Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review

old-box-art
I don’t buy games on Day 1 too often. When I do it’s typically for a big franchise that I follow like Super Smash or Dragon Ball Z. If you asked me a few months ago if I’d buy Crash day 1, I probably would have chuckled. Crash always seemed fun enough, but I’ve never played any of his games so I couldn’t call myself a big fan. That being said, the collection got a lot of hype and just about everyone I talked too had also pre ordered it. I decided that I needed to see what the hype was all about. It’s not the greatest game of all time as I’ve heard some say, but it is definitely a very solid title. The fact that it is 3 games in 1 just makes this even more of a bargain!

Lets start with the first game. There isn’t much of a plot, but Cortex has decided to destroy the world. Crash must stop this mad scientist’s quest for power while he can. The problem is that Crash isn’t very smart so he just mindlessly runs around and beating people up. He’s a force of nature and fortunately he is acting on the side of the heroes. The 3 games have some similarities as they all have around 25 levels and in the same format. You have 5 worlds and each world has 5-6 levels. That’s where the similarities start to end. The first game is easily the hardest of the 3 and relies less on gimmicks than the others. All of the levels in the first game are classic platforming challenges in 2D and 3D.

One of the level styles is the overhead water ones. They were my favorite levels but they were admittedly the easiest as well. I found them to be pretty bearable as I jumped from platform to platform. There were also the boulder chase levels where you have to rely on your reaction times to jump when a pit appeared since you couldn’t see them. (You’re running towards the screen) Surprisingly, this is the one aspect where the sequels were a bit tougher..or maybe my reaction time just slowed down.

The meat and potatoes of this game are the sky levels where you have to get past crumbling bridges. Apparently you can cheese parts of the level by running on the rope, but I didn’t notice that so I had to beat them the old fashioned way. I must have gotten 30-40 game overs on this level style because I just couldn’t get past some of the obstacles. Finally completing them was always a very satisfying experience. There were quite a few levels that I just barely completed and can’t imagine going back anytime soon. The game is merciless with the difficulty and it’s no walk in the park. I usually would only beat 1 world every time I turned the game on because it wasn’t easy to beat them in large batches like the sequels.

The gameplay is simple as you just run, jump, and spin. It’s easy to know the controls, but the levels are still tricky because you have to be very precise. If you don’t time your jumps perfectly, then it’s game over for you. I have to give the game credit for never being unfair though. The challenges were tough, but they weren’t luck based or anything like that. The more you played the levels, the more you got used to the obstacles. Also, you would only have to restart the level so the penalty for dying wasn’t absolutely terrible or anything. It was an intense way to start the collection.

The sequel adds some more plot and cutscenes into the mix. Cortex has asked Crash for help because an asteroid is going to crash or some other villain is messing around. Anyway, he demands that Crash find all of the gems once again and gives them to him. Crash’s sister consistently warns Crash that the guy is lying, but Crash doesn’t seem to understand and after being threatened, gives them to Cortex. I may as well say it now, I don’t like Crash. He’s not smart and not endearing. He makes all of the wrong decisions time and time again. He’s just lucky that Cortex isn’t much of a villain either. He’s certainly no Eggman or dare I say even Bowser? At least Bowser was threatening for a time. Cortex is just a second rate Wily.

This game is noticeably easier than the first. I only got the game over screen a handful of times and in particular the first level of the final world. Part of why the game is easier is because they added a new dash mechanic similar to DK Tropical Freeze. You don’t have to be as precise with your jumps anymore because the dash grab can cheese almost any obstacle. All of the villains are slower now so it is easier to time when you should spin. The final boss takes this low difficulty to the extreme as you can beat him in about a minute. He literally can’t attack you so you just chase him down 3 times which is incredibly simple. I was shocked at how fast he went down. There was no final form though so I guess that was that.

The second title experiments with the game a little more as you get airship levels and other gameplay styles. This meant there was a little less time for the traditional Crash levels which plays a big part in why the game was easier. Although, the normal Crash levels have also been nerfed from the first game so it’s probably a moot point. While the first game may be more satisfying, I can safely say that the second one is better since it had more of an actual plot and I did like the gameplay variety.

Finally, we make it to the third game. This one ramps up the gameplay variety even more as you get racing levels, water racing, underwater submarine combat, Star Fox simulator, and then the occasional Crash level. This game easily has the fewest Crash levels which may be a little sad for gamers who had to wait until it came out back in the day but since this collection already had a bunch of those I was pretty content. This game is even easier and I only saw the Game Over screen once. Admittedly that was kind of my fault for underestimating the game. It got so easy that I allowed myself to get a bit sloppy for a while there.

The plot for this game is that Uka Uka has returned and is commanding Cortex to destroy Crash. They also halfheartedly try to trick Crash again, but don’t seem too committed to that as they flip flop around the issue. I doubt Crash figured that out anyway though. Despite the hype, I can’t say that I care much for the mask. I can’t really take him seriously and his design isn’t all that good. Honestly the Crash series needs a better supporting cast. Who knows, maybe I’ll like them more as I play more games though. There are definitely a bunch of others to get at some point right?

There is a lot of replay value here and that’s an understatement. Even after beating the three games, there are many collectibles to get in each. Obtaining the 3 Platinum Trophies in the game will also take a considerable amount of time. Games 2 and 3 are easy enough, but part of getting the Platinum in the first game involves completing all of the levels…without dying. That sounds pretty insane to me and I just can’t picture pulling that off without an incredible amount of work. I don’t think I want to spend quite that much time since the deaths will really get to me, but this is certainly great news for Crash fans. You’ll have a shiny trophy to prove that you’ve overcome all of the odds.

The graphics are pretty good and it is nice that the game completely redid them from the ground up. They have certainly modernized Crash and friends with the new designs. The soundtrack is also surprisingly catchy. Some of the themes are pretty memorable like the final boss tunes and some of the factory ones. Crash 1 certainly has the best array of songs, but they’re all pretty good in their own right.

I do have one big criticism with the game though…the unskippable cutscenes. You can’t skip the Gameover screen which is the saltiest part of the whole losing experience. You have to watch the Mask laugh at you a few times and there isn’t anything you can do about it. The cutscene isn’t incredibly long, but it is definitely long enough to make you wince and take a step back. It feels quite bad. You also can’t skip the opening credits to the game. Every time you boot it up you have to watch all of the logos fly by and the narrator try to hype the game up. I can understand doing that the first time, but I don’t want to have to watch it every time. That’s just a little too much product placement.

There are no other real negatives to the game, but I did find a glitch during one of the boss fights. If you hit the scientist who throws the bottles at you too soon, he’ll forget to drop the bottle and just stay in a permanent electrocuted position. You then have to get out of the game and retry. It’s a mild thing as you can easily beat the boss another way, but it felt like I was being punished for being too fast. Did the quality testers never see this because they weren’t fast enough to beat him that way? Not to toot my own horn or anything. I do like the fact that there is an auto save for the game active and that you can save at any time as well. It’s just a nice quality of life addition that makes the whole package better.

