Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Review


It’s time to look at an Attack on Titan manga spinoff. I remember reading the light novel for this a while back so it’s interesting to revisit it in manga format. It seems to be a pretty faithful adaption, at the very least I couldn’t really see anything big that was removed or changed. Each of the girls gets one volume with Annie’s being a pretty big mystery while Mikasa remembers the good ole days. It’s a fun enough story that completely obliterates the actual manga and reminds me that the series is always at its best when there are no actual titans around. Yes, it’s pretty ironic, but it is what it is.

In Annie’s story she is preparing for her big showdown with the Survey corps. In a sense it’s her last day before her whole life is shaken upside down. She was planning on using the day to meditate and dwell on what’s going to happen, but then her roommate asks her for a favor. Well…”asking” may be putting it politely. In the novel it’s downright blackmail while here it’s basically the same thing even if maybe it’s more implied than stated. Since Annie needed someone to cover for her the next day when she was out on her master plan this girl wanted her to cover for her right now. See, this girl was put in charge of finding a lost girl, but decided not to bother with it. It’s been days, but someone’s got to take the mission on and at least give a fake speech to the person who gave out the request that they tried. Annie figures this will be a bother, but decides she may as well do it since it’ll give her something to do in the meantime. This mystery won’t be easy to solve though.

Keep in mind that everyone in Attack on Titan is pretty corrupt, especially the military police. As a result it’s hard for Annie to actually get any info through legitimate means so she has to go to bars and beat people up to get the answers. Everyone’s pretty suspect so you don’t feel bad for the various people she beats up. They all seem like criminals and would destroy her without a second thought. Annie is very capable so eventually she gets through the mystery and figures out what happens. It’s fun to see the series taking a stab at a mystery and it did a good job. It’s not easy to figure out the mystery so you may connect the dots along with Annie rather than jumping ahead.

I also liked that the guy who gave the mission seemed pretty intelligent. Usually these guys seem to be really slow on the uptake, but he did a full psycho analysis of Annie the moment she stepped into the room. That was certainly impressive. Then the actual missing girl also seemed pretty smart which was a nice dynamic. We’ve got enough drunk bar guys as it is so it’s a good change of pace to have some other characters who can think ahead. The only part of the story that may make you wonder a bit is the climax involving a titan shift. The shifts are incredibly loud and bright so I feel like there’s no way you can get away with doing that and not having people ask a lot of questions. It’s the only part that would make this seem to be non-canon as otherwise everything works pretty well. I suppose you could also explain this away by saying that Annie has enough control to lower the glow/intensity which isn’t really all that far fetched.

The other story for Mikasa isn’t quite as exciting. That’s likely because it’s a flashback story. We get to see how she and Eren first met up. Naturally this doesn’t cover the part with her parents getting bumped off since that was already covered in the show. Eren already seems a bit unstable and obsessive here which is an accurate depiction of him. He’s certainly one of the most ambitious shounen leads of all time with how his character arc goes so it’s always fun to see a bit of his early days as well. The issue is that there isn’t much to do. We see them hang out a lot, we get some foreshadowing with the human traffickers running around, and Eren gets beaten up for his political views. The story’s a little more mean spirited than the first one as it’s dark throughout. I don’t know if it’s meant to be dark, but you feel the tension throughout since you know that things aren’t going to end well.

The story also makes Mikasa’s parents look pretty bad since they definitely should have left the house after they knew people were lurking around. The mother was sick, but then tell Eren’s father or something. You need to have some kind of backup so you can escape because otherwise they were all doomed. They just really didn’t think ahead here. The scene of Eren getting beaten up by the adults is also pretty intense and not a fun scene. It’s literally full grown adults badly beating up a kid to the point where he was severely injured for a while. At this point we already get how the city is super corrupt, no need to beat it into us. (pun intended) Things don’t end well for them though since karma also tends to hit like a truck in this series. Characters who do bad stuff rarely get a happy ending, the cycle of violence tends to get everyone.

Finally there’s a 2-3 page story with both characters I guess so their stories could link up a bit. Mikasa basically takes issue with Annie’s ring blade since she feels like it could hurt Eren so there are a lot of veiled threats in the conversation. I’d definitely take Mikasa in a human fight between them, but in a no holds barred battle Annie would naturally win. Of course it would completely blow her plan so in a sense Mikasa could at least take a consolation victory there.

The artwork looks pretty good. It’s a little smoother than the main series art. I wouldn’t call it top level or anything, but it certainly holds its own pretty well and makes for a pretty easy read. The fight scenes have a lot of pop behind them with the art which is always a key fundamental to have. It really helps the whole manga rise up an extra notch as well. The writing is also pretty good which is definitely important no matter what kind of manga you are. This one does a good job with that.

Overall, Lost Girls is an interesting spinoff. Annie’s story definitely destroys Mikasa’s though. I don’t think we really need to learn too much more about her origins since the manga already covered that pretty well. It could have worked better if things worked out more for the heroes but with everything already being grim I don’t think this story really added to anything. Both stories are pretty self contained so you could probably enjoy them even without reading the main series. That being said, you’ll naturally get more out of it if you already know the characters. I’d recommend picking this one up, it’s a good enough story to add to the verse.

Overall 6/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 7 Doomed Review


Time for some more team ups with the good ole Mystery Inc and some more DC heroes. The series has done a good job of grabbing so many DC characters. We’re 7 volumes in and still seeing new fighters. While you may be skeptical as to how the Mystery Inc will actually be of help, typically they are really here as distractions. Think of them as extra shields to buy the heroes an extra second. Usually that’s all the extra time that the hero needs.

One of the stories has the heroes head to the swamp where they meet up with another one of Shaggy’s relatives. They’re here to look into the Voodoo Woman so they can put the swamp at ease. They have to stop her meddling, but unfortunately she already has a whole bunch of zombies at her beck and call. The only being who can really help them out of this dilemma is the legendary Swamp Thing, but will he really be able to defend against such a powerful villain? Interestingly this comic also squeezes in Solomon Grundy towards the end although he is definitely way out of his league this time. Typically I would actually pick him to win, but in this comic Swamp Thing had the edge from start to finish. There was never any doubt as to how this would end.

It’s a pretty nice comic. It’s always good to see Swamp Thing getting some time to shine after all. The comic also poked fun as how the heroes have also defeated Swampthing in another issue. The space in between the words is the key to really knowing who you are dealing with. This is an example of an issue where the Scooby gang doesn’t really get to do much though. Mostly they just run away from the Voodoo Woman a lot or they’re in awe of how strong Swamp Thing is.

