“El Laberinto Del Fauno” (Pan’s Labyrinth) and the merit of dark fairy tales.

I reviewed Undertale last week. I guess I’ll continue the “monster” theme.

And, I got to confess something here: I am a sucker for anything in Spanish. It’s probably a side effect of spending three weeks to a month in a Spanish-speaking country and that time being some of the best memories of your life.

Sorry, I’m getting distracted.

I only recently picked up a copy of the movie El Laberinto Del Fauno—or Pan’s Labyrinth, as it was released in America—to watch it. In its original Spanish with English subtitles. It’s a pretty good movie.

Except that it’s dark. Not just stylistically, but also in terms of content. Probably what I should’ve expected from an R-rated Guillermo Del Toro movie.

This made me think if there really is any merit to the “dark fairy tale.”

Well, to be fair, fairy tales have been dark for quite some time, but you probably knew that if you’ve either read the original Brothers Grimm tales or knew that one guy who was bent on ruining your childhood.

But the point of them was to carry a lesson with them. They were geared for kids. I doubt that Pan’s Labyrinth is geared for kids, though. Nevertheless, without giving too many spoilers, it does carry the same kind of moral that a fairy tale would.

I guess the darkness is to add a sense of gravity to the situation. Not to mention, the world we live in is quite dark. And despite fairies, fauns, and other mythic creatures, the movie still spends a lot of time set in Spain a few years after their Civil War.

So, is it a good movie? Again, I enjoyed it. The special effects are pretty good. I wouldn’t show it to anyone under the age of fifteen, partially because it’s subtitled and partially because of the content. Between the swearing, the torture and war scenes, and the dollop of horror that is the Pale Man, the movie does earn its R-rating.

 

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So…I’m alive. And I played Undertale.

Good afternoon, Noah. It is Wednesday.

So, yeah, I was going to post last week, except my professor sprung the 48-hour technology fast, which inhibited my blogging ability over last Wednesday.

But, in an ironic twist, I am going to review one of the most technology-based things I’ve come across this month: Undertale.

Undertale Logo
Photo credit: Steam

Yes, I know, it’s an older game. But you know what? I didn’t start playing it until this last month. And I have no clue how far I am into the story. I just know that I’m on a “pacifist run.”

Well, not a true pacifist run. I killed the dummy in the tutorial section because I hadn’t figured out the combat mechanics. I think it only came back to bite me…once? It’s still my first play-through, and I haven’t even finished it yet. I’m stuck on the spider-lady with the bake sale.

Even though I am struggling with little miss Muffet, I—oh my gosh. I just got that. Toby Fox, you genius.

Muffet
Picture credit: actually, this is a screencap from my play-through. Yes, I named my character Dale. Don’t judge me.

Hang on. Backspacing. Even though I am struggling with Muffet, I am still really enjoying the game. The not-killing-anyone mechanic is quite fun, and it allows for better characterization.

I mean, that’s my big problem with video game RPG’s. They don’t always have the best or most memorable non-player characters. I barely remember any names from, say, Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. The only other game with memorable NPC’s was Borderlands. And that was more because they keep hammering the names into your head. The only NPC with a rounded personality was Claptrap.

Maybe I’m unfamiliar with RPG’s. But even so, I do enjoy Undertale. It’s fun, it’s wonderful, you don’t have to kill anyone, and it’s worth the ten bucks on Steam.

My only complaint is, as I put it to one of my friends:

“Me: this is a really hard game to explain to friends, family, and roommates.

Also me: Hello, Tsunderplane.”

 

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Something I Like

(Some fandoms have a musical episode; why shouldn’t this blog?)

 

Raindrops on Totoro’s big blue umbrella.

Spending good time with my friends and my fellas.

Fall leaves and Fanta and (sometimes) my bike.

These are a few of the things that I like.

 

LEGOs and Star Wars and Velociraptors,

Doctor Who, LEGOs, and suave British actors.

Wait, hang on, did I just say LEGOs twice?

These are a few of the things that I like.

 

When the game’s sad, when the book’s bad,

When the song is dumb,

I just remember the things that I like,

And then I don’t feel so glum.

 

Dinosaurs, Legend of Zelda, and Jesus.

Wolverine, Spider-Man, Skittles, and Reese’s.

In Super Smash Bros., there’s maining as Ike.

These are a few of the things that I like.

 

The smell of old, good books and sitting on logs.

Parodying Sound of Music on my blog.

Hiding in libraries, enjoying life,

These are a few of the things that I like.

 

This may be weird, this may be strange,

Not that grand or sleek,

But I wanted to talk about stuff that I like…

 

I’ll try to have a review next week.

 

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

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“Every Dollar a Vote” and other reasons why I don’t like Metroid

Sorry about the long post. I tend to ramble about things like this.

So, Friday of last week, Nintendo released the latest installment of their great and grand Metroid franchise, Metroid: Samus Returns.

*Sigh.*

A-metroid
A Metroid. Not Samus, just to clarify. (credit: Metroid Wiki)

Now, before I go into my opinions on the franchise, I am going to say that I haven’t really played any of the Metroid games, mostly for lack of trying. The only one I’ve played was Metroid Prime 3 for the Wii. And I didn’t play it to completion. I got to the second world and got bored with the backtracking.

That said, I really don’t like Metroid.

“Silly Isaac,” I hear you commenting, “you can’t hate on a game you haven’t played.” True, true. My opinions against Metroid are unfair and based on second-hand information. But I like to stay where I am with the games, so I can look at them from an outside perspective.

My reasons for disliking Metroid are threefold. First, my one experience with the games was, simply-put, boring. Sure, it was bright and colorful, and occasionally, there would be a boss battle to spice things up, but beyond that, it was boring. Then again, Metroid Prime is a first-person shooter, and I have a set of unrealistic expectations about the genre—one of those being, “no backtracking.”

