Podcast Episode 67

Click photo for wallpaper-sized textless version.

It’s that time of the year again! In this Christmas special podcast we have our long-gesturing “Mel Gibson’s Nativity Story” intro (not for the easily offended), followed by each of our picks for:

  • Game of the Year
  • Game of the Decade
  • Movies of the Decade.

Finally we spend a far amount of time discussing the most revolutionary, woodenly acted, game-changing, generically plotted, astounding movie of all time AVATAR! Enjoy…

Listen to Podcast Episode 67

For additional fun, here’s a link to Jones’ review of “Avatar” on his website.

27 thoughts on “ Podcast Episode 67”

  1. Now it’s time for Jones and Dale to make me MORE free entertainment… NOW!

    Nah… seriously though… great stuff guys.

  2. Dragon Age and Assassin’s Creed II are in my pile of games to play. I played both of them for a few hours each and neither sunk the hooks in. They will eventually be played and beaten, but there are other games that are demanding my attention at the moment.

  3. Dragon Age is awesome, but I wouldn’t name it my game of the decade or anything. It might be in the top 5 though. Definitely worth playing. The best thing about it is the actual roleplaying you can do and the huge impact it can have on how different things work out in the story. Sort of like Fallout 3, only much moreso because the game is more of a focused, linear experience. Which meant the developers could really flesh out a lot of the little story threads and create a lot of options. The excellent tactical combat doesn’t hurt either. This is the first game in years that I played to completion and right away went back in for a second playthrough. With other games, I might play a bit, and then restart as another sort of character to try that, etc. But this one grabbed me and I just kept going.

    That said, if the game didn’t grab you right away, you could always restart with a different origin story. Some are better than others. Most people say the Dwarf Noble origin is the best (it definitely is good). I did the City Elf origin for my first character and I really liked that (being the lower class, scorned by humans, etc.). In the end though, all the origins end up at Ostagar. But each origin has things that tie into it later in the game, so it does make an impact.

    If you enjoy the actual role-playing aspects of Fallout (which I’m pretty sure you do), I think you’ll be happy with Dragon Age.

  4. Agree to disagree on Avatar…I thought the characters were great…(but the story is by no means original).

  5. I’m sure I’ll get into Dragon Age at some point. The same thing happened for me with another Bioware game (Mass Effect). Bought it right when it came out wasn’t able to get into it for whatever reason. So it pretty much sat around for a year and a half when finally, a few months ago, I decided to play it again and totally got hooked. I ended up playing through it either once or twice more immediately and got about halfway through my run on Insane difficulty.

    I’ll need to finish that up over the course of the next month, since I want to be ready to import my character into Mass Effect 2!

  6. genius intro. caught me by surprise. you guys really have free time. no sympathy while i work my way through your podcasts (new listener) on my new 2.0 work commute in the New Year… ugh….

  7. Its amazing how many millions of people disagree with you two on Avatar……and Fallout 3.

    I am one of those people (except for the fallout 3 bit, haven’t played it :P) Honestly, you were TRYING to find things wrong with this movie IMO. It did borrow several story elements from Star Wars and other resources, but it was an all around great flick, not woodenly acted in the slightest.

    Speaking of woodenly acted, that phrase always makes me think of Pinocchio.

  8. Honestly, I don’t think it had much in common with Star Wars at all. I don’t think we made that connection either. We probably mentioned Star Wars in terms of movies that had an impact on cinema.

    On the other hand, Avatar has EVERYTHING in common with Dances With Wolves. I wish I would have had to try to find things wrong with the movie, but it really wasn’t that hard. As boring as it was, I had plenty of time to think about all of it’s glaring flaws while watching it.

    The acting wasn’t terrible (I’ve definitely seen worse), but the characters were so paper thin that none of the actors had much to work with.

    As I’ve said before… Had I not seen Dances With Wolves, Aliens, and Atlantis prior to seeing Avatar I probably would have enjoyed it more than I did. Since I had already seen those movies, however, that meant I had already seen Avatar which resulted in the aforementioned boredom.

    As far as Fallout 3 is concerned, I’m not sure where you’re going with this one. Everybody I know who has played it, loves it. Plus, it won many critical accolades (not that those mean a lot), but it at least means other people enjoyed it as well.

    We may be in the minority as far as our Avatar opinion goes, but I think the majority would side with us on Fallout 3. I can live with that, because Fallout 3 actually IS good. 🙂

  9. Just for giggles, I checked Rotten Tomatoes.

    83% positive. Wow. That’s pretty damn good. Although I did find it curious that a movie that would rate so highly would have the following descriptive ‘consensus’: “It might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but Avatar reaffirms James Cameron’s singular gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking.”

    That immediately turns me off from seeing it, and yet it was written by people who generally enjoyed the movie?

    The Phantom Menace was basically a tech demo by Lucasfilms for it’s newest CGi capabilities that it was planning on farming out to studios. Episode 1 could have lost money in the box office, and still been overall profitable to Lucas because of the other production companies coming to them to get that “LIFELIKE CGi!” I can’t help but think Avatar is this new decades Phantom Menace. Regardless of whether movies SHOULD use these effects in the future… they WILL be using these effects in the future.

