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My Little Pony: A New Generation Review


It’s time for the next generation of My Little Pony. Friendship is Magic certainly took the world by storm with how big it got and had a huge cast by the end of it. Leaving an old continuity for a new one is always a tricky thing. Technically they may exist here or they may not, it’s hard to say. I’ll assume they do and that the toys are based on their legends so they can hopefully appear in the show at some point. The movie does a good job of just creating a satisfying experience without having to rely on the old cast though which is impressive.

The movie starts out with a fake-out moment of the Mane 6 banding together for a big battle. That seemed like it was about to get really hype but it turns out that this was just the main characters playing with toys. Sunny has always believed that every Pony should be friends but her friends remind her that all ponies are against each other. The Earth Ponies, Unicorns, and Pegasi are all enemies now and that can never be changed. We jump forward many years and see that Sunny has not given up her dreams of unity. She crashes parties and does her best to always barge in and remind people of this.

Well, one day a Unicorn named Izzy shows up and Sunny helps her escape from the vengeful village ponies. It turns out that the Unicorns have lost their powers and the same is true of the Pegasi. Each group thinks the other did this and so there might be a grand conspiracy here. The heroes will have to find the lost crystals to form the crown of power that will give everyone their powers back. It’s the only chance left for the ponies to finally come together. Can Sunny and Izzy pull this off before Sheriff Hitch captures them?

A New Generation really flows by so the movie did a good job on the pacing. It’s really a very low key adventure but one that will keep your attention throughout. Don’t expect big fight scenes or a whole lot of danger. For around 90% of the film it’s not like anybody’s lives are in danger and even in the climax you just have a main villain who is a comic relief character so there’s no danger there either. This is just an adventure to find the crystals and reunite the world. For such a movie you need to have quality characters and writing, both things that this title has.

The characters certainly won’t beat the Mane 6 but they put in a good effort. First you have Sunny who is a solid main character. She’s very earnest and talks tough to anyone who opposes her. Her confidence may surpass her actual skills at times but I always say you have to talk a game so even if she can’t back it up, I appreciate the effort. With the whole village against Sunny her whole life, she did a good job of not bending to them either.

Then you have Izzy who is more on the ditzy side and doesn’t really understand any kind of phrase that isn’t super literal. That’s not my favorite character trait so some of her scenes don’t land but she’s a nice enough pony and is always around to help defend Sunny. The two of them have a lot of good banter which is important since even though the film ends with having a Mane 5, most of the film is really these two as a tag team.

Hitch is the Sheriff who is after the main characters and he is actually good at his job. For a while there I was expecting him to be outsmarted and wrecked at every turn but surprisingly he gives the main heroines a run for their money which is good. If Friendship is Magic had one weakness, it’s that there were no real solid male heroes. Hitch already beats all of the ones before him. Yeah Hitch is ultimately on the wrong side for most of the film but he’s a lot more reasonable than the other villains and actually thinks he is doing the right thing. He comes around quickly enough when they point this out to him.

Then you have Pipp who joins up with the crew later on. Her role isn’t as big as the others but she helps out quite a bit and will certainly be the Rarity of the group. Pipp likes to be trendy and on top of things which is important for a princess in her position. She may not be thrilled with the plan and destroying the status quo but she helps out. Finally you have Zipp who is the rebel of the group. Zipp’s got a lot of courage and just does whatever she wants when she wants.

She doesn’t get to show off her confidence as much as I would have liked since she appears rather deep into the film but I’d expect big things of her going forward. That’s it for the main heroes but quick shoutout to the Queen for staying strong under pressure. She doesn’t sell out the two princesses even after being captures. She handles herself with dignity as befitting a royal. There’s a bit of a missed opportunity with her not being Rarity though. After seeing the trailer I was 100% certain that this character was Rarity. It was certainly a twist seeing that this was not the case.

Now for the two villains, we’ve got Phyllis and Sprout. Phyllis is the instigator who keeps on pushing Sprout to get more and more villainous until she starts thinking that things have gone too far. That’s always an annoying trait for a villain though because it’s hard to feel sympathetic when they’ve already gone so far. It’s not like anyone’s died here or anything but it still feels really quick for her to change sides.

As for Sprout, I couldn’t take him seriously. The film goes out of its way to make him a complete comic relief character to the point where even when he gets a giant robot the guy is messing up. You can’t have someone be the main comic relief and then try to spin it like he’s an intimidating villain. That just doesn’t work. I also felt like his descent into madness was way too quick as well. This is really the film’s biggest weakness, the villains. Both villains just aren’t all that good and the plots are taken to the extreme.

For example Sprout gets his own villain song but instead of being rather great like the last MLP film, this one is too on the nose. You have the villains singing about how they’re irrational and confused the whole time. Why would they be singing a song where the lyrics are bashing them the entire time? It’s like the film wanted to make crystal clear that these are the villains but it was already obvious so they definitely went too far on this one.

The songs are okay otherwise but still below the average MLP song. The rap song was rather underwhelming as well so the best ones would be the first song and the one near the middle. The song in the credits are good too. There are enough songs where you are sure to find ones that you like but I don’t recall the last MLP film having any bad songs so this one definitely loses out in that respect.

As for the graphics, I’d say that the CGI looks good. It’s certainly not nearly as colorful or as energetic as the FIM TV show, but it works well enough I suppose. I don’t think CGI will ever get to the point where it will be the preferred choice but as long as it’s not low budget it will do the job. We don’t get to test how it would look in a fight scene either since there aren’t any of those this time.

As a side note, if Friendship is Magic did take place in this film then the Mane 6 officially did a bad job of restoring the peace. Letting everything get shattered like this does not speak well for the whole friendship setup that they left the world with. Now the question you’re wondering is how do the Main 5 stand up to the Mane 6? Well, lets break it down with each character and their rival.

Twilight Sparkle beats Sunny. I’d say that one’s pretty clear as while I like Sunny quite a bit, Twilight’s proven herself much more. Any good trait Sunny has, Sparkle has as well.

Pipp beats Rarity. This one’s not too hard, while Rarity was a very fun pony, I do think Pipp’s already a much more balanced Pony. She likes being trendy but puts her friends first and isn’t too obsessive the way Rarity was.

Rainbow Dash beats Zipp. Zipp didn’t get much to do yet and it’ll be difficult to surpass Dash who has had such great moments over the years. I would argue that Dash is much braver as well.

Izzy beats Pinkie Pie. Well that’s a rather easy pick. Pinkie Pie was my least favorite member of the Mane 6 at times and her crazy antics weren’t always entertaining. The same is true for Izzy but she doesn’t let herself get as wild as Pinkie.

So that leaves us with two members of the Mane 6 left with Applejack and Fluttershy vs Hitch from the new generation. Fluttershy doesn’t really have a counterpart so I would say this is Applejack vs Hitch. It’s a tough one but Applejack ends up winning this contest. Both Hitch and her are tough ponies but Applejack had her fun rivalry with Rainbow Dash and I also don’t see her threatening to withhold her friendship the way Hitch did.

Final Score: Friendship is Magic 3: New Generation: 2. FIM wins this in the main character battles but it’s close enough where it’ll be fun to see how the new generation continues. If they get a 6th member this could reasonably be 3 on 3 at any time. Now I don’t think New Generation will ever beat Friendship is Magic since it’ll be difficult to replicate the danger and fight scenes that the old series had but hopefully it’s close because that’ll mean that this show did a good job.

Overall, My Little Pony: A New Generation is a fun film. The dialogue is on point and the writing is good for everyone aside from the villains. It’s not a very long movie and it’s one that will feel even shorter because something is always happening. Each landmark gives you some kind of fun adventure and each Pony gets to use their skills to succeed. I was pleasantly surprised with Hitch looking good as well since I thought the film was going to make him look really incompetent. By the end we’ve got our Main 5 now and we’ll see if this ends up being the definitive MLP generation by the end.

Overall 7/10

Eden Review


Eden’s a show I hadn’t heard of before. It’s fairly short at 4 episodes so this almost could have just been a full movie. The animation feels very RWBY inspired which is a good thing and this ends up being a fun title to check out. Having Sara be the only human in the present setting was a bold move but one that works out well.

