Beauty and the Beast Review

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It’s time to take a look at one of the old Disney films. Seeing as how it just got a live action remake with as goat version of the Beast, this was the perfect opportunity to look at the original. It’s a solid film all around with no real weaknesses to drag it down. While it may not be the greatest of the classics, it may have the best pacing and most engaging plot. I’ll have to think on that one a bit before giving a definitive answer, but there really wasn’t much to slow it down.

Belle is stuck in a very old town. She is the only lady who reads and the town is scared of her as a result. How can they hope to stack up against someone who doesn’t go to the local bar and get drunk with the rest of them? The people’s champion, Gaston shows up to set things right, but he is rejected. Unfortunately, Belle’s crazy father runs into the woods and gets kidnapped by the Beast. Belle is forced to take his place as a prisoner while her father gets himself into more trouble and gives Gaston a legal opportunity to try and steal Belle away. Can she enlist the help of the Beast or is all hope lost?

I imagine that everyone already knows the plot to this film, but I just put that up as a formality. As you can probably tell, I don’t like the Dad. He just gets the family into more and more trouble the whole time. He’s pretty scatter brained and even once Belle is taken as a prisoner he is slow to act. It takes him forever to actually do anything about the situation. You’d think that he would have a lot more urgency about the whole thing when you consider the circumstances. The cast is pretty small so he’s one of the only supporting characters with a role. The other would be Gaston along with his follower. The follower spends the whole film getting beat up and knocked around. It’s safe to say that he had to endure a lot of pain in this adventure as the characters just wouldn’t let up for a second.

Gaston’s naturally not a likable character since he spends the whole film flirting. I do like his grandiose nature and excessive bragging, but it would be great if he could be more productive about it. Stealing candy from a baby, dining and dashing, those are the feats that I would have been expecting him to perform. He’s not totally full of hot air though as he actually does put up a good fight against the Beast. He lands a lot of devastating hits in their battle and while the majority of them were cheap shots…we take those. I could definitely take him more seriously than some of the other classic villains like Jafar.

The Beast wasn’t likable though. I couldn’t sympathize with him at all. Especially when he just tried to act friendly so Belle would fall in love with him. It seemed like he earned his fate as a Beast as well so I just never got to be on his side. He didn’t make things easy for Belle and actively sabotaged his chances every opportunity that he got. It’s why the goat design in the new film suits him even if it makes him look even more evil and nonredeemable. It’s just the table that he has set for himself. Now he has to live in it. He had a few minions who would help him out like a candle stick, an alarm clock, and a tea kettle. The best member was easily the Alarm Clock as he kept it real the whole time and did his best not to get in trouble. The Candle Stick seemed to purposely seek out trouble while the Tea Pot had the best manners. They were decent enough and never got to be too annoying.

Finally, we have Belle. It’s safe to say that she is the best character here by a long shot. She doesn’t really have any flaws as she’s a nice person who always does the right thing and helps others out. She volunteers to be a prisoner to save her father and also doesn’t succumb to peer pressure when the “cool” crowd approaches her. She did fall for the cheesy romance parts at the end, but that’s hardly a negative so much as it’s a “shakes head” moment.

The film has quite a few songs of course since the films back in these days were part musical. They go over pretty well and the music is catchy. While the lyrics weren’t memorable enough for me to remember the names, I believe Bell’s opening song was the best one with Gaston’s probably being the worst. Still, it was a good soundtrack and lyrical songs can definitely be good when handled well. That’s something that 2010’s and beyond have struggled with in some cases. Luckily we still have Frozen to save us and the animated films have mostly been immune. It’s just that in the 90’s, even live action films could have good lyrical themes if they tried. I could diverge into how music was a little better back in the day than currently when it comes to mainstream (So not counting anime ost and video game soundtracks) but that’s neither here nor there.

The animation looks good and is consistent as you would expect. The characters stand out and the designs are really colorful. The action scenes are pretty fluid and while the characters may literally punch each other out of proportion at times, it’s done in a cool way. It’s intentional as opposed to a Dragon Ball Super scene where they just forgot to do some drawing. It holds up really well and the animation wouldn’t look out of place next to a more modern film.

If there’s any real negative here, it’s naturally the wolf scene. It was handled fairly well as this kind of thing goes and the Wolves really took it to the beast so that was good. I was rooting for them to really knock him around. His near lethal injuries show that the wolves weren’t playing around. It’s enough to warrant a mention and is the kind of thing that can also solidify the film’s 7 ranking as opposed to trying for an 8. If this is the worst mistake that the film made, then at least you can be sure that it was mostly good.

Overall, Beauty and the Beast is a good film. It’s something that you can recommend to anyone since it’s just a nice story. The romance is very cheesy and unbelievable so that can be a bit of a weakness, but it’s not as if you expected it to be anything else. The film will fly by in an instant and there aren’t any painfully drawn out scenes to make you look at the wrist watch. The new film seems like it’s pretty faithful to the old film so hopefully that’ll be good as well. So long as they don’t add extra character development to drag characters down in its attempt to be super deep or extend the wolf scene and make it more realistic to drag it down a few stars…I’d expect it to be of comparable quality. Hopefully that will be the case and if you’ve never seen this version you should hurry. You want to know what everyone’s going on about when they compare this to the remake since that inevitably happens. I’ll be doing a bunch of comparisons myself when I watch it.

Overall 7/10

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Attack on Titan Ilse’s Notebook Review

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It’s time for an Attack on Titan prequel OVA. This one adapts a side story from the manga so it’s fairly short. The OVA does manage to pad itself out a little with a brief recap on the state of things though so it’s not extremely short. It’s around the length of the average episode which is a pretty decent length for an OVA. It’s fairly interesting, but I can’t say that it’s actually good as it suffers from the usual Attack on Titan issues.

