Invasion of the Body Snatchers Review

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of those sentences that wouldn’t have much meaning without the iconic films. That being said, the idea is certainly an interesting one that has been used time and time again by several films. After all, what would you do if someone you knew was replaced by an alien and nobody else knew about it? It lends itself well to horror plots because of how frightening that can be. The film does a good job of keeping that tense atmosphere.

Here’s the plot in a nutshell. Elizabeth notices that Geoffrey has been acting strangely all of a sudden. It’s like he became a new person over night. The same thing starts to happen to a bunch of people outside and the few others who notice quickly change their tunes just as quickly. Elizabeth finally realizes that this is an alien invasion. She finds a few other people like Jack, Matthew, and Nancy who learn about this and have not been turned yet. The only issue is…what can they do about it? It’s not like they can defeat these aliens since they are just as strong as humans and all of the government and law detection forces have already been turned. Is it best to just submit and let themselves be taken?

From the start of the film there isn’t a lot of hope for the characters. What little bit there is gradually deteriorates as the film goes on. The worst part is that the characters can’t even sleep if they are next to any of the aliens. If they do, an alien copy is produced and sucks the life out of the person. The only way you can fall asleep is if you’re next to a friend, but what if that person has actually been turned? You can only trust your comrades so much in this kind of situation. The duplication is a long process but it might as well be instantaneous since it’s hard to awaken once you’ve been tagged.

Naturally, Matthew does just that. He walks to the backyard and decides to take a nap. I get that he’s sleep deprived, but did he have to make it so easy for the aliens? He even let his hand dangle to the ground so that the alien plants could grab him and start the transfer. Matthew had his moments, but I can’t say that he was a good character. He was a little slow on the uptake and not as resourceful as the others. His short romance with Elizabeth also hurt his chances of being likable.

Elizabeth is a reasonably good lead for the majority of the film. While it takes her a while to really do something about the situation, it isn’t a problem that can be solved easily. That being said, her rushed romance with Matthew was pretty bad. Her man may have been snatched, but moving on so quickly isn’t really in good taste. You can say that it was the stress of the situation or a moment of passion but I just see those as excuses. Both characters suffered from this moment. I’m inclined to say that Elizabeth is still the better character over Matthew, but it’s close.

The side characters range from being average horror characters to actual thinkers. Nancy in particular was surprisingly good as she got behind the idea of the plant being the problem right away. There wasn’t any doubt or a plan to go visit the alien head quarters for kicks. She was the first to figure out that the aliens could be fooled and just brought her A game the whole time. Jack was a lot slower as he would fall asleep or get tired every now and again. He did his best once he got serious, but Jack just wasn’t quite as prepared for this. There’s also the suspicious doctor, but he’s so obviously suspicious that I wouldn’t trust the guy with a 10 foot pole. Remember though, this invasion isn’t happening. He claims that it’s all in our heads.

Back to the “Surprisingly intelligent plans” section, the heroes even decide to board a boat to another country. Sure, it may not get them away from the problem entirely but it’ll buy them some time. Unfortunately, it’s too late by the time they get there, but it was a good plan. At that point, the only other thing to do would be to just try and live normally while feigning no emotion. It’s not too clear on how the aliens know if you’re sleeping. It’s possible that you’ll be okay if you sleep so long as there are no aliens around. The problem is that they are microbe sized and have infected just about everything. Your house would have to be germ free to escape their influence.

I have to give the film a lot of credit for the ending. It’s handled quite well and is pretty unexpected when it occurs. The moments building up to it are just as solid and the execution as a whole is what makes it work. Depending on how you look at it, this could make for a fun sequel. It would be a last stand kind of film with one character trying to take out an army. That being said, not having a sequel let’s you play out the various scenarios in your head.

I want to say that the film had a good soundtrack, but it’s been a while and I can’t remember the tunes. I’m sure they were reasonably good tracks that worked well with the visuals though. Speaking of which, the film definitely had some disturbing visuals. The plant monster/alien bodies looked real weird before they turned into human duplicates. The dog with the interesting face was also something else. At least the transition of being turned into an alien is painless so that’s nice on the humans. It’s a sad fate, but at least it could be worse.

Overall, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a horror film done right. The human characters don’t all talk like bad cliches. The plot was well thought out as well. While the film doesn’t have a bunch of “jump scares” the overall atmosphere is more effective anyway. The place is usually cloudy and even when the characters are in a sunny environment, it never really feels like they’re safe. It’s simply a break from the dangers that are all around. I’d recommend checking this movie out. It’s pretty fun and good survival stories are hard to come across so you want to pounce on the ones that turn out well.

Overall 6/10

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Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

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Well, it’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally time for the sequel to the original Guardians to see if it can live up to the reputation of the first one. Unfortunately, it definitely could not. The film’s own premise hurts it quite a lot as the main characters succeed at all being very unlikable jerks for the most part. That seems to be the point so to the film…You’re welcome! Unfortunately, this just isn’t an angle that they should have pursued. Still, thanks to a key scene and some nice action scenes along the way, the film was able to avoid an unfortunate fate.

Peter and the Guardians start the film out by getting into trouble as per usual. They decide to steal from their employers and are quickly found out. Fortunately, they have the help of Star Lord’s Dad who destroys most of the attacking ships and helps the heroes escape. He wants Peter to come to his planet to hang out so Gamora and Drax go along with him. Rocket and Groot stay behind to watch Nebula, the villain that the heroes picked up so they could get the bounty on her head. Unfortunately, they have a run in with Yondu. Meanwhile, Peter’s Dad may not be what he seems!

