5 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Ultraman Review


It’s time to take a look at the original Ultraman show from a while back. Ultraman is a character who is pretty big in Japan but never really got to attain the same success in America. It’s a little odd, but maybe the whole creature feature thing just ends up working better as a movie in getting people’s attention. I will say that the Dub really did its best to make the show more interesting. The DVD we had would randomly shift between sub and dub during the episodes but for the most part the dub worked which was good. There are issues which prevent this from really being a good show but it is something that can be fun in small doses.

The general plot is that on Earth there are so many disturbances thanks to giant monsters that we had to create a whole unit to deal with them. This unit is called the Science Patrol and their duty is to stop these monsters no matter what. Unfortunately they are rarely strong enough to defeat even the weakest of monsters. That’s where Hayata comes in. He has been chosen to be the host of Ultraman, a powerful alien from another realm. Ultraman can only be summoned in Hayata’s place for 5 minutes so he has to try and win quickly. Will this new guardian be enough to save the planet or is Earth already doomed to fall to the monsters’ assault?

The show has close to 40 episodes with the majority of them being stand alone adventures. The formula for each episode is typically that a monster shows up and beats up on the Science Patrol before Ultraman steps in to save the day. It’s a classic formula and it’s like watching an abridged version of a Godzilla film. The only tricky part about having a monster of the week kind of series like this is that you need a strong cast of characters and great writing. This series has neither so that can make it a tough sell when you are effectively seeing the same adventures over and over again. Some titles like Pokemon or Case Closed can pull off the repetition even for hundreds of episodes, but it’s not as easy as it looks.

One issue here is that the Science Patrol doesn’t always seem to be in the right. Often times I was actively rooting against these guys because they seem to be awfully selfish and don’t look at the bigger picture. Most of them just follow orders without question and the ones who think long and hard about it are ultimately reigned in. There’s no sense of unity on the team and Captain Mura is quick to push out any who doubt him. Without good characters to root for that makes the format a little tricky. I’ll go into this more, but lets quickly talk about the main characters. The cast isn’t particularly large.

The main character is Hayata. He can use the pen to shift places with Ultraman but does try to do his best on his own. Hayata is easily the best member of the main group since he does at least talk tough to the villains. Hayata does wait way too long to transform into Ultraman though and makes it clear that he is willing to let tons of people die just to prove a point. He wants humanity to be able to get along with Ultraman and never checks his ego at the door. Watching all of the death and destruction that is all Hayata’s fault is enough to make him sink as a character a bit. Ultraman has his own character, but rarely ever gets to talk or do anything. Skip an episode or two and you would assume that he still is Hayata.

Ultraman is a fun guy to have around even if he does seem to make up super powers on the spot at times. Unfortunately Ultraman isn’t the most heroic character though. He’ll take down any monster even if they are harmless and aren’t making a move to attack. He seems to have a no tolerance policy and just destroys whoever gets in his way. I suppose he is doing his job of protecting the Earth, it would just be nice if that could have also included the monsters who really don’t want to do anything wrong.

Mura is probably the worst character of the bunch. He’s a total Yes Man who will do whatever the government says. He rarely ends up helping out on missions and just gets in everyone else’s way. You want a boss who will stick up for his subordinates and Mura won’t do that. Arashi probably gets the smallest role out of the main characters. He gets a good episode where he defies orders to save some children though. Unfortunately the government didn’t like that and so he is temporarily fired and then reprimanded for saving the day. The whole thing was so crazy that I hopped Arashi would quit in defiance. He really doesn’t need to be taking any of this. He should have gone somewhere where they would have appreciated him more.

Then we have Ide who is the comic relief character of the group. He has a lot of funny dialogue and was a good highlight. At least he actually thinks about the monsters and how they’re feeling at times. I’ll give him some credit for this, but not too much since ultimately he does end up pulling the trigger each time. His inventions are pretty good, but he did have a valid point that Ultraman always does all of the work even if everybody dismissed the notion. Finally we have Fuji. She goes out into the field less than the others as she typically stays with the comms, but she does help out sometimes. Some of Fuji’s scenes can definitely be odd though like when she makes a long speech about why girls love jewels and then when she tried asking one of the monsters to give her some gems. I guess this is probably why she ism’t out on the field as much as the others. She seems nice enough I suppose.

In the first half of the series we see a kid named Hoshino who wants to join the Science Patrol. I’m guessing nobody liked the kid though because he is completely written out during the second half of the series and trust me when I say that this was a really good move. He didn’t add anything to the story and as a kid he really couldn’t keep up with the others either. In general the kids all stopped appearing near the end which was good.

Naturally the monsters showing up is the highlight of each episode. It’s always nice seeing the quick wrestling fights between them and Ultraman. Then throw in the martial arts and you’ve got some quality action. I like a good monster battle and that is really the center of what you need in a monster show like this one. That being said, the show does mess up a bit with the monster vs monster fights. Some of them actually get pretty violent which is surprising and also inconsistent. Most of the time the monsters fall apart like bags of potatoes with no blood inside of them. It’s like they are puppets filled with air which is definitely what you want to see. It also only gets violent when it’s monster against monster which is odd. Hopefully that’s not a trend.

