I’m Boring But Overcompensate with Headlines

[The Takeover, The Break’s Over – Fall Out Boy]

Pokemon X & Y is coming out in less than two days, and since I’ve basically had my name down for it since the day it was announced back in February, you can say that I’m close to dying, thinking about how far away Saturday is.

Unlike the launch of Pokemon Black and White, and their sequels, I was up close and personal with all the details every step of the way, digesting and re-digesting all the Nintendo Directs that came about. I had my finger on most of the official news and discussions. But, in the last week or so, I started to not read TOO much of the discussion, especially the unofficial ones, because it turns out, most of them are leaked spoilers.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that having trailers, bits of info, released images and gameplay footage etc is a good thing. I especially hate those “cinematic” game trailers that show mostly excellently rendered cutscenes, or just plain non-game scenes, and it gets you all excited for the premise of the game (which is also important) but the game itself ends up not being what you expected. This happened to me a LOT with Assassin’s Creed (all iterations), because I was settling down for a game where I go around kicking ass and in general being an assassin, but the trailers never actually mentioned anything about me having to spend 90% of my time staying under the radar and sitting on benches or whatever. I’m not saying that’s not a good part of the game, but I personally don’t have the patience to have to do that, I’m the type who goes in guns blazing.

I digress. I was really excited for Pokemon X & Y because from almost the get-go you got to see gameplay footage. And that’s really, really important to me, especially for Pokemon, because I’d definitely expected a 3D Pokemon game when I heard there would be a 3DS, and trust me, I’ve definitely had my long-winded rants about how there should be a Skyrim Pokemon mashup. When I saw how this new generation came so close to my dream of having a lower third-person camera POV gameplay than the overworld sprite so prevalent in the series so far, I because crazy excited. I knew, of course, that this game couldn’t be my Skyrim Pokemon (I think the only thing that could be Skyrim Pokemon would either be a Skyrim modded to be Pokemon itself, or Virtual Reality, or, I don’t know, real life but with Pokemon) but it was a HUGE step closer. The more I pored over that first trailer, the more I was sure that this game would be bigger than the rest – and the rest were already too big for my comprehension.

As the months went on, we got to see more and more of the game. Yes, there was that weird sword Pokemon, which is probably going to be pretty awesome but from first glace it looked strange. Then we saw the Mega Evolutions, and as much as it sounded like a hassle, I was pretty sure I’d be jonesing to evolve everything into Mega if I could. Finally, we saw the secondary evolution of the starters, and this is where I bring up my point.

I was listening to Tiny Cartridge’s latest podcast, where they discussed the huge amount of leaks that’s been taking place for the game, as well as the consequences. Now, because I’d been on purposely avoiding anything that would spoil my first moment ripping the plastic off my Pokemon Y (then taking a photo for Instagram because why the hell not), putting it into my fully charged 3DS (then taking a photo of the title screen again because we live in a SHARING TIME), then playing the crap out of it until that 3DS dies, I’ve also managed to avoid all those leaks. In fact, because I only follow some official blogs on Tumblr and Twitter, and because they’re considerate, I’ve completely missed that the leaks existed at all. There were a few that came through, and I’ll discuss it now.

So one of the huge leaks that came through was actually the final evolutionary stage of the starters. When I saw the official release of the secondaries, I thought, “man, Fennekin kinda evolves unexpectedly,” because like the million others, I was going to go for that adorable little fennec fox. The secondary doesn’t look as powerful as I’d hoped, but it still looks cool. But when I saw the final evolution’s leak, I thought, “aw, so Fennekin didn’t go the way of Torchic and end up a BAMF!” And, looking at the leak of Froakie’s final evo, I actually started considering getting Froakie instead. (This is sort of what influenced me to ditch my usual fire starter choice and go for Oshawott, but also because Oshawott is pretty rad in itself.)

