My Review of Nights: Journey of Dreams for Nintendo Wii

Nights: Journey of DreamsThe critically-acclaimed franchise that gave gamers the freedom to fly in a world of dreams is coming to the Wii this Holiday! As a fantasy jester called NiGHTS, players will experience a heightened sense of gliding, spiraling, looping, and much more thanks to the innovative Wii Remote.

Nights is a Journey of Dreams

By Paul the web designer from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/1/2008
5out of 5

Pros: Easy to learn, Gameplay, Great Sound, Beautiful Music, Engaging Story Line, Challenging, Multiplayer, Graphics

Cons: Learning takes some time

Best Uses: Adults, Teenagers

Describe Yourself: Casual Gamer

I was skeptical of this game at first, but had heard all of the acclaim around the original game that was released for Sega Saturn many years ago. I wanted to be convinced, though, and after reading about the game in Nintendo Power magazine, I was intrigued.

I bought the game, and the first thing I noticed when starting the game was the great graphics and the music that belongs on a soundtrack album.

Read the rest of this entry »

Batman Begins

Hey everyone..

I just saw Batman Begins with my awesome friend Jaci. Haven’t seen her in about, oh, a year and some months. I think the last time was at Catholic Central and West Catholic’s play at Aquinas College. We went to get food first, which was cool. Also in attendance at the movie were the three Narnia sisters: Rebecca, Cynthia, and Rowan, and their parents, who I met in a fleeting moment after the film.

Batman was excellent. A wonderful Batman film. Long, yes, but it had some great stuff in it, and was grounded in reality for the most part. It had a very gritty feel to it, and it had some humor to it, which came at refreshing times. It began strong and ended strong and the middle was full of great characters and a fantastic beginning to a classic character.

Jaci: It was great to see you again, hopefully we’ll get to hang out again soon. You’re awesome. I can tell your faith is strong. Don’t lose that, you are a blessing to your friends!

Jenny: I’m sorry I forgot to mention you when I wrote this, but heck yes I saw you! That was an awesome part of the story, too! Because Jaci was like “Hi, I’m Paul Martin and I know everyone!” Props to you!

Revenge of the Sith Review

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the SithStar Wars was AWESOME!

Granted, yes, there were cheesy parts.. but overall, this had such dark parts in it, it was incredible. There were also some really tragic elements that were very artfully done, and some slower moments that helped you to take a breather. Lots of information, really fast, made it hard to keep up sometimes, and the slower moments helped.

I think with a few more viewings, it’ll all become much more clear. Heck, we were all able to laugh about the cheese afterward. There’s a lot to love in this film, and the music is just one element that was great.. let me just say, right now, that the acting in this Star Wars was MUCH closer to the original trilogy.

At the end of this one, I felt a lack of closure, because I wanted more of this story.. and the funny thing is that I can see more of it. I can watch the original trilogy and get the rest of the story any time. I think that’s exactly as it should be, at the end of this one.

I’m really curious to see how this will effect how I view Darth Vader though. I really feel that while dramatically he was instructed to be a whiny teenager in Episode II, that really did hurt the character arc a bit, as in this one he’s getting confused, and we’re just watching everyone give up on him, except for one character, and it’s the one character that we know is the one we least want him following, and we even want him to turn back, we want someone to reach out to this boy, but his fate is inevitable.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I recommend seeing the movie first, if you haven’t read the book. And then, treat yourself to a copy of the book, which, while the film has some of the wit, presented in a form with is pleasing to both the eyes and the ears as well, does not have the same lasting impression as the written word on the imagination. It’s a shame they didn’t just do the entire five part Hitchhiker’s trilogy all at once, because alone without promise of more, it barely has legs, aside from the fact that we know there is more to come. At least you can read the rest, but do yourself a favor and read the first book as well, because there are great scenes with witty banter that would have played out spectacularly on film, and I think I could have done a much better job interpretting this for the screen. A complimentary Lord of the Rings style film, this is not.

The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant is from genius writer/director Brad Bird. Based on a novel called “The Metal Man” or something like that.

Brad Bird was making the film WHILE WB was shutting down the Animation division, which is one reason the marketting of the movie stank. You can see why Pixar hired Brad Bird (The Incredibles). It’s a shame that this movie came out the same year as Toy Story 2. It made only $23,159,305 compared with TS2’s $245,852,179.

When I got the DVD, I got it only because of word-of-mouth, and nothing else to back it up. I ended up watching it 5 times in the first week. This was last summer. I have the Special Edition on Pre-Order.

The film, being about a boy that is a latch-key kid named Hogarth with an amazing imagination, has more heart than most Disney Animation that I have seen. You meet Dean, a cool cat with a taste for art that is also a gentleman. Hogarth’s mother is well portrayed in the film as a single mother. Set in the time before the cold war, there is an innocence to this movie that is refreshing. Every scene in it feels very real, even though it is animated. The characters, the dialogue, the voice acting, all together mold into a film that really works. Seeing this as a live action story would be really interesting, and with today’s effects, could work. Not sure if it would have the same effect, however.

