Why We Love…Airplane

Wait, seriously? We’ve never done this? But it’s brilliant. One of the best pure comedies you’ll ever see. Comedy, as a genre, seems to suffer from some kind of self-esteem issue. Since it very rarely gets nominated for big awards, and usually aren’t huge blockbusters on the Wonder Woman or Avatar level, it seems to dislike itself. It’s like it’s almost shameful to be a comedy, like jokes are porn, yes they’re enjoyed, but to be spoken of in hushed tones and averted gazes. It’s why a lot of comedy films think they have to have a purpose or a message. Basically, comedy has got too serious. I realise I’m the last person who should say this as I have said many times that the difference between a good sitcom and an amazing sitcom is the amount of depth they have. But film is different from sitcoms, even a sitcom that only lasts one six-episode series needs at least 2 hours of material (3 if on BBC). Most sitcoms want to last longer than that, they want to last long enough to be syndicated, so you have shows like The Office which have enough episodes to bingewatch for over 4 days (if you don’t sleep). Once you get to that level you need depth. But a 90 minute film? Just jokes will be fine. And this film has jokes, really, really good ones. Yes, there’s the lines which EVERYBODY knows, you could ask 20 people what their favourite line is, and you’ll get 20 different answers, the script is full of quotable dialogue, my personal favourite being this one:

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Ok, remember that weird really out of place rant I went into about how comedy is too serious? Remember how long and pointless that was? It was literally minutes ago how could you forget? Well here’s the inevitable “but” to that. The film is not serious, but the characters treat it as such. This is why it works so well. Despite it just being a comedy you are fully invested into the plot because of how the characters treat it. If the characters were going around laughing and telling jokes you wouldn’t really care what’s happening, you’d probably even say the 8 words you should never say when watching a film:

I don’t care what’s happening to these people

But because of how seriously the characters treat the situation, the story works better. Hell, watch the actors performances, they’re not doing “comedic” performances, they’re all dead serious, and that’s REALLY funny. This film basically changed the careers of Leslie Nielsen and Lloyd Bridges, turning them from dramatic actors to comedy giants. Not mentioned as much is Julie Hagerty, who delivers what I believe to be the best performance of the movie, adding a vocal vulnerability to her character that a lot of people wouldn’t bother with.

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She also looks almost exactly the same over 35 years later. Must be magic

So why do we love this? Because you can play it any time and you’re going to laugh. It’s the perfect “watch in case of emergency” film. Going to end this with a quote from someone else, from this, which sums it up a lot better than I ever could.

“David and Jerry Zucker’s pant-pissingly funny disaster spoof Airplane! is the standard for comedy as far as I’m concerned, and that’s a mere 88 minutes long. If you think you’re funnier than Airplane!, then not only are you wrong, but by Lemmy you’d better be able to fit a near-equal amount of gags into that amount of time. Good ones. Mel Brooks’ racism-punching western parody Blazing Saddles is 95 minutes long, and there’s about eight seconds of it that aren’t so funny you’ll rupture your spleen”

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Why we love….Super Mario World

I’ll admit straight up that this isn’t going to be entirely objective. A lot of my love for this is personal. This is the Mario game I grew up with, the one where I learnt the basics and mastered the complex parts, the one which (and this isn’t an exaggeration) defined gaming for me. Every platform game I played after this was compared to it, and let’s be honest, very few even come close (off the top of my head: Space Station Silicon Valley, Donkey Kong Country, other Mario games). That kind of sucks actually that the first game I played couldn’t be matched, it would be like if the first punk album you heard was London Calling. Ideally your first game should be like your favourite film as a child, objectively kind of bad but you have nostalgic love for it (For me, Short Circuit, which watched as an adult is so mildly racist).

