Category: Arts & Entertainment

Call of Duty: Mobile Game Review

Chris Parris 

Staff Writer

On October 1, 2019, Mario Kart Tour lost its #1 spot on the Top Chart for action games on the App Store. Stealing their spot was Call of Duty: Mobile, a game designed exclusively for mobile devices. This is the first time the Call of Duty franchise has released a free multiplayer game for mobile devices. 

According to data from Sensor Tower, Call of Duty: Mobile is the #1 free app in 33 countries, three million people have installed the game, and it ranks #59 in revenue for the United States. It should also be noted that Call of Duty: Mobile recieved 52,000+ reviews on the App Store within its first 24 hours and has a solid 4.7 stars on Google Play.

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Photo Credit: Activision

Call of Duty: Mobile is not a pay-to-win game. Whenever you advance a level, weapons, XP upgrade passes, perks, weapon skills, and scorestreaks are unlocked. By Level 20, a player will have seven primary weapons. These weapons include assault rifles, sniper rifles, submachine guns, and light machine guns. Weapon attatchments such as scopes, grips, supressors, extended magazines, and laser sights gradually become available, too.

There are five different multiplayer game modes that players can choose from. In Frontline, players find themsleves on two teams. They spawn at their bases and the first team to reach 40 kills wins. In Team Deathmatch, two teams fight each other and the first team to reach 40 kills wins. In Domination, two teams fight to capture and hold objectives. In Search & Destroy, a team works together to destroy a single objective or stop their opponents from doing the same. One thing that distingushes Search & Destroy from the other multiplayer game modes is that there are no respawns. And, lastly, in Practice vs. Al, players can hone their skills against Al bots. XP is earned at a 90% reduction, however.

There are two control modes for Call of Duty: Mobile. The Simple Mode is auto-fire. Instead of having a firing button, a player’s weapon goes off when it is pointed at a target. The advantage to this mode is the ability to move and look around at a much faster pace without having to worry about tapping the screen to get a weapon firing. The disadvantage to this mode is the decrease in accurary.  The Advanced Mode has an actual fire button. This offers a lot more control over the weapon when a player is firing it.

Overall, Call of Duty: Mobile is a multiplayer masterpiece and a milestone for the Call of Duty franchise.

Is Disney Making Too Many Remakes?

By: Chris Parris

Staff Writer

The year 2019 has been a major year for the Walt Disney Company. Among their releases are Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Also among Disney’s releases for this year are four remakes of their classic animated movies: Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Lady and the Tramp. Aladdin and The Lion King, in particular, have grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. As of July 2019, Disney has released ten live-action remakes of their classic animated movies, with twelve more slated to be released in the 2020’s. Disney has been making billions of dollars. However, is Disney making too many remakes?

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Image Source: E! News

In March of 2010, Disney released a live-action remake of Alice in Wonderland. Made on a budget of $200 million, the movie grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. Nine years later, we find ourselves surrounded by remakes that Disney has made and released, with many more to come in the next decade. Remaking their classic animated movies is a financial move due to the fact that it is less risky since audiences are familiar with the storylines and characters. Disney knows which movies were successful in the past and that they would be successful again as a remake. They also have a loyal, sentimental fan base of adults, parents, and teenagers who remember the classics fondly. There are also children who are ready to experience these stories for the first time in their lives.

The individual who has been leading the crusade to remake Disney’s classic animated movies is Sean Bailey, the president of the company’s motion picture productions. Bailey was appointed to the position in 2010 by Disney CEO Bob Iger. Also leading the crusade is Alan Horn, Disney’s chief creative officer and co-chairman. Bailey and Horn dig through Diseny’s animated archives for stories that are nostalgic and can resonate with modern-day audiences. In 2017, Bailey mentioned in an interview with Deadline that Disney is trying to mimic the success of Marvel. “Marvel has Iron Man, Captain America and Thor; we have Cinderella, Snow White and Belle. Pairing those characters with great live-action talent and technology, something that Walt [Disney] always aspired to do, just seemed a smart way to go.”  

