Gone Girl 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

Time to look at a pretty ambitious murder mystery film that certainly takes you through quite the roller coaster. At around 2 and a half hours you can imagine that a lot is going to happen here. It’s the kind of film where there will be a lot of debate on what part of the story would be considered a spoiler. Where should you stop the summary if you want people to get the full experience? Typically for convenience I’d just say anything in any of the main trailers is not a spoiler and anything beyond that is. That said, I haven’t seen the trailers for this film so lets see how this goes.

My spoiler free summary would be: Nick heads home on his 5th anniversary to celebrate with his wife Amy. Unfortunately she isn’t there and there are several signs of a struggle in the house. He calls in the cops who do an investigation but they quickly begin to suspect that Nick is the one who bumped off his wife. The setup just doesn’t look right and he keeps on missing details or giving them incorrect information about his wife. Either he didn’t know her very well or he is hiding something. Can Nick prove his innocence and find out who really attacked his wife? He will have to hurry before his life is effectively over.

It’s definitely a pretty intense premise partially because you don’t know if you can trust Nick or not. The very first scene is him thinking about murdering Amy after all so the film is immediately giving you reason not to trust him. He keeps on saying that Amy had no friends and basically no life outside of being at home all the time so that sounds a bit shady on its face as well. There are just a lot of angles to tackle this at so you’re left to your devices as the film keeps things rolling.

Gradually we learn more and more to the point where the film’s plot completely changes from how it started. This wouldn’t be a proper mystery film if you could easily guess the ending right? The main cast is fairly small so each player is able to do a lot. Nick doesn’t make for a likable main character though and in general you may find it hard to find anyone to root for. The two best characters in the film were easily the main cop Rhonda and Nick’s lawyer Tanner. Both of them were always ready for whatever the next step was and how to get ready for it.

There’s more to say on this but I think it’s time to jump into the spoiler part of the review so if you haven’t seen the film yet you can skip the next _ paragraphs as we dive into the nitty gritty details here. So you have enough time to escape as you speed read this I am putting this empty sentence of nothingness/filler that I am typing up as I type this, but then it’s time to dash because we’re going right into this. Are you ready?

So what I wrote so far is what I would consider the spoiler free version of the story. You should really not have any idea that this is something beyond a classic murder mystery film when you’re going into the film and see if you can figure it out for yourself or if not, be surprised with the characters. It turns out that Amy faked her death so that Nick would take the blame and ultimately be put in jail. She’ll then destroy herself which will lead to Nick being destroyed. It’s her ultimate end game plan. The reason she did this is because Nick was cheating on her with one of his students so she figured this would make things even.

Naturally it’s quite the diabolical plan but as we learn about her past, it’s not exactly out of character. She framed another guy for rape, sabotaged various careers, and was extremely unstable throughout her life. Amy is very quick to try and ruin lives whenever she can. So even if Nick hadn’t cheated I don’t doubt that she would have come for him at some point although it’s still important to note that he is the one who made the first move. He began acting distant and messing around with someone on the side before Amy went this far. She also tried to talk with him a few times but he declined each time so she took her drastic measures.

Amy’s an intense antagonist to watch since she has everything so carefully planned. She’s certainly not a likable character in the slightest though and it’s easy to see why people didn’t get along with her. She has a huge superiority complex where she is always insulting someone and has the grossest scene in the film when she spits into someone’s drink. That’s always just super nasty to even think about, much less see. The film makes it clear that she is not exactly going to get redeemed anytime soon and will keep up her antics to the end.

The scene where she flat out murders someone is quite intense. Gone Girl isn’t afraid to really go all out with being rather explicit about her plans and how she accomplishes things. To pull off her claims she does let the guys actually have their way for a bit like Desi who got used from start to finish. You know from the jump that she is going to murder him, the only question is how. That scene certainly got violent fast.

The writing is good with the characters explaining each step of their logic and how it went down. Again, it can be a bit too detailed/explicit if you ask me on explaining how you fool people with these tricks and such. I don’t need all the gritty details and you can put the dots together yourself. One of the themes in the film is pretty much that both Nick and Amy are such corrupt characters that you may wonder who you should be rooting for. Nick’s is clearly the lesser of two evils though so if we’re being honest I would say Amy is clearly the antagonist.

Ultimately it’s the extra details in the writing and the grittiness of the film that holds this one back from being a winner. There are quite a few bits of fanservice here along with one night stands that show more detail than you would expect in the average film. While this is intentional, most of the characters are not likable either so you aren’t exactly left with anyone to root for. These various elements quickly add up to strike points away from the film. It’s got a very interesting plot but it should have focused more on that with the TV commercials and getting the characters debating back and forth and less on making sure each character was thoroughly corrupted. I could also due with two of the more gross scenes in particular.

Meanwhile Nick’s more like an annoyance who talks a lot to say the right things but he clearly doesn’t mean any of it. To finish up with Amy before I move on though, she does occasionally overestimate herself though. Her plans are really well thought out but she doesn’t think as well under duress as seen when she was mugged by her neighbors. It was a pretty bad mistake that she dropped the money the way that she did. They probably would have attacked her eventually but it certainly sped things up.

Now for Nick, so he was cheating on Amy so right off the bat he’s a pretty terrible main character. It gets worse when you see the depths he went through to hide this and that he was going to confess on their anniversary. It’s just a bad way to do things. Then you have to consider that he didn’t know Amy was so psychotic initially so it just seems like he is being mean to her for no real reason. He just fell out of love for her out of the blue. He also hides clues from the cops which just puts him in even more trouble. It may not have gone super well for him but getting in their way wasn’t helping either.

Rhonda is very good at her job and she really thinks about each piece of evidence. She isn’t as quick to condemn Nick the way everyone else is but eventually the evidence is a bit much to ignore. Especially when you consider how unstable Nick is the whole time. Her partner was a lot of fun though, I liked how he was constantly taking shots at Nick the whole time. Clearly he wasn’t having any of this.

Nick’s sister Margo is pretty supportive of him the whole time although she gets rightfully upset when she finds out about the cheating. He wasn’t exactly careful doing all of that while she was right there in the house. The odds of her finding him were pretty high. Finally we have Tanner and his role may not have been large but he was definitely a lot of fun. The guy was good at his job and even though Nick kept sabotaging himself, Tanner did a good job of keeping him in the race.

The movie ends on a rather ambitious note. It’s not quite the ending I would have expected that’s for sure. With this ending there are any number of ways that this could play out. In most cases I would say Amy probably takes the final win but I suppose Nick would have a shot. I think a sequel could take this in some interesting ways by introducing new villains but it still makes sense as a stand alone ending as well. I was pretty satisfied with the ending overall.

Overall, Gone Girl is a pretty intense murder mystery. It’s the kind of film that has its story change so dynamically that it’s hard to really look at in depth without mentioning some spoilers. That said, the less you know about it, the more effectively you will be able to watch it. With all that said, it can get a little too graphic and gritty with setting the stage here. As you do learn more and more about what is happening in the film, you see that the manipulations can go quite far and at high cost to get someone to do what they want. I think you could cut some things out and easily raise the score here but as it stands I would advise checking out Sherlock Holmes or some of those classic mystery films instead which also have a lot of solid twists.

Overall 3/10

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) Review


Usually when you think of the Hammer crew you think of sub par films that rely on a lot of extra grit and shock value. Sherlock Holmes is a series you associate wit high quality writing and a lot of twists that will keep you going. Since this is one of the only Sherlock Holmes’ films that I would say is not a good film I would usually blame that on Hammer but to be fair this also happens to be the weakest Sherlock Holmes adventure that I’m aware of. Even the original one didn’t exactly rate very highly for me and this one is close. I would still say the other adaption I’ve seen of this film is better but for the most part 1959 remains faithful, it’s just not able to save the film from the ending.

