True Grit, Bayonetta

looks a bit like the TARDIS, of you squint

Ahhhh, back to a wonderful world of mild frustrations and minging vending machine coffee. I hardly feel like I’ve been away. If nothing else, I’m certainly no longer used to dragging my carcass out of bed while the hours on the alarm clock are still in the single digits. Is it just me, or does that look like Doctor Who has just landed in Renfrew?

I’ve no wish to turn this into an entirely movie related blog, but there’s not much going on just now in the world of politics or suchlike to rail against, so I suppose I can only really talk about the things I learned yesterday, half of which involves movies.

The first thing, which came as no surprise having been forewarned, is that the Xbox360 game Bayonetta is no good whatsoever. I assume the PS3 version to be equally dire. It’s only to be expected, coming as it does from the same deranged mind that gave us Devil May Cry, another long running series that steadfastly refuses to be any good whatsoever after multiple iterations.

Bayonetta is essentially Devil May Cry, but with tits. And a cutscene obsession with languishing on the main character’s bahookie, which I hear was supposed to be ironic.  I’d perhaps believe this if there was an ounce of wit or charm shown in the entire game, or at least the four hours or so I could be bothered playing, but there simply wasn’t. The cutscenes soon become so teeth-grindingly annoying that I immediately skipped them, or at least all the ones that didn’t have annoying quick time events  – all of which are the press ‘X’ to not die type, all showing the character doing the sort of cool stuff it’d be nice if you were to be able to do in the normal game.

Said normal game involves, exclusively, mashing buttons at random and hitting the dodge button when it looks like someone’s taking a swing at you, assuming you can see them given the camera’s propensity for suddenly becoming interested in architecture on the opposite side of the town square from the hordes of axe wielding angels which you’re apparently killing for some reason that I assume was made apparent in one of the cutscenes I skipped. It is massively repetitive and boring. Don’t want.

So, the rest of the evening was spent watching the original 1969 John Wayne version of True Grit, in anticipation of the upcoming Coen Brothers version.I won’t get into the details, I think, as I have podcasts to edit, but it remains a likeable film. The narrative is straightforward enough, with a stoic daughter attempting to secure justice on her father’s killer, hiring Wayne’s U.S. Marshall with a reputation for shooting first and asking questions later to get the job done.

It’s still enjoyable, with one of the more interesting performances from Wayne I’ve seen, although admittedly I’m no expert in the Western genre. It suffers somewhat from the introduction towards the end of a completely different (but far more potent) villain than we’d been hunting for the rest of the film, but it’s really only its age that betrays True Grit. It’s all a little too Technicolor and twee, especially given that this ought to be a powerful and emotive tale of revenge. Even although many people get their lead salad based comeuppance, it’s all a little sterile especially in this age of, appropriately enough, gritty realism.

I trust the Coens will deliver a darker take on the material, which will suit it well. Some stories just aren’t supposed to be largely cheery, and look so colourful and bouncy.