Scoob! Review


Scoob got a lot of hype when it was first coming out as that big theatrical level Scooby Doo animated film. With the live action films not doing very well, this was the next chance to do something big. Well, it’s a pretty fun film I’d say. Ironically I would say the animated dvd films look significantly better visually but this movie is better than some of the more recent films. So all in all I was satisfied with this one. It’s not one of the best Scooby Doo films but it is easily not one of the weakest ones either.

The movie starts off with a new origin story for Scooby Doo and the gang as we see how they meet up and stop their first criminal. From there we get to the present where the heroes want to go professional. Unfortunately their potential investor says that Scooby Doo and Shaggy are liabilities. The two of them storm off without actually getting to hear what the gang really thinks and then they get kidnapped outside of the bowling alley by the Blue Falcon and his crew. They explain that these two are crucial in the fight against against Dastardly as he tries to get some relics together for his plan of unspeakable evil. Shaggy and Scooby want to prove that they aren’t the weak links of the team and agree to help.

So we’ve got our adventure here but of course that does mean Fred, Velma, and Daphne are stuck in the subplot for most of the film. It’s an enjoyable one though and at least they were ready to help their pals from the start. They even confront the Blue Falcon’s squad without fear when they see how the team is belittling Shaggy. They were loyal friends despite the guilt trip from the bowling alley employee. Honestly that’s really on Shaggy and Scooby for just running out of there before the rest of the gang had a chance to do anything.

Still the portrayals for the 3 characters are on point. I’d have liked Fred to have gotten one really solid scene where he gets a good trap ready or something though as it felt like he got the biggest shaft from the crew. Velma is a lot better than usual here as they balanced her skepticism well with actually helping the crew out. She does a lot of detective work the whole time and contributes quite a lot. Hacking Dynomutt so easily may be a bit cheesy but that was a big contribution. Then Daphne does well in building up everyone’s morale and establishing a friendship with one of the enemy robots. That would end up being absolutely massive in the film.

For Shaggy and Scooby…well I’m still not big fans of them. I think Shaggy is definitely the weaker character here though. As a kid we see how he was really lonely and meeting Scooby really helped him get his life back on track. They have a great friendship but Shaggy gets jealous way too easily later on. I’m confident that if he told Scooby to keep the collar he would have done so. Scooby was just focused on saving the world while Shaggy wasn’t focused at all. He would just make passive aggressive comments at Scooby throughout the movie and it didn’t feel justified. Mix that in with Shaggy dashing out early and he was too emotional here.

He also needs to face the facts that he and Scooby are the weak links since they’re scared of everything and always running away. It’s why I like the idea of them trying to prove themselves here but you just know that it won’t stick and they’ll be back to running away. Unfortunately that’s just completely part of their characters now. At least Scooby tries to step up when he gets the super hero costume which is why I give him more points here. You can see some improvement.

As for the villains, well Dastardly is fun. He’s a classic kind of villain who is super confident and always has a trick ready to take the heroes out. He come sup with a lot of clever plans and outsmarts the Mystery gang on more than one occasion. His classic partner Muttley doesn’t get to appear much but he was a fun character. They definitely make for a good duo. The robotic minions were also fun and had a nice design and transformation feature going.

Then we have Blue Falcon who is definitely one of the highlights here. That guy’s a blast. He may not be a good hero yet but he doesn’t let that get him down. He has a lot of confidence in himself. The film goes out of its way to remind you that he’s not very strong or smart as it goes on but I like how genuine he is. The Blue Falcon is at least trying his best and that’s the important thing.

Then you have the two allies who are always taking shots at the Blue Falcon but I think deep down they look up to him. Dee Dee is the genius of the group so she finds out the villain plans and gets the tech ready. She can also fight with her equipment which is always very helpful. Then you have Dynomutt with all his features and the guy is constantly daring Blue Falcon to do better with how often he is breaking him down.

It’s fun to have all of these characters running around. It does mean that this is a very different kind of Scooby Doo film as there isn’t a true mystery this time around. I mean you have the whole Scooby Doo ties to the plan and what Dastardly is trying to do but it’s less of a mystery and more about just following him along. The Blue Falcon’s group also makes this feel more like a superhero film but that’s always fun. This works as a good change of pace for the series. It’s risky as the first title in this franchise to not be a traditional Mystery Inc adventure but I had a good time with it.

I think a very important thing here is that the writing is considerably better than some of the recent ones. The characters aren’t super exaggerated and the story is fun to follow. Those are exactly the kinds of story elements you need in order to make for a good movie. I wouldn’t say any of the jokes are laugh out loud funny but the movie has some funny scenes and lines. So all in all you’ve got a very strong all around film here. It’s nothing great that will change your life or anything but I wouldn’t say it has any true weaknesses either. The pacing is right, you’ve got a good cast and the film really goes by quickly. I’d be glad to see more adventures here.

Overall, Scoob! does a good job of setting up the future of the franchise for a new audience. I do think you could and should switch the animation style as it isn’t great but it works well enough. If you aren’t comparing it to the main series then it really works well enough to do the job. It’s just hard to beat classic hand drawn animation of course. If you’re looking for a fun film to watch and spend some time with, then this is definitely a solid option for you to check out. I’m looking forward to the sequel and seeing where they go with it. You can never have too much Scooby Doo! Hopefully Scrappy gets to show up next time though, now that would be fun.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: Heaven Chapter – Overture Review


After all these years it’s time to check out the original sequel to the Saint Seiya manga/anime. After the big battle with Hades, Seiya was greatly injured and this movie explores just how bad those injuries were since the manga just ended immediately so we didn’t know exactly how this played out. I am glad that he gets up sooner than later though as writing Seiya out for the movie would not have been a great move. The film’s definitely a lot of fun, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the best Seiya movie but it’s cool to see another original adventure and the ending’s definitely hype.

The movie starts with showing Seiya in a wheelchair and he is completely despondent. He has lost his ability to use his abilities and can’t even walk. One day, a group of fighters show up to assassinate him. These are angels led by Artemis. The gods have decided that Seiya and the other saints must be punished for taking out 3 gods during the Hades arc. Athena doesn’t like this but as always she chickens out and goes along with the villains. After meekly handing over her throne and saints, Athena is gone and Seiya is fortunately able to get up. He has to find Athena and take down Artemis and her troops. Can he pull this off now that he is truly back to being a bronze saint? (Even weaker than one to be honest) Also, where are his fellow Saints when he needs them?

