Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box Stats and Records

Stats Time!

Play Time 9h 22m
Puzzles Solved 91
Score 2337
2/12 Tea

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box Review

After finally finishing the last Professor Layton game, I quickly jumped onto this one. I was pretty close to wrapping up Little Big Planet, but Layton is one of those elite series that takes precedence over just about anything. It also helps that the game is fairly short so it’s not as if it’ll be holding onto that spot for a long time. This sequel is very good and while the first one is certainly the better game in my opinion, this one had the better plot.

Layton and Luke head onto a train, but their adventure is quickly derailed when they find out that someone was murdered over a mysterious box. The heroes dig up some dirt on it during the first town they stop in, but the real evidence starts to appear once they hitch a ride to a ghost town. They infiltrated the royal deluxe suite in order to get in and the only problem is that they might not be able to get out again. That’s fine, they’re prepared for the dangers that may arise, but will their intellectual skills be up to the task?

It’s certainly a solid follow-up to the last game and it acknowledges the first one by having their new partner Flora show up. We also get the big villain from the last game to appear again although the main villain here is a big improvement. There are a few new characters along with some old ones like the Inspector. One of the main reasons why I found the plot here to be better than the last game is that it gets to the meat of the story right away. The first game gave you a lot of time to get used to the characters and the plot didn’t start until you were well into the game. Since people are dying from the box, the stakes are higher than the first game from the get go. Things really heat up during the climax as well since we get a sword fight through one of the cutscenes and the heroes actually get kidnapped.

I have to say that the whole kidnapping plot was pretty odd. The heroes hallucinated about a large gang and then the butler acted as if everything was normal. I suppose that the hallucinogens got to the heroes, but it was still an odd scene. It was an epic one as well though so I’ll take it. The game was just very entertaining and exciting from start to finish and you won’t want to tear yourself away. As always, the game paces itself pretty well. It is noticeably shorter than the last one though as I beat this game in a little over 9 hours while the last one took me around 16. Granted, I got stuck on a puzzle for a while in the last game so it should have been a lot shorter.

I do think this game was easier than the last one though. Perhaps some of the test players said that the first one was too hard so they fixed it here. It’s still not extremely easy to the point where you will be bored, but now a lot of the puzzles have limited answers. This means that instead of figuring it out rationally, you can just guess all 5 or 6 of the possible choices until you get it right. The final puzzles are surprisingly easy as you will be able to solve quite a few of them at a glance. I’ve heard that the post game quests are quite challenging though so that will probably bump things up a notch. On the other hand, I do think this is possibly a smart move if the developers wanted to get more kids to play. I still don’t think a kid would be able to solve some of the puzzles from the first game.

On a technical level, this game is quite solid as expected. The graphics are very clear so everything stands out nicely. You can always see a puzzle with absolute clarity so you can focus on figuring it out as opposed to thinking about what it is supposed to be. The fully animated cutscenes look really good as well and I feel like there are more of them this time around than in the first game. Having a fight in one of the cutscenes was also a blast to see. The music is also pretty catchy. It’s fairly simple, but that’s what makes it effective for the puzzles. There also is a good danger theme which plays during some of the game’s more tense moments.

There is a lot of replay value here which should more than make up for the 9 hour story mode. I only beat around 90 of the missions which means there are still almost 50 left to go. That’s a lot of puzzles and naturally the ones that I left are the trickiest ones of all. I never had to stop at any point in the story mode to solve more puzzles to get to the next chapter because I had fun beating a lot of the quick n easy ones in the mean time. This does mean the toughest ones will take longer and unless you’ve got a lot of hint coins stashed away (Which is feasible since this game was really generous with them) you’ll find that this game could get to an RPG’s length very quickly. I don’t personally plan to go back and beat the rest of them soon, but maybe someday.

Another aspect that helps the series is the colorful cast of characters. The Inspector is a nice ally to have around. He may not correctly guess who the culprit is most of the time, but he does try his best and is a likable enough fellow. Luke is a good kid who continues to improve when it comes to riddles. Flora is a good heroine as well and while she’s not much of a detective yet, she does like finding new riddles. Layton steals the show whenever he appears and managed to basically be a perfect lead. The recurring villain is rather bland and won’t leave an impression on you, but they can’t all be winners. I did like the voice that the game gave him when he was coming out of a disguise. The new villain was great and Katia was good enough. Poorly written characters could have held the game back so I’m glad to see that this was not a factor here.

Overall, Professor Layton is a series that I’m glad to finally be apart of. I’m definitely going to get the third game as soon as possible and will probably order it once February hits. This series is just so much fun and in a way it’s good that I took so long to start it because it means that there are more games to catch up on. I believe there are 6 at the moment so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. It makes me realize that if the Switch had gotten a Layton game for launch, that could have made things very interesting. Ah well, it’s never been a big console title anyway, but that would be fun to think about. If you played the first game then you already know what to expect. If you haven’t, you can still get into this game easy enough, but I’d recommend playing the first one first since this one builds off of that. Not to the extent where it is unplayable, but it’s nice to see the characters reference the past events. At this rate, I don’t see how a Layton game can get under an 8 so long as they don’t mess something up with the formula. It’s just a really fun and exciting game that you can play whenever you want. The controls are easy to pick up and you’ll be a whiz in no time.