This is a pretty big movie so there’s certainly a lot to talk about. Lets start with the worst character in the film, Groot. I don’t know how this guy got to be such a fan favorite character. He was bad in the first film and he’s extraordinarily terrible in this film. He’s nothing but a big bully and he gives the film an extremely rocky start from which I don’t think it ever truly recovered. It can’t really be totally blamed on the opening since the film never really tried to get away from this, but it was a sign of things to come. Groot picks on a pair of creatures for no reason and then tries to eat a poor butterfly. It’s supposed to be a funny scene which shows just how twisted the humor is nowadays.

Now, Groot’s appeal is supposed to be that he’s cute because of how dumb and mean he is. Groot only cares about himself and never moves an inch to help his friends. Any scene with him is incredibly hard to sit through. One scene in particular which drags on a lot has him try to find something during a prison escape scene. He keeps on bringing the wrong things including a severed toe which was just gross and completely unnecessary. We get it, Groot is brainless. We knew that during the first film…why did the film have to shove it in our face the whole time? Groot was just terrible and I agree with critics that he was a scene stealer…just in the absolute worst possible way.

Next is Drax…who somehow found a way to be even worse and more unlikable than in the first film. One running gag as per usual is that he takes everything literally. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s also grown even more grotesque and barbaric with his mannerisms. He talks about how his people are proud of talking about rather vile stuff and calls Mantis ugly multiple times. It’s fortunate that she is extremely naive so the insults went over her head. He’s just a very mean person which is why he fits in with the gang quite well. It’s just a shame that he’s such a terrible character. When you have Drax and Groot on the same team…you know that something’s wrong.

Next up is Rocket. Finally, we’ve got a step up from the other two. He’s the same Rocket that you’ll remember from the first film only he’s a lot meaner. Gee…what a surprise Rocket gets the gang into a lot of trouble but the team wouldn’t last long without his gadgets anyway so I suppose it’s a fair tradeoff. He’s surprisingly not very smart at times as Rocket can’t pick up on sarcasm or recognize insults when he hears them. I feel like he’s less intelligent than he was in the first film. Still, that’s fine since he still has his personality fully in tact. Rocket knows how to use his guns and does a good job of annoying Peter. We fortunately don’t dive too far into his origin story either as I got worried for a minute when Yondu started talking. Crisis averted. The winking subplot probably has Rocket’s best moments.

Gamora is my favorite character in this film. She’s still the only member who really knows what she’s doing. Gamora is actually trying to make the world a better place and she also knows all of the members well enough to know when something is wrong. She gives Peter a pep talk, helps Groot most of the time even when he doesn’t deserve it and she comes close to figuring out the sinister planet’s secret. She also does a good job of handling the situation with Nebula. It was a little hard to take Nebula seriously the whole time as a villain since she wasn’t very powerful but the film helps to fix that as well.

Finally, there’s Peter. After watching the TV show for so long, it took a little bit to get used to this version of the character again. At least he is trying to get away from his old flirting tendencies. If he can keep this up, this will really help him as a character. Peter is certainly a much better character than he used to be now that he is just focusing on one person. He does get a little unsympathetic though when he is tricked so easily. Thinking that Gamora is just jealous was pretty silly and I don’t think he was being mentally influenced at the time so it was all him. His reaction after learning a certain plot twist was also on point as well. Instantly blasting away and hitting all of the vitals was the optimal response. No questions like “But why!”, stuttering, going into shock, or any of the other terrible responses. Peter should never have been sucked in so easily prior to this, but at least he rectified the mistake.

There were also a few supporting characters. Yondu gets a fairly large role along with a lot of character development. I’m still not a fan of the character, but I do like his arrow. It’s certainly a potent weapon. Similar to Quicksilver getting a larger version of his scene in Apocalypse compared to Days of Future Past, Yondu gets a larger scale scene to use his arrow in this time. It’s a very good trick and if he was going all out he could likely do well against the cinematic Avengers. I highly doubt it would have an effect on the Hulk and Thor/Vision would be able to endure it as well. The others would be in a pickle and I’d include Iron-Man in that since his suit hasn’t been the most durable as of late. Now, why wasn’t Yondu the character convincing for me? Well, he did just kind of sit there when all of his men were being executed. He was also taken in pretty easily considering he had the really cool arrow and should have done something the instant a mutiny was starting. Take no chances when you’re the Captain! The transporting kids part didn’t do him any wonders either.

The Sovereign people weren’t bad either. I liked their video games and the idea of a virtual army is like something out of World Trigger. You actually feel bad for them to an extent since they held up their end of the bargain while the Guardians broke theirs. Still, we’re supposed to side with the Guardians since they’re the protagonists. I just couldn’t blame the Sovereign for wanting revenge. They just gotta work on their 3D Galaga skills and they’ll be all right for the re match. Their new secret weapon should help as well.

Nebula has probably improved the most since the first film. Her transition into being more of a rival went pretty smoothly. I think there was a little forced emotion when she was reminding the audience of her backstory since I don’t think Nebula cries easy. The whole film was maybe trying a little too hard in that end, but I guess as long as we get the “almost” death of the main character each time than it’s a good tradeoff. They always come so close, but don’t end up kicking the bucket because someone else is there to save them.

Mantis is an alien being who doesn’t know much about anything. She was raised by Ego in exchange for her assistance in getting him to rest every day. Unfortunately, the Guardians are the ones who help her expand her horizons so the lessons that she learns aren’t the greatest ones. She’s a decent character. Mantis’ character tropes aren’t really my style but I guess you can say that she did all that she could with them.

Finally, we have Ego. There’s nothing really likable about him and I can definitely say that the character fell flat. He didn’t do anything for me even if he did have cool abilities. The problem is that he’s way too overpowered. You know ahead of time that the heroes will need some plot hax if they want to come out on top. It delivers as it always comes through in the clutch, but they should have made him a little weaker. At least what wasn’t plot hax was the brief Man of Steel homage fight scene. That was pretty neat as you can instantly see where it took notes on the Zod vs Superman battle. If strength correlated with likability than Ego would be at the top, but it’s just not the case. He works well enough as a villain, but don’t expect to root for him.

