and looks amazing (even with my crappy graphics card). No, it is because it is cohesive, so incredibly cohesive. One glance and you can see that there is a unified vision behind its presentation.

As some of you who reads this might know, I have complained about DOTA 2 and LOL not having a cohesive style. Not that their art style is a scrambled mess, cause it isn’t, both their art styles and visual presentation are very cohesive. But the worlds they present aren’t. DOTA 2 just began as a mod of Warcraft 3 and later on they decided to create a story to it so it isn’t weird that they have everything from Greek gods, to internet trolls. LOL opts to use the little more cohesive world idea of having the heroes/champions being pulled from different dimensions to fight. Which to me is a bit cheap, but I can buy in to, it also allows the creators to make whatever they want, so kudos to them for that.

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However, with Overwatch I am seeing for almost the first time a Hero/Champion based game with a cohesive world vision that bleeds in to all the facets of the game. (Yes I am sure some other games have done this before (Tannhäuser for example) but I use this as an example because it’s big, popular and won’t be discontinued any time soon).

Why this excites me is because I am really looking forward to see what Blizzard will do with it. Will it they further the metaplot of the world later on? Maybe rework some of the old Heroes or give them new skins that reflect the story?

The story progression will probably mostly be delivered through comics and CG-trailers as they have up to this point, but even in game we get snippets of information about the cast. Will they down the road ad more “fluff/lore”-voice lines to heroes? I have no idea what Blizzard will do with this new amazing IP so I’m just giddy to be along for the ride.

Pic found here.

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STAR WARS VII (The last one, for now)

Out with the old and in with the new. It’s rebootin’ time!

 

SPOILERS!

 

 

As I and many others have pointed out, this movie is a retread of old steps, but it is also a retelling and kick-off for the new trilogy. This is why Han Solo must die.

Yes, Han Solo must die and Leia and Luke are not allowed to have much screen time (might also be because of their pay…) in the first episode. The reason old characters need to be offed (I’m guessing the other two might also meet a end in one of the upcoming movies) is to cement this as a its own thing. It will still be Star Wars even if a few characters die, that baggage of that franchise goes beyond Luke, Leia and Han, but it needs to ditch as many “bags” as possible to be able to flourish into something “new” and unique. Well, maybe not have to, but it should do it. Because this is a new thing and new things need to do new things, and stop doing retread old stuff.

Because of this, Han Solo had to die. If Han Solo hadn’t died, than there would be problems down the road, such as which character they should put the spotlight on and “why isn’t Han Solo here helping out/solving the problem?” (He also died because Episode VII is copy pasting the plot of Episode IV but it also served the grander purpose of “completely” turning Kylo Ren to the Dark side by performing patricide (and mentorcide))

(The imagery shown leading up to Han Solos death is awesome; I felt a need to mention that)

So during the next two episodes some more of the old characters might die, to further set this trilogy apart from the original but also to drive the overarching narrative forward. Luke might die fighting Snoke, Leia might die from a New Order assault, all to strengthen Finn, Poe and Rey as characters, ’cause they can’t stand in the spotlight if some old crumbs are standing in the way.

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens second watching

Now the hype train has come to a stop and I believe the “no spoiler” period is over.

I have seen this movie twice, was it as good during the second watching. No, no it wasn’t but it was still an enjoyable ride. Would I still recommend people to go see it, defiantly, because it is a good adventure/action flick. But that’s ‘bout it.

I might sound a bit harsh, especially since my last post was a weird praising of the movie, which I don’t regret, because back then, it was truly magical. But as with all things, it calms down eventually.

“SPOILERS AHEAD”

If you’ve seen Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, than you has seen this movie. That is something being said by many critiques and while it is true, it is also “not true”. This movie is a stepping stone, a launch pad, from which the new trilogy shall bloom and grow.

So what do I mean by saying that the critiques are true but also not. Well the big story/plot points for this movie are the same as those in Star Wars Episode IV, the goo that binds it all together is not the same, and I think this is important to point out.

The plot is therefore kind of a letdown, since it is a “retelling”, but it is still way better than the prequels. However this creates some interesting character traits in the villain, Kylo Ren. He is a Darth Vader fan boy, and he wants to become a new “Darth Vader” therefore he mimics said person and that makes for a interesting villain. He wants to continue a legacy that failed, and at the same time, he wants be something of his own. I am really looking forward to seeing what they do with this character in the rest of the trilogy.

