Danny Phantom vs Dan

I admire Danny Phantom’s determination, but it won’t be enough for him to get past Dan and Drago. These two have fought many powerful opponents and they have saved the world more times than I can count. Their experience is really off the charts at this point and their power levels are considerable. A few good fire blasts should distract Danny Phantom long enough for one of Dan’s other monsters to win the day. Dan wins.

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Ash vs Lan

It’s time for two of the strongest toyetic main characters to square off in this round. Ash has a lot of Pokemon at his disposal, but Lan has Megaman with him. It’s a serious battle of quality vs quantity and the former wins out this time. Megaman could keep up with opponents at a Super Saiyan level so stopping Pikachu is certainly within his abilities. This match won’t go very smoothly for Ash and he’ll actually have to take a loss here. Lan wins.

Fred Flintstone vs Fred

Fred Flintstone is technically superior to Fred in physical strength since he can easily lift his club as he swings it around, but he’s not a great fighter. He’s not used to having to deal with an opponent to can fight back. Fred is a natural leader and he knows a thing or two about fighting. I see him winning this round with his agility and determination. Fred wins.

Yuma vs Gao Mikado

Gao Mikado is definitely the stronger fighter when it comes to hand to hand techniques, but I’m afraid that Yuma has the edge thanks to his superior cards. It’s simply hard to get past them in a card fight thanks to all of the Numbers. Utopia could take out almost all of Gao’s monsters on his own and that’s before we consider his various power ups. It’s going to be a tough day for Gao! Yuma wins.

Slashman vs Ebirah

Ebirah is a Kaiju so that means that he is pretty powerful to a reasonable extent, but that simply won’t be enough to stop Slashman. Slashman is fast and he’s also very deadly. A few good hits should begin to weaken Ebirah since the sea monster’s shell is not hard enough to block Slashman’s blows. Slashman may not have the amount of raw power that Ebirah has, (Although it’s debatable) but his speed will surely win him the day. Slashman wins.

Kallen vs 2 Gun Kid

2 Gun Kid is a pretty good shot and he has performed some pretty remarkable feats in the past. That being said, he’s not ready to challenge a warrior who can fight at hypersonic speeds. Kallen can destroy cities in an instant while inside of her mech and she’s a decent fighter without it as well. 2 Gun Kid can hit his mark as many times as he wants, but his bullets will not hurt the mech. Kallen wins.

White Christmas Review

The holidays are almost upon us and that means that Christmas is coming! It’s easily still one of the biggest days of the year and it always will be. There’s nothing quite as epic as watching a Christmas film to bring on the holiday cheer. This title came out in 1954 so it had to come to blows with the original Godzilla film, but if anything can give it a good fight…it’s this title! It’s a pretty fun Christmas film that has its flaws, but manages to still capture the Christmas spirit.

The film starts out with the army having trouble holding their ground. They manage to do all right for themselves and that’s where Bob and Phil step in. It was an ordinary day on the job for them until a wall collapses and Phil saved Bob at the expense of his arm. It was sprained or maybe broken. To repay his debt, Bob agrees to work as a duet with Phil and they become a global sensation. They get a letter from one of their old army buds a while later to check out a possible sister act and that’s when the film really starts. The plot shifts after the two guys and the two girls all head up to Vermont where a struggling hut is trying to stay afloat. Can this motel/hotel/lodge be saved by the combined efforts of these performers? Time to find out!

Well, it’s more or less what you would expect from a classic romantic comedy. The writing is pretty strong and it easily shatters the kind of film that they would make nowadays in this genre. The banter is always around and the characters are decently likable. Bob was actually pretty cool for the majority of the film, but then he crumbled towards the end and he couldn’t get back up on his high horse. One aspect of the film that probably didn’t do it any favors was its run time of 2 hours. I do think that 2 hours is the minimum length for a film, but you have to come up with a lot of good scenes if you want it to work. Most of the scenes are pretty good, but they probably could have cut out a few songs during the film. It would have sped up the plot progression a little. You know, the first half of the film actually goes perfectly for the four main characters, which is unheard of. All of the tension and drama is in the second half.

There is no real soundtrack, but this is a musical so I suppose that I can comment on the songs. The voices are pretty good for the most part so that isn’t an issue, but I didn’t care for the dances that went along with it. It’s like Spagetti and Pizza. They taste good together, but just give me the Spagetti and leave the Pizza for later! We don’t need singing and dancing to be done at the same time. I’m more or less okay with singing, but I could definitely have gone without the latter. At least most of the songs are Christmas related, which is always cool.

