Halo 4: Forward Onto Dawn

The Story of Halo 4 Begins at Dawn

If there is one thing that Halo does well outside of the realm of gaming, it is marketing through their live action trailers. The makers love teasing fans with clips of what clearly has the potential of a movie worthy feature. With that being said, fans have a lot to look forward to in Halo’s new live-action web series ‘Forward onto Dawn’, which is meant to lead into the newest installment of the Halo series, Halo 4.

Look below for trailer

The Story

Now, I am sure there may be one or two readers who have no idea where Halo 3‘s story left off, but most of you readers will be wondering how Forward onto Dawn leads into Halo 4 since Master Chief should be floating in a derelict ship somewhere. The story of FoD takes place thirty years prior the events of Halo Combat evolved (wow, Master Chief is like Chuck Norris, an old BOSS).

Rather than following Master Chief, this series will follow the story of a young cadet by the name of  Thomas Lasky (Tom Green), and his experience in Corbula Academy, a military school for the higher end of military life. This school trains students like Lasky in fighting rebel forces (known as the Insurrectionists), the major problem of the galaxy which is the reason the Spartan Program was created. While Lasky has clear potential to be a leader, he lacks the military mentality, making the Academy an unpleasant experience for him. However, just before Lasky could leave, the academy came under attack (judging by the scene with the phantom in the puddle, I believe it is safe to assume that it is the Covenant).

Forced to fight for his life, rather than for a simulation, Lasky straightens up and accepts his role as a leader as he and his class mates are pushed to their limits in order to survive the grave new threat. But they are not alone, and will be joined by a familiar face; the golden visor on a green mjolnir helmet is common among spartans, but the 117 imprinted on his breast plate tells us that this is more than just your average Spartan.

With such potential epicness, most fan boys are gripping their seats in anticipation for the show, which is scheduled to be released on October 5th of this year.

All of this information leads us back to my opening sentence. The Story of Halo 4 Begins at Dawn. But how? As the live action series takes place 30 years before the first Halo game, how much of it can really link up to the story of a galaxy that has changed so drastically? It is safe to assume we will probably see cameos, but to what degree will these characters be integrated into Halo 4’s story? There is only one way to find out. Look out for Forward onto Dawn on Machinima Prime and Halo Waypoint on 10.5.12.

For more information on Halo 4, click here.

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Mass Effect: Paragon Lost Trailer

Last week, I posted an article about my thoughts on the Mass Effect movie. I left several issues off of the table since there was no reference material save for a few articles and screen shots. Well, now we have our material! Yesterday at ComicCon San Diego, the first trailer for Mass Effect: Paragon Lost was released for the world to see.

Rather than feeding you my views, I will let you come up with your own opinions on the trailer, and the concept of the movie as a whole. Enjoy.

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Who is your favorite Mass Effect Squad Member?

Throughout the three games and various expansion packs, we have seen many faces and held many allegiances. But who is your favorite squad member from the Mass Effect series? Vega has a movie, Liara has comics, others have paramour roles, but do you think was the coolest/most important?

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Leave comments on why you chose the character below! And remember to subscribe, like and follow us on Twitter (@TheNerdNexus)

Mass Effect Movie (Official): Paragon Lost

That’s right. This isn’t a gimmick. All you fan boys will get your wishes, as Mass Effect is releasing a full length feature film, titled ‘Mass Effect: Paragon Lost‘.

Now, the next thing I am about to tell you will either further encourage you to watch it, or turn you against the film. It is not a real-footage movie, but rather, an anime feature.

The Story

“An untold chapter in the Mass Effect saga, following the early career of Alliance Marine, James Vega, as he leads a squad of elite special forces into battle against a mysterious alien threat known as The Collectors. Stationed at a colony in a remote star system, Vega and his troops must protect the inhabitants from an invasion of the deadly insectoid warriors determined to collect the population for unknown purposes.

Soon after the attack, Vega’s commanding officer falls in battle, forcing the young officer to embrace the responsibility of leadership for the colony’s survival. Having idolized Earth’s greatest hero and warrior, Commander Shepard (the central character in the Mass Effect video games), the young and idealistic Vega must now make life and the death decisions that will effect not only the lives of his squad, but the lives of every person in the colony – all of whom he has sworn to protect…” Written by Henry Gilroy (IMDB)

Wait a minute…this sounds familiar…

Well, if it sounds familiar, you probably paid attention to the dialogue in Mass Effect 3. Vega talks to Shepard about the mission when you interact with him on the Normandy II. He also tells you what happens, but I won’t reveal that spoiler.

