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Film Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

DC went all in with this one, as they spent a long time building up to it. With Batman vs Superman basically being an introduction to this film, Wonder Woman has hit our cinema screens and I finally managed to go check it out. What will the clay-made Amazonian bring to the table in terms of story, style and substance? With previous DC films having been criticised so heavily, it was refreshing to watch something that meant a lot to people. As always, buckle up and read on, because here’s our full review.

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Review – Split

Most of the time when I feel compelled to review a film it’s because it was either brilliant and I feel the need to shout about it, or it was just plain awful, and I feel the need to shout about it. With M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, a psychological thriller with hints at the supernatural I have to say…

I’m SPLIT!

What a weird combination of good and bad. It’s nice to remember why we liked Unbreakable and the Sixth Sense and that M. Night can be a good director with clever ideas, but what we have on our hands is a film that shines a light on all the problems with those films too. Let’s get into it: (more…)


Spider-Man Homecoming: A Missed Opportunity

What happens when a Spider-fan, of almost three decades, walks into the most eagerly anticipated Spider-Man film since Spider-Man films were a thing? Well, they do so with a lot of expectation! They carry with them memories of the best bits of five previous Spider-films, a fantastic cameo in Civil War, the 90s Spider-Man cartoon (and its AWESOME theme tune) and a shed load of comic book knowledge. Any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is aware that you can’t get too precious about any of that – there will be changes and you should expect things to be different.

But not like this.

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Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

Cometh the hour, cometh the Spider-Man, right back into the middle of the MCU where he belongs. No backstory, no spider bite – because it has been done – just straight into the life of a teenager irrevocably altered by comicbook logic. Instead we jump in with the Peter Parker straight after the fight in Civil War, hero-worshipping Tony Stark, fully kitted out and ready to get into a fight with someone a little more daunting than the odd bike thief or shoplifter.

After all of the backbiting and corporate petulance between Disney and Sony, it is so good to have Spidey amongst the ranks of the Avengers because without him it all has all seemed a little weird, but here we have a Spider-Man born of the Cinematic Universe, only a child during the New York Incident, and fully immersed in the unique-to-film narratives, lore and history. (more…)


Top 10 Awkward Armours

GeekOut Top 10s

Battlelines are drawn, it’s time to get suited into my gear built for war. On goes these boots, which are ten sizes too large; then on goes my helmet, which is too thick to see out of. It doesn’t matter how big and bulky my armour is though, for you see this is my armour which I wear proudly to combat. I don’t know what I can barely move my arms around in this kit, all that matters is that it’s me and my iron suit out there, wreaking havoc!

Of course, that’s all well said and done, but media really is filled with the most awkward armour known. From ladies armour which barely counts as armour, through to oversized suits which you can barely see out of, all that matters is that the armour must be awkward, either by size, weight or strange designs. Join us this week for another Top 10, where we inspect this armoury as critically as we can.

Before we start, we’d like to say a special thanks to Kevin Kutlesa from The Mental Attic, for his contributions to this week’s Top 10.


Top 10

10) Nautilus – League of Legends

Originally, Nautilus was a pretty normal human who worked out on the seas as a sailor. He was on an expedition to explore the uncharted parts of the Guardian’s Sea. As he explored, he found an area of the water with some black unidentifiable goop, which he needed to investigate further. He put on a diver suit, then went to go into the waters to explore the waters – Only to be grabbed by some dark tendrils. The crew of his ship decided it would be safer for them to make sure he didn’t stay holding onto the ship, so they sailed off without him.

Pulled deep into the water, Nautilus slowly lost consciousness. When he awoken again, he was completely different – But he didn’t know this, as this diver suit was now bound to him. Keeping the horrors of the deep within his armour, the suit is a blessing and a curse. It’s not a great piece to fight wars in, but he had no friends or family, or even a life to return to, so he takes to the rift and gets fighting.

9) Entombing Armour – Goblins

An unofficial title for some of the most devastating armour in Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes. An item called The Shield of Wonder causes random magical effects each time it is struck, so you can imagine the chaos caused when Complains, the goblin currently wielding the shield dives straight onto a forest of upturned spears. In the fight, one of his attackers strikes the shield, only to watch his weapon dissolve and start covering him.