    It would have been like if Citizen Kane were a terrible movie, but people still made a big stink over it because the sets had ceilings. Citizen Kane is an overrated movie… but it most definitely innovated quite a bit for it’s time, and regardless of how many pretentious documentaries AMC runs about it… it’s actually a damn fine movie.

    I don’t care about tech demos. I want to see an engaging movie.

  10. Avatar is weird, I almost want to see it again to check if I “missed” something.

    I guess I’m confused as to why so many critics, and apparently average moviegoers, are Lady ga-ga for it. Plenty of “visually amazing” movies with bad plots have come out over the years, and they always get shot down by critics (What Dreams May Come, Final Fantasy Movie, The Cell…)

    I would say I’m now worried that its success will flood us with $300 million 3D CGI “tech demos” but the good thing about Cameron is his movies are too expensive to easily ripoff. Though I’ll bet my eye teeth “Transformers 3” just went 3D.

  11. You know what Avatar needed?

    Bill Paxton.

    Seriously, it would have been something salvageable out of this liberal finger wagging.

  12. Well, turns out I’m going to see Avatar in 3D on Wednesday. Not out of any interest in the movie itself, but because I’ve actually never seen a modern 3D movie. Even you guys said the 3D was decent, so at least I have that to look forward to.

    Every person that I’ve talked to that has seen the movie really liked it. But those people (my sister and her boyfriend, my aunt and uncle, my cousin) all have really terrible taste in movies. All of those same people really really liked Indy4 and Transformers 2, for instance. ..Yeah.

    By the way, I forgot to mention it in my other posts before, but your intro for the podcast was spectacular. I’ve listened to it numerous times and still laugh.

  13. Game of the Year: Dragon Age

    Game of the Decade: Fallout 3

    Movie of the Year: None, wasn’t supper impressed with any movie this year

    Movie of the Decade: Old Boy (2003)

    Avatar is a visually stunning movie. The 3D effect is done extremely well and does a good job of sucking you into what would have been a fairly dry movie. I really want to watch it again just to watch the CGI. There where lots of times where I had to be like….ok these guys are blue and 12 ft tall but they look so real. If they only made the characters more fleshed out. I think the main thing was the beginning where they threw all the characters in and made there personalities so transparent.

    Ben you are a geek, ok? You run a website hacking electronics and a forum with tons of geek followers.

    Yes Avatar us just like Dancing with Wolves and Atlantis. Mechs from the last matrix movie (just with glass on the front).

    Tech Demo? mmm I would agree.

  14. Ben, I concur on the puzzled feeling I get from the critics reaction. The critics seem to be saying that we should just ignore the story because of the pretty colors. One, without a good story its a tech demo, secondly, why does Avatar get off when they seem to deride all the other special effects demos? At least if you are going to proclaim someone should go see a film because its shinny, let it not be one proclaiming its the second coming. Die Hard is a great example. All Die Hard is and claims to be is an action adventure/special effects roller coaster. At least it is honest about what it is. I believe you and Jones touched on that talking about Transformers 2. The really sickening part is guys like Roger Ebert compared Avatar to the original Star Wars. Yes, that was a recycled story, but it was Lucas’ intention to retell the classic hero’s journey.

  15. There are a lot of movies every year where the characters are perfectly photo-realistic with 100% lifelike movements.

    Those movies feature “actors”.

    It’s odd that some people would be so enamored as to give a recommendation to a mediocre movie simply because the computer effects are finally BEGINNING to crawl out of the Uncanny Valley.

  16. Maybe the success of “Avatar” shouldn’t be surprising. I mean, “Transformers 2” was a terrible movie filled with battles and destruction and it made $400 million. Simply God-awful, I thought it couldn’t be as bad as the reviews said, I was wrong.

    “Avatar” is a very competent (yet totally unoriginal) movie filled with battles and destruction so I guess it’ll make more? Not like people read reviews anyway (see “Transformers 2” gross) but word-of-mouth.

    Still, it’s like picking out the best looking turd in the bowl.

  17. I read that they indeed did film Earth scenes but they were cut because it was felt the movie was too long for a 3D movie (Cameron prefers to cut an entire scene than go through making little bits shorter here and there). There were apparently also other big scenes cut for the same reason, including showing how Sigourney Weaver started up the school and some big hunt that the main character went on.

    And Cameron has said the Blu-Ray will have an extended version with stuff put back in, both on Earth and on Pandora.

  18. Totally agree with you guys on Avatar. That movie should have ended with the humans killing off all the blue cat people. Also why didn’t they use the nerve shit in their hair when they had sex?

  19. Hey, fun fact! My youngest bro (who’s a fan of both transformer movies) went to see avatard….and he FELL ASLEEP during it! LOL! He also felt upset that people who were supposed to be the bad guys lost…Just thought I’d add that cause when he told me that, it cracked me up XD

  20. Critics love Avatar because most of them aren’t gamers. Avatar, from the aesthetics to the story to the pace looks (or should I say plays) more like a video game than a movie. I mean, glowing forest? Check. Floating islands? Check. story that could be written by a 6 year old? Check.

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