Gamifying the Real World

Allana Carnie, Deakin University

How does the practice of gamification aim to enhance user engagement in the present?

Gamification is explained and promoted in this 7 minute video, touching on its use in business, education and wellbeing. While games are often seen as having a negative impact on peoples health, studies show that it is having much more of a positive impact in terms of user engagement, and we should really be getting on board and gamifying what we do in the workplace and in classrooms.

The video I have created is an exploration of Gamification, primarily to engage audiences in the workforce and for real world situations. It is set out like a visual essay, using titles, imagery and overlayed videos with audio of my voice and music, as I believe this is an interesting way of capturing an audience, and using game sounds and visuals to ‘gamify’ the video in a way. I have broken the video up into segments, first with an introduction of Gamification, touching on Structural gamification and then going in to using my resources to explore how Gamifying products can benefit businesses and their employees. This again has 2 segments, Games used for solving real world problems and Games used to engage people, both in the workplace and in general for wellbeing. A lot of my own personal experiences helped to develop some resources and gave me an idea of where to start- for example the TEDTalks video, which I thought worked really well in the video.

In the production of this video, I struggled a little with coming up with a structure for the video, but began putting resources together and collecting images to give me some inspiration. I wrote out what I would record for the voice over, because I work better with a script and so I put it in the format of an essay. In putting the information together in a visual form, I’m not as used to doing this, but I did enjoy the experience in using my video editing skills to develop something informative and analytic, which I think I can do quite well in written form usually.

For Creative Commons source material, I have looked through Creative Commons image sites and Flickr for PTC images, and have also created some of my own.I have recieved permission from names and content I have used from other people. I have created animations in the past and understand Creative Commons is essential for using other peoples works and attributing them, however in this case I felt that the footage I used was also essential in demonstrating my points. I filmed some footage of playing games using some family members, such as a board game, a Virtual Reality headset and Iphone apps. I also took photos and designed a quick animation to go with the statistics I have used, and took some footage from a Game animation I created last trimester for an animation class, to show while I talk about games more generally. The TEDTalks video is under the Creative Commons law and I have used snippets of this to discuss Jane McGonigal’s ideas on Games. Sounds and music I have used were already in my personal Royalty free library, so I was aware that these are under Creative Commons as well, attributions are in the Resources section. As I have mentioned, I created an animation to incorporate a statistic about gamification, which I felt was important (Marta Raunch, p.276, 2013), and some other information is more paraphrased throughout the video. I felt that with the use of Jane McGonigal’s video and Gabe Lichermann’s quote that I didn’t need to include more quotes from other scholarly resources because I had quoted people enough. Although this was for a different segment of the video and so I’ve broken that up quite well, with a definition of where both start and end using the TEDTalks video.

My Broader Online Activity

I have taken extra notice of what classifies as ‘gamification’ and about what incorporates game mechanics for different purposes, upon coming into the ALC203 unit at Deakin University. Not considering myself a gamer for a start, was perhaps inaccurate with the use of gamified tools I use in my daily life. The unit has given me a greater appreciation, not only for games but for the techniques innovatives use to engage audiences. I have been following game sites and Youtube channels and finding different aspects of Facebook including gamified techniques to get people involved and it really is fascinating what big differences interactive elements can make. I upload comics weekly as well and have made use of Twitter to promote this. Even making posts interactive with calls to action can in some ways be seen as gamification, creating challenges for viewers etc.

Resources

America’s Army: Proving Grounds, Steam screenshots, [Accessed Dec 30 2016]: http://store.steampowered.com/app/203290

Jared Lindsay, Towers of Video Games image, July 25, 2009: [Accessed Dec 26 2016]: https://flickr.com/photos/cinder6/3756838204/
5 Companies using Gamifcation to Boost Business Results, Charles Coy, April 17 2015 https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/rework/5-companies-using-gamification-boost-business-results

10 best examples of gamification in business, Monica Wells, My Customer, [Accessed Dec 30 2016]: http://www.mycustomer.com/community/blogs/monicawells/top-10-best-examples-of-gamification-in-business

Audio under Creative Commons –

Sounds by Zach King, http://www.sweetsoundeffects.com, Video Game Pack, Lasers Pack, Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Ex Xilo, Jack Elphick, Youtube Audio Library, Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

