I spent New Years Eve watching the 2009 Sherlock Holmes with the folks, and just so happened to get invited to see the sequel with my uncle on New Years Day. I can’t really say much, it’s about what you’d expect if you saw the first one – the same kind of romping around, the same kind of banter. Not bad, not fantastic, just on par with the first one. If you didn’t like the first one, it won’t change your mind.
I was looking forward to seeing Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, but I was a bit disappointed – partly because Mycroft doesn’t have much screen time and doesn’t actually do much (true to the character, I suppose), and partly because, well, it’s hard to actually see Stephen Fry as a character. I can suspend my disbelief for everyone else – Robert Downey Jr. is Sherlock Holmes! Jude Law is Dr. Watson! Stephen Fry is… Stephen Fry wearing a hat, or Stephen Fry in period dress or something. It probably didn’t help I’d already seen him in the recent BBC Christmas production of The Borrowers (it was alright, nothing memorable – it’s funny that Hugh Laurie was in the 1997 film version. Get them both in the same version and that’d be a good show!) where he played the villain of sorts; he wasn’t a truly evil guy or anything, he just plays a dude who gets so worked up in his quest to have some credibility, but you can’t see him as an antagonist ’cause he’s Stephen Fry! He’s like a big gay teddy bear with lovely hair.
Mind you, in stuff like Blackadder Goes Forth and his cameo in The Thin Blue Line, I can actually see him as a character. I think it helps that he’s ludicrously over the top in those shows, and he was sporting a quilt of fake facial hair. Pop a ‘stache on him and make him shout a lot and I might actually see him as a character. Otherwise I just expect him to talk soothingly at length or berate Alan Davies.
I watched Stardust on the 5th. It’s alright. Fantasy fairy tale thing about a fallen star girl being hounded by a witch seeking eternal youth; a king-to-be seeking eternal life; and a shop boy who just wants a present for his would-be girlfriend. It’s charming as heck to describe, but the movie kinda seemed a bit lacking. It’s decent enough, but it ends up encouraging comparisons to The Princess Bride, and I think that movie wins out. It’s more quotable, it’s got more memorable scenes, and the characters were a lot more interesting to watch. Stardust has big-name actors, but they’re nothing but a bunch of pretty faces to me. I know nada about them.
[i think one of my beefs was that it only seemed ‘a bit’ whimsical. it It didn’t try and make itself dripping with whimsy, nor did it aim to aim for a full-on comic fantasy experience.
I was thinking if one of my beefs was that it didn’t take the ‘full step’ towards something – it only seemed ‘a bit’ whimsical. It only seemed ‘a bit’ humourous. I wonder if it tried to make itself a full-on comic fairy tale, or just drenched itself in whimsy that you’d still be mopping whimsy from the carpet weeks lately that it might have left a better impact… I don’t know. It just felt like something was missing.
Mind you, given the three main focuses, the story got spread a bit thin. The film is two hours long; it doesn’t drag, per se, but it doesn’t feel like it deserves the two hours. It doesn’t move at a terrific pace. I lost interest in the witches about a third of the way through their arc, and the fairy tale love story between the kid and the star did nothing for me.
Admittedly Mark Strong wasn’t too engrossing as the resident evil king-to-be either, but his side of things was intriguing – there’s a big feud between him and his brothers about who gets to claim kingship, and his family has consistently sabotaged each other every time there’s a king position up for grabs. Two of the brothers are killed before they even leave the castle, and all the siblings that are dead still show up as ghosts to comment on the action, complete with a physical representation of how they died – one has an axe in his skull, one has a burnt face, one is naked because he got killed in the bath, and so on. That’s quirky! In fact, focusing a whole movie on something oddball like that could be really, really fun. Instead it’s just one element in a film bursting with stuff, and given how the film takes itself slightly seriously, the ghost stuff feels a bit out of place… y’know, despite dandy pirates who harvest lightning on flying boats with nets and other outlandish concepts.
I rented Darksiders for a week… and I think I only got about three or four hours play out of it. I only beat the first dungeon! When I first played it I was genuinely falling asleep – the combat felt like a poor man’s Devil May Cry and the opening half hour just seemed to emphasise how crummy it was in comparison. The combat picks up one you get more weapons and tools, and instead ends up like a blend of DMC‘s mass brawls and the quirky item usage from Zelda. The game as a whole practically is a Zelda game with Devil‘s combat system. Given how little time I got to play it I can’t really give a good judgment, but it did seem like an intriguing game; the first dungeon was a real meaty piece of work, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the combat – Tiamat was a tough cookie! That’s more than I can honestly say for any Zelda game I’ve played.
One of my main reasons I’m interested in checking out the game is the art style. Okay, it’s post-apocalyptic, dark and gritty and all that, but I really like the style – you got these freaky monsters and then there’s these cool wraith-like dudes and all the rough-and-tumble fellas are just so damn chunky, they’re like beefy bricks with more bricks for arms. Very Warcraftian.
Today’s observation: I’ve just realised that the icon for Miner Dig Deep is meant to be a pickaxe and a helmet.
No, I’m serious, for the longest time I thought the yellow shape was some sort of yellow cheese wedge shape of some sort, representing an abstract creature or something. I… I don’t know why. Mind you, I still can’t see it as a helmet. I mean, with art that sloppy, it could be anything. It could be a lemon with a six-pack crooning a pickaxe. Should the world ever produce muscle-bound lemons capable of laying some Barry Manilow on sentient digging utensils, I think we can rest easy by letting them inherit the earth. Humans ain’t got a patch on that.