And Now For Something Completely Machinima

Completely Machinima 10.2 Film Picks November 2021

November 11, 2021 Ricky Grove, Tracy Harwood, Damien Valentine, and Phil Rice Season 10 Episode 2
And Now For Something Completely Machinima
Completely Machinima 10.2 Film Picks November 2021
Show Notes Transcript

 Phil, Damien, Tracy, and Ricky discuss machinima picks from a wide variety of genres and engines. Machinima is such a diverse field right now, isn't it? Marvelous.

Full notes for this episode are available at:
https://completelymachinima.com/2021/11/11/10-2-film-picks-november-2021

Phil Rice:

And now for something completely machinima. Hello and welcome to And now for something completely machinima. I am your host for this week's discussion. Phil Rice. With me is Damian Valentine.

Damien Valentine:

Hello.

Phil Rice:

Tracy Harwood.

Tracy Harwood:

Hello,

Phil Rice:

and Ricky Grove.

Ricky Grove:

Hi there, everyone.

Phil Rice:

So this is our favorite type of episode. I think it's pretty much unanimous. Yes is where we talk about machinima films that we like. Some some weeks we do this as a around some kind of a theme. This time we just kind of just said, find what you like and bring it along. So Tracy is going to start us off and it's actually interesting. Tracy's first pick here is made in Star Citizen, which we talked about in Damien talked about Citizen Con in the last episode, I found this one really impressive and excited to hear more about it. So Tracy, go ahead.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, sure. Well, yes, fascinating that Damien, you're just talking about this. This one's called Adrift. And it's episode one by a little company called barely not monkeys productions, made in star citizen released on the 22nd of September. So it's only just out. It was made using money. It was made using money raised through Patreon. And the tagline of this little production companies is along the lines of we might blow up along the way. So it's lucky that when we are barely not monkeys, I don't really know what that means. But, you know, it sounds like this kind of a backstory to that. Anyway, Star Citizen, as Damian sort of said, Is this kind of fully realized universe. And what's really interesting again, we touched on this in the In last episode is that one of the technologies that it includes is this face over Internet Protocol, which basically tracks your facial expressions, and mimics them onto your character in the game. And in this particular film, what you what you see is that the actors faces have been captured in the performances that you see in the film. Now, it's the first one of a four part miniseries, where basically you've got these I'll I'll talk a little bit about the plot because I think it's worth doing that. Where you've got these sort of spacefaring miners, this young lady Pearl and her father, and it can stumble on this wrecked vessel. And search for survivors basically, results in this horrific accident, which is basically the start of the of the film and the end of it. And you know, it kind of, I don't know what you guys think but it to me this was this is kind of really well acted. The the character the girl character is played by somebody called Ginger Gonzaga, who's an actor, a writer, a director, she's best known for her role in Christie on the Duplass brothers togetherness, which is on HBO, among a few other things. She was also in settlement FarLands 2020 12 comedy, Ted. So she's not an inexperienced actor by any means. And Emmetts. The other character in this, the male father character, is voiced by somebody called Ben dickey. And he's just been in a film, while the latest retelling of the Billy the Kid story called The kid. So he's also not inexperienced, he's also a musician. And what I really like about this particular film is the way these characters in the film are developed in the relationship that you see unfolding between the father and daughter. So for me, the voice acting is excellent. But so is the soundscape design. It's Scott pace, and moves through the story with enough speed to keep you entertained, or carried by the characters themselves, which actually is pretty rare in machinima. I think it's got a nice bit of suspense with it. This really powerful start where So this female character, as I said, she's in serious trouble. She's been jettisoned into space, for whatever reason, and you know that it sort of starts you with that clip, cliffhanger. And that takes you right the way through this 13 minute long, short and ends really nicely with a reveal on it, but also leaves you with enough to sort of want a bit more. And it kind of feels professionally done. It looks good. Overall, I was really impressed with it. And I'm, as I said, definitely looking forward to the next episode. What did you think?

Phil Rice:

I thought it was fantastic. Go ahead, Damian, you first.

Damien Valentine:

Okay. I was gonna say, I really enjoyed the banter between the characters, because it felt really natural. I didn't know who the voice actors were. So thank you for providing information that kind of explains why it's so yeah. I just thought it was really well written. And it made it interesting because you, you know, these two characters are very close, just the moment they start talking. And I kind of dragged me into it almost immediately. And then just carries on all throughout the entire episode. And like you I want it Part Two now because I want to know what happens next. And I looked at the data, so it's only just been released. So I mentioned it's committed while before we see part two, which is a little bit disappointed by subscribe because I want to see it Oh, so also had the effect of making me update Star Citizen so I can give it a try. Because I really want to see what I can do with it.

