Studio Ghibli’s Famous Films Could Be Getting Game Adaptations

Ahh, Studio Ghibli. The one film studio whose productions I can certainly say do the best job of being totally engaging and utterly bizarre at the same time, while still being enjoyable films. They are giants in the world of Japanese animation, and back in 2010 they teamed up with Level-5 to work on Ni no Kuni, though I’ll have to take a moment here to explain the strange complications with the release and the platforms of the game: in Japan, the game is out on DS and PS3. It’s due to be released over here for PS3 some time next year.

However, it will never be released on DS here, because of difficulties in packaging a book that comes along with the game (which Akihiro Hino, the president of Level-5, says is an essential part of the game as it is a “bridge connecting the imaginary world to the real word in Ni no Kuni.)

 And for the news that makes the headline of this post: Level-5 would love the chance to bring some of Ghibli’s existing material on to a console, specifically mentioning Laputa: Castle In The Sky. I personally would love for something like this to come to fruition; just imagine the scale of a free-roaming game set in Miyazaki’s universe.

Image

Versus “Cruel Summer” from G.O.O.D Music, Kanye West’s Label/Collective

So the highly anticipated G.O.O.D Music album is finally here (well technically it still isn’t here, since it’s been leaked early and isn’t officially out til the18th but you get my point.) Being a big fan of Kanye, I was really excited for this album, and had planned to buy it. This was simply an excuse to “try before I buy”, so to speak. And I’m seriously glad I did listen to it for free first because it would have been money wasted in my opinion.

Now that’s not to say that this is a “bad” album; with as many big names on here as there are (John Legend, Chief Keef, Big Sean, Pusha T, Common, Jay-Z and Raekwon among many others) it could never really be a terrible album. However, it’s exceptionally average. Save for a rare few tracks on the album, almost every verse is generic money lyrics, car lyrics, drug lyrics, women lyrics. I understand that this kind of thing is still popular, but to have it in such a high concentration is both boring and repetitive.

2Chainz seems to be incapable of writing a verse that isn’t about one of those things, and this is why I was unhappy about him even being on the album, and why I now know that my unhappiness at that time was a correct prediction. In my opinion, he’s bland, uninspiring and samey, and it really showed on this album. Jay’s only appearance on the album (on the track “Clique”) was a solid verse, similar to his style on Watch The Throne which worked well. Big Sean was the same for me on every track: great flow but not much that I felt was really “special” about him, and I struggled to really appreciate his lyrics when he was effectively repeating himself on each track he did.

Pusha T is a real redeeming feature of the album; all of his verses were solid and I like his style and the way he sounds on a track. New God Flow was the best track on the album by a mile, and his first verse on that track is one of my favourite verses that I’ve heard in months. New God Flow is the saving grace of Cruel Summer for me, I haven’t got enough good things that I could say about it. One of my favourite rap tracks I’ve ever heard, the beat is memorable, the loop is classic and the Ghostface sample is perfect for the track.

The hidden gem of the album for me is a track called Sin City. It’s the only track on the album that doesn’t feature one of the “big names” of the group, as it’s a collaborative effort from Teyana Taylor, Cyhi the Prince, Malik Yusef & Travis Scott. I’m happy to admit that I’d not heard of any of these artists before I listened to the album, but they really impressed me on this song. It was a breath of fresh air on an album that has largely been stale and repetitive. Malik Yusef, a spoken word poet, delivers a short but powerful verse which I found gave great depth to the track (and perhaps restored some of the desperately needed content for the whole album).

Creepers, a solo effort from Kid Cudi, was another of my favourites from the album; his laid-back approach worked well over the upbeat yet chilled instrumental. It was a feel-good tune and I appreciated the originality of it in comparison to the majority of the album.

My least favourite track was Higher, featuring The-Dream and Mase. I hated the auto-tune singing at the start, it’s something I really don’t like and doubt I ever will. Mase’s verse once again resorted to lyrics about how rich he is, and I think that can be seen as a description of the whole album; it showed some slight potential in areas (which there is on this track with a solid first verse) but ultimately the album leans on shallow and unoriginal verses about money and cars, really lacking any profound lyrics.

One thing that definitely deserves a mention though is a certain line from Kanye, in which he says “My girl’s a superstar all from a home movie”. It’s interesting to see him address the obvious elephant in the room with Kim Kardashian; the fact that she effectively became famous because of a sex tape. After being inundated with various jokes or slurs about her, Kanye has seemingly responded to it in a rather positive way, compared to his well-publicised emotional outbursts over the past few years.

All in all, the album is… okay. That’s really just it though. It should have been so much better then it was, it didn’t feel as much of an album as much as a compilation of shallow and samey rap tunes as opposed to the kind of releases I’ve come to expect from Kanye, but I suppose the album is supposedly a group release. Don’t get me wrong though, there will be people who absolutely love this album. For those who enjoy money lyrics and all the other kind of repetitive stuff I’ve mentioned above, this may well be the greatest album ever in your eyes, but to me it’s a real disappointment.