As far as the soundtrack goes, the tunes are pretty good again. Most of them aren’t all that memorable, but it’s always nice to hear songs from the 80s. They’re just very catchy and it will remind you of the good ole days. The themes stand out and the best part is that you know the film had a soundtrack. There are a bunch of films that you’ll finish and wonder if they actually had any music to begin with. This film just didn’t have that problem.

The visuals are also pretty sharp for this film. Marvel is still a few years behind DC when it comes to the effects, but they’re getting closer. The brief fight with Peter and Ego was a lot of fun and I liked the Mass Effect Ego design. Peter’s element gun looked a little weaker this time as the blasts were quite small, but as long as it’s a blast I’ll take it anyway. You’ll go into the film expecting the graphics to be good since this is a space film and all so it’s good that you will not be disappointed.

One thing that the film definitely did right was its references. It was fun to be reminded of what we all loved about the 80’s. There’s a certain reference/guest star appearance in particular that worked really well. This iconic figure reminded me that I definitely couldn’t give the film a negative score. It had its issues, but the film reminded me that it could be classy. Moreover, you’ll probably gain some respect for the character who uses this guest star. It was a really exciting moment and the only thing that could have made it even better would have been an extended fight scene where Ego fights the Sm4sh version of this icon.

That was an example of humor done right. Unfortunately, as a whole the film did have an issue with the humor. The problem is that Guardians just isn’t a very funny film. Airplane probably had more laughs in 10 minutes than this film had in its whole generation. I blame it partially on the terrible writing, but it’s also because the film really televises all of its jokes ahead of time. For example, when a guy with a scarred face calls the gold villains. You instantly know what the joke will be and how it will be handled. That’s a bit of a problem because it’s not going to be as funny if you see it coming right? That’s how the film handled most of its jokes. It could have learned a thing or two from the Plane film.

One thing that made that film so funny was how sudden the jokes would occur. When the main character was asked if he wants a smoking or no smoking ticket you didn’t expect a good joke, but then they pull out a ticket that has smoke coming out of it. That was an excellently handled joke. Granted, the film had some bad jokes as well, but the ratio was in its favor and the good jokes wee really good. The best joke in Guardians would have trouble breaking even in Airplane. In this case, I don’t even think we can blame it on the characters all that much since they should still be good at humor.

Also, I’m not saying that the humor is terrible or anything like that. The film still did have a few moments here and there and you can definitely tell that it tried. It’s probably just a writing limitation. Unfortunately, the writing is fairly weak. There’s a lot of language throughout and edgy lines that serve no purpose being here. Some of the dialogues between the characters will make you wince or try to tune them out. Rocket threatening to place something vile on Peter’s bed was just sad and Ego talking about how he built his body was unnecessary. It’s little scenes like that coupled with everything else that begin to add up through the long haul.

Despite all of this, you should be satisfied with the action and explosions here. The film gives you everything you could want in a summer blockbuster. There’s a lot of banter and excitement around most corners. There are points in the film where not much happens, but I still wouldn’t really call these parts boring as the setting and characters are interesting enough. There are two kinds of films. Those that are fun to watch regardless of their quality and those that are not. I can safely say that this one is still enjoyable enough where you can try to overlook the negatives until the film ends. Your opinion of it will then start to deteriorate, but that’s an after effect. I’d also see this any day of the week over many other films.

One thing I’ll hope for in the third film is a longer fight. We had a brief fight with Peter and Quill, but that was the only real fight in the movie. The rest of the action scenes were just general action scenes against giant monsters or massacre fight scenes with the heroes wrecking a lot of flunkies. I’m hoping for more actual fights since the first film had quite a few of those. The Nebula vs Gamora fights here would be a highlight in that regard although again…they were pretty short. I always place fights above action scenes, but naturally having both of them is always a good thing.

There are quite a few post credit scenes 80’s style. They’re filmed like bloopers in a sense, but take place after the film. Some are important and others aren’t. One of them teases a new character who may show up in the 3rd film. Honestly, I wish he had shown up here since a fight with Ego probably would have been a lot of fun. Also, this guy is a personal favorite of mine so I have no doubt that he would have elevated the film. Another scene showed a group of classic characters. I can’t say that I’m super hyped for the group, but I did think that the rocky actor stole the show so it’d be pretty fun to see him return. A certain teenager who appears in one of the scenes is someone that I hope to never see show up. Luckily this wish will likely be granted. It was fun to see various cameos during the film as well. Referencing the rest of the Marvel cosmic mythos is always a good idea. Sadly Thanos didn’t show up this time, but Infinity War is finally getting closer so that’s good.

Overall, Volume 2 had quite a lot of problems. It started out really rough, had a bumpy ride during the middle, and then had a reasonably good climax. It’s still a fairly engaging film, but it tries way too hard to be funny. It’s an unsuccessful attempt. The characters are unlikable which takes you out of the film at times especially in Groot’s case. This is one of those films that I wouldn’t want to watch again at least not for a very, very long while, but for a one time viewing it wasn’t bad. At the very least you can’t say that the film isn’t engaging. There’s a good amount of action and excitement all around with witty dialogue in between all of the “witty” dialogue. I’d make a parallel to films like Suicide Squad, Lucy, Batman vs Robin, and other such films. They’re pretty entertaining while you watch them, but afterwards you still can’t give them a positive It’ll be fun to see the team show up in Infinity War, but beyond that, the Guardians don’t need another film. That or we just need a fresh new take on the Guardians. Get some new writers and we’ll see what they can do. In the meantime, I’m cautiously optimistic about Thor: Ragnarok (Gladiator scenarios don’t have the greatest track record and I can totally imagine some animal violence there, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt) and Spider-Man. (Worst Peter Parker…ever!) With the summer just starting, we’ll see how the rest of the films stack up. King Kong and Guardians may not have led it off to the strongest of starts, but the year is young.

