Quest Completed

If life were a MMORPG, yesterday, I finally got the rare, sought-after, item with the 0.000000000001% drop rate after a difficult monster was killed. I was looking all over the place for two games: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and Riviera: The Promised Land. I found both, but I only bought one.

I bought SMT:N because it was in mint condition, unopened, and the last copy for miles. I didn’t buy Riviera because it was a store display box that was open and they were trying to sell it as “new” which is pretty shady. Hopefully, I can track down a sealed copy of Riviera before it becomes really rare.

I also bought the Battle Star Galactica season 1 boxed set (Best Buy special) and am loving it on the HD tv with 5.1 surround sound. The only gripe I have about it so far is that it actually doesn’t come with the first 2 episodes. For those, I would have to buy yet another DVD which contains the first 2 episodes as a “mini-series” which I’ll probably end up doing anyway.

Review: Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Being a big fan of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, it comes to no surprise that I really liked Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The basic plot is that they’re both top assassins working for competing companies. The catch is that they’re married and hide it from one another. Eventually, something comes up and they “bump” into one another during a job.

I thought this was going to be a complete action movie, but it’s more comedy than action, which isn’t bad. Jolie and Pitt are a natural pair onscreen. Sometimes, I feel a bit uncomfortable because they’re both such good looking people, it’s like staring at the sun for too long. Speaking of good looking, Angelina Jolie has never looked better than she does in this movie.

The dialog is quick and witty. The action is over-the-top and comic. While not Oscar-worthy, this certainly is a blockbuster hit. The only bad thing I have to say about is that the ending is pretty cheesy.

Howl’s Moving Castle

I wouldn’t be surprised if Howl’s Moving Castle, the lastest animated feature from the people who made Spirited Away, won an Oscar for best animated film for this year. I actually liked this movie better than Spirited Away.

The story is a pretty cliched: a mix between Beauty and the Beast and The Frog Prince. However, the movie is still amazing because of all the details put into making each character entirely unique. This isn’t surprising, since Miyazaki has the talent to make even a dust ball seem lovable.

Without giving up much of the plot, the movie centers on a young lady named Sofi (or Sophie), who has a curse suddenly put on her which turns her into an old lady. Finding a remedy to the curse sets her on a journey which brings her closer to Howl, a young wizard employed by the king to help fight a war.

The best thing about the movie are the characters. Mine is probably either Calicifer (the “evil” fire demon) or Turnip Head (the scarecrow). I watched the Japanese version with English subs and though the voices matched each character perfectly. I’m a bit scared of the English dubbed version because it has Billy Crystal as Calcifer and since the English version is presented by Disney, I’m scared that the voice acting will be over the top and annoying. If anyone has watched the English version, please let me know how it is.

As expected from Studio Ghibli, the music added tons to the scenes. The accordian and orchestral sounds reminded me of the a Victorian circus, if that makes any sense at all. A brief clip which summarizes the music used throughout the movie could be seen at the official Howl’s Moving Castle (Disney) site as well as the trailer.

While this is technically a cartoon, it’s definitely something that older people would enjoy too. If there was just one movie to see this month, this would be it.