As for the bosses, most of them were pretty easy. The only challenging ones were in Game 1 as you’d expect. It took me a little to realize that I could jump on the first boss so that took a bit. Any boss that involved aerial combat was a breeze. The final boss in Game 1 was reasonably difficult since dodging the energy bolts was tricky. Game 2’s was easy as I mentioned and Game 3’s was also very simple. It wasn’t all that hard to dodge his attacks. There was a lot of variety in the bosses so the game did good on that front. Very rarely was a boss similar to a previous one.

So, how does Crash stand up next to the all time greats? Clearly he is no match for Mario or Sonic, that one’s a given. I’d also give Ratchet and Clank as well as Jak the edge. Crash does surpass Sly and Klonoa though. I think that’s roughly all of the main platformers. I’d mention Rayman, but I haven’t actually gotten to start that one yet. One of these days though, it’s just around the bend.

How do the 3 games stack up? Well, as I said Crash 2 is the best, then 3, and then 1. I do appreciate Crash 1’s challenge and difficulty of course, but you can see how the games got a little more polished after that. As I mentioned, I like how they shifted the gameplay a lot in the sequels. The first will always be a classic, but the addition of a plot is just too big of an advantage to miss either. I will say that the first does give you the most bang for your buck since you’ll be there a while.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend picking this game up. It’s quite a bargain considering that you’re getting 3 full games for the price of 1. They are all classics as well so it’s not like you’re getting Flip’s Twisted World or anything like that. They have a seal of quality on them with solid level designs. It’s an all around pleasant experience. The 2nd and 3rd games are great for relaxing as you can breeze through the levels with minimal effort which lets you enjoy the scenery more. Then the first game helps wake you up every day as you have to bring your A game to conquer it. I suppose I may buy the next collection day 1, (After all, the 3rd game does end with a cliffhanger!…even if you can’t take it seriously) but it likely won’t be an issue because I plan to buy the sequels way before such a collection comes out. Gamecube/PS2, here I come!

Overall 8/10

Advertisements

King Kong (1976) Review

Kingkong1976
I wasn’t a big fan of the original King Kong film or the recent 2017 one. I’m just not a King Kong fan at all which may seem odd since I’ve always enjoyed Godzilla and Gamera. It all comes down to the fact that he’s a big monkey who seems like a 2nd rate Donkey Kong and he’s more interested in the main heroine than being king of the world. That being said, the first two films still made a name for themselves. The original created the character from the ground up and the 2017 version decided to do a very bold re imagining of the whole thing. This one….is just another King Kong film. It tries to follow the original step for step in a rather soulless fashion and is extremely generic. It has the most unlikable King Kong to date and there’s just nothing good about the film. Ah well, prepare yourself!

The film starts off with Fred wanting to head to an unknown island to grab some oil and get rich. It’s a perfect scheme and he ignores all of the variables and tough weather. Unfortunately for him, a man named Jack has stowed away on the ship and this guy isn’t exactly a pro. He breaks his cover by interrupting a big meeting to point out that the atmosphere is getting crazy and there’s probably a big Ape on the island. After a lot of laughing and everyone putting their game faces on, they decide to let Jack walk free. He’ll help them whether he likes it or not. This works quite well for Jack since he wanted to be on the island anyway. They come across a lady in the ocean named Dwan. Her cruise full of people was destroyed and they all died, but she gets over it in the span of 5 seconds. She’s more interested in being a star who will achieve fame and glory after all. The problem is that she shines too brightly and is kidnapped by the natives on the island and given to King Kong. Jack must save her for purely professional reasons while Fred wants to capture King Kong and bring him to the city. No way anything tricky is going to happen because of that!

Lets run through the negatives right off the bat. The whole scene of King Kong bathing Dwan and drying her off was pretty terrible. Then messing with her clothes before getting interrupted was just as bad. If anything, King Kong should think of her as a pal or someone who needs protecting. The film just did a really bad job here and he should have stuck to being the King Kong who just goes around breaking his opponents. You can never tell if he’s heroic or if he just wants to get on Dwan’s good side. You wouldn’t catch Godzilla making a fool of himself this way. It’s just hard to like anybody here, but these scenes are painfully long and hurt the film.

As this is a King Kong film, we get the obligatory scene of him destroying normal animals like a giant snake. This is one trope that I could certainly live without. You can’t help but feel bad for the snake and while the scene isn’t super violent since it’s so old and low budget, it still qualifies as animal violence. I don’t want to see the snake get ripped in half, I wanted to see him win!

There’s not much to say about Fred. He wants to get rich and that is his character plain and simple. He’s as generic as it gets. I don’t really mind the guy though and he does better than some of the other characters. Jack’s a reasonable main character I guess, but he’s usually content to stay back and watch from the sidelines. We never learn why he is so athletic and manages to elude King Kong when the trained professionals could not, but I guess we’ll just chalk that up to being the main character. He’s not very fun either as he doesn’t get much of a purpose in the film. So, he wants to meet King Kong, but why? I guess it’s for his job since this is like a hobby, but it feels like such a weak motivation. He quickly takes control of every situation so that’s nice for his hype, but he’s just there. I would say the same for Dwan, but it’s a worse situation for her. She’s not generic like the rest, but she’s just a bad character. She lets her guard down constantly and maybe considering that they’re in enemy territory at night, she shouldn’t stay by the water. She was kidnapped without a struggle and she spent most of the film being traded as a prisoner from one group to the next. Once she was finally freed, she didn’t even get to enjoy the city much as King Kong found her and then the reporters soon followed. She never got any peace or quiet and didn’t have a tough enough personality to get everyone to back off. She just let everyone do as they pleased and this doesn’t help her character at all.

Beyond all of this, it’s just a rather boring film. King Kong’s home isn’t very flashy or fun. The tribe acts completely evil as you’d expect and they basically just vanish once the kidnapping is over. It’s like they knew their roles were over and ran off as soon as possible. I also don’t get the concept of building a large wall to keep King Kong out. I mean..he agreed to it for some reason and stays away, but the wall won’t actually do anything. If he wanted to get out, then he could. It also reminds me that King Kong is totally evil here since he accepts the sacrifices every time the tribe brings them out. Not exactly something a nice monster would do. The city climax should have been really hype but since King Kong is incredibly slow and not all that durable it wasn’t entertaining. You were just waiting for the army to shoot him so we could get the whole thing over with. I wouldn’t call King Kong’s mild struggle by waving his arms around a real climax to be honest.

Overall, This King Kong film is about as bad as the rest, likely slightly worse. It had no individuality or creativity in its corner. It was just another King Kong film that completely played everything by the books. It should have been bold and taken some different twists or turns. That likely would have helped a lot. The heroine and King Kong scenes bring the film down along with the animal violence. You could argue that Dwan was used more for fanservice than as an actual character which is just sad. I highly recommend avoiding this film if you possibly can. Watch any other King Kong film instead, you’ll have a better time. At least the new film won’t make many of these mistakes since Godzilla will be fighting King Kong next time. Unless King Kong 2 comes out first, but I hope the crossover is on the top of the priority list. It could make other mistakes, but I want to have hope that King Kong will surprise us with a good film. At the moment, his only good movie is Godzilla vs King Kong and once again it was Godzilla who had to pick up the slack.

