Lego Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash Review

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It’s time for another Scooby Doo film. LEGO titles are very popular nowadays and it seems like every franchise wants a piece of the pie. It’s still not my favorite format but it tends to work pretty well with Scooby Doo. The characters can really act crazy here and are just as self aware as ever. We don’t get to see Shaggy and Scooby eat since eating is still very hard to do with Legos, but that’s the only real drawback. It’s a very fun Scooby Doo movie that goes by quickly and I would actually consider it to be one of the better movies in the series.

The Mystery Gang has just finished another case and they are excited for another one, but then Daphne and Shaggy drop a bombshell. Fred and Velma just aren’t fun and they act as partypoopers every time the gang tries to have fun. They take this personally so Velma and Fred decide to prove that they are actually a lot of fun. They will do this by being awarded the King and Queen positions at the big Summer Bash going on in the next town over. Unfortunately, a pair of ghosts have been popping up lately and so the bash might be cancelled. Fred and Velma decide not to help since they are too busy dancing so this time Daphne and Shaggy are going to have to try and solve the case. Can they do it or will they have to ask Fred and Velma for some help one last time.

Right off the bat I can definitely confirm that I liked this plot. Velma and Fred always put the mission first so it’s easy to see how they might not seem fun, but it just means that they aren’t slackers. Let’s be honest here, Daphne rarely takes the mission seriously as it is. She often gets distracted or simply doesn’t care. Shaggy is pretty obviously not into the mission in any of the films. As a result, it’s pretty ironic every time they talk about taking things seriously. As Velma points out in the film, Fred and her do the heavy lifting in every single case. Surely the other members can pull their weight for one case right? Unfortunately not so in the end Velma and Fred are called back into action.

In the meantime, they do prove that they know how to have fun. They come up with a cool new dance and even get the old Captains of the Bash to leave since their attitudes aren’t very good. It does seem like they were always like that though so winning the Bash in the first place was a little suspect but with enough money trading hands I suppose it is possible. As per usual I would say that Fred was the best character here. He took everything in stride and even convinced Velma to turn her tumble into a dance. Then he still had enough energy to help save the day.

The only part of the film that wasn’t very satisfying was the ending. Long story short, Fred and Velma decide to relinquish their titles to Shaggy and Daphne out of pity since those two were unable to solve the case and they also weren’t able to become Captains of the Bash legitimately. I feel like Fred and Velma should have kept the crown since they really did put a lot of effort into obtaining it. It just feels very undeserved for the other two members to get the crown after all of that. Still, the other members can’t call Fred a square after this film.

As you can imagine the writing is pretty solid here. The humor is pretty solid and the characters are on point. The character histories are a big reason as to why this film works in the first place is because of the character histories. I’m still not really a fan of the LEGO animation so I wouldn’t list that as a positive or anything but it works well enough I suppose. I’ll give the film credit for using the animation to its advantage by having their heads fly off and make that an actual part of the dance. Now that is how you work with the animation you were given. With hand drawn animation, of course the film would excel even more but no need to look at the hypothetical any more than that.

Now let’s look at the suspects. Naturally we have the previous Captains of the Bash. They seem determined to keep their crowns so cancelling the Bash would be one way of doing that. There are also 2 ghosts so that would make sense. There are also their parents. While they seem to be a nice pair of senior citizens, they do seem to have given up on the Bash rather quickly and are getting ready to sell to corporate. Perhaps they just want the insurance money?

There is also Mr. Corporate himself. Certainly one of the best characters in the film I might add. He has quite a lot of confidence throughout all of his appearances and isn’t afraid to use his money and position against anyone in his path. There are many reasons why he could be guilty if you really think about it. Corporate doesn’t look out for the little guys. Then there is his secretary. She is very timid and shy. She obeys corporate to the letter but always feels bad about it. Perhaps she has some pent up aggression that has led her to a life of crime eh? The secretary does have one scene where she blows up at corporate, but I can’t say I was a fan of that scene. The random blow out never really works and I’d say it just makes the character look bad for putting everyone on the spot. If you’re going to quit, do it in private later on. At least Corporate didn’t take it personally.

Finally we also have the Sheriff and his deputy. They definitely seem to want the Mystery Gang off the island as soon as possible and they are fans of the ghosts. They are hoping that the ghosts scare everyone away so the town will be nice and quiet again. These guys are rather direct which you may think is too obvious but maybe that’s what the film wants you to think.

We definitely have quite a few suspects here so it’s up to you to try and narrow the list down a bit. The newer Scooby Doo films usually have a lot of fun with the unveiling of the crooks and this one is no different. We get a bunch of twists and it’ll remind you to always suspect everyone until proven otherwise. After all, even the tour guide had something to hide. He may not have been the crook but judging from how fast he ran, the guy may have a previous crime on his record.

Overall, This was definitely a fun Scooby Doo film. Even though it’s the LEGO format I would consider this to be one of the better Scooby Doo films. It definitely captures the core of the franchise and it was probably the first time we had the plot revolve around Fred and Velma. We even got a few songs which were handled well. This is probably one of the first Beach films that I could recommend as well. With the proper blend of humor, action, and plot, this is a film I would definitely recommend checking out.

Overall 7/10

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Ratatouille Review

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It’s been a long time since I first saw this film. Over 10 years for sure. I still have a tough time spelling out the name to be honest. I also forgot that it was a Pixar film so it’s cool to see their track record get longer and longer. It’s definitely a fun film, although a step down from many of their other titles thanks to the weak cast and poorly handled romance. It is fun seeing the food though and as I’m always hungry, I always enjoy seeing food. I’m hungry even while writing this review, but I must press on!

The film starts off by showing us a famous Chef named Gusteau. His restaurant was known as an amazing 5 Star place, but one day the legendary food critic, Ego showed up. He didn’t like the food so his review took the restaurant down by a star and then Gusteau quickly died from the stress so it dropped another star. The place is under tough times right now, but the new owner, Skinner is making the best of it. He’s selling out the company name to any microwave and frozen food company that will take them. If the restaurant is going to go under soon, they may as well make some money in the meantime. He actually has the right idea here. Unfortunately for him, his plans are put in danger when Gusteau’s secret son shows up and he has the right to inherit the place. Can Skinner keep the kid in the dark until he officially takes ownership of the place or will Linguini figure out the shady plot? Meanwhile there is a Rat named Remy who is a super cook and controls Linguini by pulling on his hair. He is the secret behind the boy’s genius.

While the film does go out of its way to try and make the main Rat hygenienic, I can admit that I probably wouldn’t want him in my kitchen. I’m cool with Dogs running around since it’s not like they’re actually handling the ingredients. Just thinking of a rat grabbing all of the foods and making it is a little tough to swallow though. So, while it’s a cool plot, I wouldn’t want to be one of the people who ate at the restaurant. Imagine your reaction when you found out the truth one day thanks to the newspaper. It would definitely be pretty brutal.