The main problem in the film that leads to the climax involves a misunderstanding between Bob and Betty, but I think it could have been handled better. As it stands, it makes Betty look pretty terrible since she is convinced that Bob has betrayed her without even giving him a chance to tell his side of the story. You should never go with third party information unless it’s absolutely necessary. She definitely overreacted there and I only blame Bob for the part where he says that they should try to get things back to how they were the other day. He could have phrased that in a much better way since that made it look like he just wanted some romance.

Speaking of which, Bob was pretty cool for a while. He was pretty good at the musicals and he was a solid army guy. He was pretty nice and he was always willing to help a pal out. He knows that Phil will trick him at every opportunity, but he still lets him hang around. Then, Betty and Judy appear and things start to get dicey for Bob. He handles the whole romance thing decently at first, but then he gets thanked by the assistant at the lodge and everything about his character gets smashed to pieces. It’s meant to be a funny scene, but it was pretty terrible and made him look like a pretty desperate person. It’s really hard to bounce back from something like that.

Likewise, Betty was a decent character until the whole misunderstanding happened. Then, that made her look pretty bad and it went on for a while, which certainly did not help her case. She found a pretty spiffy new job in about a day, which certainly says something about her talents as a singer, but just leaving the state like that was certainly not the right thing to do in this situation.

Phil likes to use his fake arm injury to blackmail Bob, but he is technically just doing it in a joking way. He’s a pretty nice guy and he really looks out for Bob. That being said, he basically falls into the love at first sight angle in an instant and he basically cornered into engaging someone due to political interests of both parties. He’s a decent character through and through for the most part, but I can’t say that I am a fan of his. Likewise, Judy doesn’t have as much time to get development as Betty since she is shoved to the side with Phil as far as the plot is concerned. She is the character who kicks things off with the plot twist though so she is pretty crucial in how the whole thing played out. Without her on stage appearances, the play could have crumbled.

There were a few other characters like The General and his assistant, but they aren’t extremely crucial to the story. The General wants to join the Army again instead of living in such a peaceful place, but I have to disagree with his notion. He apparently spent all of his retirement savings on the place so ditching it now would not be a good idea at all. He made for a pretty good general and he’s possibly the best character in the film, but he’s mostly relegated to the sidelines. He makes sure to talk tough until the very end! His assistant wasn’t that good since she is the one who causes the big problems in the film. It’s good that she knows what is going on at all times, but she should have done a little more research before making her big announcement.

The romance can be a bit much as the second half of the film is full of it. The first half was pretty light in that respect and I can safely say that it was a lot better than the second half. The writing really gets to shine while Bob is still antagonistic and having a civil debate with Phil. That slowly starts to change as the film went on and you can’t help, but think that the film could have been pretty fun if they had just been rivals to the two girls. That would have certainly been an interesting twist right? One thing I can say for the film is that there are no really bad scenes just as there are no Great ones. It’s simply a good, retro Christmas story. (One song happens so suddenly that I thought it was a parody)

Overall, White Christmas is a good film. Considering that one of the genres is basically romance, it certainly handles itself better than you would expect. I do think that they should have dialed down some of the dancing and maybe eliminated a song or two to make things better though. The romance can also be a little more frequent than you may like, but at least we have the beginning where they are all just friends for a while. It’s the kind of film that’s pretty happy from start to finish and it’s certainly a good way to get set for Christmas. I recommend it to you if this film sounds like it’s your thing and if you want an alternative, just check out Jingle All The Way.

Overall 5/10

Attack on Titan Review

Attack on Titan has easily become on of the most popular anime titles of all time. It became an overnight sensation when the anime started airing and rose to heights that only premiere titles like DBZ, One Piece, and Sword Art Online reside. I wasn’t born early enough to fully appreciate the hype of DBZ and One Piece was more of a gradual burst than such a quick burst. So, I can only compare it to Sword Art Online in that regard and I’ll make more comparisons as the review goes on. Let’s face it, you’ve probably seen the poster above this a million times by now. It’s a pretty incredible way to hype up the show. I did read the manga prior to watching the show so I knew what to expect and it definitely isn’t my cup of tea, but the series had so much potential that it’s scary. It’s a series that really had everything in its favor (Like Sword Art Online) and just messed up on some of the fundamentals, which held it back.