Overall 2/10

The Mummy (2017) Review

C8tVYD8VoAAiN_P
It’s time for the first film in the Dark Universe cinematic universe. Unfortunately it starts off with a complete flop. Mummy hits all of the wrong notes throughout the film and negates whatever presence and intensity it may have had. I can respect its reliance on jump scares as it has well over a dozen of them, but none of these moments were actually effective and it just goes to show that relying on horror tropes won’t get the job done. It’s also unsure whether it’s an action or horror film which adds to the confusion. Ah well, this isn’t one for the history books and you should stick to the last Mummy series.

The film’s about a thief named Nick who releases Princess Ahmanet from her prison. He doesn’t believe in Egyptian curses or anything like that and just saw it as a way to get rich very quickly. Unfortunately, this leads Ahmanet to pick him as her chosen vessel who will be possessed by Set and help her rule the world. Nick’s partner is destroyed in the process and becomes a ghost who blames Nick for his death and loses his mind half the time. Seriously, the guy can never decide whether he wants to be friends with Nick again or just destroy the guy. Meanwhile, an archaeologist named Jenny is in danger since Ahmanet doesn’t want Nick to have any friends who could become rivals. Can this human take on the Mummy? There’s also an Illuminati led by Henry that specializes in destroying supernatural forces. Hopefully they can help out a bit…if they’re not evil or super shady.

This movie has a long list of problems so lets start going through them. One of the biggest problems is..you guessed it…animal violence. I had to shake my head here since we start with Crows being tied down and end with masses of them being forced to suicide by the Mummy. I don’t think these scenes added to the movie and were just here as shock value. It’s a shame that it already started the film out on the wrong note, but things continued from there.

Ahmanet’s main attack is that she’ll kiss people to death. Is this what the Mummy has been reduced too? See, this is the problem that Hollywood keeps making. Why does the female Mummy have to attack this way instead of through sand attacks like every other Mummy? She also happens to be a very weak Mummy as she loses to a few stun guns and a net towards the middle. In the climax, she goes down in one hit. Did I mention that the climax is very anticlimactic and there is no actual fight? It’s a shame since the film hinted there was going to be a cool fight with super speed and epic effects but no, the kiss of death was activated. Ah man, a certain action hero better not keep that as his main attack. That’ll be brutal.

Ahmanet’s not a bad character, but she really wasn’t used well. I’m honestly not a big fan of the design myself as I’d prefer a normal look, but that she has the ability to turn to sand at will. Think Sandman or Crocodile. (One Piece) Her sand abilities were fun though so I wish she had gotten to use them more. She’s a total villain despite the film practically begging you to root for her at times. There just aren’t any real heroes in this film.

Another issue I had is that the Illuminati is clearly evil. I expected the movie to go this route, but they went as far as possible with them deciding to punish Ahmanet with a living, very long drawn out process of mummification. Basically they’ll fill her with mercury which sounds like a pretty painful way to die. Henry is also insane as the leader and the film doesn’t hide this at all so I may as well say that he’s the famous Mr. Hyde. If he doesn’t have his drugs constantly, he gains very mild super strength and poorly handled effects. It reminded me of an old film I saw a while back where the main character’s hair changed for when he’s evil. It’s very similar and poorly handled as well. Henry is the worst character in the series. If you have to choose between an evil organization or an evil Mummy, it’s probably best to just choose yourself and fight everybody. I’m on Team Cruise in this case.

The Mummy also couldn’t resist throwing in some poorly handled romance and dialogue. The banter between Nick and Jenny is painfully bad and played out. It’s all dialogue that we’ve seen before and doesn’t add anything to the film. We don’t need to see Ahmanet constantly throwing off her robe or stripping just to make deals or give people dreams of the future. We don’t need the same flashback a million times of her about to stab someone and then get stabbed herself. Murdering the baby once was enough, we don’t need to repeat that. All of the repetition just made each scene worse and worse as if they weren’t poorly handled enough the first time. We should stray away from child violence and baby violence as it is. No need for any of that here. So, to get this straight, Ahmanet was used for romance and fanservice a lot and was fairly weak for a Mummy. Like I said, the character wasn’t used well at all.

Then there’s Nick. He’s not very heroic as he was close to ditching Jenny a few times and he did steal from her after their hotel fling. Nick also decided that riches were more important than stopping the rebels or investigating the area like he was supposed too. Don’t worry though, Jenny tells us that he is a good man at heart so we’re supposed to believe that. His personality was also a little intriguing as he had the classic Cruise wit and fast talk down like you’d expect, but then he’d also get shaken a little easier. His conversation with Henry was just weird in that sense as he started stammering a lot like “Cure me right Doc? I I I’m ready….cure. You’re gonna cure me? Right? Lets do it. Lets do it Doc. Doc?” The lines were just really weird and scrambled during that scene and I thought it was because Set was starting to control him or something, but we learn that he had no influence until Nick was stabbed so…it was just random.

I didn’t care much for Jenny either. She wasn’t much of a fighter and her lines of “Get him off me” when the zombie broke into the car just illustrated that she wasn’t going to do anything about it. It was Nick’s job to get them away and she only “helped” by kicking him in the face for it. She sold Nick out to the evil organization as well and just never became likable. I actually preferred Nick’s partner which is saying something since his whole role was to panic constantly until he died. He was also odd to me as I mentioned before. He seemed to lose his mind when he tried destroying everybody but then he got it back. Somehow he kept his free will I guess after he had settled down, but why? Everyone else was a crazy servant and then he almost got Nick run over by a car. Nick just shouldn’t trust this guy, but it seems like he’ll be sticking around for the long haul….great.

This is a modern movie, but it doesn’t really have a modern soundtrack. There’s not much to it this time so the film fails on that account. The scenery isn’t bad when the characters are in the city. I do like cities for action films like this one and the underwater caverns weren’t bad either. The desert scenes hold it back to an extent though along with the flashbacks. Not to keep grating on this point, but 3 random guards were able to hold the Mummy down after she was given her powers? I dunno about that. Maybe the powers hadn’t sunk in yet, but I would have expected her to win that round.

That’s not to say there were no positives to be found here. The film is reasonably fun. Fun doesn’t go a long way when it comes to the score, but I don’t think you’ll really be bored. Something is usually happening at the very least. While the chase scenes aren’t very inspired, you do get to see Nick take down a bunch of zombies. There are some fun parody moments as well like when Nick tries to approach the Mummy and gets slapped or punched through a few walls. People got a chuckle out of it the first time. The film made sure to use that scene a few more times, but it was met with deafening silence on the re runs. Usually you don’t want to re use a joke more than once. It was good that the film showed the Mummy had super strength…it’s just too bad that it vanished when it counted. I am glad that the film didn’t cop out though and the Mummy had the edge over Jenny. I would have had a hard time believing that she could last very long against the Mummy at all.

