A Bug’s Life Review

A_Bug's_Life_-_Poster
Lets look at a Bug’s Life. The film itself is nothing all that special compared to some of the other big animated films of the last decade, but it’s still a quality film. It doesn’t really do anything wrong and will keep you engaged from start to finish. It’s a fun adventure with good pacing, but you will get the feeling that it’s just lacking something. That extra impact to raise the film from a solid 7 to a great 8. I don’t know what that something is though so maybe the film would bring it for a sequel.

The plot starts by introducing us to the Ant pack. These guys are very strong in number, but they are rather passive. They aren’t even confident about going around a leaf without being told how to do it by one of the elders. Their own insecurities have led them to be tamed by the Grasshoppers even though the Ants badly outnumber them. Flik decides that Ants shouldn’t be working for grasshoppers like this and has begun making inventions to help make their lives easier. Unfortunately his inventions often backfire so he is convinced to leave the tribe under the pretense of recruiting powerful allies. That’s when Flik discovers a circus of powerful creatures and realizes that this is his chance. Will the performers want to help? Even if they do, can they possibly win against trained Grasshoppers?

It’s a fun enough plot. Naturally when a film is based around animals this can get pretty dicey but the film never goes that route which is fortunate. You wouldn’t really expect animal violence in this film anyway but it’s always good to have confirmation. The Grasshoppers make for pretty good villains. Some of them are even pretty vicious like the leader, Hopper or the one who is always foaming at the mouth. It makes for intense visuals and you do realize that the Ants are doomed in one on one fights. Even as a team they better have really good combos because otherwise they would be wiped out. The leader of the Grasshoppers is also the kind of villain who doesn’t give up easily. Even at the end Hopper was trying to reclaim his dominance at the top of the food chain. Unfortunately he ran into the best character of the film and one doesn’t often walk away from such an encounter. It was actually a rather vicious end for the guy.

If the film has a weak point, it would be that most of the characters aren’t all that engaging. I didn’t really care for anyone from the circus. The Ladybug who talks tough never actually acts tough when it’s climax time so he’s out. The others didn’t even try fighting at the end even though some of them look like they should be able to put up a good fight. They were also quick to walk away with the circus owner although I won’t put too much blame on them since the Ants did not want them. That brings me over to the Ants. The Ant Princess is definitely not a quality character and her plans are no good. Even after she figures out the main character’s deception, why send the circus troupe back? They definitely don’t have enough time to meet the Grasshoppers’ demands now so making do with these guys was her only option. Instead she just puts the Ants in a position to be ganged up on and eliminated. As the leader she needed to make a better call. The ex leader, aka the Queen wasn’t great either. She didn’t really do anything the whole time and was content to be on the sidelines. That’s not leadership material either.

As mentioned before, this doesn’t apply to the villains though. The Grasshoppers are certainly quite intimidating and the leader knows how to control his pack. If they dare cross him then they must take a punishment. He’s also bold enough to be surrounded by Ants and not care. If only the Ants were as brave. I haven’t talked much about the main character, but I’m afraid that he’s not very good so he fits in with the Ants. Even when the villain threatens to destroy one of the kids Flik backs up and decides to keep the peace. That’s definitely not something that any true main character would do. If you won’t stick up for your friends then you can’t be a hero.

The graphics aren’t bad. All of the character models appear to be on point. It definitely has more jungle type landscapes than the average film since most of it takes place in a grassy environment. There isn’t really much of a soundtrack though so don’t expect any great tunes to jam to. The writing is pretty good with a sound script. None of the characters seem over the top, at most they are just very naive like the average Ant. It’s almost hard to root for those guys since the Grasshoppers just seem a lot smarter and more strategic. The Ants have every possible advantage if they would just use it.

Overall, A Bug’s Life is a good film. It reminds you of the strength in numbers tactic and that you can’t submit to another species without a fight. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would recommend checking it out. It’s a solid adventure film with a bit of action which makes for a pretty solid combo. Maybe one day these characters will show up in Kingdom Hearts. The movie doesn’t really leave any cliffhangers as it’s a complete ending but you could easily follow up on it by having another species decide to move in when they hear that the Grasshoppers have fallen. There are a lot of possibilities there.

Overall 6/10

Advertisements

My Little Pony Pony Tales Volume 2 Review

71W0ibXZ+yL
Whenever someone asks if I’m a true My Little Pony fan or just a casual I imagine just showing off my big figure collection to answer the question for me. As I don’t own any figures though, I settle for just calling myself a casual. Well, while that may be the case I can say that this is a pretty solid comic. It’s fairly short compared to most trade paperbacks so you’ll have it done very quickly but it’ll still make for a pretty fun experience. The collection has solid writing and good pacing to back it up as well.

The first story is about the Cutie Mark Crusaders. They have grown bored of Ponyville since nothing ever happens there. They are ready for bigger and better things so they explore the wild and find a rock version of a changeling. It can turn into anything that isn’t alive. The problem is that the Crusaders want it to turn into a bunch of things which keeps tiring it out. If they keep it up at this pace, the poor creature won’t last too much longer. Can they learn to share and care?

Admittedly this story is a little cheesy since you would think that the Cutie Mark Crusaders have already learned this lesson. In fact I am quite positive that they already have so why are they out of character here? It’s a bit of a stretch, but at least they see the error of their ways pretty fast. It’s an enjoyable story that may not be all that memorable, but it’s still pretty solid I would say. It gets the job done.

Then we have the Celestia adventure where she finds out that Ponyville is once again picking on a defenseless pony. One of the oldest teachers in Equestria is being pressured into retiring because the ponies just don’t like her teaching style anymore. They’re all just really inconsiderate ponies who aren’t nearly as grateful as they should be. It’s quite unfortunate but Celestia decides to prove to the town that the teacher used to be really good so they should keep her. The other teachers aren’t thrilled about this, but agree. (Also, they can’t really disagree with the Princess now can they?)

I never really liked the peasants of Ponyville. Luna is always rather harsh on them and now I see that she may have a point. Without strict guidance they quickly become bullies and do their best to keep everyone else down. The teacher may have been a little too oblivious the whole time, but you’d think that they would be a little better at being like the Mane 6. I think Celestia needs to have a word with these ponies. They need to get in line with her teachings.

Next up was Spike’s adventure which is naturally the weakest one. For whatever reason his stories just don’t have the same pop that the others do. He decides to get a pet of his own which turns out to be a multiplying creature which threatens to embarrass him in front of Twilight Sparkle. He decides that he will teach the army how to be good citizens, but can he do it in time?

Naturally teaching a whole race of creatures how to be good in the span of 2 days is difficult, but fortunately these creatures were actually giving it their best shot. They seem like very reasonable little creatures which really helped Spike’s case. None of the ponies really get to do anything here so it’s a little sad that Spike is basically the only main character around. It’s a decent comic, but not the most interesting one.

Finally we end off with the best story of the batch. This one focuses on Luna as she decides to take on Luna’s duties for the day. She is determined to prove that she can handle anything. The problem is that Celestia’s duties are incredibly boring compared to hers. Luna spends her nights chasing off powerful monsters from the kingdom and getting into many spectacular battles. Celestia spends her days insulting everyone and making a lot of signatures. Luna just can’t bare to stay awake for all of this but she must!

Luna has always been one of the best MLP characters with her utter contempt for everyone. While she is a hero, she does a good job of keeping her princess stature as well. I’m always rooting for her in these stories even though she tends to lose every time. It’s pretty unfotunate but I guess the charm of her stories is that one day she will get the kingdom to accept her. I think she did a rather admirable job considering that it was her first time working in the morning. It’s definitely the most entertaining story as well.

The artwork is pretty good here. I don’t think it is quite up to the level of the main series, but it’s close. The characters look right and the action on screen is always clear. You know what is happening so it’s easy to read through the stories very quickly. There’s nothing bad to say here.

In general there isn’t anything bad to say about the comic at all. It’s just a nice batch of stories. You’ll enjoy spending 20 minutes reading through it and getting to see more of Equestria. This isn’t the comic collection you are looking for if you came for the fights, but if you just came to enjoy the interactions then this is the place for you. The pacing is tight and none of the stories are bad. At most, Spike’s was just a little boring, but it’s pretty short so there’s not much time for that feeling to sink in.

Overall, This was a fun volume. The idea of a comic that centers around the side characters is always a risky move, but the MLP series has a very big cast so I suppose that helps this out quite a bit. You’ll miss the Mane 6 for a little while, but you’ll adjust pretty quick. If you haven’t read this comic yet then I recommend checking it out. It’ll remind you of what a good fantasy series should be like.

Overall 7/10

Wonder Woman ’77 Volume 2 Review

61egjGBAmlL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_
It’s time to look at the next volume of the Wonder Woman ’77 series. Sadly this will be the end of her solo adventures but at least we will have some crossovers coming up. From the various retro DC series this one has always been very popular and probably only loses out to the Adam West show and maybe the old Superman serial but I’m inclined to say that it may edge that one out. Wonder Woman’s stories are fun and this comic is pretty solid as well with only one story being rather lackluster. It’s a good volume that I’d recommend to anyone.

The first big comic sees Clayface attack Wonder Woman’s home island. As the island is basically made on clay this becomes very dangerous. He becomes so powerful that only Wonder Woman can stand up to him. Clayface is actually very powerful so it’s nice to see him getting some good respect here. His abilities are really only limited by his imagination after all. It’s a good way to start the collection off and we’ve never really seen these two characters duke it out before.