The movie starts back in time when the Baskervilles were as corrupt and evil as ever. They kidnapped a peasant girl and had some dark plans for her. While they were burning a guy alive in the fireplace she manages to make a break for it. Unfortunately the head of the house, Mr. Baskerville catches and murders her. He doesn’t get to enjoy his triumph for long though as he is brutally murdered by a dog. We cut forward in the future where every other Baskerville head has moved into the mansion and been murdered in the same way.

In the present day Henry is the final Baskerville member still alive. He intends to move into the house because he believes that all of the deaths were coincidence and have nothing to do with some kind of supernatural dog. Regardless, Mortimer asks Sherlock Holmes and Watson to get on the case so that Henry will not be destroyed. Holmes is too busy at the moment though so he sends Watson along instead. Henry realizes that this means Holmes isn’t taking things too seriously and so he isn’t worried either. He’s just going to have a good time. Holmes does give Henry one warning though, don’t go to the bog alone at night. After all, that’s where everyone else died right? Henry couldn’t care less though and if someone, say a lady were to ask him to go then he would have no qualms about doing so.

As you can probably guess, this makes things a little difficult on Watson. Watson is effectively the main character here since he really gets to play detective more here. Usually you see Watson enjoying the snacks a lot in the background so this time he’s going to get to work that off. Watson’s always a fun character though and he does well here. The only time he lets Henry get into a bit of a difficult spot is when he left him to be guarded by a few other characters but in his defense, I don’t think he could have expected that the guy would run off though so I’ll cut him some slack there.

The writing is on point as you get to try and solve the case along with Watson. It’s not exactly Scooby Doo style where you are clearly introduced to each suspect as they all act a little strange. Here you are thrown into the house and gradually meet the characters. There are quite a few suspects like the escaped murder convict, the happy next door neighbors, Mortimer himself and a number of staff inside the mansion. In this kind of thing you can’t really trust anyone.

Honestly this would be a very easy film to survive for most characters though. Seriously, just don’t go to the bog, swamp, ocean, or any place listed in the curse. Sure, if you assume that the myth is fake and someone is carrying out the murders, at least you know that the person so far only likes to murder people in one spot. It’s like the evil mermaid film where everyone told the guy not to go to a very particular patch in the ocean but he laughed them off as he swam to his death. If Henry would just mind his own business and not be too desperate then he would be fine. Of course as soon as he gets asked out to the bog on a date he is quick to run there. Not exactly the most heroic guy that’s for sure.

Meanwhile Holmes is definitely a solid character as always. I like how downright rude he can be to everyone as he even factors this into his plans. When all else fails, he basically just tricks his opponents into making the next move which is really a solid strategy. After all, antagonizing the opponents is certainly a valid strategy if I’ve ever seen one. Holmes is 5 steps ahead in pretty much every scene and that’s definitely the kind of lead that you want in a mystery film.

So what are the film’s weaknesses that keep it from being a good film? Well, it’s pretty simple. The whole film revolves around a ghost dog so as you can imagine, a real dog does show up at one point. That means the gang shoots him down in the end so the film could not escape the animal violence. All animal violence is pretty bad but it can be especially bad when it’s a dog. As that is built into the very premise it’s why it is unlikely that a Hound of the Baskervilles title will ever be all that good. It’ll always have to try and outmaneuver the story itself which is no easy feat.

Also in true Hammer fashion the opening scene was totally unnecessary. We already could have suspected that the Baskervilles were probably shady but the film has to make it explicit just how bad they are with the live burning and the plans for the lady they kidnapped. The whole first scene just doesn’t even feel like a Sherlock Holmes film. You figure the captive would at least escape but she gets stabbed and dies anyway. The whole first scene could have certainly been cut and just thrown into the info dump early on in the film when Mortimer first showed up. That would have been the ideal way to do this.

Overall, Hound of the Baskervilles may be one of the most well known Holmes titles but I still consider it the weakest one. It’s also a story where Holmes is gone for a good chunk of it due to plot reasons. It’s an interesting twist of course even if this film changes how it plays out but of course the films where Holmes is present for more of it will end up being the stronger ones. It’s just not the same without him constantly picking apart every character’s alibi’s and just generally beating them up intellectually. He makes everyone around him feel small and that’s a huge part of his charm. If you’re a big Sherlock Holmes fan then you may still want to check this one out but otherwise I’d say to check out any of the other installments.

Overall 4/10

Sakura Wars: Le Nouveau Paris Review


Sakura Wars returns with the Paris troupe once more. Like the last adventure we’ve got a 3 episode OVA here. The stories are all pretty solid so this one holds its own with the last batch. I’d say there’s a little less action in this case and the first batch had the team’s origin which is always nice to see but we get some good character dynamics here. I would ultimately say that the third episode was the best one and that’s good since it means that things end off on a high note just as you’d hope.

The first episode focuses on Hanabi which is nice for her fans since she had a pretty small role in the last adventure. Her father is coming to town and he doesn’t know about Hanabi working on stage as part of the troupe or of her secret role in protecting France. Hanabi decides to make things a little difficult on herself by explaining that she is in a circus. Honestly the easiest thing here would have been to have just told him she was part of the theater and that would have worked a lot better. Still, misunderstandings happen awfully quick and so she lost her window of opportunity right away.

Hanabi was just a little too stressed out so even though her father turned out to be a reasonable guy who probably would have heard her out either way she ended up going through these elaborate measures. Give the rest of the team props for quickly having her back though. They are certainly quick thinkers as always which was really important here since Hanabi would have pretty much been out of luck otherwise. It’s a fun way to open up the saga. It may not be one of the more high stakes missions but we do get some danger towards the end of the episode. Mainly this was for Hanabi’s development and I would say it was handled well. Her father was also reasonable which is nice to see since sometimes parents in these things tend to be quite extreme.

The second episode gives us a mystery and this time the main characters are two of the assistants at the troupe rather than any of the main characters so that was also a twist in itself. Basically someone’s clock gets stolen and the issue is that he is an ambassador from another country. They want to use this as an excuse in order to infiltrate the troupe and find evidence that they are actually related to the secret defense force. It’s actually not a bad plan, especially considering that they didn’t fake the theft. It actually happened so they really were thinking on their feet here.

Lobelia looks really good in the subplot as she actually tracks down the thief. We also get a James Bond homage there as M16 appears along with their star agent. In his defense, the agent actually tried to hold his own even if you knew there was no chance he could beat someone with advanced fire magic. Those kinds of special abilities just give you a big advantage that can’t be solved without some kind of extra edge.

The main plot is still with the attendants though who are put in a pretty tough situation. The episode actually gets rather intense here while they are being interrogated and zapped since they won’t relinquish the information. It takes the heroes a while to get there so it’s impressive that they stood strong. I didn’t really recall their names but in honor of their efforts I figured I’d look it up so the two attendants are Ci and Mell. They ultimately make the heroic move to spare the villains at the end as well so give them points for not murdering those guys. Honestly I think the Paris group should try for harder punishments on the foreign groups after this incident though. It went rather far so the heroes should be able to get something out of this. From the 3 episodes this one had the most going on for sure. The idea of several intelligence agencies all getting involved along with a random criminal trying to pull the moves on everyone was fun to see.

Finally the third episode ends one of the subplots that had been going on throughout the first two episodes. When Ogami left he didn’t really get to choose who would take over as leader. He deserves full blame for this by the way as a quick line would have been enough to have gotten everybody on the same page. Instead he kind of waffled on this and gave every character a cryptic message making them think they would be leader. Naturally this hasn’t gone over well. Now there’s an old man who has taken over the Paris tower and is basically threatening to blow up the island. The Paris group has to finally choose a leader so they can unite and fight.