Another comic features the Doom Patrol and this was actually my favorite issue of the bunch. The team is bickering as usual, but the strange part is there enemy seems to keep changing form. At one point a whole group of enemies show up, but they all seem to be ghosts. This is a case for the Scooby Doo gang. There’s definitely a trick involved and they’ll have to figure it out fast. The Doom Patrol was always a fun X-Men sort of group but with a lot more in-fighting. I also like how their leader has a lot of weapons ready inside of his wheelchair. Honestly it’s just the smart thing to do when you’re the leader of a super hero team. This way at least you can defend yourself right? This story has so much action it feels like a real Doom Patrol story with the Scooby Doo gang just guest starring in it. It’s handled really well.

Another story featured Supergirl as she called the gang in to help her deal with the ghosts of her parents. She was quite serious too as she even told them her secret identity which was a bold move. The heroes know something is wrong because the parents keep calling her Supergirl rather than Kara or her kryptonian name. That seems like a scam and of course the heroes are right. I would have liked a more powerful Supergirl villain to have been the main villain here, but it does help reinforce the mystery element of the issue. Supergirl could have looked better here as she spends most of the issue getting outsmarted, but she did call in the crew to handle the mysteries so in a way she won the fight before it even started.

There’s a subplot with her cat and Scooby not getting along, but it doesn’t hold up as well as the main one. The cat is just annoying and Scooby really isn’t much better so they both end up being guilty in this one. The whole temporary superpowers for a few minutes thing is pretty fun even if the time range isn’t nearly long enough to be all that useful. By the time you are really getting into a rhythm you would be taken down for the count.

In our next adventure we’ve got the return of the Blue Falcon. The issue here is that he has been acting awfully shady the last few days. His dog sidekick asks the Mystery Inc for help on figuring out just what is going wrong. Unfortunately they all fall for one of those classic net traps and find out that the real Blue Falcon was actually taken down by one of his old cronies who is now impersonating him. Can the heroes stop this guy or is it already too late? It goes without saying that Blue Falcon doesn’t look good here. He went down off screen and apparently he is so nondescript that someone can easily change places with him and nobody can tell the difference. He’s clearly got a ways to go before he is known as one of the big leaguers. It’s a good comic, but a little less eventful than some of the others. It was nice to see the characters constantly taking shots at him by saying that he was copying Batman though.

My least favorite issue was the one with all of the apes. Basically it’s an ensemble cast with a bunch of DC monkey themed characters. It’s a pretty impressive bunch as they even got some I didn’t recognize like the guy in a cage who can switch minds with an ape. What hurts this one is that I don’t even like a lot of them. Gorilla Grodd and Detective Chimp just aren’t my cup of tea. I also have to question why the Mystery Inc was really called in. They try explaining that it’s because one of the gorillas is a vampire Nazi so that’s like a ghost, but is it really? If I were the mystery inc I would still be questioning that. This is way out of their power levels. Still a good issue, but it wasn’t quite as strong as the others. Also the ending doesn’t really make sense.

So as I mentioned the main guy can switch minds with a gorilla and it is through his amulet/ring of sorts. He somehow manages to switch places with Titano at one point, but how? Unless his powers work differently than how I had interpreted them he would have needed to get the ring on the other ape and I just don’t see how he could have had time to do that. It would have been too difficult and he was out of range. That part just stuck out at me and I read it twice, but still couldn’t put that chain of events together.

In the next story the heroes are confronted with a bunch of powerful spirits. Dr. Fate sends them to the past so the heroes can find a way to deal with them, but it means that they will have to survive some world war II adventures as they try to find the answers. This means that the old school version of the Justice League shows up. Green Lantern’s weakness to wood is still a huge liability to deal with but the others manage to pick up the slack. The solution to stopping the demons ends up being incredibly simple, but I suppose that’s why it was hard to note it. This was definitely one of the strongest stories. It was nice seeing all of the heroes and everyone got to contribute in some way or form.

Finally we have a team up with Penelope Pitstop. I’m not familiar with her character but her gimmick seems to be that she gets kidnapped a lot. As a result there are a bunch of mini mobsters who look after her as well as a real estate agent of sorts. The Mystery Inc are called in to help her as well but with this many bodyguards nobody is sure who should take point so there is a lot of in-fighting. The Mystery Inc needs to figure out who is planning to kidnap Penelope before it is too late. The clock is ticking.

This is definitely the most mystery focused out of all the stories and I dare say that the Mystery Inc is at their best here. They get to do some old fashioned detective work here and they aren’t out shadowed by the other heroes. This time they can actually hold their own since they are in their own element and it ends up working out quite well for them. Penelope is definitely the most obscure of the characters we’ve seen, but in some ways that helps with the mystery since I wasn’t as familiar with her supporting cast. I definitely won’t be forgetting this adventure anytime soon though so it’ll be fun to see if she appears somewhere else in the near future.

As always the artwork here is pretty solid. The characters all look like themselves and the fights can take themselves seriously when necessary. The colors pop out and it’s clear that the artist was putting a lot of effort into the drawings. It just looks really good and it manages to be colorful/vibrant while keeping the serious tone for the heroes’ side of things. I’ve definitely got to give the comic a thumbs up here.

Overall, Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 7 is yet another strong installment in the series. By this point you should definitely know if you’ll like it or not. It’s a steady formula that the series has going on in these adventures and it’s one that works quite well. The Mystery Inc are here for the humor as they get chased and one upped by all of the villains while the DC Heroes come in with a lot of confidence and save the day. That’s exactly how it should be and this works out quite well. The art is good as always so these volumes just go by in a flash. I look forward to seeing who the heroes get to team up with next.

Overall 7/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Scream 3 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at the third installment in the Scream series. The characters are back once again and this time they are going to have to deal with another murderer. Sidney really can’t catch a break. The last film really ended with things basically going to rock bottom for her since all of her friends are dead once again. Well, she’ll have to prepare for more losses in this movie but at least it’s slightly less personal for her since it’s not like she even knows any of these guys this time.

Sidney made the logical choice of deciding to live in the outskirts of the world by herself now. She has a huge chunk of land with many different security systems both outside and in the house. She even has a guard dog. Nobody knows where she lives and that’s exactly the way that she wants to keep it. Unfortunately she does see on TV that people relating to the Stab movie series are being murdered one by one. Those movies are based off of her real life experiences from the first two films so she realizes that someone has once again started the murder games. She isn’t sure how to proceed or if she should get involved. The choice is taken out of her hands when she receives a call from the murderer though. He is after her once again but this time she has a gun at the ready.

Sidney’s gone from being your average school girl to Alice from Resident Evil. At this point she is no stranger to dealing with lunatics and it really shows. Her character is amazing in this film as she takes everything in stride and jumps into danger. She refuses to let the villains intimidate her and at this point the only thing that scares her is the ghost of her mother. Sidney does have some PTSD and considering her experiences it’s a wonder that she’s coped with it so well. Sidney’s even got a job listening to everyone else’s troubles which sounds tough. After this film it’s safe to say that she’s the second best horror protagonist I’ve seen besides Alice. It’ll be tough for anyone else to pass her and if you have any doubts just watch the climax. She really came prepared for a fight and can actually punch quite well. We saw her throw a punch in the first film and there’s always been some foreshadowing for it. It’s just nice to see her really go all out here.