Remy is the main Rat and he is definitely enthusiastic about cooking. He’s a likable enough lead although letting his family pressure him into stealing was definitely a big flaw. I understand it working once, but once it became a regular thing that became a problem. While not as bad as Linguini, Remy also wasn’t a very good character. He definitely needed more will power if he was to succeed here. Skinner is the mean boss who tries to undercut Linguini at every point. He’s definitely a villain and doesn’t play fair. Still, he’s a fun enough character so you can actually root for him throughout the movie. While he is portrayed in a negative light for selling out, it actually does make sense. I think he probably would have gotten the restaurant back to 4 stars at some point, but he would have to learn to stop playing it safe. It sounds like he had yet to come up with a single new recipe which is a problem.

Linguini is a really bad character. He has very low amounts of self confidence right out of the gate which allows everyone to walk all over him. He doesn’t stand up for himself and is totally fine with taking credit for someone else’s achievements. He was willing to drown Remy before realizing that the Rat may have some intelligence. There’s just nothing to like about this guy and naturally his ego takes him over during the second half as well. While I don’t expect all main characters to be very good, I do expect them not to be actively awful. I was actually rooting for Skinner over Linguini the whole time. At least Skinner actually can cook as opposed to letting someone else do it for him. While everyone basically acted like traitors for running out on Linguini, I didn’t mind as much as I would have if he was a good character. Also, having a rat in the kitchen certainly isn’t sanitary so I can see their side of the argument.

Gusteau actually isn’t a good character either. If you think about it, he possibly destroyed himself over a single bad review. He should have just kept on cooking and tried to convince Ego that the restaurant was good. He threw in the towel very quickly so even though this is glossed over I can’t forget it very easily. Colette is a good character until she meets up with Linguini. She’s tough and reminds everyone of this when she’s on screen. She had to earn her spot in the restaurant and it was apparently a very tough road. A prequel about her moving up the ranks would probably be fun. Ego is a good antagonist. He’s apparently not a very bad guy even though he definitely acts the part. Ego just wants to have good food like when he was a kid and I guess nothing can live up to that standard so he has fun destroying careers in the meantime. This works pretty well and I just think they shouldn’t have been to drastic with his character change by the end. It was handled reasonably well though and turning him into an investor was a good move.

As you would expect from Pixar, the animation is pretty good. The characters are clear and the food looks good. To be honest I would have liked to have seen some more food during the movie since we actually didn’t get too many dishes. I suppose food was the setting, but not necessarily the most important part of the film though so it couldn’t be helped. There isn’t much f a soundtrack to go along with the animation though so I guess I can’t say that the package is complete.

The pacing for the film is pretty good. At most, you just won’t care about the rat plots as much as the human ones. Still, they do have some scary scenes like the mice by the window moment. You also get a good look at the Rat lifestyle and can then really appreciate why Remy would want to get out of there so quickly. One aspect where the film wasn’t as strong was in the romance though. It’s very rushed and unfortunately poorly handled. Colette is the tough character of the film and she has sacrificed a lot to get here. There’s no real indication of a romance between the two characters until it just suddenly happens in the back alley. It wasn’t even Linguini’s choice as the rat forced this to start. It just comes out of left field and adds nothing to the film. It’s just here to ensure that the film has some romance when in reality it didn’t need this element. It should have just stayed as a nice cooking movie with a Rat as the Chef. That’s already all the plot that you need.

If you think about it, most of the drama in the film could have been avoided if Linguini was actually intelligent. Constantly taking Remy out in public was just tempting trouble and giving Remy an equal share of the rewards would have been easy. Maybe he couldn’t actually tell the world about Remy, but giving him a bunch of new foods and recipes to try out during the day would have helped. Declining any interviews that weren’t 100% necessary would have also been good. Linguini just needed to stay grateful to Remy and focus on the cooking. That wouldn’t have even been too hard.

Overall, Ratatouille is a good film, but one that adds too many unnecessary elements. The romance just should not have been here. The characters also aren’t that likable. Linguini is quite possibly the weakest Pixar lead that I’ve seen. I can’t think of all the main characters off the top of my head, but from the ones that come to mind he would definitely take the title. Even when he gets braver by the end it isn’t by much. Watch this film for the food, but just do your best to tune out the main character. I’d still recommend checking this film out. It’s not a master piece, but it’s an enjoyable enough film that will keep you entertained. If they ever do a sequel, then I want a Cooking Contest. We don’t get enough of those in films and those are very entertaining. It also forces the cooks to cook at a higher level in order to beat out their rivals.

Overall 6/10

RWBY Review

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It’s definitely pretty interesting to review the manga before the show right? Now that season 5 has ended I will start working on a RWBY review very soon. It’s going to be massive though so it won’t be up for a long time. The show rose out of nowhere and suddenly became one of the all time greats. Now you see the franchise everywhere so it makes sense that the manga has come to America. Unfortunately, it does feel a little like a cash grab, but it does give some of the earlier shorts some more context and even changes a few things for kicks. It’s a fun enough volume since I’m a huge fan of the franchise, but I still can’t call it a great manga. Perhaps we will get a new ongoing RWBY series soon which will work a little better.

The volume starts off with 4 individual stories. They each adapt the original RWBY character shorts. The Ruby one is naturally a lot of fun since it’s just her beating up the Grimm for an entire chapter. That’s still a very iconic RWBY short and the manga adapts it well. While I’m not a huge fan of the artwork, the artist does show up for the fight scenes. Weiss’ story also shows up and we learn that the giant Knight from her special was actually a suit of armor that a Grimm was possessing. It was a test to see if Weiss would be allowed to leave and she passed it with flying colors. It had more dialogue and more of a plot than the Ruby short so I would consider this chapter to be better.

Next up we had the Blake story. Adam doesn’t look quite as good as in the show since Blake needs to save him and in general he doesn’t look as skilled, but I’m used to most of the community not liking Adam. He’s still one of the best characters in RWBY, but more on that in the show review. It’s another fun story with a bunch of action. Finally we have the Yang chapter. It’s the best of the shorts and also the best prequel chapter here. It’s basically nonstop action with Yang beating everyone up and reminding us why she is the power hitter of the group. This all leads into the main arc for the manga volume.

Team JNPR is sent off on a mission to stop a giant Grimm and they leave early to show off. Team RWBY catches up to them and the teams take on the 8 Headed Dragon. It’s a pretty hype fight with a lot of teamwork and we’ve never really gotten to see all 8 heroes fight a big creature like this. We did have a similar fight in season 1 against two monsters though which is likely the approach the story was going for. It’s another solid action story and then it basically ends with a small tease for all the events that would happen in the show. The manga is essentially just a quick spinoff story so you can see the characters in a new situation and the prequels were adapted perhaps for any manga reader who didn’t watch the show. This way they would know who the characters are.

