Little Shop of Horrors (1986) Review


I can’t say that I enjoyed the first Little Shop of Horrors much at all and this one really isn’t much better if it even is better. The concept of a plant that eats people is certainly interesting enough but the film is bogged down with bad characters and the music doesn’t work very well. I’m convinced that the best songs are always found in films that are ironically not musicals. The musicals don’t seem to land as well, even if that does sound a bit odd. I guess One Piece Film: Red is an exception but I’d call that more of a concert film than a musical so the point stands.

The movie starts by introducing us to our hapless hero Seymour. He’s a big pushover at the shop and he has a big crush on his colleague Audrey but doesn’t have the guts to admit it. He’s always messing up with something and so the day gets away from him awfully fast. One day an alien plant crash lands on Earth and Seymour ends up looking after it. Perhaps his luck is finally changing? This plant is growing fast and may turn the plant store he works at from being a place that nobody know about to a full highlight among the town’s residents. That’s quite the upgrade but it’s not without a catch. This plant which he calls Audrey II can only grow with blood and it needs quite a lot of it. Seymour has to be careful that he isn’t tempted too far into the dark side and if he lowers his guard he may be eaten alive.

I have a lot of issues with the film so where to start. It’s always fun trying to think of how to play this. I guess we’ll start with the music. It gets a bit obnoxious really quick as the songs keep jumping in every few minutes. I didn’t even care for any of the songs all that much. They don’t really fit the film too well and they weren’t really my style. It felt more like a quantity over quality thing and quickly hurt the movie’s pacing.

Then I usually don’t really consider attire to venture into the realm of fanservice on its own. It’s really all in the camera work if you ask me and how the directing is going but this film is quite shameless about it. Any time Audrey is on screen you can tell the film is putting a lot of focus on her and aside from just smashing the film’s story to pieces as these scenes detail it, it’s just unnecessary. Even beyond being used for fanservice the whole time, Audrey looks really bad here. So she lacks self confidence like Seymour and as a result she goes out with Orin, an abusive guy who treats her like dirt the whole film.

She seems to think she deserves this for some wild reason and it’s why she never approaches Seymour. Keep in mind that this film is part comedy and dare I say parody so that’s probably supposed to be a bit funny but it’s just bizarre. The film could have done a lot better with her character. Then any scene with Orin in it is very cringe worthy. So he’s a dentist in this version and the guy gets really excited to be dishing out pain to people. In fact the only reason he took the job is because it gives him a legal way to inflict pain on people for as much as he wants. The guy is as unbalanced as they come but you probably knew that by now. It takes a while for him to be taken out and in the meantime he’s just awful.

Then this isn’t a vampire film but it might as well be with how Audrey II has to suck Seymour’s blood the whole time. Those scenes are always rather gross and the film doesn’t hold back on the sound effects. There’s something about drinking blood that’s always rather gut wrenching and one of numerous reasons why any vampire related media is in for a very rough time right out of the gate. All of those scenes are just really bad. I’m glad that Audrey II talks a whole lot and has a full personality but that’s hardly enough to help the film fully recover. At least I can give it props for trying some different things and expanding on the overall plot but it would need serious re-writes to even approach being good.

Making Audrey II a big villain with a lot of fight scenes would have been a good first step though if you ask me. I already talked about Seymour so you can guess that I don’t like the guy. He doesn’t stand up for himself at all and that’s a big problem. He is quickly tainted to the dark path and while things work out for him, it’s hard to really root for him. It’s not like he’s some hero. He had a rough time of it sure but it doesn’t really excuse his actions at all.

The only character I liked quite a bit was Mushnik and even he can’t really be trusted the whole time. I liked how his personality did a 180 near the end though. You really didn’t see it coming because the whole time he had seemed like a really decent guy. Perhaps not the nicest but from what we had seen of Seymour you would assume that he used to be nicer but finally had enough of the main guy making a mess of things. So Mushnik’s character arc goes in a unique direction.

There’s also a random character who gets involved in the dentist subplot but that’s more of a random moment than anything. What happens when someone who enjoys pain meets someone who likes dishing it out? It certainly makes things tricky that’s for sure. Maybe all of the characters in this film are just crazy. It would explain a lot. The movie does have a decent ending to set things up for the sequel though. If it decided to take a different turn you could really make this into a proper alien invasion film.

One nitpick for Seymour’s character is also that he doesn’t think things through. When the shop was finally getting famous due to the big plant, he should have tried to stockpile as much money as he could so he could then escape there. Take Audrey and go to a better city, leave Mushnik to deal with the plant. Mushnik would be thrilled at first and you can let him figure out the true danger of the plant. It would have made a whole lot more sense than just not wanting any attention and putting himself in a corner. He always made the wrong choices.

Overall, The Little Shop of Horrors is a movie you will want to pass on. It does live up to being as crazy as the premise of the movie would suggest but it’s just so bad on every level. There really isn’t any saving this movie because you would need to try again from the ground up. At this point it’s probably worth just letting this franchise rest in peace instead of trying once again. After a point you just have to cut your losses so I would say to avoid this film and keep moving. You aren’t missing anything here.

Overall 2/10

Body Snatchers 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

Time for another Body Snatchers film. This one doesn’t really take the concept as far as it could have gone though. There isn’t a whole lot of focus on the actual alien dopplegangers running around until near the end and by then the film is almost over so it’s more about running and shooting. I would have liked to have seen the humans have to walk among them a bit more, use some strategy and all of that. It felt like we missed out on a pretty hype amount of potential scenes there.

