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Product Reviews

Reviewer:
jacobitos
Reviews:
0
Votes:
10 (60% helpful)

Page 1 of 0

  1.  Here's where it all began

    Posted: 

    The LotR trilogy is a fine piece of work, full of heart, surprise and wonder. This has been made even more plain since the release of The Hobbit, which is a muddy, cynical, over-long mess, lacking any of the magic on display here (in my opinion). We all know that all three LotR movies are magnificent, with scale and scope (both intimate and epic) and pitch-perfect characterisation, all tacked on to a marvellous story incredibly well-told. Here's where it all began. No one thought Peter Jackson could pull it off, but he did - in unparalleled style. Fellowship is a near-perfect introduction to Middle Earth, and the characters and themes we will come to enjoy over the course of the trilogy. Personally, I think Jackson is at his weakest when tackling comedy, and some of his more heavy-handed, cringingly unfunny moments can be found at the start of Fellowship of the Ring. Hobbits (like the dwarves in Jackson's latest return to Middle Earth) are a little cheesy as a concept. Simple country-folk, prone to pratfalls and slapstick - it all feels a bit cloyingly cosy. And no one can decide if they're from the West Country, or Wales, or Scotland, so they all seem to opt for a bit of everything. Putting that aside, as soon as we leave the Shire, FotR improves dramatically, whipping along and throwing in new characters and plotlines apace. It's a remarkable achievement.

    As for the blu-ray, some of the effects and green-screen work look a bit dated, and this is made that little bit more obvious thanks to the clarity. That said, the transfer is only 'good'. Picture quality is not as crisp as some more exemplary blu-ray releases and for me, this wouldn't be a movie I'd fall back on as an example of just how good this medium can look. But it's not particularly about that - this is (currently) the best way to see and hear this beloved trilogy, and I for one have been sold (all over again).

    So why only four stars? Because the only extras you'll get are the commentaries that run alongside the movie. I bought the three extended editions separately, because they worked out a few pounds cheaper than the extended blu-ray boxset (with all of its additional DVD content, crammed with documentaries and behind-the-scenes stuff and outtakes, etc, etc). You won't be getting any of the exhaustive extras here. I suppose I should've checked beforehand. I bought these as a replacement for the extended DVDs I have, but I guess I'll have to hold on to them if I want all of the additional stuff that I would've got with the blu-ray boxset. It might've been worth the few extra quid to have bought that rather than the individual films.

    No matter. I still unashamedly love these movies and recommended them wholeheartedly.

  2.  The parting of the ways

    Posted: 

    The LotR trilogy is a fine piece of work, full of heart, surprise and wonder. This has been made even more plain since the release of The Hobbit, which is a muddy, cynical, over-long mess, lacking any of the magic on display here (in my opinion). We all know that all three LotR movies are magnificent, with scale and scope (both intimate and epic) and pitch-perfect characterisation, all tacked on to a marvellous story incredibly well-told. Return of the King does not let the series down, finishing up with a flourish and more-than-adequately bringing the story to a close. There are those who have criticised the multiple endings, but I thought the individual goodbyes were a fitting way to bid farewell to each of the characters we have grown to love over the course of the trilogy.

    As for the blu-ray, some of the effects and green-screen work look a bit dated, and this is made that little bit more obvious thanks to the clarity. That said, the transfer is only 'good'. Picture quality is not as crisp as some more exemplary blu-ray releases and for me, this wouldn't be a movie I'd fall back on as an example of just how good this medium can look. But it's not particularly about that - this is (currently) the best way to see and hear this beloved trilogy, and I for one have been sold (all over again).

    So why only four stars? Because the only extras you'll get are the commentaries that run alongside the movie. I bought the three extended editions separately, because they worked out a few pounds cheaper than the extended blu-ray boxset (with all of its additional DVD content, crammed with documentaries and behind-the-scenes stuff and outtakes, etc, etc). You won't be getting any of the exhaustive extras here. I suppose I should've checked beforehand. I bought these as a replacement for the extended DVDs I have, but I guess I'll have to hold on to them if I want all of the additional stuff that I would've got with the blu-ray boxset. It might've been worth the few extra quid to have bought that rather than the individual films.

    No matter. I still unashamedly love these movies and recommended them wholeheartedly.

