“Look, girls! It’s our boy with no pants!”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:17 pm Comments (8)

What horrible events have prevented me from updating the blog in a whole week? Not much. I’ve just been a bit of vegetable, really. You’ve heard it a dozen times – I want to be productive, but being a lazy bastard is just that much more appealing. Didn’t I say I was going to have something made for the site this month? Ooer!

Back in September I was still determined to continue from where I left off from this little escapade and find a way to get GameCube functionality for the Wii Classic Controller. I’ve seen Classic Controllers online that have GameCube plugs online, but usually they’re on the dodgiest of dodgy sites and the ones on eBay aren’t exactly inspiring either. Of course, I’ve thrown cash towards all manner of shady places for poorly-thought-out needs, so I ordered one for a mere £4. And surprisingly, it actually arrived this time!

Why did it surprise me that the thing felt as cheap as chips? I don’t know what I was smoking that I believed that this bootleg product would not only be on par with an official first-party Nintendo product, but even for a knockoff controller I’m a little taken aback. The D-Pad is loose and sunken, the face buttons are unresponsive and the presses feel too soft (while every other button, shoulder triggers included, are exceedingly stiff), the Home button functions as the Start button, and most amusingly, the goddamned control sticks don’t work. Yeah, because that’s not going to be important, right? It’s not like half the reason I bought the thing was to finally get it compatible with F-Zero GX or anything!

In a way I’m not too miffed, because although nobody likes how expensive game controllers are these days, I’m at least thankful they don’t break on you within six hours of play (hello, every third-party N64 controller I ever used!), but you’re really asking for trouble if you think £4 is going to get you a decent-quality product. On the other hand, dude, how hard is it to just make a Classic Controller work on GameCube games and not have to leech off a Wii Remote in a process? It’s not something I’m frothing at the mouth for not having, but I simply find it more comfortable than regular GameCube pads. I still see officially licensed GameCube controllers being made for the Wii, and a fair number of games still use it, so it’d be nice if when a company is going to produce it they just try being imaginative and use a different design.

What’s particularly bothersome is that of the feedback the seller has received, only one person has complained about the product… because it doesn’t connect to the Wii Remote. Everyone else is “great seller, excellent product!” and I’m like, are these guys being polite or did they actually get products decent enough to be worthy of busting out an exclamation mark? The knockoff controller is held together with a mere four screws, though, so I might crack it open and see if it just needs some re-aligning to make everything more responsive. If I do go ahead with it (and don’t just let the idea drift away while I spend another week sitting around in a vegetative state), I’ll be sure to give a second assessment of it.

I haven’t really been in the mood to gush about what movies I’ve watched lately, so here’s another round of summaries.

Fido: In a version of the 1950s where radiation caused the dead to turn into zombies, a company called ZomCon have found a way of disabling their flesh-eating urges and utilise them as workers, servants and dogsbodies. A kid called Timmy befriends his family’s zombie, naming him Fido, and numerous shenanigans happen, namely when their ZomCon representative neighbour takes Fido away because of an accidental flesh-eating incident. Despite the fact it’s about zombies, it’s actually a very cute movie that barely takes itself seriously – the kid accidentally causing a zombie outbreak in the neighbourhood is treated in much the same manner as Dennis the Menace accidentally wrecking a neighbour’s garden (the American one, of course – the British one is more of a guffawing git). There are some great scenes, the greatest one being two ZomCon boy scouts tying up Timmy and Fido so they can shoot him, and then claim it was an act of mercy by putting down a feral zombie… only for one of the scouts to accidentally shoot his brother and then hides in a shack, Fido chasing after and gobbling him up. … yeah, I just described this as a cute movie, didn’t I? A lot of it doesn’t really work in text!

