NHL 15 Review


It’s time to jump back into the world of Hockey! It’s been a long time since I’ve played a hockey game so I must warn you that I was pretty rusty. It’s definitely not my favorite sport to play, but at the same time it can be fast paced so it’s not the worst either. It’s just got a high learning curve like the FIFA titles. Fortunately this one does give you a lot of different gameplay options at the ready which I thought was pretty nice. You can play through Arcade mode or simulation style. I tried both options to make sure I was ready for the review.

So there are the usual modes here. You can play quick games, jump into a franchise, or you can have fun coaching and practicing. I jumped right into the thick of the action of course. The gameplay is pretty straight forward as it’s a 3D title and the goal is to hit the ball/puck into the opponent’s goal. Once you’ve done that then you’ll have scored a point. Whoever scores the most wins. You can switch between players and shoot, pass, and a lot of other moves. One thing I like about this game is how it embraces the combat aspect of the game. You can body slam opponents and even accept fight requests.

If you accept a fight then the two characters will line up in a boxing battle. The controls even change to that of a boxing game’s which is a pretty neat touch. I definitely enjoyed those brawls even if I was basically just button mashing at that point. I won almost all of my fights which was pretty nice. As for the overall games, I won the match on rookie level, but lost on all other difficulties. It’s similar to Soccer in how it’s almost impossible to score. Even on the easiest difficulty I was having trouble doing anything. The CPU would just run in and steal the puck from me whenever I was getting close which was pretty sad.

I feel like there are more breaks in the flow of the game than usual here though. Whenever you do something it seems like a flag comes out or the puck is stopped for icing. As a result the games can be a little on the long side. The computers never seem to make these mistakes though so it’s just something that you’ll have to get around. I suspect that it would take you a very long time to get all of the mechanics down. It helps a lot if you already watch Hockey and know the rules. If you do not, then this will be quite the experience indeed.

There are naturally a lot of PS4 trophies to grab which helps with the replay value. Prepare to sink quite a lot of time into the game if you are seriously gunning for the Platinum though. If there are any online trophies then your chances are probably 0 before you even start anyway. Then you’ve got local multiplayer so as with most sport games it basically has unlimited replay value as long as you know someone who also enjoys NHL. This may be a bit of a long shot though as I don’t imagine that there are a whole lot of people who would want to play NHL 15 when you can play one of the newer ones.

Naturally the game’s presentation is quite impressive and fires on all cylinders. You actually have live action commentators giving feedback as the match starts and then we get a nice introduction to both teams. The graphics are definitely on point and the music is pretty fitting. None of this is surprising in the slightest as EA sport games always look really great, but it’s nice to see regardless. This is the level of design that all games should strive for, especially in this day and age.

After having played more sport games I can confirm that so far the standings are Football>Tennis>Basketball>>>>Soccer>NHL>>>>MLB>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PGA. I really enjoy playing the first 3 sports, but the other ones definitely take quite the tumble. Still, with the exception of PGA, it’s not like I would call any of them bad games. Even this one will still get a positive score. It may not be a title that I see myself ever getting back into, but there was definitely a lot of effort put into this game. The developers clearly cared and just seeing that boxing minigame was enough to get me sold. There aren’t any glitches and the gameplay does seem to make sense, I just need to learn how to master it.

Overall, NHL is not quite as fun as FIFA I’d say. It makes sense since I prefer Soccer to Hockey in general. Both games have a lot of similarities though so it’ll definitely come down to personal preference. What gives Soccer the edge though is that it’s easier to defend so at least the team won’t blow you out. In this game prepare for them to run up the score because they aren’t held back by the goalie. They’ll score whenever they feel like it and it’s very hard to stop them. The gameplay wasn’t quite as intuitive to me as the other games so moving around was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be. Fans of the NHL games will definitely like this one, but newcomers beware as the game is just very complicated and hard to master.

Overall 6/10

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All Dogs Go to Heaven Review


I definitely know this film pretty well from the title, but certainly not the movie. Now I could finally really experience this classic. It’s definitely a pretty fun film although without the ability to come back from Heaven it would be a pretty grim tale for these dogs. Who knew that even dogs have to deal with gang violence and all of these villains trying to mess with the system. This is definitely a quality film that I’d recommend.

The movie starts with Charlie and Itchy escaping from the Pound. This place means business as there are armed guards and a bunch of sirens. The heroes manage to just barely evade this rain of bullets, but their survival is very short lived as Carface shows up and murders Charlie. Charlie never did trust this guy. Well, now that Charlie is in heaven it would seem like his dreams of money are over, but he’s actually got one more chance. See, you can sneak out of Heaven and that’s exactly what Charlie does. He’s now safe from dying as long as he holds onto his watch. He then meets a little girl named Anne-Marie who has the ability to speak to animals. Charlie senses that some money can be made this way so he tricks her into a team up. She’ll get him rich and in exchange Charlie vows to find her parents. The scheme is working well, but can he keep it up or will she eventually see through him?

From that plot you can basically imagine how the rest of the film will go down. Eventually Charlie’s conscience starts to catch up with him and he also realizes that he thinks of Anne as a friend. By then it’s a little hard for him to make a comeback but it’s never too late to help a friend right? The film definitely has its share of emotional moments contained within. It goes for a balance of humor and emotion which I think works out pretty well. This is due in no small part to the fact that the writing is on point here. The character cast is strong and the plot is pretty nice.

