Cinecast Episode 417 – At its Most Perfunct

Star Wars Episode VII doesn’t hit theaters for another month, but that doesn’t seem to stop the podcasting folks here at RowThree from continuing to discuss Star Wars (in its various formats) at length – from a marathon viewing with the kids to The Despecialized Versions to the Japanese re-edit and even a brief mention/review of the new “Star Wars Battlefront” game (see images & video at the bottom of this post). Believe it or not, after almost 40 years there are still things to talk about. After an hour of a galaxy far, far away, we dig into the main review which is Lenny Abrahamson’s ROOM starring Sean Bridgers. Room is “emotionally without direction” is a fair way to summarize our thoughts. We wrap things up with 80s cold war craze, Neil Marshall mini-marathon, disappointing Ridley Scott fare, catching up on horror movies and the western just keeps on wagon-training in 2015. All this and few other things are lurking inside this little room. Step inside!

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

 

 
 

 


 

TIME TRACKS:

See comments for time track listings – thanks to Ultimolee for the extra elbow grease!

 

REVIEWS:

Star Wars: Prequels
Star Wars: Despecialized Version
Star Wars: The Blackened Mantle
Star Wars: Battlefront
Room

 

THE WATCH LIST:

KURT

Young Ones
Theeb
Body of Lies
Miracle Mile

ANDREW
The Descent / Centurion / Doomsday
May

 

OTHER THINGS:

Star Wars Despecialized versions

 

Japanese overdub fan edit of The Prequels

Another screenshot from Star Wars Battlefont (PS4)

Andrew’s race through Endor:

 

RSS AND CONTACT INFO:

show content

 

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Lee
Guest

Opening:
In-house business: 00:45
Star Wars: Prequels: 3:03
– Star Wars: Despecialized Version: 31:02
– Star Wars: The Blackened Mantle: 40:13
– Star Wars: Battlefront: 52:10
– Room [SPOILERS] 1:02:58
The Watch List: 1:38:47
Next Week: 2:33:41
End: 2:41:48
————————————————
…and Kurt I’M the biggest Ricardo Darin fan outside Argentina 😀

Tom McCarthy might be the guy who brought you The Cobbler but along with The Station Agent he also made The Visitor and Win Win so he still has credit with me. Plus Spotlight has been getting some good buzz.

Goon
Guest

“I haven’t seen Tom McCamus in years!”
He’s all over Orphan Black

Kurt
Guest

Gotta Get on that.

Gerry
Guest

One fan edit I’d like to see is a 2 hour version of The Hobbit, culled from the 3 hideously overlong films, preferably in 3d.

Only bits pertaining to the original book, not the appendices, should be included. So no Evangeline Lily, even though she’s very easy on the eyes.

I’m also a fan of Ridley Scott and generally like his so called ‘lesser’ films e.g. Someone To Watch Over Me, but Body of Lies was pretty bad. I’ve only seen it once though so I’d like to see it again.

I also thought Attack Of The Clones had it’s moments, with the only truly bad prequel being The Phantom Menace.

Thomas Wishloff
Guest

In response to the shadowy faceless kidnappers question, I think I’m with Kurt in that if the movie was more engaging that wouldn’t bother you as much.

George Sluizer’s Spoorloos is also based off of a novel, and it revels who the kidnapper/killer is very early in the film. That film, however, is tremendously engaging and it manages to work perfectly fine.

Andrew James
Admin

I hope he doesn’t mind, here is Schizopolis’ comment on LetterBoxd regarding “THE BLACKENED MANTLE”. He captures it so much better than I did:

“Just finished this film upon your recommendation. Outside of its unnecessary length and obvious editing problems, the re-written script and themes are a revelation. It felt like watching a top notch anime film like Attack on Titan and Death Note. The new motivations and character arcs are impressive. I’m dumbfounded that Lucas didn’t originally see this route for his characters. So rich and dramatic. It expands on the mythology. You really see the Eastern philosophical themes that the Star Wars Saga initially adopted. All the laughable scenes and dialogue are gone. The Japanese dialogue and subtitles for Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christiansen turns their performances to a complete 180 degrees. Who knows what they’re really saying in Japanese. But to non-Japanese speakers, it works!”

devolutionary
Guest

This was running through my mind on the episode where Kurt provided a Neil Marshall audio plug for Andrew!
Row Three: “Kurt-Tested, Marshall Approved!”