Ricky Grove:

Hmm. I'm glad because I think there would be you you love to tell science fiction stories. So I think that would work really well with you, Damien. Thank you. What did you think Ricky? I think it was a fantastic machinima. You know, we talked last episode about the importance of story, and script. All of us here know the phenomena of being in an insulated community in which people share their films, and you say they're good, just because that's, you know, that's what everybody wants to hear. And this is one of the films that can stand on its own. There's, aside from some rendering issues of the face, textures in the faces, this could be a professional production. In fact, when I was watching it, I couldn't help think I wish I could bring you back to watch this film. Because I think he would just be so elated about what you what they could do, especially with the facial tracking. I mean, he tried so hard to try to get good performances within his films and he talked about that a lot in here. It's built right into the, the the program, the game. Everything about the about the production stood out. The excellent acting, suspenseful story. believable and compelling characters in the flashback structure worked really well. It's mainstream. It's a mainstream story. Perhaps it doesn't have quite the imaginative or experimental quality that I admire in so much of filmmaking. But that aside, that's just a personal preference. I was completely involved in this and I was really impressed with. And as somebody who reads science fiction regularly, it's up to date. It's really well done and it made me think about Star Citizen as a really great mechanism for making machinima. It's a it's just a fantastic medium, and then I'm going to look into it. So excellent choice. Tracy. It's a really really good, good film. I can't wait to see the second episode. Yeah,

Phil Rice:

yeah, I don't often feel that way. Ricky after watching. Let's say your average 10 to 15 minute machinima where it's like, I want more right now. You know? That was that was what this film did. Yeah, it's just a lot of times when we talk about good acting in machinima. It's it's so much about the voice. And, you know, okay, so there. There may be some animations that were done or whatever. But really, the performance we talked about is the voice. And what was so wonderful about this one was that there was more to the voice performances were fantastic, but there was more to the captured. When we say acting in this Film really mean it like it's almost as close to nothing as as real time as real live action acting can be I mean, the face that the expressions that it was just so absorbing, wonderfully done. And the story so intriguing so far I'm, I'm a gigantic sucker for any father, son or parent child relationship stories. I'm probably the only person that you know, who will admit that they openly weep almost every time they watch Return of the Jedi takes off when Luke takes off daddy's mask, you know, I'm not kidding. I cry at this whole notion of this redemption, redemptive action. And so yeah, to see like, like Damien said, there was an authenticity to the relationship between the father and the daughter. It was just wonderful. That just right away i i stopped thinking about, I had to watch it a second time to evaluate the quote unquote machinima aspects. Because because it meet almost immediately, once the initial cliffhanger was done, and it started showing the relationship there, I forgot that I was watching machinima. I was I wasn't thinking about it that way. It was. I'm watching these two people in this situation interact in a very real way. Damien's spot on the banter is perfect. I mean, it's so believable. And I can't tell you how many times I watch something on television. And don't feel that way. You know that I kind of just put my head in my hands and just go, oh, wrote this, you know, this is not how people talk in real life. Yeah, and this just nailed it. So yeah, I have no idea. I had never heard of these machine makers before. I'd never seen anything made in star citizen. And, frankly, the first time I watched it, I didn't even think about Star Citizen at all it was the story really transcended and it's very, very, very, very rare. That machinima pulls that off. And frankly, it's somewhat rare that that professionally produced tell it television serials pull that off. So I was I could not have been more impressed. And I cannot wait for to to to watch the conclusion of the story unfold. I'm very, very excited for it.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, let's hope it doesn't take too long. Because I think that's probably one of the downsides of development in the way that they are doing probably,

Damien Valentine:

I'd like to add just a little bit there. Anyone who's watched this video after our review, and feels inspired to try out Star Citizen, the diversity statuses and actively encourage creative fans to do content like this, because they, they want to play us to feel like that. They're basically creating their own part of the statuses and worlds. And so they want people to tell their own stories in it. And videos like this is exactly what they want to see. So it's even more reason to give it a try.

Phil Rice:

So they don't just tolerate it, they actually openly encourage it.

Damien Valentine:

Yeah, it goes back to when the crowdfunding just finished. And they had no, they obviously had no game to show. So they were doing these weekly videos saying, well, we've got our office set up, and is that the hardware being delivered and all that kind of stuff? And so fans start sending in questions. So is the game gonna have this feature or whatever? And they would ask answer those every week and then found started sending videos of themselves, sometimes dressing up in sort of futuristic costumes as if they were part of this world. And doing it, and it just grew from there, because they love these videos, and just carried on encouraging people to be creative. And it got to this point. Yeah.

Tracy Harwood:

Wow.

Ricky Grove:

Well it's certainly exciting and very, very impressive work. One thing I would like to recommend to them is that in order to keep the disappointment that we're all expressing about not having a second episode quickly, rather than getting the first one out, and then starting production on the second one, get three or four in the can already. That way you can if you have a strong response to the first one, you've got the second one ready to go. Yeah, so I think that's a better production philosophy than make one and then wait. Well, that may be what they're doing. But but, you know, I suspect not. I suspect, just seeing what the reaction might be. But I think it's pretty impressive while I'm jumping up and down and clapping my hands and screaming. So let's get let's get it going. Guys, come on. You don't normally do that for my picks. There's always an exception.

