Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review

This is one of the few Kirby games that I hadn’t gotten around to playing earlier so it was nice to finally dive in and get to experience this adventure with the DLC included. It certainly is nice to get to experience a brand new epilogue thanks to this and I feel like adding extra story content is really a must for any big remake/remaster. It helps give the game its own identity as opposed to just being a port of the original title.

The story starts with Kirby and friends hanging out until a ship crashes. A guy named Magolor comes out of the ship and explains that he needs some serious help from Kirby and friends in order to make his ship whole again. The parts of scattered across the planet and without a ship he will never be able to go home to confront the big fire dragon. Kirby is eager to help because his heroism is only matched by his endless hunger. Is there more to Magolor than what meets the eye though?

There isn’t much of a story beyond that though. I’d say that it’s a bit smaller of a narrative than most of the other Kirby games as that is pretty much it for story progression until the very end of the game where you launch into the final bosses and the truth of the matter. Still, you’re playing this game for the gameplay and that’s where the game does well. You have your classic 2D gameplay here as you fly across the worlds and take on all kinds of enemies.

You have lots of power ups to grab and many different special abilities at the ready. Every level has a bunch of collectibles to grab which help you unlock minigames and continue to progress through the adventure. You can also choose to not use the power ups and fight the boss with your normal suction ability. Some abilities feel weaker than your base form but it all comes down to what kind of fighting style you are able to use best. I like being a brawler so any power ups like the sword, spear, or punch is what I’m looking out for.

The game is fairly short but not unreasonably so. You should be able to knock it out in under 10 hours and since it’s not a game that is super difficult you can actually shave off some time if you decide to speed through instead of worrying about collectibles. I grabbed a bunch just in case they would be needed later on but fortunately that was not the case. Collectibles should always be optional items to grab after all.

As for the epilogue , I liked that it actually goes for a completely different gameplay style here. I mean it’s still 2D but you are using energy blasts and other kinds of attacks at all times rather than needing a power up. Magolor also uses an EXP system so you level up using points which was also cool. I think a Kirby leveling up game could be fun one of these days. I wouldn’t replace Kirby’s gameplay with this full time but as a change of pace I do think that it would fare quite well. It keeps in the core Kirby aspects while doing something new and I can definitely appreciate that.

Meanwhile the graphics are solid as always. Nintendo spares no expense on their titles and you can feel that in each of the level environments. The whole game looks really good and shines on all sides. Then you have the soundtrack which is also really good as you would expect. The boss theme also sounds a whole lot like the Ridley boss theme from Metroid which was cool. You can feel that Nintendo connection there and it works really well. It also increases the suspense levels for when you’re approaching the boss because you know that things are about to get interesting.

I would say the main thing to remember while going up against bosses is to not get sloppy. It can be easy to completely rely on your powers as you go in but that’s the easiest way to lose because you also need to dodge their attacks. In a battle of attrition you will always lose so dodging the boss attacks is extremely important. If you don’t do that then you are going to run out of health really fast and you will be down for the count. Slow and steady is often the way to win this one.

As always the game gets out there for the final bosses as the title suddenly turns into a cosmic epic. I always appreciate how the Kirby series does this because the final boss should feel grand. I would be on board for a whole game against cosmic monsters with all kinds of destruction in the background but I understand that this isn’t Kirby’s style even if it would make for a very effective game. I know that I would have a blast with it after all.

Overall, This was a fun Kirby game. Ultimately the only thing you can really say against it is that this one doesn’t stand out among those. For example you could call this your basic run of the mill Kirby title and that may sound like an insult, but at the same time that’s really what it’s going for. There aren’t any big gimmicks here or really memorable aspects to the title. The story is also barebones as just another adventure. So you’ll have a good time with this one but you probably won’t recommend it above some of the more influential Kirby titles. This one just isn’t the next all star hit from Kirby but all of the fundamentals are in place so it’s pretty solid. You will have fun all the way through the game and at the end of the day that is the main point to any title. So pick this one up when you have a chance and you won’t regret it.

Overall 7/10

The Invisible Man (2020) Review

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

It’s time to take a look at the Invisible Man. After the Mummy remake turned out to be fairly bad, it was time for this one to shake things up. Unfortunately I am here to tell you that the Mummy was significantly better which is not a good thing. This one ultimately takes an approach to the story that was likely doomed from the start and any promising aspects are overwhelmed by the negatives. I do think that a sequel would automatically be starting off in a much better place though and I’m ready for that.

