The Odd Couple Review

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It’s time to look at the original Odd Couple film. The TV show was always pretty fun but how would the movie fare in comparison? Naturally you aren’t going to go in expecting it to beat the actual show but if it could still be a fun adventure and work as an episode then that would be a success. I can safely say that this was a pretty fun movie. It’s definitely aged well and the concept is timeless.

The film starts off with Oscar having a card game with his buddies as per their weekly routine. Initially I actually thought that one of the friends was actually Oscar since he was certainly pretty confident in his chair and smoking to boot. They’re all having a good time until they realize that Felix has been out a while and may be trying to destroy himself. Fortunately that guy managed to pull his back so now he was unable to do it and makes it back home. Oscar realizes that Felix can’t be by himself for a while so he suggests that Felix moves in and then they will be roommates. Felix agrees and so their story begins. However, Felix may prove to be a bit more of a handful than Oscar ever could have imagined.

Right away you may be on team Oscar here as he was willing to make a pretty big change in his life just to help Felix. He was perfectly content living by himself and only did this because Felix still seemed to be a bit crazy. He’s also quite patient with Felix’s antics. Felix chases off all of Oscar’s friends, makes him miss the big moment in a Baseball game, is embarrassingly loud at restaurants, cries a lot, etc. Oscar is able to look past this since he does want to be a good friend. Oscar’s not perfect and he’s certainly not the cleanest guy around, but he always seems pretty reasonable.

Then we’ve got Felix. He’s a lot harder to sympathize with since Felix ends up taking everything too seriously and just makes things way too difficult for Oscar. Some things just feel deliberate like his allergies. Even if his method is effective, he just comes across as too socially insensitive. Felix either doesn’t realize that half of the things he does are so extreme or he doesn’t care. Both options don’t really help his case all that much. So when the two characters inevitably fight and Felix thinks about moving out you have to admit that it’s the right call. If the bridge can’t be mended then at the end of the day it is still Oscar’s place and he can make living there pretty uncomfortable for Felix.

The film goes at a pretty good pace. Some scenes may be a little long like the opening where the main characters think that Felix might die though. It went on for such a large chunk that I was wondering if the film’s main story was going to include those friends the whole time. It’s a fun scene all around though so maybe the length was necessary to ensure the writers could throw all of the jokes in there. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of the friends really. They seemed decently nice even if they were on the completely opposite side of Oscar in how tolerant they were of Felix. They didn’t even give him a chance.

I’d say that the writing is pretty solid as well. The characters are mostly reasonable and the contrast between Oscar and Felix is depicted well. You can almost instantly see how the dynamic will play out because the two characters’ traits can be guessed as soon as they appear. If there is a weak point in the movie it would have to be the part with the Pigeon sisters. They aren’t all that entertaining and are probably the most exaggerated characters. They laugh at everything and seem like rather odd neighbors for sure. the “romance” angle here is mostly just used for comedy as you know Oscar has no shot as long as Felix is around. While the scene does give Oscar a big reason to finally leave Felix for good it could have been done another way.

The climax is also why Felix certainly couldn’t end up being a good character for me. Timid or not, he totally deserted Oscar there when the main character needed him the most. When you start something you gotta see it through and Felix did not. As a result he basically betrayed Oscar. This gets even worse in the ending where we find out who he ran to while making everyone else worry. Felix is a humorous character so I’ll give him that. The guy has his moments, but when the chips are down he is someone that you absolutely cannot count on. He will let you down every time.

As far as the soundtrack goes there is really one big theme, but it has certainly gotten iconic over the years. The TV show remixed it a bit, but if you’ve seen the show you will still recognize the theme as soon as it shows up. It’s a pretty good slice of life theme and adds some atmosphere to the first scene of the movie. Based on the beginning you actually may get the wrong idea about the genre for a little while which is nice. The film did a good job with the misdirect there which really started the film off on a good note.

Overall, The Odd Couple is a pretty fun film. The jokes are well delivered and the dynamic between the main characters works well for this kind of plot. Oscar is definitely the guy I was rooting for as his more laid back approach just makes him a lot easier to get along with. Still, Felix isn’t as bad as he could have been as with these kinds of films one character usually ends up being super unreasonable. Felix doesn’t falter much until the end of the film. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s just a pretty balanced movie that makes for a good watch.

Overall 7/10

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Magician Mickey Review

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It’s time to look at a very quick Disney short. Now, most of these old shorts were quite…short, but this one really takes the cake. It’s listed as 8 minutes online, but it seemed to only be about 2-3 minutes while watching it. Maybe the special was just that good, but it does seem like the shortest of all the Disney shorts and that is actually pretty impressive. There are really only 2 main characters here, Donald and Mickey. Naturally they are on opposing sides here as you might expect.