Overall 8/10

Family Party 30 Great Games Outdoor Fun Stats and Records

Stats time!

45766 Points
Characters 10/16
4 Bronze Medals
4 Silver Medals
6 Gold Medals
9 Platinum Medals

Minigame Reciords

Pole Climb 2 1498
Obstacle Race 2 1937
Reflexes 1055
Unicycle 1084
Balance Board 1400
Beach Flag 1950
Boat Race 751
Homerun Match 2355
Quarterback 1826
Free Kick 720
Floating Island 1861
Boxercise 1320
Inner Clock 2 1735
Hammer Strike 1354
Marathon 2281
Get Rich Quick 1375
Hanging Bridge 2162
Ninja 1824
Samurai 2066
Karate 1589
Subliminal 1050
Sniper 1057
William Tell 2179
Planet X 2070
Asteroid Belt 1145
Territory 390
Wanted 2615
Spark Ball 2 1552
Hole 2 1565
Cowboy –
Remembering –
Jumpdive –
Dungeon –

Family Party 30 Great Games Outdoor Fun Review

It’s been a while, but it looks like it’s time to try out another Wii party game. I really went on a rampage buying a ton of these a while back, but they’re finally almost at an end. I have to admit that I’m going to miss these Wii games ever so slightly, but at the same time it will be fun to have them all gone for good. This one is certainly of a higher quality than some of the others like Deca Sports and the 30 games are actually mostly unique. I have to give the game some credit there and the A.I. is tough although not always very balanced.

See, some games are very easy because the A.I. can’t play for beans and then they’re overpowered in others. It’s always hard to know one way or the other at first if you’re going to be in for a really close fight or if you won’t even have to try that hard. It is good that it’s not a cake walk though and you should be able to win pretty much all of the games by the end. Some of them just take 2 tries tor eally understand how to play since the controls and instructions aren’t always clear. They’re certainly not quite as on point as the Mario Party controls, but few games are.

The main campaign mode divides the 30 mini games into groups of 5. You start with only 4 unlocked for the first three worlds so you have to beat them to unlock the 5th minigame for each world. Beat all of them again to unlock the 4th world. There are 6 worlds and since you have to beat them all twice, it’s about 12 worlds of content. Of course, it can be a little tedious to have to win twice each time and if your score isn’t high enough, then your win isn’t even counted. Luckily that only happened to be once. It would be a bigger issue if it was something that happened more often for sure. I wouldn’t call this a very long game, but considering that you can get it for 3-4 dollars from Gamestop, it’s not a bad deal.

As I mentioned, this game has a decent level of quality to it so the games don’t start to copy each other with different colors like certain other sport games. There is really a nice variety here. I won’t mention all of the 30 games here, but I figure that it may be nice to list some of the good ones. This game has a Football minigame where you have to try and gain yards/score. The other three players try to stop you. It seems a little hard to do anything when the deck is stacked against you like that, but it is certainly fun. Another solid game has you control a spaceship and you have to blast your way to the finish. The side-scroller is handled well and it could easily be a real level in a game like that. It was certainly handled well. Track and Field/Marathon was fun as it tests your reflexes. There’s a memory game where you have to remember 10 really quick objects that pass through the screen and the tough part is that all 4 of you get turns at it. UFO is another similar one as you have to beam up people who have a certain description ahead of the other 3.

There are some other active competition type games like a platformer where you have to jump to the finish line. That one’s pretty fun and what adds to the tension is that you can push an opponent into the water. Another game has you hold on to the ground for dear life as it shakes, but an opponent might shove you away while you’re bracing yourself. Honestly, I’d say that at least half of the mini games, if not more than that are actually quite good. It was surprising to see. I don’t want to get crazy, but from a pure minigame perspective, I dare say that these may be better than Mario & Sonic, at least the first game. Naturally, this game lacks other things like the presentation and AAA value that the other title has, but when it comes to the pure mini games, it’s hard to get better than Family Party.

For replay value, you can try to beat your high scores or get more medals. It’s certainly not the most thrilling form of replay value, but it’s something and naturally there is also multiplayer that you can give a whirl. There’s certainly enough content for your dollar here so I don’t think that should be an issue for you. The graphics are all right. I am glad that the characters all got actual design and aren’t just the same kid with a different T shirt each time. Yes, I noticed that even if the game tried to hide the fact. The mini games all look pretty good and everything is on point. It’s not breathtaking or at the level of a AAA game, but it’s good enough. The music is also pretty fine. I like the main menu theme and the music that plays throughout is fairly calming. There’s nothing really wrong with it and I’ll take it over nothing. It’s probably free domain music.