Something else that is worth a mention is how Sean and Disney’s creative team look at the concept art and deleted scenes from the classic animated movies. They look for anything that could be added to the original story; in order to get new ideas. Another thing that Sean mentioned in his interview was asking questions about the original stories. For example: “What was Maleficent evil?”. Disney used that question alone to make a movie where Maleficent is the protagonist. 

One of the things that Disney takes advantage of with their remakes is nostalgia. They are very well aware that the children who grew up with these classics are adults now; adults with money.  Now that is not to say that Disney is not trying to aim for families. Families are their main demographic as a matter of fact. But if Disney could make and release remakes that appeal to the nostalgia of these now grown-up children, they could make some serious money.          

Now, is it a good thing or a bad thing that Disney is releasing so many remakes? From a financial standpoint, it is a good thing. Making live-action remakes is less of a risk even though they typically have a lower critical rating than the classics. But in regards to lacking original ideas, it is a bad thing. However, statistically, Disney films that are based on original ideas tend to bomb at the box office. Mars Needs Moms, Tomorrowland, A Wrinkle in Time, The Lone Ranger, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and John Carter either underperformed or made losses at the box office.  

In the next decade, several of Disney’s classic animated movies will get the live-action remake treatment. Remakes of Mulan, The Little Mermaid, The Sword in the Stone, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Lilo & Stitch, Pinnochio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Robin Hood, and Peter Pan are either in post-production, pre-production, or in development. Disney will continue to be the king at the box office as long as they release live-action remakes.

 

                                                                                                                                                    

Swinging into Tragedy? Reports and Reaction to Spider-Man’s Sticky Departure from the MCU

By: Sydney Phillips and Marissa Yelenik

Staff Writers

This year, there have been many surprises involving Marvel. With the announcement of Phase 4, many questions regarding Spider-Man and his future involvement in Marvel movies have surfaced. On August 20th, 2019, Sony announced that the character Spider-Man would be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), causing an Internet uproar. 

In 1999, Marvel licensed the rights of Spider-Man to Sony Pictures Entertainment. Under Sony, three Spider-Man movies were made with actor Tobey McGuire, and two were made with actor Andrew Garfield. On May 6th, 2016, the Marvel movie Civil War was released, introducing Tom Holland to the world, playing the role of Spider-Man. This was Holland’s introduction to the MCU and its storyline. 

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Photo Credit Courtesy of The Wrap

The MCU is a deeply intertwined narrative. Its storylines all fit together in such a way that fans are able to watch and speculate for years, well into adulthood. People become extremely attached to each character, and become intensely argumentative when anything is said against their favorites. Ever since the news of Spider-Man leaving the MCU was released, this became especially apparent. Tons of people were shocked to find out that their favorite character would be leaving the MCU storyline, especially junior Kendal George who shared “I’m very sad. When I first figured out about it I was like, really shocked, because I just started following the MCU, and he started becoming my favorite character.” 

There have been many rumors regarding the deal between Marvel and Sony. In the beginning, it was reported that Disney asked for a 50/50 split in profits from Spider-Man. There were different responses to this news; some people believed that Disney was being unfair and that this new development was unnecessary, especially with all of the different networks that they own, and the fact that they receive the merchandise profits from the character. Others felt like Sony was not being fair with the negotiations, and thought that it was ridiculous for them to pull Spider-Man out of the MCU, like junior Katie Mason who said that “no matter what, Sony is going to keep making the same amount of money, and they would make more money together if Spider-Man is still in the MCU.”

Recently, however, it was announced that Disney did not ask for 50/50 in the negotiations, they had asked for 25/75, which is what freshman Ethan Feldsher suggested. “I think it would be worth it for Marvel to negotiate a 25/75 split, or something like that.” There is supposedly a new deal that is being discussed where Marvel will get 30 percent from movies, and Venom will also be introduced into the MCU, but as of right now, it is only a rumor.  