The Bluest Sky, Youtube Audio Library, Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Images and footage under Creative Commons – 

Images from Pexels under Creative Commons license, no attribution

Tiffit badges images, Adam Brown, Deakin Tutor, [accessed 3 Jan 2017]

Flickr.com, Jared Lindsay, rights reserved – NonCommercial, Attribution, NoDerivatives, Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Smiling Mind, app, [accessed 25 Dec 2016]: https://smilingmind.com.au/

Scholarly

Jane McGonigal, Gaming can make a better world, Feb 2010, TEDTalks, TED2010 video, Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Karl M. Kapp, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education, John Wiley & Sons, 1 May 2012, USA pp. 18

M. Rauch. Best Practices for Using Enterprise Gamification to Engage Employees and Customers, Chapter Human-Computer Interaction. Applications and Services, Volume 8005 of the seriesLecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, USA, 2013, pp 276-283

Richard N. Landers &  Rachel C. Callan, Casual Social Games as Serious Games: The Psychology of Gamification in Undergraduate Education and Employee Training, Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, pp 399-423

Online Identities – ALC203, Portfolio Part 1

Allana Carnie, 214107445

ALC203

“They don’t call me Onlina Carnie for Nothin'” – Allana Carnie, 2016

While a person’s presence can vary from online to reality, online profiles can help to shape one’s identity, and for myself, this was as a multimedia creator, as well as for personal use. As different sites can be used to interact and showcase different aspects of your identity, they can work together to identify a large range of interests and characteristics that others may not have known in the real world (Internet Society, 2016). This idea of having multiple identities across platforms can often be formed based on the audiences on each site; for example, on Youtube, a younger audience enjoy watching my videos, and I therefore interact in a more entertaining but mindful manner, whereas on LinkedIn, I might try to speak in a more sophisticated tone for networking purposes.

I first began developing my online identity as a content creator in 2011, at the age of 15. Without any knowledge of the digital community or social media sites, I published my first low quality stop motion animation to Youtube. After gaining feedback from just a few subscribers, I decided to keep working on this style of animation, which as a kid I found fascinating. While creating an online identity can be fun, it is important to make note of what information is kept safe, in both general privacy settings and copyright laws.

Content Use

At 15 I wasn’t aware of the Creative Commons rights, but since then have only produced original content, using other people’s music in fair use, always crediting them where possible. The Creative Commons license allows users to utilise other creators’ content, with attribution, and it is essential for creators to at least be aware of the possibilities of sharing content fairly. As many of my videos contain characters from the DC/Marvel franchise for parody use, I have always been careful so as to make sure that my content, from the beginning of the production process, falls under the satire category for fair use (A. Bovell, 2015). This has always been an important factor in the development of my videos, as I have been conscious about what content I need, the characters I can use, and where I might be able to get content fairly, including collaborating with musicians.

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Consistency

Today, I have over 2400 subscribers and 100 videos, reaching to a community of like-minded animators. It wasn’t until I kept a consistent, twice-a-month schedule of uploading videos, that I started to gain more attention on Youtube, partnering with the Fullscreen Network and collaborating with other content creators doing voice acting and even animating alongside them. This community helped me to strengthen the quality of my videos, and motivated me to continue with stop motion animation, as well as experiment with 2D animation from time to time. Recently however, I have had a re-brand of the Youtube channel, changing from AC Films to Allana Carnie Creative. This change was consistent throughout the platforms, although had its limitations because I had developed an audience under the name AC Films for so long. pik1.jpgFor Youtube, this has also been an issue as my URL still ends in /acfilms. Consistency is such an important issue in keeping an online identity relevant. Maintaining a schedule for posts or content uploads is a significant part of frequently growing your online profile (Social Media Branding, Anthony Yodice, 2016), which is knowledge I have gained through my own personal experience of creating content for Youtube.

Please click here to access a Piktochart regarding my Youtube audience in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2.

Today, my focus is on regular comic uploads to Facebook, developing an identity on Facebook and slowly gaining an audience there. While the comics target a different audience, they share the same unique sense of humour that people enjoyed from my other sites, and keep the same tone. Having these sites linked, each under the username Allana Carnie Creative, was essential in allowing the sites to be easily recognised, by using the same designs that are memorable across each platform.