I have to give the film major props for one thing that it did not do. I don’t know if this was also a parody but if it was then it’s really clever. As I mentioned Sidney has a dog here and that’s an instant death flag not just for the dog but for the movie. It’s a trope that in pretty much every horror film an animal has to die. Well, this one managed to avoid the temptation and the dog was actually a red herring. He never got to appear again until the ending and I’m fine with that. Actually, I’m thrilled about it! Scream 3 was my favorite of the 3 films even if only by a little and having a dog die would have thrown it down into last place.

There is one really random scene here though where a character I don’t remember ever seeing before shows up to deliver a tape of the guy who died in the second film. He points out that in trilogies anything can happen so he warns the characters so they don’t get murdered. It’s nice that he wanted to give some advice and the scene is so surreal that it’s actually pretty funny. Still, most of his advice is stuff that doesn’t tangibly help the characters. “None of you are safe” sounds like great advice but they all already knew they were targets so if anything it just scares them more than they already were. I’m sure they appreciated the help either way though.

Since Sidney doesn’t get involved til later on in the film you could almost say that Dewey and Gale were the main characters here. Naturally they get to bicker in their opening confrontation once again. I dare say that this was their best meeting of the 3 films as they each get a lot of burns and you have the great music in the background as always. I really think they shouldn’t get back together at this point because their dynamic works so well as rivals. We also get a third addition to the mix as the actress playing Gale steps in as well. She’s gotten so far into the role that she has her own Gale persona at this point and uses it quite a lot.

You should not get attached to too many of the characters though because standard horror rules apply. Unless you are from one of the first two films you probably shouldn’t count on surviving in this one. If you just had a cameo in the first film then you should watch out as well like poor Cotton. He’s the opening stinger this time and it is a bold opening since you may have suspected that he would be safe. At the same time he never had the same kind of plot shield as Sidney, Gale, or Dewey would have had. The opening scene is definitely tragic for him, but at least he does put up a fight. It was just not a battle that he was going to win.

So Dewey and Gale aren’t bad. Gale is starting to feel a little old for the chase scenes and investigating, but she’s still jumping into danger at every turn. At the very least you have to admire the fact that she never gives up. Dewey’s also getting old as you can see with how often he gets beaten up every time. At least he tries though. One of the new characters is Officer Kincaid. He’s a detective who wants to crack this case. He talks really tough but somehow you just never feel like he’s going to stand much of a chance. I suppose it’s up to him to prove you wrong.

I do have one big gripe with this film though. How come none of the characters seem to remember what a voice changer was? It’s treated like a huge twist at the end of the film that such a thing exists, but the villains have been using it since the first film. Every film has a voice changer and with the Stab films that exist here I presume that the villains used it in those to. It should have been their first clue when they start hearing voices or when Sidney says that she knows her mother spoke to her. Somehow nobody even acknowledges this as a possibility and it just felt very odd. It’s either a huge plot hole or it’s part of the parody element. Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s being parodied and what isn’t anymore. Still, it felt a bit off.

As always the film is pretty violent though. I feel like the deaths weren’t quite as gruesome as the first two though. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s less bloody than the first two but characters are mainly getting stabbed this time and not going through painfully long deaths. Not like it makes a huge difference after a point though. It’s still very over the top and you’d expect nothing less from a slasher.

The soundtrack is about on par with the second film. It’s still way above average for a horror film, but not quite ready to take on the first movie. The suit has still aged pretty well though and the effects are on point. The fight at the end of the film is the best fight in the series and it all works as a solid tribute to the first film. I imagine a lot of this movie felt pretty nostalgic for long time viewers who grew up with the original two.

Scream 3 definitely has the most fun with its parody elements in the final climax though. From the “Let’s split up” every 5 minutes to characters slowly opening doors and getting stabbed it just feels like they choose a lot of the wrong answers. The scene with Dewey getting hit by a boomerang gun couldn’t have been meant to be taken seriously. As I mentioned he does appear to get weaker each time. The characters also need to stop aiming for the chest against every villain especially when it doesn’t seem to be working. I think after someone’s already murdered tons of people you can go for the head shot, but if not then at least take out a leg or an arm. It’s a tougher shot but you can just start spamming at this point until you run out of bullets.

A film like this never truly has a happy ending for the characters when you consider how much they’ve lost. Still, it is a happier ending than the last film for Sidney. This time she still has her dog, a safe place to stay, and even some friends in Dewey and Gale. She’s also conquered her demons at last. If not for the fourth film you’d expect this to really be the ideal ending for her. The other characters also got reasonable endings here. The film does offer up what could be interpreted as a trick ending to close things out though. In this case I don’t really think anyone is actually there, but I do think it’s crazy that Sidney left the security system off and the door open though. That would almost throw all of her character development out the window in a single scene….is what you would think at first thought.

I’d say that it’s more showing how Sidney is now resolved for whatever comes her way next. She’s through with running away. From now on she is taking on all challengers and welcomes any crazy who wants to attack her. This is a little overconfident and it’s not smart, but at this point Sidney’s just so fed up with the world that it’s the way she wants it. That’s how I interpreted the scene at the very least and it’s the closest Scream has had to a true cliffhanger ending. Surprisingly the films never really have that final jump scare.

Overall, Scream 3 is the best film in the series up to this point. I have not watched the fourth film and it could be a while before I see it so I don’t know how that one will stack up. As always if you like the Scream series or slashers in general then you’ll definitely get a kick out of this. It’s just executed considerably better than other films of this nature. As I mentioned above it still has the usual elements that hold it back like the excessive violence and the knowledge that all of the characters are doomed from the start so those scenes just feel drawn out. One example is Ghostface chasing down all the actors in the house and bumping them off one by one. Even as they run away you know they’re doomed anyway so it’s more mean spirited than anything. It’ll never be able to reach the average action film, but in the world of horror this movie’s not so bad. One of these days we really need a big horror crossover film so Ghostface can test his luck with the other horror icons. I don’t imagine he’d get so far though, he’d probably end up getting stabbed.

Overall 2/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Arisa Review


To think, I started this manga all the way back in 2011. It’s been 9 years and so I decided to re-start the series from scratch and marathoned the series all the way to the end. It’s definitely a very solid mystery thriller as I remembered from my earlier visits. It does sputter a bit during the end though. It was close to getting a solid 8 but I just had to take away a star by the end because the cast were starting to all shoot themselves in the foot by the end. You’ll definitely be glued to each volume as you await the ending though.

The manga starts by introducing us to Tsubasa who is a pretty good fighter. She’s so strong that the guys think of her as one of the gang and the other classmates end up being scared of her. It’s a fun life though and Tsubasa is excited to finally be seeing her twin sister Arisa for the first time in years. After their parents split up Tsubasa stayed with her Dad while Arisa went with the Mom. Tsubasa and Arisa have a great time chatting with each other, but then the next morning Arisa jumps out the window and falls into a coma. Tsubasa decides to impersonate Arisa and find out what was going on at school. The only hint she has is that it has something to do with “King Time.”