The resulting armour gets steadily bigger, better, cooler, grows spikes, rapidly growing from studded leather, to chain mail, scale, plate, then suddenly onwards to a juggernaut of shielding, growing ever bigger and heavier. It dawns on the victim that this is going too far, as his movement is restricted, he can’t move for the size of the suit, until eventually he vanishes inside a sarcophagus of metal plates, with nothing but a slight trickle of blood to clue you in to his fate.

8) Light Leather Armour of Nightmares (Light) – Lineage 2

Lineage 2 is perhaps a name you don’t remember. A very old MMO, and one that took skimpy armour to professional levels. But where other MMOs are content with giving the female characters tiny pieces of armour, Lineage 2 was all about equal opportunity when it came to dressing up (or down) the heroes characters play, focusing on showing as much skin as they could.

And that’s where this armour comes from, its purpose not being to protect its wearer but to show their impressive abs. I’ll admit, that’s an insane 6-pack there, but I doubt they’re strong enough to stop a sword.

I mean, maybe I’m crazy, but I thought the purpose of body armor was to protect the freaking body, not just show it off!

7) The Jake Suit – Adventure Time

Jake’s super stretchy powers and weirdly close bond with little brother Finn allows the young human hero to wear armour made of Jake. Seriously, he just climbs right on into his mouth and wears him, face poking out between the teeth, running around using Jakes incredible shape changing and durability to its full, two trained brothers working in unison, strengths combined into one unstoppable and super weird hero-ing machine.

Jake naturally takes all the pain and loses all control as Finn’s awesome will takes over the host fully, pushing Jake’s dogbrain out of the equation. It raises some awkward questions too, like what does Finn taste like? And whose idea was this in the first place? It gets even weirder when roles are reversed, and Jake tries to teach Finn to be more careful, letting his mutable form flow through Finn’s veins, wrap around his muscles and bones. No part of this situation is normal, but it’s effective if nothing else.

6) Rachel – Ninja Gaiden

You know those stories about women’s armour in games being not armour at all, but rather something to objectify women? Yeah, this might be one of those cases – Rachel is a hell of a character, who first made her debut in the Xbox Ninja Gaiden game, as one of two playable characters. She’s able to kick a lot of butt and she’s got a heck of a tragic backstory, which brings her likability right to the forefront of her character.

But a lot of people won’t be able to see past the fact that her armour is literally a fetish night out, as she wears very little. Let’s just say, if you ever wanted to know what she looked like without clothes on, you basically just had to look at her. It’s not practical as armour, it’s not a good look for someone claiming to be a Fiend Hunter… It’s just really awkward to look at. A lot of people may disagree, thinking it makes perfect sense, which in its own round about way, it might do – as she leaps all over the place with ease.

5) Darknut – LoZ Wind Waker

It’s gotta be tough being Ganon in The Wind Waker. Your powers are sealed in the lost kingdom of Hyrule, and the best knights at your disposal, the Darknuts, wear an armor where all its pieces and plates are bound to the same exact spot on their backs. It takes only a quick slash to that knot and the entire suit falls apart.

When all it takes is a swipe to turn your dark knights into medieval nudists, you know you need new personnel, Ganon.

4) Batnipples – Batman and Robin

Nipples were just the start of the problems for this batsuit. The Caped Crusader’s armour was never worse than under Schumacher’s direction, and you can get it all in full glory from the montage. Batbutt tight and plasticky, batcodpiece given an unnecessary closeup, the cloak which just looks like a bin liner, and the neck that completely removes what little acting Clooney had left in him after looking at the script.

It might even be the worst part of the film, and that’s saying something in the face of the ice puns, all of Poison Ivy, all of Bane, just… all of the film. Oh while we’re still talking batsuits, shall we discuss the silver trimmed suits for the grand finale? One that batgirl is also wearing that is absolutely not the same one that she put on in her own gratuitous montage! Even Freeze’s suit makes more sense, a little OTT on the neon perhaps but it’s on point for the character at least. And there are no Batnipples!