As I mentioned earlier, the movie can also get surprisingly intense which is also handled well. One such scene is when the villains do a drive by and start shooting Charlie. If not for his lucky watch that would have been game over. These villains are clearly not messing around and that is actually pretty rare in these films. Usually they are content to just make threats from the sidelines and hide a lot. That’s definitely not how Carface and his team operate. It’s definitely one of those cases where the minions really only serve him out of fear though. Carface makes it obvious that he’ll take them all down when the time is right. He comes very close to sacrificing his general after all.

Charlie’s a solid lead even if he is pretty antagonistic for a while. I also think that he didn’t plan things too well as it should be obvious that Carface would come after him again once Charlie had amassed a lot of money. Why wouldn’t he make a second attempt at the lead’s life? Meanwhile, Itchy is a good second in command. He’s a loyal partner to the end. You can understand his frustration near the climax as well since it looks like he was beaten up quite a lot while Charlie was having fun singing songs. I feel like Charlie may have even forgotten about him completely a some points.

Anne is a nice enough kid even if she is a little on the gullible side. I’m still not a big fan of kids taking center stage in these things, but she could have been a lot worse. I’d prefer it if she didn’t take the whole thing so personally, but again, that is asking an awful lot out of the kid. At least she is trying to make Charlie a better person so that’s always good. Then you’ve got King Gator who is definitely a powerful ally to have. He doesn’t get a lot of scenes, but the ones that he does get are pretty critical. He’s not really my kind of character either, but he gets the job done.

I enjoyed the animation here. It’s definitely pretty sharp and the character designs are on point. It works well for the action scenes and the quick speed of the animations helps it keep up with the pace of the film. We also get some songs here. They aren’t quite on the level of Disney, but they’re catchy. Charlie probably got one of the better songs when he was getting the kids to share their pizza. I don’t blame the pups for being skeptical though, how do you share a single slice of pizza? That’s not going to be enough to fill anyone up.

Overall, All Dogs Go To Heaven is a pretty fun film and I’d definitely recommend it. This feels like a complete movie as it really has everything you’d need in a feature like this. It’s got danger, comedy, and suspense. The writing is good and there are no sections of the film that really drag on. It can be annoying to see Anne falling for all the tricks since you know she’s going to take it hard later on, but even if you know the story beats that are coming up the film doesn’t overplay them. There’s just nothing to really dislike about this movie and the replay value is pretty good. It’s the kind of film you could see a second time and still have a similar experience. I wonder if the sequels will end up being as good.

Overall 7/10

White Lightning Review


It’s time to look at one of those old films where you wonder who to root for because everyone is pretty corrupt. As you can expect this one wasn’t exactly a winner for me. It’s not an abysmal film or anything like that, but at the same time there isn’t much to it. It’s a pretty simple plot, but no part of it is really well executed. As a result you’ll find yourself feeling like something is missing.

The film starts off with two teens being murdered by the sheriff and some loyal minions. We then cut away to the main character, Gator. He’s currently doing hard time for distributing illegal drinks. Gator then learns that his brother is one of the teens who was murdered so he makes a deal with the cops. He gets to leave jail early but in exchange he’ll find some evidence on the corrupt sheriff so the cops can take him away. The cops like this deal and set him loose. While this mission should be easy, Gator starts to sympathize with the crooks and now he isn’t sure if he should put them away. Still, he’ll take down the Sheriff!

Gator is a really bad main character. Now, you can certainly understand why he wants to get revenge on the sheriff. That’s pretty reasonable, but Gator decides to go about doing this in the worst ways possible. For starters when he gets into town one of the first things he does is to confront the sheriff passive aggressively. By this, I mean that he drives up to the guy and just stares at him. Part of the point of this ordeal is to make his co-driver sweat it out since Gator is basically blackmailing him at this point and the sheriff could shoot them all on sight. What did this act accomplish though? All it did was put Gator on the guy’s and if not for his plot shield that would be it for Gator.

Gator does a lot of nonsensical things like this throughout the film. Then when you thought things couldn’t get worse he decides to cheat on one of the crooks with the guy’s girl. Again….why would he do that? Clearly Gator doesn’t respect the other guy at all. It’s an excuse for some quick romance which ultimately doesn’t add anything to the movie. Beyond Gator, the rest of the characters are all crooks so there are no other heroes. Even the cops who show up from time to time to blow Gator’s cover seem like bad apples. They come in with an attitude and then storm off when Gator talks to them. Nobody’s reasonable here.

Of course Connors (The sheriff) is your average bad guy so he just likes walking around and terrorizing everyone. Some senior citizens try to play dumb when he shows up and he doesn’t spare any mercy for them either. You’re either with Connors or you’re against him. It’s definitely interesting how the cops can’t do anything about him though. The guy doesn’t seem like he covers his tracks all that well and the whole town is pretty up front with their illegal activities. I think if the cops had tried a little harder they should have been able to crack this case without Gator.

There aren’t any nice visuals to distract you with either as the film takes place in an old town. Everything’s pretty grungy so you certainly won’t be seeing any technology running around. The film’s supposed to keep you engaged with Gator’s quest for evidence, but this doesn’t work either since the main character doesn’t want to find any evidence. He just wants to take Connors down for the count and I doubt that arresting him was ever really part of the goal. He’s just lucky that everyone kept on sparing him the whole time instead of shooting on sight. His final plan takes forever and a day to finally get started.

The final car chase is good at least though. We get to see the characters put the pedal to the mettle as they chase each other around for a while. You can probably guess how the chase will end, but it’s still an action scene at last. Before that we do get a full action scenes and even a fight, but this was the car chase that we needed. It’s not enough to save the film of course, but at least this way we don’t have to end on a sour note.

