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It’s Not Death That You Should Fear
Recently, I’ve been trying to think of ways to make it easier to accomplish these reviews; things to make my reviews easier. It’s occurred to me that most critics review one episode of a TV show at a time, whereas I review entire seasons in each review. Well I put out a lot of reviews, and should spread those out so I can get more reviews out of one DVD set. …That being said, today I’m reviewing two games in the same review. I don’t know why, but even as I already own Tomb Raider and know of the existence of Bioshock Infinite, I decided now was the time to play two games in the same series that only ever vaguely interested me. I own the first one because I bought it used for $20, and I could borrow the second one from my friend Hookah, but there was clearly no reason to be playing this instead of Tomb Raider. Either way, I felt like I had to, so I did. Here is my review for the Darksiders series. Darksiders was developed by Vigil Games, published by THQ, with designs by Joe Madureira, and with the voices of Liam O’Brien, Mark Hamill, Phil LaMarr, Troy Baker, Moon Bloodgood, Lani Minella, Vernon Wells, Keith Szarabajka, J.B. Blanc, and Fred Tatasciore. Darksiders II includes the voices of Michael Wincott, Simon Templeman, André Sogliuzzo, Claudia Christian, Phil Proctor, Barry Dennen, Jamieson Price, Jessica Straus, and Nick Jameson.
For all my atheist readers, Heaven and Hell do not get along. In fact, one could say that they are at war. And Earth is often caught in the middle of that war. A balance is maintained by a group called “The Charred Council (Fred Tatasciore)” using the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – War (Liam O’Brien), Death (Michael Wincott), and for some reason Strife and Fury instead of Conquest and Famine. The balance is broken and war breaks out on Earth, and War awakens to restore the balance, but alone and depowered because the necessary paperwork was not filed to summon the Horsemen, so he is defeated by a demon called Straga (Troy Baker). The Charred Council accuses War of jumping the gun and bringing on the destruction of humanity, but War demands a chance to prove his innocence. They agree to send him back to Earth, bound to an annoyance known as The Watcher (Mark Hamill) and still depowered, to give him the chance to find out who was behind his premature evacuation.
In a fairly chronologically confusing setup, we now play as Death, who has set his sights on clearing his brother’s name by reviving humanity using the Well of Souls. I guess this part takes place just after War goes to Earth and gets defeated, so we’re playing this part in the several hundred years while War is talking to the Charred Council. Death first goes to the Crowfather (Keith Szarabajka) – who is NOT Bruce Lee – to find out what he must do, but Crowfather is all bitchy because Death made him carry around an amulet filled with the souls of the Nephilim who didn’t turn out to be Horsemen material and were then killed by the Horsemen. Death then goes to the Forge Lands, and finds that a lot of the realms are being taken over by this Corruption stuff that is kind of Death’s fault because it’s all caused by this guy named Absalom (Simon Templeman) that Death killed a while ago.
These games were fine for what they were, but there were issues to be had with them. None of these problems were really with the story … because I wasn’t paying that much attention to it. Well, I was paying attention to it, and I even played the game twice, but it was fairly inconsequential. I like a game that incorporates the Four Horseman. I’ve had a fascination with them ever since I first learned about them … in Marvel comic books. Of course it wasn’t in the Bible! I ain’t reading that thing! But that also means that I was thrown off because the Four Horsemen in this game didn’t include Pestilence and Famine, which wasn’t even accurate to the Bible that says it was Conquest and Famine they changed for their game. But Conquest doesn’t even seem to fit into the group, so I’m okay with him being gone. And Famine and Pestilence would just be sickly and frail, so they probably wouldn’t fit this game either. But the biggest problem of all is how little sense Death makes in Darksiders 2. How the hell is Death’s ultimate goal in the game to bring all of the humans back to life? Someone needs to change his fuckin’ name before trying that bullshit.