Overall 5/10

Independence Day Review


Technically I went back and rewatched this film before the sequel came out, but then the review found itself on the backburner for quite a while. Needless to say, this film is certainly a lot better than the original. It still had a little issue with adding in too many plots which result in some being less interesting than the others, but ends up being a rather complete picture. The special effects still hold up really well and the characters are mostly likable. It’s the classic alien invasion story that you would expect and will always be remembered as an iconic film.

The main plot here is that aliens have arrived and they want to take over the Earth. They naturally go after America first since this country is super strong, but the world is their endgame. Not to fear, America has a plan and we’ve got a lot of natural defenses on our side of the field as well. Can our team of handpicked experts stop this alien menace or is the whole world doomed? Time to find out!

The film develops around a half dozen subplots so you get used to the characters before the Aliens actually show up. In one corner, we’ve got Thomas, the President of the United States! He seems like a charismatic guy and takes the situation in stride, but naturally there aren’t a whole lot of standard procedures to keep in mind when you are under attack from aliens. Considering the situation. Thomas keeps a steady command of the situation despite this and doesn’t let go of the reigns. He is easily the best character in the film as far as I’m concerned and his plot was also the most interesting. If you’ve been following my reviews a lot then you’ll remember that I always love to see the government’s point of view. As a result, the round table meeting with all of the higher ups was definitely a blast. One of the generals is ultimately portrayed as a bit of a worrywart by the end who talks back to the President and is quickly fired, but I actually liked him a lot when he first appeared. Before things went south for the character, he had some good points. For example, Thomas states that maybe they should consider going to Deafcon 4. The general immediately answers “Absolutely!” right after sighing as if he had been waiting for the President to finally make the obvious call. The general then went on to immediately dish out some orders before being put back in his place. Maybe he was a little too enthusiastic, but I liked how he immediately went to action and how he had his own ideas on how this should all go down.

Another one of the better plots involved David. He’s a genius who works with computers and detects a hidden frequency within the alien transmissions. Nobody else has noticed this yet so it could be crucial, but he has to find a way to infiltrate the White House first and that is going to be an issue. Especially considering that he actually punched out the President a while back. Something like that is a little hard to forget. Luckily, he has connections within the building, but is he in over his head? David plays a large role in stopping the alien menace and gets into the front lines. The actor’s always done a good job in the movies that I’ve seen him in and pulls off the character quite well. Finally, we’ve got the third main plot which featured Captain Hiller. He’s the ace pilot on the group and is the only character in the film to actually defeat one of the aliens mano a mano. He provides the gusto and natural leadership that gives the team confidence when it is time for the final attack. David’s the brains of the operations, but you need to have some brawn in a firefight and that’s where Hiller comes in. His natural charisma is something that the leads from the sequel really lacked.

Unfortunately, this is where we start to get to the plots that weren’t quite as interesting. For starters, there is Russell. He claims to have been abducted by aliens a while back and gets teased about it whenever he goes to the local bar to drink. He’s typically drunk throughout the day so that makes it tough for him to defend himself. He makes it onto TV, but not in a graceful light. He drives cross country with two teens, I believe they were his nephews, and they get to give us a grounded look at the situation. It was a very boring view though and this subplot was even longer in the extended cut. There was really no point to it though and naturally Russell got his big moment in the end, but I could have done without him. The plot could have certainly been more obnoxious and a lesser film would have really gone crazy wit it, but it still didn’t help the film out in the long run.

I also wasn’t crazy about the plot involving the First Lady, who survived the crash and meets up with Jasmine, Hiller’s wife. (Girlfriend at the time) It was there for the emotional impact I suppose and to give us inspiration speeches, but it slowed the pacing down a little. That being said, I do have to give the plot some credit though because it provided us with a cool CGI scene where the fire starts to engulf the streets. We then see the main dog turn into Air Bud as he leaps across cars and outruns the fire all the way to the service entrance where the characters were. Many films have a make or break moment and this was it. If the characters had shut the door to save themselves and the dog had died, this film would have gone right into the trash. I would have churned out a 0-1 star review for this film and would have spent the duration bashing and bashing it. Luckily, this film had class and good writing so the dog lived and we got a plot with a nice ending. So, the dog scene is what saved the side plot.

Finally, we also have some annoying characters when we head to the underground bunker. It starts off okay as the President takes charge and infiltrates Area 51. Unfortunately, the scientists there was too zany for their own good. They try to go for a very Johnny Depp kind of quirky, but it’s very forced and not appreciated. They don’t get a big role here so that’s good, but prepare yourself for the sequel. The main positive about this part was when the alien decided to fight back and attacked from his glass cage. The alien put up a good fight and the action scene really came out of nowhere. It was unexpected and that helped to make it a very effective moment. The film may have not been super heavy with action, but had its moments. There was a big aerial fight in the climax after all of the alien ships take on the U.S. Airforce. That was fun and the effects really hold up well. Between that and the famous scene where the White House blows up, you can tell that this film got a pretty high budget.

A lot of people like to poke fun at the ending though, where we use a Mac to send a virus to the villains. I do agree to an extent that this is a little hard to believe and viruses shouldn’t work on villains in the first place, but I’m pretty okay with this. You have to keep in mind that we will never defeat an alien race without some kind of plot hax. Just look at how Captain Hiller takes down one of these superhumanly strong aliens with a single punch. It’s hard to swallow, but it’s still a pretty humorous scene to watch. At the very least, I thought it was pretty fun.