Finally, I have to take another shot at Henry’s plan. His big plan…is to give Nick unlimited power and then destroy him before he takes them down. That’s such a flawed plan that it hurts. The instant Nick gets those powers, he could probably use super speed to get away or just activate some mystical ability to blow them all away. It just seems to risky, wouldn’t the better plan be to just destroy the jewel? It’s apparently very delicate as a quick bump can break it. There’s not much that the Mummy or Nick could do without it so that’s the optimal plan. No risk and the day is saved. That’s why if Henry is supposed to be this world’s Nick Fury, then we’re doomed. He’s just not all that intelligent.

Overall, I’m a little worried about the Dark Universe. The premise of it still has a lot of potential. Nick should play a big role and that should be interesting as he is a charismatic guy. That being said, most of the monsters haven’t aged well. I can’t imagine the Werewolf, Frankenstein, or Dracula even being all that interesting. Maybe the films can change my mind but based on how they handled this one, that could be a long shot at best. You should definitely skip this film and stay far, far away. It’s just not a good movie.

Overall 3/10

Escaflowne Review

MV5BNzA3ODgxNTcwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjA4NzI5._V1_UY1200_CR108,0,630,1200_AL_
It’s always a sad day when a franchise is brought back from the grave just to shatter our memories. I’ve always been of the opinion that more content for a franchise is always a good thing even if it’s bad. I’m glad Dragon Ball Super exists even if it mocks most of the principles from DBZ. I’m glad Naruto Shippuden exists even if it’s painfully low budget and has some of the worst directing of all time. I’m even glad that we have Teen Titans Go because it has brought some nice episodes and scenes once in a while. These additions to the franchise may not have been amazing, but they did have their share of great moments which is why I love to see them. However, a film like this one or the latest season of Samurai Jack does sometimes make me question this. Ultimately, my stance hasn’t changed, but it’s always sad when we get a modern gritty remake/reboot/sequel that really just takes away everything that made the original good. Escaflowne is a terrible movie and it will make you feel bad for the TV show. It has animal violence and gratuitous violence at the ready so with that in order, lets tackle this film.

Hitomi was a normal suicidal teenager when the film picks up. Her friend makes a joke about wanting to be there when Hitomi jumps, but little does she know that Hitomi is serious, she just feels like she isn’t brave enough to do it yet. Hitomi decides to vent on her friend since it seems like this is what all terrible main characters do. Already we can see that the film is being randomly edgy for no reason. Why is Hitomi suicidal? This isn’t a good plot point nor is it a necessary one. It’s just a jarring change to her character which was unneeded. Well, one thing leads to another and she is warped to Gaea. There she meets up with Van.

Van is the last survivor of his clan and now he just wants bloody vengeance on everyone in his vicinity. He naturally tries to destroy Hitomi as soon as he sees her, but she is saved by the resistance. No worries, she falls for him anyway right away because this is the perfect start to a romance. Van decides to use the mighty Escaflowne robot to save the day, but it’s a little more twisted in this version. Escaflowne is a robotic vampire which feeds on its hosts so in order to use it, you have to let it stab you and suck your blood. Again, this is a random change that has nothing to do with anything, but it’s an excuse for the film to be more violent and dark once again.

As such, we get to see Van stabbed repeatedly every time he enters the machine and just moving causes him to be stabbed as well. How was this film not R? The whole time I was watching the film, I was super perplexed at that. This film is certainly violent enough to justify the rating if you ask me. Anyway, with these weapons at his disposal, Van is ready for revenge and so the big battles start.

The film made some good changes so we’ll start with those. Allen doesn’t have a very rushed romance with Hitomi here. There is little in the way of romantic tension here at all so that’s a good thing. The Mole Man also gets a much smaller role which I was glad to see since he was an annoying character in the first film. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all that I can think of for the film’s positives, at least when it comes to changes. The film cut out the main villain of the show which was a pretty big mistake. Folken was never a very interesting character after all and I wouldn’t say that he’s great here either.

Wait, there is one good change to the film. I just barely remember that the concept was good because it was mostly just used for more bad scenes. The characters with dragon DNA can use The Force to blast people with telekinetic energy. It’s a pretty exclusive list though since only Folken, Van, and Dilandau have dragon DNA. It’s a cool concept and certainly makes these characters way more difficult to defeat. Of course, the film can’t control itself and one character uses it to blow a Horse apart. Noooooo! That was the worst scene in the film and I knew it was only a matter of time before the film pulled something like that. It was such a cool concept, but the film couldn’t let it rest. Folken also blasts Dilandau so hard with it that the guy’s head comes close to exploding, but that was way more mild in comparison.

You can already tell that I didn’t like Hitomi in this film, but at least Allen was decently good. He’s as overconfident as ever and easily defeats Van when they fight. He doesn’t get a robot in this film though so he’s completely useless whenever the villains show up. It feels like an even more lopsided war than in the show since the villains have all of the advantages. All the heroes have at the ready are allies who keep backstabbing each other. Van’s even more blood thirsty than usual in the film. It’s hard to find him likable since he’s willing to destroy a defenseless lady (Hitomi) for basically no reason and never really apologizes for it. He’s certainly a very skilled warrior here, but not an ally that you can trust.

The film also added a new character for the lolz. She can see the future, teleport people, and do all kinds of crazy stuff. She wants to see Folken burn so she follows him around and makes fun of him from time to time. In the end, she decides that dying will be fun as long as it’s with Folken and her whole character arc was rather odd. Folken wasn’t a bad villain I suppose. He didn’t really stand out, but he made all of the threats and did a lot of posturing so at least he performed his roll. Dilandau somehow got a happy ending out of this and developed a loyal cadre of minions. I guess he wasn’t a mean leader or something? I didn’t get that impression from him to be honest, but that’s the way the ball bounces I guess. A wise leader doesn’t slice and dice his own men so I’ll take that a complement to him from the film.

The animation is pretty good. I’m not a fan of the character designs, but if you’re able to see past them, then you can see that the rest of the animation is on point. While violent, the action scenes are very fluid with the hand to hand action being quite good. The mind blasts between the characters are nice and Escaflowne’s berserker mode is also really good. The soundtrack is a little less inspiring. I’d say that it was decent. It wasn’t bad or underwhelming, but it wasn’t really anything to write home about.

It’s another case of a film succeeding on the technical levels while not being able to uphold its integrity for the main course. The excessive violence the whole time was just very forced. I always consider it to be forced because there are many examples of shows and movies that have great fight scenes without being violent. Many of them can be completely bloodless or adding in a smidge at times. Dragon Ball Z, Toriko, Sengoku Basara, Samurai Jack, (Original show) Justice League, Digimon Savers, etc. So when a fight scene is really violent, I can only really say that it is forced. It’s just the only explanation in my eyes. At least the movie didn’t add a bunch of language, that tactic is even more desperate. If it is true that Shin Godzilla is rated TV-MA because of that…that will just be sad. The animal violence and suicidal themes in Escaflowne were just icing on the cake by the end. The film was already not in a good spot in those issues just didn’t help it.

