The 'Shroom:Issue 134/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Shroom2017 Anton.png

The time is flying by and so is the comfortable weather. If anyone would like to join my evil cult and aid my quest to block out the sun you may sign up as a grunt to waste the hero's time getting to me! Qualities I'm looking for is a memorable one-liner and a tasteful sense of fashion. For May we bring to you a diet-size portion of sections to help you get that summer bod, but don't fret, each one is still packed full of all the nutrients you need!

Thank you peeps for voting Half-Baked Reviews as Critic Corner's Section of the Month again. Be sure to keep voting because each vote absolutely does count!

Anniversary events are all coming up soon, with tournaments for tokens and prizes starting on June 1st, and by the time next issue of The 'Shroom is released all of the Polls will be up to vote on things such as your Favorite Main Character, Favorite Classic Game, Worst Mario Party Minigame, and some Community awards to highlight, well, our community!! Also next month is a special issue, featuring Luigi (and some other secondary characters starving for the spotlight), so if you want to be in-fashion for June be sure to cater your sections towards them!

Also, hey, heads up! Late Night with Nabber has been temporarily moved to just underneath Anton's Half-Baked Reviews towards the middle because it contains heavy plot spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War and I took care to make sure they wouldn't be visible when you go to vote in the poll at the bottom. If you don't want to see spoilers, go watch the movie and then go read his section!

Section of the Month

Critic Corner SECTION OF THE MONTH
Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Anton's Half-Baked Reviews 11 42.31% Hypnotoad (talk)
2nd Countdowns 7 26.92% Luigi 64DD (talk)
3rd Movie Reviews 3 11.54% Yoshi876 (talk)
3rd Character Review 3 11.54% Yoshi876 (talk)



Opinion Pieces

What could've been expanded upon?
[read more]

Experience retail therapy vicariously.
[read more]
Reviews

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[read more]

Does the Birkenstock fit?
[read more]

April showers bring May flowers~
[read more]


Could Have Been

Written by: Alex95 (talk)

Hello everyone! I am Alex95 and welcome to Could Have Been. In this segment, I talk about features that didn't quite make it into a game's final release and see just how the cut content would've affected the game. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was just rereleased on May 4th, so I thought I'd take a look at what could have been in the first game of the series: Donkey Kong Country. So let's dive right in and take a look… wait, I just said that.

Donkey Kong vs. Super Wario
"Diddy Kong Junior"
Donkey Kick!
Jungle Hijinxs at night
One of the various bonus rooms
Banana arrow

Let's start with before the game's development actually began. In September of 2015, game designer Gregg Mayles showed off old concepts of Donkey Kong Country on his Twitter account, including concepts of ideas and early pitches that never came to be. One of these pitches was called Donkey Kong vs. Super Wario, which apparently involved Wario and some time machine. Another pitch was called Donkey Kong and the Golden Bananas, which follows a similar storyline to the final version, but instead a blue Kremling named Korporal Krizzle came and stole the Golden Banana Donkey Kong was supposed to be guarding.