Phil Rice:

So we'll have two picks this week. Yeah, go ahead and

Ricky Grove:

say, Well, this one, this one, I don't know what your attitude to rock heavy rock might be. This one's called Age of Godless. It's made in I-Clone seven. It's a music video. It's made by Dark Machine Audio Pictures, otherwise known as Mark Johnson. We all know Mark Johnson. And it includes remastered footage from two to this previous films, one being Scarlet Lake, which was featured on TM. TM underground, if you remember, I think around 2016 And that was a feature length, film noir style piece that I think we'll probably have a look at that in a in a future episode, and also his plague angels film as well. Now this one, it's a really dark, I think, as sort of, well, I was torn Is it soft rock? Is it heavy rock, I think it's probably heavy rock song anyway. And I suppose we could say, another religion based machinima. But it's, it's clearly drawing on dark theme and adds this sort of adds to that kind of pathos by sort of making the images black and white. It's a music video, it uses very powerful words and images to really portray the artists intended sentiment and it's about loss, whether through death or some kind of relationship meltdown. And the anger at the loss which is turned to frustration with the with the lack of response from a god or in a in a kind of our of needs type story. That's how I interpreted it. Images are all kinds of darkness, from depression to devils to build them degradation to death itself. And it's filmed in the darkest hour of the day, the dead of night. It's well done. I think it's powerful. It kind of fills a gap in our need for heavy rock that I've not really heard for quite, quite quite a number of years, actually. And you wouldn't want to listen to it very often, to be honest. But it probably has a role. What did you think? deathly silent.

Damien Valentine:

I was interested, because I kind of missed the part where it said, I know it says in the title, I didn't look at the title, I would just watch the video, which is terrible. I was watching it, I thought it was parts Second Life. And part GTA five, the one that was set in LA because it had all the weather and everything. So it's interesting to see that had I cloned seven content as well. So it's interesting to see that someone has taken these three platforms and combine them now I know why. Because you use footage from previous projects. And I think the the three of them, those three engineers worked really well together, which you wouldn't really expect.

Phil Rice:

Yeah, honestly, I didn't even I didn't detect the seams like watching it. I didn't know that the footage was from from multiple 3d engines and I don't know if I just didn't have my critical thing flipped on the same way cuz I just watched a drift before that. But yeah, I didn't. It did visually. It all just fit together. And yeah, making going the black and white route helped with that, I'm sure. But yeah, visually, I really liked it. The, the, the song I felt like that the the lyric was like a read more like a poem. Like maybe not one that's that was intended to be a song. And that when it came time to adapt it to song, the music was kind of shaped around the poem, instead of there being more of a full integration and so basically, the lyrics, I felt like, I wish that the lyric had been more lyrical, if you know what I mean. Whereas it you know, the message of it was was was clear. Like you said, Tracy, it came through it's quite heavy. Heavy and in terms of emotional content. So that's my only if it's a criticism, it's just probably just comes down to preference, but I just I, I didn't get a real lyrical quality off of the Lyric, if that makes any sense at all. But I got the point. And visually it was it was I thought effective. And it felt the emotion there felt authentic. Like it felt like not put on, you know, a lot of times anger and in rock music doesn't feel that way.

Ricky Grove:

It feels shouty doesn't it.

Phil Rice:

It feels like yeah, this is the sound we're supposed to have. So let's be really ticked off about this, that or the other. This felt very personal. And came from a real place. I really respect that. I wish I respect that more than the songwriter nitpickiness in me goes, well, it could have been a little prettier, if that makes any sense. So yeah, I thought it was effective. And my hat's off to anybody who's gonna put themselves out there with this kind of very raw emotion that more people experience than talk about?

Ricky Grove:

Absolutely. Ricky? Well, I'm embarrassed. And I apologize to say that somehow this didn't get on my list of things to watch. I'm really sorry about that. I, I went through everything. And somehow I just didn't see it as one of your films. So I don't have anything to say. And I'm kind of embarrassed about that. I'm sorry.

Tracy Harwood:

But we'll cut that

Phil Rice:

I think what we should do and we should do in the future is what we talked about off air, which is when it comes to that situation, and someone hasn't watched her the films that they have to give their talk based entirely on the thumbnail. Next time we'll do that. The fun part will be the fun part will be is that let's say I hadn't watched a film. And you guys had then I should have to go first. So I talk about the film based on the thumbnail from you guys how wrong I was.

Damien Valentine:

films with thumbnails are so different from the film itself. Maybe just yeah, no pictures or anything? Yeah, yes.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah. It's the same way with posters when you look at a poster for a film versus what the actual film is. Is this really silly?

