Tag : Geek

Silent Hill: The Course Of The Video Game Movie Lives

I have never bothered to own a Sony Playstation. However, five years ago I was able to acquire one on loan for about three months. How? Simple. A guy trying to impress my then girlfriend lend it to me in order to get on her good side. How bruck is that? Sucker.

Anyway, one of titles that came with my bamboozled unit was a unique game called Silent Hill. ‘What an odd name,’ I thought at the time. Why would anyone entitle a game, or a town for that matter, after a hill? But just not any hill but a silent hill? Guess we all eventually get tired of being around loud, obnoxious, bitchy hills? Makes sense.

That’s like Cuba changing their name to ‘Communist Island,’ or ‘Hemingway Got Drunk Here Isle.’ Such honesty won’t entice gringos or tourist in droves. Which is what the town of Silent Hill is trying to do. Its citizens aught to get a tax break for life to make up their forefathers bequeathing them with such an unimaginative name.

Alright, pragmatism aside what I did not expect was to play one of the most engrossing games I have ever experienced. So absorbing in fact, my little teen sister who was too scared to actually play the game, devoted herself to watch the action transpire from over my shoulder as I put my own psyche on the line. With a disturbing ambiance thanks to minimalist –yet quite off-putting— music, grotesque imagery and a general sense of desolation due to exploring a mostly deserted town that chips away at your comfort level.

Silent Hill is as creepy as games get. You hear things stalking you but can’t see them and only the uncomfortable hiss of a broken radio as your only means of knowing if they are closing in on you for the kill or not. The game immerses you into its world whether you like it or not. Sure you want to see how the thing ends but I remember at one point feeling such dread while playing it, I ended up giving myself a day or two just get the heck away from it.

It was like playing through an experience akin to watching the exorcist. Which I have to say made it a great game that ultimately ended inspiring three sequels. Which I never got to play as I gave the unit back to the sucke- I mean, my girlfriend’s friend who perhaps realized lending me a Playstation would not yield the expected results he hoped for. Duh.

Fast forward to a few months ago. As we all know, all cash cows whether be in print, TV or even a video game are nowadays the first victims to be turned into film. However since seeing the trailer of Silent Hill on the big screen I found myself totally engrossed, again. Its portrayal of a parent searching for her lost child in a surreal town which periodically slips into hell gave me hope director Christopher Gans (The Brotherhood of the Wolf) had somehow grasped the underlying sense of despair in the game and transposed it onto film. Memories of the dread I had felt before began to resurface. I wanted to see it, I wanted to feel disturbed…yeah, we humans are a strange bunch.

When the movie was released, I could not find anyone to go with. Women I asked were afraid of the movie or simply not interested in the movie. Friends were put off because it was based on a video game, which historically translates into an incoherent jumble and thus a waste of the viewer’s life. Movies like Mario Bros., Street Fighter, Wing Commander, The Resident Evil series and the recent theatrical bomb called Doom come to mind, each an atrocity on celluloid in their own right.

As I could not find anyone to go see it, I did the only thing I could think off, I downloaded it off the net and watched it for free on my laptop. Yes, you heard me. You overpriced movie theatres can all go to hell! You hear me? HELL!

What did I think? Director Christopher Gans created a visually perfect adaptation of a world first portrayed by a bunch of mentally deranged game designers. Bravo! Quite a spectacle to behold and if a feast to the eyes is your thing, you could do much worse. Too bad the same cannot be said about the script, which in true video-game-turned-into-film fashion is a mess. Something about witches, a little girl’s soul desire for vengeance and the fate of the surviving town folk. The plot gets so convoluted at times that I was not sure what was going on-screen.

The screenplay also fails by committing the cardinal sin of having characters act stupidly in order to move the plot along. Or worse, subject us to painfully obvious statements over and over. At one point (55:55min), after the town is enveloped by a never receding fog, has been cut off the rest of the world by a bottomless chasm that appeared out of nowhere and a zombie attack, two main characters chat:
-‘They used to say this place was haunted.’
-‘I think they were right…’
Duh. Someone please kill that first character off. Luckily, someone eventually does. Thank you.

The problem is video game plots have yet to be able to carry the weight and length of a movie. Since a gamer is generally too busy playing the game to be concerned with secondary things like plot. As a result, during the script writing process writers are forced to fill in gaps normally filled in by the player. So far with mostly life sucking side effects to the audience. Sadly, Silent Hill is no exception. This is the course of the video game movie.

I really wanted to like this movie. Visually is one of the better movies I have seen this year, watch for the scenes where the town is absorbed into the nightmarish and rusting ‘Otherworld.’ A Dante’s Inferno inspired vision that is almost worth the price of admission. The musical score, from soft piano pieces to industrial clatter is a big factor and right on and adds to the perversely bizarre pictures on the screen. The plot and dialogue cannot match the rest of the film and are a let-down.

The movie was so close to breaking the video game course that it could almost taste it. Alas, that coveted title will not go to Silent Hill. But compared to the pile t came before it, we can at least take solace in knowing it could have been much, much worse.

Now, if I could only get another zap to lend me their Xbox.

Google Calendar: The Blue or Red pill?

It is simply amazing! Okay, taking the fact I have become an insomiac is not in question, or amazing. No, not really. But just how much technology is heading in the direction to make sure each single one of us is as interconnected with pretty much everything else. It is 10:00pm, do you know where your friend’s are? You can now, simply check with Google Calendar! We are Masters of our own lives but we are lending the keys to them to Google? We can trust them, right?

