Final Fantasy XV, Moana, and More – The Weekend Chill

Final Fantasy XV, Moana, and More – The Weekend Chill
  • Final Fantasy XV is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
  • Moana is now out in cinemas across India
  • Westworld airs its first season finale this Sunday

Hollywood loves films that are “based on a true story”, but a new study has revealed that films are taking a varying amount of liberty with the term. According to data collated by Information is Beautiful, every moment shown in 2014’s Selma had a historic basis, but most other films – such as The Imitation Game, American Sniper, and Dallas Buyers Club – were much less accurate. Speaking of the first – starring Benedict Cumberbatch – it said: “This film just rips the historical record to shreds”. A sick burn if we’ve ever seen one.

On Tuesday, Nintendo announced that it would be bringing its worlds and bundle of characters to Universal theme parks in the US and Japan. There’s no concrete details on what you can expect and when they will open, but further announcements will “come soon”, Nintendo added.

Forbes revealed its list of highest paid musicians for 2016, with four out of the top five spots occupied by women. These include Taylor Swift at #1, followed by Adele, Madonna, and Rihanna from #3-#5. If you’re curious, One Direction is #2.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Harry Potter spin-off penned by JK Rowling herself, crossed $500 million worldwide this week. The film is the first of five planned in the franchise, with the relationship between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald to be explored in a later film. Eddie Redmayne, who played Newt Scamander in the lead, won’t headline each film – which makes sense considering how much bigger the universe is.

Since its start last month, Planet Earth II has been drawing in millions of viewers each week. And Sir David Attenborough, the show’s narrator, thinks it’s because the show provides a sort of therapy and respite from the concerns we are facing in our lives. Writing in the Radio Times’ magazine, he said the people “are reconnecting with a planet whose beauty is blemished, whose health is failing, because they understand that our own wellbeing is inextricably linked to that of the planet’s”.

Ubisoft announced a VR tie-in experience for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed film back in March, and it is now available for free through the Oculus Video app on both Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, and as a 360-degree video on Facebook. The film, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, releases on December 30 in India.

Those were the entertainment highlights for this week. Welcome back to The Weekend Chill, and here are the best picks for your weekend enjoyment:

Jonathan Nolan – brother of The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan – and Lisa Joy may have drawn from Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name, but during its first-season run on HBO, Westworld has become very much its own show. It’s helped by a narrative that’s drowning in mystery, is possibly running on multiple timelines, and features a stellar cast – be it Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores, Thandie Newton’s Maeve, Jeffrey Wright as Bernard, and not to forget – the great Anthony Hopkins as Robert Ford.

Ford is the creator of Westworld – a futuristic theme park designed on the American West, which is full of synthetic android known as “hosts”. The world’s rich are its high-paying visitors, known as “guests” to the people working in the park – and can do whatever they like with the hosts, without any fear of retaliation. Over its first nine episodes, Westworld has dealt with numerous themes while providing us with great visuals from two genres at once – Western and sci-fi.

With the season finale scheduled for Sunday (Monday in India), this is the best time for you to catch up.

01 westworld The Weekend Chill Westworld

How to access: Hotstar
Time commitment: 9 hours

After giving us Zootopia towards the beginning of the year, it was going to be tough for Disney to follow it up with another stellar animation adventure in 2016. Fortunately, Moana – with this year’s highest-paid actor Dwayne Johnson and native Hawaiian newcomer Auli'i Cravalho, who was cast from out of hundreds of young women from the Pacific Islands, and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker – seems to tick all the right boxes.

It's got a courageous strong-willed female lead character, a powerful and challenging task she must complete, a mystical relic and a legendary demigod (Johnson), plus great visuals and even better original music from the likes of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (trivia: the lyrics of the songs are written in English and Tokelauan, a Polynesian language). The film released last week in the US, and sails into the Indian shores Friday. Expect the film to be a strong contender in the Oscars animation race.


How to access: Out in cinema halls
Time commitment: 1 hour and 43 minutes

Other mentions:
A total of three films we have previously recommended – Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, home-invasion horror flick Don’t Breathe, and live-action-CGI adventure Pete’s Dragon – are all available on home media and digitally now. If you missed them during their theatrical run, it’s much easier to catch them now.

