No posts?
Submitted Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 11:58:38 AM by Klaitu

Well, here's what I've been doing:










Holy Crap, an Update!
Submitted Saturday, September 19, 2015 - 6:35:34 AM by Klaitu

Things are much busier now, what with being married and all. I thought I might dust off the ol' blog for a minute, if for no other reason than to see if it still works!

Looks like it's still crackin! Take that, Web 2.0! Still going strong!



Someone's been busy
Submitted Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 4:31:36 PM by Klaitu

Yeah, I know I haven't posted anything on here in forever, but gone are carefree days of unemployment. Alas, such is the way of life.

I'll probably still post from time to time, but certainly not with any frequency.. but since you were so kind to check in on me, please enjoy this video of 8-bit tavern music about dragons!



Star Trekking while you Star Trek
Submitted Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 7:59:05 PM by Klaitu

I've been a phone support agent for a long time, and I've found many ways to pass the time in between calls or during a long install.

Now that I'm not on the phones any longer, it seems like a waste to let all my hard work remain in obscurity!

So, here's what I worked on for 2013! Star Trek backstory for all my Star Trek Online officers!

That's right, it's time to get your fanfiction on!


Captain Klaitu Ben-Johhn
Human
USS Solstice

Personnel Record: Ben Johhn, Klaitu
Date of Birth: 07 December, 2355 (Stardate 30217)
Birthplace: Gault Colony Age: 54
Current Assignment: Captain, U.S.S. Solstice (A), Starfleet Elite Forces
Summary: Decorated Veteran of the Dominion War (2373-2375) with a specialization in Engineering. Accomplished peacetime explorer.
Previous Assignments: Captain (Instructor), Starfleet Academy
Captain, U.S.S. Resolution
Captain, U.S.S. Mariner
Captain, U.S.S. Solstice
LTCOM (Helm), U.S.S. Solstice
LT (Systems Analysis), U.S.S. Solstice
LTjg (Systems Design), Starfleet Headquarters
ENS (Operations), U.S.S. Sutherland

Commendations:
Cochrane Medal of Excellence
Starfleet Extended Tour Ribbon
Grankite Order of Tactics
Legion of Honor
Star Cross
Starfleet Decoration for Gallantry
Starfleet Award for Valor


Commander Dale Arden
Human
USS Solstice

First Officer of the Solstice, an expatriate from Angel One, Genetically engineered for bloodshed, she escaped that life and now serves dutifully with her rescuers, Starfleet. She is one of the the crew members of the original USS Solstice, She was present during the Gallitep Disaster, where Captain Klaitu was catapulted into command due to the death of several officers. She's followed him from command to command ever since.

When not on duty, she can usually be found trying out a new holodeck program with Bell or Hobbes, her two closest friends.


LTCOM Nizi Bell
Unjoined Trill
USS Solstice

Chief Science Officer aboard the Solstice, Bell was originally overlooked for promotion due to her propensity for "intimate contact" with other species. While the intention of the regulations is to protect officers from potential transmission of disease or from biological compatibility, Bell has always skirted the rules in her quest to experience "the spice of life".

She is one of the crew members of the original USS Solstice, and the only other Bridge Survivor during the Gallitep Disaster. Bell can frequently be found reading about the behaviors of ancient cultures.


LTCOM Anthony "Tony" Stark
Human
USS Solstice

After discovering the crashed remains of a Pakled ship on Earth in the 21st century, The Billionaire Playboy Philanthropist and technical genius managed to transport himself 4 centuries into the future of an alternate reality. Impressed with his new surroundings, he decided to stay on as Chief Engineer of the Solstice.

Though not a crew member at the time, his insight during the Gallitep Disaster was instrumental in getting the surviving crew to safety.


LT Chuck Freaking Norris
Human
USS Solstice

Native of the 21st century, was transported to the 24th century when one of his roundhouse kicks caught a Mr. T punch. Norris allowed himself to be sucked into the vortex in an attempt to roundhouse kick time itself. Instead he ended up in the 24th century, in a galaxy with millions of lifeforms that he has yet to battle.

He currently serves as the Chief of Security, ever prepared to roundhouse whoever or whatever may attempt to board the ship without authorization. He converted his quarters into a Dojo and often holds Karate classes there.


LTCOM Dr. Stadi Genestra
Betazoid
USS Solstice

Chief Medical Officer of the Solstice, Dr. Genestra graduated from the prestigious Gregory House school of Medicine.. but probably only because of her physique.

Genestra is an accomplished physician despite her low marks in school. She is sometimes questioned in the medical community for her treatment choices, but is almost inerringly proven correct.