I still need to see Centurion; initially wrote it off before realizing who directed it. Dog Soldiers is surprisingly good also.

Sean Kelly
Guest

I didn’t notice the CN Tower in ROOM, though I did notice Nathan Philips Square and Apache Burger (a popular joint in the west end of Toronto, which got audible reactions from my audience).

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

There is also the huge BLOOR/DANFORTH bridge visible from the hospital window. It’s seen several times in the film.

La Menthe
Guest

I must say I completely disagree about recommending SW:BF to anyone. Just the fact that it is produced by EA should alone be reason enough to boycott this money-making gambling simulator of a turd.

This video sums up most of the points why people need to steer away from it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U49VvGYZr98

Andrew James
Admin

While I agree with some of what he’s saying about lack of content (definitely needs more maps), some of what he is saying I disagree with and some of it is flat out not true. Also, this is a pretty surface level review. He doesn’t get into the progression system, weapon variances and unlocks, star cards, hands, character personalization, etc. Granted not all of that stuff is good and I certainly have gripes about this game, it’s just not a very well rounded review.

“There’s no single player…only online game types.”
100% lie. I don’t know why a critic would say this. It’s like me saying Sandra Oh never appears in the movie Sideways.

“Supremacy and Walker Assault are the only two modes worth anything…” Bullshit. Fighter Sqaudron, Blast, Cargo and Hero vs Villains are all fun to varying degrees. And some people might really get into Hero Hunt or the Droid one or pod capture.

“In ten hours of play I’ve never gotten the hero token…” “Same dickweeds, every match, sitting in the back waiting for the tokens…”
For the first quote, if this is happening to you, you’re completely doing it wrong. I played for about 90 minutes today and I was Vader twice, Han Once and Luke Once.
For the second quote, this doesn’t happen. Ever. What the hell is he talking about? The tokens are all over the map – you can’t “sit in the back and wait for them”.

“Missing those magic moments you get from time to time in Battlefront…”
Well again, if you think that, you’re doing it wrong.

So while the game definitely has problems, when I said I would recommend it to anyone, I guess I meant I would recommend it more to the masses or for people who aren’t huge FPS gamers. This is a game almost anyone can pick up and feel like they’re accomplishing something. At least for a while whilst the content stays fresh for them.

La Menthe
Guest

>”100% lie. I don’t know why a critic would say this. It’s like me saying Sandra Oh never appears in the movie Sideways.”

That is actually not a lie, but true. Playing against Bots in multiplayer maps is not Singleplayer. Compare it to its predecessor, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, where you had proper Singleplayer Campaigns and you will understand exactly what he means.

As for the gameplay stuff, all of that is subjective, so I am not going to get into it too much (although it needs to be said that there is a consensus in the gaming community that this is nothing else than a few hours of fun, and then quickly loses replay value). However, as a gamer there are some stuff that EA (along with Ubisoft and Activision) have been in the forefront of, and that have been completely ruining the gaming community. We are talking about rushing out games, splitting it into to several parts that individually sell more, making many different editions of the games, pre-announced and planned DLCs, micro transaction etc. These are all methods of marginalizing the gamer and forcing more money out of him.