I do wonder if the manga was originally going to be one volume or not. It just seemed like it would be an ongoing title while reading it. The first 4 chapters set up the various characters and their subplots. Torchwick showed up a few times during the original story which felt like obvious foreshadowing as well. I feel like the author was either planning to start adapting the show again after the original story and it just didn’t happen or he was going to do his own thing. Either way, the ending was so abrupt that it just feels like something is missing. It’s a shame that it was only 1 volume because there are so many more scenes that could have been made. Since RWBY only gives us about 3-4 hours of content per year, there’s not a whole lot of time for bonus fights and extra plots. Having an ongoing manga/comic/anime series to run alongside it would be really cool. I guess this manga just isn’t the way that was going to happen.

Perhaps the artwork ended up hurting it a bit in the long run. The art is actually quite bad. Most of the characters are off model the whole time and their designs are not on point. Nobody really looks like how they should and the art is just rather cluttered. There doesn’t seem to have been a whole lot of effort put behind the manga. Again, I feel like this manga was really just made for some quick cash or to get more awareness out on the series. If it had been given real art then this could have ended up being known as one of the all time greats. Instead, it limits the series.

It’s still a good volume though and I don’t regret pre ordering it. What the series lacks in artwork it makes up for in fights. Every chapter has a bunch of action and the fights just don’t stop in this volume. The action just keeps on going and going as you would expect it too. The characters are still likable although that’s likely just because I know their personalities from the show. It’s not as if there is really any time for development in this volume before it just ends. It’s simply building off of the show’s legacy. There’s not too much more to say without regurgitating the same points over and over again.

At the end of the day, it’s just a fun manga. Maybe part of this was intentionally trying to recapture what made RWBY popular in the first place. It was just a series of shorts with great, tightly choreographed fight scenes. There wasn’t much of a plot, but the specials still had a lot of character. You could learn a lot from the characters by their design, facial expressions, and movements. They didn’t need dialogue and much in the same way, the manga doesn’t build on the characters. You just know that they mean business from the way that they fight while also having carefree attitudes outside of combat. The manga decided that you don’t need to know any more than that and just launches you into fights from there. Jaune fans will likely be saddened by the fact that he doesn’t do much here, but at least he got to appear. A bunch of characters couldn’t make it in before the volume ended.
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Overall, Watching RWBY before reading this manga will allow you to enjoy it a lot more. If you haven’t seen RWBY, then I will still recommend this volume, but it’ll come off as extremely bland and rushed. Just look at the image above. You can see how much the manga foreshadowed, but I suppose it’s just an advertisement for the show. You’ll essentially not be reading this for the plot and you’ll just want to focus on the action. You may have some questions on what is happening and why it’s happening, but the book has a little guide at the beginning to help newcomers and at the end of the day you shouldn’t overthink it. The concept of a school training people to fight monsters is pretty basic and even if you don’t know the technicalities you should be able to get the manga’s drift. So, without the RWBY factor then you can drop this review one star. It’s still a positive score though and I eagerly await whatever RWBY product is next.

Overall 7/10

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold Review

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Batman and Scooby Doo have always made for a very intense pairing. The crossover just writes itself as Batman tends to be a detective series that is very serious while the Mystery Gang prefers to have a lot of fun as they save the day. The groups have very different detective styles and solve crimes in two very different neighborhoods. Still, at the end of the day they are detectives and in this film we shall see them match wits.

The film starts off with Fred and the gang attempting to solve a mystery. Unfortunately this ghost is a formidable opponent and seems to have the upper hand. That’s when Batman himself shows up and he suggests that the Mystery Gang is too young to handle villains in Gotham. This leads Fred to trap Batman while the gang takes down the ghost. They go into their usual explanation about how they knew who it was all the time in a way that is fairly self aware with how exaggerated it is. Batman then shows up and declares that the group passed his initiation and he would like them to join the official Mystery Solvers group which also features Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, Question, Plasticman, and Detective Chimp. The group exists to fight the mysteries that no single detective could. Batman only has one unsolved case in his section so the team decides to focus on that one first. A mysterious voice has been scaring Batman lately and now the Mystery Gang are being framed. It’s all connected but how? The heroes will have to find the answer to this question along with some proof, all while trying to elude the Police, Fellow Heroes, and Supervillains!

This film takes place in the Batman Brave and The Bold continuity. It’s a very good selection for the crossover and I’m glad to see the series be brought back. The two animation styles mix together very well and that’s probably why it was chosen. It’d be hard to mix Beware The Batman with Scooby Doo without switching the animation after all. Scooby Doo’s animation has always been consistent for a very long time now and this one is no exception. The animation is very clear and easy to watch. The backgrounds are detailed and the action is easy to follow. It’s definitely some of the best American Animation currently.

Since most of the film is rather solid I may as well change things up and start with the negatives first. For starters, Fred looks pretty bad here. Why is he obsessing over Black Canary when he should just be psyched to be helping out a team of Elite Detectives? This is Fred Jones, the Leader of Mystery Incorporated. I wanted to see him match wits with the others but he is a little too distracted. Meanwhile Black Canary basically mocks him whenever she appears, but given the circumstances I can’t blame her one bit. The insult almost sounded like too much for this film but then you remember that she’s just making fun of his signature tie style which can easily sound like something else if you are not prepared.

My other negative is how bad all of the heroes who aren’t Batman or Aquaman look. When the Mystery Gang is framed and Batman helps them out he is seen as guilty as well. Sure, Batman keeps running off and doing his own thing, but isn’t that par for the course with the Dark Knight? All of the heroes turn against him so quickly that we finally see them for who they are. They weren’t good friends, their bonds are about as strong as the average Naruto character. They made the hero’s job a whole lot harder.

I always think that when a villain framed a hero it shouldn’t be so easy to convince the friends. Especially when in this case Batman has had a solid track record for so many years. The only one with a decent motive is Detective Chimp since he was humiliated by Velma and likely wants payback. Is that how a hero should act? No, but that’s how I can imagine Detective Chimp acting. He really got roasted here, but I’ve never liked the character so I was personally okay with that.

Martian Manhunter’s cookie gimmick is a nice call back to Justice League International. He is portrayed as an unlikable jerk, but I can’t say I have a problem with that. He is fairly memorable in the movie thanks to this and it also helps you root for Shaggy and Scooby a little more since they are effectively being bullied and can’t do anything about it. By the end of the film Manhunter hasn’t really learned anything, but he’ll likely think twice before crossing the Mystery Inc since they’re heroes now.

Aquaman actually looks pretty good now. He is very determined and keeps on pressing Batman until he is finally let into the secret club. He’s also the only hero who didn’t actually doubt Batman which gets him big points in my book. He was really on point with his entire portrayal so I definitely had no qualms with him. Batman also looks pretty good for the most part. The opening scene may get you worried for a bit, but after the twist it’s okay. Now, he may be a little too nervous with the ghost the whole time, but this way the heroes get to console him that there are no such things as ghosts. Aside from when he’s getting mentally wrecked by the ghost, Batman’s still in character and gets some good burns in. He’s always got a plan after all and is still a solo act at the end of the day.