She is one of the surviving officers of the original USS Solstice. She has a strong romantic attraction to Krem everyone aboard realizes except for Krem and herself.


LT K'mtar
Klingon
USS Solstice

K'mtar serves as Chief Tactical Officer of the Solstice, but in his offtime he is known for his obsession with the human competition known as Arm Wrestling. He's challenged most of the crew and won. In fact, it's safe to say that K'mtar can't truly trust anyone until he has Arm Wrestled them.


Breen
Breen
USS Solstice

His Breen code required him to follow Klaitu's command after he challenged the Captain to a snowcone eating contest and lost. Sadly, he didn't realize the Human love of snowcones until it was too late. He withholds his name out of sheer spite, but has proven himself as a valuable member of the crew.

He seems to have a particular hatred of Tholians.


First Varet'iclan
Jem'Hadar
USS Solstice

Varet'iclan joined the Solstice as a Tactical specialist after K'mtar beat him in a particularly grueling arm wrestling match. Captain Klaitu earned his respect after rescuing the Female Changeling from Facility 4028 and subesquently liberating Deep Space 9 from temporally displaced Dominion forces.

Like all Gamma Jem'Hadar, he could not survive without a steady supply of Ketracel White.

He spends his free time studying warfare in his quarters, or simulating warfare on the holodeck with the MPR.


CDR Eight of Eight
Liberated Borg, Human
USS Solstice

Assimilated in the 24th century, but then abandoned, frozen on an L class world. Rediscovered in the 29th century and removed from the collective, Served the Timeship Demeter until she got stranded in the 25th century. With the Temporal Prime Directive preventing her return, she serves aboard the Solstice in the Operations Department.

Eight prefers to keep to herself, in an effort to limit her opportunity to reveal information about the future. Her only regular social contact is with Macklin, who would not be influenced by knowledge of events to come.

It is imperative that nobody finds out why she chose to serve on the Solstice.


ENS Krem
Ferengi
USS Solstice

Krem earned a spot on the Solstice by obtaining a rare bottle of Whiskey that Stark had once owned back in the 21st century. Now Krem is Stark's protege, learning how to party as hard as he works.

As a child he was a fan of "Marauder Mo" and owns an authentic vintage Ferengi Energy Whip made famous by the drama.


LT "Hobbes" Rahlga Nar Hhallas
Caitian
USS Solstice

Rahlga Nar Hhallas, one of the most well-trained ground operatives in Starfleet. He serves as a mission operations specialist on ground missions, provides expert tactical support and a sure-fire deadly aim with his assault rifle. Hobbes is currently undergoing Starfleet Examinations for Starship command and control to become a more rounded officer.

He often spends his off hours reading in the arboretum.


Gallia
Orion
USS Solstice

Gallia came aboard when the Solstice was taking on Antigens to relieve an outbreak of Mendakan Pox on Bolarus IX.. and she never left. She makes herself a viable member of the crew with her street-wise ways and heart of gold. Secretly, it started out as a plot to seduce the Captain with her pheremones and take over the ship, but his sense of smell was destroyed by burns he sustained in the Dominion War. Since then she has come to respect him and his mission, though she considers Arden her primary rival for the Captain's affections.

Arden, for her part, remains completely oblivious to these motivations.


Zed of Borg
Canadian
USS Solstice

The first and (to date) only Liberated Canadian Borg Drone, eh? What's that all aboot? He was just enjoying some poutine down to the mess hall, don'tcha know? Then whoosh, assimilated.. just like that. You'd think the USS Tim Horton could survive that kinda encounter, eh?

Thankfully, he was rescued, but returned to the sad news that his pet caribou died, ya know? Now he's out for revenge, he even ripped the plasma cannon arm off a borg drone and swore revenge. Pretty unsportsmanlike if you ask me, eh?


Cadet (4th year) Thyla Tella
Andorian
USS Solstice

Promising Red Squad Cadet who earned her way aboard the Solstice during the Rigel IX Incident. She provides her technical expertise to the engineering team during the night watch.

Since she's on active duty, she earns credit toward her coursework while aboard the Solstice.


Lameran
Reman
USS Solstice

Assigned to the Solstice by Obisek as "thanks" for Captain Klaitu's assistance during the Romulan Civil War, Lameran had no choice but to obey. He refused to change his uniform, and insists on going around the ship in his rainbow-colored leather armor, complete with dramatic cape. The crew have taken to calling him "Lame-Ran". Due to his inability to integrate with the crew, and his existance on the ship serving a diplomatic purpose, the Captain has assigned Lameran as the ship's latrine degausser.. third class.