The next comic is the weaker one as we go to an animal sanctuary where it turns out that hunters have been eradicating all of the animals. Wonder Woman goes in to help and finds out that the web of lies stretches out quite far and wide. The villains have been pretending to help the animals all along as a cover. Wonder Woman stops this madness, but not before there are some casualties. It’s handled as well as it can be I suppose, but definitely a story that could have been skipped and the volume would have been better off for it.

Next up we have a politician who has gotten quite a large following. People are defecting from the U.S. just to hang out with him on the farm. The government gets suspicious and sends in Diana Prince since there is no way that this is legit. People are giving up everything their own up to this complete stranger as well. The villains don’t like this and decide to attack. It turns out that they were using aliens to mind control the citizens which is definitely an interesting tactic. The aliens were strong but they were definitely no match for Wonder Woman.

On the next adventure we have a bunch of crooks trying to sabotage a boat. Diana and Steve are sent in undercover but how can they make a move without breaking their cover? Well it might be difficult for Steve but Diana has a lot of speed so she can handle herself pretty well. It’s a fun enough thriller story even if there isn’t much of a sense of danger here since Wonder Woman can end the threat at any time if need be. In the meanwhile she is just focusing on handling this like an agent.

Following that up is a story about a villain with psychic powers. He can mind control anyone near him and this makes him a tough threat to stop. After all Wonder Woman can’t afford to hurt his host too badly. That’s why she decides to allow herself to be mind controlled to fight him on the astral plane. It’s a pretty good plan and makes for a solid fight scene as well. This is probably the only opponent to give her a real tough fight in this series so this guy was no joke. (Clayface also gave a pretty good fight to be fair so maybe I should say the 2nd toughest fight) It’s probably the best comic of the volume. There’s quite a lot of action here.

Next up a musician accidentally scores a tape with a lot of confidential government secrets. The terrorists who initially got the tape naturally want it back now, but will they be able to get this guy to talk? Well, probably but fortunately Wonder Woman is on the case. She quickly shows up to end the threat, but it also gets complicated when a patient who is near death wants to hear the guy play. The villains still don’t have an excuse here, but the patient didn’t ask for this so the heroes allow her to hear one last song. It was a nice enough story even if the musician doesn’t seem as nervous as he should be in such a situation.

Finally we have a space mission. As always we have governments fighting each other as everyone wants to be the first in space. It appears as if the Russians have launched an attack on America, but Wonder Woman thinks that there is more to this. She infiltrates their base where they believe the same thing about the Americans. It turns out that a super villain has been manipulating everyone and this fighter has a jet pack. Wonder Woman is still able to win fairly quick, but it was a fun comic and one of the better ones. It was nice to see Wonder Woman also using some detective work to win the day.

The art is quite solid as always. It seems to change a bit from comic to comic, but there were no issues that looked bad or anything like that. The character models seem right and the fight scenes look good. At the end of the day that is the important part. The size of the collection is also pretty good as well and it manages to fit in quite a lot of stories.

Overall, This is definitely a comic that I would recommend to all readers. It has action, suspense, and doesn’t really step into any holes. I’m not sure if I’d put it above the first collection, but it’s a good sequel. I have the crossover with Batman ’66 coming up so I’m looking forward to checking that one out. Crossovers tend to be a blast and I believe the best one from the retro adventures is Batman meets Green Hornet so far. We’ll see if this one is even able to top that one.

Overall 7/10

Tomb Raider (2018) Review

il_570xN.1447649930_lg58
It’s time to look at the new Tomb Raider film. It had a lot to live up to since the first two movies in the series were quite solid. It would also be starting at a disadvantage since the first two took place when she was a pro while this was a prequel where she was just starting out. Origin stories are never quite as good as the hero’s later adventures but maybe this one would be an exception. The first trailer was pretty solid after all. While the movie isn’t quite as good as it looked, it’s still a decently good movie. It just needed more scenes of Lara actually taking down the villains as opposed to letting her friend do most of the work.

The movie starts off with Lara losing a boxing match against who I assume must be the regional champ. She tries to pull herself together in time to win a race of catch the fox but loses there as well and is brought to the cops. Fortunately her family is rich so she gets to walk out with no repercussions. Her aunt tells her that she needs to sign the power of attorney to give the aunt all of the power within the company. Lara thinks that this is ludicrous. Not because the aunt will effectively be stealing the company away but because she resents the fact that her father died so early and wants to make it on her own. Still, money troubles don’t just go away so she made the tough call to accept the money. Her father left one last message in a puzzle with the will and it shows an island on it. Lara quickly jumps on this and dashes over with the help of a local guide. They have to stop an evil company from destroying the world by bringing back a plague with them. The issue is that Lara is just one person against a private army and her father certainly isn’t going to help. He’s not dead anymore, but his spirit is broken and that’s effectively the same thing.

We get quite a few action scenes here where Lara challenges the main villains in hand to hand combat. As a boxer she certainly does have some moves. While she can’t go up against groups of fighters anymore she can still manage some 1 on 1 fights well enough. The fights are close and there’s nothing fancy about them as it’s simply a fight to the death. The fights can be a little dark so it’s hard to see what’s going on, but they’re all right. A little below average compared to the average action film, but they serve their purpose. Seeing Lara use the bow and arrow briefly will definitely remind you of the Hunger Games.

As for Lara herself, she’s a good lead. At times the accents for some of the main characters including her can make it a little tough to understand them, but it seemed to be a realistic accent I suppose. It’s good that she’s always ready for a fight and is rather headstrong. I don’t really have any complaints about her. Hopefully for the sequel if we get one there will be a time skip just so she can be more powerful to keep up with her confidence. Her father is definitely irredeemable at this point though. Richard is annoying through every scene that he’s in. He leaves behind a tape with a ton of confidential blueprints that will help out the villains immensely and then blames Lara for bringing it along. What else did he actually think she would do? He references that she never likes doing what she is told so that wouldn’t change here. The worst part is that the villain organization already had an inside agent and there was a huge chance that they would have gotten the tape instead of Lara. Richard’s plan was just heavily short sighted from start to finish.

The main villain Mathias was very generic. He’s just another guy who works as a lackey for a richer guy in order to get an early retirement. He tries to have a mild sob story about how he can’t see his kids until the mission is done, but the film doesn’t even try to make him sympathetic. That’s a good thing since it never would have worked. He can’t really fight but has a lot of raw strength so he gives Lara a good match. There just isn’t too much to this guy and you just won’t remember him a few years down the line. He probably should have finished off Lara from the start since she was clearly a threat to his plans.

Finally we have Lu. He has a shaky start as he gave in to his drunk tendencies and doesn’t come across as very brave but mans up when the going gets tough. In the climax he actually does most of the work as he shoots down a bunch of guards and even takes down more fighters once he is out of ammo. The guy definitely seems like the low key MVP here and hopefully he got paid pretty well by Lara afterwards.

There is a cliffhanger at the end to set up the sequel. It’s fairly open ended though so while we know who the villains will be the plot can still revolve around anything. I think a sequel would be pretty solid so I’m game for that to show up soon. In theory we need a good rival for Lara soon though so maybe the corporate villains will hire an adventurer of their own in order to keep up. The film can really do anything at this point although Lara is certainly to blame for the villains getting a better foothold since her decision at the end didn’t really make any logical sense.

Overall, Tomb Raider is a film that’s very by the numbers. The action scenes aren’t all that good and while the main character is fun, she really doesn’t feel like Lara Croft for most of it. Ironically her first scene would have felt the most like her except for the fact that she was getting her boxing gloves handed to her in the fight. It’s based on the newer Tomb Raider game which is the weakest one in the series so it’s most likely due to the game’s influence but since the next movie might go its separate path things might be different. I’d still recommend this movie if you’re looking for a good action title though. You won’t be bored as the pacing is fairly good.

Overall 6/10

The Greatest Showman

71qGiySwEpL._SL1481_
It’s time to look at a fairly recent film that did quite well for itself. I’m sure many people have heard of the famous Barnum circus for which this film is based off of. When I was a kid I went to a few circus shows, but it didn’t really follow me as I entered my teen years. I sort of just grew out of the circus. It’s certainly impressive with how they are able to perform the acts many times over without an incident but it just isn’t as exciting as a nice arcade or in this case, watching a movie about a circus. The Greatest Showman is a fun film even if the main character adds some unnecessary drama.

So the film starts off with Barnum having a dream where he is the greatest showman on Earth. Everyone loves his shows. Then he wakes up in reality where he is a commoner who works for the rich. Everyone disrespects him and his father dies from all of the pressure. Barnum decides that he will be a great man someday. He gets a nice 9-5 job and ends up marrying his childhood friend Charity. They are low on money, but still have a good life. One day Barnum loses his job so he decides to gamble on the circus. Now he can make his dream a reality. His circus is a very different one as he decides to only hire people with a unique act. A lady with a beard, a guy with tattoos, a guy who is short, the Wolf Man, etc. He gets them all together and the show is a big success. Still, it isn’t enough. Barnum wants to keep getting more and more famous no matter what it ends up costing him!

You can probably already guess how this can get a little dicey. Barnum had literally achieved his dream. The show was amazing and he was rich enough to quickly move into a castle. Then he decides to risk it all by letting the fame get to him. He ditches the people who got him this far to go on a tour with a rich celebrity. He even comes close to having an affair on the side. He manages to avoid making this mistake, but isn’t quick enough to prevent the singer from pulling him into a scandal. It adds some extra drama and suspense to the film, but honestly it wasn’t needed. Perhaps the film would have been a little too happy otherwise I guess, but they could have just kept the whole circus in flames scene and that would have delivered the necessary tension.

