Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker

Recent Media I have consumed

We watched Rise of the planet of the Apes a couple of days ago. Experiments with gorillas and brains, designed to help with Alzheimer's, turn out to create super-smart apes. With hilarious dramatic consequences. It was good. Not amazingly good, but the good bits outweighed the idiot scientists being idiots, largely because the plot was more about the relationships between the various people than Bold Scientists Unearthing Secrets Many Was Not Meant To Know. Although that was clearly the underlying dramatic plot, and indeed, things Did Not Go To Plan. Still, well made, lovely acting by the various simians, James Franco continues to be incredibly watchable without stealing the show, and John Lithgow continues to terrify Julie whenever he's on screen. Clearly setting things up for a sequel, but one I'll happily watch. Trailer here.

I read Pax Romana. The Vatican sends time-travellers back to the Roman Empire to change the modern day into something more their cup of tea, with hilarious dramatic consequences. This had positive blurbs from various people I like, and I was expecting something different, fascinating, and compelling. Instead I basically got the info-dump bits of a roleplaying game that people tend to skip over when they first get the rulebook. As a set-up for a much longer work it was full of people telling me things rather than showing them to me, but would have been bearable split into 5-page chunks and inserted at the start of something that I might care about. As a work itself it starts off interestingly, gets bogged down in detail that I had no reason to care about, and then just stops, at no particularly interesting point. There's a timeline at the end that shows the entirety of the book in a quarter of an inch, followed by 5 pages of more interesting stuff happening that we never get to see. I didn't have any idea what any of the characters really wanted, the philosophical discussions seemed sophomoric, and it didn't seem to have any direction. It felt like the author started writing, produced 150 pages of stuff, and then decided that it wasn't interesting enough to spend 10 years finishing, but having put the effort in he should publish what he'd finished. The art was pretty though - you can see some of it here.

A while back, Nick bought me Dear Esther. Which is part of the modern movement of computer games that aren't games, what with there being no challenge involved. They're more computer experiences, and as close to the old idea of interactive movies as you can get. Washed up on a beach you wander the island, intermittently hearing fragments of letters that you wrote to Esther, concerning tragic events in your shared past, as well as bits of the history of the island, and the odd people who had previously been involved with it. It was gorgeous in parts, very well put together, but ultimately felt a little pointless to me. I didn't really care about the characters or the journey, and the whole thing was overlaid with a miasma of depression. Which is fine if that's what you want out of your experiences, but I persevered largely to see the next bit of gorgeous Hebridean landscape, or amazingly lit cave, rather than because the narrative itself pulled me in at all. Interesting and worthy, if it's your kind of thing then it's only £6.99 on Steam.

Ticket to Ride - the computer-game version. Julie bought this so she could practice and get the hang of it for next time we visit my parents, as they like the board game. And I bought it so that we could play together without having to set up the board. I actually found it flows more easily (and faster) than the board game version, as well as it being easier to keep track of the score. A game only lasts 15 minutes, and we're getting better at about the same speed as each other, so I suspect this will keep us going for a while. Recommended if you like board games, but aren't co-located with the people you'd like to play with, or don't have a lot of space/time for setting up. Also, £6.99 on Steam.

And lastly, this epic piece of awesomeness:

You may want to turn down the volume if you're not a fan of thrash vocals, but the video is a work of genius (hang on for the first 45 seconds, you won't regret it.)

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