When it comes to the messages present in the film, we see honesty and friendship, trust and courage prevail throughout the story. We see values and love, and loyalty. The way the characters all interact with each other, helping each other out, and being there for each other, even when they hardly know each other. You can honestly see the points where the characters begin to like each other.

There is also the villain of the story that isn’t your typical villain. Probably why this was hard to promote. He’s a government agent, hot on the trail of the Iron Giant. Even though he’s an archetypical character villain, there is really nothing very sinister about him. He honestly wants to help the US. He’s trying so hard though, that he loses his mind about it, and goes too far. His decision effects the end of the movie in a way that makes us realize that we want to see these characters prevail. That we want them to survive. And then we were reminded of things introduced throughout the movie. And reminded of the good times that they all had together. That it’s okay to be like a kid, to have dreams. That killing people is bad, and what love is. And that an act of self-sacrifice is the greatest thing you can do for a friend. Laying down your life.

It’s really incredible that all of that comes across in less than an hour and a half, but it does with a simple and even handed look into the simple life of being a kid, and all of the things that kids can do, that are so difficult with the weight of being an adult.

Garden State

Warning. I spoil a lot of the movie here, but that’s only because this is a collection of my thoughts on the movie a few hours after letting it sink in and after only one viewing.

I could see that this movie was one that was different tham most other movies. It’s pretty random at times and has some questionable content. However, when it comes down to what it was all about, I think perhaps a second or third viewing will clear things up.

What this movie, I think, is for, is people in their 20s, and I found this to be different from most other movies that I’ve seen. It’s definitely the only movie I have ever seen that was supposed to be that way. It’s about finding your path in life, and learning to make the next step.

Here’s an excerpt from Zach Braff’s Blog about Garden State:

«First and foremost I always hoped people would have a good laugh and hopefully empathize with the characters. But the fact that so many of you are relating to the themes and subject matter is so comforting to me, because for many years when I was feeling all these feelings, I felt incredibly alone; I couldn’t find many people who were “in it”… going through the mental puberty that your twenties can be. – (Or any time of your life that involves feeling long overdue for the next chapter of your life to begin.)

When I wrote Garden State, I was completely depressed, waiting tables and lonesome as I’ve ever been in my life. The script was a way for me to articulate what I was feeling; alone, isolated, “a dime a dozen” and homesick for a place that didn’t even exist. I guess one of the cool things about the success of Garden State is that those of you out there who are “in it” and feeling all these things, can take comfort in the fact that there are so many people commenting on this blog (including me) that can relate. And as lonely as you ever feel, you are not alone.»

A guy in his twenties, on prescription drugs because of something he accidentally did when he was nine, going home to find his friends haven’t changed. They’re still partying like they probably did in high school and college, and he seems to be on the outside of it, watching from outside of himself, and all of this movement is happening around him. He’s realizing that a lot of these people are wasting their lives away. He’s been on drugs his whole life, and none of the drug use at the party really seems to effect him. He seems bored by it.

As the movie goes on, we learn about his life, piece by piece. The things that he missed out on, and things that he’s been through, and with each new revelation, we learn that there are many things that we have to be thankful for in our own lives. That life has it’s hardships. And that life finds a way to move on through it all.

It took meeting someone else with problems for him to realize that he was not alone with his problems. He also had one friend bring him on a journey to get one small thing. At least to me, that showed that this one friend knows what is important to him, and will be there for him. This is the friend that will probably either be the first to really grow up, or is more grown up than he lets on, and is satisfied with his life at this point.

The girl that he meets is confused about the world, she’s a pathelogical liar, and I guess she feels like she’s got some control over what people think about her when she makes stuff up. She claims that she doesn’t believe in God, but being a pathelogical liar, we don’t know when she is lying and when she isn’t.

The movie had a lot of good lines in it, and is basically, like Joe said, about finding where you fit in, and taking some control of yourself. The lead character is Jewish, but doesn’t practice it. He also found himself numb to the world because of the prescription drugs. It was only after he stopped taking them, that he realized that there was nothing wrong with him. He also hadn’t cried in about 15 years, and when all is said and done, he finds a piece of what really matters in life. That one thing that conquers all. Something that’s been a part of most or all of the biggest or best movies this year. It’s a part of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Village. Spider-Man 2 and, of course, The Passion of the Christ. He finds love. And while everything else in his life is going insane, that is the first sane decision in what we can only hope is the first in a series of great decisions and changes.

The music that plays over the final scenes is “Let Go” by Frou Frou. What it’s telling us about his decision is that he’s letting go of what is holding him back, and jumping in full throttle into the future. He’s accepting what life is giving him because he knows that is all that he’s got. So why not?

And the shot of the three major characters yelling into a chasm just shows that sometimes it’s good to yell, that you need to scream to let go of a lot of tension sometimes. I don’t know where I was going to go with this, the words seemed to escape me. See the poster with this image here: http://www.sweetpaul.com/movies/2004/gardenstate.php

All in all, I’ll probably buy it because it’s quirky and different. For the same reason that I’m getting “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Maybe it isn’t top ten material but it might end up on my top ten for 2004, based on what I have and will be seeing this year.