3) The Berserker Armour – Berserk

On first glance, the Berserker Armor is perfect for Berserk protagonist Guts. It numbs pain, helps him push his strength far beyond the “safe” limits of human bodies, the point where muscles begin to burn and burst, and even restores him from external and self-inflicted wounds.

But you know, there’s a reason its previous owner, the Skull Knight, sealed it away and it may be that it can send its wearer into murderous frenzy rages, where they can’t distinguish between friend or foe and just want to rip things apart. I may also slowly deteriorate the wearer’s mind, making it easier for this berserking effect to take hold.

2) Xanthous Armour – Dark Souls

If one ventures into the Painted World of Ariamis in Dark Souls to face the crossbreed Priscilla, one can go on to face Xanthous King, Jeremiah, a mysterious figure who appears to slay the player if the proper circumstances are met. I’ll admit, I have not played a Dark Souls game yet, but I adore the series for its design. Or at least I did.

It’s a giant mummified wooden spoon!

Ok, from the neck down, this light armour set is actually pretty cool, best Curse protection in the game, some great resistance values, although it’s listed as granting no Poise bonus. But really, is there any wonder when putting the hat on makes you look like you’re about to BAKE A CAKE HEAD FIRST? Oh, and in Dark Souls 3 it gets flattened out, so now instead of looking like a utensil, you instead look like the Pharaohs head chef. EMPHASIS ON HEAD!

Kudos to those who have cosplayed the Mighty Spoon of Xanthous, the Tick would be proud of all of you.

1) Alphonse Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist

Alphonse Elric and his older brother Edward lost their mother at an early age, leaving them alone and vulnerable. They were prodigies in the art of alchemy, showing off ability far beyond their ages. Although their mother died, they decided to research human transmutation, a forbidden skill in alchemy – As the principles of alchemy is deeply entrenched in the law of equivalent exchange. For whatever you get out, you must put in something of an equal value – and how can you put a value on a life?

After the transmutation circle goes horribly wrong, Alphonse loses his body and Edward loses his leg. Edward sacrifices his arm to make sure Alphonse can come back, however he isn’t able to save Al’s body – Only his soul. Using his blood, Edward binds Al’s soul to an old, clunky suit of armour. Whilst Al is grateful to be alive, being stuck in this cumbersome form is part of the centrepiece of the series. Between Ed wanting his arm and leg back, Al vows to get his body back as well. But, if we had to say a positive, it makes him look very cool and he can hide cats inside of him. As well as cats, he can hide people… But that doesn’t always go so well.


Honourable Mentions

Feeling uncomfortable? If you’re dressing for the job you want, clearly we’re out for a job in shifting from foot to foot and asking if it’s too hot, or when they can take this off, like a politician or pantomime horse. But the inept armourer isn’t resting his hammer just yet, there’s still a couple more rejects too bad for the rejects drawer of awkward armour, deserving of honourable mention.

Diamond Skin – Diablo 3

Okay, so nearly everything else on the list has actually been something physical, so we needed to throw in some more magical armours as well. We thought about what magical armour out there is all that impractical? Could we talk about a Mage’s Ice Block? We figured we had a better idea for World of Warcraft, so we didn’t put that in… So what could we pick? Funnily enough, we came to Diablo 3, a game notorious for characters needing a huge amount of toughness to get anywhere late game.

Diamond Skin is an ability that turns one’s skin into that of diamonds. This is a pretty fabulous looking ability, which is rather handy, as it doesn’t seem to hinder the user in any real way. However, whenever I look at it, I always think about how ridiculously blinding it must be walking around as literal diamonds. The above picture alone glows so much that I think I need to replace my retinas!

Arborweave (Druid Tier 12) – World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft raid tier sets range from the amazing to the ludicrous and often follow the theme of their raid, with Tier 12 tied to the Firelands and thus they all have some element of “burning” in their design, but only the druids have to wear still-burning pieces of wood.

Other classes have torches for shoulderguards or helmets, and that’s fine, it’s actually functional, but who in their right minds would wear an armor made of wood for one, not the best material for protection against evil, and second, having parts of it still be on fire. It’s almost as if the Druid rolled over a campfire.


