Mass Effect Andromeda, the Uncanny Valley, and the Looming Threat of Memes

Mass Effect Drak

Bioware’s latest entry into the acclaimed Mass Effect franchise has become a punchline on the internet. Countless gifs, video compilations, and complaint threads were created in response to its… odd looking character models and animations. Going further, I would argue that the response to the animations and models have overshadowed the game itself, with people unable to get over how “off” they look. It’s understandable, we’re suppose to be in the next generation of gaming, but this game looks noticeably worse than any of its predecessors. How could this happen? I’d imagine many Bioware fans like myself (who has loved them since Knights of the Old Republic) feel baffled as to how they could fail so many who had faith in them. A gaming company whose work was once synonymous with great RPGs has fallen into the pit of being a cautionary tale for the perils of entering the AAA gaming market. The contrarian hipster in me wants to pin the blame for this mess entirely on just that, a big corporation like EA forcing a once pure company to churn out mediocre content for a quick buck, and eventually corrupting them in the process. The problem of course, is that issues like this tend to be far more nuanced.

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What the Beauty and the Beast Remake Misses in Making LeFou Sympathetic

LeFou Mob

A big change came to one of the main characters in the live action remake to Disney’s breakthrough animated feature, Beauty and the Beast. No, I’m not just talking about making LeFou gay, I’m also talking about making him “good” too. In the remake to the film, LeFou isn’t the soulless sycophant he is in the original, but rather a confused gay man with a crush on the wrong guy. While this is progress in terms of gay representation, I can’t help but feel like something was loss in the rehabilitation of one of Disney’s most subtly despicable bad guys.

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My Pathetic Reason for Not Loving The Lego Movie

lego-movie

I recently got a chance to see The Lego Batman Movie, and it was amazing. Funny, heartfelt, and the perfect treat for a fan of Batman like myself. It functioned as both the ultimate fan film, and also the best cinematic Batman story since The Dark Knight. I also happened to enjoy it more than the original Lego Movie, which I thought was terrific, but was something I only liked rather than loved. What happened here? How could I prefer a spin-off that was admittedly less ambitious than the film that precipitated it? Well, the answer to that question lies in that ambition itself, and to explore it, I’m going to have to get into some spoilers.

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Anatomy of a Joke: Nathaniel’s Disgusting Accident

the-warning

The calm before the storm…

It’s been over two years since I’ve last written one of these joke analyses, but the… enormity of this one really grabbed my attention. Unlike the last joke where I discussed it in largely positive terms, I want to analyze how a joke can actually hurt a show. Because with this bit of comedy, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend basically ruined a main character within a single scene. Let me break it down.

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SING has Turned Me Into an Angry Cynic

pure-evil

Damn this film. I hate everything about it. The marketing, the plot, and yeah, the fact that it’s so damn manipulative. OK, I’m the first person to call out people for constantly whining about how everything is “fake” these days, and how consumerist society has become since those tend to be trite criticisms about things people don’t really examine, but boy does this movie make a damn good case for those people. It’s so god damned calculated and clearly designed to make money that it managed to anger me, and again, I’m not usually the kind of person who’d whine about that kind of thing. Almost every creative achievement ever was partly motivated by the thought of making some cash, but this movie is so freaking transparent about it. Maybe that’s what bothers me about it so much, that it’s so utterly graceless in what it’s trying to do.

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Moana and the Future of Disney Villains

tamatoa

I recently saw Moana, and surprise-surprise, it was great. I’m still torn on whether or not it was better than Frozen, but it was definitely a solid film with very little flaws. The thing is though, I’m not here to write a review on this film, I’m more here to discuss its villains. It had two, and only one of them was really a character in the sense that it had a personality and motivations. Right now I wanna talk Tamatoa, who was wonderfully voiced by Jemaine Clements, and what his role in the film was.

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The Best and Worst Case Scenario of a Trump Presidency

baby-trump

The Boy King. The image that comes to mind when I think of a Trump presidency isn’t that of a ruthless tyrant, or a xenophobic dictator. Trump is many things, but he’s never exactly what you describe him as. No one who has analyzed what he has said and done for a number of years can accurately assess what he’s going to do on a policy level, because Trump has no coherent policy. Actually, that may be an understatement, as a more accurate assessment of Trump is that he has no ideology. He doesn’t really believe in anything, and has been on every side of virtually every issue, even things he’s known for having a strong stance on like immigration. The only consistent thing about Trump is the level of character he brings to the office, and that character is that of an unpredictable petulant child.

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5 Things This Election Taught Me About America

Oh boy, this election huh? This soul crushing, agonizing, overlong stretch of e-mail scandals, groping tapes, false-equivalences, clueless punditry, and general loss of faith in humanity has been trying for a lot of us. It has also been oddly poetic. We’ve got the first female major party candidate in U.S. history up against this great big orange misogynistic buffoon we can’t afford to stop talking or thinking about until election day. It’s been tough sure, but it also taught this Canadian a lot about America and its people. Continue reading “5 Things This Election Taught Me About America”