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Spielberg’s SciFi phenomenon roared its way back onto the big screen this summer to the delight of Dino-nerds like myself across the country. This was probably a wise move, after all Spielberg has every reason to remind us of the brilliance he produced with this film. It isn’t coincidental that this release coincided with the premier of his new Dinosaur-centric series Terra Nova on Sky1, the first episode of which was terrible. Nor can it be sheer luck that this re-release comes but a few months after final confirmation that Jurassic Park 4 is on the way. Incidentally, those folks over at the BBC must also be patting themselves on the back for just happening to have begun their Planet Dinosaur series at the same time.
Business aside though, this would always have been welcome as far as fans are concerned, particularly fans of our age who were too young to have seen it at the cinema back in 1993 when it was originally released. Yes, I can recite every line whilst the film is playing. Yes, I know exactly how Lex and Tim will escape the Velociraptors in the kitchen but usually those Velociraptors are just tiny lizards in the corner of my living room – a big screen means they can be monsters again!
I think it is a shame that cinematic showings of movie classics such as Jurassic Park aren’t a more common enterprise but it’s comforting to know that this one isn’t quite extinct.
The Lion King 3D
The Lion King has always been one of those great Disney films that children grow up watching. Now
the exhilarating highs, the devastating lows and the epic soundtrack are back on the big screen for
viewers to enjoy- IN 3D!
I was unsure how to feel when I first heard about the re-release. Had they
run out of ideas for new children’s films? Had they resorted to churning out the old classics to make
up for the drought? Not according to the number of trailers preceding the picture. Would going
to see The Lion King on the big screen ruin my childhood impression, serving to highlight how far
animation has come since 1994? Actually, I think that the 3D gave just enough life to the old picture,
pulling it into the 21st century without alienating the old-school quality.
However, whilst it can be a lot of fun to go and see an old childhood favourite at the cinema and blubber away at the same bits that made you weep as a child, one of the beautiful things about watching old favourites is the
way that you watch them. Pulling out the old video player and watching them through the fuzziness
is part of the appeal. Re-releasing a film like the Lion King and giving it a 3D make-over is a nice
treat every now and again, but perhaps we should be focusing on creating new classics for the next
generation, rather than dragging up our own.
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus
The vast majority of successful video games do not usually rely on subtlety. Would Gears of War have been half as successful if you didn’t have a chainsaw strapped underneath your gun? I think not. So we should be thankful that people like Fumito Ueda, who has described his game design philosophy as ‘design by subtraction’, have become important and revered figures in the gaming community.
Ico, the lesser known of the two games in this bundle, is a near indescribable experience based around the relationship between the two protagonists, Ico and Yorda. The game is almost completely bereft of dialogue, but the relationship between the two is probably the best realised in gaming history. Shadow of the Colossus is better known known than it’s predecessor, very probably because of the titular collosi – more like 16 complex works of architecture than a standard series of boss monsters – but it’s the heartbreaking details, and the fact that you’ll play the last hour through a veil of tears, that make it such a memorable experience.
You have to ask, then, why games this good need a re-release. Simple – no one bought them. And with added support for HD and 3D, there’s no reason to miss out this time.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Oh, Metal Gear Solid, let me count the ways I love thee… The countless game-play innovations. The wonderful characters. Psycho Mantis and the memory card. Then there’s the incredibly complex, generation-spanning plot that would make a crossover between Inception, Dr Who and War and Peace seem like Little Red Riding Hood. So it makes sense for Kojima Studios to re-release Metal Gears 2 and 3, along with PSP exclusive Peace Walker. Not only is it another chance to play three fantastic games in HD, it’s an opportunity to figure out that bloody plot.
On the other hand, the PS2 versions are remarkably easy to get hold of and still look absolutely great. A testament to Hideo Kojima’s ability to make games well that are well ahead of their time, yes, but it makes you question whether you need to shell out for this when you can get almost the same package for less than a fiver. Of course, to those without a PSP, the addition of Peace Walker will probably be worth the price of admission alone. But I can’t help but feel that an XBox port of MGS4 – or more progress on his next project – would have been more appreciated.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
It’ll come to few as a surprise that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, one of the greatest critically acclaimed games ever made, is among the latest wave of N64 ‘classics’ re-released on Nintendo’s newest handheld. Players returning to the world of Hyrule will be greeted with an impressive, yet loyal, graphical overhaul as well as tweaks in the form of new video tutorials, a harder ‘mirrored’ master quest and a ‘Boss Challenge’ mode. The functionally of the 3DS itself has also been implemented in the form of gyroscopic controls for Link’s projectiles and of course the option of stereoscopic 3D. All solid additions in extending the enjoyment of the original titles gameplay.
For the most part, however, Nintendo has tampered little with the fundamental winning formula of the game and players will find all their favorite moments intact. The discovery of the master sword has never been more inspiring nor has the now infamous water temple been more fiendishly difficult. To casual players with finances already stretched by the wealth of upcoming titles the re-release may be hard to justify; but Ocarina of Time staunchly remains a must have to newcomers and hardcore fans alike.
Nirvana: Nevermind – 20th Anniversary Edition
20 years ago, Seattle band Nirvana released a little album that went on to sell over 30 million copies worldwide and “changed the world of music forever”. It is, of course Nevermind. The first single of which seems to be on every playlist ever made, everywhere. Even if you don’t like rock music, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is without a doubt one of the most recognisable songs in history. Nirvana’s sound is one that has been constantly imitated, yet never surpassed – a sound that was epitomised on Nevermind. Although there are some slightly… abrasive moments, such as the ending of ‘Something In The Way’ which takes the ideas of aggression shown in the band’s music to a clashing, distorted climax. Even though it’s the loud anthems that Nirvana and Nevermind in particular are known for, the album is very rounded, with Ballads like ‘Polly’ and ‘Come As You Are’ being two notable examples.
For a remaster they haven’t really made the album hugely louder (as is usually the case when bands start re-mixing the original tapes) the sound quality of this new version brings the band’s sound right up to date. There are so many different packages for this new issue: With bonus discs of unreleased jam sessions, alternate takes of some of the tracks that finally made the cut, discs of singles, DVD packages, there are so many versions to choose from. There’s almost a sort of “option paralysis” when it comes to looking through the fresh release packages. However, this really is a must-own album. And even if you already have it, there are so many new things added on to the end, and the superior sound quality makes it a worthwhile purchase (especially if, like me your other copy is on cassette!).