Why Anime?

Seeing as I am not a fan myself, I asked this question. If you stop to think about it, the sheer budget for creating a Mass Effect film with CGI and actual actors would be sky high; that, coupled with the risk that the film would tank in theaters is probably what made the produces choose to go anime with the film. Even so, I have to admit that I am still going to watch it. The animations look interesting and I am curious as to how they will frame the Mass Effect movie without having Commander Shepard as the main character.

What Could Go Wrong?

Going from video game to film is never an easy feat; most game to film adaptations suck out loud, and it is impossible to ever satisfy all of the fans. This plus the fact that it is anime creates the risk of alienating potential viewers. While I am personally not a fan of anime, I am willing to give the film a chance, after all, what do you think is more important? The fact that it is Mass Effect, or the fact that it is anime? Along with these things, the fact that James Vega is the main character, rather than Commander Shepard has the potential to alienate even more potential viewers.

What They Did Right 

James Vega

While all of these things have the potential to alienate viewers, there are a few things that make the film attractive. One big thing about the film is that we know the story and the character. Players meet James Vega in the very beginning of Mass Effect 3, and have him as a party member throughout the game. While players will want to see Commander Shepard, seeing Vega prior to his time on the Normandy has its own special appeal.

Another thing that I find note worthy is the fact that this is not a prequel or a sequel, but rather its own story outside of the main arc of Mass Effect. This is a double edged sword with the potential to discourage Mass Effect fans, but it also has the potential to attract people who aren’t fans of the Mass Effect franchize.

Conclusion

For better or worse, the movie is set to come out some time this year. Directed by Atsushi Takeuchi, the animated film is going to be 84 minutes long, and promises to be an interesting addition to the Mass Effect franchise. Thankfully they didn’t release this film until they fixed the endings of Mass Effect 3. Check out more information about Mass Effect: Paragon on their website.

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Walking Dead Season 3 Preview Weekend!

The Walking Dead, an AMC hit series based upon a graphic novel, has brought the horror of a blockbuster zombie films to television and does it over and over every week! Telling the story of sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who wakes from a coma to find the civilization destroyed, and the world over run by decomposing corpses that move and feast on the living. We follow Rick as he seeks out his family and safety from what may very well be the end of the human race. With two seasons under its belt, the show is priming for a third season which is said to be even more heart pounding than its predecessors.

Season 2 of Walking Dead ended on such an intense note, that it left viewers crying in outrage as they were forced to wait until Season 3 to see the fate of what was left of the team that we met in Season 1. Well, cry no longer my friends, as AMC has announced that on this weekend (July 7th and 8th) they will be hosting a special Preview Weekend to help placate the fans.

This weekend will include a 19 episode marathon of the hit series, showing from beginning to end of the road which we have walked on so far. Each episode will be introduced by Chris Hardwick from the Season 3 set in Atlanta. Following the marathon, an original episode of ‘Talking Dead’ hosted by Hardwick, which will air once and only once. In this Talking Dead Hardwick will show a scene from Season 3, as well as new interviews with members of cast and production. After the Talking Dead, AMC will place the cherry on top by showing a never before seen black-and-white Walking Dead pilot episode, which will follow the original story of to the comic series which inspired the show.

While this is not the type of preview week I would like (personally, I think the name is a tad bit misleading), it will probably keep me comfortable until Season 3 starts in October. The team decided to release this preview a week before ComicCon. Will this weekend help gain the show even more popularity, or alienate more fans of the comic? There is only one way to find out. Barricade your living room, turn on your TV and get comfy for this Zomb-tastic weekend.

Below is a preview for Season 3, with interviews from various cast members. Beware, there are spoilers that hint at the events of Season 2, so if you have yet to finish up, don’t watch this video.

Check out the original article from AMC’s blog Here.

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Film Review: The Amazing Spiderman

By Guest Writer, Donald Gori

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Film Information

Title: The Amazing Spiderman

Film length: 136 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure/Superhero

Staring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifan

Average online rating: 7.0-8.0

Rating: PG-13

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You all know the story: a teenager gets bitten by a spider, giving him super powers, which he then uses to protect New York City from the various villains constantly threatening the populace. Through a long comic series, several animated shows, and three movies, we have absorbed the mythos of Peter Parker to the point where it may seem like any attempt to retell his tale should, theoretically, fall flat. Nobody likes hearing the same story over and over, after all: we get it, move on.

