Invisible Woman Review

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It’s time to look at an old sequel. Everyone knows about the Invisible Man, but who knows about the Invisible Woman? The film seems to have fallen under the radar although I can see why. It’s not exactly a masterpiece and can be rather forgettable but at the same time I thought it was decently fun. The film goes by quickly and there’s not too much to dislike here. Granted, the characters can be annoying which I guess it fairly major, but they’re not extremely bad or anything like that.

The film starts off with a crazed scientist finally coming up with a good invention. He can now make people invisible. His benefactor, Mr. Russell isn’t too pleased with Gibbs for wasting money on such an experiment but the old man is sure it will work. He writes an ad in the paper but since he isn’t willing to pay the test subject only one letter comes through. Kitty is willing to take the serum as there’s a lot she can do with being invisible. Then scientist agrees, but only barely because he tries to stay away from girls. The experiment is a success but instead of waiting for Russell to come in Kitty decides to get revenge on her boss. A lot of shenanigans occur but then a gang breaks in and they decide to kidnap Gibbs. Can the Invisible Woman save him or are they all doomed?

The gang is honestly very out of place here. The whole film is really a light hearted comedy with Kitty just having fun with her powers. As such, the villains are about as serious as the kidnappers in every Air Bud movie. They aren’t exactly a threat and we even get a long scene where Kitty knocks out every member. Being invisible is honestly an incredible ability to have for every day life and you would be almost unstoppable in many situations. The villains are even driven to tears at times. Given that they are used for comedy I suppose they weren’t that bad, but I was still surprised when they showed up at all. It’s not like they really affected the outcome much at all.

Kitty was a fun lead though even if she was a little too rebellious at times. She makes sure to drink as lot even when keeping a low profile and should probably be a little more harsh with the professor if she wants to stay consistent. She did a decent job of getting back at the boss even if she may have let him off a little easy there. At least he did have a change of heart so she certainly made the working environment a lot better for the rest of the models. It does seem like a pretty bad job though so they should probably just have left a long time ago.

Gibbs may be a scientist but he isn’t very smart. He doesn’t realize when villains are around and holds a grudge even when you save his life. He’s exactly the kind of ingrate you would typically want to avoid to be honest and I never felt sympathetic to him. Sure, Russell doesn’t believe him, but I wouldn’t either since this guy has apparently been wasting money for many years. We can’t forget that little detail and have the guy slip it under the rug. He better product results and until then it makes sense that his funding is cut. Russell went from being rich to apparently having no money now.

Of course, I won’t bring out the violin for him either. Apparently he’s one of those guys who plays the field and goes for a lot of rebounds. A bunch of characters sued him for a bunch of things and apparently they keep winning since he’s losing money. He never seems like a particularly great guy. The banter between him and Kitty is all right at best, but it’s a little generic and doesn’t make him any better. After all, Russell is insulting her looks just so he can goad her into becoming visible again. The film didn’t go for any easy pitfalls like having her appear at inconvenient times at least. That would probably happen if this film were newer so it’s another good reason to stay retro.

When you think about it, not a lot happens in the film though. Act 1 is just Kitty messing with everyone, then the villains arrive and she beats them up. The film is over an hour, but it doesn’t feel like that. Of course, this is a good thing since it means the pacing was on point and the movie never dragged on but at the same time you could also make the argument that most of the film could be cut out and nothing would actually change. That’s just how it goes I guess, at least she didn’t go crazy like the last Invisible Man though. She kept her sanity through and through.

One thing I’d do to improve the film would be to have a few scenes of Kitty messing with Russell. She scares the boss and spooks Russell’s assistant but she never actually gets him. Knocking him out or giving him a startle would at least give her a leg to stand on during their verbal confrontations. Meanwhile, I forgot to mention the butler. I thought he was a well written character and easily the most likable character in the film. He gives Russell some good advice and while he is always retiring you can tell that the guy really wants to be helpful. He does his best to always be there for Russell during the tough times. A fun ending would have for him to have become rich by placing some stocks in the right place or something and then leaving on a high note where Russell and Gibbs wonder where they went wrong. A sequel could then be about them turning to a life of crime with the invisibility serum.

Overall, The film is a little generic and doesn’t do anything noteworthy, but it doesn’t really do anything wrong either. The writing isn’t particularly good and the characters can be one dimensional, but they are still working with a good script. Cutting out the villains may be a good idea, but they didn’t really hurt anything either. If you’re looking for a fun film where the heroine gets to use some super powers and overall look more impressive than the main guy this is a good film to check out. Especially since the guy doesn’t even seem like nice person. Just don’t go in expecting a serious film, that’d be your first mistake.

Overall 6/10

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Handa Kun

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It’s time for another spinoff although this one is a direct prequel. It’s about Handa back in his school days and as always he is having a tough time fitting in. As someone who was never the biggest fan of the village setting I can definitely see this one passing the main series. Of course, it will be a little limited in what it can do without causing issues in the main title, but there’s still a lot of room to explore here. I’ll have a review for the series when I finish it.

Overall 7/10

Freaky Friday Review

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Freaky Friday has always had a very solid premise. What if you could literally live a day in someone else’s shoes? You can use such a plot to show that things often appear to be easier than they really are. In real life this can most certainly be the case. Some who look like they’re having a great time may actually be struggling with something and others may actually just be having as much fun as they appear to be. There are quite a few variations of this. Gender Swap, self explanatory, Age Swap, switch with someone older or younger, Time Swap, switch with someone from the future or the past, and the only bad one, Animal Swap, self explanatory. Nobody wants to see a human act like an animal.

The film starts by showing us the strained relationship between Annabel and Ellen. Ellen is going through that rebellious phase where she is being tough to deal with for no particular reason at all. She is excelling at sports but her grades are slipping fast and her eating habits are terrible. Meanwhile Annabel is doing her best to run the place despite that but it’s been a long day and she has numerous chores not to mention that her husband Bill is always getting into trouble and she has to bail him out. Annabel and Ellen wish they could swap places and so begins the craziest day of their lives.

I definitely think this genre always has a bunch of potential. Honestly I’d say the Your Name version has more potential since their lives are very different so they have to try and adapt. Not to mention that they are unaware of who the other person is so it’s not like they can rely on memory. With the mother and daughter combination, their lives aren’t very far apart. In theory they have probably seen each other’s lifestyles many times. There’s still a lot you can do here, but that’s why the gender swap typically has more potential than the age swap, but you could argue that the main variable is having the characters not know who they are swapping with. The film gets around some of that by having the main character be rebellious. In theory she makes sure not to tell Ellen anything so at the very least her school life will be a surprise.