Now lets go back to the Science Patrol being the enemies which is the trickiest part of the series. They are basically a hit squad hired by the government to take down all monsters. They are to do this without question whether the monster is acting hostile or not. There are numerous times where this happens and it’s always very annoying because of course the science patrol has to end up winning here even though they don’t deserve it. One episode where this happens is the ice one. Some kids decide to bully a girl to death so a monster shows up to try and defend her. The Science Patrol quickly puts an end to that. It’s a very somber ending and the Patrol just looks terrible since they were played by a bunch of kids. It doesn’t get worse than that. Another episode involves a peaceful monster from the graveyard dimension who literally doesn’t attack anyone. The government tells the Patrol to destroy him anyway so they just duck their heads and pick a fight. Ultraman beats him up pretty badly before they send him back into space. That was a terrible episode.

With 39 episodes the quality is naturally going to vary. The important thing is of course that you have more good episodes than bad ones and that the bad ones aren’t too bad. The problem is that some of these episodes are just really bad. The 2 that I just mentioned are prime examples of this. The series can just be really mean spirited at times. I think in part how the show plays out is due to the cultural difference here. In Japan following the rules is a very important part of the culture as seen in a bunch of anime and such. In these Ultraman episodes it is seen as a good thing to follow the rules even if the rules themselves are bad. That just hasn’t aged well.

One episode that’s real mean spirited is when a little red monster showed up to help the heroes. He informs them of the incoming alien invasion and the heroes follow him to the site. This little guy’s reward for being so helpful? He is murdered by the enemy kaiju and Hayata could have saved him but chose not to in order to prove a point to Ide. This is another episode where the heroes should have checked their Egos at the door. It’s always especially tragic when a villain tries to turn good and make the hero call but ends up being destroyed anyway. It just goes to show why most informants are worried about blowing the whistle on their alien boss. It’s just extremely risky.

Other episodes are just on the boring side. The first half of the show is affected more by this. One example is definitely the monster who loved the jewels a lot. It’s meant as a comedy episode, but it’s not particularly funny and just ends up dragging on a bit. The best parts of monster films for me are the monster fights so when you have an episode that is centered around the humans you can see how that wouldn’t work quite as well. The Dub really does its best to save some of these episodes but when it goes back to the sub you just don’t feel the energy or witty dialogue.

All right, lets look at some of the more enjoyable episodes. I did like the Baltan aliens. Their laugh is a lot of fun and I like how they troll the humans. They have more personality than any of the other creatures and I’d like to see them get more of a role. We got 2 alien invasions in the last few episodes and I would have liked a 2-3 episode saga with the Baltans trying to take over. Maybe we could have seen more of the other Science Patrols which were mentioned during the series. A large scale episode like that would be cool.

Another fun episode was when the shape shifter alien showed up. He acts like a long lost member of the Science Patrol but is actually working on the enemy side. He is definitely pretty suspicious right from the start. I do like a good shape shifting plot even if it can be tough to watch the heroes get played at times. There is just so much potential whenever it is used as is done well here. Surprisingly I have to say that the best episodes in the series are the ones that involve alien races as opposed to the Kaiju. It may be because the aliens are always evil so you don’t have to worry about rooting for the Science Patrol.

A lot of the other monsters have cool designs as well. There are a bunch of them so you probably won’t remember most of their names, but at least the designs you’ll take to heart. Zetton is a monster with a very memorable design. I like the black/yellow look, it works well for villains and does usually indicate that the character is going to be a real threat. Then you have Jirass who is basically Godzilla. The show doesn’t reuse monsters much so you’ve got 30+ monsters to look forward to. Choosing which one is your favorite won’t be easy. Mine was Baltan of course.

Overall, Ultraman is definitely a pretty unique show. I certainly hadn’t seen anything quite like it before now. As I mentioned, it’s like checking out a bunch of abridged Godzilla movies only with a Power Ranger as one of the main character. I think it might have been even cooler to have had Ultraman literally be Hayata transformed since it wouldn’t really change anything. If you want to see a bunch of cool monsters and action scenes then this is definitely a good show for you to check out. It’s pretty old so of course there aren’t a lot of special effects yet but the monster suits are practical effects so it’s not as if the test of time really affects them. You will have to get past the fact that the main characters are completely unlikable though and that the “villains” end up winning a lot of these fights. The monsters get the short end of the stick and watching this is actually perfect to really understand Garou’s argument in One Punch.

Overall 5/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Varan The Unbelievable Review


It’s time to look at an old classic in Varan The Unbelievable. Varan is a film that you’ve likely heard of if you’re a big Godzilla fan. On the other hand, if you’re not really into the Godzilla mythos then the odds of you knowing about this film are slim to none. It’s a very classic Kaiju film that plays it by the numbers. At its core the main point of the film is seeing Varan take on the humans, but I’d say that it’s a bit weaker than the average Kaiju film. The humans just aren’t that good.

The plot of the film revolves around a guy named Jim who heads to Japan to run some experiments. His tests involve potentially eroding the water supply of a nearby village so he tells them all they have to leave. Naturally the villagers don’t want to just pack up and go just like that so the army has to get involved. They send tanks and a lot of man power for this mission which increases tensions. Jim’s wife warns him that this is a bad idea, but he won’t listen to anyone. By this point his ideas are simply too important to him and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t understand his passion. There’s nothing that can stop him…nothing but Varan!

Varan is definitely a fun Kaiju. For some reason I always thought he looked a lot more like Titanosaurus, but his actual design is still pretty solid. Once he appears the film certainly becomes a lot more fun. He really takes it to the army and shows that he isn’t to be trifled with. Varan also lasts a very long time ad he doesn’t go down until the final minutes of the film. Even then it’s hard to say if they really destroyed him since that’s partially up to interpretation. He did lose though, which does mean he is one of the weaker Kaiju out there. Sure, the humans came up with their own special formula as per usual, but losing to the army is not something you want to do. Humans are pretty creative when they’re in a pack though so it’s no shame to lose to them.