So the film starts with Steve and his family heading over to a military base to run some samples. Steve is part of the EPA and it seemed like their might be some health issues over here. Little did he know that the issues run deeper than he could suspect. The base is slowly being taken over by aliens who are kidnapping the humans in their sleep and replacing them with an alien body double. A guy tries to warn Steve’s daughter Marti inside of the bathroom but considering how crazy he looked and how he had a knife, the guy just seemed insane. Once the heroes start being picked off, they have to wonder if it might already be too late.

One thing that the film does really well is the dialogue from the alien version of Carol. While Steve looks horrible during this whole sequence, she starts talking about how there is no place to hide. The aliens are everywhere already and the instant he falls asleep it will be game over. She makes a solid case for why he should give up. This is usually where the guy would yell about friendship, determination, how he’ll fight to the last breath, etc. Instead he doesn’t do any of that and falls into her arms. It was quite embarrassing really but the speech was given in a good way. The film made the speech actually appear to be rather creepy which isn’t easy.

Lets talk about Steve though and why he’s such a bad character here. The guy just doesn’t take any hints and he’s not very available for Marti. I’d say he was right to chase the military guys off for letting Marti drink and missing curfew. That’s certainly reasonable and it’s not like it was hard to get home at 12. I’d never want them to see Marti again either. Where he falters is in not taking any time to connect with Marti here especially since he went on the rebound so quickly. Then after being told about how people are acting differently he takes no steps with that. Maybe he could have at least connected the dots that Carol was a bit different.

Additionally, he absolutely falters at the end of the film. So by this point he knows about the aliens and all of that so he needs to get back to his family. What does he do? He sits down and begins to cry. This is not the time for that! We don’t see how the scene ends but presumably this is when they grabbed him and took the guy out. There’s a time to get emotional and all but this wasn’t it, not by a longshot. It just made him an easy target and in the end that was game over.

Meanwhile Carol was taken out rather quickly so there’s not as much to say about her. She and Marti didn’t get along but you can blame a lot of that on Marti as well though since she wasn’t trying to keep an open mind for any of this either. It’s really a mixed bag with both parties not doing so well here. Marti never grew on me during the film either. She lets bad influences corrupt her rather quickly. There’s no way she should be drinking yet and staying up past curfew is just asking for trouble. She’s also easily fooled by one of the aliens into looking back and giving away her position and takes a while to make a decision near the end.

Marti is not the kind of main character that you want in your corner. Her younger brother Andy also isn’t quite old enough to help much at this point either. So even though he can see the aliens…what’s he going to do about it? Nobody will believe him anyway and that can be annoying. I also have to question a few scenes with him like how he actually escaped the school of aliens. Surely they could catch one kid right? That whole bit seemed like a poorly written way of trying to alert the rest of the characters.

Jenn may not have been a good influence but at least she had some character. It would have been nice if she could have done more once she found out that her mom was acting strangely though. Her character just sort of vanishes after that. Tim is the standout character here. The guy is jumped by a bunch of the villains but keeps his cool and also does well in hiding his emotions. The guy is a soldier and that training really came in handy here. It was nice to see a character who wasn’t panicking or cracking under pressure like that. He should have been the main character to be honest.

The way the creatures take over the humans is definitely interesting with how the worms slowly get you. Why don’t the aliens just handcuff the guys once they are in the process of turning though? I assume they have a hive-like mind so they know when this is in process but if not it would be easy enough to coordinate. As soon as the character is asleep and the process has started, have a few aliens run in and just pin the character down. That way if they wake up there is still no way to escape. Given how this happens several times you’d think that would be an option.

You certainly feel bad for the humans who notice and are unable to escape though like one army guy who fights off several aliens before being taken down. He did good to last that long. The initial period during the alien attack is always the most hectic so if you can survive that then your odds of survival increase. It’s why this would really be an excellent plot for a whole TV show. It’s the kind of story that can really keep going and be really exciting for 10 seasons. Of course you want to be careful with pacing but there’s just so much you can do and it’s why the plot is golden.

Now because of the length of one movie you know that the movie can’t do everything with it but I still feel like it didn’t do much. I like the intrigue of not knowing who has turned and so more scenes of the characters just existing and living out the day before the grand climax would have been really good. I’d like a strategy session with the heroes where they think about next steps and things like that. The film’s just too short to get into all of that.

I also like to think there should be a more visually interesting way of making the clone than using the little worms everywhere. It’s sci-fi so how it works doesn’t really matter (I assume the worms transmit the energy or something) but make it cooler like a ray or something. The time it takes to make a clone also seems inconsistent with some taking forever like when they grabbed the main girl but other times it’s really quick like when the Dad was taken. There are time jumps in the film so you could say that a lot of time had passed I suppose. It’s probably one where you could do the math and see if it really adds up.

I really liked the scream that the aliens do when they have caught somebody. Now that’s eerie. The movie really nails down a lot of the horror elements of what would make an alien invasion scary. In some ways it’s scarier than a Xenoomorph invasion because at least there you know who to blast while here you have to be careful about friendly fire. Especially the longer the invasion goes on since people will be pretending to be like the aliens in order to survive.

