300, Crackdown, Gray Wolf, Count Zero, Cold Stone

by Mike Shea on 18 March 2007

Another wonderful weekend came and went. Here's the skinny.

We saw 300 on Saturday. I was initially scared away by the 53 Metacritic score but everyone around me couldn't stop telling me how good it was. It really wasn't bad. Like every movie coming out of Hollywood, the writers decided they just HAD to add SOMETHING. In this case it was a turncoat Spartan queen-raping asshole who exists only so the heroine has someone to gut and get the women in the audience cheering. Wasted time, money, and words if you ask me. They'd have done better just sticking to the main plot.

300 is a comic book movie. It's all about visuals, all about that perfect frame. They do an interesting job of using slow motion intercut with very fast combat to work as transitions from one frame of a comic to another. It's a little gitchy, I don't know how we'll look on it in twenty years, but the effect IS cool. The movie is a bit more fantasy than the comic was and I thought it worked well. Slave giants that can grab swords by the blade and still punch people silly, huge fat executioners with blades for hands that look like they're right out of the Book of Vile Darkness, all of it added to a central feel of a dark fantasy epic. I always like movies that do more with less and 300 delivered on that. One simple set of edits removing the stupid Spartan turncoat stuff would have pushed it from good to excellent.

I finished Crackdown for Xbox 360 just a few minutes ago. I liked it better than any of the Grand Theft Autos and that's saying a lot. It's a great sandbox game with a limited plot line, a pretty dark ending, but some excellent physics and wonderful gameplay. It's a great hard-core 3rd person shooter. The powerups add a whole extra element missing from GTA. The city is huge but, once one climbs to the central tower on the central island, a 20 minute voyage every player should take, you can see every part of the city at once and even fire a rocket into a bridge ten miles away if you want. Crackdown is easy and short enough that one can play through the whole game without burning their entire life doing it. I loved it.

I'm 200 of 650 lines through my third edit of The Gray Wolf. I haven't found much to cut yet - there are few darlings I dare to murder in this one. It's a 13,000 word novelette so it may be a hard sell. I'll probably submit it to a few places and, assuming no one bites, I'll post it to the web with my other stuff. I wasn't crazy about this story when writing it, although I am rarely crazy about anything I write, but I like it a lot better now.

After referencing Mona Lisa Overdrive in my iPhone article I decided to re-read Count Zero by William Gibson. This book changed my life.

Michelle and I went out for ice cream today, a rare treat since starting an on and off again diet last year. Cold Stone is an excellent place for ice cream if you don't mind serving sizes that could feed a family in India for three years and a bowl of ice cream that costs six bucks. It's great to watch them making the ice cream mix right in front of you and man is it good stuff. I better stay away or I'll find that 50 pounds I lost last year.

All in all, another wonderful weekend. It's only five nights until I find the next one.

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