April 8, 2010 Volume CXXVII Issue 9

Shutter Island is a success

Staff Writer

While previews make every movie look good, I was not particularly impressed with the trailer for “Shutter Island.” I thought it seemed entirely too vague to spark much interest and was slightly confusing. As I watched the preview last fall, I did not have a desire to see it. When I ended up seeing it last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer depth of the script and cleverness in characterization.

Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, centers on an investigation by two US Marshalls, Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule, played by Leonardo Dicaprio and Mark Ruffalo, respectively, who are looking into the suspicious disappearance of a patient under strict security guidelines. The island itself is a prison, allowing only one dock to bring and take visitors and patients. Viewers soon realize that Daniels pursued this investigation due to a personal vendetta against a patient who supposedly killed his wife by arson. His quest to unravel two mysteries in the end leads to an entirely new mysterious revelation.

The complex plot that is set up throughout the movie ends up having an entirely different meaning and premise than what originally appears. Let it be known that I am not a fan of scary movies. “Paranormal Activity” scared me sleepless for many nights; I didn’t even make it through “The Ring,” much less the sequels. To any of those out there like me—this movie is nothing of the sort. There are few scenes that try to make you jump. This movie makes you think. It brings you to the edge of your seat only because the next scene could finally hold the missing piece to the puzzle.

DiCaprio may have made his name with the chick-flick “Titanic,” but he has since proved himself in “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” and “Blood Diamond.” This performance may be one of DiCaprio’s best works because of the sheer brilliance of the script and emotional depth found in his character as the movie progresses. His character, Teddy Daniels, starts off as a stern man, not ready to let go of his deceased wife. His dreams and visions become more and more frequent throughout the movie and his determination follows suit.

DiCaprio will not rest until he finds the mysterious sixty-seventh patient in the mental hospital, when only sixty-six are documented upon his arrival. His search is based on a scrap piece of paper found under the floorboard with references only to “the rule of four” and “number sixty-seven.” Believing the words hold the key to find the missing patient, Daniels sets out into the wilderness even amidst a devastating hurricane.

“Shutter Island” has a phenomenal ending—a culmination of acting and a top-notch screenplay. Throughout the movie, the warning is said over and over again: “You will never leave this island.” As the credits roll, you won’t want to leave your seat. At first, the last scene is a disappointment. But as the last several words sink in, the movie is tied together, and very well at that. While any renters will still get a fantastic movie, the big screen does the movie better justice. The landscape of the setting and the characterization throughout are best seen on the big screen. Scorsese’s work is unmatched in recent films. He blends suspense, emotion, and mystery into a film that leaves you with your head cocked and hand over your mouth. “Shutter Island” is worth the money.

A big finish for the trilogy

Staff Writer

The final chapter in a trilogy is always in danger of walking a fine line between being too similar to the previous installments and not being similar enough. No fan wants to feel like they are just playing an “expansion” of the previous release. At the same time, they seek the sense of belonging and familiarity that known territory brings, like coming home after a long departure to find that things haven’t necessarily changed as much as they have improved. This sense of “new but old” is employed exceptionally well in Sony’s final installment in the “God of War” trilogy.

At its heart, the story is about one man’s quest for retribution and vengeance. Picking up almost exactly where God of War 2 ended, the former Spartan warrior/god, Kratos, is leading the Titans in a siege against Mt. Olympus. While the Titans want revenge against the Olympians for their defeat in the “Great War,” the overarching goal for Kratos, it would seem is to bring about the death of his father Zeus, and no other god (or perhaps even Titan) can get in his way. Kratos as a character isn’t really a hero, nor even an anti-hero, as he is not out to save anything (man included), but to destroy everything (once again, man included) that blocks him from his goal. In other stories, such a character might be a problem, even possibly weakening the story, but in the case of God of War 3 it’s very personal, moving the focus from not saving the world, to making those pay that destroyed yours.

Basic combat is nothing new if you’ve played the old “God of War” games, focusing on combos and quick time kills to get you through battles. Something that has changed, however, is Kratos’ inventory, bringing both new offensive and defensive ways to battle, such as Hercules’ (voiced by Kevin Sorbo) Nemean Cestus gauntlets and Boots of Hermes. Another nice tweak to the game play is the inclusion of an automatically refilling bar for your items, such as the Head of Helios and the Bow of Apollo. Perhaps one of the most significant ways God of War 3 differentiates itself from the previous two can be found with the ability to kill some of your enemies in first person; giving you the chance to see what it would be like not only to kill from Kratos’ perspective, but to be killed as one of Kratos’ victims as well.

It is hard to emphasize how grand the scale of the game truly is. It is perhaps best illustrated in the game’s opening thirty minutes with an event that occurs completely on an Empire State building sized Titan. The game seems to peak in the beginning during the attack on Mt. Olympus, mostly due to the Titan set piece. While the Titan does offer the largest “Oh wow” reaction, it’s not to say that the rest of the game isn’t filled with them, it’s just really difficult to top a beginning like the one this game offers. The game itself is one of the most realistic and beautiful games you can find on the market, standing tall with the likes of “Uncharted 2” and “Heavy Rain.”

The attention to detail is both mesmerizing and disturbing, giving you a look at HD gore that many probably could have gone without. Having just played the other games in the “God of War” series, I feel that I have missed out on quite a lot. My inexperience with the other installments however did not hinder my ability to enjoy this game, as it stands “God of War 3” is some of the most fun you can have on a Playstation 3. Every once and a while, you need to experience a story that is equally raw and personal, a story of revenge that must come at whatever cost—this is that story. Let someone else play the hero and save the princess in the castle for a change.


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