The film starts off with Mickey performing some tricks on stage. He is a magician and not simply one who uses parlor tricks to get by. Mickey knows real magic so I assume this is in the same continuity as that other special where Mickey was learning spells under the tutelage of that random magician. Unfortunately Donald isn’t a fan of Mickey’s act and decides to sabotage the mouse. Mickey doesn’t really like confrontation so he avoids Donald for a little while, but eventually he decides to put the duck in his place. Sparks fly and both characters really get into it. There is a winner here though as the special doesn’t end on a cop out.

It’s a fun enough short. I like seeing this more confident version of Mickey. He isn’t about to let Donald just get his way without a fight. Still, Mickey is a professional so he tries to end the situation in a way that is still entertaining to his captive audience. I have to admit that this is one of his best appearances in the various Disney shorts. Then we have Donald who is pretty fun as always. He is definitely the antagonist here, I don’t think there can be any doubt on that fact. Still, while Donald is unreasonable he is still entertaining as you would expect. He’ll definitely give you flashbacks to any hecklers you may have faced in showbiz. They can’t be pleased and they won’t be silenced. All you can do is listen to them and wait for an opening to use your next act. Of course once the heckler gets violent as Donald did then you can be all set to use your skills to wow the crowd and stop this disruption.

The animation looks pretty smooth as always. I like the character designs here and the stage looks pretty nice. There was definitely a lot of care that went into this. There isn’t much of a soundtrack, but I suppose you wouldn’t reasonably expect one here. On a technical level this special delivered just as well as it did with the writing and the characters. It’s a solid short from whatever angle you decide to look at it from.

Overall, Magician Mickey is a nice short to watch while you polishing off an afternoon snack. It’s the perfect amount of time for that and it’ll feel pretty nostalgic. There’s nothing wrong with the special and it only takes a few minutes to watch so why wouldn’t you take the plunge? Because it is so short I don’t think it will wind up being one of your favorites or anything like that, but I’ll still give the short some props for doing a good amount in its limited time frame. We’ll see if any upcoming short can hope to match this one.

Overall 7/10

DuckTales Classics Volume 1 Review

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It’s time to look at a retro collection of DuckTales comics. This was always a pretty fun franchise. It’s hard not to root for Scrooge since the guy is pretty neat with how he budgets his money. The guy certainly didn’t become rich by accident after all. He’s the smartest character in the series and it’s always good to have a main character who really knows what he is doing. There aren’t any weak stories in this collection so it’s a lot of fun from start to finish.

To give a brief premise for the series, it follows an old duck named Scrooge and his three nephews. He shows them how nice it is to be rich, but everyone is always trying to steal his money. Well, one of these stories has his most dangerous threat yet as an old magician shows up to steal his lucky penny. For some context here, this spellcaster has long been a thorn in Scrooge’s side and he has to always think of clever ways to stop her since she has real magic powers. It’s hard to really do much against that. Also, Scrooge’s lucky penny is priceless and without it he would drop from being the richest person in the world to second. Well, Scrooge has prepared for her visit by putting a spell on the coin which turns it huge. The problem is that the invention is imperfect so now the coin won’t stay one size for very long. Can Scrooge get the coin before the villain does?

That was a pretty fun comic. It does remind me why I don’t care much for the inventor character though. He may be a genius of sorts, but since his inventions always go wrong I wouldn’t consider him to be a particularly good genius. Your inventions should be able to last for at least a day tbh. I was a little surprised that this is the only issue with the magician though. She always seemed to be a pretty important character in the mythos.

Between each main comic is a side comic about the inventor and Launchpad. Launchpad is always crashing the guy’s planes so the inventor keeps trying to build one that can’t be destroyed. In each issue Launchpad figures out some way to mess it up. Most of the time it does seem suspiciously like Launchpad is intentionally trying to sabotage the inventor though so how much sympathy you have for the guy will depend on whether you believe that or not. Launchpad seems like the kind of duck to hold a grudge so all I’m saying is that I wouldn’t be too surprised if this is indeed the case.

Back to main comics, we get one where Scrooge decides to open up the world’s biggest hotel. The problem is that the Beagle Boys break in and start stealing all of Scrooge’s money. Scrooge is now locked out of the hotel but he always has a backup plan in mind. Can he make it back in before all of the money is gone? Watching Scrooge work is always a work of art. Scrooge doesn’t back down and he doesn’t play games. He’s always thinking of the bottom line and how to ensure that he is still on top. It’s hard not to admire that. This was also a solid story and everyone looked pretty good here except for Scrooge’s new hire who just slept through the events. The guy should have been fired ASAP.