The movie starts off with Cecilia escaping from her abusive boyfriend Adrian and drives off with her sister Emily. Cecilia lives with James and his daughter Sydney as she hides out from him. One day she finds out that Adrian destroyed himself but it feels rather odd that he would just give up like that. Sure enough, he appears to be back but invisible somehow and he intends to keep tormenting her and isolating her from her friends and family. Can Cecilia stop him or at this point is he a ghost that can’t truly be stopped?

Right off the bat what the film did wrong here is it went too far on showing just how psychotic Adrian was as the villain. We learn quite a bit about the abuse and how far it went into gritty territory and once you go there it’s pretty much a death sentence for a film. You want to go in there and get ready for some thrilling chase scenes and wonder how the heroine will come out on top. Instead now there was already so much damage done that it’s like you’ve lost the fight before it even began. Just a very unfortunate way to kick things off and so you’re not able to have a whole lot of fun during the film. Cecilia is naturally very traumatized for almost the whole film. There’s a lot of crying and a somber tone throughout the movie so at the end of the day what you’ve got is a very emotional horror title as opposed to a thrilling one.

Now, when you have a villain who is invisible you figure it’s going to be very hard to stop him. That’s part of the fear factor in dealing with such a villain and yet the movie starts to mess up there. There’s one point in the film where the Invisible Man murders someone right next to Cecilia and then tries to frame her for this. The big issue of course is that with the security footage you should immediately be able to see that the knife was lifted on its own and that she didn’t do it. This was a very fancy restaurant so they had to have cameras in there and the worst part is that you could have easily written around that. Have him wait until she picks up the knife to eat some food later on and then stab the victim with that.

There wasn’t any food ordered yet but that’s just a clean way of doing it. Most aspects of the Invisible Man work beyond that like his being super silent is fine. I can definitely see that working based on how the invisibility works. It’s not really a stretch. I’m a bit more iffy on his walking through the metal detectors at the entry of the prison but sure lets say the suit is fully plastic. One more iffy part is when he’s taking out a whole platoon of guards though. So for context his suit was damaged earlier so he was flickering in and out a whole lot, however during the fight it almost works perfectly so he vanishes for large amounts of time. It starts flickering again once he’s outside but even if he was invisible the whole fight, the guards could have handled that way better.

It’s obvious that Cecilia isn’t stabbing them because she’s on the ground many feet away. So once the guards start going down they should be firing in all directions to clip the villain or throwing a punch. They should be doing something at least right? Instead they just keep pointing their guns at Cecilia and telling her to stand down when that’s not helping matters at all. It is an interesting fight scene of course and I can even buy the Invisible Man beating them all, but just not in the way that it went down.

If I’m going to drill down further I think another big issue here is the film overexplained why this would all be feasible for Adrian to the point where people should have believed this more. Adrian is the world’s foremost expert on optic technology. If someone were to be invisible, well it would have to use optical technology right? That shouldn’t be a stretch to say that he found a way to do it and faked his death. So at least have someone look into it. Additionally his mansion seemed fully intact and as if nobody really went in to dig around. If they had then they might have seen something.

Now the film does have a pretty intense ending that has a lot of potential for a sequel. It was a drastic way for one character to go but I think it makes for a powerful ending and honestly there probably weren’t any alternatives at that point. There was no way to take things further within the realms of the law there. I hope this character puts on the brakes and doesn’t escalate further though as there was sort of an implied threat at the end. Right now I think this person would follow through on that threat but I hope it doesn’t come down to that. My only issue is that one character looks worse retroactively here.

Put it this way, there is only one way for the ending to work and it requires having certain equipment. The owner of this equipment should have known way before this scene that it was gone and that would eliminate the element of surprise right? I mean this character knows there is only one person who would steal this and so he would be very prepared for what might come later on? You also question the house alignment not to notice what was being prepped.

Well, there’s a lot to analyze here but pretty much all of that I can overlook except for the restaurant scene which was a bit much. Maybe also the kid (Sydney) getting punched since you can really tell the difference when you’re getting punched by the Invisible Man or Cecilia. Cmon now there is a massive difference there and the texture would also be very different considering how the Invisible Man would have hit her. Okay this actually makes another nitpick come to mind here.