Overall, Body Snatchers has a great plot but finishes before it can be fully executed. We don’t get a lot of scenes for the intrigue of exactly what this means for the Earth. The story is focusing on a small area which is fine enough but then I want to see them reacting. The way the body transfers go is also a little on the gross side so they should switch that method up in the future. The obligatory bath scene will also make you shake your head since it has no relevance to the movie. Nobody is seriously falling asleep in the bath at a time like this. Cmon now. The movie could have used a better main cast too since the family wasn’t likable and you’re just waiting for the army guy the whole time. If you really like the plot then it may be worth checking this one out in order to see it in action but otherwise you’re better off checking out one of the older versions.

Overall 3/10

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 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 quite telling that the last Halloween film was so intense that this one almost felt a little tame in comparison. It’s still super violent and everything so don’t get me wrong but it’s not being quite as crazy as the last one which is definitely appreciated. You’ll still want to give this one a pass but it does at least try to go back to form with the originals and I would even say that it succeeds at this.

The movie starts out by explaining that Laurie faked her death and is currently living in peace with her son John. She is still deeply traumatized by the whole incident but she is trying to slowly move forward with her life. Her son John thinks that she isn’t moving fast enough though as she still doesn’t let him go away on big school trips and he just feels like he’s trapped. Still, his friends say they’ll have the town to themselves now so John is eager to have fun there. Perhaps Laurie’s fears are not unfounded though as it appears that Michael Myers has returned once more. Can he be stopped or is it already game over for the main characters?

The setup naturally means that things will be in Michael Myer’s favor this time as the town has basically been abandoned since almost everyone went on that big school trip. There are only a few stragglers left behind including the main characters. As you can expect Myers goes to work on these guys fairly quick. Now what you may be wondering about is what happened to the school security? For once they actually have a fairly decent setup here because there is a big gate that prevents anyone from getting in.

This is where the movie has its most cringeworthy moment. So Michael drives up to the school and then hides inside. So the guard Ronnie, decides to…open the gate to check out the car? That’s completely messed up and shows that even if you have the best security systems in place, someone can just mess it up by dodging protocol. I mean jus think about it for a few minutes. Why are you opening the gate? If the guy is in the car and Ronnie clearly thought that he was, then the guy can just speed on through. There seem to be no other guards so you’re just dooming everyone.

Ronnie is the comic relief character of the film but even then this is a little out of bounds. It’s the kind of “Horror movie decision” that I haven’t seen in a while. It used to be a big thing about horror characters always making the wrong decisions to the point where it became a meme but usually you don’t see such blatant examples of it anymore. Ah well, I still like Ronnie but that had to be the worst writing moment in the film.

One thing that holds the film back is the rest of the characters are mainly annoying. So John is in a clique with 3 other characters who decide they should mess around a ton since the adults aren’t going to be around. They love their dark humor and being edgy so it’s the perfect situation for them but of course Myers shows up and throws a wrench into that plan. The characters also don’t have much of a heads up because one of them already loves fake jump scares so by the time that he is out of the way, the others are caught off guard.

It’s not like they would have had much of a chance either way tbh, but it’s still an annoying way to go out. John is rather irresponsible too and while he may have a point about Laurie being overprotective, it doesn’t give him clearance to just do whatever he wants. He went too far and should have just told her about the party. The reason he didn’t is because he knows that he is going to be doing crazy stuff there. That’s why he’s being secretive.

As for Laurie, well it’s hard to blame her for being so shaken up after what happened. Who wouldn’t be right? The whole ordeal was absolutely crazy and the fact that he’s back just makes all of her fears even more valid. I thought she did a good job of fighting back against him here. The most annoying moment is when Ronnie stops her as she’s beating Myers up. Cmon now, this guy is an insane mass murderer, why are you going to stop her like this? In this case he thought that Myers was already dead but in that case there should be no problem with continuing right? It’s all just a bit much if you ask me.

Myers is not a henchmen anymore since the last film doesn’t exist here which is good. He’s still just your basic psychopath but at least he doesn’t work for anyone this time which is a big upgrade. It was always weird to have him play second fiddle to anybody so at least this feels more like the real guy. That said, there’s not much character to him beyond just running around and murdering everyone so I wouldn’t say that he stands out or anything.

As always the film is mainly just held back by how incredibly violent it is. Everyone is bumped off in increasingly violent ways as the body count rises. It may feel less violent than the last one but it’s all still relative and this is the kind of thing that will always doom a slasher movie. It eliminates a lot of replay value because you don’t want to be seeing all of that violence.

Overall, Halloween is pretty much the same as it always was. The plot isn’t anything more than Michael Myers showing up to destroy everyone which is what he does in every film. If you’ve seen one film then you’ve seen them all and there is no reason to watch this one. It never gets past all of the usual slasher film cliches and there isn’t much good to say about it. Aside from Laurie, everyone is written to be unlikable or not very good at their job so the whole task is real easy for Myers. One day maybe we can get a Halloween film that is more atmospheric than violent but I have my doubts.

Overall 2/10

The Wolfman 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

Oof, this is one of those films where you figure that it’s not going to be good from the start. It’s going for the ultra violent route to the Wolfman mythos and in the meantime you also have a romantic rebound going on which never helps anything. I think there are parts of this story that can be a little interesting but at the end of the day there isn’t much going in its favor. I’m not a big fan of the setting for starters and beyond that there aren’t many good characters. The film is also very mean spirited which doesn’t help anything either so it becomes a bit of a wash.

