Genji: Days of the Blade Review

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It’s time to check out an old PS3 beat em up. I got this one at around the same time as Trinity so once I finished that game I knew that it was time to finally pop Genji in. Unfortunately it is nowhere near as good as Trinity. It loses in pretty much every single way. It’s not a bad game, but it does have a bunch of questionable design choices that limit the title. Depending on how the final boss battle had unfolded, this review certainly could have gotten more negative.

There are three main heroes, Yoshitsune, Benkei, and Shizuka. A cosmic entity inhabiting the body of the main villain from the first game also shows up, but he doesn’t really add anything to the story. The land is being overrun by zombies and mystical villains who can turn into vampires and other such monsters. There are even giant Crabs running around and a Kaiju. The heroes have to defend their turf and the whole world as well so they ready their swords and shields. Stopping the villains is as simple as destroying them all, but it won’t be so easy since these villains can certainly fight back. It’s essentially a war against zombies which is an interesting premise, but the characters don’t always seem to act as if they’re fighting anything supernatural. It’s just another day in Feudal Japan. (Or China. I think it’s Japan though)

Right off the bat you can tell that this plot isn’t going to be particularly exciting. The voice acting is pretty iffy and the story is only slightly better than Dynasty Warriors. The characters are as generic as can be, but don’t even have good character designs to save them. Yoshitsune is a poor man’s Sanada Yukimura. Shizuka never actually does much in the story and her health is so low in the game that you never want to actually play as her. Benkei is super powerful in combat, but I just didn’t like him either. There was no reason for the heroes to ditch him during his dramatic moment either as they should have just stayed together and fought off the villains.

While the graphics aren’t as good as Trinity, it’s not as if they’re bad either. It’s still PS3 level, it’s just that the level designs are really bland and there’s not much for the game to work with. There aren’t really even any colors throughout the game so it all appears to be rather lifeless. It doesn’t do anything to immerse you in the game. The soundtrack can also be rather annoying. I like the more atmospheric ninja themes that play during the game, but the one where the guy just keeps yelling over and over again just makes you want to turn the volume off. On a technical level, I’d say that the game was actually bad when you think about it.

Fortunately, the gameplay is what we’re here for and it’s pretty good. For an odd reason the game chose to go for a more cinematic style. This means that you fight in slow motion a lot of the time. Gradually you start to fight a little faster as the game goes on and by the end it feels pretty normal. I suppose you just get that strong by the end. There is no lock on system so sometimes you’ll find yourself randomly missing the enemy but you’ll adapt to this by the time you complete the game. Each character has a final smash attack which stops time and lets you unleash a flurry of attacks. It’s a lengthy quick time event which saves you a lot of time from fighting each opponent individually. It’s immensely helpful for bosses even if it can get rather repetitive.

There isn’t any replay value to be found here. No collectibles, no multiplayer, no trophies…etc. Once you complete the game you’re just going to put it down and you’ll probably never pick it up again. The game is about 10 hours long so at least it’s not too short or anything. It’s a reasonable length considering that you can pick the game up for about 5 dollars. Still, I always like to at least have some replay value at the ready.

Make sure you have some backup saves ready as you approach the end of the game. If you don’t have a lot of items or power ups at the ready for when you fight the final boss it’ll all be over for you. The final boss is basically 5 phases long and in that time there are no minions to fight so forget about getting any more EXP for your weapons. Fortunately I had saved most of my items and power ups til the climax so I was able to barely squeak by, but it does feel like a mean spirited game. The average player would have used the power ups by then since you’d assume that it’s the right move and there is no guarantee that they would save their items either. The 4th phase of the final boss is hard to even hit without the final smash since it’s limbs are so high up and the final, final boss takes a lot of dodging and tedious hit/run strategies to overcome. Ideally you want to have around 10-15 final smashes ready. A pro tip is that leveling up your Magic meter restores it completely so just don’t level it up until you’re at the boss. Then you can use the final smash, upgrade, use it again, and keep on repeating this strategy over and over again. It’s a sound plan and one that worked for me.

The part I was stuck at for the longest time was definitely a long tower level within a boat. You had to climb and jump through a bunch of obstacles. The problem is that the camera kept changing angles which made your journey that much more difficult and then falling would send you way back. You won’t fall for the same trick too many times as you’ll eventually manage to get through, but I feel like the developers just did a really bad job with the stage design and a lot of the game’s fundamentals. This game could have been so much better than it actually was. I’ll give it some kudos for the amount of cutscenes that it had though. I may not have particularly enjoyed the story, but at least it actually did have one. That’s better than nothing.

Overall, The gameplay may not have sounded great from how I described it, but it’s still a 3D beat em up. It’s fun to take on the legions of enemies and prove that you are the best fighter. The game can be rather difficult so you can’t just run into every pile of enemies and attack until they’re down. Sometimes you’ll need to lead them into traps or cross-fire between enemies. Other times you may have to retreat for a while. Be careful because save parts can be far apart so you can lose close to 20 minutes at times. The platforming in the game is also pretty rough so watch out for those sections. I think you’ll enjoy the game more if you know the tricks behind it since the game doesn’t explain it very well. Otherwise you’re in for a brutal time. Believe it or not, I recommend the game, but just be sure to take every precaution by having the backup files at the ready. It’s never too early to start saving your items either.

Overall 7/10

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The Invisible Ray Review

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It’s time for a film about a mad scientist’s quest for power. This film is quite old so you are ready for a classic thriller right from the start. Unfortunately, the film slips up with some animal violence thrown in which I had to shake my head at. The film was so promising at first and it really looked like it could have been a winner. Alas, it fell one fist short, but I’ll give it some props for effort. At least it made a fair attempt right?