If you can’t tell, I was not a fan of Athena at all here. Once again she is betraying Seiya….why? By now you’ve got to trust him since he has saved the day so many times. This is one main thing I would hold against the film which is that everyone’s betraying Seiya again. Aside from Athena you also have the other bronze and silver saints beating him up. Seiya really can’t catch a break and as always he’s got to do everything by himself. It would be nice if everyone could have his back for a change.

Athena in particular has to get the more criticism though. She saw what the Saints did against Hades previously. She should have confidence that they can beat Artemis and whatever army of gods are behind her. Just summon the Saints and announce a full war against them. Otherwise you lose any kind of turf advantage and Athena handing over her staff was not a good move. She’s just lucky that Artemis allowed her to take it back later on.

The other Bronze Saints like Unicorn do look bad here though. Come on now, you’re that eager to start working for Artemis now? A true Saint never stops their allegiance so calling this Artemis’ temple now and things like that make them look bad. I also thought Marin and Shaina looked really bad for going along with this. Enough about those Saints though, Seiya himself looks great which is good. He’s determined as always. Seiya knows how to take a beating, every enemy has the advantage at first and that’s true here as well. Initially he takes a lot of hits but that’s because he’s so weakened.

I can see why this nerf was necessary because otherwise Seiya was stronger than the gods by the end of the series. It should be easy for him to utterly dismantle all of the Angels and take down Artemis. The only opponent worthy of him would be Apollo and even then my money would be on Seiya. Because of this though I have no power level issues with Seiya’s fights. It all makes sense given what we know about his situation.

I do have some power level issues with the rest of the Saints though. Ikki, Hyoga, Shiryu, and Andromeda should all be close to Seiya’s level. Not quite as strong of course but strong enough to be taking these guys down for the count. Instead Hyoga and Shiryu are initially knocked out off screen and then Ikki and Andromeda are having a tough time winning a 2 v 1 against one of the opponents. They don’t have their gold armor at the ready this time (although I’d make the case that they should be able to awaken it with their burning spirit) but they should still be winning these fights. Only Apollo should be able to take them out at this point.

Still, it is nice to see these guys. Their role is very small but at least they all have an action scene which is good. Based on how the film starts to end, I do think they would have done a lot more in the sequel though. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have continued though. Even if we have a different timeline, just have some branching paths. It may not be canon or something but it’d still be nice to see. Or go the Fate route where you have 3 initial paths and then like 5-8 branching futures. The more expansive the franchise the better after all.

The animation here is really solid and I would agree with anyone who says that this is the best that the series has looked. The animation is really solid and this feels like a true theater experience. The colors are sharp and the backgrounds have a whole lot of detail to them. The fight scenes are also on point as well and it’s always fun to see Seiya’s classic Meteor Fist with the accompanying sound effect. The soundtrack is also good here. We get a nice song at the end and the classic fighting tunes are always good. The movie definitely delivers here.

On the other hand, the film’s only real weakness comes in part from the animation although it might not be related. At times the film tries a little too hard to be super grand and emotional. We get lingering shots at the water as it splashes or the moon in the sky. Characters will intently stand in the distance and it did make the pacing feel a little slow at the start. Everything’s just so dramatic and I think it gets to be a little too overdone at some points. Of course this isn’t the kind of thing that would hurt the film’s score but you tend to see this in films where they are really proud of the animation. Happens a lot in Pokemon as we stare at the grass blades twirling in the wind.

The film can also be a little cheeky with mild fanservice when Shaina and Marin are fighting. Could just be more dramatic shots that the movie is going for and since we see that for the environment, it’s possible that it just extends to the characters too. Nothing quite like the obvious camera angles you’d see in SAO though so it’s super mild at best. Saint Seiya is a franchise that really doesn’t have much fanservice in general and has always stayed strong there.

So we’ve talked about the heroes and how Seiya steals the show here. (Ikki’s role is just too small for him to take center stage this time. It was nice to see him and Andromeda teaming up as equals though. It shows some really good character development for Andromeda at this point) Now lets talk about the villains. Artemis is like Pandora in that she acts a lot more like how you would expect the evil god to be. She isn’t afraid to go on the battle field and talk tough to the heroes. I liked her well enough as one of the villains.

Then you have the Angels. From the 3, only the one who fights Seiya really gets a role. The other two look tough and talk tough but they’re obliterated in short order. The angel who fought Seiya actually got a twist involving Marin though and got a lot of moments to himself. He made for a good villain. Not good enough where I’d remember his name though although I could swear that they just called him “Angel” each time while the other two had true names. Either way he made for a good villain.

Finally you have Apollo who shows up at the end. He talks tough and backs it up with how he looks there. My money would still be on Seiya to beat him if he was at full power, but as discussed that wasn’t the case this time. Apollo works as a good final boss and I’d like to see where he stacks up with the rest of the gods who are so upset at this state of affairs. Seiya does land a good hit but it doesn’t seem likely that he would get a chance to win until the sequels. Apollo’s appearance is extremely brief as the film just ends but he makes the most of it.

I should mention the Gold Saints have a quick cameo here but they are quickly discarded as the gods have the last laugh. I would have liked to have seen them fight a bit or something but I guess there wasn’t much they could do there. It was a fun little cameo but at the same time it feels like they didn’t get to do anything. At least have them send the heroes some gold armor or something, that would have been cool. It’s been a rough road for the gold saints over the last few arcs….actually for the whole series to be honest.

As for the ending, it’s intentionally vague but here’s my take on it. Apollo decided to neutralize Seiya as a threat by erasing his memory along with Athena’s after defeating them. That’s why they’re now in a flower field just hanging out. It means the other Saints are going to have to hurry but it’s a fair bet to say there’s a slight time skip before the final scene so I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the Saints were already defeated as well. In the second film I’d expect to see the 5 Saints battling 5 gods or something like that. The more I think about a possible sequel, the more hyped I get.

Overall, Heaven’s Overture is a great film. We’ve got all the hype action you could want and a great cast of characters. The animation is excellent and there’s always something going on. The film can be a bit dramatic but I can appreciate the boldness of nerfing Seiya for a while. It’s better than just having these guys wreck him, now that would have been iffy. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get a novel continuation or something at some point. Either way if you’re a Saint Seiya fan then you’ll want to check this one out at some point. It’s a nice look at a possible future path.

Overall 8/10

Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob Review


The Scooby gang has returned for another mystery to solve. This time we get to see King Arthur and the knights which always makes for some good stories. I’m not sure about this rather sketchy portrayal of King Arthur but the film is trying something different so that’s always worth the attempt. Unfortunately I would consider this to be one of the weaker Scooby Doo films. The writing just isn’t as good as some of the others and the “twists” really don’t work….at all. A mystery is only as good as the execution after all.