The Earth is not how you may have remembered it. Titans have conquered the planet and what’s left of humanity now hides behind a group of large walls that separates them into a few groups. There are the Survey Corps who try to regain some of the lost land and the Military Police who like to lounge around and just try to enjoy their lives. We also have the normal people who just have to endure this existence. It’s tough because their food supplies are diminishing and the area won’t be able to hold everyone forever. Unfortunately, the Titans are basically invincible since their only weak point is a spot at the back of their head and they can regenerate all other injuries pretty quickly. Turns out that a boy named Eren may be the last hope for humanity thanks to his….you ready for a possible spoiler depending on if you count it? His Titan ability may be their only chance! (I wouldn’t really call it a spoiler since that’s one of the big selling points)

Well, where to start right? I think that I’ll start with some of the big positives so you can see just how much the show had going for it. I’m not typically into voice acting since most voices are good enough for me to still enjoy the characters, but Attack on Titan has one of the best voice actors in the business for the main character. This is a great advantage since Eren’s personality revolves around his constant yelling and determination. He’s constantly talking back to someone or thinking up a plan. He’s a great main character in many respects while falling short in others. I’ll talk about him more in detail later, but the voices are very good for the show.

The animation is pretty great as well. I don’t consider it to be very legendary or awe inspiring, but you can still tell that this is a relatively new anime. The main reason why it is not used to its fullest extent is because the anime is very grounded. There are no energy attacks or cool designs to really be found here. That being said, we get glimpses of how the animation could have looked when Eren transforms or when you see a gleam in the Female Titan’s eye. The animation is pretty in depth and it’s another positive to throw in Attack on Titan’s corner.

We also can’t forget that Attack on Titan has one of the greatest soundtracks in anime history. There are very few shows that can even come close to attaining the array of songs that Titan possesses. Everything from the openings to the talking themes to the battle music is great here. There are naturally many themes that aren’t as good as the others, but I can name at least 5 very catchy themes and that’s a great amount. The main Titan theme is a classic, Mikasa’s theme when she tries to avenge Eren is awesome and Eren’s final awakening during the second last episode had a great theme as well. These themes really enhance the scenes and make everything a lot better. It’s hard for you to stop your heart from racing when the music starts to pick up.

Finally, the show also had a great director. I don’t know who directed the show, but he knew what he was doing. It’s basically the opposite of what I’ve come to expect from Naruto Shippuden. He can make just about any scene interesting. That’s something that many shows simply can’t pull off. Even if it’s just your average “Characters Introduction Montage” it will still be infinitely more interesting than if someone else had attempted to adapt that scene.

As you can see, Attack on Titan had some supremely overwhelming positives on that side. Stellar voice acting, An amazing soundtrack, great animation…..how could it not be the next big thing? Well, you can have these positives over and over, but you won’t get very far if the source material is no good. That’s the case with this series and it’s where things start to go downhill.

It’s different from what happened with Sword Art Online. Sword Art Online had all of the positives that I just mentioned for Attack on Titan and it was on pace to become one of my favorite shows of all time. Then arc 2 happened and the show went from being a possible 9 all the way down to a 5. It was just terrible and distasteful. Attack on Titan sets the tone from the very first episode and I knew that things were going to get dicey very quickly.
The big factor that really shreds Attack on Titan is the excessive violence. Toonami somehow managed to squeak a TV 14 for this show, but you can definitely tell tat it’s basically at a TV MA level. I think the only reason why the show gets away with it is because the Titans are like monsters and we know how lenient the rating system is with Godzilla. The show may tone down the manga at certain points, but it also increases the violence in others. Case in point, the final battle between the Rogue Titan and the Female Titan. Many parts of that fight were made up or extended to make the fight that much more drastic. It went way over the top in several scenes and you couldn’t root for either one of them. It’s hard to decide which episode was worse, the final one or the first one. Both of them are fighting for last place alongside one of the Hange episodes.

Mixing the excessive violence with the dreary tone of Attack on Titan is definitely a devastating combo for the series. It’s actually day time in just about every episode, which is why I can’t really think of it as a horror series, but they do make sure to show you that the humans are doomed just about every episode. The series is way too dramatic for its own goods and the heroes are constantly talking about how corrupt everyone is. There will also be a background character in just about every episode who panics and gets the crowd going. A lot of characters express how they don’t want to die just before doing so. These things are here to provide us with more emotional or shock value, but it gets old after it happens over and over again.