He can frequently be found degaussing in the dark, since his eyes are very sensitive to light... a fact he reminds everyone of during any attempt at conversation.


Sublieutenant Vorelis
Vulcan
USS Solstice

Vorelis was assigned to the Solstice by the Vulcan Science Directorate. She has several degrees in advanced slipstream theory and regularly works with the Engineering Staff to insure the Chroniton-integrated slipstream is working properly.

Though Vulcans are typically vegetarian in nature, she has become addicted to the earth delicacy "Chili Dogs" after they were introduced to her by Stark. And since the meat is replicated, there's no logical reason not to eat a Chili Dog... or two.

The crew has noticed that she has begun to smell like chili dogs, even when not eating them. Out of politeness, nobody has said anything.


Emergency Medical Hologram Mark IX
Photonic
USS Solstice

EMH Mk IX follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, Voyager's EMH Mark I. The crew keeps him offline most of the time due to his abrasive personality, but even they are forced to admit begrudgingly that he occasionally comes in useful from time to time. However, as a precaution, Captain Klaitu has ordered that the EMH not be exposed to singing in any variety, including Opera and Show Theater.

Macklin has programmed automatic memory-reset subroutines into the hologram in the event he experiences any desire to tap dance, perform Vaudeville, or become a mime.

So far he's only had to be deleted and restored to his factory state four times.


Kera
Romulan
USS Solstice

Assigned to the Solstice via the Romulan/Federation Officer Exchange program. A Graviton specialist. Kera keeps to herself, feeling torn between the xenophobic ways of her heritage and the outgoing ways of the Federation.

The original USS Solstice deterred a small Tal Shiar fleet that would have discovered her home colony, A fact that she has chosen not to share with anyone.


MACO Photonic Reinforcement Unit, Mark II
Photonic
USS Solstice

A standard MACO Photonic Reinforcement Unit, Mark II. He doesn't say much, nor does he have much personality.. but he knows how to work a minigun.. and sometimes that's all you really need. Other times you need some grenades. He's got that covered, too.


Colonel Jeelin Maru
Bajoran
USS Solstice

Colonel Jeelin was assigned to the Solstice during the Temporally displaced Dominion forces invasion of Deep Space 9 in 2409. A specialist Cardassian-style Impulse Manifolds. Her skills proved invaluable, and the Solstice was able to track down a fleet of Galor-class True Way vessels hiding in the Badlands. The Bajoran Government agreed to put her on detached duty to Starfleet in recognition of her efforts. Now she helps keep the Solstice's engines in tip top shape. Hobbes and Bell often pressure her to join them in their holodeck adventures.


LTCOM Macklin
Maddox-type Android
USS Solstice

Macklin is a Maddox-type android named after the prominent 20th century science fiction author Albert Macklin.

Like the Soong-type androids, Macklin has only rudimentary emotions and is incapable of any real feeling, but is able to use contractions with ease. He also has a slightly more realistic skin tone. Otherwise, his overall design is indentical to that of Soong-type androids.

Macklin has been in continuous operation for 29 years, and is the second Maddox-type android to be activated. He has degrees in Subspace Theory, Quantum Chromodynamics, Xenobiology, and Temporal Physics. He's spent the last decade doing research at Starfleet Academy but has recently decided to take an active starship duty assignment. He currently serves as the Chief Operations Office aboard the Solstice.



Star Trek Into Darkness
Submitted Saturday, May 18, 2013 - 4:40:42 PM by Klaitu

Herein lies the nerd analysis of Star Trek into Darkness. It'll also be a bit of a review as well. Spoilers abound, so consider this your warning.

Everyone good? Okay, here we go.

STID is a frustrating blend of everything that's right with Star Trek with illogical nonsense plot points. The movie gets the characters and the emotional beats right, and gets all the details wrong.. and I'm not just talking about jiving with Star Trek canon (though I'll talk about that at length in a bit). The movie has moments that aren't consistant within this movie, let alone anywhere else.

So, lest anyone think I hated this movie, I didn't. It was a fun 2 hour romp that has a lot of entertaining moments, and thankfully has very little of Deep Roy's stupid comic relief character. A better title would have been "What if we mixed up TOS: Space Seed and Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan into a blender?" That's not a bad thing, there are a lot of interesting "What if" moments.. What if Kirk had sacrificed himself in the engine room instead of Spock? Lots of great character stuff here.

So, without further delay, here we go:

The Prime Directive and Volcanoes.

