Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flower

A downloadable semi-game on Playstation Network.

It's 10 bucks. It's worth it. Made by the same team that made Flow, and it's similar in a lot of ways. It's got an ethereal darkish ambient soundtrack that you add too with notes that are struck as you collect flower petals. It's a 3-D world and you are ... the wind... maybe? you basically fly the camera around and as you pass flowers their petals will blow off into a train of petals that grows longer and longer as you get more flowers. Blowing over glowing flowers will change the environment in different ways, like turning a patch of brown grass to green or moving Stonehenge-like rock formations, unlocking new areas to explore.

While this mechanic is a bit odd, it's not really the point of the game. Flower is closer to a painting that you can fly through. It truly is interactive art, drawing the viewer in to participate in a vision. Screen shots really don't do this game justice, as the mood is heavily dependent on the music, whooshing wind sounds as you glide around, the animation of the grass parting as you fly by, and the gradual renewal of the environment.

It's really nice to see an "art game" that is both thought provoking, sense-stimulating and fun at the same time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAQjvuyljZc

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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Fall

http://www.thefallthemovie.com/

Ran across this movie randomly this weekend.

Absolutely phenomenal cinematography and locations. It's sort of like Big Fish in that it's a person telling tall tales which are shown in an amazing style.

It's about an early 1900's stunt man who takes a bad fall on the set, loses the ability to walk, and loses his girlfriend to the leading man. He's stuck in a hospital and a precocious little immigrant girl runs across him and he ends up telling her stories as a hook to get her to bring him pills so he can overdose to kill himself. The actress is amazing 90% of the time. She's not so good at displaying fear or sadness, but her conversations with the stuntman are simply real in ways I can't even imagine how they managed to get the script to work. But it does so brilliantly.

It took me two viewings to really understand the ways the real world, the state of mind of the stuntman, and the intrusions of the girl were modifying the tall tale.

Ultimately, I think the theme is about how every life is a narrative woven with others. The stuntman is resisting this truth as he cuts off relationships in order to justify ending his own story. But as the film progresses the girl asserts more and more power in attempting to make his story better. As he wrestles with this the tale becomes darker and darker, turning on this exchange: (paraphrased)

Girl: (crying) I don't like this story!
Stuntman: It's my story! I'll make any way I like!
Girl: No... It's my story too!

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