I really appreciated the look of this game, and mostly because the creative direction was left in the hands of my favorite comic book artist: Joe Madureira. This guy’s art is the bomb! I literally have one of his pictures as a poster on my wall AND as the desktop of my computer. So I love the artwork that created the game, but I did feel that the atmosphere of the first game didn’t really fit the theme of the game. It seemed a little too bright and almost cartoony while they were going for a darker theme. There were levels that seemed to reflect it better – such as the spider level – but the greater majority felt like they should’ve been darker. War definitely benefited from Madureira’s artwork because he loves to make heavily armored and intricate characters, and that fit the look of War really well. But then Darksiders 2 comes around and Death feels like a topless member of Slipknot. But aspects of Death can be changed, which is something that’s a little problematic for me. Part of me appreciates it when the gear I change actually changes the gear being carried by my character, but another part of me hates that my logical side needs to have the best equipment on while the artistic side of me wants my character’s gear to match and look badass.
Okay, the biggest annoyance I had with the game all came from the gameplay. The gameplay itself could be boiled down to your basic hack-and-slash game, which is fine by me. It’s a solid stress relief to hop into a mindless game and beat the shit out of your X button. The problem I had with both games was how much they flat out stole from other games. I had heard a little about this stuff before I even played the game. I was told that it was very similar to God of War meets Zelda, which is definitely true. Hack-and-slash games all kind of feel like God of War, and some of the music in the first game felt like it was taken right off the soundtrack. And the puzzles were vaguely Zelda, but the maps were EXACTLY Zelda. They even have the skull to indicate where the boss is located. But the thievery does not stop there. They have a portal gun in the game! It’s not a gun, but it is stolen straight out of Portal. The portals are even blue and orange! You can’t just call it a Voidwalker and fool me, Darksiders! And the Abyssal Chain is straight up the hookshot from Zelda. At least for Darksiders 2 they changed it enough by making it a spectral hand that Death reached out with. They have an aerial battle where War rides a griffin that feels very Starfox as well. Darksiders 2 changed the gameplay a lot, but they did not change the amount that it was all stolen. Instead of your basic hack-and-slash, it became more of a Diablo-esque dungeon crawler, where you were rewarded with loot and gold instead of the God of War-style soul orbs. This was also a bummer because you could often get better gear from fighting random weak creatures than you could from surviving 100 levels of the Crucible, or 10 levels of the Soul Arbiter’s Maze. Then, they decided they needed to get some quality platforming in their game. What better place than Prince of Persia? They had all the wall running that helped the Prince of Persia games be so good, but lacked the polish that made them great. And the big colossus boss battle was pretty reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus, appropriately. I actually got to the point with these games that I was thinking that I had not played enough games to accurately pick out every game that they were stealing from. The biggest annoying power wasn’t actually stolen from anything, but it was annoying for an entirely different reason. You’re not able to enter the realm of the spider people until you get the ability to make your horse – Ruin – run between two pillars to cross a chasm. The reason I found this annoying was that this was the ONLY TIME YOU EVER USE THIS POWER! What a fuckin’ waste!
The achievements in these games weren’t that bad. I was able to get all of them in both games. They weren’t easy, but plenty were annoying. They both did a lot with collectables which means you’ll be wandering around the maps over and over. Darksiders 1 even had one that was for riding a certain amount on horseback, which meant I spent a lot of time running around in circles on horseback since I didn’t do nearly enough normally. You’ll also probably want to play the game twice to get all the achievements, which makes it much easier while also making it take more time. But the most annoying achievement is the one you get for just getting the portal ability in Darksiders 2, because they called it “I can has cake.” Come on! You’re not even trying to mask that you steal from other games!