Take the case of Star Wars: Battlefront. Aside from the fact that it is a downgrade from Battlefront 2 from 10 years ago on many aspects (like 64 player to 40 players, lack of game modes, campaign, etc.), this game is clearly ripped of content. It is completely lacking of content in every way: maps (including space battles), single player campaign, game mechanics and general customization of characters is limited. The reason for this is very well understood; the game is rushed. EA saw their opportunity to make cash from the Star Wars hype that will follow the release of the film, and decided that they would release a new Battlefront a month before. Therefore, instead of getting a full game for the price, they give us what is 1/3 of what it should be, and then they leave the rest of the pieces in DLCs that needs to be purchased separately. Along with this they have introduced microtransactions, purchasing deals for emotes and whatnot and seasons packs (that further marginalizes normal buyer).

Now I know these issues are not as important for you, as you seem like a casual gamer. However, in the gaming community, companies like EA, Activision and Ubisoft have little respect from the gaming community for a very good reason. They have infected the gaming industry by enforcing neoliberal methods and systems, turning everything into a gambling simulating piece of shit. For those of us who did play the old Star Wars: Battlefront games, one only need to compare this to those games to understand what has gone wrong.

Too many people overlook how they constantly get screwed over by saying “it’s still good game” or “it’s not that bad”, while these companies have slowly and maliciously introduced these systems and schemes to rob the customers of more money: kind of like putting a frog in boiling water vs. putting it in cold water and slowly heating the water up. In 2010 DICE and EA were critcizing and making fun of Activision for demanding payment for map packs, which they at that time claimed, correctly, was something that should inherently be free (as it was an integral part of updating the game). Now they are doing the same thing themselves.

/endrant

Andrew James
Admin

Hey I’m not totally disagreeing with you. I understand exactly the kind of shit EA (and a lot of other studios) are trying to pull these days. You’re right – they figure with Star Wars, they can do whatever they want and fans will pay for it. And they’re right unfortunately.

But to be fair, character customization is exactly what some fans are mad about – Stormtoopers without helmets wft!?.

And no, there is no campaign like Battlefront or Halo has; this is true. But to just say you have to be online all of the time and there is no single player at-home experience (ala Need for Speed) is just not true. I’ve had quite a number of hours of enjoyment playing the single-player (not online connected) game modes. Also, the game never said it would – people should know exactly what they’re getting into when buying as it is all very clearly laid out – including a free three-four day beta test as well as 10 free hours on Xbox One.

I agree that the experience doesn’t quite hold up hour after hour after hour, I’m just saying that this particular review (that you linked to) ignores a lot of facts. Many people (including myself) are enjoying the shit out of this hour after hour.

Now excuse me, I just bought Wolfenstein for $6 on Black Friday sale and have to hit those Nazis where it hurts.

La Menthe
Guest

Thank you for your great answer and explanation. The gaming community is quickly looking like other political and social institutions; the elite marginalizing and disenfranchising people into obedient and apathetic creatures.

I am just happy there still is a considerable force in gaming that is not corrupted to the bone, with developers like CD Projekt Red (if you haven’t played The Witcher 3 yet, you HAVE to do it right now! Think of it as an RPG Game of Thrones) and Valve, who actually contribute greatly to a healthy development of gaming by continuously interacting with the community, and always being open for new ideas and ways to go forward.

In the end, if people want games coming from the soul and heart, they most often than not opt for mods and independent games. The community, with independent game developers and mod developers, is really what has kept me satisfied in gaming the last 15 years. From Counter Strike 1.6 (which initially was a mod that Valve absorbed, like many other of their games) and Heroes 3 Wake of God mod extension to what I’m playing right now: Project Reality and Insurgency. Some large companies make good games every now and then. However, in the end, if you purchase a product by Microsoft, Activision, EA or Ubisoft, you will have to accept being screwed up the ass in one way or another. That’s just a fact.

Games like Destiny, Halo 5, Battlefront and AC are all among the recent releases of said companies, all of which fall under the descriptions I have made. Destiny, for example, is a goddamn gambling simulator, and yet people ate it all up (to the point that one of the developers said that if they release an emote pack, people would throw money at the screen – which they also did, by releasing an edition of the game that cost $50 more for emotes). People will continue doing so as long as these companies use their purchasing powers to make their games the only accessible products out there. By supplying Youtubers with copies and deals, by supplying reviewers (whose threshold for rating games start at 7/10, not 0/10) with copies and by advertising the hell out of the games, better alternatives into the background. That’s as much the case in the movie and music industry as it is in the gaming industry, as they al operate in the same fashion.