Cranky Kong Hmph, that grandson of mine. Looks he could never be trusted with guarding anything!
User:Alex95 What the—Cranky Kong? How did you get here?
Cranky Kong Well, you snuffed me out of NIWA Spotlight. I had to go somewhere!
User:Alex95 Um… okay? Well, while you're here, would you like to help out?
Cranky Kong Sure, this doesn't seem like a complete waste of time. And I like reminiscing about the past, anyway.
User:Alex95 Alright, then! Here's the script for this month.
Cranky Kong Okay, where's my reading glasses… Ahem. "Let's get to the unused graphics! There are several sprites of Donkey Kong—"
User:Alex95 Uh, we're still at the top of the script, paragraph three.
Cranky Kong I'll start where I want to start, sonny!
User:Alex95 Anyway, with the story of Donkey Kong Country mostly finalized, the next step was to bring in the apes. Obviously, Donkey Kong was already in, but the designers still had to settle on a look. Originally, Donkey Kong was going to look more like how he did, er, how Cranky did in the first Donkey Kong game. Shigeru Miyamoto then suggested that the designers add a tie, and boom, there was the star.
Cranky Kong If they wanted to use my old look, then perhaps I would've been the star! Just imagine: Cranky Kong Country! 'Course, I'd probably still be called "Donkey Kong"…
User:Alex95 You're off script.
Cranky Kong *grumble* Uh, it was then decided to give Donkey Kong a partner! Since Donkey Kong already had a son with Donkey Kong Jr., the designers originally wanted to add him in the game, but with a new look. This new look didn't sit well with ol' Shiggy, so he said to either return to the original look or make it a whole new character. And that's how Diddy Kong came to be.
User:Alex95 What happened to Donkey Kong Jr. anyway?
Cranky Kong You're off script.
User:Alex95 …Several concepts were drawn up for how Donkey Kong Country would play. Donkey Kong was planned to wear a helmet light during the mine stages to light the way, a feature Squawks the Parrot would fill. Animal Friends would've been trapped in cages, with Donkey Kong needing to find a key to open their cages.
Cranky Kong Hmph, sounds familiar. Maybe that's what happened to the Animal Friends that didn't make it into the game. I remember meeting a dolphin, a helpful owl, a sly fox, a flying pig, and a giraffe. Could they be stuck on Donkey Kong Island?
User:Alex95 Sounds like a good concept for the next game. Though a giraffe did show in the opening of Donkey Kong Country Returns, so maybe they're just walking around?
Cranky Kong Isn't it against your role of an administrator to add speculation?
User:Alex95 Uh, to actual wiki articles, yes. I'm not writing an article here, though.
Cranky Kong So what is this, then?
User:Alex95 Just keep reading.
Cranky Kong Fine, but I'm skipping ahead to the part I want to read. …Let's get to the unused graphics! There are several sprites of Donkey Kong performing actions that he doesn't do in the final game. There animations of him scratching his head while sitting (instead of standing), a winning animation where he flexes, a turning animation when he's swimming, an animation where he's pushing an object, and one where he's performing some kind of kicking attack. Bah! In my day, I only had two frames of animation, none of this overly complicated action stuff!
User:Alex95 There's an animation of you walking around, which doesn't happen in the final game.
Cranky Kong Who needs to walk around, anyway? If I wait long enough, Donkey Kong will come visit me on his own. No effort required!
User:Alex95 Rambi the Rhino and Queen B. have some unused frames to their animations. Rambi has two frames of his attacking animation that plays, but turns out there's actually eight! Some of them were brought into the sequel, but some frames were still left unused. Queen B.'s animation that plays when she's hit has more frames, that when added will give the animation a more fluid look. There also some enemy pallets that go unused, with there being green, chestnut, and gray colored Klaptraps and purple and blue Zingers.
Cranky Kong Several levels had some changes, and some even went unused. Jingle Hijinxs originally had a nighttime theme, for example. There are many Bonus Areas that go unused, from a tall jungle area to a wide gap in the middle of the temple to an icy area that actually has Bananas in it! Speaking of Bananas, there are several formations coded in the game that aren't used at all. There are Banana formations in a diagonal line, arcs, circles, and arrows.
User:Alex95 And there's even unused text, mostly relating to Cranky Kong. These lines of text make it seem like he had a personality change during development, as he went from a kind old man to a senile, angry, fourth-wall breaking old man.
Cranky Kong Who are you calling "man"? I'm an ape, darn you! Get your primates right!

What Could Have Been?

Cranky Kong The script ended. Am I done now?
User:Alex95 Not yet. Now it's time for "What Could Have Been?"! Here, I (and I guess Cranky as well) speculate just how this information would've impacted the final game.
Cranky Kong Speculation? Again? Didn't I just get done telling you that?
User:Alex95 So first of all, that Donkey Kong vs. Super Wario thing. Would you have wanted to play that?
Cranky Kong Wario? Who the heck is Wario? Is that like Mario's evil twin or something?
User:Alex95 Kind of? Anyway, there's apparently a time machine involved.
Cranky Kong Bleh, never liked time travel. I don't think I would like this game very much. Next!
User:Alex95 Alright. Let's go to Donkey Kong's original design and Donkey Kong Jr. How do you think gamers would've reacted to these versions?
Cranky Kong Considering this "old design" was me, I think gamers would've liked that image very much! If they didn't, then they don't know good character design!
User:Alex95 If the designers did decide to go with a new look for Donkey Kong Jr., we might've seen more of him. The last time he was really a character of his own was in Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64. But then that would mean we wouldn't see much of Diddy Kong.
Cranky Kong Donkey Kong wouldn't have become the big lug he is now. In fact, I think I would've been in his spot! Ha!
User:Alex95 What about the various unused animal friends? The giraffe has been said to have allowed Donkey Kong to reach high places by climbing its neck. The owl would've given information, likely replaced by you, and the fox would've sniffed out secrets. But what about the dolphin.
Cranky Kong Chances are it got replaced with Enguarde the Swordfish. Riding around on a dolphin is cool, but being able to actually attack your enemies underwater with a pointed nose is even cooler!
User:Alex95 Let's talk about the unused animations. They were probably removed to save space, or maybe some were redundant. Since there is already a head-scratching animation, there didn't seem to be a need for two of them. And only Tires get pushed around, so a pushing animation for the one object seemed pointless I guess. But these additional little things would've made for an interesting polish in the game.
Cranky Kong And then they had the gull to not give me my walking animation after they've already made it! Back in my day, if you made something, you had to use it!
User:Alex95 The Donkey Kong arcade game has some unused stuff in it too, you know.
Cranky Kong Maybe, but I had all my animations! You can't say that about this game, now can you?
User:Alex95 I suppose not. But what about your change in dialogue? You seemed like such a nice guy at first, saying things like "Donkey, you young whippersnapper! Long time no see!"
Cranky Kong I refuse to answer that question.
User:Alex95 Well, there's still more to cover here. The various ports and sequels all have unused and pre-release stuff to them. Maybe you'd like to talk more about them in a later 'Shroom issue?
Cranky Kong Eh, I don't know. We'll see. For now, though, it's time for my nap. Good-bye! *walks out*
User:Alex95 I don't think he's coming back. Well, thanks for reading you guys! There's more information on our list of Donkey Kong Country pre-release and unused content and on The Cutting Room Floor. Until next time, I'll see- *slip* *crash* Ow, Cranky! Don't leave your bananas lying around!