The movie starts with Lawrence coming into town after his brother was brutally murdered by something. Everyone has their own theories but it was either a wild animal or..something supernatural. Lawrence takes care of business but he ends up getting bitten and now he is doomed to be the next Wolfman. In an old town where everyone is superstitious, that’s not a good thing. Additionally Lawrence has little to no control over this transformation either so he could really end up hurting someone. Can he find a way to either stop his transformations or get out of town?

There is a lot of mystery in the air throughout the film but at the end of the day there isn’t much Lawrence can do for most of it. When he’s not being assaulted by the villagers or manipulated by Sir. John, he’s being strapped to a chair and tortured by the doctor. That had to be the worst scene in the film by far. So this doctor decides that he will use shock therapy to save Lawrence and the way he does this is to continuously electrocute him until Lawrence can feel his mind slipping away the entire time. Lawrence can barely focus or even think rationally by this point so he starts hallucinating.

I should mention that the film loves its fake jump scares and hallucinations. Get ready for his mind to play tricks on him in rather violent ways. I suppose that’s the best way to escape the actual pain in the real world but I still feel like this whole sequence had no purpose being here. Of course he will end up murdering this guy viciously in his Wolfman form but did we need Lawrence to go through all of that? I personally don’t think he deserved it.

Not to say that Lawrence is a great guy or anything but it was all so extreme…much like the rest of this film. You will be hard pressed to find a Werewolf film more violent than this one. They really wanted to show people getting ripped apart and eaten alive. One poor guy is basically hung up with what’s left of him for the world to see and that guy at least had some experience with werewolves. The whole movie felt rather mean spirited and even the dead couldn’t know peace.

So at the start of the film Lawrence’s brother was brutally murdered and his fiancé is the one who was pushing for Lawrence to arrive so that he could help out. She must be in a lot of deep distress over this tragedy right? Well…she falls for Lawrence rather quickly and they have a romance. How could this possibly happen? Rebounds are bad enough as it is but this one had two reasons for why it should not have happened at all. The first is fairly obvious which is that she’s now going out with the guy’s brother. You never rebound with family, that’s just awful. The second is the circumstances of the brother’s death which you think would add some extra time to how long you wait before entering another romance.

So the romance here was particularly bad without a doubt. It really hurt the character of both Lawrence and Gwen. I can’t say that I liked either one of them by the end. Gwen doesn’t do a whole lot beyond the romance either. Then for Lawrence, well he goes through a lot for sure and I can’t say there are many things he could have done differently but he probably should have dashed out when he had the chance.

John is the most interesting character because he’s rich, aloof, and a little odd. He knows how to use a gun and isn’t afraid to threaten the entire town with it. You can tell that nobody’s going to be messing with this guy that’s for sure. As the film goes on he gets shadier and shadier but is ultimately the character who adds the most to the movie. At least he always takes over any scene that he’s in. Then we have Inspector Francis but I feel like he’s fairly generic. The guy basically admits that his skills aren’t great so he waits at the pub until the Wolf makes his next move. The location of the pub is quite convenient for him and all but he’s still not putting in a lot of the work personally. I expected him to have a much more active role in all of this.

I at least enjoyed one exchange between him and Lawrence where they traded insults during the entire conversation. Neither one of them was going to back down in the slightest and it was nice to see. It ended up being a stalemate but I always like it when a character doesn’t meekly just take the insults or anything like that. Lawrence wasn’t going to take it and the Inspector has a lot of experience on his end.

Overall, The Wolfman doesn’t really add anything to the mythos. Instead I would say that it’s one of the weakest installments in the series. It’s ultra violent without much reason behind this and the story is fairly basic. You could tell that the story was not the highest priority for the writers compared to just making this as gory as possible. There really isn’t much reason for the film to exist at all. The torture was also gratuitous and all the shock value moments just serve to weaken the movie. I would absolutely recommend giving this one a skip. You’re better off with just about any other film about a Universal monster and considering that Dracula is around, that’s saying something. There are some worse films out there to be sure like Frankenstein but it’s best that you don’t seek those out either.

Overall 2/10

Narrow Margin Review

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

The original Narrow Margin was a lot of fun and this movie is a blast too. It’s always a good idea to have a film take place in a train because there is so much that you can do with the concept. You better believe that this one makes the most of it. You’ll be hooked from start to finish and that is the sign of a great movie.

So things start off with Carol being set up on a blind date with a rich guy. She figures this is fun enough and even follows him when the guy has to go to his room. He’s quickly bumped off for double crossing a powerful criminal mastermind though and Carol goes into hiding. A guy named Robert then shows up and explains that they need her testimony in order to put the criminal away for good. It won’t be easy of course and she will be in tons of danger but the villains aim to silence her anyway even if she says no. So Carol very reluctantly plays ball but in fairness she doesn’t have much of a choice. Once they get on the train, it should be clear sailing except that the villains have managed to get on as well. This could get dicey now.

Now there is a decent amount of set up before they get on the train so even if that’s where all of the big action is, it’s nice that the film sets things up rather carefully. You already have a good idea about the characters before they get on the train. Robert is set up as a very smart guy right from the jump and one who isn’t easily deterred by his boss. If Robert thinks that the best thing to do is get Carol on the stand then he’s going to do everything necessary to get her on board.