Second, since the very first game, Samus, the protagonist, has been a poorly-developed character. Not in the typical video-game-hero/ine-poorly-developed (read: not developed at all), but more in the sense of the writers couldn’t make up their minds about what they wanted her to be.

The first game ends with, among other plot points, Samus removing her helmet and revealing that she’s a woman, and you—the predominantly male audience—has been playing as a woman this whole time. This was good, because it showed that a woman could be just as kick-butt awesome as a man.

However, if you complete the game within a certain time limit, Samus strips down to a bikini. This is one of my main complaints with the series: they took a strong, independent, female character, and turned her into a medium for fanservice.

And her appearances were a cycle from then on out. One game she’d be fanservice-y (Metroid: Zero Missions) and one game she’d be strong and independent (Metroid Prime.)

And then Metroid: Other M came along, and took away her role as a strong, independent character. Sure, it was her origin story, but they took out one of the few key traits of her personality and threw it in the dumpster.

Which leads to my third reason I don’t like Metroid: Nintendo themselves don’t really care about the franchise. Not the way they do with Zelda, Mario, or even Kirby. With Metroid, they don’t really seem to care about it. They’ll slap the logo on something if they want to sell it—

*cough cough* Federation Force *cough cough*

—and that shows that they don’t really care where the story is going.

But, in the end, I don’t play Metroid because I simply don’t want to put my money towards it. I believe that every dollar I spend on a product is an endorsing vote that the product is good. And I don’t think it’s a good product. Plain and simple.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to spend a post gushing about something I like.

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

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Oh, right. I was supposed to blog this week.

Well, sorry. In my defense, I haven’t had much cross my table this week that’s “full-post worthy.”

As such, here’s a bunch of little one-to-three sentence reviews of what I have encountered in the past three-to-four weeks.

I recently purchased Panic! at the Disco’s album, Death of a Bachelor. Despite the references to drinking, drugs, and illegal activity–or, as they literally put it, “champagne, cocaine, gasoline, and most things in between”–it’s a pretty good album. I’ve been listening to it on loop since it came in the mail.

I read Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac for a class this week. It’s a historical fiction about the Navajo code talkers (hence the name) in World War II. It’s really good; I would recommend it.

I’ve been playing a bit of Hearthstone lately. Then again, I’ve been playing on-and-off for the past four years. The new expansion, “Knights of the Frozen Throne,” is okay; the Mage is broken, but we also got three new Murloc cards, so I’m content.

I re-watched Howl’s Moving Castle for the fourth time. I’d like to do a full post on it, maybe next week.

And, that’s all. I’ll try to actually do a full post next Wednesday.

UPDATE: Not doing Howl’s Moving Castle next week. Nintendo released their new Metroid game. I’m talking about that instead.

Another UPDATE: Also discontinuing the Rick & Morty series. I am at least three episodes behind and I don’t feel like catching up.

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

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Isaac’s Post-Hiatus Update

So, I haven’t posted in the past few weeks.

 

What happened?

I moved. That’s the short version. I moved into an apartment that didn’t have Wi-Fi for the first couple weeks. But, the Wi-Fi’s set up now, so I can continue blogging. I’m alive. Don’t worry.

 

So…you’re back, then?
Yep. Pretty much. Now that I have Wi-Fi in my living place, I can watch videos and shows without having to justify hogging coffee-shop Wi-Fi.

 

Will things change?

Not too drastically. I’ll probably pick up the Rick & Morty series again next week, covering three episodes instead of two. After that, I’m not sure.

I do have some plans for upcoming posts, though. I’d like to do something on the new Netflix Death Note movie, except haven’t watched the original anime. So, yeah. That may be a few weeks out, if I do it at all.

I may also end up taking another week off sometime between now and the end of October. I am taking a course that requires a “forty-eight-hour technology fast.” (I’m at a Christian college, and it’s a spiritual formation class, for perspective.) I’ll try to give a heads-up if I do, rather than dropping off the radar like I did this time.

 

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Isaac Reviews Rick & Morty Season 3, Episodes 3 and 4

Just continuing the series. You know how it is. Spoiler Warning is still in effect.

 

Episode 3: “Pickle Rick”

Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if shows like Rick & Morty are written with the philosophy of, “Hey, what’s the context for [insert something really random].” Then again, when I assume the writers have this philosophy in mind, the show ends up being it’s own breed of stupid.

Not gonna lie, I almost thought this about this episode. The premise is that Rick turns himself into a pickle to get out of attending family therapy. This leads to a surprising amount of violence, rat-punching, and…government infiltration.

Wait, hold on. Rick, as a pickle, is excessively violent and ruthless. This would shed a bad light on all other sentient pickles. Which is why Larry the Cucumber is so insistent on being called a cucumber, not a pickle! Oh my gosh! Could this mean that Veggietales and Rick & Morty are in the same universe!?

I need to get outside more often.

 

Episode 4: “The Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender”

Anyone who’s watched enough Rick & Morty knows that they are not beyond a little parody. This episode is no exception, as it looks at the superhero genre from a Rick & Morty angle.

I’ll give it this. This episode does a good job with the parody and the meta humor. And it takes a few jabs at the superhero genre—showing that the eponymous Vindicators are interchangeable and shallow, much like other hero teams.

Though, nevertheless, the episode centers around Rick getting black-out-drunk, and is basically twenty-ish minutes of Rick showing off. The deaths are violent, the language is prevalent, and some of the jokes are a bit dark.

I can’t help but think, “What else is new?…you know, besides Noob-Noob.”

 

I’ll have something else next week. I’m planning on continuing this series, but we’ll see how the next two episodes are.

 

Let’s Connect:

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