King Time is a period every Friday where the class gets together and they all make a wish on their phones. A mysterious being known as the King will then grant one of those wishes. While it started out as harmless fun like granting a good test score or baking a cake, the wishes have become drastically more dangerous since then. With people being bumped off one by one, Tsubasa has to put a stop to this. As you can see there is a lot of plot going on.

Arisa does a good job of throwing a lot of red herrings at you so it’s hard to figure out just who the villain is. I’m thinking you’ll probably have it figured out by volume 4-5 but if you double guess yourself then maybe a little later. There are a lot of credible suspects here after all so you really have to think long and hard about who you want to pick. Part of why I was able to throw myself into the series so fullly and just blast through all of the volumes was because the story is just so good. As I mentioned earlier, it’s just a very engaging series and that’s one of the reasons why this is a terrific series. It’s easily one of the very best Shojo titles that I’ve read.

The art is very clear and the character designs are unique which is always a good thing. The twins look similar but that makes sense of course. There is only one panel in the series where I wasn’t sure exactly who was talking in the final volume. I think it was the mother, but it’s a little hard to say. Hopefully it wasn’t because the scene would make her look pretty bad to be honest. This is definitely top tier art all around though and the author does a good job of keeping the mystery fresh for 12 volumes. I was wondering how it would last all the way to 12 pretty early on because it always felt like the series was pretty close to wrapping up. Granted, the ending volumes did really hurt 2 volumes so they didn’t all get away without injury.

Lets talk about the character cast. First up is Tsubasa who is definitely a very solid main character. Without her determination in finding out what was going on things definitely would have gotten very dicey for the rest of the class. She has to do a lot of the groundwork on her own and in the process she puts her own academic career in jeopardy. Despite these real threats and knowing that she is in personal danger, Tsubasa never wavers. She really just makes one main mistake and the series missed the boat with her on one thing. For her mistake, it’s the fact that Tsubasa falls for Midori and doesn’t try to shut down these feelings for very long.

Keep in mind that Midori is dating her twin sister Arisa. Under no circumstances should she even entertain the thought of getting together with him. Look, you can’t stop yourself from falling for someone entirely if that person is simply your type. What you can do is stop yourself from actually pursuing such a desire though. Just accept that it will always be a one way crush and keep the feelings buried until you get over it. The instant Tsubasa lost sight of this she did in fact betray Arisa and someone even calls her out on this. Tsubasa is sorry for what she did, but it was a massive mistake all the same.

Where the series missed some opportunities here is in the fact that Tsubasa is a good fighter. She’s portrayed as being very strong and yet when it’s crunch time she ends up losing without much of a fight like any other Shojo heroine. She is defeated numerous times in the series and never fights back when it really counts. The series could have dropped the whole storyline of her being a fighter and nothing would really change. I would have liked to have seen her get out of some of these situations on her own without assistance. The only moment this was handled well was against Kudo. It’s not a huge deal, but it is noticeable and does limit Tsubasa’s character. This review is basically spoiler free, but the next paragraph may still hint at things that you would rather not know. If you want to be absolutely sure to avoid spoilers then skip the next 3 paragraphs. Then skip the next 2 paragraphs after that which are total spoilers. So skip 5 paragraphs total or just look for the next image. It’s safe to start reading right after that. I figured that by putting the spoiler warning at the end of this paragraph it would give you time to get out and not hit the spoiler by mistake. You out? Last chance…..here we go!

Then you have Arisa. Now she is a pretty complex character and after thinking about her opening scene again the ending does mesh to an extent. Arisa really has 3 personas. The first is the one we learn about from Tsubasa and through everyone else. She is a very nice character who always does her best to help everyone out. Arisa is nice to a fault to the point where everyone only has nice things to say about her. She just seems like the perfect character. Then you’ve got the Arisa we got to see for one chapter with Tsubasa. She seemed to live up to this image but then we get the scene where she throws herself out of the window to despair while saying that Tsubasa is the one who had the perfect life. This does hint at some resentment since she waited til Tsubasa was around to do this which would mentally mess Tsubasa up for life. Then we have Arisa from when she wakes up.

Arisa is a lot meaner than you may expect. She gives everyone the cold shoulder and sides with the King the whole time. Even after she explains herself later on it doesn’t really excuse her. She is complicit at the very least to putting Tsubasa’s life in danger by making the wish to get rid of her. She makes things very tough on someone who is already dying of a heart condition and is generally an obstacle getting in everyone’s way. I really didn’t like Arisa which was surprising and part of why I didn’t care for the last few volumes. She comes across as short sided and needlessly mean. Arisa doesn’t even have a plan to justify this so Tsubasa is forced to step up once again and fix things. It’s just a shame because Arisa seemed like such a great character in the flashbacks. At the end of each volume is a short story and I read pretty much all of em. In one of them Arisa ends up pretending to be Tsubasa for a day to help her sister’s school rep and saves the day. That’s the Arisa I was expecting to see and she never showed up.

It is clever from a writing standpoint as it does follow the theme of the series. We saw the part of Arisa that everyone else saw and were then hit with the rude awakening of her real personality. Again, part of it is to keep everyone else safe and Arisa is never portrayed as being a total villain, but she just makes a lot of bad decisions. Maybe the old Arisa was never truly real or maybe she was buried after meeting up with Midori. Either way I missed that version of Arisa and if I could change anything about the manga I would just make it so that she didn’t wake up until the final volume. Maybe have a few chapters with her explaining to Tsubasa that she tried to end King Time and after not being able to think of anything figured that by eliminating herself that would stop Midori’s plan. We could have at least salvaged her character that way. I just don’t think Arisa waking up so soon was a good move.

Then we have Midori who I definitely wasn’t a fan of. The guy has a sob story of his own which is pretty sad, but still not an excuse for turning into a total psycho. He wants to free Arisa from her mother since Arisa apparently would confide in him a lot about how she was feeling insecure. It’s too bad that he takes everything to the extreme. In the most zoomed out of lens point of view you can see how he had a good intent to protect her, but then it totally morphed into something evil. He openly manipulated her so I don’t buy any kind of justification that he was trying to help her. Then even if it was part of his plan he does flirt with Tsubasa and cheats on Arisa so you can’t cut him any more slack at that point.

The guy tries to murder people many, many times. There’s just no goodness in him so it’s hard to buy the ending of the series. He should be serving hard time for a very long time and Arisa shouldn’t be so quick to forgive him. It’s great that they can forgive him of course, but it’s easy to do so when they got out okay. What about all of the students who had their lives permanently crushed thanks to him? There were quite a few victims before Tsubasa was able to step in and they don’t have the fortune of being a main character with plot armor.

