This week's box office is made up of seven movies for you to read reviews of, download and stream. There's freshly released pieces like "lurppis 5" and "Cypher the movie" as well a creative explosion in the form of "The Pink Panther II". Rounding out the evening's viewing is another classic smash hit from gaming movies' past.
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Name: lurppis 5
The fifth movie in the series starring lurppis, former in-game leader and tactician of Wings/hoorai/69N-28E/Roccat and Evil Geniuses. This is the first of the series not to have been edited by lurppis himself.
This is a good example of a movie which plays to its strengths and minimizes its weaknesses. Where filler frags could have padded it out to 10 minutes in length or beyond they are removed in favour of keeping the standard of quality higher. Snappy cuts speed up more drawn out scenes and in general everything is kept at a good pace and the movie becomes a tight package. There's not much editing in terms of synching or anything beyond transitioning from sequence to sequenece. Rather the focus here is firmly upon showing the frags with a good degree of clarity and quality. On this ground the movie is a welcome success.
The frags in the movie are an interesting bunch. On one hand there aren't that many sequences which are legitimately amazing or very impressive. On the other there are very few which are just above average or bordering on being good. Rather the entire movie is essentially a collection of good and at times better than good killing sequences. The cast of opponents is filled with recognisable names and this in itself is impressive. This movie rounds out as a really solid effort which shows off the skills of lurppis. It doesn't really create any kind of special or above and beyond feeling which would make me enjoy it on a higher level so I think this rating is firmly in the right neighbourhood.
Thorin Rating: 8/10
Download: MegaUpload, filefront, fileserve
Name: Cypher the movie
A frag movie starring Quakecon and DreamHack Winter 2010 champion Cypher.
I'm not alone in having been practically crying out for a Cypher frag movie to be made the last couple of years. In 2010 in particular Cypher has shown us he is capable of things few other Quake 3/QuakeLive players have ever been capable of. With that said when a Cypher movie does come along expectations are, justifiably so, going to be high. That's really the starting place for my problems with this movie. When you deliver a Cypher frag movie I expect the frags to be incredible because simply from what my own eyes have witnessed I can recall many frag movies worth of amazing footage which could and should be trotted out in such a movie. This movie has its problems in that department.
Despite this being a Cypher movie the frags left me feeling underwhelmed. There were a bunch which were technically nice enough in terms of how they would look transcribed onto paper or in the context of an actual duel, but in terms of being aesthetically exciting, the true currency of frag movie frags, many were left lacking. There were a few frags which lived up to the billing, that ztn lg frag in particular standing out. Still there should definitely have been a lot more and a lot of the filler in this movie should never have seen the light of day. When your movie is less than five minutes long and its about one of the greatest Q3/QL players of all time there's no excuse for having filler material in my opinion.
The picture quality and capture style of movie seemed nice enough so the frags should have played out in a way which was enjoyable enough. As it was some of the editing in this movie was down right irritating and frustratining. Sequences of multi hit rockets/rails were interrupted so the camera view could switch into third person. This alone would take the viewer out of the flow and pace of the sequence but even worse some of these third person views then snapped back into first person way too close to the frag so the mind saw it but the eyes were left feeling cheated. On one occasion the viewer never even gets to see the killing rocket from a first person POV.
The soundtrack was pretty annoying too. I can tolerate a lot, especially if it works well in the context of the movie, but this bordered on the offensive in how banal it was. Which kind of sums up the movie in general. Even with what was there it should have been able to make a more enjoyable and exciting viewing experience. Instead it ended up being one of those movies I've watched, and likely will watch again, purely to be able to see a few minutes of Cypher kills without having to load up demos.
What was there wasn't as good as it should have been and what wasn't there became all too apparent as each minute passed by. Worth seeing simply because of who it is making those kills and the fact that average to above average Cypher kills are better than those of other people.
Thorin Rating: 6.5/10
Download: hotfile, sendspace, 2shared
Name: Granis THE EXTERMINATOR
A minimovie starring Swedish player Granis.
This a minimovie which is best described as an onslaught in every respect, and in the best possible way. Despite its short running time the viewer is immediately thrust into the action and pounded with sequence after sequence of really nice fragging. Some of these kills are crazy and the overall vibe the movie gives off with its loud and aggressive music accompanied by brutal fragging is a fun one which pumps up the viewer. Are some of these kills bullshit? Most likely. Is he cheating? Don't know and for the purposes of this movie don't really care. A fun watch which demands little and delivers a lot for what it is.