Our battle is finally over, it’s time to rest. Let’s take off our helms and finally kick off these massive greaves, as it’s now a time for peace and quiet. So, whilst we spend the next twenty years taking our equipment off, why don’t you get involved with the voting process and decide what our next Top 10 is going to be?

Once again, we’d like to take a minute to say a massive thank you to Kevin for his contributions to this list – We probably couldn’t have done it without you! If you want to take part in helping us write these Top 10’s, let us know in the comments below. Meanwhile: What did you think of our list for this week? Was our selection of armour just awkward enough to make you think “How…? Why..?” Did we get the order right? As always, leave all your thoughts below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Top 10 Royal Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

Even amongst monarchy there is a hierarchy; some kings are more kingly than others, entire reality shows are dedicated to picking the best queen, and with so many Disney princesses how are you to choose? Be they leaders of government, warrior monarchs, whether they reign over nations, planets or worlds, all were considered.

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Top 10 – Video Game Films

GeekOut Top 10s

“Wow, this game’s story is so complex, it’d make a great movie!” – Ancient proverb.

Okay, so the above isn’t really an ancient proverb, but let’s be honest: You’ve heard a gamer say this at least once in your life. I know I’ve heard it a dozen times and nine times out of ten, this ends up being a bad decision. However, sometimes we get something that’s a little bit special. Video Games are interactive media, as opposed to a static media, which means the stories they tell can be varied and even of branching plots.

Whatever you think about video game movies, we’re here to discuss the Top 10 Video Game Movies. Before we get into the actual list, this means that the film must have a game as well. The film doesn’t have to be based on the game or the game doesn’t have to be based on the film, but the actual setting and world needs to be used in one capacity or the other.


Top 10

10) Ratchet and Clank

For the uninitiated, Ratchet and Clank are two very strange fellows indeed. A mechanic ‘Lombax’, a cat-like fictional race made for the purposes of the franchise, becomes friends with this adorable little robot who he names Clank. Ratchet having learned of an alien race known as the Blarg, who were going around on a ship called the deplanetiser, wanted to join a resistance group against them, but is ultimately rejected. Still keen to ensure the safety of his planet, Ratchet goes on a mission.

This was a box office flop, so even if you’re a fan of the games this could not go any higher than this. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people will barely know this film exists, but we had to make a mention to it. The film was released in 2016 and whilst critics panned it and it wasn’t profitable (indeed losing money), it was cute enough to be considered for the list. But it wasn’t just because it’s cute; The film was made of pretty well done CGI, but more importantly, it used game assets to make the film. This really was a non-playable version of the game.

9) Angry Birds Movie

Let me begin by saying that I wanted this spot to go to Max Payne! But somehow, SOMEHOW both the box office and the critics disagreed! I understand that Angry Birds is a more popular game (which is just… I mean it was done to death before the game was even released) and that Max Payne is something of a brutal game series lacking in “family friendliness” but there’s no question which was the better film.

Parents of rabid children who are allowed to get at mummy and daddy’s iPad were dragged to a puerile plot beleaguered with fart jokes and characters thinner than the premise, whose announcement was greeted by disbelief by both fans and detractors. That popularity earns it a place at #9 on our list, and is probably to blame for the Emoji movie that’s on it’s way.

8) Mortal Kombat vs Street Fighter

There can only be one true fighting game film.

Mortal Kombat is well known for having reached number one in the US box office for three weeks! We look back at this film and can barely believe it, as it’s such a cheesefest. The plot of the film basically revolves around the tournament, featuring all of your favourite characters, such as Raiden, Liu Kang and a guy who basically says he’s Johnny Cage (I don’t know what I was expecting really). It’s a tournament of goodies vs baddies; if the baddies win, Shao Khan will be able to invade and take over Earth. Marvellous!

Conversely to Mortal Kombat then, we have Street Fighter. Featuring some massive names, such as Kylie Minogue as Cammy, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile and Raúl Juliá (known for being Gomez Addams in the first two Addams Family films) as M. Bison. Cheese galore, character roles are switched up as Ryu and Ken become swindlers and BANG – You’ve got yourself a film that was a humongous flop in the box office; costing 35 million and earning them less than a million. Yeowch!