The show starts by introducing us to the far future where humans seem to no longer exist. Two robots named A37 and E92 are completing their tasks as normal when they come across a baby named Sara. They are supposed to immediately alert the high council to dispose of the human but they can’t bring themselves to do so and instead raise her as their kid. She grows up with them and while she isn’t thrilled about always having to be in hiding, she still has a good life. One day, she discovers a robot and a message. It would appear that the human race is still alive but trapped in stasis. Sara will have to find the unlock code to save them and she will have to do this quickly or they will never wake up again. This is going to be dangerous but it’s a mission that she is ready and prepared for.

A and E make for interesting characters since they are pure robots. We’re not talking about androids who have human emotions or anything like that but robots who do their best to understand what is going on. They’re inherently good robots as we see them taking a stand compared to most. Perhaps the fact that they are protecting Sara at all suggests that they do have true emotions. They can be rather awkward and don’t always know the best way to talk to her but I’d say they did a very good job of raising her.

The whole plot is very wholesome and I like the way that it was executed. Potentially it could have been a bit dull at first before the danger elements come into play but Sara is a good character and the robots make for solid supporting ones. It ends up being a solid dynamic either way. As for Sara, she’s a good lead and one who isn’t even that unreasonable. She does take some tremendous risks like jumping from high heights because she knows that her robot friend will catch her. I don’t blame the parents for being worried about that and of course Sara likes to venture fairly far away from her home.

She’s ready to jump into action when she finds out about her mission. It’s not an easy one either since the world is filled with robots that are after her. They’re fairly powerful ones too led by the mighty Zero. Zero has a design that really stands out here. It’s sort of like the Shredder from the TMNT 2003 show. He has a futuristic armor and a really booming voice so you can see why everyone follows him. Among the robots he seems to have the most character as well.

As the show goes on we learn more about Zero and more about the world at large. It’s pretty easy to see how Zero ended up going down the path that he did. In any show or movie where the villain makes the case that the world would be better without humans, it’s always hard to debate their point. Take this instance, with humans stuck in stasis, the world has become a utopia with no crime. Life and nature have prospered as well. If the humans return then Zero says they will bring war and crime back with them as well as polluting the Earth.

It’s not as if they would change and the issue is that he’s right. Now you can still root for the humans to return and everything but it will be sad to see the Utopia go away. That’s mainly the conflict at the end of the series. There is also a quick mecha battle near the end of the show but action definitely isn’t the main part of the show. It’s a fun little battle with the fighters but the emotional battle is really what the focus is on.

As mentioned earlier, I did like the animation style here. It may not be quite as polished as RWBY, you can see how the animation is a bit more stilted, but the art and backgrounds are definitely on point. I’ve always wondered why more titles don’t try to go for the colorful CGI style that RWBY has so I’m glad that this one finally embraced it. The character designs are memorable and I like the world that it’s based in. It all just looks very descriptive.

Eden is really a family drama title at its core. Sara learns what it means to really have a family while in the past segments we have someone feel the pain of losing one. These two focuses act as complete contrasts to each other and also show us how each character made it on both sides. So while I say this is a light hearted title there are definitely quite a lot of sad moments throughout. Enjoy the first two episodes while you can as they’re really about showing the happy times first like Sara growing up. I thought it was a good move that she grew up so quickly as well since she’s able to do a lot more as a teen compared to being a toddler.

The flashbacks about the final humans before they all went into stasis definitely have the most sad moments throughout its run. You can tell that not everyone will get a happy ending which makes sense. They each have their own struggles to go through after all. I didn’t really have any issues with the show by the end of its run either. It’s a pleasant little title with all the proper elements an adventure needed. The writing was on point and the conflict was solid.

I will say the only part that felt like it was edging towards a plot hole was how inconsistent the timer was. There’s a timer that consistently shows how close the humans are to being locked in stasis forever. Each episode has the timer appear a whole lot but it just doesn’t make sense based on how much time was there before her time skip and afterwards. I think they either shouldn’t have shown the timer when she was still a baby and only showed it afterwards or just set it to a different time. With a calculator it shouldn’t be hard to have set that up properly especially since it is so crucial to the story.

It’s a small thing overall though and my head canon is that the A.I. was just malfunctioning at times and showing the wrong values. That seems like it should be within the realm of possibility. If you want to go a bit farther, it’s hard to see Zero and the robots not stamping out the two protecting Sara instantly but I suppose for a while she just wasn’t on their radar. Also, Zero’s minions don’t seem to be very intelligent and just have basic skills developed so that would make sense. His personal A.I. would be the only exception there. The heroes have an A.I. too and they even have a very brief skirmish which was fun. The two A.I. were always entertaining so it’s too bad that they didn’t appear a bit more.

Overall, Eden is a fun title and really gets the adventure/journey across well. It’s a fairly personal story that it just pleasant to watch. It’s definitely got a rather somber end so I won’t say it’s a huge feel good title but throughout the 4 episodes there are a lot of fun moments. You can also interpret the ending as still being happy in a sense as Sara won’t give up and will create more experiences but to me it would have been perfect if one more thing could have been fixed in-universe. Ultimately the title is really about Sara experiencing the world for herself and seeing that robots can be a real family just as well as a human one. A & E really did a great job for as long as they could and this was an impressive effort considering that they had no formal training before now. If you’re looking for a good family drama title with some action elements at the end then this is a good one to pick up. It really feels like a solid one shot movie that gives you a complete experience from beginning to end.

Overall 7/10

Dreamscape Review


If you were able to weaponize a dream that would have to be one of the more dangerous prospects out there. How can you defend yourself if you’re still dreaming? Well, this film delves into that and it makes for a very interesting watch. It’s the kind of sci-fi concept that’s cool to check out and the film keeps it engaging by throwing in some monsters too.

The movie starts off with Alex using his psychic powers to win at the horse races again. Unfortunately he’s not too subtle with his constant winnings and so people are starting to hunt him down to get some of those profits. This leads to him being desperate enough to get into a car with some shady characters who take him to Professor Paul. Paul was a part of the group that originally ran the tests with Alex and got him these psychic powers.

Well, the experiments have continued and they need Alex once again. Alex was always one of the most promising cadets after all so they need him now. The idea is that Alex can jump into a person’s dreams and help them contend with previous traumas or even just give the scientist some info based on the dream. Ideally this is a way to help humanity because you can end nightmares and other forms of stress. Unfortunately, the government has other plans for this.

If you die in the dream you die in the real world so what better way than to use this for an assassination right? There is a particularly disturbed guy named Tommy at this lab and he has psychic abilities that rival Alex’s own. Alex will have to decide if he stays at the lab to help the patients who really need him or if he should get out before he is in some real danger.

Now when I say psychic powers, I should emphasize that we’re talking purely mental here so don’t expect people to be throwing trees. Alex can see through trading cards and into the mind to an extent. He can go into someone’s dreams but he can’t go into their minds like that when they’re awake or at least not to a serious degree. He can pull out some thoughts from the top of their minds at least.

Alex is a solid main character and I can see why he ran off the first time. It definitely doesn’t seem like this is the kind of place where you would be safe for too long. They’ll use you for the intel and then you’ll be taken out. Growing up in such a facility is probably why Alex is very tough in the present. He’s always got a barb ready for the other characters and has a lot of bravado. He ultimately does decide to help a little kid who was having nightmares even though a lot of other people died earlier.

So Alex does have his heroic qualities as well. Mainly the only scene I really didn’t like is when he went into Jane’s dream to have an affair when she had been declining him in the real world. It’s definitely a low move and it’s hard to see how their romance was still able to flourish despite this in the present. That seems like it would be a relationship killer to me.

As for Jane, well she tries to keep things professional but Alex isn’t interested in that from the start. Jane’s not on board with the more shady elements of the job so she does have more of a moral compass than the other staffers but there wasn’t a whole lot to her character. You’ve got Paul who wants to keep the experiments on the level but he ultimately reacted a little too slowly. Maybe if this was less of a charged area he would have been okay but the instant he stayed late at night and said no to the villain I knew it was game over. It was a tense scene when he walks into the hallway though. The guy just didn’t act until it was too late but he does at least have a backup plan set into motion by then.