Overall, This game was maybe a little better than I expected. The fact that the developers actually put some thought into this game definitely gets a thumbs up from me. I’m sure it was still reasonably cheap to make, but at least the games were actually fun. I definitely have to give them some well deserved praise there and this game got quite a few sequels and spinoffs/prequels so those may warrant a look as well. Realistically, I don’t see myself getting any of the other games in this series anytime soon, but you never know. You never want to count out anything since you just don’t know what the future will have in store. I’d recommend this game if you’re looking for a party title to check out, but for that you may as well get one of the Mario and Sonic Olympic titles right? That, or you could get Mario Party 4, the definitive party experience. (Yes, I’m not counting Super Smash Bros here!)

Overall 6/10

Bride of Frankenstein Review

Looks like it’s time to take a look at the original sequel to Frankenstein. I did not like the first film and I’m not a Frankenstein fan in general. I didn’t walk into this film with high expectations and I was not disappointed. That being said, it is a considerable improvement over the first film. It’s not nearly as violent or grotesque and handles itself rather maturely this time around. It can still be a bit of a tragic film at times even when it tries to be funny so it can be hard to tell when you’re supposed to be laughing or feeling sorry for the characters. I usually voted for the former.

The film starts off in the “real” world as Mary lets everyone know that the story isn’t over yet. We have some really over the top actors who yell about this and everyone gets excited so she tells them what happened. It turns out that Frankenstein’s monster didn’t die because he fell into the river and Frankenstein didn’t die because his body is very durable. This prompts Doctor Pretorius to arrive and tell Frankenstein that he wants to make a female version of the monster. Frankenstein halfheartedly refuses so Pretorius kidnaps his wife. Frankenstein now has to work against time in order to save her, but can he really duplicate the experiment?

The main improvements from the first film all stem from the reduced violence. The first film had a little kid drowned and we saw way too much brains and body parts for my liking. It was pretty distasteful and this one steers clear of all that. Even when they’re creating the bride, it’s never graphic. The film just isn’t violent in general and the victims are far fewer in number. We do have a few people die of course, but they’re casually thrown aside for the most part so it isn’t all that bad.

Frankenstein has changed a lot since the first film. He’s now incredibly timid and fears everyone. He’s always getting picked on and forced into doing things that he doesn’t want to do. However, he reverts back to his mad scientist phase whenever there is work to be done and it’s like he never changed at all. It would have been nice to have seen him have a little more will power. Naturally, he did have to go ahead with the project to save his wife, but he could have done it in a sane way instead of losing his mind once he was back in the lab.

Pretorius takes over Frankenstein’s role from the first film and I do certainly have to admit that he is smart. The first thing he does is to get the monster on his side and that was crucial since his plan would not have worked otherwise. His use of “Miller Time” and Cigars was a very potent combo. He always has the upper hand on the monster as he even drugs the poor guy later on. Pretorius fears nothing and is just very confident from start to finish. He was a pretty good villain and while it never felt as if he had much of a reason to do what he was doing…do mad scientists ever need a reason to do something? They just do whatever they want for kicks.

Minnie is the main comic relief character of the film and she does a good job in the role. She always talks a good game and is one of the only characters to insult Pretorius to his face. She is smart enough to actually run away from the monster and tries to warn the heroes even if they refused to listen to her. She certainly did a fine job if you ask me. As for the Bride, I guess she was fairly reasonable. Her reaction wasn’t all that bad when you consider that the heroes didn’t give her a chance to relax. Plus, who wants to be thrown into an arranged marriage the instant you are born into existence? Nah, the first thing you’d want to do is get out of there!

The Monster is all right I suppose, but he’s still not very smart and the monster noises can be annoying. I was glad that he finally learned how to talk a bit as the film went on. I figure that will make him a much better character in the sequels although it seems like I wasn’t on the same page as the writers. At least the monster tried to live a calm life at one point and was doing just fine with the blind guy in the hut. It’s a shame that the hunters had to wander in at that point and wrecked his one chance at a happy ending. He didn’t get burned this time and while he was captured at one point, he was able to break free pretty quickly. He certainly had a much more enjoyable adventure this time around.

Be warned that the title of this film is pure click bait. The Bride doesn’t appear until the final 5-10 minutes which is pretty disgraceful. She only gets roughly one line before the film has to end so if you were watching the movie to see her in action, prepare to be disappointed. It’s really just Frankenstein V2 as the film takes a lot of similar twists and turns. It seemed like it was meant to be a homage to the original in a lot of ways even though it had just come out. It was just handled far better than the first film and as a result, the film wasn’t half bad. I can’t say that it’s the kind of film that I’d want to watch again, but it wasn’t a chore to watch the way that I would have expected it to be.

