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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

(a good old fashioned beating on) Wall-E

Math of Emotion

Wall-E is 111% professionalism, THEN some more. This is the animation that has a perfect understanding of a consensus stock-psyche, thus the installment pulls you through a series of mathematics spontaneity, each coming to you via masterful calculations, eager to - effectively - toll your strictly expected reactions for the precise outlines of complex emotions. Emotions presented with all the risk free tones of a pink ink, spilled with pinpoint accuracy on a risk free pink canvas.

Wall-E offers no minutes, seconds, not even stolen nanoseconds to any form of freedom you could longing for as an appreciator of this solid CG accomplishment. You are not granted the fluidity to interpret the happenings on the screen in any other way than the way they ARE happening by indeed. Each movement and/or vibe you see or feel on the canvas is placed in front of you because of crystal clear intent. Yet, in reality, Wall-E offers but a harshly limited set of the usual, radical CG emotions, making sure though to squeeze and present the holy pink frick out of them, THEN some more. (For your amusement, by the way.)

The vibes Wall-E collides you with are already declared rigorously, you are but the mirror that will justify how precisely the intended emotions are sought for, how precisely they are provoked out of you. Remember, you are the viewer and you will be tolled for your empathy. Surely, you will laugh when you are wanted to submit to laugh. Surely, you will feel pity when you are wanted to submit to feel pity. This all should be normal. Causing emotions is crucial aspect of art. Wall-E though, I think, does little more than overkills, rapes the usual CG emotions via a perfect understanding of them. And you, as viewer, end up as living justification of how flawless of an understanding of superficial emotional channels the creators do possess.

You will render the emotions, as will the other viewers in the audience. You will endure the same dramaturgical fabric you have seen a 642387462384 times before. While this extremely strait field of interpretation could be viewed as the narrative strength of this animation, in total, Wall-E does not yet aspire, and, as such: naturally does not succeed at presenting more complex emotions than what you already have seen being delivered by the genre on numerous occasions.

At the end of the day, Wall-E is a reasonably solid CG beast taking you by the neck, forcing you to lick up all the foam of risk free, pre-calculated fun and risk free, pre-calculated melancholy it brings to the - presumably - risk free table. It makes sure that the color of your memory of it, and that of the secret inner puke you will deny it caused to eject out of you in a weak moment of escapist realization - will conform nicely to the commanding shade of this installment. Math of Emotion, baby. Pink math of pink emotion to be specific.

Oh, and in case you have wondered, Wall-E is a masterfully calculated and carefully synthesized torpedo of risk free fun for the Whole Family. No irony here at all. And this is the problem, too.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

UFC 104 Machida VS Shogun

now with gif animations

- Lyoto Machida VS Shogun Rua

- Cain Velasquez VS Ben Rothwell

Though many may consider men who enter an mma proving ground little more than hired human pitbulls ripping each other apart for massive money and radical amusement, I tend to reject this view via a yawn of black hole, concluding that professional level mma is the combat of highly disciplined human spirits, opposing each other for but the duration of the bout, probably ending up as unified in the process as we could conceive, simply through their magnificent shared experience of being in a cage where the damage one suffers is the wit one failed to exhibit. That is how, in my opinion, the mma fighter fights against herself/himself. The reaction of one's opponent is the reaction to whatever one could offer as offense.

Notice that the ultimately glorious moments of mixed martial arts are not of those of KOs and submissions. They are of those of hugging the formal rival at the end of the bout, circulating the most honest, pure respect spirit and related (?) intelligence may come upon, the limitless respect each fighter deserves simply by making an attempt of expressing themselves thoroughly, honestly on the proving grounds. The biggest respect one could give is the assumption that one needs every skills- and wits to neutralize the rival. A fight is nothing less than the expression of these skill sets, put though to the test utterly and completely, instead of infinitely theorizing about them. The most glorious moment of the bout emerges in the form of the ensuing peace between the fighters, a legit, palpable sensation, unifying the former enemies and the grateful audience once the collision reached its conclusion.