The soundtrack was fairly good. It’s not going to be winning any awards from this blog anytime soon, but I thought that the tunes were placed rather well and that’s what counts. The President’s big speech was certainly good as well and one of the cooler moments of the film. It was so good that the sequel decides to reuse it instead of coming up with a big one of its own.

Overall, Independence Day really set the bar for future alien invasion films. It definitely deserves to be known as a fun classic. It’s not completely amazing as some of the lesser subplots drag the film down a little, but it’s still a fun film in the end. The pacing is good and you should be kept well entertained the whole time. It’s essentially the definition of a solid film and considering that the aliens didn’t get to show up much, the set up was still really good. I’d argue that this is one of those films where the set up is better than the actual resolution as I like to see everyone getting worked up over the aliens. The fight was still good of course, but the prelude was just better. I certainly recommend checking this film out. It may not be July 4th right now, but it’s always the right time for an alien invasion film.

Overall 7/10

FCBD 2016 Serenity Review

Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens

Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens


Time for another FCBD issue. This one brings three stories with it and unfortunately that increases the likelyhood that one of them will be a flop. That certainly does happen as this batch isn’t particularly strong. The main story features a character telling a little kid a story. Apparently it seems like this story is basically a remake of the first arc of the series. The living embodiment of wind met a skilled heroine and a noble pirate. Together, they decided to have some fun adventures and hang out. The plot twist at the end of the short is that the story was actually real and the main character’s Mom was the heroine. The art wasn’t really my cup of tea, but there’s nothing really wrong with the story. It’s a charming little adventure I suppose even if it didn’t really stick out. It’s better than sticking out in the wrong way like the next story though.

Hellboy goes to these mysterious ruins where an old lady warns him not to mess with the spirits there. Hellboy scoffs and looks through the mirror where the spirits quickly begin to overwhelm him. Before he is eaten alive, he begs the old lady for help and she moves him away from the mirror. Rather than being apologetic or grateful he basically tells her to get away from him and sulks for a little while. His tough guy act was certainly shattered here since old/weak spirits can wreck him so easily. This comic certainly won’t make you a fan of the guy. The art is fairly consistent with the Hellboy franchise. The colors are faded and not very vibrant so it’s not quite up to DC levels of art, but it’s clear at the very least. A little underwhelming overall, but not that bad. This comic would have hurt the overall score a little more if the ending wasn’t so funny. It was unintentional, but you should get a good chuckle from it.

The final story was an Alien one. A crew has been sent out to exterminate the entire Alien race one planet at a time. They are going through the route that the original ships went through to retrace their steps and find every possible place where Aliens may be hiding. The only problem? They weren’t prepared for this and the Aliens quickly overwhelm the heroes. They seem so shocked that you’d think they had signed up for Mountain Hiking as opposed to Alien Extermination. There is also an android on the team who doesn’t seem to understand that humans don’t play by the rules and can’t pull off perfect pivots or incredible precision like a robot. As far as alien stories go this one was actually quite boring and uneventful. You won’t be eager to see where the story goes and the art was fairly generic as well. None of the stories make for a great draw so this ends up being one of the weaker free comics.

Overall 5/10

Men In Black Alien Crisis Review

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Looks like it’s time to take a look at Alien Crisis. This is the first Men In Black game that I’ve played and one of the only ones to have ever come out. It’s a pretty fun game and you could tell that some effort was put into it, but at the same time you can also see how the developers were a little lazy at times. There are parts of the game where there is no real explanation on how to handle a boss and that can make it last a lot longer than it really should. One boss took me nearly an hour until I realized that the game was actually showing me the wrong weak spot. That wasn’t very helpful.

The game revolves around a guy named Peter. He’s a thief who used to be a respected archeologiest until he started having theories about aliens living among us. He was discredited so he decided to get back at society by stealing things. He gets in a little over his head when aliens show up, but he dispatches them with his gun skills. The Men In Black organization is intrigued so they blackmail him into helping them, but as the journey goes on, Peter starts to realize that being a hero may not be such a bad thing. It may be a brief realization though since the Earth may not be around for much longer!

Unfortunately, Peter’s not a good character. He’s modeled after James Bond in a sense so while he makes a lot of good puns and one liners while in imminent danger, he also gets his undesired traits like constantly flirting and most of his lines are about that. It’s too bad that we can’t get a character who’s super confident and everything without being a flirt. Wait a minute The main heroine is the hardened agent who blackmailed Peter into joining. She’s no nonsense and keeps reminding Peter that he’s not ready for this line of work. I could have sworn that she has the same voice actor as Black Widow. She’s a good character and by default, she’s basically the best in the game. As you may expect, she’s naturally possessed at the end so the rookie (Peter) can save the day, but I guess she takes it well. If we ever get a sequel, their dynamic will hopefully be more like the duo from the original Men in Black films since Peter will have some more experience. The dog makes some cameos here and there, but his role is not as big as it could have been. There’s also a professor who tried to outwit Peter and the MIB a lot, but he always fails in the end. One thing you’ll have to think about though is whether you should be rooting for MIB or not. After all, they did destroy a guy who came to Earth for an arranged marriage as part of a truce between races, right before they murdered his partner. Well, you know what they say..Don’t Mess with Earth!

The gameplay is your standard shooter, but it’s not totally first person like you would expect. You can still see your character and to an extent it can almost be called a third person shooter. I wouldn’t really call it that because you can never move forwards or backwards, but sideways is always an option. You can choose to hide behind a wall and strike out at the enemies or you can just stand tall and keep on blasting them. Either way, you should have the edge here as the enemies can’t stop you so easily. One health pack is enough to get you back to around full health although I imagine that this will change on higher difficulty modes.