Bob is the main villain here and the guy is rather intense. The film plays out a bit like a government conspiracy title at times and he does a really good job in that role. You can tell that he’s willing to do anything in order to have that weapon. These corporate kind of villains always manage to be very interesting and this guy’s no exception. Then you have the crazy Tommy who is all too happy to join in with this.

He’s a guy who always liked using his psychic powers for evil so it’s a perfect fit. Alex is really the only person that Tommy can’t intimidate. In the fight scenes that take place in the dream, I like how creatively Tommy uses his abilities. Really he could have murdered Alex in an instant if he wasn’t so busy toying with the guy the whole time. It’s why you never want to play with your food.

There’s also Charlie who is definitely the most random character in the film. Somehow or other he knows about what is going on with the dream wars and manages to track Alex down. The guy must have a lot of connections but at the same time he had no exit plan which doesn’t go over very well for him. Choosing a crowded location was a good idea but ultimately it just wasn’t safe enough. I was glad about his inclusion though because the conspiracy scenes are some of the most tense ones in the film.

Finally there is also the President but he’s not the smartest member in the group. I don’t think having bad dreams would be enough for me to subject myself to a super risky dream experiment that is still in the trial phase. Nah, I’m definitely not doing that. He also comes across as weak with how he isn’t able to touch Bill even though he was almost murdered. This guy’s the President? I don’t care about red tape at that point, you blast Bill and then cover it up. He should at least have that much power.

The film definitely has a really intense ending on two fronts. First is Alex’s final decision and battle which is a really effective scene. Then you have the final moment which will make you really think everything over again like Inception. My view is that the ending isn’t quite real, but it’s hard to say how far back it goes. Depending on how far back we’re talking…well that could be depressing for Alex.

An area where the film really excels is with the actual dreams. I liked the visuals we had there from the Nuclear aftermath to that creature that Alex had to fight. The dreams had a solid atmosphere to them and even the opening dream with the guy getting cheated on had a very grainy look to it that let you know this was a dream right away. I could have done without that crazy dream but it certainly felt weird enough to fit right in.

Overall, Dreamscape is a solid thriller. It has that classic 80s feeling as well where something just isn’t right but it’s hard to put your finger on it. Everyone seems dodgy and the whole area seems unsafe. You get the feeling that Alex is always being watched even when no one is around. That general atmosphere of unease is hard to nail and the film did a good job with it. I’d recommend checking this out if you want to see how the world of dreams can be a very dangerous thing.

Overall 6/10

Yamato will be Luffy’s strongest Strawhat if she joins


The saga of One Piece to Clover to One Piece editorials is now at an end with this one at least on the One Piece side. Get ready for one more Black Clover piece and after that I don’t know which editorials will come up next but I’ll think of something. At least once I get the reviews a bit lower. So Yamato is a brand new One Piece character. I suppose the term should be used loosely since she’s probably been in the story for about a year or two at this point but she has only just had her first serious fight where she was on the losing side. Yamato has been stomping everyone with the exception of Luffy prior to this.

So is the title clickbait? No, I’d say Yamato has firmly placed herself as being more powerful than Zoro and Sanji. I don’t doubt that they will catch her by the end of the series but right now she is considerably more powerful and the strongest Strawhat next to Luffy. She isn’t quite as powerful as he is but that man’s the future pirate king so it makes sense. It goes without saying that this editorial will feature content from the current saga in Wano so proceed with caution. I won’t be spoiling specific battle outcomes or anything like that, just attack damage so I don’t consider this one to be a big spoiler like my other editorials but it’s still a fair warning in case you want to enter Wano completely unawares.

So right now I see many say that Yamato is still weaker than Sanji and Zoro as well as this being necessary since the “Monster Trio” as they are referred to has been a concept since the beginning of One Piece. Among the Strawhats , Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji have always been the strongest and in that order. It’s never been the case that this order could be shattered. One thing fans point to in order to show that Oda conscientiously keeps this balance is how Jinbei was introduced to the crew early on but decided not to join for another arc or two. 

This way by the time he had joined, there was enough time for Sanji to surpass him. (I would argue Zoro was already ahead) So in this way the Monster Trio was untouched when Jinbei joined. He came in as the 4th strongest fighter and will sink to 5th if Yamato joins. The reason why this is important is because if Yamato joins it will certainly be at the end of the arc which is seemingly already in the climax. There isn’t time for Sanji and Zoro to surpass her or at the very least it is incredibly unlikely given how well she has performed thus far. While her joining then crew isn’t a certainty, there are a lot of things pointing to it like upcoming promotional images showing her as a Strawhat, toys where she is with the crew, her appearing in the big 1000 anniversary special as a featured character with the other Strawhats, etc. 

Now, maybe Carrot will be the one to join…..but probably not. So if we all assume that Yamato has been joining, then a lot of people are saying that she absolutely has to be weaker. I disagree both on the count of her being weaker but also that it would be bad to destroy the monster trio. The trio was in existence for 100+ volumes. That’s an incredible run and I don’t think that it is bad they were surpassed. Surely it had to happen at some point so why not now right? I don’t think the trio is something I’ve even thought about as a concept almost at all while reading the series to be honest.

Now usually I am in the camp where I’d say that Yamato joined the series way too late. I’d be saying how she would ruin the dynamic and all but this time I’m not on that side. Why? Because she’s a much better character than most of the Strawhats. I’ve never liked Brook after all. I find Franky to be a little boring and while Jinbei isn’t bad, I feel like there isn’t much to him. Chopper isn’t really my style and Sanji would be really great if not for how he is always flirting and getting wrecked by every villainess he fights. Yamato is automatically the best Strawhat aside from Luffy and Zoro. The rest just don’t compete so instead of ruining the dynamic she may end up enhancing it. Her whole Oden gimmick should be interesting with how the other characters bounce off of it although in don’t see that surviving past this arc anyway so it may not matter.

Now let me get into why I believe Yamato is stronger than Sanji and Zoro. Sanji is a lot easier so let’s go with him. In Wano he got to fight Page One, seemingly one of the weakest fighters on the island. Sanji did really well and styled on him so points there. Then he fought a girl and you know how those fights go since Sanji refuses to fight back. Sanji didn’t even get invited to the famous Roof Piece event to fight with Kaido and has been stuck on the sidelines fighting the lower ranked King and Queen, not doing so well until Zoro showed up. Sanji hasn’t shown me anything to suggest that he would last more than a moment against Kaido before being promptly steamrolled.

Then you have Zoro. While he is more powerful than Sanji which makes it tougher to surpass him in that sense, he has fought against Kaido which makes for a great direct comparison. Skipping through the details to the end, Zoro was able to land one really good slash on Kaido and almost landed another blow but it missed. Zoro has the raw strength needed to injure Kaido which is extremely impressive. If he has some allies around to buy time and distract Kaido then he really has a decent shot at pulling out the win here at any time. The issue is that one on one he isn’t going to be seeing those openings.

Zoro won’t have time to charge up some kind of super attack, he will need to get in there up close in order to secure the victory. So we don’t see anything that says he could fight Kaido one on one. It’s just not happening. Now let’s talk about Yamato. Keep in mind that she was chained up for years prior to the start of this arc and so she has seemingly never gotten to fight with her devil fruit before. She has to learn as she goes and will keep getting stronger. We are not talking about potential here but raw ability so let’s shift gears for a minute. Yamato took down one of Kaido’s top warriors with a single blow but you could make the case that as a sneak attack it didn’t count. Yamato was stalemating Luffy when he was trying to defeat her and she was not fighting back. 