He’s up against a ton of opposition and the odds aren’t in his favor so that’s part of what makes it all very impressive. You can count on Robert to get in there and stay strong at all times. There is one point where two villains show up just to threaten Robert for a while and he’s able to continue the conversation the whole time without backing down or appearing to be afraid. It was a super tense conversation so just holding his own there was really good. A lot of other characters would not have been able to do that under similar circumstances.

The villains are also written pretty well. While the mob boss doesn’t appear much after the initial scene, I thought it was a very good entrance. He certainly kept his lackey afraid all the way until the end and he was in control the whole time. The guys he sent to intimidate Robert also did good and were quite good at their job. Even the two who pretended to be cops and cornered Robert at the stall did good. While most of these villains were ultimately one shots or characters who never stood a chance, they felt like real villains.

Then you have Carol who very wisely doesn’t want to have any part in this. I don’t blame her because it never seems like the witness protections are very good and this isn’t something that she signed up to die for. Robert even admits that he can’t totally protect her here but ultimately once the villains have Carol in their sites, she really has to do this. If they’re going to bump her off anyway then she may as well get them behind bars right?

So the choice was made for her in this case but otherwise I absolutely understood why she didn’t want to take the stand. Throughout the movie you also have traitors, conspiracies, and a lot of twists so you really can’t trust anyone. The movie spreads out the twists quite well and so you even still have another one near the end. Everyone is more than they appear to be and the movie did a really good job of showing that.

At the end of the day I have a lot of praise for the film because the writing was so great. It’s a very engaging movie that is written as if it was one of the older ones. There is even a touch of humor like when the fat guy walks in which is a homage to the old film and also with Robert’s final scene with the villains. It was the ideal ending and really helped to wrap up a film that was already very strong on all sides. I didn’t really have any issues with the movie and it has a considerable amount of replay value.

This is the kind of film that usually wouldn’t get a sequel but I think it would work out very nicely in this case. Robert feels like he could serve the role as the main character in other adventures because he’s quick on his feet and is strategic. Those are two qualities you always need in a main character and given his job, you could have another big story with other crime bosses. Perhaps you could even have this guy try to get revenge. It would be difficult for the sequel to match up to this one but I’d like to see the attempt.

Overall, Narrow Margin is a film that you should absolutely check out. It’s a great thriller with a lot of really solid characters. The action scenes are handles well and there is always a lot of tension with all of the characters running around the train. The train is quite large after all so there is danger around every corner and no easy way out. It’s part of the appeal of the location because then you really have to use strategy. Usually the villains aren’t going to just shoot everyone on the train and so that gives the heroes a chance as they try to blend in and last a bit longer. I’ve never been on a big train like this before but it always looks interesting.

Overall 8/10

Pac Man World: Re Pac Review


When I heard that Pac Man World was getting a remake I knew that I had to be there. Pac Man World 2 is still one of the best platformers on the block. It was a really memorable game with a whole lot going for it. Great level designs, a cool story, great characters, etc. Could the original World actually beat it? I had to know. Ultimately I would say World 2 still wins but this is a fun game. I’d even say it beats the two Ghostly Adventure games rather easily. The only thing holding it back is how short it is at under 3 hours. I know platformers tend to be more on the short side but this just felt excessive. There is bonus content to work on though.

The plot revolves around Toc-Man ordering the ghosts to kidnap Pac Man’s family. Pac Man is definitely not amused when he arrives home and decides to save all of them. No matter where they have been taken it will not be far enough to escape from Pac’s wrath. He will go to the end s of the Earth if that’s what it takes so Toc Man better watch out. Each world has a family member waiting to be saved. You technically don’t have to save them but it helps a lot for the final boss. In fact I only barely won on my final heart pieces so without having these guys at the ready I would have been doomed. It would have all been over for me.

I do think they nerfed the cutscenes from the original game though. After watching the original, it was just better in every way. Pac Man’s yell was just plain iconic and it showed how much the whole thing broke him. He was real upset at losing his family and the reaction made sense. Then you have the fact that everyone is talking normally in the original but then they changed it to random sounds in the remake. Definitely not a good decision imo. It’s not something that would hurt the game itself as you could only know that by seeing the original but it’s a really questionable decision.

Back to the levels though, the biggest aspect to any platformer is the gameplay. This is much more important than the story when you think about it. To an extent the gameplay is always the most important but to the degree of which that is true will differ from game to game. The levels are all really solid as I mentioned before. Maybe 1 or 2 of them will give you some trouble but for the most part you’ll be blasting through. If you want to grab all of the collectibles in a level then that will take you more time. So you either go the direct route to beat the game or you take all of the twists and turns as you try to 100% clear it. The game doesn’t try to force you to grab the collectibles which I think is always a good thing.

Your controls are fairly basic so you should have the hang of them right away. You can move, jump, ground pound, and do a dash. Between those moves it may sound easy but there’s still some good ways to really get good at it. You don’t use the dash too much compared to World 2 where I remember that being a big deal but everything has its moments. Of course you can also eat ghosts when a power pellet is around. This doesn’t happen too often but it’s always a cool attack to use.

That said, the story is still fun. Having Pac’s family get kidnapped is certainly an intense way to kick things off. This game’s got a happy tone to it of course so don’t expect things to get too crazy but it still works well. Then we have the big climactic battle at the end and you get to see if Pac-Man is holding a grudge or not. The ending’s humor definitely lands really well.

