5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Footloose Review


It’s time to look at one of the most influential musicals of the old days. This film redefined the genre as we know it and brought in some good tunes. It’s a little better than I would have expected although it still does make enough wrong turns to keep it from being real solid. Fans of the musical genre should get a kick out of it and at the very least you will enjoy the soundtrack.

The film starts off with a kid named Ren who moves into a new town with his mother. This town is pretty well insulated from the rest of society as they have decided to come up with their own rules. One of them is that dancing is now banned within town limits and everyone must only do things that are deemed acceptable by the adults. The council is only made up of old adults so these limitations end up being quite strict on the town including a curfew although this is just a “suggestion” and not a law unlike the dancing one. Ren is quickly shown the fact that he is not wanted in the town as everyone bands against him and he decides that he can save the town with dancing. He will have to endure a lot of oppression both physically and emotionally as the town bands together against him, but he does have one friend in Willard and that will have to be enough.

The town definitely appears to be quite corrupt and unfair to Ren right from the start. I’m not too surprised at this though because I feel like a lot of towns probably would not have liked newcomers back in the day. It does get to be a bit much though when they start framing him for drugs, fights, broken property, etc. It seems like the teens were already rebellious before Ren showed up so I don’t see why his presence accelerated it so much. Take the early scene where Ariel and the other kids went to the fast food place and got caught by her father Shaw. They were all rebelling and dancing and this was completely without Ren’s influence. They always seemed a bit rowdy and Ren just took the fall for this.

I suppose they just wanted a scape goat though and in that sense this did work out. Ren’s a pretty reasonable character for the most part. One thing I do like a lot is the fact that he stands up for himself. A lot of other characters would have simply retreated or tried to move out, but Ren confronts the bullies directly. He doesn’t back down and I suppose it does help that he is physically fit which is why he can’t be intimidated so easily. He does really well in the final fight and he did ace the game of chicken even if the situation was forced on him. The guy’s a solid lead.

Then you have Shaw who is the main antagonist. He starts out as a preacher who seems to have the town’s best interests at heart, but slowly it seems to become more of an issue of pride, which his wife exposes. I like the idea of the character, but by the end you definitely won’t be on his side even a little bit. For the most part he keeps his emotions in check, but he does lose it with Ariel once and isn’t always all that open to dialogue. I would argue that a lot of this is also Ariel’s fault for the lack of communication, but she is the kid in this context so it is really up to Shaw to take the high road. Striking Ariel under any circumstance was not that right path.

Then you have Ariel who is the main heroine, but I can’t say that I liked her all that much. She seems to be playing the field with everyone in the village so right away she doesn’t seem very faithful. She is very quick to try to get together with various people and that’s why I’m glad Ren played hard to get for a little while at least. I don’t think they should have gotten together at all to be honest as that romance just didn’t work. By the end of the film Ariel starts to get a little better and this is all clearly rebellion against her father, but it does happen at the expense of her character. After a while your motivation becomes less important and you just have to consider how much damage you’re doing.

Her early scene was already a red flag as she nearly gets a few other teens murdered by pulling a really dumb stunt with a few cars. She definitely had no regard for their safety and I feel like their friendship should have ended after that. The characters never really appear again after that so maybe they did distance themselves a bit. It’s hard to say though.

Then you’ve got her current boyfriend who is the bully of the school. The guy’s just not a good person and relishes his various power trips. He definitely gets a beating by the end of the film in the solid action scene. Considering how skilled Ren appears to be it isn’t surprising that he claimed the win. Bullies usually spend a lot of time talking and likely don’t have the discipline to stick with a professional fighting style for long.

Willard is Ren’s main friend and he does pretty good. He may not know how to dance, but Ren works on fixing that pretty quick. He also does good to stick to his deal of no fighting for as long as possible, but depending on the situation that simply isn’t possible. If a group of guys are attacking you then you’ve simply got to make a move. Ren certainly didn’t hesitate and Willard quickly joined him there. Fights can be defensive and if the heroes didn’t fight back things would have gotten ugly.

There are quite a few songs here but the big one is definitely the “I need a hero” song. There are a ton of “Hero” songs out there and originally I thought that the skillet version was just a remix or vice verse as opposed to being totally different. It’s definitely got a retro vibe to it and the song she’s well to this day. It definitely makes the tractor scene a little more hype then it would have been otherwise. I do prefer the song selection here to Dirty Dancing and in general I would say that the film was a big improvement. I know these tend to be rivals and I’ve definitely got my pick here.