AntonHalfBakedLogo.png

Written By: Hypnotoad (talk)

Anton’s Supermarket “I’m an adult with my own place and now have to care about groceries and budgeting for full meals” Special Snack Food Garbage Haul “This has basically become a food review section” Section Special.

Kellogg’s Frosted Krispies

I saw these on an endcap at Publix
Someone earned a paycheck from this. A board meeting was held to approve this.
and connected some dots in my head: “Frosted Cheerios are pretty good, and I like Rice Krispies well enough, so Frosted Krispies must be gr8!” Plus, they were buy one get one free so I just had to. Upon grabbing it I noticed immediately that the mascots, Snap, Crackle, and Pop looked different. In fact, they all looked the same. They all have the same face, just copy and pasted, and maybe rotated. Even on the back, too. Like, they all have the same expression and eyes are fixed in the same location and everything, this is so incredibly wild and lazy. Why did they have to switch? Why this? Who approved of this?

Tastes marshmallowy, like rice krispie treats but instead of gooey and chewy they’re soggy and mushy. Terrible aftertaste; I feel bad eating this, as if I’ve sinned or cheated on a diet, with how sugary this feels and how I’m now convinced I’ve instantly bored holes into my teeth.

After finishing half of the bowl I quickly went to the fridge to eat some fresh fruit to salvage whatever vitality this cereal didn’t drain.

Rating: Who cares

Explanation: I considered giving this a more thoughtful rating but honestly I’m pretty upset at how lazy this all was so who cares.

Chobani Greek Yogurt Drinks

While scoping out milk I saw that this was on sale for $2 each. Realistically I could get half a gallon of milk instead of a single serving of some yogurt thing, but, eh, life is to be lived and how else best lived if not gulping down wet cheese?

There were not too many flavors available at the store, but certainly more options than other yogurt things that constrain themselves to just strawberry, plain, vanilla, and--if they’re feeling wild--blueberry. I ended up getting Mango, Strawberry Banana, and Orange & Cream. A quick check later online shows that they’ve got like a dozen flavors that are at least mildly interesting, so props to them. The bottle said to shake well, so I did. and it feels a lot more liquidy than I expect a yogurt drink to be. First up is Mango, and I don’t taste the mango flavor at all. It’s definitely a yogurt drink and has enough of a texture for me to feel like that, but it just tastes plain. That’s not to say it tastes bad, though; it’s not a gut-wrenching probiotic flavor that other yogurt things have. Also, I thought that the whole point of Greek yogurt was that it was thicker due to being strained more? This is incredibly milky for something claiming to be Greek yogurt, and if they did strain it as many times to qualify it as Greek, why juice it back up? It is a mystery. Not too comfortable of an aftertaste, and it’s objectively better when it’s cold, which, thanks to entropy and Florida, doesn’t last long. Orange & Cream tasted exactly like how it sounds, and Strawberry Banana just tastes like a smoothie. Definitely not bad but it’s pretty standard and basic, and not exactly worth $2 for 10 fl oz.