This actor is white, the character…not so much

So yeah, this was the first Mario game I loved, yet was the third Mario game I ever played (after two Game Boy games, Super Mario Land, and the obviously titled sequel Super Mario Land 2). Yet it was only about five years ago that I completed it. The difficulty level of this game is just right, there’s no “and this is where it starts to get really hard” level. It’s a slide from “if you die on this level, how?” to “you only lost twenty lives this level, nicely done” that is so gradual you don’t really notice it until you go back to the earlier levels and realise you can probably do them with your eyes shut. Not that you should keep your eyes shut, as that means missing on the visuals. Now I’m not going to lie and say “the graphics for this still hold up to modern games”, as that’s a lie. But that says more about modern graphics than the graphics of the game itself. I think 2D platform graphics peaked at this, there was no “well it looks okay, except for….”, everything looks lush and gorgeous. The clouds look so fluffy they’re practically candy floss.

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Disappointingly this game isn’t edible.

But now it’s time for the ultimate question; is this game “good for its time” or just “good”. There are many games I loved growing up that have not aged well. Primarily it is 3D games, as graphics were so blocky then and are so smooth now that it can be hard to believe what was considered life-like. Games like Tomb Raider for example, once held up as graphical perfection, looks plain ugly now. It’s not just graphics, gameplay has moved on leaps and bounds, mostly in sports games and FPS. I don’t know if you’ve tried to play a Fifa game from before 1998, here’s my advice; don’t. As a genre it’s moved on so much that it’s impossible to play older ones without thinking “this is missing something”. Same with FPS, because so many of the things it innovated are now commonplace, even Goldeneye is kind of terrible by today’s standards.

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This game, though? It never feels lacking. There’s no moments where you find yourself attempting to do something from a later game on reflex. Want to know how well this game still holds up? Look at the reviews on gamefaqs.com. The lowest one is 2.5/5. That’s the lowest. Nobody on the internet actively hates this game, and that’s the internet, they hate everything. Even the low review seems to be done mainly so he can have the lowest score on it. There are reviews from this year which declare it near perfection. There are people still playing it today. This game came out almost 25 YEARS AGO in Europe, and there are people still playing it. That to me is the mark of a good game. It’s not about sales, it’s about retention, about being so good that people don’t want to get rid of it. Back In Black is one of the best-selling albums of all time yet I have never seen it in a second-hand shop or a boot fair, because almost everyone who owns it loves it and wants to keep it. Almost everything is iconic, the music, the look, the level design, oh my god the level design. You know how when you’re playing old Tony Hawk’s games (never THPS5, nobody plays that), and almost everything in the game is laid out to perform perfect lines? That’s what this game is like. Everything’s laid out so you can get through it with the right rhythm etc. There’s also the sense of exploration. You can just go through the game as it looks and complete it. But you can also explore the levels, take different routes, and you’re rewarded for that.

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At one point reward by this little guy. Who is awesome.

I suppose the true brilliance of this game is when you beat it you don’t want to move through to another game, you want to play it again. It really kicked off the “100% completist” attitude to console gaming which Rare later perfected (or exploited, depending on your attitude). When you spoke about it, it wasn’t just “have you beaten the boss?” it was “did you find this level?”. I didn’t know until two years ago there’s a secret level in the second world which is basically the platform equivalent of a motorway service station, with weapons and extra life in there. Now that’s it about Super Mario World, let’s hope Odyssey can match it. Join us next week when we’ll be (hopefully) talking about Airplane. If you have any thoughts on that, this, or anything else, let us know on the facebook or in the comments section below. Until then, if you need awesome looking shirts, cushions, or bags, check out Let Lou’s here and check out what they’ve got, some amazing designs available.

4 (Wrong) Thoughts I Had About Wonder Woman

It Will Look Dull

Why

Most action films lately have a certain colour to them; all various shades of blue and grey, with the occasional flash of orange. Plus it’s only the director’s third film, and their first film of this genre, so there’s a good chance they’re going to stick to the typical conventions of the genre and not take any risks, resulting in something which will just end up looking like every other film out there.