The soundtrack is also a lot of fun. The sound effects are all nostalgic and the stage themes have aged really well. The graphics are also really good here and a good amount of effort was put into the game on all sides. The story may be short but there’s a lot of replay value in trying to get the Platinum trophy as I mentioned earlier. That’s sure to keep you busy for a while. At the end of the day the game is a lot of fun and that’s always the objective of every title. Hopefully if this game does well enough they’ll make a brand new Pac Man game set in the World continuity. Surely there is still a whole lot you can do here.

While I wouldn’t say the game is hard on the whole, the final boss is surprisingly challenging so you don’t want to let your guard down around him. I came super close to losing him. It’s really hard to land your bounce attack without actually getting hit at the same time. So I ended up going for a lot of trades there. I don’t believe it was the optimal way to win but a win’s a win right? As long as you can claim victory then you should be all set.

The platinum doesn’t look very hard so I’ll definitely work on it at some point but it could be a little while before that happens. I’ll probably work on the easy trophies first and then go from there. I do tend to mainly grab the Platinum trophies from all of the platformers though so this would be another good one to add onto the list. After all, how long can it take to beat all of the levels again right? Probably not too long I’d expect but of course I could be underestimating the difficulty a bit. If there’s any trophy for beating the final boss without getting hit or something then I’d really be in trouble.

Overall, Pac Man World: Re Pac is a very fun game. It’s nostalgic to play through this adventure and I would recommend it to anyone that likes to play a very wholesome title. You will get to learn a lot of the fundamentals about platforming while also just enjoying the scenery. There’s not a whole lot to say about the game because it’s so straight forward but that’s also part of why it’s easy to recommend. It’s hard to see anyone disliking the game. You’re able to pick it up and just start playing at any time.

Overall 7/10

Flatliners (2017) Review


It’s been quite a while since I watched the original Flatliners. I wouldn’t say it was a particularly good film to say the least. This one does improve upon it in some way and so while it’s not as ambitious, it’s a more stable film. The main characters still aren’t particularly likable here though and the whole plot only kicks off because they make the wrong calls.

So the movie starts with Courtney figuring that she should probably try to die real quick to see what the afterlife is like. She plays on Jamie’s feelings for her to trick him into going downstairs and invites Sophia as well. The idea is to put her under and after she’s dead, revive her in under a minute. This way her brain activity is unaltered and in theory she will not suffer from any side effects. That’s the complete plan here and they pull it off but only thanks to Ray showing up at the end to save the day. Now Courtney is a super genius who is heading the class and the other students except for Ray all want a turn. Is there a downside to doing this?

Short answer is yes, of course there is a downside. This wouldn’t be much of a movie without one right? So they’re opening the doors to the next world and by doing so, their personal demons are appearing. Each of the characters has had some kind of trauma or made a big mistake back in the day and it’s coming back to haunt them. Unless they can face their fears, this will be game over so they have to move fast.

One big difference here is that their fears don’t seem as dangerous here. Perhaps they are and the heroes just didn’t give them enough of a chance but in the first film these dreams were knocking the stuffing out of the main characters. They would come out of nowhere and just turn violent. In this movie they mostly just sort of stand there in the distance and glare at the heroes. Rarely do you feel like they’re in a lot of danger. The closest might have been when Marlo was in the basement with the lights off but even then the spirits didn’t take her out. You feel like the ones in the original film would have pulled that off.

Of course the film is greatly toned down from the original so that does work wonders for this one. No animal violence or anything crazy like that. The film isn’t all that violent either, it’s fairly tame. So in that way it’s a very different kind of horror film because you keep waiting for the main characters to be taken down and then it just doesn’t happen. I guess you could say that the heroes are very lucky in that respect since they wouldn’t last nearly as long in other settings.

The ending of the film misses a really big chance to go for a twist ending though. The way the scene was shot it felt like something was coming and there were a lot of interesting ways this could have gone. I was thinking about a certain character just popping out to get everyone or something like that but instead it’s played straight with a fairly happy ending. Not exactly what you would expect for a horror film either so this one really is unique.

Of course, the issues come with the fact that this one is still eager to make the teens as annoying as possible. The romance is very weak with a lot of affairs all around. The characters can’t stay professional with each other for a single moment. They also choose to all go under and effectively take the easy way to being geniuses. This comes complete with a lot of crazy parties and everything though. The characters confirmed they take drugs so they were able to recognize this as a similar effect. There’s no real point to the scenes at all though. It’s a really weird side effect but one that could have been shown a lot differently than to have everyone go mental like this.

Courtney deserves most of the blame for being the one to start up with this idea. It was a bad idea right from the jump and she pressed ahead anyway. Of course everyone else is guilty for jumping in as well. Only Ray stayed strong and tried to warn them against this. He also seemed to have the strongest moral compass like trying to tell Marlo to correct her mistakes and all. You have to give him props for trying even if ultimately she was tough to convince. He is easily the best character and someone who actually cared about being a doctor. The rest seemed to just be messing around a lot.

Jamie is the flirt of the group who is constantly having affairs so there’s no way you were going to like him. His big mistake from the past is also an absolutely massive one that just makes him look even worse. It’s another one of those moments that’s really hard to recover from. Same for Sophia who looks really petty in how far she took things. Wrecking someone’s life in an instant is not something that you can easily take back. Based on how the characters acted before being forced to relive their fears, I have my doubts that they learned much of anything.