I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise who they pick as leader. The choice makes a lot of sense although I would argue that Glycine is the most qualified for the position. This is a fitting way to end the OVA because the leader plot was a big one and also because this special did allow Erica to get back in her robot so we got some big action scenes here. The second special had some good action too of course but no mech suits were involved so this one got more of the full Sakura Wars experience. It also felt rather grand due to the tower takeover because now the stakes were high. The old man and his abilities/tech may feel a bit random but in a world of aliens and mechs everywhere there are bound to be a lot of characters around who get their hands on things. Additionally I wouldn’t be surprised if he was from the game or a previous media because with the dialogue between him and Erica it’s clear that he’s not just some average joe. Based on his high position he’s in a good place to disrupt everything.

So while I wouldn’t say this beat the last Sakura Wars OVA, it’s a pretty well balanced one. The first episode would probably be the weakest for me with the final one being the best. The second one is in the middle. The Lobelia plot was definitely the best part since it’s always nice to see one of the team go rogue to an extent and just solve things on her own. Ci and Mell deserve credit as well of course. Meanwhile Coquelicot definitely gets the smallest role here. She doesn’t really get to do anything this time around while the other characters all got their big moments here and there. The cast works well together and there are a lot of different personalities so the contrast is effective. It would have been fun if Ogami had gotten to show up a bit but I suppose he can’t come rushing in to save the day every time. This way the group was able to stop the villains without any outside help.

The writing is solid here as you would expect and the animation is solid. It might not be anything breath taking but there isn’t a whole lot of action or anything so it’s not like the animators are really trying to stretch their limits. This is more of a little bonus adventure for fans who played through the video game and in that sense it succeeds quite well. The episodes all flow together well and you’ll have a good time with it. The soundtrack is a little less on the memorable side but it works well enough while you’re watching it so I’d definitely have no complaints there.


Overall, The Paris adventures end on a solid note. It’s been fun hanging with this group. With the New York group coming up we’ll see how those guys hold up. Personally I would consider them to be the best group but of course that’s the first one I was introduced to so they will always be rather nostalgic. At the same time the Sakura branch is the one I’ve seen for the longest period of time so they’re hard to beat as well. In a sense the deck was stacked against the Paris group so they’ve really done well in spite of that. It’d definitely be nice to see them get a full anime someday or something like that.

Overall 7/10

Spider-Man: Fake Red Review


When this Spider-Man manga first came out I was pretty pumped. The premise was interesting and the artwork was solid. It had all the makings of being the next big hit and possibly the definitive comic book manga adaption. Unfortunately this one got cancelled pretty early. The author managed to wrap up all of the loose ends so that there is no cliffhanger here but you wish this could have gone on longer. Well, it definitely works as a solid one shot so I would definitely recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a solid action title.

The story starts with Yu having a pretty tough time of things. He doesn’t have any friends at school and he’s also not very brave. When someone is literally getting bullied and beaten in front of him Yu chooses to look the other way. It’s just how he’s always lived his life. He skips school to practice his mountain climbing as well but is too afraid to talk to his classmate/mountain climbing expert Emma. One day he finds Spider-Man’s costume in the trash. Spider-Man has been missing for a while now and the costume appears authentic. Yu ends up putting on the costume for fun but is quickly mistaken as the genuine article.

As “Spider-Man” Yu’s life is really changing. He is finally able to hang out with Emma, get caught up on his studies, and most of all Yu finally feels like his life is great now. There is really only one problem here…he has no super powers. When fighters like Jackpot and Slik show up, will Yu really be able to stand strong and help defend the city or will he escape as soon as things get tough? Additionally we have the mystery of what exactly happened to Spider-Man.

This may just be one volume but it does feel like quite a lot happens. We get a few chapters solely for Peter Parker as we find out what happened to him even if Yu is still the lead overall. I think fans of Peter will be very satisfied with his portrayal here. He is really shown to be the ultimate hero throughout the adventure. He makes all of the right moves but of course the Parker luck continues to drag him down. Whenever he saves someone, it seems like he has to sacrifice something from his life. The guy really can’t catch a break and naturally Jonah gets involved as well.

Mary Jane and Aunt May don’t get to appear much here but it was nice to see how they were handling his disappearance as well. As for Yu, well he’s a decent main character I’d say but not one of the better ones. It’s hard to look past the opening scene where he literally lets someone get completely beaten up just so he can stay safe. That was really rough. From there he does his best to act like a hero though. He’s a bit over the top with how awkward he is around Emma though. By the end of the series Yu has done a good job of being a hero in his own right. He may still not really have many friends and will take some time getting back into the school routine, but at least things are looking good for him.

Emma is a fun heroine though. She’s got a nice sense of humor and is pretty dedicated to her craft. She’s apparently quite well known in the mountain climbing circuit due to her efforts while also maintaining high grades in school and having a ton of friends. Emma is even nice enough to watch out for Yu even though they barely know each other and she helps him out when he’s in a jam. Emma’s final scene also cements her as a quality character as she continues helping out even when nobody knows it.

Silk acting as Spider-Man’s main ally here was a pretty interesting call from the manga. She’s not the first person you would think of but it’s good for variety. In this series they apparently met early on and have been like family for a long time now. Silk’s shown to be a very dependable fighter with solid reflexes. Her ability to read waves and energy signatures is cool and the opening fight with Venom was intense. The battle is fairly short but does quickly introduce Venom as a powerful adversary while also showing how well Silk fights. If Silk was always like this I dare say she would be the best heroine in the Spidey-verse.

Naturally we have Venom as one of the big villains and he looks great. His design is absolutely on point and the guy fights like a true monster. He’s not someone you really want to have to deal with that’s for sure. Especially as the series gets some pages in full color you have some really dynamic moments. Other villains pop up as well such as Scorpion, Jackpot and the mysterious mastermind behind all of this. Scorpion leaves less of an impact than Venom but he also looked good here. His design was on point and the guy radiates power. As for the mastermind, he’s a bit whiny but a decent villain I suppose. Jackpot’s definitely more of a troll than the other two but a very dangerous one with all the lives she puts at risk when they panic.

The artwork is really top notch here. There is a ton of attention to detail in each page. The character designs are air tight and the battle scenes really flow well. Near the end of the series we get a big group fight and you can feel the intensity. The Venom battles are also intense with a lot of property damage in the background. I would easily say it’s the best artwork for a comic adaption I’ve seen in manga. This could hold its own with any mainstream manga title in this regard. the art seems like it’s styled on the 90’s-early 2000s look for Spider-Man and it suits him well.

Fake Red balances out the action with solid character development and interactions throughout. The pacing is very solid and each chapter is over in the blink of an eye. It’s definitely a real shame that this story could not have continued longer. I suppose it just wasn’t to be. Perhaps someday the author will get to do some kind of sequel story though. I feel like we could have Peter as being the full lead again though since Yu’s plot really feels over and done with. There is clearly a whole lot you could do with a story about Peter dealing with the fallout from his disappearance though and then from there just introducing a lot of new villains and even some more heroes.

Overall, Fake Red is a really solid volume. It succeeds thoroughly at being an impressive hero story. There’s a lot of different plots going around that all get wrapped up by the end. All of the characters get their moments to shine. I would say the art is part of what rises this story to the next level but the writing is also on point. It just makes for an easy and fun read. I basically got to read through it twice as I prepped for the review to make sure I remembered everything. If you haven’t checked this one out yet then I’d definitely recommend giving it a read.