The podcast mentioned how leaks actually hurt, because it takes away your moment of discovery. Before I saw the leak, I was still pretty set on Fennekin, even though the secondary looks odd, because Fennekin will end up being Fire/Psychic, which is strong both again the pure Grass which is Chespin’s final, and the Dark half of Froakie’s final. But after seeing the leak, I was actually considering Froakie. Now, that’s pretty unfair to Fennekin, who would have otherwise been picked because I didn’t know, and by the time I’ve trained my little fox (I’m going to call it Mako because Avatar), I’m not going to care what it looks like, I’ll love it. So, I guess in that sense, the leaks do hurt, because it takes away the joy of coming across a Pokemon for the first time, wondering what the hell it does, thinking “hey, I’ve been in this area for like 20 minutes and I haven’t seen one yet, this one must be rare!” and capturing it only to see 5 pop up in a row…those are all part of the fun! If I avoid one Pokemon just because I saw it on a leak and thought “pfft, looks dumb”, then I would be missing out. Besides, I’m hardly a player for collecting, battling or EV Training. I play games for the sense of achievement and for the entertainment, so it doesn’t really matter if the ones I catch are strong or not!

So, it is annoying that certain people in Canada and Europe had gotten their hands on a copy almost a week and a half early, because retailers began to sell them (annoying because I work for a bloody video games store and I don’t get those perks). It is annoying that they’re posting spoilers which may be huge (for example, I’ve now seen a list of which Pokemon can and cannot Mega Evolve), such as Gym Leader lineups etc, or spoilers which are inconsequential but took away the joy of finding out for ourselves. It’s also annoying because Nintendo painstakingly took the effort to make sure everyone started on (almost) the same day, and now these guys have got a week’s headstart in the new world.

But is it illegal? (Well, yes.) Is it wrong of them, and they should be blamed and fined? (Well, the retailer probably broke some sort of contract.)

At my own volition, I went and found the list of Mega Evolutions to look at. At my own volition, I watched a video of Fennekin’s final evo. But it will also be at my own volition to choose Fennekin anyway, or change to Froakie when confronted with those three Pokeballs. It is my choice if I choose to remember all the little details that I got spoiled on when I play, or just concentrate on the game at hand. It’s not my fault that some players got it first, and the fault lies so far away that I can’t do anything about it anyway, so I might as well find something to do in the meantime, go to work tomorrow, then wake up on Saturday and head down to my store and get the game. 

I’m tagging this pretty heavily, so if by chance I get a lot of traffic and someone read through all of it, shoot me a comment! Tell me what you are going to pick for a starter (and also what your Kantos starter will be). Tell me how well you’ve kept away from the leaks and spoilers, and also tell me if you care about leaks like these. Or just comment anything, really.

Alex.

I can see your heart…

Today I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1, obviously), so I will warn you, I WILL be talking about the movie in here, so don’t read on if you don’t want spoilers.

Seriously.

To start with, I was already aware of the scene where we see Hermione wipe her parents’ memories. The thing was, I felt that it was going to be really heart-wrenching when I first saw a few screen caps of the scene, but they placed the scene really early on the in the movie, and it wasn’t as filled out as I thought it would be. It was still pretty sad though, and for people who didn’t know about the scene, it would have been a pretty heart-string-tugging start to the movie.

The wedding scene was cut really short – Harry wasn’t in disguise, and Viktor Krum wasn’t there at all – but I supposed that had to be done for timing purposes. Also, because it was a movie, it wasn’t logically possible to show the entire piece that Doge wrote on Dumbledore, so if you hadn’t read the book, you’d have to assume half the things written about Dumbledore – and you didn’t know about the baby sister at all. Aberforth was mentioned once, very briefly.

Kreacher’s warming up towards Harry wasn’t really shown at all, which I found a bit of a pity because I rather liked the Kreacher arc. Grimmauld’s place was altogether a very short sequence, put in only to let Harry know that the real locket is somewhere else, and to be a segue to the Ministry story. I was really disappointed, because I sort of liked the homely belonging that Grimmauld’s place actually provided, however short.