So when he follows her into various places like the prison cell, hospital, etc. No matter how fast he is, how does nobody notice how the door stays open for an extra second? Unless you tell me that he perfect times it to dash after them before the door closes or slips under their arm while they hold it open, that should be really tough to manage each and every time. This one’s a full nitpick though since it can be done and since the Invisible Man is a martial arts master he has full control over his body and all.

The concept of the Invisible Man is pretty cool and there’s a lot of utility there in a horror, action, or even comedy context. There’s a lot you can do with this but they should have just made him a random psycho/mass murderer instead of going for the abusive angle here. If you’re going to go that route then just don’t go all the way and keep it to minimal physical/emotional violence like a few hits or something. That’s still incredibly serious without going all the way into grim dark territory.

I was glad that the dog didn’t die here so I’ll give the film some props there. Ultimately while Cecilia didn’t handle some situations as well as she could have, she did well in escaping during the intro and taking care of business by the end. I’d say she worked well as the lead. Her sister Emily also did a good job It was a bit annoying that she was so slow to starting the car in the intro which nearly cost Cecilia everything but beyond that she was a steadfast ally the whole time. Ultimately she had to go through a lot and it was reasonable that she had a point where she got upset because it’s hard to believe that what happened to her was a frame-up.

James was a good guy who helped give Cecilia a place to stay and heal on her terms. He was a supportive guy all the way through to the end and that’s why if Cecilia were to turn on him then that would lose her a lot of points. Yes he also had a point where he distanced himself but considering the context I don’t see how you could possibly blame him at all. I don’t see how Cecilia could either because she would fully understand. Same goes for Sydney who does her best to be supportive to a point. The final supporting character is Adrian’s brother Tom and naturally you’ll be suspicious of him the whole time. The instant that he says he’ll just let Cecilia have all the money without a fuss you figure there has to be something to this guy.

Overall, The Invisible Man’s main problem is that it’s just not a very enjoyable film for most of the run as it can be tough to watch for large chunks of it. It’s a very somber title with a whole lot of dark elements and while a horror film can be visually dark, it should also be very engaging and have its share of moments where it’s lighthearted or at least you’re having fun enjoying something. The film can be quite violent but I would say it’s definitely not on the same level as most slashers or big time horror films so the movie actually did show some restraint on that end. Now based on what the plot for the sequel can be, we’re either going to see one of the biggest jumps in quality for a sequel yet or it’s going to double down and things will get tricky from there. We’ll see how it plays out but as long as it includes some fun this time around then we should be good.

Overall 1/10

Point Break (2015) Review

Point Break is one of those films where I’m almost surprised that it got a remake. I mean most things get remakes eventually but I wouldn’t say the first film is one of the top ones that comes to mind when I’m thinking about a thriller. It just felt like a random remake but hey, it’s here so how did it fare? Well I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original and yet I would still say it edges this one out. It’s not a landslide victory, they’re both on around the same level but this feels like a slimmed down version with characters that aren’t as interesting. The only interesting thing here is the whole eco-warrior angle and that part isn’t fleshed out as much as you might expect.

The film starts off with Johnny Utah pulling off some great stunts once again but unfortunately it gets a bit too intense and his friend dies. He decides not to do the stunts anymore and becomes an FBI agent. Well, there are now a string of odd crimes happening around the world and Johnny notices a trend that everyone missed. The villains are attempting to complete the Ozaki 8. These are crazy stunts where nobody has ever managed to complete the whole set in their lifetime before. These crooks are accomplishing those feats while also robbing places and causing general mayhem which is the impressive part. The FBI agents don’t really buy into this theory though so Johnny is on his own when he goes over to prove this theory. If agent Pappas doesn’t think there is any promise after a short while he will pull the plug on this little operation. Can Johnny find these crooks?

Well, that might be the wrong question. See, Johnny finds them very quickly. That’s not really the hard part here. The hard part is that he quickly starts to hang out with them and doesn’t think they are so bad. In a way he wants to take them in peacefully and he also needs proof which will be difficult. It puts him in a tough spot and that’s also why you really don’t want to be an undercover operative for too long. The longer the mission goes on the more suspicious the villains are naturally going to get. So there is always a timer here.

I would also say that Johnny sure gets lucky a whole lot of the time. If the villains were smarter and made direct moves from the start then Johnny would have been doomed. He’s not exactly subtle with how he will vanish for a full day and then come back. He’s extremely suspicious with all of his little trips. Basically Bodhi at least figured something was up midway but instead of finishing Johnny off he plays along because he hopes to convert Johnny. Overconfidence? Yes absolutely, things would have gone a lot smoother for him if he just made Johnny disappear and that wouldn’t have been hard.