Phil Rice:

Yes. Well, Ricky, I'm gonna assume that you had time to watch your own pick? Yes.

Ricky Grove:

Yes, well, you know, the first the main pick is Autumn in the City by Story Nest Sims. And I chose this film because for several reasons, we we've been talking a lot about how machinima can be an excellent short form for telling a story. We were also talking about community, the importance of community in putting together a film. And although it isn't the type of film that I normally am attracted to, I found myself coming back to it. It's a short film, it's only a minute and 15 minutes, 20 seconds. I kept watching it over and over again. And I found myself just entranced by it. Because of its simplicity, essentially. It's about a woman. It's shot in Sims. Sims four. It's about a young woman who is out in autumn, raining, she goes into a coffee shop. She's got a book and a cup of coffee, and she's kind of bored with the book and she seems a little lonely. And then suddenly her a bunch of her friends show up and they're all laughing and they say hi, and she's feels good again, because she's got her friends there. And that's it. That's the story. It made me think of sort of an illustration for an Edward Hopper Phil Edward Hopper painting, you know, like Nighthawk diner, where the people are sitting at the counter. And, you know, they all have different stories. I kept wondering about this young woman's story. It's not a perfect film, there are problems with it, the goofy, sins animation thing. It's not entirely wordless. Although most of its wordless, which I like a lot and the camera moves way too much. I think every shot has the camera moving. But there's just something about it that made me really enjoy watching it and gave me a feeling. And whenever a work, somebody creates something in which I respond to emotionally, I'm attracted to that. So I wanted to share that with you guys. And also get your reactions. What did you think of it? Well, it's certainly raining. I mean, you know, in the UK is it September or April for rain? It's usually April here but not September usually. Anyway. Not I wasn't sure about what the language was the characters were speaking. In Sims they have a special jibberish language that they use Simlish I think they call it so much they call it. Yeah. Well, I think what was kind of interesting here is what, what the role of the characters actually are given that it's the rain. That's the dominant feature in the video. So it's, you know, so, so much, much of that rain really. To me, it's kind of both metaphorically and literally drowning out all the other sound in the Machinima. So I wasn't quite sure what what to make of it, because you kind of almost hear a bit of background. But mostly, what you hear is rain from slightly different perspective. So it's, it's, it's, you know, is it? Is that an issue with the balance of the sound? I don't think so. i To me, the character was the rain. It's the that's the thing that that drove it. And I have to say, the sound of rain is pretty convincing. It's not a film that I was particularly attracted to. But the the sound of rain from different angles did did kind of capture it did feel like, go get my broccoli out.

Damien Valentine:

I really enjoyed this fella is very short. It kind of just sets the autumn atmosphere quite nicely. And obviously, it is autumn right now. Or for for recklessness. So we see that the rain and she's going in the coffee shop, and it's especially what we're living through right now is this autumn and it just felt like a little bit of a taste of that. And I see like, my friends were excited because it's autumn and Halloween and all the leaves coming down and so on. And I just felt like another part of that. So it's a charming little film. We have a lot to say from it from a technical perspective, I just think it captures the atmosphere of this time of year quite nicely.

Phil Rice:

Yeah, I get the impression that's what it was intended to do is capture a feeling not tell a story. Yeah, yeah. Not not do anything elaborate like that, just to capture a mood or a feeling. And, and in in that sense, I think it was very effective at doing so. It was very well edited. That the camera movement is a little bit too much. But that's a kind of a hallmark of, of younger filmmaker, take a look at any of my early work. Holy crap, what was I doing? It's like, the camera was riding around on one of those. Harry Potter, broomsticks for Quidditch, just by by comparison, this is quite tame. So anyway, you know, but that's something that that a filmmaker will come to, they learn to tame that, you know, not worried about, I'm not worried about this filmmaker in that regard that that will come natural. The Edit was nice. The the fidelity of the imagery, very well done it really. It showcases how how pretty the settings and characters of the Sims can be when when filmed right. So yeah, I enjoyed it. And I didn't feel like that it was I didn't feel like that the film was asking anything of me. You know what I'm saying? It was just something for me to be there and, and kind of experience my interpretation of what that that feeling was and I kind of had a similar reaction to it that Damien described that it was relatable. And it wasn't trying to really say anything. And yeah, weirdly. When done like this, that's okay. Yeah, I think I think in other contexts, I would be critical of a film that it's not saying anything, you know, but not everything does. Or maybe this is a way of saying that I don't really think about much, you know, right. It's not about it's not about changing something or making a point. Yeah. Capture, capture the feeling.