The film can be pretty surreal and the characters are fun, but ultimately the romance does hurt it quite a bit. It doesn’t help that I really didn’t like Ariel, but the whole town basically being villains was also annoying after a while. A missed opportunity here was not seeing more of the Mom. I imagine she was feeling a lot of the backlash as well and this is hinted at when she is fired from her job which was likely the latest instance of this. Surprisingly she has no presence in the film and I would have liked to have seen her defend Ren more. Why they even moved in with these other guys is beyond me. I think the film briefly touched on it at the beginning, but none of them seem particularly nice so it’s a rough situation.

I’m also not sold on the writing. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but it came across as a little cheesy in some areas, but half heartedly. It wasn’t exactly Adam West Batman or the old creature feature films. The character lines just felt like something nobody would say at times like when Ren tried to explain why he is doing this in the first place. It was all pretty vague.

Overall, Footloose has its moments and is definitely a powerful musical title. I did like some of the songs (particularly Hero) and it also had a solid character cast to back it up. The heroine and some of the supporting characters hold it back along with some missed opportunities on the film’s part, but if you like musicals a lot then this is for you. I’d be interesting to see a remake of this. I could see big improvements in some areas, but some would be hard to top. You don’t really see floaty fight scenes like these quite as much anymore. The film struck a good balance between being realistic and quick without being too gritty or drawn out. It was a dancing fight scene to an extent although not as dramatic as West Side Story which I will get onto pretty soon.

Overall 5/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Dirty Dancing Review


It’s time to look at a film that pretty much everyone has heard of at some point or another. I can’t say that dancing films are usually all that good and the title is already a red flag, but maybe this film would surpass its limitations and rise to stardom? Well…that wasn’t the case here, but the film certainly tried. It’s not all bad, but the main thing that drags the film down is one of its main elements…the romance.

The film starts off with the main character narrating from the future. She explains that everyone calls her “Baby” and she lets them because she didn’t see the harm back when she was a kid. As a result this is her name for virtually the entire film until one final scene. It’s definitely a name that I imagine you would get tired of very quickly. Who wants to be called a baby right? Well, her family has decided to spend the week at a vacation place where the point is to have a good time. It’s like an American version of a host club. Unfortunately, Baby quickly finds out that this place has an underground level to it where everyone goes for dicier dances. Does she have what it takes to fit in with the rest of the crew?

You’ll probably feel bad for the parents right from the start. The club seems to be decent above ground. They do a lot of safe activities like Bingo and people are generally having a good time. So long as you don’t know about the underground, you’ll enjoy yourself. It’s a typical corporate operation so the workers aren’t treated very well either which would also undermine your enjoyment if you found out about it. It sounds like this place was pretty pricey so I imagine that this would make the guests want to turn a blind eye to everything. It’s definitely not a party resort that I would particularly enjoy as there isn’t nearly enough food, but I know some would enjoy this party atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Baby makes for a pretty dicey lead. She falls into the romance awful quick. Almost a love at first sight scenario with her and Johnny although it is unrequited at first. Baby comes across as a little desperate and it would have probably been a better plot if they had just become friends. It would have really helped hammer home the message about how Baby treats everyone the same as opposed to it also being that they are romantically involved. Apparently Baby used to be very responsible and honest prior to getting into this camp so it probably wasn’t the best experience for her.

Then we have Johnny who starts out as a pretty mean guy who has been jaded from his years in service here. He thinks everyone is out to get him and for the most part he isn’t wrong. These rich guys are ready to sink him at their first opportunity. By the end of the film we see him more as a nice guy and it’s not so much a personality 180 as it is that he trusts Baby enough for her to see more of him. It’s still a romance plot I couldn’t buy into though. He’s one of the better characters by default though.

One of the main points of drama here is that the main co-dancer with Johnny is unable to perform in the main stage as she needs an operation so Baby decides to do it for her. We get a lot of dancing montages and training moments as Johnny gets her ready. It’s handled pretty realistically as you can’t go from being a novice to an expert in a few days. Even on the day of the show Baby still isn’t perfect. Which is definitely pretty realistic. Of course, she was also so distracted by the romance that it’s not like she could train quite as much as she wanted.