It’s a shame that the cops ignored the town because it seems like it was definitely pretty rough for everyone in it. They probably should have moved away, but of course that is never possible for everyone. At first you think that Connors and his gang are at least nice rulers to those who follow the rules, but based on how they act later on it seems like they also just like to terrorize people for kicks. They get away with a whole lot and even by the end of the film you wonder how much has really changed. Even without the head honcho we know that a bunch of other people were also corrupt so hopefully those guys were taken down too.

Overall, White Lightning is definitely a film where I’d recommend skipping it. The character cast is weak and the film does tend to drag on a bit. Not having a good main character definitely hurt this movie right from the start and it only gets weaker from there. Even the teens who died at the beginning don’t sound like they were all that smart. When you live in a town controlled by the villains it probably isn’t the best time to exercise your right to free speech. If you want to watch a grim tale of tragedy and revenge then this is the one for you. If you want a movie with a better main character then check out the original Mission Impossible instead.

Overall 3/10

The Absent Minded Professor Review


It’s time to look at one of those films where you’ve probably heard of the title even if you don’t really know the synopsis all that well. It’s definitely a movie that has aged pretty well and while it is a bit on the longer side the movie does get to tackle a bunch of genres. I was particularly surprised at the basketball game which was pretty well timed since I had just finished a basketball short about Goofy.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Brainard. He’s a very talented scientist, but he’s also very absent minded to the point where he forgets about anything that isn’t work. He’s already skipped out on his wedding to Betsy twice and now has the choice of going for the third wedding or doing one last experiment. Naturally he chooses the latter option and Betsy decides that she’s had enough. She hangs out with Brainard’s rival to mess with him and is sure that she’ll never get back together with Brainard. The scientist isn’t so sure though and decides to win her over with his new invention…flubber. It’s a substance that keeps on bouncing forever. As a result it even defies gravity.

Right away you can see that Brainard is not one of the better characters. He made his priorities clear from the start. You can only pretend to be so absent minded before it is no longer believable. If he was serious about Betsy then he would have skipped the experiment altogether or he would have left right away when the maid let him know that it was time to go. Since he did not, that should have been game over. As a result this is definitely not a romance that I can get behind. The whole thing just isn’t fair to Betsy. Moreover, Brainard nearly got her fired by bursting into her place of work and distracting her when the boss was giving an important speech.

Brainard can be an entertaining lead when you take away this main plot, but it is hard to do so. His absent minded nature puts him in a tough spot when he ends up butting heads with one of the alumni. (Alonzo) This nearly costs the school a lot of money although in Brainard’s defense I actually think he handled the whole thing pretty well here. The school definitely shouldn’t be bowing to this guy’s threats even if he does provide most of the funding for the school. If you let go of your principles then there’s just nothing left.

Alonzo definitely does make for a great villain though. He does whatever it takes to roll right on his enemies and trample all of their goals. It does take a pretty strong resolve to just jump in like that. He even goes as far as to steal the lead’s car even if it wasn’t his idea. The only time he doesn’t look so good is when he gets tricked near the end. That part was a bit of a stretch since he is usually so cunning. Ah well, you can’t win em all I suppose.

I can’t say that I was a big fan of Betsy though. I do agree with her giving Brainard the cold shoulder and finally declaring it to be over with him, but then hanging around the rival just to spite the lead was a bit much. That could just be a bit petty since it’s obvious she was never interested in him. Betsy should have just gone the solo path and punished anyone who tried to get near her. I think that would have been a very effective and valid way to act without going over the top. Meanwhile we also had Brainard’s dog who was definitely a lot of fun. It’s always nice to have an animal who is just here to help.

One of the best parts of the film is definitely the basketball game that takes place. Since Flubber can make you jump high it stands to reason that this would be incredibly handy in this sport. The home team is apparently pretty terrible to the point where even if their star player hadn’t been flunked you can’t help but feel like they would have lost. The game starts off extremely bad for them and by the end a complete 180 has occurred. It’s definitely pretty fun and I just hadn’t been expecting this to happen so it was a pleasant surprise. Another good parody scene is when the government sees the flying car and they assume it’s either aliens or a foreign government coming in so they scramble all of the fighters.

The humor in the film is just very solid overall. The writing is definitely on point as well. The film is super long so there definitely are some points where it drags on a bit, but for the most part it’s a solid all around experience. There’s a lot that happens in the movie and this gives it time to even introduce running gags. One of these is a cop who is just trying to drink his coffee when people end up running into him. Naturally this doesn’t put him in the best of moods and that makes him a good ally for Brainard to have. Brainard can be quite cunning when necessary and trolls the enemies quite a bit with his car. He also took down a pair of gang members so that was impressive too.

Overall, The Absent-Minded Professor isn’t quite what I expected. I definitely mean that in a good way. This movie had humor, drama, action, tension, adventure, pretty much everything you could want in a film. There’s just a whole lot of events to digest here and flubber also made for a pretty fun invention. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. I think you’ll like it more than you expect and there’s nothing really wrong for this film. At the most you may just think it should have trimmed some scenes, but it’s still not nearly as drawn out as it could have been thanks to the solid writing.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron Review


The Star Wars marathon continues as I play through the final PSP experience. The Battlefront series has definitely been pretty fun. While I still do miss the overall gameplay of the first title, the rest have definitely been solid. Ironically I think this one’s gameplay is definitely weaker than Renegade Squadron, but it makes up for this with a more expansive story. The Battlefront games have all been pretty close when it counts.