Ricky Grove:

One of the things that I think machinima filmmakers should consider when they're making a film is that they don't have to emulate popular forms of stories, and political points and heavy characterization and conflict, they can make essay films or feeling films, in which they're just a gesture of something. Yes, a quick gesture. And I think those things are oftentimes, even though they don't have the high dramatic content in it, and they may not be as memorable as, say, the adrift, which is such a well done film. It's still there's, there's something appealing about it. And it's also a learning process. You know, you make these feelings where you you make a make a short essay film, in which you share your feelings about something. I think that's when Machinima is about. It's what separates it from the popular media forms, because it's a personal expression of something. And I think that's what appealed to me about I'm in the fall. I love the fall. I think maybe that's what caught my eye as I was watching it. Yeah, but it's your story. Story. Nest Sims has a lot of really fun films in it look, quite a few of them are romantic. But they're there. They're all well done. And they're interesting, and I encourage you to check it out. I want my second My second pick is really not a pic. It's more of an honorable mention, and I don't want to get into a detail thing about it. I just liked the way it was done. It's called on metal machinima Metal Gear parody chapter one, the greatest cape. It's done by a group called Crime flicks fly x. And the reason why I liked it. It doesn't stand up to real scrutiny. You know, there are problems with the hits very slow pace of voice acting as sometimes not so good. And the overall story it lacks the sort of pacing and editing that you could really make it work but what I liked about it is it's combination of cut cutscene and dialogue from the original game Metal Gear Solid in done in a way that I hadn't seen before. Using actual footage from a top down gameplay with custom content and voice acting. I just I thought it was quite unique. And I just wanted to share that with people so they could see what an interesting combination because it comes together seamlessly. I think it's a lot of fun.

Damien Valentine:

Yeah, I I watched your thought. I don't remember ever seeing 2d machinima before ever. It was using 3d engines for the stories were telling matter what kind of video we're making to sync same. It's done in two dimensions with a two dimensional game is so different and unusual that I can see why you chose it because it's so unique. And I enjoyed the story as well is quite entertaining. It kind of pokes fun at the action. They can be quite silly. So if you find that that was great. So you've got this unusual take of filmmaking, plus that humor, and like a drift. I want to see part two because I just really enjoyed this particular video.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, I mean, for me, it had nice storytelling. I quite liked the voiceovers. Actually, what to me they were doing was a cinematic conversion of the game, and just putting a bit of a story over it, but it had a kind of decidedly comic book feel to it. Yeah. With really heavy accents. I think the only thing I thought about by the time I got to the end of it. 13 minutes for this one was along. And then it said to be continued and quite frankly, reached the end of the story. closed out nice. Yeah. So yeah, already in style, but not fully in. Yeah. Pace was the big problem. Because in comedy, when you're doing satire, you have to have a faster pace. And you have to have comic timing and it didn't have that. Exactly.

Phil Rice:

It's challenging to achieve that. Yeah, yeah. It's underestimated sometimes they the amount of craft to do that timing. I recall a discussion we had a few episodes ago, Ricky when you were talking about was it farce? You're with someone trying to do farce in in the in the theater context. And yeah, comic timing is the same thing. It's it It's a very strange craft that there's not really any mathematics to it. It's no feel. And yeah, I don't envy anyone who would try to teach someone else. How to do that.

Ricky Grove:

Can you teach? I think, I don't think you can. I think it's, you can recognize it when it happens. And you can remember the rhythm of it, and then repeat that by teaching someone how to do it. How to hit that punch line when it comes in? No, because not every not every single punch line is the same. No, you know what I mean? Like, for example, on stage in particular, if you have people that respond to a laugh, and then you've got a second joke after that, if you come into soon with the laugh, it's going to be covered by the applause or the laughter. You have to wait until the laughter is coming down. And as it's coming down, then you kick in the second one, you can't teach that. You just have to see it. That's one reason why some

Phil Rice:

practice to and yeah, it comes with practice. And yeah. Which which should be encouraging to the makers of this film, if they're seeing what we're saying is yes, some kind of heavy criticism. It's not. It's an acknowledgment that, that what they're trying to do here is is not easy, but keep at it, because practice will tighten those things up and make that make those things go better. Yeah,

Ricky Grove:

they're they made a statement, crime flicks, they have a lot of movies on their YouTube channel, I really recommend them. Here's what they said about making metal this Metal Gear parody. They said As usual, I captured relevant on metal gameplay Action Pack sequences, important dialogue and cutscenes to create a fluid cinematic experience game movie, we often modify the game engine with and or graphics use voice actors and or additional sound effects, and even program scripts to control other actors and cameras to enrich the viewing experience even more. So obviously, they're using machinima tools with the game itself and then cutscenes in the game, and then putting them together in a creative fashion. And that's what I liked most about it. And I, as an honorable mention, I just wanted people to be aware of it to D is still a very viable way to do machinima. This is a way to combine it. It's excellent.

Phil Rice:

Yeah. Damien, tell us about your pick this week.