Marvel Gets a Bit Dark

So it seems the guys in charge at Marvel must’ve seen Japanese cult classic Battle Royale (if you’re not aware of it, it’s what Hunger Games copied and watered down) because their new series “Avengers Arena” effectively runs off of the same mechanics. Arcade, a super-villain from the Marvel universe, has captured a collection of young superheroes and taken them to “Murder World”, where they will be pitted against each other and the only rules are “kill or be killed”. Now if you’ve seen Battle Royale (and if not, I strongly recommend you watch it) you’ll know that it gets pretty brutal, and Dennis Hopeless (writing the series along with Kev Walker) expressed “Not sure if we made it clear yet, but people die in this book.” What makes this different in my opinion to Battle Royale though, is that in Battle Royale you had several different groups of friends who worked separately from other groups; there was a natural motivation to stick with your friends and go after those you don’t like. But these are all superheroes, they’re all on the same side, so it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Cinemas Hiring Ninjas?!

The Prince Charles Cinema in London has recently come up with a new scheme to stop people talking during films: ninjas. They’re hiring volunteers to wear black morphsuits and stop people who are talking throughout the movie, in return for getting to see the film for free. Now while this might seem really cool and all, unfortunately these are not real ninjas. Though they do lurk in the darkest areas of the cinema before pouncing on an unsuspecting victim the moment they reach for their phone. Probably don’t kill them, though. I guess we can’t have everything.

Transformers 4 Will Have New Robots. The Bad News Is Transformers 4 Is Being Made.

According to Hasbro president Brian Goldner, Transformers 4 will have a set of new robots in the film to go alongside the more familiar cast. That’s not what really annoys me about this story though, what annoys me is their motive for adding these new characters. Goldner made it quite clear that it wasn’t for the sake of the movie, or for plot development or interesting story-lines or anything like that. Oh no, this is because the toys to go along with Dark of the Moon didn’t sell well enough, because “of same characters in all movies”. So essentially Goldner has just come right out and blatantly TOLD us “We couldn’t care less about the quality of the film, the kids will still watch it and they’ll still want our toys”.

THAT is what annoys me, of course everyone knew that the Transformers franchise was little more than a money-generating scheme and that the actual movies were irrelevant as long as the robots looked good and the explosions looked big. But for someone connected to the actual series itself to come out and say it, quite brazenly as well? That’s just crappy. Why do people actually allow for this terrible attitude toward the industry? He might as well have stood up and said “give me your money, forget about the film, we’ll just make the toys for you to buy”. Transformers sucks anyway.

Why EA Seem Determined to be Hated

So all the hatred EA have received recently just hasn’t been enough for them, apparently. The president of the company, Frank Gibeau once said that he didn’t understand why EA won the award for “Worst Company in America”, yet now he proudly boasts that he has turned down any EA game if it didn’t have multi-player capabilities. If you’re not aware of exactly why EA are so hated in the first place, consider the fact that they effectively pioneered the online pass system (meaning if you buy a pre-owned EA game, you have to pay to play online), regularly release games with DLC ready on launch day (because heaven forbid you get the entirety of the game you paid for) and effectively take the business mantra of “Forget gamers’ happiness, it’s the money that counts”. This disregard for single-player games is a prime example of their money-laundering ways; after all, if it doesn’t have online, they can’t force an online pass down your throats, and wouldn’t be able to spew out half-hearted map packs to devour all of your income. Think about the games which were once fantastic with single player, only to have awful multi-player tacked on to it for virtually no reason: BioShock, Dead Space, Mass Effect.. and then think about the games which DIDN’T, such as the hugely successful Darksiders series, or of course, Skyrim.

But regardless of this, EA will no longer ever publish a single player game again (unless they change their minds, which won’t happen unless the cash finally runs thin) so enjoy your online passes.

James Cameron is Already Thinking About Avatar 4?!

Oh, Avatar. Y’know, that movie that came out in 2009 that was set up to be possibly the greatest movie ever, the visual masterpiece, the movie James Cameron had spent an entire 25 years creating in his head, to then finally realise his dream and bring his magnum opus to the big screen. And then it came out and we were left wondering what the bloody hell Cameron had been doing for 25 years because the plot was the most generic piece of crap he could’ve spewed out, with a MacGuffin shamelessly shoved in front of our noses proudly baring the frighteningly brainless name “Unobtainium”. The film looked pretty, though.

But now not only is Cameron still planning on making the sequel and then a third film back-to-back, but he’s already thinking about a 4th film. And if that isn’t screaming “money-laundering!” at you (or if you’re more business-orientated, “franchise!”), then get this: the 4th is a prequel. I can’t stand prequels, they seem like little more to me than a director saying “Hey, you paid me money to see the story I’ve created, now pay more to see the rest of it!”. And if it’s a prequel to something that was as bland as Avatar, well sorry but you’re really not selling it to me right now.

James Cameron can make good films and good stories, yet it seems to me that Avatar has brought him down from the creative level of a true storyteller, to the creative level of a fairly imaginative but easily distracted child, who has many lovely ideas in his head, yet fails to string them together well or coherently. But who am I kidding, we’ll probably all watch Avatar 2 anyway.