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Clip Analysis: “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”

Clip Analysis: “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” (photo)

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Video game teasers tend to stick to a certain formula: dazzle the viewer with awesome graphics, show off some of the games’ abilities and maybe dribble a little story out to tantalize would-be players. But every so often, one piece of video-centric marketing will float above the rest or sink to join the sludge.

In Clip Analysis, I’ll be looking at trailers, teasers and just about any game-related video in an effort to call out what works and what doesn’t in terms of communicating a particular game’s coolness.

This time, I’ll be taking a look at the trailer for “Deus Ex – Human Revolution.”

For the bulk of video games’ first two decades as popular entertainment, the heroes you controlled were, in the main, square-jawed and sure-footed. You never had the chance to think about how Mario felt about all that jumping or being told over and over again that his princess was in another castle. Of course, as the technology used to deliver gaming experiences improved, the personas you controlled and met got more expressive, as did the worlds you played in. Characters got to smirking and grousing but they still generally saved the day in morally upstanding and strictly proscribed ways.

Designed by Warren Spector and Harvey Smith, the 2000 title “Deus Ex” changed all of that. Controlling UN anti-terrorist agent JC Denton, players uncovered a vast and centuries-old conspiracy. In the 2052 of “Deus Ex,” a global health crisis causes riots when only the elites have access to a vaccine. The player’s conversations and decisions at key points would affect the way your story unfolded. The third-person action also integrated RPG elements to let players craft a playstyle that could be stealthy or more weapons-focused, while providing a multiplicity of routes to meet an objective. In the decade since it came out, fans and critics have elevated “Deus Ex” to a hallowed status for the flexibility it allowed and its dystopian futureshock vision. A sequel-“Deus Ex: Invisible War” came out in 2003 but didn’t earn as a similar spot in gamers’ hearts as the first game.

Now, ten years after resetting expectations about video game experiences, the series returns to PCs and consoles with a prequel to show how the world became the fractious mess that JC Denton inherited.

  • “Deus Ex” is a series known for multi-path progression and moral ambiguity. Unfortunately, for the directors of this video, those attributes are really hard to put across in a non-interactive way. There are hints, though. The angst in main character Adam Jensen’s voice as he opines about the current state of the world suggests that he may go to extremes
  • “Human Revolution” appears to suffer from the Technologically Advanced Prequel Problem, where the milieus in earlier chapters look more high-tech than the one that are chronologically further along in the canon. (“Halo: Reach” suffered a bit from this, too, with its swappable Armor Abilities that never show up in Master Chief’s adventures.) Still, the Blade Runner-style aesthetic on display in the trailer does make you want to jump right into the playground the game promises to you.
  • GIGW Alert! (That’s Guilt-Inducing Ghost Wife, for those of you who haven’t read Alison Willmore’s trope-defining piece of excellence.) Adam joins the countless ranks of protagonists who’ve suffered the Heart-Breaking Loss of a Loved One as a catalyst on the heroic journey. Now it’s a safe bet that this HBLLO will be the reason that Adam comes to an existential crossroads. Hopefully, the gameplay will make the most of this well-worn
  • The new thematic wrinkle “DE:HR” adds is the blurring between man and machine. Adam’s experienced a near-death and a cyborg resurrection. JC Denton had augmented abilities, too, but those came from nanomachines that still let him look human. Adam’s enemies seem similarly cybernetic but more robotic than he does. An educated guess says that Adam’s struggle to hold on to his humanity will inform the moral greyness of the game.

“Deus Ex: Human Revolution” comes out from Square Enix next year.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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