Damien Valentine:

So after last month, we were discussing OSU had the horror theme. And one of the things we were discussing is that you don't see too many horror, machinima made with horror games. So I deliberately set out even though before we move past Halloween, at this point, I'd never set out to find something that was made in a horror game. And it's really difficult. I think part of it is to build the atmosphere of a horror game, you have to take a lot of control away from the player, which means the end the game engine isn't that suited to be creative with because you just don't have the controller for the anything in the world. But I found this Alien Isolation wrap by rocket gaming featuring music by JT music, who seen before in the show. And it uses combination of some of the promotional videos that were made to promote the game, but also in game footage capture specifically for this video. And it's pretty much the only thing I could find with those made for this game. That was not a Let's Play video because there's plenty of people playing the game and getting scarce and when the alien attacks them and so on, but there's nothing that he tries to be just a short video in a creative sense. So this is what I found. And I was wondering what you guys thought about

Ricky Grove:

well, you know, JT machinima or JT music as they're now called, they always impressed me always. And this is another great music video. Although the, the music doesn't quite fit that kind of horror, alien smash environment, the original story and all that it just doesn't quite go together. And this. This isn't about Ripley herself as it's, it's, it's the daughter of isn't it? From what I understand?

Damien Valentine:

Yeah, the plot of the game is her daughter is I think it's about 15 years after the first film, her daughter's been grown up without her mom. So I'm still asleep for 57 years between the films. So she goes looking for her mother. And they found the flight recorder has been picked up from the ship and taken to the space station, so she goes to the space station to get hold of the recorder. And when she gets there, everything is gone wrong because there's an alien on board. And it's been killing everyone. So you're kind of into the survival situation where you're also trying to find out what happened to your mother.

Ricky Grove:

Go Yeah, well okay, when that would explain them why? They're using the original tagline from the from the Alien film 79 Film in space no one can hear you scream. Yeah. Okay, so yeah, I suppose in that sense it does capture the sense of of horror, but the the music and that just didn't quite work for me. Yeah, except it you know, it kind of does but it kind of doesn't Well, there's a million likes there's a million likes for this on YouTube million

Phil Rice:

million views or million views a million 1000 Likes

Ricky Grove:

12,000 Likes. And 300 352 not likes? Well, I'm going to make it 353

Damien Valentine:

I never said it was going to be a good film. I just thought I wanted to see what was out there that was made Okay, that's why

Ricky Grove:

I get it. It's aligned with you Tracy. The pop nature of the song removes any real creepiness or mood that the actual game and a story has. When you have lyrics like Alien Isolation lost track of his motivation Yes, the mismatch of styles puts me off because they they seem to rather than blend together to create a an experience that you can enter into. They seem to be competing against each other. So that's what made it hard for me to like it now. The the actual footage I liked I thought it was really interesting, you know, but it just needed a different song. had needed a different it just needed a new a different type of music for Mark Johnson to create the song for it. Don't machine audio. There you go. Yeah, Age of godless. I like that. Why not? So at risk of hurting anyone's feelings, I'm just gonna leave it at that. 353

Phil Rice:

I'm gonna, I'm gonna defer my feedback to to my AI. And see, see what see what I think so hold on. Okay. I agree with Ricky 100%. Yeah, yeah, I agree with Ricky

Damien Valentine:

100% fact that YouTube didn't enjoy the film. And the media the fact that music doesn't really fit the style of the game. Just illustrates the point I was trying to make was that he can't make horror films. However, machinima with horror games, because just so difficult. This is the only thing I could find made with that game. And I wanted to use game play to make sure I was you know, familiar with it. I didn't like horror games. I seem to mean. Yeah. So

Ricky Grove:

yeah. Just proved your point. Really? Then, didn't you? Yeah.

Phil Rice:

Oh, yes. Well, if it makes you feeling better at while watching it, I did put I did put both hands to the side of my face and go like something out now? Yeah. Yeah, no, it just, it just didn't, I literally do agree 100% with Ricky that I ended up getting thrown off by the mismatch. I, I don't mean this is like sarcasm, but when I watch it muted, I enjoyed a lot more. Because the game footage is actually very interesting. I haven't played any of the alien games. But of course, I've watched a lot of the movies over the years. And, you know, the, the, the, the way that it's rendered and the shiny Enos of it and stuff, I can see how the game can effectively create that environment that looks just like one of Ridley Ridley Scott sets, you

Ricky Grove:

know, so, yeah,

Phil Rice:

I can appreciate that much. And I think if I listened, just listen to the song, I would enjoy that too. But the two of them together. It's like, yeah, it just for me just just wasn't a great combo. Speaking of combo, or combos,

Ricky Grove:

combine my pick.