So who has the edge here? Well, I’d say that the Mom should be able to assimilate a lot better into the lifestyle. The school problems should be a breeze. Naturally I can see how the sports and water skiing would be a problem but for the most part she will do just fine. On the other hand, Annabel is doomed right from the start because she’s likely never cleaned in her life and by shutting herself off from everyone she doesn’t even have any basic intel on what a normal day is like. Basically, Annabel put herself in this bad predicament.

At first I was a little confused with the Dad. He comes off as a big of a condescending jerk in the beginning but these moments come as flashes. I thought the film was trying to make him a nice guy and the execution was off or the film didn’t age well. However it turns out the film was playing him up as an antagonist from the start so I’ll give the film some props here. It was handled very subtly to the point where the film could have find either way. Taking him down the villain path definitely makes sense because he is pretty extreme by the end. He forces his daughter to go water skiing for the big party by tricking her into it. He has a secretary who also gets a little tricky but Ellen put a stop to that. If anything the Dad gets off rather light by the end. Nothing actually happens to him and there is no real indication that he has changed as a person. At least both heroines are aware of his personality a little more now so maybe they will change him.

One of the most intense scenes in the film was definitely the soccer game. These kids apparently play really dirty and actually throw elbows to the face and blatantly trip Ellen. I could have sworn there was a punch to the face as well but I cannot confirm that. Needless to say this was Ellen’s worst scene. She just stands around and lets them beat her up for a while. When she finally gets up and decides to play, she scores for the wrong team. That’s something I’ve never quite gotten since you’d think that you would notice everyone telling you to stop. Why would you still go through with it? That’s one of the few scenes where you can’t really sympathize with Ellen. She blew her whole team’s chance at winning the championship and even though it’s played for laughs I’d say that this is the saddest scene in the movie.

The climax is a very long car chase which was certainly interesting. It does overstay its welcome after a while though and I have to question just how well Annabel was driving. Don’t get me wrong, I always thought driving was a whole lot easier than people always make it out to be but she made a big deal about not being able to drive beforehand. Then she is able to out drive the cops with ease in the next scene. The cops were good with snap judgement though like when their car split in two they made sure not to be close to the center and quickly got out to make sure their respective partner was okay. That’s what I expect from the trained professionals.

One subplot that certainly isn’t very good is the next door neighbor. Annabel likes him so she decides to put in a good word for herself after transforming but things get a little iffy here. Romance is one thing you need to completely avoid in age swapping films for obvious reasons. Ellen’s reputation has been absolutely tarnished here. The neighbor also didn’t have a real reason to be in the film. It’s not like he added anything so taking him away wouldn’t affect the story. If you’re going to add a character just for the fun of it, they have to be good. The house maid is a nice example of this as she shows up just to mock Ellen a lot and never steps outside of her comfort zone. The maid knows what she is being paid to do and won’t do anything extra. She just wants to go get a drink with the money she earns.
Freaky Friday is a decent comedy film but Sue holds it back quite a bit. She’s not even remotely likable and it’s always sad to see someone’s life being sabotaged when they can’t even do anything about it. Talk about tragic right? Even Annabel’s friends seem rather mean with how they pranked her after getting the correct answers. Sure, Ellen lost all of her common sense in the scene and for most of the first half as well but maybe transforming just does that to you. It could be a side effect.

Overall, Freaky Friday is fun and it doesn’t drag on. The pacing is solid and the concept is sound. It may drop the ball at times by going for too many plots and not having the two characters meet while in different bodies though. It’s not a perfect example of the genre and is lacking in replay value as there’s not much reason to watch it again. That being said, I’d likely recommend it if you like the genre. Just be prepared to be annoyed by Annabel, who doesn’t have any good moments in the entire film. There’s never a chance to feel bad for her.

Overall 5/10

The King of Comedy Review

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It’s time to look at another Jerry film. This one is certainly a cut above the others that I’ve seen but does suffer quite a bit from one unfortunate subplot. This is one of those films where the first half definitely destroys the latter, but it’s a pretty entertaining film through and through. Who is the real King of Comedy? Well, you’ll know the answer by the end of this film.

The film starts off with Rupert Pumpkin trying to get a word in with Jerry. Jerry is a world famous comedian who has people lined up just to try and talk with him. Jerry isn’t having any of this and tells everyone to cool it as he runs to the car. Rupert quickly gets in as well and from here on out Rupert goes off the deep end. He wants Jerry to accept him as one of the all time greats and when Jerry is reluctant to do so Rupert kidnaps him and decides to get on TV by himself. Can he show that his comedy skills are the real deal or is he nothing more than a filler who makes everyone around him even better?

On the surface this is basically just a comedy film. It handles the humor fairly well like with Rupert’s dreams. They’re all pretty solid and some of them come in so quickly that you barely even realize that they are dreams. They feel far too real and convincing, but while the first dream will catch you by surprise you’ll likely see the others coming. They’re not too exaggerated or anything like that which is part of why the dreams are so good. They’re just handled really well. The quick banter between the characters is also solid and Rupert is a decent antagonist.

Where the film goes wrong is when it tries to be really serious as well. Masha is Rupert’s accomplice in crime and she wants Jerry for herself. In her subplot we see how crazy she is and she attempts to break Jerry. Fortunately for him she isn’t very smart and her plan isn’t even all that good. You’ll probably take this whole subplot less seriously once you see the twist, but it doesn’t take away from how long and drawn out it was. Seriously, take away this plot and the film gets much better. Rupert should have kidnapped Jerry on his own. Masha adds nothing to the film and her crazy subplot is just wince worthy.

A better supporting character is Rita. Rupert is desperate to prove to her that he is actually a big shot which is his main incentive throughout the whole movie. It’s a bit part of his character motivation. Unlike him, she seems rather sane. While I question her judgment in hanging out with him so much when he seems pretty off balance, at least she’s just trying to be nice I suppose. Aside from her and Masha there are really just two major characters, the two leads.

As I mentioned, Rupert is a pretty great villain and easily the most interesting character in the film. He really sells every scene that he is in and the guy feels like he would be better at comedy than Jerry. While he is certainly way too obsessed as a Jerry fan, at least you can’t deny his resolve. Even when his Mom interrupts his recordings time after time he keeps at it. The security guards don’t scare him either. While he is crazy, Rupert doesn’t randomly go from petty criminal to full murderer or anything like that. He still wants to be a star and takes his path to stardom. It’s not the right road, but the destination is clear.

Meanwhile we have Jerry. He’s hard to sympathize with or even like at all in this film since he’s always grouchy. It’s hard to see how he’s supposed to be a big comedian and we don’t even get to see him make any real jokes. Maybe one or two, but if so then I don’t remember him. He’s a reasonable guy though and I think anyone would be a little miffed if they were kidnapped and constantly followed by a crazy person. So I have to give him a little space there, but he’s still not really a likable character. I won’t say I was on Team Rupert, but I was always glad to see him get back on screen.