Then we’ve got a story where Scrooge gets to feel like a youth again as he travels to get an ancient treasure that he has been after for years. It turns out that it is a magic lamp which can grant wishes. Naturally Scrooge uses it well, but the problem is that the villains are pretty powerful. One has super strength and the other one is very cunning. They have decided to take all of Scrooge’s riches so naturally he doesn’t take to that very well. Time to show these guys who the real trillionaire is! Of course, Scrooge is far richer than that, but it’s in the ball park I suppose.

There are other stories here, but you get the jist of it. Part of what makes the series so fun is the fact that the DuckTales premise is so good. There are dozens and dozens of stories you can use here. The cast is small yet effective. All you really need are the nephews and Launchpad to support Scrooge. Whether Scrooge is investigating a temple, grabbing some money that he loaned to a guy decades ago, or just hanging out at home, you are bound to have fun. The writing is on point and the pacing for all of the issues are good. None of them ever even remotely start to drag. Then you have the nice artwork which stands out. The colors are vibrant and sharp while the character models are always very clear. You know what is happening on any given page with a single glance. That is definitely the sign of quality art.

Overall, This is a fun graphic novel that I definitely recommend checking out. There are a reasonable amount of stories here. You’ll likely breeze through the collection, but mainly because it is just very engaging and not because it is super short. I look forward to reading more stories with Scrooge and the rest of the gang. It’ll definitely remind you of the video game or the show, whichever form of DuckTales you grew up with. The stories and tone are consistent with how you imagine the series to be and I think the writers definitely understood what made the franchise grow popular in the first place. Scrooge has always been a very sympathetic character and a nice one to root for. As long as that stays true I don’t imagine the comics will have any problem staying at a high level.

Overall 7/10

Fairy Tail City Hero

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Looks like Fairy Tail’s got another spinoff going! This one is pretty early on, but it already has some warning bells. The series seems like it’s going to try and add in the typical Fairy Tail elements, but hopefully it can end up being a good series. It’s got potential, it’s just got to live up to it.

Overall 4/10

House Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be much more negative
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It’s time to look at a horror/comedy which often times seems to be the best way to handle the genre. It’s a pretty interesting blend of the two genres and one that I think works rather well to be honest. The songs really help as well and the movie does a good job of just never getting too exaggerated. It’s a rare exception to the trope of most horror films being terrible. Of course, since it is part comedy do you wonder a bit if it really counts. I’m actually surprised that it’s R because it didn’t seem all that violent or to have much objectionable content. I’m assuming a lot of it must have been language or something in which case I would naturally rescind my statement that the writing is pretty good in this film, but as mentioned earlier I am specifically reviewing the edited version and as such my recommendation to watch it is only to be applied to that one.

The film starts off with Roger having a pretty awful time of it lately. His wife left him which is always unfortunate. His son went missing a few years back and his aunt died. He’s also on tough times financially as he hasn’t been able to write a new book in a very long time and is just out of ideas. Ah well, he at least gets to inherit his Aunt’s house (Along with her wealth, but he spends a lot of it on cameras) which is supposed to be haunted. Roger doesn’t believe in ghosts, but that may prove to be irrelevant.

One positive that is really apparent here is the monster’s design. She actually has a real design and isn’t just hiding the whole time. She shows up to taunt Roger and even speaks. I admit that I was actually a little shocked when she started talking but certainly in a good way. Then she took out the shotgun and I knew that this wasn’t your average horror villain. She wasn’t relying on cheap reality warping tricks or any of that. She was just fighting Roger in hand to hand combat and making it look easy.

The rest of the monsters here are also pretty cool. You need to see the way the bat twirls around his gun before using it to break the rope Roger is clinging to. That took a lot of skill and the monster world is probably the best one that I’ve seen since Insidious. It’s definitely a highlight and seeing Roger take them on is the best part of the film. I also liked the fact that he used the floating knives in the first room he was in to take on the monster. Usually that trick won’t work, but it’s always worth trying.

There is one subplot that does drag on and isn’t as fun as the rest though, that’s the Vietnam part of the story. We see that Roger used to be in the army and was in a tough squad. They were thrown into a suicide squad where Roger abandoned his teammate to the enemy and ran home. Naturally he feels rather guilty about this and it has haunted his psyche for a very long time. It’s a subplot that feels rather unnecessary. Of course it does end up affecting the main plot by the end so I guess they felt it was good for the twist, but I think it wasn’t needed. I also do think the ghost has a good reason to be mad at Roger because Roger definitely made the wrong call there. Finishing off the guy would have been the wrong move as well. Abandoning and finishing off someone are always the wrong calls. The only right move there would have been to stay and fight until the last man.