Aside from Fred, the gang looks about as good as you can expect. Shaggy and Scooby don’t look good, but they never do. At least Shaggy finally gets revenge for all the times Scooby steals his snacks. That was actually pretty satisfying since the Shaggy and Scooby rivalry really should be even. The film has a pretty good amount of action for a Scooby Doo film since the heroes and villains can actually fight here. The fights themselves are rather short so as not to take away from the mystery but it’s pretty cool. The special feels more like a Brave and The Bold episode than a Scooby Doo movie, but it manages to have a good balance.

The climax may start to stretch on a little too long by the end, but I’d say that it’s still executed fairly well. The last time the villain runs back into the warehouse for round 5 may have just been one round too long. A slight missed opportunity is that it would have been awesome to have seen the Mystery Gang fight once they got into costume. That would have really sold me on the final act. At least we did see that happen once in the Brave and The Bold show a while back so I guess that’s why they wanted to go a different route here.

As expected the writing is pretty solid. The film also flows by very quickly and the pacing is on point. It’s definitely pretty surreal to have the characters meet up again and hopefully we’ll get a sequel at some point or have the gang meet up with another version of Batman. Either way, I’m always game for crossovers and since Scooby Doo gets so many films, it’s always a good idea to shake up the formula a bit.

Overall, This film was pretty solid. There really isn’t as much of a mystery compared to the average film since they sort of just stumble into fights as opposed to giving us a bunch of suspects and choosing one, but when Batman’s in town you do have to switch gears a bit. The soundtrack and animation are solid and it’s a very good all around movie. I’d definitely recommend checking it out. The movie was pretty close to getting a solid 8, but I don’t think I can quite justify it. Still, it’s a high 7 and one that has quite a bit of replay value. There’s just a lot to like here.

Overall 7/10

Brave Little Tailor Review

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It’s time for a retro Disney short. Mickey Mouse returns in this one as the star of the show. I’ve seen more Donald shorts than Mickey ones I believe so this will help the mouse catch up. It’s a pretty fun special and Mickey is an earnest character as always. While he may lack Donald’s charisma, Mickey’s still a likable enough guy. This short is a fairly action packed one which earns it extra brownie points.

The film starts with Mickey at his house swatting flies. He is so enthralled in the task that he doesn’t notice how everyone outside is panicking about a Giant coming to destroy them all. He thinks it’s about the flies and so he is summoned to the King to deal with the menace. A giant slayer like Mickey Mouse should have no problem with the task right? Mickey says he wouldn’t do it for all the gold in the world but when Minnie makes herself part of the prize he cannot say no. The rest of the special is his big battle against the giant.

As these specials aren’t very long there is no time for filler or stalling. Mickey heads right for the Giant and their confrontation begins. Of course, while Mickey has Toon Force on his side there really isn’t much he can do against such a powerhouse for a while. The Giant seems to have the upper hand for 90% of the fight as he eats Mickey and in general he intimidates the Mouse so much that Mickey just chooses to hide. Fortunately Mickey does remember his Toon Force and super speed just in the nick of time. You almost feel bad for the Giant since he doesn’t seem to be an intentional villain and simply didn’t think things through very carefully. Of course, I doubt he would listen to reason so taking him down was the right move. It’s not like they destroyed him either. Honestly the guy seems pretty content at the end if you ask me.

As always the animation is also really good. I never cease to be amazed at how good animation was back in the day. Then I look at some current products and wonder what exactly went wrong. Sometimes I think the newer animation programs simply are not as good as the older ones, or in this case, the natural drawing ability of the animators here. I can see how many animators may not have the same drive to spend so long animating a single scene but if you want to make something great you do have to put in the effort.

The Giant himself is fairly generic as you’d expect but the scene of him grabbing a cigaratte does give him a little character. This is a Giant who likes to do what he pleases even if it isn’t very healthy. He’s not afraid of the side effects that the smoke may have on him and embraces the risks. He’s also very laidback so once he loses, the Giant doesn’t try to escape his fate or make a big deal about it. He just lazily accepts this and goes back to relaxing. If anything, he seems to be a force of nature similar to Godzilla. He’s only antagonistic when attacked and otherwise just does his own thing. The consequences of his actions just happen to destroy nearby towns at times.

Overall, This is a nice enough special. The misunderstanding between Mickey and the others is handled reasonably well. The only part I wasn’t sure of was the very first line Mickey overheard and assumes it was the flies. I mean, you can maybe stretch the meaning into it being flies, but that wouldn’t be my first guess. Well, be sure to check the special out to see if you’re on team Mickey or if you end up feeling bad for the Giant. Little did Mickey know that he would eventually obtain keyblade skills and would have enough power to easily slay giants.

Overall 7/10

Lovely, Still Review

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It’s time for a very unique romance film. This one definitely isn’t like most as it’s actually about two senior citizens. You typically expect that people would be satisfied with their current living situation by that age, but I guess not this lead. I’m not a big romance fan and while there are some exceptions, I can’t say that this was one of them. Still, it does have some pretty interesting visuals at times which keeps you guessing.

The film starts off with what is a usual day for Robert. He gets up early to go to work, goes home after work, then he goes to sleep. It’s pretty empty since he has no hobbies, but it is what it is. Then one day he is approached by his new neighbor and she wants them to immediately start dating. She seems awfully desperate, but so is Robert so they quickly get together. Mary’s daughter tries to warn her against this, but she’ll hear nothing of it and Robert asks advice from everyone he knows. Can this romance really work?

Well, as I mentioned, Mary seems really desperate the whole time. That should ring up some serious warning bells for Robert if you ask me. It just never feels like the romance was natural and that Mary was targeting him from the start. Sure, it’s nice to see some initiative from her I guess, but I just don’t know about this. Now, there is a massive plot twist by the end which does help this aspect of the movie. By the end Mary is a much better character than she appears to be. That’s one positive aspect of the twist and it really changes the whole dynamic of the film.

Throughout the film we also get some very random moments where Robert is dreaming and we see a lot of bright lights. It gets very trippy and meta with horror music that you would expect from anime. It’s fun to look at though and while it is pretty pointless, that’s one way to pad out the time right? It makes you wonder what the film is going for so you start having a lot of theories like, what if Robert is actually crazy? It’ll at least pop up in your mind, especially since Robert wrapped himself up a gun for Christmas. He’s definitely pretty unstable.

As for Robert, I’m afraid that I didn’t like him. With or without the plot twist, he’s just not a character that I can get behind. The film makes him appear to be incredibly naive, but he’s an old man right? It’s not like he just skipped his teenage and adult life. This guy should be pretty familiar with life as a whole by this point. Even if we incorporate the plot twist and assume that these parts of his past are foggy, it should also make him aware that something’s not right. So, I’d say that it just doesn’t really add up. He also jumps to conclusions and seems to be rather possessive. In short, there wasn’t really any reason for me to like him. He’s just not a lead that I can get behind and he’s not too grateful to Mike considering how helpful he was.