I’m not a big fan of dancing so even without the romance this film probably wouldn’t have gone far for me anyway. It’s one of those things where actually dancing is certainly more enjoyable than watching it. It can get pretty competitive like in Dancing With The Stars of course, but it’s just not a sport that I would watch. It’s like Golf in that respect. Give me Basketball or Football any day. The actual dancing is still done well here though, I wouldn’t deny that. They were good at their craft.

If there is a pretty annoying thing here, it’s that one of the characters basically gets away scot free. So, there’s a kid named Robbie. He goes around being pretty iffy “Nicknamed the Creep” and yet nobody talks about it. I believe he’s a relative of the owner or something, but as a result people just put up with him. He even causes one person to have a kid and then doesn’t claim responsibility. He goes around with quite a few people and even very nearly gets money for it if not for the father finding out at the last second. He’s not fired or anything since the victim didn’t press charges, but it would have been nice to have seen him get let go.

Overall, Dirty Dancing is not the film for me. The romance is pretty heavy handed and ends up seeping into most of the dances. There is always some romance in the air with that. The pacing isn’t bad the plot is relatively engaging, but without a strong cast it is limited. The writing is decent at best, but I wouldn’t call it amazing either. There are certainly quite a few misunderstandings here because Baby is super vague when she shouldn’t have been. At the very least I feel like during her final confrontation with her family she should have laid it all out. At that point they know what’s going on so why keep them in the dark on some of the aspects? It’s not as if that would have squared away everything with the folks but it would have helped quite a bit.

Overall 3/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Princess Tutu Review


It’s time for a pretty unique anime that I had never really heard of until I began watching it. The Magical girl genre has always been pretty good, at least for the titles that I’ve seen. Madoka Magica is one of the greatest anime ever and Sailor Moon/Cardcaptor Sakura were also pretty fun back in the day. Princess Tutu is the first one I’ve seen in a while and it’s pretty solid. There is always an air of mystery with the series and not everything is as it seems.

The first arc starts off with a Duck being turned into a human. Duck had always wanted to be a human so she could cheer up Mytho (Pronounced Muto) since the guy always seemed sad. This was her big chance and she is now enrolled in a dance school. She quickly makes two friends once she’s there. Duck then discovers that Mytho is actually missing all the pieces of his heart and it’s up to her to find them. Duck can transform into the hero known as Princess Tutu in order to complete this task, but she will have to deal with many objects that have gained sentience. Whether it be solving puzzles or giving them a pep talk, Tutu must stand strong.

Of course, it’s easy enough when there is no big antagonist, but that doesn’t last for long. The big villain behind the scenes is Drosselmeyer. He’s an old story writer who died and went to the spirit realm so he could become all powerful. Whatever he writes becomes reality so he is a dangerous opponent. We also have the evil Princess Kraehe who doesn’t want Mytho to regain his heart pieces and stands in Tutu’s way. Mytho’s best friend Fakir has the same objective although he is at odds with Kraehe. Tutu will have to overpower all of them to help Mytho out.

Arc 2 continues the plotline of gathering the heart pieces, but the game has changed quite a bit. For starters, Kraehe gets a bigger presence in the story as we find out that she is working for the Raven King. He wants Mytho to get his heart back to he can take over his body and destroy the world. Drosselmeyer is still around as well and Tutu has doubts on if she can get all of the heart pieces back and even if it’s the right thing to do at this point.

Throughout the show, the town is very cloudy. It’s still light outside, but this effect makes everything a little more mysterious than it would b otherwise. You always wonder if something sinister is about to happen. It’s a pretty nice atmosphere effect to make scenes a little more tense even when they’re happy moments. It helps you feel like someone may be in control in the background.

The show even hints at the final plot twist early on as Duck will wake up one morning to randomly find that they have an animal for a classmate or a cat for a teacher. Humans randomly change, but everyone acts as if they’ve always been there. The whole town can be strangely isolated at times with people only being around when it’s inconvenient. Yet, the humans still appear enough to cement their roles in the town. Very mysterious.

Princess Tutu is first and foremost a dancing show. Tutu beats all of her opponents by convincing them to dance with her and the bond they develop as a result gets the villain to turn good. Most of the villains aren’t evil after all, they just went down the wrong path to ruin. It’s handled pretty well and I wouldn’t call it cheesy. It’s outlandish, but as none of the villains were super evil it was pretty believable. A few of them did try attempted murder so the water’s a little murky but it’s a nice gimmick.

