And they did. But nothing ever comes free and when the thirteenth year was up, they ate him.
Grizzly Man is a documentary about a mentally-unstable, ex-alcoholic, anti-social, narcissist, closeted homosexual who sets out into the wilderness to live with bears and gets killed by one at the end.
But there’s more to Timothy than all those horrible epithets. He’s a human being who has finally found the meaning of his life - a feat that seems to escape most of us. And, exhilarated by the experience, he drops all common sense and creates his own universe, one in which wild animals can be befriended and transformed into equal companions, each named and anthropomorphized; one in which there’s nothing remotely out of place about running around with a little fox called Timmy, his namesake, as the best pal.
And it works out for him for thirteen summers, it does, and in the glimpses of his 100-hour footage, we see a man who is fulfilled (although a part of that is him screaming at the sky to fucking rain and weeping uncontrollably over a dead cub). It’s just that this happy bubble of his was never anchored in hard reality. When it finally bursts, it’s brutal and fatal. Both to Timothy, who is mauled and eaten, and to the bear, who is killed by bullets in the midst of its feast.
It’s enchanting and scary. What Tim is doing is wrong from a realistic point of view, but damn captivating and even enviable from the point of the little child inside us who yearns to belong and be one with nature and have animals for friends. And who is neither willing or even capable of preparing for the consequences of his actions.
The fact that it’s the thirteenth summer that the dream ends and that the documentary is full of ominous lines like “Lord, I do not want to be hurt by a bear” adds to the narrative quality of Tim’s story. It’s less of a nature documentary and more of a fairy-tale. Well, a Grimm one.
Perhaps Dragon Age III will change my mind (hope it will!), but this was hands down the best video game I have ever played. And not only that, it was also one of the best fictional experiences of my life - counting books, films, games, anything that transports you into a different world. The games introduced me to dozens of wonderful, fleshed-out characters with complex backgrounds and a believable lives of their own. I also watched them evolve and change, come to terms with other species, their own past, choose where they stood.
The main story was Lord-of-the-Rings scale epic and in spite of some minor lapses of logic and continuity, well constructed and engaging. It was the side stories, however, that made the game for me. My favorite were the recruitment and loyalty missions in ME II and the Rannoch and Tuchanka priority missions in ME III. The former allowed me to get to know the crewmembers and play through a series of unique storylines with interesting moral choices, the latter allowed me to bring closure to some of the most painful problems of the game’s Galaxy. And let’s not forget the DLC’s - Leviathan is essential to understanding the origin and function of the Reapers, Shadow Broker is fun because it gets you into a hovercar chase with Liara as your co-pilot and Citadel is just as integral to the game as is the Citadel to every major point of the story. Omega is nice because you get to meet a female Turian.
The world of the game is immense and it feels like there’s always something to explore. Well, either crappy bumpy Mako ride explore or a preferably an interesting mission that allows you to uncover some new aspect of it explore. The sheer number of alien races (love their design, actually love the look of the whole game) and their intricate interwoven histories alone make up a solid texture of the Galaxy.
And then there’s the Paragon/Renegade system which lets you add the tone to the entire story. I made my Shepard into an arrogant jerk who is mistrustful of aliens and then slowly learns to accept them and work with them (as well as discovering some deeply hidden compassion) — and it worked.
Let’s not forget the humor and the countless light-hearted fun moments. Blasto? Glyph with a bowtie? Walking on Tali and Garrus making out? Big stupid jellyfish?
As is standard for a Bioware game, Mass Effect is exemplary in presenting strong female characters as matter-of-fact and also allowing you to have same-sex romances. It’s so normal and natural that you almost forget it’s not like this with other (mainstream) media. For instance, you spend the entirety of a Hollywood movie waiting for an Aria or a Tali or a Miranda (or, dare I mention it, a non-heterosexual person) and then the one woman who seems promising gets one minute of screen time in which she takes off her shirt and is never heard from again. Anything is better than this, but Mass Effect actually went so far as to create two characters who are exclusively homosexual romantic options. No doubt to the great disgruntlement of some of the dudebro players who claim to rule the video game market. Or something.