You have around 6 different guns and they’re all pretty useful. I really like the machine gun, but the others have their uses. The two weakest ones have unlimited ammo so you’ll go to them when you’re desperate or in a tough spot. Those two situations are almost identical though. You also have a few gadgets to help you out like anti gravity grenades that send enemies into the air and a freeze ray that can really come through in the clutch. There’s also a barrier, which I highly recommend using as it can block all enemy fire and will never shatter. If you’re low on health then there’s no reason not to use it and it recharges very quickly as well.

I’m going to give this game some props for the fact that it didn’t stop at just making one gameplay style. There are several levels where you have to play in a different way in order to win. For example, there are 2-3 car chase levels where you’re flying through the city and blasting away at the aliens who are chasing you. You have to be careful not to his civilians or cars as you do and it makes for a fun level. There are also the sneaky levels which are all about strategy and silently taking down your foes. I’m always up for a stealth game even if I admit that they can be a little more irritating at times. Carmen Sandiego did this style best with Shattered Dimensions being a close second. Men In Black pulled it off quite well and would probably make it at number 3 here. The Batman games ironically get wrecked in this department.

The soundtrack is a little limited, but the tune for the main menu is catchy. The other themes are mostly non existent, but it’s your usual action fare. I wouldn’t say that the themes are bad and they’re fun to listen to in the heat of battle. The audio is interesting though as some characters sound robotic at times even if they’re trying to be charismatic. Ah well, I appreciate the effort at the very least. It can be annoying to hear the dialogue sometimes though since it is set to always replay if you lost in a level. I lost to the final boss several times before finally winning and to have to hear the same lines over and over again can get really old really fast. As for the graphics, they’re perfectly acceptable. It has that cash-in vibe, but the blasts are nice and colorful. I also like the designs of the enemies. The game did a good job of adding many different species unlike Battleship and the Iron Man inspired villain was also pretty hype.

I can’t say that there’s a whole lot of replay value to be found here. I read that the average completion time for this game is 2 and a half hours. I guess if you skip cutscenes and take out all of the enemies without a problem this can be true, but personally I’d expect the campaign to take you closer to 4 hours the first time. After that, you should have most of the trophies as well. The only things left to do are get the rest of them and maybe play around with the challenges a little if you really want too. I would say that the game is worth the current price although if you spent 60 on it (Not sure if this ever was 60 though. I personally doubt it) then you probably got ripped off.

The only real negative that I have with the game are the boss fights. As I mentioned earlier, the game really leaves you to your own devices, which means that you need to put on your detective hat and figure out what’s happening. Unfortunately, since the moments where the boss is actually vulnerable are few and far between, it can take a while. I lost to one of the bosses over 10 times before defeating her and I still don’t know what the problem was the first time. I basically just got lucky. As for the final boss, I did figure out that I was shooting the wrong target, but man did it take a while! The bosses were certainly the weakest part of the game, but they could have been worse.

Overall, Men In Black Alien Crisis is a pretty fun shooter. I found the actual gameplay to be better than Battleship, James Bond, and several other shooters. I even preferred it to Metroid Prime although that game naturally did have a better plot and more of an epic vibe. The story mode here did feel like a decent movie though and the snappy dialogue made for a believable main character. If you didn’t know any better, you could have easily thought that the movie probably had the same plot as the game although they are completely different. The writers thought it through and made a full on story mode so props to that. This may be a bit of a cash-in, but there was clearly more effort put in than usual. I’d recommend checking this title out.

Overall 8/10

World Trigger

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I’ve now started World Trigger! I’ve currently finished the first volume and it’s off to a decently good start. The series is fun and certainly has potential to be one of the big ones by the end of its run. I’m just hoping that the main neighbor’s facial expressions gimmick stops soon because it is pretty iffy. Aside from that, the action scenes are solid so far and I’m digging the cool costumes. I’ll have a review for this series when it finishes..someday.

Overall 7/10

Captain Falcon vs Alien


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Aliens are strong in number, but they are outmatched here. Captain Falcon has the speed and power advantage here so the fight won’t be long. Alien will be lucky to land a single hit as the Falcon Kick will send him flying. Aliens don’t have enough durability to last here. Alien will just keep on getting loss after loss until they get some kind of power up. Captain Falcon wins.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Review

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Close Encounters was a very interesting film. Not literally, (Although to an extent) but it was probably my first roller coaster film. I started out thinking that it was a good movie, it went downhill very quickly towards the middle, but the late middle brought it back up again before the climax dealt the finishing blows to the movie. On the bright side, we actually do get to see one of the aliens at the end so there wasn’t a cop out there!

Roy was just an average dude when he happened to notice a spaceship one day! Its lights mesmerized Roy to the point where he became slightly mind controlled. Now he will stop at nothing to find their home base, even if it means that his marriage may end up breaking as a result! Can Roy really find the aliens and more importantly…does he really want to find them!?
One thing that becomes very noticeable at different points in the film is that the characters constantly overreact to everything. Whether it is crying because of a bowl of mashed potatoes or staring in awe at musical notes, these guys are easily impressed and saddened. It’s certainly a bit much and doesn’t do the film any favors. If I ever actually gave the acting abilities for a film any merit, this is one time where I would give it a thumbs down.

One aspect of the film that had been dicey for quite a while was when the film showed us the bodies of many animals. If they had actually been dead, then the score for this film would have been incredibly low as it would have moved to Ganondorf tier in Melee. Luckily, a twist towards the end of the film occurred so the animals were just sleeping thanks to a sleeping gas attack from the government. That certainly helped the film.