On a related note, just today, I was able to see a live shot of the Santorini islands in Greece. No, they were not rehashed pics from earlier in the year. Oh no, that would not have been techie enough. They were pictures taken only 30 seconds before. The catch is it is nightime in Santorini Greece and all you can see aside a few white dots in the distance is darkness. Probably just some people smoking tabacco, or not, but saying to themselves ‘Ah, life is simple here…and good.’ Perhaps completely unaware that I have the power to completely spy on them –assuming it was daylight– from half a world away. Why? Because someone thought it cool to put a webcam there re-freshing every 60 seconds. Sure this has existed for quite sometime, but webcam shots of utterly pitch blackness?

Which brings me to the whole connectivity thing. I mean, Google sent me an invitation to their new Calendar (Beta) project. Sure it is like any other on-line calendar, but it is also incorporated into my email and…ARE YOU READY for this? I can pretty much email my calendar to every single friend I have. How cool is that?
‘Hey guys! There is a party in my Calendar and everyone is invited!’

Now EVERYONE could just with a few clicks know whether I was with my wife, at my yearly prostate check, or at which time I am going to drop by my mistress. Oh, the joy.

Alright, I am NOT married or have a mistress, the point is, aren’t we with our geeky fantasies of being interconnected at breakneck speeds loosing our sense of self along the way?

Not only are we loosing our right to privacy –which is happening daily under many pretences– some may call it ‘security,’ but it seems we are mostly doing it to either satisfy a need to be heard or simple, unadulterated vanity. I believe we are loosing focus of the simplest things in life.

Of course, the irony has not been lost in the fact you are reading these pretty words of mine from a BLOG. However the truth is there. The Medium is the message, eh? An sometimes she\he is a bitch: “You don’t know how to use a computer? You looser!” Albeit we are generally too happy to comply. Since we keep thinking is the next step in human evolution.

I mean, with the craziness of blogs, photoblogs, apps like MSN’s My Space and an army of other tools like Messengers and LinkIn ( anyone?), very soon we are going to have choose to either live in the real world where is sunny and be left for technologically dead dinosaurs or jack ourselves in and be part of our society’s early version of a Matrix, yes, like the movie. What a cliched and weird methaphor. How sad.

So, I as sat earlier today, setting up my new GOOGLE calendar, I got a kick of sharing it (free\busy times only) to a few friends. Why just the free\busy times? Well, I do not want everyone to peek fully into my life, or at least that is what I am telling myself. Albeit not from Google Inc, who I am sure are keeping an ever watchful eye, you know, for BETA research purposes. It just reminds me of that scene from the movie: ‘Neo, do you choose the blue pill or the red pill.’

If it was up to me, I would say, ‘Uh, which one is the cool one?’ But until then, I have to admit I am getting hooked to this Gmail calendar, I mean, the thing is bloody useful. Then again, I know that since I work in IT, I am more likely to fall prey to this things than others. Hopefully I will snap out of it soon and go read a good book instead. But in the mid-time use me as an example and save yourselves!

New statistical report reveals: Valentine’s in not what is all cracked up to be!

True Valentine Horror Stories:

Now that Hallmark’s holiday has come and gone is time to call it what it is: To put it nicely –as this is quality, respectful publication— Valentine’s Day is far too glamorized. Not everything is roses and chocolates out there. Sometimes it’s a war zone where your heart is no man’s land. Don’t believe it? Then you are deluded and probably on some cheap meds. As such, if you are lucky to have survived with your ego intact then maybe you won’t get suckered into Valentine’s next year. Still don’t believe? Then here are the experiences of some poor celebrity souls who are scarred for life:

Mark Hamill:
‘I finally worked the nerve to ask this lady I had been eyeing since ’96. The date was going great, until I couldn’t help to murmur to myself: ‘The force is strong with you tonight, Luke…’ Suddenly, she twitched in horror and said, ‘Oh, you are THAT guy.’ She then excused herself to the ladies room never to be heard from again. I should really stop reliving the past.’

Tom Cruise:
‘Scientology does not have room for trivial beliefs like
Valentine’s day. But if I did then I would make sweaty and disgusting sexual acts with Carlos, I mean Kate. Kate, you know Kate, my wife? The one carrying the son I made with my own sperm?’

Paul Martin:
‘I lost my cushy ass job; my gerbil and Melinda turned NDP and Harper is now wearing my old jammies. How would you feel?’

Paris Hilton:
‘I like told my boyfriend of the week we could get a room and make a sex tape. He got upset. I don’t get it.’

Eddie Murphy:
‘Actually, I am happily married, but my agent can’t get me any auditions so I had to settle for you people. I am starving here. How come no one told me I can’t sing for shit?’

Britney Spears:
’I asked Kevin to surprise me on Valentine’s Day. He got up really early for like once, then went out and got a job at a Jack in the Box but got fired the same day for slacking. I wasn’t surprised, but somehow I got knocked up, again.’

Bill Gates:
“I was wondering when you would show up…’

Kate Moss:
‘So he opened this baggie, I thought it was baby talc, I swear!’

Colin Ferell:
‘Why am I on this list?’

Angelina Jolie:
‘I am with Colin. Who are you fucking people?