Overall, If you’re looking for a horror comedy film, then this could be the right film for you. At the very least, it’s one of the best Frankenstein films that you can hope to see. That being said, it’s still not all that great and it’s short length ensures that the film has to run through the plot. The ending is pretty satisfying though and that’s always a good thing for these kind of films. Scooby Doo may still be your best bet when it comes to horror comedies, but this one gives it its best. Can the third film manage to defeat this one? I somehow doubt it, but we are getting closer to the Werewolf and that could certainly end up being another story.

Overall 5/10

When Harry Met Sally Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would likely be far more negative.
It’s time to look at a romance film from not so long ago that has two characters over complicate the topic of whether a man and a woman can be friends. The answer is as obvious as it is simple, yes. Still, it gets to be a little harder when you’re the two main characters of a mainstream Hollywood type film and both constantly run through relationship after relationship. Maybe it is then inevitable that the friend zone will start to crack.

The film starts off with Sally and Harry going on a road trip over to New York City. It was convenient for them to share the car and I’m assuming that they both paid half of the gas cost. That’s when Harry brings up the topic that they could never be friends while Sally disagrees. Eventually, she realizes that she won’t be able to convince him otherwise and they part ways upon reaching NY. 5 years later they run into each other at an airport and then continue to see each other briefly after 5 years. Finally, they both run into each other again and decide to hang out. As they are both in relationships, Harry declares that maybe they can be friends again, but only time can tell if he is right.

As the film is all about trying to answer this question seriously, it’s time to bring my insight to the table. It’s actually sad that the film spends so long trying to answer this question only to bring back the incorrect response. Spoiler alert, Sally and Harry get together. Men and Women can absolutely be friends. Unlike what Harry would have you believe, you don’t immediately look at someone and wonder how you can be more than friends. That’s just Hollywood. For myself, I’ve had more female friends than male ones. Now, we can discuss the differences between friends, acquaintances, and co-workers, but getting into all of that will just take a while. Needless to say, the difference isn’t extremely large. Friends are people you’d spend time with outside of work whereas the other two categories have meetings that are exclusive to the location you’re at.

I like to think that I get along with just about everyone. Outside, I tend to attract either the elitist “PC Master Race” crowd from guys or the more business stuffy ones who have no hobbies. I still find topics to talk about though and everyone has a hobby if you dig deep enough. However, I end up talking more with girls because they are the ones who actually end up being big anime or video game fans. With guys I talk about politics and life a lot which is fine, but I certainly prefer to talk about my hobbies. Also, I just don’t have as many opportunities to talk to guys because in my classes it’s usually 80% girls to 20% guys and at work at one point, all of my floor’s co-workers were girls. We finally got some more guys, but for a very long time there were none. I don’t think there’s anything complicated about the whole thing, you can be friends with anyone and that’s why this film’s premise is pretty laughable, but I tried not to hold it against the film too much…

Unlike Hannah and Her Sisters, I can at least say that this film was pretty amusing. It had a far more upbeat nature and didn’t dwell on any really dark plots. It’s not meant to be the kind of film that gets you thinking or wanting to subtly get out of the theater. It’s supposed to give you a few laughs as you go through the adventure. It’s entertaining enough to mask its flaws during the watch. This isn’t a good movie in the end, but as far as romance comedies go, it certainly could have been worse.

Unfortunately, I did not like Harry or Sally. Harry is your standard Captain Kirk esque character who moves on from one person to another very quickly. He is constantly in an affair, but they usually don’t last a week. He actually made it all the way to marriage once, but then he was still dumped. After all of these rebounds didn’t work, Harry finally remembers good ole Sally. Meanwhile, Sally has also gone through a bunch of different guys and has a hard time getting over her multiple ex’s. I don’t get why the two of them have such an issue with that though, you’d think that they wouldn’t really care much after they were broken up. Certainly not enough to have a panic attack in the middle of the night right? Well, I guess they just weren’t ready for the romance game.

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t care much for the ending since it was basically trying to prove that Harry was right all along. That’s the last thing that I wanted to be proven since Sally certainly had the right idea all along. They could and should have been friends rather than just having a one off affair for no reason. Based on who they are, it’s hard to imagine the ending sticking either and she’ll have to look at everything that he says carefully since he was a very iffy person from the get go.

Harry and Sally each have a best friend who they use to communicate with each other behind the other person’s back or just for life advice in general. Naturally, those two get together since nobody can not get together by the end of a film. It was just another sad coincidence for the main characters, but either way I’ve always found blind dates to be rather dubious. It just seems rather desperate if you ask me and if you’re meeting for the first time as a date, then it’s hard for that to be a proper relationship since it seems like both parties don’t care much to learn about each other. They’re just launching right into the date.