Mike is Robert’s boss and a pretty upstanding guy overall. He helps Robert pick up presents and even gives him a ride. He shares his intel and life experience with Robert in order to help the date go well. He is nothing but supportive and even then Robert just doesn’t show up to work one day and doesn’t even call out. Mike only found out because he happened to drop by the house. Mike was the best character by a long shot to be honest and easily the most enjoyable character. At first you’re not sure if he will be a nice guy or a really tough guy, but in the end we find out that it was the former all along. He is the comic relief character of the film, but not in the way you’d suspect. He’s not unintelligent or constantly making mistakes. Mike is actually very smart and even has plans on how to get rich. His comedic moments are from his quick dialogue and tips that may not go over so well. He delivers these lines with a straight face though and helps keep this film from being a total romance with no interesting plots to keep you hooked.

While the romance isn’t as bad as a typical modern film where it escalates from 0-10 within a night, I still didn’t like it. Again, romance at this stage is just too late. Even if it wasn’t, it’s just way too corny. Most of the scenes are just hard to watch. The whole time you’ll be asking yourself why these two people couldn’t just be friends instead of dating. If they’re both just lonely and want a companion then being friends makes sense. It doesn’t always have to suddenly get romantic. As a result, I just couldn’t get behind this. As far as the plot twist is concerned, it’s definitely interesting. It definitely adds some tragic elements to the film as well but they aren’t overplayed. It gives the film more depth and as I explained earlier it also makes the romance a little more passable. It’s not enough to save the film or anything, but it was a good twist.

Overall, This is a romance film that really feels like a romance film. Aside from the plot twist the film doesn’t do anything to make itself stand out. I suppose they felt like the gimmick of having the main characters be really old was good enough. While it’s not as if the film is poorly made, this is just a genre that has to be executed extremely well or it simply won’t work. There are millions of romance films and only a small% of them are actually good. It’s also really hard to build up a romance in a single film since there isn’t much time for development. If you watch this film, definitely watch it for Mike’s antics. He’s actually a fun character and his scenes are a blast. Still, you can’t expect one character to hold an entire film on his own do you? He does his best, but it’s not enough. If you want to watch a better romance film….I’m not sure what to tell you. If you want a good emotional film, then I’d recommend watching Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F. You’ll definitely get emotional when the Earth is targeted!

Overall 4/10

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Review

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After all these years it is time for the hype to be realized. Godzilla is an anime film that seemed to be announced 100 years before it came out. It took so long that you would be forgiven for forgetting it completely. Still, it is here at last so it’s time to compare it to the rest. Was Godzilla’s first anime adventure a success? Well, yes in the sense that it is a good film but not really a success for Godzilla as it doesn’t rank too highly in the franchise. There are some issues here which hold it back.

The film starts off with a rebel trying to stop the army from sending a rocket filled with a bunch of old people that are being purged. The airship everyone lives in simply can’t support this many people so some of them need to die. Unfortunately the rebel hesitated because he realized better than anyone that living on a spaceship can be even worse than death. He lets the old people destroy themselves and is arrested. We get a flashback where we see Godzilla and a lot of the classic Kaiju opponents as they decimate the Earth and humanity was forced to retreat off world along with some aliens who were going to conquer Earth but also couldn’t stop Godzilla. Humanity has been looking for an inhabitable planet for around 20 years but nothing would show up so now they are forced to give Earth one more try. Thanks to the ship being slower than molasses they will have to use a teleportation route which will cause 20000 years to pass on Earth.

By the way, 20000 isn’t the number they use at first. It’s actually a plot twist as first it’s 1000 years, then 10000, then 20000. I’m honestly not sure why this even qualifies as a twist and why the film didn’t just say 20000 right off the bat but we’ll roll with it. Unfortunately for the humans, it appears that Godzilla still lives and while he destroyed all of the other Kaiju, there are Winged Godzilla spinoffs flying around. Can humanity retake their planet or are they doomed to be destroyed for their arrogance in thinking they could beat Godzilla?

There are some aspects of a film that you always want to be on point to complement the writing of the movie. Those two aspects are the animation and the soundtrack. Both are absolutely crucial. For the music, this film is actually pretty good. It’s probably in my top 3 Godzilla soundtracks as I can only think of it losing out to Final Wars and maybe Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla. It has some nice, fast anime music thrown in there during one of the flying scenes which was pretty cool. That’s basically the stand out music but a lot of it just works pretty well. The true Godzilla theme is also reasonably solid although probably his weakest theme.

No, what really hurts the film is the terrible animation. I’m not going to mince words here, the animation is embarrassing. Anime that came out 30 years ago look better. TV shows and online productions with no budget look better than this. This is something that you would expect from an indie film that tries to look really bad on purpose just to defy the mainstream. It’s like watching a Fire Emblem cutscene and stretching it to a whole movie. In a video game you don’t expect the cutscenes to look amazing because you want the bulk of the development time to be spent on the gameplay. If you can do both that’s fine, but the game is the priority. For a movie I am certainly expecting you to put the animation as the priority. Writing doesn’t cost anything so I’m not counting that and while good voice actors are important, they need to be able to work with something. You can almost feel the pain of the animators whenever Godzilla tries to move. You hear his skin cracking as if he is a very fragile Godzilla statue who would break with a single punch. The character model is barely even animated at times and just sits there. The animation can’t even convey Godzilla moving so he just sits there and randomly speeds up off screen so he can get where he is supposed to be. I don’t know where the budget went but it clearly wasn’t with the animation. Godzilla’s energy attacks looked good and in general the energy effects were on point, that’s the only good thing I can say about the animation.

The film is very heavy on dialogue but that does seem to be the norm for many Godzilla films. It’s like the writers think that the people who came to see the film about a giant monster don’t actually want to be watching a film about a giant monster. So the main focus is once again on the humans. It’s definitely not the most interesting cast of characters so prepare to roll your eyes at these guys.
The main character is good at least. He wants to bring back human pride since he feels like Godzilla took it away when he blew up Earth and we ran away. He’s not really wrong on that, but of course pride isn’t everything. Sakaki is productive with his time and comes up with a plan so it’s not as if he’s recklessly going into action without one. I think the plan is terrible but I’ll get into that later. Sakaki acts like a captain and overall he does an admirable job of leading the assault. The voice actor does a good job and Sakaki basically spits out every line. He ends every sentence with a violent intensity.

The Religious Alien, Metphies definitely seems like an intriguing character. He talks a good game and always tries to be one step ahead of the heroes but he isn’t quite as cool as he tries to be. If the whole film was just part of the plan for him then that’s pretty cool. I guess even if it isn’t nefarious and Metphies is just being misleadingly cryptic he still does a good job with the council. He has more personality than the other guy who wanted to build a Mecha Godzilla but the plans fell through midway. I’m sure he will do more in the next film but his character was basically just his personality of being a tough guy. He didn’t do anything beyond that.