Darksiders and Darksiders 2 were decent enough games with next to no story, fantastic art design by Joe Madureira, and some fun and mindless hack-and-slash action. The biggest problem I took with the game was how clearly and blatantly they assembled their game with the cobbled parts of better games. I just don’t know if I can call this game worth buying. It’s okay, but there are better ways to spend your money. If you can get them super cheap, or if you can rent or borrow them, they’re decent enough to play if you have nothing else to play. Darksiders and Darksiders 2 gets “You would fight this war alone?” out of “The greater risk is to do nothing.”
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A Ruby the Size of a Tangerine
Okay, I’ll do the actual first review of something good, and it’ll be a video game. That game, of course, is Duke Nukem Forever. …Just kidding. BATMAN!! Not to spoil my review and give away what I thought about it, I bought this game in collector’s edition and I’ve beaten it twice and it’s amazing. You’ll find out what I think about it later. First, the summary. Batman: Arkham City is an open-world, action-adventure game brought to us by the fine people at Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Also, I got the game with the Catwoman DLC so that may have changed my story a bit.
Some bald a-hole named Hugo Strange (Corey Burton) has convinced Gotham to release the prisoners of Arkham Asylum into a walled off section of the city and let them have free reign. They call this place Arkham City. Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) is not keen on the idea for some reason and campaigns to get it shut down. The closest thing to a reason I can remember is that his parents were killed behind the theater there. Anyways, at a rally, Wayne is captured by Strange’s Tyger Security guards. Turns out Bruce Wayne is Batman, and Strange knows it. Wayne is released into Arkham City and is quickly recaptured by the Penguin (Nolan North of Nathan Drake fame). The Penguin is harboring a grudge against Wayne which is probably only made worse by the fact that he ass-kicks his way out of his custody. Calling in a drop from his butler Alfred (Martin Jarvis), Wayne gets all suited up and Batman’d out. Time to punch some faces! First order of business: Two-Face (Troy Baker) has captured Catwoman (Grey DeLisle) and you have to rescue her. Once you have, a smiley face laser appears on her head and a shot rings out. Don’t worry, you saved her. But who would have aimed a gun with a smiley face on it? I’m sure we’re all surprised to find out it was the Joker (Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill). Batman goes to investigate but finds only the Joker’s sidekick/girl-toy Harley Quinn (Tara Strong). She confesses that, after the events of the first game, Joker is dying from Titan poisoning. This doesn’t concern Batman at all … except that Harley Quinn knocks out Batman and they inject him with some of the Joker’s poisoned blood. Now Batman must try to cure himself while trying to figure out what Hugo Strange’s Protocol 10 and how he can stop it.
This game is amaz-zaz-zing. Let’s go through this piece by piece and describe why. First, the graphics: amazing. It is almost flawless in it’s presentation. Batman looks great. They take a midpoint between the comic book Batman and the realistic armor look of the Christian Bale Batman by having him look like the comic book equivalent with his costume looking like it could have armor on it, he has gauntlets that he can put things into for analysis, and he has pieces that come down over his eyes when he goes into Detective Mode. His costume also gets beat up over the course of the game as he’s been through some mess and hasn’t had time to change. Arkham City is dark and foreboding as it should be, and also keeps the damage done to it along the course of the game. When the church tower is blown up by the Joker, it stays a smoldering mess from that point on. All of the other characters are captured well and most are made into darker versions of their characters. Catwoman is made into all appropriate kinds of hot. Harley Quinn’s outfit is different from her classic one, but still very hot. Mr. Freeze’s outfit hasn’t changed much, but may have gotten cooler (pun intended). Penguin looks different from Danny Devito, but is Penguin appropriate, adding one bottle to the eye like a disturbing version of a monocle. Two-Face, Riddler, Zsasz, Bane, Robin, Poison Ivy, Calendar Man, Ra’s and Talia al Ghul, Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Killer Croc, Hush, Black Mask, Clayface, and other classic Batman characters are all here and captured masterfully. The only issue graphically is that I noticed they took the easy way out in a few shots. When Two-Face is drawn up, he’s already tied up inexplicably, and on occasion Riddler’s mouth doesn’t move when he’s talking. But these are minor problems and barely worth noticing.