Next up! Finn, the “odd-ball”, “why odd-ball?” because he is a New Order defector. He was part of the “EVUHL EMPIRE” but after seeing some casual murdering of innocent civilians he decides to go with the good guys. Also, he falls in love with the new generations’ hero. Which is a new thingy-jingy.

The hero of the prequels (Anakin) did also have a love story, which leads to destruction and a imbalance in the force. So it will be interesting to see were this will be going, will Rey respond to Finns feelings, will that lead her down the path of the dark side?

Also our hero this time around is a woman, which I think is cool. Star Wars have been for the most part a sausage-party, with some exceptions. And the movie played did a fun thing with the fact. In one scene, when Rey (the hero) is attacked by some thugs Finn runs to her rescue but before he arrives she has already neutralized the threat.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but what I do know is that this film has laid out a good and solid foundation for the two upcoming movies.

Also, the movie is simply gorgeous; a few scenes are simply eye porn.

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Something about a movie #01 Jurassic World

This post will spoil some parts of Jurassic World (2015). If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to have anything spoiled than please stop reading. If you haven’t seen it and doesn’t care about some spoilage than don’t be afraid, keep reading, just know that parts of the ending will be discussed.

-SPOILERS AHEAD-

There are dinosaurs in this movie, of many different shapes and sizes, but the one I will concentrate on is the big aquatic one (Mosasaurus), the one shown in all the trailers. I think it is given a too big of a role in the movie. I understand that if they put so much time on rendering it, they would want it to do some cool stuff, but it doesn’t. So let’s look at the three times it is in the movie.

  1. The shot from the trailer + a little more

The first time Mr.Mosasaurus is shown in the movie, it is part of an attraction, a show. It is shown for us and the characters as a spectacle, which it is. Worth noting (if I don’t remember wrong that is) is that they say how many teeth it has, because it will be important later on in the movie (foreshadowing (though honestly, they could have skipped telling us its “dental number”)). As I said, it is shown as a spectacle, which it is. It is cool and fun to see this big creature.

  1. The torture death

This mainly the reason why I don’t like Mr.Mosasaurus, however, I do see the reason why this scene exists in the final product. The reason I don’t like the scene is because it is what I would like to call a torture death-scene. What I mean by that is that the inevitable death is prolonged just so we can see the soon to be dead person suffer. It doesn’t have to include torture, so maybe I should call it something else… but back on topic!

In this scene, the assistant, tasked to take care of the kids is taken by a flying dinosaur, dragged to the water area, dropped into the water, reputedly shoved under water by the flying lizard which tries to take her. Only to both be eaten by the mosasaurus. So why is this scene in the movie? I can think of three reasons.

One, to kill of a semi important character AKA someone we have seen more than one time during the film. Included in this is the fact that we as an audience are probably supposed to feel like she got what she deserved. Since she is shown as a “bitchy” assistant that can’t do her job/doesn’t care about the kids (read heroes), is “bitching” to her fiancé on the phone and is trying to control their wedding plans, also because she is British. Seriously, that is a valid reason; if you are not homogenous enough with the rest of the crew you will probably be on the list of dead people by the end of the movie.

Two, to give Mr.Mosasaurus a kill and three, to remind us of Mr.Mosasaurus so he won’t feel as random in the final act.

  1. The anticlimactic villain death

Most of the people I have talked to agree with me on this on. It was very anticlimactic to see the villain, Indomnitus Rex killed by the Mosasaurs, just because she stood to close to the water. It was the T.rex and raptor that was supposed to triumph over the baddie. The villan shouldn’t die by a swim by.