The Amazing Spiderman, directed by Mark Webb, written by James Vanderbilt, and starring Andrew Garfield in the titular role, doesn’t try to hide the fact that yes, this is another Spiderman movie. What it does do is remind you precisely why Spiderman is as popular now as always. Especially after the (in my opinion) disaster that was Spiderman 3, the series needed a fresh start, a fresh face. There were things that worked in the Tobey Maguire trilogy, and there were things that did not. Amazing chiseled down the expansive tale of Peter to deliver an experience that is as every bit as satisfactory as one could hope, removing rather cliched aspects of the old trilogy while embracing classic Spiderman aspects into a blend that is refreshing, tasteful, and, most importantly, just damn fun.

The following is the author's description of t...

The new Spiderman

The story opens with a young Peter, only four years old, being left with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May by his parents, whom are biological researchers for Oscorp. Where they went, and what happened to them, is left rather vague and open ended for the entirety of the movie, though there are clues as to their possible whereabouts and fate. Flash forward to present day where Parker is just another teenager in high school where he is often ridiculed and picked on. His entire personality is exemplified by his awkwardness: Peter is very shy, withdrawn, and, ultimately, alone. It’s not hard to sympathize with him as he is subjected to a vicious beating by jock/bully Flash simply for doing the right thing, with nobody coming to his aid. Aside from Gwen Stacy, giving our hero an early crush even though it seems unlikely that a guy like him could ever have a chance with the lovely Emma Stone, but I’ll get to that later.

His early trials set him up as the Peter Parker that most know him as: ultimately he’s just another nerdy kid getting stepped on left and right, though one can’t help but smile a bit as he takes it all in stride. Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter, however, really sets this apart from the older trilogy. Many times Peter does not say much, and what he does manage to get out is often stammered and hushed. There’s very little confidence in him, though his home life does provide a bit of support.

Uncle Ben and Aunt May are well portrayed: a loving family that has raised Peter like he was their own son. Ben is strict, May is more accommodating, but both clearly care for Peter’s well-being and it is here that Peter seems to belong. That is, until a fateful trip to Oscorp. It’s here that we meet the movie’s main antagonist, Dr. Curt Connors. A man well-known for his work on “cross-species genetics”, particularly with lizards, Peter is led to him as he may have information on what happened to his parents. From there, you know what happens next: the bite of a spider and Peter’s life is forever changed.

I won’t give too much in the way of plot, because you already know the plot: Spiderman fights bad guy, saves the day. What I will delve into are the directions that Amazing goes in portraying its stars, and damn do they shine.

Spiderman has been unique in the idea that is has often never truly focused on Spiderman himself. Bruce Wayne is Batman, that’s who we care about. Clark Kent is Superman, Steve Rogers is Captain America, and so on. The difference here is that Spiderman is Peter Parker, not the other way around. This is not the story of a superhero, this is the story of a kid coming into his own as a man and rising up to do the right thing. Uncle Ben’s death is still shown (you knew it would be), but the impact it has is profound. There is no more of the “With great power comes great responsibility” gimmick; it’s cheesy, overplayed, and just groan-worthy by this point. The movie does still capture the idea that Peter should push himself to the moral high ground, but it leaves it all in a rather grey area for the majority of the film as Spiderman relentlessly hunts down his Uncle’s murderer. Even when Peter tries to defend Spiderman’s (re: his) actions to Gwen Stacy’s father, George Stacy, Captain in the NYPD, it quickly gets thrown back in his face: the Webslinger had spent weeks hunting down a particular individual, profiling the people he goes after, leading Captain Stacy to remark that Spiderman appeared to be less about fighting for good and more on a quest of vengeance, if anything.

This isn’t to say that Peter is necessarily bad, however. There is a clear progression in his actions and persona once he begins to become Spiderman, though. Geeky, quiet Peter quickly becomes a wise-cracking badass once the hood comes on. The duality between these two portrayals is clear and flows seamlessly throughout the movie. In one moment Peter is failing miserably at trying to ask Gwen out; In the next he’s berating a thief holding a knife to him for his “work uniform”. We get to see Peter’s power grow and how he adapts to it, how he makes it work for him. Some of the best scenes, to me, are simply watching Peter figure out how everything works when being Spiderman, including watching him clumsily swinging on steel chains in an abandoned dock warehouse, inspiring him to build his iconic web-shooters. The audience gets to feel that growth, experience that sensation of discovering something for the first time.