What I enjoyed a lot were the scenes with the TV producers and the Cops. It was nice to see them all talking about the situation and it’s always a tough question. Do you give the kidnapper what he wants if it won’t harm anybody in order to save the hostage or do you say no so others don’t get the same idea. It’s a tough moral debate for sure, but you gotta save the person in the moment so I agree with giving Rupert the air time. The fact that it’s to a live audience is tricky since he could say something upsetting but ideally they can nab him right away if he tries anything. The cops also tried to apply some pressure, but Rupert’s really good at keeping on a tough act. He’s certainly not the kind of guy who bends over to the pressure.

Finally, the ending is pretty intense. It’s one of those endings where you have to decide if it’s real or not. After all, a big part of the film is how Rupert can’t tell reality from fantasy so he has these visions that appear to be real. The ending almost seems too good to be true with how he has become famous now and everyone loves him so I’m inclined to say that it’s a dream. So then when does the dream start? I’d say that it starts as soon as he heads to prison. In reality, he went to prison and is still stuck there. Now, it would be a bold twist if he has been dreaming for even longer than that and never kidnapped Jerry in the first place, but I think that would be reaching a little and that would make a large chunk of the film fake. Still, it’s up to your interpretation and either way I think it’s a pretty good ending.

Overall, The King of Comedy is a solid film. While it may have gotten a little mixed up with its genres at times, it does have some moments that work really well. The ambiguous ending is also pretty fun and depending on what you think happened, it makes Rupert look quite good. I’d recommend checking this film out, it reminds you that fans can get desperate and you should never get into a strange car even at gunpoint. You gotta try to make a break for it or disarm the guy before it’s too late. I also liked the depiction of the TV studio and in general the writing was better than expected. Who’d have thought that Jerry would be in a film this good?

Overall 6/10

Baby Geniuses Review

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It’s time to look at a film about babies who can fight with adults. Does this sound like a terrible premise? Yes, yes it does. I’ve never been big about having kids and babies in films, much less the center role. They tend to be more annoying than anything else. This film may not be quite as obnoxious as you would expect based on all of this, but I still wouldn’t call it a good film. This is one time where I do agree with the overwhelming majority that this film should not have been made, much less have been given sequels. While this one may have stayed classy for the most part, I somehow don’t think the sequels will have the same restraint.

The film starts off with the evil organization trying to stop a baby from escaping. His name is Sylvester and he is the smartest baby of them all. He flips a bunch of adults around and outruns them even though he is clearly just waddling. Somehow or another he breaks out of the instillation by hiding in dirty laundry and swaps places with his twin who was given a normal life. The villains have him now (Whit) and they don’t mind since part of their convoluted plan is to see which Baby would develop better. See, another part of the plot that I didn’t mention is that Babies are born with the secrets to the universe. They know everything and only lose this knowledge when they grow up. The reason why nobody knows about this is because they’ve all made a pact not to disclose any information to adults. We’re led to believe that every baby in the world is in on this and they have never made a slip up. Even when they debate on what they should tell their parents, they always decide to start with Mama or Dada to follow the tropes. Can Sylvester save Whit and prove that feigning ignorance is always the best policy or will they use the secrets of the Universe for positive effects?

I guess the opening scene isn’t handled too badly. It’s played pretty seriously aside from the Baby beating them up. The Baby can’t act and I just can’t believe that a baby is beating up these agents though. Physically Sylvester is still just a baby. I don’t care how smart he is or how much of a genius he has become, it’s still a little unreasonable to have him going up against trained professionals. You’re not supposed to take it too seriously since it’s a comedy I suppose, but I still can’t roll with that. Especially since it’s relevant to the whole premise and we never get such a fight again. After that it all goes back to the Babies being super smart, but not necessarily ultra powerful.

There is one running gag that’s pretty bad and you have to wonder why it’s here. A teenage guy decides to rebel..because he doesn’t like his job I guess, and keeps trying to dress outlandishly so he can be fired. He’s also disrespectful and tries to break all of the rules. However to spite him…the owner forces him to keep the job. I get that spiting people can be entertaining, but in this case, the business is losing money and risking its reputation all to spite the guy. That makes no business sense and the characters must not be very smart to try and pull this off. You’ll be shaking your head the whole time during these scenes.

There’s also your typical baby humor that certainly doesn’t age well. It won’t make you smile let alone laugh. The only decent joke was when Sylvester enacts a really obvious plan to hit the villains where they hurt so they dodge but then they end up getting hit anyway. It even happens twice for extra emphasis. I could get behind that joke as it at least pointed out that these minions were better than the average ones, but it’s a small victory considering everything else.

The film doesn’t drag on at least as it isn’t too long. There just aren’t many stand out moments. Again, the babies are just annoying and they never actually do much. The humans don’t leave much of an impact as well. I guess it’s good that the Dad can understand the Babies a little, but not enough to do much. From the villains I only liked the Director who pointed out how great the operation was. His boss was less charismatic. I do like how everyone knows she is evil, but she’s still allowed inside the main characters’ house though. Those guys aren’t very smart if you ask me and they take the whole “She’s stealing their ideas” knowledge very casually. If someone was stealing my ideas and making big money off of it I would certainly have a few options on what to do and I’d weigh them carefully. Standing around and making jokes about it wouldn’t be in my top 10.

While I’ve been bashing the film a lot, it’s not as if it’s a terrible film. I’ve certainly seen far worse ones. The main problem is just the fact that the babies get a ton of screen time and really don’t need to be here. Much like the film doesn’t. I think for this plot to work they at least have to be kids and even then I’ll be annoyed. Teenagers are really the youngest age at which you can have the characters fight and do well without it being too obnoxious or cheesy. That’s the way that I see it at the very least. There also should have been an easy Baby if you ask me since that would have at least given Sylvester to fight. He doesn’t really get a final fight as the film’s climax is ironically a little more about the adults as they have their big confrontation. It was nice to see the Cops show up at the end…they were just almost 2 hours too late to really help.

Overall, Baby Geniuses is about as good as you would expect from the title. By that I mean that the film isn’t very good. The humor can be decent at times, but cringey at other times. There are no really good characters which is a bit of a problem. The lead researcher who is always trying to decipher the babies’ code is the best by default. With a better cast and a different premise, then maybe this film could work, but I personally doubt it. I’d advice staying away from this film unless you’re just a big fan of babies and think it’d be pretty adorable to see them having fun. I’ve never been a big babies person so it’s a premise that I would stay away from on principle.