Now let’s talk Godzilla. This is easily his worst design but that’s probably the animation’s fault. Maybe it looks better in the concept art. This Godzilla also isn’t very smart since the whole plan that the heroes have is getting Godzilla to walk through the path they’ve set up so they can bury him with rocks long enough to blast him. This Godzilla doesn’t have Omni directional lasers to nullify this tactic and he is also too weak to escape the rocks. Am I really supposed to believe that Godzilla was pinned by mere rocks? I can’t buy into that and Godzilla should have been up right away. Then the humans grabbing onto him should have been knocked away when he rose up. Godzilla having a weak point is pretty random and also takes away quite a lot from Godzilla since apparently without the force field his durability is actually pretty bad. I’m glad they kept in then Atomic Breath and having a force field is cool, but even without all of that this is the King of the Monsters right? (hmmm) There are some twists so I can’t be too specific but we can forgive some of the issues here. Not entirely since the monster should have destroyed the humans and shut down the plan, but it isn’t as bad as it could have been. That’s really my main point here. At the end of the film we get a brief glimpse at what should have been happening the whole time. This is why I think the next film has a good chance at being a lot better. If I just saw this film, I can’t say I would be too impressed with Godzilla to be honest.

Even less so with the Rodan ripoffs. They aren’t bullet proof? Really? I just don’t know about that to be honest, seems like a mistake if you ask me. It takes away from them being a threat and it also means that if they give Godzilla any kind of a fight then it weakens the King of the Kaiju as well. It’s a lose-lose situation here. Hopefully the other Kaiju we meet up with are a lot stronger. In theory there should be a bunch of beasts wandering the planet since Earth is pretty huge. I’m guessing their scanners haven’t quite picked up on everything just yet.

The film goes by pretty quick but the length isn’t very long to start with. One thing I have to note is that this movie probably wouldn’t be great for rewatching. Sure, the planning is fun and all the first time, but the second time you’ll just want the film to get on with it. It’s something that’s fairly unavoidable depending how you set up a film. Slow burners will rarely be as good as the initial time you watch it while action blockbusters can be timeless if there is always something happening. So, this film would probably lose a star the next time you watch it and probably settle at that score, if not one lower. I personally can’t picture myself rewatching this one anytime soon. For that I could take a look at one of the older Godzilla films and give it a retro review.

While not a flattering way to secure a high score, Godzilla manages not to make any real mistakes. We don’t have to deal with animal violence, excessive language, random violence, or any slew of negatives that can pop up in a film. My complaints that I listed above are ones that are worth noting but don’t really affect the score much. Combined those issues may just take it down 1 star. It does depend on how you look at it, but basically a film that doesn’t make any real mistakes can get a 7. A 7 means that you’re a fun/good movie. To get higher than that, you have to actually do something really great. To get lower than a 7, you have to make a mistake. A 7 is essentially the starting point for all films. As the credits are rolling it starts out at a 7 and then moves up or down based on what it does. This film doesn’t really do anything and so it manages to stay there. That’s not really a bad thing, it’s just how it is. I can at least watch the full Godzilla film without rolling my eyes or cringing at a poorly made scene. Well, some scenes are poorly made, but at least not in bad taste. I was reasonably interested the whole time. Perhaps not excited, but I was following the story.

Overall, If you’re watching this Godzilla film for Godzilla then you will probably be disappointed. If you are watching it as more of a survival film then you’ll like it a lot more. I hesitate to call it a thriller since a good chunk of the film is just everyone talking but once they land on the planet I would say it qualifies. The film would probably be more impressive if it wasn’t called Godzilla which is a little unfortunate since having a brand should usually just make everything better. I do think that Part 2 should pick up quite a bit since most of the characters are already on Earth. Ideally it will focus on them and not too much on the people who are still in space. At least the wait until the next film shouldn’t be too long. This was my long roundabout way of saying that I’d recommend checking this film out.

Overall 7/10

Mary Poppins Review

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Mary Poppins is definitely a classic film that I’m sure most of us have heard of at some point or another. It’s a light hearted musical/comedy with a punch of supernatural elements to keep things fresh. It’s definitely held up well and can certainly be considered as the definitive musical. I suppose it depends on how literal you take the term since some films are right on the edge of being counted.

The film starts off with yet another Nanny running away from her responsibilities. She simply can’t handle the two rebellious kids and their constant running away. The father is forced to run an advertisement for a new nanny. That’s when the Professional Reality Warper, Mary Poppins shows up for her first attack. She summons a tornado to (fatally?) take down the competition and hires herself. Will she be able to make the kids be more responsible or will this be beyond her abilities?

The father is definitely the best character in the movie. He sets the tone early on when he bursts through the door at exactly 6:01 and bursts into song. Clearly this is a man of culture and finesse. He isn’t one to be trifled with and commands a very strict home. He reminds his wife that a classic British House is run as tightly as the bank. His song has quite a few great lyrics like that and once the kids return from their brief escapade he is firm but not mean. He comes up with an advertisement in the mail that is quite good. While he may be on the back foot against Mary Poppins, he is always quick to recover. He may have cracked by the end and suddenly become a very happy person but even that role he plays with discipline. He is just the perfect character and certainly the one that I was rooting for.

Mary Poppins is an interesting character. Based on the advertisement that the kids left you would assume that she is a very nice person. Well, that actually isn’t the case. She takes everything personally and does seem to hold a grudge. She seems to have a thing against having fun and always has to be goaded into using her abilities. Mary Poppins completely shuts down when anyone asks her a personal question or just anything about her magic and tries to make everyone look bad by denying its existence. It’s hard to get a bead on her and it just seems like she didn’t really want the position at first and only warms up to the kids by the end. Her abilities are definitely as impressive as they ever were though. She has advanced reality warping abilities which are quite handy in any kind of situation.

There are also the two kids but they don’t seem to be very good characters. For starters they make the Dad seem like the bad guy but if we’re being honest they deserve most of the blame. Since numerous baby sitters have run off over the years we have to assume that running away is nothing new for them. They don’t have any good reason for running away either and cleaning their rooms is apparently too much to ask. While they get some character development over the course of the movie I just couldn’t find myself being able to like the kids. They even sabotaged their father’s career by making a big scene at the bank and tackling an old man. Any respect I may have gained for the kids before this was certainly lost during this moment. The kids have to learn to control themselves. Even singing their advertisement was not a good move as the only thing it did was really push the father away from accepting it.

There is also Mary Poppins friend who knows about her powers. If sounds like they have gone on quite a few adventures so I’m assuming that he follows her around. After all, Mary Poppins seems to travel around quite a bit for each of her cases so I doubt she has been in this town before. Since the guy doesn’t even have a classic job, he probably just gets an occupation at whatever destination she goes too next. He’s a good friend for Mary since she takes everything too seriously while he is the opposite. He may make it harder to cure his uncle from the laughing flu since he is always laughing as well, but that’s his one main weakness.