Overall, Escaflowne was a TV show that absolutely did not need a film remake. While it is preferable to a recap film, it should have been more faithful to the TV show. Diverging to such a large extent is a high risk/high reward option, but it typically ends up failing miserably. The movie still has some interesting storylines going on and the action/animation are good, but they don’t succeed in covering up the film’s failings. This almost goes without saying, but I’d highly recommend just going back and watching the original show if you want to delve into the franchise. There’s no reason to check this film out. Lets just let it fade away into our memories.

Overall 3/10

Final Fantasy VII Review

1450816507541
Well, it’s time for the big one. I started this game ages ago and have finally completed it. Final Fantasy VII is a legendary game that just about everyone has heard of. I became a big fan of this timeline thanks to the Advent Children film which was a complete and utter success. Unfortunately, the game was unable to live up to this level of hype. I was prepared for an amazing game, but ended up with a rather disappointing game. In many ways, FF VII was ahead of its time and was certainly high budget. In other ways, it was simply not up to snuff and really held itself back from a better score.

The plot involves a soldier named Cloud. He doesn’t really remember his past and the villain likes to mess with him quite a lot. He meets up with some resistance members and they decide to take down the corrupt government and save the day. This gets a little complicated when Sephiroth shows himself. He is a being of near limitless power who wants to end the planet. Cloud and his friends are just normal joes, how can they deal with this? They’ll need a lot of Materia (Summoning/Magic crystals) and allies if they want to overcome him. It’s a race against time now.

That’s probably not the best plot summary, but the game is very long with a plot that is constantly adapting as new stories come into play. There are also a lot of side quests and bonus content t hat flesh out the story even more. It’s a legendary game for its plot and this holds up very well. I actually didn’t know much at all about the game despite being a rather big fan of the series in general. A lot of it was all new to me, which was certainly a blast. Cloud’s origin was definitely nice and convoluted and there were so many twists that even I was a little confused by the end. It was in a good way though as it was well thought out and you can understand it as long as you give it enough thought.

The game was also a little more intense than I had been expecting. To be honest, I didn’t notice that the game had blood in it until I stumbled into the lab level where the staff had been viciously attacked. It really came out of nowhere. I will admit that this level was extremely atmospheric and if anything this element made it all the scarier. This was also when the game’s plot started to pick up and get a little more exciting. The beginning of the game is fairly laid back and FF VII likes to slowly build towards the plot. That’s an element that all Final Fantasy games go for as it lets then plot develop the characters and get you to sympathize with them. It’s a good tactic so long as the payoff is really good.

The payoff was worth the wait. Sephiroth is still the best Final Fantasy villain and both of his themes are incredible. The One Winged Angel theme is extremely iconic and it’s certainly great to see the original version of the song. It has all of the memorable beats and is not something that you’d expect from such an old game. Rock/Opera themes like this didn’t really seem to get mainstream until a lot later. Sephiroth also had another theme, which was the surprise hit of the game. It’s a horror theme through and through and with Sephiroth fading in and out like a ghost the whole time, it was really fitting for him.

Final Fantasy is easily the most tense game that I’ve played. It’s the closest to a horror game at these points and as I’ve never played a full horror game before (Or if I have then I can’t recall at the moment) Final Fantasy VII was a nice glimpse of what that would be like. A horror game done well can certainly be good if handled right as this game showed. Even the final bosses had very intense designs as I don’t think you’ll be forgetting Jenova anytime soon.

The graphics are exceptional. In gameplay the character models all hold up well. They are kinda pixely and you can really see that when you play the mods of them in Super Smash Bros, but they are really good for this day and age. Even more impressive is the fact that it had fully animated cutscenes. They weren’t short either as some were quite long. Even the super attacks had them although that’s an iffy point. It goes without saying that the soundtrack is absolutely top notch. You’re not going to find any game that can completely destroy this one in that area as it’s just very solid.

I haven’t touched on the gameplay yet. It’s classic turn based style and that has always aged well. I do miss it to an extent in modern gaming, but if the alternative is that all future Final Fantasy games will go with Kingdom Hearts gameplay….then I have to say that Square Enix made the right call. Real time gameplay is absolutely better although I really love them both. There is a lot of depth to the gameplay as your level isn’t the only thing to think about. Your Limit Level, Equipment, and Summons are all absolutely crucial. A pro tip for any gamers who haven’t played this yet is to make sure that you switch Limit Levels when you unlock a new one. Having a strong Limit Level 3 or even a Level 2 will make a big difference when compared to level 1. I apparently unlocked Level 3 a while back, but I never realized it so I played the whole game on level 1 until the very end. It was a sad moment.

There is a lot of replay value to be found here. You can easily spend over 100 hours on this game and maybe even more. There are numerous pieces of equipment to find and leveling everyone up to the max will take a very long time. There’s a lot of exploring to be done and side quests to complete. Some aren’t even accessible if you wait too long so then you’ll need to start over again. This is the kind of game that never really ends for you unless you put in a crazy amount of time. Even if you just want to play the main story, that’ll last you a while as well.

So…this sounds like a really positive review at the moment right? Well, lets get into the negatives now. One problem with the game is that it got a little too focused on showing off its graphics. Every time you summon a monster, you have to watch a very long and unskippable cutscene. As you’ll be going for many summons, this really ends up dragging out the fight. You’re gonna get sick of watching these cutscenes and there is seriously enough time to go to the kitchen and grab a snack since you can have all 3 of your characters prepare a summon. This means that you have to watch all 3 back to back to back which can take almost 5 minutes. Lets not forget that Sephiroth has his infamous solar system attack which is the longest one in the game.

The first negative was just a mild inconvenience next to this one. This negative is the fact that the map is very bad. Nothing is labelled so you’ll want to have a note pad on hand to write down what all of the islands stand for. Otherwise, you end up being lost for a while as you try to find the location. Wait, it gets worse. There are times in the game where you are given nothing to go on. I got stuck 3 different times in the game and I spent around 10 hours working to get unstuck. I was victorious the first two times, but in the end I finally cracked and ran to Gamefaqs to see what they had to say. I never would have guessed that I had to go into the ocean and find a secret cave towards the top where there were some designs for a cool mech that would lead me to the robot that would break into Sephiroth’s lair. There was absolutely nothing to even suggest this and this felt like a very unfair puzzle. The game had quite a few moments like this and it made the whole experience lose a lot of its enjoyment.

It’s also not very fun to be attacked by minions constantly for taking even a single step. The minions are everywhere and they just keep on coming over and over again. If you made a wrong turn, too bad. You’re gonna have to fight yet another monster. You can run, but then you will still be taking some damage in the mean time. Did I mention that leveling up in this game takes forever? Seriously, don’t expect to get to level 100 anytime soon. The minions are pretty durable and don’t give all that much EXP anyway. That’s why your top priority is developing your limit and finding cool weapons. Those will ultimately make the difference along with some ribbons to protect you from status attacks.