The game’s story covers the trilogy as well as some events after it. The main character is X2 and he is a clone bred for combat. Along with X1, he was one of the Empire’s finest soldiers. He ends up joining the rebellion though once Palpatine emerges and he finds out that he was on the wrong side. X1 remains evil though and will do everything he can to help the Empire win the war. It may not be Darth Vader and Palpatine that the rebels need to worry about after all.

It’s always fun to see how the games incorporate all of these new characters and events into the classic films. They fit them in pretty seamlessly to be honest. There are also a lot of fun nods to the last games as in 2 missions you get to support Renegade Squadron in their battles. It helps tie everything together into a larger continuity so that’s definitely pretty cool. Sadly you don’t get to fight with Vader this time, but you do take on some Jedi which is definitely a lot of fun.

It is easy to see how the Jedi ended up losing the war though. There is one cutscene where a Jedi shows up and manages to beat X1. However, he says that he won’t murder anyone. After saying this, the Jedi turns his back to X1 and is promptly stabbed. Did he really think that one line would cause X1 to turn good? Later in the story X2 is presented with a similar choice and while he also makes the hero call of not murdering X1, he at least doesn’t give the villain his back. Both X1 and X2 are definitely real fun characters though. They remind me of Starkiller to an extent. They also get hype as the villain takes down Luke Skywalker and the hero is ultimately able to trade blows with just about anyone in the game.

As for the core gameplay, it’s a classic 3D blaster style. You do get a lightsaber during the final few levels though so at that point it feels more like a beat em up. The controls are a little rougher than the last few titles mainly thanks to the camera work. It can be very hard to turn around as the camera shakes quite a bit so get ready for the villains to get a bunch of cheap shots in. Perhaps the developers realized this though as there are constant checkpoints throughout the game. Whenever you die you can find solace in the fact that you won’t have gone far. You’ll rarely have to replay more than 5 minutes of content to get back to where you are at.

You can heal your health by throwing a health packet or standing near a health point. Likewise there are various ammo points. Due to all of these methods of strengthening your character you are rarely in serious danger. So long as you play patiently you will definitely be fine. The aerial levels are back as well and these are definitely improved from the last one. You can move really quickly and the lock-on system is on point. You always feel like you are in control here and I actually looked forward to these levels. Typically they would be mixed in with the ground levels for a pretty good balance.

As for the length of the game, while it isn’t 3 hours like the last one, it is still pretty short. I don’t imagine it would take you much longer than 5 hours and honestly it would probably be more like 4. It’s definitely a short campaign, but of course there are other modes to keep you engaged like jumping into normal levels to have fun in. There’s no real post game though as the various unlockables don’t feel all that special. I got it for a cheap price and the value is pretty decent. I don’t think you’d regret the buy as even though it is short the gameplay is fun enough to keep you on board.

Going back to the length, this is also the kind of game where you can leisurely beat the level as you explore or you can blast through them. As the game uses a checkpoint system it’s very easy to cheese the game by running full speed to each objective. Even if you die after making it the checkpoint counts as a save point so each time you’ll be closer. As a result it’s not a bad idea to just run in each time. It’s not exactly how the developers probably imagined you’ll play though. Also, it’s not like you’re always saving a ton of time by doing this, but realistically there is no reason to actually fight all of the enemies unless you really want to. After all, there’s no EXP system here and I only tend to stick around and fight everyone when I can get level ups out of it.

The graphics are definitely solid and we do get more cinematics than last time. The Jedi vs X1 battle was really solid and we get other good action scenes as well. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see such cutscenes in the games and it does make the game feel a little more special. The soundtrack is about the same as always. I know the tunes are still good no matter how many times you hear them but I want to see the Star Wars games show a little more creativity with the upcoming games. There are a lot of new tunes they can come up with I’m sure.

Overall, Elite Squadron is a very fun game. It is definitely a step up over Rebel Squadron even if the gameplay is a little weaker. It’s very relative since all of the Battlefront games are very solid in that respect. The rest of the game aspects improve upon the original so you can’t count that as anything but a win. The next Star Wars game I’m playing is for the GBA so that’ll definitely be fun. It’ll be a fresh gameplay experience so it’ll be nice to see what the other companies could come up with. y Star Wars marathon is coming to a close, but it’s definitely been a fun ride. If you don’t have Elite Squadron yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 7/10

Varan The Unbelievable Review


It’s time to look at an old classic in Varan The Unbelievable. Varan is a film that you’ve likely heard of if you’re a big Godzilla fan. On the other hand, if you’re not really into the Godzilla mythos then the odds of you knowing about this film are slim to none. It’s a very classic Kaiju film that plays it by the numbers. At its core the main point of the film is seeing Varan take on the humans, but I’d say that it’s a bit weaker than the average Kaiju film. The humans just aren’t that good.

The plot of the film revolves around a guy named Jim who heads to Japan to run some experiments. His tests involve potentially eroding the water supply of a nearby village so he tells them all they have to leave. Naturally the villagers don’t want to just pack up and go just like that so the army has to get involved. They send tanks and a lot of man power for this mission which increases tensions. Jim’s wife warns him that this is a bad idea, but he won’t listen to anyone. By this point his ideas are simply too important to him and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t understand his passion. There’s nothing that can stop him…nothing but Varan!