Overall 3/10

The Nutty Professor Review

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Time for another film with the same lead from the Ladies Man film. I can’t say that the character is much of an improvement but at least the film is. The movie still does have more negatives than positives for sure but at least it keeps its dignity for the most part. Take the main character away and the rest of the film would benefit as a result. Surprisingly the bully had the most impact in the film which I can’t say I was expecting. The scene of him stuffing the main character away was absolutely genius. You wanted to feel bad for the professor but at the same time, not really. He’s just not a likable guy and it really says something when the bully is more tolerable. At least the guy didn’t immediately threaten the professor. It was only after getting the answer that he didn’t want to hear. That’s not much better of course but still.

The main character (Kelp) is just very bad. He is not quite as extremely exaggerated as in the last film, but still very exaggerated all the same. He has a very gross habit of constantly licking his teeth which gets old very quickly and his design is intentionally made so ugly that you can’t bare to watch him. Throw in the annoying voice and you have a recipe for one of the worst main characters I have seen in awhile. He also likes one of his students which is already pretty bad considering that there is a massive age gap between the two of them. It’s hard to say exactly but given the main character’s speech at the beginning with his long resume of jobs and the fact that he is a professor and it’s a little worrisome. He comes up with a serum that turns him into a young man so he can get together with the girl while intimidating everyone else and acting like an all around jerk. The worst part is that everyone still wants him despite his attitude and the ending takes his to a new extreme.

That’s basically the plot and it’s pretty sad. Long story short, Stella decides to get together with the professor despite the fact that he was intentionally tricking her and she was supposedly not digging his mean personality. The moral is that looks don’t matter but this message is very muddled given how the Professor’s young form kept wowing everyone including Stella. It also doesn’t feel deserved given everything we saw in the film. Stella doesn’t even seem like she was a good character as she seemed to be rather flirty from the start. She even attempted to trick the professor into the purple pit so he could get beat up unless she actually thought he would get along with everyone and I personally doubt it. I suppose they are perfect for each other but the romance was still handled horribly and it’s definitely not one that I can get behind.

The only decent character aside from perhaps the bully is the Principal. He gives the main character a stern talking too and is also good at staredowns. Of course, given the nature of the film he does let the main character off easy for no real reason even though his rules were already broken twice. Then the main character ignores him and breaks the rules yet again. It’s a vicious cycle and one that the principal shouldn’t tolerate. The Professor’s young self ends up humiliating him as well to ensure the character lost the last of his dignity. The film really did its best to ensure that nobody was too likable by the end. It’s a shame since the principal should have kept his dignity and it would have made the film better.

It was doomed to an extent from the start though. The professor’s Buddy form definitely hasn’t aged well at all and is so disrespectful to everyone that you have to suspend a lot of disbelief. Beating up one of the bouncers was certainly fun but after a while it’s so extreme that it loops all the way around from being cool to simply mean spirited. You’ll feel bad for the bartender by the end and the other kids never even stood a chance. If Stella had not fallen for the routine then that would have made a big difference. He could have learned that his new form would get him a lot of acquaintances but no real friends or something of that nature. In the end he really didn’t learn much in his version and based on the ending Stella may just be using him to get to Buddy once again.

The whole subplot with be main character’s parents is also pretty brutal. The Dad looks so exaggeratedly bad that it’ll make you wince and the Mom is also way too mean. There’s a way to handle this without being too serious or too exaggerated but clearly this film could not get the balance. They really didn’t have much of a role in this film so they didn’t even need to show up. I suppose the main character needed a backstory but something a little more unexpected would have worked just fine.

I also have to wonder if the classroom survived the ending. Since we know that everyone turns into a werewolf at least during the first transformation, that means a group of them will all be locked in close quarters for a while there. It definitely wouldn’t be a very fun place to be for a while so it’s almost a shame that the main character had to step out for a moment. I’d like to see all of them use the serum in a sequel so we can have a bunch of “suave, tough” guys duking it out physically and verbally. It would be interesting to see if the main character would win more of an even fight like that one.

Overall, The Nutty Professor is certainly nutty all right, but not in a good way. At most it’s a good way to hear some of the old slang. Buddy’s fast paced dialogue is handled well and that’s probably the only really entertaining part. He delivers a lot of burns constantly mixing in sarcasm and wit like it’s a rocking new soda. That being said, the rest of the film is just so bad and poorly written that this is a consolation at best. It’s not all that hard to get through this film as it’s bad but not in an overly violent or fanservicey way. I still would recommend avoiding it though as you can certainly find a more productive way to spend around 90 minutes. If you’re desperate enough to watch this film then you should probably just go take a nap instead. The extra sleep will be good for you.

Overall 3/10

The Ladies Man Review

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Ladies Man is one of those films that you know will be bad before you even watch it. The premise is no good and it’s something you would expect from a Harem anime, not a mainstream comedy. It’s also a very exaggerated one where the jokes last a lifetime and most of the floor is covered with dead jokes by the end. I know some stale memes which would give you more entertainment value than this film and that’s pretty impressive for what boils down to a single picture. The film’s take on this genre isn’t even done particularly well and it should have looked to Nisekoi on how to properly handle this plot, should it be necessary to actually go through with it.

So the movie starts with our protagonist Herbert getting friend zoned as his girlfriend gets together with someone else behind his back. This traumatizes him to severely that he can’t even be in the same room as a girl. Naturally he is hired at an all girl’s hotel in his new job and while he is reluctant at first, our hero decides to give it a shot. How hard could it be right? Little does he know that he won’t leave this film with his dignity in tact. As if that was ever an option anyway though right?

Let’s break down why this film was a mess. We will also ignore the genre from this point forth since I’ve already gone through that. Let’s assume that someone put a stick of butter to your head and threatened you with gaining 29 pounds before the big Christmas gathering with your family if you didn’t make this movie. Then you have to try and find out why this genre could be successful in the first place. One way they could have handled this film would have been for the main character to stop looking at them all as girls and instead he would have grown to think of them as acquaintances or even friends. This would help him get over his trauma and we don’t have to jump right into romance land. It’s at least a reasonable way of getting over himself and becoming just one of the gang would have been good character development for him.

Instead, not only does he not really show much change until the end of the film, but he is also played up as rather brainless and a jerk to boot. He yells at several of the characters for mispronouncing his name and the odd part is that this is early on in the film where he is supposed to be afraid of girls. So much for that plot point eh? I guess we have to assume that the name thing overrides even his fear of ghosts but I’m not sure I buy that. Seeing him be mean to everyone the whole time also ensures that you will never root for the guy. There is just nothing redeemable about that guy and you will be hoping for him to get fired already. Honestly he should have been fired right away. The scenes of him crying and embarrassing himself are also so extreme that it hurts. I haven’t seen a character this exaggerated in a very long time. The film also goes all out on this angle as his parents are pretty suspect too and his whole family may just not be ready for the outside world. Although they still seem more capable than him.

