The Ghost and Mr. Chicken Review

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It’s always sad when you’re known as a chicken among the community. Just think of how rough it would be when it’s a small community so you are going to be seeing the same people everywhere. Well, that’s the case for our lead in this film (Luther) as everyone openly mocks him. It’s almost admirable how despite this he keeps adding for fuel to the flame. Panicking in the opening minutes certainly didn’t help his case.

Well, the film starts off with our reporter in training driving down Main Street at night. He hears someone scream and comes across a dead body. The excitement starts to overwhelm him but before he can faint the main character stumbles over to the newspaper office/police office. Luther tries to explain what’s happening but goes hysterical so his colleagues have to insult and mock him a little bit to calm him down. Just as he tells them all about the murder, the “dead” guy shows up as he was apparently just hit on the head with a branch and fainted.

Now Luther’s reputation has shattered even more. The newspaper is on tough times though so they need a scoop and have to take a break from mocking the main character. Their best bet is to send someone into the haunted house. Luther is essentially dared into going inside and he decides to do so to show everyone that he isn’t a total chicken. The problem is that ghosts keep messing with him and he even faints. On the verge of tears he tells everyone what happened, but can he prove that this was the case or will he also be known as a liar now?

It’s definitely a really fun film. You don’t really see comedy films like this one anymore and it’s a shame since they work so well. You can’t sympathize with Luther but I suppose you can at least sympathize with the fact that he held his own in court and wasn’t humiliated as badly as I had thought he would be. He doesn’t do a great job of improving himself at all and is basically content with going through the same motions that he’s always gone through. It’s why he is perfect for the role.

Ollie is definitely a pretty mean character who tries to undercut Luther at every corner. Still, he never gets too extreme and due to the nature of the film he can be pretty entertaining. If the plot was handled seriously then there is a good chance that he wouldn’t be likable at all but as it stands he was probably the best character in the film. You can make the case that he has more reason to dislike Luther than the other way around since from his point of view Luther took the main heroine away. Ollie also did offer to go into the haunted house with Luther, even if it was only to mock him.

An underrated character is the head of the newspaper company. Not only is he one of the only characters who gives Luther a chance but he even defends the guy in court. Honestly you’ll just feel bad for him since he does a great job but then Luther keeps on sabotaging him. The supporting cast was just really good in this film and naturally that makes a big difference. The judge was also pretty fun and it made the scene of everyone going into the haunted house pretty fun. Actually it was pretty surreal to see the Judge come up with that plan.

As for the ghost moments, I think it was safe to say that everyone probably guessed what the last second stinger would be. Ignoring that little moment I would have definitely said that there was nothing supernatural about the place. It was all things that could have been explained naturally after all. Even the painting although you have to suspend a lot of belief for Luther not noticing the blood would be fake. Well, it is Luther I guess.

The plot with the corporate gangster trying to muscle in on the place and discredit Luther was a cool contrast since that plot was played completely seriously, the guy wasn’t afraid to destroy Luther either if necessary which made for an intense final fight. You rarely see these rich business types actually enter the realm of combat themselves nowadays so that was certainly unexpected. It helped give the film some action to balance out the comedy and it worked quite well.

I have to say that the romance was pretty weak though and the only underwhelming part of the film. For starters, Alma was seemingly already taken with the rival Ollie but it didn’t stop Luther from flirting and hoping they could be together. Sure, later on in the film she says that they weren’t really together and all, but given how the had apparently been eating lunch every day, driving together, and Ollie had been calling her things like Sweetheart which she was fine with….it seemed rather clear what was going on. Even Ollie was shocked when she basically ditched him out of nowhere. It’s nice for Luther that if all worked out but this is definitely not how you build a romance. It really just fell flat and took up too much time.

Overall, This was a really fun film. The humor was on point and the cast was pretty good. The tension of whether the mansion was really haunted or not will be tearing you up inside until they announce the verdict. Ollie is a fun rival and gets a lot of standout lines while Luther’s panicking is always pretty intense. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would definitely recommend it. It’s not the most popular movie out there but it can definitely hold its own against any big comedy film.

Overall 7/10

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

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It’s time for another Pirates of the Caribbean film. This series has never been synonymous with quality and this film certainly doesn’t change that. It’s a bad mash of characters trying to be funny along with crude humor. I’ve never been able to get along with the franchise and at this point I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s dead in the water at this point. I like to think that the sequel will be better…but it won’t be.

The film starts off with Jack attempting to rob a bank. Unfortunately it seems like he let the door hit him on the way out so he fell asleep while getting drunk inside. The cops open the bank vault and notice him, but don’t do anything about it so Jack gets away. He gets kidnapped and captured several more times after this until he eventually runs into Henry and Carina. Carina wants to find this legendary treasure and Henry wants the treasure so that he can bring his Dad back from being an undead zombie. Jack just wants a good beer. Meanwhile, Salazar and his crew are hunting for Jack. They want to destroy him once and for all since Jack defeated Salazar back when he was just a kid. The race is on!

