Past Entertainment

For the week of 3/24/10

Toggled Review

'Bakugan: Battle Brawlers” for Wii a tedious masher
By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)

Review will also be posted at the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat

One of the things that have made the Wii so enjoyable is the simplicity that goes into the fun. However, this can also be a turn off for gamers if a title does not balance it with enough variety.
Role Playing Games have tussled with this problem and have succeeded on a many an occasion, but as with anything there is no guarantee. This latest offering from Activision is at first a very visually appealing game with easy to learn controls, though it loses luster after you play through the first couple of hours. “Bakugan: Battle Brawlers” for the Wii tries to offer a new spin on the Anime show, but does little to keep one interested to the end.
The story features familiar characters from the series like Dan Kuso, who introduces your character to the world of battle brawling. You get a chance to customize your character to your liking, in my case I went with the afro butt kicking route.
You also learn tips from Alice the shop keeper and are well on your way to mediocrity, until you gain an unusual edge in the form of the mysterious Leonidas. Throw in the stereotypical plot to rule the universe where you somehow must be the only one to save it and there’s your purpose for leveling up your little warriors, buying more of them as you go along as well as buying cards that help them come out victorious. The three battle modes are shaking your wii-mote, shooting and hitting buttons at the right time and the point is to land your miniatures on gate cards claiming them either by winning a battle against an opponent or getting two squirts to land on one card.
Since the game is mind numbingly repetitive I would only recommend this game to the younger crowd (8-12 maybe), but from their point of view I can see how it would easily keep them glued in hopes of proving who’s best. If you want something that the older generation would also enjoy try Activision’s endless line of faux instrument entertainment.
I have to admit that while I won’t spend much time in the future on this game, what little was offered was designed without a glitch. Perhaps a future game for this could be improved if one could actually do the actual brawling ala boxing or slicing motions. In the end, it was mixed results and for that “Bakugan: Battle Brawlers” for the Wii earns three out of six toggles.

‘Alice in Wonderland’ focuses on the visual

By Ezra Mann

Article also posted at the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat

If there is one force in Hollywood that can claim to be the best at making a film look awesome, Tim Burton does not have many that could dethrone him. While some films of his have been better in the story department, he has never slacked on making characters and environment excel visually.
His latest effort is no exception and I like many put this on my must see list when the trailer debuted. For the most part I was impressed as usual with what the camera captured, but unfortunately the tale behind it just felt shallow. “Alice in Wonderland” could have paced things so much better and delivered a more complete silver screen experience.
My first thought when I had heard of this was that it would be a retelling of the original story, but instead it is more of a sequel. This time Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is 19 and returns to Wonderland led again by the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), which has not done all that well since her first visit.
The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) ever vengeful as well as jealous has made it her personal mission to take out any possible competition. She might be able to achieve her nefarious deed if it weren’t for her sister, The White Queen (Anne Hathaway), and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) standing in her way. You can feel the typical twisted nature of Burton’s characters; I only wish more time had been given to develop background.
In a way, this film might have actually been better as a miniseries like “Tin Man” which showed that you can do a sweet follow-up story to an old school classic. Other than Depp’s Hatter my favorite character was The Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), who couldn’t have been portrayed better.
Perhaps the one thing that was rushed that should have been drawn out more than anything is the role of Jabberwocky (Christopher Lee) where we have to settle for a less than impressive effort. The movie should be appropriate for most ages, though I’d recommend not ruining other movie goers experience by bringing the big chatters. I may not buy it later for myself and unless you want to see it in 3-D I’d recommend it more for a rental, but it was worth a night out the town with this missus which earns “Alice in Wonderland” three and a half out of five very important dates.

Images are copyright of Activision and Walt Disney Studios.

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