Of course the literal threat of death shocked some sense into them but it’s sad that it took this much. Then of course Marlo had her big mistake that quite directly ruined someone’s life. Yeah none of these characters are good role models. In a way the film is almost like a Christmas Carol in how the characters reflect on their pasts, just with a horror element to it. This one is able to be a lot more direct about the second chances kind of message to it since the body count wasn’t quite the same as in the first one. With less scares you have time for more character development.

It’s just that once you make the character bad enough, the development isn’t really going to save them at that point. That’s why you have to really hold back when making the characters delinquents in the beginning because otherwise this is what you get. You could be forgiven for not realizing that this is a horror film by the way because there are barely any scares here at all. Sure, you get the fake jump scare for the elevator but for the most part the scenes are fairly light. The scariest moment was probably Jamie biking through a dark street by himself in one of the dreams and even that wasn’t all that intense. You keep thinking something is going to happen but nothing does which is a common event in the movie.

Overall, Flatliners beats the original but it’s still not a good movie. At the end of the day the characters are annoying and the writing is weak. The romance isn’t any good and it feels like the movie is a little confused about what it wants to do. It even takes a long while for the actual plot to start. They don’t start hallucinating about their past until you’re very deep into the movie so the pacing could have used a little work too. The concept of having to confront your past or face destruction is an interesting one though. In the right hands I think you could definitely do something really good there. These just weren’t the right hands apparently.

Overall 4/10

Sword Art Online – Re: Aincrad


It’s really nostalgic to be seeing the good ole Aincrad adventures one more time! This was definitely Sword Art Online at its peak and I’ve got really high hopes for this one. We’ll see if it delivers and of course I will have a review up as soon as the series is over. More Kirito action is always good!

Overall /10

One Piece: Episode of Chopper Plus: Bloom in Winter, Miracle Sakura Review


One Piece has the next arc remake with this movie tackling the Tony Tony Chopper arc. While this arc is not considered to be one of the stronger ones and tends to pale in comparison to the new ones, it’s always nostalgic to see the old team. I’d say the crew also learned from the last movie remake and made sure that this one had longer fights and a longer length in general so it felt more like a complete experience. It’s still hard to do a whole arc in one movie but I’d say they did a good job with this one.

The movie starts with the gang on the ship as usual but then Nami gets seriously ill with some kind of virus. She is fading fast and so the heroes stop by a local island to find a doctor. Unfortunately all of the doctors are gone except for one who is regarded as a witch named Dr. Kureha. She lives alone atop a giant mountain so Luffy will have to try and carry Nami there. The main obstacles in his way are: The terrain which is naturally dangerous, Nami’s health which is fragile right now so Luffy can’t fight or make too many sudden movements, and the Wapol pirates who hav e returned to retake the island. Can Luffy save Nami in time or is it too late?

While the whole crew it here, Luffy does most of the work. Zoro and Franky get to beat up some minions and Sanji fights some of the animals but for the most part the rest of the crew is written out. The way they got Sanji out of the big fights was the most awkward though as he injures his back somehow and can’t fight anymore. That scene was really hard to buy. Sanji’s back gave out just like that? I’d have preferred him to lose to one of the pirates instead since at least he would have gone down fighting.

As for the villains, there are two main ones here. First up is Wapol who was in the original arc as well. The guy may not have been super powerful but he does his best with the chomp chomp fruit. He gets a rather big powered up form at the end which may not have been enough to save him but it looked cool enough. Then he has a brother named Musshuru who was made up for this version. He looks rather skilled as he is able to trade blows with Luffy and keep at it for a while. I can’t say he was a very interesting villain but I’m always up for some good fights.

After all, that’s part of the fun in this movie. The characters get to see a lot of action this time. Also, the animation style is very distinct. It’s going for a bit more of an abstract feeling at times with a different color set than usual. I wouldn’t say it beats the classic style but it does help the film stand out which is an important thing in a movie. You want it to feel extra special and this is one way to go about that.

The soundtrack has your typical One Piece themes. Nothing very new and different but they always sound good so I didn’t have a problem with that. The music tunes are fitting for the scenes that they’re in. You can feel Luffy’s determination as he climbs the mountain while the music is going and why he’s a solid lead. The film has its share of emotional moments after all and the soundtrack balances them pretty well.

There are two main doctors here, the one from the flashbacks and the one in the present. In the present we have Dr. Kureha who has done well to continue practicing medicine even when she sees all of her colleagues “vanishing” or being directly captured by the villains. It’s a risky line of work but she doesn’t falter and definitely ends up being a really solid character. She’s the kind of character who has a tough time actually voicing her true feelings but will always help silently.

Dr. Hiriluk is the other character but I did not like him. His personality type is that he’s a really nice guy who is chasing a dream that is nearly impossible to achieve. He wants to make the Sakura blossoms bloom in this winter land despite everyone telling him that this is crazy. Along the way he meets up with Tony Tony Chopper and the two of them become close friends. It’s all good so far but then Hiriluk realizes that he will be dying soon from an incurable disease.

He then makes the wrong choice by shooting at Chopper to make him go away and to get some distance between them. Chopper had been traumatized by guns before so this felt like a really cheap move by the Doctor. I also think he should have just been upfront with Chopper about this. Tell him that death is near and then they can at least enjoy some happy days together at the end. It is much better than trying to destroy your reputation and friendships. So I lost a lot of respect for the Doctor at that point.