The first of the movie sports an entertaining segment where Kirk is running from a primitive native civilization, and Spock is attempting to stop a Volcano from erupting, which would destroy those primitives.. and all without the civilization knowing anything about it, hence the Prime Directive is in play.

1. Why is Kirk even on the planet? He's running from the aliens and carrying what appears to be some kind of religious or cultural text. Is he providing a distraction for Spock's team? It's never really clear why Kirk needed to interact with the locals to begin with.

2. Spock cautions Kirk about influencing the primitive aliens, as noninterferance is the mandate of the prime directive. "Don't let them see the ship or any advanced technology" he says as he plans to detonate a device that will interfere with the natural evolution of the primitive society. I guess Spock is concerned the prime directive not be violated while violating the prime directive.

3. Spock's device itself is ridiculous, there's a line in the movie "He detonated a Cold Fusion device..." this is the second stupidest line in the movie, and is akin to saying something like "He downloaded the internet". First off, Cold Fusion isn't actually cold. Secondly, it doesn't explode.. thirdly, if it did explode, it wouldn't be cold.. and finally, Cold Fusion is a way to generate electricity.. it has nothing to do with lava.. at all.

4. Spock's shuttle has a little accident and they need to beam him up now... but what's that? we can't? Chekov says we need to have direct line of sight to beam him up.. Since when has that been a rule? How would you ever beam anyone into or out of another spaceship?

5. So, we need line of sight, that shouldn't be too hard since the Enterprise can just look down from orbit into the cauldron of the volcano.. but wait.. Kirk decided to park the Enterprise under the water in an ocean on the planet.. the very same planet that is about to explode somehow because OMG Volcano... I'm going to let the underwater thing slide, there's ambiguity there.. but why even bother when you could accomplish the mission without bringing the Enterprise down to the surface? Why not just beam Spock and his stupid cold fusion device into the Volcano, set the charge, and beam him out from orbit? Even better still, just beam the device down with the timer ticking... they even do that later in this very same movie. We've already established this is possible.

6. So, of course Kirk flies the Enterprise out of the ocean, revealing itself to the primitives so he can fly directly over the volcano and beam up Spock.. So why the short range? They beamed all the way from Saturn to Earth in the first movie.. we can't beam Spock from the surface of the planet while still in the atmosphere of the same planet? We gotta park in the ash cloud of the volcano to make this work?

7. On Earth, that black guy from Doctor Who is sad that his daughter is going to die. Khan makes a deal and provides some of his blood to cure the little girl. Where did Khan get this ability? Why does his blood heal people? He wasn't able to do that in the original continuity.. he couldn't even heal himself in the original continuity. We couldn't have a throwaway line here to explain this? Oh well, this couldn't possibly come into play later in the movie.

8. Later, Khan attacks Starfleet Headquarters with a future helicopter. When Kirk defeats him, Khan beams away.. to Kronos. This is absolutely ridiculous, even in Star Trek terms. JJ Trek transporter technology can beam you from planet to planet, but has to be in line of sight? And if you move slightly, forget about a transporter lock? This thing has no rules except it works when its convienient, and it doesn't work when it's convienient. Lame.

9. If we can just beam from planet to planet, then why the crap are we building spaceships?

10. Why does Khan choose to beam to Kronos? In the movie, it's supposedly so Starfleet can't get to him, but that's exactly what happens anyway. He would have been wiser just to leave that transporter thingy set to Kronos as a decoy, but remain on Earth.. but I guess I'm smarter than Khan.. or at least smart enough to beam up the beamer thinger with me so that I could get back whenever I wanted.

11. Kirk is sent to take out Khan, who has not only beamed to Kronos, but to the Ketha Province.. a lush land full of wildlife for hunting... I mean an uninhabited desert, apparently. Whoops, guess we homaged DS9 there without checking our info.

12. "Hey, Captain Kirk, I'm a hot blonde chick with forged transfer credentials that I know you'll overlook because I gots boobies. You'll probably even see my underwear later for no reason.. no seriously, Captain.. we're not going to have a love scene, I'm going to invite you into a shuttle for no reason whatsoever and take off my clothes.. but not for you."

13. The Enterprise is loaded up with new Torpedoes to take down Khan, and apparently these new torpedoes can target a single lifeform on said planet from inside the neutral zone... so that's cool. What's that? Scotty won't let them on board because he can't scan their fuel compartments, and he's concerned they could interfere with the ship's engines? He feels so strongly about it that Kirk kicks him off the ship, yikes!