Because of this, I found that most of my favorite episodes in the series were the ones without any actual fighting. I’d compare it to Fate/Zero as the characters are very interesting and the world building is solid. I think the show could have scored at around a 7 if it had just been about their strategy discussions and then we skipped the actual fights. Of course, there are exceptions. The Hange episodes didn’t typically have any fighting, but they were pretty bad. On the other hand, the first battle between the Rogue and Female Titans was pretty good for the most part. So, I can only say that the majority of the action scenes were what drove it down.

Some episodes seemed to handle the fight scenes better than others. One episode may have someone destroying a Titan and it appears to be very violent while another may take down a Titan without that much blood. It really varied on who was animating the episode or how much emphasis they had to make. I was pretty disappointed with the final fight in the series because they definitely wanted it to have an extreme ending. The animation itself may have hurt it there as well since they make sure that the Female Titan looks very ugly and deranged by the end. Of course, Attack on Titan would not be very popular without the action so it’s certainly a double edged sword.

Eren is a pretty intriguing character. He doesn’t really like to eat as you would expect from the typical main character and he’s actually decently intelligent. He does have a lot of determination and he’s quick to get into a fight, but he’s definitely not your average main character. He’s a good character to an extent, but it can still be a little hard to root for him since he’s forced to bend to the show’s rules. He hesitates before attacking one of the villains and you can make a lot of guesses as to why. Does he simply not want to destroy her? Can he still not believe that she is an enemy? Or is he just afraid that he will lose? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because he just enters into a rage moment and attacks without mercy. There are many times like this where he just gives into the rage and forgets what is going on. He certainly yells more than most main characters, but the voice actor assures that this is done flawlessly.

He is pretty brave and he’ll definitely put his life on the line to help his friends without hesitation. He wants to save the world and his goals are just. It’s just too bad that he lets the government push him around so much. It’s also hard for him to control the titan form for a while and you would think that it wouldn’t take so much effort with his determination. After some twists that are shown at the end of the season, it really makes you think about it. I don’t think that there is a really good reason for Eren to have that kind of trouble. He overestimates his abilities, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. As a kid, Eren manages to take on two adults, which is impressive.

Eren does face one big decision towards the end of the series where it’s tough to know what to do. To avoid spoilers, I’ll offer up a hypothetical of a similar scenario with the same options. You are the only human who can turn into a titan and then your squad is attacked by a Mega Titan. You are with the world’s strongest human and a group of elites. The strong guy is the leader and he tells you to stand down as you guys will just continue to run away. The Titan is gaining ground and you can choose to turn around and fight (At which point the leader and the elites will enter the fray to back you up) or you can trust in the leader and keep on going. Eren makes one choice and I made the other one. I’ll give you a hint…sometimes the leader’s judgment has been clouded from experience. Either way, I suppose that I can’t…..fine, I do blame Eren for making the wrong choice. It cost a lot of lives and I didn’t think that it was a close decision It was a no brainer for me and that didn’t help Eren’s case. Also, one of the series’ ongoing messages is about how you have to forsake yourself and become a beast to defeat one. Eren is constantly told to let go of his humanity and to truly join the ranks of mindless monsters/evil. He basically starts to listen by the end and most of the other heroes are already corrupt through and through. I certainly wouldn’t call Eren a bad main character, but he definitely could have been a lot better and I could see him going downhill from here. We’ve already seen that he is starting to crack and let’s just say that his hatred for the titans continues to grow as time goes by.

Mikasa is the main heroine and she is one of the toughest fighters. From the start we see that Eren is the loud main character who is determined to win while Mikasa is the silent, but deadly assassin. She destroys more titans than just about any other character in the series. Levi is probably the only one who possibly matches her in that regard. The show makes it clear that Levi is still the more skilled fighter, but considering that Mikasa didn’t have any real combat training at the beginning, she did really well. Her rage moment where she attacks a group of titans to avenge Eren is great and she also takes on the Female Titan, a great feat for a human. She’s easily the best character in the show.

Levi is the fan favorite character and you’re reminded why he’s supposed to be an awesome character with just about every line. He is able to fight the Female Titan and hold his own with relative ease and he’s supposed to be the strongest human in existence. His speed is completely superhuman and you can’t doubt his abilities. That being said, I can’t say that he’s a very likable character. He went way over the top when beating down Eren and it was hard to find him likable after that. It may have helped Eren out in the long run, but there were surely other ways that they could have accomplished that. I also don’t think Eren should have lived through such a beating, at least the way that it was animated. Levi is one of the characters who goes downhill from here so brace yourself as season 2 approaches.