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Networking

Since creating a Facebook page, I have made any activity in animation or illustration very public, including behind the scenes and events that give the page more content and show audiences a bit about myself in the art I create. Just as I have for Youtube in the past, I have made a point of collaborating with other Facebook users, contributing to other illustration pages such as Garage Party, and animating for Creative Nest Design Studio to develop my skills and get my content out there. This has been a key factor in gaining an audience too, as their audiences have similar interests and would possibly enjoy my content as well. This sort of collaboration is the perfect example of networking online. I recently worked with Garage Party on a short Comic Battle video, which got me noticed by the producer of a Youtuber’s meet-up event, IRL Web Series, where I was on a panel, sharing experiences and gaining inspiration for developing online content. This was an amazing experience for both myself and my friends at Garage Party, as we got to meet our favourite Youtuber, Draw With Jazza.

panel

Social media isn’t just about gaining an audience for entertainment purposes however. Online profiles can be used for professional purposes, to gain clients for businesses and to develop a portfolio, and in a study made by Helen Donelan (p722, 2016), users have found sites such as Facebook and Youtube to be beneficial in these areas (Fig. 3). These sites are also used for 3rd party advertising, so that profiles can gain revenue, based on feedback these platforms provide them. In Donelan’s study, users were foupik2nd to have their own limitations for not using sites for professional benefits, with a lack of time being chosen by 35% of the surveyed. However, social media has become so much more accessible and developing that consistent profile can be as simple as setting aside a few minutes each day to make a quick post, and let audiences know you’re still there.

Please click here to access a similar Piktochart study in Fig. 3.

In addition to my personal sites (Allana Carnie Creative), a friend and I have recently developed the blog site Unfruitful Pear, where we have been posting blogs about movies and TV shows. I think this is a great exercise as it lets us talk about whatever topics we choose, while practicing writing skills in a fun way. It’s also interesting to do something different to what I’m used to in terms of posting content, while still contributing online, for a difference audience.

tw3

My Broader Online Activity

With the encouragement of the ALC203 unit, I have challenged myself to keep consistent with other social media sites as well, such as Twitter, where I have promoted my other sites, but also related topics back to the unit in my research of online identities. Using visuals to capture people’s attention is a helpful trick to use on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In terms of the unit content, I have also been trying to provide feedback in the comment section of tweets and videos for Youtube to engage myself with audiences and other creators. I have become even more cautious of content sharing, making consistency and privacy two important factors in posting online. In a way, the students of the unit are creating their own sense of an online community through the help of this unit.

Word count: 1,259

Resources

Anthony Yodice, Social Media Branding: Creating a Consistent Online Presence, Associate Digital PR Specialist, Blue Fountain Media, Oct 12, 2016, [Accessed 22/11/2016]: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/advertising-week/social-media-branding-cre_b_12456502.html
Astrid Bovell, Using Content in Your Assessments & Portfolios v.3, Deakin University Copyright Office, 2015
Deborah Lupton, research report, ‘Feeling Better Connected’: Academics’ Use of Social Media, News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra, p12-14, 10 June 2014, [Accessed 22/11/2016]: https://www.canberra.edu.au/about-uc/faculties/arts-design/attachments2/pdf/n-and-mrc/Feeling-Better-Connected-report-final.pdf
Helen Donelan (2016) Social media for professional development and networking opportunities in academia, Journal of Further and Higher Education, Deakin University Library, 40:5, 706-729, DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2015.1014321
Understanding Your Online Identity, Internet Society, 2016, [Accessed 22/11/2016]: http://www.internetsociety.org/sites/default/files/Understanding%20your%20Online%20Identity%20An%20Overview%20of%20Identity.pdf

Warts and All – SCREAM QUEENS Ep. 2 Recap

We open on a scene of a murder being cleaned up and a police officer talking to Chanel No.5. The officer tells her she is the main suspect and No.5 does what she does best and rants on and on, all whilst crying. Woe me. Although in this case she’s just seen a lady’s head get cut off, so we’ll let her off this time. I guess.