The film’s actual plot is fairly direct and concise so the film does go on some tangents do but time. Fortunately these tangents are actually good do a change. One such scene is with the laughing uncle which I mentioned earlier. I don’t have any sympathy for the Uncle by the way since he can easily stop floating if he really wants too, but it’s fun to see the friend trolling Mary by getting everyone to laugh. Again, the guy is a pretty solid character. There is also a rather long, but fun Looney Tunes esque skit where Mary suckers a few jockeys into letting her win and the characters mess with the animal Olympics. The scenes would probably not be too good if the music was not in point so this is one of those times where the music really amplified the experience.

A musical lives or dies on the music after all and these songs hold up very well. The tempo/beat of the music is always very fast and lively which is a good thing. The lyrics aren’t bad either as the characters talk quickly and get a lot of messages in a short amount of time. You’ll just find yourself paying more attention to the musical sounds than the lyrics and that’s not a bad thing. The made up word in the film certainly got popular as well and has enough syllables to be in a song as well.

Overall, Mary Poppins is a lot of fun. It’s a film you can enjoy at any time. It’s one of those light hearted films that surprisingly doesn’t get serious or dramatic at the end. It stays whimsical all the way through which is quite rare. It has a lot of replay value and being enjoyable is always the first goal of any film so this one really succeeded. The film doesn’t drag on and the music is on point. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely correct that. It’s a movie that actually does live up to the hype and that is really rare to be honest. Now I’m ready for that sequel coming up but I have my doubts on if it can be as good as this one. Maybe if she has to fight a dark Mary Poppins in a cool CG fight though.

Overall 7/10

Armageddon Review

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It’s time for another Michael Bay film. This one is a disaster film so you can bet that there are a lot of opportunities for explosions. Like most action blockbusters that are over 2 hours, the film starts to fade by the end despite a reasonable start. Still, that’s not the area to blame in this case. It’s the characters and the writing that really keep the film down. It’s not like you’d expect too much ever since the Transformers series went public and people found out about the writing quality but you still always hope for the best when starting the film. Ah well, at least the explosions will keep you guessing.

The film starts off in NYC as a guy is trying to walk his dog while insulting everybody. The Dog attacks a guy’s Godzilla collection and starts to rough the Kaiju up. This leads to a confrontation between the man and the owner of the dog, but the man is blown up by a meteor. Not gonna lie, that scene was pretty hype since it’s just not something you’d expect in a film that isn’t about aliens and super powers. We learn that these shards are hitting various places on the planet because a big meteor is coming that will destroy the world. The government is forced to call in a team of drillers so they can teach them how to be astronauts and send them to the meteor where they will drill inside of it, drop the nuclear bombs, and get out of there. This can’t go wrong!

I remember reading way back in the day about how one of the main actors asked Michael Bay if it would be simpler to just teach the Astronauts how to drill than the other way around. The response he got was a very direct No. Still, I have to agree with the sentiment since it doesn’t seem like the drilling is all that hard. I mean…it’s just drilling right? Not to trivialize it or anything, but they had 2 weeks to prep anyway. Instead the drillers use that 2 weeks to mess around and go to clubs. Not the most productive way to go about things and I can see why the army lost their patience with them. The fate of the world is at stake and they still can’t get serious.

We actually get a Suicide Squad esque montage where we meet all of the characters. Naturally the very first member we see is trying to evade the cops and does a pretty good job of it. They have 2 copters after him and a dozen cars, but he’s still escaping. Another one is on his horse…riding away from th cops. Another one’s in a shady bar and you get the idea. These are the best of the best, but they’re all criminals so can they really be trusted with matters of National Security? They’re not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts either as they want to stop paying taxes and be able to visit the White House as part of their terms. I’m assuming they won’t get these rewards or at least hopefully not. Honestly, I’d at least want a big chunk of money as payment for saving the world though. That seems pretty fair if you ask me.

The first bit of the movie is actually really solid. We get to see inside of the government base as they all talk a good game and posture quite a bit. The dialogue is witty but not over the top and exaggerated. The characters are tough and rough without being annoying. These guys are professionals and act the part. We also get some nice destruction scenes in New York as we see people falling to their doom when buildings break and it may have even looked more impressive here than in Batman V Superman which is saying something. The film really only breaks down the instant we meet the main characters. That’s when you know that trouble is on the horizon.

We go to a drilling boat where Harry, the lead driller is playing golf. His team has been polluting the ocean for years under the cover of corporate business and he is casually hitting protesters on the head with his golf balls. Then he realizes that his subordinate AJ isn’t around and unfortunately he has been fooling around with Harry’s daughter. This is a very sad way to introduce these two characters, but it’s unfortunately not unexpected. AJ quickly runs out of there while Harry grabs his shotgun and tries to shoot him. It’s a very surreal scene as Harry runs around the ship shooting holes everywhere and sabotaging millions of dollars in the process. All that and he only gets a grazing shot on AJ’s leg. Naturally there are quite a bit of tensions between them now but they’ll have to team up if they want to save the world. AJ is clearly not going to stop going after Harry’s daughter so now Harry will have to either accept it or cut AJ’s air supply once they hit space. He’ll have some pondering to do.

Michael Bay films always suffer from 3 major problems. A nonsensical plot filled with many holes and characters making bad choices, terrible writing where every character has a potty mouth, and going for a lot of fanservice scenes that do nothing to add to the plot and are just there to doom the movie. While we mostly avoid the second option the others are still around for the duration of the movie. We didn’t need to have another scene that takes place in a shady strip bar where the characters prove that they are using their money in the worst way possible. One guy borrows millions of dollars just so that he can stay there for a full day before likely going off to die and that way he won’t have to repay the money. He also goes crazy in space and tries to murder everyone, but the characters wave that to the side and don’t mention it to the people on Earth. Now this crazy attempted murdered will be on the loose until he cracks again. That’s not cool.

The plot between Harry and his daughter Grace also isn’t handled well at all. You can definitely see why he’s upset since she’s been hiding her relationship with AJ for 5 months. I don’t know how though since they have so many public displays of affection that Harry must be really dense. Even when it’s mission time and AJ has to go we have to waste 5 minutes as he goes through an entire song in slow motion with large breaks between the lyrics. If you want a good example of a bad romance, this is it. It’s absolutely terrible and considering that the whole team has no sense of morality I’d want Grace off the ship if I was Harry as well. Every time one of the team comments about Grace’s looks you want Harry to grab the shotgun again.

Naturally this doesn’t make me like AJ any better as well. He’s willing to sacrifice the mission just to show off and never gets me to change my opinion of him. At least Harry was usually a good character and he’s the only member of the team that was actually decent. He makes the tough calls when necessary and is also the only one who seems to want to save the world. He has no demands upon doing it, he’ll just save the world to save his family. It’s a shame that the whole crew couldn’t be like Harry.