Phil Rice:

Yeah, my pick was, I think in line with with a term that Ricky introduced when we were talking about autumn in the city, and that is the idea of an essay film. I kind of feel like this maybe falls into that category. It's, it's titled, well in on YouTube, it's titled Just how bad is the combine and it's, it's A documentary, if you will, that is, is kind of an attempt to study and elaborate on the human condition, the psychology and whatnot, of if humanity really were in the predicament as depicted in the world of half life to where, you know, this alien invasion has happened. And there's this totalitarianism going on, and everyone is suppressed and being used as resources and nothing much more, if you will. And it's not something that I would think that I would enjoy. But I found before you knew it, it was done. Like I watched the whole thing. I just, I felt like that. It was nicely thoughtful. And, and, you know, kind of took you out of the game. And actually, it features one of the scenes that Ricky's talked about for years, that really made a big impression on him. When playing this game with a woman at the fence waiting for looking for her missing husband, requiring about him. He actually features that in the documentary as one of the examples. There wasn't there wasn't anything particularly innovative about it about I'm not saying just the film, but even his his observations. I think anybody who's played that game, and really let themselves get immersed in that world, these are all things that you thought about, you know, it's part of what makes that world so disturbing, and compelling at the same time. So it certainly wasn't a reinvention of anything there or there was no big eureka moment for me anyway. But it was it was nicely put together. It was I kind of looked at it as if I wanted to explain to someone what, what humanity situation was for this game, this film does a better job than I probably could, in terms of focusing on the the main points of why it was so difficult and and you know, just how bad it was. And I think, even though he doesn't spend a lot of time calling direct attention to, let's say, real world, allegory, you know, to stuff that's talked about in by novelists like Orwell, over the years of just how bad totalitarianism can get. That's definitely a message that came through, even though this is science fiction, and it's never really ever been like this anywhere, really. But I felt like that was done very cleverly that it didn't, it wasn't preachy at all. I have no idea what the political stance of the guy is behind this. He's just observing. He's just telling what he sees. And I liked it a lot. It's a very unusual pick for me, I'll admit, but I really liked it. What did you guys think?

Ricky Grove:

Oh, I thought it was a really well done documentary. And I thought he narrated it particularly well, but to me what it came over as basically a political analysis of the strategy of this antagonistic group in the game, these these combine through which he then tried to get you to position your own personal experiences, not of the game itself, but of how that might feel in real life. Yeah. And he calls that, that sort of strategy, one of civil confusion, and then goes on about some how it's achieved to pacify a population in the game so that they won't revolt. And and he says, the characters are never empowered to revolt, because they continually divided up that old thing about divide and conquer. Yes, I mean, these are real strategies. Yes, really, cleverly puts you in the game by asking you to think, think about what it would be like to be a citizen in that environment. And he compares it to things like moving schools moving to a new city, and doing that continually to help you empathize with the characters and suggesting how difficult that might actually be. And he doesn't just do that with the citizens, but he does it with the soldiers in the game.

Phil Rice:

Yes, I found that really compelling. And got into that the situation they're in Yeah,

Ricky Grove:

yeah. And the control and all of that kind of stuff by these terrible combine folks, or this kind of biological, biological entity, I don't know them parasitic entity is what he ended up calling it and then then you kind of makes that kind of key point about it's a, you know, being a form of population. control that must never happen in real life and anything? Yes, the minute it actually has happened. This, you know what he's what he's just described in that first section is basically a genocide of the Jews in the Second World War. And, and it's, it's really, genuinely what is being described there. But then he moves it on to more sci fi type tropes that kind of elevate the, you know, the narrative mortar sort of post apocalyptic kind of half life, two world. And I, I quite like then how he talks about that world itself, he doesn't talk about it as a game, he talks about it as the smart he describes it as the smartness of the cityscape. And he talks about it in terms of architecture, biological structures, as well as the political structures. And it kind of gives you I mean, I've never actually played the game, but it gives you this kind of whole new level of insight into just how well done that game is very well beyond an advert for the game, because I doubt really, if you just play it, as you would normally, I doubt you would really pick up on all those kinds of nuances, this kind of architectural, biological, you know, all these kinds of structures that he's touching on. You know, I would you think this guy's played it for years, studied it for years, I suspect he probably has,

Phil Rice:

I suspect show. Yeah. And certainly, I

Ricky Grove:

learned a whole lot about that world. That I would, I certainly would probably never see if I were just to play it. I think the only thing I'm not too wasn't too clear on in the actual film itself was when it got to the end, there were these massive line of credits. And I kind of thought, well, who are those people? Who are these names?

Phil Rice:

close attention to that. I'll have to take another look at that. Well, it

Ricky Grove:

turns out, I think what they are as patrons on his channel, you know, I thought are these people that he's pulled on, when he's creating this, because there's just so many of them. That didn't make an awful lot of sense to me in it. In the end, what that did to me was took me out of thinking about the film and then thought about, well, who is it is actually speaking to. And, you know, clearly he's got a close knit community, but the thing that he's produced isn't about that community. It takes it out of that community and presents it elsewhere. So I was really impressed with this one right here. I thought it was really a very interesting, and film documentary style. Fascinating.

