The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Monday, December 10, 2007 - 5A
More than the
sum of its parts
The glory can be yours - if you have the right console.
Xbox gives 'FIFA'
its due respect
By PAUL TASSI scheme, and the minute differ-
Daily Film Editor ences between a chip pass, a chip-
lob pass and a chip-lob-through
If there were a book that list- pass are just as miniscule as ever.
ed everything Americans cared And you'll spend at least half an
about, profes- hour trying to (correctly) learn
sional soccer FIFA 2008 how to rainbow the ball, which is
would probably the greatest in-game skill move of
be 400 pages Xbox and Wii all time.
in, wedged The computer A.L can range
between goat cheese and "Beck- from own-goal impaired to teams
er" reruns. David Beckham flew that appear to be made up entirely
across the pond trying to pique of Cristiano Ronaldos on crack.
our interest in the sport, but after
his ankleinjury,the public became
more interested in his abs and
fembot wife than anything else.
Nothing, however, has encour-
aged our soccer interest more than
the "FIFA" series, and this year's
iteration is a perfect example of
why. Now in its third season on
Xbox 360, you can almost see each
individual gap in . Ronaldinho's
goofy smile, and really, how much
beterganagreen soceer fiekloak w
from 100 feet up in the press box? Playing against friends is always
Having reached what seems to entertaining. Nothing is more
be its graphical limit, "FIFA" has intense than an overtime pen-
spefifthITe previous yef Nitihirig '"IY kick shoofcit "Whicli'lsu-
every club on Earth into the 2008 ally results in something getting
edition. That's right: 30 leagues, broken. The game is just as fun as
more than 600 teams and about it ever was, and with a few new
16,000 players - insanity. There's moves and modes and an ava-
no conceivable reason you'd ever lanche of new teams, everything
be some of these teams, unless from the World Cup to the loading
maybe you were on them in real screens are enjoyable.
life, but that you can if you want to Only a few may like soccer here
is surprisingly reassuring. in the states, but try rainbowing
"FIFA 08" continues with its a ball over a goalie's head and not
exceptionally technical control cracking a smile.
doesn't do it on Wii
By CHRIS GAERIG ease. To shoot: a flick of the wrist
Daily Music Editor up. To pass in a specific direc-
tion: hold the pass button and
In theory, Nintendo's Wii was toss your wrist that way.
designed for sports games. The The realissue with the controls
combination of spastic gyrations comes down to the various dif-
and random button-mashing ferent actions they try to employ.
makes the system's controls the With a finite amount of buttons,
ideal format for the interactive the game requires countless
aspects of physical sports. And multiple trigger actions. You can
yet with the exception of EAs spend more than an hour trying
"Madden" franchise, the Wii's to master the tutorials and still
motion-censor controls seem to be baffled by the game's basic
As such, EA's "Family Play"
mode allows you to ignore most
of this, focusing on shooting and
passing. Certainly a way to avoid
the compounding control sys-
tem, it drains much of the fun out
of the game.
l-. But in EA's defense, it has been
doing everything in its power
to bring the Wii into relevance
(read: online gameplay). "FIFA
-y r - w s -.2008'# is another FArglease.that:
convolute the games rather than has an excellent Web version
make them more enjoyable, and with very little lag and constant
"FIFA 2008" falls to just that action. Unfortunately for anyone
- flaw'. '" Whd"Wants to play as the L.A.
The sheer physics and rules of Galaxy, you'll run into countless
the game present the first prob- opponents who play as Manches-
lem: soccer uses your feet; the ter United, giving them a serious
Wii, your hands. As such, EA advantage.
had the difficult task of trans- The graphics are stellar and
lating the motions of the sport the gameplay rather realistic.
to your hands while keeping it For soccer fans, "FIFA 2008" is
realistic, and, most important, a must-have. For everyone else,
entertaining. And though most continue to ignore "the world's
would think this impossible, the most popular sport" and just pick
company pulls it off with relative up "Madden 2008."
By GABRIEL BAKER
Daily Arts Writer
Remember when top 100 music
lists weren't just cheap ploys to
boost stubborn magazine sales?
Think back 10 years ago - when
VHl and MTV were morally
required to broadcast music vid-
eos and specials, including epic
lists like the "top 100 singles of all
time." It was always an elaborate
production, featuring different
celebrities to host the countdown
in to-song segments. At the time,
it seemed like it meant something,
like we were being offered the
divine verdict of music's real value.