Varan is definitely a fun Kaiju. For some reason I always thought he looked a lot more like Titanosaurus, but his actual design is still pretty solid. Once he appears the film certainly becomes a lot more fun. He really takes it to the army and shows that he isn’t to be trifled with. Varan also lasts a very long time ad he doesn’t go down until the final minutes of the film. Even then it’s hard to say if they really destroyed him since that’s partially up to interpretation. He did lose though, which does mean he is one of the weaker Kaiju out there. Sure, the humans came up with their own special formula as per usual, but losing to the army is not something you want to do. Humans are pretty creative when they’re in a pack though so it’s no shame to lose to them.

What holds the film back is Jim. It’s impossible to root for him because his experiments were never justified. Why does he have to do them in this lake where a village is depending on the water source? Apparently there were other locations that he could have chosen so by the end it feels more like pride is the only thing keeping him there. He could have easily just picked a different spot when the inhabitants clearly told him to go away.

As the villagers escalate their attacks on Jim and Anna you’d think that Jim would finally consider leaving. Even Anna mentions that she is now scared of what may happen and the police chief hints that Jim should leave as well. Jim does nothing of the sort though so it becomes clear where his priorities are. Even though he manages to have a change of mind by the very end of the film it feels like it is too little too late. By then his character is already down for the count in my book.

The writing is pretty reasonable here. It’s not the best dialogue, but it’ll do. The film’s pretty quick and the pacing manages to keep up so the scenes don’t drag. I wouldn’t call the first 20-30 minutes without Varan boring, but I definitely would freely admit that they could have used a better cast. The action scenes are fun though. It’s pretty dusty in the climax so it can be hard to see, but it’s not like you need HD graphics to see that the government is firing a lot of shots at Varan. He shakes them off for a while, but every creature has its limit.

Overall, Varan The Unbelievable is a classic Kaiju film, but it doesn’t have the same level of charm as the others. It is interesting how different the plot seems to be between the sub and dub versions of the movie though. The character names are super different and the Wikipedia summary for the Japanese version seems like it might as well be a completely different film. I’d recommend checking out the English version if you want to see the impact that Jim has on the story. It may not be a positive one, but it’s an impact nonetheless. I’d recommend checking it out even if it wouldn’t be at the top of my list.

Overall 6/10

Double Dribble Review


It’s time to look at a Goofy short. I haven’t seen a whole lot of these over the years as typically the specials are about Mickey or Donald. I admit that I assume Goofy’s specials would be the weakest since he definitely isn’t one of my favorite characters, but he’s actually not that bad here. In fact, the special is surprisingly real good and one of my favorites from these retro shorts that I’ve seen.

The plot of the special is all about a big basketball game that is about to start. The home team is heavily favored to win to the point where there is only one guy in the stands for the away team while the other one is packed. Both teams don’t have any real energy though but someone’s got to win. Additionally the blue (away) team has one player who may not be as tall as the rest but he’s got heart.

One interesting thing to note is how the blue team is actually about on par with the red one. I guess their fans didn’t want to pay the ticket prices of going to the away game, but it’s actually not because the team is bad as you may have expected. The game is within 1 point at the final seconds and that’s considering that the team was fielding a bunch of backups by this time. Both teams have basically identical players so this makes sense as well.

Even though the players start out with no motivation they gradually start to get into the game as the special goes on. This leads to a lot of fun tricks like guys appearing out of nowhere and even some crazy bodyslams. I guess even these players can feel that competitive spirit. The guys making the calls in the booth also did a tremendous job of keeping up with the plays on the field since it was all so fast. These guys definitely knew their stuff with the sport.

The animators also probably had a lot of fun here. The characters start out by using realistic basketball moves but by the end they’re using super speed, stretching abilities and all kinds of other techniques. As always Disney presents you with very smooth animations here so it all flows together really well. The fast paced nature of the animation fits perfectly.

Overall, Double Dribble is definitely a great special that I would recommend. It’s a lot of fun and doesn’t drag on. I also tend to enjoy specials that revolve around sports and what better one to show than a quick paced basketball game? If you haven’t seen this one yet then you should change that ASAP. It’s very short too so it’s not like it’ll take you all that much time to give it a whirl.

Overall 8/10

Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review


It’s been a little while so I think everyone’s had a chance to see Endgame by now. In case you haven’t, well this review is all about the spoilers. I’ve put it in the title and I’m buying time in this intro paragraph so you’ve been duly warned. There was a lot to talk about in this movie. I won’t talk much about what I already mentioned in the other review except for things I couldn’t expand on. Likewise I’ll be skipping the movie summary. In effect this is more of a look-back than a review, but it’s close enough.

The movie definitely did deliver on being a climactic experience to the films building up to this one. It was a nice trip down memory lane when the heroes time traveled to the previous films. I thought it was all handled really well there and I was also glad that the original Captain America was able to beat up the newer more jaded version. The original was always fighting and honing his skills while the newer version didn’t have time for that. Loki escaping during this sequence is also interesting. In a way that doesn’t mean he should appear in the main timeline but with how the film handled Cap then maybe he could.

The basic time travel theory used in the film is like DBZ’s. When you go back in time and make a change it doesn’t affect your timeline, but creates a new one. So that’s why the heroes had to bring the stones to the present and then bring them right back to the old places. It’s a pretty good plan and I also like the time travel theory. If time travel were to ever exist this is how I picture it would work. The main problem is with Captain America. At the end of the film he heads off to the past and then returns to the present as an old man. Based on the rules of time travel established in the film that should not have happened. I’ve heard a lot of theories about it and all, but to me they don’t make sense. He should have returned in a completely different timeline.

