Carrion: the Joy of Becoming a Man-Eating Creature

As I may have mentioned before on this blog, it feels rare that I’m hyped for a video game. If I am, it’s usually for about an hour or so after a trailer drops, and then I fall out of it. I go back to my daily life and mundanity.

However, this isn’t to say that I don’t occasionally get excited for new video games. It just has to depend on the game. I say this because every perfect now and then, a trailer drops that tickles my fancy, piques my interest, and I end up buying the game the day it comes out.

Case in point: Carrion, the latest from Devolver Digital.

Game over, man. Game over.

Now, cards on the table, I haven’t finished the game yet, but at this current stage, it lives up to the hype that I had for it when I saw the first trailer for it.

In the game, you play as a red tentacle monster, who is in the process of escaping a containment laboratory. Along the way, you eat people, mutate to gain new abilities, eat people, slink around in vents and passageways, eat people, grow to a monstrous size…did I mention you get to eat people in this game?

I don’t have a whole lot to say about the game’s story, as I’m still playing it and the story so far is fairly minimal. However, the lack of a story makes the game no less fun to play.

I have it on PC, which uses the mouse for movement and eating people. While I am aware the game is available on other consoles (Switch and Xbox, specifically), I don’t know how well it handles, but in PC, the tentacle monster moves as satisfyingly as Spider-Man does in Spider-Man PS4. Whatever Phobia Game Studio did to make the monster look and sound so fluid and squishy worked to perfection here.

For some perspective, Carrion is a connected-world 2D scroller (I compare it to Ori and the Blind Forest, but there are probably other examples out there). However, mostly because it doesn’t have a map and backtracking is encouraged, I got lost.

But, because of how easy movement is, I was able to work my way back to where I needed to be with ease (after backtracking almost entirely to the start of the game). Still, the lack of a map is my only complaint, but I bet they’ll do a physical release of this game and includes a map poster or some-such.

9/10~ Now, if you need me, I’m off to pretend to be a tentacle monster for a while.


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Star Wars Filibuster: A New Hope

For Context:

Star Wars, as it was humbly named at the time, was originally released in 1977. It took the world by storm and stayed in the public zeitgeist for long enough to get two more movies, a Christmas special, too many toys, decades worth of books, and ultimately…

…a re-release in 1997, as Star Wars: A New Hope, twenty years after its first release, with added scenes, improved special effects, and a lot of confused fans.

My History:

The remake is the version that I watched when I was a kid—the version that my father showed me to introduce me to Star Wars, which he saw in theaters when he was in high school. To this day, I haven’t watched the original ’77 edition. All the versions of Star Wars I have seen are from the 1997 VHS’s onward.

Not my first time on a farm; probably won’t be my last.

So, of course I have some thoughts about the Special Edition.

My Thoughts:

And I’m not going to share them.

Star Wars, broad stroke, is important to a lot of people. And I’m not gonna mess with that.

I know better.

7.5/10 ~ maybe I’ll share them some day, but today isn’t that day.

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@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

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A little more housekeeping

And then I looked up from the increasing chaos of current events to find that a month had passed and the blog was left untouched.

As for the aforementioned current events, I have nothing new or interesting to add to the conversation. My silence has been one of listening and learning and determining what is the best course of action for me.

Especially in regards to this blog.

See, since everything is starting to open back up and pop culture is clearly still moving. And by starting the “Star Wars Filibuster” series, I locked myself into a nine-plus week plan.

One which got interrupted by me having anxiety about uploading anything on social media for an entire month. WordPress included.

[I mean, not that I usually upload anything anyways, but you get my point.]

And, on top of it all, work has been picking up for me lately, and my small town of eleven-hundred people just got its first case of COVID-19, and I work in retail within the town. And, on top of that, I’m engaged to be married to the woman of my dreams, and our wedding date is set in September for the time being.

Long story short, it’s been a tricky month for me–a dance set to the murmurs of customers and Doom Days by Bastille.

And I’m tired.

So, I would love to keep doing “Star Wars Filibuster” posts. And I might next week. But, at the same time, I don’t really know what I’ll feel like writing about, if I feel like writing about anything, so I can’t promise anything anymore.

I’m definitely going to put more brain-power towards putting out more blog posts.

Until then, stay safe.

Wash your hands.

Cover your mouth and nose if you have to go out.

And be at peace.

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

And in the comments below!