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The patient this week is a guy covered from head to toe in warts. Last week was hair, this week was warts, what’ll be next week Scream Queens, (insert problem that someone can be covered in).

After the murder of the Werewolf chick, Zayday is suspicious of Dr. Munch, questioning her true reasoning for the girls being invited to work at the hospital. Could Dr. Munch just be out for revenge, and in Zayday’s words “tying up and loose ends” from the Red Devil murders? Zayday works with Chamberlain (cheerful hospital guy) down in the archives room. Chamberlain is sus now. He was the one to find No.5 in the bath tub, and No.5 had told him to come and check on them. Surely he would’ve heard screaming?

Chanel and Dr. Holt go out on a date at the movies. He puts his arm around her and his EVIL hand grabs her boob. Not only did that hand probably belong to a killer, but damn, he was a smooth criminal.

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Wart guy shows No.5 a picture of himself from before the warts and turns out Wart guy is actually hot. Like really hot. Like really really-Okay, you get the point. Thus, setting out No.5’s plan to raise money for a laser so that Wart guy (Tyler), can be wart-free and live happily ever after. The other Chanel’s tell her that her fundraiser video pretty much sucks, and that the only way Tyler will date her once he’s cured, is if she starts dating him while he’s all…Warty. She’s clearly the groups DUFF.

Chad Radwell is back, but reveals himself in a strange way; dressed as the Red Devil. This could totally be hinting at something for the future, or he’s just really dumb. Yeah, probably the second one. The show just wouldn’t have been the same without him though, but let’s face it, nothing was better than the Chad and Boone bromance. RIP Boone.

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Potentially the best part of the episode is seeing Chad in the shower, where he tells Dr. Holt that Chanel is his. Chad challenges him to a game of squash, where the winner gets Chanel. Nothing better than a competition to win a girl. *SARCASM ALERT* Chad gets dirt on Dr. Holt. The hand that we have all been wondering so much about belonged to that of champion squash player Marshall Winthrop, but that’s not all. Winthrop was a serial killer! Called it.

FLASHBACK!

It’s Nov 1st 1986, we’re taken back to the night of the first scene from Ep. 1, when all the hospital staff were murdered by the Green Devil. We get the idea that the devil has come back from the swamp, or someone took the costume, either way, nobody from the hospital could have survived. SURELY!  There is seriously something off about that swamp. Especially seeing as the Green Devil leaves a trail of green slime.
A visit to Hester in prison reveals her knowledge about the attacks 30 years ago. Girl knows too much…

Nurse Hoffel is still suspicious, wanting to know the Chanel’s whereabouts at all times and listening in on a conversation about Dr. Munch’s illness. What are you up to Hoffel!?

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Dr. Munch nearly gets killed by the Green Devil, but because she’s a strong independent woman, oh and a main character, she knocks him down and has a chance to take the mask off. But instead, the hottest couple since Brangelina, No.3 and Dr. Cascade walk in. Oooh, too soon? The Green Devil is gone before Munch can reveal who they are. Convenient. This means that either Cascade is teaming up with someone else or that he isn’t in fact the Green Devil as first predicted.

Chanel No. 5 wins Tyler’s heart, and Chad pays for his wart-removing surgery, so all is well. The End. UNTIL!  As they head to the operating room, the Chanel’s casually talk about how their doctor boyfriend’s are having a handsome competition, but then find Tyler sliced on the table. Green Devil has killed him and Chanel No.5 loses another boyfriend. Forever alone. Seriously, is no one watching this hospital and its patients?

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And there you have it kids, a whole lot of suspicious characters, but who can we trust?

This week’s prediction as to who the killer is: Dr Holt.

We didn’t see as much of Dr. Cascade this time around, but maybe the rivalry between Holt and Chad is just a distraction. Maybe Chad’s back for a reason and they’re working together…Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Keep up to date with next week’s episode of Scream Queens by reading our recaps! Obvi.

Scream Queens 2016, tv series, USA, Prospect films, directed by Brad Falchuk
Image, Scream Queens Season 2 Premiere Review: Scream Again., Elizabeth Rayne, Sept 21 2016, [Accessed Sept 29 2016]: http://www.denofgeek.com/us/tv/scream-queens/258604/scream-queens-season-2-premiere-review-scream-again

Scream Again – SCREAM QUEENS Ep. 1 Recap

Episode 1: Scream Again

Scream Queens is back bitches!