The movie starts with Scooby Doo and the gang taking down another criminal as par for the course. The only question is….now what? Well, the gang heads over to England and visit a village where the town is talking about the good ole legends of King Arthur. Velma thinks this is all a bunch of hooey and the townfolk aren’t thrilled when they hear that Shaggy may be related to the royalty of a time long gone. Before the heroes can look into this, they are attacked by a witch and are teleported back in time to the days of King Arthur. Is it possible that time travel and witches are real?? Velma is convinced that this is all smoke and mirrors but even she may have to doubt this when magic starts to appear. Either way the main trial now is that they have to get Shaggy to become king like in the legends or their future will be wiped out forever! The stakes have never been higher.

Of course whether you even believe any of this will be a big factor here since Scooby Doo has really been avoiding the supernatural elements for a while now. It does seem like it would be hard to fake time travel though. That should be very hard in fact since there are so many old townsfolk and the whole kingdom looks different. Then for the magic, someone hits Fred with a spell that causes him to be unable to move. What science could explain that? Well, the film explains everything by the end. I won’t say whether this is real or not but I will say that the explanations are absolutely awful. Especially the Fred one which I don’t buy for a second. Come on, that’s just unbelievable. Same with the time travel explanation.

Merlin is the film’s little wink to the audience at the end but it’s not very satisfying. So…why is the film not too much fun compared to the others? For starters, most of the film doesn’t even have a mystery to be solved. It’s not like there are many suspects. The only two three real characters we saw were the mayor, his assistant, and the librarian. So one of them has to be the Witch if we assume that she has a true identity but this isn’t the focus of the film. Most of the film is instead about Shaggy trying to become king and a lot of shenanigans happening in the meantime. We get some comic relief events and some reasonably serious action scenes.

Daphne beating up on the king’s men is fun. You sort of see this coming as soon as she enters the arena because fighting is her thing, but it’s all handled well. I was glad to have some action here because the animation is sharp. So when the film brings its A game then you know to expect some good things. You could even mistake this for a DC film before the characters appear because it’s really got that look to it. If there’s one thing the films never disappoint with, it’s certainly the animation. You can’t do much better than this.

The soundtrack is mainly forgettable though so don’t expect anything much there. For the writing, well it’s classic Scooby Doo. They use the same gags in every film for the last 30+ years. Scooby and Shaggy are still scared of absolutely everything. Fred’s still not nearly as tough as he acts and his traps always fail. Velma is always super smug about not believing in the supernatural and is right in the end. Lately Daphne has a different gimmick in each film. For this one it is that she believes the world is a simulation and that nothing is real. Definitely random but we’ll see how she is in the next film.

The movie does have a little tribute to one of those old He Man type shows which is cool. The graphics have aged rather well and it looks like it would be a fun show now. The show itself ties in to the ending which is nice to see. It wasn’t just a random moment but ended up being important. We also do get a bit of an action packed climax. Low stakes but it was a good way to end things off with a lot of energy.

If The Sword and the Scoob was lacking something, it’s really that the explanations all could and should have been better. The explanations are really what will knock you out of the film right away. If they had just been better then I think you would enjoy the movie a lot more. King Arthur also should have looked way better than he actually did. We don’t need another coward in the film, we’ve already got two. King Arthur being a dignified king would have worked a lot better within the actual story as well and would have made the competition more fun. The humor doesn’t work as well when it’s all the same thing.

But I would say the film is still positive. While it’s one of the weakest Scooby Doo films, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. For starters, the film still flows by really quickly. I would say that the pacing is on point here. You won’t be bored even if you don’t find it all that funny. It’s always nice to see the old characters around and I wouldn’t say the film makes any big mistakes. The animation is solid as mentioned and while there isn’t really a big mystery this time around, we do get the quick fight scene with Daphne. So when you mix in the solid visuals with some action, you’ll at least be having a good time here.

Overall, The Sword and the Scoob should have been a lot better. I definitely won’t deny that, but if you’re looking for a fun Scooby Doo adventure to jump into then you can’t really go wrong here. I’m confident that you will have a good time and that’s the important part in the end. I do have higher hopes for the next one though. It all comes down to the explanations. As long as they line up and make sense then we should be in good hands here. In the meantime, I wouldn’t mind if they ever decide to make Shaggy and Scooby brave. You don’t have to go too far but just toning them down a little bit would go a long way. It may go against tradition, but trust me it would be a great move.

Overall 6/10

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2 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

Part 2 picks up right where the first film left off which certainly makes sense. The Long Halloween crosses a full year as we end up right back with Halloween at the forefront here. This film has a lot more action though as Batman’s famous rogues show up this time. No more just fighting the mob, everyone wants some action now. I would say it’s slightly better than part 1 although they are both quite close.

Last time Poison Ivy took control of Batman using her plants and for months he has been forced to do her bidding. Catwoman finally shows up to save him and now they have to put things right. Is it too late to stop the mobs now that they have gained more control? Additionally, Dent is going further and further off the deeper end and of course Holiday is still out there. Gotham’s really in a bad spot right now and the only person who can possibly end this is Batman himself.

Harvey Dent really had a solid character arc and this movie did a good job of wrapping up. He did make for a very interesting DA and while everyone was expecting his Two Face persona to show up eventually, he didn’t suddenly go over the bend. There’s even a good amount of history behind the signature coin he uses as well. His methods may have ultimately gone the wrong way by the end but he definitely did a whole lot for the city.

Catwoman fans will be pleased at her role here since she really does look good in the fights. Without her Batman would have been checked out early. Additionally her fight with Poison Ivy may have been the best one in the film. It really leaned into the metahuman angle more than the other action scenes. It takes a lot of speed to get out of the way of her attacks and Catwoman was able to pull it off. She also helped out after the nerve gas angle so she was a very loyal ally throughout.

As for Gordon, he’s around the whole time too. He may get less to do in terms of helping out directly but he did keep signaling Batman even months after the guy had vanished. Gordon doesn’t give up easily and while the partnership may not have been perfect in the end, he seemed to have kept up a more optimistic view on how things went compared to Dent and Batman. Since this is a Part 2 the cast is quite a bit bigger than the first film since most of the characters return (The ones who weren’t destroyed) plus we get more of the villains.

Now some characters like the Penguin still don’t do much at all here. He just shows up to fire his gun and get one shotted. I still think Grundy didn’t really have any point being here but he does throw a punch and get mildly involved in the climax. From the new villains, Scarecrow gets a decent role. His fear toxin is definitely still a threat and a good reason for the heroes to take him out almost immediately or things can get ugly. His ability is super useful but since he has no immunity to it you can usually see how his plot will end. Surprisingly the Calendar Man still only gets a moment or two and then vanishes from the film.