What holds the film back is Jim. It’s impossible to root for him because his experiments were never justified. Why does he have to do them in this lake where a village is depending on the water source? Apparently there were other locations that he could have chosen so by the end it feels more like pride is the only thing keeping him there. He could have easily just picked a different spot when the inhabitants clearly told him to go away.

As the villagers escalate their attacks on Jim and Anna you’d think that Jim would finally consider leaving. Even Anna mentions that she is now scared of what may happen and the police chief hints that Jim should leave as well. Jim does nothing of the sort though so it becomes clear where his priorities are. Even though he manages to have a change of mind by the very end of the film it feels like it is too little too late. By then his character is already down for the count in my book.

The writing is pretty reasonable here. It’s not the best dialogue, but it’ll do. The film’s pretty quick and the pacing manages to keep up so the scenes don’t drag. I wouldn’t call the first 20-30 minutes without Varan boring, but I definitely would freely admit that they could have used a better cast. The action scenes are fun though. It’s pretty dusty in the climax so it can be hard to see, but it’s not like you need HD graphics to see that the government is firing a lot of shots at Varan. He shakes them off for a while, but every creature has its limit.

Overall, Varan The Unbelievable is a classic Kaiju film, but it doesn’t have the same level of charm as the others. It is interesting how different the plot seems to be between the sub and dub versions of the movie though. The character names are super different and the Wikipedia summary for the Japanese version seems like it might as well be a completely different film. I’d recommend checking out the English version if you want to see the impact that Jim has on the story. It may not be a positive one, but it’s an impact nonetheless. I’d recommend checking it out even if it wouldn’t be at the top of my list.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Gorgo Review


It’s time to take a look at one of those old giant monster films that you may have seen back when you were growing up. This monster also looks a whole lot like Godzilla which was pretty interesting. The red glowing eyes make him appear to b quite sinister and we’ve even got a lot of buildings being squashed. It could be thought of as a Godzilla spinoff of sorts and I’d say that the film holds up pretty well. It doesn’t really make any big mistakes.

The film starts with Joe and Sam crashing on an island where they decide to get some fuel and supplies so they can sail off again. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy as the villagers don’t take kindly to outsiders and won’t talk to them. Joe locates the village leader who also refuses to help, but it turns out that this is because he has a vested interest in keeping people away. Joe and Sam quickly blackmail the guy out of some of his valuables and also decide to take down the famed Gorgo while they’re at it. If they manage to beat him they’ll become rich!

I actually saw this one alongside another Kaiju film which I’ll be reviewing soon. They were both pretty similar although I’d say that this one was a little better as we got more monster action. Sometimes with these films you get worried because the monster doesn’t appear much, but fear not! Gorgo gets a lot of screen time and it felt like he got to show up almost right away. Once he does appear he is here to stay so you can look forward to a whole lot of nice monster carnage.

Now, it’s always a little dicey to see humans preparing to capture a Kaiju. For one thing, it shows that they don’t even remotely fear the monster which is definitely not good for the Kaiju’s confidence. Additionally, it should be pretty hard to take down a monster like this. I’m still a bit worried that in the new Godzilla film we actually might see the government take down Godzilla early on only to release him to fight the others once the danger is near. While Gorgo puts up a good fight, he ultimately isn’t able to stop the humans.

Now, in Gorgo’s defense, he’s a monster so it’s not like he knows strategy or anything like that. There is only so much he can do once the humans have a way past his size. Gorgo has a great design and a cool roar. He’s a fun Kaiju through and through so I wouldn’t call him a pushover despite losing. It would have been nice if he could have outsmarted the humans or something, but this isn’t really that kind of film. Not saying that it can’t happen, but that the scenario was pretty unlikely from the start. There is a cool twist involving Gorgo though as nobody ever said he was the only creature out there.

It’s always nice to see a Kaiju team up and this film actually gives us one. Lets just say that Gorgo knows people in high places. The humans probably should have quit while they were ahead. I feel like the movie never really wants you to root for the humans though because it never even tries to make them all that likable. They just want to get rich, that’s basically all there is to their characters. Take the one scene where the museum guy shows up and asks them to bring Gorgo to him. They pretend to do so in order to keep up appearances, but then they head to the circus instead for the big bucks. You don’t want to trust Joe or Sam, they just want to be rich. Admittedly the museum guy didn’t seem all that smart though. I can’t think of any actual reason why they would want to listen to him. He was going to pay them pocket change, nothing that could really help them and they don’t seem like the scholarly type.

Gorgo is a pretty short film and so even with a basic plot synopsis I’ve already told you a great deal. If you like the classic Kaiju films then I expect you’ll like this one. The writing is on point and Gorgo can hold his own as an antagonist. If there is any weakness here it is in the fact that there aren’t two opposing Kaiju so we don’t get to have a big fight scene between them. That would have been pretty awesome. Still, we did get to see Gorgo lay waste to the city and that’s always a staple of the genre.

Overall, Gorgo is a solid movie. I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s a bit straight forward in that you can probably guess most of the film right away. There aren’t a whole lot of twists and turns although there is one which I thought was executed really well. It’s a shame that Gorgo has basically vanished from the public eye. I feel like he had potential to be one of the next big Kaiju out there. He’d probably need some new abilities to hang with the more modern monsters, but that would be easy enough to accomplish. Ah well, odds are you haven’t seen this film yet so I’d recommend changing that ASAP!

