Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Codex Pictures Blog Trolling?

Ah the wonders of the intarwebz and Gewgle. So I noted this comment on my blog this morning and thought "cool" someone might have read my maunderings. But something didn't click. Grammar and syntax, eerily positive, self-deprecation, and an advertising link. Here's the post in all its glory:

I have just finished watching the Ultramarines movie on DVD, and yes the graphics are not Avatar but once you get swept up in the plot, and immersed in the world, it is all really good.
I agree it is a solid film where it counts, in the atmosphere, and an encouraging start for a small independent company.
It is a VAST universe and let hope there are some more epic films to follow!!
I liked some of the lines from the film, and thought they would make comically awesome ring tones…
Then I found out today you can download them here!

Rather aware of the idea that blogs are a very rich source of market segment research and influence, I thought it might be possible some of the Codex folks or the publishers or whoever might read reviews. I didn't really think they would stoop to being lame enough to troll boards and blogs where people had posted about the Ultramarines movie. So I looked around a bit, and found the nearly identical post in a few other places:

**EDIT** Found a couple more, and now they're using bit.ly or whatever URL shorteners:

A couple are by someone who goes by "King Felix" and the one on my blog by this lovely lady. Who has her own blog, which really has zip to do with 40k. Or Warhammer. She even uses contractions in her writing. I wonder if she knows her account was used to post here? **EDIT** It looks like she's now made her blog private... hmm **EDIT**

Granted, four posts don't make a huge "trolling" campaign. Those are all I can find with only a few hours of Google webcrawling to back up the research. I would bet there are more out there.

I don't mind adding to the publicity - no such thing as bad publicity after all. Maybe it will work and those of us who haven't already purchased it will be swayed, just to see if it is indeed comically bad. That would be British self-deprecation at its best, in the finest tradition of Monty Python and a thousand other snarky UK classics.

What are your thoughts - cheap shot or smart marketing? How will it play to this audience??

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ultramarines Movie review

I'm torn. I don't want to give in to my GW fanboi nature and wax eloquent as only a mother can over her ugly child, and claim I only see the good. At the same time I know that the entertainment industry runs on money first and talent second. I know that if we, the die hard fans don't make sure this movie isn't accepted and applauded, the real potential we know is out there likely won't ever be realized.

The good:
- Yes! A 40k movie. I've waited for this since reading the Rogue Trader and Lost and the Damned books and realized the cinematic potential this universe has.
- As Jawaballs so eloquently depicts in his review here the production value on the package, novel, and case are outstanding. Everything we as players could hope for I think. The story in the graphic novel is a bit light, but the art is good (and has Tyranids kicking Ultramarine backside mwahaha)
- For what it is, a low(er) budget animated film, it is very good. Compared to other similar movies of similar genre (Dragonlance anyone?) the values and art are excellent.
- The voice actors are good, if often uninspired.
- Sound effect quality was excellent; I really liked the chainsword, heavy bolter fire and brass.

The bad, or what the uninitiated would see if they knew nothing about 40k:
- The animation is jerky, and looks very, very unnatural. By comparison, the Dawn of War/Dawn of War 2 movement are similar, but look more complete and natural.
- Speech mapping of the character's lips to the voices is rudimentary and often appears to be off-sync.
- Pixel jags of character and detail occurs regularly, particularly in ranged shots with multiple characters. I thought it was just my 1080i TV, but I put it into my other HDMI-input 1080p and had the same effect.
- While I get the intended "realistic" effect of the skin/faces, it ends up with characters being nearly indistinguishable, especially with the lack of expressive animations and speech mapping.
- Plot timing. For a 76-minute movie, the first 36 minutes is taken up with Marines walking and whining. Mostly walking. It gets better, but the first half sucked.
- Character development or dialog that helps the watcher understand the depth and nuance of the backstory was largely lacking. Even a few lines of elucidation would have been nice, beyond the quickly boring "Chaos is the root of all evil" that gets intoned over and over.
- I own just about every GW book Dan Abnett has written; I was less than blown away with the almost painfully obvious plot and the lack of character development.

The potential:
- Every one of us that has watched Pirates of the Caribbean (let alone Avatar) knows how unbelievably stunning the 40k universe could be on the big screen. I practically wept to see the crew of the Flying Dutchman and Davy Jones in POTC2, knowing that Abaddon and Sanguinius and Tarik and Bloodletters and Banshees could exist on screen in all their ornate, baroque glory.
- Babylon5, Stargate, V, and (the new) Battlestar Galactica are all fantastic examples that prove without a doubt that Hollywood could do justice to Eisenhorn, Ravenor, or the Horus Heresy plotlines/novels.

Overall - I'm happy and stoked to have it. I'll watch it dozens (and dozens) of times over the next few years and be happy that a tiny piece of the dream is real today. A part of me mourns the unrealized potential, but a bigger part is happy for what Codex has achieved in making this a reality. The bottom line is this movie is worth the money if you're a fan of the fluff or the game. But I think I'd have a hard time introducing this movie to someone new to 40k or gaming in general and expect them to have more than a lukewarm response. YMMV. Anyone know Guillermo del Toro's number?