peteg's blog


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Nolan went to see The Matrix and knew he could do it better. Or maybe this is warmed-over Memento. Or maybe I shouldn't have seen this particular exploration of empty inner space. It is presently parked at #8 in IMDB's top-250, and I'm not going to begin fathoming why.

Anyway, I'm still wondering if Leonardo is ever going to grow up, or modulate his hissy-fits of rage into something plausible. Ellen Page has similar problems; she was childish but potent in Hard Candy; here she is merely childish, a thread of a character that allows Leonardo to explain what the movie itself cannot. Watanabe plays the entire zaibatsu, and Mr Brick (Gordon-Levitt) has some totally auxiliary pow-wow with a token English action figure. Cillian Murphy is the audience, dazed and bewildered. The wife doubtlessly put in a better turn as Piaf (I have only seen her in the forgettable Public Enemies). Nolan is a gifted director, no doubt, and the cinematography is awesome, but all of this is completely inhuman.

Things I didn't get: the zero-gravity stuff looks awesome, but hey, when the car hits the water there's gravity, yes? So there's no need for that fancy stuff, just get your timing right. Also these "kicks", they're a stack, yes? As in, a kick higher up brings you out of a dream lower down; if so, there was no need for Page to fall off the building four levels down. This has the same problem as Tron: Legacy: if you're going to dream up a world, a physics, an isolation tank of love, why would you make it so much like the existing one, shittiness and all? Just what is the attraction of "reality" anyway? How could the top ever fall? Magical mystical metaphysics destroys suspense, for anything can happen at any time for any reason — coupled with time dilation things could work out any which way, like the stories spun by drunks. Nolan seems to have forgotten the constraints that made his earlier stuff work.

What is the point in chase scenes with guns? No one of significance can die, for the movie has another two hours to run. Oh, let's stop here.

Dana Stevens saw it back when it was cool.

And that about wraps it up for Portal.

/noise/games | Link

Yeah, that was fun. I enjoyed it right up to the final stage, which was a bit too repetitive (do more-or-less the same thing n times), and the time limit destroyed the casual pacing of the rest of the game (stop and read the graffiti!). The puzzles were generally easier than I expected, and I only got really stuck a couple of times.

Technologically I found the Steam client and Portal itself to be overly crashy on the new MacBook Pro, with the graphics subsystem often seizing up when I tried to exit or switch out of the game. This might be due to immature graphics drivers, or their inability to shuffle state transparently between the two cards. It also required a hack to get around its case-insensitive filesystem requirement.

Valve looks like they've overcooked Portal 2, with many more ways of getting around. We'll see in a few years time. :-)