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Godzilla: The Planet Eater Review


As a Godzilla fan it always pains me to see Netflix churning these films out. The first one wasn’t bad but it did have a lot of red flags. The sequel didn’t do much to help calm my fears and this one ended the trilogy out on a low note. Godzilla is one of the most influential characters in all of media so you just don’t want to see him disrespected like that. There might be a good thing or two to be found here, but you’ll have to make it past the rest of this film to enjoy it.

The film starts off where the last one ended. Godzilla beat the Mecha Godzilla city and is now taking a nap. Humanity has given up once more and must now hope that Ghidorah can defeat him. Metphies has convinced them that Ghidorah can do this, but they will all have to offer up their lives to summon him. Meanwhile, Haruo wants to stop Metphies but he is busy dealing with his own insecurities and lack of will power. Can he help save Godzilla from this threat or is everyone going to die together?

The classic plot of someone having to save Godzilla is never a good idea. I like to see Godzilla as a very powerful Kaiju who does the saving if necessary. He isn’t a hostage to be rescued or a supporting character in need of the lead. He’s the King of the Kaiju, but doesn’t get to look very good here. For the first half of the film he barely appears. Then when he finally does, he can’t even land a hit on Ghidorah. He gets lolstomped the entire time until Haruo is able to make Ghidorah manifest himself and Godzilla throws in some blasts. Godzilla was devoid of character in this version. At least in older films you could tell that he knew what he was doing. In this trilogy he is really just along for the ride.

Ghidorah wasn’t all that good either. At least he actually appeared unlike Mecha Godzilla, but he never assumes his true design. It’s more like 3 giant dragons showing up to fight instead of the 3 Headed beast we’ve always known. He doesn’t have any real character or personality either, but at least it was fun hearing his iconic roar. The scene where he destroys everyone was definitely pretty intense and reminds you that he is a force to be reckoned with.

Before I get into the other characters lets talk about some of the ways this film failed. The first of which is the terrible lack of budget. It’s not really a good excuse to be honest as many films have surpassed such limitations. Still, it is very noticeable here how Godzilla can barely move. His character model appears to be too huge for the animators to know what to do with him. All of the characters are pretty choppy. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this looks more like a Fire Emblem 3DS title than an actual movie. It works for the game because of its style and directing, but Godzilla has none of that. Even with better animation the film would have still failed but it would have done a whole lot better to be honest.

For the soundtrack it’s not as harsh. The film has some reasonable themes like the one in the second film for the aerial scenes. Still, for the most part it’s all just a lot of emotional themes that you can’t connect with. There are some good emotional themes of course and Tsubasa/Naruto tend to claim the best of that genre, but these don’t have that level of heart. The music is just good enough to be considered the film’s highlight though. At least you have something nice to listen to.

Most of the film tries to tackle some fairly deep themes, but does so with such a heavy handed approach that it completely fails. Metphies has been trying to tell Haruo that the only way to beat a monster like Godzilla is to become one. That seems to be obviously fake from the get go so you’re waiting for Haruo to ask the tough questions. The problem is that he never does and just listens for a while. Metphies’ ramblings go on for a very long time and seem to take up most of the film. He’s not actually saying much. It’s a very short message that he continues to convey with different phrasings but ultimately the message is intact. This tells me that the writers just wanted him to seem really smart, but couldn’t get that across. He’s a decent manipulator, but you also have to take into account the fact that the crew was full of suckers. Metphies is a solid villain, but one who is given too much credit in universe. The characters could have just shot or stabbed him and they could have saved themselves an extra 2 hours. Of course it wouldn’t matter much in the end since Godzilla would still rule the world, but at least they wouldn’t have to deal with 2 kaiju. I do have to say that it was a little too sudden with how the humans were rooting for Godzilla though.

Even without Metphies and his plans, they quickly fell into another civil war. They did prove the point about how the Earthlings will always be getting into wars and fights. Having humans’ cosmic purpose be to bring about the Kaiju would certainly be an interesting twist. I definitely didn’t like the main commander since he wouldn’t do anything. He never made any decisions before dying. His 2nd in command was a lot more decisive with how he would react to the situation. Of course, this plot would ultimately never go anywhere which is probably the point, but it still makes you shake your head.

Then you get to the ending of the film which is utterly terrible. So, Haruo may not be the best character around, but at least for the most part he is very determined and always eager to win right? Well, after taking down the main villain he quickly starts mourning and apologizing? Why? I can understand him regretting this path forcing him to take a life, but he shouldn’t actually feel sorry for the character. The guy he took down was evil from the start and had been for centuries. He just murdered nearly the entirety of the human race that had survived. There shouldn’t be any sympathy for this guy. Then Haruo makes an even worse decision to pilot a machine towards the end for a suicide run.

Such a mission accomplishes nothing and he was basically ditching his family for this. If he was by himself then it could work although it would still be a terrible decision, but if he knew that he would do this then he shouldn’t have started any bonds in the first place. As it is, the romance in the film was pretty terrible. The scenes with the Mothra twins are painful and feel unnecessary. I also don’t like how one of them went down without a fight. She was shown to be a fairly capable hunter and has telepathy right? Surely she could have at least done something by this point.