The main character of this story is Hange (Or Hanji depending on which name you’re more used too) and she really wants to experiment on a Titan. As she has no conscience to weigh her down, she has always been the perfect person to lead the scientist division. She may creep the rest of her comrades out, but that’s just a side effect of being insane. You’re basically rooting for the Titans here since you don’t want them to be enslaved so Hange can stab them forever. Things aren’t moving quickly enough for Hange so she decides to go rogue and head after a Titan. Along the way she learns that there was once a Titan who could talk. What does this mean?

The Notebook/Journal that the heroes find is the main item of importance in this story. It’s another tragic tale, but that’s to be expected here. Ilse was running through the woods when a Titan spotted her. The rest of her comrades had already been taken down for the count so she had no backup. Surprisingly, the Titan didn’t destroy her right away as it prolonged the experience by stretching its face and trying to let her know about the war going on and how the series was all a lie. Ilse didn’t handle this too well and panicked so she was quickly eaten. It’s meant to be pretty important since it shows that Titans have some level of intelligence even if it’s been buried pretty deep. At the same time her death in the end made the whole thing suspect anyway. Maybe she was just delusional. The heroes don’t seem to think much of it either as they just use this as an excuse to go on the hunt once more.

Humor has never been a strong point of the series and that continues here. A running gag is that Hange is super unhinged so she chokes one of her comrades and nearly murders him. She loses her cool constantly and I don’t know how she still has her job. Well, the government is corrupt so I guess that fits. It doesn’t make me like any of her comrades though since they don’t speak up about this and just keep on enduring it. Levi and the others seem to turn a blind eye as well. At least he’s one of the few people along with Erwin who doesn’t fear Hange, but if he’s not going to do anything about it, then it doesn’t really matter all that much.

Attack on Titan never fails to deliver on the technical side though. The soundtrack is pretty good as we got an awesome techno theme at the beginning of the OVA. It played when the series was giving a recap of the situation and it made for some fun visuals as well. If the whole OVA was like that, then I wouldn’t have had any problems. The strategic part of the series is when its typically at its best. The graphics are also pretty sharp as it looks and feels very modern. The character designs are on point and the OVA had fun using Sunset effects for when it was getting late, but not quite night time yet. It all looked good and at least that helps the OVA speed along even if it can’t totally nullify the negatives.

In the end, the OVA was still a little too violent and dark by the end. The novels pointed out that Titans don’t bleed so we technically shouldn’t be getting any blood when they’re slashed. The anime has always chosen to ignore that though and either way we have the Titans eating humans as well so that doesn’t help. The scene of the Titan trying to rearrange his face came across as completely unnecessary and eating Ilse at the end wasn’t a great ending either. Following the novels more closely would absolutely help Titan in all of its future products.

Overall, Ilse’s Notebook is fairly standard Attack on Titan fare. If you like the show then odds are that you’ll like the OVA. Eren and the other main characters may not be in it, but the rest of the OVA feels like it could easily be a normal episode. I still say that the show is too violent and melodramatic the whole time and Hange is a pretty terrible main character so she holds it down. To make it more interesting, I wouldn’t have minded some time travel thrown in so Eren could be around to yell a bit. It’s not exactly the feel good film of the year, but if you really want to make sure that you’re an expert on Attack on Titan lore, then you’ll want to check it out. For the rest of you, just go prepare yourself for Season 2 instead. It is certainly drawing closer and closer with every passing day.

Overall 4/10

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown Review

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It’s time for the third Charlie Brown special in a row. The main plot in this one isn’t that bad and may be the most entertaining, but we also got the worst subplot of the trio. Yes, Linus actually got the worst plot for a change and it was a little surprising since you’d expect his story to be pretty interesting most of the time. I suppose it just wasn’t to be, but at least we got to see Snoopy pranking people and just making the day more fun in general.

It’s Valentine’s Day and Charlie is hoping that he’ll actually get one for a change. The problem is that the system is rigged against him as it involves students each writing Valentine’s to the other kids and then someone hands them out later. Since Charlie has no friends to send him Valentine’s, this means that he has to sit around and wait as they slowly show him all of the letters that are for everyone else. I’m surprised that Charlie was surprised at this result, but I guess you have to be in a state of denial sometimes or the school will overwhelm you. The main plot sees Charlie get down about this, but he must hang in there. Surely someone will give him a card before the day is over…right?

As for the Linus subplot, he buys a chocolate for his teacher. The problem is that she’s always dashing around so he can’t find an opportunity to give it to her. Can he make it in time or will he have to start looking for a refund. I’d say that it was an emotional trip, but it really wasn’t. The subplot didn’t really add anything to the special except for an opportunity to see Sally chase after him for the chocolate. I’m definitely in the mood for such a large quantity myself. It looked pretty filling although assorted chocolates usually don’t end up taking away your hunger all that much. The pieces are just too small.

The end of the special has a pretty tough choice. Would you accept a used valentine? That’s the question that you’ve gotta ask yourself. I’d definitely say “Lol no” but maybe I’d say that I appreciate the sentiment if I didn’t feel like it was intended as an insult. It just seems like you’d be better off with no card than to get a fake one. I guess Charlie was pretty desperate at the end though. Once again, his imagination takes off with him though as he starts to believe that he is actually really popular all of a sudden. It’s a little hard to take seriously, but everyone has to start somewhere right? Maybe Charlie’s time has finally arrived.

A decent interlude during all of this was Snoopy’s live puppet show. It really reminds you just how intense the dog could be. He deliberately used the play as a ruse so he could attack Lucy and laugh about it. Charlie didn’t seem to mind much so I guess Snoopy already had him on the payroll. The scene wasn’t too long which prevented it from dragging on or getting obnoxious. It’s always good to have a change of pace as long as it is handled well.