Back to the main plot, we also get a random next door neighbor who wasn’t really needed. She is basically just added for the misdirect which is meant to be comedic and some fanservice. Neither of which are good reasons for her inclusion in the first place. Take away her annoying kid and her 3 minutes of screen time and the film wouldn’t really change. Meanwhile, Roger’s ex-wife is a far better character who is a lot more interesting in her short minutes of screen time. I was actually a little worried when she first showed up and Roger took out the Shotgun. If that had actually been her then the film would have crossed that line between being funny and dark which would have been tragic. Fortunately the film handled it pretty well so the twist worked quite well. It was handled pretty well also since I wasn’t exactly sure if it would be played straight or not.

Of course I can’t end a review of this film without mentioning the great music. This may have the best soundtrack from any horror film. That instant where Roger takes down the monster is made perfect when the cool lyrical song starts playing. The timing is perfect and the song is pretty inspirational so it just works so well. We also get another song later on which is quite good as well. The monster’s regenerative abilities prove to be a little tricky afterwards, but Roger did a good job of trying to think everything through. Even chopping the monster into many pieces was definitely a good idea to at least slow it down.

Overall, House was actually pretty fun. It poked fun at the usual horror tropes and did a good job of exploiting them without overdoing it. Roger is a better main character than most of the actual horror leads and the monster is also a step up from normal. This movie basically did everything right. It mat have juggled too many subplots at times and lost focus of what was actually happening, but in the end the pacing was solid and the plot was interesting. The writing was surprisingly good and so was the cast. This could be my new go 2 when recommending a horror film to someone.

Overall 7/10

Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost Review

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It’s time to look at the recent Scooby Doo film. This series has definitely been a fun one that adapts over time. The first few films took themselves rather seriously with life and death stakes at play. This gradually changed as the films got a little more self aware and decided to play around with the ghosts. Nowadays the series likes to poke fun at itself while heading to the goal. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as the humor tends to work well but I will say that the original films still tend to be the best ones. This one is a solid installment that plays out like you would expect. It’s entertaining even if it’s nothing groundbreaking.

The film starts with the gang getting ready to head over to the manor of Fred’s uncle. He is a famous cook who really knows how to get a nice dish on the fryer. Shaggy and Scooby are glad to finally be somewhere where they can eat to their heart’s content. They’re naturally pretty thrilled, but it turns out that this vacation may not be all fun and games. A local ghost has shown up and is terrorizing the cooks. It looks like the uncle might have to finally sell his place to a very eager real estate agent who has been visiting lately. Fred decides that the gang will have to put an end to this, but how can they possibly compete with a supernatural entity like a ghost?

We’ve got a few suspects on the docket for this film. First off we can probably eliminate the guest stars. I mean, the uncle and the other cook could possibly be the crooks I suppose, but doing that to a celebrity guest star would be pretty surprising. On that note, we’ll start the suspect list off with Noseworthy. His name is pretty memorable so you won’t be forgetting him. He’s a disgruntled guy who manages to fields for the cooks. Unfortunately he has a habit of trying to scare off the guests and always brings up the ghosts. The guy was fired but still lives on the land to prove that he can. His motive is clear and the guy is pretty suspicious. Keep an eye out for this guy.

Then you have the very mean cook who is always throwing knives around. She’s rather obnoxious which is a pretty good reason to be the crook already. I have to mention here that from all of the comedy gags in this film hers was the only one that I thought fell flat. It’s not a very funny subplot with her running around making threats all the time. She comes off as mainly a time filler who doesn’t actually contribute to anything that is happening on screen. Without her the film’s pacing would only get better. Then we have the real estate agent. Naturally he wants to buy the place now that it’s pretty cheap. Pretty convenient timing eh? This kind of character seems to show up in just about every Scooby Doo film, but his presence is appreciated nonetheless. He’s also a fun character to be honest and keeps everyone honest. You need a selfish character like this one to provide a nice contrast to everyone else.

