I watched this back to remind myself of what I love about Adam West’s Batman. If you love the series as much as I do, other things worth checking out are Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016), its animated continuation, and Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003), a semi-biographical comedy about the making of the series told through flashbacks of the real Adam and Burt as they embark on a crime-fighting adventure of their own (I defy you to guess who the villain is).
What I love about Batman (1966) is the way that the source material’s distance from reality allows for a story that is about contemporary political concerns. There are things in here about the United States Navy being irresponsible and incompetent, the importance of local policing, and the way that the world’s nations must come to understand each other if there’s to be solidarity against the united underworld. Bruce Wayne describes himself as a capitalist, but in a purely descriptive way, which isn’t a condemnation of “Kitka”’s Russian attitudes – like her interpretation of the Riddler as a bourgeoisie that prays on America’s workers – but as a point-of-view (which is what it is). It’s surprising that there was no controversy around the acceptance of Western and Eastern values equally, or the accusation of the film promoting communist sympathy. But that’s because it’s hidden behind something which was otherwise a cash-grab for a popular property. I feel like the filmmakers had intellectuals in mind, who can see beneath the surface of popular art to find the philosophy and analysis. When Batman says “Some days, you just get rid of a bomb”, it was only a joke in execution; otherwise, it’s an accurate statement that is about the way there will always be collateral casualties and innocent bystanders, no matter what measures you try to take. And yet, none of it is inconsistent with the comics of the period, and it’s still an enjoyable film to the viewers that only see that surface. It’s amazing that this even managed to work; to be a legitimate political thriller grafted onto a live-action cartoon. It deserves applause that two so opposed genres were combined but remained true to what they’re meant to be, and that nothing like it has come along again – and that for a Batman film, it remains as relevant today as later adaptations. They’re all about the problem of evil (Batman, I’ve often thought, is a self-appointed saviour figure), it’s just that this one responds to it more optimistically. It’s a great zeitgeist and historical document of how America felt about the world in 1966, and how little things have changed.
Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017 has come and gone, leaving trailers and gameplay previews of upcoming driving games for this year and next, and consoles new and old. Driving games are my genre of choice, so let’s have a look at which driving games were previewed this year.
Project CARS 2
Bandai Namco Entertainment
The trailer, called Soul of Motorsport, feels like more of a teaser that promotes the game based on genre, rather than anything specific, like a unique selling point. People who’ve already played Project CARS are probably their target market for now, until more universal promotional content is unveiled closer to the release date.
Project CARS 2 is released 22nd September 2017 for PlayStation 4, Windows and Xbox One.
Need for Speed Payback
It’s the story of a legend climbing back to the top. I’m not sure whether to describe it as Rocky with cars or Cars with people. I grew up in the era when the Need for Speed series had begun to use narratives, and it’s reassuring, for nostalgia’s sake, to see that it hasn’t given-up on that. It’s a lot more over-the-top than it used to be, but in a fun way. It’s not a problem that it looks like Fast Five, because the Fast and Furious films are what inspired my favourite era of Need for Speed anyway. This instalment looks like a combination of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit with Burnout 3: Takedown – two other great games – if they were directed by Michael Bay, for better or for worse. The cutscenes do at least look cool, but it would be better if they were playable. Hopefully, the police pursuit system will be up to standard with Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005), which has set the series bar.
Need for Speed Payback is released 10th November 2017 for PlayStation 4, Windows and Xbox One.
Forza Motorsport 7
This is available in 4K, and looks stunning and beautiful. Not only is it photorealistic, but the environments alone are an artform in themselves. The question is, what else? It definitely looks to be a good to play for fans of the genre, but apart from the realistic graphics and the way the environments look, is there nothing else to say? Or are those factors enough? If it’s a good game within the genre – and it does look that way – those things are likely to only add something. Microsoft’s conference revealed that there are more real cars in this game than any other.
Forza Motorsport 7 is released 3rd October 2017 for Windows and Xbox One.