This game can also be a little mean spirited. If you made the mistake of saving once you were in the area of the final bosses and didn’t make another file…then you’re stuck. If you’re at too low a level to defeat Sephiroth, there is now nowhere to safely train and gather your health back. Luckily, I made around 5 files to be on the safe side and gathered a lot of supplies before attempting the boss again. It took me 2 tries, but I managed to secure the hard fought win. I was pretty proud of myself to be honest even if the area before the final boss gauntlet was way too long.

In the end, my main problem with the game is parts of its design. It was just lacking in some basic areas like the map and quality of life concerns. I shouldn’t have to wait through really long battles thanks to the cutscenes and getting lost for hours because the game sent me on a random goose chase is no fun. It’s a shame because the game is a technical masterpiece and the plot is solid. It’s like an AAA game that just didn’t get a great deal of quality control to back it up. I need my quality control which is why I can safely say that Deca Sports was the more enjoyable game. “But that’s crazy!” I’m not saying that Final Fantasy VII is a bad game, but it just wasn’t a fun game most of the time. I was expecting to have a lot more fun with it.

Overall, Final Fantasy VII was a little disappointing. It’s probably my fault for skipping ahead and playing the glorious FF XIII games though. The tough question here is whether to give the game a 5 or a 6. On one hand, my main negative is alleviated if you just buy a guide book or use online resources to get through the puzzles. On the other hand, that’s kind of a cop out. On the other hand, how can you give a game with 5 star graphics/soundtrack/plot and good gameplay a measly out of 10? It’s definitely one of the tougher decisions that I’ve had to make. It also brings Majora’s Mask into the picture as it’s in a very similar situation to FF VII. It has many of the same negatives with regards to the unfair puzzles, but its strengths are a bit weaker. That game I had been leaning towards a 5 on as well, but that puzzle wasn’t even as unfair as FF VII’s. The 3 day system is madness, but at least you can still make it if you keep on practicing long enough and looking for clues. It’s still a poorly conceived puzzle to be clear, but it’s not as drastic since you at least know where to look. Why can’t more games be like Layton? I was stuck there for around the same time as this game, but it never got upsetting as the puzzle was just very fair. Well, I gotta go with my gut here. Being enjoyable is still a game’s top priority. FF VII messed that up and so I can’t really cut it any slack. It will join other legendary titles like Star Fox Zero, Mario Party 10, Sword Art Online Lost Song, Frogger, and Nintendogs in the 5 star ranks. Hey, it’s still not a bad game and if you don’t mind wandering around for a while and being constantly attacked by enemies, then this is right up your alley. In the mean time, I’ll be looking forward to the remake as the gameplay shift should end up helping out a lot.

Overall 5/10

House of Wax Review

tt0045888_65594
It’s time to look at a remake of a film that I saw not too long ago. Unfortunately, this is one of those remakes that decides to play it very by the books and doesn’t change much. I find this to be a waste since a remake/reboot should always make drastic changes so you have a reason to see it over another version. You’re basically watching the same film, but without the classic black and white effect that makes it more tense or the solid writing of the old days. Well…prepare yourself!

The film starts off with Jarrod in good spirits. He has finally found someone who is willing to buy his partner’s share of the business. Burke had been pretty mean lately and Jarrod would be glad to have him out. Unfortunately, the rich fellow couldn’t buy the place right away so Burke decided to burn the place to the ground. Jarrod resisted a little, but he was outmatched. Burke was simply too strong and burned the place down along with Jarrod for good measure. No worries though, Jarrod survived and quickly went over to murder Burke and his fiancee. He then decided to open a museum where he could show off his murders and nobody would be any the wiser. Jarrod gets a little too overconfident though and decides that he wants Sue as his masterpiece. Can he get away with it?

The whole film’s premise relies on the police being inept and no reporters existing at all. Lets look at the facts. This is a Wax Museum so the models are so realistic that nobody can tell that they were real. I find this to be a stretch personally, but lets run with it. It starts to get a little more dicey when Jarrod murders someone and then immediately puts her in the museum. This is where we can’t deny reality any longer. The cops know that a body has been snatched and they also know that the museum just got a new exhibit. In fact, Sue is able to tell that it is her friend immediately.

Now, the cops don’t chat with Sue all that much, but they should have been looking for the body in as many locations as possible. A suspicious new wax museum should be one of the first places that they look, especially with the sculptures being so realistic. Likewise, Sue probably should have said something to the cops herself instead of prowling around after hours and getting kidnapped. At the very least, she couldn’t depend on the male lead. All he did in this film was get knocked left and right by every villain in the book. He was actually losing quite badly to one of the henchmen and considering that her life was on the line, I think Sue would have wanted him to put up some more resistance.

So, I don’t buy into the plot. Moving past that, I don’t see how Jarrod was so powerful all of a sudden. Even though he was badly injured by the fire, he can move with great speed and has a lot of power as well. He’s able to fight off a good number of cops and is strong enough to throw people around. He even has a super mask that can allow him to take blows to the head with no real effect. That part makes sense since he had a disguise the whole time, but he should absolutely be in no shape to fight at all. He is sitting in his chair all day and barely moves around, he should be fiercely out of shape.

None of the characters are very interesting either, which doesn’t do the film any favors. Sue is about as generic as you can get and isn’t all that smart. When confronting the big villain, you should try to have some kind of plan right? The male lead is even worse as he’s so mild that I couldn’t be bothered to remember his name. He gets suckered by the whole cast and then doesn’t even get to save Sue. He should be pretty ashamed of himself to be honest. Jarrod’s a two dimensional villain who could have gotten away with the whole thing if he hadn’t become so greedy and gone after more people. He’s just your average serial killer and the film didn’t do anything to distinguish him from the others. His minions were also not interesting as one couldn’t even talk which didn’t help his character development.

The only characters who were good here were the cops. Even then it took them forever to put the simple pieces together and watching a bunch of them get wrecked by an old guy was so sad that it was almost funny. I can’t stress enough just how sad it is to get beat by a guy with multiple third degree burns who has rarely ever gotten up from his wheel chair. It should go down in infamy as one of the worst moments of the Police Force. They got the results though…..fatal ones.

Overall, House of Wax is a dreadfully boring film. Nothing really happens and the characters may as well be reading lines off of a script for all the emotion that they show. The plot doesn’t make sense which means that the writers weren’t even paying attention when they made this film. Whatever semblance of heart the first film had is gone here and the film doesn’t even serve its purpose as a good remake. If the original is better than the remake, that’s a problem. (It’s to be expected, but it’s still a problem) This film should have taken more risks and changed things up to make it more interesting. It needed to do something rather than just ripping off the original film and hoping to make a few dollars. I’d recommend sticking away from this film, the House of Wax is just not good and the premise limited its options from the get go. I’ve seen three murder films about hiding the victims in Wax and none of them were good. That proves that the plot just can’t work.