AAAAAnnnd there’s another pregnant chick. It’s a flashback to Halloween in 1985, where a pregnant woman’s husband dies in a nearby hospital. A man in a green devil costume and black wigged lady dispose of the body in a swamp, so could this mean another evil baby out to avenge their father’s death?

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It’s good to see this season takes the same format as the last, but with a different scenario. Like any first episode, this episode pretty much just introduces us to the new characters and lets us know where the old ones are at. 6 months after the events of Season 1, we’re then introduced to Dr. Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner) and Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos), and there is something just a little bit sus about these two.

Dr. Holt reveals that his hand is not his own. He received a transplant after an unfortunate incident with an InSinkErator, the guy could’ve really used a hand…G…Get it? His hand has a mind of its own and this is revealed early on. Chanel works with Dr. Holt and his hand places itself around her neck, but he quickly realises it’s there and moves it away. Could this hand have belonged to a serial killer, or is he in fact the killer?

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Dr. Casade and Chanel no. 3 are soul mates, we know that. I bet Taylor Lautner never thought he’d get to feel like Edward Cullen, but would you look at that! His character has skin as cold as ice. How do you like me now Bella?

You know who else is sus and totally hates the Chanel’s? Dr. Ingrid Hoffel, or I. M. Hoffel. And she really is. She’s got something to hide, so I’d be keeping an eye out for these untrustworthy doctors.

So, who is in charge of this hospital? Dean Munch, or should I say Dr. Munch.

Her plan for the CURE Institute hospital is to cure the incurable. Their first patient, a woman covered head to toe in hair, but we’ll just call her Werewolf. Dr. Munch offers Zayday to come and work at her hospital as part of her residency for her medical course. When Zayday suggests that the place needs a more female presence, Dr Munch has an idea.

In come the Chanel’s as bitchy as ever, working their part time jobs; Chanel as phlebotomist, Chanel no. 3 as a cleaner for a sperm donor’s office and Chanel no. 5, a receptionist at a dentist.

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After a documentary of them was released on Netflix they have become a laughing stock, no longer accepted by their rich families and the public. In some footage taken from the doco, we also get to see good old Hester confessing her crimes and taken to jail, but I have a feeling it won’t be the last we see of her. With their little experience working at clinics, Dr. Munch offers the Chanel’s the opportunity to apply as medical students and work at her hospital. They accept and join the quest to figuring out what is causing Werewolf’s extreme hair growth.

The girls figure out how to help her, with the cure being a simple change of diet, much to the dismay of Zayday who is annoyed that Chanel has come in and shown her up.

But the episode is not over until somebody gets killed. Chanel no. 5 locks herself and Werewolf girl in bath tubs, with only their heads visible, and of course you know that’s not going to go well. In comes the Green Devil (real original, writers!) and decapitates the Werewolf’s head. Gross, but we all saw it coming.

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End episode.

This week’s prediction as to who the killer is: Dr Cassidy Cascade.

Why? If the Green Devil does in fact turn out to be the pregnant lady’s baby than this means that they would need to be 31. Whether the show sticks to the actual age, if this theory turns out to be true, then we need to keep an eye out for someone that fits this age.

It is completely possible that we haven’t even met the killer yet. And where’s Grace huh? Stay tuned for the next recap of Scream Queens Season 2, and don’t trust anyone wearing green.

Scream Queens 2016, tv series, USA, Prospect films, directed by Brad Falchuk
THE CHANELS ARE BACK IN A NEW SCREAM QUEENS SEASON 2 TEASER, Nerdist, Blair Marnell, July 31 2016, [Accessed Sept 22 2016]: http://nerdist.com/the-chanels-are-back-in-a-new-scream-queens-season-2-teaser/

Suicide Squad – Review 2016

I wanted to love this movie. I really wanted to love it. But no matter how hard I sat there trying to, I just couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed the movie (although by the end of this trust me you will not believe that statement at all) it just didn’t live up to the hype that was created.