Star Wars Filibuster: Rogue One and Solo (but mostly Rogue One)

For Context:

Released in 2016 and 2018 respectively, the Star Wars Story movies were Disney’s way of keeping interest in the brand during the two-year development cycle of the mainline movies. A completely unnecessary move, mind you, as Star Wars had become such a strong piece of cinema culture that it could have survived with two years between movies.

Or with three years between movies. I mean, it worked for the Prequels.

All my Rogue One Sets
One drawback of being in college when this movie came out: these are the only two Rogue One sets that I have. Well, this and the buildable K-2SO who stands atop my bookshelf like some ancient cryptid.

My History:

I saw both of these in theaters. At the times of their releases, I was writing for this blog. As such, I already have reviews for Rogue One and Solo.

My Thoughts:

Well, sort of. I was trying to dodge spoilers when discussing Rogue One at the time, and I just did a review on Solo, so I’ll focus more on Rogue One.

I feel the compulsive urge to compare this entry with the rest of the Disney-era Star Wars movies. Most people I’ve interacted with regarding Rogue One agree that it is probably the best of the recent decade. From the production to the storytelling to the integration with the existing Star Wars canon to the fact that they got Donnie Yen to play a blind monk, Rogue One was undeniably made with a sense of competence and care that future entries arguably lacked.

But, to me, Rogue One was the beginning of the end for the Disney-era Star Wars. Sure, it was good. I won’t deny that. Because Rogue One was a product made with love for the franchise.

Note my wording: a product. I believe that Rogue One, by introducing a lot of new concepts into Star Wars (the grey morality of warfare, victories at great loss, Donnie Yen taking Stormtroopers out with a staff like nobody’s business), it raised the standards of Star Wars movies on an artistic level that Disney couldn’t corporately meet. The closest they got after this was Solo and maybe Rise of Skywalker (but more on that in a few weeks).

Nevertheless, they tried to meet it with The Last Jedi, only to fall short with heavy-handedness.

But, again, Rogue One was made with love for the franchise, and it shows. And I’m not sure if the rest were.

I don’t have much else to add.

I give Rogue One

8.5/10 ~ Also, why were they planning a Cassian Andor spinoff series? Chirrut and Baze deserve one more than pretty boy.

 

Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

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Fan Theories: Pixar, Inception, and Revelation

In the nerd world, there are basically three kinds of fan theories. All three use details from canon (what’s actually in the book/movie/TV show/franchise/story) to come to conclusions. These conclusions aren’t confirmed or denied in canon, but fans like to believe they’re happening between the lines and behind the scenes.

The three kinds of fan theories are Past, Present, and Future.

Past: this is where fans guess what happened before the story happened. These theories may explain why things are the way they are in the Present.
For example, in the Toy Story movies, Andy’s father doesn’t seem to be in the picture. Evidence suggests that he and Andy’s mother divorced shortly before the first movie. There is also evidence that Andy’s mom is Emily, the original owner of the Jessie cowgirl doll in Toy Story 2.
Fan theories concerning the Past are not likely to be confirmed or denied by the canon storytellers. They’re just fun to speculate about.

Present: this is where fans try to figure out what’s happening behind the scenes of the story as it’s happening. If there’s a mystery in the TV show you’re watching, for example, you may be able to find the clues and figure out what’s going on before the characters in the show do.
Sometimes fans make Present theories because of something the storytellers intentionally aren’t telling us. For example, Christopher Nolan’s Inception is intentionally confusing about what’s real and what’s not. Fans watch the movie very closely multiple times searching for clues, and Nolan may never directly confirm which theories are true.
Whether Present fan theories are confirmed or not, they make for fun discussions and debates. If they are confirmed, fans can rejoice that they followed the clues and found the secrets. Well done, nerds. And if they’re debunked by the canon storytellers, at least the fans got to play in the game, even if they lost.

Future: this is where fans use the “clues” in trailers and movie posters to theorize about what’s going to happen in a movie or TV show that hasn’t come out yet. Unlike the first two, I don’t like these kinds of theories. I think they take the fun out of being excited for coming attractions.

*And now, the Segue…*
“Fans” of the Bible theorize about the book of Revelation – essentially a “sneak peek” trailer for the real future of the real world – all the time. They’ve been doing it even more often these days, with the *gestures wildly* going on outside.
Speculating about the end times is 1) an irresponsible use of Scripture, 2) more likely to cause fear and anger than hope and joy, and 3) pointless. The Great Storyteller knows what He’s doing, and the story is going to end exactly the way He intends it to.
The only thing that matters is the good guys are going to win and the bad guys are going to lose. It’s up to us to join the good guys’ team before the curtain rises.

