Saturday, February 26, 2022

Stubs - Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
(2021) Starring Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Logan Kim, Paul Rudd, Annie Potts, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson. Directed by Jason Reitman. Screenplay by Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman Based on Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis. Produced by Ivan Reitman. Run time: 124 minutes. Color. USA. Supernatural Comedy

When Ghostbusters was released in 1984, it was a huge success. With a budget of around $30 million, the film would earn $282.2 million during its initial theatrical run, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 1984 in the United States and Canada, and the then-highest-grossing comedy ever, and making its theme song, "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr., a number-one hit. Its success would lead to the popular animated television series The Real Ghostbusters (1986), its sequel Extreme Ghostbusters (1997), video games, board games, comic books, clothing, music, and haunted attractions. It would also naturally spawn a sequel film, Ghostbusters II (1989), which wasn’t as successful either financially or critically.

Of course, this being Hollywood, and there is nothing more tempting than an old IP, there was a reboot Ghostbusters (2016), that switched out the male roles for female leads and really didn’t advance the franchise forward.

In some ways, the original film didn’t have a proper sequel until Ghostbusters: Afterlife was released in November 2021. Being a theatrical release, the film was not one that we at Trophy Unlocked were willing to risk seeing. But now that it has been released for home video, we were anxious to see the film.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Control Ultimate Edition (PS5)

Note: This review contains spoilers for Control, The Foundation and AWE.

Sometime after the release of Quantum Break, Remedy Entertainment would announce their next game, Control, which released in 2019 and played on themes of the paranormal while adding in a mild sci-fi twist. Since I enjoyed two of the studio’s previous games, Alan Wake and Quantum Break, I looked forward to Control, despite not knowing much about it. Since the game had its own set of DLC, I waited for the physical Ultimate Edition of the game on PS4 and took advantage of the free upgrade to the PS5 version. After playing the game without any expectations, but with the knowledge of a crossover with Alan Wake, I found myself having a good time with the final product, even if it’s not perfect.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America

From 1993 to 1997, MTV aired the animated series Beavis and Butt-Head, a series by Mike Judge that followed the title characters in their comical misadventures while subtly providing social commentary. Despite my young age when the series originally aired, I was aware of the series growing up, as well as the theatrical film Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996), due to multiple off-hand references to various phrases and the duo’s signature laughter. Though I never had an interest in watching the actual show, my curiosity grew when I learned that Do America actually received positive reception from critics, including none other than Roger Ebert. Although it took me several years to actually capitalize on that interest, I finally found the time to watch the film through Paramount+, which marked my first significant exposure to Beavis and Butt-Head as a whole and put me in a unique position to judge Do America entirely on its own merits. As it turns out, the film not only held up, but doubled as a learning experience for my own sense of humor.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Vexx (Xbox)

Acclaim Studios Austin, aka Iguana Software, is perhaps best known for developing the Turok franchise, though one of their last games was an obscure platforming game in 2003 by the name of Vexx. My interest in this game came from stumbling upon mentions of it online, and my curiosity took over from there. Since then, I had deliberated on whether to actually try it, even after learning of its difficulty, only to commit to taking the plunge when I found a complete physical Xbox copy of the game in the wild. Despite the difficulty level and some technical issues that became very apparent as I continued playing, I don’t regret my time with the game and even agree with the idea that it deserves more attention.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Stubs - Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy, Charles Fleischer, Stubby Kaye, Kathleen Turner. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Ian Sharp, Frank Marshall, Max Kleven. Screenplay by Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman. Based on the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf (New York, 1981). Produced by Robert Watts, Frank Marshall. Run time: 107 minutes. USA Color Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy.

The Disney that we know today, the large conglomerate that seems to own a lot of everything, owes its origins to what happened under Michael Eisner’s tenure. It was then that the company utilized its theme park profits to buy into sports, bought the ABC network and started a new label for more adult films, Touchstone. Things have only gotten bigger from there but that’s a topic for another blog.

One of Eisner’s hopes was to start a new legacy in animation by introducing new characters that he hoped would be loved alongside company staple and mascot, Mickey Mouse. This hope starts with Who Framed Roger Rabbit, known for introducing the title character and his wife Jessica Rabbit. Eisner envisioned them as new perennial characters for the studio and would march next to Mickey in the Disney parades down Main Street in Disneyland.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate (PS5)

Note: This review contains spoilers for Mortal Kombat 11.

With NetherRealm Studios’ relatively recent pattern of fighting game releases, it’s no surprise that they would follow up Injustice 2 with Mortal Kombat 11 (MK11) in 2019. Like Injustice 2, I waited for a physical copy that included all of the DLC fighters before giving it a shot, but the wait ended up longer than anticipated, as the studio released a physical Aftermath Kollection, followed by additional DLC and then Ultimate Edition. Once NetherRealm announced the end of service for MK11, I finally obtained a copy of Ultimate Edition for the PS5 so I could finally experience a fighting game on ninth-generation hardware. Unfortunately, despite how well the game implemented some of its interesting ideas, it seems that Games as a Service (GaaS) mechanics, as well as some further missteps, have taken their toll on the franchise.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Note: This review contains spoilers for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Running alongside the original run of the Harry Potter book series was a series of 13 books written by Lemony Snicket (pseudonym for Daniel Handler) known as A Series of Unfortunate Events, which chronicles the story of the Baudelaire children Violet, Klaus and Sunny as they try to escape the evil Count Olaf, who is chasing after their family fortune. As a child, I grew up reading these books and I remember enjoying them, so I was excited when a film adaptation based on the first three books in the series (The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window), dubbed Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, was announced for a 2004 release. I liked the movie when it came out in spite of some noticeable changes to the story, though in the years since I have not seen it again that much, and I always thought it was a shame that it never got a sequel, which I discovered during research was due to corporate shakeups on Paramount’s end at the time. Well over a decade later, after deciding to revisit the movie, I found that the movie holds up pretty well and some of it hit me a lot harder as an adult than it did back when I first watched it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Shantae and the Seven Sirens (PS4)

Three years after the release of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, WayForward released the fifth Shantae game, Shantae and the Seven Sirens, as a two-part iOS game for Apple devices and later as a complete release for other platforms. When the game released on PS4, I eagerly bought the Limited Run release, knowing I’d have to wait a few months to actually play it. Once I finally got my hands on it, I spent a couple days playing it to see if they had learned anything from the faults of Half-Genie Hero. While I can tell that WayForward is improving with the series and I like the new spins they put on the core gameplay elements, they have one big problem they still need to work on.