The shift in Peter’s dynamic from rogue vigilante to true hero is shortly after his first encounter with Dr. Connors in his new form as Lizardman. Whilst trying to rescue a young boy from a burning car, Peter tells the child to put his mask in; “It’ll make you strong,” he tells him. It’s easy to see that this is exactly how Peter, himself, sees it. As his teenage self he is weak and flawed: his Uncle chased him out into the midnight of Queens after a fight, leading to Ben’s death. He handed over the equation necessary for Dr. Connors to complete his work and undergo his change into a murderous monster, an equation his father had apparently kept secret for good reason. With the mask on, however, he faces down gangster and supervillain alike with no fear, protecting Gwen and keeping New York safe. The change in posture, in dialogue, it’s incredible to view: one gets a far better sense of Peter owning up to who he is and what he can do by watching him evolve through situation after fight after defeat, rather than hearing a constant voice over in Maguire’s head reminding him, “Hey, by the way, you’re a superhero: Might want to act like one.”

The rest of the cast does their job splendidly. Emma Stone gives Gwen Stacy, Peter’s love interest, a smart, sharp, and sassy opposite to Peter’s gawky and bumbling nature. Their relationship isn’t all sunshine, and her fears and concerns are both entirely valid and believable. Her father wears a gun and badge, she reasons: she isn’t sure he’ll come home every night, just as she begins to worry that Peter might not after he reveals his secret life to her. Likewise, Dennis Leary puts Peter in his place as Gwen’s father, reminding him (and the audience) that there are plenty of men and women getting paid to risk their lives on a daily basis to protect the streets: their heroics should not be overlooked just because of some goon in spandex, after all.

Rhys Ifans brings a unique side to the villain of this movie in his role as Dr. Connors. His work in biology is meant to help people, including himself: as he assures a group of prospective interns at Oscorp staring at his amputated right arm, “Don’t worry: I’m a Southpaw”. His research on cross-species genetics (combining dna and traits of animals with those of other animals [such as humans]) is to produce a cure for maladies that plague mankind. He is, in effect, a hero himself, trying to better all humans through his research. His descent into the animalistic Lizardman is well documented, leaving him a villain that is not so comically evil as has been done-to-death. Connors is trying to better humanity, heal humanity through his work, only to have Oscorp take it from him with the intent to inject untested serum into unwilling participants. He becomes Lizardman not just to heal his damaged arm, but to protect his life’s work, to see that it is used for good. It is his methods that are vile, not his prospective goals.

Moving away from the characters, the actual filming itself deserves some praise. The cinematography is exceedingly well done: no more choppy fight scenes where you can’t tell what the hell is going on. What I also initially thought was going to be just a cheap trick turned out to be wildly cool: the first-person view point of seeing Spiderman in action. For the very first time, we get to see what it’s like to swing from skycrapers, to crawl up glass windows sixty stories up and plummet to the streets below. It’s not overdone at all, being used at only a few points, but it’s certainly a new experience.

The musical score as well is worthy of attention. It’s neither overpowering nor low-key, and each piece is designed to fit the moment at hand, rather than scenes being built around musical arrangements. After all, the music is simply there to add to the film, not overwhelm it (you hear me, Dark Knight?). From triumphant strings as Parker outwits foes while soaring through the city streets of Manhattan to jarring, eerie strikes of the piano as Lizardman is stalking Gwen inside the Oscorp tower, it’s good to hear a moment being set right from the first note. As a musician myself, it’s truly appreciated.

Now, the film does have a few problems worth mentioning. For one, pacing issues: it’s rather slow to start: Peter Parker is Peter Parker for a long time before we ever first see him in the red-and-blue, and some scenes are, perhaps, a bit unnecessary. Two, while Dr. Connors is a well-done villain, Oscorp itself does have a bit of that “comically-evil” side to it. Come on, a billion-dollar corporation that can’t afford to pay a few human test subjects and instead tries to draw them out of a Veteran’s Hospital? Have a heart, Norm, soulless as it may be. Three, there are a few plots that are not tied up by film’s end. Now, it’s entirely clear that this is meant to be an extended series, though, so such answers most likely will come with time.

Aside from such minor concerns though … It’s Spiderman. Spiderman as he was meant to be. You wanted it, I wanted it, what more is there to complain about when you’ve got Peter thwipping someone’s mouth shut just for kicks?