While the film isn’t violent, it does get fairly dark with all of this. Between the suicides and such, Haruo also has murderous dreams with people becoming food. We also see an army get eaten by a dragon, but since it was ethereal they just turned into glowing remains which was a very tame way to handle the whole thing. The film never really has any happy scenes. Whatever we do get always tends to have a twist. Take the twist ending of the film. It completely makes the whole adventure pointless and the same goes for Haruo’s sacrifice. The people just found the next thing to worship and that was the end of that. Why couldn’t the people have at least been a little likable?

I think the main reason you can blame for this film failing is that it tried to be a lot deeper than it actually was. The movie tried to be very sophisticated and complex, but it just doesn’t work. You need excellent writing to do so which this film does not have. The plot isn’t interesting enough to start with. A good survival story on a foreign planet can work well and the film set things up with a lot of potential in the first film. It just managed to squander basically all of it. Again, I think we can blame some of this on the budget as well.

Overall, I didn’t talk about Godzilla much, but there’s a good reason for that. He doesn’t really get to appear in this film. His scenes are very short and in those he functions more as an object than as an actual creature. This trilogy really managed to fall flat on itself but the good news is that I doubt we will get another Godzilla film weaker than this one. It’s just almost impossible to fathom. If you already saw the first two Netflix titles then I suppose you should check this one out. Otherwise, I’d advise you to steer clear of the trilogy entirely. It will just waste your time by the end.

Overall 4/10

Game Records

Tank! Tank! Tank! Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 3h 29m
Medals: 60
BP 200623
Tanks 12/20

Level Stats: Rank

Level 1 S
Level 2 S
Level 3 S
Level 4 A
Level 5 S
Level 6 A
Level 7 S
Level 8 S
Level 9 A
Level 10 B
Level 11 C
Level 12 S
Level 13 B
Level 14 S
Level 15 D
Level 16 S
Level 17 D
Level 18 S
Level 19 A
Level 20 D
Level 21 B
Level 22 S
Level 23 C
Level 24 S
Level 25 B
Level 26 A
Level 27 C

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Tank! Tank! Tank! Review


It’s time to look at a game I’ve had my eye on for quite a while. The cover and screenshots looked pretty good and it has a 3D multiplayer option. You can’t really beat that. Alas, there’s a reason why this game isn’t getting the critical acclaim that you might expect. The reason is that the game is quite limited in content and won’t last for very long. At full price this would be quite dicey.

The basic plot is that you are fighting off an alien invasion. We don’t know why all of these Kaiju and robots are attacking but it’s up to you and your tanks to fight them back. Show these guys that Earth is not on the menu. Defeat is not an option so fortunately you will have quite a few tanks to choose from by the end. The story is also co-op enabled or you can have an A.I. jump in.

The basic gameplay is probably just as you would have imagined it to be. You control the tank and drive around 3D environments as you take it to the monsters. You have your main weapon and you can also grab 2 other temporary ones during the level from enemies you defeat. You will naturally be driving around during this as well to try and dodge as many shots as possible but be warned that some tanks have a very hard time moving. Sometimes it’s best to just find a good spot and hold your ground. It definitely looks and feels like the arcade game that it is which adds a nostalgic twist to the title. The gameplay may not be quite as smooth as you would like but it feels natural.

The graphics are nice and bright with colorful designs for the monsters and the levels. It all looks pretty solid even if not groundbreaking. It’s a game that is very nice to look at visually. The soundtrack is less impressive as the game has a very small amount of tunes which keep on looping. The tunes aren’t bad but more of a selection would have been good. You can only hear the same tune so many times before it loses some impact.

Now lets talk about what hurt the game quite a bit. It’s the fact that the title really tries to artificially extend its length. There are around 35 levels in the game but at first you can only play around 8. How do you unlock the next batch? You have to beat all of the levels again with a different tank. The game runs on a star system. You get 1 star every time you beat a level. To complete the game you need dozens and dozens of stars so you have to complete each of the levels over and over again. It’s done to a very tedious degree.

I understand that the game wants you to play it a little extra, but you can’t lock the main story behind such a thing. What that shows is that the developers were nervous and thought people wouldn’t willingly replay the levels purely for the tanks. They have to trust in their game or put some good unlockables in. I played their game for a while and did the replays, but when I saw that I had to replay the 20 levels again deep into the game I just put it down. There’s just no way I was going to do that many levels just to play a few more reskins.

Yes, towards the end of the game you started fighting the same bosses and opponents over and over again. The stage limit is limited and same with the character models. As a result you can tell that this should be a short game. It just didn’t have the production values to be extended so much by just reusing the levels. The game could have been clever with shifting the levels or the goals a bit to make it more unique, but didn’t do any of that.

So, Tank Tank Tank is a fun game, but it is stretched out to the point where it loses some brownie points with you. It does have a good amount of replay value though I suppose. Beating all of the levels with all of the tanks will take quite a while. Each level is fairly short at only 1-2 minutes, but beating it over and over again just isn’t the most enjoyable experience. You also have to take into account the short cutscenes that play before each level which cannot be skipped. They’re short, but it’s the little things like this which hurt a bit. Fortunately the game does have a multiplayer option which is where most of the real replay value will come in. Now that’s a mode where you can play for a long time without getting bored.