Overall, When Harry Met Sally is a very cynical kind of film where you learn to doubt what everyone says at face value and always look for hidden agendas. It’s not a very fun way to live and if you followed Harry’s advice, your life would be pretty miserable. Even if you don’t automatically believe what people say, there’s not much reason to think on it. Just move on from one conversation to the next and it won’t matter too much whether it was true or not. The film isn’t quite as deep and wise as it leads you to believe, but it can be fun to see the heroes over complicate every single issue and act as self proclaimed experts. At the very least, you should have an enjoyable enough time watching the film if you sidestep some of the dicey conversations and just focus on the comedy. If you’re looking for a film with valuable life lessons, check out Magi Madoka Rebellion. It’ll help you debate with yourself whether it is right to save someone without their consent at the expense of other people or to strive for the greater good, but lose your best friend. These are the tough questions that require a long explanation as opposed to this film’s premise which you can answer correctly with one word.

Overall 3/10

The Young Messiah

There are some movies that had good intentions and just didn’t work so well and others that had poor intentions from the start. This one is the former and the plot just didn’t do it for me. The film had to take a lot of liberties to be a full length feature film, but at the same time I just can’t picture a lot of this happening. Now, I won’t profess to be a super expert on the Bible where I can tell you 100 quotes or have all the families of David memorized, but I do believe that in the Bible it is heavily implied that Jesus lives a very ordinary life as a kid. He didn’t stand out and that’s why we didn’t hear about the great miracles he performed or his status as the Savior until after he had grown up. This film has him performing many miracles and in front of large crowds at the age of 7. (Apparently anyway based on the poster) He even has to run from the authorities because they find out and it becomes a huge debacle. I’m just not sure about this.

One big plot point in the film is that Jesus is initially a seemingly ordinary child and he doesn’t even know about his abilities. Gradually, he starts to gain knowledge of them and at times he personifies his role as the son of God and then he’ll turn back to normal. It’s almost like his body is slowly being taken over or his mind is being awoken from a long sleep and I’m not sure about that either. Granted, there aren’t really any easy answers for this. Did Jesus just take up one day when he was an adult with his full knowledge or had he always known ever since he was a kid? I actually like to think it was the latter personally. I believe that Jesus was essentially a perfect child and that he simply lived a very quiet life. He wouldn’t lie, steal, or make any moral mistakes that many kids make, but at the same time he would learn how to read and write the same as any other person.

After all, God chose to come to Earth as a man in order to live among us and save as many people as possible. I think it’s definitely feasible that as a result, he wouldn’t have immediately brought about his all knowing mind and other abilities that would make him stand out from the start. That’s why I can picture him knowing that he is Jesus Christ and just gradually growing up normally until it was time for him to act in the public sphere. Furthermore, I imagine that he waited to act until it was the perfect time for him to have an influence on as many people as possible. As a child maybe he knew that less people would be more convinced or that it would hurt in the long run. God knows all eventualities so he would ultimately choose the best route.

As I mentioned, I do think it was a nice effort in concept though. Biblical scholars have made a profession out of reading the Bible and trying to find more details that are hard to catch or can only be noticed by cross checking various books in the Bible and even other sources. You can find out a lot of fascinating things online and I’m sure that they would love to learn more about Jesus as a child. I just think that there isn’t much to find because he just wasn’t standing out at the time. Did Jesus have to content with bullies when he was a kid? Maybe. Did he have to revive a boy who was killed by the Devil in an attempt to frame him? That one’s a far greater stretch, but you never know. The point is, the film had to take a lot of liberties to make this a film, but as long as it doesn’t directly contradict the Bible or attempt subtly make Jesus or other individuals look bad, then it’s fine.

Overall, This can still be a good film to check out if you find the premise interesting. I personally prefer to relive parts of the Bible or listen to scholars speculate what may have happened back in the day based on their findings. I just find those more interesting than a film like this one, but it’ll really depend on the individual. At the very least, you can be sure that the writers probably did their homework on how the scenery and surroundings may have looked so that can be fun to see. It is good to see so many Christian films coming out nowadays and hopefully that trend will continue. The God is Not Dead series is certainly still my favorite, but we have had a nice array of titles that span many different genres. Hillsong, Risen, The Young Messiah, God is Not Dead, and many more. There is something for every Christian to check out. Some of the films didn’t go very well at all like Noah, which changes so many things that I even wonder about the intentions. I certainly would not be surprised in the least to see some “Christian” based films that exist only to discredit and confuse Christians rather than spread awareness. Always be prepared for every trick in the book in this day and age. I’m not sure which film is coming next, but I shall be awaiting the next Christian adventure.

Hannah and Her Sisters Review

It’s time for a film about betrayal and deception along with some drugs to add to the intensity. Hannah and her Sisters is one of those films that is held back quite a bit by the unlikable cast and it seems like everyone loses out in the end. All of the characters are just a little too warped to find interesting and the ending is certainly not satisfying in the slightest.