So, I can’t say that I liked Barnum. When you achieve your dreams and still aren’t satisfied, then it’s tough to sympathize with a character like that. He learns the error of his ways by the end, but it was awful late for that. They probably should have just restarted without him. A shame since he was a quality character for the first half of the film. His wife Charity was certainly more enjoyable than him. She kept it real throughout the film and never let herself get corrupted. She defied her extravagant lifestyle and risked it all to live the life of a pauper. I can’t picture Barnum making the same decision.

Philip was the other co-star here. He decides to also put aside his rich life to have fun at the circus. He is a fun character but his romance started a little too quickly. He falls for one of the performers almost instantly and even then he can’t stay strong after hearing the super singer Jenny who apparently ensnares everyone while in the act. Philip is a charismatic character, but he needs to have more willpower than that. I can see why Anne was worried about starting anything with him after such a moment and I don’t blame her.

In general I can’t say that the romance here was all that good. Perhaps sticking to just one romance plot instead of having 2 would have helped. The main character one I can understand and it did take years so it’s not like they married out of the blue. Philip’s romance on the other hand just feels tacked on. What happened to keeping up the friend zone while at work? They don’t have time to be getting distracted like this.

As this is a musical there are quite a few songs in here. For the most part they are pretty solid. I think the cicus troup probably can’t sing quite as well as the main characters but they do well enough. The best song in the film is certainly the one in the bar between Barnum and Philip. The bartender there was low key the best character in the film. I like how he always had the drinks ready and would slide up and down the aisle as he followed the dance. He knew that he was going to make a lot of money out of these 2 guys and he was absolutely right. When there is a buck to be made you can’t afford to hesitate. That’s what it means to be a true performer. They should have hired the performer to get an act. I do have to say that if I were Philip I would have certainly turned down the offer though. Losing everything just to get to be in a circus? I dunno, doesn’t really seem like a tempting offer to me.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is definitely a pretty fun film. There is a short period in the film where it starts to get rather somber and dramatic, but for the most part it’s pretty lighthearted. The first half of the film probably does beat the second half, but it’s still a good all around film. It never drags on and the cast is likable for the most part. They all simply lack willpower and the conviction to see their dreams through to the end. Better luck next time in that regard I guess. I’d recommend checking out this film especially if you like musicals but also if you like a good time at the circus.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Review

adventuresofsh_poster
It’s time to take a look at another Sherlock Holmes title. This one brings in his arch nemesis Moriarty to match wits against. It’s a very solid mystery film where we actually see Holmes on the losing side for once. It’s rare to see him have trouble intellectually against an opponent but that actually turned out to be the case here. With two main cases to deal with here, there is plenty to keep you busy.

The film starts with Holmes finally solving the secret to Moriarty’s alibi but he arrives too late to testify in court and the villain gets away. Moriarty then decides to commit another crime and aims to use his innate knowledge of how Holmes operates to pull it off. The first case for Holmes is that someone appears to be trying to murder various members of one of the families. The lady asks for Holmes’ help and he eagerly helps as he figures Moriarty’s hand is at work here. Meanwhile someone is after one of the largest gems in all of England. This case bores Holmes so he decides to send Watson in his place. Can Holmes solve the true meaning behind these crimes?

It’s always a bold move in any form of media for a villain to explain the whole plan at the beginning. Typically you assume that the plan won’t work then or that he is leaving a lot out which will make for shocking plot twists at the end. That’s why it is actually surprising when the plan goes without a hitch. Moriarty’s goal was to get Holmes to pay attention to the 2nd case by making it sound more dangerous and it worked completely. The only reason the plan didn’t finish 100% is simply because the villain took too long at the end. A big part of the rivalry between Holmes and Moriarty is how they know each other so well and they can predict each other’s movements that way. Holmes was rather confident in how he could predict Moriarty’s actions so maybe that was his downfall. Of course, Holmes was also stuck being reactive while Moriarty was proactive and the latter always gets the advantage as well.

Just because he lost doesn’t mean Holmes looked bad though. His disguise was on point once again in this film and he is a fun character to have around. He isn’t afraid to point out how smart he is and insults Watson for not living up to this rather high bar. His violin is also a solid hobby to have on hand. I didn’t quite buy into the look of surprise Holmes had on his face when he punched someone off a building though. He clearly knew what would happen as a result of that and it’s not like it happened too quickly to react to either. He just wanted to get the win.

I also have to go off on a quick tangent to say just how interesting it is to see Sherlock live in a rather public place. Everyone knows where he lives so a villain could pop in and try to destroy him at any time. I suppose just like how Holmes has a tight grip on the police, Moriarty may have influence on the mobsters which prevents them from trying such a tactic. Usually the great minds have to be a little more discreet, but not Mr. Holmes. I guess that’s another plus about either bumping off all of his opponents or arresting them. They won’t be able to enact any kind of revenge in the near future.

Watson is a fun sidekick as always. While he may not be as smart as Holmes at least he always tries hard. He is conventionally smart which means that he will find the obvious answers to each question which are the ones that the villains want him to find. Honestly he can’t really be blamed for the police scene either since the cops should have known about that or Holmes should have had a way to make sure they were authentic. It was sad for Watson when a kid was proving to be his match in wit though. He certainly beats his evil counterpart as Watson will talk back to Holmes while the other guy does not. It’s certainly an interesting parallel though.

Then we also can’t forget Moriarty. He is definitely a very memorable character so it’s almost a shame that he might be written out so soon. It’s nice to have someone who can actually keep up with Holmes and I could see him acting as a rival in future films if he ever had a common enemy along with Sherlock. His plan is solid and he also knows how to fight so he is definitely a complete villain. We also get to meet the Police Chief here which was fun. I always like his character type because the guy comes in with such confidence whether he is right or wrong. Throw in the fact that Sherlock is looking out for him and this guy’s career is certainly set.

I haven’t spoken much about the actual cases. There isn’t much to say about the diamond as it barely appears until the end. I definitely agree with the police chief’s disappointment since Sherlock promised multiple times that he would show up, but ultimately sent Watson instead. The other case is the main one as we have several suspects and a lot happening the whole time. I will say that the main heroine’s fiancee was particularly bad though and I don’t think she should have forgiven him so easily. The whole movie he knows that someone is targeting her brother but still goes out of his way to convince them all that it’s just a prank. He tries to prevent Sherlock Holmes from getting involved (To no avail) and just comes off as a villain. Despite his half hearted protest that he was trying to protect Lloyd on his own, he certainly did a poor job of it. He should have walked with Lloyd to the house or stayed inside since the villain wouldn’t be able to commit the murder once the day was up. All of the characters who are being targeted play their parts rather terribly as they fall into every possible trap. 5 minutes left til midnight? Perfect time to run into the forest all alone! The characters do this sort of thing quite a lot and definitely make the situation harder for Sherlock Holmes.

Overall, This was definitely a very solid mystery. You’ll be engaged all the way through. Even if the main mystery is a diversion and you the viewer are aware of this, you’ll still be able to enjoy it. You’ll probably be shaking your head at some of the decisions that are made, but the scenes are still delivered with good writing. The dialogue is really what makes this film. For a mystery film it is especially important and this will be a tough Holmes film to beat, but there are plenty of other installments left so I’m sure we’ll have quite a few contenders by the end. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I definitely recommend checking it out!

Overall 8/10

RWBY Review

RWBYHighResolutionLogo
It’s time to take a look at the greatest TV show of all time. For a long while Yugioh GX held that spot and I never thought that it would be surpassed or even that it could. Then one day I happened to notice the twitch marathon channel tuning into RWBY. They were in season 2 and I saw the hype battle between team RWBY and Torchwick. I stuck around for about 4 episodes before deciding this was a show that I needed to watch and so I went back to the beginning and marathoned it. I’ve since seen most of the episodes 3 times thanks to various reaction videos and the fights more times than that. It’s certainly a title that I imagine will stay in 1st for a very long time.

There are 5 volumes so let’s go through them all from the beginning. The premise of the series is that the planet has been overrun by the Grimm. These are shadow creatures who destroy at random and thanks to their sheer numbers humanity has had a very hard time dealing with them. Fortunately they found out how to harness aura. Aura allows you to shield yourself from injury and also lets you augment your attacks. 4 kingdoms arose and various little villages sprang up as well although those tend to be destroyed by bandits or Grimm monsters. The people who fight back against the Grimm and defend our borders are known as Huntsman. They are our last defense.

The series focuses on team RWBY who are comprised of Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long. They don’t actually form until midway through the season though. The first volume is mainly set up with the heroes having their first real confrontation with the enemy near the end of the volume. It’s definitely a really fun volume and one that has aged pretty well. It got the ball rolling for the series after all and did a good job with everyone’s personalities.

I should also mention that part of how the series built up a lot of hype before even airing was through the 4 character shorts they released before the series even started. Each of the main 4 characters got their own and the shorts were all about the action. If we count them as episodes then they are all likely still in the top half for me. All 4 of them are excellent but if I had to pick a favorite then it would be the Yang special. It’s the longest which leads to the most action, but she is also the most enjoyable character of the 4. You may have expected the show to be a little different than it was if you saw the 4 shorts and then went into the show, but ultimately the fights do come so it’s not as if they were cut off entirely. It was a wise move to make the shorts about the fights as a glimpse of what was to come.

