Category Archives: Uncategorized

Species of the week: Kedorzhan

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Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Kedorzha

Fandom: Star Wars [Legends]

Appearances: Knights of the Old Republic (comic)

 

Kedorzhans were a rodent-like mammalian species native to the Senex-Juvex sector of space. Though they had keen senses their sight was limited, especially in daylight as they were suited to working underground. There was a significant Kedorzhan population on Taris during the Mandalorian wars, with a number of the working long shifts in the mines. 

I’ve been enjoying reading the Knights of the Old Republic comic and I’ve just finished the first arc. I really like the inclusion of this species as Zayne and Gryph use a Kerzorhan bar to hide out as none of the patrons would be able to make out their faces. The species are unique to the comic but felt right at home in the world of the KoTOR games and the Star Wars universe.

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Sluggish Reaction: Tomb Raider (movie)

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So I’ve been catching up on my video game adaptations recently!! I’ve had this on my Netflix watchlist for a while and finally got around to watching it. It was a fun ride and I was glad to hear from Movie News Net that a sequel is in the works.

Plot

Richard Croft

After her father goes missing Lara abandons her life as an heiress and makes a living as a courier while keeping up her martial arts and agility as well as her keen mind and ability to solve puzzles. The latter comes into effect when she is compelled to declare her father dead in-absentia  and uncovers a puzzle that leads her to an ancient tomb where an ancient Japanese Empress with the power to kill with merely a touch is said to be buried.

I thought the plot opened up well and built up to the final confrontation as well as setting up for a larger conflict, which again I’m relieved to hear is going ahead.

Lara Croft

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I liked Lara’s portrayal in the film by Alicia Vikander. She struck a good balance between posh and relatable with her character having seen how the other half lived. Also, reflecting the change in direction for the game franchise Lara is tough but certainly not invincible, she is agile but not superhuman and she is skilled but not infallible and when she took up her bow it was refreshing to see her miss some shots rather than turn into Hawkeye with no context.

All her skills were set up by either flashbacks to her life at Croft Manor or by her street-smart life as a young adult. She looked scared when things were scary and acted out of necessity. The more down to earth approach worked well for the film.

Action

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For the most part the action was fine. As I said Lara didn’t abruptly become some sort of superhero and the fighting felt realistic for what you’d expect from an inexperienced yet very capable and determined young hero. The one downside for me was the set-piece with the broken plane which just went on for far too long – in fact I shouted “Oh, come on!” at the exact same time as Lara, which just took me out of the movie.

Verdict

The movie was good…not great, but good. Unlike Assassin’s Creed I couldn’t put my finger on any major flaws and I perfectly enjoyed it. It didn’t blow me away, but then I wasn’t asking it to. I enjoy the games but I’m not a diehard fan so I don’t have any attachment to them for this film to fulfil or disappoint. What I was expecting was an engaging action film with a strong female lead and on that score it absolutely delivered.

Species of the week: Outriders

Designation: Non-sentient

Homeworld: Unknown

Fandom: Marvel [MCU]

Appearances: Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame

The Outriders are a mindless race who serve and obey Thanos and his black order. They don’t use weaponry but their four arms, sharp teeth and superhuman strength combined with their large numbers make them a formidable threat. Thanos used them to overwhelm the defenses of the planets he wished to conquer, including Earth.

I’m going to avoid Endgame spoilers so I won’t say much other than I thought this race was well used as a threat that could challenge the Avengers even if purely by numbers. Plus they look great!! I don’t know much about the comics but they seem like a pretty faithful interpretation of this image I saw.

Sluggish Reaction: Assassin’s Creed (movie)

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I recently(ish) watched the Assassin’s Creed movie on Netflix. As a big fan of the video games I was eager to see how it worked on-screen and the result was…ok. I’ve read a lot of very negative reviews and I don’t think it deserves all the flack it got but despite a lot of positive elements and strong performances it just didn’t quite resonate as it should have.

Basic Plot

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The story starts with Callum Lynch, a death row inmate who is subjected to lethal injection and wakes up in an Abstergo Industries facility. He is greeted by scientist Sofia Rikkin and put into the Animus, a machine which allows him to live the memories of his ancestor Aguilar.

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Aguilar is sent on a mission, during the Spanish Inquisition, to protect a Prince. The Prince’s father has hidden the Apple and artifact of value to the Templars, the mortal enemies of the Assassins. Slowly as he is put into the Animus Callum gains not only the memories but also the abilities of his ancestor and begins to question his loyalties.

What’s good then?

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The action scenes are phenomenal and I would recommend watching the movie just to see Aguilar and his partner Maria in action. The fluid movement is like an amped up version of the game and made me ashamed of the bumbling idiot I turned Ezio into so often. The action is also very true to the game with the characters performing hidden-blade assassinations, acrobatic combat and leaps of faith which looked incredible and  more importantly fit into the action of the movie without feeling like fan service.

How does it connect to the games? (Skip to next section to avoid SPOILERS)

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Simple answer – it doesn’t. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the film should stand on it’s own feet. However I was hoping that the inclusion of Alan Rikkin, the elusive chairman of Abstergo, would make some clear connections to the games, but the movie gradually makes it clear that it belongs in it’s own timeline.

