What is it with movies about giant robots always sucking?
Robot Jox sucked. Robot Wars (The sequel to Robot Jox!) sucked. Robot Holocaust sucked.
“But wait!” you say. “Gunhed is Japanese. The Japanese invented giant robots! And it’s a Toho movie! Toho are the undisputed master of movies about giant stuff!” You’d be mostly correct: Toho has all the pedigree to make a totally awesome giant robot movie. Here’s how they screwed up:
- There aren’t any giant robots until the end
- The giant Robots don’t do anything
- The rest of the movie is really dull
The whole film is a vast sea of decisions meant to reduce entertainment. Every scene is accompanied by grating Casio music, except senes featuring a little girl named 11- who is mute. That’s right, every scene featuring this little girl is totally silent. The rest of the cast is whittled down, which you expect in a horror-action thriller, but which happens so fast here that we barely get to know them. Since the hero doesn’t meet Gunhed the big robot until near the end of the movie, and other giant robots don’t show up for Gunhed to fight until Gunhed is around to fight them, the main threat is a dude in a bug costume. Yeah, that’s right. Homeboy looks like Insector-Z with circuit boards glued to his eyes.
So, much like Robot Holocaust, what is billed as a robot action film is really a “dude runs around a factory being chased by guys in bad costumes” movie. There’s no character development or chemistry at all.
Gunhed itself is kind of a letdown. Designed well, the Gunhed puppet just doesn’t move convincingly. It turns into a tank (of course) at which point it becomes slightly more believable since it’s just driving around. The gunhed scenes are basically just it rolling around shooting sparks and cartoon lasers at a big robot scorpion. The big robot scorpion is also limited to rolling. It’s pretty dull, and considering the mechanical articulation the Robocop films achieved with the same technology as this film, pretty inexcusable.
So, Gunhed is a dull, lifeless hunk of plastic. I mean that both in terms of the DVD of the film, and the robot itself. The characters are similarly unlikable, and you won’t miss them when they die, which most of them do.
Basically hobo wine for non-hobos, white zinfandels have been the guilty pleasure of the middle class since time immemorial. Bottled and served before it’s old enough to drive, as sugary as orange Faygo, and the color of really cheap perfume, white zinfandel is a tasty dinnertime, snacktime, anytime wine with no artistic merit or complexity. If you can’t justify buying that bottle of Tres Banditos, and Asti is too expensive, you probably want to go for some white zinfandel.
Mad Housewife, which seems to be positioned as wine for alcoholic homemakers, makes a pretty bleh zinfandel. The wine is pretty fizzy, and despite some initial sweetness has a kind of bitter, chalky aftertaste. It’s totally possible the bottle I got was skunked; it certainly tasted pretty funky. Then again, it could just be nasty cheap wine. White zinfandel usually toes the line between sugar water and vinegar pretty closely, and this stuff tasted like it just skipped a bit too far to the side.
Let me just say I am no wine snob. I make lemonade with chablis. I like Boone’s Farm. I didn’t like Mad Housewife, and since there are approximately a million different brands of cheapo white wine to choose from, I don’t see much reason to give it another shot.
How to start this off? Have you ever used a product, and you thought it was pretty good, and so you decided that when an upgrade came out, you’d buy it? And so you do, and the day comes and you install your new program… And it’s lousy?
If you liked to use WebWorks ePublisher 9.3 to render HTML help files, then buy yourself the new version and this experience can be yours.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the two parts of the suite, Pro and Express pretty much must be used together. Why? Because only Express can apply stationary (formatting files used in ePublisher) and only Pro can create them. Pro also can’t do much of anything with earlier webworks projects that have stationary applied meaning that if you want to edit any of your 9.3 stationary, too bad, you can’t.
Pro takes longer than ever to create help (a real curse since you’ll be using it to rebuild your stationaries whenever you make changes) and just as with older versions, most changes to your help must be made in the files and hard code of your projects. Why not just use Dreamweaver? I had to use Dreamweaver, and Microsoft Word, AND Photoshop just to recreate a stationary in Pro.
Speaking of Word, if you want to make help from Word files in ePublisher 2008.3, you’ll pay for the pleasure. WebWorks now licenses the codecs for different filetypes independently, so if you buy the licensing to make help files from FrameMaker, then decide you need Word, you’ll have to pay. How much? More than a little.
Bottom line: unless you’re trying to build a help system from DITA (which this version of ePublisher actually seems pretty good at) this is a shabby excuse for an upgrade and may actually cost you some functionality. Oh, and don’t bother consulting WebWorks’ documentation- your main source of ePublisher info will be the official blog, created by WebWorks so users could come together and share solutions to their problems. Hey WebWorks: next time try hiring PAID BETA TESTERS. It gets the job done faster, so you might be able to release a good product.