Well, Luffy may have been tired and he was definitely not going out right? That’s fair so then let’s just jump to the Kaido stuff because that’s the only thing that will give us the clear answer here. Well, Yamato was stalemating 1 on 1 a Hybrid mode Kaido. So this is something to really keep in mind here. Those Zoro feats? We were talking regular Kaido at that point. Yamato is performing better against a Kaido who is in a much more powerful form. As far as I’m concerned that’s pretty much a game over moment for any chance or Yamato being weaker. Sure, she was ultimately getting overpowered but unless you think Zoro would have beaten Kaido one on one then that’s moot anyway. The strongest case for Zoro being more powerful than Yamato is if he’s just that much faster and given that Yamato speed blitzed Ulti, I think that would be a very difficult case to make. While the anime tends to drag things out for dramatic effect, you can see the speed in the clip below. Even by the end of the fight larer on with Kaido Yamato was able to use a new special move and didn’t even lose before the fight was interrupted.

So that rests my case or at least what I would consider to be the mainly spoiler free version. I could go into more detail with using specific scenes but I encourage you to check out the manga battles first hand. This is a bit of a smaller editorial than some of my others but that’s because this is really just to answer a quick question.

Is Yamato the strongest Strawhat comrade if she were to join? Well the answer is yes, none of Luffy’s teammates can hope to defeat her at this point in the story. They are going to need some kind of power up in a future arc in order to close the gap. Yamato is not unbeatable, there’s a really good chance hat she will be surpassed by the end but make no mistake, the others will have to surpass her. They aren’t on the level right now.

Asta and Yuno have the healthiest rivalry


Notice that I’m using the term “healthiest” here as opposed to greatest. It’s a little nuance that is worth pointing out because it’s different. The greatest rivalry would definitely need to be Goku and Vegeta followed by Yugi and Kaiba, Tyson and Kai, Aichi and Kai, Naruto and Sasuke, Yusuke and Hiei, etc. I would put those rivalries higher than Asta and Yuno’s if I were to rank them all.

However, while those rivalries are a lot of fun, part of the intensity there is with how toxic and antagonistic the characters were for a time. Vegeta literally started out as a genocidal monster who would blow up monsters and torture his opponents. He’s tried to murder Goku on more than one occasion and hasn’t always stayed the path of a hero. The banter is top tier but you couldn’t always say the rivalry was on good terms. (Well, Goku would probably say it was positive throughout) It’s a great rivalry but I wouldn’t call it a healthy one in the sense that you wouldn’t want this rivalry in real life prior to when it finally mellows out more in the end of Z to Super era.

Meanwhile Asta and Yuno is the kind of rivalry that you would absolutely love to have in real life. Both of them clearly respect each other and encourage themselves to do better. When Asta was having a hard time, Yuno gave him a pep talk. When Yuno was mind controlled Asta talked him back up. You never see these two characters getting really jealous of each other to the point of turning evil or giving each other the cold shoulder.

There were several times it seemed like the manga may be about to turn Yuno over to the dark side but it hasn’t happened. Now it still could at some point but we’re fairly deep into the series without that happening so the chances continue to decrease. He just takes his losses as an opportunity to get stronger without resenting Asta for it. They may get jealous at times but nothing very serious. One such moment is when Asta’s chances of fighting Yuno are sabotaged and he’s upset since now Yuno is in the finals but Asta won’t get to be there. It makes sense as being a very frustrating moment though because that’s something he had been looking forward to for a very long time. So let’s specifically look at the reasons why I call it a great rivalry.

The origin of the rivalry

So rivalries can start in a lot of different ways. It could be due to an inferiority complex from the rival himself who sees that he will ultimately be surpassed by the lead as with Bakugo. Deku just rubbed him the wrong way and the guy never looked back. He went after Deku at every turn but make no mistake he was a bully through be through. For Asta and Yuno, they became rivals after Asta saved Yuno from a bandit. Yuno saw Asta’s power and vowed to be strong. Not to rub it in Asta’s face or to destroy him but because that was a new ideal for him. From that point on Yuno was a changed man and never cried like that again. It was a positive start though as Yuno saw Asta at his best and it helped him improve himself. It’s a rivalry based on making each other better as opposed to breaking each other down and that’s a common theme throughout the series.

Clear Communication

A lot of rivals can barely manage to acknowledge each other without throwing in some kind of insult. You’ll come to see that a lot especially with Sasuke as he continually badmouths Naruto. He is definitely an extreme rival given how he completely turned evil and all but it does show how far some rivals are willing to go. Compare that to Asta who is able to awaken Yuno from the mind control by talking about his dreams or Yuno saying that he knew Asta would he selected by the magic knights and get a book. A proper rivalry should be one where you acknowledge the other side as an equal and that’s exactly what they did. Not just in a power sense but even just acknowledging that they respect each other.

Asta and Yuno always do that and even in front of villains so it’s not like this is a private thing. They don’t care who’s listening and will still praise the other. Particularly in Yuno’s case this is a big deal since in the series there is a big stigma against those who cannot use magic like Asta. This can also mean that Asta is susceptible to surprise attacks since his durability is that of a normal human’s. Once Asta learns how to use ki it becomes difficult to launch a sneak attack on him but there’s one time prior to that where a villain tries to land a sneak attack and Yuno quickly foils the attempt. It was a good way to show how they still watch each other’s back. The clip I linked above showed Asta at his lowest moment in the series and Yuno was able to bring him out of that depression. There were no insults, barbs, or any of that. Yuno just talked him up and it was a powerful moment.

Finally, it’s a rivalry not an obsession

When there’s an actual villain to defeat you don’t see any kind of bickering between them. There’s no pretense about being the one to stop the villains or anything like that. They just run in and get the job done. They’ll team up and coordinate attacks in an instant without looking back. They did this to fight Licht, the Devils, Mars, etc. their rivalry takes a backseat to the actual threats which is very realistic and just makes sense. They are heroes first and rivals second after all.

Personally I love the kind of banter we get from say Goku and Vegeta when a villain shows up. In their case the rivalry takes first dibs mainly thanks to Vegeta insisting on it. It’s a lot of fun to watch of course which is why they have the best rivalry of all time but in real life you’re probably hoping you can get help from your rival if something serious happens. Make no mistake Asta and Yuno still have a lot of great banter throughout the series and take shots at each other but it’s all in good fun. You never feel any kind of malice between the characters, serious resentment or anything like that. They’re just good friends who make each other even better.

So those are the main reasons why I put Asta and Yuno at the top in this category. It’s a really nice change of pace and it also makes this a very unique rivalry. As mentioned there is still time for things to change though. I’ve always been in the camp that believes Yuno will probably turn evil at some point but I wouldn’t mind being incorrect on this one. I should also say this isn’t the only healthy rivalry. There are certainly more of them out there particularly if you go more into different demographics. For Shonen the closest might be fighters like Ichigo and Renji or Luffy and Zoro but both rivalries are less of a focus to the point where you can debate if they really are rivalries. Then you have Ash and Gary where there are a lot of insults from Gary but I would put it more on the good fun side. It might be straddling the line just a tad but I have no doubt that if Ash was in serious trouble Gary would step in without letting Ash get beat up. Still, those are all runner ups in the end. Asta & Yuno’s rivalry is unmatched.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review


All right, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of checking out a new comic book movie. You can expect a whole lot of excitement, action, and teasing for future films. This one even has a scene after the credits start so make sure you stay in your seats. It’s definitely one that you won’t want to miss and I’m glad that we’re starting to get such important post credit scenes again.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Kasady and Frances as they are locked up in a jail for being psychotic monsters. They bonded there though and quickly became each other’s only friend. Unfortunately for Kasady, Frances is taken away to Ravencroft. We then jump 20+ years to the present where he asks Eddie to see him one last time before Kasady is put to death. Eddie doesn’t know why he’s picked but Kasady basically wants him to print out a message. Eddie agrees but he really has bigger issues at the moment.

While Venom & Eddie mostly know how to get along with each other now but things still aren’t going great for the main character. Eddie’s ex girlfriend has gotten engaged to the rebound guy from the first film, Venom’s been getting more impatient and nearly messing up their secret identity over and over, the cops don’t like Eddie, etc. The last thing he needs is the attention of a serial killer, but he’s in too deep to escape now. Can he survive amidst all the carnage?

