Secret Window Review


I’m on a roll so lets go with another terrible film that I saw a little while ago. I’m actually shocked that this one is PG-13. The tone and everything felt like it was not, but I’ll give the film some slight props for that I suppose. Unfortunately, it all goes downhill from there. This film falls into some deep traps that thrillers/horrors are prone to stepping in and the film’s glum outlook doesn’t help matters either. It’s simply not a fun experience from start to finish.

Mort is an author who hasn’t been doing well lately. His papers won’t write themselves and he certainly doesn’t want to do any writing either. Things get worse when a guy by the name of John Shooter shows up and claims that Mort stole his paper. Mort knows that this isn’t true because he wrote it before John claims that he did, but he needs proof. Until Mort can get proof, John decides that he will destroy everyone close to Mort and will scare him into submission. Can Mort get this guy off his back or is it time to panic and retreat? Lets just say that neither one is an option.

All right, this film’s terrible. We can start with the animal violence. Mort has a dog, but naturally he is destroyed. The film was pretty obvious about the fact that the dog was going to die and this prevents you from ever getting into the film. What’s the point when you know that something so criminal and tragic is about to happen. I didn’t like it…I didn’t like it one bit. It was a distasteful move right from the get go.

There’s also another big problem with the film and it concerns the ending. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often, but certainly gets quite bad when it does show up. There will be spoilers in this paragraph as well as the next one so skip these if you don’t want to know about it. You have been warned so lets go back to spoilers in 3….2……1….Go. It turns out that Mort is insane. John Shooter is a figment of his imagination. What this means is that Mort is the one who destroyed his dog. Mort is also the one who burned his house down and murdered a few other people. The ending of the film also sees Mort murder his wife and her new rebound guy. It then ends with him burying them and living a peaceful life in his house. The police know that it was him, but there is nothing that they can do about it without any proof. I call plot hax on that and it is a very depressing way to end.

There are few things worse than having the villain win in the end. Mort’s a mass murderer and the film ends with the knowledge that no charges can be put on him. Moreover, he still comes to town to intimidate people and everyone knows that he could easily do the same thing again. It’s a very depressing end to an already terrible film. Imagine if Sucker Punch had end….bad example. Imagine if Air had en…..another bad example. Lets go to Poltergeist 3. If the film had ended with Maryanne being stuck in astral world and everyone else just getting murdered and replaced with ghosts, it would have been pretty lousy. You question what the point of the whole film was. It’s possible to handle the situation well and still have the villains win in the end. For example, the Avengers film could have had Thanos show up and destroy the planet and I don’t think it would have affected the score negatively. If anything, it would have been a pretty fun ending. It’s all about execution, but you simply can’t have a psychotic mass murderer end the film off on a high note while all of the other characters get massacred. It just doesn’t work.

None of the characters are particularly likable here. Mort’s annoying and terrible. There’s no real way to like Amy since she is cheating on Mort the whole time. She wants a divorce, but she hasn’t actually gotten it yet so that destroys her as a character. Ted’s no better since he’s the rebound guy for Amy. To make sure that you don’t forget this, the film plays the flashback about 10 times or more where Mort finds this out the hard way. The only character who can be seen as semi good is the private investigator, but he’s not very good. He’s very relaxed about the whole thing and lets his guard down the whole time. He comes across as a guy who is all talk and no action. Needless to say, John Shooter is a pretty terrible villain as well.

The film feels very old despite being a 2000 and later film. Maybe it’s a technique that it used on purpose to achieve a retro affect. Whatever the case, the film looked and felt like a 1990’s R rated Indie horror film. While I can try to respect the fact that the film got this sinister tone, it doesn’t really help the film all that much at all. It doesn’t save it from the perfect 0 and doesn’t win it back any points. How could it? The plot twist at the end just ends up hurting your own trust in the film and it was already going to be a 2 or a 3 max. Add in the actual ending and then the 0 is an absolute certainty.

There isn’t a whole lot more to say about the film. If we ignore the plot twist, then there would have been a lot of plot hax and stretches of disbelief. With the twist, then everything adds up pretty well. I don’t like not being able to trust what I’m seeing though, it feels like a big cop out. I suppose that it’s the only way the film could go with this plot though. The writing wouldn’t have been able to handle it otherwise.

Overall, Secret Garden is a terrible film. It has one of the worst endings in film history, (And that’s saying something) a crippling plot twist, unlikable characters, and animal violence. I don’t think any film could survive such an onslaught of negatives. There is simply too much to overcome and the only mildly interesting scene in the whole film was a very brief fight, which doesn’t even matter thanks to the twist. It’s a shame…a true shame. If you want a film with some semblance of quality, then check out I Know What You Did Last Summer. If you want a film with actual quality, then go watch Space Jam. Trust me, there is a big difference between actually being a good film and having a very short glimpse of potential. Space Jam is the former and the Summer film is the latter. Secret Window can’t even make it to either category.

