Traitor In Our Midst – SkyFall

28 11 2012

Video Game reviewer Ben “YAHTZEE” Croshaw made a very good comment about spies –

“You see, a spy who breaks into an enemy base and kills everyone isn’t a very good spy, any monkey can kill with a gun, if it’s a very bad monkey”.

If you think about it, it’s true. A spy’s job is to spy on people and feedback information and not necessarily commit evil corporation Genocide which is usually the case in all most films. But I suppose that a spy film where a bloke does nothing but paperwork would not be very interesting although it may get an academy award. But when you like at recent James Bond films you can see a sort of origins story in it which is always popular. Everyone loves an origins story and that is a good thing because the latest James Bond film SkyFall is the best James Bond film since Die Another Day (10 years ago).

The film starts off with 007 chasing someone around somewhere in Turkey with help from his aide Eve. He is chasing someone who has some confidential data on a hard drive. The chase goes all over this town, through a market, onto rooftops and then onto a train. However the chase ends badly when 007 is shot by his aide when she is instructed to take a shot at the other person. 007 falls into a river and the opening titles begin.

M is writing the obituary of 007 and is later called to see the chairman of the intelligence and security committee, Gareth Mallory. She is put under pressure to retire but refuses to do so. On her way back to MI6 HQ there is a security hack inside the building from her computer which results in the explosion of her office at MI6. Meanwhile Bond is recovering in some unknown location and finds out about this and returns to England. MI6 is now stationed in WW2 bunker formerly used by Churchill. 007 goes through several tests to be put back on the job and appears to pass. Eve has been given a small desk job for the time being. Bond also meets the new Q who gives him a gun that only he can use and a small transmitter.

007 is sent to Shanghai to deal with the bloke from the beginning of the film. He heads to a building where the man kills an Asian man on the building opposite. Bond accidently kills the man when he falls from the building. 007 is spotted by the women from the other side, he also picks up a gambling chip from the man’s equipment box. Meanwhile M finds out that 3 Nato Agents have been killed and she has to appear in front of a tribunal. 007 heads to Macau along with Eve where he hands in the chip and receives millions of euros. He also meets the woman and asks her if she can meet her employer. Bond has a small scuffle with some thugs in a Komodo Dragon pit and then leaves with Eve. He gets on the Woman’s boat and they are both taken prisoner and head to small unknown island. There Bond meets former MI6 agent Raoul Silva (when I first saw this person I mistook the actor for Donald Sutherland, Now he would make a Great Bond Villain) who blames M for his torture in China. He kills the Asian woman and almost kills bond in a bizarre shooting game but then army helicopters arrive who were signalled by bond’s transmitter.

They all arrive back at MI6 where M has a word with Silva before heading to her Tribunal. Meanwhile Q and Bond try to decrypt Silva’s laptop but accidently hack MI6 which allows him to escape. Bond gives chase through the London Underground. M is being questioned at the tribunal and is almost being used as a scapegoat. Bond reaches Silva, but Silva escapes thanks to a bomb which derails an underground train. Silva heads for Westminster and tries to kill M but Bond arrives in good time. Silva escapes and Bond takes M to Scotland in his original Aston Martin and asks for Q and M’s aide to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for Silva.

007 and M arrive at Bond’s old home SkyFall and meet his old game keeper Kincade. All three set up his old house in wait for the attack from Silva. His men arrive and thanks to traps set up all over the house they are successful, then Silva arrives with more men in a helicopter. Bond destroys his house and escapes through a secret tunnel which M and Kincade used earlier. However M has a serious injury on her hand. Silva gives chase as Bond falls through an ice pack and deals with one of his men. Silva finds M and sees she is hurt, and decides to try and kill both himself and M. Bond arrives however and kills Silva with a hunting knife. Bond is too late though as M dies of her injury. Back in London, Eve gives Bond a gift from M’s will and decides to take a desk job being the secretary for the new M and introduces herself as Eve Moneypenny. Gareth Mallory has been given the job as the new M and gives 007 his next assignment.

SkyFall is a brilliant entry to the series. While I am not necessarily a fan of the Daniel Craig era because I like the Super Weapons and Super Villains. I mean, why exactly was the bloke in Quantum Of Solace Evil? SkyFall is a strong entry to the series and deserves a lot of credit. The film’s cast are a nice blend of current members along with some good new members. Bérénice Marlohe‘s character is interesting despite being killed off early on, if only she was featured more in the film. Ben Wishaw is a great Q and could be mistaken for Benedict Cumberbatch (to some people), he also has a trait of Henrik Hanssen from Holby City. Naomie Harris (Eve) is also a great addition and is slightly more reassuring than most people in the film. However my favourite character has to be Kincade (Albert Finney). Why has this guy not been in the series before? Let’s just hope that he is featured again (does anyone else think he looks like Brian Blessed?). Javier Bardem (Silva) is a pretty good villain but is too weird however he is a better villain than Stephen Lang in Avatar (just thought I would mention that).