So right off the bat I like the banter with Venom and Eddie a lot. A positive of being a sequel is that they are already merged from the start of the film so the movie is able to lean into that dynamic right away. It’s always fun to have Venom throwing his little remarks in throughout the conversation. He gets a lot of good burns in on the opponents and certainly isn’t shy about using his abilities. Surprisingly he even gets some scenes where he looks really intelligent like when he does Eddie’s job for him by inspecting Kasady’s room.

Venom can move quickly, use the computer well, cook, etc. Granted, he is a symbiote that has existed for thousands of years but even so it’s always impressive to see him be able to do all of this. He comes across as a very fun guy and is the standout character in the movie. He likes to think of himself as a lethal protector and it’s a very apt title. He’s certainly no hero as he doesn’t mind murdering just about anyone but he does seem to have good intentions and does obey Eddie’s no murder rules.

Venom acts like a kid half the time but he is always up for a good conversation. When the going gets tough you can definitely expect him to step up even though there is one scene where he really gets scared by Carnage immediately. That’s probably the only moment in the film where it seems like he has 0 resolve. It’s a scene mainly played for laughs but I would argue he was a bit out of character there.

As for Eddie, well he’s a lot of fun as well even if he’s not as good as Venom. Eddie’s humor really comes from him being a punching bag. In any scene he is in, Eddie looks out of his depth, incredibly nervous, unsure of what to do, etc. It’s hard to even see how this guy’s a reporter as he doesn’t seem to have any skill for it. Any detective work he does has to be pointed out by Venom first or he has to have been given the clues already. Venom seems to think he should get most of the credit for Eddie’s current position and I don’t doubt it.

This is a little hard to believe but Eddie may seem even more incompetent at just about everything than in the first film. He gets sad easily and gets wrecked in every possible fight. I do like when he tries to fight Venom mano a mano though. The whole fight is crazy because how can you beat someone who is fused to yourself and can do anything? The short answer is that you can’t but Eddie puts up a good try anyway.

So, I like Eddie because of how bad he looks. I’d say the best way to think about it is that he’s the ultimate underdog and it’s easy to root for someone like that. It’s clear that Eddie isn’t a bad person, he’s just not great at making decisions or anything like that. Both Eddie and Venom ultimately are trying to do their best here and are basically two average joes just trying to survive. (Well, Venom’s not normal but you get my drift)

The rest of the characters are mainly solid. Anne’s role as the main heroine isn’t very big but she makes the most of her moments. She comes in handy with helping Eddie at a crucial moment in the story. I’m not really sure if the whole dinner idea was a good one because it almost feels like the worst possible way to break the news of taking another step in her relationship but the intent was positive. Anne also talks very tough to the villains so she isn’t really afraid of anything. I’d definitely be up her getting a symbiote at some point so she can fight more.

Meanwhile Dan is still there as the rebound guy and he seems nice enough. He even manages to help out a bit. He doesn’t like Eddie all that much but you can’t blame him since Eddie seems really unhinged whenever the guy is around. From Dan’s point of view Eddie really does not seem like a good influence to anyone. The film doesn’t have much romance in it but I will say that at this point any chance of Anne and Eddie being together should be over. You can’t rebound twice and Dan’s a nice guy even if he’s a total pushover. Seriously you have Anne openly flirting in front of him even if it’s for a plan and the guy half heartedly protests.

I’ll give Dan props for being a good person but everyone’s always dunking on him. Anne even having a lot of fun near the end and remembering the good ole days. I just think the film would be going too far in putting him down if they were to break up so hopefully they stay together. Anne and Eddie can just be good friends who have a solid dynamic. It seems like a foreign concept in most Hollywood films but they can and absolutely should be friends without having to go past that.

Then you’ve got the cop Mulligan who can’t stand Eddie either. He seems to feel like Eddie is responsible for everything but he has no proof of anything so all he can do is antagonize Eddie as much as possible. Thing is, I feel like Mulligan could have played things so much better and then he could have been working well with Eddie. Instead he decides to become his enemy which really doesn’t work very well at all. Makes for a good obstacle I suppose, but more from Eddie’s point of view since I like how he just ticks everyone off.

Then we have the villains. First up is Frances who has the sonic powers. It’s cool to see some traditional super powers here, really makes it feel like a comic book movie. I was glad that when she meets up with Kasady she took the powers in stride. It’s always annoying to see a character suddenly turn on the hero because the powers look scary. Kasady’s no hero but from her point of view he suddenly returned to save her so I was glad that she actually seemed happy and grateful. It feels like the natural reaction here and the two trust each other a lot.

I did find it odd how she seems so ready to use her sonic powers even once she realizes that it actually hurts Kasady’s symbiote though. Maybe it’s just a habit so she doesn’t think about it much? Then you have Kasady who is about as insane as you would expect. He’s one of those guys who was seemingly always twisted. He tries to give a half hearted origin story later on but Venom isn’t really buying his excuses and I can’t say that I am either. Once you become a mass murderer that’s pretty much it.

Carnage is definitely the more interesting villain though. We don’t see quite as much of his personality in the film but whenever he shows himself you know that things are about to get wild. His sheer power is quite up there and all of his stats across the board are impressive. Carnage is also very confident and a symbiote of his word. These are all traits that make him a very solid villain.

Outside of the characters I also liked how the whole intro scene pre title card was handled. First off, the soundtrack really stands out. The logo is colorful and this all feels like something that could have been the intro to an animated film. It quickly sets up the motivation for the main villain as well as gives us some foreshadowing for what is to come. I’m not always on board with starting the film with a non action scene but this one works out well enough.

Even outside the intro scene I would say the film’s soundtrack is very good. There’s even a brief rock theme that plays while Kasady is in the car. The action scenes are also really good. I was even on board with Carnage tearing through the asylum and taking everyone down. Massacre scenes can often go with grit over style which ends up wrecking them or get drawn out too much to where it can get boring since the humans have no chance. This one handles the scenes really well. With the exception of the tongue scene which is more grotesque than stylized, I would give the scene a solid win.

Then of course you have the big Venom vs Carnage battles and those are just as good as you would expect. They really show off the power both fighters have and also how versatile their movesets are. I admit that I would like to see Venom use his tendrils more creatively in combat the way that Carnage does but even in the comics that has always been Carnage’s specialty. Perhaps if Venom finally gets to fight a non symbiote then we’ll see some more of that. Either way, the fights are considerably improved from the first film and I liked those, but these are just better.

Venom’s power is so impressive I’d even say he could beat most of the Avengers right now. If we consider the current Avengers roster to just be Spider-Man, Captain America (Wilson), Ant Man (Scott), Winter Soldier, and Hulk then Venom could actually give them a fairly good fight. Basically Venom could potentially solo but it all depends on how Spider-Man and the Hulk do. Spider-Man’s spider sense should theoretically make him very tough to beat but it depends on if he uses it well which is always tough. For the Hulk he would win if it’s close quarters combat but if Venom could stay at mid range and try stabbing then it’s tough. I feel like I have to give it to the Avengers if it’s the whole team but it’s closer than you might think.

The film’s short length also works out well enough as everything goes by quickly. I always say that a good film can always be longer and a bad film should be shorter so in this case I’d rather it was a full two hours. It’s a very entertaining film so I’d have been on board with a longer time frame. More scenes means more banter and more fun. This part of the universe is just fleshed out so well like even with the shop keeper sort of being like a pal to Eddie. I’m really glad that the end scene to the first Venom film is acknowledged here.

So there’s a lot to like here but of course the film isn’t perfect so it stands to reason that there are some negatives too right? Well, first up, we do have some animal violence. Yeah it’s basically off screen but it’s still unnecessary when we find out that Eddie has Venom eat chickens. See, Venom feeds off of a certain chemical that is only found in sentient brains and chocolate. It makes sense why he always wants to eat people but finding out that he is eating chickens in the meantime is just sad. They should have just had a scene where Venom refuses so Eddie has to buy him more chocolate. A film is always going to lose some brownie points from me for having a scene like this.

Otherwise it’s close to an 8 but I have a few more issues. In terms of plot holes/logic issues I really only have 2 that stood out to me. Everything else seemed fine including the power levels and such. The first thing that didn’t make any sense to me was actually from the opening scene. So the shady group is here to take Frances away because her powers are way too dangerous. So they take her into a car…and don’t do anything to restrain her mouth when she has sonic abilities?