Along the journey of trying to solve the mystery Tsubasa ends up helping a few other characters through their plots. One such character is Mariko who is supposed to be Arisa’s best friend. It’s hard to imagine how they got together though since Mariko is an incredibly obsessive character who is not very heroic at all. Mariko enjoys tormenting others and I would argue that she goes so far down into villain territory that she never truly returns. I wasn’t able to buy into her redemption arc and just didn’t like her. As a villain you could make the case that she was more sinister than the others. Even in the bonus story that takes place after she was supposedly redeemed she ends up being rather menacing. Fortunately it was to another villain but otherwise things were going to get out of hand again.

Then you have Shizuka who blames Akira for the loss of her legs. Now this is a tragic backstory that I can buy into because she was viciously hazed and nobody helps her. I have to blame Akira and Arisa a lot on this one. This is a case where Arisa seems to be completely complicit in what was happening. Maybe she was also tricked or maybe not, but the fact remains that the outcome really sucked for Shizuka. She had to put up with more pain than anyone else in the series. Sure, she did get tricked but the circumstances were pretty believable compared to the others and I did feel bad for her. Shizuka fortunately gets a happy ending because she’s already been through enough.

Kudo is a transfer student who arrives later on in the series. Unfortunately he is one of the most gullible characters in the series. The guy believes whatever he is told and just obeys orders. I want to like the guy since he has a good character motivation and origin story but he really should have questioned what he was hearing a little more if you ask me. He’s also like Mariko in that he falls into the purely evil territory. The guy knew what he was doing and actually did try directly murdering Tsubasa so that’s that.

Then we have Tsubasa’s supporting characters who don’t get to appear all that much. It’s too bad because they all seemed to be solid characters. In particular Tsubasa’s best friend gets a very small role and I was expecting him to be a major player at some point. The other guys in Tsubasa’s gang are all very loyal and I was glad that she had some friends who could fight. If anything she should have leaned on them a little more to help her through the issues that were going on. We really only get to see them more in the bonus stories.

Then there is Akira who is the main guy here. He’s solid and isn’t a sucker like the rest of the class. He’s at least trying to solve the mystery of the King. He’s not perfect and I do blame him for Shizuka’s fate, but for the most part he makes the right choices. Unlike Tsubasa, he likes Arisa who is already taken but has enough resolve not to actually try and make a move. He ultimately learns to appreciate her as a friend which is the right thing to do. Having Akira along for the ride is really helpful since it makes it more difficult for the King to try and bump Tsubasa off. Akira still does get knocked out pretty easily but he’s probably the only character aside from Tsubasa who actually digs up some clues so that’s good.

While Arisa/Tsubasa’s Mom doesn’t get to appear all that much I have to say that she was a character who was really mis-handled. I always got the impression that she was a pretty nice person even if the manga never outright stated that. I guess the parents did get divorced so they may not have been the best people or they just didn’t mesh well. Still, everything we saw indicated that the parents were good and yet at the end she appears to be pretty defensive and distant. Arisa didn’t have as happy a life as we thought. Then there is one panel where she seems to be downright rude, but that’s a panel where I couldn’t be 100% sure that it was her. Regardless she didn’t believe her daughter when it counted so she loses points there. She’s another character who probably just shouldn’t have appeared at the end if this is how her plot was going to go down.

There’s a lot to talk about with this series and I think that’s due in part to the fact that this is a mystery series. There’s just a lot to unpack as a result. I think a good amount of credit also needs to be given to the writing in the series. It’s just so engaging that you want to talk about what you just read. I’d be down with a sequel series at some point, but this is really the kind of title where it’s really hard to make a sequel. Either it’ll have a new threat that feels a bit redundant or it’ll be more of a classic slice of life. The latter makes more sense and could be a lot of fun just to see the old characters, but I suppose it isn’t really necessary.

Overall, Arisa is a very solid series. I just questioned a lot of the final decisions in the manga. The ending isn’t too satisfying for me, but it’s always hard to make an ending that pleases everyone. You will also have to throw logic out the window to an extent for a lot of the series as the grown ups never find out what is happening or step in to stop the chaos. After a certain point you would just expect some kind of investigation or a way for things to move forward. Well, I’ve seen bigger leaps in logic. Definitely check this series out either way and be prepared for a fun time.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Fate is the Hunter Review


It’s time to look at a film dealing with airplanes and a lot of tricky situations. It also throws in a court case for the second half which was definitely fun. It’s a movie that is admittedly pretty slow for the first half, but will keep you engaged enough to see it through to the end. The film doesn’t really do anything wrong it just isn’t very exciting. You have to be ready for a slow burner but as long as you are then there really won’t be a problem here.

So Jack was known as a great pilot but one day he crashes the plane and dies along with a lot of people. He was seen at a bar the day before so everyone thinks he got drunk and that’s why he crashed. Sam doesn’t believe this was the case, but getting proof will be tough. The court case is coming up and in order to clear Jack’s name Sam will need to revisit all of his old memories and meet up with Jack’s old gang. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. Sam knows he is going to have to try really hard to find the truth, but he won’t give up until he does!

The film does a lot of jumping between the present and the past so we can see Jack. After all since he’s dead in the present it’s not like he could actually show up in the main timeline right? Even the flashbacks are cut up as you see different bits and pieces as Sam meets the others. Jack seems like a nice guy from what we see even if he’s always running around. He’s got so many friends that he doesn’t seem to have time for any individual one for too long before dashing off with another. Still, he’s always around when you need him and this strengthens Sam’s resolve.

Sam goes down a bit of a dicey alley after meeting Sally though. She explains to him the concept of fate and how maybe this is just how things were meant to be. Sam is skeptical at first, but slowly starts to come around. This is not good for him for a few reasons. I’ll get to those in a minute. Before that, I’ll just say that Sally was a nice character otherwise. She was definitely very helpful in the investigation. Without her Sam would have had a tough time finding anyone else. Sam’s also not a bad character even if he doesn’t think things through nearly as well as he should have. Lets just say that the whole fate angle plays about as well in court as you would expect.

All right, lets talk about this whole fate thing. The first reason why Sam shouldn’t have used it is that the argument sounds so terrible in court. Sam effectively says that maybe it was fate for Jack to crash and for everyone to die. He goes as far as to imply that it was actually a good thing in that case as all the lives on the plane were meant to end. I don’t know about you, but if I lost family on that plane and someone said that in defense I would definitely be voting guilty and that company would really be in trouble. Sam seems a little surprised at the backlash but he really shouldn’t be. It’s a terrible argument to make.

The second reason why I never bought into fate is that it can’t be wrong. Put it this way, if you buy into fate as a concept then it can explain any and everything. If you lose at something it was fate. If you make a mistake then you can just say it was fate. Nothing ultimately matters because fate controls everything and you can’t escape it. At the same time, you never know what will be fate until it happens so it’s basically a loop. I see little point in subscribing to fate in that case since whether or not I believe in it, if it’s real it’ll happen anyway. So it’s all just circular logic that will drive Sam into a deeper and deeper hole in the court. He really should have avoided that.