Slightly later in the film, it turns out that the Enterprise's engines do fail.. but why? Those sneaky fuel compartments contain cryo tubes with frozen super soldiers in them.. and while Scotty's concern is all well and good, how would this interfere with the engines?

Nevertheless, the engines do fail.. so were they sabotaged? If so, how? When? Are the saboteurs still on board? Maybe we should investigate that..... naaah.

14. "Sulu to crew, prepare the convienient plot device freighter we picked up before the movie began!" "But sir.. can't we just BEAM there, I mean after all Khan just did it like 20 minutes ago, and the device he used to do it is sitting over there in the closet!" "Nonsense, prepare the freighter!"

15. After Khan is captured, he suggests they dismantle one of those experimental torpedoes.. and he's probably right about that, because they're pretty bewildering. As I mentioned earlier, the fuel cells have been replaced by cryo tubes.. which is really cool for being sneaky, but if the Enterprise did launch those torpedoes, how are they going to go anywhere without any fuel? They'd just scooch out of the torpedo tube and sit there.

16. So, Khan designed these missiles to disguise the cryotubes.. but also puts real warheads in the dummy torpedoes? That doesn't seem to make sense.. maybe he needed explosives in them as part of the disguise?

Even if this were the case, if he has access to the cryo chambers in order to hide them in the missiles, why doesn't he just wake up the people that are in the chambers and dispense with the chambers altogether?

17. "If you think you're safe at Warp, you aren't" Khan says. Why would anyone think they were safe at warp? Battles are done all the time at Warp in Star Trek. Unsurprisingly, the bad guy's ship swoops in and knocks the Enterprise out of Warp.

18. Apparently they're pushed out of Warp "240,000 Kilometers" shy of Earth. The movie depicts this as being near the Moon, which is kind of correct.. its 62% of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.. inside the Moon's orbit.

You mean to tell me that Starfleet isn't picking these ships up on sensors? They're unaware that the Enterprise is slugging it out against an aggresssive unmarked Federation ship? Sure, maybe Admiral Marcus did something to make that happen, but it's never mentioned.

What about all those other ships that are docked at Spacedock, or are on the blockade patrol that the Admiral ordered earlier? None of them are picking up anything weird?

19. Later in the movie, we find the Enterprise falling into the Earth's atmosphere. The engines need to be restarted, but the engine compartment is flooded with radiation.. This all seems very familiar somehow.. and though it is the very direct essence of "What If" the scene is done well, and is touching...

and then Zachary Quinto yells "KHAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNN!!!!" and ruins everything.

20. Khan meanwhile almost manages to crash into San Francisco.. and of course Khan manages to survive. In Star Trek 2, Khan's ship doesn't crash into anything and he winds up bloodied and bruised, and one of his arms doesn't work anymore.

New Khan? not a scratch.

21. Spock takes a phaser with him to hunt down Khan, but doesn't even get off a single shot. That happens a lot in this movie.. people getting phasers knocked out of their hands constantly. Other weapons? no problem. Phasers just seem to be bad luck.

22. McCoy comes to the realization that the audience has already come to know: Khan's miracle blood will save Kirk's life. "We've got to take Khan alive!" he proclaims.. why?

Khan still has blood after he's dead. Also, didn't we just make a huge fuss about how we have 72 frozen genetic supermen that were hidden in those torpedoes? Isn't that enough blood to save Kirk? How much blood does that guy need anyways?

So, despite all these flaws, STID is a pretty fun movie, and it's worth a watch.. it's an entertaining ride, and it was better than Iron Man 3.. at least if you ask me.

Overall Score: 8 of 10



Still Alive
Submitted Friday, May 10, 2013 - 2:16:45 PM by Klaitu

It's not a review, but I am still alive.. I've just been busy with grown up stuff.

You know, like work.

But it's okay, I mean, this is what old people do, right?



Cloud Atlas
Submitted Saturday, October 27, 2012 - 8:45:08 AM by Klaitu

Well, how can I describe Cloud Atlas? It's not much like any other film I've ever seen, and that's a good thing.

Cloud Atlas is actually more like 5 or 6 mini short-films that interweave thematically. Each separate story features the same actors in different roles (except apparently Hugo Weaving, who is always the antagonist)

The film is edited in such a way that these stories are intercut thematically, so that when action is happening in one story, it's also happening in another. Scenes become all jumbled up. It sounds like it would be disjointing or confusing, but it actually works surprisingly well.

The different stories take place in different time periods, from the 19th century to the 22nd and beyond. They all take place in the same world, and you often learn about the events in one story through the events of another story.