This either means that this group was not told of her sonic powers from the bosses who ordered them to find her or they just thought it would work out. If it’s the first option than how did they expect the group to take Frances down? There are so many ways she could have escaped if not for a lucky gunshot. If it’s the second option than that’s just as bad. If she’s so dangerous that she has to be brought to the worst prison in the world then she’s dangerous enough to overpower a few guards. So the first scene felt like a stretch and it was only there so we could get the bullet wound scene.

The second is more of a spoiler scene so I can’t go into detail but someone gets powers at one point and it doesn’t make sense how it actually happened. The way the scene played out just doesn’t leave any room for this to be possible. I think there has to be a scene that was cut out from the film at some point but how this made it past the editing room is beyond me. This would raise way too many questions if this were possible because I would argue it could and should have happened to more people.

While the film is short and I wouldn’t say it really dragged on much, I didn’t find the solo Venom adventure to be too entertaining. If anything it’s rather grim how he seemingly murders people semi accidentally while on his adventure. Certainly losing more and more hero status right? See, the film’s at its best when Eddie and Venom are together to banter so splitting them up isn’t the right move. In real movie time I’m guessing it wasn’t a very long time but if it had been any longer it may have hurt. I don’t think that’ll happen again since they had their big fight now though so we’re good on that front.

Eddie also lost some points for me when he is constantly suggesting to Venom to eat the chickens that they adopted. Not a very nice move. In terms of violence the film is rather tame as I mentioned. Only the tongue scene is a bit grotesque and the scene with Mulligan’s eye being pushed in seems super painful but it’s a quick moment. Beyond that especially since the symbiotes can keep on regenerating, it’s super stylized as I mentioned earlier. Both characters can really take a lot of punishment and keep on ticking.

Now this is an action/comedy hybrid so both aspects have to be good and this one really was. As a final note, the humor in this film is better than in the first film. I thought that it grabbed what the first film did and then improved upon it quite a bit. The first act alone has a whole lot of humorous moments because the script is really on point. There’s one obligatory scene where Venom has to say the edgy word once because it’s expected at this point but otherwise it’s witty from start to finish.

Also, I really like how Eddie just seems crazy to people on the outside. Seemingly he has to talk out loud for Venom to hear him even though Venom can speak telepathically. So Eddie’s just bantering with him out loud but everyone can only hear his voice so everyone’s always giving him weird looks. This starts almost immediately with Venom arguing with him in the rest room and on the prison grounds and just never stops. Actually, forget that, Venom can probably hear Eddie telepathically since he finishes the guy’s sentences sometimes but probably pretends that he can’t just to make Eddie look foolish. That’s definitely the kind of trick Venom would play on him.

This might be a hot take but you could cut out all of Kasady’s scenes and the film might be even better. Now granted, I would still want the Carnage fights but if he just showed up out of nowhere at the end that’d be fine with me. The Eddie scenes are really where all the fun is at while Kasady’s just insane the whole time. It’s not that the Kasady and Frances scenes are bad or anything either, but the Eddie and Venom scenes are just that much better.

I will say this, it was smart of the film to show Kasady’s backstory in a children’s drawing kind of way because fully showing it probably would have hurt quite a bit considering what is implied with the dog at the end. If this was on screen I’d be a lot harsher since everything he does in that montage is intense but as a children’s drawing it doesn’t hit in the same way.

All right, final thoughts before closing this review out. The final scene after the credits is really solid. It opens up a lot of possibilities and you can interpret how future events will go in a lot of ways. No matter what happens, I do think we absolutely need a Venom 3 though. This series should be a trilogy at the minimum because there is so much more that can be done here. Venom has a lot of iconic villains that you can grab. I wouldn’t mind if they stick to symbiotes but you can also grab other kinds of villains as well.

Overall, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is definitely very good. It really embraces being a comic book movie from the cool 90s type logos to the solid soundtrack and how casual everything is. Venom creating a giant arm just to flick Eddie off in the middle of the street? Nobody notices or cares and that’s the kind of small detail that’s just fun. I’m not going to say the movie’s great as I still had my share of issues with it but the positives absolutely outweigh the negatives. The overall atmosphere of the film is just really good, particularly when it’s the Venom scenes. I like how several characters know about his secret identity but it all feels rather grounded. You feel like Eddie’s a big fish in a small pond and right now he can do just about anything but he always limits himself. Of course crossovers are the best and inevitably when he gets to fight some big names that’ll be fun too but in the meantime if you were to recommend a modern Superhero saga to someone who just wants an origin story with no real connections to anything then this would probably be the top film to recommend. The film also has an incredible amount of replay value. I could watch it a second time shortly and still have fun. That’s probably due in part to the short length but you also have to give the film credit for just being a lot of fun. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d definitely say you should change that.

Overall 7/10

Anastasia Review


Anastasia is a good example of a film that starts really slow but is ultimately able to recover and get its momentum up by the end to the point where you would definitely consider it to be a good title. It makes for a satisfying watch and is a good drama film. The writing is what really puts the title in the green since a film like this is dependent on good writing.

The movie starts with some exposition about how the royal family was murdered. There were no survivors but then a rumor started that the princess Anastasia actually survived. It has been several years since then so most don’t believe it. Well one day a lady by the name of Anna casually lets someone know that she is Anastasia. A man by the name of Bounine picks up on this and quickly brings her into the fold. He has been tasked with finding Anastasia and if he doesn’t produce her soon then he will definitely be in trouble. So while this Anna appears to be quite troubled and potentially insane, Bounine is willing to risk it all. Surely he has the skills needed to trick the royal family even if she is not the genuine article.

Part of the mystery in the film is deciding if Anna actually is the princess or if she really is just faking it the whole time. Additionally she is unsure herself due to having some memory issues. As the film goes on I would say she definitely is Anastasia but ultimately it will be up to you to see if that’s the case. It shouldn’t really impact what you think about the film though as either way it doesn’t really impact the journey. Whether she is the real deal or not they will still have to convince the royal family of this either way. If Anastasia is brought back in as the princess then she will be exceedingly rich and that may end up spilling over to Bounine and his allies.

The reason I say the beginning is rather slow is that I was not really all that engaged with the story as Bounine explained this to Anna. He’s a fun character and has a way with words but it still felt like a sequence that was very dragged out so the film didn’t really pick up until they make it to the first event to see how well the reception can go. At that point it is definitely full speed ahead as we get a lot of fun dynamics.

You also can appreciate how some of the members are not so easily convinced. It has been several years since the apparent death and the whole memory loss angle would appear to be very convenient. Anna only seems to know things that are public knowledge which is not very convincing when trying to convince people that you were never dead. Some buy into it right away but most do not.

The standout character here is Anastasia’s mother. Naturally she is the toughest one to convince as she has seen many fakes time and time again. I like how fierce she is in the dialogue and isn’t afraid to really take shots at the other characters. She speaks her mind with no exceptions. She has a very good character arc and always appears to be one step ahead of the others. It’s also quite telling that she is the only person Bounine doesn’t talk back to or adopt an attitude with.

As for Bounine he also gets a lot of character development throughout the film. At first it seems like he just wants the money and to dodge a possible execution/being arrested for wasting funds. Instead we see that this is more a matter of pride by the end. Bounine just likes to show off what a genius he is and the more captive an audience the better. It’s not even a terrible plan even if it does see a bit far fetched at face value. I’m not surprised that a lot of these relatives never paid much attention and so a lookalike could trick them. That said, he made a big mistake when trying to use romance as a weapon for Anastasia.

I would call this a romance film per say but the instant he tries to set her up with a prince you know exactly how this is going to play out. He starts to sulk and pout the whole time which feels really petty considering that it was all his plan. Bounine tries to pin the whole thing on Anna too which is definitely going overboard. He only has himself to blame for all of this. He plays hard to get when Anna talks to him and then gets upset when she goes to the other guys. I did like him as a character though. He’s a fun guy but I just didn’t care for that subplot with him him nearly as much during the final act. It was not his brightest moment.