Overall 8/10

The Sound of Music


Time to look at one of the big musicals from a while back. It’s intense to think that it’s been more than 50 years since this classic came out. When you’re making a musical the key is to always have good songs but also a strong plot. If you fail at both of those aspects then you become the next Cats film. If you succeed with at least one area then you’ve at least got a good starting point. I would say that the story is solid and the music is good. The style of music isn’t necessarily my thing but it works well enough with the film’s context. In the end the most impressive thing here is that the film is quite long but does not end up feeling dragged out or slow paced.

The movie starts by introducing us to a Nun in training named Maria. She is a free spirit and just doesn’t care to be confined by rules and regulations. If she wants to do something then she’s just going to go ahead and do it. That ultimately ends up leaving the Nuns to send her off to the home of Captain Von Trapp where she will serve as a governess and look after the 7 kids. This will be a difficult task as the kids have already chased off many others before her arrival. Still, Maria isn’t scared and is in fact looking forward to the challenge. These kids won’t get the best of her or at least they won’t have an easy time of doing so. Adding to the drama though is that the Captain has decided to marry someone but now he is being distracted by Maria’s presence. As a Nun in training Maria is to stay away from romance but can she really do this? Additionally, the Nazi’s have begun their takeover of Austria so the main characters are going to have to make some tough decisions here.

As the film is around 3 hours there is a lot of content they are able to sift through. It’s why it makes sense for there to be so many different plots around. There’s even a romance plot with the eldest child who is in love with a delivery boy but gradually he succumbs to the Nazi ideology which transforms him and causes a rift to be formed. The film is definitely showing how quickly a person can change and it’s pretty realistic. In particular politics can cause rifts rather quickly and change people quite thoroughly. It’s a good thing she didn’t enter into that romance more or things could have been tricky.

For the most part the kids aren’t quite as rebellious as you would expect. They play pranks on Maria a little bit during the very first scenes of the film but from there they quickly lay off when they see that she’s actually a decent person. I was glad we pretty much zoomed over that plot because it makes sense that Maria would win them over. She was quite down to earth from the start and as a rebellious person herself, she would be able to deal with them fairly well. The scene of all the kids being scared of the thunderstorm was a bit cheesy though. Maria did a good job of covering for them though.

She’s quite the solid lead. I like Maria’s energy. While she may have surrendered a little too quickly in leaving the estate the first time, that’s the only scene where I’d say she didn’t look great. Beyond that she was on point from start to finish and excelled at being a governess. I also liked that she laid down the law right away that she would not be answering to a whistle. That was definitely a bit much and setting those boundaries from the start rather than trying to accept them is what separates her from what a weaker lead character would have done.

Meanwhile you have the Captain who starts out rather antagonistically but he does change. By the end of the film you could definitely say that he was a quality character. He was at least open to changing his mind even if he came very close to firing Maria. If that scene had played out differently then most likely he would have never quite had the character arc that he ended up getting. He is a bit wishy washy when it comes to romance though, the guy tends to rebound a little too quickly considering how close to marriage he was.

Then you have the Baroness Elsa and you already know that things aren’t going to end well for her the instant she appears. In fairness to her character, the film doesn’t portray her as someone who’s incredibly mean or anything like that. There is the clear contrast that she is not nearly as pleasant as Maria though. When the kids pick on Maria she has fun with them and turns the tables, but does so with no malicious intent. That’s why she becomes friends with them. When the kids start on Elsa she quickly decides to ship them off to school. It’s a very different approach that highlights how different the characters are. Then there’s Max who just wants to make a profit off of everything. He doesn’t like taking risks and will do whatever is the most profitable action. He never becomes a hero or anything like that and while he has a friendly disposition, you can never tell how genuine it is. He’s the kind of guy you can’t really trust.

As for the songs, as mentioned they are pretty decent. The songs all tend to have a lot of story thrown into them so it helps to give them some substance. The weakest song is definitely the romance one in the courtyard where the delivery boy is trying to win points. Even before knowing how that plot ends you just don’t think things will be so easy and the guy is just too nervous in general. The writing is also on point. The film tackles a lot of pretty serious themes and there’s a lot of great back and forth dialogue. One such scene for example is when the Captain’s escape plan is thwarted so he has to have a conversation with the cops. There’s a lot of double meanings throughout the whole conversation with obvious threats being thrown in as polite small talk.

The film has a nice sense of danger there. While it’s a pretty happy slice of life for the majority of the adventure, you can see background elements throughout the movie. If you’re caught up on your history then you’ll realize what is going on pretty early into the film but otherwise things will start clicking into place by the middle act. This makes for a solid climax and also helps develop the Captain’s character as someone who wouldn’t compromise on his ideals even through the very end. Other options would have been easier but he stayed true to his course of defying the Nazi’s and would rather die than serve them.

Overall, The Sound of Music is a solid musical. The film really covers a lot and this is the kind of super long film that feels earned. It’s not just padding for time and every scene feels pretty important. I’m sure there are places you could drill down to make this a shorter experience but since it didn’t drag on and solid throughout there is no need. I don’t know how accurate this would be to the events or if the drama may have been drummed up, but I can definitely say it’s a solid movie. I’d certainly recommend this to anyone who wants to watch a light hearted musical with good character development all throughout.

Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution Review


Mewtwo is pretty fortunate to not only get multiple movies/specials but even a remake. Then the remake also getting its own manga adaption is pretty interesting. Naturally it’s very close to the original story but it’s an adventure that holds up and it was executed well. The art is solid and Mewtwo makes for a good villain so at the end of the day you’ve got a good adventure here. It certainly goes by in a flash.

The manga opens up by introducing us to Mewtwo, the most powerful Pokemon in the known world. He was created as a clone of Mew and modified to be even more powerful than the original. Mewtwo didn’t understand why a powerful being such as himself should work for humans so he escaped and built a fortress. In order to truly test the limits of his abilities he decided to send invites to the world’s best trainers. This would solve the question once and for all of who was stronger, Pokemon or their trainers.

Naturally Ash and friends are invited to this. Ash has definitely earned this privilege since he has been defeating Gym Leaders left and right. Not to mention that the volume opens up with him beating someone in a Pokemon battle so we see his skills firsthand. That said, Ash isn’t thrilled when he learns that Mewtwo doesn’t just want a good fight but global domination as well. Can Ash really take Mewtwo down or will he have finally met his match?

The manga has to move fast to adapt everything of course so some areas are glossed over. That said, I feel like the movie may have done this as well. The whole crossing the ocean part is basically skipped as the manga takes you to the heroes arriving there right away. I’m pretty fine with that since the battles are the most important part but it’s also why I say the more volumes you have for an adaption the better since you get to dwell on everything more. I would call this a very solid adaption though as you hit all of the major beats of the story.

While I wouldn’t say the artwork is top tier it’s better than a lot of the other quick one shots. For example I prefer it to the Heatran arc. Some of the shots in the manga really stand out as well like Ash’s punch against Mewtwo. It was drawn really well and you could definitely feel the impact of the blow. It’s always good to see Ash right there on the front lines trying to defend the Pokemon. It’s only fitting that he would be chosen to represent the real Pokemon.

As for the battles with the clones, I suppose Mewtwo was ultimately right that cloned Pokemon are more powerful. They all won their battles rather easily. Mewtwo mentions turning off their abilities later so perhaps the clones have built in augmentations like psychic abilities that can be turned off? It’s hard to say precisely what the abilities do but at the end of the day the clones are definitely stronger than the originals by a wide enough margin where it doesn’t seem possible for an original to beat the clone.

That helps support why I believe Mewtwo to be stronger than Mew. They have a good fight here but Mew spends a lot of it just running away and dodging. Mewtwo is the one on the attack the whole time. I also find Mewtwo to be one of the most interesting Pokemon fighters. The fact that he won’t just sit back and allow the humans to control him is definitely a big deal. He has his own honor code and sense of justice so he isn’t going to just roll over and allow himself to be beaten. His ability to talk also allows him to explain his case a lot better than most could.