Rating: Buying a 4.5oz bag of Chex Mix for $2.19 at a gas station on a road trip because you don’t want to just get a Cosmic Brownie or Fudge Round again, and having the internal battle of Buyer’s Remorse with its powerful weapon “a 15oz bag costs only $2.75 at the grocery store and usually has coupons for a dollar off available” and Smug Satisfaction wielding the might “it was worth it for the temporary euphoria”.

Explanation: They were pretty alright, and I’m vaguely interested in trying more flavors, but I really can’t justify spending that much money on something that’s ultimately not going to do much for me, especially when I’m an adult now and can do things like Planning Ahead and just getting a family size barrel of plain or vanilla yogurt and mixing in fresh fruit pieces at a fraction of the overall price, just like how I could just prep my own snacks for a road trip.
Gotta watch out for those ooky-spooky GMOs, they could have vaccines in them!!!!!

LAST MINUTE UPDATE

Hey guys here I am about 3 days before the 'Shroom release date back back BACK with three more Chobani whatever flavors because it was on sale again and I completely disregarded my rating explanation and blew even more of my money even though I literally do have a 2lb tub of yogurt in the fridge along with fresh fruit and even mini M&Ms and chocolate chips to render it adequately unhealthy for me. I got Peach, Chocolate & Cream, and Cherry Vanilla. There were also Mixed Berry and Piña Colada available, but I don't particularly like either of those flavors and already felt biased against them when the sale was 3/$4.00 and there were three flavors I knew would at least approach being worth my time and money. The Peach flavor certainly tasted like peach flavor, but upon opening it I was met with pungent "this is not fit for human consumption" instinct shot straight from ancestral nomadic survival skills that were upheaved during the agricultural revolution and city settlement when humanity finally had to sit and live with rotten smells that made me want to chuck the whole thing off the balcony, with only a "this cost $1.33 for a measly 7 fl oz" preventing the motor function control center of my brain from firing off. With that one done, my next meal I tried the Cherry Vanilla. It certainly tasted like vanilla but the only bit of cherry I got from it was the "FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONCENTRATE (FOR COLOR)", which was an incredible disappointment because artificial cherry flavoring is my favorite. Finally, we get to the Chocolate & Cream which doesn't taste anything like chocolate until the aftertaste lingering in the back of your throat. It retains the tart flavor of yogurt in a way that just really doesn't mix well with chocolate, which is a flavor I wholeheartedly believe, and have just reached confirmation of, should belong to pudding instead.

Lemon Lime, Vanilla Bean, Apple Cucumber, and Coffee & Cream are the only remaining flavors I didn't try or at least acknowledge, and, while I'm tempted to try them, my declaration of "I’m vaguely interested in trying more flavors, but I really can’t justify spending that much money on something that’s ultimately not going to do much for me" holds true and this was a lesson to me to be more frugal and less apt to purchase things wildly for retail therapy.

Hershey’s Cookies n’ Creme Popped Snack Mix

I tried the Reese’s Popped Snack Mix back in February so instead of retreading all of the intro here, just go click that. I was initially going to try this Cookies n’ Creme one at the same time, but it was pretty impossible to find. Only when I got down to Florida could I locate it. It was still $3.99 USD with no sales or coupons available, but I had already committed to getting it and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see it again.

This one is chocolate drizzled popcorn, pretzels, chocolate cookie things, and super tiny Cookies n’ Creme pieces, continuing the snack food empire’s streak of flooding everything with cheap popcorn. It has a pretty similar vibe to the Reese’s mix in the first handful, in that it’s pretty alright and nothing really overpowering, except for resuming my curse that I get kernels stuck in my teeth on every first bite of eating popcorn stuff.
I forgot to get a picture so here's some Rice Krispie Treats with a chocolate peanut butter ganache I made with the Frosted Krispies. They were really good!
The ratio of pieces in this bag is about 50% popcorn, 30% tiny Cookies n’ Creme pieces, 10% pretzels, and 10% chocolate cookie things. The thing here is that I normally love Cookies n’ Creme bars, they’re pretty much the only notable example of white chocolate being a craving preferred over milk chocolate often enough, but these mini ones are just...something else. Because they’re so small there’s not really any reasonable space to fit in the Cookies part, so it’s just a bunch of the Creme, giving a similar vibe to Hershey’s Gold, which I reviewed in the same month as Reese’s Popped. The pretzels continue to be good, with perfect size, thickness, saltiness, residual flavor dust from other pieces, etc., with the only negative being that there’s a critical lack of them. The popcorn isn’t bad, either, continuing the trend with these Hershey’s snack mixes, but I really just wish it wasn’t a majority of the bag and pretty obviously filler to bump up their profit margin considerably. A basic bag of popcorn makes about 9 cups worth popping it myself, costing only about $4 for a bag of 24 of these, effectively mathing this out to be 864 Popped Snack Mix bags worth of popcorn for the same price, and then maybe spend another $20 to get enough chocolate to drizzle on all of this.