That reminds me, I enjoyed the combat as much as the story and found the two to be quite well-balanced. You spent some time running from a Geth Pyro and sneaking up on an Armature and then chill out with Legion, that sort of thing. The enemies were quite variable and fun to fight. Except for Banshees. I hated Banshees.
Yeah, I coud’ve done without the sentimental Buzz Aldrin coda (says someone thrilled by seeing a fictional character’s chest move, defying all odds such as a huge explosion), but whatever, maybe it made someone’s day. The Mass Effect series certainly made a number of my days for which I’m grateful and more than willing to forgive the creative team some of the game’s shortcomings. Nothing is flawless after all and well, in the realm of video games, ME’s only real competition for my electronic affection is Dragon Age, so, yeah.
I finally saw the movie on Thursday in a cinema and I can safely conclude: What a disappointment. It would've been OK, if it wasn't Star Trek, but since it was ... well, I can only hope the next one where the actual five year mission begins will be better.
I agree with this review and here is my follow-up comment.
I wasn't a Star Trek fan before the 2009 film drew me into the franchise. I was pretty excited about the movie in the first ten minutes, but then I just gradually couldn't believe what I was watching was JJ's idea of a sequel. I expected so much better on every level.
I can't believe I waited FOUR years for this generic blockbuster remake of Wrath of Khan. Instead of looking forward in terms of representing humanity in its diversity, it whitewashes even that one maybe most iconic non-white character Star Trek created. And I honestly can't fathom what the hell they were thinking in that Carol Marcus in her underwear scene, it just boggles my mind why anyone would think that's not silly and contrived. Well, maybe the people who wrote Transformers would think that scene is great and not at all sexist, right.
Speaking of them, the writers did an incredibly lazy, sloppy job and ruined the excellent set-up from the 2009 movie. Besides all the reasons you mentioned, what makes the backhanded homage to the original scene between Kirk and Spock especially stupid is the fact that while in WoK, they had been friends for years, here it seems like they barely know each other and Kirk's death doesn't have any of the intended poignancy.
Because I would totally watch a Star Trek TV show with this cast. With original episodes, not some sort of backhanded tribute to the old ones. And they could explore all those interesting and controversial themes and not be another generic sci-fi about white guys saving the Earth. Of course, Zoe and Chris are now "movie stars" and it's impossible for other reasons (lack of good writers?), but it would be cool.
I will keep playing but wow, I expected better.
People complain about the ending being "slapped-on," "arbitrary," "deus-ex-machina-ed" and whatnot and yes, it is.There is no meaningful way in which your character can die (or be uploaded). Nothing you do in the course of the game has much impact on what happens in the end - once you've trudged through the game (and explored almost every corner of the galaxy), you just have your choices served on a silver platter and there really isn't much to work with. Since there isn't a good way to die (or be re-programmed into a super-reaper), the only way for the game to end at least a bit satisfactorily for me would've been to have my character live. All synthetic life is annihilated, but he gets a slapped-on, arbitrary, deus-ex-machina-ed happy ending - that's the kind of thing I go for when the story lacks good resolution. You want it to be corny, give me the option for wish-fulfillment corny. And that wasn't an option. (It is, in all fairness, an option, but I'm sure as hell not going to load all the way back and re-explore everything to bring it to full 100%. Because that's incredibly tedious and I really honestly tried to do most of it. But it was just so freaking boring after a while.) So yeah, I'm disgruntled. I spent three days of my life on this and it just didn't emotionally deliver, not even close.
It's not easy to think of an intense, mind-blowing ending. It's very easy to think of a happy ending which goes against all odds, but at least gives you a somewhat satisfying closure to the game. Once the developers realized they wouldn't be able to deliver an intense ending (OR DID THEY), they should've at least given the player the option to get a cheesy one. I would've taken it.
(The option I chose the first time was to reject the offer of the AI kid thing - only to suffer the dire consequences of complete and utter failure (which particularly hurt after all the time I spent searching every corner of the galaxy for apparently useless shit). I did not deliberate very heavily on the decision - rejection was an instinctive choice.)