Mad Hatter appears for a bit although I can’t take him too seriously. He’s only tough when the heroes can’t fight back, otherwise I wouldn’t say you should ever consider him to be a true threat. Poison Ivy is a much more deadly villain considering how versatile her moveset is. I would go as far as to say she is the strongest villain in the film as she has a way to take everyone else out. If she didn’t let her guard down that would have probably been game over for the heroes.

As for the reveal of who Holiday is, I would say it’s a satisfying reveal. The character makes sense and in the end I thought the mystery angle of the film was handled really well. That being said, you may still question some scenes from the first film. Is this character really strong and quick enough to outrun Batman during part 1? To always be one step ahead of the mobsters, jumping from shadow to shadow and nailing every shot? I suppose there may have been off screen training but you may be a little skeptical about this part by the time you’re done with the film. It’s nothing egregious enough where you could call it a plot hole but it does make you think twice.

As for Batman himself, well this appearance was probably tougher for him than the first one. He gets mind controlled for the opening part of the movie and then gets humiliated by the Scarecrow’s fear toxins. He loses quite a lot of fights here to underscore how new to the game he is. It’s certainly not the kind of portrayal you’re used to seeing from Batman but at the end of the day he steps up when needed and is still the best detective in Gotham.

I’m still not a big fan of the animation style but by part 2 you’re used to it. At the very least you’ve still got a good amount of motion like in the Catwoman fight and so I wouldn’t call this low budget or anything. I would have certainly liked a more dynamic art style but you deal with what you’ve got. The writing is still strong enough where you are never distracted during the movie and will have a good time either way.

What other film could ever develop Falcone into a mobster that’s actually very interesting? He’s a villain through and through but an interesting one. He will keep your attention the whole time and that’s not an easy thing to do. He certainly made a tricky call in bringing super villains into the roster but the plan was working well enough. If anything he may have been too cautious in how he manipulated Bruce Wayne and should have moved quicker. On the whole I like to see super villains as the focus but the film showed how the mobs can still put up a fight when needed. Additionally most Gotham villains aren’t bullet proof so I wouldn’t be shocked to see the mob hold their own.

Overall, Batman The Long Halloween Part 2 keeps up the energy from the first film. It may put more of the focus on the action compared to the detective work but that makes sense since part 1 had a lot of the setup. This film balances the two genres well. Then at the end of the film you have a quick scene after the credits start so you’ll want to be ready for that. It’s a fun scene and while I wouldn’t expect it to be leading into anything in particular, I’m always glad for a reminder of this being a shared universe. This is a solid Batman film and certainly one I’d recommend checking out.

Overall 7/10

Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 Review


You always know a story has to be big when it gets adapted into a 2 part movie event. Not just any story can pull that off. Well, The Long Halloween is a story that just about every Batman fan has heard of so it’s pretty fitting. This one takes the franchise back to its detective roots and works pretty well. Definitely a strong Batman story you could recommend to anyone.

The movie starts with one of Carmine’s nephews being murdered on Halloween. The culprit left a jack-o lantern at the scene of the crime seemingly to taunt Carmine about this. Interestingly, this works out in Carmine’s favor since the guy was about to spill the beans on the whole mafia enterprise. Gordon calls in DA Harvey Dent as well as the Batman so the three of them can team up on this. They need to find the murderer but they also have to put the crime family away for good. This won’t be an easy mission but between the 3 of them they have a lot of energy. Batman is still in his younger days at this point and Harvey just became the DA. They all want to get some kind of win under their belt.

This isn’t going to be an overnight case though. This villain who has been dubbed Holiday has been murdering a different member of Carmine’s family or gang members on every big holiday. Unfortunately Batman and co. are never in time to stop him. Batman’s going to have to do some detective work to figure out who is behind this but the issue is that there are quite a lot of suspects. Sure, Holiday is murdering these suspects one by one but ideally Batman would like to catch him before they’re all dead. Will he be able to pull this off or is this one case that even the Dark Knight is not ready for?

First off, I definitely like the mystery vibe here. It feels like a reason long time since a mystery was the main plot of one of these films. I dare say that the last time may have been Under The Red Hood. You could make a case for Hush as well but I want to say that’s more on the action side. Although you could make that case for the Red Hood as well in which case we go back to Mystery of the Batwomen which did have the classic “Pick the right suspect” structure which makes sense as a mystery. Gotham is always a mysterious place where you would never want to live and the movie shows that off pretty well.

Batman also looks good here even if it is not one of his stronger appearances. A lot of the characters insult him like one of the mobsters who says he isn’t much of a detective and even Gordon criticizes him. At the end of the day he still makes a lot more progress than they do even if it’s with extensive help from Catwoman. Batman does well in narrowing down the suspects either way and he explores every avenue to stop the villains. He even meets up with the Calendar Man briefly. (That’s one guy I thought would have a much bigger role in the film)

Really Batman doesn’t let his guard down until the climax where he ends up getting punked twice but beyond that he did well here. At the end of the day he’s just a likable character as always and made sure not to do business with the mobsters. He makes it clear from the start that he’s going to do things by the book as Bruce Wayne and doesn’t cut any corners there. Gordon is one of the other big heroes here and he looks good. He is constrained a bit since he has to follow the rules more than Dent or Batman but he was the one to get the team together so he gets full credit for that. He’s always a very loyal ally for Batman and that’s important in a city like Gotham.

Harvey Dent gets a big role here and it’s always fun to see him in his career prior to becoming the famous Two Face. In basically every continuity including this one we see that he really was a great DA. Unfortunately you’re always just waiting for some acid to show up at some point for his origin. In Part 1 at least you feel bad for him though because the justice system in Gotham is just as corrupt as every other part of it. It seems like for every arrest that sticks, another few don’t. The gang have more connections than the super villains after all so nobody will testify against them. Still, he does his best each day.

His wife Gilda seems a lot more depressing in comparison. The film hints at a dark past here as she is permanently depressed and it doesn’t help that Harvey always has to run off on police business so they can’t be together for very long. It’s put a big strain on their relationship without a doubt. Speaking of relationships that aren’t working, Catwoman has a rather big role in this film. It seems like in this continuity she either began her career before Batman or just got good at it a bit quicker. She just knows more about the city and helps him out quite a bit but their careers are so different that they have to settle for just being allies. That’s always made the most sense anyway though.