That’s my thoughts on that at the very least. The writing is good here and the pacing is solid. There’s no sense of danger or anything which is just why the film has a weird vibe. I’ve certainly seen films with no such stakes, but the tone here just feels like there should be. At most the film tries to throw some in at the very end when the characters try to recreate the scenario. I don’t think the scene is quite as exciting as the film seems to think it is though. Points for effort of course, but the court scene is still the best part of the film. You just can’t go wrong with a court scene. That’s simply how it’s always been and I don’t expect that will be changing anytime soon.

Now there is some irony at the end of the film. As a quick disclaimer, ultimately the reason why Jack went into the bar was to buy some drinks for a friend of his. Jack didn’t actually have any so he wasn’t under the influence. The crash was because of something else….but it was still his fault. See, he got a coffee from the attendant and then he put it down on the controls while doing a turn. The cup fell and the coffee spilled into the engine which caused it to malfunction. So, in a way it was still his careless that caused the crash. Of course the planes should be made a little more carefully than that, but the first rule of any electronic device is that you are not to have any liquids nearby. That’s why you should have soda on a plane because you drink it right away and that’s that. For a coffee that has to be cooled first it’s simply not practical. So, I found a little irony there, but I suppose it might still be a little bit of a stretch to totally blame Jack. It was a 1 in a million kind of chance that led to the crash, but I think when they present these findings the people still won’t be all that thrilled.

Overall, This is an interesting film just not an engaging one. I think you will want to stick around for the ending once you start and see what happens. The writing is solid and the film has good fundamentals so there’s nothing bad to say about the film. I think it probably should have just added more time to the search but with the added bonus of a rival or some doubter to get in everyone’s way. This film lacks banter because there are no real antagonists. The best scenes in the film are when the company shows up to get in Sam’s way and offer their own input. That kind of thing always helps a film if you ask me. Regardless, it’s a fairly unique title that’s worth giving a look.

Overall 6/10

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

An Experiment in Terror Review


It’s time for a noir murder mystery. This one even brings in the FBI and it’s interesting to see how they’re portrayed here. Nowadays it feels like the FBI is more secretive and if you call in you likely aren’t going to go all that high up. Granted, it’s not like I’ve ever tried. In this film you can casually fall them and someone will get on your case ASAP. In a way they feel more like a branch of the police. The film has its moments and some good detective work, but some parts really hold it back.

The film starts with Kelly getting into her apartment, but she is then put in a choke hold by a mysterious man behind her. He has a breathing issue and the camera is always zooming in on his mouth to up the creep factor. He tells her that he wants her to rob a bank for him so he can get rich or he’ll destroy her and her kid sister. After he leaves Kelly does try to call the cops, but she is taken down again since the guy apparently didn’t leave. Kelly will have to be careful about how she plays this because one wrong move could be her last. Fortunately FBI Agent John is on the case. Even though the first call was broken up he was able to be re-connected and will now aid her in identifying the man while keeping her safe.

As a noir thriller this film definitely still works. There’s always a sense of danger in the movie and the pacing is pretty solid. The film is careful to not really give you any clues as to who the assailant is. It’s not really a traditional mystery though as you’re not supposed to solve it. The FBI get clues and move in but it’s not like you have 5 suspects running around. The guy never bothers to show up in person at all. He’s already got a reputation in other places so there is no reason for him to do so.

The FBI also look pretty good here. John is quick on the uptake and doesn’t put Kelly in any more danger than necessary. All of his plans are as careful as can be and he does try to get the upper hand. I would argue that he can be a little short sighted at times though. His priority is saving Kelly and while he does a great job of that, he doesn’t really try to protect the others much. Her sister, the informant, and the other caller are all left defenseless while he pursues his main goal. The guy can’t be everywhere though so maybe the bureau should have just assigned more men to the case. I imagine they were spread pretty thin as it is though.

Unfortunately the film does go out of its way to make the villain pretty sketchy though. One such scene is when he has the sister strip. This is partially to mess with Kelly mentally as well but such a scene could have been handled a whole lot better. Given the guy’s past criminal history which is briefly brought up you can definitely tell that he’s a bad seed. This is just the latest in his crime spree and it’s good that the FBI were finally put on the case. I would have liked to have had a better villain though. Take away the breathing issue, work on the camera angles a bit, and make the villain have a better motivation. That would go a long way in helping the thriller get to the next level.

Meanwhile, the informant also does good by the end. He had a good run although his final scene is just a little off. The whole method of spying on the phone doesn’t seem too practical. I don’t see how he wasn’t caught during the many times he would use it. He made the tough calls by the end though. Then you’ve got one of the villain’s allies who has a son in the hospital. The villain has always been kind to her so she refuses to sell him out. There can be a lot of reasons as to why he never tried anything here and ultimately it doesn’t matter. As John points out, just because the guy is nice to her it doesn’t override the fact that he has murdered a bunch of people. She’s an accessory at this point either way.

One character you’ll feel bad for is the first lady who comes to the FBI because you know she is doomed from the start. At the same time, she handled the whole situation horribly and should have still been alive. There is no reason why she could not tell John at the station. I suppose she had crimes of her own but wouldn’t it be better to take the villain down and serve a little time? She could also say she had been under duress at the time and that probably would have been true to a large extent. Instead she heads back home to her secluded place where the villain has presumably already broken in several times. I can’t understand her rationale no matter how much I try to think about it.

Meanwhile Kelly does a much better job with her situation. She keeps the FBI in the loop and also tries to advise her little sister on how to act. It’s a pretty scary situation for her but she never cracks and does her best to stay on top of things. She probably tried calling the police a little too quickly the first time even if she had thought he left, but at least that also shows she wasn’t going to listen to the villain for a second. If someone tells you not to call the cops that’s usually the perfect time to do so. The threats get stronger the longer you isolate yourself from those who can help.

The film also does give us an explosive climax with a baseball stadium and a lot of shooting. The villain definitely made it surprisingly far at that point, but fortunately the heroes were ready in the end. I think with a chase scene like this there will always be times where you think they could have caught the villain sooner and you’re probably right. At least he didn’t get away, now that would have been really dicey.

Overall, An Experiment in Terror is definitely a thriller fans of the genre will want to check out. It’s definitely intense and is a fairly realistic look at a hostage type situation. If anything it’s probably slightly easier than in real life since you probably wouldn’t have any FBI backup. The villain is really the only aspect that drags the film down as it goes a bit overboard in trying to make him as repulsive as possible. All of his scenes are pretty iffy and tend to drag on. I suppose for thrillers I prefer them from the point of view of an action hero or someone trying to escape danger, but there’s a lot of different paths in the genre. I expect you’ll know if it’s your kind of film from the plot summary right away.