Outside of the main plot you’ve got Team Rocket of course but their plot is absolutely tiny. They barely have any real relevance to the story so there’s not much to say about them. Even Misty and Brock don’t get to do much here. Brock mostly just embarrasses himself while Misty looks good but isn’t really here to battle in the first place. The other trainers who were invited to the island don’t get to do much aside from be quickly defeated. Their Pokemon do look strong of course, just not strong enough to tackle Mewtwo.

This was back when Legendary Pokemon really lived up to their name. There was a huge gap between someone like Mewtwo and even the strongest of ordinary Pokemon like Dragonite. It just made a lot of sense even if it’s almost inevitable that someday the Legendary Pokemon would not be able to keep up and got power scaled straight out of there. The writing is solid and the adventure is pretty fun. As the story is only volume there isn’t a ton more to say about it. I guess as a miscellaneous note I do think this was Giovanni’s worst appearance in some ways. Mainly because he had a great situation going for him with Mewtwo as a willing worker and then he blew it by calling Mewtwo a tool and mocking him. What happened to subtlety? I know Giovanni has a ton of confidence but it felt a little out of character for him to antagonize Mewtwo like that. I feel like he had to know that this would not end well.

Overall, Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is a pretty fun remake. I still say the original story beats the remake but I suppose in manga format it’s super close. One thing that i do think looks cooler is Mewtwo’s new armor with the spikes. It’s a much busier design but it’s one that works well. The armor is something that would quickly put fear into any Pokemon trying to deal with this guy and it looks one of a kind so you know that an ordinary Pokemon would not be wearing it. I suppose soon will be the manga for the new Jungle film. We’ll see how that one holds up in the end. Whether you’ve seen the Mewteo story already or not I would recommend checking the manga out. It’s a pretty faithful adaption and the story’s a lot of fun.

Overall 7/10

Megaman X Review


I read another manga adaption of the original Megaman X game recently so it was interesting to see how different this one would be.. Well, the two authors did nice jobs of taking very different approaches. The Irregular Hunter manga took a lot of creative liberties from the game’s story with around half of the reploids staying as heroes instead of all 8 joining Sigma. Additionally you had some more creative matchups as a result with maverick against maverick battles. This one goes for a much straighter adaption of events but also giving the robots more of a backstory and reasons for what they’re doing. It’s hard to say which approach is better although I would give the other adaption the slight edge in a head to head.

The manga starts really fast as X brings down a maverick only to find out that Sigma is now leading an army of Mavericks to take over the world. He wants humans to work underneath the reploids and intends to rule with violence. It’s interesting actually seeing a lot of humans running around here. Since X is out on the field when the announcement comes out it’s all the more shocking. Zero is on X’s side and wants to stop the mavericks so the two of them head out. X is initially a pretty low ranking fighter so there isn’t a whole lot he can do but as the story goes on he finds more and more power ups that evens the score with these powerful mavericks. If he can just hang in there for a little bit longer then he has a chance to win this.

This adventure does go for a lot more emotional beets compared to the first one though. For example in one adventure X heads to a city to save as many people who are evacuating as possible but isn’t able to save all of them. He consoles some of the survivors through his tears but it’s all very tragic. Then you’ve got another case where his mentor is murdered, a girl he just met gets bumped off, and he is unable to save Zero’s best friend. The body count in this series is absolutely massive. It’s all to really illustrate how X has a lot of emotions while the average reploid does not. I would argue that all of the reploids seem to feel emotion though but X clearly takes things harder than most. As a result he also gets a lot of rage moments throughout the series since these mavericks really take him to the breaking point.

Fortunately the series doesn’t dwell on this too much as it came very close to sabotaging itself. For example it’s mentioned that one of the animals didn’t make it. If we had actually seen this first hand that would have been very rough. In this world it’s clear that the heroes are playing catch up for most of the adventure. The world is really ruined and almost beyond repair due to Sigma’s plans. You do get that feeling of danger throughout though and each maverick encounter feels meaningful. You see which mavericks are sympathetic and which ones are just pure evil from the start. For example, X encounters one maverick at a facility where he’s murdered a bunch of robots and kept others in a near death state where they are stuck for eternity.

X is unable to save anyone here in what’s probably the toughest adventure for him. Each adventure has casualties though so it’s pretty crazy. The nicest maverick was likely Storm Eagle. There’s a whole lot of development with him and he blames Zero for the death of his fiance. It was a bad situation but certainly not Zero’s fault. The villains had just been too quick and had too many plans. X’s battle with him is pretty fierce. There are some twists and extra details in that fight which change things a bit too. Not sure I agree with their decision though. Let’s just say that the whole situation could have been avoided and it really should have. I never like the idea of holding onto a secret to test someone when just saying it could defuse things. You really can’t blame X for how things turned out.

Throughout the adventure we’re also given clear ties to the original Mega Man series as Dr Light appears a few times through holograms. We’re given a few recordings as he talks about Mega Man X as a last ditch hero who can save us all. It’s a pretty important speech but you always have to wonder how things got to this point. I’d love to see a series that takes place in the gap between Mega Man and the X series. Of course, this was probably a gradual change and the gap between the series is massive so maybe there was no exciting jumping on point. We know there was between X and Zero with the cool Elf Wars but no such thing exists in this gap as far as we know.

X is a great main character. He definitely gets very emotional and cries a lot but this series really justifies why he is so emotional. Every time he arrives onto the battlefield he is just too late. It’s one of his biggest predicaments here because he wants to be a hero who arrives in time to save everyone. Not someone who arrives in time to avenge the fallen. Throughout the series he is always too slow or too weak and it’s something that haunts him. By the end of the series he has finally attained his true power and believes that he can save everyone. It’ll be interesting to see how that’s continued in the next adventure.

Naturally you also have Zero here as a great rival character. He gets a pretty decent role and is shown as a strong ally to X. The guy always has a lot of confidence and ability so it’s always great to see him. Vile looks good as well and gets himself some solid wins. His ride armor always makes him hard to deal with. Naturally Sigma is a pretty great villain although he doesn’t get to appear nearly as much here as in the last adaption. He’s mostly just saved as an end game boss. The rest of the mavericks with the exception of Storm Eagle just seem to be crazy or sadistic. It’s easy to see why they joined Sigma’s army. A lot of them didn’t seem to like humans from the start. In this case the manga doesn’t try to play the sympathy card with them as the humans appear reasonable enough. You can definitely see how a society built around sentient robots working for the humans would go wrong though. The instant they became sentient there’s no way they would work under humans. With them? Perhaps, but certainly not below.

The artwork is very good here. It’s a very detailed style that really lets you appreciate the battle scenes. All of the character designs are on point and the whole thing looks nice. I also appreciate the good writing here with the characters acting very professional and the lore being on point. It’s a series that really sucks you in. You may understand the general format of taking out the enemies one by one but with how much depth is in each story it doesn’t feel super formulaic. It’s an adventure where you’re eager to see what happens next. Since this just adapts the first game there is naturally a lot of loose ends to continue the second game with as well.

Overall, This series definitely benefits from having 2 volumes. I always think it’s pretty hard to really adapt a complete game like this in one volume without rushing through things. If anything it would probably be even better with three. The more volumes you have the more you can pace things out and give a lot of development to everyone. Part of what makes this series so serious is that it’s able to take time to show how much damage the mavericks are doing and exactly why X is so invested in stopping them. It really shows why the other robots don’t understand X either as he sees this from an emotional perspective instead of just the data behind it. Something even Zero has trouble with although I thought he was plenty emotional in his backstory with Storm Eagle. The characters have a lot of personality and the world is well constructed. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how good the next manga title is. I’m certainly less familiar with X2 and since I haven’t seen another adaption of that one yet, I’ll be in for more of a totally new experience this time around. If you like action stories then I definitely recommend checking this one out. You may be surprised at just how emotional it is.