Problem is, I just found it a bit shallow. It’s cute and amusing, but it’s rarely laugh-out-loud. The horror aspect is rarely played up (though that doesn’t mean there aren’t shots of gore and beheading) so gore fans likely won’t care, and although there’s a few interesting ideas brought up, I felt the movie didn’t explore them enough. Fido is originally just a regular zombie, but through loving attention from Timmy and his mother, grows to express fondness for them, and even without his anti-bite collar he expresses no ill will towards them. Does that mean the true cure to violent zombies is simply by giving them some love? Who knows, because every other zombie is just shot in the head. Fido also retains attitudes from when he was alive, such as his love of smoking, and Timmy makes several comparisons of Fido to his grandfather early on – does this mean that most zombies retain memories or elements of their past selves, and are Timmy’s assumptions true? We never find out, as all the other zombies are just… zombies.

It’s not bad and I’d dare say it was an amusing watch, but in a way it was almost underwhelming, like there wasn’t enough truly engaging content to fill the running time.

Tiny Toons: How I Spent My Vacation: Frig yeah! I haven’t watched this thing in years, we’re talking over a decade here, and it’s still witty, entertaining and truly engaging. I don’t know what that implies when most live-action movies get an “okay but forgettable” rating from me, but a children’s cartoon with snarky pop culture references gets top marks. I remember a lot of the scenes, but since I’m a little less of an idiot than I was over ten years ago I can better appreciate the jokes and references. I was well and truly blown away by the animation – it’s crisp, it’s smooth, it’s colourful, it’s full of character, and it never felt cheap. Heck, even the painted backgrounds during Buster and Babs’ segments were beautiful! It has spoiled me a little, as I tracked down the Spring Break TV special and its animation felt rather stiff and awkward by comparison, but it served as a healthy reminder that although most 2D animation I see nowadays is lifeless and dull, you can get some positively beautiful results if you have a sufficient budget to throw around.

The Happy Centrifuge is still freaky, though. It’s a throwaway glimpse, but seeing cartoon theme park goers reduced to a gooey, groaning sludge leaves an impact on you at any age.

Wanted: This doesn’t count. I watched a bootleg DVD (IT WASN’T MINE I SWEAR) and had to turn it off after ten minutes because it was just so terrible. I seriously thought the camcording-the-cinema bootlegs were just an exaggerated joke, but Christ and his bunions, this was bad. It didn’t even get the full screen! When a character’s face was meant to be in the centre, you’d only see the right half of him. Sound was loud and a pain to listen to, and it just came across as a waste of time. See, that’s why I like and support buying DVDs and going to the cinema – you can actually watch the fucking thing. Ten minutes with this terrible bootleg really spoiled my evening. I’m not lying. I would’ve been happy to march over to Xtra-vision and rent the real deal, but I was just too bitter and unhappy to bother trying.

I Am Legend: Actually, this is the book. It was a pretty good read! Having discussed it a lot with others in the past I’d already spoiled the twist ending and the general events of the story for myself before I’d even started, but that was no concern. I will admit at first I was a little turned off by the simplistic writing style, but given the context is makes sense, and it never felt lacking – I’d dare it fitted the atmosphere and the character perfectly. It did feel a bit short, though. I knew the ending was coming, but I was almost expecting a little more. Oh well!

I’m running out of decent doodles to throw in, so here’s one related to a personal project I’m kinda sorta working on. I won’t deny that I’m sick of seeing my uneven MS Paint lines (I should probably try and learn to use vector graphics sometime), and the feet and hands on the green fellow really gave me grief, but I’m pretty happy with it. Positively freakin’ loathe the right arm on the blue girl, though. My sheer hatred of it cannot be expressed efficiently in words! I redrew it three times and all of the attempts looked positively terribly, and I only settled for this one because I’d come to accept that I’d never get the stupid thing right. It makes me cringe with hatred just looking  at the bloody arm. (I don’t like it!)

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8 Responses to ““Look, girls! It’s our boy with no pants!””

  • MightyKombat says:

    Take my advice on that classic controller thingie and send it in to Stuart Ashen.

  • greybob says:

    I love your drawings Ragey. I actually have learned vector graphics, though I don’t have much to show for it. You basically have to relearn to draw with vector graphics and think about everything differently, in terms of points and lines instead of simple strokes.