But, it’s all about the impact these films left on you – Which of these two packed the most punch?

7) Super Mario Bros.

An early example of video game films going bad, Super Mario Bros. was a film based on the hyper successful video game franchise of Mario. Featuring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi, the two brothers find a parallel universe, where King Koopa (Bowser as we better know him) is a ruthless ruler. Upon finding out about both universes, King Koopa wants to merge them to rule over them both. The Mario Bros. team up with Princess Daisy to stop King Koopa in his tracks.

Okay, so this film was a flop, being criticised on almost every front. It still managed to win some awards and in some cases, it won our hearts. It’s somewhat of a cult classic these days, which isn’t too surprising when you think about it. But, overall, this wacky film just wasn’t the best way to adapt the plumber brothers to the big screen. A crying shame too, as the cast was actually pretty good!

6) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Jerry Bruckheimer brought Dastan to the big screen, and while it was amongst the first big titles to be spat at for Hollywood whitewashing, Jake Gyllenhaal is rarely bad in anything. In effect Sands of Time may have ended up something more akin to a repaint of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it managed to give us the wall running, fast paced action one might expect of a platformer, an edge of the mythic, a Disney love story, and ostrich racing.

The plot is transparent and incoherent in equal measure, the action sequences are beautiful if a little over-padded to fill run time and give us stronger ties to the game, and yet the final result is a video game that got real blockbuster attention long before Assassin’s Creed or Warcraft. Ok, a forgettable blockbuster amongst a flood of bland blockbusters, but it got its own Lego set.

5) Assassin’s Creed

We’re under no illusions here, despite the massively award winning cast and the enormous franchise it built upon, Assassin’s Creed isn’t going to be winning any awards of its own. It suffers a lot of the same issues harboured by a lot of video game films, but did a lot of very positive things for the format. It played well to the core concept, took an original stance without destroying everything that came before, and made the sensible decision to include an original central character.

The enormous animus arm offered a more dramatic take on the link between host and memories, and gave us a very “video game moment” for the final escape from the Templar compound. The narrative may have been very rushed but it was fairly well executed, may have been a little over-reliant on people knowing the games, but overall it was a well presented and stylish spectacle that may very well have helped the video game blockbuster along just a little more.

4) Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart and friends return, two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. With Sephiroth gone, a trio have been found kidnapping children, inflicting upon them a dreadful disease. After being summoned to a meeting, Cloud and co find out that the trio were a physical manifestation of Sephiroth’s soul, which was inflicting serious damage. The crew get back together to find and stop the trio.

Stunning; truly stunning is what I’d call this. The animation was fantastic, even if the plot itself was a little bit lacking. You also need to take into account that the film was made back in 2005, which eventually got remastered in 2009. Over the years, the animation quality got more and more impressive, seriously spurring on some top quality CGI that could make even Pixar cry. Yes it’s true; we can’t rate it higher, as really this is a pretty niche game to put in the list – Especially since the film was a Direct-to-DVD release.

3) Resident Evil vs Silent Hill

Our second versus in one article; there can only be one horror video game movie!

Resident Evil

Resident Evil has been a constant success in the box office; the first film alone more than tripled the production cost. The Umbrella Corporation, with a lab underneath Racoon City, called The Hive, are doing genetic research; creating the ultimate lifeform. When a thief tries to steal the formula, the Red Queen awakens, sealing The Hive and killing everyone who was inside. In an attempt to get an antivirus to stop the now spreading gasses which were causing the dead to walk!

Resident Evil is a bit of a weird one to place in this list, if only because it’s sometimes hard to think back about the films. In 2016, the franchise of films was finally finished with a film decisively called “The Final Chapter”. Okay, see you again in a few more years then, Resident Evil production team! I jest, but honestly, the films have gone up and down in ratings over the years, but none can deny the amazing scene in Resident Evil 2 where Alice rides through a Church window on a God damn motorbike. Holy mother of God, that scene is cool!