But of course we need to pay tribute to Dame Judi Dench who has played M for 7 films. She leaves at the 50th Anniversary, a good time to finish, Thank you M for many Great Years and Great Films. OK she had to die to leave instead of living on and just retiring.

It is nice to see that the love relationships are not really apparent in this film and as a result do not slow down the plot like most films in the series (Diamonds are Forever). There are several other great scenes like the scenes in Shanghai but it is nice to see that London is used more in this film. I think London is greatly overlooked in the series and should be included more often and not just as a launching point. The scene at SkyFall could have been improved greatly with the right music, it was interesting to watch them set up the place, I think that they should have used a different soundtrack for that scene though, it does remind me of a TV Show from the 80’s, you know what I mean – The A-Team.

(When you watch that scene again, put this music to it, You know it makes sense)

The film’s effects were done very well, The Komodo Dragons were nicely done and looked real, very important (even though it did seem obvious that was going to happen). The Excavator on the train was especially good but best of all, the explosion at MI6 and the Underground Train topped all that, I wonder how they filmed those scenes?

Overall SkyFall is one of the best Bond films and Action Films in years. A nice blend of Actors and Effects combined with the well written story all adds up into one Fantastic Film. While it is still not technically a Bond Film it is going in the right direction. At least the Gadgets are back, now all we need is a villain (let’s have Donald Sutherland) with a super weapon. Why not have another satellite laser weapon, again.

GENEPOOL (I hadn’t heard of Sam Mendes until this film. This is the first time I have reviewed a Bond Film).





MCA – Monster Combat Alliance – November Bonfire

23 11 2012

Last month more spaces in the World Title Tournament were filled up as well as the end of the three-part series between the Victor Anguiras and Rhedosaurus. This month is a Big Month. There are only 3 matches but one of them is Big, seven monsters Big. Seven Monsters fighting for the last spot in the World Title Tournament. We also have a Number One Contender’s match which will decide who gets the first shot at the World Title (after the tournament of course). We also have 2 new debuts tonight as Imoogi debuts alongside what could be our most exciting debut to date as a Human joins the ranks. Possibly the only human who is Big enough, Strong enough and Intense Enough to take on a Monster. Before we begin though, let’s see who is in the World Title Tournament.

  • Kiryu
  • Rodan
  • Desghidorah
  • Megaguirus
  • Titanosaurus
  • Godzilla
  • Anguiras

Before we begin, there are many monsters in the MCA who have yet to win a single match (six monsters in total) and so it is time that these monsters start winning. Two monsters will fight tonight and one will win his first match. Two Dragons in particular, two creatures who have not been seen since round 1 of the King Of The Monsters Tournament. That’s right; they’re back – King Ghidorah vs Dragon (RoF). Secondly we have the Number One Contenders match who will get a shot at the title in January. The 2 monsters chosen are 2 monsters that have no Involvement in either the tournament or tonight’s main event. Tonight Battra takes on Ultraman. Then we have tonight’s main event. A Seven Monster Elimination Match that I like to call the Hostile Takeover Match. Tonight it will be Gigan vs Gamera vs The DeathSaurer vs Manda vs Gyaos vs Imoogi vs THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR.

Let the Chaos Begin. Our first match of the evening is a 5 fight match between Dragon (RoF) and King Ghidorah – Dragon goes first.

 Dragon  King Ghidorah
17 13
5 3
13 9
3 20
7 13

Dragon Wins. While King Ghidorah may have made a sort of comeback it was just little too late. Maybe next time. Dragon gets their first win, congratulations.

Our next match of the evening is Battra vs Ultraman in a Number One Contenders Match, this will be a 7 fight match – Ultraman goes first.

 Ultraman  Battra
19 17
17 13
3 12
13 3
7 13
15 17
2 17

Battra Wins. It was a very close match, but Battra wins and earns the shot at the World Title. Whoever wins in December will face Battra in January, see you there. Tough luck Ultraman.

It’s finally arrived, the Big one, the Main Event, The Hostile Takeover Match. Here is how it will go down. Seven Monsters go in, every fight the monster with the lowest roll leaves the match (just like a normal match) and another loss is recorded onto their fight record. If there is a draw, the round is re-rolled. Whoever is left standing at the end wins the match. Simple Really. So let’s begin. Fighting Tonight are:

Gigan (KOTM 3rd Place, Second Best Fight Record)

Gamera (KOTM Wildcard Champion)

The DeathSaurer

Manda (KOTM 2nd Place, Third Best Fight Record)

Gyaos (KOTM 4th Place)

Imoogi (Debuting)

The Ultimate Warrior (Debuting, the only Human in the MCA)

The roll order will be decided by Highest Roll with a D20. If someone gets 20, they get the spot being rolled instantly. In case of draw, roll round is repeated. Last monster remaining gets last spot.