Annie’s role will seem to be that of the overshadowed side character for a while. She’s a part of the squad along with a few other guys from the intro montage, but then she disappears for a while. She’s pretty mellow compared to the other recruits and while she acknowledges that the world is corrupt…she doesn’t do anything about it. Really, there’s not much that you can do in such a system so I guess I don’t really blame her. Sasha is a pretty minor figure as well, but she values the importance of a good meal amidst the battles so that’s always a good thing. She’s pretty likable right from the start.
Hange is easily the worst character in the show and she does a good job of bringing the show down a even further. There is no way that you can call her a hero by any stretch of the imagination so it’s very difficult to see the main characters working alongside her. Do they not comprehend just how awful she is? She delights in the pain of others and she’s just a very warped individual. The situation has likely caused her to become insane, but the heroes shouldn’t give her such free reign. Of course, they’re not really “heroes” themselves, which makes things dicey.

The Female Titan is the final boss of the series and she’s definitely very skilled. Her hand to hand techniques are enough to give The Rogue Titan a good match, but her best advantage is easily her ability to harden a part of herself. She can use this ability to offensively attack someone or to block an attack. That’s why it’s no exaggeration to say that she may be the strongest fighter in the series. A battle between her and the Colossal Titan would certainly be interesting to say the least.

The Colossal Titan is a figure that just about everyone should know from the posters. He’s a pretty iconic titan and fans were probably disappointed when he only got a few minutes of screentime in the series. He’s definitely the kind of villain that you want to see more of. He’s more interesting than the other villains at the moment and he did have a pretty great cliffhanger during one of his appearances. Well, we can be sure that he will appear more in the next season.

Armin is one of the main characters and at times he feels more like the lead than Eren. He’s the calm and collected character who tries to set the mood for the audience. He is always going on about how we need to lose our humanity and become monsters to fight the Titans. Forsaking our morals and doing what’s “necessary” is the only way to win this war according to him. At least he’s not pretending that he’s a hero, but this starts to grate on you very quickly. He’s also not much of a fighter and he cracks one or two times. His big moments didn’t help me gain any respect for him.

Jean starts off as the classic bully and develops into the capable leader. He’s a pretty decent character by the end as he decides to fight for justice. He also doesn’t have any qualms about insulting the squad leaders as he moves up the ranks. He’s sort of like a kid version of Erwin so he hasn’t been fully corrupted yet. He could end up being one of the best characters in the series if he plays his cards right.

Erwin is Levi’s mentor so you can probably tell that he’s not going to be one of the most friendly members. He talks about strategy a lot and he’s totally willing to break a few dozen eggs in in order to make his omelet. The ends totally justify the means for him. He is dealing with a corrupt government so it’s tricky for him either way, but I couldn’t call him a hero either. It should be noted that things will likely go downhill for him in season 2 so this is really his best season.

So, time for some final comparisons to Sword Art Online. They both have a lot of similar aspects and both of them had disappointing finishes, but there can be only one winner.

Best Main Character-Sword Art Online
Best Soundtrack- Attack on Titan
Best Opening- Sword Art Online
Best Fight- Sword Art Online
Best Animation-Sword Art Online
Best Plot-Sword Art Online
Best First Half- Sword Art Online
Best Climax-Attack on Titan
Better show-Sword Art Online

I suppose that this answers the question. From the two shows that completely shattered social media and our minds as a result, Sword Art Online wins. It had an amazing beginning and I could see why it will always be remembered as a legendary anime. Attack on Titan was certainly revoloutionary in its own right and since it was Japan’s answer to the Walking Dead, you can see why it had such a large audience over in the states. The problem is that it appeals to a completely different crowd than me. I reeeeeeeally do not like the Walking Dead (I don’t like Zombies at all) and I don’t care for the concept of Titans as the main villains. It’s why I didn’t care for the concept of Attack on Titan in the first place and why all of its great features could not save the franchise.
Overall, Attack on Titan is the kind of show that you really want to like, but are unable too. The negatives manage to outweigh the positives and you’re left wishing that it could have won the battle. A video game has the potential to be pretty honest with a “Spiderman” sort of gameplay as you try to slay the titans. The franchise still has potential, but most of it has squandered and there probably isn’t a whole lot of hope left for it. The only piece of the franchise that I liked a lot was the Junior High spinoff. The Levi prequel was surprisingly good for the most part as well. If you don’t mind a whole lot of violence, then I actually would recommend this title since that is mostly what deters me from it. The other aspects are mostly pretty solid. That being said, for a similar experience of top notch quality, check out the first arc of Sword Art Online.