The climax is definitely excellent as we get to see all of the heroes duke it out. Of course you do have to hold a little disbelief that none of the heroes dies during this big war battle though. At the very least you’d expect a bunch of the B and C tier heroes to die off. It’s more about spectacle than accuracy though which is fine. Scarlet Witch definitely got her due respect here as she was pretty easily overpowering Thanos. With her abilities having matured this much the writers will have to be careful with how they handle her going forward. Likewise, Captain Marvel was also dominating Thanos when she showed up although her role is very small in the film. He also did get a good hit so it’s not as if she is invincible, but I do think it’s fair to say that she is easily the strongest Avenger.

Captain America gets his big moment in the climax with the hammer which was mixed. On one hand it is certainly a really cool visual and it’s a nice pay off for long time Cap fans. On the other hand he looked way too good with it. Not only did he master the abilities, but he was doing a better job against Thanos than Thor was. It was a little cheesy if I’m being honest. Still, the climax is all about seeing everyone’s favorite heroes get their shot at Thanos and the other enemies so I guess it makes sense. Either way it isn’t a climax that you would soon forget and I think that’s definitely important.

We gotta cut away to some of the negatives now though. For starters, the entire Thor plot. Making him incredibly overweight as an easy comedy joke was not a good move. You should never sacrifice character development for humor. Thor has been through a whole lot and always comes out of the ordeal stronger. I don’t see him giving up like this and completely abandoning everyone. Then he’s stuck like that for the whole film which is annoying, especially since it wrecks all of his scenes against Thanos. You just can’t take him seriously anymore.

The first few minutes of Endgame are definitely the best in the sense that all of the potential was still there. Everyone was in their proper designs and we were gonna get the big rematch with Thanos. It was nice to see a peaceful Thanos who was finally the victor. If anything you feel bad for him when the Avengers break into his house and murder him. I think I’m one of the only people who really didn’t approve of this. Thor murdering him was a bad scene for me. Thanos was already defenseless and couldn’t hurt anyone. I can see the heroes taking the kill if it was still in the moment and he had just snapped everyone then it would at least make sense. Like this it’s just an empty scene showing how far gone the Avengers are at this point.

Most of them are just focused on revenge at this point like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, and Captain America. It’s hard to even call them heroes for the opening scene. I’d say that Captain Marvel is at least approaching this from a more emotionless perspective. She’s definitely one of the highlights here though. Meanwhile, Hawkeye is another character who was wrecked. He really went off the deep end here and super suddenly too. Shouldn’t he have at least gone to the Avengers to try and think of ideas? Again, without Ant Man the heroes gave up awfully fast. We know who the real Avenger here is.

Meanwhile, Hulk was definitely a lot of fun. While he doesn’t get any fights and will always be remembered as the guy who got schooled by Thanos, I do like that he has embraced this and doesn’t fight anymore. Now he’s around for the solid humor scenes and giving people lunch. It’s actually handled pretty well and the facial expressions just make him a pretty fun character. I actually wouldn’t mind if he sticks like this.

Iron Man’s ending is handled pretty well too. His character is a bit up and down here as he definitely sulks a lot in the first half, but once the team goes on the mission he’s back to being the charismatic character that he usually is. He does pretty well in the action scenes as well. I do think he had more drive and determination in Infinity War, but the stakes were a lot higher there of course.

Meanwhile Thanos is still a great, but tragic character. From his point of view it’s almost like the Avengers are cheating. He won 5 years ago and now they’re messing with time to stop him. He does a good job of bringing in the whole army to put a stop to this even if the heroes still ended up overwhelming him. Naturally I won’t go as far as to say that I was rooting for him, but he was definitely a great villain and did a great job of taking on whole groups of heroes. It’s really impressive just how much he was able to accomplish on his own.

The film has a lot of “cheer” moments, but there was one in particular that I thought the movie completely messed up. It’s the classic “Avengers Assemble” line that the fans have been waiting for. We finally get it here, but the execution is just weird as Cap says the assemble part really low. I think they were going for a dramatic pause between the two words, but the second should have been delivered with a lot of power. Not the weak whimper that we got. The other cheer moment is handled a lot more explosively as all of the female heroes band together to help Captain Marvel. Sure, this one’s a little cheesy since if anything all those heroines are doing is slowing Marvel down, but it’s the thought that counts. The first scene just didn’t have any energy.

I don’t think Endgame is nearly as sad as everyone makes it out to be since over 90% of the cast have happy endings and it’s still half comedy as with all Marvel titles. On the other hand that’s not a bad thing (It’s probably a good thing) since that means the film doesn’t slow itself down a lot. It also helps for re watches to keep the movie fast paced. The banter and writing are as solid as always and that’s really the core of the Endgame experience. Even if you get annoyed at a lot of the film’s decisions it won’t change the fact that you had fun.

So Endgame ends the era on a bittersweet note. On one hand it is definitely still a very good movie and it does really nail the appropriate tone for such an epic climax. On the other hand, it could have been so much better that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at it as anything but a missed opportunity. There were a million better ways the film could have played out, but ultimately we’re stuck with this one. I also don’t think Marvel will be able to set up such a grand stage again for a very long time, likely at least 6-10 years. Then we may get another shot like this, but in the meanwhile I suppose it’s time for the waiting game to begin. If you haven’t seen the film yet then you should probably do so to help the film claim the #1 spot. You’ll also enjoy it a lot since the storylines building up to this title should already have you invested. At the end of the day it’s impressive how long this movie saga lasted.

Overall 7/10

Detective Pikachu Review


It’s time to look at the new Detective Pikachu film. It is still an odd decision not to have gone with a traditional Pokemon film, but just having them on the big screen in some form is really cool either way. It’s a pretty solid film all around. I do think some scenes drag on a bit and the human characters are definitely on the weak side, but the movie has a good premise and the action scenes that we do get are definitely solid.