The gameplay is super satisfying as well. The fighting is fairly simple, but ultimately satisfying. X punches, Y counters, double tap A to jump over someone, B stuns, and you can use your gadgets in combat. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of and gives you the opportunity to feel like you’re the bat. Combat amps up as enemies gain weapons and numbers over Batman, but if you get the hang of the combat system, their numbers and weapons will mean nothing to you. YOU ARE THE BAT! Arkham City steps it up over Arkham Asylum by giving you an open world to explore, and traversing it is also very satisfying. Granted, I would’ve liked to be able to get around in a Batmobile, but a grappling system is also good. You shoot your grappling hook over to places and can glide with your cape. With an upgrade, your grappling hook will shoot you out over your grapple point and send you immediately into a glide, and that’s the only way to fly. Catwoman, however, could’ve used a little work. She has similar controls with different animations that feel like they could’ve been refined a little more. It might not have been so bad if you didn’t play as Batman first; his controls being so smooth most of the time. But, switching to Catwoman, you can no longer destroy the enemy weapon that was giving you such a hard time (usually the shield or the stun baton) as you may have gotten used to with Batman. Her travel system is a big step down as well. Instead of getting pulled straight over to a point you hit it with your whip and swing down to a point on the wall well below that point and usually exposed to guards that will then shoot at you. If you have not been spotted, you will have to hit timed-button-presses to make your way up to the point you set. This is not good when you’re trying to stealthily make your way around the room to clear it of bad guys. She did, however, have the ability to cling to the ceiling, which Batman does not, and use that to solve puzzles or take out enemies and disappear from sight. Stealth is a big part of the game since head-on assault can sometimes be suicide, and it’s usually well done. The Mr. Freeze battle forces you to see how many opportunities you have to take someone out as he blocks you from repeating the same take down you just used. Batman can hang people from vantage points, pull them over ledges, pop up from out of floor grates, charge through wall grates, blow up a wall on you, use the environment, or just flat out sneak up behind and choke out. This is usually satisfying. Catwoman loses many of these opportunities and replaces them with ceiling crawling. They will also change what they do depending on what’s around them. If your character is near a wall, he or she may bounce off it to punch them or grab their head and slam it into the wall. If you interrogate the enemies near a handrail, you will dangle them over it by their leg.
Batman also has more gadgets than James Bond. You have electrically charged taser gun that can open certain doors and knock over armored enemies. You have freeze grenades that can freeze an enemy in place to either take down or use as bait or make walkways on water. You’ve got classic batarang, boomerang batarang, and remote controlled batarang that can hit switches or knock people over edges. Your line launcher can traverse areas you can’t jump into or be used to kick an enemy over a ledge. Explosives that can knock out an enemy or simply open a wall, but only if it’s drawn in the shape of the bat symbol apparently. Maybe even some more gadgets that I forgot. He has a plethora of tools that can mostly be used in puzzle solving or in combat. And the best part about them is that, even though there are a lot of them, they are easy to access when you need them and most are easily used in combat with the correct combination of buttons. My personal favorite was the bat grapple. Usually used to traverse the environment or to pull an enemy over a ledge, I liked to use it in combat (by holding the Left Trigger and pressing Y) to disarm an enemy with a gun and clothesline the mamma jamma while he stumbled towards me. Very satisfying, especially if it went into slo-mo because he was the last enemy in the area. They also brought back Detective Mode, which could be switched to in order to track enemies to set up takedowns and other uses. Catwoman’s vision, however, was not that helpful. You could see enemies, but it made no discernible distinction between armed enemies and unarmed, or armored enemies and unarmored. So that was barely helpful.