Fans should certainly appreciate her role here. It’s got to be one of Catwoman’s most impressive appearances as she is strong and smart, a deadly combination for her adversaries. It’s also always fun to have more supervillains running around. It’s a bit of a loose term for her, but she is presumably still robbing people so she should count. The film is very grounded for the most part and that works well within the story but every time you see a costumed fighter it’s always a good thing.

The most random addition to the film is Solomon Grundy though. He feels extremely out of place and it’s not the kind of thing that would hurt the film or anything like that. You just wonder why he is here, you could take him out of both parts and nothing would really change to be honest. Then you have the Joker show up for the climax. He’s as crazy as ever and certainly elevates the threat to the next level. If you want to see the danger transition from being a street level threat to the whole city under fire, well Joker’s the guy for the job.

He’s clearly more dangerous than the mob so it’s good to see him getting his respect. Honestly the mob is only doing so well because every super villain is in jail at the moment. Otherwise it’s hard to see Carmine and his crew lasting very long at all. I may touch on this more in the part 2 review but it’s crazy to see how successful the mob is here. It sort of shows that if super villains weren’t around they would easily own the city without any real opposition.

As for Carmine himself, well he’s a fun mobster. I liked him as one of the big villains, he has an old school vibe to him. Picture any mobster/gangster from an old film and that’s the kind of guy he is. Carmine has absolute confidence in himself at all times and makes sure that the world doesn’t doubt how tough he is. Each of his scenes are interesting and it’s a good reflection of the film’s writing since whether it’s the heroes or villains on screen, you can always be sure of an entertaining scene.

When it comes to the animation style, this definitely doesn’t look as good as most of the older DC animated films like the New 52 ones or the films that came before that era. It’s definitely going for a different look but it just isn’t as colorful or detailed if you ask me. By the end of the film you’ll probably be used to it more or less but I would definitely be on board with a style that’s more eye catching. The one credit I’ll give the animation is that since it looks so much older than some of the other DC films, it does work to bring back that whole mob vibe.

The movie really flies by and has good pacing throughout. This is definitely a must for a mystery film and this movie nails it. There’s even a scene after the credits start which really leads in well to the next film. Lets just say one characters lets his guard down and then things go crazy. Now that’s a good way to build up hype for part 2. I’ve already seen Part 2 so you can bet that review will be up shortly.

Overall, Batman The Long Halloween may have a title that doesn’t really encompass the whole film but it does set the stage well (Would have called it Batman: The Long Year) since I saw this around Halloween. I don’t really have any negatives to say about the film aside from the animation not really being my style. It’s a strong adventure from start to finish and it maintains that pacing for the sequel. A whole show set with gangsters roaming the streets along with the villains would certainly be fun.

Overall 7/10

Toy Story of Terror! Review


Time for a spooky story with the Toy Story special. It’s pretty impressive that the franchise got a special which effectively works as a true mini movie. It looks just like the actual movies and with the voices back, you could stick this in as a subplot during one of the movies and it would work quite well. It’s a solid self contained story and at less than 30 minutes long, it really goes by in a flash.

The special starts with the owner’s car getting a flat tire so they are forced to stop at a motel. The toys are dropped off and this should all be fine except one by one the toy start vanishing. Jessie warns everyone to stay together but they just can’t help but dash off. Soon Jessie is the only one left. She bumps into a toy named Combat Carl who warns her to stay put. Still, her friends might need her. Can Jessie overcome her claustrophobia and fear of being alone or will this be game over?

Most of the special takes place at night which is cool since it helps establish the atmosphere right away. Same with the Motel itself as it appears to be quite ominous. In a way I feel bad for Motels because in every movie/show I’ve ever seen they always appear to be really shady. I imagine motel owners would like to clean up that image at some point but maybe it’s just too late at this point in time so they’ve all given up.

Jessie works well as the main character since she’s one of the more interesting Toy Story characters. Additionally her fear of being boxed in and of being alone works well in a setting where everyone is being taken out. It works as a solid character arc here and she had to be brave to get past the mysterious monster. At the end of the day the toys would have been toast without her.

The mysterious monster turned out to be a pet named Mr. Jones who worked for the villainous Ron. I was glad to have some antagonists here, it made for a fun little climax since it gave the heroes a real obstacle that they had to overcome as opposed to this being all fun and games. For example, Jones is rather fast so it makes sense that avoiding him wouldn’t be easy. All it takes is one charge/lunge and that’s game over as well. Jones also means well since he knows that he will get his snacks for finding the toys.

Then you have Ron who is really looking to make a quick buck. I’d like to see the story behind this guy because he has to be truly desperate to be stealing toys from little children. I mean, if you’re going to be a criminal you figure there should be more efficient ways to earn money. Why has this guy taken such a path? By the end of the movie you know that he is completely doomed and in a way he just makes it worse for himself by running. It did end up being a fun way to end the special but Ron really didn’t handle the situation well. He’s a fun villain and good at making money but he really took the wrong path in life.

As for the toys, Combat Carl gets a big role here as he gives Jessie the inspirational speech to keep on going on matter what. Without him she may not have ultimately been able to gather her strength in time. In some ways he reminds me of Buzz since they’re both so confident. Buzz and Woody don’t get much to do here but I suppose they have the films for that. Pricklepants gets a big role here but I wasn’t crazy about it. Basically Prickle keeps reminding us about horror movie tropes and how the heroes are nearly doomed. I think this joke got worn a bit thin by the end of the special since that was the entire subplot. You can also blame a lot of this adventure on Mr. Potato Head since he was the first one to run off.

As mentioned, the animation is quite impressive considering that this wouldn’t have gotten the same kind of budget as one of the films. It maintains the art style well. It may not be something that looks as streamlined as a traditional hand drawn title but it does the job. The toys are on point and scenes where the toys have to try and execute complex maneuvers is fun to see since they are constrained by how the toy works. As a result they have a whole lot of difficulty with a paper clip in one scene.

Overall, This is a short special so there isn’t much more to say about it. It’s a fun story and should keep you entertained from start to finish. It’s an adventure with a full beginning, middle, and end that has a good amount of replay value. The writing is on point and the characters are likable so there really isn’t anything to dislike here. It’ll really be over before you know it and you aren’t likely to forget the antagonists any time soon.

Overall 7/10

My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Review


It’s time to take a look at the newest My Hero Academia movie. This one was certainly getting a lot of hype with the whole fugitive Deku angle and that we would be having a more global threat. Now would be the time to see heroes from the rest of the world get involved and see what they’re made of. It’s definitely a great film and I would put it above the first one, but it loses to the second. I do think all of the promotion for the film was really misleading though so if you were hoping for a global adventure about the main 3, this isn’t exactly how it plays out.