Silent Hill

The nightmarish world of Silent Hill lends itself beautifully to the big screen, a visually haunting spectacle that directly impacts the character who appears therein. In the case of the film it becomes a town enslaved to the malice and vengeance of a little girl burned for witchcraft, the zealous monsters within trapped forever by monsters born of her worst nightmares.

Lots of monologuing makes for a hard sold plot in between visual spectacle, and the less said about Sean Bean’s accent the better, but we were presented with the classic imagery of the game franchise, and all of the monsters who dwell in its fog ridden streets. It’s even a very watchable film, positively enjoyable, but ties to the game may have gotten a little too tenuous for some fans to tolerate.

2) DOOM

Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban head up a team of expendable jarheads played by equally expendable actors, but between them and Rosamund Pike we get some comfortably high quality performances plunged into a very FPS style narrative complete with horrifying demon monsters. The film suffers in AvP Requiem style darkness to hide the rubbery monsters, cheese levels spare us such horrors as “wooshing” torches, but spare no cliches on dialogues, crappy jump scares and unlovable one-dimensional characters, but DOOM didn’t get this far in our list by being adequate.

DOOM has been cited as a prime example of “what not to do” when adapting a video game to film, but take a moment to really consider some of the key components and you may come to appreciate what was being attempted. A group of combatants are given a quest, to sweep a compound and secure three servers for data, important information is drip fed to them gradually, giving a slow burning horror, culminating in the film going full on First-Person for Urban’s final showdown against big-boss The Demon-Rock Johnson. In many ways the content would have made for some fantastic video game moments, but did not make for a terrific film. Not bad for 2005, but at the time we saw a glimpse of what might be…

1) Warcraft

With the Fel Orcs tearing apart their homeworld, the Warlock Gul’Dan looks to expand his people’s homes into a new world – Azeroth. The Guardian of Tirisfel, Medivh, is warned by a young mage, Khadgar, about the fel energies that were appearing. The Frostwolf Clan who came with the Fel Orcs try to liaise with the humans to warn them of the dangers coming their way – Only for them to be ambushed. With such tension between Orcs and Humans, the World of Warcraft’s story has begun in a big way.

Anyone who saw this blockbuster will be filled with hope; that video game films are finally on the horizon of becoming a massive thing. Blizzard put so much love and care into this film, that honestly, you could feel like this was a love letter to their fans. This was the sort of tip of the hat we expect from Blizzard when they’re not being complacent. This is the Blizzard we love; and this film was their thank you to their fans. Hopefully, this film made a few new fans… and I can’t wait for the next film. Want to know more? Check out our full review of Warcraft. Also, let’s not forget the fact – This is the highest grossing video game movie adaptation of all time as of the time of writing.


Honourable Mentions

Now it’s over to the less popular opinions; the honourable mentions. These we felt deserved to be included, because they might not quite fit our criteria, or they were just absolutely dreadful. It’s worth noting however, these still basically count for the video game movie category we’ve defined, it’s just they kind of fall outside of the direct criteria.

Wreck-It-Ralph

It may not be entirely possible to summarise the whole of the arcade gaming world in a film so elegantly as Wreck-It-Ralph. Not only were there cameos from diehard classics like Cubert, Sonic, and Pac-Man, but we also got a heartwarming story from the perspective of a bad-guy about how much easier it is for other people to accept us when we accept ourselves.

While Ralph may not be based on any real in-game character like his friends were, there’s a rather obvious parallel to Donkey Kong, whose nemesis was a plumber rather than a builder, the game-style is very similar, and of course Donkey also went on to be a heroic character himself. Even without that transparent homage we’d be doing this list a disservice by omitting this one.

Pokemon Movie

Relegated to the honourable mentions section because – let’s be honest with ourselves here – the Pokemon film is more directly linked to the supporting anime series, a tie-in to a tie-in if you will. We’d still be incredibly callous to leave it out. In this standalone story we follow the origins of Mewtwo, derived from the genetics of Mew. In an unsurprising Mary Shelley twist, creation turns on creator, and a civil war of sorts ensues.

Unapologetically heartbreaking, the film sets out to give us a lesson of unity and togetherness as Mewtwo comes to realise that he has become everything he despised in his master, and that that can be genuine love between Man and Mon. If only Ultron could have seen Pikachu trying to wake up Ash, I bet his vibranium heart would have melted.