Thorin Rating: 6.5/10
Name: h4 - Defeater
A compilation of kills from top Slovakian player h4.
This is one of those movies which despite a few murmurings here and there upon its release I really didn't have any kind of expectations for going in but left pleasantly surprised. This is a movie which does a bunch of things I'm not a fan of: flashy effects which strain the eye on occasion, heavy colour filters which darken sequences, repeated frags from the intro and overlayed cuts. Yet because of the slick way these things are done I actually ended up liking the vibe and atmosphere of the movie. This is a movie which does a great job at creating an energetic feel which carries the viewer along in time to the music. The synching is well done in that respect as it's not a case of synching on frags as much as allowing the frags and the cuts to coincide with significant moments in the melody of the track.
The quality of the frags is quite often pretty good and these are kills you've never seen before so there's a novelty in that. The movie doesn't run very long in terms of the proper fragging section and has an unnecessarily long linkin-park fuelled outro. All of that said this is a pretty nice little movie which doesn't make any claims but does deliver a viewing experience I enjoyed, and more than I expected to.
Thorin Rating: 6.5/10
Name: The Pink Panther II
The sequel to 'The Pink Panther' is another minimovie, even longer, based around the Pink Panther theme.
This is a great minimovie which is genuinely fun to watch and delightful in its execution. The first Pink Panther movie was stylish and used its theme to really weave an interesting little movie together but it was also quite short so I wondered how a longer movie along similar lines would hold up. Turns out very well indeed as this movie not only builds upon the good things in the first but goes beyond and elevates itself to a higher level overall.
A movie which has style and flair coming out of every pore the creativity practically drips off each sequence as the viewer is treated to light-hearted use of the Pink Panther character to push the movie along, point to the action and ensure interesting transitions throughout. Where in other movies effects could have been tacky or annoying here they are wonderful surprises which light the viewer up with a kind of child-like glee, the paws bursting out of the inferno A site sequence being a nice example.
This is a movie which qualifies as a masterclass of editing to show young moviemakers that if they have good but otherwise uninspired material that they can elevate it to something special if they use editing techniques in the right way and for the right reasons. A must watch and a future classic.
Thorin Rating: 8/10
Stream: pldx, own3d
A frag movie featuring Norwegian semi-pros plaZma and Ado.
This is a movie which felt inoffensive in every respect but also failed to really generate anything approaching enthusiasm or excitement. The frags roll along and some are above average but even those feel a bit off. There's something about the capture of these frags and the pace of the movie which feels so slow and mundane. Even the kills which should be the best sequences feel just like "oh, there's a kill with a rail and rocket combo". Somehow there's no spark or fire there. The soundtrack felt quite average too, I'm unconvinced ronald jenkees is music for a satisfying Quake movie.
It's not that this movie necessarily does a lot of things wrong, it's more that it just didn't do anything to stand out or inspire. If you're hankering for a QL movie you could do worse than give this a watch. Were it a real movie I'd say rent rather than buy or see at the cinema.
Thorin Rating: 6/10
Download: filefront, musefella, houseofquake (right click, save-as)
Classic movie magic
Name: Frags Done Extreme
Editor: sLASh, Delirium and sturm
The first compilation movie of pro players' frags for QuakeWorld. Featuring dag, ParadokS, Pietro and def amongst others.
This is another movie which kickstarted an entire genre and really showed how exciting and entertaining frag movies composed of frags from top level players could be. Quakeworld is such a fast paced game that this movie and the next generation which followed typically slowed the frags down so they were all in slow-mo. Then again of all the FPS titles out there Quakeworld is one of the few which is still enjoyable this slowed down as one sees the accuracy of some of the rockets and lg. Of course the frags themselves don't have the same level of impact as when the movie came out but I think they have held up quite well and nearly all of them are still satisfying.
Throw in the fact that this movie has an epic soundtrack and some great moves by some of the all time greats and the atmosphere is approaching the euphoric and at times spiritual, in as much as a gaming movie can. This movie is right up there in the pantheon with Clipquake and the badge v3.0 for me in terms of how special it feels and how incredible the effect of the movie can be year after year. Truly a movie which will echo across gaming eternity.
Thorin Rating: 8/10
Download: quakeworld.nu, MegaUpload
Stream: quakeworld.nu, video.google
What rating would you give each movie? Leave your answers in the comments section.
'Gaming at the movies' will return next Wednesday with another batch of movies to excite, infuriate and entertain you.
@Thooorin on twitter.
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