Like with the bonus and behind the scenes content with Halo 2 this was planned to be an interim episodes instead of taking up its own cozy spot on the weekly schedule, but the more I dove into the two disc Essentials and everything involved, yeah there was no way I could get this done as a mere aside. There are A LOT of features on these discs and plenty to talk about, so let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!
Halo 3 Essentials (Bonus Features) – 2007
We’ll start things off with how they were released. The first disc which was released in both the Collector’s and Legendary editions of Halo 3 is something I SOMEHOW managed to get a copy of many years ago (I’m still baffled that this thing wound its way in my collection) and only works on an Xbox 360 console. I can’t even find information confirming that it works on Xbox One or Series S/X, so unless you’re like me and can’t throw away anything this disc and its content are going to be hard to get ahold of going forward. The second disc on the other hand which was only available on the Legendary Edition is a simple DVD and will work in anything that plays those. Considering the massive marketing campaign around this game it’s no surprise that something like this was added to the game to entice people to spend a little more, and I’m not sure how many games even bother with this kind of stuff anymore. I remember the PS2 having a few games that had some pretty cool bonus features like God of War having a ton of Making Of videos and even something like Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am having an episode of the show on it, but I guess with YouTube being so accessible that companies will just post stuff on there if they even feel like bothering with it; and even then a lot of it is pre-release so there’s always the sense of it still trying to sell you on something whereas these kind of features are more of a celebration after the fact. In any case, there’s a lot to talk about here so we’ll group them together into loose categories to try and cover a little bit of everything.
Making Of Features
Now this includes the VERY extensive Making Of feature on disc 1, Seven Steps to World Domination on disc 2, and the unfortunately yet still appropriately named Git Tur Wurk back on disc 1. The Making Of document is the pick of the litter here as it’s a full hour but is filled with some VERY cool stuff about how the game was developed. It’s well produced, we get insights into many of the interesting tools used, and the enthusiasm of those being interviewed is infectious. Just hearing Xi Wang, one of the Graphics Engineers, talking in depth about the water engine is engaging and I learned about things you could do with the water in Halo 3 that I would have never even thought about! There’s stuff like that, the in depth showcase of the damage system, the way the tested the online servers with teams in Japan, but my favorite bit was their play testing process! There’s this really nifty tool they had where they would have play testers play the game and be able to report issues while in game. Then, the developers not only get a list of these issues, they know exactly where in the level it occurred and can even watch a replay of the player playing the game at that time! That is just really cool to me and I’m now wondering if this kind of software is standard in the industry!
Scoob! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Tony Cervone
With releases being what they are and LIFE being what it is, I’ve certainly fallen into a bit of a funk lately which is perhaps the biggest reason I was really looking forward to this movie; something that I can put on my calendar and look forward to instead of just the endless pile of stuff that’s already here but I couldn’t muster up the energy to work on. Now Warner Bros’ recent output of the Hanna-Barbara licenses has certainly been interesting to see, particularly those comic books they released a few years back, and so bringing Scooby-Doo back to the big screen in the midst of all this… shall we say CREATIVITY, does have a certain amount of appeal. I don’t know how popular it is right now, but the Scooby franchise has proven to be remarkably resilient and is in constant flux with new and drastically different series coming out every few years, so perhaps with such a rock-solid property to work with, Warner Bros can do something truly unique! Is this the start of Scooby-Doo’s resurgence to the peak of popular culture, or will the concepts prove to outdated for modern audiences to latch onto outside of Saturday morning cartoon reruns? Let’s find out!!
Shaggy Rogers (Iain Armitage and Will Forte) is a lonely kid with no friends… for some reason, until he finds a stray dog who can talk but no one seems to have much of a problem with. He names the dog Scooby (Frank Welker) and eventually meets three other kids named Fred, Daphne, and Velma (Pierce Gagnon and Zac Efron, Mckenna Grace and Amanda Seyfried, and Ariana Greenblatt and Gina Rodriguez) who by happenstance they end up solving a mystery with. And thus the origin story has been told, in less than ten minutes! What do they fill the remaining eighty with? Well it turns out that The Blue Falcon, or at least his son Brian (Mark Wahlberg) is trying to stop the evil Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs) from doing… something, and it somehow involves Scooby (presumably because he’s SUCH a good boy) which means he snatches Shaggy and Scooby away from whatever it was they were doing and are now sidekicks on a superhero adventure! Blue Falcon is helped by his female pilot Dee Dee (Kiersey Clemons) and his dad’s robot dog Dynomutt (Ken Jeong) who are basically the two keeping this operation afloat while Brian stumbles his way through the adventure, and with the help of Scooby being… so very important I guess, they will race Dick Dastardly across the globe from collecting the Magical MacGuffins that will spell doom for the world! Meanwhile, Fred, Daphne, and Velma are wondering why they aren’t a part of this movie and so try to “solve the mystery” of where Scooby and Shaggy went, only to wind up in a larger than life adventure far beyond investigating a ghost who’ll end up being a guy in a Halloween mask! Will our heroes overcome the pure malevolent evil of a man named Dick with a beautiful mustache? Will Scooby’s new status as BEST DOG EVER make Shaggy into a jealous jerk for half the movie for extremely petty reasons? If we’re gonna do this cinematic universe stuff with Hanna-Barbera, can we at least put Harvey Birdman into it? Better yet, Phil Ken Sebben! At least that would be SOMETHING about this movie worth talking about!