There’s also a big fan of the uncle’s who is also one of the biggest writers out there. He wrote a book about Fred’s ancestor who used to be a great war hero during the Revolutionary war. He has built his life around the guy’s reputation and has a lot to lose if any scandals got out. Maybe he needs the place closed down to save his legacy. The whole reputation business is a big subplot here although it’s one that is almost comical to an extent. So, this ancestor was a double agent who was working for America against the British. This is public knowledge. However, the heroes find a book that suggests he was feeding the enemies intel about Washington and his troops. Now, one assumption might be that he was actually working for the British all along, but I like to think that your first thought would simply be that he was keeping up the act and it was false intel. Why suddenly believe that he was turned all along? It leads to some twists and drama of course, but I think the heroes should have had more confidence in him.

The Mystery Gang is basically the same as always. This time around Velma and Daphne don’t get a whole lot to do since this is Fred’s movie. Shaggy and Scooby have a large role in all of the films regardless of who the focus is on so often times out of the main 5, 2 are left out. Daphne and Velma do good in the scenes that they’re in which is good. Fred’s the standout here as he does his best to keep the villains down while saving the food industry. Shaggy and Scooby also have some pretty meta moments like when they admit that they often pretend to be scared so they can score some grub. Depending how seriously you take this quote it has a lot of serious implications. Well, I suppose that’s why they say it’s always good to have these two in your corner. Scooby still comes across as very petty next to Shaggy though. He’s constantly stealing food from the poor guy even when Shaggy is always careful to share the food equally.

We’ve also got some cats running around who are fun enough. I don’t ultimately think they had much of a purpose being here, but at least Scooby isn’t the only animal running around now right? From the two celebrities, the best one was probably the heroine. She learned self defense and many forms of combat as a hobby which lets her help the team out when the ghost shows up. When you consider the fact that she can fight, you’ll probably just start to wonder why they’re running at all. Surely the group can handle one ghost right? Meanwhile the uncle bakes some mean cookies so that’s something to be admired. I could go for a few homemade chocolate chip cookies myself to be honest.

Overall, The film is pretty fun. The pacing is solid and the adventure goes by very quickly. Aside from the old lady the humor was on point. The characters don’t come across as overly annoying or anything like that. If there was anything else that was a little weak for the film it would be the ghost. It probably has one of the worst designs for a villain that we’ve seen in Scooby Doo. It’s played a little more for laughs than usual and he could have looked a whole lot more intimidating. It is what it is I suppose, but giving the heroes someone to really fear would have gone a long way.

Overall 7/10

The Steel Lady Review

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The Steel Lady is one of those films where the plot could be just about anything. You can interpret the title in many different ways, the optimal one being a literal translation that could work like a Supergirl film. This isn’t exactly how it all ends up going down but it is a pretty fun retro film. It’s not great and there is a lot of plot has to be found but I will give it some props for throwing in a good fight.

The film starts with the main characters flying around in hopes of finding oil. Unfortunately they are using a really cheap plane in response to budget cuts and as a result they end up crashing in the desert. The nearest town is many miles away and the heroes certainly don’t have enough rations to survive that. Fortunately they find a tank that had been buried and decide to make a gamble. They’ll use the last of their water to fuel the tank and ride the whole way. One of the guys doesn’t like this plan but he is outvoted. Can the heroes make their way to the final in spite of the bandits?

The heroes are definitely lucky. That will be your takeaway as you finish the film. They make a multitude of mistakes throughout and have to rely on the kindness of strangers as well as general incompetence from the villains. Before I even get to that I should quickly discuss how the main team is already rather fractured. There are 4 main characters. One of them is a teen mechanic who is pretty good at cobbling things together. He is pretty reasonable except for the fact that he fell asleep at the job and blew their first chance at being rescued. If he had stayed up then the whole film may have been averted right from the start. He ultimately does help make up for it with his radio and by starting up the tank, but that was a pretty big mistake.

Then you’ve got the leader of the crew who is the tactician. He is the one who comes up with the plans and alternatives while the others sign off on it. He doesn’t take betrayal well and is ready to fight to defend himself. He is the best character here. Then you’ve got the drunk guy who may as well be an antagonist. He puts everyone at risk for some money and just doesn’t care what befalls the rest of the crew compared to him. Naturally this is all building up to a big redemption arc at the end but you just have to wonder if it is simply too late. It’s just hard to like this guy. At least he did have personality though. The final guy is basically just along for the ride and never actually does anything.

There isn’t much scenery to look at of course since the heroes are in the desert the whole time so get used to the sand. It’s hot out there but someone has got to trudge through right? The writing is pretty solid aside from the heroes getting lucky so often. It’s a classic script filled with a lot of verbal shots from all sides. The banter is half the fun here with the other half being the unique plot. Being out of water and supplies isn’t necessarily something new, but it’s not a plot that I’ve seen in action all that much. While the main characters may seem a little ruthless with how they barge into the camp and get ready for a fight, but being prepared is a bare necessity in this neck of the woods.