Warning: Spoilers up ahead

Flawed Plot Line

This movie, directed and written by David Ayer, is about the worst villains that Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) puts together to in her words, fight fire with fire. Only problem is her plan is completely flawed from the beginning and here’s why.
Waller introduces the secret government agency she works for to Enchantress who is in the body of June Moone. Moone can summon Enchantress to show herself and conveniently they look exactly the same (buy one Cara Delevingne get one free). She can jump to anywhere in the world, which Waller was hoping to use to her advantage. Of course, as to be expected Enchantress escapes where she teams up with her brother Incubus to take over the world. So basically, the first member of the squad she is setting up is now the reason to need the squad. Makes sense yeah? No I didn’t think so either. All this time Waller had hold of the Enchantress’ heart which she can use to stop her, but instead she keeps it in a case, where the Enchantress later gets her hands on it. So basically if they’d just crushed the enchantress’ heart at the start of the movie there never would have been a problem, June Moone would just survive like she does at the end. Also, why did Cara Delevingne get cast in this role? Can anyone explain?

The Squad

The Squad consists of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Katana, Captain Boomerang, Diablo and Slipknot.

Deadshot (Will Smith) was by far the stand out performance and the most well-known actor to appear in this movie. They really could’ve played up on the fact that Deadshot was loving and missing his daughter so much and there was missed opportunity there for Enchantress to put her in danger. Deadshot and Rick Flag’s (Joel Kinnaman) on screen chemistry puts to shame the chemistry that was meant to be there between Flag and Bloome.

deadshot

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is such a quirky character and I really don’t think that anyone else would’ve been suited to play this part. Robbie did such a brilliant job at owning the way that Quinn is sexualised in the movie. Although completely crazy, there is no doubt that Quinn knows exactly what she’s doing and at the end of the day she’s the one that saved them all. Deadshot and Quinn form quite the bond in this film. Deashot who never misses does when he is told to shoot her. It’s later stipulated that he doesn’t shoot women or children. So whether he was saving a friend or sticking by his morals, it’s clear he has a soft spot for Quinn. I would love to see is a Harley Quinn movie and it has been rumoured that there might be one. Let’s just hope they don’t stuff it up.

Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje) is the most boring and underwhelming villain I’ve ever seen in my life. He wasn’t the slightest bit intimidating and wasted potential. He should have been portrayed as an untamed and unpredictable character.

Katana (Karen Fukuhara) just appeared out of nowhere whilst they’re on the helicopter on the way to the mission, with just a brief explanation of who she is given by Flag. Her job is to protect Rick Flag. But when Flag was ever in trouble the others would always come to save him. So nobody should be hiring her for their protection anytime soon.

Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) was clearly made to put on an Australian accent in this movie even though he is Australian and that had to be the worst thing about the whole movie. It is evident in this film that they took a different spin on the character than what is shown in the comic books, as Boomerang now constantly has a drink in his hand. Once again, I feel like American’s have taken the stereotype of what Australians are like and amped it right up. I was just waiting for him to point his boomerang at the samurai chick and say “that’s not a knife, this is a knife”. At that point I wouldn’t have known whether to laugh or cry. What also wasn’t used in the movie is Boomerang’s limited super speed that allows him to run fast in short distances, which definitely would’ve helped them in the end fight scene.

boomerang

Diablo (Jay Hernandez), poor, poor Diablo. He sacrifices his life for the rest of the squad and they don’t even bat an eye lid. He wants nothing to do with the squad at the start, but then he refers to them as his family and sacrifices himself for them. Huh?

Slipknot (Adam Beach) was not around for long. They all had devices in their necks that would blow their heads off if they tried to escape, all that had to be done was to click a button on a phone. It doesn’t take long to realise that his only purpose in the movie is to show the audience and other squad members how the device works. R.I.P.