The soundtrack may not be the most exciting as a result, but you’ll get to hear a lot of classic songs. Swan Lake, Nutcracker, and other iconic songs from ballet. It’s a very soft soundtrack that lets you focus on the dancing. I think a quick electronic/fast paced rock song would have fit in well enough, but I suppose I can see why they didn’t go that route. The animation is pretty good. It’s nothing amazing, but the show has aged well for its time. The character designs are on point and the action scenes are good when they appear. At first I wasn’t expecting too many fights but about midway through Arc 1 we slowly started to get more and more of them which was certainly a good thing. I love a good fight scene even if the villains always seem to have the edge in raw power. That’s why you also need some dancing to slow them down.

Duck is our main heroine and she’s a fun character. She can run low on confidence at times, but always does her best to do the right thing. The fact that she can transform from human to duck and vice versa is certainly very useful. It’s also interesting how she gets a different personality as Tutu, but still does seem to be in control and keeps her memories. I suppose it’s just a really big confidence boost inside of the power up that happens automatically. Either way, I definitely had no qualms with Duck. She made the hard calls and never deserted her friends.

Mytho is an interesting case since he was missing his heart for quite a while. Without it, he let everyone push him around for a while. He had no emotions so he was fine with betraying everybody and just doing what he wanted. It was definitely hard to sympathize with the guy. In arc 2 he made for a good villain as he turned evil thanks to the Raven’s blood. I suppose we can’t blame him here either, but it is tempting since it shows a lack of willpower. It was probably his best string of appearances. We finally see the real Mytho in the final episode so that’s something. He finally becomes the hero he has always wanted to be. I guess Mytho was an okay hero, but a good villain. All in all that makes him a good character, but he serves as more of a plot device for the cast to fight over than anything else.

Fakir starts off as a rather antagonistic person who slaps Mytho and threatens Duck’s life. We eventually learn that he only became a villain to keep Mytho safe. See, it goes back to how the characters are all puppets who are being manipulated by Drosselmeyer. The whole town is essentially one giant page and the author has full control. However, Drosselmeyer’s plan can only continue if Mytho gets his heart back so Fakir has decided to prevent this from happening. He isn’t able to stop Duck though and that’s why he goes down the dark path. Eventually he comes around though and after realizing that it is futile to try and stop Tutu, he does his best to protect Mytho. By Arc 2 he is finally a full fledged hero who helps in saving the day. It’s definitely hard to forget how over the top he was at the start, but I suppose all of the characters either started out evil or turned evil at some point. Duck is the only one who was a hero throughout. Fakir also gave us some fun action scenes which was neat since he had a sword.

Rue is the best character in the show and one of the main supporting characters. She agreed with Fakir that Mytho shouldn’t get his heart back but didn’t change her mind quite as quickly as he did. She wants Mytho to stay with her, but if he regains his memories then he will likely ditch her right away. Her character’s destiny from the story is to be despised by all and then to die. Again, it makes for an interesting dynamic since they all know that they’re merely puppets in a story. Rue shows some glimpses of possibly returning to the good side, but then her father the Raven King shows up and makes that impossible. Rue still does her best to spare some humans that she comes across and ultimately doesn’t want to be a villain, but has a hard time getting out of her predicament. Arc 2 as a whole was pretty tough on her, but at least she got a happy ending. Rue made for a very good rival to Tutu and the show basically said that she is even stronger. Rue has quite a lot of special abilities at her disposal aside from dancing. Tutu got some plant abilities to counter them, but I’d still give Rue the edge.

Raven King is the big villain in Arc 2, but 90% of his screen time is just him on the throne. He only throws one body slam near the end or attempts too, but that’s the only action that he gets. He is pretty huge and technically powerful, but he just isn’t fast enough to hit the heroes. Maybe he shot some energy blasts, but I can’t recall if that was really him or I’m just mixing up an effect. Either way, he had a nice voice, but was also very repetitive. His role was to keep reminding Rue that she was doomed to be forever alone. He’s not a very nice guy to say the least.