Johnny does have some street cred by being a former extreme sports guy and that at least was a god addition to the film. It actually makes sense to add to his cover and yeah it might be convenient but it also gives more reason why he wouldn’t be immediately distrusted at least so I can get behind that. This one has less of a focus on the surfing and in exchange it’s more like a decathalon as there are a bunch of different sports and activities being played here.

Ironically Johnny reduces the villains’ numbers by getting caught up in the moment and making things a little too extreme. His old habits kick in during a snowboarding level where one guy doesn’t make it. Bodhi and the gang aren’t too bothered since they figure it’s everyone’s choice to go on and that is true. I mean you’d probably still be rather guilty about the whole thing but I don’t think he’s wrong. At the end of the day when someone encourages you to do something, you (almost) always have a choice and so if you do go through with it, you can’t go blaming the other person.

So Bodhi and the gang’s intentions here are to save the environment and complete the stunts. Where this falls flat for me is that their goal doesn’t seem very focused and doesn’t seem to help the environment much at all. Johnny even calls them out for this by saying how they keep taking a lot of money and living the good life but when will they give back? Sure they occasionally give money to people but they don’t seem to be the selfless Robin Hood types that they claim to be. I would say Johnny is right on this, sure they were always going to be villains either way but showing more of how they actually helped the environment would have done a lot to make them more compelling as villains. I think it would have made a world of difference at least and they wouldn’t have been nearly as bland.

In general bland is probably how you would describe the film. It does have some good visuals and action scenes as they perform these extreme stunts but the actual story around that is so forgettable. Half of the conversations between the characters are about the environment and the world around them yet you don’t feel like they are actually saying much. It is a lot of dialogue without a whole lot of actual focus and that is the problem.

I also didn’t care for the main character much because to an extent I think the agents were right that he lost sight of his duties here. He gets distracted way too easily while trying to learn about them. I don’t feel like he really held back once the chips were down but he would have worked harder to stop them. I don’t think fitting in with the group was the most effective way to stop them and at the end of the day they are still big criminals. Even if Johnny sees that they are trying to do something good, it really doesn’t change the bigger picture. You have to stop them.

Now for the ending, it is going for an emotional vibe of course but I do think at this point Johnny is obligated to stop Bodhi. Basically the situation involves arresting Bodhi or letting him destroy himself. At least in the original you could see how Bodhi might have a chance if his skills were up to par but this time he went in a boat so it just felt like a suicide mission. I feel like Johnny has to quickly try and stop him here because there is no chance of success. Additionally Bodhi needs to answer for his crimes rather than getting to go out on his own terms like that. Sometimes death is the easy way out and this is one of those times. Johnny needed to hang in there and make sure this didn’t happen.

Overall, Point Break just feels a little unfocused and didn’t put enough attention to the plot. The stunts were on point but you can’t really make a whole film about that. You need a focus, some kind of overarching story to make it all work and this one didn’t really have that. The characters aren’t the best and I think the film thought that it was a lot deeper than it actually was. As a result the whole thing ends up being rather weak and I can’t say that I would really recommend it. It’s not bad but it’s just not very inspired. I would say to watch any Mission Impossible film starting with film 4 instead for some good stunts that are connected through an exciting plot.

Overall 5/10

Left Behind (2014)

It’s time for the Left Behind reboot movie. The first series made it pretty far and even saw the end of the US with the big presidential strike but now we go back to the first big event of the rapture. The unfortunate thing is it’s hard to see us getting back to where the first trilogy left us off anytime soon but hoping for the best. It’s always important to have more films adapting revelations as we get closer to the end every day. When will the rapture occurs? Nobody knows and nobody ever can know so we just have to stay tuned. No point in trying to predict the unpredictable but whether it happens in 50 years or 500, it will happen and this movie is a fun visual on how that could be. It’s noticeably slower paced than the original film so this focuses a lot more on the tension of the characters in an airplane when this happens.

The movie introduces us to Chloe early on who has returned home to see her parents. Their home has not been the same for quite a while now. Chloe and her father Raymond got really distant from her mother Irene after the latter became a Christian. Still, this was going to be a time for everyone to talk but Raymond runs off to cheat with a stewardess named Hattie while Chloe is not ready for another deep discussion and runs off. That’s when the rapture happens and lots of people vanish. Will these characters be able to withstand this ultimate test?