  3.  The meat in the sandwich

    Posted: 

    The LotR trilogy is a fine piece of work, full of heart, surprise and wonder. This has been made even more plain since the release of The Hobbit, which is a muddy, cynical, over-long mess, lacking any of the magic on display here (in my opinion). We all know that all three LotR movies are magnificent, with scale and scope (both intimate and epic) and pitch-perfect characterisation, all tacked on to a marvellous story incredibly well-told, but The Two Towers is my personal favourite. Bleaker and darker in tone than the other films in the series, with less of the comedy 'business' between the hobbits and more meat on the bones. And for all those who argue over which is better - the battle of Helm's Deep or the battle of Pelennor Fields (RotK) - I'd argue that the former gave the viewer their first taste of a battle on a scale they hadn't seen before and, as such, it still has the greatest impact.

    As for the blu-ray, some of the effects and green-screen work look a bit dated, and this is made that little bit more obvious thanks to the clarity. That said, the transfer is only 'good'. Picture quality is not as crisp as some more exemplary blu-ray releases and for me, this wouldn't be a movie I'd fall back on as an example of just how good this medium can look. But it's not particularly about that - this is (currently) the best way to see and hear this beloved trilogy, and I for one have been sold (all over again).

    So why only four stars? Because the only extras you'll get are the commentaries that run alongside the movie. I bought the three extended editions separately, because they worked out a few pounds cheaper than the extended blu-ray boxset (with all of its additional DVD content, crammed with documentaries and behind-the-scenes stuff and outtakes, etc, etc). You won't be getting any of the exhaustive extras here. I suppose I should've checked beforehand. I bought these as a replacement for the extended DVDs I have, but I guess I'll have to hold on to them if I want all of the additional stuff that I would've got with the blu-ray boxset. It might've been worth the few extra quid to have bought that rather than the individual films.

    No matter. I still unashamedly love these movies and recommended them wholeheartedly.

  4.  Impractical

    Posted: 

    The sleeve that holds the tablet is attached to the base with a single popper in the middle, which means the tablet spins around on the popper's axis. The picture for this product makes it look like this is a feature, but as someone who uses my tablet mainly as a reader, it would've been nice if it was held in place, rather than flopping and spinning around. Fine if you want to prop it up on a table to watch a movie, but otherwise a little impractical. Which is a shame, since the quality of the materials used in the cover are pretty good. A couple of strips of velcro and this would've been a five-star product.

  5.  Simple, discreet, effective

    Posted: 

    For the longest time, I've been using a 'wireless' mouse that was dependent on a USB receiver attached to a lengthy cable that hung from my laptop. Not ideal, especially when you want to move the laptop from place to place. I only realised recently that Bluetooth was an optional extra that I should have ordered when I bought my Dell XPS. This little device has now rendered my computer Bluetooth-friendly and put an end to the mess of cable and receiver. It tucks in discreetly, so you hardly notice it's there. Easy to set up and works perfectly with Windows 7. You could do a lot worse. Dell charges anywhere up to 20 quid for a specialist Bluetooth card. This is a considerably cheaper - and just as effective - option. All you're losing out on is one USB port.

  6.  There's no denying this is a repetitive game...

    Posted: 

    There's no denying this is a repetitive game. In fact, there's not much of a game here when you've done all your ooh-ing and aah-ing over *that* facial animation. The faces! Ooh, look at the faces! That's what everyone was saying about this game long before it was released, and, yes, to confirm: the facial animation is perhaps the best yet seen in a game. But the graphics around those faces? Nothing mind-blowing. There are numerous occasions where the graphics look positively rudimentary, with character animations appearing particularly clunky. It's probably just that, in having been juxtaposed with the super-real facial stuff, the flailing arms and robotic body movements can't hope to match up.

    There's no denying this is a repetitive game. All of the cases pretty much play out the same, all of the embarrassingly easy street crime sub-games play out the same, all of the interrogations play out the same. It's a measure of how repetitive the game is that I was thrilled when they threw in a rain-soaked case. The stormy sky added something new to what had rapidly become a very samey process: drive your car around a sunny L.A. (an L.A. devoid of interactivity and therefore devoid of any real incentive to explore), maybe respond to an identikit street crime, examine another easy-to-read crime scene, visit a location and interrogate somebody, leaping from sensitive policeman to ball-breaking idiot and back again within a couple of questions. Get a pat on the back from the station chief. Case closed. Now let's do it all over again.