Volume 1’s soundtrack is also amazing and some of the best tunes in the series are in this volume like the theme song. This Will Be The Day is a song that I have heard well over 100 times at this point and it certainly never gets old. It’s very fast paced and gets you psyched up. Then we also have Red Like Roses II and even just the normal instrumental tunes that show up. The animation was pretty simple and not too detailed here, but it really showed up whenever an action scene would pop up. It’s a really balanced volume.
rwby_volume_3_episode_6_screencap_by_jkphantom9-d9k0m0z
Next up was Volume 2. Now that the heroes had scored their first win against the villains they were ready to try again. The first half of the season follows their attempts to shut Torchwick and his cronies for good. We also start to get some set up towards events in season 3 like the villains big move and the tournament. They also squeeze in a school dance and even an invasion. Season 2 throws in a bunch of new characters and has a lot of fights so it’s definitely the logical next step from volume 1. It’s essentially better in every way which is always how you want a show to be. It should get better with each season.

The animation has noticeably improved from season 1 as everything just looks more modern. This translates really well into the fight scenes as well. We get some of the best fights in the series here like Yang vs Neo or the team against Torchwick. Each half of the season has a nice climax and there are no bad episodes here. Well, the whole series has never had a bad episode so that goes without saying. We got some new tunes to write home about here as well like the great opening, Die, and Sacrifice. Little did I know that the series would get even better.

Season 3 is the absolute peak for RWBY and a major part of why it is the best show. The tournament finally starts up and lasts for the majority of the season. Then the villains finally make their big move which leads to a lot of fights. Almost every big character who was referenced or introduced earlier gets to have a nice role here as well. The episodes also start to get longer in this season which is good since the ongoing plot starts to take root here. We are introduced to the concept of the 4 maidens and the relics which is what the rest of the series will likely be about. At the very least the next 2 volumes are about this plot and it stands to reason that volume 6 will follow suit.

The animation is at its best here for the fights as my personal favorite match happens. (Yang vs Mercury) Divide is really a highlight song for this volume as well and it works perfectly for the end credits. The climax of volume 3 is also the most ambitious yet as we finally get to see what some high level fights look like. By high level I’m not necessarily referring to animation as they’re all high level up to this point, but in universe what some of the stronger fighters can do.

Then we move on to volume 4 which definitely gets pretty interesting for the series. Unfortunately I’d say that this is around the same where the series got really mainstream. This one decided to go for an even more plot based approach with minimal action. The animation style was also completely overhauled and so we lost 2/3 of what made the original seasons so amazing. We still did keep the solid soundtrack though and while we lost the pacing, things do get intense when they finally happen. Volume 4 is easily the weakest season for me, but theoretically it is meant to help Volume 5 be even better since the whole volume is set up.

Volume 4 isn’t completely devoid of fights either. We get Qrow vs Tyrian which is known as one of the best fights in the series and I would absolutely agree with the consensus. Then there is also the season finale fight against the Nuckle which isn’t a personal favorite of mine, but it is certainly a fight. I’d say that the season had 4 real fights which isn’t half bad. The actual animation does look sharp so it’s not as if the overhaul was a strict downgrade. On the contrary, the character models are on point. Everyone basically looks the same except for Ruby and now they’re in HD. The real problems with the animation is the facts that the animators don’t seem to know how to use it.
RWBY-Main-Character
There were a lot of behind the scene issues here and I also suspect that the show was trying to nerf all of the characters a bit to mask their animation inexperience. The characters go from being incredibly fast powerhouses who felt like DBZ characters to suddenly being very mortal. Their attacks lack any actual impact anymore and they seem to have trouble with monsters that wouldn’t have stood a chance back in the day. As big a deal as it was in volume 4, I’m afraid that these issues would rear their head even more in volume 5. 4 also made sure to cram in as much exposition as possible to the point where it would take them 5 minutes to say something that you would figure out in 1. This may be my least favorite volume, but it’s still good on its own. It would probably just be a 7 as opposed to a 9 much less a 10. As far as the soundtrack goes we were introduced to Qrow’s new theme which is definitely very solid and Yang’s theme from the end credits which still ranks as my favorite song. A close second is the first volume’s intro with Divide being third. This is the End could end up passing those once the full version is released though. I also liked Weiss’ song “This Life Is Mine” which was another standout hit. The franchise has never had a season go by without some new epic songs.

Then we have volume 5. Here we finally get the big payoff as the heroes and villains have their first confrontation since volume 3. The battle for the next kingdom finally begins and we have our first Maiden battle. Naturally the big hype for this volume is that team RWBY is finally together. Maybe that’s another area that hurt the last volume. Seeing Mercury and Emerald get to fight again was pretty fun as well and as a whole the volume was just a lot more epic than the last one. If we had the same level of fight quality as volume 3 then 5 would have had a real shot at being the best.

The problem here is that the lack of fights is even more glaring than in volume 4 and likewise with the nerfs. Everyone seems to fight in slow motion for the most part. Compare Yang’s fight against the bandits to her fight against the gang members in the original Yellow trailer. The volume 5 fight just doesn’t look impressive at all. The choreography may look nice, but there’s nothing impressive about how quickly she is taking them down. In the time it takes her to beat one guy she has probably steam rolled 2-3 in the yellow trailer with a flurry of more powerful blows. This may have all been to make the Maidens look more impressive. I heard that the big fight at the end took 6 months to animate. I am really hoping that this isn’t true. While it does give a concrete reason for why the fights have come to a halt in the later volumes, it would just be a bad sign for future seasons. We need every fight to look like the final one, not just one per volume.

I also do have to admit that volume 5 wrecked the climax. “The More The Merrier” is definitely one of my favorite episodes in the franchise as it perfectly set up all of the fights. Yang vs Mercury, Qrow vs Raven, Ruby vs Weiss, etc. When the episode ended we even got a conclusion to one of the fights so you expect the rest to continue. The problem is that they don’t. None of the fights ever actually happen as it cuts away every time and we just see the aftermath. It doesn’t even make sense half the time as in one scene the heroes are basically out of energy and getting obliterated and in the next cut it is the exact opposite. The power levels also got quite wonky by the end and the way Raven’s plot ended in volume 5 was actually terrible. Volume 5 was still a lot of fun regardless and it was certainly hype, but it could have ended on a much better note. The soundtrack was great as always though. I did enjoy the new opening quite a lot and the song for Raven vs Cinder is definitely one of the best in the series. I think volume 5 may have introduced the largest amount of epic tunes out of all the volumes since we also got From Shadows Part II and the theme from Yang’s new trailer. Raven vs Cinder is also one of the best fights in the series so it shows that the animation is still on point. Volume 5 has a lot of replay value and you can definitely see the episodes quite a few times.

All right, it’s time for the bulk of the review which is looking at the large cast in the series. Brace yourself as I will talk about almost every character who had a reasonably large role or has survived and thrived as a meme like Pilot Boi. Naturally we should start off with the main character Ruby. From the first trailer you may have expected her to be a very intense character of few words who viciously finishes off her opponents, but she’s actually rather timid and mild mannered around others at first. This doesn’t apply when she is fighting off villains though as she eagerly jumps into battle in episode one against Torchwick and his cronies. That scene alone had me convinced that she would be a great character. She doesn’t back off when bickering with Weiss and always does her best to help everyone out. She didn’t blame Pyrrha for what happened to Penny which is good since that would have been an annoying plot and she put up a great fight against Neo and Torchwick. At the end of the day she is also a smart tactician and that is really what makes her a dangerous fighter. Once she finally masters her white eyes then she could be the strongest in the series or at least top 5.
maxresdefault (1)
Next up is Yang who is the best character of the four. She can turn Super Saiyan when taking damage and tends to have the best themes as well. Yang has always been known as the power hitter of the group and tends to be trusted to take on the strongest opponents. In volume 2 she is left to face off against Neo while she takes on Mercury in volume 3. While she isn’t quite the strongest character in the series, I’d say that she is definitely the most powerful student. She wasn’t able to train much during volume 4 and it’s unknown if her robot arm will be as good as her old one (I’m inclined to say that it isn’t as good) but it’s safe to say that she has retained her rank among the other fighters. Yang didn’t look good during volume 4 with her depression subplot but by volume 5 she is over it and finally back into the fight. I’m looking forward to seeing her get some more fight scenes as Yang is still my favorite hero in the series and 3rd favorite character overall.

Weiss was Ruby’s rival for a little while and definitely was the meanest of the group. It basically comes with the territory of being rich and gifted with immense power. She eventually learns how to be a team player though and probably has the best synergy with Ruby. They tend to pull off some really good combo attacks like the one against the Nevermore or their overall strategy against Torchwick’s robot. She has transformed from a close range fighter to more of a long range summoning specialist over the course of the volumes. We haven’t gotten to see Weiss fight all that much compared to the others, but it’s fair to say that she has the potential to be the strongest member. Her elemental abilities and glyphs already make her a dangerous opponent so throwing in the summons makes her a fighter who can be lethal at any range. I’m still a little upset that she was defeated so handily against Vernal, but since she wasn’t really able to practice or spar at all for a very long time, I can buy into the excuse that she was rusty and out of practice. All of team RWBY (minus Ruby) have had really extensive character arcs so it’s a little bold to say that Weiss has had the most development out of all of them but a case can be made in her defense. Either way she is definitely a great character and the 2nd best member of Team RWBY.