Gran Turismo Sport
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Polyphony Digital always remember that if a game’s worth developing, it’s worth doing so as a piece of art, regardless of genre. Yet, the entire presentation of this first trailer is in how fun it’s trying to be, and if the gameplay reflects that, then Gran Turismo will have added what’s missing from an otherwise excellent series: the enjoyability. The series is popular for being the world’s most accurate driving simulator-game, but if it can now be made fun at the same time, we could be onto something almost unbeatable. This trailer alone is like a short film that represents everything that’s fun about driving, and a celebration of the whole automobile concept, rather than of driving games – which is great, because videogames should be about more than playing them. It’s interesting how a series popular for simulating cars is reducing how many cars are in it, and focusing more on racing those cars instead of collecting them. Essentially, this is a tonal reboot of Gran Turismo, and the developer in the behind the scenes video describes it as the beginning of a second generation of Gran Turismo games (though what this means will probably only become apparent in hindsight after several more of them in the future). But the most important thing about this trailer is the way that I felt something I haven’t felt in any Gran Turismo game: that I’m being invited to become part of a global player-base, instead of playing the game on my own. That matters, because the knowledge that the other cars are other players adds to the experience and makes the game more authentic because it’s not only a driving simulator but a simulator of racing and racing culture. To do so with the same amount of accuracy as before, while also being entertaining, is what I’m predicting will make this latest instalment the most popular so far (the most recent three instalments have felt like the same game with the quality of graphics being all that changes). Which is not to say that there’s less application of video-games as art here – because there definitely is, which is shown by the featurette that demonstrates the level of detail being applied in order to transpose certain elements of reality onto a disc. Each member of the development team is irreplaceable, possessing a unique skill; it’s this kind of respect for teamwork that has given Polyphony Digital their reputation as a collaboration of disciplines. And… the International Automobile Association is to recognise the Gran Turismo Online Championship as an official sport.
Gran Turismo Sport is released this autumn for PlayStation 4.
The Crew 2
A driving game, set in San Francisco, released by Ubisoft? Sound familiar? For some reason, this doesn’t appeal. Maybe it was the developer’s commentary of an action-packed racing game sounding like a relaxing tour guide, maybe it’s the weird Inception effects used for the fancy transitions, maybe it’s the open world being boring without an apparent objective, or the the main attraction being GTA Online if it only had the arcade races, maybe it’s how goofy it is and sugarcoated it is. Naturally, the addition of boats and planes is due to video game sequels usually having more features than the previous one, but couldn’t that have been more cars? Or a different location than the continental United States, again. Or maybe I’m bitter that Ubisoft had the chance to develop Driver 6 but didn’t.
The Crew 2 is released in Spring for Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
I’ve tried to be as neutral as possible. Videos chosen vary in length, but are each party leader’s first speech upon appointment.
Tomorrow, the United Kingdom will be voting for which party will form the next Government. The Leader of the largest party becomes Prime Minister. The public vote for the party; the Prime Minister is elected indirectly. In 2011, the 2010 Parliament passed An Act to make provision about the dissolution of Parliament and the determination of polling days for parliamentary general elections; and for connected purposes., which set the date of future General Elections to be 5 years apart – earlier this year, this was overridden by a vote through the 2015 Parliament, bringing forwards the 2020 General Election to 2017, which is scheduled to take place between 07:00 BST and 22:00 BST on 8th June. Although members of other parties will be standing in GE17, only those listed will be standing nationally, as opposed to regionally. Video clips of each party leader can be found below.
The candidates are:
Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party THERESA MAY
May is the current Prime Minister. Former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned during the Parliament of 2015, prompting a party leadership contest, which May won when the other candidates withdrew. If May continues to be Prime Minister following GE17, it will be the first time that she will do so as a result of a public vote. The last Conservative and Unionist Party Prime Minister was David Cameron, from 2010 to 2016.
Strongest constituency*: North East Hampshire (65.9%)
Prime Minister, held by Theresa May, is the British equivalent position to President of the United States, held by Donald Trump.