The movie starts out very suddenly with the villains unleashing a bomb which decimates all people with quirks inside of the city. It’s a focused trigger bomb that forcibly unleashes a person’s quirk past their own personal limits. The organization name is Humarise and they are led by Flect, a man who follows the doomsday prophecy that quirks will be the end of the world. The pro heroes from around the world converge on all of the bases but are unable to find the bombs. Until they can be located, nobody is safe and so the heroes stay at their positions across the globe.

Deku meets up with a kid named Rody who is a petty thief for hire. For some reason the government is after Rody though and when Deku assists, a mass murder charge is put on him. Deku and Rody will need to figure out the conspiracy behind this and also why the suitcase Rody is holding is so valuable to the villains. There must be a reason why this stuff is so valuable after all. Will the heroes be able to save the day or is that game over?

There’s a lot to love here so lets just go over the promotion both in and out of universe first. So a lot of the promotion here has been about Deku, Todoroki, and Bakugo as the three musketeers and the artwork always showed the three of them jumping out of a ship in stealth gear. The new costumes are cool but are only around for about 5 minutes. Todoroki and Bakugo also miss most of the movie as they only show up for the occasional fight. This is really a film about Deku and Rody at its core as Deku shows him what it means to be a true hero.

The whole “Deku on the run” angle is also one that doesn’t matter for most of the film. It’s a plot element that’s technically present but only barely. Finally the movie seemed to be putting a lot of emphasis on how Class 1A was spread out across the planet so we’d see them in action as well as the foreign pro heroes. Well, none of them really get to do anything. We get very brief scenes with them on the side but it never amounts to more than a 30 second fight scene tops.

In general the plot was too ambitious for a quick film. If the movie was 2 and a half hours then I think it really could have pulled off the global aspect, but as it is, they were just extra. The film even shows off all of the hero teams twice, once in the intro scene and then during the credits but as each team would never become important, it just seems misleading. Thing is, this is inside the film itself so rather than misleading it feels like maybe more was planned but it just didn’t make it to the end product. Either they ran out of time or in early testing phases of the script it seemed like the movie would be too long. I don’t know, it probably is impossible to know but the whole global part got such a big push at the beginning of the movie that it pulls off.

So in short, this may not be the movie you were expecting but it’s a great movie in its own right. Going back to the opening scene, I like how quickly it starts off. It’s easily the best intro scene in an MHA film as we get to see the heroes absolutely decimating the villains and tearing through the bases. It’s like having an intro scene that’s a climax to an off screen arc. I thought this was a really good way to start things off and to set the tone early.

The scene also looks great and I can confidently say this is the best MHA’s animation has looked to date. All 3 films have looked great (I rewatched fights from the first two films to compare) and it’s not surprising since Bones is top notch. Even so, this film takes it up a whole new level. In particular my favorite fight was Bakugo against the laughing maniac in the climax. There were a lot of really good speed movements there and I like when a hero has to try and weave in a bunch of dodges until they eventually land the counter blow that is needed to win the match. It was a really intense back and forth fight as well.

Other standouts are basically every other action scene, the effects used for Flect’s reflection abilities and seeing Deku glide around the city in 3D. The film made the most of the 3D environment here and it was definitely nice to see. Deku’s ability lends itself well to aerial combat so you can have fights of him dodging Beros’ laser fast arrows while making the animation look really good. Dodging scenes can be almost as intense as fighting ones when you handle it well like this. The animation alone already puts this film in a good light.

Then you have the soundtrack which has some fun remixes from the TV show. The only track that really falls flat is the lyrical song during the montage with Rody. It was just a bit too boring if you ask me. Even for a montage that’s peaceful like this, you really need to have some kind of added effect like a guitar solo in the middle to rev up the tempo. I wasn’t a fan of the emotional song from the last MHA film either so the lyrical songs may be the franchise’s only weakness at the moment. Everything else is fitting for the fight.

As for the original character Rody, he’s very unlikable at the start and gradually gets better. I still wouldn’t say I like him much by the end but he isn’t painful by that point at least. I definitely don’t buy him being able to outmaneuver Deku during the opening scenes though. My main issue with Deku is that he definitely still lacks confidence and the whole confrontation with Rody puts that into full view. (Really should have just opened the case and looked into everything a lot sooner) I was really expecting the film to explain that he has some kind of agility quirk similar to Koichi. That would at least explain how he could outrun Deku. Don’t get me wrong, I would have a hard time believing it either way but it’s better than a human outrunning Deku.

His actual quirk has got to be one of the most situational ones out there with no real use most of the time. It makes for a logical way to end part of the climax though. So I won’t give Rody a thumbs up but as far as film OCs go, he wasn’t that bad. Beyond that it’s the villains who make up most of the OCs which is really a given for any big action title since you can’t/usually wouldn’t use manga villains. The leader Flect has one of those backstories that boils down to him being a quitter early on.

As a character he’s rather one note but I do find his design to be really unique. He’s also got a very good power with the whole reflection thing. Basically he can reflect any attack that is sent his way. He also has a charismatic personality evidently as he got so many people to join his cult and turn on the quirk users. Even a lot of people with actual quirks which shows how far he has brainwashed everyone. He’s definitely not as cool as Nine but he probably beats the guy from the first film. I’ll give Flect props for being willing to fight on the front lines and also to have the reaction times needed to prep for Deku instead of purely relying on his quirk like when the guy activates the lasers.

He has a few minions at the ready as well. The main standout is Beros who is shockingly similar to Nagant. She can fire off arrows and other weapons at incredible speeds and it makes her a tough fighter to take out. Even Deku and Bakugo had a very difficult time dodging her attacks which speaks to her abilities. It is nice to see these villains who have a specialized quirk but have mastered it to the point where they are true threats. Take Bakugo’s opponent with the chains. I don’t believe they ever mention his name in the film but he is constantly laughing which is a fun character quirk.

He would have to be the best villain in the film. Also, he is incredibly powerful to the point where he was beating Bakugo before taking his shot at Trigger. That means that naturally his quirk is enough where he can take on pseudo pros. This guy clearly leveled it up quite a bit and then with trigger he’s almost unstoppable. His fighting style is really what puts him on the map here and his abilities are just so versatile. Then you have Todoroki’s opponent who may not be as impressive when it comes to power but I like how he can manipulate elements that he comes into contact with. It seems like a fairly complex power that would take a lot of time to master but this guy really did well with it.