Finally we have Tony Tony Chopper who is a nice enough guy. He was never my favorite member of the Strawhats as the guy isn’t much of a fighter and I don’t think his comedy scenes work as well as some of the others but he still does have his moments where he helps out. Ultimately Luffy and friends are able to get him to a better spot but he gets outshined by all of them here.

Overall, Episode of Chopper is a fun adventure. If this is your first way of seeing the arc then you should still be fine. This movie does a good job of recapping things. Some of the events are a little different like we have some members of the team who shouldn’t be around yet. That might confuse you a little when you go back to the show and see them introduced but I want to say that it’s a very small amount of people who would have actually started the series with the movie recaps instead of watching the show. The movie is a good action adventure film in the end. It’s not trying to be much more than that and doesn’t need to be. Whether you like the franchise or not, you should have a good time with this one.

Overall 7/10

Gaslight (1944) Review


Time for the next adaption of Gaslight. I was certainly not all that impressed with the first one and this title is only marginally better. Many of the same negatives from the first film reappear in this one. I’ll give this title credit for having what’s effectively a 30-40 minute prologue added in before we see the first scene of the original film readapted here. It adds some more context but also backfires. More on that later on.

Paula’s aunt was murdered one day which frightened everyone and so Paula was sent away for a while. We cut to the present where she has met up with a guy named Gregory and intends to marry him. It’s all going well until he says that he wants to move to London, the exact area where the aunt was murdered. Paula has done her best to get over this incident for many years and so she figures that she is ready to handle this. Unfortunately things begin to get misplaced and Gregory is always attacking her now that they are married. Will she be able to escape or will she fall for every trick over and over again?

So here’s why the whole extended origin fails here. We actually see how Paula’s life was quite happy and how she met Gregory. Right from the jump she should have said no to moving to the London squares…but fine she says that she’s over it so we can roll with that. Here’s where things get dicey. When she finds the letter with a mysterious name on it, Gregory snaps at her and immediately starts yelling and acting like the main villain. We’re still in the prologue here so the old film hasn’t started yet.

Right away Paula needed to have called him out here. She can’t just take that and let a bad precedence start. Then in the next scene we have Gregory casually mentioning that Paula tends to be a very forgetful person. Paula just accepts this for some reason when she should have quickly said no. The gaslighting here is so obvious and tactless that you’ll be shaking your head the whole time. It all happens so fast and since we’re actually seeing it this time, you have a hard time believing any of it. It just doesn’t make any kind of sense.

Paula isn’t nearly as broken as the first character by this point but it’s like her personality does a 180 as she was so confident and self assured but suddenly becomes extremely timid. It’s disappointing because she could have done so well and is instead faltering immediately. The rest of the movie gets worse and worse for her as Gregory just keeps on manipulating and humiliating her in front of everyone. If only she had signed the documents saying that she keeps all of the money because then she could have dashed out or something.

Regardless it would have been nice if she had gone outside more to talk to people and figure out what is going on. She’s rich to an extent and should easily be able to think of some things that can help. Hire some detectives or do something pro active to find out about the letter and why Gregory has changed so suddenly. She should have helped hire the maids and if anything she should have fired Nancy once she sensed how much antagonism was there.

One of the biggest problems with the film is that Paula’s barely a character. She just stands there and takes everything that Gregory throws at her. You wish she would do anything but instead she always ends up disappointing you. Finally there’s one area where she is worse than in the previous version. It’s near the end of the film when Brian is around to help her but everyone dashes off as Gregory shows up. In the first film she seems to actually think that it might have been a dream and starts to crack. In this one it seems like she panics at the thought of Gregory being against her and so she quickly tried to throw the other maid under the bus. I thought that was an extremely petty moment and it definitely made her look bad. That’s the kind of mistake that you can’t afford to make.

Of course Gregory’s a pretty awful villain too. The guy isn’t exactly subtle with all the noise he makes when trying to find the jewels. I wouldn’t even say that he’s a very smart villain because the whole plan revolves around Paula being easily manipulated and not able to do anything for herself. If Paula had talked to the nice next door neighbor or anyone then this could have all been avoided. Any scene with Gregory in it tends to be annoying for sure.

Nancy is also not a very nice maid. You’d think she would respect Paula as the head mistress more but unfortunately she is quickly able to sense the heroine’s weakness and pounces. The other maid was nice enough though and at least tried to look out for Paula. Then you have Brian who is doing his best to solve this case as soon as possible. The guy is dedicated and I’ll give him points for making a real effort here. In the end the guy took a very long time but he still helped save the day. The result is really what counts here.

The suspense for disbelief is just too much though. I like my main characters to be confident and self assured. Even if you are going to be a wallflower then I expect you to trust your own judgment and step up when the going gets tough. If Paula had gotten tough even once then that would have helped the film a great deal. The extended run time gives her more character but it almost doesn’t matter since it doesn’t change her actions later on. She still falls into all of the same holes so that whole intro may as well have not even happened at all.

Overall, Gaslight is a film that I have to give a full thumbs down too. The character cast isn’t quite interesting enough to counter all of the suspense for disbelief you have to go through. The old lady seemed nice enough but in the end she barely got to appear at all so I’m not even sure what the point of her character was. This adaption certainly added a whole lot of elements but since they didn’t change anything, they may as well have kept it the same. The movie beats the original but as I said earlier, it doesn’t do enough to make this a good movie. It’s still one that I would give a thumbs down to in the end. You’ll want to avoid this one for sure.

Overall 3/10