Many people are upset with the news of Spider-Man’s departure from the MCU mainly because of how it might affect his story. Before the announcement of Spider-Man’s departure, it was rumored that Marvel had plans to make him the face of the MCU, after the introduction of the Multiverse, and what its role would be playing in the upcoming movies. Fans feel that Sony will not do Spider-Man justice, especially since The Amazing Spider-Man movies with Andrew Garfield did not do too well in the box office, the first one earning $757 million, compared to Spider-Man: Homecoming’s $880.2 million. With the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home this summer, many things have been revealed for Holland’s character that may be difficult for Sony to reciprocate and continue the story. Junior Kendal George agreed that “it kind of messes up the timeline, especially with the last movie.” 

In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker struggles with how his life changed after the ‘blip’. From dealing with the loss of his father figure Tony Stark, to navigating his high school and superhero life, everyone was wondering who the next Iron Man would be. Conflict arises when Mysterio, who was someone Peter thought he could trust, is actually against him, and at the end, Peter’s identity is revealed as Spider-Man. This was a big revelation that shocked many fans, and now they are wondering if that story will continue with Sony’s Spider-Man movies. 

As of September 18th, 2019, the Spider-Man deal is reportedly on hold after a lot of back and forth, due to the rumor that the companies Apple and Amazon are interested in buying out Sony. The reason why the companies are interested in purchasing Sony is because of the streaming sites that they have been/are working on, and they do not have their own distribution model or theatrical production. It has been mentioned that if a company buys out Sony, then the rights to Spider-Man will go back to Marvel. For now, fans are awaiting an update on the deal, but all they are doing now is hoping that he will be placed back in the MCU. 

 

Hobbs and Shaw Revs Up Summer Fun

By Troy Kelly

Staff Writer

The Fast and Furious series has come back with yet another hit movie, entitled Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. Hobbs and Shaw boasts 41/2 star reviews and a strong cast, including stars like Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba. To no surprise, this globetrotting adventure has plenty of action and comedy, much like the other movies that Johnson and Statham have starred in, as the two of them care constantly at each other’s throats.

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Dwayne Johnson: Ay bruh whats the time?

Jason Statham: Oi, cheerio, mate, its 17:00 hours

Dwayne Johnson: Thanks brother.

Jason Statham: No problem *brofist*.

Brixton Lorr (Elba) is an evil cybernetically modified soldier who possesses superhuman abilities such as super strength and enhanced intelligence, along with an arsenal of weapons and impressive cars. He plans to spread a virus around the world that could end up killing half of the world’s population. It’s up to Officer Hobbs (Johnson), a world-renowned hero, and British intelligence agent Deckard Shaw (Statham) to save the world. However, they first have to set aside their differences.

The stunts were absolutely astounding, leaving me breathless throughout the entire movie. The Fast and Furious franchise never slacks on the car chasing scenes, as they are well-known for stunts including cars. The movie was filled with action-packed car chasing scenes that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Some of the stunts they pulled even made me want to try them myself.  “I like the chase scenes… the helicopter part was my favorite,” said Freshman Ryan Hope. Hobbs and Shaw pushes the boundaries on what was possible to do in a car chase, which truly made the whole movie come together.

The fight scenes were also a major factor in helping the movie come together as a whole. What stuck out most to me was how each fight scene complemented each character and their style of fighting. For example, Hobbs used brute strength and size to dominate his opponents, whereas Shaw used skillful techniques to break down his opponent and render them useless.

Overall, Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw was a hit that lived up to the expectations of all Fast and Furious fans. “It was a great movie, I didn’t think it was gonna be so good because it was a spin-off,” said Senior and avid Fast and Furious fan Sam Mercedes. Much like Sam, I thought the movie couldn’t have been any better than any of the previous movies in the franchise. However, to my surprise, it was everything I wanted and much more. I would high recommend it to anyone who likes action, adventure, and a whole lot of laughs. 

Fall Theatre Preview: “These Shining Lives”

By: Carlos O’Ryan

Online Editor

This November, Hammond High School’s Theatre Department will be putting on These Shining Lives for its annual fall production. 

Set in Ottawa, Illinois, during the 1920’s, These Shining Lives tells the true story of Catherine Donahue, a young mother and wife who begins working at the Radium Dial factory as her husband, Tom, does not make enough money to support their family on his own. Excited to hold her own job for once, Catherine quickly becomes close friends with her co-workers, Charlotte, Pearl, and Frances, and she finds that she excels in her work, painting watch faces on wrist and pocket watches, with glow-in-the-dark radium paint. Catherine has found her perfect life… until she starts to suspect that she is getting sick, and while her boss and the company doctors insist that nothing is wrong with her, she knows that something is fatally wrong.