I have only two complaints:

1. They missed an opportunity to connect all the stories better. While the Post-apocalyptic future story does link thematically to the earliest 19th century story, there really is no story link between the two.

They might have been able to get away with this if they had taken this approach to all the stories, but the 1923 and 1973 stories are linked closely, as are the 2144 and Post-apocalyptic stories.. but there's only the barest thread connecting 2144 to 1923, and almost none connecting the 19th century story to anything else.

2. This movie takes pride in changing the actors appearances in every timeframe. In one timetrame, Halle Berry is a white woman, for instance. In another Bae Doona plays a white woman. This is particularly apparent in the 2144 story because nearly all the characters are given the asian trademark epicanthic fold to their eyes.

Imagine Hugo Weaving with Korean eyes. Disturbed yet? Now imagine that they're not in the right place on his face.


Yeah, and he's probably the best job they did.


I really have no problem with actors portraying people of other races, but in this instance the look of it is disturbingly wrong and seriously distracting.

When the 2144 plot began, I thought it was going to be a Twilight zone sort of thing where Bae Doona is the only humans and everyone else is an alien.

Anyways, other than those two complaints, the movie is pretty decent. It's worth a look at least once.

Overall Score: 7 of 10



Continuum
Submitted Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 11:46:44 AM by Klaitu

Are you in Canada? Well I'm not, but I saw the Canadian Sci-Fi series called Continuum anyways.

Continuum is a police procedural program (sigh) about a cop from 2077 who gets sent back in time to 2012 with a bunch of criminals during their execution.

The primary theme for the series is corporations and their role in government.. not your usual Time Travel theme.. and another thing of note is that they keep the Time Travel mechanics purposefully vague so there's not a lot of that messy Time Travel paradox nonsense.

The show is interesting, but like most police prodedural shows it needs to lose the on-rails premise of police work and focus on the characters. Still, it's not bad.

Overall Score: 6 of 10



Dredd
Submitted Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 11:30:29 AM by Klaitu

What's that, you haven't seen Dredd yet? That's 30 days in the Isocubes! How do you plead? I knew you were gonna say that! I am der LUUUUH!

Okay, you've probably seen the Stallone version. You know, the version with Rob Schnieder and a guy with a knob in his forehead that sets his anger level..

Well, forget you ever saw that because this movie has pretty much nothing at all to do with that movie.

Dredd is basically an action movie about Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson being trapped in a nuclear bomb shelter that is also home to several thousand citizens.. and they're the only two Judges inside.

A drug cartel has taken over the shelter, led by that evil Queen from Game of Thrones.

As an action movie, the plot here is not terribly heavy, but it is consistent and makes sense. It is extremely well acted, Karl Urban is Dredd himself.

Overall Score: 7 of 10



Looper
Submitted Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 11:17:17 AM by Klaitu

What's this? A Bruce Willis time travel movie? Well, it is! You know what that means, everyone.. duck and cover, it's nerd time! Oh, and SPOILER ALERT.

Here's the premise: in the distant future it's nearly impossible to murder anyone because of technology or some crap like that. To get around it, the mob sends people they want killed back in time where they have an assassin in the present kill them the moment they arrive. Those assassins are called loopers.

The difference between the future and the present is about 30 years, so loopers who catch up to the future are themselves sent back into the past where they are killed by their younger selves. The idea is that it protects the whole time-travel murder system the mob has set up.

As it turns out.. if your future self is Bruce Willis, it's extremely hard to kill yourself. Strap in here, because we're gonna get technical.

The first time the movie happens, Willis kills his older self. He takes his payday and lives the next 25 years or so in a drug-addled stupor. While in China, he meets a woman who cleans him up. They fall in love, and he dedicates himself to her.. but just when things are going good, he catches up with the future, and the mob takes him to send him back in time so that his younger self can kill him.

PROBLEM!

During the altercation in which Bruce Willis is being kidnapped, his wife is murdered.. OOPS. See, Bruce Willis is being sent back in time specifically because it's impossible to kill someone and get away with it in the future. So, plot hole.

So anyways, Bruce Willis is pissed off because his wife got killed. They're going to dump him in a time machine where his younger self is waiting to kill him.. but instead, Bruce Willis kills his captors and leaps into the machine himself with his arms untied.. needless to say he beats the crap out of his younger self and escapes.

Now, Old Bruce Willis has a theory: The leader of the mob in the future is a guy named the Rainmaker. He's a mysterious figure and nobody's quite sure who he is, but in the future, he was able to track down the time, date, and location of the Rainmaker's birth. He uses records in the present to locate 3 children who were born that day in the same hospital.