A Dishonourable Mention

Just one, despite a dearth of bad films, many of which receiving bigger praise than they deserve here, I must spontaneously bring to bear the one name that all will hold aloft as the curse wrought upon the marriage of video game and film industries, and the only director whose name I curse more highly than Zack Snyder. Mercifully retired, but a blemish that shall linger, courtesy of Bloodrayne, In the Name of the King, and Alone in the Dark. Many of his films were somehow crowdfunded, meaning people wanted to see them happen!

If you gave money to Uwe Bol, you are an accessory to Uwe Bol. Let us say no more.


That’s it, your time is up and it’s now game over! Time for us to count the scores for the potential list for next week, so click on the one you most want to see listed and we’ll be sure to throw together another high quality article… At least, we’ll push our articles through our Quality Assurance guys. What? There’s a bug in our articles? NOOO!

We’ve seen enough video game movies to last a lifetime, however we hope that with the recent rise in quality of video game movies, we start to see the medium taken even more seriously. Perhaps video games will be the next comic movies? Or perhaps not. What did you make of our list? Did the best ones get in? Did we forget any really big video game movie? Is our order right? As always, let us know what you thought in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

 


Top 10 Flamboyantly Ominous Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

Last week, our vote was a tie. Usually what we do in these situations, is roll a die for odds/evens and whoever calls it gets the one they choose. This time, Timlah said to Joel: “I think we can do this”. Lo and behold, we managed it. We combined the tied votes to create a brand new Top 10 that you all voted for. Perhaps the will of the people wasn’t to do this, but the votes sent us this way.

Flamboyant characters can be hard to judge: they’re often more than just a bit player in their franchise. Often they’re scary, in fact, they’re usually a little bit ominous. They stand out in a realm of “the norm”, they dress fancy, they talk differently and their minds are wired in a very unique way. They’re dangerous but fabulous, they’re ominous, they’re flamboyant… they’re in our Top 10 Flamboyantly Ominous Characters list!

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Review – Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Having only reviewed Justice League Dark last week, I’d intended to leave my review for Judas Contract for a little while, and then I watched it. I have mentioned a couple of times how much I enjoy the animated DC films, but one of the more pleasant surprises for me has been the Teen Titans, a super team who might actually be more fun to watch than the Avengers. The Judas Contract is their second outing in the series, following on from the team of teens taking down the Justice League, but that doesn’t make this adventure a down-grade.

The young and the superpowered work together under the tutelage of the alien princess Starfire and the first Robin turned Nightwing, Dick Grayson. Amongst their number you have Raven, a young girl who bears a crystal that imprisons her demonic father; Blue Beetle, a boy whose symbiotic relationship with an ancient egyptian killing machine is still unexplored; current Robin and recovering assassin Damien Wayne; Terra, a girl with personality problems and the power to move mountains, and Beastboy… who will probably be fine.

The Spoiler Free Bit

One thing I must credit the animated films with is not wasting time on origin stories because they know their market. We receive just enough to get us kicked off and from there we’re thrust into narrative. It’s something that Jessica Jones probably did best, leaving the history to unravel a little more organically throughout the narrative through little expositional moments that lend a great deal of texture to each character. For the more knowledgeable fans it gets you straight through all of the boring “we know already” moments and to business, but even as someone whose knowledge is limited there’s a lot gained from this approach, you’re already engaged enough to want to learn more about who you’re watching.

It’s also important not to delude yourself that the Titans are not exactly for kids. Oh sure, they translate easily enough into a kids show style format, Teen Titans Go being the most current incarnation, but do not show the Judas Contract to young ones unless you want to accelerate their education of “the facts of life”. Here’s why:

Our villains are twofold. The grandiose cult leader Brother Blood holds sway over a deeply unpleasant church dedicated entirely to him, a messiah/living god figure who has acquired various forms of longevity and immortality, sustaining himself with blood rituals and draining the vitality of others. After nine centuries of patience he now has access to a machine that will allow him to steal the superpowers of others, along with their lives, but to bring them in he requires help. Enter League of Assassins reject and one of the scariest villains ever to grace the Arrowverse, Deathstroke/Slade Wilson. Hired by blood as a mercenary to keep the Titans at bay until he’s good and ready.

