Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Web Snark - Dragon Age: Redemption

Hello, today sees the release of multi media tie-in webseries, Dragon Age: Redemption. I enjoyed Dragon Age: The First Game and found it to be a deep, complex, and very well written fantasy world. A webseries set in the same universe would surely be an instant hit. Redemption stars Felicia Day out of that webseries about MMORPGs that the kids all like, and she was in that Joss Whedon show, and that other one, oh and that singing supervillain webseries that everyone loved. It also stars Doug Jones who was Abe Sapien in that film where Ron Perlman wears red paint.

So the pedigree is there, let's have a watch and I'll jot down my thoughts as we go along.

0:25 - This is taking forever, we've only just got to the title card. You know what's good about games? You can usually skip the endless title cards at the beginning.

0:30 - And so we begin with a massive chunk of expository text. This is always a bad sign. If you have to write down the entire background to your film and force the audience to read it before they can start watching, there's something wrong with your plot/script.

0:42 - More text and, as Mr Richard Cobbett pointed out, someone keeps splashing blood all over the background. Although splashing blood on everything (and using the accompanying blood splatter sound effect) is a fine Dragon Age tradition as you will soon realise.


0:45 - This bit about "The Qun" is very simplistic and slightly misleading. What I gleaned from the playing Dragon Age 2 is that it's basically communism with a caste system. Peasants from a feudal system encounter The Qun system and sometimes decide that they're better off working for/with the Qunari so up sticks and leave their noble masters. I don't think there's any evidence in the game lore of anyone being 'forcibly' converted (other than in unreliable accounts from the nobles who have lost subjects to The Qun or from Qunari occupied villages that mass converted to it). That's what I like about Dragon Age though, it's complex and you can never really know if you're being told the correct version of events. Seriously, you should give the game a try. A five minute webseries is always going to struggle to convey the complexity of an 80+ hour game.


0:55 - More text. Mages, power struggle, blah, blah.

1:10 - Finally, a set and some actors!

1:13 - "This will make you talk." Not if you put a knife in his throat, it won't.

1:26 - The guy on your right, look at his armour - it's paper! Look at it! That's papercraft armour!

1:44 - Hey look, it's Doug Jones! Hi Doug! I hope Del Toro makes another monster movie soon so you don't have to keep appearing in stuff like this.

1:45 - Sorry, I should say that Doug is playing a Qunari. There supposed to muscle bound giants. It looks like they only managed 'taller than average'.

2:22 - Magic Fingernails of Choking? I don't remember this spell from the game.

2:35 - Well, that's the opening sequence over with. Didn't it remind you of a live action intro to a terrible 90s game when live action in games was all the rage - ON CD-ROM?

2:48 - Those pig carcasses look very plastic. Maybe fantasy pigs are made of plastic in Kirkwall?

2:53 - Why is she chopping the same bit of pork over and over? Is it because it's not really meat and therefore an illusion of butchery, carefully constructed for our entertainment?

3:19 - "Knife-ears" is the crappest fantasy racial slur I have heard. "Hey you, yeah you! Your ears look like knives! Hahahaha!" "Uh okay, see ya." The world of Dragon Age is supposed to be a horribly racist place, the least they could do is come up with an insult that would actually cause offence rather than mild annoyance.

3:25 - So this fight doesn't make a lot of sense, she seems to parry his knife with a bone and outmuscle a man who's got several pounds in weight on her. I know this is supposed to establish Felicia Day's badassery but they could have at least coreographed the fight to make it look credible.

4:00 - This Qunari's wig is... incredible.

4:24 - Hey look it's the low cut suit of armour that provides no protection to the chest! Hooray for Armour of Fan Service +1!

4:48 - She jumps out of a tree so hard that her hood magically removes itself from her head rather than dropping forward and covering her face.

5:03 - "I'll carve it out of you - but my battle axe is made of rubber, so can I borrow a knife?"

5:15 - Look, it's the man who wears paper armour! And in bright daylight the armour looks as flat, thin, and two-dimensional as paper!

5:25 - So the choreography for this fight is, "wave your weapons in circles in the air and then Felicia does a backflip to redraw her knives which she had already drawn in the previous shot."

6:08 - Look out! A slight incline! Someone might fall down that and graze a knee!

6:28 - Nooooo! They fell down the slope! The grazing! The terrible grazing!

6:34 - It's okay, Felicia did a cool action pose after rolling down the incline so she's fine. The other guy probably has a nasty cut on his knee, maybe even a bruise on his arm.

6:38 - And just for the fans, here's a Nicola Bryant style cleavage shot of Felicia while on top of a man.

6:51 - She puts her knives against his throat.

6:54 - Cut to his face and there are no knives against his throat, in fact, nowhere near.

7:00 - Blood!

7:02 - Which then splatters all over the credits.

Okay, that was bad. Felicia does not convince as a cool, deadly assassin and everyone else in it is clearly from the local amateur dramatic society (apart from Doug Jones of course). I don't understand why EA/Bioware would give the go ahead on this series without providing some help with the budget. This is not a good introduction to the Dragon Age world and it will surely struggle to pull in the casual fan based on the production values on screen. If I didn't know anything about Dragon Age, this would not convince me to investigate further. However, this series will probably get a healthy number of views due to the power of Felicia (in fact it's already at 40,000 within a couple of hours of release) so I'm sure there's some kind of plan behind it. I'm just not sure what the aim of this webseries is.

NEXT EPISODE - Lots more rubber ears as Felicia visits the elves.

1 comment:

Rev/Views said...

Pleah, that was indeed awful!