Overall 5/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Glass Bottom Boat Review


It’s time to look at an old spy parody that you may or may not have heard of from back in the day. It’s a pretty fun movie although perhaps one that goes a bit far with the romance at times. It’s pretty crucial to the plot of course, but none of the characters look particularly great by the time this is all over. It just goes to show that when spies are involved everyone tends to get a little crazy. America wasn’t ready for this subtle Russian invasion.

The plot starts with Jennifer acting as a mermaid in what should have been a normal day at work until she is accidentally reeled in my local fisherman Bruce. See, Bruce is a rich CEO inventor by day and a casual fisherman on the weekends. They don’t get off to the best of starts here, but they see each other again during their real jobs and they hit it off. Jennifer is glad to be a part of the office, but unfortunately some of Bruce’s co-workers seem to think that she is a Russian spy who is here to take his invention. Even Bruce starts to entertain this thought. Jennifer will have to decide how she plays this and meanwhile the real spy is still out there and getting ready to make his move.

Naturally with such a convoluted plot there’s a lot of good potential here. I do tend to like the parody genre. With such a large array of jokes at the ready sometimes they may fall off the deep end, but usually the films will at least be very entertaining even if they don’t end up getting a really high score. That’s the idea at the very least and I’d say this one succeeds with that as well. There are a lot of good humorous scenes throughout the movie. It’s very long so that gives the plot time to change over and over again. At first it’s a classic slice of life romance turned comedy and then by the end it’s a full spy operation with some fight scenes. It’s never all that serious of course, but the stakes do gradually get higher and higher. The film has changed quite a bit by the end from where it started.

Naturally most of the gags that involve the romance are the weaker ones. Jennifer is extremely oblivious to the point where she makes some big mistakes near the beginning. One of them involves getting intimate with the wrong person for quite a while before she notices. That’s….pretty iffy and if anything Bruce should take that personally since she somehow didn’t realize that it was him. Then you’ve got all of the American generals and army officers falling head over heels for her which is pretty iffy. It goes to show that none of them ever had the strength of will that you would hope they have. Maybe Russia really would win the Cold War based on this film. Their agent was certainly a lot more impressive than the US ones.

There’s a lot of slapstick humor here, but it’s all handled pretty well. The scene of Jennifer and the electrician getting stuck was pretty intense. Certainly not realistic in the slightest of course, but that kind of absurd humor can definitely work pretty well. It’s like Tom and Jerry to an extent. Whatever the heroes would do only kept on making the situation worse and worse for both of them. Then you’ve got the personal robot who does too good a job of making the place clean. Throwing in that sci-fi angle was pretty fun.

As far as the characters are concerned, I think your mileage will vary. Jennifer means well, but she definitely is a bit too oblivious. Once she finds out about the spy stuff her plan was pretty reasonable. Might as well humiliate everyone involved right? If she was a few steps quicker she would have really gotten out of the whole situation without anyone being any the wiser. Inevitably they would find out, but not until it was too late. Usually Jennifer ends up losing her meetings with Bruce as I’d say it was more embarrassing for her, but she always kept up a straight face so that’s good.

Bruce is pretty good in that he kept believing in Jennifer the whole time. He had his small momentary doubts, but for the most part he kept taking her side even when everyone else was against her. That being said, the romance did happen awful fast and I wouldn’t really say it worked well. There’s nothing really wrong with Bruce, he’s fairly generic, but a good character all around. Then you’ve got Axel who is Jennifer’s dad. He doesn’t get a particularly big role, but the scenes that he does get are definitely solid. Seeing him take down multiple agents was pretty intense.

Then you’ve got Homer who is the chief of police. For the most part he was a great character although even he fell for Jennifer’s charms by the end. Too bad since before that he was on point. Sure, he ended up being wrong, but at the same time he really did his due diligence. You almost can’t blame him for coming to that conclusion since all of the evidence pointed to it. It just so happened that he was seriously at the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens to the best of us. He was way better than the American general after all, that guy cracked fast.

Overall, Glass Bottom Boat is definitely a pretty fun film. The humor can get pretty crazy and wacky but all in all it’s a quality experience. A lot of the early gags end up playing a role later and small references become important by the end as well. It’s just a very well thought out movie. It’s a long parody to be sure, but it’s one that has time to do everything it wanted to accomplish. There are quite a few characters here and we also do get a real climax. By the end Jennifer and her dog are running away from real villains and there are some good stakes here. These villains don’t take prisoners after all so if the heroine doesn’t run she would be in trouble. Especially since the US officers are taking their sweet time. I definitely recommend watching this film if you haven’t seen it yet. You don’t really see too many big parodies anymore so you really want to check out as many of the classics as you can.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Detour Review


It’s time to take a look at a very old noir film. This one is definitely a movie that you likely haven’t heard of unless you are a really big fan of the genre. It’s pretty obscure and I certainly had not heard of it until after I had seen it. It’s a pretty fun film, although one that will likely cause you to have to suspend some disbelief here. There were a lot of ways for the main guy to get out of his predicament, but ultimately he didn’t choose any of them. That was definitely his big mistake.

The film starts off with Al and Sue getting ready to be married. At least, that’s what Al had in mind, but then Sue lets him know what is really going to happen. She’s heading off to Hollywood to become a famous star and so she’ll se him later. Al isn’t happy about this at all and heads back to his music gig to sulk. That’s when he decides that job or not he will head over to Sue’s place. The problem is that he’s in New York and only has ten dollars on him. He’ll have to travel a long way in order to reach her, but he is determined to hitch hike all the way. The problem is that the guy he is driving with ends up falling asleep after having a lot of pills. Al opens the door which causes the guy to hit his head on a rock and die. Al must now deal with his conscience as he heads to California.

That would already be a reasonably difficult drive for him, but then he notices a lady hitch hiking as well and decides to lend her a hand. The only problem is that she knew the previous owner of the car so now she is blackmailing him to do whatever she wants or she will get the police involved. Can Al satisfy Vera long enough to get to Sue or should he cut his losses and run now? Either way it is about to be one adventure that Al will not be forgetting anytime soon.

Al is the really annoying character here. He complains a lot about how life isn’t fair, but half of the time it’s because he isn’t making the smart calls. Even the first incident where he lets his co-driver die was a little suspect. How did he not see the rock? Also, he knew the guy wasn’t conscious so why would you open the door and then not prepare to catch the guy falling out of it? It’s all a bit iffy there which does reduce your sympathy levels for the guy. He also should have been pretty grateful to the guy for giving him a ride instead of grumbling inwardly the whole time. (Admittedly the guy seemed shady, but they wouldn’t be together for too long)

Then the last straw is when he meets up with Vera. Sure, giving her a ride is nice, but he’s on a deadline and is already mixed up in criminal business. Not letting her in the car is almost the nice thing to do if you think about it since you don’t want her to get messed up in all of this right? Keeping her out is one way to keep her safe. Instead he lets her in and then she starts blackmailing him. Now, he could have just walked out at any time, ditched his car like he was planning or something like that. He could have told her he was stopping at any point except where he was actually going. Where’s the benefit in telling her that he has to get to California?