Yes, we finally get Jack’s backstory. It doesn’t add anything to the film though so we can skip that. Jack is still a very terrible character. He’s always drunk and everyone ends up pushing him around. He can fight to an extent, but usually just remains alive due to plot armor and writing shields. He helps people cheat on their significant others just because he can and seemingly has no morals. He’s always joking but since the writing isn’t good the lines don’t work well. It’s just a mess and that’s putting it lightly. There really isn’t anything likable about Jack.

As for the other main lead, Henry is fairly generic. I guess it’s admirable that he completely ignored Salazar’s threats and went to go get Jack anyway. Saving his father is a noble goal as well, but getting mixed up with these pirates may not have been his best move. He didn’t do a great job of saving Carina either. Henry is a huge step up from Jack, but he’s just pretty generic and there aren’t any really great character traits that he possesses to make him memorable either. You’ll just remember him as another pirate with a sword.

Carina talks a good game as the main heroine, but can rarely back it up. The defiant personality trope can be quite good when handled well, but you can’t just talk the talk. She insults everyone and is constantly bragging about how smart she is, but at the end of the day she doesn’t contribute a whole lot. Her inclusion into the film seems to mainly have been for fanservice and iffy dialogue so I definitely don’t think the film used her all that well. As with Henry, she can just be rather generic.

Next up is Salazar, the main villain. He tries to toe the line of being a funny villain as well as a super evil one. Unfortunately he falls down as a result. His funny scenes aren’t very funny and while he does murder a bunch of people, it’s hard to enjoy him as a villain. Between his design and the fact that it has taken him forever and a day to get revenge on Jack, you have to wonder what he’s been doing all these years. An old villain/rival, Barbossa shows up as well and gets his character arc. I wouldn’t say it’s a great one either as I just don’t like the character. It’s probably a good thing that he didn’t mention the plot twist out loud because that would have been very shocking for all parties involved.

This franchise may try hard, but at this point it’s probably going to need a full reboot to get good. One of the main problems as I mentioned earlier is how there is so much crude humor here. The characters are all rather grotesque. It’s not as extreme as in previous films but enough to make you shake your heads. The designs for the villains prioritize looking dead and old as opposed to scary. The writing is very bad and that ends up hurting the film as well. Throw in the fact that the film is super long and you don’t have the most pleasant of experiences.

I mean, the film also takes place in the olden times for extra salt. Can’t I at least have cool buildings to look at in the meantime? Part of the problem is that pirates aren’t interesting and this whole historical period isn’t very interesting to watch. Everything is very old and dirty. The ocean looks the same after a while and I just miss my neon glass towers. At least we did get an evil ship that had fangs and ghost sharks. Those were interesting enough I suppose. Jack and friends probably should have died during the encounter but the villains can’t catch a break.

There is an after credits scene so if you actually watched the film then I guess you should stick around for it. It seems like the MnMs villain is back which isn’t very exciting. Again, it was a crude humor gimmick where he litters everywhere as he walks with old candy and stuff. I guess they’re going for a horror element with that ending, but this series won’t be able to pull it off. It’ll be back to comedy mode before you know it.

Overall, The writers for the Pirate series must like playing it safe. I feel like just about every Pirates film is the same and they just don’t do anything new. It’s the same old story of Jack making a mockery of everyone and somehow managing to live into the next film. It’s a cycle that just never ends and the films keep making money so that’s not going to stop anytime soon. I just don’t even remotely see the appeal of the franchise and until I do, it’s probably a lost cause for me.

Overall 2/10

My Little Pony: Friends Forever Volume 9 Review

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I’ll never forget when I first became a My Little Pony fan. It all started when I walked into Duane Reade and had to choose between buying the Pinkie Pie game for GBA or Backyard Football. I ended up choosing the latter, but only played it for a few days before it was tossed in the legendary drawer of games never to be seen again. Meanwhile, My Little Pony has continued to grow over the years and I had to hop on the bandwagon. It’s a fun series and this comic series is actually one that I preferred to the main title so it’s sad to see it end here. I can finally say that I have read the final issue of a long running MLP series.

There are 5 stories in the collection and the art tends to change for each one. Some issues look better than the others as a result, but the experimentation was fine since none of them looked terrible or anything. The first comic is a team up between Pinkie Pie and Cheese Sandwich. This is where my status as a casual fan comes back to haunt me because I have never heard of Cheese Sandwich before. I actually thought the pony was a she, but apparently not according to the wiki. In this case, I blame the artwork. The story sees a giant, living house kidnap Cheese Sandwich and Pinkie Pie along with some other ponies. They have to now make such a large party that the house will leave them alone. Pinkie Pie tries to escape several times, but there are no shortcuts in this mission.

Despite being a Pinkie Pie story, I’d say that this is the weakest of the bunch. The house didn’t exactly make for a great villain and I wasn’t sure about the moral. We don’t need parties to go on forever and even if the house wants this to be the case, it’s just not happening. As a proud member of the “I don’t go to parties” crew, I have to say that silence is golden and the best parties are the Mario ones on the Gamecube. Still a fun enough comic of course, but it all gets better from here.