We’ve been getting slammed with superhero movies left and right. I myself am still riding off of the high that was The Avengers. Maybe there’s just a few too many superhero movies being released and being worked on. But, these are stories we grew up on. These are stories we love and cherish. The reason we keep shoveling out money to see Christian Bale growl at extras and Robert Downey Jr. play Robert Downey Jr. in a robot suit is because we want to. We enjoy doing so. Yes, we’ve heard the same tale a hundred times before. But when it’s taken from such a refreshing angle, with a cast that clearly wants to be there are much as we want to see it, I’ve got no problem sitting there in that seat to hear it for the hundred and first time.

The Amazing Spiderman is the story of Peter Parker, the one you already know. It’s about a teenage boy going from awkward geek to super hero. It’s about coming of age, of accepting who you are and what you are supposed to do. It’s about love, and loss, and the powers that can motivate us to become extraordinary.

And it’s truly deserving of its name.

Plus, seriously, just web-shoots a guy in the face. Hilarious.

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I hope that you enjoyed this article; feel free to leave comments of your thoughts below and remember to like the post, follow the blog and our twitter (@TheNerdNexus) for further updates.

Book Review: Tucker Max Book series

I was first introduced to the legend that is Tucker Max when I saw the film “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”, while the film was pretty entertaining, my mind was not truly blown until I found a copy of your book in my dormitory (yes, I stole it, College Student Budget means you have to do unethical things from time to time). I read the book as if I was possessed by the will of some perverse god; when I finished it, I immediately set out to the nearest book store to buy the sequel. While I have never had the pleasure of meeting Tucker Max, it is far from exaggerated to say that he influenced my life to a certain degree.

Tucker Max, author of ‘I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell‘, ‘Assholes Finish First‘, ‘Hilarity Ensues‘ and ‘Sloppy Seconds‘ took the writing community by storm when he published the first book containing his wild and unbelievable stories. This author, who is often compared to a Frat boy, does not hold back on the crude, gritty, inappropriate details in his writing, which is somehow crafted in a way that makes it next to impossible to stop reading his work. Going from blogs to print to the big screen, Tucker Max has been riding the successful author wave for a long time. However, all good things must come to an end, and Mr. Max, I believe that your end has come.

Before I go any further, I want to make this perfectly clear: I am a huge fan of Tucker and his lecherous personality; I read the first and second books, and own the film adaptation of his first book, and when he released his third book, I was quick to order it off of amazon. You could say that Tucker Max was one of my role models, and while I know I will never get on his level of wildness, I can’t help but admire his brutal bluntness, liver of steel, and horrible habit of ‘dipping his wick’ in anything that moves. I derived a great deal of amusement from his books, which I chose to read rather than pay attention in class.

Unfortunately, his third book ‘Hilarity Ensues’ failed to have an effect on me.

Within reading fifty pages of his new book, I put it down and never picked it up again. Why? It wasn’t because his writing was poor, nor was it because of a sudden burst of maturity that lifted me above such things. No, it was repetition, a killer of many great things.

With ‘I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell’ we were introduced to the jaw dropping narrative that was so vivid that I couldn’t help but wonder if such profane thoughts were allowed to be printed and distributed by the public. When ‘Assholes Finish First’ came out, we were introduced to the same profane nature of stories, though the second half of the book contained Tucker’s experiences after becoming famous, which gave it a breath of fresh air. With the third book however, I found myself unable to put up with the now predictable stories and while there might be a redeeming feature in the book, I couldn’t read it long enough to find it.

Some things just get old after a while, and though people love to read about people who have a more entertaining life than themselves, a story can only be retold so many times. This is a classic “same song, different verse” situation, and frankly, the song is kind of old now Tucker. Perhaps it is time to rest the print-publishing industry aside. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to stop telling us stories about your experiences,  I just don’t want you to turn them into a book and sell them. Stick to blogging. Books are a different beast entirely and no one enjoys reading four copies of the same thing.

Hell, you don’t even need to resign to just blogging; your books are stuffed to the brim with potential film plots; why not fictionalize your personal, not to the point of making Tucker Max to shit that he never did, but by making a character based on yourself. I can see it now, HBO’s newest hit: “The King of Duke” or something along those lines. People would eat it up. But stay away from books. Please?

Anyway folks, don’t let this review discourage you from reading Tucker Max books, they are awesome! Just don’t buy all of them because you will risk boring yourself after the second book.

And to Tucker Max, if the supernaturally unlikely event were to occur, and you read this blog, don’t think I hate you or anything like that man. I love your shit. I just don’t want to spend thirty bucks to read the same story told with different words and settings.

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I hope that you enjoyed this article; feel free to leave comments of your thoughts below and remember to like the post, follow the blog and our twitter (@TheNerdNexus) for further updates.