 I’ll try to break down the two key differences that separate the film and the games. First is the Animus, which instead of being a bed involves a mechanical arm suspended from the ceiling making the use replicate the movements of his ancestor exactly. Sofia states that this is the only model and was designed by her so no grumpy Warren Vidic!!

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Next is the Apple. There is a possibility the Templars could be lying but they strongly suggest they don’t know the origins of the Apple and there’s certainly no mention of Those Who Came Before or any other Pieces of Eden. Understandably bringing in a human precursor race might have been a bit much for a movie-going audience but the lack of origin for the device felt a bit odd when we know so much in the games.

Other than that it does follow a broad brush stroke similarities with the Templars warring against the Assassins for centuries and the Assassins having experienced a recent purge, leaving their influence diminished.

So what went wrong then? (SPOILERS END)

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Often with films it’s hard to nail down quite what’s missing but here’s what I think could have improved the movie.

Firstly more Aguilar. As I said the action sequences were phenomenal and his journey was really interesting but towards the end it just felt rushed so they could trigger a final sequence in the modern day world.

The ending itself seemed confused, with the Templar’s overall plot unclear, Sofia’s motivations kept changing and the open ending felt too abrupt. It’s hard to say more without spoiling the film but I would say the final act felt rushed in lots of ways and that was they key letdown of the movie who’s first two acts were solid.

That said the film definitely feels like Assassin’s Creed so if you’re prepared for a bit of a bump at the end I’d say still strap in and enjoy the ride!

Species of the Week: Skrull

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Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Skrullos

Notable Members: Talos

Fandom: Marvel [MCU]

Appearances: Captain Marvel

The Skrulls are a reptilian race with highly adaptable bodies that are not carbon-based like most life forms. They are capable of modifying their form to replicate another being, assimilating even their DNA and recent memories. Their expansion led to conflict with the Kree, who retaliated by annihilating their home planet and branding their refugee survivors as infiltrators so they could continue their purge. A group of Skrulls were helped into hiding by Kree agent Mar-Vell and left to find a safe home with the help of Captain Marvel.

I really liked the portrayal of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel. Obviously they’re well known as a big bad in the comics and the prospect of them invading Earth was already exciting but to have that flipped as Carol uncovers the truth about her Kree guardians and that the surviving Skrulls were just fighting to survive made for a really engaging film.

Species of the week: Pahvan

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Pahvo

Fandom: Star Trek

Appearances: Star Trek Discovery

The Pahvans are a planet-wide network of noncorporeal beings who exist in perfect harmony. Manifesting as a blue cloud they were able to communicate with other species when they came into direct contact. Despite their lack of bodies they were able to build physical constructs including a transmitter calling other races to join them in harmony.

The Pahvans felt familiar to me, but I can’t put my finger on what they remind me of. I guess any noncorporeal entity is going to look pretty similar and I do love an alien that is truly alien to even a multi-species Federation

Species of the week: Drabatan

Homeworld: Pipada

Designation: Sentient

Notable members: Pao

Fandom: Star Wars

Appearances: Rogue One

The Drabatans were an amphibious species. Their world was harvested for resources by the Empire, displacing many and causing them to sympathise with the Rebellion.

Been watching Rogue One this weekend. So many great background species but Pao really stood out for me. I was glad to see at least one alien on the Rogue One team and you couldn’t help but feel elated at his battle cry along with all the main cast and supporting human fighters.

Species of the Week: Gormagander

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Designation: non-sentient

Homeworld: Unknown, possibly none

Fandom: Star Trek

Appearances: Star Trek Discovery

 

Gormaganders are large creatures the size of a small spaceship who dwell in the open reaches of space. They were endangered,  partially because of hunting, but also because their need to seek out alpha particles, their main source of food, overrode all their other instincts, including reproduction. Encounters of these creatures were extremely rare and any discovery prompted recovery to a xenologic facility under the Endangered Species Act.

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I do love a good space whale, and I respect that Star Trek: Discovery were gutsy enough to just call it such in the episode. I think as long as they’re not overused within the fictional universe they belong to (something I think Star Wars is at risk of) then they are a fascinating idea to explore and I always like seeing new and original designs on the concept.

Species of the week: Eliksni

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Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Unknown

Notable members: Riksis, Skolas

Fandom: Destiny

Appearances: Destiny, Destiny 2

 

The Eliksni, more commonly known as Fallen, are an arachnid race with a humanoid frame. They have four arms, though lower classes have two arms docked as a sign of subservience. Once a proud and noble culture they were blessed by the Traveler until they were invaded and lost everything. Their houses of nobility are now roving pirate bands who have made their way to Earth and seek to reclaim the Traveler from humanity. They depend on a substance known as Ether to survive and rely on machine Servitors to harvest it for them. 

I made a video about Destiny (which you can watch HERE) which got me thinking about this species. I think all the races of Destiny are well designed. I’ve put a link to an excellent lore video by My Name if Byf which explains their lore far more thoroughly than I can.