Next was Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer. Glimmer has quickly risen up the ranks to be one of my personal favorite ponies and this comic helps her case. Sparkle wants to impress the kingdom by reordering the books and decides to bully Glimmer into helping under the ruse of it being for training. Starlight would rather not do this since she has been waiting for weeks to read her favorite spell book, but Twilight tricks her into thinking that she’ll learn more magic by helping. Twilight refuses to listen to any of Glimmer’s advice and reminds her that this isn’t a democracy. As a result, giant monsters show up thanks to magic going haywire and Twilight realizes that abusing one’s power is not a nice thing to do. Especially when you try to command a friend.

I feel like Twilight should probably know this moral already, but I’ll let it slide. Starlight helped her see the light (See what I did there?) and ultimately helped make Twilight a better pony. The art was a little suspect here as all of the characters were very small and chibi, but it wasn’t bad. We also got some nice action scenes as Starlight had to defend the kingdom on her own by making a giant energy barrier. She’s clearly still got a lot of power at her disposal. I’d probably put this story in the Top 2.

The next story was Rainbow Dash and Soarin. Soarin’s a petty pony who suffers from an inferiority complex and decides to run away to the mountains. Rainbow Dash is tasked with finding him and not taking his grumbling too seriously when she attempts to bring him back. Twilight Sparkle warns Rainbow Dash that sometimes you shouldn’t go too far to try and help a friend since the situation is dangerous. Rainbow Dash calls Twilight out on this and dashes off. Dash is also the perfect pony for the job since she ignored Soarin’s subtle digs and just brags about herself to counter it. Soarin realizes the error of his ways and agrees to come back to the Wonderbolts. He may not be a kid genius like Rainbow Dash, but he’ll try his best to keep up.

It’s a fun enough story and the author certainly had fun with Rainbow Dash’s personality. While the rest of the ponies are acting really polite and trying to be subtle, Dash just goes right to the point. It’s a pretty refreshing contrast from the rest of the ponies. Twilight looked pretty bad again and I’m wondering if the series just doesn’t like her. It’s probably just that they want to make the other characters look good for a change and I’m fine with that. After all, having a meaner Twilight Sparkle makes for a pretty good dynamic and she’s one of my favorite Ponies either way. It’s also worth noting that Derpy made a surprise cameo here and took the world by storm. She gets some subtle hype as she was able to deliver a letter back to Equestria during a bad storm but you’ll only realize this if you pay close attention to the dialogue and piece together when she could have taken the letter. It was pretty cool.

The next story is about Fluttershy and Applejack…or not. For some reason they don’t appear at all in this batch. They may have a one panel cameo in the background or something, but they miss the whole adventure. The story is really about Rarity and Trixie. They are tasked with teaming up to make a Broadway show the best that it can be. It’s going to be in Manehattan so the stakes are really high. Unfortunately Rarity has not forgiven Trixie for her evil ways and decides to give her the cold shoulder. Rarity refuses to work with her and does her own thing. As a result, she doesn’t make the clothes fireproof so Trixie gets blamed when the fireworks go wrong. Rarity realizes that she was being a petty pony and apologizes. Trixie accepts the apology and then they make the show a success.

Once again, it’s the main pony with the issue and the side pony has to help save the day. It may seem a little borrowed from the Twilight Sparkle story, but I liked it all the same. I didn’t care for the unreasonable manager though who threatened Trixie and Rarity for no reason. She’s probably one of the meanest ponies I’ve seen in the series. The art was also solid so I’d probably have to say that this was the best story in the batch. The story right after is very close though and the Twilight story was hype as well. It was a pretty close battle between the three.

The final story is a team up with Celestia and Luna. After many years, they finally have enough time to enter the big Olympic events in Equestria as a team. Unfortunately they had already promised the town that they would fix all of their problems first. They decide to skip sleep and just work on the problems together. This begins to test their patience and they also eat special barrier which take away their powers and increase their anger levels 10 fold thanks to the meddling of an old witch. Celestia begins to show her true colors as she continually taunts Luna by saying that she is superior and nobody ever likes Luna. Celestia gets really personal the whole time. Luna always has a comeback ready and gets the last laugh, but never goes quite as far as Celestia and she makes sure her words don’t cut as deep. You can probably tell who I thought was in the wrong on this one.

The art is the most exaggerated part of the comic as the ponies really yell and make a lot of intense facial expressions. I’d say that the art was bad, but it did a good job of depicting Celestia, one of my least favorite main characters in the series. Even by the end she just never gets as likable as Luna. Still, they both learned their lesson about eating strange fruits and not inspecting their food before they ate it. The other ponies didn’t suspect a thing for the most part. Rarity figured it out since she’s one of the smarter ponies around but that’s to be expected. I’d also argue that Luna ended up winning the competition although I’m sure you could try to piece together an argument for Celestia, I’m just not sure it would go very far.