Overall, I would still recommend this game. It goes for bargain prices nowadays so that will help with the lack of content issue. It’s a good low price option for getting in some multiplayer fun. You also have to give it some credit for the cool monster designs. The whole thing feels like a big Kaiju homage at times. You have characters like Ghidorah and King Kong running around and again, the core gameplay is fun. That’s still the most important part of any game and this one nails down that part so you’re still going to have fun. It’s best in short batches and if you follow that you’ll be entertained for quite a while.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Godzilla 1985 Review


It’s time to look at one of the older Godzilla movies. This one brought Godzilla back in his most fearsome film yet. It’s easy to see why this new series of Godzilla movies really took off. People liked the originals quite a lot of course, but I think the world was ready for a more serious incarnation of the character. Personally I preferred the cheesier days, but I like the newer films as well. This one is fairly good, but still makes you end up missing having some other giant monsters for Godzilla to deal with. Just having the Big G on his own is not quite as exciting.

The film starts with someone wandering onto a boat and seeing that the whole crew has been murdered. A giant sea creature is responsible, but everyone decides to pin the blame on Godzilla instead. Honestly the big Kaiju was innocent this time around, but Godzilla decides to destroy all of Japan just to clear his name. Japan seems doomed, but that’s when America steps in. They decide that they’ll end the threat of Godzilla once and for all and prove that modern weaponry actually can make a difference in this fight.

I have to admit that the beginning was a lot more atmospheric than I expected it would be. The scene of the guy walking through the ship and encountering the alien like species was intense. It was like something out of a horror film. The scene was a little on the violent side with the corpses though. I think they could have been more subtle with the effects which would also work better with the horror vibe. This subplot never really amounted to much in the dub version either. You would barely even know it was concluded. Apparently it seems like the subplot was still wrapped up according to Wikipedia, but it was shortened to the point where it really just felt like filler.

On the positive side, it is always nice to see Godzilla. He appears for a reasonable amount of time here. It is unfortunate that he is more of a mindless monster here than the cunning Kaiju that we see him to be in other films. It really depends on the movie, but sometimes Godzilla is just a monster who is out for destruction and other times he actually has a will of his own. This movie seemed to be the former although he certainly made the most of it. This Godzilla was happy to crush anyone he could find and even his facial expression seemed a lot meaner than usual. His face was frozen in a glare throughout the entire movie. This was very clearly not a Kaiju that you could mess with.

For the human characters, I guess they were okay. They didn’t have a whole lot of personality, but ultimately were trying to do the right thing. The main character wasn’t particularly good at his job as he tends to talk aloud and spill government secrets. I can only assume that he will improve from here on out though. The heroine doesn’t really do much besides bring papers to the main characters and such while the old professor is busy telling everyone that you can’t beat Godzilla. As the Kaiju was ultimately defeated with ease he ended up looking bad.

The Cold War battles between the U.S. and Russia were pretty interesting here. It was nice to see us shoot their missile out of the sky and save the world. The U.S. ultimately did the most to save the world in this film. Not only did they save Japan from Russia but they also stopped Godzilla by pressuring him into the Volcano. I think it’s safe to say that they were the MVP here and that’s why it’s fun to have them around. There are many Godzilla films where you wonder how much quicker it would have finished if America had stepped up to the plate. Well…not we know.

On that note, I do have another issue with the climax. As mentioned, in this film they portray Godzilla as a mindless monster which allows the heroes to trick him. They play some bird sounds and throw it in the Volcano so Godzilla peers over and then they push him in with controlled explosions. That’s really not a very satisfying way to end that plot and I don’t think Godzilla should have gone down like that. He’s the King of the Monsters! A quick fall into a volcano shouldn’t do much and I don’t think he should have been lured to the edge so easily either. It was a bit iffy, but I guess they had to end the film somehow.

The special effects are pretty decent. The city shots have improved quite a bit compared to the Showa days. The actual suit seems to be about the same but the laser blasts are certainly more colorful. It looks like a strobe light show by the end as explosions of all colors start popping up as Godzilla torches the city. At one point the whole city appears to be in flames which was a nice touch as well. While the soundtrack is less noticeable, I did like the Godzilla roars as always.

There is one comic relief character who decides to rob some restaurants while Godzilla is nearby. Honestly it’s not a bad plan if you’re a villain since everyone evacuated so you’ve got the city to yourself. The problem for this guy is that he’s drunk so everything takes him forever and ultimately he ends up just getting stomped like everyone else. I do think the main characters did seem to surprisingly not care about the guy at all, but at that point all they could think of was surviving.

Overall, Godzilla 1985 isn’t a bad reboot. I think it was an unnecessary one though and the films should have just kept going from the Showa series. Ultimately this era would pick up steam as the monsters were introduced, but it was a bit of a rocky start. It’s a controversial opinion, but I believe Godzilla films are always best when there is another monster for Godzilla to face. When it’s just him then there isn’t as much tension or excitement since it’s not as if the government can do much against him. (Well…they win sometimes, but it’s still not as exciting) Still, the writing was on point and the pacing was good. This film is still worth a watch and if you can’t take Godzilla seriously then you should certainly watch this movie. It’s probably one of the darkest Godzilla films even if you might find it a little hard to take the movie too seriously with the voices. For the record, I enjoy the dubbing, it’s always pretty fun.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Rodan Review


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

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Space Amoeba Review


It’s time to look at an old Kaiju film that not too many people know about. However, once you see the title you know that this is a film to check out. The monsters are huge which is really what you are looking for at the end of the day. It’s a pretty fun film that may start to lose a little steam as it goes on but manages to be a solid product through and through. Naturally you will be rooting for the monsters of course.