Back to how lucky the heroes are though, the camp that they bust into is naturally owned by bandits. The bandits then invite them in for a party and the heroes can’t refuse. So, the villains’ plan is to search for the jewels while the heroes sleep. After that they’ll send the heroes off to fight a different tribe while they get away scott free. Terrible plan, but why didn’t they just shoot the heroes? It was absolutely an option that they could have gone for at any time. Once the main characters were out of the tank a quick bullet would have finished them. The heroes went straight into the heart of the enemy camp so there is no way they should have left it alive. Throw in the fact that the heroes were naive enough to actually fall asleep and you have a losing combo.

Even after that the villains manage to surround the heroes. By this point the tank is nearly out of ammo, but more importantly the heroes are out of water. All the villains have to do is watch from afar and they’ve got the match. The problem is that they forget to keep watch so the heroes run in and murder the sentry while also stealing his water. The villains basically helped the heroes out at this point and should feel ashamed. There is also another occasion where a villain gets in the tank and gets to go 1 v 1 against a guy with a broken leg. He still decides to retreat so I can’t imagine how weak these antagonists must be.

Overall, The Steel Lady is a fun film even if the writing doesn’t usually hold up when you think about it. It’s a good movie to look at and wonder how you could have done a better job of it than the heroes. You don’t want to get overconfident of course but it just wouldn’t be that hard with how many mistakes they make. If you want to see an old school survival story about the heroes roughing it in tough terrain then this is the film for you. At the end of the day it’s supposed to be more of an inspirational story and it naturally wouldn’t have had that effect if the villains were clobbering them the whole time.

Overall 7/10

The Girl He Left Behind Review

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It’s time to look at an old school war film about a guy who tries to sabotage the army from the inside. Andy is a pretty spoiled main character and while the film tries to give him a character arc, it just doesn’t work. Still, the film is pretty good despite that. You just aren’t rooting for the main character for once.

The film starts off with the lead kicking the game winning field goal. Unfortunately he is broke so his Mom has to give him spending money for when he hangs out with the heroine. It’s a nice gesture and this isn’t a bad thing per say. What makes this a bad set up is that Andy takes advantage of her generosity by being reckless. He breaks the heroine’s car so he has to spend a lot of money to fix it. Everyone has had enough so he is sent off to the army. That’s when the lead decides that he will do everything he can to leave the army by sabotaging his platoon at every corner. Can the army make a man out of this kid or is it too late?

It goes without saying that Andy makes things miserable for everyone. The platoon is naturally expected to keep their barracks clean or their squad leader will get chewed out. Well, the lead decides to leave the guns unlocked and the coats unpressed. This effects the whole squad and the lead just tells everyone to deal with it since he won’t be stopping. He’ll even go and fight with anyone who tries to stop him. Unfortunately he is a pretty good fighter so it’s tough for the average joes to stop him. The lead also goes and steals their money for his own amusement.

Interestingly enough, the film doesn’t really try to make you empathize with the character until the final minutes of the film. He shows no real remorse and doesn’t do anything to make it right to the platoon. So then there is no reason to like the main character at all. Giving this guy a general position? Now that’s just crazy and I feel bad for his underlings. The army just promoted the wrong guy over someone who was likely a lot more qualified.

That’s why the fight scene near the end of the film was probably the best moment in the movie. We finally got to see the main character put in his place. I’m definitely glad about that since an army officer who trains diligently every day the way the commander does should definitely be more than a match for a random cadet. You can’t skip training and still hope to be the best.

Meanwhile you’ll feel bad for the heroine who has to put up with this. She just wants to study hard and retire early. Unfortunately that isn’t really an option with this lead. While she made the right move in breaking up with him early on, she made a mistake in getting back together each time. She should have just left well enough alone and I’m sure she would have been happier.

The rest of the characters are definitely on point. The commander of the main character’s platoon is definitely a lot of fun. You certainly can’t say that he doesn’t have personality. His lawnmower examples were always solid. Then you have the other army commanders who gradually realize that the lead is a real problem. There is a nice sense of unity among these guys.

The script is top notch here, but you would expect nothing less. The characters dish out a lot of witty one liners. The voice acting for the characters is pretty solid as they all tend to sound sarcastic at different points. While Andy is definitely a bad character, his confidence does lead to a lot of nice comebacks. He definitely isn’t afraid of throwing a little sarcasm at everyone around him. I suppose if you are going to play the role of the villain it is almost a necessity. I do hope he was forced to give the money back to his teammates at some point down the line though. You just can’t have someone like that as a commander otherwise. The ending is definitely the weakest part of the film. There’s just no way Andy should have been allowed to stick around the way that he did.

