This Week in Geek (17-23/12/12)


Christmas is upon us, and I've already scored some gifts. Let's start with gaming buddy Furn's because it's the gift of a good story to tell. Context: At last year's Oscar Pool Event, I won a pile of DVDs people were getting rid of (it what we do). Among them were two copies of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, one of which I was now forced to own AND watch, as per my own Oscar Pool rules (the second copy went to the "lucky" runner-up). My hate for the film is well documented in another Geekly Roundup. Since then, Furn and I have played a game of secretly returning the DVD to one another. I've re-gifted it, he's sneaked it into my bathroom, I've hidden it under furniture, then found it in my mailbox, back to his DVD collection, and now it's apparently in my home again (I'm not actively looking, would YOU?). So when I opened his Christmas gift last night, I only jokingly guessed it would be my copy of Indy 4. What it actually was, was a classic westerns collection. An unusual choice, but not a bad one. Then I made my regular disc check.
Oh Lord no! Furn actually went out and bought 4 more of these turkeys. For a JOKE. Such is our friendship. You win, Furn, you win. And four miserable souls will lose come next year's Oscar Pool. (Yes, I really did get the westerns. Other cool stuff: The KFF gang got me a James Bond poster coffee table book I swear is heavy enough to be a cutting board, and Joelle found an absurd Doctor Who variant of Yahtzee, where you shake the dice in a TARDIS. YAY TARDIS!

Gifts to myself: For future Kung Fu Fridays, Kill 'Em All, Johnnie To's Vengeance and Triangle, and not for KFF, Girls Season 1. However, I'm most excited about the Time Traveller's Companion PDF for the Doctor Who RPG. It's LOADED with stuff. I'll have to let you know just how much once I get a chance to really plumb its depths.


DVDs: The Muppet Christmas Carol is, despite the songs, gags and muppetry, perhaps the most faithful of movie adaptations. Giving Gonzo the role of Charles Dickens allows the film to use his prose directly, making this the darkest and most shockingly adult of Muppet movies. That the Ghosts aren't played by known Muppets was a disappointment at first, but I respect the director's decision as it would no doubt have been distracting. It's not like the star Muppets don't all get some nice moments. But the real star of the show is Michael Caine as Scrooge, the only actor to date to make me care about the character (I'm not a particular Dickens fan, see, nor of most "serialists"). His performance is incredibly touching. This is a man whose about-face I can believe because I understand what soured him on Christmas. He's a wounded creature, just wonderful in this. Watch out, DVD owners! It includes both a widescreen and full screen version, but the widescreen, while more epic and better suited to today's TVs, is missing about 3 minutes, include Belle's song! I only noticed when I played the director's commentary which was on the full screen only (to be fair, it says so on the back of the case). The DVD also includes an amusing tell-all profile about Gonzo, a brief educational look at Christmas in other countries for the kids, and a gag reel. The animated menus have some fun with Kermit too.

Legendary Amazons is a modern remake of Shaw Brothers' 14 Amazons (more than just based on the same material), and in no way does it replace the 1972 classic, but I don't think it really deserves its reputation as one of China's worst efforts. Yes, it has problems, but those problems are entertaining. It's got too much action, which hurts the story, but not the pacing. It's often unintentionally funny, but funny nonetheless. In 14 Amazons, the widows forced to go to war when they're all that's left of their clan are highly competent. In the remake, they're great fighters, but poor soldiers. They make mistake after mistake and can't keep it together, which is why there's so much hilarity to be had among the death and destruction. Tonally, that's a challenge. And when it goes too far in its action gags or cheesy effects, what I see is a highly romantic take on the story. Granted, I knew the story beforehand, and part of its fun for me was seeing how some of the beats would be translated (1972 human bridge sequence still tops for me though). And all those pretty ladies too. Don't expect a classic, but do expect to be entertained. The DVD includes almost an hour's worth of behind the scenes material, a hodgepodge of bloopers, scenes without effects and on-set interviews. Some good stuff in there.

Zines: Finished Diary of the Doctor Who RPGs #11, the "GenCon Special". Normally, I'm not too keen on event reports, but the Diarists keep it mostly relevant to Doctor Who with features on the actual Who (and Primeval) games played, including one full adventure module that "Time Storms" the PCs to a parallel world (though I feel like we've seen its basic plot structure in another module quite recently). Other adventure scenarios in the issue include a Quark and Dominators story complete with stats, a Torchwood/Weevil scenario, and one about an unusual boy. Always appreciated are "pure" RPG articles, and there's plenty here. Gamer Etiquette looks at breaking character, healers are given a strong article that may well redeem them in your eyes, how to use miniatures in Doctor Who gaming (with a relevant miniatures review), thoughts on using Story Points, and a short article on crossovers with comic book universes. #11 also describes a Time Lord and companion from the Diarists' campaign, which provides an interesting template for your own characters; complete FASA stats for Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough (underevaluated in the official game itself); and a fun random adventure matrix - roll to see where the TARDIS lands! So in all, far more than a GenCon report.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
III.iv. The Closet Scene - Classics Illustrated

Your Daily Splash Page this week features a splash from every DC title, alphabetically, from Deathstroke the Terminator to Detective Comics.



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