Nerds find great enjoyment in speculating about fictional stories because it gives us chances to use our clever minds without pressure or high stakes. It’s good fun. Just keep your theories to the behind-the-scenes, between-the-lines bits of the Past and Present and let us anticipate the future in peace.

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Twitter: @CorrelationBlog and @noahspud

Star Wars Filibuster: Revenge of the Sith

For Context:

Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005 and the hype for it was the heaviest I think I’ve seen for any movie—definitely for any movie of that time. Since then, it went from being a, “Phwew! That was over!” to a “Hey, we all grew up watching this movie,” to a “This is now an actual classic.” As evidenced by the sheer volume of memes that have sprung up from Revenge of the Sith, including this one which I created for this post:

Prequel Meme
I also have the 2005 Obi-Wan and the 2020 Anakin to make the inverse of this, but I chose not to.

My History:

In 2005, there were two kinds of kids: those whose parents let them see Revenge of the Sith when it came out, and those who didn’t. I was in the latter category, and I didn’t see it until at least 2008. However, much like Attack of the Clones, I still had access to the toys, action figures, books, video games, and the internet, meaning I had pieced the plot together by then.

In fact, I think I still have my old General Grievous action figure around here somewhere…

Right. Focus. Review.

 

My Thoughts:

Somehow, I keep coming back to this movie. I think it’s because it’s aged the best of the Prequels, and it takes me back to a time when the production of a film could take its time to create a worthwhile product.

To me, the Prequels showcase strong writing and worldbuilding, showcasing new and interesting worlds and events that the Original Trilogy didn’t have the capability to and the Sequels didn’t take the time to develop. Everything feels like it should exist within the realm of Star Wars, despite being things we haven’t seen before.

And neither of the Prequels capture this better than Revenge of the Sith, as a testament to where the series has been and to where the series will (chronologically) go. This is the send-off that Star Wars deserved.

And, though it has its flaws, I still find myself enjoying it.

 

8/10 ~ And, yes. I have heard the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise.

 

Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

And in the comments below!

Star Wars Filibuster: Attack of the Clones

For Context:

“Do I have to do this?”

“YES.”

“But I don’t want to–”

“IF YOU DO THIS, THE REST OF THE SAGA WILL BE A BREEZE.”

“You’re right. Here’s to a brighter tomorrow.”

It's okay buddy
“I just wish I was in a better movie.”   “It’s okay, buddy. How about a TV series and a few video games?”  “Yeah…that sounds fun…”

My History:

I was in a weird place with Star Wars where I was too young to watch Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as they came out, but old enough to have seen the other four (at the time) entries. I actually didn’t watch Attack of the Clones until 2006, thanks to a little movie called Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but that’s another story for another day. However, between toys, books, video games, and friends who had seen it, I was able to piece together the plot.

 

My Thoughts:

Now, sit me down, anytime anywhere, and I can break down why I believe Attack of the Clones is the worst of the Prequels, if not the Star Wars saga, in spite of having some of the best elements. But, I’m told that I need to be more positive. Besides, any negative criticism of this film can be broken down by people smarter than I.

So, instead of tearing into this dead horse, I’m instead going to give some thoughts about “Spoilers vs. Spectacle”.

Thanks mostly in part to the popularity of serialized TV shows and franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a culture of Spoilers (and avoiding them at all costs) has arisen. It’s hard to pin down exactly where it started, but it’s been roughly the same song: “If you haven’t seen it yet and want to, don’t listen/read/watch.”

Now, out of respect for those who seek to avoid spoilers, I try to be good about placing spoiler tags on my posts and reviews of new movies. However, tagging things for spoilers doesn’t feel right to me.

I mean, it raises the question: does the knowledge of plot points ruin the experience of watching a movie?

I believe that it depends heavily upon the movie in question. If your film relies on a second- or third-act plot twist or it’s a mystery, then spoilers would be detrimental to the first viewing.

Note how I said, “first viewing”. Maybe it’s because I grew up closer to a public library than a movie theater, but I prefer to gauge movies on their rewatch value as opposed to the first impressions they leave.

Which is where the Spectacle comes into play. If you have a movie that is fun to watch, that does cool things within its premise, then the movie has rewatch value. And I believe that movies with Spectacle hold rewatch value, regardless of spoilers.

And maybe Attack of the Clones is to blame. Because I enjoy it no more or less knowing how it ends, just as I enjoy Avengers: Endgame no more or less knowing how it ends.