Still with me? because it's about to get weird.

The third kid is a a super creepy psychic kid who is actually the Future rainmaker. Young Bruce Willis knows what Old Bruce Willis is up to, and old Bruce Willis can always remember what's happening to Young Bruce Willis. When Young Bruce Willis accidentally discovered the Rainmaker, Old Bruce Willis knows too.

In the original timeline, The Rainmaker became so freaking evil because he saw his mother shot in cold blood. He was left to be raised on his own and this timeline led to Old Bruce WIllis' wife being killed.

In the new timeline it's revealed that the man who shot the Rainmaker's mother was Old Bruce Willis, who was attempting to kill the Rainmaker, the mother just got in the way.

PROBLEM!

In the original timeline, Bruce Willis did not kill the Rainmaker's mother. If the Rainmaker's mother was shot by someone, the perpetrator had to be someone other than Bruce Willis.

Young Bruce Willis sees that Old Bruce Willis is about to shoot the mother, and believing it to be the cause of the Rainmaker's evil, Young Bruce Willis kills himself, which causes Old Bruce Willis to cease to exist, and the mother is not shot.. for now.

As we already discussed, Bruce Willis didn't shoot the Rainmaker's mother the FIRST time, and he also did not shoot her the SECOND time, either.. which means that the only thing that really happened when Young Bruce Willis killed himself was that he prevented the death of Olf Bruce Willis's wife in the future (as she can't marry him since he no longer exists in her time, and won't be with him when he is abducted and sent back in time).

DOUBLE PROBLEM!

Because Young Bruce Willis's decision to kill himself is based on Old Bruce Willis's actions, the second he kills himself, his reason for killing himself no longer exists, which begs the question: Why did Young Bruce Willis kill himself?

So, aside from there it having a sloppy plot and brain-bending paradoxes which are not internally consistent with one another, Looper is a decent film. Young Bruce Willis and Old Bruce Willis are played by different people, and they made the actor playing Young Bruce look really Bruce-like. He even does a really good Bruce impersonation.. it's actually kind of eerie. The acting here is well done.

As far as Bruce Willis Time Travel movies go, you could do worse (Disney's The Kid) or better (12 Monkeys).

Overall Score: 6 of 10



Guild Wars 2
Submitted Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 11:43:09 AM by Klaitu

Hey there, Internet! It's been awhile, what with the upcoming wedding and all that. I haven't forgotten about you though, so here's a review for Guild Wars 2!

What can I say about Guild Wars 2 without comparing it to the first Guild Wars? Well, I guess I'll just start with the basics.

GW2 is a free to play MMORPG that supports itself with microtransactions. This is the kind of business model that's becoming "a thing" these days, but with GW2 it's worthy to note that the first Guild Wars more or less made this idea popular to begin with.

On the surface, the game plays a lot like you would expect an MMO to play, but there are differences here that do go in unexpected directions. A few of the more notable ones:

- You're limited to a set of 10 skills on your toolbar. You can choose which ones go on there to some extent, but you only get 10, so choose wisely.

- Trinity gameplay is largely nonexistant. All characters can heal themselves and resurrect fallen allies. As a result, you don't need particular classes to perform certain actions. Anyone can just about do anything, it's just the manner in which they do it that differs.

- Quests are nonexistant, except for your personal story quest. The other content takes the form of spontaneous events that just pop up, and are only available for a limited time.

- You can join any number of guilds on any particular server you might desire. There are no limits or factions, and any character can play with any other character. All worlds or "shards" are integrated seamlessly.

Graphics here are nice for an MMO, they've got a sort of asian flair to them that you might expect out of a Korean MMO, but the character designs are not as emo as Aion's.

Music here doesn't do much for the game. Sound effects are appropriate, and the main voice acting is pretty good (it features Steve Blum, Nolan North, and Felicia Day not to mention Kari Wahlgren). Extraneous NPC characters often have awful voice acting read by what is probably the janitorial staff.

All together, GW2 is absolutely great for casual get-togethers. Characters scale to match one another so that anyone can play with anyone else, and matchmaking is no sweat. It's casual take on the MMO is refreshing and interesting.

Overall Score: 7 of 10
Quality Rating: 4 of 5
Buy it!



The Dark Knight Rises
Submitted Sunday, July 22, 2012 - 12:03:06 AM by Klaitu

Alright, so I know.. I'm writing a Batman review and somehow I missed writing a review for The Avengers.. so let me get that out of the way: The Avengers is awesome, go see it.