The Joker

This movie should’ve revolved entirely around The Joker. In all the previews of this movie they made out that it was going to be a lot about the Joker, but he’s barely in it. His character was merely there to add to Harley Quinn’s part in the movie. They needed way more time to adapt the relationship between Quinn and The Joker. It felt too rushed and only got to skim the surface of their twisted and wonderful relationship. Ideally they should’ve had a movie based on the two of them and how they met before introducing them in Suicide Squad. Leto’s version of The Joker is nothing at all like that of Heath Ledger and Suicide Squad just isn’t a dark enough movie for that version of The Joker to be successful anyway. Leto definitely wasn’t a disappointment, in the scenes that we did get to see him he portrayed the maniacal nature of The Joker just as you’d hope and his look is something that you could expect from real life, such as the tattoos. If you enjoyed Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the joker than you will appreciate Jared Leto’s Joker as it shares the same suggested back story of how he became The Joker. It’s always difficult not to compare actors that have played the same part, but just as people compare DC to Marvel, people will always compare the jobs that these actors have done. The touch on this Joker that I think is really cool is the mouth tattooed on his hand which he places over his own and other’s faces. In the film The Joker gets a security guard to pass on a phone to Quinn. When given to her she tells him he’s screwed and that’s it we don’t see the guard for the rest of the movie. So we’re left to assume that The Joker has killed him. Don’t you just love unexplained story lines?

I’m Still Lost

Due to the amount of re shooting and re editing they did it comes as no surprise that the movie would be such a hot mess. The movie jumps from light to dark scenes and the overall tone of the movie is confusing. There’s colour, graffiti and fonts everywhere that looks like a kid went nuts on WordArt and paint. It’s full of random songs, from Eminem to Queen there’s really no telling what song was going to come next and it definitely didn’t stick to a particular genre of music. It seems they were trying to attempt the way Guardians of the Galaxy had music in their movie, but there was one very defining factor for their use. It was explained and intertwined in the plot!

Overall, it was just underwhelming and when doing a movie that packs in so many characters it needs to be longer. You can’t balance plot and character development in such a short period of time without compromising on one.

But Wait, There’s More

Justice League is coming which means that DC is not done yet. Will DC redeem themselves with the next movie? I guess we will just have to wait and see. (Probably won’t though).

6/10 did not give me Squad goals

Resources

Suicide Squad 2016, motion picture, USA, Atlas Entertainment, DC & Warner Bros., David Ayer
Australia Network News, ‘Suicide Squad’ Movie: Emotional Scene Revealed! Fans Not Happy?, Jessica Rapir, Jun 6 2016, [Accessed Aug 10 2016]: www.australianetworknews.com/suicide-squad-movie-emotional-scene-revealed-fans-not-happy/
Collider, Harley Quinn Deserves Better than ‘Suicide Squad’, Haleigh Foutch, Aug 9 2016, [Accessed Aug 10 2016]: http://collider.com/harley-quinn-suicide-sqaud-margot-robbie/
Collider, ‘Suicide Squad’: List of Rumored Cut Scenes Teases a Much Darker Blockbuster, Chris Cabin Aug 8 2016, [Accessed Aug 10 2016]: http://collider.com/suicide-squad-cut-scenes/
Youtube, Suicude Squad – Blitz Trailer [HD], Warner Bros. PicturesApr 10 2016, [Accessed Aug 10 2016]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AwUdTIbA8I
IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1386697/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
Movie Pilot, Deadshot, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn: Every Suicide Squad Member’s Origin Story in Less Than 5 Minutes!, Paul Singh May 8 2015, [Accessed August 11 2016]:  http://moviepilot.com/posts/2916467

 

Lights Out – Review 2016

If you haven’t heard yet, Lights Out, is out. Directed by David F. Sandberg, Lights Out is a horror movie about a demonic entity that can only attack when the lights go out, but is much deeper than the plot suggests. The film begins in a shady warehouse, where Paul, a family man is approached by the mysterious figure, who we later find out is named Diana. Scary name, I know. It had been a while since the family had seen Diana, with Paul’s son, Martin meeting her for the first time just after that.

Diana

Not long before the movie starts, it becomes clear that the mother, Sophie is suffering from a mental illness, and her relationship with the demon explains it all. Diana is a personification of Sophie’s Schizophrenia – a ‘friend’ who had been with Sophie since she was a little girl, causing her to detach herself from the rest of the world and even become isolated in dark rooms so that Diana can stay with her, although it pushes everyone else away. Diana even manages to affect Sophie’s children, where Rebecca had finally escaped her childhood fears by moving out, leaving Martin to become the next target. Diana does what it takes to keep Sophie’s support away from her, so that she can grow stronger as Sophie becomes weaker, and from this we can see that Sophie has grown attached to her biggest fear, an illness that completely takes over her life. But hang on, if Diana was connected to Sophie in this way, it begs the question…Was Sophie the one attacking everyone, and we all just imagined Diana? But, let’s not get into that, it’s not all about the representation of Sophie’s mental state, it’s about the lights.