There are three main plots here. First, there is Hannah and Elliot. Hannah always tries to be a very reliable person who has a plan for everything. She never does drugs, lies, or cheats on her husband. This makes Elliot upset since she is seemingly so perfect and decides to cheat on her with her sister. You can probably imagine what a terrible plot this is and lets jump right to the ending here. One of the main reasons why it is so bad is that Hannah never actually finds out. Elliot is forced to give up his other affair because he was dumped and then heads back to Hannah. She’ll never know that she was just the rebound character or that her husband is actually not a loyal person.

The second plot involves Lee and Frederick. Essentially, Lee starts to regret living with a super old guy who has disillusioned himself with reality. That’s why she decides that cheating is her best way out and from there she finds a third guy and the situation continues to get more and more messed up. It’s another pretty terrible plot that will make you shake your head or even face palm if you have the energy for it.

Finally, we have the plot with the ex drug addict Holly and Mickey. Holly has finally gotten off the drugs, but now she can’t decide on what she wants to do next and switches her career choice every other day. She likes to blame everything on Hannah as well just for kicks. She meets up with Mickey who has just quit his job and plans to live his life just running around as he searches for answers. These two hit it off immediately and this plot is also rather annoying, but I will say that it is better than the first two plots.

You can already tell that this film is just pretty bad though. The characters are all given so many flaws that you can’t even tell what they’re supposed to be good at anymore. Hannah is the only character who is even reasonably good. It’s pretty obvious why Lee is no good and likewise with Elliot. That whole plot was in pretty bad taste. Holly wasn’t likable since she was always blaming Hannah for everything and never even apologized for it. I don’t see her novel idea working since the only persoin to really like it is a guy who’s slowly turning crazy and then she’ll have another confidence breakdown. Frederick’s no good either as he turns away all potential buyers even though he’s low on money. The man has way too much pride.

Mickey may add the most levity to the film, but he still gets to be too much at times. For starters, quitting his job after finally being given a clean bill of health was onie of the worst moves you can make. He also moves on very quickly as he gets dumped by someone and rebounds to the sister. That seems to be a trend in this film and it’s certainly not a good one. With how desperately the sisters are looking for a guy in this film, you can’t help but feel that all of the romance is fake. If you’ll settle for anyone that’ll have you, then something is absolutely wrong in that scenario and it’s time to reflect a little.

It’s not as if I typically enjoy romance films anyway so the deck is stacked against the movie at the start. To battle against this, a romance film needs good writing, solid characters, and a good overall plot. This film had none of that and managed to sink even lower into the genre. As a whole, it certainly doesn’t help to improve my view of it. Moreover, I’ll take a rom-comedy over a rom-drama any day even though some drama is always added in by the end anyway. At least the former doesn’t take itself so seriously and typically won’t have all of these really tragic circumstances.

Elliot really should have gotten some kind of consequences though along with Lee. Both of them had very happy endings at the end despite being the worst characters in the film. It didn’t really feel fair to the others. If everyone has the same ending despite some characters being good and others being bad, then it’s pretty iffy.

Overall, Hannah and Her Sisters is a film that I’d recommend avoiding. Between the drugs character, the cheater, the liar, the crazy guy, the old man, and everyone else, you have a lot of reasons to stay away from this film. Even Hannah’s parents are messed up as the Mom flirts with everyone despite being over 60 so the parents end up fighting a lot. Mickey’s plot may add some levity to the film and it started out pretty decent, but gradually got watered down and extreme. I think his plot shouldn’t have merged with the others and it would have been much better. Regardless, if you’re looking for a good romance film, I’d advise you to keep on looking. This is definitely not the movie that will fit the bill for you. You’re better off watching re runs of Blues Clues as that show at least offered a compelling mystery during each episode.

Overall 1/10

Island of Terror Review

It’s time for another one of those really old films. I’d say that the poster is click-bait, but I suppose that the aliens could maybe consume the world someday…maybe. Either way I can’t really say that they’re very scary, but they’re deadly enough to make them a legitimate threat. While this pales in comparison to the average creature feature, it’s not all that bad. I can’t imagine anyone taking it seriously even back in the good ole days though. It’s just too fantastic, but not necessarily in an epic way.

It would appear that the scientists are busy at work creating more menaces. They finally have a breakthrough and create an all powerful snail which can destroy a person with a single touch by sucking up all of their salt. Hopefully you’re one of those “No Johns” after a match or you’ll be a quick target. Brian, David, and Reginald have to use their scientific knowledge to find out what this creature’s weakness is and how they can destroy it. The problem is that it begins to split every minute or so and eventually starts to take over the island. At its present speed, it’ll even cover the world soon so every minute is precious. The one question on everyone’s minds is “Do these things actually have a weakness?”