Now, onto Batman.. and oh yeah.. SPOILER ALERT.

You guys will no doubt remember that I'm not much of a Batfan, but I try to keep an open mind about these things. A lot of trilogies that didn't start well ended up having epic conclusions, after all.

TDKR, however, remains pretty consistent with its 2 companions. I'd say it's probably the best film of the 3, but not by much.

Music here is excellent and well done, though the other films did it well too.

The direction on this one is much improved. You can actually tell what's going on most of the time and the "action edits" are slowed down to let you actually see more of the action.

As with the previous movies, the weakness here is the plot.. which had a ton of problems.. starting with the very first scene.

In this one, the bad guys board a CIA jet. They have some other bad guys in another, bigger plane who fly above the CIA plane and rappel down onto the smaller one. They then attach cables to the other plane and proceed to tow it for no reason, which causes it to fall apart.

I don't know about you, but when you're in the planning stages for this can't you come up with a better way to rescue your bad guy captives and blow up the plane? "... and then we attach cables to it and rip the wings off!" seems kinda ridiculous to me.

The CIA agent on the plane really wants to know about Bane "Can he live with his mask off?" he asks. Well, we never really get an answer. The mask is what makes Bane unique.. it doesn't take a super genius to assume that he's wearing it for a reason other than to make a neat fashion statement. So the CIA agent is really stupid, but it's okay, because Batman doesn't figure it out until the end of the film either.

This film LOVES to telegraph its plot to the point where you know the entire ending to the movie about a quarter of the way through it.

Morgan Freeman goes out of his way to point out that the autopilot on the Bat-copter doesn't work, so you know that once Bane explains how the bomb works, Batman is going to hook it up to the bat-copter and fly it out to sea.

Alfred goes on a huge monologue about how he always dreamed of seeing Bruce Wayne in Italy with his girlfriend, so you know that's happening at the end of the movie.

The thing that takes the cake is a scene where Catwoman is confronting a guy who she made a deal with. She wants something called the "Blank Slate".. and when she confronts him he goes on a 2 minute diatribe explaining what the Blank Slate is, what it does, how it works, and why he doesn't have it. As if we couldn't figure out the Blank Slate is a computer program that gives you... a blank slate.

Things get super stupid when we get to the point where Batman is trapped in "the pit" which is a ridiculous unattended prison in Africa somewhere. Here's how the prison works:

There's a big hole in the ground, maybe 50 or 100 feet deep. The only way to escape is to climb out of the hole. There are no guards.. nobody to stop you from doing so whatsoever. So why doesn't anyone escape?

Well, it's supposedly because you have to leap across a chasm about halfway through the climb.. here's the stupid part: There are ropes that lead all the way out of the hole.

Yeah. Ropes. Bruce Wayne ties himself to one for safety when he tries to jump the chasm. Hey Bruce.. CLIMB THE ROPE. There's no guards up there to stop you from doing it.. but let's assume that you can't climb the rope for whatever reason.

CUT THE ROPE WITH A SHARP ROCK. You have access to rope and you're trying to jump across a chasm? You can't MacGyver a grappling hook out of rope and bed parts and just cross the prison with that?

It's not that Batman is stupid, nobody else in the prison has figured it out either, and they've been in for most of their lives.

Here's another twist: liberal philosophy. The "metaphorical" reason that Batman can't escape is because he was rich. The entire movie has this preachy thread about how rich people are completely evil. In fact, for Batman to be the hero in this film, he has all of his money stolen by Bane so that he can be poor. Catwoman's plot is hosed down entirely with how evil rich people are as a justification for her to steal from them.

So, as it turns out, you can't escape from prison unless you're poor and worked hard from the ground up. There's actually a character that says Wayne can't possibly escape because he was "born into privilege". After which Wayne escapes anyways.. shows what you know, disgraced prison doctor!

Other issues aside, perhaps the biggest problem I had with the plot was the motivation. This might go back to the first film as well.

You see, the indian woman wants to honor her father by completing his mission. Bane likes the indian woman, so that's why he's around.. what they don't really explain was why Ra's al Ghul wanted to destroy Gotham in the first place. Maybe they explained it in the first film, but I saw that movie one time ages ago.. I need a refresher, movie!

I do have to give some praise here, lest I seem overly negative. This movie features the best Catwoman to be featured in any Batman movie I've ever seen. Hathaway did an excellent job. She was almost as awesome as Black Widow in the Avengers!

Well, I guess I better end with that before I start the Dark Knight vs Avengers debate.

Overall Score: 5 of 10




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