Rating: DarkChexMix.png Dark Chocolate Chex Mix

Explanation: A mixture of things that are objectively good (candy coated chocolate, chocolate chex, yogurt covered chex), alongside things that are typically kinda gross (dark chocolate pretzels, whatever those dry excuses for cookies are), somehow rendering the entire mix edible at least for once in a blue moon. Dark Chocolate Chex Mix is a backup plan for if other better flavors aren’t available and your coupon is about to expire.

Cookies n’ Creme Popped Snack Mix deserves a verbatim rating and explanation because it’s effectively the same thing as Reese’s, with just swapping out the token branding and item. Just like in the Reese’s Popped Snack Mix, there’s too much popcorn, not enough pretzels, and the name brand chocolate piece is merely a bastardized version that only resembles its main product in name only. At the very least these snack mixes will serve as new Ratings for future reviews.

Tim Tams

This is something that I had on my list from when I barreled into IRC and shook suggestions out of the captive audience. Tim Tams are an Australian cookie thing, with two malted biscuit cookie whatevers with some chocolate frosting slop in the middle, and then dipped in even more chocolate. Their slogan is “It’s not a cookie, it’s a Tim Tam”, but honestly Arnott’s shut up it’s a cookie. I didn’t expect to be able to find these easily, but one day I was in Target and there they are on sale. Not even that wild of a sale; they cost $2.99 when they were originally $3.19, but I got Original and Mint because I couldn’t pass up filler for this section. Mint tastes like the Girl Scout Thin Mints but is more chocolate than mint, plus the dark chocolate is actually palatable instead of some yippie attempt to have 99% cacao for no reason other than showing off how pure of a foodie you are by eating disgusting versions of good food. The Original is like...I’m not sure how to describe it, like, it’s just chocolate and a cookie, but it’s good. It feels like a quality product and not just another piece of garbage dunked in America’s collective Golden Corral chocolate fountain. The frosting inside also triggers memories of childhood, but I’m not sure what. Maybe those Dunkaroo things? It is an excellent consistency and if I had a bucket of just that I’d be scooping fistfuls in and around my mouth. They seem to not last long, though, and not because they’re delicious, but because there’s barely any in there, like I think 9 total? Plus they melt really easily and all of the chocolate sticks to the plastic packaging and it’s just a mess.
Don't let this image deceive you, the cup holds like a third of a gallon of liquid, the cookie is actually fairly large.

Here are some quotes from IRC where I asked GBAToad (talk) why Arnott’s (the maker of Tim Tams) is insistent on advertising these as “not a cookie” when the word is basically a synonym and here in America they qualify as a cookie regardless of what they do in Australia:

23:36 GBAToad 2:17:20 pm < Anton{Politoed}> what makes a biscuit different from a cookie

23:36 GBAToad uuhhhhhhhhhhhh
23:36 GBAToad i think they actually deliberately marketed it like that in the us because we call cookies biscuits here
23:37 GBAToad theres no difference and its just an attempt to stand out
23:37 GBAToad [dolphin noise] you arnotts
23:38 Anton{Politoed} I'm quoting this for my section as you are by decree the voice of all australians

23:38 Anton{Politoed} thank you

BONUS ROUND!!!!

Tim Tam Slam

The Tim Tam Slam is some wacky marketing gimmick to get people to advertise their product for free by doing whatever this is and then telling people about it and post it on social media with the hashtag #NotACookie. The process is as follows:

1. Take a small bite from one corner of your Tim Tam™.
2. Turn your Tim Tam™ around and take a bite from the opposite corner.
3. Insert one bitten corner of your Tim Tam™ into a cup of tea or coffee.
4. Suck hard, drawing the liquid through the biscuit and into your mouth.

