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Hard Project: Jurassic Park

Fun for people who like watching from the sidelines, less so for pop culture generators.

Let’s see how absurd this all looks in another ten years of research, because we still don’t know a fragment of what we like to pretend we know about dinosaurs.

The Jurassic Park franchise seems a lot like its main draw – it keeps dying out, then getting resurrected through increasingly flimsy means as an excuse every few years.  We’re getting another movie soon, and while the temptation to see it remains because I both love Chris Pratt and dinosaurs, I also know that there’s literally no movie that has been made or will ever be made that can actually live up to what was done with the first film.

Which itself was less of a great film and more of a long love letter to special effects with a fairly straightforward plot, but at least it inspired one of the best fan videos of all time.

But I have to say, the discordant screeching of that right there is how I feel when I fire up pretty much any video game based on the franchise.  Every single time.  I’m not saying that every single one of them is terrible, I’m saying that none of them really replicate what Jurassic Park is or was, and we might need to find a different way to get our dinosaur-shooting impulses out in video game form.  A different, non-Turok way, preferably.

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Going back to the start

And yes, I get that IDW is slow-rolling lots of stuff from G1, but sometimes it's more interesting when they don't.

It’s a promo image; I just wish they were more interesting combiners to promote.

I was excited for the launch of the Combiner Wars subline for Transformers, because I really like giant robots that transform and I really like when those giant transforming robots themselves transform into combined robots.  But I was also apprehensive, because I had a pretty strong feeling that it was going to mean a whole bunch of the same thing we see every time.  And sure enough, we have another Optimus Prime, and the first two combiners are the Aerialbots and the Stunticons.

This was not altogether surprising.  As we prepare for another Spider-man movie that yet again sets the clock back to the earliest stories, it’s worth asking the question of why we keep feeling the need to retell these stories until we’re all blue in the face.  It’s not that there’s a problem with remaking things; I quite like when someone takes something familiar and puts a new twist on it.  I am, however, less thrilled when that “new twist” is just an update in the time of release.

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Hard Project: The Matrix

And it went so desperately wrong.

How could this have gone wrong? Oh, wait, all the ways.

The Matrix is one of those things that was a very big deal when it came out and then faded in importance about five minutes later.  It’s been a decade since the last film, and the odds of us seeing another one are slim to none.  Which is a shame, because it’s still a franchise I like quite a bit, even if I’d like it more if we had gotten the prequel-and-sequel the Wachowskis had originally wanted instead of the single sequel split into two parts.

If you like pretending the two sequels didn’t happen, imagine them as one lean two-hour film and start falling in love again.

We’ve seen three games based on the franchise, with one of them (The Matrix Online) both failing to live up to the promise of that concept and completely failing to deliver on what was originally conceived of in a persistent universe.  It kind of makes sense, if you think about it.  Even though the movies look great and prompt lots of thoughts vis-a-vis “man, it’d be great to play this as a game,” the whole thing winds up being a really hard project from the word go.

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Review scores are silly

Because why not.

I give this questline a solid twelve elf ancestors out of four.

I hate review scores and I always have since the age of, oh, let’s just say ten.  Don’t get me wrong; I understand the why behind them.  I know full well why people have felt it necessary to append a whole written review with a score at the very end, a quick and easy sound bite.  But I think that anything more ornate than a thumb up or down is gilding the lily, and even that has a central problem of obscuring the most valuable part of the review: the actual review.

What I do here could not be construed as “reviewing” beyond demos and the occasional Patron-sponsored piece.  I have no temptation to do scored reviews, and we’ve already seen a few high-profile gaming news sites yank scores from their reviews.  But this is an issue that goes beyond just video games.  It’s something that we’ve had to deal with for years in movies, comics, shows, and almost everything else.  It’s trying to boil a whole lot of factors down to a number.  It’s silly, and it’s destructive, and it’ll be best if we can get rid of it.

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Your childhood is too fragile

Also he was still awful, just smaller and a different sort of cute.

The awfulness of this beast now makes him no less of an adorable kitten back then.

Being a fan of Transformers insulated me pretty well.  I don’t mean a casual fan that didn’t realize the franchise had run pretty much continuously in one form or another since 1984, the generation that played with the toys as kids and then realized that Michael Bay was making a movie based on that franchise.  I mean that I was a fan as soon as I was old enough to understand what the show was.  I wrote a long string of fanfics about stuff during Beast Wars.  I was a big fan.

So I sure as hell was disappointed when the film turned out to be a terrible cluster of explosions and bland, ignorable characters.  But I also knew the difference between that and childhood ruination, which would be impossible without the aid of a multi-directional time machine.

I’m not saying that this franchise and the characters it contained were not childhood icons, because they totally were.  I’m saying that the internet is full of people who have either never ended their childhoods or have some really weird ideas about how things happening now would affect their younger selves.  If your childhood is being ruined by a modern remake of something you enjoyed when you were younger?  Your childhood is way too fragile.

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