The only scenes with some imagination were the ones with the Dog/Lion and the Trippy room Herbert walked into where the reality warper messed with his mind. The film could have made that whole scene cooler but considering what flick I was watching, it was still higher than my expectations. At least it lived up to the subplot where everyone kept telling him to avoid that room instead of nothing happening and the hype being for nothing. As for the Dog, I was glad that someone was trying to bark some sense into the lead character. The twist about his true design was fun and I also appreciated the Lion at the end. Those were fairly good gags that were only weakened by the main character.

One of the worst scenes in the film is when the maid has to feed Herbert. It’s pretty gross and also stretches on for an eternity. In general this is a problem that the whole film has as each scene simply goes on for too long. You understand what the gag is in any given scene within seconds so that’s roughly how long the scene should last. Stretching it across while minutes is just bad design and certainly this is the case when the original joke wasn’t even good to begin with. I could point to many more moments but the main thing to draw from this paragraph is that the film is never all that funny. That’s terrible for a comedy film and really dooms it in the long run.

Here’s one more example of a gag that’s too long. Unlike the other one it actually starts off pretty decent as the concept is at least pretty good. A really tough, burly fellow shows up and lays down the ground rules for the main character. He bullies our “poor” lead for a while and forces him to keep bowing to this new authority. However, the gag keeps going as eventually the main character unintentionally turns the tables on this guy and completely breaks his suit and ruins the character’s reputation for good. It’s supposed to be funny but it’s just cringe worthy and this style of humor either didn’t age well or this film’s execution of it was that bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a mix of the two to be honest but most of it likely lies with the film. This film just didn’t understand humor at all and as a result the whole movie suffers.

The mean spirited nature of the movie also doesn’t help. When the head of the school is finally about to achieve her dream of being on TV, Herbert naturally goes out of his way to mess the whole thing up. It all feels very intentional since there’s no way he didn’t know what he was doing. He was actively running away from security as well so he clearly wanted to sabotage the experience so he would be fired even if that didn’t pan out. If we were meant to root for this guy then I definitely can’t say that the film succeeded. If it went self aware at this point…then it still didn’t do a good job so it’s a lose-lose situation that the movie put itself into.

Overall, Ladies Man is a really bad film that only gets worse and worse as you think about it. It hasn’t aged well at all and won’t keep your attention for more than a few minutes. The forced humor rears its head early on and never goes away. I would advise you to stay far away from this one. I can’t say that I would recommend the harem genre at all since the very premise is basically asking for trouble. Stick to solid action thrillers and then you will really be set. Those films will probably give you more laughs than this one.

Overall 2/10

Elf Review

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It’s time for a Christmas film that I’ve known about for a long time but never got around to watching before. Elf’s premise just isn’t my cup of tea but of course the film can get around that if the execution is good enough. It’s definitely well known and I will definitely admit that the film has its moments. I don’t think I would call it one of the all time Christmas greats or anything but it is decently good all the same. I’d be interested in a prequel about the pony riders who show up near the climax. Those guys were some of the best characters in the film.

So the film is about a human who was taken by Santa accidentally around Christmas. As a result he was brought to the North Pole and tricked into thinking that he was an elf. Buddy never realized the truth which worked very well for the system. However, Buddy was no good at any of the tasks and one day he overheard some gossip that he isn’t a real elf. Buddy decides to go back to New York to find his father. Despite being warned that his father isn’t the nicest guy, Buddy appears to be shocked by this in every scene. What can he do to make everyone nice again?

As you can probably tell, the main annoying thing here is Buddy himself. The guy is just very slow on the uptake and seriously cannot take a hint. His naivety is taken to the maximum possible extreme as you would think he is an alien. He has no manners when eating which leads to a bunch of crude humor. He also has no common sense such as eating dirty gum and arguing with his supervisor over minor things. He is definitely a character who has not heard the phrase, “Don’t Rock The Boat.” Buddy is supposed to be endearing and likable but that part never actually happens. He just stays annoying the whole time. There’s a clear line between the two and it was crossed consistently.

I don’t really care for the trope of the super naive character who just doesn’t understand anything. A character like Drax The Destroyer who takes everything literally is one example or Starfire from Teen Titans. Typically it’s a plot that is used when an alien comes to Earth or when a kid is raised in the jungle all his life and as a result he doesn’t really know anything about human interactions. Yet another example of this trope is when a genius character knows everything except common sense. The irony is supposed to be humorous but that flops as well. Naturally since the whole film is based around Buddy that ends up limiting its potential. At least the supporting cast is good though.

Walter is Buddy’s father and right now he is a very successful business man. Honestly he doesn’t even seem like a terrible guy. He does take some short cuts in his book publishing which is sleazy but no too over the top. In theory it just won’t sell well because word of mouth will let the consumers know not to buy it. It’s not a trick you can get away with twice. Beyond that Walter is just consumed with work and keeps it as top priority. At least he doesn’t seem like he’s mad with power at home. In one scene he says that maybe his wife Jovie should stay home to look after Buddy but she just declines and comes up with another plan. Clearly she is not going to get pushed around by him. Josie isn’t even upset at Walter compared to Jingle All The Way where the main character also took work too seriously but everyone was mad at him for it. There is no bad blood between Walter and Jovie here and it’s a much better dynamic so both of these characters end up being really good. There are times you have to sympathize with Walter, like any moment Buddy is on screen. Buddy was actively sabotaging the job that Walter had worked so hard to obtain so it makes sense why he would be upset. If Buddy has acted even slightly normal then I don’t think Walter would have had a problem with him. It’s just all a matter of not going off the deep end.

Jovie did her best to welcome in Buddy and is a direct contrast to Walter. As explained, I don’t think it makes him a bad character though but she is certainly better equipped to handle the situation. At first you figure that she may get tired of his antics but she plays along and tries to convince Walter that her should help him out so he will lose his elf delusion. She even eats some spaghetti with syrup since Buddy made it so she wouldn’t hurt his feelings. She didn’t have to deal with him as much as Walter but you can be sure the film would have been a little different for Buddy if he had been looking to her for guidance.

Emily is the main heroine. She has been disillusioned with the world due to working retail which is as good a reason as any. She dislikes her job and seemingly isn’t following whatever career path she had hoped to be in. Fortunately for her, Buddy joins her job. Before he is fired, he convinced her to hope again and their really rushed romance kicks off. I can’t say I was a huge fan of her plot line and it doesn’t really make all that much sense. It all happens really fast and considering that Buddy acted completely crazy the whole time, it’s just intriguing at best. She’s not a bad character though although it’d be nice if she was a little happier at work. The boss seemed to enjoy his job so why couldn’t she?