The film starts off with a reporter being mocked for claiming that our satellites aren’t making it into space and are being shot down. He is determined to prove that he isn’t wrong and is given the chance when a lady shows up and asks him to take photos of an island where she is building a resort. His pride won’t let him do such a thing at first but then another guy shows up and explains that giant monsters may have been seen in the area. The lead quickly realizes that it is all linked and jumps into action. Is he in over his head?

One thing you will enjoy right away is the writing for this film. It’s one of those old school scripts where the characters are all having a lot of run right off the bat. Sure, maybe they should be taking this whole thing a little more seriously to be honest, but at the end of the day you have to appreciate the fact that they can still make one liners. The voice acting is on point and the characters are reasonably likable. Kudo may have a little too much pride as he initially doesn’t want to take pictures of landscapes even when paid, but I guess that’s just not his thing. He is quick to jump into action when necessary on the island. We also have the corporate spy who comes in to try and get rich, but things don’t go too well for him. From that point on you already knew he was doomed though. We also have the main heroine who tries to help one of the heroes get away from the mind control that he is under with her yells. I suppose it is fairly effective. You’ve also got the tour guides but some of the locals do tend to panic when the Kaiju come knocking. Never a good move since these monsters are as fast as they are large.

So as you can see I definitely had no problem with the characters. It was a fun enough bunch even if none of them are all that memorable. Now we get to the Kaiju. They were all pretty solid. The best one would probably be the main one. That squid packed a punch and was even able to move on land. I definitely was glad to see him pop up and his scenes were certainly the closest to something out of a Godzilla movie. Then we have the big turtle that was neat. While the ability to stretch out your head isn’t very useful or practical, it was visually interesting so I’ll give it some props there. The monsters were definitely fun so this title earned its creature feature status.

As I mentioned, the film does slow down a bit during the second half though. That’s because the humans start to take up a bit more of a focus at that point so the monsters are secondary. I can tell you now that this is never a good idea since we are all here for the Kaiju of course. The humans are just the added bonus. It never gets boring or anything like that though. I also think the monsters should have maybe been a bit stronger as well since one of them was getting absolutely wrecked by the humans and their guns. If you’re not bullet proof but are huge like these monsters then you’re just going to end up being an easy target.

I do think Kudo’s boss will likely go down as one of the more underrated characters among the Kaiju community though. I like how he doubted Kudo from the start and never changed his mind from that. After all, why should he? When you think about it, Kudo’s story doesn’t make any sense so sending him off on a wild goose chase makes a lot of sense. He’s a one shot character but is a perfect example of this film’s humor that meshes well with the story.

Overall, Space Amoeba is a solid film. It’s definitely a retro Kaiju movie that is worth checking out and you will never look at the giant monsters the same way again. Don’t worry, we’ve also got aliens in the mix which really helps as well since those guys should always be included in such an adventure. Kaiju and Aliens go hand in hand after all. It would be cool to see these monsters go up against Godzilla one day although they would probably be destroyed very quickly. The Amoeba may not be one of the strongest fighters out there, but he’s a fun one.

Overall 7/10

Editorial

The film industry has forgotten why Godzilla films are so great


I’ve been a huge Godzilla fan for quite a while now. At this point it’s safe to say that I talk about him almost every day. It’s hard to say just how many years it’s been, but one of the first Godzilla films I ever saw was the Megaguirus one. It’s one of my least favorite titles so it didn’t start me off on the right foot, but it got me thinking how hype the G series could be. Eventually I went on to watch the rest of the Godzilla films and even bought 3 of the games. Naturally it’s been a great time to be a G fan lately with all of the new films and comics coming out. Unfortunately though, some of them seem to miss the point of what a Godzilla film is all about. Mainly I’m referring to the recent Netflix films, but others are guilty as well. So, I’m going to talk about why Godzilla films are a blast and the popular misconceptions around them.

1. Godzilla films have quality Kaiju fight scenes

At the very least this is why I love the Godzilla films. I always enjoy a good monster battle. See, the average monster film has to walk a fine line here since if the fight is too graphic it can fall into the animal violence camp. Likewise if the monster acts too much like a creature. It’s for that reason that I believe the films should stick away from having kid monsters in it like Minilla. Ultimately he serves as more of a liability to Godzilla than anything else. The Godzilla films have always been pretty careful about this. Occasionally you’ll get a fight that isn’t too fun like Megaguirus, Vs Gigan, and Kumonga, but for the most part they are rock solid. The Ghidorah fights are a blast, I like seeing Godzilla go up against Space G, etc. Whether Godzilla gets up close to dish out some hand to hand action on the villains or falls back on his atomic breath, the stakes are quite high from start to finish. These fights were a blast. I always have a hard time deciding which era was better for Godzilla, Showa or Millennium. Both are fantastic but for mainly different reasons. Showa had more close combat fights while Millennium went for the beam wars. Both approaches are fun and the important thing is that they had Kaiju battles. This is where some of the films start to mess up.

Take the recent Netflix film. Godzilla doesn’t actually fight against any real opponents. It’s just the army bombarding Godzilla for about an hour until they realize that this approach isn’t working and quickly fall back to plan B. That’s not entertaining. It’s like watching a human try to hit a robot with a sling shot for the whole film. We know that it’s futile from the start and that doesn’t change as the film goes on. It works as a great backdrop to solidify what a threat the Kaiju is of course, but that’s not supposed to be the payoff. Take Godzilla Against Mecha Godzila for example. It’s great to see the army give it their best of course, not because they have a chance, but because it shows how impressive the robot is to damage Godzilla when the full armaments could not. Take away Mecha Godzilla and you have to wonder why they are wasting so much ammo. You need a Kaiju opponent. For that reason, I consider some fan favorite Godzilla films to be among the weaker ones. The original Godzilla film, Godzilla Returns, the 1998 Godzilla film, both Netflix Godzilla films, and Shin Godzilla. Most of those are still quality films in their own right, but compared to the other Godzilla films I can’t really say that they rank. You end up sorely missing the fights that got you into the series.