Leader of the Labour Party JEREMY CORBYN
Following the Labour Party’s defeat in 2015, former Leader of the Labour Party Ed Milliband resigned, prompting a leadership contest, which Corbyn won, becoming Leader of the Opposition. Corbyn supported Britain Stronger in Europe in the Brexit referendum, but following the Vote Leave victory, two-thirds of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet resigned, leading to a vote of no confidence being passed against Corbyn, further leading to another party leadership contest, which Corbyn won again. If he wins GE17, he will become Prime Minister. The last Labour Party Prime Minister was Gordon Brown, from 2007 to 2010.
Strongest constituency: Liverpool, Walton (81.3%)
Leader of the Labour Party, held by Jeremy Corbyn, is the British equivalent position to House Democratic Leader, held by Nancy Pelosi.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats TIM FARRON
When the Liberal Democrats lost the 2015 General Election, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg resigned. Following the leadership contest, Farron was elected as the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats. If Farron wins the GE17, he’ll be the first Liberal Democrats Prime Minister.
Strongest constituency: Westmorland and Lonsdale (51.5%)
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, held by Tim Farron, is the British equivalent position to Chairperson of the Libertarian National Committee, held by Nicholas Sarwark.
*Constituency numbers based on 2015 general election results
Today, the 8th episode of Series 10 will be broadcast. I’ll be ranking the final half after the finale, but for now, here’s my biseasonal review:
6. Smile (Frank Cottrell-Boyce)
An episode that felt like a condensed two-parter; the first dragged-out the mystery for too long, and the second half resolved everything too quickly.
5. Knock Knock (Mike Bartlett)
David Suchet’s acting elevated this beyond sub-average, but the story felt incomplete; there were too many questions that I was asking by the end, and that’s because the rest of it was too dull.
4. Thin Ice (Sarah Dollard)
An episode written with good intentions, but which felt like a remix of previous, similar episodes; it’s become over-rated by an audience intelligent enough to give it too much credit.
3. Oxygen (Jamie Mathieson)
Another episode that rushes its third act; this time, it’s to make-way for the setup for next episode – essentially part 0 to the trilogy that follows it, and which absorbed the majority of its plot.
2. The Pilot (Steven Moffat)
Maybe I’m biased to the first new episode in too long, but The Pilot feels almost literally like cold water in a hot drought; the third act might be rushing to tick plot boxes, but that’s because the rest is a character showcase for Pearl Mackie as Bill – which is exactly what it needed to be, and in that regard, it works.
1. Extremis (Steven Moffat)
The best episode of Series 10’s first half; Steven Moffat bends the Doctor Who universe as far as he can without breaking it, and gives a twist that is one of the most inventive uses of the show’s central concept.
Series 10, part 2:
Episode 7: The Pyramid at the End of the World
Episode 8: The Lie of the Land
Episode 9: The Empress of Mars
Episode 10: The Eaters of Light
Episode 11: World Enough and Time
Episode 12: The Doctor Falls
The Well-Red Mage (geddit?) has challenged me to answer the premise of what I have learned since I started blogging.
My first blog post was published 2nd June 2014, Doctor Who BAFTA TV Success. As far as dissecting three years worth of blogging goes, that post doesn’t really tell us much. I felt passionate about something, and wanted to share my interest with the rest of the Internet. What I didn’t expect was to have made so many friends as a result.
The main problem with being an artist is that our ability to analyse is so strong that it can often feed back on ourselves, which can cause periodic creative crises. All posts are about something, and everything is a story, so we start to wonder why we should be telling it and not something else. This is something I experienced on a regular basis. That’s why the subjects discussed by my friends have become my preferred topics; the posts I write are not nearly as important as for whom I’m writing them. When I remember that nothing has any point, it’s my friends here at WordPress that are able to bring me back to the ground and remind me that being a part of an ongoing debate about culture and the way in which it is expressed is all with which I need worry myself.
I’d like to thank the Well-Red Mage for reminding me that there is a science to art, and that there is no such thing as high art or low art – all art is created equal and has the same potential to be studied academically.
And yes, that Driver documentary is something I’m still doing, I’m getting there slowly but surely.