    There's no denying this is a repetitive game. But it's trying something new and for that I've awarded 3-stars. It's just a shame that the facial animation seems to have been the focus for the developer. I'm not going to fall into the trap of poo-pooing this because it's not GTA. Yes, Rockstar has a hand in it and there are inevitable comparisons, but they are two very different games. If you do want to go down the comparison route, I would say that something like Red Dead Redemption offers a far richer, more satisfying gaming experience.

    Did I mention that this is a repetitive game?

  7.  The best show ever made

    Posted: 

    This is, hands down, the greatest TV show ever made. If you've never seen it, buy this boxset without delay and watch the most remarkable piece of work unfold before your tear-brimmed eyes. Every single emotion will be wrung from you. If you have seen it, feel that frisson running down your spine as you recollect favourite moments in your mind. Breathtaking. You may have gathered, I love this. A lot.

  8.  Like a hi-def version of GT3

    Posted: 

    I haven't played Gran Turismo since A-Spec on the PS2. This feels like the same game with a lick of polish. Make of that what you will. Personally, I'm taken with it - but then I loved GT3. It's exhaustive, with hundreds of cars and a very impressive roster of tracks (many of which are making a reappearance from the aforementioned third iteration). Graphically, it's a little variable. If you happen to park up outside the National Gallery on the London course, you'll see billboards for an exhibition dated 2005 - a legacy of GT5's lengthy (and troubled?) development. Suffice it to say, some of the graphics look a little past their best. Other levels fare better. The rally stages are the equal of any dedicated rally game on the market. But, hey - Gran Turismo's really all about the driving and I'm pleased to report it still delivers big time. I suppose the fact that people's expectations have not been realised is understandable. All these years and just a shiny update? Hmm... However, GT5 is still the cream of the crop and its quality shines through in spite of the game's chequered past.

  9.  David Byrne AND John Goodman?

    Posted: 

    Look at the title of this review - it says it all... What more could you want? Ok - what about a skewed take on American culture; great characters; amazing music; the Celebration of Specialness; 80s computer magic; the inspiration for Radiohead's name?

    If you're a fan of the Coens and David Lynch - as well as Talking Heads themselves - do yourself a favour and pick up this charming and endearing movie.

    Like the man says: 'Shopping is a feeling'.

  10.  Second chance? No thanks!

    Posted: 

    I guess I'm in a fairly unique position in that the (eventual) release of this much-maligned album coincided with my rejection of indie music when I was at college (ah, ever the fickle student!). As a consequence, aside from Love Spreads (the soundtrack to a particularly messy acid-fried night, but the less said about that the better), I hadn't heard the Second Coming from start to finish until very recently. Worth the wait? Hell no!

    I adored the first album - who didn't? - but this is really very poor indeed. Obviously, there was no way the boys could've met the expectation heaped upon them at the time, but it's been 15 years since Second Coming's release and it's safe to say it doesn't even come close to album number one. In fact, I'll go out on a limb (probably running the risk of condemnation) and state that the band's first album looks suspiciously like a fluke. Fool's Gold was an important single at the time, but otherwise, the Stone Roses haven't really weathered that well. Early singles like Sally Cinnamon and Elephant Stone sound horribly dated and are certainly no match for any act of the period held in similarly high regard to this day (step forward the Smiths).

    Although the entire project is pretty flawed overall, the worst thing has to be Ian Brown's voice. Never have his critics had a better example of his lack of vocal prowess and, while an inability to sing has presented no handicap for a great many fantastic vocalists over the years, the fact that John Squire seems so keen to steer the music into the realms of Led Zeppelin (the unashamed rip off of Stairway to Heaven on the track Tears is one especially blatant reference) only shows up Brown's weediness in the vocal department. Robert Plant he ain't. It's this confusion and lack of direction that causes the Second Coming to derail. A five-year jam session committed to record doesn't make for a great album. Time to take off those rose-coloured spectacles and bear in mind, 1994 also saw the release of Portishead's Dummy, Jeff Buckley's Grace, Beck's Mellow Gold, Blur's Parklife - all of them infinitely better, considerably more timeless albums than this one.

    Chancers...