The film really follows the theme that dangerous villains can come out of anywhere with incredibly powerful quirks. These guys aren’t some end boss fighters but just random guys who joined the cult. Now, if any of them gave Deku a run for his money I’d call foul but for non One For All users, it makes sense that there would be some powerful villains on their level as well. At this point in time Bakugo and Todoroki can hold their own with some pros and the same would be true for these villains. It helps to expand the world quite a bit.

The only part I do call foul on is Flect being able to fully reflect blows from One for All. At this late stage in the game I find it hard to believe that random quirks can stop one that was literally built to be the strongest quirk of all time. One for All is a stockpile quirk that gets stronger with each generation, completing the prophecy of the quirk singularity. Outside of a quirk like All for One, it should not be stopped like this. I didn’t believe it when Nine’s barriers could block the attacks and I don’t believe it now with Flect. Sure, Deku’s eventually able to just keep on punching which is the natural solution to this kind of ability with limits but it shouldn’t have taken nearly so long.

I’d have liked to have seen Flect taking numerous trigger injections to briefly hold Deku off and even then not to win. Or just rewrite the scene so Deku gets stabbed with the lasers multiple times before the fight so we understand that he’s weakened. As a side note, I’m glad Deku finally blasted those lasers with his air bullets because you really should do that right away. Outside of the scenes with Rody which I guess I can attribute to comic relief and Deku having a lot of difficulty with Flect, I thought his portrayal was satisfying on a power scale otherwise. He easily dispatched the two assassins sent after him, one of which had a power quirk. Then he was dodging high speed projectiles and had a lot of endurance to run out of there.

I’d expect on less because at this point in time I would consider Deku to be the strongest hero in the verse. He can’t be having any difficulties with minions and fortunately in the movie he does not. It’s why in the main series everyone has to have instant regeneration when going up against him or they’re toast. I get why you want the main villain to be so powerful of course but I’d have just thrown in a line where One for All says he gave Flect some kind of unlimited regeneration of the quirk itself or something. That said, I don’t think the two villains would see eye to eye on this since a quirkless world would really not benefit the villains.

The writing’s on point here. The trigger bombs are suitably built up as a really big threat. If anything it really does seem terrifying to be hit by one of them since dying by your own quirk is a rough way to go. The opening scene with everyone being destroyed in the town might be one of the most intense scenes in the entire series. Even the main title hasn’t really had a scene that’s quite so filled with hopelessness. You know that even if the heroes were there, they wouldn’t have been able to do anything which is really the scary part here. Also, now that trigger bombs are a thing, it’s something all characters would need to keep in mind as a potential threat.

Some of the action scenes can also get a bit violent as you see the villains really land some slicing blows on the heroes. Bakugo in particular really takes a pounding here but Deku takes some big shots as well. It’s all violence within battle and nothing intentionally gruesome so you won’t have anything to worry about during the fights but it will feel out of nowhere since even the main series never really has moments that are kept that way for the show. I suppose it’s to add further to that cinematic feel and does work well at keeping the stakes high.

While the rest of the cast may not get to do much or appear more than a minute or two, I suppose it can be fun to see the gang having their own adventures. Also, the world is pretty large so it’s not like any of them could arrive to help Deku and friends even if they wanted to. Some of the villains had rather interesting quirks as well so if we ever get a director’s cut where those fights are finished that would be pretty cool. Bakugo and Todoroki get enough screen time where you’ll be satisfied though. Bakugo gets a ton of lines as always and talks tough from start to finish while Todoroki continues to improve his quirk use.

All Might is even here to give a quick pep talk although it would have been nice to have seen him step in to lend a hand in the climax. When he clenches his fist and talks about how everyone is giving it their all, that would have been a perfect moment to transform even if for an instant to land one blow. Maybe next time since I feel like he has to get going at some point. Everyone else uses their signature attacks and sends the villains flying when applicable.

Overall, My Hero Academia delivers once again with a really intense plot that gives you a lot of action scenes and high animation fights. You’ll be engaged from start to finish and there likely aren’t many films right now that can keep up with this animation. There aren’t really a lot of slow moments since the film carefully spreads in an action scene whenever things are starting to die down. I do think all of the promotion was really misleading and they almost shouldn’t have had a global element since it barely feels relevant but the concept of a villain group that international is intense. I think the manga version will likely handle it better though. As one last feather in this film’s cap, I would say it has the highest replay value out of the 3 films due to the fast pacing. You’ll definitely want to check this one out as soon as possible.

Overall 8/10

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

Howl From Beyond the Fog Review


Well, this film was definitely not quite what I had imagined based on the title. It’s going for a very retro action figure type style. At first when you see the characters appear you’re wondering if maybe there was a budget issue so they had to use mannequins for the characters. Then it hits you that this is actually the style. I’m not a big fan of stop motion and it’s one of the animation styles I would put below CGI. It didn’t do the short film any favors this time around.

The movie introduces us to Eiji. He has moved back to his hometown after news came out that his brother had been destroyed. His cousin Takiri is there but she’s supposed to be dead so Eiji can’t mention that and his mother is also around. The biggest secret though is that they effectively have a secret Kaiju in the backyard. This will come in handy since a bunch of thugs are trying to force them off the land. When in doubt, it’s time to call in the Kaiju! Can this monster save the day?

Unfortunately the humans don’t make it easy on him. It’s always pretty annoying when the Kaiju is doing pretty well only for someone to say “Stop!!” and distract the Kaiju as he gets blasted by the villains. That happens here quite directly and unfortunately the Kaiju isn’t too durable this tie around. A quick shot is already able to deal some pretty decent damage to the point where the Kaiju nearly gets knocked out. It was concerning but the Kaiju has a lot of determination which is good.

The design’s not bad, I guess I would say it looks a lot like a Brontosaurus. It’s got a long neck and just has that kind of shape. While it doesn’t have Godzilla’s fire attacks, it does manage to use a heavy breath attack by inhaling the fumes. I wonder if that might have even been a tribute to the Atomic Breath given that it acts like true breath rather than an energy blast. It was cool to see though since it gives us some action.

So the movie isn’t very long at 35 minutes. It really picks up once the monster action gets going, but until you get there it does have some issues. It just feels like the movie isn’t very interesting without the Kaiju. You don’t really get to like any of the characters all that much and they don’t get to stand out with the brief time they have. When a film’s this short you really have to either develop the characters real quickly or you have to just focus on the Kaiju I suppose. The thing is, this is still more of a character driven story which is problematic when the characters have no time to be introduced.