Overall, While the main character definitely goes a little too far with how immature he is, it doesn’t take away from the film’s solid writing and pacing. It’s a fun enough story and it definitely does show the army as being a lot nicer than you would see in other films. The lead wouldn’t have gotten away with nearly as much in a different movie. If you haven’t seen any of these classic army comedies before then I would definitely recommend checking it out. It’s a nice all around film. Some parts haven’t aged as well as others, but that’ll make it a very authentic retro film.

Overall 7/10

Rodan Review

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It’s time to look at one of the original giant monster films. Many believe that Godzilla is really what kicked off the Kaiju boom, but you have to consider the mass market appeal that Rodan brought with him. Rodan isn’t your average giant monster, he is one that can fly. In fact, if we took this version of Rodan unnerfed and put him up against the other giant monsters, he would crush them. Not even Godzilla would last long against such a threat. Rodan helped audiences finally take giant monsters seriously and still works very well as both a thriller and a Kaiju film. While the film does drop off quite a bit at the end, it’s not enough to negate the rest of the experience.

The film starts off with a group of miners heading to the caves. Unfortunately they are brutally murdered by a bunch of giant worms. The humans go for backup but none of their guns are all that effective. Fortunately that’s when Rodan shows up to eat all of the worms and claim dominion over the skies. Any jets that stay in the air are promptly destroyed. The humans realize that the only way to stop Rodan is to throw him into the volcano, but this task gets a little more dangerous once there are 2 Rodans on the field. What can they possibly do?

The short answer is nothing. There’s no way that the ending even could happen. What the film should have done was have the humans acknowledge that they can’t hope to stop Rodan. This would have been the signal for a very emotional scene to start as the humans team up to create a giant paper mache version of Rodan that they sail off to an uninhabited island. The Rodans would follow it and leave humanity alone for a little while. Even I may have teared up a little bit at such a spectacle. As it stands, the ending is emotional but in a sad way. I was rooting for Rodan the whole time and was looking forward to seeing him wipe out humanity. For that not to happen is simply tragic.

Enough dwelling on the ending though. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t quite horrible enough to drag the film down too much. I have to give credit to the special effects here as they were handled a lot better than expected. I dare say that it even beats most of the modern films when it comes to depicting Rodan’s speed. In this version you actually can believe that he flies at super sonic speeds since we see him outmaneuvering a jet. Rodan may not have a fancy laser to shoot out, but with moves like that he doesn’t even need one! I also liked the size difference between Rodan and the worms. Since we already saw how massive the worms looked to the humans, it’s clear that Rodan is a colossal beast.

As for the humans…there’s not much to say about them. They’re around of course, but they don’t really contribute much to the story. The dub has fun with them as everyone gets in a few good one liners. It’s hard to tell if you’re supposed to take the characters seriously or not. On one hand, it’s not as if they’re making obviously bad decisions or anything like that, but on the other hand…they just don’t seem as invested into the situation as you would possibly expect. After all, having a giant monster around destroying everything is kind of a big deal right? I didn’t dislike the humans, but as with most of the old monster films I found them to be a tad forgettable. Granted, it’s probably because I’m focused on the monsters.

I will say that the writing was solid. These films definitely take place back in an era where scripts were actually handled with care and you didn’t have to cringe at every other line. The pacing of the film is good as well and it manages to cover quite a lot in a short amount of time. There’s not much that the film could have done to be much better in these areas as it was just solid. I can only imagine how impressive this movie must have looked back in the 50s. Whether you are currently a big Kaiju fan or just getting into the genre, this is a movie that I can definitely recommend checking out purely on a technical level in addition to being a monster film.

Overall, Rodan is a fun film. He’s always been a solid monster, but one who is probably a little over matched against the others. He’s simply too fast and strong so he tends to get nerfed quite heavily. I’m hoping that the upcoming American film has a good idea of how to use him, but I am going to be entering that film with a few reservations on the power levels department. No worries, it’s still going to be film of the year, but with all of these Kaiju running around I hope that corporate knows what they are doing. Still…when do they not?

Overall 7/10

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem Review

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It’s time to look at the next Batman Unlimited film! The first one was pretty solid so I would expect nothing less from the sequel. It’s nice to have a Batman film that feels more like the classic days. It’s a bit of a cross between something like Brave and the Bold and The Batman in terms of atmosphere and character designs. It all works pretty well and the film delivers on what it promises, a lot of action with a good story behind it.