How did it work as a series finale issue though? Honestly you wouldn’t have even known except for the final line where they break the 3rd or 4th wall. I suppose it was fitting to have the two highest ranked ponies team up for the finale though so they did think that part through. I was satisfied with it. The ideal ending would have been a Mane 6 team up but I guess we see that a lot in the main series as it is. I’m still pretty behind on that one but I’ll get there eventually. My favorite member of the Mane 6 just judging from this volume is Rainbow Dash. Historically she is usually at the top although occasionally she is dethroned by Pinkie Pie or Twilight Sparkle depending on the graphic novel or episode.

Overall, This is a pretty fun comic. I may have taken some subtle shots at the Mane 6 forgetting morals that they probably should have already learned, but no pony is perfect. They can’t be expected to not make any more mistakes and at least they learn from them in the end. My Little Pony always promises well written, wholesome entertainment within each issue. It’s definitely one of the most solid MLP comics I’ve read and there weren’t really any bad comics. The weakest one was the Pinkie Pie adventure and it still made for a good read. The art may fluctuate quite a bit, but it’s pretty good overall. I highly recommend reading it whether you’re a Pony fan or not. There’s plenty to enjoy for everyone and at the end of the day it’s just a pleasant read. Hopefully the rest of the MLP comics I ordered from the library get here soon so I can continue the marathon!

Overall 7/10

Dragon Ball Side Story: The Case of Being Reincarnated as Yamcha Review

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The manga trilogy has finally ended so it’s time for the review. This mini series only got three chapters so it’s pretty short. That’s too bad because the premise just had a whole lot of potential in it. The basic plot is that a kid in the human world is a big fan of Dragon Ball. Unfortunately in the real world he’s just a really unlikable guy who has no redeeming qualities. One day, he decides to fall even lower on the moral totem pole when he falls down a flight of stairs and breaks his neck. It’s surprisingly a happy moment since he felt like the main antagonist. Instead of dying, the kid wakes up as Yamcha in the Dragon Ball series. He must now find a way to become a better character and avoid dying. Since he knows the events in advance he has a real shot here, but can he do it?

You can probably see why the premise has potential. There’s so much you can do with this kind of story since you know what is going to happen and can take steps to avoid it. Yamcha may not be able to do much against the final threats like Cell and Buu but even those are things that he can get past if he knows the origins. For Buu, just eliminate Spopovich and the other ally before they can get Gohan. For Cell, attack him in his first form or tell everyone where he is and that should be easy enough. You can escape almost any scenario.

The main character actually does do quite a bit of this at first. He trains hard so he is able to actually help against Frieza and the foes before him. He basically gives up on doing this by the Cell arc and decides to just watch which is fine I suppose. He knows he’ll come back to life anyway. You just can’t explore this concept as much as you could have if this was an ongoing series. Additionally, the series throws in the twist of having another human being warped into the series and the lead has to find out who he is. Naturally, this character is evil so they have a fight but the power of being a DBZ fan wins him over. This is all so rushed and unnatural that you have to wonder exactly why it was added.

Again, this could be a really interesting concept especially when you find out that if you die you get to retry your time in the universe. It could have been like a Groundhog Day where they explore many different avenues. Instead the whole second human plot is finished in one chapter. The ending was certainly an interesting twist as we at least get a reason why the human got into the world. Unfortunately, even the ending is wrecked as the main character immediately goes back to his old shady ways of being a creep. I thought the whole point was that he was going to learn a lesson…not that he would use his newfound abilities to be even worse in the real world.

Really, this manga is only held back by the main character. Otherwise, it’s pretty solid. The art is quite good and really does resemble DBZ at some points. It isn’t as consistent and has some flaws in that respect, but I would say that the art is quite good. It’s certainly a lot better than I would have anticipated from a short title like this one. I wonder how many people even know that this manga exists.

Overall, it’s a fun concept but you can only do so much with it. I’d recommend checking it out as many fans have always wanted a fun little alternate universe story like this one. You can even argue that the story could be cannon and wouldn’t make a difference. It would raise a lot of questions of course, but it could work. Hopefully we get more Dragon Ball spinoff mangas. Despite its overwhelming popularity we haven’t gotten as many titles as I’d like. We need to keep it rolling and get the Saiyans in a bunch of different adventures. Just resist the urge to add a human original character to the mix and then we’re golden. If you do add one, just keep in the death from the first chapter without actually bringing him back, now That would be funny.

Overall 5/10

Spider-Man

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It’s time for the latest Spiderman adventure. Ultimate still feels pretty fresh but I’m glad that they churned out another show so soon. I never want the gap between titles to be too long. It’s off to a good start and should make for a solid Superhero show. The animation may not be that good, but considering how animation has been dropping off in American television for years now, it could have been a lot worse. I’ll definitely be sticking with it and will have a review up when the series is over.