As for the plot getting a little iffy, why on Earth would the government try to blow up the bombs early when the characters still had time? They know that blowing up the bombs at that point would do nothing to stop the meteor from heading their way so it’s a waste of time. It would also blow up the only people who even gave them a chance at saving the world. It was only added into the movie to be used as pure drama and that’s why you should never do something purely for the rule of cool. You have to keep the plot in mind at all times. The film also seemed to want to stretch itself out for no reason like when the heroes stop at a convenient Russian rest station in space. Okay…then the place starts to blow up so they head back to the ship. This entire scene was completely filler and adds nothing to the movie. It’s just there for more explosions I guess, but it’s a rather long detour from the main plot.

The scenes in space also just aren’t as fun as the ones on Earth. Everyone starts to blend together since they’re wearing the costumes and all of the scenes start to look the same. It’s just more and more space with nothing really happening. They finally get the drill going and leave, but the final act is a little on the slow side. The first act wasn’t good since the main characters were so bad, but at least it was fun. You can’t really say that about the end. The humor is pretty hit and miss as you’d expect. Some jokes are really good and others are quite forced. Attempts were made though so I’ll at least give it credit there.

Overall, Armageddon is one of those films with a great concept and a poor execution. The film shows glimpses of greatness such as all of the scenes without the main character. The film is solid up until the first scene where AJ appears, gets good again from the point where Harry leaves for the base and gets debriefed. It sinks again when we get the montage of the other characters and just doesn’t rise up from there. It’s a fun film and the pacing is good for half of it, but there are simply too many negatives to recommend this film. I’ll give it some kudos for keeping the dog alive in the first scene though. I was ready to hit the panic button but the film kept its class there. If you want a lot of explosions and really annoying characters then this is the perfect film fr you. If you want a hype action film with better characters then I would recommend Batman V Superman instead. That one will be right up your alley.

Overall 5/10

The Rock Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. Keep this in mind when reading the review as one for the unedited version would be far more negative.
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It’s time for a retro action film from the 90s. Sure, it may not be that old and calling the 90s retro is a little risky, but at this point I’d say that it’s old enough to be a valid point. You won’t really see this kind of film come out nowadays because the cinematography is just very different and new styles have surfaced. These 1-2 men against an army films can always be a lot of fun though and this one is handled well. I do admit that the first half does beat the second as the film begins to putter out but both halves are still pretty good. It’s more the fact that the film is so long and climax fatigue starts to set in while the first half is more laid back, but still has the explosions you’re waiting for. This is a Michael Bay film so there are quite a lot of explosions.

The film starts off with a bunch of terrorists breaking into Alcatraz and kidnapping 81 civilians. They demand 100 million from the government or they’ll use the chemical missiles that they stole from another base (Where they murdered everybody) to destroy 80000 people in San Francisco. The government is forced to call in the local chemical expert, Goodspeed. Goodspeed is used to being in a lab and doesn’t really like violence but he isn’t really given an option. He won’t be enough though so Mr. Mason is taken out of jail to help out. Mason is the only person to ever escape Alcatraz and he used to be a legendary agent for the British Intelligence. If anyone can stop these guys, he can. Will these two vastly different characters be able to put aside their differences and save the world or are they doomed to take a loss here?

Right away one thing you’ll notice about the film is that the soundtrack is actually really great. The themes are nice and fast which make the action scenes more fun. It amplifies the visuals and just makes the whole adventure feel a lot more complete. The visuals are also pretty good for the various locales and the combo works pretty well. Since a lot of films don’t really bother having a soundtrack I always feel the need to give a shoutout to the ones that actually pull it off. It’s an important thing to have.

Goodspeed is a decently good main character. He panics quite a lot but he’s never really been a field agent so it’s all pretty new to him. He still wants to do his best to stop the villains and save lives. He never really waffles on this and stays true to the goal. He fights when necessary as well and doesn’t bck down. He also tends to be a nice guy as he doesn’t put Mason on the spot in front of his daughter. He’s a quality lead. Fortunately, our other lead is also good. Mason’s the expert of the film. He’s one of the best hand to hand fighters the army has got and he’s also really good with a gun. This combo definitely makes him very lethal to everyone else. Anything can be turned into a weapon with this guy. He’s certainly not heroic the way Goodspeed is though. After the government locked him up for 30 years the guy appears to have gotten jaded with life in general. He just wants to make sure he gets out of this in one piece. The guy certainly has good reason to be upset at everyone though as he did get a pretty bad deal. No trial and everyone keeps on lying to him. Still, he has to man up in the end to save his daughter so he presses on. The ending may not be extremely happy for him, but it’s happy enough I suppose.

The villains try to go for the sympathetic angle, at least the main one. He wants the families of the fallen Marines to get recompensated since the government ignored them and figures this is the best way to do it. The thing is, he hired a bunch of guys he has never worked with before and they’re a little more villainous than the others. They just want to murder a bunch of guys and don’t care for anything but the money. Teaming up with villains never pays off in the end. It’s just a good way to speed up your ultimate demise.

I can’t really say that the romance was all that good, but to be fair it was barely a factor in the movie. It was relegated to the backseat for the entirety of the film. It was just there to give the main character more incentive to save the city. It’s not like he needed much more at this point since the city was nearly toast, but it’s not as if it’s a bad thing. The main heroine seemed like a reasonable character.

The first half of the film with the car chase was handled pretty well. The cops look a little bad as they really made it very easy for Mason to escape. Still, it was a good blend of action and humor. Goodspeed certainly gives us a lot of great facial expressions the entire time. The film really speeds by until everyone dies and it’s just the main two. That’s where the pacing finally starts to slow a bit as the characters keep rethinking what they should do next. It’s also one of the only points without a lot of constant explosions. Still, it’s not as if this lasts for long and then the action starts up again.

As far as the writing is concerned, I’d say that it’s okay. Naturally the TV version fixed up some of the language so that significantly improved the script. That gives the writing a little help even if it is still there. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s not bad either. It’s at a good enough level where it doesn’t distract from what’s on screen so then you can focus on the fights. This whole review really just boils down to one point, this is a solid and explosive action film. What you see is what you get here. There’s no animal violence, the violence in the fights isn’t excessive, things just move very quickly. You move from fight to fight and they’re all handled well.

The government is extremely shady as always, but to the point where it is comical. I always love seeing the government act shady while I also love seeing them look good in films. I’m fine with it either way. The film even has a bit of a stinger involving a certain assasination that everyone loves to use in conspiracy stories. It was a nice enough subplot and I wouldn’t mind a sequel where the government ends up going to court and then things get crazy.

Overall, The Rock is definitely a really solid action movie. The fight scenes are on point and there is an explosion around every corner. The film may have slightly dragged by the end but it’s hard to point to any specific scenes that could have been cut. There may be a few here and there, but it’s just that the overall length of the film is rather long. It’s still handled well at the end of the day. The main message of this film is that you have to be a good shot because if you miss the first few times, you may not get a second shot. I’d recommend giving this film a watch if you see it on TV. You won’t be disappointed.

Overall 7/10