Overall 4/10

Maleficent Review

I saw Sleeping Beauty pretty recently so that was a good set up for this film. The film did claim that the old story was basically fake through the posters and intro, which was a risky move since the older fans could have gotten nervous. Luckily, this new retelling turned out to be pretty good and Maleficent surpassed my expectations.

The film begins with Maleficent’s tragic backstory as she has her wings stolen and is tricked by a corrupt man from the enemy kingdom. It’s too late to regain her abilities, but she places a curse on the King’s daughter and then departs to protect her kingdom. Three fairies decide to take the princess to a shack in the woods so that they can hide from Maleficent, but this only buys them a few hours. Rather than harming the girl, Maleficent decides to just watch her from the shadows and help out from time to time. She mocks the fairies as well, but it’s hard not to at times. Aurora’s birthday is quickly approaching though so Maleficent will have to decide between good and evil while also facing upcoming dangers from the kingdom.

It’s a pretty happy film for the most part as Maleficent learns about the joys of being a nice person. It’s a film where you need to enjoy looking at the scenery as the film puts a lot of focus on it as we see that Maleficent’s kingdom isn’t all that bad either. The only dark part is probably the beginning, which is filled with dread as you know that the prince cannot be trusted.

Maleficent is a pretty good character and she’s certainly better than I expected. The posters didn’t really do the costume any favors and she’s certainly a formidable threat when she possesses her wings. She basically started out as a hero and lost her way, but she continues to try to do the right thing. She’s certainly better than some of the current protagonists like Katniss and Bilbo. I’d also go as far as to say that this could be her best portrayal, although she was still pretty great in the original film.

The director must not have liked the three fairies since they are downright awful in this film. They are just there to show us that the Kingdom is still very corrupt. They let the King push them around and they don’t really care that much for Aurora’s well being. Some of their lines are just meant to be funny, but they don’t really work and you would think that they were the step sisters from Cinderella. They definitely weren’t portrayed correctly.

Aurora was a decent character, but I feel like she jumped to conclusions way too quickly. After a lot of bonding time with one of the characters, she quickly forgets all of that and attacks her because of a quick word from the fairies. At that point in time, I’d definitely be more inclined to listen to the person who seems to be a lot cooler and more trust worthy. Aurora was also pretty quick to fall into the romance trap, which was unfortunate. I don’t believe in love at first sight and I probably never will. If you live in a forest and see a strange man for the first time…you should probably just head back home instead of telling him where you live. I didn’t think that she did a good job there and things almost got dicey.

The King is pretty awful as expected. He just wants to be rich and to destroy Maleficent no matter what the cost. He’s about as corrupt as they come and he really starts to go crazy by the end. He’s a character who’s created to be very unlikable and I can safely say that it works. I don’t think that you’ll be rooting for him during any parts of the film.

The Prince who always comes to save the day finds himself with a very different role in this film. I thought that Maleficent did a great job with that since it disproves the whole Love at First Sight myth. Let’s just say that it’s not true love and he’s written out of the script pretty quickly. Now other films can take note of how this isn’t a true romance and maybe things will start to look up…maybe.

The fight scenes were also surprisingly good. It’s no secret that I really don’t like the medieval period for films since the battles just contain a lot of gritty stabbing and guys yelling for a while, but that’s not the case here. The monsters actually look tough and we get some Man of Steel moments when Maleficent is flying. The fight scenes where she has her wings are definitely the best parts and the final fight is also pretty fun. That being said, it also takes us to the classic plot hax part.

The final fight makes no sense from a logical stand point or even when looking at it through the wonky power levels of Avengers Assemble. Maleficent has magic powers and she can do just about anything, but one hit from the iron net and suddenly she is powerless. She just stands there as the prince beats her up and that’s pretty annoying. I expect her to put up a much better fight than that. Also, she should have transformed her partner out of his dragon form when they tried to capture him and then quickly transformed him back so that the chains would have slipped off. That would have been genius, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

The soundtrack is pretty nonexistent. It’s unfortunate, but to be expected since that is a big weakness for most live action films. They just can’t seem to put a good soundtrack together for some reason. The special effects are solid though and this won’t hurt the film, it just won’t help it either.