The animation is consistent as always. The chocolate box looked pretty good and all of the character models were on point. It’s nothing to write home about, but there are no real flaws either. It’s a tried and true recipe to success. This special didn’t really have any songs though and it feels like the specials just ditched the concept of a soundtrack all of a sudden. Where’d all the music go? I always like to have some music as it makes the whole special more endearing.

Overall, The special was decently good. The Linus part could have been left out, but Charlie’s plot had the right mix of tragedy and comedy. You never felt too bad for him because this was probably one of the most minor sad events to ever happen to him. Seriously, it’s usually a lot worse. Not getting a Valentine on Valentine’s Day is like not getting a turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s sad, but you’ll live so long as you have Mash and a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese. I’m not sure when I’ll see my next Charlie Brown special, but there are always more out there so they shall return. In the meantime, prepare for some more intense reviews coming up.

Overall 6/10

You’re in Love, Charlie Brown Review

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This Charlie Brown special was definitely a lot more true to what the series is all about. It’s another story of Charlie Brown trying to win the red haired girl’s attention, but getting embarrassed along the way. However, it’s certainly not as personal as in the last one. Everyone is mean to him, but that’s to be expected at this point. It was just more enjoyable and this special was even older so it makes sense. Peppermint Patty has her first real role here since the Chuck gimmick happens for the first time based on Charlie’s reaction and it just feels retro.

Charlie tries to impress the red haired girl quite a few times or to at least stand out, but it keeps backfiring. You can appreciate his effort as he was able to write some really cool equations on the whiteboard, but it turned out that he didn’t know how he got there. It was still impressive that he knew them in the first place though. Hiding under a paper bag when the girl approached was a little harder to sympathize with though as it showed that he lacked the nerve when it counted.

The ending is a little on the cheesy side to be honest and I like to think that the letter was written by one of Charlie’s friends so he wouldn’t be moping during the entire summer vacation. If it was real then at least Charlie got some attention for once and hopefully she wouldn’t forget him over the summer vacation. Charlie will also have to stay on his best behavior since he’s now on the school’s naughty list for yelling at a teacher. It’s definitely not something that you’d expect from Charlie, but he was wound pretty tight by this point. Eventually he was definitely going to crack after all of the pressure.

Peppermint Patty and Linus are really the only two people that Charlie can count on. The former may have let him down with her plan to meet on the baseball mound, but at least her heart was in the right place. Linus also offers words of encouragement even if they turn into subtle insults at times. He certainly made things worse by telling Lucy and the others about the red haired girl. Snoopy is around as well although he doesn’t do much. His shenanigans are always cool though and help the special pass by. It was another romance centered one, but the special was still layered. We got to see the whole cast and the comedy was handled well. It was just far more entertaining than the last one.

The animation is as consistent as ever. This special is even older so it’s all the more impressive to see how it’s held up over the years. That really speaks to how good the overall style is. You can easily glance at the special and immediately recognize all of the characters and what’s happening. It’s changed a little over the years, but by and large it is the same style that we all know.

Overall, I’m one step closer to watching all of the Charlie Brown specials. I can definitely see their appeal as it’s easy to watch these. They’re just nice, light hearted fun. Now, whether a happy ending makes up for a sad beginning and middle for Charlie is another question altogether. In this case, I’d say that it sort of does since Charlie doesn’t take it personally and the stakes were a lot lower. It really depends on how it’s handled since this kind of thing can easily turn mean spirited if the writers aren’t careful. It has already happened a few times after all, but by and large the franchise has always been good with that. This one is winning as of now, but next up is the final special that I’ve seen at the moment. Can the special with Valentine’s Day in its title take the win or will it fall into the trap of the former? Time to find out!

Overall 6/10

It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown Review

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This is one of the more tragic Charlie Brown specials. You can’t help but feel bad for the guy as he’s framed and suffers from serious memory loss all in the span of 20 minutes. He got to have some fun though and at least has a happy ending for a change. I certainly wouldn’t say that it’s one of my favorite specials, but I suppose it gets the job done.

The plot involves Charlie being framed by Lucy for losing the team’s big football game. It was a little on the mean spirited side, but the series doesn’t mind going there when it suits the franchise. I’ll never forget how the bullies humiliated the heroes in the racing challenge. I’m still a little sore about that one. When you consider the high stakes of this game, it also shows you that Lucy has her priorities completely mixed up. Nevertheless, Charlie must try to get past this because he has been assigned to be the little red haired girl’s escort in a big party. Can he steel his nerves and get through this without fainting?

You can tell that this is one of the older specials right off the bat because the graphics are a little more dated. It’s nothing too drastic though and the special still looks good overall. It’s not like you can stop the passage of time right? There isn’t much in the way of music here or sub plots. It’s really just one straight adventure to the end so at least there aren’t a whole lot of filler scenes.

By the same token there isn’t a whole lot to talk about here. One thing that I have to say is that the red haired girl was given a fairly throwaway design for some reason. She resembled a non playable character more than you would have expected. She also had no real personality, but I suppose that is to be expected since she never really got to talk back in the day. I was surprised to actually see her since it’s a running gag that she never appears.

While the party was apparently pretty exciting, it doesn’t really amount to much since it was all off screen. There also wasn’t enough Snoopy action for my liking. He’s always the life of the party so you gotta have him in a starring role. If the whole special had been the Football game and Charlie had gotten to win it in the end, the special would have certainly been verrrrrrry different.