Plus, The CW’s DC crossover – involving all four of its shows – had its run this week. Supergirl aired its episode on Tuesday, The Flash and Arrow aired consecutive days after, and will finish with Legends of Tomorrow on Friday. If you’re a DC fan, you can catch the end of that crossover special on Colors Infinity at 7pm on December 2.

And if you’re a fan of The Good Wife, or have been meaning to start it, this is your moment – all seven seasons of the show are now available on Netflix in India.

Video games:
Final Fantasy XV
After being made to wait for over a decade, Final Fantasy fans finally get to play the latest installment, Final Fantasy XV. And the game seems worth it too - we enjoyed the banter between its characters, helped by its expert voice cast, a combat system that employs strategy, and a great progression system that doesn’t just focus on better killing choices.

In Final Fantasy XV, you've at your disposal what is essentially a boy band – Noctis, Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus – who set out to meet Luna, an Oracle and former princess, fulfilling a peace treaty and getting their de facto leader – Kingdom of Lucis’ heir Noctis married in the process. But instead, they end up travelling much more, fighting giant beasts, encountering gods, completing quests, and one more along the way. Beyond that, the plot isn’t explained very well, leaving things to muddled cut-scenes, a CGI film called Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV that critics described as dumpster fire, and the five-episode anime series Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, which received much better reviews comparatively.


How to access: PlayStation 4, or Xbox One
Time commitment: Dozens of hours

The winter season is upon us in many parts of the world, but not everyone is lucky to have ski resorts near their place. And even if we did, we doubt we’d pull off even 10 per cent of the stunts Ubisoft’s new open-world extreme sports title – Steep – allows us to do. Here’s what you can do in the game, courtesy the publisher:

“Defy and master the world’s most epic mountains on skis, wingsuit, snowboard, and in paraglide. Go solo or drop in side by side with other players. Record and share the most insane stunts ever captured. Dare your friends to try out your custom lines, then challenge the world to beat your best tricks and relive your most epic wipeouts.”

Simple, right? That’s all there is to it. You can pick and choose from four unique ways to travel the mountains at any time – be it a pair of skis, wingsuit, snowboard, or paraglide. Steep has co-op and competitive multiplayer for 1 to 4 players, so join in on the action with your friends on snow-clad mountains while sitting in your pyjamas.

04 steep The Weekend Chill Steep

How to access: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam for Windows PCs
Time commitment: As much as you want, really

Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS
Super Mario Maker has been around for the Wii U since September last year, and Nintendo has now ported it over to its 3DS console. The game lets you design and play your own courses involving Mario, and Nintendo has provided new editing tools after release, even allowing you to download courses made by other players. Here’s what else you can expect to see the game, says the developer and publisher:

“Get ready to play a near-infinite number of side-scrolling 2D Mario courses anytime, anywhere. Earn in-game medals in 100 built-in courses and access recommended courses from the Super Mario Maker game on the Wii U console. In this game, you call the shots, and simple touch-screen controls and interactive tutorials make designing courses a snap.”

If you wish, you can even collaborate with other players to build courses, and earn a special coin in the process.

05 super mario maker The Weekend Chill Super Mario Maker

How to access: Nintendo 3DS
Time commitment: As much as you want, really

Other mentions:
Steins;Gate 0, a visual novel game released last year for Japanese audiences only, has finally completed its English localisation. The process took five months owing to how important the Japanese setting and culture was to the game, and having to balance that with accessibility for international audiences. You can get Steins;Gate 0 on PS4 and PS Vita.

What are you planning to do this weekend at home? Tweet your suggestions to us @Gadgets360 with #WeekendChill or let us know via the comments.

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Akhil Arora covers entertainment for Gadgets 360, interviewing stars such as Christian Bale and Anurag Kashyap, covering series premieres, product and service launches across the globe, and looking at American blockbusters and Indian dramas from a global socio-political and feminist perspective. As a Rotten Tomatoes-certified film critic, Akhil has reviewed over 150 movies and TV shows in over half a decade at Gadgets 360. When he is not completely caught up with new film and TV releases, Akhil ...More
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