Finally we have Blake. She’s probably dealt with the most issues out of the team as she had a tough childhood and basically now has to assume command of an army at a young age. As she is a Faunus she has superhuman levels of ability but at the same time she has to deal with all of the social stigmas of being part animal. Blake is my least favorite member of the cast since she ditched everyone to run away from the villains in order to save herself. Sun eventually talked her out of it, but I was never really able to get around that. I can understand why Yang was so upset at her even if the two eventually made up. Hopefully that’s the end of that plot so in volume 6 we can skip ahead to the epic fights. Blake was hit with the nerf hammer the hardest though along with everyone in her plot like Adam but more on that later. I think what hurt Blake a little as well was her incredibly long subplot that took up a big chunk of seasons 4 and 5 with a bunch of characters that I didn’t care about either. She’s a good character overall, but was definitely at her best in volume 2 if you ask me as she desperately kept searching the city to destroy Torchwick. She had a tangible goal there and really worked to get to it. Here she now has an army and can cross large distances in impossible times to help foil an invasion but she still doesn’t seem to have the same drive and intensity that she used to have. Now if she could get a little stronger for volume 6 that could help her. It will be very tough to pass any of the other 3, but that’s not really a bad thing since they are all very solid characters. Someone has to be last after all.

We looked at team RWBY so now it’s time to look at JNPR. Pyrrha may not have been the leader of the team, but she was their best fighter so I’ll discuss her character first. For many series there is a character that I place as my favorite before properly watching the series like Gaara in Naruto, Piccolo in DBZ, etc. Pyrrha was the character that I chose in RWBY and while she did get surpassed by quite a few characters she is still certainly one of the best ones. Her fighting abilities are on such a high level that she was considered to be a prodigy. Pyrrha is also one of the nicest characters in the series and tries to defend Jaune when people make fun of him. Her big fight at the end was great and she never really had a bad moment in the series. It’s just a shame that she couldn’t have appeared more than she had.

Then we’ve got Jaune who is basically the polar opposite of Pyrrha. He isn’t particularly talented at anything and as a fighter he is one of the worst in the series. He isn’t very fast or strong and is basically a human fighting among heroes. Surprisingly he has yet to get a power up at the moment, but as a result he also wasn’t nerfed when everyone else was so that has helped him close the gap a bit. His speed now seems to be on roughly the same level as everyone else. He does have a healing ability in his back pocket which is sure to be helpful as well. He was a really solid comic relief character for the first 3 volumes. Now he is more of a quiet rage character who blows up when the villains appear. He definitely works well in both roles but he desperately needs a power up at some point.
maxresdefault (2)
Nora and Ren had a high bar to get over since Jaune and Pyrrha were so solid. They never quite make it up there, but they aren’t bad characters. I guess they just don’t add much to the story. Nora is always fairly cheerful and is low key known as one of the stronger fighters in the school. She has a lot of raw power at any rate and while she doesn’t tend to take anything too seriously she does know when to turn the comedy switch off when necessary. I do think she is basically irrelevant at this point as far as the power levels are concerned, but her fans will be happy that she gets her moment in volume 5. Then we have Ren who suffers from the same issues as Nora. In his case he isn’t the super cheerful character, but the quiet one. As a result he tends to be a little slow on the uptake and gives the characters obvious exposition or just acts as a nuisance. His past traumatized him quite a bit so he was ready to desert Ruby and Jaune just to get out of the area. Later on he gives a big speech on what the meaning of character development is. Maybe if Ren gets more screen time that isn’t him just talking that would help as he had some potential when he briefly fought against Tyrian. In theory he has more proper hand to hand training and warrior skills than some of the other characters, but it never seems to be all that important. He’s not my kind of character, but he’s not bad.

It’s time to look at the first big villain of the series, Torchwick. Torchwick is a great villain and certainly one of the best ones. He manages to balance out his sarcastic humor with his more intense scenes to become the great villain that he is today. Considering that he seems to be a normal crook with no aura or anything, it’s actually very impressive how well he fights. He was holding his own against Blake and Sun. Later on he was even giving Ruby a good run for her money. He’s definitely a villain who steals the show during every appearance that he is in and Torchwick will not be forgotten.

Neo was Torchwick’s right hand woman and she is definitely one of the strongest villains. She defeated Yang with absolute ease as she was just toying with the hero during the whole confrontation. After that she went on to overwhelm Ruby in their fight although it wasn’t as one sided as you would expect. Perhaps Ruby’s fighting style would be tougher to counter since she isn’t a hand to hand combatant, but the fight was too brief to really speculate on all that much. The show actually did a good job of balancing Team RWBY for a while there as they were all about equal overall but with different fighting styles so the matchups were very important. Despite being one of the best villains as well as one of the most powerful Neo surprisingly hasn’t done all that much in the series. She’s had 2 fights and that has been it. Hopefully she will return in volume 6.

Salem is the big bad. She’s the leader of the villain organization but hasn’t gotten to fight yet. She talks tough in the background though and it can be very reasonably inferred that her abilities are considerable. Honestly I find it hard to believe that she can keep up with some of the faster opponents while in that cloak and she always walks around as if she is very old. These can all just be red herrings though and I expect big things for when she actually fights. Salem’s definitely a very good leader for the villains though as her design and voice are perfect for the character. She feels about as intimidating as the embodiment of darkness should be.

Cinder isn’t the leader of the villains, but she is the figure head. She carries out all of Salem’s orders and is the face of the villains to the general populace. Her plans started very early on in the first volume even as we slowly learned the chain of command. She was a considerable fighter from the start and only grew stronger once she obtained the Maiden abilities. It’s easy to see why she is a fan favorite and I definitely like Cinder a lot as well. She is powerful and intelligent which is the ultimate combo as a villain. She even outsmarted Raven even if she wasn’t quite as powerful in the end. If her character arc has finally ended then it was still a very satisfying adventure. That being said, I would certainly like for her to return so we can get some more Maiden battles.
maxresdefault (4)
Mercury is a really great villain who is certainly one of my favorites. Honestly the villain ranks are stacked with awesome characters like him, Neo, Torchwick, Emerald, Cinder, and Adam. So…pretty much all of the main villains from the early part of the series. Mercury actually ranks above all of them as my number 1 favorite character in the series. It’s hard to say exactly when that happened, but I just love that smug arrogance that he has. He looks and sounds like Sasuke as well which fits the character. It’s hard to say exactly how strong he is since he threw the fight with Yang, but at the very least he is quite high tier. It’s hard to say at this point if he is still stronger than each of the members of Team RWBY, but I’m inclined to say that they haven’t quite caught up to him. I feel like his role in the story is almost over though so hopefully he at least gets one more fight.

Emerald is Mercury’s partner and definitely doesn’t seem to like working with him all that much. They’ve been teaming up for quite a while though and usually have some fun banter going back and forth. What makes Emerald really shine is that she’s not only a great villain, but also performs very well as a fake hero. She’s really over the top with how cheerful she can be and would fit right in with the heroes if it wasn’t an act. Her illusion abilities are very hard to deal with and her close combat skills are also top notch. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing her fight again.

Pilot Boi got to appear for a cameo in volume 4, but didn’t really get huge til volume 5. He was voted as the greatest RWBY character in the Reddit poll and I can definitely sympathize with them. He’s an incredible character and to say that he is just a meme would be doing the character a great disservice. Every line uttered by the Pilot Boi is gritty and to the point, but not in a bad way. He just lays out the facts honestly. He only cares about himself and his money so everything else isn’t his concern. Even Weiss knows better than to mess with the guy. There are a lot of fans who hope he survived the crash and I do as well. He needs to return and to get an action scene to prove that he is more than just a fad. Just listen to his lines and you’ll see why he is such an iconic character.

Then we’ve got Ozpin who is the head of the school and later inhabits the body of Oscar Pine. He is always very shady and likes to keep a lot of secrets. We’ve certainly seen this kind of character many times before and I’m typically not a fan. He is no exception either. Ozpin doesn’t think anything through. The whole point of the school he built was to defend the Relic that was hidden there from Salem by essentially having an army of powerful students there at all times. The problem is that he didn’t tell them about this or even how to fight since they all tries to run away when the villains showed up. He doesn’t tell Ruby how to use her powers and doesn’t even tell his teammates when they are heading into a trap. He is definitely a “The ends justify the means” character who would fit right in with the villains. He can’t be trusted if you ask me.

Oscart is an interesting character as I thought his name was Oscar, but the credits of volume 5 corrected me. I guess I’ll spell it the easier way anyway though. He’s a rather annoying character for many reasons. One of those reasons is that he doesn’t know anything so the show has to waste time explaining basic concepts to him like aura and how to fight. He has never trained before, but suddenly he is on the level of the other heroes thanks to Ozpin hax? I don’t like that one bit and he does quite a bit of whining and panicking throughout the show. He never develops into a good character and it’s taking him way too long as it is. Hopefully he is better for volume 6 as right now he just exists to make the power levels wonky and to be the Chris (Sonic X) of RWBY.