Granted, the boss is the best character in the film so I’m setting the bar rather high here. The tackle he pulled off against the fake Santa was pretty intense and you were reminded that his guy could fight. Not to mention that he was one step ahead of corporate and was ready for their inside agent. He is just a quality character and someone who is not to be trifled with. I would have liked to have seen more screen time from this guy because he was just great. Finally we also have Michael, Buddy’s little brother. He likes being a rebel so when he finds out that Buddy doesn’t mind jumping on beds and messing up stores as well he tags him in. The two get along pretty well as a result and it’s a decent enough subplot. It never gets a lot of screen time or anything but from those scenes Michael seems like a reasonable enough character.

There are a few other characters like Santa Clause and Buddy’s adopted father but they don’t do a whole lot. From the minor characters it is clear that the Pony Riders are the best. They actually know that Santa is real unlike the common masses but actively try to hunt him down and eliminate the old man. You could say that this should power up Santa’s sleigh since it runs in belief but a handful of people won’t really make a big difference compared to the rest of the world not buying into it. I would have liked the film to have given these characters a little more screen time to be honest.

Overall, like all comedies Elf has some jokes that work and some that don’t. It’s an entertaining film from start to finish though and one that doesn’t drag on either. The supporting cast is solid and the film’s very upbeat which makes it a good film for Christmas. At the very least it’s one that will leave you feeling content. Buddy should have been toned down though as that would have made the whole film more enjoyable. He’s just so extreme that you certainly can’t sympathize with him and I feel like the film wasn’t intentionally trying to make him unlikable. If they were…then they succeeded. The romance is rather weak as well, but whenever Walter is on screen you know someone is going to get burned. I’d recommend checking it out at least once so you can add it to your collection of Christmas films that you’ve seen.

Overall 6/10

Home Alone: The Holiday Heist Review

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It’s time to check out another Home Alone film. This one is actually the final installment in the franchise which is actually a pretty big milestone if you think about it. The series has come a long way and had its ups and downs in the process. This film’s decently good and I’d probably put it in the middle of the series. I really can’t say exactly where it is as my recollections on the earlier films aren’t great at times, but at the very least it isn’t as tragic or mean spirited as the last film. That one just ended on a really sour note.

So, the film starts off by introducing us to Finn and the gang. He’s a nice enough kid, but is completely hooked on video games and doesn’t like to go through the motions of attending parties just to adjust to social norms. I can roll with him on this one since just playing video games and eating are really some of the most fun things to do on the holidays. His sister Alexis feels the same way, but only because she is in her rebellious phase and doesn’t want to be seen with her parents. She just wants to listen to her music and go to the mall. Their Mom decides to teach them a lesson by…letting them stay home and have a blast while she and her husband go to a very boring party with a bunch of strangers that they don’t know. I think we can all agree who won out here.

In the Mom’s defense, she took Finn’s game controller so he can’t have any fun. He leaves Alexis her phone though so she gets the sweet end of the deal. The plan is wrecked when Finn finds another controller. This is either a huge plot hole as Finn had another controller and didn’t remember or it was actually a present that he opened during his roughhousing. In which case, I can’t blame the Mom for not assuming that he would find that. What are the odds right? Unfortunately, the new house that the kids live in actually houses a priceless artifact worth almost 1 million dollars and a trio of villains have decided to nab it. Alexis gets locked in the basement with the artifact so it’s all up to Finn now. Does he have the skills for this or is he going to have to call in his online gamer friend?

You’ll notice right away that the gadgets and gizmos that Finn invents aren’t quite as out there as some of the earlier ones. I’m not going to say that they’re realistic either, but they’re certainly a step in the right direction. They also aren’t as over the top painful looking as some of the earlier ones either. It’s a pretty nice balance if you ask me. The humor also doesn’t get all that gross or iffy during the movie. We do have Finn throwing rocks at someone in a way that makes the villain think something iffy is happening which is the furthest the film will go in that direction. So, on the whole the film stays fairly classy. Even the characters aren’t too exaggerated…for the most part.

Of the three villains, the worst is easily the Jessica with her relationship issues. Her main plot is that she wants to get back together with a guy who used to be part of the team but decided to leave. She’s always crying about it and while it’s not even supposed to be emotional…it wasn’t emotional. It was one of those plots that you could do without it. The 2nd crook was definitely the best one. The first two hired Hughes from Craig’s List because he has some nice credentials as a safe cracker. The problem is that he isn’t too bright and keeps nearly jeopardizing their mission by eating cookies and doing all kinds of things to blow their cover. Fortunately the main characters aside from Finn never seem to pick up on these things so it’s okay. I’ll also give him credit for doing a good job of making sure that he got paid extra once the ghosts were involved. Jessica had a pretty good line in the second half when she makes a Ghost Busters reference as well. Their team up by the end in forcing the main villain to renegotiate was smartly done.

Sinclair wasn’t all that great though. He has his wooden leg and stays serious throughout, but he just doesn’t have the same personality level as the new hire. That guy really went all out throughout. I suppose he did a good job of doing all that he could to get the painting though. The sob story behind it was interesting to say the least. There’s certainly nothing wrong with him and the guy was pretty passable. He fulfilled the role well enough even if the guy won’t be remembered for very long.

Finn was a good lead and probably one of the better kids. He seems a lot more reasonable than the protagonists before him even if he doesn’t seem to be as much of a genius. One big strike against him though is that he is scared of everything. He’s basically afraid of his own shadow and hides under the bed when trouble arises. You could make the strong case that pretty much the whole film is his fault although of course if he had not been around then the villains would have made off with the painting. It’s one of those cases of making the wrong call at the right time. Once he started applying video game logic to the real world he quickly improved. Finn also had a big line where he admitted that the only thing to fear in the house was himself.

Alexis is decent as well. She’s certainly a much nicer sibling compared to any of the previous ones. She basically let Finn do whatever he wanted when the parents were gone. Any of the older protagonists would have jumped at the opportunity. Of course, Finn wanted her to pay attention to him which was pretty selfish but she stayed firm. She was nice enough to make a deal with him though and was the only one who started to believe him in the middle about the ghosts. She was captured for a while, but did good during the climax.

The cast was just surprisingly solid in this film. Even the writing felt like a step up over some of the others. Home Alone is a film that just works really well when Christmas is around. The only supporting character who really failed aside from the girl crook was the kid next door. His humor was that he accepts whatever anyone else says at face value..which is nice…but I don’t think it works as well as the film seems to think. His snowball trap against the villain was also cheesy…even for this film. I don’t see a grown adult getting knocked out by a bunch of snowballs. Call me crazy, but I’m just not buying it one bit.

The gamer dude was pretty cool though. When he admitted that he was probably only going to be online for another 8-10 years, the statement was both tragic and realistic. If he never gets up from the video games and keeps up his unhealthy eating habits, then of course he isn’t going to last long. Still, he helped give Finn pointers and even got the parents involved when push came to shove. He was willing to go through any inconvenience if it meant helping Finn out. He did the gamer dudes proud and while at first you think he is just going to be an annoying character, he actually ends up being pretty good.