As for Anna, she does a good job of trying to fulfill her role. I’m not a fan of the amnesia plot in general but Anna pulls through it well enough. So whether or not she’s a fake, you could say that she has her own character now which is important. Anna has most of the emotional moments in the film. She is definitely at her best when she is defying Bounine and generally making things very difficult for him. She plays the rebel quite well.

So with a solid pair of main characters that’s always a very good thing for the potential of the film. The side characters are reasonable as well. Bounine has two lackeys with him who are not nearly as intelligent but they have a lot of fun dialogue. As mentioned the film just has a good script in general which goes a long way to helping the cast out. The only character who is really just annoying the whole way through is the prince who likes Anna. He’s just written as too obviously antagonistic the whole time with how he gets every question wrong.

Like Anna will ask him “If I decide to decline my inheritance will you still love me?” and he just says “You definitely won’t decline” or “don’t talk crazy now” which are just awful answers. Both make him look incredibly unintelligent. Either he’s a villain who wants the money and should still tell her that he loves her and all that or he’s a hero who would say that willingly. Intentionally answering every answer in the worst possible way just didn’t seem very realistic.

The movie’s at its best with all of the mind games between the characters. I liked seeing Bounine try to get the edge in every conversation. The film has a very old way of getting the dialogue across and it works really well. Even when the characters are insulting each other it’s always done in a way that has some pretense of being polite dialogue. Except for Anastasia’s mother who is old enough not to care about such things.

Where the movie is at its weakest is with the drama and romance. The romance doesn’t really work for me, it’s all too fast. As for the drama, it can be a bit much like when Anastasia’s mother finally cries or Anna’s long speech about not trying to convince the mother anymore but seemingly still doing so anyway. A film like this wants to keep a quick pace and the crying scenes slow it down a bit. It’s nothing too serious but if you lessen the drama a bit then the film would have its ideal pacing.

Overall, Anastasia is a solid film. It may have a rocky start but just keep with it until Anna begins her performance as Anastasia and then it’s off to the races. The balance with the serious drama and comedic moments is on point. The movie ends rather quickly but in a really ideal way. I would have liked about 5 more seconds just to see the mother say that the play was over but since it was told to the viewers I suppose that counts. A film isn’t really complete until you have the ending at the ready and so that completes the picture. If you’re up for a solid drama film then this is a good one to check out.

Overall 7/10

Nightcrawler 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 be more negative

This film is a cautionary tale showing that if you give a shady person an inch they’ll take a mile. A channel producer decides to start skirting the rules and ultimately it doesn’t go over well. You definitely feel like things go very conveniently for the main character that’s for sure. The blackmail part gets annoying because you feel like Lou doesn’t really have nearly as much leverage as he claims but lets dive in here.

The movie starts with Lou sneaking into a warehouse to steal some wires. A security guard tries to stop him but forgets that if someone is trespassing then he’s probably dangerous. The realization hits the guard too late as he’s knocked out and Lou escapes. Still, Lou wants to do something more with his life than all of these little side jobs. One day he comes across an accident and sees “Nightcrawlers” filming the accident and selling it to the channels. He has finally found his calling, Lou wants to do that. Can he become the best accident film recorder there ever was?

Lou’s a very obsessive person and once he has his goal he just latches onto it. Lou always seems to be in the right place at the right time for a big scoop and that’s not luck but his own training. He learns the police codes and buys a portable scanner so he can listen in on their reports. Slowly but surely he grows into being one of the more reliable recorders around and then decides to swing his influence. He wants Nina, the current host of the evening news program and decides to blackmail her. If she doesn’t agree to be with him then he’ll sell the news somewhere else. Meanwhile his partner Rick has to decide if this job is really worth his life.

For me the Nina plot is definitely a miss because I don’t see how she was taken in so quickly. Lou claims that if he leaves then Nina will almost certainly be fired because her ratings are low. Nina shouldn’t have bit on the bait and just let him walked out. She has already been job hopping a lot so what’s one more time? Additionally, if she gives him the high ground now then there is no escaping after this part. By the end Nina seems to genuinely like him or at least the fact that he gives her good ratings which is all she cares about. I definitely found her to be a pretty bad character.

Then you have Lou who is quite deranged and basically one of the big villains here even though he is the main character. Keep in mind that the film opens with him assaulting an officer and he also threatens Rick with violence a few times. Lou is constantly threatening everyone and while he says that he has been practicing to live a more peaceful life, it’s clear that he could snap at any second. He even says that he just doesn’t like people by the end of the film which explains why he acts the way that he does.

It’s not that he’s fearless but Lou is very detached from everything which allows him to get up close with the recordings and to tamper with active crime scenes. You’re hoping that he’ll walk into the wrong crime scene at one point and that will ultimately be what puts him in a tough position. The guy certainly gets away with a whole lot. He talks a good game but that’s really all he’s got since most of the villains here do have guns.

Rick means well and he’s a nice guy but I do have to blame him for not leaving earlier. He knows exactly the kinds of things that Lou is doing by the mid point of the film. Early on you can excuse him because he doesn’t know much about Lou and he desperately needed a job. By the end of the film though? That excuse no longer applies, Rick just goes with it because the money is getting better and he’s lasted this long. Rick just stays in the game too long and when you work for a villain that’s always going to be a big risk.

Then you have the detective Frontieri. She doesn’t get a really big role or anything like that but does turn up near the end for a pair of confrontations with Lou. It’s a tough situation because it’s clear that she’s good at her job but it’s hard to find proof or clues when you’re up against someone as clever as Lou. He knows to hide his tracks rather well and you suspect Rick is here as a patsy if needed.

The film is engaging for a while as you see just how far Lou will go in order to get the scoop. The main issue here is as I mentioned before, it seems like he gets away with way too much because nobody wants to stand up to him. Both Nina and Rick could and should have handled things way differently. Lou would also not have been in a position to do nearly as well without them so suddenly you’re looking at a very different film. The accident to his rival also seemed to come out of nowhere. I thought Lou was going to sabotage him or something but in the end it seems like it really was all just coincidence. Lucky eh?

Since Lou is filming various crimes and such, we do see quite a lot of bloodied bodies and the like as the film goes on. It’s not super graphic like this was a horror film or anything but it is filmed like real events which can make this just as intense. I think the actual footage could have been left off screen or hidden a bit which would have been a good move from the film. I did like how it showed the newscasters just saying whatever the producer wanted them to say though. It shows how effectively they’re given a script and they seamlessly introduce that into their speech. That was probably even the most effective scene in the film because it was really handled well. You could totally picture this being the case in real news reports, particularly volatile ones.

Overall, Nightcrawler is an interesting film and it has the hard job of trying to use the main villain as the main character. It’s tough for that to work for an entire film, particularly if the villain has no sympathetic goal or rationale to at least make you understand why he’s doing this. Lou’s just crazy which doesn’t work so well for the lead. Additionally due to the very nature of the film, you do see some rather graphic crimes. The movie feels like a real newscast which is impressive but at the same time works to its own detriment as well. With more likable characters this film could have gone far but without anyone to really root for aside from the detective who appears once or twice, the film was ultimately doomed.

Overall 3/10

Alien vs Predator Review


This is a movie I saw many years ago and I remember always being on team Aliens. I’ve always been partial to that group. Perhaps it’s because I’m more familiar with them, that they came first, or it’s just more fun to root for the monster. That hasn’t changed over the years either and after watching the movie I can really explain more why I prefer the aliens. See, while they are sentient, they are really just beasts at the core. They run on instinct and take everyone down. The Predators are actually an advanced alien race that really do whatever they please and tend to look rather corrupt. The whole film only exists because they like to hunt prey and use humans as sacrifices. Not exactly the group you would be rooting for.

Lets take a step back though. The movie starts with Charles locating a mysterious temple. It has details from various cultures and suggests that humanity actually united to create this a while back. He is older at this point and wants one last thing to be remembered by before he dies. So Charles assembles a group of the greatest scientific experts on the planet along with the ultimate guide in Alexa. She is skeptical at first but eventually decides to get on board. Little does this group realize that they won’t be the only sentient life in this area.