This is a review of the latest UFC event to date, UFC 104 - Shogun VS Machida.

Introductory thoughts about the more significant lineups

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida states that getting the belt is the easier part of being a Champion - the harder part is to defend the title via colliding against the top tier challenging forces the UFC has to offer. Machida, as devoted follower of ancient samurai traditions, prefers not to be hit at all, since if a samurai got hit in medieval Japan, then there were chances that the limb the strike landed on, got a truly precise sense - oxymoron? - of the term: separation.

As one of his trainers so precisely stated: to hit Lyoto, you have to find Lyoto. We are yet to see The Dragon surprised-, let alone being chased around in the octagon. As a result of this, Machida gets hit super-rarely and this latter term is a blatant exaggeration, seeing how The Dragon have performed against former Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans. Machida seemed to be more aggressive in the cage than his usual (former?) self and showed willingness to take and maintain the initiative, while he remained steps ahead of the rival during the match. The Dragon expresses that once a fighter attacks: holes in the defense are necessarily formed and/or revealed. Machida is a master at spotting these openings and he always seems to occupy the spot the enemy least likes him to be at. With a focus cultivated through hard work and a crystal clear mind, Lyoto Machida's spiritual stance towards fighting reminds me of that of Fedor Emelianenko. These fighters do not enter the proving ground to fight the opponent. They enter to neutralize them.

Lyoto Machida delivers his first title defense and it will be against former Pride! veteran Shogun Rua, a super-aggressive fighter who exhibited pronounced ring rust when debuted in the UFC, yet looked better in his next match that went down against one of the most illustrious faces of mma, Chuck Liddell. Some regard this new form of Shogun the old form of Shogun. You get the idea, right? I think he indeed looked much better than he did in his piteous struggle and subsequent sour victory over mma relic Mark Coleman, yet I can't wait to see what Shogun has to deliver once finds himself in desperation. And, if Lyoto Machida fails to offer him desperation: then I am convinced that Shogun is The Champion. Luckily enough, Rua and his manager believe that now is the time to capitalize on a great opportunity.

An interesting note: Lyoto Machida states that after five successful title defenses, he wants to fight current Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.

Illustrious mma meat-mountain Ben Rothwell also looks forward to reveal his skill set tonight, rendering his much anticipated UFC debut against exceptional mma prospect Cain Velasquez. This Mexican favorite is widely regarded as the prototype of what is to come in mma, brings nuclear stamina and an extremely sharp skill set to the octagon. These notions are solidified by how Velasquez ate two huge strikes from Cheik Kongo and remained in the game soberly enough to command the opponent to the ground, even better: he manhandled his epically proportioned opponent in a way that looked easy to do.

Ben Rothwell promises that Velasquez is about to have the toughest fight of his career, and, if he - Rothwell - connects with those huge fists via the way Kongo did, then THIS Cain will be yesterday's news.

Anthony Johnson VS Yoshiyuki Yoshida

Anthony Johsnon outclasses- and subsequently grinds down Yoshida with a much more aggressive approach to the standup battle. This stupendous gif animation with paranormal slow motion effect in it shows you how Johnson KTFO the talented Japanese prospect well before the culmination of the first minute.

The meaning of KTFO is what you think it is.