  • Ragey says:

    Thank you for the compliment! About vector art, what you said is simultaneously intriguing and a turn-off to me. The main reason vector graphics intrigues me is how it’s easier to manipulate the lines and tweak them to your desire; I’d love for my doodles to have a better contrast between bold and thin lines (which is one of the reasons I love Michael Firman’s art style), but achieving that in MS Paint by just drawing over the same lines repeatedly is very tedious and very messy.
    I do have Inkscape and it seems every couple of months I sit down and try and wrap my head around it, but so far I haven’t had any luck. I think it boils down simply to how I never really plan out my drawings much – I just start with a pair of eyes or a mouth and then just see where it goes from there (though this one did go through some test phases before I stared the final version, which is rare for me).

  • greybob says:

    Well, one good thing about vector graphics is that it’s easy to make adjustments. If you make the eyes too close together, for example, you can just move them around until you’re happy with them. And as for planning pictures before you draw them, if the program you’re using makes use of layers, you can make a sketch layer under the actual drawing that you can turn on and off and use as a guide.

    Don’t really know about Inkspace, though. The program I’m most familiar with is Adobe Illustrator, which is easy to use but rather expensive.

    Right now, I’m trying to learn 3D modeling in Blender. It’s a real bitch, let me tell you.

  • Wes says:

    Man, you really wrote a fairly detailed summary of Fido! I’d have been like, umm, pet zombies, Carrie-Anne Moss as a sexy 1950s housewife… Carrie-Anne Moss as a sexy 1950s housewife. That is why I watched the movie, and that is what I remember from it. :)

    I’ve read excerpts from I Am Legend, but I can’t bring myself to read the whole thing on account of imagining Vincent Price as the protagonist, and then I have to put whatever I’m reading down to rewatch The Last Man on Earth because Vincent Price is amazing. I think part of the reason I love those budget DVD multipacks so much is because that movie was on the first one I bought, and it’s probably been on 60% of the ones I’ve gotten since. Which is why I tend not to buy them anymore! As awesome as The Last Man on Earth is, I don’t need 15 copies of it floating around in my DVD collection.

    Your doodle is very cool and SO ARE YOU, Ragey! :D

  • Ragey says:

    @Greybob: Hurf, layers! I should’ve known. I just need to see if Inkscape supports them or not, but if it does I think that’ll be a good way of easing myself into it.

    I’ve had a few people try and shill me into giving 3D modelling/animation a bash, but I’m just not that into making 3D stuff. I’d love to be able to make low-poly models like from the PlayStation era, but for the most part I’d be more interested in just sculpting something with clay. I’m mildly intrigued in dabbling in animation, though mostly just so I can study motion or use it as a base to draw on top of.

    @Wes: It wasn’t until the credits that I recognised Carrie-Anne Moss, but yeah, her as a 1950s housewife was quite something! It was actually the part when she retrieves a pistol from her purse (to take care of the zombie boy scouts) that I was like, hot damn, that is undeniably hot. Women with guns has never interested me before, but put her in an outdated wardrobe and suddenly it is that much more appealing. How about that?

    In theory I should’ve been imagining Neville as Charlton Heston while reading the book, but I must’ve been really unimaginative while reading it as I never bothered thinking what anyone in it looked like. Might be because The Omega Man wasn’t bad, but wasn’t good enough to leave much of an impression on me. I’ve totally been meaning to watch the Vincent Price and Will Smith versions, though the latter I’m not in a rush to see (a friend of mine once told me, “everything the new I Am Legend tried to do, Left 4 Dead did better.” An odd comparison, but an interesting comment!).
    I was going to make a teasing remark about how I’d be happy to take one of those fifteen copies off you, but then I realised I can buy the DVD off Play.com for a mere £1. That’s hardly a bad deal.

  • Wes says:

    You also don’t need to buy it — I believe the movie’s public domain, so there are a number of sites where you can simply and legally download it. Most budget DVD sets consist of public domain films, actually! I didn’t know that when I picked them up (and multiple years ago they were probably a lot less easy to come by online, or less convenient to download owing to slower connections and the like), and when I get them now it’s usually for convenience’s sake. :)

    The Will Smith version wasn’t terrible, but there’s really no comparison.

    Much love for girls with guns. :)

  • MightyKombat says:

    I think everyone remembers Carrie Ann Moss thanks to that film about that Matrixy world. What was it called again?

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