Damien Valentine:

My thoughts on it are very similar to yours, Tracy, because I haven't played the game either. It did make me feel very glad not to live in that world. You kind of get a taste of when you're playing go like this, how often you actually stop and think about how did these bad guys that you're shooting at? Unless you knew how did they get there? And what's going to happen to them if they fail to kill you. You don't really think about that as a consequence of playing a game. Because they're just there, you shoot them, and then you move on. So it's an interesting way to look at the world of the game and ask questions that when you're playing it, you probably don't stop and think about. But it's got me thinking, Well, next time I play something, am I going to start thinking about the world around me in a way that I possibly didn't do before? Like, how did those people get there? And why are they trying to shoot the and what's going to happen to them? If they survive and go back to their boss and say I failed to kill the player? Or if they don't come back? What's going to happen to their families, which is something that was touched on? And yeah, I see a lot of questions that you don't have some very unpleasant answers that are part of it.

Ricky Grove:

Well, this was my favorite film of the bunch. And I've been following lead heads commentary on half light for about a year now. So I was delighted when I didn't know that. Yeah, that's great. Um, I was delighted when you pick this film. I don't know why I ever didn't think of picking one but I just didn't. But he has done this on a variety of levels in a variety of aspects. Half Life. He also does it for the first game Half Life. And I think what he does is you're right, it's an essay documentary. But what he does is he combines two things that I think are just really admirable, and the way he thinks so one is empathy. He has an empathy for all of the characters in including the villain characters, the evil characters, he can see it from their point of view Plus, he has a very good memory. Like he pulls out a dialogue to illustrate a point, that if you're playing through this fast moving, shoot 'em up, game, you're not going to pay attention to that. And yet he does enough so that he's able to put those details together in a narrative, an empathetic narrative that gives you a way, a world a view of this world. And you begin to start really deeply appreciating the work that was done by writer, Marc Laidlaw, who was one of the main writers for the half life world, you know, the background world. And I've been, over the years, I have been collecting information like this in a big large folder. Because it's just it's a, it's a world that just fascinates me. It's a world that I've always been intrigued with. And it captures my imagination, I want to go back to it all the time. And so I was very impressed with this essay. And there were actually, I, again, I'm a person who's been following the story and been thinking about this world. And I've played the game maybe a dozen times, you know, and there were aspects that he talked about that I had missed, you know, which I thought was amazing, amazing. And it gave me such a feeling of sadness. And and I don't know what the word is just angst. And it reminded me God, what must it have been like, and World War Two with all of those displaced people and people being grabbed and shot if they write on the spot if they disagreed, or people lining up, like, story after story of Jews lining up in a line and to be shot? And you think, Well, why would they do that? Well, Laidlaw obviously had a great knowledge of World War Two and incorporated that as part of the background story in Half Life two. Yeah, and, and as machinima, looking at it as machinima. And as a form of Let's Play essay, I think it's a marvelous way to share your, your ideas about a game, but also your feelings about a game. And on that level, it's really, really impressive. And moving. So a really excellent choice. Phil, really. So glad you picked it.

Phil Rice:

I think my favorite detail that he focused on that did raise my eyebrows because I had never paid much attention to it is when he was parsing out the the female announcers voice that would come over the PA every once in a while, as different, basically, meaningful transmissions, that I think most players, myself included, just took as kind of just a subliminal part of the atmosphere kind of thing. When he went through and dissected those and you realize, at least through his interpretation, what the significance of those were, it was, it gave me chills. Yeah. And really, just like you said, Ricky, that the appreciation for the writer or writers behind that world, yeah, just amazing, amazing detail. Yeah.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah. And the other little details did pick up on the sound of children laughing when? Yeah, yeah. Amazing detail. Yeah.

Phil Rice:

Yeah.

Ricky Grove:

No wonder that game was so important. So. So game changing, you know, they used that phrase, this is a game changer. This was a game changer. Yeah, there are moments that are in that game. In my mind that are like dreams that I've had. I can't I can't separate that the gameplay from my dream. Wow. Yeah.

Phil Rice:

All right. Well, that's gonna wrap up our films discussion for this month. We, we greatly value you the listener your feedback. And there's a few different ways that you can get in touch with us via email, we have a discord channel. We have a voicemail option, that if you leave a message for us on there with either a question or a comment, we may just play it on the air and comment yeah, right back. atcha Yeah. So all of those features are links to those and information about those are available on our website, which is completely machinima.com and just click on Talk and that'll take you to the list of the current ways you can get in touch with us. We'd love to hear what you think of the show. And if you've got ideas or you've got a film that's just really knock your socks off, and he wants to know about it. Send us a link to it. Yeah. Thanks very much to my co hosts, Damian Tracy and Ricky. It's been such a pleasure talking to each of you today. Yes. Hello,

Ricky Grove:

I love tal Great to Sydney. Thank you very much.

Phil Rice:

Yeah. Thank you all. We'll talk to you next time.

Damien Valentine:

Bye. Bye.