If there is a big scene that stretches disbelief though, it’s when the family comes back home and doesn’t notice that people were inside. Finn placed a sticker on the door that would rip if someone opened it…and it was ripped. You could make the case that it was wind, but since the house was closed that seems unlikely. Finn then points out that 2 Gingerbread Men are missing when they were there before leaving, but the Mom just suspects that he probably ate them in the sneak. Finn really did everything he could to prove that people were there, but even that didn’t work. I don’t know what else to tell him then since his plan was actually the best out of all the main characters. A shame that it didn’t work, but considering that his Dad also begins to get afraid of the dark and is terrified all night, I suppose it was all futile from the start.

On a last note, I should mention that the party in the mountains was just odd. They were going to be stranded there for days? Why was the party on the mountain anyway? The whole situation just seemed rather crazy and the Mom saying that he can fire her if he likes isn’t a great way to start your speech which involved insulting that person. It was definitely a strange state of affairs, but we needed some reason for the parents to be away from home and this works as well as any.

Overall, This Home Alone film was actually pretty good. It may not be amazing or anything like that, but I think it did really well considering the genres and what the film is trying to be. I won’t say that it takes this premise to its peak as you could definitely make it even better, but I was certainly satisfied through and through. The series got to end on a high note and that’s more than you can say for most. Whether you’ve seen the older films or not, I would definitely recommend checking this film out. I think you’ll be quite surprised after finishing it and if not…at least it’ll get you in the mood for Gingerbread cookies since they looked pretty crispy here.

Overall 7/10

Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! Review

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Pokemon is definitely a big franchise that has had a lot of hype moments and hard landings throughout. On the whole it usually has many more successes than failures though and the anime is one that can be recommended to all. The Pokemon Go game is probably the title that I’ve played the most overall as well and there’s just a lot of variety. Partially to cash in on Pokemon Go and the nostalgia for the original episodes, this film was made instead of a Alola title. That sounded good to me, but now I wish they had gone the other route instead. Not all of the films have been amazing. They range from great to fairly mediocre. However, this one went to a new direction that I hadn’t even thought to be worried about, it decided to get rather dark. This is not the Pokemon film that we had been waiting for.

It’s a reimagining of Ash’s first days as a trainer so it starts with him being late to Professor Oak’s lab. He gets Pikachu and survives a Spearow attack. The first warning bells here is when we suddenly get a massive jump to Erica as Ash wins the gym badge in an instant. The majority of the fight was skipped and what about all of the fights before this one? Sure, they were never going to be able to adapt all of it but why skip that much? Well, Ash meets up with Sorrel and Verity who decide to tag along with him. He comes across an evil Pokemon named Marshadow who wants to corrupt him and plunge the world into darkness. Can Ash stop him and any chance at this adapting more Gym Battles or will he be forced to give up on his quest?

I made sure to sit down and read something before writing this review to calm down a bit first, but the film still didn’t sit any better with me. It’s clear from the get go that the writers had a very different idea on why People liked the original season than I did. I liked the original Pokemon season because of the cool gym battles and Pokemon action throughout. Ash was a great main character and Gary was a fun rival. It could get pretty serious, but was a light hearted adventure all around. The movie went through great pains to destroy every one of those concepts.

First lets talk about how they ruined Ash. He gets corrupted by Marshadow and starts acting mean to everyone. He bad mouths Charmander behind his back for losing and says that he would have won with Pikachu. He tells Pikachu that he wishes he got a different Pokemon and distances himself from everyone. This leads to a scene of him being in a normal school and finally making it back to the real world where he gets over it. Sure, Marshadow was manipulating him, but why is there even such a scene in the first place? If it had to happen, give it to one of Ash’s forgettable partners. Ash’s character shouldn’t be sacrificed for such a small plot that had no actual bearing on anything. Take away those couple of minutes and not a thing changes. Then it’s also annoying how Ash loses to Cross because he didn’t have any strategy. Telling Charmeleon to use the same attack multiple times when it was clearly not working was also very annoying. Then getting suckered by Cross into losing his feather by the end makes you shake your head. Ash just looked terrible at many points throughout this movie and is certainly nowhere near his TV show counterpart. He has his moments, but at the end of the day he’s not the great trainer that you’ll remember from the old days.

As the show is condensing a long season into a movie you at least want the big fights, but we don’t get very many action scenes in the film. Most of the ones that we do get are over in 1-2 hits as Pikachu zaps someone or tackles them away. It was clearly not a priority for the film. The fact that Sorrel never gets to fight at all aside from getting one shotted and likewise for Verity just shows how the fighting was pushed to the side. I wanted actual trainer fights and good battles against the Wild Pokemon. This just never happened and the action in this film is quite limited. It’s something that most of the other films did with a lot more success than this one.

Instead, the show focuses on the dark/somber plots from the anime. Butterfree leaving is one of the plots that they choose to keep. Now, it’s not a bad scene in the anime. Ash still got to spend a lot of time with him and we had about 20 happy episodes before and after it. The film is already short so why are we jumping to such a sad scene already? Keep in mind that the film also keeps in the dark Charmander plot where he is abandoned and nearly dies before Ash saves him. The film clearly wanted to be darker and sadder than Pokemon is supposed to be. Those two scenes were already enough, but then the movie really jumped the shark. This is the scene that really wrecked the film beyond repair and what makes it worse is that this scene was absolutely and completely 100% pointless.

Sorrel reminds the audience why he is such a terrible character as when he was a kid he snuck out in the cold. He then fainted so the family’s loyal dog Pokemon had to follow him. Instead of picking the kid up and going home, roaring so people could come help, zapping the kid awake, or making a fire, the Pokemon dies. It just dies for no reason and it’s a very sad moment for no reason at all. The film just wanted to get grim dark to establish Sorrel’s character, but what did it really establish? It didn’t change him in any real way. It’s just a passing line and then the film goes back to trying to be happy in the next scene. I can’t stress enough how pointless this scene was and just how terrible it was. With Pokemon Alola also apparently bumping off Pokemon, it’s just a sad state of affairs that the movie would pick this scene to include in the film. There was no way Sorrel could save himself from this scene of course. Moreover, he talks a good game about being friends with his Pokemon, but does nothing to try and stop Cross when he shows up. He does nothing throughout the film.

Verity at least has some more personality. I was a little annoyed that her fight with Ash was interupted since we could have had an actual battle Ash should have been able to win that one with the type advantage. Her sob story also doesn’t really have a point as she seemingly had some kind of fight with her Mom but then decides to go home and talk it out. More unnecessary drama, but at least it’s not randomly grim so I’ll take it. The film barely acknowledges it after that one scene so that’s for the best. I’m not the biggest fan of Brock and Misty, but I think I would have taken them over these two. At least I think they would have been more ready to help Ash while these two kids simply watched with astonished looks on their faces the entire movie.