5. Quickly pop the rest of the Tim Tam™ into your mouth before it disintegrates.

So that’s what I did. I tried this first with the Original flavor in 2% milk. I was surprised at how easy it was to suck the milk up through the cookie but when I bit it it wasn’t much different than dunking it. If anything it was worse, because Step 5 wasn’t lying--the thing just disintegrates. I can’t see how people enjoy rushing to eat a soggy cookie for any particular reason, so I guess congrats to Arnott’s for successfully conning an entire country with some crappy marketing gimmick. Next I tried with hot cocoa, as this was intended to be done with a hot beverage. The hot cocoa sucked up just fine, but I could immediately tell the difference. The entire Tim Tam melted in my hands instantly, turning quickly into a mound of sticky chocolate goop that I had to cradle in my hands and lick off before it made a mess of everything else. It was a complete disaster and a waste of an entire Tim Tam that I couldn’t enjoy.

Rating: CornChexTurtle.png Corn Chex piece from Turtle Chex Mix

Explanation: For what really is just a basic chunk of processed corn cereal it sure is trying hard to pretend to be a gourmet treat now that it has some caramel dust on it. It tastes fine and is technically tastier I guess, but they need to chill out and not charge so much for it, and that acting like the fancy name makes it any better than it really is. You’ll still catch me eating a handful of it, but I’m not going to allow it to get me to say I enjoyed it. This was a very tough rating, with it almost being “Regular Corn Chex piece but from inside of a bag of Sweet & Salty Chex Mix Popped instead of Traditional” which is a more positive rating, which Tim Tams should get, but it just didn’t vibe right with my feelings of them.


Tune in next month where I post a thematically appropriate review! Also, tell me what to review next! You can tell me to do can also be movies, shows, physical actions, trying new foods, music, literally anything and I’ll cover it eventually if it’s not too ridiculous. Just send me a message here on my talk page or PM it to me on the forum. Don't like what I have to say? That's fine, and probably bound to happen because I've been told about how much people like Super Mario 64 and how they feel about any criticism of it! We at Critic Corner will welcome your alternate review of it as a new section for the next issue!


Late Night with Nabber

Written by: Nabber (talk)

Avengers: Infinity War spoilers below!!

The defining moment of Avengers: Infinity War is, of course, the one that had already been memed to death by the time I caught a showing of the film, one week later: poor Peter Parker, fading to dust, cries out in his final moments, “Stark, I don’t feel so good.” What I did not expect, however, was that, following this, Spider-Man stumbles over to Iron Man, clinging desperately to life, pleading something along the lines of “I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go”. It’s a cruel, hard moment to watch, and one that made me realize, that in the two and a half previous hours of wise-cracking superheroes battling to save the world, there were hardly any moments where the characters acted not as heroes but as real people, expressing genuine emotion. And of course, the one part of the movie that actually affected me, this one heartbreaking line was, apparently, completely improvised by Spider-Man actor Tom Holland.

People freaked out when the trailer showed that Spider-Man had Spidey Sense in this movie. Don’t worry, it appears once in the movie and then is never brought up again.

No, Infinity War’s approach to and emotion in general plays out much like the memification of Spidey’s death. The scene hurts, but then there’s a funny meme to help cope with it, to make sure it doesn’t hurt too much. So does the rest of the movie seem determined to prevent any tone or sense of dread from taking root, throwing a barrage of jokes around to lighten things up and remind the viewer that everyone here is a friend and everything’s going to be alright. It’s a strategy that becomes extremely appalling in scenes like the one where Gamora makes Peter Quill promise her to kill her before she gets captured by Thanos. It’s dark, heady stuff, and Zoe Saldana plays it with utmost sincerity. So how come the scene immediately cuts to Drax, sitting in the corner, and proceeds to launch a full minute of humor in what was previously the film’s most serious scene? Dave Bautista’s natural gift for deadpan is hilarious, but I found myself too appalled to laugh. The film constantly does this, going back and forth between humor and intoning about how terrifying Thanos is and how very real the stakes are this time.

Thor survives both the vacuum of space and the full strength of a dying star in this movie, which is badass, I guess.

Which instead just makes the stakes feel even more fake. When your whole film is trying hard to keep the audience entertained and laughing, the death of ten or so characters in the penultimate moments feels terribly incongruous to everything that came previous, and ends up feeling like what it is - shock value. There’s no sense that these deaths actually mean anything, not when everyone and their mother knows that they’re going to get sequels, not when Marvel is promising a sequel in just a year. What consequences could there possibly be when Ant-Man and the Wasp is coming out in two months, promising another light and probably inconsequential episode in this now 20 movie long series? How is one supposed to take Infinity War’s promise of permanent change seriously when it casually undoes the loss Thor’s eye from Ragnarok? How can one not feel emotionally manipulated when Infinity War kills off the entirety of Asgard, spitting on Ragnarok’s attempt at dramatic payoff in an attempt to boost its own sense of stakes? Infinity War lays bare one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s gaping problems: it acts not as a movie series, not as a TV show, but as a serialized comic book, an amalgamation of different artists telling separate stories that can be undone at any moment for temporary dramatic heft. And because of this, these promises of change in the MCU cannot feel honest, because movies like Infinity War are events, not stories in and of themselves. It is hard imagining this film providing any sort of entertainment outside of its action scenes and jokes five years from now, let alone in one year. And when every other movie in the MCU provides similar action and humor, and often done better, what’s the point of watching this particular installment?