As I said before, the second appearance of the Mosasaurus is the one which bothers me the most, the reason being that we are shown a “torture death”. ‘Cause if you look back at almost all the other deaths in the whole franchise, this one doesn’t fit. Yes, there have been gruesome deaths, and deaths that aren’t super quick or in which the camera lingered on the killing. But in all of those instances there was something obstructing the view or the camera was zoomed out. Here we see the victim fighting for her life, nothing covering the happening, and having close up shots of her. Just too truly show us her agony and terror before her ultimate demise. It doesn’t fit into the franchise or the rest of the movie. Also, as I stated before, she had to be killed because she didn’t do her job, classic reason to die for in a movie. But if we think about it, she actually tried to do her job, though not as enthusiastically as she should, but the kids just run away. Plus, the one supposed to take care of them, the kids’ aunt, isn’t doing that. She is only shown to be interested in business and money (but don’t worry, she redeems herself by wanting to have a family of her own by the end of the movie. Unexpected message yo).

PS. Don’t claim that the first death in the original Jurassic Park, the one with the blue collar worker, is a “torture death”. The focus is not the one dying, yes he is in focus but not the main spotlight, also his face shows pain, not terror or dread. The dinosaur killing him isn’t shown and the focus is more on trying to rescue the dying one.

In the first “point” I said that the number of teeth of the Mosasaurus was important, well I forgot about while writing this post and that is how important it is. It is important because “the one with the most teeth wins”… It’s stupid…

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Metaphors?

Why do we use metaphors? We could just plainly state what we want to say or write. “He kissed the girl”

See, that wasn’t so hard. Now there is no confusion. But seriously, why do we use them. A metaphor could just become waste of space and ink in story, the bad ones at least. A good metaphor enhances events, or rather the description of them. If we take the example, “He kissed the girl” and add “like a mother kisses her child”, the kiss will be totally different.

We use metaphors to enhance a event/description/thingymajingy by calling upon a “common” source of knowledge. Another example: “His eyes, brown as a young doe’s, sparkled in the light”. So here I used a metaphor (or maybe it is a simile, not totally sure, English is hard sometimes) to describe the color of a person eyes. I could have written, light brown instead, but because I used “[…] as a young doe’s […]” I call upon a common source of knowledge. By common I mean knowledge that most people should know, just to clarify. A person who reads this will probably think that his eyes are very beautiful and maybe innocent looking, because of what we associate does with, now for another example, but this time of a “bad” metaphor.

“His eyes, brown as a cesspool, sparkled in the light”. If this was used to describe beautiful eyes… it failed miserably. It would probably be a bad metaphor to use in most situations when describing the color brown, unless of course you want a disgusting brown. Than it would be a good metaphor.

Why do I ask why we use metaphors? Because I think that you should question how things work, even if they are the right way to do something. ‘Cause if you do you might just learn something, like how metaphors work. Also I do it because I’m interested in storytelling and narrative and such fancy stuffs.

Enough of a detour, if we go back to the first example: “He kissed the girl”, this might seem like very plain thing to write. You could spice it up a notch or two by writing “He made love to her face with his orifice” or “He tasted her lips, warm with blood and sweet from cotton candy”. These two ways of writing “He kissed the girl” spice things up, creates some dynamic to the event and also sets a certain tone to the whole thing… and it is also the reason why “He kissed the girl” can be a very good way to describe the event. If for example, the story is from the “He’s” perspective and it just says: “He kissed the girl” and nothing more is added. It can give us readers something to think about and some smart depth. Was it so that he actually didn’t think the kiss was anything special, maybe he doesn’t love this girl that he kissed. That is the problem with writing, there is no right way to do things, how bothersome… well not really, but since no real “right or wrong” exist, how will you know that what you write is “right”? (Dunno, don’t care, give me more chocolate)

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Distortion for narrative’s sake: Darwin’s theory of evolution

Darwin’s theory of evolution says that the fittest will survive, triumph, and spread his or her genes. That is the short version, that is the simplified version, which is the version which becomes misused time and time again.

What it actually says, Darwin’s theory of evolution, is that those who are the fittest, most adapted, for its environment that will survive and spread their genes. This is also a simplification, since I don’t mention luck and many other factors that need to be take into account.

So how is it misused than? Well most often it all hinges on the word fittest, at least in my opinion. Fittest can be synonymous with strong/strongest and I guess it is also often translated to strongest. This would mean that the strongest ”by the law of nature” is supossed to win. An even worse interpretation of it is that not only will the strongest survive, only the strongest should survive and also rule the weak, since the weak are unfit to rule (pun intended). Side note: This train of thought, interpretation of evolution, has been used by way to many extremist groups, because it would be so nice if nature/God was supporting what you did.