Between Blood literally bathing in the blood of a reporter beneath the freshly drained corpse, the rather “forward” advances of Deathstroke’s young and curvy partner in crime, unapologetic use of bad language and Starfire’s inability to filter comments about her relationship with Dick Grayson, this is not one to sit down to with the kids unless you’re ready to answer some questions. There are a bunch of teens after all, teens dealing with murderers and lunatics but that doesn’t stop puberty happening. This does all mean that the comedy is just perfect, alongside some superb characterisation, perhaps most of all from Beastboy.

Biggest let down is the action, best summarised by a fight against some gun-drones that politely hold their fire while the team dodge and prep their weapons, or demonstrate some classic storm-trooper accuracy. Blue Beetle’s scarab-armour also seems undecided about its own powers, as I feel he should be more than capable of busting loose of his restraints towards the beginning of the final conflict, even if it was debilitated. I also have a monolithic plot hole I’d like to point out, but there’s some spoiler to get through first…

Surprise Reveal!

It’s hard not to guess it before the big plot twist about 30 minutes in, but it turns out the new girl, Terra, is a traitor working for Deathstroke, feeding information for a year back to her boss and lover, hence “Judas Contract”. Honestly if you didn’t guess traitor from that you need to read more, maybe watch more films. You’re almost guaranteed to see the double-cross that comes towards the end when Slade sells Terra to Brother Blood along with the rest of the Titans.

So the plot hole. Following an attempt at grabbing a scientist working on Blood’s life-sucking device, the scientist dies but leaves behind a rather conclusive proof of an insider, detailed profiles of the team and candid photographs, in which only one member of the team is conspicuously absent despite having been a member for a full year. And no one even asked the question? Not even Batman-trained Dick Grayson?

That aside, the whole betrayal narrative gives us some great moments of comic-book self awareness. Banter between Slade and Robin points a huge finger at common villain stupidity, although my personal favourite line comes shortly after Terra glibly discusses how the Titans are all about to die, and Deathstroke says “Urgh, no grey areas with this one!”

Overall

This is really just a good quality super-hero adventure. Sadly I can’t speak to accuracy to the comics, although based on past performances I’d hazard a guess at “close enough” at least for those more casually inclined toward comics. It’s engaging enough that I find I’m almost as keen to see the next instalment as I am to see the next Marvel blockbuster.

It’s also incredibly gratifying to see a company who aren’t afraid to plunge a group of plucky teens into a very grim story, after all these aren’t average happy teenagers. They’re cursed, burdened, shunned and alone, pledged to save lives at all costs, trained daily to combat terrible evils and the worst of humanity. This is why I found myself most enthralled with the character of Beastboy, despite one rather stupid moment where he’s presented with a “DO NOT PUSH” button. He wears his suffering plainly, but at the same time is unapologetic in embracing life, simultaneously filled with joy and sorrow and willing to share them both with anyone who’ll listen.

Suddenly I feel the need to buy comics.


If you’re at UKGE at the Birmingham NEC this weekend let us know. I’ll be there with catharsisjelly, getting our fill of board games and geekery all the way through ’til Sunday.


Review – Justice League Dark

Is anyone else livid over the fact that Constantine got cancelled while Gotham limps on? I hear that Legends of Tomorrow got better, same as Supergirl, but I gave them both a chance and just couldn’t keep watching, and yet one of the three good DC shows got axed. Matt Ryan brilliantly played the sarcastic one-man army standing against the darkness that lies beyond the veil of illusion we call life, who walks between heaven and hell and raises a middle finger to both. The intention was to incorporate the series into the Arrowverse, a plan which has apparently not been entirely scrapped.

Y’see much like many of his nemeses, Constantine just won’t die. There was a brief stop-motion mini-series, a cameo on Arrow, an animated series underway in a few months time, and a starring feature in one of DCs far superior animated film series, Justice League Dark. Where is this DC? (more…)