Ralph Breaks the Internet and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
I remember when the first Wreck-It-Ralph movie came out that I couldn’t wait for there to be a sequel! However, as the years went on and the marketing pivoted from video games to him being ON THE INTERNET, I started to lose interest because the sequel that I would have wanted didn’t seem like it was going to manifest. Now that’s not to say I thought it would be a BAD movie, but what I was seeing wasn’t getting me as excited as say a Disney version of Super Smash Bros or whatever where we got even MORE nostalgic characters (maybe even ones from Nintendo!?) that Ralph and crew could go on adventures with. Now clearly NOTHING could have competed with the fan fiction I made up in my brain so even if the lead up to this movie wasn’t filling me with fanboy joy I wasn’t about to dismiss it out of hand for those reasons. Does this manage to live up to maybe not quite MY expectations but REASONABLE ones for a sequel to a modern Disney class, or should they have gone with my idea of having Mario and Sonic fight zombies together while Ralph and Boswer play Yu-Gi-Oh… or something like that? Let’s find out!!
It’s been several years since the events of the first film where Ralph and Vanellope (John C Reilly and Sarah Silverman) uncovered Turbo’s evil plan, and things have been going pretty well since then. Vanellope has been racing, Ralph has been wrecking, and Fix-it Felix Jr and Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun (Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch) have been the most adorable couple ever six years running! Still, things might be settling down a bit TOO much for Vanellope who’s time in the spotlight has turned a bit monotonous, but soon things go all Monkey’s Paw on her as her game breaks down and she and Ralph have to go online to see if they can find a replacement part before the kindly arcade owner (Ed O’Neill) sells the machine for scrap. Once online using the arcade owner’s recently purchased modem, they discover all the fantabulous things THE INTERNET has to offer, including the part they need on eBay. However, they don’t have any ACTUAL money and so need to find a way to score some cash through shady loot hunting in an online game with a bad ass NPC named Shank (Gal Gadot) and slightly less shady viral marketing through a trending video website run by an algorithm called Yesss (Taraji P Henson). Oh, and they visit Disney’s website at one point just to make sure you remember things like Star Wars, Zootopia, and their ever expanding stable of princesses. Will Ralph and Vanellope be able to buy the part and save her game before it’s too late? What will Vanellope learn about herself by seeing all these new and exciting places, and will Ralph be able to adapt to these new experiences? Where exactly did they manage to find such a clean and efficient version of THE INTERNET, and is there any way I can get on there!?
Transformers: The Last Knight and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Michael Bay
Good ol’ Patron Saint of all things wrong with cinema, Michael “The Boom Master” Bay! For a lot of film critics, he’s become something of a symbol for the worst that summer blockbusters have become even if that characterization is somewhat unfair. Heck, even I’m guilty of generalizing the dude to an extent as I’ve only managed to sit all the way through two of the Transformers movies (Revenge of the Fallen and Age of Extinction; neither of which were the least bit tolerable) and I do genuinely like a few of his films such as Pain and Gain as well as The Rock. This is gonna be the first film of his that I will review for the site, so I don’t just want to parrot my usual talking points about Transformers being THE WORST THING EVAR (even if it’s probably true) and am gonna try to go into this with an open mind as well as a critical eye. Is there SOMETHING in this latest entry of the series that will be worth talking about and even appreciating, or are here to say the same shit for a franchise that makes too much money to ever need to change? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) landing back on Cybertron (I think) where he meets the creator of all Transformers (I think) known as Quintessa (Gemma Chan) who… wants to destroy Earth I think? I don’t know, but that’s where we start and we’ll get back to that eventually. From there, we find out that the humans no longer trust the Transformers (again) and have set up the Transformers Reaction Force (TRF) to hunt down any remaining Autobots and Decepticons which usually isn’t a great idea, but whatever. The few remaining Autobots from the last movie (including a few Dinobots) are being protected by Cade Yeager from Age of Extinction (Mark Whalberg) who’s now a fugitive from the law despite having a very visible base of operations in a junk yard. Anyway, he’s being chased by the humans as well as Megatron (Frank Welker) but during an admittedly decent action scene where the three factions come to a head, a strange human sized robot named Cogman (Jim Carter) informs Cade that an artifact he found holds the key to saving the world or whatever and jets him off to the UK along with Bumblebee (Erik Aadahl) to meet with his master Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins). The dude informs Cade that he’s got a destiny much bigger than his own, there’s a professor named Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock) who ALSO has a destiny much bigger than her own, and there’s a Cybertron MacGuffin somewhere that they need to find in order to fight off the impending doom brought about by Quintessa and a brainwashed Optimus Prime. Can Cade and his gang of rascally robot friend find the MacGuffin of Ultimate Destiny before it’s too late? Can Optimus Prime be brought back to his senses before he does something he’ll truly regret? WHY IS IT So HARD TO DESCRIBE THE PLOT TO A MOVIE ABOUT GIANT ROBOTS!?