Final Wars is still the best Godzilla film because it took the modern day effects of the Millennium era and mixed them together with the close quarters combat of the Showa films. It had nonstop action and easily the best soundtrack in the series. It was just a masterpiece and the human plot was actually really good as well. Usually I end up forgetting the human plot as soon as it pops up because I’m just ready for the Godzilla action to commence. Even if it takes 40 minutes for the Big G to appear I know that the payoff will be worth it. It’s why I’ve seen Final Wars 3 times already.

2. Godzilla can be a humorous series and that’s not a bad thing

Usually when someone says that the Godzilla series is pretty cheesy or that they were laughing the entire time that can be seen as negative when it’s really a positive. Yeah, the old Godzilla films have some dated effects, but that doesn’t mean they were bad. The English dubs of the films had fun turning the films into full comedies at times and it worked quite well. Seeing the monsters rolling on the ground and wrestling makes for great entertainment. It’s part of why I love the era so much. I may not take it all that seriously, but I’ll still be enjoying it quite a lot. The Godzilla series doesn’t need to be super somber or take itself seriously to be good. Some films choose to look at the situation really realistically with how the world would handle the Kaiju, while others do not. The former can work, but there are only so many ways you can portray this. Sometimes it’s best to skip that and get right to the action. In general my favorite Godzilla films are the ones that don’t bog themselves down in the drama and just get right to the action. The characters have a very New York attitude of “Lets get this done” regardless of how absurd the whole situation is. They’ll have time to think about it after the job is done. Again, I have to point to the recent Netflix film. They spend the whole movie talking about how scary Godzilla is without actually showing it. That just doesn’t work well in a visual medium like a film. Show us how powerful Godzilla is and it’ll be obvious that he’s a threat. Words aren’t necessary at that point. Show Godzilla flying by blasting the ground and that’ll be a funny scene, but also one that shows how much velocity is in his Atomic Breath. It just works. The recent films have tried to be extremely serious lately and don’t seem to understand that having a giant monster running through the streets can make for a bunch of funny scenes as well. At least Shin Godzilla had a little fun with it to be fair, but the recent American one and the Netflix movies didn’t even try.

3. Modeling the films after the original Godzilla is a mistake

There is a sect of Godzilla fans who really only liked the first film or have just enjoyed a small handful. I’ve met at least 2 people who felt this way and have heard from many others on Reddit. If the first film is indeed the only one that you like can you really call yourself a Godzilla fan? You’re a fan of the Godzilla film or even the creature, but not the series. On Reddit there’s a user who said that he always goes to watch the films in theaters, but has never liked any besides the original since they’re not as deep and moving. That’s fine (Although we’ve had many other G films with big messages like Shin Godzilla) but then it’s really just an outlier that you liked the original film. It’s like how I could like a James Bond film and not like the series. After you’ve churned out 20+ films, odds are that at least one of them will be good right? The first Godzilla film is actually one of my least favorite since the action isn’t quite there compared to most of the sequels, but it’s still a good film. It’s a little different from the average G flick though and shouldn’t really be used to compare to the other films for the most part. If you expect every G film to be like that one then you may be in for a surprise. However, that seems to be an aspect that the recent films have focused on. It is pretty similar to point 2, but I don’t watch a Godzilla film to see him being compared to a Hurricane or to just watch Humanity roll over and accept that he’s the strongest. I came to see aliens take over the planet and send their monsters after Godzilla. I came to see humanity awaken a powerful monster and for Godzilla to fight it. Without big conflicts like that, it’s just not much of a film. One of the most annoying things about horror films is that often times the humans have no shot. The Mothman, Paranormal Activity, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. The villains are effectively all powerful so the humans are going to lose, it’s just a matter of when. If Godzilla is the only Kaiju in the film then the humans are doomed and the whole film feels pointless. Even if they do win it will just seem cheesy and not very earned.

However there is hope!

The new Godzilla film coming up sounds like it’s going to be a blast. Honestly I wasn’t really impressed with the trailer, but it was a teaser so I couldn’t expect to see too much of the monsters. The happy music seemed a little off and once again everyone appears to be super in awe of the monsters. Hopefully the film isn’t ultra dramatic there. At the same time, we are going to have at least 4 Kaiju, potentially a 5th. We should get a ton of action and the Godzilla introduction was already taken care of so maybe the action will occur right away. So long as the film was given a reasonable budget this time there should be nothing to worry about. The 3rd Netflix Godzilla film also sounds like it may finally give us some true Kaiju fights as well which would be a huge deal. I think both of these films are going to be excellent and will be a true resurgence for the series. The recent films have been solid though so don’t get me wrong there, but I feel like we are finally getting back to the heart of the Godzilla franchise. At its core it’s an epic movie series about a bunch of monster fights and aliens taking over the planet. The deep messages about nuclear war and fighting nature are nice backdrops of course, but the core premise will always be about the monsters. It’s what separates this series from all others and is why the franchise is iconic. Godzilla films will always be around for us so we need to be around for them. Hopefully more people will realize that Orga is the most underrated Kaiju out there someday though.