Overall, This was a reasonable special. It did have some noticeable issues though like the Football game. You can’t help but feel bad for Charlie there and the rest of the kids need to start wearing glasses. Charlie fainting at the end was also pretty sad and makes the whole situation even worse for him. Also, a special can’t really last for the full length with just a romance plot. The football scenes were meant to help with this…but we know how that turned out. If you’re going to watch a Charlie Brown special then you can certainly do a lot better than this one. That being said, it’s still not a bad special. It went by really fast so I’d say that it actually has a reasonable amount of replay value. It’d just be too depressing to watch again without some kind of break. I recently saw two of the other romance specials so we’ll see how they stack up. At the very least, I can confirm that the other two aren’t as tragic.

Overall 5/10

Kino’s Journey: Life Goes On Review

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It looks like Kino is back on the job with this prequel OVA. We’re back in the days of her youth before she became devoid of personality but still after the tragedy of the original Kino. At less than 30 minutes long, this OVA is fairly short, but it’s not bad. We get to see more crazy customs and a lot of pondering by the cast. In a way, you could say that Kino’s Journey is like a grim Charlie Brown…just think about it.

So, Kino wants to find the village where the original Kino used to live. After all, she may have taken his name, but she feels like she can’t properly use it until she wraps up these loose ends. Her master allows her to go, but gives Kino a gun just in case. Kino may run into all kinds of dangers and having some form of self defense has never hurt before. What could have happened to change Kino from the happy girl that she used to be into the emotionless person that she would transform into? It is all explained in this special.

We may as well get down to business right off the bat. The series likes to show a lot of odd superstitions and customs from the various places that Kino visits and this one is no exception. The villagers have decided that anyone beyond their village is someone who cannot be bound by their laws. As such, they decide not to do anything while an old lady murders all travelers who come by so that she can avenge her son. Many travelers meet an ill timed fate at her hands until Kino shows up one day and puts an end to it. Kino ultimately puts her gun skills to use and the taking of a life took its toll as she immediately became a different person. I suppose it’s hard not to get jaded after that, but Kino should have suspected something.

I figured that the old lady was approaching nut bar factor 6 once the animation gave her a red tint and she started glaring at Kino. Kino didn’t quite realize this even after she started to tell the lady about how her son was murdered by Kino’s parents. Probably not the best way to go about this although the lady was going to take her down anyway. Remember, never accept a tea from a stranger or it’s probably going to be spiked. I suppose the old lady was almost a decent antagonist, but I’d like to see another gun pro as the main villain at some point. It would give Kino more of a challenge.

I can’t say that I’m crazy about Kino’s animation. It’s not really my style as it goes for a more retro, grainy look. I suppose making it look older can help make the atmosphere a little more mysterious, but I’m sure you could do this with modern animation as well. There’s not much of a soundtrack since this is a rather quiet show, but it was neat to hear the classic sound effects from the show.

While this special was good, there is one area where the franchise could improve a lot and it would help future titles. The main cast needs a serious revamp. As it stands, there aren’t really any likable characters at all. I liked Kino until she reverted to her TV show form in the end, but nobody else stands out. The Motorcycle is a pretty bland character and the master didn’t seem to have a personality. The main villain probably stood out the most and she’s totally insane. Adding in good characters can definitely make a difference and it’s probably what separates this from Twilight Zone as the two have a very similar concept. This show just doesn’t have the cool alien episodes or supernatural adventures and prefers to stay old school. Not a bad decision per say, but it does limit its opportunities.

Overall, Life Goes On is a good way to continue Kino’s Journey. I clearly did enjoy it more than the show as this kind of series is definitely a case by case basis. If the story is good then we’ll have a winner, but if the traditions are too dicey then it won’t have the same effect. This special was interesting enough and the time went by at a good speed. If you enjoy adventures where you get to see different lands and situations then this should be up your ally. It’s a special that easily stands on its own so you don’t need to have seen the show to get what’s happening. It’s not the most exciting thing out there, but it’s good enough to warrant a watch.

Overall 6/10

Scooby Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon Review

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All right, time for one of the latest Scooby Doo adventures. The first WWE adventure was actually pretty fun. I’ll take any excuse to throw in some fight scenes to the classic Scooby Doo formula you know? The problem is that this one takes the wrestling out of the WWE for the most part as it tries to be a racing film. That’s a verrrrrrry odd strategy if you ask me and it really didn’t make any sense. Sure, we still had some fights, but not as many as you would expect. The writing is a clear step under the last few films, but it’s still a reasonably enjoyable film.

Shaggy and Scooby have finally realized their dream of owning a burger joint. Now they can take customer orders and then eat the burgers instead of serving them. They’re still in business somehow, but hey…that just shows how strong the economy is at the moment right? Their favorite wrestler is the Undertaker and they’re rooting for him to win it all. Unfortunately, his partner was attacked by a mysterious foe and now they will have to take part in the race since Undertaker needs a partner. Can they win the race and stop this interloper or are they completely doomed?

I have to give myself numerous pats on the back here as I correctly guessed who was the villain within the first 10 minutes of the film. I don’t like to brag, but I just have that knack for this kind of thing. The person seemed rather suspect. Not in an obvious red herring way, but in a more legitimate fashion. Lets talk about the suspects. There is Undertaker and his sidekick. The sidekick may be doing this to make Undertaker look good and this is a nice way of taking out the competition. There’s the Russian team who may be using this as a way to undermine American confidence in racing. There’s the All American hero who loves messing with his hair and his tough female co-rider. They bicker a lot, but it could be an act. There’s the crazy twins who can teleport and throw dust at their opponents. They’re clearly not ordinary humans so they could have a stake in this. There’s the daughter of the president of the company who enters against his wishes along with her partner so they’re suspect. Finally, there’s the president who always wanders away right when the ghost shows up. Suspicious? Not at all! He makes it way too obvious to be suspicious.