Overall 3/10

The Fog (2005) Review

the-fog-2005.16361
Our trip through horror land continues with The Fog! As you recall, I saw the original The Fog quite a while ago. I can’t say that it was a very pleasant experience and this one isn’t either. I dare say that it’s worse than the original and suffers from some problems that the first did not. That’s never a good thing, but it is to be expected. While it’s not the biggest trainwreck out there, The Fog doesn’t do modern horror films any favors.

An island is about to celebrate the anniversary of when it was founded by their heroes. The thing is, their “heroes” are actually traitors who backstabbed the poor people who used to be on the island and then threw them all overboard while also burning them alive. These ghosts didn’t like that….they didn’t like that at all! To have their vengeance, they’re going to destroy every last person on the island. It’s going to be a busy weekend for them…so time to get started!

Unlike the original film, the radiohost isn’t really the main character. She’s around, but instead the main guy is a man from the village. He’s driving around when a girl shows up in the forest and they decide to become more than friends on the spot. Once they’re done, she tries to head home, but isn’t welcome there so she goes home with the main character. We’re attacked with more fanservice scenes and forced romances that are as shallow as you can get in a film before the ghosts start to attack with more force. The body count begins to rise and we learn that the drunk pastor actually knew about the whole situation from the start. He just doesn’t care enough to actually try and save everybody.

As you might expect, there are no likable characters here. The ghosts have a few decent points and while it doesn’t excuse murder, the heroes aren’t making a very good case for themselves. They’re just standing around and allowing themselves to get wrecked. Spooner, a random guy who gets into the this situation, is framed for destroying two girls and his friend so he quickly escapes the hospital to find the main character. How he got past the guards we’ll never know.

All of the main characters meet up inside of the burning house like in the first film, but then they realize that it wasn’t their best move. The climax takes a strange turn that’s pretty terrible though as we learn that Elizabeth, the main female lead, was actually the wife of one of the pirates. So, we get another forced romance with the ghost and as they vanish, we try to recall what the point of the film was. I would have preferred a classic stinger like in the original film. That was surprisingly absent in this version.

It almost goes without saying that the film can be pretty violent. It’s not quite as excessive as other horror films, but when you just look at it in a vaccum, it’s still up there in terms of violence levels. The gimmick of the pirates is that they always aim for the eyes, which can be pretty gruesome. Meanwhile, I also didn’t care for the fact that the old aunt had to bite the big one again. I feel like old people should be considered out of bounds for the villains in these slasher/horror films. It’s not nearly as bad as getting a dog, but still pretty bad.

Nick is also a very underwhelming main character. Forced romances and desperation aside, he’s not very smart. He had actual evidence that Spooner did not commit the murders, but decided to hide it instead of giving it to the cops. Naturally, the ghosts used this chance to track Elizabeth down and take it from her. Nick basically cost Spooner his freedom at the time and he never looked back.

I wouldn’t even say that the ghosts look all that menacing. Old pirates with fishhooks? We can do better than that. At least they are pretty fast thanks to their mist and they did succeed in taking out the weather man. Even the kid barely managed to escape from the power of these ghosts. The fog is just too thick and too intense.

Keep in mind that as a remake, this “The Fog” also feels like an abridged version of the original. Many plot lines were basically cut out to make way for some more action scenes or just generic tension moments. The ghosts have the same motive as in the original, but instead of a life for a life, they just want to murder everyone. Having a reincarnated ghost living a fake life before realizing her true purpose also came at the expense of the majority of the story. I’m also not sure why the film felt the need to wreck the Pastor. He was a great character in the original and one of the only sensible ones around, but in this film he’s just a drunk who couldn’t care less if they all went and died against these pirates. Talk about dramatic right? The heroes can never get a straight answer out of him.

Almost forgot one last thing, the old man by the beach! He found some artifacts and warned Elizabeth that if she touched it…things would change. She ignored him and snatched it, rather quickly, from his hands. After laughing it off with Nick, she went home, but things started to change. It’s fun to think about whether the old man was off his rocker or if touching the object started a chain reaction. You know…when I actually think about this film. I’m inclined to say that the old guy was just crazy and another red herring for the fans, but adding a little misdirection is always a good thing I’d say.

Overall, The Fog isn’t a very good film and is in fact..a bad film. It’s not as good as the original and suffers from the main issues that you tend to expect from a remake. There’s more fanservice and the characters are less developed. The film moves at a very high speed, but this isn’t a totally good thing when you think about it and speed can’t save the rest of the film. There’s no real reason to watch The Fog, but if you want a generic horror film where everyone is bumped off one at a time. Maybe this will be up your alley, just remember that it’s not exactly a scripting masterpiece so prepare to wince. If Aunt Connie had lived and taken out her shotgun, things could have been a little different….I doubt it would have helped all that much though. If the film really wanted to be good, then taking away the fanservice scenes and forced romance plots would have done it wonders and maybe bumped it up a full 2 stars.

Overall 1/10

Poltergeist (2015) Review

MV5BMjIzNTI1ODgwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDYwODA1NTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_
It’s time to take a look at the remake of the original Poltergeist film. I actually saw this film a while back, but the review has been rotting in my backlog for some time now. Surprisingly, I thought that the film was fairly decent and by all accounts…it is actually better than the original film. I know that critics wouldn’t agree and by all accounts…I’m talking about mine. This film doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as the original nor does it feel nearly as long and I almost consider it to be an abridged version. For some reason, I get that vibe from most horror films like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and the latest The Fog. They all just go by so quickly that the villains barely even have time to hype themselves up a little.

A family moves into a new house…and weird things begin to happen. It’s sort of like Five Nights at Freddy’s if you ignore the plot of both items and just focus on the scary jump moments. The family must try to resist the ghosts, but the daughter is taken to the spirit world which certainly complicates matters. The family calls in a version of the Ghost Busters, but even that may not be enough to save them from imminent destruction and complete obliteration.

This film is a lot newer than the original so the effects are certainly more polished even if that means that they may not be as “scary” (Still don’t believe that films can actually be scary) There’s no family dog here, which was a big relief and the film is also toned down from the original. One guy’s face doesn’t start to peel off, which is a welcome improvement. There’s still a maggots/roach scene, which is pretty gross and unnecessary, but it could have been worse. As this is a horror film, the characters make as many mistakes as possible to fill their quotas. One guy nearly gets rammed through with a screwdriver/jackhammer but decides not to tell anyone about this. They couldn’t have done anything about it, but sharing is caring right?

When it’s not cutting out scenes from the original, this film follows the old plot very closely. As a result, you will know everything that is about to happen before it happens. It’s why such literal remakes are risky since it’s hard to scare anyone when they know what to expect. Honestly, I’m not sure what the film’s gameplan was for this since they didn’t seem to even try and escape from this issue. The film played it close to the cuff and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it also limited the movie’s opportunities.

Honestly, I’d say that the film was a little on the generic side although it was certainly more tasteful than the average Horror film. I didn’t mind the film all that much while watching it. It could even be fun at times like when the dad brought home pizza and chicken for dinner. The kids were rather ungrateful though and the situation got dicey, but it was neat. Adding in the rebellious teenage daughter was a little much though and one of those modern effects that makes you back up a little. The parents got to go to a fancy party and we actually saw it this time so that was neat I suppose.