This shot of a moon crashing into a planet is from a Rick & Morty sketch about an absurd over-packed summer blockbuster, not Infinity War. I don't know what it's doing here.

I cannot feel sad over the deaths of, say, Star-Lord or Black Panther, not just because I know they’re getting new movies, but because they already have movies. I have watched them, and I have gotten my entertainment out of them. If I so desire, I can watch them again. But in the context of Infinity Wars own story, I’m not sure what purpose they serve. Star-Lord certainly deserved to die, because he directly ruined the Avenger’s near-victory over Thanos. And Gamora’s death has value, because she gives Thanos some nuance - even if her death is a disservice to her character, and even if Thanos’s love of Gamora still feels really awkward. But what purpose does Bucky have to die? Hell, any character from the Captain America series - including Falcon and Black Widow - could have been completely removed from the movie without affecting the story in any way, which makes one wonder why they remained in the movie but Ant-Man and Hawkeye are MIA. These characters are in the movie because Infinity War needs to be bigger and better than everything that came before, at the cost of making past team-ups, like the original Avenger’s paltry six-person squad, look downright normal.

Thanos calls Spider-Man an insect, even though spiders are arachnids. Maybe if Thanos were better educated, he wouldn’t have his stupid overpopulation plan.

And maybe that’s fine. Maybe, in and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with a couple of superhero movies coming out each year to provide a fun trip to the movies, if you ignore the massive effect the MCU has had on the state of Hollywood’s blockbusters. If you ignore that Infinity War is currently sitting pretty at number 16 on IMDB’s list of top 250 movies, and will be held up as a gold standard of superhero movies for the next year, causing me to need to explain my disinterest in it. There would be nothing wrong with the movie’s inconsistent tone and cheap shock value, except, frankly, the movie itself isn’t really all that good even outside of these factors. The jokes, while occasionally amusing, are rarely particularly clever and usually rely too much on pop culture references (including not one but two Kevin Bacon jokes, which themselves are callbacks to Kevin Bacon jokes from previous movies). The fight scenes on Titan make for some exciting spectacle, but everything else is an incomprehensible mess of flying superheroes, choppy editing, and weightless CGI that rivals Michael Bay schlock. And the plot is nonexistent, with Vision’s death, Gamora’s death, and Star-Lord’s subsequent fuck-up being possibly the only real plot points outside of the film’s setup and denouement (no, I don’t count Thor’s Stormbreaker sideplot as a real plot point, because it is inconsequential both to the plot and to the characters.) The score is generic, and, outside of the film’s admittedly good use of handheld during the snap, the film is visually boring. I believe Roger Ebert once said that a film made for everyone is a film made for no one. Infinity War, perhaps, is a film about everyone that really is about no one at all.

Avengers: Infinity War spoilers above!!

Movie Reviews

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit.jpg
Genres Comedy
Release date February 2018
Starring James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson
Runtime 95 minutes
Ratings U (UK)

Despite being British and proud, I haven't had much interaction with the Peter Rabbit books. I knew of their existence, and I knew of their author, Beatrix Potter, but I never actually bothered with the books themselves. So, it is a bit strange that my first foray into the magical world of Beatrix Potter is this movie that she had nothing to do with, other than create some of the characters that the movie is based off of.

Now, let's make things pretty clear right from the off. This movie won't be winning any awards. It's your standard kids' movie, and by that I mean plenty of humour that will keep them entertained, and provided that you're into slapstick humour, adults are likely to get a decent laugh from time to time. However, when the movie tries to be too self-aware, like by mentioning character flaws and the like, it does come off as a little pretentious.

Character-wise is a bit interesting. Don't come into this movie expecting well-explored and developed characters, then you're watching the wrong movie. But it's hard to say that James Corden does not put in an amazing performance as Peter Rabbit. The cheekiness, the charisma, Corden's got it in spades, and it really shows throughout. But with the others, it's less so. I'm not saying that Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki put in bad performances as the other rabbits, it's just that they're so underused that commenting on them is a hard thing to do.

