Articles Misc

Sonic vs Mario

The Atari 2600 was forgotten and a new era started with… the incredible 16 Mega video console Sega Mega drive (…Applauses…).

And Sega’s new baby was really a beautifully designed console. Nothing to do with the grey Nintendo 8 bites, that was the most popular video console at that time.

The Sega Mega drive was the closest step to the promise land of reaching the technology and graphics that could only be enjoyed in the arcades (where I and my friends were burning our free time and weekly pay, since we were not old enough to go to clubs or pubs).

And together with the video console, I discovered the sensation of the videogame world: his name was Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog.

This blue creature was the fastest thing you had ever seen moving on screen in the videogame world. One of the funniest challenges when playing was to advance to the next stage in the shortest period of time. And even girls loved to play it!

Sonic was promoted as a sensation by the Sega marketing people: blue coloured (the same as the logo of the Japanese company) and a direct attack on their main competitors: the legendary Super Mario Bros.

It was no longer a battle between Sega and Nintendo, it was a battle between Sonic and Mario. And yeah man, I was on Sonic´s side. I mean, how could you compare a fat Italian plumber with a moustache, whose best feature was having a hot blonde girlfriend (remember my friends, that I was a kid – nowadays I would pay more attention to the blonde girlfriend’s part of the story), and who shared the company of his twin, Luigi, to a sharp and fresh animal: fast as a flash and full of new tricks!? Nobody had seen a damned hedgehog moving like that before; and nobody had experienced a platform game as cool and addictive before Sonic burst onto the market. It was the year 1991 and Sonic was the new Lord of the Rings.

Later on, Nintendo counter-attacked with the new video console Super NES. Now, looking back, I must admit that Nintendo’s one was probably technically much better, and had a much wider catalogue of games. But well, when you are a kid, defending the honour of your favourite videogame’s developing company is like defending the honour of your mother. And everybody has only one mother – no space for secondary love: if you were pro-Sega, you were against Nintendo.

Other sequels of the games came, other amazing advances had to be played; but in my heart the first Sonic videogame remains the one that changed the conception of home entertainment.

Cinema DVD

The Replacement Killers

Teaming up with him is Mira
, with a convincing interpretation of Meg Coburn, a tough woman
forged by a hard destiny, who employees herself faking different kind of
documents and identification cards.

The director, Antoine Fuqua,
achieves some great action sequences during the movie. Chow Yun Fat, out of the
typical stereotyped muscled hero for action movies, commands respect on screen
just with his wild gazes. And the film counts some top-quality cast actors for
the “bad boys” such as Jurgen Pröchnow,
Clifton Collins or Danny Trejo.

But nevertheless, the film lacks that "something” necessary to
break the line of mediocrity. The Chinatown
atmosphere could have been much better explored, the characters appear to be
only lightly developed, and the rhythm of the film is sometimes not able to overcome
the feeling of merely admiring one killing spree after another by Yun-Fat/Lee.
If you are thirsty for more of Chow Yun-Fat´s action movies, go back to the earlier
Asian films where he starred.

At the cinema Cinema

Perfume: the repeated story of a failed adaptation

21 years later,
the cinema version based on the best-seller is finally released, under the
direction of Tom Tykwer, who started
to get success after his superb piece “Run Lola Run” in 1998.

The story is well
known by many: we follow the biography of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw), a fishmonger’s bastard
with a superb talent: he has the best and most developed sense of smell in the
world, intoxicated by the sweet fragrance of young women that will turn him
into not only the best perfumer of all times, but also a serial killer.

Framed by 18th
century in France,
the atmosphere and photography of the film is totally captivating. The
spectator gets immersed in the din of Paris,
the sumptuous villas, the corners of the smaller towns… All the social strata accurately
represented in front of the eyes – or should we say the nose? – of Jean

{mosimage}Ben Whishaw´s
acting skills are not bad, but the treatment of the character seems ridiculous
in some scenes. I remember, many years ago when reading voraciously the pages
of Süskind´s book, to feel pity for the main character, to support him until
the last and climatic episode of his life, and to develop a clear sympathy for
his weaknesses, although this would mean the killing of young women. But the
sad and famished Jean Baptiste does not have the same effect in the film.
Sometimes it just look like a parody of a little animal,  a being just a little bit more humanized than
“Gollum/Smeagol” from Lord of the Rings, and even Tolkien´s character was able to create a closer relationship with
the spectator. The film results in being too long and I could not avoid some
yawning before the end of it.

A couple of
glorious contributions save most of the credit: one from Dustin Hoffman, superb in his role of Giuseppe Baldini, the old
master perfumer. The other, the long red hair of Rachel Hurd-Wood that brightens like fire in every second that this
English beauty appears on screen. A delightful vision all over the movie.

With great power
comes great responsibility. Grenouille did not control the power of his nose,
and Tykwer, the director, has neither succeeded in the great responsibility
over his shoulders to transmit the same energy than the book exhales. Twenty-one
years has been too long awaiting time for this result.