Now one thing I would like to see the films acknowledge more is that even non Christians would bring up the rapture as a possible idea when this happens. That’s because the event is common knowledge at this point so while it may be a theory that goes under people turning invisible or some kind of alien laser, it should be a part of the discussion. It always takes a while for anyone to suggest this in the movies and then it’s always a big reveal as if nobody had ever heard of the concept before. So I would have at least one person bring it up a little sooner tbh. The panic on the airplane makes a lot of sense since I do see people doing that and it was clever of Raymond to take the air out of the plane to knock everyone back to their seats.

My only other main issue with the film is that none of the characters are particularly likable. It’s really hard to tolerate Raymond at all because he’s just such an awful character. I think it always gets worse when you give someone the benefit of the doubt but they don’t live up to it. For example, Chloe seemed upset with Raymond from the jump when she saw him with Hattie and jumped to conclusions immediately. In the moment you think she is overthinking this though because while he was being friendly, I wouldn’t call it flirtatious. When she notices the ring is gone then you know this is pretty rational.

But there’s always the idea that a man and woman can’t possibly be really friendly without something going on behind the scenes and I still say that’s hogwash. Not only is it possible but there are plenty of friends out there and it would be nice to see more of that. So of course when it turns out that Raymond is cheating then his character hits rock bottom and at that point there’s no way I’m rooting for him at all. It’s definitely clear why he wasn’t taken with the others, that’s for sure. Hattie doesn’t even seem to be aware that he has a wife for most of the movie with how he hides the ring before talking to her every time so I’m really putting the brunt of the damages on Raymond here. He’s making a critical error.

So Chloe is justified in being super upset here but she handles the situation with Irene quite poorly. Chloe launches the first shot by taking a dig at Irene’s faith and jump starting the very conversation that she was hoping to avoid. So that was not a good look and from there she spends most of the film trying to find her brother and to get answers on what’s going on. There is also a really rushed romance plot that feels completely unnecessary but I suppose a film’s usually gonna try and squeeze that in.

Then for Irene, it’s a difficult situation. On one hand now that she believes in God she knows that the clock is ticking. Anyone who doesn’t believe in him is doomed to go to hell. I think a lot of times in Church and everyday life we sort of tip toe around this part of the faith. You try not to think about how everyone who doesn’t believe in God and serve him will go to hell but that is quite clear. It’s impossible to believe in God and yet dispute that fact so on one hand that does make it urgent that you try and get everyone you can go believe in him too. On the other hand, going in too hard will just close off their minds to God and you will have backfired in your intended mission. So it’s not easy, there’s a lot of give and take here. Irene did go a bit too hard here but it’s completely understandable. You never know when the end will approach.

I’m sure we all know many who don’t believe in the same faith but seem like really good people. It’s kind of depressing to think that they may burn for eternity when you think of that for only the truly evil. It’s just a tough facet of life and so you have to ask yourself what you’re going to do about it. I can’t say that I ever really spread the gospel or convert people. It’s not one of my traits and I just let everyone live their own lives but in the back of my head I know that’s the easier path, not exactly the right one. So you just pray and hope that everyone you know are Christians and leave it like that. Irene has my respect for trying to do better but unfortunately she just didn’t have the tact for it and ended up pushing her family farther away.

Meanwhile we have Buck the reporter who mostly helps with his camera but he doesn’t get a ton to do here. He tries to gather intel and figure out what is going on but there aren’t exactly a lot of resources to use while on the plane. He’s just as in the dark as everyone else and the crew aren’t the nicest group of people either so they aren’t volunteering a lot of information. Honestly they tended to be quite annoying the whole time. Especially the guy placing the football bets who just seemed to be looking out for himself here. Part of it is played for laughs a bit but for the mot part he’s just not a nice guy. I would have sped up the plane scenes for this reason, because the crew there just weren’t super entertaining.

I’d also like to see more reactions on the ground level. Part of the fun here is people trying to figure out what’s going on. I want to see the reporters running around, the government coming up with a response, etc. The investigative part of the film is what’s missing here. I would also say that the film could have used a church scene or something earlier to set up the Christian elements before all the Christians vanished. This plays out more like a normal drama to the point where there aren’t a ton of Christian elements to be found. Of course if you know the event then you know the connection right off the gate but I think having more imagery and music in the movie would have been good.