 Manda  Gamera  Warrior  Gyaos  Imoogi  DeathSaurer  Gigan
20 17 2 9 14 17 7
7 17 OUT 13 3 19 5
13 3 OUT 20 OUT 19 17
9 OUT OUT 5 OUT 19 13
17 OUT OUT OUT OUT 16 10
8 OUT OUT OUT OUT 15 OUT

The DeathSaurer Wins. I have to say that I was not expecting that but he has earned it. Not a great Debut for either Imoogi or The Ultimate Warrior. Personally I was hoping that Gigan was going to win it and he stuck in there but in the end he lost in what has to be one of the most exciting matches in the short history of the MCA. Congratulations to The DeathSaurer who earns the final place in the World Title Tournament. Here how the standings look for Next Month.

  • Kiryu
  • Rodan
  • Desghidorah
  • Megaguirus
  • Titanosaurus
  • Godzilla
  • Anguiras
  • The DeathSaurer

Next Month is the World Title Tournament. Next Month Eight monsters fight it out to become The First MCA World Champion. It is an Interesting Line-up. We have Rodan; The KOTM Champion and the monster with the best Fight Record in the MCA. We have Desghidorah who holds a victory over Rodan. We have Anguiras who had to win 2 matches to get to this point. We have The DeathSaurer who holds a victory over Desghidorah. Then there is Kiryu who Fought Mothra for the first spot. Megaguiras who won their debut match for their place. And let us not forget Titanosaurus earning a shot last week along with Godzilla who defeated the current Number 1 Contender Battra for his shot. It is going to be an interesting Month. Make sure you come back that, Take Care and Watch Out

GENEPOOL (MCA Founder and Chairman)





Keep The Identity Of Star Wars Japanese

12 11 2012

As you may know, a couple of weeks ago Lucasfilm was bought by Disney from George Lucas and along with it was Industrial Light and Magic as well as Skywalker Sound and LucasArts (and as a result of this Pixar is reunited with Lucasfilm, because it was originally owned by them). Now this is big news, but what is even bigger is that as a result of this Star Wars episodes 7, 8 and 9 have been announced with the possibility of more after that. When I first heard about this I was interested but unsure. While a New Star Wars would be interesting and exciting, part of me is unsure whether there should be more or not. Some people may be excited about it, while others may think more films should not happen. There was always the idea that there would be more but now it appears like it will. So either way you look at it, it is going to happen. Which is interesting in itself because people seem to forget what inspired and influenced Star Wars in the first place, and it is from this inspiration and influence that more stories can come out, grow and evolve?

In 1958, Toho (the people behind Seven Samurai and Godzilla) released The Hidden Fortress. Directed by the Legendary Akira Kurosawa (Throne Of Blood, Seven Samurai, Rashomon and Ran) and Starring the Legendary Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai, Rashomon and Throne Of Blood) the film was about a couple of peasants who escort a man and woman across enemy lies in the hope of Gold, however the man and woman were a General and a Princess. Until the release of Yojimbo in 1961 it was Kurosawa’s most successful film and it was the first time that Kurosawa used Tohoscope (widescreen format from Toho). Today the film is still a widely renowned film:

“One of the greatest action-adventure films ever made” – David Ehrenstein

The Hidden Fortress holds a place in cinema history comparable to John Ford‘s Stagecoach: It lays out the plot and characters of an on-the-road epic of self-discovery and heroic action. In a now-familiar fashion, Rokurota and Princess Yuki fight their way to allied territory, accompanied by a scheming, greedy comic duo who get surprised by their own good fortune. Kurosawa always balances valor and greed, seriousness and humor, while depicting the misfortunes of war.” – Armond White

“Both cracking entertainment and a wonderful piece of cinema” – Jamie Russell

100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

Now you may be thinking that this is all great but what does this have to do with Star Wars. Well,

“George Lucas has acknowledged influence of The Hidden Fortress on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, particularly in the technique of telling the story from the perspective of the film’s lowliest characters, C-3PO and R2-D2. Kurosawa’s use of frame wipes (sometimes cleverly hidden by motion within the frame) as a transition device also influenced Star Wars. Lucas’ original plot outline for Star Wars also had a strong resemblance to the plot of The Hidden Fortress”. – Wikipedia