One thing that didn’t help was Roy’s big meltdown outside of his house. He decided to fill his place with dirt and also broke through the property of the neighbors on his way there. It was a very odd scene that really had no place in the film and also made Roy less sympathetic. That being said, Roy was definitely not a good character. He was married, but that didn’t stop him from having a moment of passion with another woman who had been chasing the UFOs. Sure, Roy’s marriage was on the rocks thanks to his meltdowns, but this was still way too soon and he has to wait until he’s available again.

As for the government, they get a pretty big role here. Their part is actually kind of fun as they communicate to the aliens using musical notes. You can see that they’re really invested in this and have practiced a lot. Imagining that in real life is just hilarious and you can see the humor in the film as well. It was definitely an enjoyable scene even if it did go on for a while. It’s always been tough to talk with people who speak a different language so the same thing certainly applies to the aliens.

However, rather than wondering if the aliens are hostile or not, the government should just jump to the hostile theory. They did kidnap several of out officers and a little kid after all. There can be no negotiations with these aliens at this point! All of the human prisoners are also fairly quiet and subdued when they get back so they’ve clearly been brainwashed. Otherwise, their non reactions are completely unrealistic as anyone else would be yelling or at least running.

That final scene does take an incredibly long time though. We get to watch everyone’s facial expressions over and over again as the camera angles change a little bit. I get that the film needed to bulk up on its run time a little, but surely there are better ways to do this than to go all 2001 Space Odyssey right? It’s a little more interesting though because at least the visuals here keep you entertained with the spaceship and it’s still not quite as long as it could have been.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m also glad that we actually got to see the aliens. There were no cop-outs this time folks! The alien doesn’t look very impressive and it’s very much like an ET creature, but at least it appeared so we can know who we’re up against in a possible sequel! Roy basically abandoned the human race so I’m looking forward to seeing a new protagonist take the wheel. He/She would likely be a vast improvement.

One plot that was also a little dull was with these two scientists who were trying to find the aliens. They got very old very quickly and the plot felt like it had nothing to do with the movie. One guy ended up being a translator since one guy could only speak Spanish or French, but again….why is this plot here? Roy would have found the alien base anyway and this may have been the first time that a government related subplot was not interesting. It’s hard to pull that off, but I can’t say this in a good way.

In a way, this film started out better than it ended even if the intro was a little slow. It could have been fun to see the neighborhood try to get to the aliens as they crossed the government lines. Unfortunately, things just got dicey as the film went on. It had its good moments and its bad ones. It was cool to see a random joe try to make it to the mountains too before getting knocked out just to show that this adventure was not for the faint of heart. Even the girl who accompanied Roy decided to give up towards the end. Roy was the chosen one so only he could truly complete this mission!

About the heroine though, her plot was mainly not that good because of her son. As you may remember, I rarely enjoy plots that involve little kids. The kid was about as annoying as you would expect and he makes it very easy for the aliens to abduct him. This was another plot that really had no point being in the film. The aliens could have abducted an adult or a teenager and it would have been a lot more enjoyable for the banter that we could have gotten! “You can’t get away with this you martian!” “Watch me Mortal!” That would have been epic!

Overall, Close Encounters had the potential to be so much more than what it was. Unfortunately, it simply couldn’t measure up to its full potential. The animals twist was great, but the film needed to trim the ending a little and make Roy a better main character. There was certainly no reason to keep in his falling in love with a new person after a day and his early meltdown was terrible. You definitely couldn’t blame his family for heading out of state for a little while so that he could calm down. I can’t really recommend this one, but if you want a trippy adventure with a lot of odd happenings, this could be up your alley. Otherwise, check out the new Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F for a good alien story.

Overall 4/10

Barrage Review

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Now it’s time to look at one of the shortest series yet. This one only made it to two volumes before it was abruptly ended with loose ends all around. In a way, it does end before the story can even get started so depending on how you view things…you could say that it didn’t have many loose ends. It definitely depends on the cup “half full” or “half empty” thing though. It’s decently fun and it showed promise, but I don’t see this series making a comeback.

The world (That is essentially Earth) used to be peaceful until many alien races decided that they would have fun conquering it. The humans fought valiently for their land, but defeating one alien species would be tough, let alone a few dozen of them. Now, we only control a very small kingdom and aliens have taken over the rest of the land. A young boy named Astro is trying to make ends meet since he has to take care of a lot of orphans. He is let go from his job and doesn’t know how he will be able to provide for them when the prince appears and decides that Astro will serve in his place. The prince is conveniently destroyed and Astro looks just like him so the main character goes along with this. He now has the strongest weapon in the universe and he will need to quickly get used to it as he starts to liberate the planet. Can he really defeat all of the aliens?

The plot is pretty good and it had the potential to be a long running series like Naruto or a relatively short one like Dragon Drive. There are many aliens to face and I’m sure that we would have gotten more supporting characters as the series went on. As it stood, we had 3 main ones by the end. There weren’t a lot of big villains, but I’m sure that would change since we had only just begun to take back the planet.

As a main character, Astro isn’t bad. He’s not great though as he is quick to cry and his comic relief tendencies can go a bit far at times. That being said, he is obsessed with keeping his family safe and that’s a pretty good thing to be obsessed with. He strongly believes in the concept of a family and will do whatever he can to keep them safe no matter what. His strong ideals are what lead him to unlocking the powers of the Orgue. The Orgue only works when the user recognizes someone as an enemy so there’s no chance of friendly fire. This can also be dicey when Astro doesn’t realize that someone is an enemy, but he’s typically a good judge of character. His character design seems to be a mix of Simon from Gurren Lagann and Rin from Blue Exorcist.

Astro is not a great fighter on his own, but his determination and ethics help him bring out his very best. He learns quickly and he is skilled in using the Orgue. That turns him from a sub par fighter into a great one. The Orgue can destroy any alien in a single blow and its abilities may be limitless. It starts out as a spear and turns into more of a Monado (Xenoblade) by the end. It’s definitely a handy weapon and one that can be very versatile in combat. It’s safe to say that there are few opponents who can stand up to Astro by the end and the hero just needs to work on his speed. Once he gets a little faster, he’ll be virtually unstoppable.