Domhnall Gleeson also shines as your quintessential British posh person, but almost everything about his character feels like it's relying too hard on stereotypes to try and get humour from him. And Rose Byrne suffers from what plagues the rabbits, being underused. Which is a shame, because her character was interesting enough to feature more.

But for all my misgivings about the movie, one thing that I cannot deny is that it is really well animated. The fur is crisp on the rabbits, there are no jarring movements from any of the animals, and some of the sequences with them work really well, especially the conga line. And I'm not just saying that because I love a good conga.

Peter Rabbit is not really a movie that I would recommend to people. I enjoyed it well enough, but there are enough flaws in the movie that it'd be a stretch for many people to enjoy it. If you like fluffy animals and a bit of slapstick then maybe give it a shot. If not, might be best to go watch something else. I hear a big superhero movie is doing the rounds right now.

Book Review

Written by: FunkyK38 (talk)

Geekerella
BookReview134.jpg
Author Ashley Poston
Release date 2017
Genre Romance, fiction
Pages 319
Available From


Greetings, readers, and welcome to this month's Book Review! For your reading pleasure today, I will be reviewing Geekerella by Ashley Poston!

Okay, okay, I'll go ahead and say it now: this is more of a book geared towards girls. So if you don't like Cinderella stories or fairy tales, just go read the rest of Critic Corner. But if a Cinderella story is your guilty pleasure, have I got a book for you!

Geekerella tells the story of Danielle Wittimer, who everyone calls "Elle", because of course. She's your average geeky teenager who loves 'Starfield' (pretty much the Star Trek or Star Wars of this universe), who is very excited about the live action movie that's being made of the series. She lives with her stepmother, Catherine, and her stepsisters Calliope and Chloe, who are evil, obviously. It's your standard Cinderella story, but set in modern day. Catherine is a wedding planner who clips coupons to save money, Elle works in a vegan food truck called "The Magic Pumpkin", and the grand ball is actually a big party at a 'Starfield' convention. It fits right in in modern day, and it's simply delightful.

Geekerella is also the story of Darien Freeman. He's the celebrity cast as Prince Carmindor in the live-action movie (think James T. Kirk). He is most known for being in a teen drama, so he has hordes of teenage girl followers, but he's actually a closet 'Starfield' fan who's honored to be playing the part. He struggles with being a star and just wants to have normal teenage experiences, like going to conventions or drinking Orange Crush soda.

Our interesting twist comes when Darien tries to text the manager of the 'Starfield' convention, only to accidentally text Elle instead. The two of them have an anonymous conversation, not knowing who the other is, and their interactions are honest and geeky. It's where the story starts to shine.

Overall, this book is a great representation of fandom life. Elle has a blog about 'Starfield' that she regularly writes, she works for most of the book putting together a cosplay with her coworker Sage, and she's just passionate about 'Starfield'. Anyone who's ever been passionate about some type of media, be it a book like Harry Potter, a movie like Star Wars, or a video game like Mario will relate to Elle's love. It's fresh and modern, and it feels like it would fit right into everyday life, something that's hard to get right. If you love a good Cinderella story, or if you love fandom, then pick this one up. You won't regret it.

That's all for me this month, readers! Tune in next time where I'll review a new graphic novel for you!

Character Review

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Rosie

Pluck and burn.

If I'm completely honest, I'm not a massive fan of flowers. I'm not really sure why, I guess I'm just not the sort of person who is into that sort of thing. Bring me chocolates if you wish to woo me. Going back to my point of not liking flowers, here's a flower that I don't like.

Rosie is a flower found during Paper Mario who is literally willing to let someone die instead of giving up something that she has deemed pretty. That is her only contribution to the game. And that minuscule contribution is all it has taken for me to just wish she wasn't included. Characters in the Mario series don't typically get well-developed, and although Rosie falls into that category, she is also characterised enough that I absolutely despise her, and if I was Mario I would just take some shears to her.

But sometimes when a character is like that, they have this massive arc in which they redeem themselves. This is not the case with Rosie, like I genuinely would have left Flower Fields to wilt away just to get rid of her. Now, that might make me sound like I'm as bad as her, but I'm not a flower, so we're good.

Flower Fields is probably the worst area in the game, and the fact that you have to get through some hedge maze to get to Rosie, just makes her all that much worse in my opinion. Some characters get redeemed a bit, like Lady Bow, but Rosie is just genuinely awful throughout the whole game. I get that she's a caricature on vain people, but still at least give her one decent quality, otherwise I'm getting the hedge clippers.

The 'Shroom: Issue 134
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