Winter is Weiss’ older sister and a very accomplished fighter. She has had a very minimal amount of screen time so far, but has still managed to become quite the fan favorite character over the years. Her fight with Qrow was very impressive and I would like to see her fight more in the next volume. Like Weiss she has quite a lot of confidence. Having her around to teach Weiss more would be good and she is just a solid character to have around. She will also help to keep Qrow in line and her presence would force him not to slack off. After all Qrow was clearly losing his touch in volume 5 as he got humiliated by Hazel. He looked so terrible in the whole volume that I have to wonder what the writers were thinking. Qrow is a very powerful huntsman who is fast and strong. He was able to compete with Tyrian after all. How is he too weak to even injure Hazel? His sword should absolutely leave a dent and then he is also too slow to dodge any of Hazel’s attacks either. Their mini spars were always just annoying and it’s been tough for Qrow. Don’t worry, he’s still a pretty awesome character though. His first scenes are still classic as he is always drinking and insulting everyone. He’s quite smug and knows how strong he is. Volume 3 was certainly his best volume.
Screenshot_(216)
Next to Cinder, Tyrian is probably the most impressive of the enemy fighters. I would like to see him go up against Neo, but at the moment I would give him the edge in a fight. He’s definitely a very psychotic villain as he laughs a lot and certainly enjoys inflicting pain. His fight in volume 4 was really good and you have to appreciate how he likes to skip the talking and go right into the action. He’s vicious as you would expect a villain to be and from the cabal he is definitely the best member. Lets contrast that with Hazel who is the worst one. He wasn’t necessarily a bad villain during his early phase as he always talked with a soft voice and didn’t like violence. Then we learn about his sob story where his sister died and suddenly he turns into the Hulk with a mechanical edge to his voice. As soon as he became super bulky and slow I knew that he didn’t stand a chance here. Not only is his reasoning quite poor since it makes no sense, but turning him into the “strong but not smart” trope is never a good idea. Even his ability to block out pain isn’t a very useful one to have if you ask me as it can serve as more of a liability than anything else.

Back to the heroes we have Penny who is an android with super strength. She befriends Ruby and the gang and is also a pretty nice character. She can be a little naive being a robot and all though which doesn’t quite help her to rank with the other characters. Still, she pulls out all of the stops when it comes to the fights though and her battle with Pyrrha was also quite impressive. She may not have done a whole lot during the series but was a nice character to have around.

Raven is definitely one of the best villains in the series. It’s fair to call her a villain since she does murder a bunch of innocents even if I wasn’t too consistent in counting her as one during the review. She doesn’t really get to do anything until volume 5, but stopping Neo in her tracks just by appearing was a great way to debut. She looked terrific in volume 5 as she won every fight that she took part in and may very well be the strongest character in the series at the moment. Her ability to teleport is definitely a very potent one. Giving up the relic still makes absolutely no sense, and Raven’s plan to deal with Cinder was bad as well, but she’s still a great character. Raven may not be a great tactician, but she is a superb character and that’s what counts. She could potentially be top 5 as well, but there are probably 10 characters who are top 5 material which is why it gets tough.

Adam is another one of those characters and he looked great in the first volumes. He appeared to be a hype rival type character in the Black trailer and then ended season 2 on the most epic note possible. In season 3 he looked spectacular with how easily he defeated Yang and Blake. In Volume 5 I liked his new costume, but that was about it. He went from being Maiden level to going down to a single blow from Blake. It’s really hard to get back up from such a disgraceful performance. No matter, either way he is still a personal favorite character of mine and I would still say that he is one of the strongest in the series. You just have to ignore the plot armor/convenience of many moments during the V5 climax.

Vernal is one of the newest characters to show up, but she has already become quite solid. I gained a lot of respect for her during the fight scene with Weiss. Her choice of weapon is definitely quite good as it is basically a Tron disc like the one Tyrian uses. It can also shoot out laser blasts which is really handy. Her skills are the real deal for sure and I would like to see more of her in action although that doesn’t look likely at all. Her role may not have been huge, but it was memorable.

It’s time to look at the characters from Blake’s plot. First up is Sun who is the best of these characters. His best role was certainly in season 1 as he decided to help Blake out by fighting Torchwick. Right from the start he was a loyal partner to have at the ready. The romance angle started getting played up a little more in future seasons which wasn’t great, but at least he is always a solid character. He still seems to be quite a bit stronger than her and it’s impressive that he’s managed to keep up so well. He’s just a very solid character.

Then we’ve got Blake’s parents Kali and Ghira. They’re pretty reasonable characters and are much better than Weiss’ parents. They are pretty understanding about Blake’s running away and have totally forgiven her. They do a good job of managing their country and affairs while remaining grounded. Then you have the childhood traitor Ilia who decided to team up with Adam to destroy Blake. Well, you know how I typically don’t forgive traitors. Ilia falls into this same hole as the heroes forgive her almost instantly, but I can’t. She was perfectly willing to destroy everyone and would have done so if she wasn’t stopped. You can’t just shake your head and allow her back into the fold so easily. She’ll have to really prove herself to become a better character. There were also a bunch of random villains in this mini arc who forked for the two fox brothers, but they were all very weak and expendable. One of the hype villains got one shotted by Kali who was holding a tray! That’s when you know that the villain can’t be taken seriously.

Finally I’ll mention some of the more minor characters that I almost skipped. We have Glynda who is the first huntsman that we see in the series. Her abilities haven’t really been explained in universe yet, but I’m sure someone has figured them out by now. They seem like transmutation or time alteration, but either way she always looked impressive. That’s why I am hoping we see her fight an actual opponent at some point since surprisingly that hasn’t happened yet. We’ve also got Ironwood who has seen a little more action than her. He seems to be a bit of a Superman figure with how he talks and the design. However, the series is hinting that he could become a bit of a villain as he gets more and more desperate to protect his kingdom. He also has 2 seats on the council and may get corrupt with power. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but at the very least I am definitely a fan of his at the moment. Neptune deserves a quick mention, but honestly he never contributed much except towards the dance plot. He’s not a good character honestly and would probably rank as one of the worst in the series. He’s not funny and we don’t need one of those characters who is always flirting in this show. I can see why he was written out so quickly.

Oobleck is one of the teachers at Beacon and he has super speed along with a close range fire gun of sorts. It’s a pretty interesting weapon. He’s not a bad character, but never really does all that much as he makes sure to vanish before the real enemies show up. Port is another teacher and he gives some decent life lessons. He can be a little annoying though as his scenes drag on so fortunately he doesn’t appear much. Then we have Taiyang who is Ruby and Yang’s father. He seems like a decent fighter, but he will probably be more impressive when we actually see him get to take on a villain. I’m expecting big things from him since he was on the same team as Raven and Spring. Considering how good a fighter Yang was back in the day I don’t agree with Taiyang’s analysis that she uses her Super Saiyan mode too much, but I guess as long as he snapped her out of her depression I’ll let it slide.

Then we’ve got Cardin who was the big bully for season 1. He never really shows up again after that, but he was an entertaining guy. Cardin was certainly clever though and manipulated Jaune and the others like a champ. Flynt was a pretty good fighter from the tournament who actually managed to take down Weiss. His fighting abilities are nothing to scoff at and I liked his theme music as well. I was less impressed with his partner Neon, but I suppose she had fun during the fight so that’s nice. Maybe if she trash talked a little better or just didn’t talk much then I would have been more of a fan.
V2_11_00048
Then we’ve got Junior who was humiliated by Yang. He’s not a great character at all, but he is surprisingly brave as he stood up to Yang after she demolished all of his men. His two subordinates were great though as the twin dancers really gave Yang a run for her money. Then we have the original Spring Maiden Amber. She was clearly not a great fighter as she was beaten rather easily even though a Maiden is supposed to be crazy strong. She should have practiced more and I question what she was doing all by herself anyway.

Lionheart is one of the more recent villains and he’s definitely no good. He’s not meant to be an interesting villain anyway though as you’re supposed to notice how cowardly he is and then shake your head. There aren’t really any good qualities about this villain and it doesn’t help that he is also super weak. Watts is one of the members of the villain group, but he has yet to fight. Still, he is a solid villain so far as he really likes taking shots at Cinder. He always knows just what to say and that’s why he also needs to be a good fighter just to make sure that he can back up the tough talk. Sienna was the leader of the White Fang who was hyped for quite a while so it was rather funny how her plot ended. She was a good character, but definitely not a particularly smart one since she didn’t seem to see any of the events coming before they happened. Finally, there is also Adam’s right hand man who fought Weiss during season 2. He never got to get a final fight to finish up his character arc, but from how decisively he was able to defeat Weiss we can tell that he is very powerful. It would be great to see him fight again, especially since the character has no name at the moment.

You can probably accurately surmise how I rank all of the volumes at this point, but I’ll spell it out anyway. Volume 3 is still definitely the best one. It had a large tournament which I am a huge fan of and the best climax. Volume 2 would be my next pick as the fights were top notch as always while still embarking on more of a plot. The third highest is the toughest pick as I go back and forth with them at times. I think I would actually go with Volume 5. Whether it is recency bias or volume 5 having more of a plot and a lot of epic scenes, I have to give it the edge here. Missed opportunities aside, they don’t take away what the show actually did right and it certainly still held up the proud standard of quality that RWBY stands for. Volume 1 is close behind. It’s still very nostalgic with the retro animation and Blake’s battle against Torchwick holds up really well. Finally we have Volume 4. A good volume, but one that could have certainly benefited from better pacing.
maxresdefault (3)
Overall, Now you see why I say that RWBY is the greatest show of all time. I don’t have to go over the soundtrack and animation again like in most reviews since I already touched upon it in each of the volume sections. They are absolutely top notch and it’s hard to imagine that it used to be more of a fan project. I’ll have a review for RWBY volume 6 when it finishes so you don’t have to worry about waiting for another 5 volumes before I churn one out. I’m definitely expecting big things from volume 6 and won’t be satisfied unless it is able to at least crack the top 3 from the volumes. At this point the action should be coming fast and hard with enough subplots and loose ends to keep the pacing quite frantic. Naturally in a show this long it’s hard to express everything about it, but I feel like I’ve gotten all of the major points. I definitely went from not knowing about the franchise to being obsessed with it in a short time. Ah well, only about 6 months until RWBY returns so that’s not so long. That’s not the end for my reviews on the franchise though. In the mean time, I’ll also be reviewing RWBY Chibi once the latest season ends and RWBY manga that should be coming out soon.