Astro typically travels with Tiamut as per the King’s orders. Tiamut has a pretty good reputation and he can take dozens of aliens out in a single motion. He may seem to be human, but the series hints multiple times that there is more to this character than meets the eye. Whether he is human or not, Tiamut is definitely loyal to the crown. He’s a capable fighter and he teaches Astro how to be a good fighter during their journeys. He’s pretty likable and he would be very likable if not for one quirk that can be quite annoying. He’s extremely shy around ladies and he can’t even look at them. Luckily, he’s so skilled that he can beat many opponents with his eyes closed, but it’s a running gag that I would definitely take out. It’s unneeded and a little generic as far as jokes go. It doesn’t help his character and this means that he wouldn’t be of much use against a female opponent. His shooting sword is a pretty cool weapon since he can use it as a gun or as a normal sword. It’s not as good as the Orgue of course, but it’s useful.

Tico is sort of the main heroine. It’s hard to say for sure since we don’t know whether she would have been travelling with the heroes or not, but I’d say that it’s very likely considering that she came to the palace with them. She wants to avenge her family so she definitely has a vendetta against the aliens. She’s pretty outmatched right now since she’s just a girl with many guns, but I’m sure that this would change eventually. Even if she never gained super powers, I’m sure that she would have gotten some kind of super weapon to tip the scales. It’s just the sort of thing that you would expect at some point. She’s a pretty good character and I’m glad that she’s always eager to fight. She could have ended up being one of the better Shonen Jump heroines.

Black ends up being the big villain of the series. As you probably guessed, he used to be one of Astro’s friends and he started out as a really nice guy. Black doesn’t like when people make crooked decisions and he punishes them accordingly. The problem is that his definition of “crooked” is very dicey so he basically wants to eradicate all life on the planet. Astro slaps him silly for a while and he sees the error of his ways. He would presumably be a hero in the upcoming volumes as he gives Astro advice from his prison. Black is meant to be a very emotional villain, but you really can’t buy that since he only gets to appear for a couple of chapters. The change from hero to villain to hero is too abrupt. Black seems like a cool character, but I’ll say that he’s underdeveloped and fairly uninspired at the moment.

The art is pretty decent although it’s a little rough around the edges. I think drawing the eyes seems to be a little tough for the author, but it may be because most authors don’t bother with too many things in it. Here, the main character has a star in his eyes at almost all times and the extra details may be what makes the eyes seem a little off. The art still does work for the fight scenes and that’s definitely the important thing in a battle manga.

The main story luckily avoids the whole fanservice angle. Based off of close scenes and unfortunate bonus stories/cast interviews, the short run of the series may have saved it here. It seems like this could have been an issue if Barrage had become a long running series so this is probably the silver lining in the series getting canned. There has to always be a silver lining somewhere right?

The series ends with the heroes basically stopping one band of villains and still having to liberate the other 90% or more of the planet. I’m sure that they would have met many tough opponents and the heroes would need more power ups. After all, it was already discovered that the “Dark Power” may be a match for the Orgue. The dark power can be used to amplify an alien’s offense and defense as well as create constructs to aid them in battle. It may be a little generic, but I’ll overlook that since it’s always a cool concept. The dark power gives the aliens a great edge over most of the fighters since they become almost indestructible. It’s too bad that we couldn’t see more of this.

There is one plot twist that is extremely convenient and throwing it in the series just makes things a little too good to be true. You know how Astro is not the prince since he is just taking his place? Well, let’s just say that he looks identical to the prince for a reason! I definitely could have done without the twist since I thought that the development was pretty crucial to the series. Having the old prince randomly sniped added to the drama as well since I didn’t see it coming. (Although it makes perfect sense in hindsight since the prince can’t blackmail Astro later on)

It’s hard to say how powerful Astro is in comparison to most of the other SJ protagonists, but it’s safe to say that he’d be pretty low tier. His weapon is amazing, but he’s physically only slightly above meta human. His speed seems to be decent, but he was thoroughly speed blitzed by one of the aliens. Astro’s durability also seems to be fairly normal so one good hit would probably take him out. The strongest villain in the series is probably the alien who could hop a lot since he had very good speed feats as well as some of the dark power. Black is theoretically stronger than the alien since he was the leader, but his speed is pretty sad and the constructs are too slow to really help him here.

Barrage is pretty easy to get into, which helps the beginning. The intro had potential to be boring since it’s just Astro living in the slums and trying to earn some money. Luckily, the plot moves quickly and seeing Astro trick everyone is pretty intense for him. His first action scene was fun and the series as a whole is pretty entertaining. The chipper tone helps to add some hope for the characters amidst what is technically a sad series since humanity is essentially toast. It does remind me of Blue Exorcist in this regard as well or you can compare it to Buso Renkin. The volumes go by very quickly and it does have a lot of replay value. I could see myself reading this again someday, but pretty far in the future considering all of the other titles that are around.

Overall, Barrage is a pretty fun series. It’s really over when you’re just beginning though and I’m sure that the author had many ideas for its future. It’s always sad when a series is cancelled, but this just means that another series gets to bloom in its place. Hopefully, whatever replaced this series was a good title. It would be fun to see a movie for this manga since it’s short enough and maybe it’ll make a comeback someday. I really don’t see it, but it’s always possible. If you want to see a story about humanity fighting back against alien oppression with a good ole Shonen lead, this is the story for you. It has action and drama. The series never takes a break and you can really see the potential here. Just remember that it is only 2 volumes.

Overall 7/10