It was even in primetime.
Now, wiser, we can look back on
the experience as simply growing
pains. The truth is that VH1 did
a top-100-singles list practically
every year. Each year's list would
be the same awkward amalgam of
classic '60s rock and Motown arbi-
trarily ordered, and never with any
explanation. Some Beatles single
would be the second-greatesttrack
of alltime and "Respect"by Aretha
Franklin would be No.1, balancing
out the disproportionate number
of rock songs to every other kind
To be blunt, lists suck. They
almost routinely overreach and fail
to provide creative ways to sup-
port their argument. But leave it to
the music writers at Detroit's alt-
weekly Metro Times to whip up a
music list that puts most others to
shame. The publication recently
putout a "Best of Detroit" segment
that highlights the "100 Greatest
Detroit Songs Ever," whether by
artist, group, band or sound. Obvi-
ously, liberties were taken. The
context seems miniscule - the
best songs coming out of one city.
But believe me, it is a behemoth of
a list that pushes "Respect" all the
way back to No. 25.
f Even though the Temptations,
Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye
flat-out dominate the competition,
the list remains relatively lenient
and diverse, allowing pop-country
star Del Shannon to creep up to No.
6 with "Runaway." Artists like Iggy
Pop and MC5 also get a consider-
able amountof attention andcredit
amid the Motownstranglehold. All
in all, the writers get it right.
Instead of Aretha, Marvin gets
top honors with "What's Going
On," and I couldn't be happier. If
for some reason "What's Going On"
doesn't convince you that Marvin
Gaye was a god incarnate, just go
to YouTube and type in "1983 NBA
All-Star game." It'll make you love
your country more than anything
else possibly could.
Other highlights on the list
include Funkadelic's 10-minute
guitar opus "Maggot Brain," for
which George Clinton famously
told guitarist Eddie Hazel to play
as if his mother had just died (the
rest, they say, is a cataclysmi-
cally immense track). There's also
13-year-old Stevie Wonder with
his exuberant harmonica-driven
hit "Fingertips." His age is clear
throughout the track; he breaks
into "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
of the Metro
Times's top 100
for a couple seconds and then just
refuses to stop playing the har-
monica while the orchestra is try-
ing to close out the number.
The value of a song seems best
explained by individual stories or
moments. Metro Times uses the
as one gauge for placement on their
list. And, really, out of all possible
qualifiers, it makes the most sense
- more so than record sales or pop-
ularity. Even the notion of impact
seems intangible. What makes a
song memorable and of value to a
person is not just an assessment in
passing but actually feeling and see-
ing the song's magic in action.
I can't help but look back on a
list that ordered the best songs of
the '60s and put Sam Cooke's "A
Change is Gonna Come" at No. 3.
There's talk of Cooke's popular-
ity and the impact his music had
on the civil rights movement. But
that doesn't visualize the essence
or the power of the song. The "pure
spine-tingling quality" of the song
comes from picturing Denzel
Washington as Malcolm X, float-
ing down the street to his eventual
death. It comes from imagining
Rosa Parks alone in her room, hav-
ing just heard the news of Martin
Luther King's death and putting on
the song for support. It comes from
something instinctual, real and
momentary, and so rarely is a list
capable of expressing that.
By SHERI JANKELOVITZ
Long before the book became a movie,
Christian groups attacked Philip Pullman's
"The Golden Compass" series because of its
clearly anti-religious message. So it makes
sense the movie would
be subjected to the same
But the message isn't
the movie's problem The Golden
(it ignores the book's CompaSS
context, anyway). The
makers of "The Golden At Quality 16
Compass" know its kid- and Showcase
die audience wants to be New Line
enticed by spectacle, and
in that sense, it succeeds
- it's a gorgeous movie. That doesn't mean
it knows how to tell a story, and the fantasy
set will no doubt be disappointed with the
movie's hollow characters and lack of cohe-
The golden compass itself is a device
called an Alethiometer. If used properly,
it can answer almost any question. The
compass is put in the safekeeping of Lyra
(newcomer Dakota Blue Richards), a rebel-
lious young girl. This is a problem, because
a device like this is valuable and bad people
The main villain: Mrs. Coulter (Nicole
Kidman). She seems sweet at first but quick-
ly turns evil. Her heinous plan involves kid-
napping children and cutting away their
daemons - little animal forms of a person's
soul that accompany them through life.