Overall, This film doesn’t match the original Left Behind but it’s still a solid drama. It just doesn’t bring anything to the table that the original didn’t already cover in better detail. That’s the one I would recommend to watch instead if you had to make a choice between them but if not then of course you should check out both and see for yourself which one ends up winning. The franchise is still going so we’ll see how the next one does and what approach it goes with. Will it also go for a slower pace to focus on specific moments or is the pacing going to speed up to try and get us closer to the end? Only time will tell.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review

The Legend of Zelda has returned with a pretty big adventure on the Switch. It took me a while to finally get this one but you know what they say, better late than never right? I’ve always preferred the 3D Link adventures to the overhead ones personally. It’s like how for me 3D Sonic beats the 2D ones and 3D Mario beats 2D. Once you go 3D it’s really hard to go back but this one has a lot of quality of life enhancements and fun features that put it above all of the older Link overhead titles. It’s a quality game all the way through so you should have fun here.

The basic plot is that Link was adrift at sea and gets knocked out. When he wakes up he’s in a bright world filed with various Mario villains, evil Kirby, and a Yoshi Egg on top of the mountain. It’s all kind of weird and doesn’t feel like he’s in the real world anymore. An Owl shows up and tells him that he will need to wake the Windfish up and get all of the legendary instruments across the world. All of the bosses beg Link not to do this though or the whole world will be destroyed. Who should Link listen to here? Is he even on the right side anymore? There’s only one way to find out and so Link gets ready to destroy all of the monsters guarding the instruments.

In a lot of ways the story reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics where the lead is in a fantasy world and has to destroy everyone even though he knows it will destroy their world. Of course there he knows that he’s in a different world and is sure of how to destroy everyone while here Link doesn’t know anything for a fact and has to really tread carefully the whole time. One wrong step and he may make a mistake that he could end up regretting. It feels like the game has a deeper story than most of the overhead ones so that’s a good point in this game’s favor.

The graphics are definitely really high tier as you’d expect from a first party Nintendo game. It just looks really modern and sleek all the way through. The soundtrack is also a lot of fun. It’s got all of the classic Zelda tunes you can picture and they work well with the gameplay. It’s all got a very light atmosphere to it. Link can also move around decently fast so even though the world is rather big it doesn’t take too long to get anywhere. You also have a bit of a sprint option with the way Link does the dash attack even though bumping into anything will still slow you down.

There’s a fast travel here which saves time on going back and forth. You unlock more travel points the more you go through the game. Each dungeon can be tricky but you should get through as long as you’re really inspecting everything. There’s a lot more direction than in the old games and there are a lot of treehouses where you can call someone who will help you out. It’s a great mechanic because otherwise the game would fall into that hole of not telling you much. This way that is never an issue at all.

In terms of game length it felt reasonably long. I forget exactly how long but I would wager you’ll be playing for around 15 hours before you’ve beaten the game and maybe a bit longer. I wouldn’t say it’s super difficult but some of the puzzles will likely take you more than one try to get through. Legend of Zelda puzzles are never a walk in the park after all and each dungeon gets trickier since you have more and more items which could all be an aspect of the puzzle you are trying to solve.

With all of these options you can also ensure that you will have lots of ways to tackle each boss. There will always be a best way but figuring that out is on you. For me I liked using the Boomerang a whole lot because it dealt a serious amount of damage and could also be launched very quickly. It seemed even more efficient than the Master Sword at times which I think is an issue of getting the sword too quickly. It should be an end game weapon so you can make it like 20 times stronger than a normal weapon and have it live up to the hype. By the final dungeon make all of the other weapons completely powerless. It would be a bold approach but one that could make a lot of sense.

I enjoyed using all the weapons though, they were all handled well. The dungeons also have a lot of variety in them so you never feel like you played the same one twice. If there’s anything I’d want more of in a sequel it would be more cutscenes. The ones we got were great of course but I do think nowadays you could probably push things a bit and give us more cutscenes. Maybe throw in a surprise boss during the game outside of one of the dungeons. That would really shake things up in a really fun way. Do some small things like that and the Legend of Zelda series will stand out even more. If not? Well there’s no issue really, the formula has worked thus far so it can keep on working as is.

Overall, Legend of Zelda is back with another solid title here. I had a good bit of fun and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun time. It’s really done about all that it can with this gameplay style and there are even some fully animated scenes. It avoid most of the pitfalls I usually give these titles which is impressive. It feels like a very focused game with a good story and at the end of the day that’s exactly what I’m looking for here so I was super satisfied.

Overall 7/10

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