Drosselmeyer is the actual main villain, but I never liked him. He’s not nearly as intimidating as the other antagonists. He panics quite a bit and while he talks a good game, there’s nothing interesting about him. He’s pretty OP since he can do anything from the mirror world but he rarely goes to the human world since he is supposed to be dead. The heroes can’t really do anything to him either so he’s just around. I suppose it can be entertaining to see him running back and forth all the time.

Edel was a pretty shady character from the start and I had a feeling that you couldn’t trust her. I never liked the character since she always just spoke in riddles that went around and around. Maybe that could have worked, but it didn’t this time. Everytime Duck would ask something Edel would just dodge the question. Uzura was slightly better as she was a kid version of Edel who was always yelling. She also didn’t add much, but at least the yelling and drum playing she always did must have been real annoying in real life so I like thinking about how the villain has to put up with that.

Autor is a character who shows up near the end of the series and he was pretty cool. He actually knows the truth behind the town and is working to get past it. Unfortunately, he is not the chosen one so there isn’t much he can do, but he acts as a mentor to Fakir. He even has a pretty cool moment where he takes down the guys with the axes. They certainly went off the deep end and had some of the worst plans possible so I was glad Autor won. I was expecting him to be a villain for a while so it was cool to see him as more of a rival. He was one of the more low key great characters in the show.

Pike and Lillie were Duck’s two friends from school. I didn’t care for Lillie as she always pretended to be Duck’s friend but would then backstab her constantly and try to get her into trouble. She would try to chip away at Duck’s self esteem and was just mean the whole time. We never even got a character moment to explain that so it was just odd. At least Pike was always trying to be helpful and supported Duck in what she did. Then we also have Mr. Cat who is the dance instructor. He’s pretty annoying and is constantly asking people to marry him and sweating bullets when they refuse. The gag shows up in every episode that he is in and got old the minute it happened. He’s definitely the worst character in the show.

The main cast was really good or at least very interesting the whole time while the supporting cast was quite a bit weaker. Still, there were always enough good characters to keep the ball rolling. The writing was pretty good throughout. Everyone moved with purpose and they all had their own motivations. The show didn’t have any real fanservice as even the transformation scenes and the tricky Duck turning into a human moments were handled really well. It’s a pretty safe anime that I could recommend to anyone.

If I have any problems with the show, it’s that I’m not a big fan of some aspects of the final twist. I’m fine with them all essentially being stuck inside a fake town that is all a story. I think it was maybe a little too far when they were all literally puppets being forced to move around. Even if Fakir is now the one with the controls, it takes away from their free will. Based on Fakir’s struggle to write a happy ending, they do have some limits and it’s all based on will power, but they still do control an awful lot. The characters really have to wonder about everything they do now and if it is really what they wanted to do. I think just take away the strings and have it so the authors can write new characters and events into the mix, but they can’t actually control the characters. That would work a little better. I ultimately don’t get why Drosselmeyer didn’t just write a new ending after the bookmen stole it, but I’ll assume that he just didn’t have enough willpower left.

I suppose that the romance was handled pretty well. Mytho had a tough time making up his mind and the first choice couldn’t work out for some characters, but it’s just another tough call to make. Duck made the hero call and just did what was best for the team so that was definitely nice of her. Anyway, being a duck isn’t so bad. It sounds pretty fun if you ask me although I would definitely stay in human form for the most part. It’s still the best way to play.

Finally, a neat visual effect was the little clocks that would zoom in on various characters whenever Drosselmeyer checked in on them. Since he was essentially the grand author in charge of this production he needed to keep an eye on them somehow right? I would have liked to have seen more of how he used those to affect the real world though. I guess we couldn’t see too much or he’d truly be OP but there must be some limits to it. How is he even this strong? He brings up the most questions in the series for sure and I suppose we just have to roll with them.

Overall, Princess Tutu is a pretty fun show that I’d definitely recommend checking out. I’d say that it’s probably a little closer to Madoka than Sailor Moon in how serious it is, but is pretty well placed in the middle. It has a lot of Sailor Moon’s happy scenes and monster of the week moments at first, but also has the increased stakes and mystery of Madoka. There is also quite a bit of drama since Duck wants to bring Rue back to the side of the heroes, but this proves to be a really difficult task. It’s also hard to say which arc was actually better. Arc 2 got off to a faster start since the characters were already introduced but Arc 1 did have the better climax. I’ll probably say that Arc 2 takes the narrow win here. It’s just a very balanced show that did a good job of playing to its strengths.

Overall 7/10