The film starts off by establishing how Tim isn’t a Pokemon trainer. He wants nothing to do with them and that’s because his Dad chose his job and Pokemon over Tim a while back. Well, Tim gets a call one day that his father has been murdered so Tim heads over to get some closure. What he doesn’t expect is that this will lead him to Pikachu and the ultimate mystery. He has to find out who axed his father and finish what the detective started. It won’t be easy, but he’s got this.

They say a film is only as good as its cast and that’s why it’s good that we’ve got Pikachu on board. He’s definitely the highlight here and his quick wit is definitely entertaining. It is a bit annoying that he doesn’t do any real fighting for the most part since he has amnesia as well, but I know the film was trying to avoid being an action title so to that end it makes sense to get Pikachu out of the equation. After all, he could easily wreck most of the cast if he was at full power. Pikachu also shows that he doesn’t need to be able to fight in order to be a quality character. I like his bravado even when outmatched.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for Tim. He’s not my kind of character by a longshot. He spends most of the first half complaining and it’s hard to be all that sympathetic after a while. He doesn’t even have any interest in finding his father or solving the mystery for a while because he’s still sore about the past. Considering that the father isn’t evil or anything, I think he should be able to put that aside to save him at least temporarily. He also saw the poison gas so it’s not like he has no clue that this is going to be pretty serious. If you ask me he should have gotten with the program a lot sooner.

Also, his romance subplot definitely isn’t all that great. It’s pretty much shoehorned into the film for no real reason and naturally he fumbles this quite a bit as well. Lucy’s a good heroine though and she’s definitely a lot more proactive than Tim. Staking out the father’s place was a longshot at best and she must have been waiting up on the stairs for a very long time. That’s the kind of dedication you need if you want to be an expert reporter so she did a really good job. It’d be handy if she had a more powerful Pokemon than Psyduck though but he came in handy when it counted.

I don’t have much to say about the villain. I think it’s pretty obvious who the evil one is from the start just because it would have been too straightforward otherwise. He’s pretty generic and there’s not much to him though. He serves his purpose well enough, but I think Charizard made for the more imposing villain. It was definitely nice to see him get some action even if the battle was definitely very one sided.

As for the effects, they’re definitely quite good. Whether you like the realistic style or not, the Pokemon definitely all look like their game counterparts mostly. I thought Machamp and Mewtwo in particular came out really good. I think the only one I was skeptical of was Tauros since he looked more like a normal bison than the iconic Pokemon, but on the whole the film did a great job of giving them all live action designs. I think it would make for pretty excellent fight scenes and we got a tease of what that could be like early on. If we do get a spinoff or a sequel I definitely want to see some trainers get involved.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. You’ll notice some homages but for the most part the film is going for original tunes. There is a singalong with one of the best songs in the franchise though so that was pretty neat. I would have liked for the trailer theme to show up during the climax though. “I need a Hero” would have been really epic to hear in the theater.

Now if you were hoping that the cops would look good here, then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Maybe there’s more to this that the games would have explained, but it seems to be like they did a really halfhearted job of looking into this mystery. Lets say Tim and Pikachu never got involved. The cops would have been absolutely doomed since they didn’t even suspect a thing. None of them thought to slow down the footage or investigate where the detective had been driving from. As the film goes on we learn that the villains don’t even bother to cover their tracks so the cops must have done absolutely no legwork. I was thinking maybe the main chief was in on it or just evil as well. Maybe he is……or maybe he’s just really bad at his job.

A big part of the film involves some smoke and while I won’t elaborate, at first I thought I was going to have to stretch some disbelief on why Pikachu was unaffected. By the end of the film I’d say it clears this up in a way that makes sense though so no issues there. On the whole the logic in the film was pretty sound. Sure, if you think about some things for too long then they start to break down (Like kids trying to catch Pokemon that can lethally injure them. That Cubone came really close with his retaliation explosion) but the film did good with the power scaling and with making the city make sense. Since there are no trainers here and the Pokemon are inherently good it makes sense how they could co-exist.

I think the main parts that can drag at times are when the film is throwing us exposition (like showing Mewtwo’s origin a bunch of times from different angles) and the heroes running across the mountain. It’s technically more of an action scene as the giant pokemon wake up, but it wasn’t all that exciting. There are bits and pieces like that around, but on the whole the film isn’t all that long so these moments aren’t that frequent.

Overall, Detective Pikachu is definitely a solid film that I would recommend. It’s far from perfect, but it does a good job of showing the Pokemon world and giving us some nice action scenes. The actual story is also good even if it’s held back a little by Tim. Even by the end I wasn’t sold on his character. It’ll be interesting to see where the films go from here assuming that it makes back enough money for them to roll the dice on another installment. If they do I’ll certainly be there.

Overall 7/10

Hunter X Hunter: The Last Mission Review


It’s time to look at the final HXH movie. The first one was definitely pretty fun and it was nice to see Killua take the lead. This one has a more traditional plot and more action and does pass the first film for me. I do think there are some missed opportunities here but the teasing for fights that don’t end up happening is pretty accurate to the show I suppose.

The film starts with Gon and Killua heading to the battle tower to cheer on their friend Zushi as he prepares to fight his way to the top. They meet up with Biscuit and Zushi’s trainer and the fights have apparently attracted a lot of top players as well. The royalty that Kurapika has been assigned to protect is also in the audience so naturally he has accompanied her and even Hisoka and Netero have decided to come and watch. Everything appears to be going well and nobody would dare attack with so many big shots but Leorio finds out that this is not the case. On his way to the tower he is taken down by a group of villains and then they take control of the tower. Netero is being restrained on the top floor and everyone else is being held hostage. Gon, Killua, and Kurapika are the tower’s last hope now.

