Films for the Diablo Fan

    Right before I get to the meat of this installment, I’d like to harken back to Garwulf’s Corner #2 (The Royal Circlet and the Hacker). This particular column managed to generate a fair bit of reader response, most of which complimented me on the column and shared a story about how they were once cheaters and changed, or have been helping others to give up the cheating habit.

    I want to thank everybody who wrote in; I know I didn’t answer many of them personally (I usually only answer those emails that ask a specific question), but I did read and enjoy them. And thus I come to a small side-issue.

    (For those who are interested, these columns are written about a month in advance of being posted. Therefore, if you have written me a truly vitriolic hate letter regarding column #3, don’t worry, I’ll have a witty comeback ready for the next column. I’m also thinking of having column #8 dedicated to reader letters.)

    It has come to my attention that a couple of people (who shall remain unnamed) have begun to design hacks for the Battle.net Realms Servers. Personally, I think this is worthy of comment: the Realms Servers were put up specifically to give legitimate players the ability to play without running into a cheater every five seconds, and anybody who uses a hack on a Realms Server has immediately ruined the experience for a great many others. If you’re going to cheat, please, do it on the open Battle.net; don’t destroy the Realms Servers for the real Diablo fans.

    And now, on with the show…

    Well, my dear readers (or what few of you remain after my last column), I have decided not to take on any great moral or social Diablo issues, or talk about the decline in humanity in general. Instead, I am going to write about one of my favorite subjects: movies.

    So, for your reading (and hopefully soon viewing) pleasure, I present a Diablo-lover’s guide to some of the better movies out there. I am in a uniquely qualified position to do this, having not only graduated with a degree in Medieval Studies, but also having been a published film critic for around eight months (thus allowing me to inflate my ego to the point of eclipsing the sun).

    It is certainly going to be an interesting couple of years for fantasy fans; not only is the new Dungeons and Dragons movie coming out on December 8th, promising space-opera style dragon dog-fights, but the next two years will feature a summer with the new Star Wars film and an installment of The Lord of the Rings every winter.

    (I am rather pleased with the Dungeons and Dragons release date, as December 8th is my birthday. For those Garwulf’s Corner fanatics who insist on sending me a birthday present, I just want you to repeat these words: “DVD Player…”)

    But, there are some cinematic treats for us to content ourselves with before the Dungeons and Dragons film comes to visit, pretty much all of which are accessible for anyone with a television and VCR (okay, those in the boonies of the world, surrounded by nothing but tumbleweeds and sand dunes, might have some difficulty…but the rest of you should be fine). Pretty much none of these are suitable for the younger ‘uns, so this is evening entertainment, folks…

    To begin, I’ll start with the closest film I have seen to the spirit of Diablo: The 13th Warrior. This little gem, an adaptation of Michael Crichton’s rendition of Beowulf (a poem of which I am a fanatical devotee, and attempted to sell as an e-book idea before it was rejected in favor of the Demonsbane plot), features Antonio Banderas as an Arab emissary named Ahmed Ibn Fahlan, who is co-opted by a bunch of Vikings to help them fight a great evil (not that they actually need him, but the witch woman tells them that they have to take a foreigner along…too bad for Banderas). Ibn Fahlan then finds himself fight beast-like creatures in a grim, frightening battle for a small fort.

    Not only is it worth seeing for the intense battle scenes, but Banderas manages a sterling performance, and the Vikings are almost right on the mark. Very close to the feel of Diablo I, too…all it needs is a giant cross between a T-Rex and a hedgehog, and it could be a game expansion.

    Released around the same time is a Japanese film that, like The 13th Warrior, passed almost unnoticed. But, it is on video now, and anybody who wants can rent this wonder titled Princess Mononoke. In a rare turn, this film manages to outdo pretty much all of western fantasy at once: a young prince named A****aka finds himself cursed by a demon, and must travel west in search of a cure, which he can only find by “seeing with eyes unclouded by hate.”

    What makes this movie special, I think, is the statement it makes about mankind and nature. There are no true bad guys in the film, only people trying to make the best of what they have. And, regardless of what the ideal is, they cannot live in harmony with nature. The struggle that occurs is necessary, and presented in such a way that it is extremely tragic, for no matter what happens, something beautiful and worthwhile must pass away. Add to this a sweeping score by Joe Hisaishi, and it makes for a truly winning combination.

    And, finally, for a blast into the past: Conan the Barbarian. This is an incredible film, and possibly one of Arnie’s greatest performances (Schwarzenegger can act. Really.) His untamable Cimmerian must try to destroy an immortal cult leader and sorcerer named Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones, proving that not all of his evil voices are Darth Vader).

    Conan is very operatic. The story is told almost entirely with actions and music; there is little or no dialogue. And, to my knowledge, Thulsa Doom never tells a lie throughout the entire film. There’s lots of flesh, lots of blood, and lots to think about.

    (Don’t mistake this for the sequel, Conan the Destroyer, which is absolutely horrible. The only good thing that movie had going for it was the soundtrack.)

    And so, while you wait for the new fantasy films to hit the theatres, and your computer has burnt out due to excessive Diablo-playing, these three films should keep you entertained through the long nights ahead.

    Disclaimer: Garwulf’s Corner was written by Robert B. Marks and hosted by Diii.net. The views expressed in this column are those of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of Diii.net.

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