Overall 7/10

Batman’66 Volume 5 Review

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It’s been a real pleasure reading the Batman’66 comics. They’ve all been really fun to read and this is a period in Batman’s career that deserved the extra exposure. Unfortunately, this is the final volume of the main series. It had a really good run to last this long, but it’s all over now. It ended on a pretty high note with this volume though and at least I still have 3 more crossovers to read. Until those are done, I can take solace in the fact that there is more Adam West to come.

Most of the issues here have 2 adventures so the collection is able to fit in quite a lot. As such I won’t go into all of the adventures, but I’ll at least touch on most of them. The first story is more of a short than anything else as we see a few kids dress up on Halloween and try to emulate the Dynamic Duo. They stand up to bullies and give everyone a fair shake. They may not get the candy in the end, but Batman and Robin are nice enough to make it up to them. As Batman points out, being a nice person is its own reward, but it’s still fun to receive some candy. It’s a nice little story that perfectly captures Batman’s character. His heroic nature is why he’s such a great character here.

In a more intense story, Solomon Grundy shows up. He is nigh invulnerable so the heroes have a little trouble with him. Fortunately, Batman is prepared for all contingencies and knows that Grundy can’t really handle a good zap. Being alive, albeit temporarily, was just too much for his system to get used too. That’s why it’s tough being an undead fighter sometimes. What do you do about such a thing? As for the Clayface story that followed. The heroes just confuse him quite a bit. The climax may have been a bit weak there as I don’t see Clayface being fooled so easily, but as long as it gets him out of their hair. He was pretty dangerous so it’s fortunate that they stopped him.

One of the more entertaining stories was when all of Gotham’s biggest villains got together and decided to improve their PR. Fortunately, Barbara Gordon worked there so she tricks them into bickering with each other until the cops can come to arrest them. Remember the good ole days when the cops could actually take down foes like the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and the Riddler? This was definitely back in the days where they got a lot of hype like this. The stories aren’t meant to be taken too seriously so don’t overthink this. Just roll with it and remember that when you’re creating a name for a company, you should have a neutral initial to start it off.

Bane finally made his debut in another comic and even had the famous scene where he breaks Batman’s back. Of course this Dark Knight thought ahead and had a batarang near his back which absorbed the impact and saved him from being crippled. It was certainly a fortunate event and as Batman always points out, it’s best to be prepared for all eventualities. It was certainly a good motto to live by this time. Bane was a wrestler here which makes sense as it gives him a good reason to be so formidable. He ends up getting overwhelmed by sheer numbers in the end, but I definitely liked his portrayal. He was certainly a nice threat and maybe the strongest Batman villain in the series. At least, the strongest human.

After a quick battle with Killer Croc, a villain decided to have a big team up. She’s known as the Mom or something like that. She frees a bunch of villains and gives the heroes so much trouble that they let her share a cell with her kids. It’s one of the few times Batman compromises with the villains so that’s quite a feat in itself. Still, he makes a nice speech to help us realize that it actually was the right choice in the end. It was a pretty fun comic and I’m always up for villain team ups.

The team ups kept coming in the last two adventures. In one, Catwoman showed up to help the heroes stop Solomon Grundy and Killer Croc. She apparently had not been using her full strength until now so the heroes were pretty surprised. Of course, Batman admitted that he had been holding back against her as well. It was interesting to see her on the same side as Batman for once although you can’t really imagine it lasting. The final issue was everything you could want in a finale. All of the villains team up again, but Riddler rats them out so Batman takes em all down. It was a pretty huge ensemble of villains so for Batman to take them all down was most impressive. Slow and steady wins the race after all, just pick off a few of them and keep it moving. Eventually you’ll have am all down. The comic also had a guest star for the heroes as Batgirl showed up to lend a helping hand. The only big character to not appear was Aunt Harriett. I forget if that was her actual name, but the nice little lady that always tried to find out Batman’s secret identity. It would have been fun to have had her show up.

The Batman issues have always been pretty fun and played the humor out pretty well. This volume is no exception as the characters unleash epic one liner after one liner. It’s definitely my kind of humor as the heroes are so ultra heroic, but don’t seem to notice. They just act natural about it and there’s no annoying character constantly getting shocked about this or pointing out how crazy it is. It’s just the norm in this fair city and even the police wonder what they would do without the duo. The setting is just perfect and it always makes me tempted to go watch the TV show. I can see why this was such a big success back in the day.

The art is also pretty solid as you’d expect. The characters are all looking pretty sharp and the backgrounds are pretty good. The comic does a good job of making everyone look like their older show appearances. The art is always easy to read so you can really appreciate what is happening. Mix that in with the excellent writing and you just have a really good recipe for success. It’s why the collection is such a blast to read through. It’s just got everything you could want in a comic.

Overall, You probably know what to expect from a Batman’66 comic by now. It’s more or less the same as the previous collections and that’s a good thing. Don’t fix what isn’t broken right? It’s a pretty solid rule that I stand by and while taking risks can pay off…it is called a risk for a reason. The issues did also have some more outlandish foes like Clayface and Solomon Grundy which was interesting to see in this setting. I’m definitely looking forward to the crossover with Wonder Woman as well since that is bound to be a blast and she is certainly a lot more Super than most of the characters they have to deal with. If you’ve somehow never read a Batman’66 comic before and don’t understand what all the fuss is about, it’s time for you to start with this one!