Lights-Out-20162

Lights On (Heh)

The lighting in the film was obviously going to be a key factor of what makes Lights Out so engaging, but it’s the variety of the lighting set ups that keep it that way throughout the film. While Diana is visually pretty much just a silhouetted figure who hides in the darkness, the other characters struggle to keep themselves in the light. They use instruments like lamps, torches or black lights; but that’s if the house lights don’t work, and chances are, when SHE’S around, they won’t. As you can tell, these characters will use literally anything to keep themselves away from Diana. In fact, the use of lighting motifs in the film almost become ridiculous, especially when Sophie casually watches an old film on her TV, and they mention the word ‘light’ a little too much, after the family were just talking about lights themselves. Okay, it’s not a big deal, BUT IT BUGGED ME.

Wait…What?

If you’ve seen the movie, you’d know that the whole idea of it is that the characters can only see Diana when the lights are out, seen as a shadowy figure casted by light that creeps into the room. Up until one point in the movie, we see that Diana completely becomes invisible when the lights are turned back on, but we are still able to hear her knocking on the walls and walking into a dark closet, as if she is still in the room, but on another plane. Okay, makes sense. BUT WAIT! In the opening sequence of the film we first see Diana keeping herself from the light, because it seems that this would hurt her, and this is only really supported at the end of the film, when Diana tries to attack Rebecca in the light, AND WE CAN STILL SEE HER, AS HER HAND STARTS TO BURN.  It’s either the light harms her, or she only turns invisible when they’re turned on. Pick one!

Lights-Out-2016

The Backstory

The trouble with writing for film, is finding a balance between not showing enough, and over exposition. Lights Out definitely needed to have some things explained, like the relationship between Diana and Sophie, and how Diana came to be the demon she is, *was…SPOILER. But it was moments like the one where Rebecca picks her little brother up from school and tells the school nurse the usual story of her father abandoning her, where we start to find out a little too much, too soon. We just met you Rebecca! That poor nurse did not sign up for that. And, they REALLY wanted us to see the connection between Rebecca and Martin, based on the 20 second long shot of the very obviously placed family photos back at the house. Rebecca was Martin’s older step sister, if you didn’t pick that one up when watching the film. You’re welcome.

Final Score

The rating of the film really comes down to the writing in this case, with those plot holes and over explained details that just aren’t tweaked enough to put the film in my top Horror films list. Aside from the film’s flaws, Lights Out had the makings of a really strong horror film, with just enough family drama to not take away from the thrill, although it fell a little short at the end. And I mean short, it did end very suddenly. In terms of the horror in the film, I probably only jumped once, and that was for excitement that the film had ended. JOKE, it was good. No really. Overall it was an enjoyable film with some good editing and lighting that kept the suspense going in mostly dark and eerie scenes, as well as Maria Bello’s performance as Sophie which was compelling and fit the role of a suffering mother quite well.

6/10too many lights turned on, title is misleading

Resources

Lights Out 2016, motion picture, USA, Atomic Monster & Grey Matter Productions, David F. Sandberg
Gizmodo, Image, Lights Out Will Have You Running For The Light Switch, Hayley Williams, 20 July 2016, [Accessed 26 July 2016]: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/07/lights-out-will-have-you-running-for-the-light-switch/
The Slanted, Image, Warner Bros releases a dark glimpse into “Lights Out” with a trailer, John Stewart, March 26 2016, [Accessed 24 July 2016]: http://theslanted.com/2016/03/22854/warner-bros-releases-dark-glimpse-lights-trailer/
Vox, Image, Lights Out is the brilliantly scary, surprisingly divisive movie you need to see, Todd VanDerWerff, July 23 2016, [Accessed 26 July 2016]: http://www.vox.com/2016/7/23/12255356/lights-out-review-spoilers