Reviews of Movies & Games

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There are some fantastic movies and games coming out in August and September.

Movie Title: Pacific Rim

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, and Rinko Kikuchi
Highlights: Visually spectacular
Recommended for: Sci-fi and action fans
Verdict: ****

Guillermo del Toro’s latest high-tech giant robots versus giant monsters blockbuster, Pacific Rim, a cross between Transformers and The Power Rangers, proves that size does in fact matter. Every second moment is filled with ear-rattling visual spectacles and punchy action sequences in an effort to get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up. So, it then fits neatly into the U.S. summer blockbuster schedule, where studios have focused on big city destructions over meaningful storylines. Pacific Rim is a bang per buck affair with short interludes of feeble character development nestled in-between the enormous fight sequences. And that’s exactly how we like our blockbusters … the bigger the better!

Pacific Rim’s visuals are nothing short of extraordinary, particularly when the Jaeger and Kaiju clash across the wide ocean spaces. Like a video game, the fights grow bigger and more complex with each round, until the final face off. Honestly, Guillermo del Toro could have made Pacific Rim a little bigger and a little better. Complaining seems futile though, the action sequences more than make up for any downfall the film suffers. You’ll clap and cheer as the mayhem progresses.

Movie Title: The Wolverine

Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Svetlana Khodchenkova, and Will Yun Lee
Highlights: Great action scenes
Recommended for: Fans of the X-men series
Verdict: ***

With so many comic book films being released, many with larger than life stories and huge action scenes filled with magic and futuristic weaponry, The Wolverine really distinguishes itself as a character-driven story.

It delves into the pain and misery of this immortal being, who is burdened by his long life filled with grief. It’s a real introspective view on Wolverine, who at his core is a lonely haunted soul that craves death, but is cursed with immortality. With the film set in Japan, it really takes the audience and characters on this remarkable journey in a foreign land. The locations chosen for each scene are so different and yet so picturesque that it brings a certain level of tranquility. It shifts seamlessly from big action and fight scenes to the quieter moments where we get to see and understand his ambitions.

The Wolverine certainly is one of the finest superhero films to come out recently. For the first time we really get to see that superhero films can be big action, fun films, but at the same time they can be good character-driven that are filled with drama, intensity, and intrigue.

Game Title: The Last of Us

Director: Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley
Developer: Naughty Dog
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror
Highlights: Amazing storyline
Recommended for: Action-adventure fans
Verdict: *****

If you were to come to me and say, “Here’s a game where a zombie-like virus has taken over the world and society survives only as small pockets in a violent world” I would have said no thanks, we have plenty of those already; the world seems addicted to zombies at the moment. But had you come to me and said, “No no no, this game focuses on the interactions and human qualities of the people;” I would have responded with, “Oh, like the Walking Dead?” Despite the Last of Us being described in such a way, those terms don’t capture what it is that makes The Last of Us a game that could very well be the game of the year for 2013, and I mean that honestly.

Each aspect of it complements the other, and I recommend this game for everyone. Regardless of how grim and gloomy it can be, I loved the characters and each one was well-rounded and crafted. The Last of Us is a must buy if you own a PS3, if only that you can gain your own personal experience from this title, which I feel will remain in my thoughts for a long time.

Game Title: Remember Me

Director: Jean-Max Moris
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Genre: Action, Adventure
Highlights: Character design
Recommended for: Action fans
Verdict: ***

Remember Me is one of the games that is coming out recently that is trying very hard to capture the latest cultural zeitgeist of our world as it is. A lot of media attempt the same, and for every interesting and thought provoking analysis of the world, we get ten more blatant and shameless versions of the 99% vs the 1% that are usually made by the people who are normally vilified in these worlds themselves. However, remember Me is a bit more classy about its intentions however, and largely a lot more intriguing as a result.

Remember Me is not a bad game, but it is remarkable in the fact that its gameplay is its weakest aspect. The setting, themes, story, world, music, and characters are all fine and above average, and despite whatever attempts at originality are made, the gameplay becomes repetitive and a chore really early on. I want to like this game more, I really do for some reason, but for the general public I can only advise picking it up on a sale.

Movies to look out for:

The Heat
Genre: Comedy
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, and Tony Hale
Date: 23 August

Pain and Gain
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg,
Dwayne Johnson, and Ed Harris
Date: 23 August

The Call
Genre: Thriller
Director: Brad Anderson
Starring: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, and Morris Chestnut
Date: 4 October

Grand Theft Auto V
Genre: Action, Shooter
Developer: Rockstar Games
Date: 17 September

Assasin's Creed IV
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Ubisoft
Date: 29 October

Watch Dogs
Genre: Action, Shooter
Developer: Ubisoft
Date: 19 November