As far as I’m concerned Al blew it 7 ways to Sunday. Again, there’s just no point in feeling bad for the guy because everything that happened was on him. There are a lot of unfortunate coincidences for him of course like the phone cord with Vera at the end, but beyond that he shouldn’t have even been in this situation that whole time. Al should have cut out early. Meanwhile Vera is the main antagonist here so you’re not really supposed to like her either. She definitely talks tough the whole time and does her best to get in Al’s way. Like he said though, she’s just greedy. Her final plan doesn’t even make a whole lot of sense because there’s no way it would work and she already could have gotten a whole lot of money otherwise. That’s why you end up losing everything when you try for too much.

Meanwhile Sue seems like a decent heroine, but I felt like the film was hinting that she didn’t care for Al all that much. She did leave at the drop of a hat and didn’t even bother calling him. If Al hadn’t called first she may have even forgotten all about him. As a result it makes his journey feel even more futile. I was half expecting him to finally make it only for Sue to tell him that she found someone else. Maybe that would have just been too tragic for Al since by that point he’d already been through the ringer. Still, if the movie had kept going I could see that happening.

The ending definitely works out pretty well though. It’s one of those solid endings that may not work out too well for Al, but after a while something had to end his journey. By this point he was already too far gone. I’ll give him credit for never cheating on Sue though. There was a brief moment where I thought he was going to weaken, but fortunately he did not. That’s a really good thing since it definitely would have crushed his character and probably would have hurt the film a bit as well.

Overall, Detour is a solid film. It’s surprisingly short so the film ends just when you think it’s getting to the second act. The ending is abrupt, but not bad. While there aren’t any real likable characters, I do like the premise/plot quite a bit and since the writing is solid it lets the film succeed even without a good cast. It’s not as if the cast is painful either, they all do well in their roles except for Al. He is maybe just a bit too annoying the whole time and I think the film should have just put him in a tougher situation so there would have been less ways for him to escape. That would have made his complaints a little more valid. Still, valid or not I did enjoy the inner monologue. That’s definitely a noir trope that I’ve always enjoyed. It’s nice to see exactly what the character is thinking the whole time.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Nancy Drew… Detective Review


It’s time to look at a really old Nancy Drew film. She’s definitely solved a lot of mysteries in the books and has gotten quite a few movies in her day as well. I saw the mid 2000s one a while back which was pretty fun. This one also makes for an engaging watch although I admit that Nancy herself does not look very good here. She tends to panic and not look at the big picture as much as you’d expect. It’s a pretty old film though so it’s not like anyone here is a super genius. Nancy and Ted mostly just bicker a lot as they try to foil the schemes.

The main plot starts with an old lady deciding to donate some money to Nancy’s school. The girls are excited because now they’ll finally be able to get that swimming pool they’ve always wanted. Unfortunately for them it doesn’t appear that it’ll be quite as easy as all that. Ms. Eldridge vanishes the next day before she can give the money and the students show their true colors as they believe the lady never meant her words. Nancy chooses to believe that it wasn’t all a lie though and believes that she has been kidnapped. Nancy is determined to solve the case, but it’ll be difficult as she’ll need to get past the cops and her father to accomplish this mission. Fortunately she has her friend Ted for backup.

This seems to be Nancy’s first big mission as nobody in the town seems to think of her as a detective, but it’s also possible that she just never gets the credit for it. Captain Tweedy certainly wouldn’t since he likes to take the credit for everything. He’s a pretty good police captain though as he does try his best. The guy may be a bit out of his league, but at the same time he did travel a great distance to help the heroes when Nancy thought she had corners the heroes. He just doesn’t like being wrong and takes it as an opportunity to humiliate anyone who is around.

Back to Nancy though, she is determined which is a good thing. No matter how many people tell her to give up she refuses to do so. Instead she continues to search for the truth. The downside to this is that her inexperience often leads everyone else into danger. One such moment is when she goes to ask questions from a witness and then leaves him with no protection. The guy is promptly beaten up in the next scene once she has left. She also doesn’t look great at the end where she has to close her eyes while shooting and panics quite a bit. Nancy even faints which is not something you’d expect from a detective. Long story short, she’s a nice enough protagonist, but one who has a long ways to go in order to be the next Sherlock Holmes.

Her friend Ted does his best to help out, but this does result in him taking a lot of shots as well. There is one scene where everyone proceeds to drop things on his foot and even he drops a wrench on himself. He’s not the smartest guy in the area as he stops the car when the villains tell him to. Sure, they had a gun, but if he had gunned it then he would have been long gone. It’s always safest to make a break for it instead of heading back to villain HQ. Ted also fumbles the ball when he forgets to look at the bird because his neck was hurting. It’s not that tiring to be looking up for a few hours the way he was. At least he came through when he tackled the villains though. He ends up putting a lot of the work in this case as well. You could say that Nancy comes up with the plans and he executes them.

Nancy’s father could learn a thing or two as he spends most of the film getting manipulated by everyone else. For starters, he doesn’t really seem to care that someone’s been kidnapped. It’s just not his problem and that’s the justification he has for most of the film. He turns a blind eye to what’s going on so then he will be able to get away safely. It’s not exactly a heroic attitude to have and he gets in Nancy’s way almost as much as the villains do which is really saying something. At one point he sends a telegram that sounds so defeated you’ll be sure the villains sent it. Well, it turns out that he is the one who sent it after all which is just sad. He’s tricked pretty easily as well. Basically, this isn’t the guy you want as your local detective.

The writing is pretty strong as expected. It allows the film to balance out the comedy and suspense pretty well. It’s also got a good cast of characters even if they can all be a bit mean at times. Nancy uses Ted quite a bit, but then on the other hand he’s always trampling on her flower bed. That’s pretty unreasonable of him to be honest. The villains are pretty reasonable except for one of them who chickens out pretty suddenly by the end. No point in going this far if you’re going to suddenly doubt the cause. I think they were a little too idealistic here as they wanted to try and win without hurting anybody but that was never going to happen and I think the boss of the crew knew it from the start. Maybe they all did except for one guy.

Overall, This is a good start to the Nancy Drew stories. It’s a bit of a stretch that the cops didn’t notice the extra pigeons in the guy’s house, but I guess in their defense they just wanted to go home by that point. The film’s pretty good both when it’s trying to solve a mystery or just the banter with Nancy and Ted. You’ll probably feel bad for Ted by the end since his vacation definitely got very sidetracked by the end. He’s definitely a good friend though who sticks by Nancy even when things are being crazy. If you like a good low key mystery then this is a nice one to check out. The stakes are rarely high, but there’s still that element of danger which always lurks around the corner. The heroes are held at gunpoint on multiple occasions after all.

Overall 7/10