Another big part of the game (at least if you’re achievement hunting) is the challenges. There are 3 types of challenges: combat, predator, and campaign. Combat challenges put you in a room with increasing amounts and difficulties of enemies and you try to reach a high score for medals by trying not to get hit and keeping your combat multiplier up. Predator is the stealth approach where you have to try to do the 3 special takedowns for medals. Campaign is 3 back-to-back missions of the other 2 types mixed with modifiers that can be turned on at different times. I really only did these with any degree of seriousness because I wanted the achievements. They could get tedious pretty quickly, especially as they got more difficult, but I found in the second playthrough afterwards I had gotten very good at Batmanning and it was a breeze.
There are a lot of collectables in this game, which is something that can be taken either as a positive or a negative. I actually enjoyed it for the most part. There were 400 collectables; which are Riddler trophies, riddles, and special things you need to do in combat or travel. The good thing about this is that there was actually a reason to do them, besides just the achievements. The most obvious one is that, if you collect enough of them, you can save a hostage of the Riddler. You can also unlock artwork and recordings of Hugo Strange interviewing the various villains of Gotham, which I found entertaining. You can also have them shown on your map if you find the covert Riddler operatives and interrogate them. Lots of people may not have the patience for these collectables though.
The voice work was all around fantastic. Mark Hamill does the best Joker voice. Really creepy and appropriate for the character. Everyone else fit their characters perfectly with no complaints. I also think Harley Quinn’s voice makes her extra cute. Too bad she’s crazy…
I’ve gone on too long. QUICK WRAP UP! This game is great. Go buy now. Give game “Dark Knight” out of “Batman Begins”.
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Twi’leks? Still hot. But then there’s Metal Bikini Leia…
Here we go again. Another super long review because you guys would prefer it to 3 separate reviews. Because of my hatred for reading, this will be the conclusion to my Star Wars review saga. The canon does continue on from here into seemingly interesting places (which I figure from what I can gleam from Star Wars Wikipedia websites), but only in novel form. And fuck that! I don’t read for nobody. Not even Star Wars! I’ve gotten off track … Oh yes! The original trilogy! Here comes Episodes IV, V, and VI. Again, I intend to include spoilers, but if you haven’t seen these movies, I don’t like you. Not at all.
Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
A slightly less long time ago in an equidistant galaxy, we hop into the middle of a battle between a giant Star Destroyer and a tiny starship. Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) puts the plans for a terrible weapon the Galactic Empire is working on into one of her droids, R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and sends him and her other droid, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), to the desert planet of Tatooine. She is then captured by the Lord of the Imperial forces, Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones). The two droids are captured by Jawas and traded to Owen and Beru Lars and cleaned by their nephew, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). R2-D2 reveals to Luke that he’s owned by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and Luke figures out that they must mean the old hermit Ben Kenobi. R2-D2 goes off to find Obi-Wan and Luke follows. Obi-Wan saves Luke from Sand People and tells Luke that he knew his father when he was a Jedi Knight, and that his father was killed by Vader. He tells Luke that he can teach him the ways of the force and presents him with his father’s lightsaber. He tries to get Luke to go with him to save the princess but Luke feels obligated to his aunt and uncle … until he finds out they’ve been killed by Storm Troopers. He then accompanies Obi-Wan to Mos Eisley to find a ship. They find two smugglers, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his giant fuzzy Wookie co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), who agree to transport them in their ship, the Millennium Falcon. Back on the Death Star, Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) tries to intimidate Leia into giving up the location of the Rebel Base by blowing up her home planet of Alderaan. Luke and his buddies show up to find Alderaan destroyed and get captured by the Death Star’s tractor beam. The group splits up. Obi-Wan goes to disable the tractor beam, the droids stay in the Falcon, and the rest go to rescue Leia. They do and eventually return to the Falcon, just in time for Luke to witness Obi-Wan get struck down by Vader, his body disappearing and his robe falling empty to the ground. The group escapes, minus one old man, and regroup with the Rebels to plan an attack on the Death Star. They find that the only weakness of the massive space station is a tiny exhaust port. They mount an assault but everyone fails at taking a shot at this exhaust port because their targeting computers aren’t up to the task. Luke goes in and Obi-Wan’s voice in his head tells him to turn off the targeting computer and use the Force. With the help of the Force and his schizophrenic voice, Luke destroys the Death Star. Everyone gets medals. HOORAY!
Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
A while after the last movie, the Rebel Alliance is still in trouble, even though they blew up the Death Star. Leia is now in charge of a contingent of troops on an icy planet of Hoth. Han Solo and Luke Skywalker are still in the group with her. Luke is riding around on an ugly, horse-like creature called a tauntaun and sees a probe droid land. He goes to investigate it but is attacked by a Yeti-looking mother fucker called a wampa and is dragged back to it’s lair for the purpose of becoming his dinner. Han goes out to look for Luke and finds him laying in the snow, having freed himself from the wampa with liberal use of the Force and his lightsaber. Luke has a vision of Obi-Wan telling him to go to Dagobah and train with Jedi Master Yoda (Frank Oz). Han keeps Luke alive by stuffing him inside the belly of his dead tauntaun. And I thought they smelled bad ……………………………………….. on the outside! The Empire lays seige on Hoth and everyone just barely manages to escape, Luke splitting off from the rest to go train with Yoda. Han and Leia, along with R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca barely manage to escape, but their hyperspace engine is malfunctioning. Han comes up with the brilliant plan of going to the nearby Cloud City, on the planet Bespin, to get his ship fixed with his old friend Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). Lando has betrayed Han and they fall into Darth Vader’s trap. Vader freezes Han in carbonite and gives him to the bounty hunter Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch). On Dagobah, Luke has been having difficulty training with Yoda and, to make matters worse, starts having visions of his friends in pain. Against Yoda and ghost Obi-Wan’s wishes, Luke jets off for Bespin to save them, falling into Vader’s trap. With Han on his way back to Jabba the Hutt with Bob Fett, Lando manages to free the rest of the group and take them to the Millennium Falcon to escape. Luke battles with Vader and gets his hand cut off. To apologize, Vader tells Luke that he didn’t kill Luke’s father, but instead he IS Luke’s father. Luke responds by jumping down the trash chute and hanging upside-down from the antenna beneath Cloud City. Hundreds of people’s TV’s shut off in the middle of Game of Thrones. Luke reaches out with the Force and tells Leia where he is, so they swing around and get him. With a little help from R2, they get the hyperdrive working and bounce. Luke gets a brand spankin’ new robot hand, Lando and Chewy go off looking for Han, and Luke and Leia look out a window.
Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
Luke sets up a plan to rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt (not Jabba the English Bulldog). He first sends in R2 and 3PO as a goodwill gift, with a warning that he does not want to mess with newly promoted Jedi Knight Luke. Lando infiltrates the palace as one of Jabba’s guards and Chewy gets brought in by a bounty hunter named Boushh. At night, Boushh frees Han from his carbonite prison and reveals herself to be Leia in disguise. Luke arrives to try to negotiate (I say “try” ’cause it must be hard to concentrate with Leia in that metal bikini) for Han’s release, only to get dropped into a pit with a giant, awesomely badass creature called a Rancor. Luke drops a door on him and kills him, then is taken into captivity. Jabba decides to sacrifice the lot of them to the Sarlacc, a creature in a pit that eats people. R2 shoots a lightsaber at Luke and Luke proceeds to whoop ass. Han also inadvertently hits Boba Fett in the jetpack, shooting him into the Sarlacc pit and to his death. Leia also strangles Jabba to death with a chain (this time it actually WAS my dog. … I was not pleased). The group goes back to the Rebels and Luke returns to Dagobah to finish his training, but finds Yoda dying. In his last words, Yoda admits that Darth is Luke’s father and that there is another Skywalker. In conversation with ghostbi-Wan, Luke puts together that the other Skywalker is his twin sister, Leia. The Rebels have learned that the Empire is creating another, bigger Death Star and plans to destroy it. A ground party comprised