Overall 8/10

Attack on Titan: A Sudden Visitor: The Torturous Curse of Adolescence Review

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It’s time for another Attack on Titan OVA. You’ll be happy to know that this one is the best yet. It approached dangerous territory when the characters decided to go hunting, but the special did a pretty good job of handling it. It wasn’t perfect, but it managed to save itself as there was no blood or anything. It would be a little dicey if this was a long show were that kept happening or a movie with repeated scenes of this, but as a one off it wasn’t fatal.

This special should really be called Attack on Jean. He’s a pretty minor character in the main series, but he effectively got his own special here. Jean wants to get a cushy job in the Interior so he won’t have to fight Titans for a living, but this is proving to be difficult. His best chance is to do well in a training exercise, but then his teammates destroy this chance by just being better fighters in general than him. Jean doesn’t take this too well and hastily accepts a cooking challenge against Sasha. If he wins, she’ll have to stop up staging him every day of his life. The battle is on, but can Jean really win?

I do have to say that the remixed opening was handled pretty much perfectly here. We see a lot of shots of Jean running around and trying to be relevant and then at the end when the music is ramping up we just have him walking around since he usually doesn’t get to do much during the climax. It’s emotional yet also very fitting for the character. The soundtrack in general is easily 5 star material as we get most of the show’s famous themes from the first season. It’s just consistently amazing. The visuals are also pretty good. You’ll recognize the green energy effects the show loves to use and all of the character designs are on point. It’s not an action this time around so it’s hard to say just how good it is in the end, but it’s certainly good enough for me.

One thing that is interesting to note is that Jean is a whole lot meaner than usual. In the main series he’s not the nicest of guys, but he’s still pretty even tempered as he just tries to get promoted to a safe job. In this special he’s mean to his Mom for no reason and even threatens to punch Sasha. He resorts to stealing/cheating and just has absolutely no moral compass. I suppose it’s part of the humor, but I can’t imagine his fans would be too thrilled about this. The Mom subplot in particular felt random since in the flashbacks Jean was actually a nice guy and I suppose we are led to believe that joining the army corrupted him. He’s just not the nice guy that he used to be anymore.

The ending is also really cheesy so I wasn’t thrilled with that. We all know who should have won the cooking contest based on the two dishes. On the other hand, we can also assume that the wrong choice was picked because the judge was incredibly drunk. At least he was in character as I’ve never liked this guy. He has some hype but never does anything with it and is content to boss everyone around from the sidelines. Not the kind of guy you really want on your side.

As I mentioned before, there was one tricky scene where the heroes decide to hunt a boar for no good reason. Unfortunately they do nab him, but it was at least not done in a violent way. It’s a nice consolation. That’s really is for negatives and minor gripes. Beyond that, the special had really good pacing along with its soundtrack and graphics. It did a good job of embracing its comedic nature without going too far. For example, a good scene was when everyone transformed into Titans and could only watch as someone started taking everyone down. It was a nice high budget action moment that was certainly one of the highlights. It was just a good amount of fun.

I also liked Eren’s cameos as he called Jean out and also didn’t let Mikasa do all of his work for him. Eren likes to contribute so he will get strong enough to stomp all of the Titans. It would have been cool if the special could have kept in the scene where Eren beat Jean up, but at least the highlight is up on Youtube so you can always pause the special and quickly watch it during the beginning where it would have been perfectly thrown in. In case it wasn’t too clear, I was on Sasha’s team for this mission as Jean just didn’t do anything that made me want to root for him. He was basically the antagonist in this one after all.

The special also added some clever homages to the main series like when Sasha hit Reiner with her elbow in the same way that Eren attacked him in the forest. It was the same exact shot and I seem to recall 1 or 2 other instances of this. It was a nice bit of foreshadowing for the people who had already read the manga. Fans of the series will definitely get more out of this than average viewers, but both should still enjoy it quite a bit. It’s ironic that the best Attack on Titan special would be the comedy one, but now we know what the series could have been if it was a parody.

Overall, Attack on Jean was pretty fun. I wouldn’t mind if the series followed his adventures, but I have a feeling it would still suffer from the same problems as the original and a big problem would be that there would be fewer Eren scenes to try and bring it back up. The ending may be a little disappointing, but I’d still recommend checking the special out. It’s just pretty fun and quite possibly the only time you’ll be able to see Attack on Titan like this. It’ll truly go down as a collector’s item.

Overall 6/10

So This Is New York Review

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It’s time for a really retro comedy film. This one came out all the way back in 1948 after all so it’s one of the oldest titles that I’ve seen. It’s aged pretty well with the snappy sort of humor that I’ve come to expect from the leads. Ernie is easily one of the most sarcastic main characters that I’ve ever known and makes the whole film a lot more fun. The heroines go a little overboard on how unlikable and gullible they are so it’s a good thing that the protagonist is usually around.