One thing that really separates this one from the average Alien and Predator titles is that the movie really leans into the cool sci-fi aesthetics. The scenes showing how the Predators are watching the temple, the alien ship, etc is all so much better than you would expect. This is a Sci-Fi film where you can see how advanced the technology is as opposed to us not seeing more of it. Usually it is fine to keep the Predators more secretive but in a vs film like this, I think this is the right approach.

So the visuals are unmatched and I thought the soundtrack was decent. I won’t say great since I don’t think you’ll even remember a bunch of the tunes by the end but they work well enough during the movie. The writing is good and the fights with the Aliens vs Predators will always raise your hype before they start just trying to get extra gritty.

Where the film falters is where most of these horror films falter. It tends to get excessively violent, particularly with the chest bursters that return from the Alien films. It seems like you can’t go through any alien film without having at least one of these scenes right? If you get rid of those entirely it would be a good move and just stick to the Xenmorphs. This is still a horror film at its core even with all of the in-fighting between groups but you don’t need the bursters for the scare scenes.

As the main character Alexa does well here. She points out that this is a very bad idea but ultimately ends up helping out because if she doesn’t then people will likely die. They may die anyway but at the very least if there weren’t any aliens she would have been able to keep everyone on the straight path. These guys also aren’t exactly the best at following orders so they need a tough commander.

I’m a bit iffy on her teaming up with the Predator so quickly after learning that they used humans as cattle but with the Aliens being mindless I suppose there wasn’t any chance of making peace with them either. Ultimately Alexa kept her wits about her and was fast to react. Alexa even manages to deal some real damage by the end so kudos there.

Charles is not nearly as likable. I get wanting to make a big discovery in the end but then once we find out that he’s sick, it’s a bit much. He’s putting everyone’s lives on the line just for the discovery? The guy’s rich, he could just wait until everyone has actually checked the rooms and made sure it’s safe before walking in. I’d say that would have been a whole lot better.

Maxwell’s his main right hand man and the guy can fight but I didn’t get why he was so antagonistic the whole time. It feels like that kind of comes out of nowhere and of course that never ends well for the humans in these things. It was good to have a gun at the ready though. We’ve got other characters here as well like the lady with a gun, the guy who just wants to go back home to his kids, etc. You’re mainly just wondering if any of these guys will survive aside from the main character or if it’s game over.

As for the battles, like I said I was rooting for the Aliens here. Effectively they are the underdogs as the Predators always plant them in positions where they should lose. When the Predators are on the losing side they just nuke the planet. Seems like they’re sore losers on that front eh? Fortunately for the Aliens they still have the advantage of berserker strength and their continued evolution. The Alien Queen looks really impressive in this movie to be sure.

Before the final battle we get a few skirmishes between the Aliens and Predators with each side taking some wins. Both sides also have a main fighter you could say. One alien in particular handles himself well as he gets up after being slashed and one of the predators takes a few of the aliens out as well. It helps build you up to the climax.

Then of course we do have a twist ending because those are absolutely necessary. Not just in horror but for any film, it’s just that horror tends to do them with the greatest effectiveness. Lets just say that it’s a really effective way to end the film as you understand the implications of this very well. Albeit it, you feel like it could potentially be a plot hole because the scanners should have sensed something. They would have to right? These scanners were shown to be extremely advanced throughout the movie and did notice an alien when it was inside of someone earlier. It should be the same concept but….maybe they got overconfident. I’ll chalk this up as a plot hole but a fairly small one at least.

Overall, Alien vs Predator definitely delivers on the kind of action that you would expect to see from two savage races fighting each other off. I’m also always a big fan of seeing crossovers come out. At the end of the day that makes for a lot of good fun when you get to the inevitable conclusion. It would be nice if it didn’t have to be so graphic though and of course the humans are stuck in the middle as well. If you can get past the violence then there’s definitely a solid film in here but it loses enough points where it ultimately isn’t able to sustain itself in the green. The best complement for the film though is that they really do nail the special effects. It’s the best that the franchise has ever looked.

Overall 3/10

Cris Tales Review


Cris Tales is an RPG I wasn’t super familiar with but happened to see the cover while I was at Gamestop. It looked cool and that was when I knew that I definitely needed to check this one out. It involves time travel which is always a win so I would definitely recommend this title. It’s a great game that has a pretty interesting plot and full voice acting which is always important.

The game starts by introducing us to Crisbell. She is a time mage who isn’t very powerful yet but serves the Mother Superior (Effectively the head priest of the church) and performs normal errands. One day a bunch of enemies storm the village and Cris only barely makes it out alive thanks to the help of a guy named Christopher. He’s a hero in training who wants to defeat the powerful spellcasters who are threatening the world. Another time mage named Willhelm shows up as well as a talking frog. Can these unsuspecting heroes actually band together to save the world or are they doomed?

The gameplay is a turn based combat style but with speed playing a big role similar to titles like Megaman X Command Mission. When it’s your turn you can attack or do another action and there are also techniques that will allow you to take extra turns. These are definitely very handy so I recommend using them whenever possible. This is probably the first game where I had a dedicated character just for status effects since usually I just power through everything. In this case powering through everything is rarely a viable strategy and will likely just end with you getting stomped.

There’s a good amount of depth to the gameplay too so get ready for a lot of strategy. Your equipment is definitely a big deal here and you can go for pure attack, defense, special abilities, or something else. Preventing the burn status is what I would lean towards since that effect deals a ton of damage in this game. It seems like it always deals a percentage of your health as opposed to a static number which is what really makes this one so dangerous. So if you get burned that’s pretty much it since you don’t want to waste a turn to heal yourself.

One of the main gimmicks in the game is time travel but surprisingly you will want to rarely use that ability. More often than not it won’t actually help you in a fight and just serves to waste a turn. For Cris just focus on healing your teammates or speeding them up. That should really be the only two things you’re using those turns for and that will go a long way towards helping you win levels. As soon as Zas joins the group then this is the perfect combo. Speed her up and Zas can crush almost any opponent with ease. Her normal attacks do massive amounts of damage and since this isn’t magic, nobody (aside from 1 boss) can block it.

For most of the game I ran a 3 man team of Cris, Christopher, and Willhelm. Once Zas came in though then my end game team was Cris, Zas, and Jkr721. You can really pick any variation of the group for your team though as they all have their own strengths. I’m absolutely a power type fighter though so I like going for the combos and just putting an end to these opponents as soon as possible. What better way than to overload them with full frontal attacks right?

The graphics are pretty solid. The art style’s fairly unique, it goes for a hand drawn look but also with an older fairy tail kind of vibe to it. There are even fully animated cutscenes at different points which is a lot of fun. It really makes this feel like more of a cinematic journey or a movie of sorts. With the voice acting throughout that just seals the deal. The length is also fairly good so this is an RPG that will last you around 20 hours or so as expected. The difficulty is manageable but you will probably need to train at a few different spots or you may find yourself falling to the bosses.

Where the game really shines is with the story. It involves time travel which is an automatic win but even beyond that I would say there is just a whole lot of depth to it. There are twists galore and you learn a whole lot about each character. The final act effectively introduces a whole villain group as well. I say “introduce” rather loosely but can’t go into much more detail than that. Needless to say, the game will keep you on the edge of your seat. It had a relatively slow beginning so I was glad to see it turn up. By the end it’s almost like a whole different game.

Cris also gets a lot of development. At the start of the game she isn’t very self confident and doesn’t know a lot about the world. By the end she is a very capable leader who makes the most of her team. The game also has two endings so you get to choose what you want to do at the end. It’s at the very end so not much about the game changes but I’m always up for giving you a choice like that. The ending is fairly resolute but I would be down with a sequel. Once time travel is involved you never really have to say goodbye to the idea of more games in the series.

Overall, Cris Tales is definitely a great game. One thing that’s always been a big positive for RPG titles is that you get to really enjoy the journey with the characters since you are with them for so long. This one is no exception and you’ll know the characters like the back of your hand by the end. For replay value you can also try to get all of the trophies as well. It seems like a very achievable Platinum as well so that’s something to think about. Whether you’re here for the story or for the gameplay you should have a good amount of fun.

Overall 8/10