of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewy, and the droids will go to the forest planet of Endor to destroy the Death Star’s shield generator while Lando takes the Falcon and attempts to destroy the Death Star. After a tiny skirmish on Endor when they land, Leia and the others join up with a ridiculously cute tribe of indigenous creatures called Ewoks. At night, Luke tells Leia that Vader is their father, and then leaves to surrender himself to Vader and some Imperial troops, taking him to the Death Star to meet Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), master of Vader and leader of the Empire. Palpatine tries to convert Luke to the dark side by informing him that he is, contrary to what the Rebels believe, on “a fully armed and operational Death Star”. Both Lando and Leia’s teams run into a large group of Imperials and find out “It’s a trap!” It was all a ruse to get Luke mad enough to join the dark side. Han and Leia’s team, with the help of the Ewoks, overcome their trap and manage to take out the shield. Luke tries to strike down the Emperor but is blocked by Vader and engages him in a lightsaber battle. Vader’s boasting of potentially turning Leia to the dark side since Luke won’t makes Luke snap. He disarms Vader (literally), but stops himself from killing him, believing there is still good in his father. Palpatine gets sick of Luke’s goodness and starts to fry him with some Force lightning. Hearing the pained screams of his son, Vader lifts the Emperor over his head and, despite being fried by Palpatine’s lightning, throws the Emperor down into the reactor and to his death. Luke helps the mortally wounded Vader back to his ship as the Imperials scatter because Lando is making his way into the core of the Death Star. Vader (Sebastian Shaw here, but not the villain from Marvel comics) asks his son to take off his mask so he can see him with his own eyes for once and confesses to him that Luke was right; there was good in him after all. Then he dies. Lando manages to get into the MCP-from-Tron-lookin’ core of the Death Star and destroys it, the Rebel forces and Luke all escaping. Celebration breaks out all over the galaxy, Luke burns his father on a funeral pyre, and Luke sees the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin (either Shaw or Hayden Christensen, depending on the version) proudly watching over them.
A New Hope is probably the worst of this trilogy, but only because V and VI were so gundamn good. The visuals were amazing for it’s time, and, even for these times, they stand up quite nicely. The dumb little things that Lucas went back in and added do nothing to help the movie, but they don’t hurt it in my mind either. Fanboys just don’t like any changes being made to their beloved movies, forgetting that they’re actually Lucas’ movies that we’re just getting to watch. The best thing to me about this movie and the next two is R2-D2. Whoever is to be blamed for this little droid should be applauded for giving a featureless little robot such a personality. I love that little mother fucker. The performances are all good as well. Han is the best of the humans to me. He’s a smug asshole, but he’s charming as shit. If Leia didn’t get him, I’d have tried. Leia’s good as well. Luke was a little grating in this movie. He seemed pretty whiny through the bulk of the movie. Aunt Beru and Uncle Own are fuckers though. They almost ruined the entire movies by telling Luke that Obi-Wan is dead and wanting to keep him at the farm. If he’d done that, he’d be dead like you two and we’d have no Star Wars! Jerks. Vader’s design was great. He looks like the badass that he should. And James Earl Jones’ voice sells the shit out of him. Obi-Wan must’ve been getting forgetful in his old age, acting like he stopped going by Obi-Wan before Luke was born and not recognizing the two droids. Nuh-uh! I saw them movies! The scale of this movie is as epic as it should be. This is first illustrated in the very beginning when the tiny Rebel ship is running from the mammoth Star Destroyer, and it continues throughout. For an off topic note, why does the fat pilot gotta be called Porkins, huh? Also, let’s face it, George. Han shot first.