Overall 0/10

Advertisements

Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End Review


It’s time to finally play another Pirates game. It’s been a very long time since I’ve played an installment in the series. I got this game for my birthday 2-5 years ago which shows you just how large the video game backlog is at this point. The game is decently fun and I thought that it went about as far as it could within the realm of the movie cash in. With quick time events and actual fights in the cutscenes, Pirates is a solid step above the average movie tie in while still being below the average AAA game.

Jack Sparrow is a pirate who is disliked by just about everyone. He has made enemies within the government and among the other pirates as well. Still, Jack tries to get past all of that as he works to find the 7-9 pirate Lords so that they can gather up their skills and defeat Davy Jones. There are a lot of betrayals amidst as most of the pirates are corrupt and even the “good” characters like Will Smith and the main heroine can’t be trusted. All of them betray Jack at one point or another.

I can’t stand Jack Sparrow in the movies. He’s incredibly annoying and one of the saddest characters to ever lead a successful film series. (Not number 1 though. I think we all know that James Bond deserves that honor) The game does a better job of handling his character though. Jack comes off more as a troll than anything else here and he keeps hit wit about him even as he faces ultimate doom. Let’s just say that the way that the game ends may prove to be a rather dark fate for Jack. I can a[appreciate the ending here.

The gameplay is slightly 3D while also being slightly overhead. I’d prefer complete 3D of course, but it was fairly close to that so I won’t complain. You’ll spend most of the game just swinging your sword around as that is enough to get the job done. If you want to change things up, you can also throw knives, bombs, and shoot bullets at your opponents. They aren’t necessary, but they can save you a little time once in a while. The time is absolutely minimal though. Most of the levels are combat missions where you will just have to defeat a certain number of foes. Others will have you walk around town as you look for clues. It helps if you’ve seen the movie recently so you will know exactly who to talk too and where to go, but it’s not necessary. The towns aren’t all that large so you’ll be through them in no time.

There are around 12 levels and none of them are very long. A few good hours of playing the game should be enough to beat it. There is some replay value at least as you can go back to try and win all of the quick time events and get all of the treasure and characters. It’s not something that particularly entices me, but I can see the appeal. I’m at least glad that they did add extra characters to obtain. I also still want to give the game some credit for the quick time events. They were definitely pretty fun and added an extra notch of effort to the game. The cutscenes also actually had some fighting in them on several occasions. Some have aged better than others though as one cutscene involves a big fight between several individuals, but none of them appear except for Jack running around and doing a little flip as he attempts to shoot. It’s hard to get what is happening here, but….I guess we’ll assume that Jack won.

It’s been a while since I saw the movie, but it is scary just how many memorable moments they are. For better or worse, I definitely remembered most of the plot here. I still think that the main heroine is incredibly shady since she murdered Jack Sparrow, but later tried to claim that she didn’t mean it. It’s all fine and dandy here since dying just sends you to Davy Jones Locker, but it was a little hard to buy her act. Most of the characters are fairly hard to swallow though and it may just be that I can’t take them seriously at the moment.

There isn’t much of a great soundtrack to be found here. You’ll recognize some tunes from the movies I suppose, but for all I know, they are just public domain music that sound like Pirates. At the very least, it gives you something to listen to as you go through the game. The graphics are quite good though and it reminds me how unfortunate it was that the PSP never got more popular. The console was definitely closer to a home console than anything else and it certainly had a lot of potential there. This game is proof of that, but alas, Sony got destroyed by Nintendo in the console wars and the PSP met an early demise.

My main gripe with the game is that it can get very repetitive. After a while, you’ll realize that you are just slashing drone after drone with the exact same attack. There is no reason to use anything other than the standard slash so you can essentially fall asleep while pressing the square button and you’ll wake up to find out that you’re okay. The enemies deal a good amount of damage, but that’s only when they can manage to hit you and you have a lot of meat to replenish your health anyway. Adding more of the quick time events would break up the monotony I believe and maybe throwing in some minigames as well. I do believe that there are some included in the title, but they either didn’t make it into story mode or the quick time events count as minigames. Either way, I wasn’t curious enough to check them out.

Overall, At World’s End is a fun little game. It’s the definition of a weekend rental from Blockbuster. You’ll have a good time playing it, but once you complete the game, there is no reason to keep on going. You can always find better games if you really want too so the initial play through is all that you need. The production values in this game are impressive so if you don’t own the game yet, then I’d recommend picking it up. You can definitely get it for a pretty good price at this point. I have a few games that I’m working on at the moment so I probably won’t be playing the sequel for a while, but it is definitely drawing closer now.

Overall 7/10