As this film is also part horror, you’ll notice that the heroes rarely make the right decisions. At one point they are face to face with one of the creatures. Keep in mind that they are exceptionally slow so they should never land a hit right? Wrong! One of the main characters walks a little too close to one of them and then makes sure to trip so it gets the arm. Luckily another one of the leads was nearby with an axe so his partner was saved, but this is how the monsters keep snagging people. One overconfident hunter decided to walk under a tree as he didn’t see one camping into it and the fall was fatal. The creatures start to pick everyone off one at a time like this because there is no other reason for the people to lose to them. Even Constable John wasn’t safe as he decided to challenge one and didn’t fair so well. Apparently they are bullet proof as well.

Brian David and Reginald are all pretty similar characters. They’re all scientists of some nature or other and none of them have any real answers. It takes them a while to get any headway, but at least they keep it together for a while. One of them doesn’t however and that is David. He completely cracks and while this is the only thing that distinguishes him, it’s not something that you want to have on your resume. He grabs a lethal injection and tries to give it to Toni so that she won’t have to endure getting drained by the monsters. I certainly don’t agree with the sentiment and the worst part is that he doesn’t tell her about it. He tries to administer it to her without her consent. David just acts like everything is normal and subtly gets ready to end her life, but then they realize that the monsters are dying with a delayed reaction so everything is okay. David almost made a crucial mistake and Toni never even realized it. I thought that was pretty horrible and ruined David as a character. Toni was likable enough though. She was rich and had good connections. The character felt ahead of her time and while she didn’t help too much when the monsters showed up, she was useful overall and helped out the rest of the protagonists quite a bit.

I did like the film’s twist ending. It makes sense that America would be the first to create the monsters, but that other countries would try to copy us eventually. Japan comes up with its own version and it could prove fatal as the heroes admitted that their cure only worked because it was an island. In a major city with infinite tunnel ways and directions to choose from, nothing can stop the monsters. It’s a rather gloomy ending as the world is officially doomed now, but it’s handled with appropriate levity and was a fun way to end the film. You could argue that the humans deserves it as well since their cure was pretty bad.

They decided that the only way to beat the monsters was to force them to eat a bunch of cows that they had poisoned. So much for not trading one life for another right? It was definitely a pretty bad call and as everyone consented to it, it shows how noble these guys really are. I like to think that a real main character would have stepped in and prevented this from happening. There’s always another way after all and this one just was not worth it. Hopefully the monsters find their way back to the island quickly to take everyone out. The rest of the inhabitants were also pretty annoying as they kept picking fights so aside from Toni, there weren’t any real great characters. I liked the Sheriff well enough, but he didn’t last too long and the other scientists were fairly generic. Not bad, but they just didn’t have much character.

Finally, I should mention that the characters do come up with a pretty bad final plan. They all hide out in a closed room so that the monsters can surround them. Can you guess how the monsters react to this? They break in through the windows and the ceiling so everyone starts to get wrecked. Luckily the cure had started working by then so they were dying, but it wasn’t a smart plan. Since the monsters are slow, outrunning them in the wild makes a lot more sense than putting yourself in a building. This kind of mistake happens in a lot of horror films and you’re always left shaking your head. An open field is always preferable to a locked house, the latter just limits your options and seals your fate. Don’t make the same mistake as these guys, that should be your takeaway from all of this.

Overall, The Island of Terror is a pretty straight forward Creature Feature. It plays it by the book and the monsters had a decent enough design. I would never actually call them threatening to be honest, but their abilities were unique and being able to duplicate yourself is sure to come in handy for many occasions. The film had a reasonable sense of humor and didn’t take itself too seriously. It wasn’t all that violent and the suspense was handled well. I didn’t appreciate the mass cow slaughter though and that part holds it back a bit. Surely there should have been a bunch of better ways. It’s not a bad film and you should have fun watching it, but there are dozens of better films to watch from this era so you should check out one of those instead. This is the kind of one shot film that will be lost to the history records and I can’t say that it deserves any better, but at least it’s the kind of obscure gem that is interesting enough to watch.

Overall 5/10

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Review

There are some series that can start out on a high note and keep that level of quality intact. Look at the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It has the super emotional song from the first film, but still managed to get by just fine in the sequels without it. That’s because the writing and characters were on point. Other titles like Skip Beat can start out decently interesting and go into the gutter. It’s not about how you start a race, but how you finish it. That’s true in life, cooking, platformers, pie eating contests, and anything else that is worth your while. This novel may have started out to be pretty good and a contender for best novel in the franchise, but crashed and burned in the second half. The title should have been a giveaway I suppose.

The plot of the book takes place in a small little town in the Titan World. The bridge collapsed so everyone is kinda sorta trapped in the town. They can go outside though so I guess they aren’t really trapped at all. I don’t know exactly how the layout is since it doesn’t make much sense, but essentially all of the other villages have left them for dead. All of Rita’s bosses end up getting bumped off so she is suddenly the leader of the military. She goes from being a really nice person to a corrupt dictator and decides that the only way to give the people peace is to murder them and anyone who falls out of line or looks at her the wrong way is subject to death. She will destroy anyone who defies her wish of a Utopia!