This is what happens when gaming companies end up on the stock market. Shareholders present a constant demand for earning as much money as possible, as quick as possible. Battlefield 3 sold 15 million copies. Battlefield 4 sold 7 million copies. Battlefield: Hardline sold so bad that they didn’t even release the numbers. When making SW: BF, zero shit was given about the mistakes that led to bad sales for previous DICE games, for the simple reason that the demand for “quick and easy money as fast as possible” never disappears. This time around they are even being proven right, as SW:BF is already turning into the most successful EA title in many, many years. I can guarantee you there will be more Battlefront games in the future.

I for one could not be happier for steering away from every EA and Activision title the last few years. ‘I dare not drink from the poison cup’, as Shakespeare so eloquently phrased it in Hamlet.

La Menthe
Guest

Youtube is full of videos criticizing BF. Just came upon this video that captures alot of what I just said: https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=FLkkgf5qpHVJGtBb4htPdQCg&v=OT7eHT9yuGE

Gerry
Guest

Very impassioned post La Menthe.

I generally wait for GOTY editions of games a year or 2 down the road as you get all the DLC and a non broken game, with all the patches included.

I think people were just so excited to be buying a playable Star Wars movie, (even though it’s nothing of the sort) they just bought it, factoring in the extra money for the DLC which hopefully will improve things.

Sometimes I’m excited for a product, game movie or whatever and buy it at launch just to be able to play / watch it etc. I think that’s called human nature.

Firms will exploit this. That sucks, as does the splitting of movies into extra parts for no good reason other than money making.

I recently bought a PS4 Star Wars special edition and paid more than the standard price for it. I think I’ll probably sell on Battlefront, unless the Jakku DLC gets amazing reviews. I really wanted that console so paid the extra.

In an ideal world the DLC would be included from the get go, like it used to be, but while people continue to lap up paid extra content and attend crappy split up movies I don’t think anything’s going to change any time soon.

I’ll continue to choose to generally wait and buy my GOTY games, and reduced price games by waiting 6 weeks after launch, and other people will be early adopters.

Witcher 3 does sound great so that’ll be a buy in the January sales.

Gerry
Guest

‘if you purchase a product by Microsoft, Activision, EA or Ubisoft, you will have to accept being screwed up the ass in one way or another. That’s just a fact.’

Big companies and big movie studios make good and bad products, just as indie developers and indie companies do.

‘By supplying Youtubers with copies and deals, by supplying reviewers (whose threshold for rating games start at 7/10, not 0/10) with copies and by advertising the hell out of the games, better alternatives into the background. That’s as much the case in the movie and music industry as it is in the gaming industry, as they all operate in the same fashion.’

There are a ton of ‘normal people’ reviewing games, films etc on Youtube as well, so it’s remarkably easy to get a rounded non-bribey view of a game / film very quickly. There are a ton of such honest Youtube reviews of Battlefront.

I like Gamespot reviews generally and find them to be fairly accurate whereas I tend to ignore IGN reviews as they seem a little more weighted towards good reviews despite the quality of a game.

Interestingly IGN reviews seem to come up first on search results and I have to trawl through to find the Gamespot reviews.

devolutionary
Guest

Wolfenstein The New Order is pretty damn good considering it still tries to cater to the old-school FPS market (no regen health, broken up ammo packs, etc). As a person who generally prefers quality single player campaigns, it’s refreshing that it seems quite fleshed out; no multi-player though (which is fine by me). I like that it attempts to create “a bit” of a deeper narrative/story arc for you and has a quasi-original plot. Not that you’ll notice it all that much.

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