But as I said earlier, that interpretation is wrong, strength has nothing to do with evolution/natural selection (technically it can have but bear with me). Adaptation does however. If you are good at adapting to a new environment, you are more likely to survive. To exemplify: A mouse is not strong or cleaver, it is placed very low in the food chain. But mice are good at finding food and they reproduce like rabbits. An eagle is strong and among the top in the food chain. But which of them are declining in numbers?

Many villains say that the strongest will survive and rule over the weak to justify their actions. Sometimes they also say something along the lines of “it’s a eat or be eaten world we live in”.

Though that only applies to the “thinking”/”talking” villains. We also have to monster villains that are said to be the pinnacle to evolution, the “perfect” predator, the predator to make everything its prey… yeah, well how about no.

Yes the predator might be extremely dangerous and be able to hunt almost everything. But it won’t be perfect. Because it will be adapted to the environment it came from, not every environment. So to call an apex predator perfect is silly, because it isn’t perfect. If it was it wouldn’t have any flaws, which most monster villains in fact have even though they are “perfect by evolution”.

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Narrativity: LOL (leauge of legends) Ekko

I had planned to write this quite a while back, when this was a more recent event/news.

But I will do it now instead, since I now have the time to do it. So LOL released a new character called Ekko and had a trailer accompanying him (there was also a comic (which I think came later(at least I read it much later))). The trailer was very cool and all… but when it was done I just wondered “why?”. Let me explain myself, I am all for doing promotion for new characters in a game, heck, I love all the trailers that accompanied every new SSB4 character (SSB4 = Super Smash Brothers for Wii U/3DS).

But what strikes me as odd, is the amount of work to get a narrativ in to the trailer. It is a beautiful, excellent trailer and it tickles my interest. But it doesn’t make me want to play LoL, I want to finde out more about Ekko and his world (which is part of the LoL world i guess). Because that trailer presents a rich narrative for that character in just under 2:30 minutes while at the same time showing of game mechanics (at least I think it does, I don’t play LoL so I don’t know for sure if the trailer is representative of the character in-game). It creates questions, whose glasses/goggles are we shown in the beginning? What are the paintings on the wall? Why does Ekko want to protect the wall?

This are great foundations for a story and it hooks you in. Just during the trailer, we get to see Ekko go from cool and calm about this whole time rewinding stuff. Saying that people constantly wish for more time. Time to fix things in their lives since they wasted away the one they were given, not fix things, whilest he only need a few seconds to fix all his problems. But as we see during the trailer he gets beat up and needs to rewind time again and again to beat his foe. But what we also see during this pummeling of Ekko is that even though he has this god like ability, he can’t escape his past. He can move back in time, but the things that happens to his body is still felt, he is still hurt. So even though he could theoratically undo any mistakes, he will still feel the consequences of the ones he made. Which is then clearly shown at the end of the trailer when the wall is destroyed and the owner of the destroyed goggles are revaled (okey, they do show it before hand but this is the moment when you are supposed to realise it as a first time viewer). That no matter how much he tries to undo all of his mistakes, new ones will emerge. He beates the bad guy, but he memory wall is destroyed. He saves the memory wall but his friend is still dead. Ekko is a “typical” tragic hero. Even though he has the potential to save everyone he will never be able to do it, because ironically enough, there isn’t enough time. Which is shown in the comic and hinted at in the trailer.

So why this long rambling about a trailer for a game I don’t play? Because it saddens me. This is one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a very long time. I love it. It sparks my imagination, it reels me in to this characters destiny and tale. But I will never get to see the end of Ekko’s tale, because he is in a MOBA. So the trailer is, and it hurts me depply to say this, a waste of resources. Why go to this lenght with creating a narrative when none of it will be in the actual game? Why not do a trailer more like those used to introduce the SSB4 fighters? With those we only get a narrative that is contained with in the trailer. Whilst the trailer for Ekko shows a narrative that stretches far beyonde the trailer. The SSB4 trailers is a full meal in and of itself. The Ekko trailer is a full-course dinner where you are only treated the first course and get a glimpse of the second.

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