The film kicks things off with a new character who has joined the fray. Gogo is a genius who likes building VR games. Unfortunately he is confronted by his co-worker who tries to destroy him. Gogo quickly figures out that she is actually a robot who is pretending to be his friend, but this knowledge is not enough to turn the tables. Even Batman is unable to save him from this menace. It turns out that the robot is working for Joker along with other villains like the Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy, and Silver Banshee. For once Batman realizes that he can’t defeat all of these foes on his own so he decides to call in Green Arrow, Red Robin, and Nightwing. Together these heroes will have to save the world!

In a subplot, Cyborg is still adjusting to his new boosters. Unfortunately he doesn’t have much time to do so because a virus has infected the city and as Cyborg doesn’t have too many security firewalls he is quickly taken over. I’ve already talked at length about how Cyborg is a Teen Titan and not a Justice League member so I won’t go into that here, but this movie doesn’t help his case. I figured that the whole point of being half human and half machine was that the human side could help him fight against viruses and such. That never seems to be the case so he might as well be all robot then right? Technically Cyborg is very strong, but none of that matters if villains can just hack into him every day.

This film is naturally pretty light hearted as you may expect although it does get some serious scenes. The intro where the robot tries to murder Gogo is actually played pretty seriously. Likewise, the film isn’t afraid to have some real fights thrown in and the animation is pretty solid. It doesn’t really have any choreography and the fights do tend to get paused for quick one liners and such, but the film looks good when it actually tries. It’s a nice animation style and works well enough for the film. Unfortunately the soundtrack is basically nonexistent so don’t expect to remember any of the tunes by the end. This just isn’t quite that kind of film. The humor isn’t bad for the most part. It can feel a little forced, but it could be a lot worse. I’d give the writing a pass.

Then we have a nice Matrix homage near the end as Batman and Joker fight in the Cyber World where they each have to corrupt the other. It’s a battle of wills so naturally you’re never too worried for Batman. He’s not going to lose when it boils down to a fight of resolve. The pacing is pretty good for the film as well which makes sense since it’s so short. At most you may find it a bit redundant how the heroes keep beating the villains, only to have them escape for another round. I feel like this happened at least 3 times. The villains just wouldn’t quit which is admirable but then there’s no reason to think that the rematch would go any differently. Joker’s robot at the end was pretty cool though. If not for a serious amount of plot hax he definitely would have won in the end. All he had to do was actually try moving so Cyborg couldn’t hit him and then it would have been all over. Maybe deep down Joker actually wanted to lose. That would be quite the twist eh?

The movie also decided to go with a pretty interesting set of characters here. Batman is an obvious pick of course and likewise for putting in Tim Drake as Red Robin. While the latter is treated as comic relief a little too much, he still gets the job done. For Batman, while I mentioned that the animation is solid I have to admit that Bruce Wayne looks very off. It’s something about his human design that makes him look like a character out of Space Dandy or that crazy future 90’s aesthetic. Not a bad thing, it’s just different. Nightwing is another good teammate to have around and while there’s not much in particular to say about him, I do like how the film turned his trope of self doubt on its head. When Scarecrow tries playing the mindgames Nightwing doesn’t fall for it. As he said, he got over that a long time ago.

Then we have Green Arrow who does his best but as always he seems to be a step behind the others. After all, he’s just as rich as Batman, but doesn’t have the hand to hand skills or large array of gadgets that the Dark Knight possesses. As for Cyborg, he was getting mind controlled the whole time so while he is a nice guy there isn’t much to say about him either. As for the villains, Silver Banshee was fun. Her ability is always pretty lethal against most opponents since they will actually get older which can’t really be undone. Solomon Grundy is still the power hitter, but he’s never the most enjoyable villain since he isn’t too smart. The film did a reasonable job of not making him too annoying though and dressing up as the pizza man was smart. Scarecrow was pretty good here. He was a legitimate threat and kept the heroes on their toes throughout. This was also one of Joker’s better outings easy. He balanced out the humor and serious traits of his character well and as always his plan took Batman to the edge.

Overall, Batman Unlimited continues to be a solid series. I look forward to seeing how the third film fares. If you like action films or just want to see some light hearted fun then I would recommend this film. What you see is what you get so there are no real surprises here, but the plot is executed well. You’ll be kept entertained all the way through and since this is one of your only chances to see Red Robin in action, how could you miss it? With a solid blend of writing and animation, this is definitely a complete film.

Overall 7/10