There are quite a lot of suspects here and the cool thing is that most of these characters are real so that ups the stakes. Can you picture these celebrities actually doing this? Although if you’re a Pro Wrestler I suppose you’re used to acting. The actual race isn’t bad as anything goes so all of the cars work on bumping each other out of the way. There aren’t a whole lot of gimmicks to most of the cars, but Fred built Undertaker one that has rocket boosters so that helped to give him a bit of an edge. Not to mention that he could eat on the go with the original food truck. 3 day races like this are always interesting since the first 2 days barely matter since the winner of the final stretch takes it all anyway.

Before I talk about some of the negatives, lets keep on talking about the strengths to get them out of the way. One thing I really liked here was that the “civilians” actually fought back. Usually everyone just runs away from the ghost in a Scooby Doo film even if he/she isn’t all that threatening. That’s not the case here. One guy sees the ghost approaching and actually decides to hide behind a pickup truck to plan his attack and then launches at the guy. He actually puts up a really good fight even if he ended up being defeated instead. Likewise, nobody cowers at the sight of the villain aside from Shaggy and Scooby and I loved this change of pace. Imagine how awesome it would be if this became the norm.

The animation is as good as always. The Scooby Doo formula is certainly written in stone at this point and animated as such. I don’t think they need to worry about switching up the style because it just works so well. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any good music themes this time. The main theme was pretty solid I suppose, but we only got to see it very briefly. The writing is fairly bad though and that takes us into the negatives.

This first one may not really be the film in particular, but I have to address it. Shaggy and Scooby get more and more annoying with every film that passes by. I can’t really say that their antics are funny and they are easily the worst members of the Mystery Gang. I wish they wouldn’t be so scared all of the time and they’re very over the top. How can the Undertaker be their favorite wrestler if they’re completely terrified of him? The whole thing just doesn’t make any sense. Their food gimmick is good, but that’s where the buck stops at this point and the rest of their character is just sad.

Next, the characters are too gimmicky in this film. Every character is extremely exaggerated like the Russian guy or the American who was focused on his hair, but actually wasn’t very tough in the end. They’re all caricature at this point instead of real characters. Most films have quirky characters of course, but you have to do it with some tact in order to be really effective. The twins with the dust were just as bad as they were constantly waving their arms around and talking nonsense. I can’t picture their fans being very thrilled about their portrayal because it was just pretty disappointing on the whole. There were very few reasonable characters in this film.

It also reused the Daphne/Velma plot for what must be the 6th or 7th time at this point. Daphne gets a new friend so Velma gets jealous, but the new friend turns out to be shallow so they become buddies again. It’s a really old plot at this point and shows that they’re running out of ideas. At least the ghost was cool though. I mean, he barely even pretended to be a ghost this time around, but a physical opponent makes sense so the heroes have something to fight. The design was good and he was decently formidable so that was satisfying.

Overall, This film was a bit of a step down from the last few Scooby Doo films and just most of them in general. The positives are quite good at least like the fact that we got actual fight scenes. They weren’t as solid as the first WWE film, but they were still fun and that’s why I want more WWE films. We just need to focus on the wrestling and the fighting instead of trying to throw in races and all of that. Also, where was John Cena? I was really surprised that he wasn’t in the film as that seemed like a no brainer. If you’re a big Scooby Doo fan then you should check this out, but otherwise the first WWE film is just better in every way. It’s a better way to start off with the series. I expect the series to make a recovery with the next one.

Overall 6/10

A Charlie Brown Celebration Review

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It’s been a little while, but time for another Charlie Brown review. This one was pretty big since it was celebrating one of Charlie Brown’s big anniversaries. Unfortunately, the special fell a little on the flat side. It decided to basically be one large anthology instead of containing one full plot. Doing something different for this special makes sense I suppose, but this was definitely not the right call. The Anthology format has never been all that good and this special doesn’t change my mind on that.

Well, there’s not much of a plot here since the segments keep cutting to another one. The one that probably appeared the most was Peppermint Patty being tricked into graduating dog school and then getting beaten up by a cat. To her defense, the cat was extremely powerful and definitely wasn’t playing around. You gotta love that level of dedication eh? Snoopy was around to back her up at least so that helped quite a bit. This was easily the best plot in the special if you ask me as it was fairly entertaining.

Other plots included Charlie Brown getting humiliated in Baseball as per usual and the Piano kid getting upset as always. In Charlie Brown’s plot, he was actually a little tougher than usual as he didn’t let the other kids know how they could buy caps. His discretion worked pretty well if you ask me as he can’t give the other kids all of the answers all of the time right? They probably wouldn’t be very grateful anyway. For the Piano kid, his instrument was flushed down the sewers so it was a sad day for him. He called in to get a replacement, but it’s safe to say that Lucy had the last laugh this time. The replacement wouldn’t come for quite a while so the piano kid would have to hang out with her now. (Or just cry in his room)

As always, Snoopy is the best character in the special. He’s a professional lawyer who may trick his clients from time to time but he means well. He did ultimately go back to help Patty so you have to give him some props there. Charlie’s definitely the next best character as he’s consistent as always. Linus surprisingly didn’t get much of a role here at all. Considering that this is a big anniversary project, that was a little bit surprising. They basically got everyone else back though so I guess that’s good enough.

The animation is consistent as always. The Peanuts style has certainly aged well and the animators have always done a good job of keeping everything on point. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see other styles like if we get another modern Charlie Brown special or the infamous flash one. I can’t see them being quite as catchy as this one although CGI works well enough. The modern film was proof enough of that.

The only thing holding this film back is the format. Each story ends way too quickly and it would have been better off picking a few stories and just stretching them out for a while. The Patty plot could have easily been the main plot of a special with the Piano kid one being the subplot. That would have worked a lot better if you ask me. At least the special was a little longer to help compensate for that, but this should be a lesson to all franchises…never do anthologies. It’s just not worth it. There will always be a story that’s better than another one that you’ll want to see more of and a weak one that you’ll wish they had excluded. It comes with the territory.