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Image Courtesy of Avery Moe and the Hammond High Theatre Department

A drama full of heart about sisterhood, marriage, and the abuse of workers by large corporations, These Shining Lives is sure to tug at heartstrings and start the waterworks. Rehearsals for the show began on the first week of school. Sarah Meklir, 11th grader, when asked about her experienced acting in the play thus far, was ecstatic: “It’s honestly such a great group, I love developing my character and being able to interact with everyone involved in the show… and welcoming new people into the department is a blast.” 

 Starring Juniors Skylar Shaffer and Sarah Meklir as Catherine, Ali Khalid and Carlos O’Ryan as Tom, Danielle Gilbert and Julia Steinberg as Charlotte, Sydney Finger and Sera Chase as Pearl, Katie Marshall and Jasmine Britt as Frances, and Isaiah Olujide and John White as Mr. Reed. These Shining Lives performs November 7th and 8th at 7pm, and on Saturday, November 9th at 2 and 7 pm.

John Wick Chapter 2 Review

By: Troy Kelly

Staff Writer

John Wick: Chapter 2, starring Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane and Riccardo Scamarcio, is an action film set in present day Rome.

The movie’s main conflict begins when John Wick is betrayed by a man, Santino D’Antonio, who cashes in a favor after John tries to abandon his life as an assassin. Because of D’Antonio, John’s his time away from the business is cut short, and after he is betrayed, John realizes he needs to kill D’Antonio. John declines D’Antonio the favor he is blood-bounded to repay at first, but begrudgingly accepts after D’Antonio bombs his house, and he is encouraged by his good friend and the owner of the NY Continental hotel, Winston, to repay his dues.

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Photo Credit: Google Images

D’Antonio asks John to kill his sister, Gianna, who has the seat at the high table that D’Antonio desires. After she decided to slit her wrists rather than being assassinated as John holds her hand, he shoots her in the head in order to kill her before she is condemned to hell because of her suicide. Her bodyguard, Cassius, however, sees John exiting Gianna’s room, and draws his weapons in pursuit.

Along with being preoccupied by Cassius, John is also attacked by D’Antonio’s own men, and realizes he is being betrayed. John and Cassius are only slightly injured by the time they crash into the Contential, where no blood is allowed to be spilled, an important recurring plot point in the movie. However, while John is resting there, D’Antonio opens an account worth 7 million for killing John, which he sends out to all assassins in the area.

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Hairspray Movie Review

By: Uma Ribeiro

Co-News Editor

Based on the 2002 broadway musical and Starring Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, and Zac Efron, Hairspray is a must-watch movie for all musical fans or for simply anyone who wants to see a fun and memorable film with a message.

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Taking place in 1960s Baltimore city in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, Hairspray follows bubbly, plus-sized teen Tracy Turnblad (Blonsky) who has a strong passion for dancing. She dreams of having a place on the “Corny Collins Show”, the local teen dancing program she watches on TV everyday with her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes). She finds out there are auditions being held to perform on the program, and hurries to show the producers what she could offer. Tracy faces bullying from the antagonists of the movie, network producer Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her equally vicious daughter, Amber (Brittany Snow).

Back at school, Tracy lands herself in detention where she meets a young kid with great dancing skills named Seaweed (Elijah Kelley), one of the many black teens who only get one day, called “Negro Day,” to show off their dance moves on the Corny Collins show. Tracy eventually earns herself a spot on the show after her crush, Link Larkin (Efron), sees her dancing, and she uses it to express her disdain of the fact that dancing is still segregated. She tells host Corny Collins (James Marsden) that if she won Miss Baltimore she would make dancing on the show integrated once and for all.

Tracy gains popularity on the show, much to the dislikings of Amber and her mother, who attempt to stop her from winning Miss Baltimore and oppose her ideas of integration. She must figure out how to beat Amber while also helping her friends earn permanent spots on a new and integrated Corny Collins show.

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