Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Today in studiously avoiding priest jokes...

Hey, here's something not related to the ongoing political shitshow into which our country is descending: tv shows about video games. Buckle up nerds and non-nerds, because we're going into the weeds.
Whattaya mean mixed metaphor? Buckle up, because we're going
off-roading...into the nerdy long grass of obscure video game knowledge.
"Hey, what's that you're damning us with?
Is that faint praise? It is, isn't it..."
So over the weekend I watched the animated Castlevania show, and it was-huh? Remember when we talked about it being a thing that was happening? Well, it's happened and it's, um, well it's interesting. As I mentioned back in February, the series is specifically based on Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (with some Symphony of the Night thrown in), which is kind of weird because who remembers the plot details of a 28-year old video game? Ok, well obviously I do, but then I'm the one writing a blog about it so...

To be clear, I didn't say a lot more
complex, Castlevania's plot is 'go kill 
things for points because vampires.'
For those unfamiliar with the video game series, or the February post I mentioned (shame on you), Castlevania games are usually action/platformers with some of them drifting into action/RPG territory. RPG's typically have complex stories, but the plot of action games, especially those from the 80's, are usually 'go kill those things for points or whatever.' Castlevania's was a bit more complex. You usually as a member of the Belmont (in this case Trevor Belmont) family who are cursed to fight Dracula once a century. And then I suppose just hang out the other 99 years....

At least that's the U.S. localization. In Japan it's even more complicated, giving Dracula a back story about his wife being burned at the stake for being a witch and he and his son Alucard having a falling out over how to deal with it. Dracula wants to murder everyone in the world and Alucard is all 'live and let live...' Heavy shit, right?
It would be almost Shakespearean if Shakespeare wrote plays
about fighting Frankenstein with crucifix-shaped boomerangs.
"Yeah, I just meant I want it to make a
ton of money. Like Game of Thrones."

-Adi Shankar
Yes. And it gets heavier as the four-episode series goes on. Producer Ad Shankar did say back in February that he wanted this to be like Game of Thrones...and that he wanted to subvert the vampire propaganda. But, whatever, like Thrones, Castlevania is...grim. Like, grim. Super gory,  there're entrails and eyeballs all over the place, and it's pretty adult too. We listen to some farmer regale a guy at the bar with a story of goat-rape, Trevor Belmont gets kicked the balls twice, and priests. Holy shit, whoever's writing this maybe has a thing about priests?

"Yeah, but what have priests done
recently...wait, don't answer that."
In the show, the Church is responsible for murdering Dracula's wife and bringing down his wrath, but they're also pretty power-hungry and want Trevor to bugger off for, I don't know, Church reasons? It's kind of unclear. The point is that I think Trevor actually kills more priests than monsters in this show, which was a little weird. I mean what did the Catholic Church ever do to...ok, other than the Crusades, the Inquisition, and that time they went after Galileo for math. Math he was right about...ok, never mind.

Above: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
Because fuck Sharknado. You can't
just set out to make a terrible movie.
One big disappointment was that the series is missing the game's music which is a shame because it's amazing. I guess the sometimes rock, sometimes jazzy music probably didn't fit the show's dark and gritty tone, but still, bummer. Oh well, as video game adaptations go, it was pretty good...yeah, ok, you got me. Being a decent game adaptation is a little like being the tallest Smurf or the least sycophantic member of the President's cabinet, but still, not everything's going to be Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

But you know what is going to be a lot more like Game of Thrones? The Witcher show Netflix is doing next. The game it's based upon is itself based on a book series. It sort of takes the sex and violence of GOT and mixes in the werewolves and vampires of Castlevania. So to put it in business-y corporate terms: Netflix is going to synergize the shit out of their brand appeal with this new content.
Pictured: a scene from Witcher III: Wild Hunt in which Geralt of Rivia and Yennefer
are about to totally do it while riding a unicorn. Ball's in your court, Game of Thrones.

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