Meanwhile, Mathias is the other main character. He was a rich guy who never had to work for anything and was ignorant of the ways of the commoner. He was good friends with Rita, but he ended up murdering her other best friend so he had to go into hiding. He must now find a way to take her down and considers that he may have to use lethal methods. Friendship and camaraderie is thrown to the winds in this tale as everyone does what they feel they have too. Things get a lot worse before they get better and they never really get better so just focus on the first part.

This adventure is two novels long and the first one was actually pretty decent. It was a fun enough tale about Rita and Mathias and how they lived very different lives, but did their best to connect with each other. It wasn’t a bleak and gritty story the way that most Titan adventures were and it was cool to just have a happy scene for once. It figures that this wouldn’t last right? The story started to get a little more grim as Mathias made a deal with some bandits to rob his father in exchange for getting him to the town where Rita was trapped. It didn’t go very well so the bandits murder a bunch of soldiers and then Mathias panicked so he blew up one of the young workers who was helping Rita. He panicked again after that and ran off. This basically happened in the final pages of the first book so it was quite a downer.

The second novel is where it really goes off the rails though. Rita was apparently traumatized after seeing her best friend murder her other friend so she decided to go down a dark path. She forces people to get eaten by the Titan she planted in the city and tortures others until they get her some intel. Nobody is safe now and she murders her father and is prepared to do the same to Mathias if she can find him as well as her best friend Amanda. The novel shows us in great detail just how insane she has become. It gets about as bad as the main Titan series in that regard and there’s no way she can come back from this.

This is why the ending of the book is rather hard to swallow. The author suddenly tries to make her sympathetic as she was only trying to help and she’ll be a nicer person now. She has this 180 character development in the span of 2-3 pages as Titans attack the city and suddenly we’re supposed to see her as a nice person again. Mathias also forgives her for murdering everyone and putting the townspeople in jeopardy every day since it just doesn’t matter now. Never mind the fact that one of Mathias’ main allies was poisoned to death right in front of him on Rita’s orders. She may claim that it was for the greater good, but she stepped well over the line of vigilantism and became an evil villain during this book. It was far more extreme than the book and characters acknowledge afterwards and it was just puzzling the whole time. It was an even more drastic character arc than Shu’s from Guilty Crown and that’s pretty scary. It may not be in Black Butler levels quite yet, but Rita is easily one of the most evil main characters that I’ve ever seen.

It goes without saying that I didn’t like her. Regardless of how good she was in volume 1, she nullified it all in the sequel. I didn’t care for Mathias either as there is no way he should have panicked so much upon seeing the scout and he handled the situation as badly as possible. It was hard to take him seriously as the rebel leader since he was always terrified of everyone and got tricked so many times. He was just annoying to see. The rebels were also a bit much as they were all too overconfident and full of themselves even though they could never do all that much when it came time to fight. The super hyped leader of the Rebels went down in the worst way possible as his drinking habits finally got to him and poison ended his career. You’d think that he would have been a little smarter about something like that.

In the end, the only real good character was Amanda. Even she was a little fishy as she took forever to make a move and just allowed people to be tortured and eaten. At least she did something about it though. She also got a lot of hype as being the best fighter in the squad, but naturally once she turned good, Amanda was surpassed by Rita. So much for the hype eh? She still put up a good fight though and was probably the only character who actually stayed true to herself. Again, the book kind of glossed over the fact that Rita was so evil in the end as she gets Amanda back her gear and they team up again. It just shouldn’t be so smooth. If anything, I think the ending should have kept Rita as a villain, it certainly makes more sense than suddenly making her a hero again.

Even the ending doesn’t offer much hope though as the heroes lost their town to the Titans. Their plan is to head to the next town, but they already know for a fact that the Town doesn’t want them and will attempt to slay the group. It’ll come down to yet another fight and that should give the Titans an opening to move in and take them all down. It’s Attack on Titan though so you should never expect anything even remotely happy for the conclusion.

Overall, What started as potentially the best Titan novel ended up being the worst one. It’s why I always say that you can’t really tell these things ahead of time. A whole novel (or 2 in this case) is more than enough time for a story to turn rotten. You won’t even recognize the characters by the end as they could basically be other people. In the end, what really destroyed the book was that it was way too dark and violent. If you thought the other novels were gritty, this one is far more intense. The novel could have made Rita’s character transformation a little less drastic and it would have worked a lot better. There’s no good reason for her to become a full fledged mass murderer. She should have just gotten more obsessed about the rules and we could have had the town be under a curfew with a lot of punishments handed out every day. The situation didn’t need to jump all the way to 10 so suddenly. Had the book showed some restraint, it would have been a lot better and glossing it over so much at the end didn’t help either. If you want a good Attack on Titan novel, I suggest checking out Before The Fall. It’s the only good one at the moment and shows you what Titan novels should be like.

Overall 1/10