But

This looked amazing. The shots of Themyscira in particular looked like they came straight out of an advert for a travel agent. Even when the film moves to the front line of the war (a place which is usually depicted in lots of different browns) it remains visually interesting. And the action scenes…oh my god. Even Marvel struggle with action scenes. Not including the airport scene, a lot of the fight scenes in Civil War were an incoherent mess. It suffered from the same problem that plagues most film fight scenes lately: directors cutting before every single hit. I HATE when films do this, it never makes it look good as the audience has to refocus their attention constantly so they can’t concentrate properly as they have no idea where to focus. It also makes it very obvious you’re watching a film, you can almost hear the director yelling “okay don’t actually hit each other, we’ll make it look like you are in post”. It’s why I liked Deadpool so much, Ed Skrein was being interviewed about it and he said for the fight scenes the director told him “it’s not your job to miss him, it’s his job to get out of the way”. I don’t know how Patty Jenkins did the fight scenes in this but they are superb. Everything is well choreographed and makes sense, you can see it all clearly (seriously, why is this, such a basic requirement, so hard for people to do nowadays?), and it flows beautifully. The action scenes in this are superb, the sequence in No Mans Land in particular is breathtaking in how it’s shown.

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No, it’s not that.

It Should Be R-Rated

Why

This thought is the one that took the longest to go away, and is actually the last thought that entered my head, entering it whilst I was watching the beach invasion scene (which is superb by the way). As the battle went on I noticed how bloodless a lot of it was. I sat there thinking “hmm, maybe this needs to be harsher, like Logan was”. If you haven’t seen Logan I’ll explain, the action scenes in that were filled with gore, as such you winced when people got hurt, you knew they were in a lot of pain, and it made it feel more real as you could see actions have consequences, you could see the physical damage which even just a single punch could do, the scenes could have been improved if it was allowed to be aimed towards a more adult audience.

But

As soon as I thought about this for a second I realised that was very very wrong. Logan could get away with being R-Rated as (let’s be honest) not much was depending on it. X-Men Origins: Wolverine had already proven the character could survive a film not doing well. Wonder Woman had A LOT riding on it, if it failed (actually, forget failing, it not only had to be a success, it had to be a MASSIVE success), then it wouldn’t just be “super hero films don’t make money anymore”, it wouldn’t be”DC films don’t make money”, it wouldn’t even be “This character doesn’t make money”, it would be “female leads in movies don’t make money”. It would sour people on a Black Widow film, or a Catwoman solo film. So yeah this needed to do well, and for that to happen it needed mass appeal, so an R Rating would have killed it. It also would have meant little girls wouldn’t have been able to see it and be inspired to grow up and kick ass, and I don’t want to live in a world where that couldn’t happen. 

The Romance Will Ruin It

Why

“Oh, so just because it’s a female character they need her focus to be a man? Typical”

But

I dislike tacked-on unnecessary romance as much as the next person, but this wasn’t tacked on, and her character didn’t revolve entirely around him. If anything it was like those action films where Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone etc are fighting an evil Russian/Brit and they can’t manage to defeat them, but then the twirly-moustached villain kills the persons wife, and that motivates them to rise up and defeat them (and possibly adopt a dog along the way). Wonder Woman saves the male lead in this film, he depends on her throughout. As such I kind of liked the romance in this, it helped that it felt genuine and was really well written.

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Won’t Be Able To Take It Seriously

Why

Because most super hero films are about someone finding something, or having something happen to them that causes them to become a hero. Different methods but either way it’s usually grounded in realism. This film is about someone who is essentially a God, how would it be possible to do a mature, gritty film about Gods? You may argue “but they managed it with Thor”, and to that I say “Thor was bad and you should feel bad”

But

The best superhero films aren’t just superhero films, they double as another genre. Winter Soldier is a cold war spy movie, Guardians Of The Galaxy is an ensemble space comedy, and this is a war movie. It’s not just a film about Wonder Woman, it’s a film about human nature, about humanity at it’s darkest. It’s a film about beauty, and a film about dark truths. It’s wonderful and mesmerising, a beautiful mix of glory that leads to this being, without a doubt, one of the best films of the year.

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So in summary; Wonder Woman, it’s fucking fantastic and if anyone thinks Gal Gadot isn’t right for the part then you can no longer trust their opinion on anything. Strong in spirit and body yet naive when it comes to dealing with humanity, Gadot has been one of the most inspired castings in a superhero movie yet.