Yes a Japanese film from the 1950’s was the inspiration and influence for a film about War, sword fighting, robots, giant space stations, strange planets, aliens and a magical force. If you think about it, the Jedi are like the Samurai, very strict discipline in both how they learn and how they use their skill. An ancient form of Warrior.  Still not convinced, watch this –

Now if I may return to my main point. With a New Star Wars film coming up I think it is important to keep the Identity of the Film true, by keeping it based on Japanese Identities. This could be a golden opportunity to expand the series and the story. Perhaps new stories as it were. But how can this be done. In a way the first 6 films have already made it impossible to continue the series. Star Wars is really a story about Darth Vader, how he became a Jedi to the biggest villain in the galaxy to redeeming himself. Without Darth Vader how can the story continue? So it would make perfect sense to start a new story, a second book if you like or maybe a new series of books. You may not have noticed this but each film in the Star Wars series has its own independent villain:

So you could think this series as a series of books or one big book with 6 acts. So why not write a new book with another 6 acts, you could keep it in the same universe but write a whole new story with brand new characters. While Star Wars is based primarily on the Hidden Fortress, why not base a new story on a different Japanese Film. In Return Of The Jedi it is like the end of the Jedi. Perhaps like the end of the Samurai. The end of the Samurai Era was a major moment in history and if it did not happen Japan would not be like it is today. The Jedi era should come to an end, while it will remain a part of the culture of the Galaxy like it is for the Samurai in Japan it is important to evolve. So a new series of films could be seen as the end of the Jedi while there will remain a few pockets of Jedi, it will focus more on the growth of all the other cultures in the Galaxy. The series could go down the route of the Jedi vs the people, the Jedi are no longer a ruling class and the people want to become the ruling class. It would be hard to choose the hero and villain but it would be an interesting storyline. It does not have to be abrupt/sudden; the first film could be based on another Japanese Film. My fourth favourite (Non-Godzilla Film) and a film which I think of as the best Period Piece since Seven Samurai – 13 Assassins.

Directed by Takashi Miike the film follows the efforts of a group of Samurai who have tasked with killing a man who could cause chaos in Japan if he rises to power. This could be done in Star Wars as a starting point for a new series of films which could lead from protecting the galaxy to fighting the galaxy.

This brings me onto a very big question, who should direct the new series. Well some people may have their own ideas but seeing as it is unlikely that George Lucas will do it we need to look somewhere else. Seeing as it is his own series Lucas should do it and sadly the next best thing and perfect choice is sadly no longer around – Akira Kurosawa, it was his film that inspired this and as a result, he should do them. However there is one other director who I think would be perfect to do them – Takashi Miike. While Miike’s style could be considered controversial particularly for a family audience, his recent film’s 13 Assassins and Hara-Kiri which are both set in Samurai Japan much like many of Akira Kurosawa’s films, this knowledge is perfect for a film involving sword wielding warriors (even if it is set in space). But for many reasons I doubt this will happen, so I suggest that whoever does get the Job of directing the new Star Wars films that they research Japanese culture including the Samurai, because if they don’t they may as well quit.

While the creation of a new Star Wars series is a daunting prospect and there are many things that need to be addressed, it is my belief that the right thing to do is obvious. Keeping the identity of its story and its ideas the same as its influence and inspiration is important because that is both how the universe and its ideas were made and if you change that it won’t be the same. You can write a new story and still keep it based in the same Universe it is important to keep to the original identities as that is both what people have seen and loved but is also what you need to build on. If you change the foundations of a building, the building will collapse. That is why it is important that the Identity of Star Wars must not change and as a result of this it is important to keep the Identity of Star Wars Japanese.

GENEPOOL (You can also read my comments on this Subject on Matt’s Blog)





Godzilla Birthday Poem

9 11 2012

Last Saturday it was an important day. Not only was I hosting a fireworks event with some friends at my house but also it was the 58th birthday of a cultural icon – Godzilla. This past week in my Creative Writing class I used this subject as the basis for a villanelle and so I thought I would share it with you.

 

58 years today, Happy Birthday

The world is literally at your feet

So I hope you have a Fantastic Day

 

Fish come through the bay

All this lovely food to eat

58 years today, Happy Birthday

 

All these Monsters have come for your day

All your friends and enemies to meet

So I hope you have a Fantastic Day

 

All these years and you do not decay

Despite your unlimited heat

58 years today, Happy Birthday

 

You are still active, you do not lay

Put on some music and stomp to the beat

So I hope you have a Fantastic Day

 

Next year, come what may

It’s an important moment, take a seat

58 years today, Happy Birthday

So I hope you have a Fantastic Day

Godzilla (Final Wars)

Happy 58th Birthday Godzilla

GENEPOOL








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