Overall, It’s still a Charlie Brown film so I wouldn’t call it bad or anything. My only gripe with it is that the film can be a tad bit boring at times. There’s not really anything happening after all so it’s like seeing a bunch of Charlie Brown gags without the actual plot to back it up. It comes across as a little odd and dare I say low budget? Still, the writing was good and the film is still pretty short so I wouldn’t say that it drags on or anything. If you’re a big Charlie Brown fan, then you should check this one out. If not, then this isn’t the best way to get into the series. I suppose it could work as a preview of the franchise, but it’s still not worth it. I’d recommend watching the Christmas special first.

Overall 5/10

Yugioh: The Dark Side of Dimensions Review

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It feels good to finally have another Yugioh movie out in the world. The 3D crossover still ranks as the greatest film of all time so I had really high hopes for this one. Spoiler Alert- it doesn’t manage to topple the 3D film, but nothing really can. This film was handled perfectly and I can safely say that it is in my top 5 movies of all time. At the moment I’d put it in 4th. 1st being Bonds Beyond Time 2nd being Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan 3rd being DBZ Resurrection F and Bleach: Hell Verse being right under the Dark Side of Dimensions. It gets a little tricky after that with Boruto, Final Fantasy VII, Madoka Rebellion, and others films fighting it out. Whether you’re a Kaiba fan or not, you should definitely be able to enjoy this adventure.

The film pretty much starts with Kaiba reminding the world why he is the greatest. He manages to finally defeat Yami Yugi. Granted, it was an A.I. version of him, but with Kaiba’s top of the line tech it may as well have been the legendary duelist. Kaiba wants to bring the real deal back though after Yugi and friends sealed the Pharaoh away in the past for all of eternity. To that end he has uncovered the Millenium Puzzle and must put the pieces back together. Things don’t go as planned when an avatar of the Plana shows up. His name is Deva and he can’t allow Yami to come back or else he will lose his special powers. This would ruin his plans for revenge so he attempts to get in Kaiba’s way.

The heroes are thrown into the mix because they are Deva’s targets. Joey is still really into dueling, but Yugi has mostly moved on from such things. He is forced into action once more though when Deva kidnaps Bakura and Joey. It’s personal this time and Yugi is determined to end things once and for all. Can he really hope to win without the help and guidance of Yami though? It may be time for Kaiba to step up as the new hero.

One thing you’ll notice from the start is that Kaiba’s practically the main character of this adventure. He gets the most interesting plot, the best lines, and the best duels. He completely steals the show here and his genius goes to brand new heights. He is able to make just about anything from power inhibitors to space ships. Kaiba even comes up with a solid light duel disc which can repel reality warping. If that’s not impressive, then I don’t know what is! Almost every single line from Kaiba is an insult or a way to brag about himself. It wouldn’t work so well if he was always full of hot air, but Kaiba can back up all of his tough talk. He basically doesn’t get to lose in the entire film. He is a master class duelist and as far as I’m concerned, he’s the best. Kaiba has completely surpassed everyone to the point where they can only hope to deal some damage with gimmicks and cheap tricks. Kaiba’s basically a perfect rival and the film reminds me of why he is so awesome. Aside from Jaden, he is definitely the best character in the franchise and one of my all time favorites in media. He even subverts the trope of the rival getting wrecked by the villain in the opening scene. Kaiba really stops every trope that opposes him as seen in his duel with Yugi and the ending as well. Kaiba really wasn’t playing around in this film and shows that you can be obsessed with getting payback while still serving the community and the world in the process. He’s just an upstanding guy.

Deva is the main villain of the film and he is definitely solid. I’d have to say that he is a far superior villain to Paradox. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Pyramid of Light, but I’m inclined to say that he is better than that guy as well. Deva is not quite ready to surpass the big shots like True Bakura and Marik, but I’ll also give him the edge over Pegasus. Deva may have gone off from the heroic path, but I have to give him credit for his determination. He never forgot the identity of the person he had to get revenge against even after many years and he did manipulate his powers well. If he was facing anyone other than Kaiba, he could have really done a lot of damage in the opening acts.

This film really did manage to bring back as many big plots as possible along the way. As I mentioned earlier, the film was basically perfect. To be perfect, it had to bring back a certain character from the manga that I had been hoping would return. Well, it happened and I suppose I won’t say who exactly, but this villain’s a fan favorite. He does quite a lot of damage even if the film didn’t allow him to re obtain his true form. That would have been even more fun and I was actually expecting it to happen for a while there. The film gave him many opportunities, but I suppose it simply wasn’t to be.

Yugi gets a big role as expected. He nearly dies in traffic which would have been a very sad way to go, but he managed to get out in the nick of time. It was a nice contrast to when Kaiba was around. I’m not crazy about Yugi deciding to step away from dueling, but I suppose that was always more Yami’s thing than Yugi’s. Yugi just likes games in general so I guess it was about time for him to move on. He’s a nice enough character as always. While not as tough as Joey, Yugi’s always ready to do the right thing and he is a determined guy. He does his best to search for Bakura and comes through when the stakes are high. He does give up a little too easily on Yami though, but luckily Kaiba called him out on it. It’s interesting to see Yugi in a semi retired state being forced back into action by Kaiba. Especially since he’s barely the main character this time around. It’s a different perspective and one that I definitely enjoyed.

