This Week In New Releases [Week Of 19th March 2012]
We all need a gentle reminder from time to time. This Week In New Releases from New Rising Media aims to do just that – remind you of the biggest, best and hottest new media releases to look out for this week. From the latest big screen blockbusters, to this week's most anticipated Blu-Ray discs, via details of the next big triple-A videogame to reach consoles. This isn't a total run-down of everything new this week, though, these are carefully hand-picked for your viewing/playing pleasure entirely by us, enjoy.
Pick Of The Week - The Hunger Games (12a) Dir: Gary Ross
In Cinemas Friday
Slated to be one of this year's most exciting and smart blockbusters, The Hunger Games has also been referred to by some as the 'new Twilight', not just for its origins as a series of novels – written by Suzanne Collins, this being the first part of a trilogy – but because its focus, like the aforementioned, lies not on the shoulders of some hulking action hero, but a mid-teen female. But while Kristen Stewart was the envy of Twi-hards in the former as the melancholic Bella Swan, it's Jennifer Lawrence (previously seen braving the harsh wilderness in Winter's Bone) here bringing resourcefulness, fight and cunning as 16-year old protagonist Katniss Everdeen.
Taking place in an unidentified future time period, The Hunger Games centers on a nation known as 'Panem', representing what's left of North America after an apocalyptic event occurred, Panem consists of a rich, burgeoning Capital and its surrounding twelve, much poorer, depressed districts. With the future of each such district looking bleak in the wake of starvation and social decay, the 'Hunger Games' is the name given to an annual, televised event in which one boy and one girl from each district take part in a fight to the death in order to be rewarded in surplus food for the district they are representing. Volunteering for the games in place of her younger sister, Lawrence's Katniss is pitted against the other ruthless “tributes” from other districts, though it's her friendship with fellow district participant Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) that she hopes will see her live to fight another day...
The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn (PG) Dir: Steven Spielberg
Out Now (DVD, Blu Ray)
Jamie Bell is the green dot-adorned face behind the motion-capped mask of the intrepid, eternally-quiffed reporter 'Tintin' in this big-screen adaptation of three of Belgian artist Hergé's most ambitious The Adventures Of Tintin comic books. Taking portions of action and snippets of plot each of 'The Crab With The Golden Claws', 'Red Rackham's Treasure' and 'The Secret Of The Unicorn' itself, Spielberg's treatment of one of Belgium's most cherished exports packs enough spectacular set-piece moments, quite mesmerising motion-captured performances (you go ahead and talk about your 'uncanny valley') and blockbuster panache to please any audience palette.
Expected to be the first of a rumoured The Adventures Of Tintin trilogy – Peter Jackson is purportedly in place to pick up the directorial reigns on part two – The Secret Of The Unicorn sees the young reporter, dog Snowy and Alcoholics Anonymous absentee Captain Haddock (played by Andy Serkis) on a globe-trotting adventure searching for three parchment scrolls that hold the clues to a long-lost treasure missing for generations. What the film loses in its plot being a little over-stuffed, it more than makes up for in its sense of adventure; whether it being the danger posed by the evil Ivan Sakharine (voiced by Daniel Craig), the many, exquisitely-detailed locales, or the magnitude of the terrific dockyard finale.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Xbox 360, PS3) Dev: Slant Six Games/Capcom
Set around the same time of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, Operation Raccoon City is your typical RE game in name only. Unfortunately, that means Capcom and co-developer Slant Six Games are purported to have taken out much of the nerve-shredding chill, terrifying pacing and slow-burn of the main series (less so, perhaps with 4 and 5) and instead replaced it with a firm focus on squad-based mechanics and savage action. Slant Six Games has over the past few years played second-fiddle in development duties for Sony's SOCOM series, which ought to mean the studio is well-equipped for everything Capcom's project direction would entail, though if early reports are anything to go by, the results are unremarkable to say the least. The game has so far only achieved a 51 rating on Metacritic, with a torrent of critics picking out sub-standard AI, clunky gameplay, repetitive missions and unimaginative level design amongst its flaws.
That's not to say the game won't have its own draw for fans of the series. Taking place shortly after the outbreak of the T-virus, players take the role of a member of an elite team of Umbrella Security Services soldiers who have been tasked by Umbrella to destroy all evidence of the outbreak and kill any remaining survivors, including one Leon S. Kennedy. As ever, expect series' nods throughout, from iconic landmarks to small, often incidental details that will flesh out the RE universe from an all-new perspective.