Overall 7/10

Creepshow 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

Uh oh, this time around we’ve got an anthology film. While it’s possible to have a good movie using this format it’s definitely not very likely. Creepshow proves this to be true as it ultimately flounders. The first story was easily the best one and then things began to dip from there. Most of these stories definitely end up being quite mean spirited and by the end of it you can see why parents wouldn’t have wanted their kids reading this stuff. It could certainly get intense that’s for sure.

First the film starts with a kid trying to read a copy of Creepshow but his father shows up and snatches the comic book away. He’s quite adamant about this comic being terrible and throws it in the trash outside. The kid resents this and prepares a method of revenge. This plot shows up here and there around the rest of the stories that are from the book until it returns as the closing piece of the movie. They definitely portray the Dad to be over the top mean towards the kid so he serves as the antagonist. Still, the kid’s quick method of revenge basically proves his theory correct about the comics being a bad influence as the kid heads straight to violence. It’s basically a negative cycle there with both characters making things worse.

Now as for the actual stories, the first one is about Father’s Day. There was this rich guy who was quite mean to the rest of his family so nobody liked him. Still, he was rich though so they’re all happy to at least get some money. Legends say that Bedelia murdered him but aside from the newest member of the family none of the others are too concerned. After all, it benefited them. Their immediate problem will be the fact that the father seems to have returned from the grave as a ghost to finish them all off. Personally I found this to be the most engaging story. The zombie father made for a solid antagonist. It could be a little hard to make out what he was saying at times with all of the audio mixing but he was definitely a figure to be feared. It also plays out a lot like a typical horror film as he goes around bumping off the cast one by one. It just felt like the most well developed segment in the film and also had a pretty sizable cast of memorable characters. You couldn’t really forget them even if they would meet violent ends.

Next up is more of a lowkey story. Jordy was wandering around outside when a meteor hits the area. He figures maybe he can get rich off of it but touching the meteor causes him to be infected with the plague. He is now slowly turning into a plant and there doesn’t seem to be a way out. Should he go to the doctor or will they try drastic measures on him now? This story’s a lot weaker than the first. Jordy doesn’t make for the most interesting of leads. He’s quite overdramatized in terms of being shocked at everything and not too bright. He really messed up in not going to the doctor right away. It may not have done anything but it would have been better than just staying at home and slowly dying out. It’s a pretty gruesome way to die too when you think about it as turning into a plant seems pretty tough. The story may have been pretty light and cartoony compared to the rest but the ending is still pretty dark.

The third story is about a guy named Harry who is cheating with Becky on her husband Richard. Richard definitely isn’t going to have any of this so he heads over to Harry’s place and threatens him by saying that he has Becky. Harry follows Richard and promptly buries himself in the sand. Now Harry can only watch as the tide rolls in. Richard intends to watch the two of them drown from his hotel suite thanks to a lot of cameras he has set up in the area. It should be impossible for them to escape their fates right? Well, the film definitely isn’t trying to have us like Harry or Becky much here since they were cheating on Richard from the start. Of course two wrongs don’t make a right and Richard is far more sinister than either of those two.

Harry played the situation terribly though. Even if someone’s got you at gunpoint you can’t just bury yourself in what will be a slow death. I’ve said it many times but your best bet is to make a run for the gun. If you fail then you’ll likely be shot dead but that’s far better than continuing to live in whatever torment the villain has prepared for you right? Death by drowning for example is a pretty terrible way to go. Once you’ve buried yourself there aren’t any escape options yet. You’re just doomed at that point. The story of course has a twist including more zombies. As with the first one they use some audio effects so it’s a little trickier to hear what they’re saying but the movie’s going for a watery sound as if they still are in a drowned state. It’s a pretty intense climax with an ending that has a bit of a humor feel to it.

After that we have a story about a mysterious crate that shows up. A janitor discovers this and calls the local professor Dexter to check into this. Unfortunately while Dexter suspected something normal like rocks or something would be in the crate it turns out that a monster is and it starts slaying people in the school. Dexter runs back to Henry’s to try and explain this but Henry figures he can use this to trick his wife into being murdered. He heads back into the school and prepares this trap. Will he be able to stay one step ahead of the monster or will he ultimately be ensnared as well?

This is probably the most violent story. The monster definitely doesn’t take prisoners and chomps all who oppose him. Some of the characters at least try to play it safe but others are just crazy. There’s a college student for example who shows up and handles the situation rather terribly. What did he think was going to happen here? The monster itself certainly gives the main characters a lot of space though. The whole time Henry is cleaning up around the lab the monster doesn’t make a move. Perhaps he was already full by that time and didn’t see a need to really do anything. It’s certainly convenient for Henry that this was the case. His wife Wilma was definitely something as she constantly complained about everything. Even to the end she nearly made a comeback.

Finally we had a rich guy named Mr. Pratt who takes delight in getting richer and richer. He doesn’t care how many people he has to take down so long as he can continue to rise up the ranks of society. He makes it a point to make fun of the others beneath him even if they just died. Naturally that means something’s about to happen and sure enough it does as some roaches start to appear. Their numbers begin to quickly escalate and Pratt doesn’t seem to have a way to stop them. Will the exterminators make it in time or he is doomed to be overwhelmed? You hopefully won’t mind roaches here or you’re going to be in for a very tough time. If not for the roaches basically being supernatural I have to say that Pratt was definitely well prepared. He had every anti roach item that you could think of at his disposal. He even had a lot of people on speed dial but at the end of the day they couldn’t save him. There was also the custodian who was acting pretty shady at times. I suppose the film was hinting he had something to do with this or just through Pratt’s paranoid vision that’s how it appeared to be. The ending shot was surprisingly violent with the roaches going straight for the win.

The movie has some pretty interesting scenes where it turns things into a comic book. I’d say that this was handled pretty well. The visuals were on point and the soundtrack was solid as well. Ultimately what holds this film back is what you would expect. The film can be pretty violent and also fairly mean spirited. Most of the stories are really about revenge here as the victim fulfills his fantasy of getting revenge on those who oppressed him. Most of the stories fall into that revenge fantasy category. None of the stories have happy endings although you could make the case that while they’re sad endings for the main characters most of them will have a lot of people who benefited from it.

Overall, Creepshow is about what you’d expect from an anthology. I’ll give the movie props for keeping all of the stories pretty different. You’ve definitely got horror in a lot of different ways here from zombies to supernatural insects. That said, it definitely still doesn’t work for me. It’s hard to root for some of these main characters because they become as evil as the villains they’re trying to fight. The kid from the intro/ending as well as Henry from the monster story both ultimately become villains in their quest to get revenge. At the end of the day they traded their moral high ground for a quick win. If you want to watch a classic horror title then this isn’t the one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 2/10

Battle Angel Alita Review


Now it’s time to take a look at a big thriller film that came out a while back. The trailers for Alita always looked like a lot of fun. It definitely had a solid budget behind it and the story looked to be on point as well. You just couldn’t go wrong with this one or so I thought. As I watched the film I was pretty happy with how it turned out. The movie was easily at the level of an 8 star movie and it’s safe to say that this would automatically put it as one of the greatest Sci-Fi films of all time. Unfortunately then the film jumped the shark with one critical scene that shot itself right in the foot. It’s a shame but at least I can still have a lot of hype for the sequel now since it’s unlikely that it would do the same plot point again. I mean…it better not because that would just be terrible writing!