Ernie has been doing pretty well at his job. It’s been fun and he’s close to a promotion. Unfortunately his wife wants them to move to New York so her sister can land a rich man. She likes a local butcher, but that’s not distinguished enough for this family. Ernie protests, but he ultimately realizes that it is futile and goes along. Once they’re in New York, the sister goes after all of the men and they’re all eager to oblige, but this is New York….they’re a little more worldly than the characters suspect.

First and foremost, I definitely have to give Ernie another shout-out. He recognizes the lunacy around the New York customs and acts accordingly. Everyone wants a tip and they want the main characters to spend money constantly. Ernie’s not really into the bribery and all of that, but quickly learns how the system works. He gives 0.10$ tips and only tips a quarter in the hotel. He’s pretty wise not to waste his money. They are on a limited budget after all. The guy also knows how to throw a mean right hook as he takes care of one sinister character who was trying to pull the moves on his wife. Ernie’s certainly a no nonsense character and even comes up with backup plans in case his two companions try to waste his money. It doesn’t go well, but I liked the attempt. He just never lets up with the sarcasm.

Another character who came close to being the best in the film was Ernie’s boss. I actually felt pretty bad for the guy since Ernie’s departure caused him to lose quite a bit of money. He needs Ernie back and fast or else it’s all over so he writes some intense letters and then even comes to New York to find him. The ending is a little cheesy, but I liked this guy’s persistence. He certainly wasn’t just going to sit around and wonder what was happening.

It’s hard to say who the main heroine is, but lets say it’s the sister. She was one of the worst characters in the film as not only was she tricked by just about all of the men, but she was also very mean. She played all of them for her own amusement and then chose to go with the richest individual. Fortunately, the gangsters took care of that anyway, but it’s hard to sympathize with her at all. In that sense, the ending with the butcher was perfect since both of them kept cheating on the other. I highly doubt this behavior will stop either so they’ll stay together but will always be looking behind their backs as they wonder what the other is doing. It’s perfect!

The wife is pretty bad as well though. She is pretty naive the whole time and doesn’t realize when the strangers are getting too friendly. She makes things tough on Ernie the whole time and doesn’t realize that she is just wasting a lot of money. She’s simply not very smart. While not as over the top as the butcher, I would have liked for her to have been a more strategic thinker. Here’s an example of when she really didn’t know what she was doing.

A washed up comedy guy shows up and demands 15 thousand dollars to let them into his play. The Wife agrees since maybe the sister will form a connection with him, but naturally the play sank and then he kept all of the money. It was such a huge rip off. I can understand giving someone 100 dollars, but 1K, much less 15K in those days was completely unheard of. It was just too much. What’s worse is that they noticed Ernie’s hidden stash of money and used it as well. Talk about going all in eh? At least Ernie got a tip about how the horses were rigged and played something else, but it was all for naught in the end.

The film’s pretty fun as you could tell, but I could have done without some of the romance. Since it’s all pretty fake and all of the guys turn out to be bad anyway, I would have liked more scenes of Ernie critiquing the New York customs. A scene in the pizza place would have been cool or heading to a McDonalds. The scenes of them hanging out with the guys were only good when Ernie was around to insult them. He wasn’t even too subtle about it which was pretty enjoyable. He just said it like it was. The only scene with Ernie that may have dragged a little was when the drunk guy was telling him about the crooks. That scene could have gotten to the point sooner, but maybe it’s just because listening to drunk speak always has me shake my head.

Overall, It’s a pretty short film. The movie isn’t even 90 minutes long so it maintains a quick pace throughout. You’ll have a fun time watching it and the film even has some pretty nice effects like the epic zoom ins of the character’s faces and the translator for the cab driver. It’s also nice that you can still associate with most of the things that the film pokes fun at. Even if New York has changed in many ways since the old days, it has also remained the same in others. The cycle goes on after all. I’d recommend checking it out and most modern comedy films could learn from this one. One last change I’d make to the film would be ending it about 3 minutes earlier. Not being able to afford to leave would have been priceless!

Overall 7/10

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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I forgot to put this on the blog way back when, but I checked out the first book in the series. There are only 11 out so far so at least it’s pretty easy to read through them. It’s not exactly my kind of series as I always look for a little action, but it’s not bad. I expected it to be worse and at least the characters are always trying to one up each other. As the title suggests, the diary plays a huge role even if the main character can’t admit that it’s a diary. It suffers from some instances of crude humor and as with all comedies, not all of the jokes work. I’d give it a look if you’re a comedy fan and it won’t take you long to get caught up. I’ll have a review out if the series ends and I make it through all of them.