There's more to this plan, most of which
involves magic dust. The dust probably
plays a role in the war so often discussed in
Giving us the 'Goo'
we really want
Yeah, yeah. It measures truth. But can it hit a jumpshot against Duke?
the film. But we don't actually see any part
of this war. Guess they're saving that for the
The film has obvious parallels to "Harry
Potter" as well as "The Chronicles of Nar-
nia," and for good reason. It's based on a
series of books, it involves magical worlds
outside of our own and everyone is Brit-
ish. Is it a rule that fantasy can only exist in
The spectacle is
the United Kingdom? Can't Americans do
But that's not important. "The Golden
Compass" series is the least known and least
popular of the three, maybe because it's too
complicated for younger kids to grasp. The
film retains too much of the book's plot,
with very little explanation given. This can
lead to some confusion, as the film includes
several fancy names and terms tossed about
without regard 'for the audience's under-
It's a lot to deal with, but don't get con-
fused. Even more so than most works of
fiction, "Compass" requires the complete
suspension of disbelief. It doesn't really
matter if you know what's in front of you.
See this movie because of its amazing visu-
als, which are often breathtaking and, sur-
prisingly enough, rarely cheesy.
The characters are often just as colorful
as the pyrotechnics, but many get so little
screen time that it becomes hard to care
about them. Take Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig,
"Casino Royale"), who, based on the film's
wall-to-wall advertisements, seems to be
onscreen quite a bit. But his appearance is
practically a cameo. Many other characters,
in particular those played by Eva Green
(um, "Casino Royale") and the veteran Sam
Elliott, deserve far more attention than the
film gives them. Still, the movie manages to
take a talking polar bear and turn him into
the audience cares about. Not easy.
Don't expect to understand much of "The
Golden Compass," even after the lights go
up. But since the film's purpose is to amaze
and awe, it works.
By LINDSAY CHMIELEWSKI
For the Daily
While you may not be quick to
add the Goo Goo Dolls to your list of
favorite bands on Facebook, it's hard
to deny the simple appeal of its melod-
ic alternative rock.
Its sound is about
as generic and com-
mercial as it could GoGo
possibly be, but you
have to admit, the Dolls
band has some pret-
ty good songs. Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits Vol- Volume One:
ume One: TheSingles The Singles
puts those songs all Warner
in one place, mak-
ing for the ultimate
guilty pleasure album. The Goo's first
best-of compilation includes 14 of the
band's 22 singles since it achieved
mainstream success, which are well-
known by fans and even casual lis-
teners almost by default. The most
immediate with the Greatest Hits
compilation is that with just 14 songs
and a definite skew toward the Goo's
later career, the album passes over
most of its early singles and ignores a
progression in its music.
The compilation leaves out every
single from before the 1998 album
Dizzy Up the Girl except "Name," the
track from A Boy Named Goo that put
the band on the mainstream map.
Skipping over "Long Way Down" and
other earlier singles, it's clear the
band is showcasing the more polished,
radio-friendly side of its catalogue.
Even "Name" has been re-recorded
for Greatest Hits to conform to the
typical refined sound of the Goo's
later albums - to an unfortunate end.
Frontman John Rzeznik's new vocals
sound strained, as if he's trying too
hard to sing in that prepackaged style.
The drums and vocals both come in
earlier than in the original version
(and at the same time), rushing the
entire song. And the haunting reverb
on the acoustic guitar during the
intro? Gone, as well as the song's dis-
The only new single on Greatest
Hits is "Before It's Too Late" from the
"Transformers" movie soundtrack.
Fit for your dentist's waiting room,
the track is about as bland as the band
has ever sounded, and the lyrics are
equally stale. A prototypically inspi-
rational song about life and love that
comes off tired and uninspired, the
lyrics are often redundant and lame:
Goo Goo Dolls?
But ... but...
"So live like you mean it /Love 'til
you feel it / It's all that we need in our
Thankfully, the compilation's mis-
steps are overcome by the presence of
all that we know and love by the Goo
Goo Dolls: "Iris," "Black Balloon,"
"Here Is Gone." "Slide" is impossible
not to sing along to, as are most of the
band's singles over the years.
Die-hard fans may not be satis-
fled with the rather incomprehensive
compilation, but for those of us who
became addicted to the singles, Great-
est Hits Volume One: The Singles is the
least conspicuous way to enjoy.