For the first half you’ll probably end up being a little bored here. So you’re waiting for the second half which is more fun but it takes a little bit to get there when you compare it to the overall length of the movie. Finally, the animation itself gets in the way here. It’s just hard to find this style all that hype or engaging. If you’re a fan of the style then you’ll like it, but otherwise it’s just very jarring as you’re trying to get into the story. None of the effects look as real as you’d like.

This style really works when you throw a lot of humor into the mix. Think of Robot Chicken or something like that. The animation isn’t supposed to look great but you don’t really mind because you are laughing the whole time. That doesn’t work with this short because it is played 100% seriously. You won’t be grinning or smiling at any point because it’s not really that type of film. Unfortunately you can’t pull off a more serious type of story with this style or at least, it will be very difficult to do so.

Overall, Howl from Beyond the Fog is an interesting idea but this was just the wrong medium to do this. At its core it’s a story about a Kaiju living in the backwoods and defending the main characters from danger. It’s seen as a scary entity by most but the main characters know that it’s actually a good guy deep down. That’s a classic kind of story but one where you just aren’t able to get invested into this time. If we ever get a remake or something like that I think there would definitely be a lot of potential. Otherwise, I would say to pass on this one.

Overall 4/10

Toy Story 4 Review


Time for the final Toy Story adventure. At least from the main films as there are still spinoffs to check out. Toy Story 3 was and still is the definitive title in the series. 4 does its best to follow suit and it is nostalgic to see the old characters again but ultimately it doesn’t match the first 3 titles. I’d still call it a good movie in its own right but it probably would work best as being right before 3 instead of after.

The movie starts with a flashback where we see how and why Bo Peep left the house. Andy’s sister was planning to get rid of Bo so she hid in a box and allowed herself to be taken away. We cut to the present where Bonnie is slowly growing out of her toys and Woody isn’t being played with much anymore. He isn’t the leader of the squad anymore since that’s the job for Bonnie’s main toys so things just aren’t as smooth as they used to be.

At school, Bonnie creates a toy of her own named Forky. This toy wants to die which is pretty dark for a kid’s film but Woody forces him to stay in the game and tried to teach Forky why he must now act like a true toy. This would be a 15 minute film except that Woody then sees Bo outside. It turns out that she is a lost toy now who just roams around. Woody isn’t thrilled to hear about this but Bo actually likes the setup. She now has a lot of freedom to do whatever she wants whenever she wants. Woody must now decide if he wants to stay with her or go back to his life of being neglected at home. Additionally, there is a girl named Gabby who wants Woody’s voice box so he has to be careful.

That’s the main plot but we also have a sub plot for Buzz and the rest of the old toys. Buzz leads a rescue mission to find Woody but the problem is that he isn’t very smart anymore. He forgets how to think for himself and also doesn’t realize that he is a toy anymore so he listens to his own sound box. It’s a very odd subplot and I can see why many would say it was a waste of time. It’s nice seeing the old characters but this guy doesn’t act like how Buzz used to. It’s a pretty big contrast especially after watching the first three films back to back.

The Woody plot is really the meat and potatoes of the film. In the third film he decided that living as someone’s toy was his ultimate dream. It didn’t matter if they would eventually grow bored of him because one day he would go on to the next owner and the next. Well, here is has to actually follow through on that and you can tell he is starting to have some regrets. Bonnie doesn’t really care for his toy as much as the others and being stuck in the closet every day is no fun.

Bo makes a valid point that being a free toy is even better because you can play with the kids when you want to and then just do your own thing as well. It’s the best of both worlds and it might be a bit more dangerous but there’s never a dull moment. I’m cool with Woody seeing the light here and it’s an engaging plot.

The movie also does a good job of making Gabby appear to be an intimidating villain. She has nothing on the guy from 3, but she’s tough and has her own army which is cool. The film even lets her scenes get rather dark with some ominous music and a few jump scares happening during her moments. She is respected so much that nobody dares go against her. Now that’s a lot of props.

From the new characters, the weakest one was definitely Forky though. Even by the end I was not a fan of this guy. You definitely can’t count on him when the chips are down and all he does is get in the way. He’s constantly running for his life so I could have done without him. The gag of trying to jump into the trash wasn’t funny after a bit. He did have some good lines though like when he called Woody trash.

Bo isn’t a new character but she might as well be since this is her first big appearance. She was definitely a blast and one of the highlights in the film. She has a lot of confidence now as well as experience. She’s come a long way from her old days as a toy and it shows. She’s a good example of positive character development.

There’s Duke who is a fun character. The guy has an emotional backstory to be sure. Still, Duke has tried to move past that and is still good at his car tricks. He doesn’t appear until fairly deep into the film but he looks good. Finally you have Gabby. As mentioned, she’s a decent villain. She doesn’t stand out as much as some of the others but she definitely does have a commanding presence.

The humans probably get the smallest role out of the 4 films and I am definitely okay with that. Bonnie appears for a bit and while I can’t blame her for ditching Woody it would have been nice if she could have done something more in the plot. Not in terms of more screen time but with the moments she did get, maybe stopping some villains or something.

One thing I do question is how the toys seem to be able to move at will all the time. To me it always seemed like there was something built into the very nature of their being which prevents them from moving once the humans are around. It’s why everyone is so perfect about it. No human has ever discovered that toys are alive because they all know to stop moving immediately yet Forky breaks that rule by constantly trying to move. If not for Woody pinning him down the humans would have noticed. You also have Buzz actually moving his hands to keep pushing the buttons even while he was being held.

This can be explained as the toys just usually doing the right thing and staying still but to me the cleaner explanation was always that they couldn’t move. It’s easier to explain the humans never figuring things out if that was the case. This starts to get really into the details though so it’s not a big thing.

The animation looks pretty solid and definitely has the newest look out of all of them. The way the films show the toys is always impressive since they do look like the real things even while they are talking. The soundtrack is pretty decent as well with the danger themes popping up. The writing may be a step down from the first 3 films but at the end of the day the characters are still good and this should keep your attention.

Overall, Toy Story 4 couldn’t match up to the first 3 but with how good they were, maybe a drop was inevitable at some point. It did feel like the story was thrown together a little quicker with the old characters just going through the motions while Woody did all of the heavy lifting. At this point the cast was quite large so good luck remembering most of the new ones. You had these two birds who were quite intense in their plans of how to attack the old lady near the end of the film but I doubt you’ll remember their names. Bo is the standout character here with the fun banter she gets throughout. This is the kind of confidence you need when you’re on the run. If you’re up for a fun film with the toys then this is still a good bet. I doubt we’ll be getting a Toy Story 5 anytime soon so this may be your last chance to see them.

Overall 7/10