Joe Stevenson VS Spencer Fisher

In the first round, Stevenson opens a cut on Fisher and manages to dictate the pace of the action without finding himself in the vicinity of situations characterized by notable desperation. Stevenson goes for the takedown in the second round and re-opens the cut on Fisher's head with relentless ground and pound work. Fisher can not offer resistance, Joe Daddy passes the guard, locks the limbs of The King and elbows his way to the stoppage via brutal efficiency and here is the gif animation on how this act of helping a fellow fighter out spiritually - well - went down:

Josh Neer VS Gleison Tibau

If Gleison Tibau would not have been able to take down Josh Neer at will, then this match would have had the promise of turning into a friendly training session the audience had the fruity chance of passionately scrutinizing. With Tibau's relentless- and totally successful takedown all over the three finished rounds though, the match radiates an excitement factor that promises good old fashioned intensity, yet sorrowfully fails to get beyond the average caliber which it sinks into. Here is the first of the 1 000 000 + - 1 takedowns Gleison Tibau utilized on Josh Neer:

The story of the fight really boils down to Tibau's inability to deliver punishment once commanded the opposition to the ground, which of course is a result of Neer's highly sophisticated defense skills. Well, if this would have been a defense contest, then Neer surely would have walked away with the W. Yet, his inability to escape Tibau's takedows, costs him the fight tonight.

Ben Rothwell VS Cain Velasquez

Total domination by Velasquez. The Mexican talent has zero problem imposing his will on the opposition, effectively taking apart Rothwell before the veteran fighter would have the chance of noticing the depth of the danger he already is in. Velasquez commands his rival to the canvas on multiple occasions, manhandling Big Ben at the fence between efficient sequences of solid ground and pound work. At the end of the first round, a massively exhausted Rothwell remains in the cage and it is this same Rothwell who answers the bell that greets the second period.

Velasquez is fervent and fresh, has no problem imposing his will on. The Mexican muscles Rothwell to the fence and starts to administer solid shots on the head, but the strikes do not devastate the resistance of the experienced veteran. This though is of little relevance to Referee Mario Yamasaki who decides to end the contest, probably seeing Rothwell as a warrior who lacks all chance to turn this match around tonight. Why embrace unnecessary damage when it reveals itself to you in a palpable fashion? Indeed Rothwell was standing up while he was assaulted, his fighting spirit was intact. Velasquez outclassed him tonight nevertheless and it did not look like Rothwell were about to offer more than what he already have left in the octagon at the time of the stoppage. Consult this stupendous gif animation on how Cain Velasquez expresses his radical verdict on Ben Rothwell's radar:

Lyoto Machida VS Shogun Rua

The championship match has gone into the distance and it saw the most competitive collision The Dragon was subjected to to this day. Shogun looked great against Machida and my personal opinion is that he managed to utterly destruct the invulnerability aura that surrounded Lyoto. During the bout, Shogun finds persistent success with his leg kicks and drags Machida into sequences of desperation from which the challenger is able to offer quite elegant and efficient surprises. Lyoto remains faithful to his style, but Shogun came to this collision knowing the focal elements of this fighting method. Now it is the first time we see someone offering relevant challenge to The Dragon by borrowing-, and skillfully applying elements from the approach The Dragon is master of. Patience, primarily. For the most part, Shogun is the aggressor of the match that has an even-, balanced feel to it.

Yet, to be the man, you have to beat the man, as conventional wisdom tells us. In the UFC, it is no different. In fact, the number of the places that do tell more about the relevance of this truth than the octagon does, is harshly limited. That includes zero, as a possibility. Though Lyoto Machida DID NOT win this fight at all, he did win a decision, as Shogun could not stop him. The Dragon, humble in victory, did not gain any new fans tonight and he expresses his apologies for not being able to deliver a more convincing performance. Lyoto did good, in my opinion. It is Shogun who did GREAT, though. Joe Rogan is wise enough to ask Machida about a rematch against Shogun, for which the reply is positive from the reigning Champion. As of today, it indeed is a match that promises top level mma thrills. Shogun has all my respect for his performance against Machida and I just became a Shogun fan. Being a fan of Machida and Shogun, the factorial of my impatience regarding the rematch between the two is: maximal. Check these slick moves Shogun greets The Dragon with. Also notice the facial expression of angered disbelief, courtesy of Lyoto Machida.

This review of UFC 104 was not brought to you by Budlight, but the difference is drinkability, nevertheless. Thank you for reading this and see you next time.

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