One part of the film that was puzzling was the fact that Joey didn’t get to duel. He talked about dueling quite a lot in the film and it felt like the film was trying to build that up as an actual plot. I was fully expecting him to duel Deva at one point, but I guess maybe it was going to take too long. That, or it was planned for an extra long uncut version which will debut any day now. That would definitely be fun right? Tea and Tristan are also around although they don’t do all that much. Tristan spends most of the film getting choked and messed with while Tea supports the duelists from the stands. She ends up being the first person to ditch the group for good so the status quo is certainly changing. Bakura is fairly important to the film, but I do definitely miss his true self. Normal Bakura just doesn’t work as a character quite as well as when he had that extra edge. Either way, it is fun to see the whole gang back again.

A cool tribute to the classic game of Yugioh is that the film had each duel start at 8000 life points. The manga and anime titles never got to do this all that much because each duel would take too long. Technically, Yugioh should always be played with 8000 life points though as that is the standard. Since this was the big movie and time wasn’t really an issue, Dark Dimensions got to pull it off. I can safely say that I do prefer the 8000 life points set up. It allows each duelist to unveil longer combos without instantly winning through them. Yugioh 5Ds showed us the cons of a 4000 life point duel since you can feasibly beat someone in a single turn so they wouldn’t have a chance to counter. With 8000 life points, that isn’t really an issue.

The theater where I saw this film had a lot of lively Yugioh fans in attendance so that was cool. This also meant that they were paying a lot of attention to the cards and naturally all of them had to subtly call out a moment where Kaiba had a special ability that let him instantly summon a Blue Eyes. Based on the reaction, I’m guessing that the effect was a little sketchy (Does it work like that?) or the card was a super obscure one that nobody has. It was a very cool ability though and Kaiba always makes sure to have the best cards. His preparation is second to none. Considering what a big film this is though, I’m fairly sure that the film played by the rules. Unlike the show where it can get away with breaking the rules sometimes, I doubt the writers would dare here.

For kicks, there is one gimmick style of dueling in this film, Dimension Dueling. Under this style, you can summon whatever cards you want by infusing your cards with your limitless mental energy. Ultimately, there is absolutely no point to this technique and the only reason they probably added it was so you could see Yugi and Kaiba striking DBZ poses as they powered up. As such, it was less annoying than some other gimmicks like Action Cards from Arc V and it was passable. Of course, I was still thrilled that most of the duels in the film where of the standard kind. Why mess with something that’s not broken?

If you’re waiting for Yami, then I’ll just say not to expect too much> This film’s really meant to be more of a Kaiba searching movie similar to Homura’s search for Madoka in Rebellion. Both climaxes are just as satisfying though so while Yami and Madoka didn’t get to appear all that much, the brief moment is hyped to the max. In this case, the rules probably were destroyed since the summon came out of nowhere, but I’m cool with that since the villain basically broke the rules by using a power up in the first place. His unlimited attacks with the cubes were also a little over powered and hard to stop. Anything goes at that point right?

As expected, the animation is absolutely top notch here. The energy effects are great and all of the characters designs are completely on point. You won’t have seen so much blue in just about any other film. Kaiba has made the place so futuristic that you’d think you were in 5Ds or Zexal world at this point. It’s kind of cool that the classic series may finally be more advanced than the sequels. Whether it’s box monsters or a bunch of cool dragons, you’ll feel each and every blow from the monsters. A punch will send debris everywhere and the animation will crisply move on to the next scene. This film even made it easy for TV channels to air it as some scenes will go with a fade out before entering the next moment. Not to be outdone, the soundtrack is also excellent here. I would have liked a good GX tune or two of course, but this is a classic Yugioh movie so it makes sense to stick to its roots. We get a really nifty remix of Kaiba’s Batman theme from the TV show and also a pretty good remix of “Your Move” for the end credits. With the writing also at 5 star quality the whole time, the movie really has everything going for it.

Also to bring it up one more time, the film handled Kaiba’s counter to reality warping perfectly. It really sets the standard for how other characters can handle it. Just activate your high tech gadgets and the villains are forced to respect it. Kaiba’s tech really knows no bounds and coming up for counters to abilities that have never been seen before was another epic moment. It’s easy to see why the crowd cheered for every single Kaiba scene. It was insane. The other characters were lucky to get cheering for half of their scenes.

It was a really good decision to make this movie 2 hours for a change. It allowed the film to fit in a bunch of duels and also made the film more satisfying. It is hard to do quite as much when you only have 30-40 minutes as the duel has to be very short and that leaves no time for hype. Half of this film is really devoted to Kaiba’s hype and it paid off very well. The film never even comes close to dragging on as it’s almost nonstop action from the start. I’ve got to give the film a lot of credit for being this amazing. It really didn’t make any mistakes which is why it’s the optimal classic Yugioh film. I can’t see it being surpassed by another. In fact, even the bullies were defeated by the guy who was being bullied for a change. That was nice to see.
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Overall, Yugioh The Dark Side of Dimensions is a film that I highly recommend. Whether you’re a Yugioh fan or not, you can appreciate the intensity and amazement that each scene brings to the table. There are a bunch of homages for old time fans, but enough flashbacks to help newcomers along as well. It’s hard to see anyone walk out of the theater and not pick Kaiba as the stand out character, but I suppose I can also see how his overwhelming presence and confidence can be a little intimidating for a lead. He’s certainly not here to make friends and accomplishing his objective is all that matters. At the same time, Kaiba never fell off the wagon so to speak. He never went crazy or power mad as he tried extreme things to bring Yami back. He didn’t even physically threaten anyone this time as he calmly just made sure to get what he wanted. Kaiba manipulates people, but he does so in a professional way that will keep his PR agency happy. As such, the ending of the film is perfect. Naturally, it would have been awesome if the film could have been extended another 20 minutes since Kaiba deserves the win. It would have been highly controversial though so the film may have been wise in playing it safe. It’ll be very hard to top this film to be honest, but if they do another crossover with Yugioh GX, anything is possible. It’s a really good time to be a card game fan with so many titles going on right now. It feels good!