Overall 10/10

Lady and the Tramp Review

512GVCKZ9YL._SY445_
It’s time to take a look at the Lady and the Tramp. It’s definitely a well known film that I’m sure a lot of us have heard of. It’s about two dogs so what could go wrong….uh oh. There’s no real animal violence here as the film stays classy in that regard but unfortunately the movie is just really mean spirited which ultimately holds it back quite a bit.

The film starts with two jerks deciding to get a dog. They buy Lady and right away Mr. Jerk decides that the dog will have to sleep in a dark room by herself as he closes the door. Lady keeps trying to break out and keep them up until finally they reluctantly relent and let her on the bed. Jerk complains about all of this nonstop and is just a terrible character in case you haven’t noticed. Well, one things leads to another and Heartless decides to have a baby. Jerk and Heartless decide that they don’t even want to have Lady around anymore and completely ignore her every action. It’s as if she isn’t even around anymore at this point.

Then the baby is born and the irresponsible parents decide they’ve had enough of the responsibility and leave the country for a few days. They decide to have Aunt Harriett watch over the baby. As the aunt is allergic to dogs and owns two cats, it is reasonable to assume that they told her to just watch over the baby and to ignore the dog. Lady does her best to watch over the baby, goldfish, and the bird but then she is kicked out of the house and given a muzzle. She meets up with a dog named Tramp who agrees to help her and aims to elfurther show that living as a free dog is preferable to being leashed. Will Lady agree?

It’s not a bad premise if these were human characters that we were talking about since nobody cares about those guys quite as much. When it comes to a film about dogs though, the film can’t be this mean spirited. It’s just hard to watch the film during the majority of these scenes as the owners are just so terrible. I’m not even sure if you’re supposed to actively dislike Jerk and Heartless or if you are supposed to simply feel bad for Lady but either way I did both. The owners do far too much for you to simply forgive and forget as the film wants you to by the end. You can’t even play the whole “It was a misunderstanding” card since they were very intentional with how they would ignore her.

Then you’ve also got the Aunt who would have murdered the other pets by proxy if not for Lady and she gets absolutely no punishment for any of this. In fact, she sends dog food at the end so I guess they are all suddenly friends now right? Ignorance is bliss or so they say so I guess the parents here should be on cloud 9 all the time. It’s not even as if the scenes are all that long, but they are certainly long enough for me to really dislike everybody involved from the humans. There actually aren’t any good human characters now that I think about it.

The good parts of the film are when Tramp is showing Lady around with his elaborate setup. In those moments it actually feels like the fun movie you would have expected going into it. Tramp has a lot of fine dining spots and everyone seems to like the guy. It also shows that not all of the humans are really bad people in this area, just most of them. Tramp even goes out of his way to help out other dogs in need so while he is a solo act, Tramp does try to help the community around him.

The scenes at the Pound can be a bit much though. Seeing the dogs get led out where we never see them again was rather dark. I was hoping for a slight fake out as we then see a happy family walking off with the dog, showing that they were being rescued, but the dogs just didn’t know about it. Still, on its own the pound stuff wouldn’t be enough to hurt the film all that much but all of this just begins to add up.

As far as the supporting characters go, I liked the dog with the scottish accent. He was always ready for a fight and did his best to watch over Lady along with the ex fugitive hunter dog. The old dog’s ramblings could drag on a little, but he was still a decent character for the most part. He helped out quite a bit and the film handled the ending well as the film almost lost another star with how his plot would have concluded. As it stands, the ending was pretty good. In general, the film got a lot better once we entered the climax of the movie. It couldn’t quite save the first half of the film, but at least it gives us some hope for the sequel.

The animation is pretty good as you would expect. All of the character designs are on point and the animation in general is very smooth. We also get some nice action scenes thrown in for good measure like Tramp against 3 dogs or Tramp against the Rat. I wasn’t expecting any action scenes so that was a welcome surprise. They were also handled very well as they managed not to even fall into the unfortunate animal violence trap. Another reason why it’s always best to be animated rather than live action for these as it is tougher to pull off there. The rat put up a much better fight against the dog than I was expecting to be honest, but we all knew who would come out on top in the end. Winning a 3 on 1 fight early on was the really impressive moment. If not for Tramp’s iffy backstory that was completely glossed over, he would easily be the best character in the film.

Overall, The Lady and the Tramp is a bad movie. I was definitely triggered while watching it and Lady deserved better owners. They really overdid it with how mean the owners were as there was just no turning back for them by the end. The animation is solid and we got some fun fight scenes with snappy dialogue but it is all erased by the pesky humans. Maybe the sequel will end up being better since the humans theoretically shouldn’t regress with their character development. Anyway, you are better off watching Air Bud or Underdog than this film. Those have more heart and don’t get quite as tragic.

Overall 4/10

Sonic Boom Review

boomtvheader
The first time I started watching Sonic Boom I knew that I had a winner on my hands. The series is the perfect blend of action and comedy. Due in part to the solid animation and naturally the strong writing as well, Sonic Boom is one of those all star titles that is not to be trifled with. It’s rare to see a comedy centered show actually be really funny throughout as opposed to once in a while but Boom pulls it off.

The basic plot of the show is that a group of friends live on an island. Their names are Sonic, Amy, Sticks, Tails, and Knuckles. This town is fairly isolated so the friends have to try and not get tired of each other or the fact that there is only one eatery in the entire town. They just have to learn to live the sub par food. Meanwhile, we also can’t forget about the evil Dr. Eggman who uses his evil inventions to try and conquer the town or sometimes to fight off tax corruption. One thing is for sure, there is always something happening in this show.

Sonic Boom may be a CGI show but the animation is so smooth and colorful that it is basically on the level of hand drawn animation. The character designs are really on point. At first people did make fun of some of the designs like Knuckles and Sonic but you quickly get used to them. The bright animation works well for the action scenes as well as the back and forth banter. It’s very versatile. Then there is also the solid soundtrack. It’s quite large as some episodes will have guest star montage themes. The normal everyday themes work well too and one of the big ones is the theme that plays when Sonic fights Shadow for the last time. It will keep you guessing throughout the show and that’s the sign of a good soundtrack.

The writing is certainly 5 Star material as the jokes just work so well. Part of it is the delivery of course, but you also have to give credit to the script for coming up with the jokes. In particular Sonic and Knuckles tend to get all of the best ones although every character has their moment. Eggman naturally gets a lot of time to shine as well with all of the banter between him and Sonic.

One thing you’ll also notice about Sonic Boom is that the show can get serious when necessary. Not all of the serious arcs may have always worked out, but for the most part they were pretty hype. The final two part event for the series certainly brought in the hype as Shadow’s battle with Sonic was as good as it gets. We haven’t had many battles with the two characters so it was cool to see them go at it. Shadow certainly had the edge in the fight which certainly makes sense since his speed is comparable to Sonic’s plus he has his chaos abilities like teleportation. It was fortunate for Sonic that Metal Sonic showed up and that fight was certainly epic as well. He was really doing pretty well against both of the hedgehogs even though he was outnumbered. The best part of the episode was still the early part though as Shadow’s takedown of the main cast was particularly brutal and showed him to be a legitimate threat. He did have a rather similar role in both seasons, but because his screen time was rather rare and limited it never actually felt redundant.

All right, let’s look at the cast. Sonic is essentially the perfect lead as he acts just like his hand counterpart, but dialed up to 11. This let him bring in a lot of snappy dialogue while still wrecking everyone when it came time for combat. This is definitely the Sonic that I remember from the games and his character is really done Justice. Whenever he faces off with someone you basically know that he is going to come out on top. Occasionally he will even subvert whatever the message of the episode was on account of being so talented. That just goes to show his skilled he is. He also does a good job of insulting everyone without being all that mean about it. He just tells it like it is and manages to look cool while doing so.

Knuckles certainly isn’t a very smart character and the show makes this as extreme as possible. Such an exaggerated character would certainly be either a big hit or a disaster and fortunately this portrayal was spot on. I think what really sells the character is how absolutely confident he is of being right. If someone tries to correct him Knuckles will typically put on a smug expression and explain why they are wrong. He has delusions of grandeur and at times he has gotten so big into his own ego that he ends up forgetting his bonds with the others. Knuckles is a nice guy, but one who just can’t cope too well with being the head honcho. He is still the power hitter of the team as well so you want to have Knuckles on your team.
SonicBoom
For Tails, it’s an interesting case because rather than simply play up the genius angle, they play up the “genius wannabe” card. He is consistently shown to not be as smart as Eggman in this version and his inventions have to be fixed many times. Still, he does send up saving the day a lot through his inventions as well so it basically cancels out. Tails is a good character and he also has a bit of a rivalry with Sonic at times which is pretty fun. Sonic tends to come out on top, but the same can basically be said for all of his rivalries in the show (except Shadow) so that’s not bad. Tails’ best invention was certainly the one that could make clones of the individual. That’s a useful piece of tech for any situation.