It’s actually hard to find enough things to say about this movie to fill in the review. It’s the kind of flick that you will essentially forget after a little while because it furfills the cliches of horror 101, but doesn’t try to make a name for itself. Knowing horror films, this is probably a good thing though. Poltergeist actually ends up being the most positively received horror film by this blog in quite a while so it certainly did something right.

The actions scene where the heroes try to rescue the daughter from the portal using the rope is still classic. I felt like that plot was handled better than in the original. The clown was a lot weaker here though, but I can live with that since a toy clown should be no match right from the get go. As mentioned earlier, the film’s pacing is a lot quicker and I’d say that this is a good thing. The film doesn’t need to bother trying to develop the characters since they’re mainly here to be scared anyway. Just give them some basic personality and you should be all set for some action. The characters were actually pretty reasonable considering the genre and while the kids were annoying…how could they not be? I’d still take them over the kids in The Shining and Insidious any day of the week. I do like how casually people around the block take the whole house blowing up thing. This should have been filmed in New York, you really wouldn’t get a reaction from those tough blokes. They’ve seen it all and aren’t afraid to remind you of that from time to time. There’s a reason why New York City is known as the greatest place on the planet after all!

Now, I wonder if this film will get remade again someday. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised, but it’s a film that should be left alone for a little while. Then the writers can think about how they should improve it some more. This remake added to stars to the score so if they keep up at this pace, the series will be doing quite well! The next remake should be a little different though so surprise the audience a little.

Overall, Poltergeist is a decent horror film for what it’s worth, but that’s still not saying a whole lot. I couldn’t really recommend the film because I don’t know why you would be seeing it. If you want something that’s more intense, but less tasteful, then you’ve got the original film. If you want to watch something new and fancy, why are you in the horror genre? Poltergeist just doesn’t do anything within the genre and just becomes another horror film to be forgotten on the shelf. At least it had the nice portal effects though, I always like those.

Overall 4/10

Cinderella (2015) Review

CIN_7C_1SHT_PAYOFF_RUNNING_RGB
Cinderella is a classic film and I actually got a chance to review the original about half a year ago. It’s a pleasant film and you can see why people are so fond of it even if it’s not my cup of tea. That being said, the remake leaves a little to be desired. It tries too hard to be emotional and some characters like Cinderella’s father look pretty bad. I’d also argue that Cinderella herself isn’t a great character here.

I’m sure that you are all aware of the story. Cinderella’s mother died when the girl was still young and then her father decided to marry someone else and then leave home for a few months. He died while overseas and Cinderella went from being a girl of high standing to a slave. She finds magical strength through her fairy god mother and marries the prince so she can regain her social power. The plot limits the film’s potential, but if handled right it could still be good.

First off, I did not like Cinderella’s father at all. He certainly doesn’t come off as being very smart or wise and he is played the entire time. He marries a widow who has two rather mean spirited kids and then leaves Ella to fare for herself. I’ll just stick to calling her Cinderella since it held up I suppose. You just have to wonder how the father did not notice how sinister his new family members were and he was very oblivious. I also felt that he moved on too quickly even considering that there was a time skip. He was a very unlikable character.

Naturally, he was not as bad as the step sisters. They’re bullies who pick on Cinderella the whole time and since the main character doesn’t know how to fight or engage in verbal fisticuffs, she’s easy prey for them. Cinderella’s step mother is also fairly mean to her as she just wants to be rich and doesn’t like Cinderella from the start. Dealing with the three bullies turns out to be too much for the delicate main character.

Even Cinderella ended up being an unlikable character in the end. I like main characters to be nice. It’s a good trait and one that you don’t see as much as I would like. The problem is that Cinderella is a push over and there’s a very fine line there. Keep in mind that the place was still hers, but the step mother asks her to move to the attic and Cinderella allows this. The step mother gives her slave chores to do and slowly takes away all of Cinderella’s possessions. “Did she just walk up slowly and wreck Cinderella’s dress?” Props if you got the meme reference, but Cinderella basically allows herself to be a verbal punching bag for the new recruits.

One scene where you will also be frustrated with the main character is when she allows the cat to almost destroy one of her little mouse friends because the step mother stared her down. Cinderella seriously has no backbone in this film and allowing one of her friends to see his life flash before his eyes was the last straw. You’ll have a tough time finding a weaker willed main character no matter what film you decide to watch. Naturally, the romance was also nothing special and Cinderella was basically just escaping her situation. Falling in love with someone after meeting them for like 4-5 minutes is certainly iffy by any stretch of the imagination.

The prince was decent and I’ll give him kudos for not hunting the animal that he nearly destroyed. Hunting is wrong and now he has learned his lesson for good! His plot had some drama as his father died and there was a traitor in his army, but I actually preferred this plot to the main one. The royal characters were all fairly interesting and it’s always nice to see their social power. The bullies wouldn’t be able to stop these guys so the Prince was able to have his justice at last.

I think you can probably tell that this film is getting under a 5. For the most part, it’s a fairly charming film, but it starts to fall to pieces once the father dies as the bullying starts and drags on for quite a while. Another negative is actually the costume designs. I haven’t actually had to launch a complaint against a live action film for this in quite a while (Since the Charlie’s Angel days) but there is a lot of cleavage and it’s very overdone. The film was simply trying to copy the style from back in the day, but it’s still excessive and just not done in a classy way. The film could have easily used the same style of clothes without making it a different size. It’s a rare negative for live action films, but that just makes this error all the worse. I actually thought this since the trailer for the film first came out and I was sad to see that the film hadn’t changed.

Cinderella’s fairy god mother also didn’t look too good in this film either. For whatever reason (For comedy) she did not know what she was doing and came off as more of a novice than she should have. The original Fairy God Mother is fun because she’s a pro and with enough prep time, she can take down any foe. This one nearly destroyed herself by making a pumpkin too large and her scenes actually managed to drag on quite a bit. This is why changing things from the source material backfires so often. It’s simply not done most of the time and the film needs to recognize and accept this before moving on.

Due to the film taking place back in the olden days, there isn’t a whole lot of colorful scenery to look at. That’s too bad and while it’s not terrible, you could easily pass this film off as a 2005 film rather than 2015 and that’s always a bad thing in my book. Seriously, a 2015 film should look modern and this film already feels dated in some areas.

Overall, Cinderella’s plot simply isn’t for me so a future film will need to really change things up in order to win for me. For starters, Cinderella should be a nice lead, but she shouldn’t just let herself get bullied the whole time. Honestly, writing out the step sisters and all of their cringe worthy dialogue would be a nice step up for the film. They simply aren’t needed and just keeping the step mom around would keep the plot virtually the same. That, or just having one step sister. The film does try to have its comedy moments at times, but they’re pretty uninspired. This film may try to take you for a ride, but sometimes the best thing to do is to simply step off. If you’re looking for a good romance drama, I recommend watching Yugioh Bonds Beyond Time and just remember that a drama without romance can still be a very good film!

Overall 4/10