Overall 9/10

Turtles Forever Review


I finally got to see this film again. The last time I saw Turtles Forever was way back in 2012 so it’s been quite a while. That was also before I had actually seen the show so this time I got to watch it with the proper context. It’s definitely a fun adventure and a good way to close out this chapter of the franchise. It could have stood to include a little more action if you ask me, but that’s really the 2003 version’s thing so since this is a crossover, I guess they wanted to limit that a bit.

The film starts off with the 80’s turtles infiltrating the 2003 world and getting kidnapped by the Purple Dragons. After the real turtles save them from imminent destruction, they learn that the old Shredder has built a machine that can travel through dimensions. This Shredder decides to revive the main Shredder who promptly betrays the old version. He decides to eradicate all of the dimensions to destroy all of the Turtles around the multiverse. The Turtles will have to band together if they want to stop him.

The 2003 characters definitely take the spotlight for most of the film, which makes sense since it’s their home turf. Not to mention that they are typically known as the strongest incarnation of the characters anyway. They handle the 80’s characters rather easily and do a good job of making short work out of the minions. Casey and April also get a quick cameo, but since Casey is basically retired from fighting now, the two of them can only watch and hope for the best. Hun and Shredder both have big roles. Hun’s glory days are long past, but he still has his main theme working and does manage to get in the way of the heroes quite a lot. For the Shredder, it’s a mixed bag with him. This was easily not his best portrayal as the film decided to add in extra humor for the 80s characters and the Shredder is defeated several times. Being knocked out by the sleeping gas was a little unfortunate and then we also panicked when the Turtles charged at him near the end. It further proves the fact that he’s an amazing villain when he has the armor on, but he loses a lot of cool points when he’s in his alien form. He was still the most appropriate choice for the main villain of the film, but I would have liked him to have done more.

One slight issue with the film is that there really aren’t any battles. There are some general action scenes as the heroes take on scores on minions who can’t fight back, but no real fights. The Shredder doesn’t get to fight. Hun doesn’t really get to fight. As a result, there is nobody for the Turtles to go up against. I think that a good sword fight with Leonardo would have been cool. Granted, it was already established that the 80s Turtles can’t really fight, but we could have had them fight the original ones.

The 80’s characters were fun to have for the most part. I like the main Turtles. They brought back the pizza gimmick and are so out of touch with reality that they just do whatever they feel like doing. They ignore the danger and it doesn’t even register for them since they don’t have experience with it. Their weapons are a lot smaller than the 2003 version and they all have Michelangelo’s personality. It’s certainly a contrast to the main group. Unfortunately, their villains are less interesting. The Shredder is about as comic relief as a villain can get and is mocked quite a lot by the main Shredder. Krang has an intriguing burping gimmick that gets old real fast.

Finally, the original Turtles are pretty great. They do come off as rather unreasonable and why would they pick a fight with the others instantly, but not try to stop the Shredder when he’s apparently been messing up their city all day? Ah well, it gave us an excuse for a quick fight scene. I also liked how they shoved Raphael away when he tried making fun of the 80s versions. Raphael was pretty out of line there. It’s always nice to see that the original version of a character is hardcore, that’s how it should be and the black and white Turtles got the job done.

Turtles Forever gives some closure to various 2003 characters. Karai finally makes the tough call and distances herself from the Shredder, Hun finally became a Turtle, and Splinter has finally realized that there were other Turtles in the multiverse. I do think that the characters were very slow to pick up on what was actually happening here, but not everyone is cut out for time travel right? It was so unnerving that the Turtles didn’t even take prisoners in this show. They blew up one of the humans who got infected by the ooze and was changed into a monster. I was not expecting that and you have to feel bad for the humans, the Turtles shot and ran over all of them. Even 80s April O Neal didn’t have a happy ending as the villains got to her in the end after the Turtles left. The film was certainly a little more intense than you’d expect in some cases while not as intense in other ways.

The film is decently long so there is time for a lot to happen throughout. We get a lot of reunions and the heroes try to make a bunch of plans. It’s where there are some missed opportunities though. The film is long enough where it could have included a lot of other fights or more plot, but it kind of got stuck for a little while as the plot stalled. I have to admit, the movie could have been ever so slightly better with time management. Still, it accomplished what it set out to do by having the Turtles meet, interact, and then team up to fight the big villain. It’s a formula that works.

The animation is solid as always. The 2003 style just works really well with everyone. Seeing the 80’s Turtles in this futuristic environment was certainly fun. It was also cool to see the Turtles warp to different areas and then the animation would adjust as needed. That’s always one of the best parts of a crossover, letting the heroes see the other worlds. Of course, the best part is seeing the characters fight each other and we did have a brief skirmish with the original Turtles. As always, the music for Turtles Forever is good. We get to hear all of the classic tunes from the 2003 shows like Hun’s theme and Shredder’s classic sound effect. The action themes also work well and it should feel nostalgic since it’s like watching the show again.

Overall, Turtles Forever is a fun action movie and a good crossover event. Naturally, your enjoyment of the film will range based on how big of a TMNT fan you are. I imagine that people who watched both shows will enjoy it even more than those who watched one. It has good animation and a nice soundtrack to go along with the plot. I would have liked there to have been some more action and maybe a little more danger as well, but Turtles Forever is pretty good at keeping the TMNT tone that you would expect. I’m not sure if I can give it the nod over the CGI TMNT film as the best one in the franchise, but it’s very close. I haven’t seen the other one in a long time so it’s hard to say for sure. Regardless, I look forward to the next big (Non Michael Bay) TMNT film and hopefully we get a big theatrical crossover event someday. Hey…you never know right?

Overall 7/10