The Ministry scenes were changed quite a lot, in the sense that little details were taken out. When I read the book, the Ministry scenes were REALLY tense and scary, but translated to film, the whole sequence was actually funny – minus the parts after they were discovered, of course. While it was nice to be able to laugh a little, seeing as the rest of the movie is pretty dark, I thought that it was a pity they had to give up such a tense situation for comic relief. I suppose really what I wanted was Grimmauld’s place to be put in more, and make that amusing and funny, and then have a really tense Ministry sequence.

Speaking of funny and amusing, every-time there was a Ron/Hermione moment – and there were quite a lot of them – there was a group of girls behind me that ‘aww’d. It was kind of annoying.

The Ron/Hermione scenes themselves were not annoying. The one thing great about film is that you can actually see all the cutesy little things they do. In the diner, Ron tenderly wiped away a bit of blood on Hermione’s face, and later on in the tent, Hermione was teaching Ron the piano, and the expression on Ron’s face when he watches Hermione play was adorable. While Rowling wrote these in very well, it was even better to see it enacted.

Translation of words to screen isn’t easy – I mean, we’ve seen the Harry Potter movies flounder a bit in the previous movies, by literally putting stuff in the books onto the screen. There are a lot of things that writing just couldn’t bring out, and Rowling stayed away from them. So the small dance-scene between Harry and Hermione, even though it was awkward dancing and kind of out of place, I think worked really well. It’s a really sad and depressing mood that Ron left when he first stormed out, and everyone was feeling a bit sad at the time because Ron and Harry had a fight – I know I was really uneasy when Ron was angry at Harry in GoF – so having a giggle at Daniel’s atrocious dancing skills actually put a smile on both Hermione and the audience’s face.

One other Harry/Hermione moment that made my jaw drop was the make-out that they had in the vision the locket showed Ron. Noticeably naked (or at least semi naked, smoke covered the rest), Harry and Hermione was shown in a tight embrace and…really going at it. In the story, we all know that Harry and Hermione didn’t kiss, because it was just a vision. But in order to film it, Daniel and Emma actually had to…go at it. And they were GOING AT IT. The cinema was in a bit of a stunned silence, privileged usually to a sudden sex scene.

The one problem I had with film representations of a book is that sudden visions and flashbacks or whatever, those get really hard to see. The first time round, you’d have to look really carefully for the clues and pictures, so if you miss stuff, you’ll have to wait til you can see it again. It makes sense for the flashes to be hard to be seen, obviously, because they’re flashes, but it’s hard on the audience to take in everything suddenly.

And, of course, the Dobby death scene. I was very aware that the scene was written and filmed with the audience knowing that Dobby will die in mind. The way that it is executed completely brings to attention the very moment when Dobby will be killed – from the comic relief he brings when he shows up at the Malfoy Mansion, all the way up to the slow motion blade flying towards the group and Dobby Apparating out.

I won’t lie, I still cried when Dobby died – and even a bit before that. But I didn’t cry as hard when Harry buried Dobby as I did in the book – I think the emotional hit was more in the moment up to Dobby’s death than the burial for the film, which is fine and all, but I would have liked the film burial to be as hard-hitting as the book’s.

In fact, I think I first teared up when George got his ear blown off, and Lupin pushed Harry to the wall to make sure he was the real deal. The panic and desperation in Lupin’s actions, and the anger and vast sadness in Harry’s face was enough to really nail home how dangerous their mission was.

It was disappointing when the credits started rolling – I sort of wanted just a bit more for Part 1. I’d always thought that Harry getting all the information out of Ollivander and the goblin would be the end – sort of like a cliffhanger for what Harry will do next – will be the end of Part 1. I wonder how they’ll tie up Harry getting information as the beginning of a film? There is no way they’d do something as cheesy as “Previously, on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows…”

And, of course, as always, there are people who don’t have a clue what is going on. When the lights came on, a girl sitting in front of me said out loud, “that was alright, except I didn’t like Dobby. I was rather glad he died.” The moment she said that, a dozen people around her gave her a look and Dani and I hissed, “SHUUUUUUUUN.”

So, my last word? Go see it.

Alex.

P.S. Can’t wait ’til July 2011! More Ginny/Neville/Luna scenes. And more tears, of course, because after that there really isn’t any more of the adventures.