I give Attack of the Clones a…

 

6/10 ~ in other news, anyone know where I could get a dummy seismic charge?

 

Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti on Twitter,

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[You’ll notice that the ending tag changed. Our blog’s twitter kind of went belly-up. It still exists, but we can’t access it.]

Star Wars Filibuster: The Phantom Menace

For Context:

With a lot of things getting cancelled or postponed, I am forced to resort back to older media. As it just so happens, I’m revisiting the eleven movies that make up the Star Wars saga. My intention with this is to take up space that would be given to new media, but my hope is that I can use this platform to talk about my personal history with the series, running from first viewings to my most recent, sharing some of my thoughts about each entry as we go.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t I do this already? But as one post?

Well, that was years ago now. My opinions may have changed.

And now, on with the post:

Daarth Maaaaauuuullll
And you can bet that I’ll be doing LEGO pictures for each of these! (I…think I have figures for each movie…)

My History:

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace is the first movie in the saga chronologically, released in 1999, when I was too young for Star Wars–almost let alone movies. My first time seeing this movie was (I place) in 2001 on VHS, after seeing the Original Trilogy. Interestingly, Phantom Menace was also the first of the Star Wars movies that I got to see in theaters, when it was re-released in 3D back in 2012. (Another thing that Disney cancelled.)

My Thoughts:

[cracks knuckles] Alrighty. Time to lose some followers.

I often see Phantom Menace at the bottom of peoples’ Star Wars movie rankings for a myriad of reasons: the acting, the dialogue, the fact that the last third of Act II takes place in a bunch of political meetings, the Midi-chlorians. I could go on.

Maybe because I watched this movie a lot when I was a kid, I can’t help but review this movie through a heavy dose of nostalgia. Again, at the time, it was Phantom Menace or the Original Trilogy. Phantom Menace had the faster action. I’m almost glad that it goes Podrace, Duel on Tatooine, council meeting, senate meeting, council meeting, council meeting, war-room meeting, and then Battle of Naboo/Duel of the Fates. We need the senate procedures to cool us down from the Podrace.

And the political talks do set a lot of the groundwork for the rest of the trilogy. Despite slowing the pace of the movie, they do some pretty strong world-building. They show a galactic Democratic-Republic taken to its logical, frankly messy conclusion. This was the Jedi and the Galaxy at their most powerful: confident enough to sit around and talk all day.

I can defend the rest of the issues with this movie, but I don’t want this post to drag on forever. I do not think it is a perfect movie by any means. However, The Phantom Menace taught me, if anything, how to judge a movie by how good it is, not by how bad it is.

Did I listen to that lesson?

[shrugs]

8/10 ~ for the Podrace and Duel of the Fates.

And as much as I don’t want to, next week will be Attack of the Clones, my punishment for liking and justifying Phantom Menace.

 

Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

And in the comments below!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Take 2

Every perfect now and then, there’s an anime that I’ll start watching, get distracted from, and then have to restart it when I eventually come back.

I’m not entirely sure why this happens. Probably just my own inability to focus on anything for long enough, unless I’m engrossed in it.

A process which is certainly not aided by an anime being disjointed already.

Enter: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, for the second time in my life. Because my first time around, I got through Episode 2. Now, I’m on Episode 5.

And…it still doesn’t make sense to me.

I mean, what am I to expect from a show that calls itself a “Bizarre Adventure”? It lives up to its name.

As much as I don’t want this to be a short post, I have nothing else to say about it so far.

Admittedly, though, the historical fiction is a nice touch.

 

Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

And in the comments below!

More Star Wars Games!

And guess who didn’t quite ration their time properly and now has no topic for a blog post this week…

Time for more mini-reviews, I guess.

Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds

By all accounts, a literal clone of Age of Empires. Same mechanics, same gameplay, down to the same resource management.

Of course, for Age of Empires fans, it does offer a nice change of pace.

8/10 ~It’s Age of Empires, but the monks can actually attack.

 

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D

This one is hard for me to rank, as it was one of the first video games I got into. As a flight simulator, it is quite solid. But I am wearing heavy nostalgia goggles for this one.

8.5/10 ~ I recommend playing it with a joystick, if you have one.

 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

And now for the unpopular opinions: I didn’t like Knights of the Old Republic. The story dragged on for too long, the gameplay was clunky and awkward, and I got stuck on an unskippable boss.

4/10 ~ I don’t get it.

 

And…that’s it for this week. I’ll try to have something more substantial for next week.

 

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@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

And in the comments below!