Overall 5/10

Rabbids Go Home Review

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It’s time to delve back into the world of Rayman. The first game for the GBA didn’t work out so well but I’m still trying to fix it. In the meantime, this spinoff seems like it will do just fine as a little filler. It actually has some pretty tight gameplay but it is limited by the rather lackluster story and certain elements of the game that just weren’t really thought out. Ironically enough, the bad/cartoony graphics actually help the game from sinking any lower. Sword Art Online level graphics for this game would have made it quite disastrous indeed. As it is, the game actively mocks you throughout.

The general plot is that the Rabbids want to get to the Moon. Apparently that may even be their home. They hope to collect enough trash to let them reach it. By their estimation, you’ll need 23000 feet of trash to get that high. This means they’ll have to do things like say “Nothing personal kid” and teleport behind the person to steal their stuff if necessary. More likely, they’ll end up mugging the person. The Rabbids have no inclination to work with local authorities and have decides that they’ll take down anyone who gets in their way. So begins the mission.

Each level is about grabbing a lot of junk and snatching a big object by the end. You may steal a plane, a dying person, a wheel, a boat, etc. It all becomes trash once the Rabbids grab it. You then make it to a dirty toilet and flush your way back to base. The game spares no expense with the crude humor as the toilet is quite dirty each time you use it. Their base is under the toilet which isn’t very sanitary and then you go back to the hub world (It’s like New York City) and find another one to use. It’s pretty formulaic with most of the levels being pretty similar.

The gameplay is like Super Mario Galaxy meets Mario Kart. It’d a 3D adventure and you control a Rabbid who is pulling a Shopping Cart. You put all of the junk in it by making contact with objects. You can swing your Wii remote to attack and you can also use the boost to get through larger jumps. Enemies will attack you so shake the Wii Remote to take them down. The actual gameplay is incredibly simple so you’ll know what to do almost immediately. From there, it’s just a matter of getting through the levels.

Each level has 1000 pieces of junk in it and on average you can expect to get somewhere in the 800s. Do your best to get a lot since you can theoretically hit the 23K mark a lot sooner than way. I got to skip quite a few levels myself using this method. There is some replay value as you can naturally keep collecting junk until you reach the secret ending, but lets be honest…who wants to do that. Since the story is one of the weak parts of the game, that’s the last thing I’d be tempted to do. This is a game where you turn it off as soon as it is completed. The main campaign is reasonably long and should last you a few hours regardless. It’s a pretty easy game and you’ll likely only lose a small handful of lives. By and large there isn’t much of a challenge.

All right, here’s where the game gets iffy. The Rabbids strip anyone who is in their way. You literally snatch their clothes off and leave them in underwater. You do this to absolutely everyone that you pass and it gets pretty tricky. Everyone panics and gets cold after doing this, but the Rabbids don’t seem to care. When you hit an animal, the same thing happens only you take the animal and 2 pieces of meat. It’s rather disturbing. The whole game is pretty disturbing at times if you really think about it. These guys are not heroes either as you see them defying authority and picking fights for no reason at times.

As I mentioned earlier, the game also mocks you with its cutscenes. You get the same recycled animations quite a few times after they initially debut. I suppose the developers couldn’t be bothered to come up with 31 different animations. Several of the levels start to get copied off of each other as well. Maybe the budget was just a little more limited than I thought. There certainly wasn’t much of a soundtrack as the themes started to repeat as well. I will give it some props for actually having lyrical songs though. That was unexpected even if I can’t really remember much about them even though I just beat the game. It’s not a very memorable array of songs.

As I also mentioned, the graphics aren’t good and that’s a good thing. You can probably guess now why having good graphics would have been a problem. The game tries to make everything seem as ugly as possible. While that’s a pretty sad goal, the game is good at achieving it so I suppose I have to give them that much credit. Then the Rabbids start laughing and yelling at you again and you wonder what the game was thinking. You can’t even skip most of the cutscenes so get ready to see them quite a few times.

It’s really a shame since the gameplay actually isn’t that bad. Finally, a 3D Wii game where the controls were actually tested quite a bit. I’m not saying that it’s a AAA game, but the gameplay never glitches or anything. It feels fair throughout and you can turn on a dime. The controls are the highlight of the game and as I always say, the gameplay is the most important facet of the game. The levels went by pretty fast because the gameplay was pretty solid. Even the Hub World is pretty well thought out. The place is laid out pretty well so you can get anywhere with ease. It’s simple, but effective.

Overall, Rabbids Go Home had potential but it’s not like I ever had high expectations for a Rabbids game. They are some of the worst main characters in all of video games. At 2 bucks the game was too cheap to pass up, but it showed its true colors right away. The gameplay could have given this game a 7, but I have to deduct 2 points for the really terrible story. The crude humor and stripping mechanic were both just pretty bad ideas. This is one of those games that would have been better without having any cutscenes or a plot. The game also comes across as a rather mean spirited title at times. The Rabbids end up kidnapping people who are seriously injured after all and hijacking a plane which led dozens to perish. The body count in this game is rather high and while it is cartoony so the game certainly isn’t violent or dark, it just doesn’t work well. There’s nothing likable about the Rabbids and you just end up rooting for the humans even if you know that they are doomed.

Overall 5/10