So the film starts off with a scientist named Dyson finding a broken robot in the junkyard. He repairs her and names the girl Alita. She doesn’t know where she came from or anything like that but she seems to have a talent for fighting. Dyson warns her not to get into trouble but in this corrupt future that’s a tall order. She meets up with a guy named Hugo who quickly takes her to the rowdier spots in town and she also notices Dyson heading off on one of his bounty hunter missions. The more Alita finds out, the less content she is with just observing. She aims to fix this future if it’s the last thing she does.

Lets quickly get some background on this future. There are two main areas of society. Those who live in the air and are considered high class, and then you’ve got the guys on the ground who struggle to survive. The only change you have of ever getting to the rich zone is through Motorball. If you become the grand champion then you will be elevated. Everyone else makes money however they can. It’s a brutal world where you can be murdered just about anywhere. There are no cops anymore and the black market is right out on the open. You’ve got gangs who go around ripping people up and seeing off their mechanical parts. So, no place is really safe which is why I have issues with Dyson not helping Alita get combat ready. Even if he didn’t want her to get in danger, wouldn’t he feel better if she was at least in a super safe body with extra durability?

So lets talk about all of the things the film does right first. The special effects here are quite solid. The battle scenes are all excellent. Right when Alita takes down the thugs in the alleyway you know the rest of the film is going to be a blast. There’s a lot of great choreography here. I also think a good amount of it was probably borrowed from Spider-Man with the poses and landing techniques as well. It all moves very quick with a solid back and forth during each battle. These feel like battles inspired by a manga and definitely hold their own as some of the best live action fights I’ve seen in a long time. You don’t really see this kind of action outside of CBM’s usually so you’ve always got to savor the genre while you can. If we get more manga adaptions like this it shouldn’t even be such a rare thing. This is what a DBZ fight could turn into down the road.

The graphics are so good that a lot of scenes from the film look like they’re straight out of a CGI film. During the whole movie Alita always looked CG although I suppose to an extent that’s because of the edits they did to the face. It reminds me of those phone apps where you take a picture of yourself and get an anime look. The main character looks like that process was done to her throughout the whole film. Mix that in with the interesting sci-fi backdrops and I wouldn’t have been surprised if you told me that the whole film was real locations that were digitized and this was low key a CGI film all along. It’s all pretty surreal and unique which works out quite well here.

Battle Angel Alita also makes the most of the sci-fi backdrop. This may be a pretty grim future but at least we kept the tech this time around as opposed to those futures where everything is back to the wild west for some reason. I also liked the Motorball sport. My only question though is if you’re fast enough to get to the lead, once you have the ball shouldn’t you be able to just race to the finish? It seems like whenever someone would grab the ball then the others would suddenly catch up. All I can think of is the ball is that heavy or when you grab it you feel a lot of pressure so you go a lot slower. Regardless, it’s a pretty fun sport. Definitely high stakes since you can get wrecked at any point but I suppose that’s part of the point.

I wouldn’t say I can recall many of the tunes here but I remember them being solid while watching the film. Then we’ve also got a very strong main character in Alita. What I like about Alita is that she’s very quick to jump into action. She doesn’t back down when it gets dangerous and also doesn’t hesitate. Her scene in the alley was pretty powerful as she took down the 3 enemies who stood in her way. When you consider that she had no memories at the time and this was her first fight after being rebuilt, it was pretty courageous of her. You can tell that she makes for a dependable ally. My favorite scene for her was in the bar though when she challenges everyone to stand up or to stay as cowards. She delivered quite a lot of damage to all of them there and I liked this confident portrayal of her character. She started out strong and ended strong. Alita’s not a main heroine you’ll be forgetting anytime soon.

It’s not surprising that the film had such great positives. As I mentioned, it was on track for an easy 8. So where did it falter? Well, there’s one scene where a dog shows up and the instant that happened I had a lot of warning bells go off. Unfortunately the villain decides to target him and the heroes all sit on their hands and just allow it to happen. The film tries to minimize the damage by having the dog murdered off screen but it’s still a rather vicious scene and one that was undeserved. We didn’t need this to happen and it also doesn’t make any sense in context since Alita should have been able to block the attack. It’s not like she needed any extra motivation either. No matter how you slice it, this was just for shock value and it completely destroyed the film’s score with a massive 3 point swing.

The writing is pretty good otherwise though. The film decides to go edgy with one line Alita has, but otherwise there’s a good script here. One scene that was unintentionally funny though was the big villain meeting. So you’ve got Grewishka, Chiren, and Vector all in the same room. Up to now we can assume Vector is the leader. Well, he comes in talking really tough and intimidating Chiren so Grewishka threatens Victor…by saying that Chiren shouldn’t be messed with. Vector then feels the fear as Chiren threatens him and hit the ground…then he gets up and threatens Chiren so she backs off. The whole thing had me doing a double take because then who is the boss? Well, once Vector’s eyes started to light up then it all made sense so the scene quickly has more context since this happens right after that but otherwise it was worth a good chuckle.

There’s a little more detail to this at the end of the film. I wouldn’t say that either Chiren or Vector made for particularly solid villains though. Chiren made her choices but ultimately couldn’t live with them which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Then you have Vector who’s not exactly the smartest villain around. His plans weren’t terrible I suppose but you’d think that he could have acted a lot sooner once he knew where Alita was. He basically gave her complete freedom until it was too late. I did like Grewishka and Zapan as villains though. Grewishka was definitely determined and managed to put up a solid fight multiple times. While he was critical in destroying the film, as an antagonist he was pretty fierce.

Then you have Zapan who is rather weak to be honest but he was really solid in the scene where Alita beats the guy up. Look, he’s super petty but that’s part of what makes him a fun villain to have around. He gets off extremely easy all things considered though. I just don’t get it. Alita should have taken him out a whole lot sooner so what happened to Hugo was really her fault to an extent. She needed to be more decisive even if he was terrible at explaining things himself. I also liked the lady villain who fought Alita in the android because she had a good amount of confidence but she didn’t exactly last very long.

I had some problems with Dyson though. Again, the guy didn’t do much to protect Alita in this crazy world. He should have prepared her with the new armor right away and taught her more. Why be surprised when she starts rebelling with how restrictive he was right? Then there’s Hugo who is one of the weakest characters in the film. He’s a total villain for a large chunk of it and the romance is pretty weak. Hugo and Alita shouldn’t have connected and even by the end it’s hard to really sympathize with the guy. He always makes the wrong calls again and again. He was definitely holding her back.

Battle Angel had quite the body count though. You may be surprised at how many people get sliced apart. The film’s not super violent or anything as they’re robots a lot of the time and even when a human gets sliced in half the camera quickly cuts away. Still, the deaths tend to happen very quickly and without warning so it can catch you off guard if you’re not ready. It really shows how this world is so dangerous and why you need to be careful. If you don’t have cool robot abilities then you probably should hide at home because it seems like going outside is pretty much rolling the dice. There are just so many crazy abilities to watch out for and a human stands no chance. In a way you want to turn into a cyborg as soon as possible because then at least you have a chance to defend yourself.

Overall, Battle Angel Alita is a very fun movie. You’ll have a blast for about 95% of it. I can’t stress enough how unfortunate the whole dog thing was. It was just not needed but it is what it is. I’d recommend checking this film out if you like Sci-Fi action. There’s a lot of that to be had here and all of the technicals are at a super high level. This is a film with masterful pacing and you are unlikely to find a better Sci-Fi around right now. That said, I have a lot of confidence that the sequel will be just as good. After seeing the hype ending to Tokyo Drift I wasn’t expecting another ending to be quite on that level for a while but this one is also very good. Definitely gets you hyped the right way.