Amy has her girl power sticker on for the show and loves to remind Sonic that not all problems have to be responded to with violence. Although, she is typically the one to jump into a fight. Her split personality is played up a lot in the show and makes her a character that can be feared by others aides. You just don’t want to make her angry. Her part time job as a psychiatrist also makes for a lot of entertaining scenes. She may be a little on the gullible side, but she is also the hero who gives the villains the benefit of the doubt more than the others which is surely a nice thing to do. Sonic never tends to buy into the villains actually having a change of heart in this show for better or worse.

Sticks was made up for Sonic Boom so it was always going to be interesting to see what route they took her. She is the big conspiracy nut of the series and spends a lot of her time yelling and trying to tell the cast what is actually happening. Her refusal to use technology does come in handy at times like when the villain tries to mind control everyone through the TV. Such tactics won’t work on Sticks. In a fight she does appear to be the weakest member but it’s not all about strength when you’re looking at a character. She’s definitely not one of the best members of the main cast, but she’s a reasonably solid member of the team:

Then we’ve got Eggman who is definitely a very important character in the series. He keeps everyone in check and seems to have a fairly formalized deal with Sonic that he will attack the town every week or so. They reference these plans quite a bit. Of course, a Eggman does sometimes switch things up if the town gets on his nerves. It’s not a great defense but if we’re being honest the town can be pretty annoying. They’ll try to cheat you out of money or cut out in line. Other townsfolk will try to guilt trip you into helping them and the mayor is absolutely corrupt. Some characters may just sit there and take it, but not Eggman. In all of these instances I am actually rooting for Eggman since he just seems to be in the right. It’s the town that really needs to change, not really Eggman.

Shadow only appears in 2 different stories but they are both quite good. He sounds intimidating for sure and just isn’t someone that you want to mess with. Especially when you consider how strong he is. Shadow may be a little gullible which is an unusual trait for the character and the only one that doesn’t work well, but he looks really good beyond that. His style of chaos control based combat is always fun to watch. As Sonic Boom surprisingly didn’t use guest stars all that often, it made their appearances even more special than usual.

Then we have Dave the Intern. Well, he has many jobs to be honest but he is most well known for his time over at Metburger where he sells fast food that isn’t healthy for you and the ingredients are also very suspect. He tends to get everyone’s order wrong and you run a risk whenever you go inside. So why do people eat there? Well, it’s the only food place in the small village. This is actually mentioned quite a few times and you wonder why the heroes would even live in such a village. There are probably quite a lot of fun theories about this, but I like to think that they are just trying to lay low for a little while. They don’t want to have to constantly be fighting so this was a way to get some r n r, but Eggman showing up definitely broke that plan. Dave is a really fun character thanks in large part to how his voice sounds. He clearly doesn’t want to be at the burger shop and has a lot of goals. Dave just isn’t particularly skilled enough to pull any of them off.

Another fairly big character in the show is Eggman’s twin brother robot from another dimension. His name is Morpho and his accent is certainly on point. I imagine that it must have taken a while to perfect it. He uses his shape changing abilities to great effect as he makes it hard for the heroes to trust each other. Eggman’s mother was also a quality character as she kept everyone in line. The supporting cast is just so great in this show and all of them get their due screen time. Even the old lady who is always losing her baby manages to be a solid character. There’s also a whole group of villains who work at the club house who are sort of like the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but the evil version.

For other guest stars, we’ve got Metal Sonic and Vector. It was a surprise to see Vector show up, but definitely a nice one. He’s not one of the coolest Sonic characters, but it was certainly about time that he got to be in something animated again. Metal Sonic was awesome as expected with his abilities still being top notch. Eggman’s lackeys Cubot and Orbot show up constantly and while their comedic moments don’t work quite as well as some of the others, they have their moments. It’s hard to totally be a bad character when you’re in this show. Even relatively weaker characters like the girl fox who showed up a bit and the old man who guilt trips everyone are more passable than they usually would be.

What really brings the humor home for Sonic Boom is how self aware it is with the characters and what is happening. When it pulls off homages to old sport films or classic moments in the Sonic franchise it works because the writers clearly know what they are referencing. Research was certainly being done on this show throughout. Superman is naturally referenced as well which is hype. Sadly the show did not last long enough for us to get to Super Sonic, but I like to think that the next season would have managed to squeeze that in at some point. There are so many more possibilities for episodes here.

In the end I’d definitely have to say that this is the best Sonic TV show. Sonic X isn’t far behind and then from there they all get rather close. I’d give the original Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon third, Adventures of Sonic 4th and then Underground would take a respectable last place finish. Sonic’s never really had a bad show before and that’s a credit to how good the franchise is. The original movie was excellent as well and hopefully the upcoming one will continue the trend.

Sonic_vs_Shadow_Da_Boom
Overall, Sonic Boom is an excellent show and one of the best non anime shows that I’ve seen in a long time. You could always expect high quality episodes from week to week. I’m still not a big fan of how many shows like to divide their episodes into 2 parts nowadays, but Boom pulls it off as well as it can. Hopefully it does get another season someday although its odds aren’t looking very great at the moment. I doubt the next Sonic show can surpass this one, but hopefully it is quite solid as well. So if you haven’t seen Sonic Boom yet, be sure to check it out asap.

Overall 8/10

Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women Review

mysteriousisland1 (1)
The Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women is one of those films where you have a pretty good idea of the quality of the title before watching it. This definitely isn’t a good film and manages to stay consistently weak in all areas. It doesn’t do much to try and make this a memorable adventure so at the end of the day you are just wondering what the end goal of the film was. We may never know.

The film starts with a bus full of people heading to a plane and realizing that taking to the air may not be such a good idea. This thought is confirmed as we cut to the present where a group of people are flying around the globe to try and cure someone’s eyes or he may die from the pain. Unfortunately they get lost thanks to the pilot not being very smart and they didn’t stock up on fuel either. They land on a mysterious island where the women and the men are out to destroy them. Can the heroes take their guns out in time or is it all over for them.

Right from the start you’ll see that the title is a little misleading. At the very least, you weren’t expecting a bunch of men to be running around right? Well, you’d be wrong. There’s a tribe of men that have been defeating the women left and right, destroying their shroud of Mystery in the process. The girls can’t actually fight that well as they just seem to panic whenever a guy appears who isn’t trying to surrender. It’s easy to see why they’ve been losing the war and so I have to blame this on their commander Lisbeth. (Spelled more like Lisabeth, but they never pronounce the a so I may as well not write it in..) She got drunk with power and is more concerned about destroying her own people than coming up with some good plans. Not a great leader to have on your side if you ask me.

The main characters aren’t much better though. The pilot is a drunk who has seen better days. He drinks up the whole supply so nobody else can use it as a pain reliever and then decides to take a nap in enemy territory. Safe to say that this was his final mistake. He just never became a good character. The body guard was reasonable I suppose since at least he could fight and is crucial in the getaway plan. He isn’t the most interesting of characters but he is good enough.

The guy with the injured eyes doesn’t get to do much more than yell from all of the pain. It certainly isn’t his most impressive showing either. The most interesting character is the really over expressive one. He is constantly yelling hypothetical questions in condescending tones throughout the film. He can never just say something, it is always a yell. I feel like his whole personality with that is rather unintentional but maybe he is supposed to be like that. At the very least, he was certainly trying hard to escape or make a deal. The constant panicking gives the film some form of tension even if it’s not enough to save the atmosphere.

Unfortunately we do get some painful romance with the main characters. It’s certainly sketchy since they point out multiple times that the women on this island stopped growing mentally a long time ago. It seems iffy to start a romance under those circumstances as their only other experience with it up to this point has not been pleasant. The romance never really feels balanced and the film definitely should have avoided this land mine. The film also delves into gritty territory with the whole plot of having the men involved. We really didn’t need the movie to go there and the film should have just been about the women as the hunters, not the hunted. Any mystique of toughness they may have had is eliminated once we learn that the men are on top of the food chain once again. Destroys the whole premise of the film as well.

Finally the film also throws in the animal violence for good measure. This movie definitely was not very subtle right? It basically tries squeezing in every possible negative it could. The shooting definitely comes out of nowhere. Then there is also the painful writing to think about. The dialogue is just terrible. None of the characters are particularly likable as a result. Why did Lisbeth teach everyone such broken English when she was old enough to speak well? Was it another power move? Her English also deteriorated but I suppose it was part of the act. The Nun also didn’t handle the situation well since she never suspected a thing. It’s a little sketchy how everyone would trust Lisbeth so completely as to not even check of the Nun was still around.

There are no redeemable qualities in this film aside from the fact that is is rather short. At least you won’t be watching it for very long. The sad part is that there’s an easy fix, just eliminate the tribe of men from another island. Have the main plot be the main characters being hunted by the Amazon warriors. It would be a much better film and while it may still get gritty, the premise is a whole lot better. It’s not like you’d want to root for the main characters anyway so you wouldn’t mind them getting bumped off.

Overall, this film is definitely a mess. It has so many issues that you’ll wonder how this film was ever created. Clearly the writers didn’t even care for the premise which is why it plays out nothing like what the title suggests. The only thing to do for a film like this one is to simply forget about it. Out of sight and out of mind right? If you want to watch a good film about a mysterious island, check out Scooby Doo, Zombie Island.

Overall 0/10