One thing that you should note is that this film may be rated PG, but I do feel that PG 13 is more appropriate. As far as I am concerned, PG films should not have any blood or scenes that get too intense. The scenes with the net start to stretch that point and Maleficent losing her wings was also rather intense. It would be a very mild PG 13, but I do think that it would be the correct rating.

Also, while I did like Maleficent a lot, she was way too gullible in the opening scenes. How can you trust someone that you’ve barely met and who deserted you for years? That scene was pretty painful to watch and you just have to wonder if the film could have made it a little more believable. I mean, the King was suspect from the every start! He looks shifty and certainly not like the friendly type. That certainly hurts her character as she would have been almost perfect otherwise. Even when she’s in her evil phase, she’s still nice to her loyal followers and doesn’t just start beating them around for the lolz. That’s a true villain.

Overall, Maleficent was a solid film. It beats Transformers, Hunger Games Mockingjay, TMNT, and X Men Days of Future Past as far as this year’s big films go. It still loses to Captain America, Spider Man, Guardians, and Godzilla, but landing in the top 5 is no small feat. I doubt that the Hobbit will pass it so it should be pretty safe there. A sequel for this film could be intriguing provided that we get a solid villain. Now that we know that good fight scenes are a possibility, I’m ready for her to fight another being with wings and super speed. That could potentially be the best Disney Princess film to date. Ah well, first we have to get through Cinderella…one of the few films that didn’t really have a villain. (At least, a villain with superheroes) You will enjoy this film from start to finish and it is a title that you will walk away from feeling pretty content. I recommend this if you’re looking for a fun Disney film to watch or if you just want a classic monsters vs humans film. Even if you are just looking for a summer blockbuster film, this one would fit the bill to an extent. I would argue that it has about as much action as Xmen and certainly more than the Hunger Games. Sleeping Beauty is officially my favorite Disney Princess part of the franchise for now.

Overall 7/10

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 Review

Believe it or not, I actually went to watch this film at the early midnight screening. Am I that much of a fan? Well, I read the books so that’s a good enough reason to watch the next one despite the first two only getting 3 stars here on the blog. I had some hope that this installment would improve upon the others, but it’s actually regressed in a few ways. We see Attack on Titan elements in one corner and a broken Katniss who resembles Simon from some of the dicier episodes of Gurren Lagann. These things do not ultimately mix into an epic film.

No worries, this review won’t have any real spoilers for the film. The flaws are general enough so that I can expose them without using it. The plot follows Katniss as she tries to move on from the traumatic experiences of the first two films, but without a whole lot of luck. The resistance movement wants her to be their symbol, but she knows that the more that she helps them, the worse off that Peeta will be. It’s a lose lose situation since the government will mess with Peeta regardless of what she does. She can only continue to go through the motions and hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The film really focuses on Katniss’ development so not a whole lot happens here. The government talks tough for a while and Katniss also gets some “Burn” lines, but both sides are essentially at a stand still. The set up basically goes on for two hours and we only get a few brief action scenes. Some are so brief that they barely even count. Remember the scene where Katniss shoots down a plane in the trailer? That would be one of the action scenes and it’s technically under a minute long. A single shot is hardly an action scene, but I still have to count it or things would get dicey for the film.

The classic theme for the emblem/franchise is great as the whistle is definitely iconic at this point. Beyond that, the soundtrack is not very noticeable. You will probably not remember most of the tunes by the time that you are through with it. I don’t think that I remembered any of them except for the classic whistle because it’s all very generic theater type music.

I also don’t really care for the ending. It’s not a scene that will really make you hyped for the sequel. It’s just another opportunity to remind us that one of the characters has already been broken down so much that there really won’t be a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s to further the film’s dark and dreary tone more. You want a set up for the next film to be something epic so that people will have something to talk about for a year. The after credits scene in Avengers is a great example of that. Soul Eater had one of my favorite cliffhangers where the protagonist arrives at the villain’s base to fight. While Hunger Games may not be able to do something like that, a much better ending would have been for Katniss to have: A. been holding a cup and then clenching her fist to make it break or B. Shooting an arrow into a bullseye and saying something along the lines of “President Snow, prepare yourself!” Those would have been more exhilarating ways to end the film. We would have had a determined main character who’s ready to fight and that’s an ending that you would definitely remember for a long time.