Overall 5/10

Makai Senki Disgaea Review


It’s time to take a look at the anime adaption to a game I played pretty recently. This anime isn’t a straight adaption and has quite a bit of fun along the way. It’s certainly not a great show and mileage will very but I thought it was solid. It’s certainly entertaining and the cast is strong enough to hold their own here. With solid writing behind it, Disgaea is a show that is good to pass the time with and they do quite a bit with the 12 episodes they had. I’d definitely be game for the second title getting an anime someday as well.

The show starts with an angel trainee named Flonne showing up in the demon world to assassinate the King. She finds a boy who is asleep and wakes him up. It turns out that this is Prince Laharl and his father actually died by choking on some food. Laharl is now the demon king and Flonne decides to accompany him and prove that demons have feelings too. Laharl isn’t thrilled to have company but he won’t let this distract him from assuming command. The demons won’t follow Laharl until he possesses the legendary book which proves ownership and also gets back to his real castle. His “loyal” retainer Etna also arrives to come with him on the journey. Will these 3 really be able to get alone and is Flonne right that Laharl has the potential to be a good guy?

This is a main plot in the show that is actually played pretty seriously or at least relatively so for this title like in the game. The idea of demons being capable of feeling emotions and being heroic is quite foreign for a lot of characters. The demons themselves certainly don’t think it’s possible but at the same time they all act like regular people so you never find the idea to be all that outlandish. If you’re familiar with this kind of plot you’ll also be very willing to believe that it might happen as well. Flonne can be a little naive about it but she’s still on the right track here.

I’d say that the biggest difference here compared to the game is while the game was a blend of action and comedy, this show is going for full comedy. There are rarely any serious moments until the final episode. For the most part the show is actually going for a slice of life feel as the main character visit different areas and have a lot of stand alone adventures. There are plots that reach through the whole series in the background but they don’t really take center stage here for quite a while. So how much you enjoy the series will really come down to how funny you find it to be.

As I mentioned earlier I thought it was pretty entertaining. The dynamic between the three main characters is a solid one. Laharl definitely takes everything pretty personally so he’s always fighting with the other two. Etna is openly antagonistic with Laharl and is constantly trying to get him assassinated which is a fun subplot. Then you have Flonne who keeps talking about love and forgetting that the mere mention of the word ends up weakening Laharl considerably. This also means that Laharl is rarely able to go all out in a fight. It might be for the best as he is clearly one of the strongest characters in the series and would end most fights really quick.

He’s definitely a solid lead character. Laharl’s design is certainly memorable and he would make for a really good overlord. The guy knows how to run a kingdom even if he acts like a kid a lot. The most memorable part of his character is easily his laugh though. It’s brilliant and I dare say it’s the best laugh in media. It’s just epic and the shows even ends off with this laugh. That’s when you know that the laugh itself has hit the big time. You just can’t watch this show without giving it some credit.

Etna is a fun side character to have around as well. I do think she looked a bit weaker than I expected at times though. If she really wants to be the overlord then she is going to need to hit the gym quite a bit if she wants to compete. As it stands right now she is nowhere near strong enough to become the leader that everyone will end up following. It’s another reason why the sequel needs an adaption because she got much more powerful in that title. She may be constantly trying to destroy Laharl but she’s still someone he can count on in the meantime. It may seem like a contradiction but that’s a crucial part of her character. Logic is flipped with demons so the fact that Etna wants to murder Laharl is why he wants her by his side. The show also has a nice gag with this when someone tries to take some demons hostage. As if that would work on Lahalr.

Flonne is definitely the nicest character in the series and always trying to convert the characters around her. She may not always live up to her standards such as accepting the Prinnies carrying the heroes around for a while even when told that she should probably get off to help them out. Flonne has her limits but at the end of the day she tries her best to make the right move. Laharl doesn’t make things easy for her though by doing things like stranding her in the desert and such. Flonne always takes on each new challenge with a smile. I would argue that she had no reason to accept such a punishment in the final episode of the show but heroic sacrifice is the whole idea of her character.

Then we’ve got the Team Rocket of the series which is Gordon, Jennifer, and Thursday. As the protector of Earth Gordon is pretty full of himself but he really can’t fight at all. I like the team because the camp works quite well in this setting. I would have liked Gordon to have looked a bit better against Curtis though. I think the fact that the show uses them as a full Team Rocket blasting off again approach weakens their characters a bit but they still work well enough. Similarly Kurtis doesn’t appear nearly as much here. He was one of the best characters in the game but I couldn’t rank him quite as high up here as a result. Still, he is fun to have around.

Then you have one of the standout characters, The Dark Adonis. The show pretty much spoils his twist early on but I suppose they thought people might find it obvious anyway. Now this guy is a show stealer. He’s always around with a cool line and shows up whenever the heroes are in trouble. Unlike Laharl he doesn’t mind being openly heroic although that doesn’t mean he will always do the right thing. The guy is as chaotic as can be and just does whatever he feels like. He is not someone you can count on. Even if he is usually portrayed as more of a good guy the fact that you are never sure means he is not the guy you want to absolutely have in your corner. You want someone that you know will have your back right?

Then you’ve got the Angels. Vulcanus gets a big role and is one of the main villains here. The guy can’t fight much though so he focuses on summoning demons to help him out. That definitely means you won’t really be seeing him as a threat here. The tougher angel is Lamington who is also a villain. The guy may try to justify his actions later on but there’s just no way he can. At the end of the day his decision was to try and murder a bunch of people to answer the question of if love was real or not. The guy does a lot of back pedaling. Laharl doesn’t buy it and neither do I. If anything Lamington seems to get off really easy by the end of the series. If only Laharl could have acted a little quicker.

While parts of the ending feel a bit forced due to one character making a terrible move, the show still manages to have a pretty satisfying conclusion by the end of it. The ending is definitely close to ideal if you ask me with the final twist being excellent. The ending could have easily swung the wrong way if you left out the final scene because that is critical. It just provides the closure we need for such an adventure.

The animation for the show isn’t all that good. I liked the art and the character model style though. The character designs look like they’re out of the show but when they start moving that’s when things fall apart. It’s not very consistent and a lot of shortcuts are taken. We maybe get 3-4 very solid animation scenes throughout the whole series. It’s rare to see so when the scenes pop up it’s pretty nice to see. It feels like the show had a very low budget and perhaps that’s why it decided to go for the comedy angle. That takes up less budget than if you decided to go full action. The soundtrack is certainly good and nostalgic though. It grabs all of the classic themes from the video game which work really well with all of the scenes. The game did a masterful job with all the tunes.

While there’s definitely lots of room for a sequel the show stands up well on its own so you don’t feel like there needed to be a second season. I imagine it would have gone more into some of the plots here like Laharl’s fake sister. At the end of the day that plot didn’t appear as much and goes about how you would expect. I have to say Laharl absolutely did get punked there though. It happens to him a few times though so it’s nothing new for the overlord. He’ll only improve from here though. I should also quickly mention that the Prinny makes for pretty fun creatures. Their plot is a little sad if you think about it, but they really are nice followers. They put up with a lot and their whole purpose is to support an overlord and his army of demons who don’t actually care for them in return. The idea is that they’re working towards their salvation in the end though so that’s probably what gets them going. The world has quite a few unique rules and the show lays them out nicely.

Overall, Disgaea is a solid story. If you could only choose one way to experience this series then you should do it with the games. The game does a much better job of telling the story. Still, if you want to see it in another way then going with the show is not a bad idea. The show is still a lot of fun. It may add a lot of gags and extra stories but at the end of the day it’s still relatively close to the main game’s plot. The creative liberties help you to experience things in a fresh way which is not a bad idea. It’s only 12 episodes too so you’ll definitely be blasting through it and whenever you see a critical story moment from the games the show does its best to adapt it sometimes even word for word. I definitely need to go and get Disgaea 3 at some point even if it will be with whole new characters.

Overall 7/10