Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Big Picture: "Stone Soup"

Part 1 of 2.

ALSO: Anonymous comments are back on. The slightly lowered workload isn't worth the downtick in traffic/visitors. We'll see how that goes.


Anonymous said...

Ah, I was wondering when you would go back to the near epic H/B legacy. Great vid! Can't wait for part two!

Also, hatters gonna hate. Don't let those petty tyrants get you down.

KevinCV said...

As an avid "Flintstones" fan since childhood, I'm glad you decided to do an episode on this, Bob. It's very informative. Also, I'm glad you're knocking those critics -including yourself- who try to use "formulaic" as a legitimate criticism. I've kinda gotten sick of it, myself. Anyway, looking forward to part 2. I hope you'll give the live action movies some love. I like them a lot. The first more than the 2nd, but I still enjoy 'em. :)

T4_was_here said...

Aw man I rememmber some of the silly spin-offs.
So hyped for next week!

McKinney said...

@Anonymous: I do believe "hatters" gonna hat.

And it is funny how Flinstones got so much mileage out of such a simple gag, although who figured it would appeal to adults enough to make a James Bond parody out of it, I dunno.

James said...

Actually, I don't think Mega Man hold up that well. The issue isn't that the original Mega Man, and by extension, X games are "formulaic". The problem is that they're repetitive. You can get the same experience from any game in the franchise, with only minor dressings.

If anything, the Mega Man Legends games hold up much better than the original games. In Legends, the developers were trying to take the franchise in new directions, experiment and explore. And it paid off, though not enough for Capcom to make Legends 3.

Also, while I will concede that the Flintstones was an okay show, the Honeymooners just sucked. Sorry, but none of those hokey sitcoms from the 1950s have aged well.

Joe said...


Can't you say the same things about the Modern Warfare franchise? Near as I can tell, the only things that change from installment to installment are a slightly wider selection of weapons, bigger and sillier set pieces, and the campaign story getting dumber and dumber each time.

It'll be interesting to see if COD fans today will have the same sentimental affection towards the franchise that Mega Man fans still have 20-25 years later.

James said...

Joe: Never played a Modern Warfare or Call of Duty game, so I can't make that comparison.

I can say, though, that the Legend of Zelda franchise manages to avoid falling into the Mega Man trap. Zelda keeps similar mechanics from game to game, but works to incorporate new elements and narratives into the successive games to keep it feeling fresh and entertaining... at least to me that is.

BTW: Majora's Mask is the best Zelda game ever made.

biomechanical923 said...

I was never much of a fan of the Flintstones as a kid. To me, it was more like one of those shows that was just on in the background while I played with my toys. However, I enjoy watching episodes where Bob treks through the minutiae and trivia of pop culture, so keep it up, sir.

Anonymous said...

Was always a big, big fan of Flintstones myself, and am very much looking forward to next week. Why? I've always had a big, big soft spot for the "Pebbles and Bam Bam show." It had a brief run, and wasn't as good as it's for runner, but I thought it had a number of things going for it. More than most of the spinoffs, to me it felt more like a true continuation of the old show. Plus it handled the characters well. Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty were smartly handled, shifted into the supporting character roles. They were their enough that we didn't have to miss them, but not there so much they overshadowed their children and the new characters. Plus there was almost something akin to subtlety about how teenage Pebbles and Bam Bam's sexual tension was handled. They didn't dwell on the romance, but it was mentioned every now and then. It was almost like Pebble and Bam Bam weren't yet boyfriend and girlfriend, but, they were so comfortable and at ease with each other that they treated that possibility as pretty much inevitable, and were surprisingly comfortable with it. Anyway, I know you have a lot of Spinoffs to get through, but I'm looking forward to your thoughts on it!

Anonymous said...

I think there's a much bigger problem than a few uppity critics using "formula" as a slur: the tendency of all reviews to assume everything is the very first movie of its type most people are going to see. Think of how good reviews are handed out to such relentlessly unoriginal, uninspiring tedium such as Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Hunger Games.

As far as The Flintstones are concerned, I think you might be reading more into it than Hanna-Barbera actually put in. This is the company that went from being possibly the best animators of the forties to pioneering some of the worst sins that still haunt children's television today. Not only are they heavily formulaic, they recycled scripts endlessly (even making copycat series just for that purpose), and their animation quality plummeted to the point where they were basically "animated radio". Some even cite them as the very reason animation is still largely considered kids' stuff in the United States to this day. Now, whether or not one enjoys them is their own decision, but they've had a net negative effect on animation in general.

(On the topic of words: as explained by Roger Ebert, the word "sophomoric" is generally a bad sign. It's the kind of unspecific, weak, wannabe-pedantic cliche indicative of a critic trying too hard to be elite.)

Joey said...

You didn't even mention the Great Gazoo?

No offense, but that's a missed opportunity Bob. That guy was WIERD. Hope you talk about him in a future episode!

Jetamungo said...

You do good work bob.
I signed up to the escapist publishers club to get your vids as well as zero punctuation and jimquisition on the iPad.
If there were a few other series that I liked on screw attack I would sign up for the advantage as well.

Anonymous said...

Aw man, now I write all those nig's for nothing... Oh well.

multimediaculture said...

James - I agree with your general assessment of the Mega Man series, but only to a point. The games in the middle of the series fell into a trap of repetition. The first three, maybe even four, were innovative and did accomplish exactly what Bob stated in the review. The formula allowed the designers to push the level design based on the simple but engaging game mechanics, and the music was amazing. Capcom made it repetitive after a certain point, but the latest additions to the main series are ingenious. Particularly 9. Same formula but EXACTLY the push you'd want. Amazing game that will still engage in a decade.

And the X series had the exact same thing happen to it. First game introduced new mechanics and amazing level design that you couldn't find in the 8-bit series. X2 further explored what could be done with this new technology, and X3...might have tried too hard. While X4 introduced Zero as a fully playable character (rather than a partially playable one), it was more of the same even if it were on more powerful platforms. It wasn't until X8 that they managed to find what was fun again, but the damage was already done...plus the vehicle levels sucked.

By the way, Majora's Mask is indeed an amazing game that escaped the Zelda formula. Despite that, Ocarina of Time is still my favorite. Skyward Sword is up there, too.