Right away this movie definitely feels more on the high budget side than the last one. I think the animators definitely enjoyed the first scene of Gon dashing around and grabbing the balloon. It seemed like an animation showcase kind of moment and the colors are definitely extra bright. As a result of the smooth animation Gon and Killua also look a bit younger than usual, but they are kids so this does make sense. I definitely enjoyed the animation here and it really does stick out for the fight scenes. They’re nice and fast which is always a good thing to have.
There may not be as many fight scenes as I would like but Gon and Killua’s teamup was excellently done and the climax with the main villain was also pretty solid. It’s a clash of energy for the most part and seeing Gon in a movie exclusive form was neat as well. The villains are fortunate that this wasn’t late Chimera arc or Killua could have definitely ended them all with his Godspeed.

There aren’t really any themes here that didn’t show up in the show at some point. The show themes work pretty well though and we get to see multiple endings too. The themes work well for the scenes and are definitely solid. The film goes by pretty quick and the pacing is definitely solid. It does lead me to the film’s only weakness though and that is how the film ends before a lot of the characters actually get to do anything.

Now, this may be intentional as the series is known for teasing the fans, but the movie brings a lot of characters here to not actually do anything. Hisoka, Biscuit, and Zushi’s teacher are big examples of this. Hisoka shows up to make a lot of threats and talk tough, but by the end he is having fun just being a coach of sorts and decides not to take any direct action. Surely the film could have added one more member of the group whose purpose was to get eliminated by him right? Biscuit and the teacher can also fight so it was a bit iffy to see them just stay as hostages and not do anything. They fight some random minions at the end, but that doesn’t really count for anything. It’s not the kind of thing that ultimately hurts the film’s score, but I think the film would have been even better if they could have done something.

Meanwhile, at this point in the game Killua and Gon are way ahead of Kurapika and Leorio and I’d say that the film does acknowledge this. Kurapika’s abilities are pretty versatile, but because of the conditions he has placed he is only really deadly against the spiders. The bulk of his abilities don’t work on other enemies so at that point he has to rely on his pure hand to hand skills. He does a good job all things considered and healing is important as well, but he wouldn’t have a chance against the stronger villains. Tactics are still his strongest suit though and it was good to see him figure out to get to the control room right away. That being said, his strength against Uvogin was pretty good and I believe that wasn’t part of the chains so if he still has that level of ability I think he could have done better in the fight.

Leorio definitely doesn’t look great here. At first when he mentions his nen I thought we were going to see him actually fight, but in the end all he gets to do is block. He still helped out in his own way, but I was waiting for him to do more. He still looked better than Netero though. Netero’s fans should not be pleased as he gets caught in a really basic trap and spends the whole film being helpless. Even when he finally gets ready to fight all he can manage is a stand still. I think he was pretty nerfed in this adventure if I’m being honest and I was expecting more out of him. For all his tough talk you’d think that Gon surpassed him here.

Meanwhile Gon is definitely still pretty obsessive like in the Ant arc. He gets pretty intense about never forgiving the villains once they attack Netero and fights with a vengeance the whole time. He’s quick to embrace the darkness to try and save the others. His quick determination to do whatever it takes is good and it’s something he embodies more than a lot of the other Shonen leads. At the same time he’s also a lot more selfish and once he gets a goal he is fine with ditching his friends to accomplish it. Turning over to the darkness should have destroyed him if he was anyone but the main character. While I don’t think he thought all of this over too well, he definitely did good in a fight.

Killua is the true star as expected though. While Gon surpassed him temporarily with his real conditions mode, Killua has always been a step ahead for the most part and the film does a good job of showing this. While Gon is definitely stronger, Killua does have the speed advantage which is really useful in a fight. I felt like he could have beaten the villain pretty quickly if not for the location and the fact that the villain was only fighting with Gon for the most part. He was basically ignoring Killua the whole time. Killua is definitely the perfect ally to have around as well since he’ll do his best to protect everyone the whole time.

As for the villains, they’re not a bad bunch. While the film does give them an origin story it was pretty brief. The main villain Jed is definitely the best one. His dark powers are cool and he had a pretty solid plan. The fact that he can fight Netero on even ground is definitely not something to be taken lightly and he was holding the heroes at bay pretty well. The kid who dies early on didn’t really get to do anything so I can’t say much about her.

The other villain who got the most development here would be Geki. He likes a good fight and is one of the more honorable villains. He’s definitely got legitimate strength and does a good job hanging in there during his big fight. Zushi definitely didn’t stand a chance against this guy even without his fancy powers. Shura is more of a tactical villain, but he definitely has some moves as well. While not as cool as Geki he does round out the villain group pretty well.

Overall, The Last Mission is definitely a solid HXH film. It definitely feels a lot more like a classic Shonen Jump film than the last one. Getting everyone together and then bringing in the big fights is all you really need to have a quality experience. I do think the film should have given the characters more to do though. I’m also extremely skeptical that all of the floor masters would lose to these guys, dart or no dart. They should all have crazy nen abilities of their own and part of the point of Hunter X Hunter is that you never know what to expect before you fight. At least one of them should have had an ability that would have won the battle. While you might have to suspend some disbelief for the power levels, I’d argue that this is the case for most anime films. It’s a fun ride through and through so I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 8/10