Cross is the mean rival and the film does what it can to make the guy as mean as can be. He kicks Charmander and gets away wit it. He beats up Ash and beats up Charmeleon quite a bit and again gets away scot free. While it’s all build up for Ash eventually winning, even that feels negated as he still knocks Ash away and gets the feather. Then he actually turns good which is more of an insult to the cast than anything else. You can’t really convert a character like that in such a short amount of time. While Sorrel reminds Ash that t hey have to respect this guy’s power, they can also respect the fact that they can take him down and bring him over to the cops for Pokemon abuse. Again, I don’t know what the writers were thinking with this film.

As for some actual positives, the graphics are good. Everything looks pretty shiny and modern. This way you at least have something to look at the whole time. When the Pokemon fights happen they look pretty good. Take a shot of water every time a fight is interrupted or ends off screen though. It’ll be good for you. The character designs are on point except for an annoying old man who pops up out of nowhere to contribute nothing to the story. That guy just didn’t have a purpose in the film.

The soundtrack’s not bad. Most of it’s pretty generic and never comes close to the actual first season. The remix of the opening is pretty good. Not as good as the original of course, but it’s more a case of the singer than the remix. The remix sounded pretty identical to the original to be honest which was good. That’s always been the most iconic Pokemon song for a good reason. The new singer did a fine job as well and it was a good way to kick things off. I would have liked a battle theme to accompany it, but since we didn’t really get many of those, I guess that’s why they didn’t bother.

Marshadow is one of the new Pokemon to show up, but I didn’t like him. He was seemingly portrayed as a villain from the start so it was odd that he wasn’t treated like one from the beginning. Unless he wasn’t actually mind controlling Ash and Ash was actually just being super unlikable, but I’m going to just assume it’s the former. He doesn’t even seem that strong and wouldn’t last very long in a real fight. It was cool seeing all of the Legendary Pokemon show up. I was glad Entei basically wiped the floor with everyone although I think Pikachu could give him a good fight 1 on 1. Entei was just running around too much and Ash couldn’t dodge the fire well enough. If he could, Pikachu would eventually take Entei down for the count. Team Rocket is also in this film by the way but seeing as how they just keep getting blasted away over and over again adding nothing to the film, there’s no need to give them their own section. They’re literally just here as cameos for the fans so the writers didn’t really have to think too hard about how to handle them.

So, as far as Pokemon films go this is definitely one of the weakest. I was hoping that a call back to the original Pokemon films would result in this being one of the better ones, but I suppose that just made the flaws more evident. I don’t often like Elseworld stories so I suppose that overrode the nostalgia. The whole thing just didn’t feel right and honestly it just should have had a completely different cast if the plot was going to be so different otherwise. Rename the main character as Stephen or something and then it’s less annoying. I don’t think the score would be any better since it still has the Pokemon death which is effectively an animal death, but it would certainly be less personal. At any rate, I hope this one doesn’t get a sequel and we just go back to the main Pokemon movies.

For an actual list, from what I remember of each film here is how it all ends up. 1. Genesect, 2. Pokemon Destiny Deoxys, 3. Mewtwo, 4. Entei, 5. 2000, 6. Giratina, 7. Heroes, 8. Darkrai, 9. Kyurem, 10. Black n White, 11. Lucario, 12. Hoopa, 13. Arceus, 14. 4 Ever, 15. Volcanion, 16. Zoroark, 17. Jirachi, 18. Diancie, 19. Ranger, 20. I Choose You. The list is a little rough towards the middle. My recollections of 4Ever, Lucario, Darkrai, Jirachi, and Ranger are spotty at best. The Top 5 are pretty well set by this point and will be rather tough to surpass, but not impossible. It’s probably fitting that Sun and Moon, the weakest season in all of Pokemon contains the weakest Pokemon film. If you count it as an Alola film at all, but it’s in that era at any rate.

I can also see why People didn’t like the climax to this film. It just feels all over the place and not really focused. Mind controlling all of the Pokemon and starting a big fight could be good..if the fight actually happened and we weren’t in the final minutes of the film. Ripping off Ash’s famous statue scene from the first movie is also rather shameless and it’s not even handled all that well. After all, this character hasn’t even been through much at all so it’s not as big a moment as it could have been. You can’t do a scene like that so early. The first movie’s scene was also epic as well as sad while this one is just adding yet another sad scene into the mix.

To save this film, it should have just been an adaption of season 1. Why even give Gary a cameo if he isn’t going to do anything? I was expecting him to show up, but it simply never happened. Why give us the Erika fight and mention the Pokemon League if it’s never going to happen either? I suppose these teases are supposed to be fun as you decide to watch the show again, but it just makes you wish for those moments instead of what you’re actually watching. Following the show and having a bunch of Gym Battles would have been a blast. I’d love to see a Pokemon Kai of sorts that does the first season all over again with new animation and I wouldn’t mind if they cut out the filler episodes so it focuses on the main plot. It could have been a blast. Then we would also get a bunch of cool action scenes as well.

Well, aside from the animation and soundtrack, a positive for the film would be that Pikachu looks good. While he did leave Ash pretty quickly once Ash entered into dark mode, he looked good in all of his fights. You never enter a fight thinking Pikachu will lose since he looks so impressive here. His speed is on point and he definitely is one of my favorite Pokemon at this point. Top 5 for sure and since there are over 700 Pokemon that is definitely an impressive feat. It would have been nice to have seen more of Ash’s Pokemon, but Pikachu is always the really important one anyway. I like to think he really gave Ho-Oh a great fight as well.

Overall, This Pokemon film just didn’t feel like Pokemon. That’s the biggest problem with it. It’s very sad and dramatic throughout. What the writers didn’t understand was that it’s okay, or at least not terrible to have sad and grim scenes in a show because you can have dozens of happy episodes between them. You can have a grim plot if handled right as well. However, in a movie, you have a limited amount of time so adding in even just a few sad scenes can change the tone of the entire movie. By having a very cruel rival, death, and permanent farewells in one movie, there’s no chance for a happy moment. The happy scenes in the film instead feel rather hollow, especially as Ash is sharing them with complete strangers who aren’t even that likable. Verity isn’t a bad character, but not a particularly great one either and Sorrel is just bad. you want a Pokemon film to be a fun one, especially if it’s an anniversary film. Instead, you’ll walk away from this film being pretty upset and I’m sure the feeling would have been even worse if you had seen it in the theater. Take my advice and skip this film, it’s just not worth it. I’ll still look forward to the next film though as I’m sure it’ll catch itself and start climbing up again.

Overall 5/10