The film does have one area where it improves a lot over the previous titles. There are no real animal violence scenes to be found here and that’s a huge positive. No dogs running around and even Katniss finally learns that animal hunting is wrong. It only took this experience of being hunted to help her realize that, but it’s better late than never. There isn’t a lot of action, which can be a bit of a negative in itself, but it also means that we don’t get gritty Hobbit styled action scenes that hurt the film in its own way. I didn’t care for the action scenes in the first two Hunger Games films, but that’s because most of the fight scenes don’t get to happen because of the stage gimmicks and none of them were really any fun. They certainly weren’t Mission Impossible or Captain America level.

As I’ve already mentioned, I didn’t like Katniss as the main character. She’s not determined or portrayed as very tough here since she’s still getting over the Hunger Games. She’s already destroyed people and been in life or death situations so she should be getting used to that by now. Her reaction upon seeing a bunch of skulls and bones was wayyyyyy too dramatic and I didn’t think that it made a whole lot of sense in her position. It’s tragic of course, but not enough to make her hit the ground and gasp. Her only good scene is probably when she shoots down the ships from the trailer, but that’s simply not enough. She never declares that they should take the fight to the villains and she’s on the defensive the entire film. Her only brief physical fight makes her look very bad since she could not do a single thing. Katniss is easily becoming one of my least favorite protagonists and while she will never be as bad as James Bond or Captain Kirk, she is fading very quickly. Main characters should always be brave or at least tough. If you’re not either one of those things…then it’s going to be a difficult road.

President Snow doesn’t really appear all that much, but we still get scenes where we get to see him grin or verbally destroy Katniss. It’s about all that he gets to do since he’s the kind of villain who just hides behind his minions for the whole film. Gale is around for most of the film, but he doesn’t really do anything. He just tries to get some romance and he’s here to remind us that Peeta can’t be trusted. I definitely didn’t like Gale and he certainly doesn’t help Katniss snap out of her slump.

Peeta’s role can’t fully be discussed here, but let’s just say that he’s one of those guys who’s in a pretty grim situation with no real hope left. So, he doesn’t get a chance to look very good. He gets to be on TV a lot though so that’s always a plus. Elfie is fairly unlikable as well. She has a few moments that are supposed to make the audience chuckle, (They succeeded by the way) but that’s not enough to make her a strong supporting character.

The head honcho is decent, but she just doesn’t seem to have a chance here. She’s taking a big gamble on Katniss, but it doesn’t change the fact that the heroes are seriously outmatched. That being said, she’s better than most of the other characters. Haymitch’s role is very small and he only gets a few quick scenes so that we can remember him. That’s about it…maybe he’ll do more in the sequel.

Mockingjay also starts to write the series into a corner since the Capital is so much stronger than the Districts. Do the heroes really expect to win this fight? We get a scene where some of the rebels fight back and it takes about 60+ casualties to take out about 6 guards. They’re never going to win the war like that and the Capital can just fire off a missile to even the odds in an instant. Everything is completely stacked on the side of evil and a few arrows aren’t going to stop that. This is just a case of the villain’s getting too much resources on their side for a believable ending to occur.

The film’s overall bleak tone also doesn’t help it develop any moments to help it rise up the ranks. There are no moments for you to cheer or grin in excitement. Almost every scene involves someone getting blown up, remembering explosions, or fearing the inevitable. That doesn’t make for a very compelling film and a different main character really could have helped that. I do have to give props Katniss’ sister though for remembering her cat through thick and thin. Protecting one’s pet is a duty that must be taken seriously no matter what trouble arises.

Since this is a pretty negative review, I thought that I should quickly mention a few little things that would have helped the film a lot. Giving Katniss Captain Kirk’s courage would have been a solid start. Next up, give the villains less screentime so that we can see Katniss get a new weapon to help her even the fight. Third, make an explosive EMP that permanently disables a lot of the Capital’s tech. It’s the only thing that can really make this a fair fight. Finally, cut out Peeta’s scenes and some of the scenes where the rebels are just getting beat up by the army. We’re watching a blockbuster, not a tragedy film. I think these changes could have easily helped the film double or triple its score.

Overall, I really didn’t like this installment. I still think that the books worked better as books than movies. Nothing really happens here and there are no likable characters. Once that happens…the film is basically doomed no matter what else happens. The next film should still be a step up, but I wouldn’t count on a giant ratings boost. It’ll be good enough…and I suppose that it’ll have to do. If you want to see a film that’s playing in the theaters right now, I’d recommend just waiting until the next DBZ film comes out in a few months and taking a quick trip to Japan. Your alternative is just checking out Age of Ultron in a few months.

Overall 2/10