For those that are unaware, the scene where Han is talking to the bounty hunter Greedo (the scene where I’ve memorized a line that Greedo speaks in a made up language, in case anyone doubts my nerdiness), originally Han shot Greedo under the table before Greedo could shoot. George thought this made Han too much of a dick and added in a blast from Greedo so that Greedo shot first. Fans erupted with anger. As I watched this version on BluRay, I could barely tell who shot first. So calm the fuck down, fanboys. You make me embarrassed to count myself amongst your number.
The Empire Strikes Back is probably what most people would call the best movie in the series, and I’d be inclined to agree. The reason? Vader is Luke’s fuckin’ father! HOLY SHIT! Of course, at this point (whether you’ve seen the movie or not) you probably know that. But I remember seeing that when I was a kid and later having to collect my mind from the wall behind me, on account of how much it was blown! The visuals got better as (I assume) the budget increased, not having a movie studio doubting your quality anymore after the success of the original. Now it’s all “Give us money and back the fuck off.” The performances remain in the same quality for the most part. Hamill gets less annoying as he becomes a badass. Watching Han and Leia’s relationship begin to bloom from bickering to love is great, but damaging to me. Why? Because I intend to ruin a great many relationships by only responding to “I love you” with “I know”. Think about it, it will kill many relationships but the one that gets it is meant for me. The puppeteering on Yoda here is amazing. It had so much more personality as a puppet than they were able to pull off with the CGI Yoda in the prequels. But why come Luke travels all that distance to train with a Jedi master just to ignore almost everything he tells him? Vader’s still a badass here, but it’s funny to me when he tries to hide from Luke in their fight because of his breathing problems.
Return of the Jedi wraps it all up for us. Not the best of the 3 but far from a bad movie. Luke has finally graduated to total awesomeness as his training nears completion. The practical, puppet version of Jabba the Hutt was SO much creepier than the CGI one from the prequels and the added scene from A New Hope. In this movie, Leia makes every nerd in the world fall in love with her by wearing a metal bikini as Jabba’s slave, which is much better than her Boushh outfit with the Sega Genesis on her head. And that Rancor is fucking terrifying. They made Ewoks blink in this one, which is a nice touch and makes them more realistic. And watching those adorable mother fuckers die in the battle is the saddest thing ever. PERIOD. Where’s the Sarah McLaughlin video for them?! The benefit of the BluRay remaster was made clearest to me in this movie, when the explosion of the Death Star 2 literally shook my living room. They changed the most things in this movie; all the things you may have seen the fanboy outrage over. The biggest one was that the originally silent scene where Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and throws him to his death now has a Revenge of the Sith-esque “NOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo!” added on top of it. Fanboys cried out in a much similar fashion. But why? I still think it works. I’ve got no problem with this change. It fits and I wouldn’t even have noticed had I not seen it on the internet because I don’t analyze every frame of the film, I just watch it. The change I had a problem with happened a few years ago. And what is that? I miss Yub Nub. Look it up.
Also, a little cool fact I found out while watching these movies: A character says “I have a bad feeling about this” in each of the 6 movies. Obi-Wan in Episode I, Anakin in Episode II, Obi-Wan again in Episode III, Luke and Han in Episode IV, Leia in Episode V, and C-3PO in Episode VI. I wouldn’t have thought of it had I not been reading the trivia about all the movies on IMDB while watching them.
My prognosis here is: AWESOME. I’ve always loved these movies and I can’t imagine there’s anything that could happen in my life, or anything George Lucas could do to them, that would change that. I probably watch these movies at least once a year as the whim strikes me ever since they came out on DVD. And, now in BluRay, they’re at their best. You don’t notice the difference as much in the prequels because they were filmed in higher quality. But when you get to the original series, all of which came out before I was even born, you can really see a big jump in quality of video and sound. My review? “Buy these movies” out of 3000. I think you should buy the whole saga, personally, but if you hate the prequels so much, at least do yourself the favor of picking up the original saga. Don’t make me come to you and wave my hand in front of your face to make you do it.
And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.