Strangely lethargic lately. I considered reviewing Lake Mungo, but I don’t feel up to a full review. Suffice to say that it’s a well-made mockumentary-style drama with a supernatural theme and a moody atmosphere. It is worth a watch, and I applaud the filmmakers for the poise and polish of the cast and production. Having said that, it’s bleak and depressing, and it’s really not frightening, so a bit of a mixed bag. It’s also very slow, which I don’t normally mind, but in this case there’s not enough of a payoff to justify the pacing.
More interesting is Short of the Week, a site I just discovered that apparently features short films at precisely-determined calendrical intervals. I haven’t explored it too much, but I did watch a lackluster Argentine demon-hunting thing (Deus Irae), and the super-slick The Facts in the Case of Mr. Hollow, which I definitely recommend.
I should be dissertating. Maybe I’ll get around to it, but the internets keep luring me away.
Edit: So much for dissertating. Short of the Week pointed me to the short anime Comedy, which is set in Ireland at some unspecified time, in the context of bloody fighting between the English and Irish (obviously). In the closing scenes the narrator tells us that Ireland gained its independence following the events in the film, so it’s no later than 1921. However, the English (portrayed as typical anime knights with demonic, glowing red eyes) are on horseback and fight with swords.
Doesn’t really matter, though. The short is cool. There’s no overt connection between the “Black Swordsman” and any specific figures from Irish legend of which I’m aware, but the whole affair is sufficiently vague and mystical, and the Swordsman is sufficiently capricious, that the film could get tucked into “real” Irish folklore (note the quotes) pretty comfortably. I dig it. I’m going to be spending a lot more time on this site in the future, I think.
2 thoughts on “Low tide”
I didn’t think Darksiders was the worst game in the world – minus the Black Tower and its Portal Gun. I’m at least a little bit intrigued about the sequel, and hope it’s one of these Episode 1 – Limited entertainment/engine development, with the sequel ironing out some of the trouble spots and filling in a more meaningful plot. As for Joe Mad’s art style, I tend to lump him in with the World of Warcraft, less gothic 40K square art style that seems to show up everywhere lately.
The Argentinian horror short Deus Irae – reminds me of the Phillip K. Dick & Roger Zelazny collaboration also titled strangely enough, Deus Irae (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_Irae). I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but it’s a fairly distinct title, and I’ve always been a fan of Zelazny’s collaborations (Bester, Saberhagen, Lindskold). It might be a personal problem, but the Joss Whedon review you posted also reminds me of a less satirical version of Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October.
I could have forgiven Darksiders a lot if any of its other elements were good, but I thought it was just utterly generic throughout. Devil May Cry gameplay, stupid character design, boring plot… there’s nothing to recommend it. Couple all that with the constant ripping-off of better games, and it just sinks totally below my tolerance level. If any of those other things were really compelling, I wouldn’t care if they pilfered ideas from other people. Games and films and all media are always doing that; it’s how shit works. But alas, Darksiders was just a lazy, mix-all-the-leftovers-and-microwave-them-before-Glee-starts kind of a meal that not only left me hungry, but gave me mild indigestion.
They even ripped off one of the most innovative boss fights from my favorite game, Shadow of the Colossus. In the original you fight a giant sand worm on horseback, and you have to turn around backwards on your horse and shoot the worm’s eyes with your bow and arrow to make it crash, at which point you can attack it directly. Pretty much the only change in the Darksiders version is you use a gun instead of a bow.
SotC is my favorite game EVER. Darksiders doesn’t get any points for blatantly stealing the entire formula.
Wikipedia tells me the Zelazny story is a post-apocalyptic thing. The Argentine horror thing is about a bunch of impossibly-cool Catholic priests (one of whom, inexplicably, is female) who go to exorcise a possessed girl, and then crazy shit happens that I can’t fully explain but didn’t particularly care about because it was kind of stupid.