The film starts off with a rambling mad man by the name of Janos inviting a bunch of scientists to see his latest invention. After a lot of insults are hurled around from all of the cast, the scientists are amazed as Janos shows them something that has happened millions of years ago using a new material. Dr. Benet declares that they should team up. Janos’ Mom tells him this is a bad idea since they are always insulting him and have discredited Janos’ theories for years. The main character decides to go anyway though and joins the team in Africa. They are here to find pieces of the rock that crash landed. Janos decides to take point so he goes ahead of the others. His wife Diana isn’t thrilled about this, but complies for the moment. Weeks pass by and everyone starts to get worried.

It turns out that Janos has been poisoned by the material and is essentially a Radiation Man. A single touch with any living thing causes them to perish. Benet makes him a cure, but he’ll have to use it every day for the rest of his life or he’ll destroy everyone along with himself. Janos doesn’t let this distract him and builds a weapon of mass destruction. Whatever he points the cannon at disintegrates into a million pieces. It can also be used as a healing ray to give someone back their sight and other such senses. Unfortunately, his wife has gone for a rebound and the other scientists have left with his idea so Janos decides to murder them all.

That was a rather long plot summary but it was necessary because I feel as though Janos trying to murder everyone is the main plot of the movie even if it took a while to get there. No worries, the film made Janos as obvious of a bad guy as possible right from the start. He was shady even when inviting people into his house and then he basically had slaves work for him under threat of death if they tried leaving. There was never a moment where I thought “This guy is heroic.” Throw in the fact that he is very quick to start murdering everyone and he is really doomed to the villain role. I can’t say that he is particularly likable either. He holds himself in check better than most villains, but that isn’t quite good enough. His powers are pretty useful though. Imagine being able to destroy your opponents in a single blow. That is really handy if you ask me.

Benet is the other main scientist in this film. He’s pretty charismatic and the best person in the film. He’s reasonable and while he doesn’t like Janos, he puts that to the side in order to help science move along. Unfortunately, he can be a little slow on the uptake at times like when he walked to the door even though he knew Janos would show up soon. He put himself in the worst possible situation at the time and that’s just not where you want to be. He probably shouldn’t have been so quick to cure Janos, but it was the hero move so I can’t fault him for that.

I can’t say that Diana and Ronald were good characters though. Diana was married to Janos so rebounding to Ronald wasn’t a very good idea. Sure, they didn’t get along too well, but she should have at least officially separated from Janos first. She acts as if she never loved him either and only did it because she promised her father. That’s such a terrible reason to marry someone and I just see her as having a lot of fault in this as well as the main character. Ronald went after her even though he knew she was married so he is probably the most guilty character of them all. I just never liked th guy and he didn’t even get a particularly large role in the film. After a while he just stayed in the background for good.

This film’s writing is pretty strong as it is so old. Despite being such a retro classic, the characters are all pretty mean to each other the whole time. They do it in fairly polite ways, but there just aren’t any nice people here. They all have an axe to grind with someone. Even if Diana wasn’t going for the rebound she would be pretty sketchy as she is generally pretty rude to the Africans they’re working with. Most of the characters have that in common.

Unfortunately, the animal violence is pretty bad as mentioned before. There was a fun dog throughout the film who would follow the main characters. It would have been better if he wasn’t even in the film then to be destroyed by the main character. We also got to see the aftermath of a hunt as the main characters take a animal to be eaten. We don’t need any of this, especially in a film that would otherwise be pretty peaceful and happy.

Getting past that, the atmosphere and pacing for the movie were pretty solid. Quite a lot happened in a relatively short amount of time as you can see from the plot summary. The film just kept going on as the plot would adapt and follow. There also was another good character in the form of Janos’ Mom. She kept giving him good advice even if he did end up ignoring it and she made the tough calls at the end of the film. You don’t just break one of the big Science rules and hope to get away from it. That’s just not how things roll here.

I do have to question how smart these scientists are. They believe the whole picture of a meteorite hitting the Earth millions of years ago so easily. Did they not suspect it was some kind of illusion or trick. My first reaction certainly wouldn’t be to stand there and just accept that the man has broken new ground in scientific history. It’s a little hard to swallow and the motion picture wasn’t all that impressive either. They should have called him out on it.

Overall, The Invisible Ray had potential. It has a reasonable cast, at least as far as the banter is concerned and a good amount of action. The characters have to lay traps for one another and rely on mind games for the rest. It’s a pretty interesting film and it’ll definitely keep your attention. The dog scene just stops it from being a good film and the romance was also pretty terrible the whole time. It’s just hard to get past two big negatives like those so I’d recommend avoiding this film. You can certainly find better ones if you look around for a few minutes. That’s all the time you’ll need.

Overall 4/10

Captain America and the Falcon Secret Empire Review

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It’s time to take a look at the Secret Empire. Recently Marvel has had fun bringing back old events. We got a new Civil War, Infinity Gauntlet, and even the Secret Empire. Many don’t know this but there was an original Secret Empire event which the new one is lightly based off of. Honestly, it’s very light so the plots are quite different, but it goes to show that Marvel has been doing their research. This isn’t a very good event, but it’s decent enough. The writing just hasn’t aged well in some respects.

The collection starts off with Falcon being jumped by a bunch of hooligans. Captain America saves him, but Falcon isn’t happy since he’s tired of being in Cap’s shadow. Cap offers to help him get a power up through Iron-Man or Hank Pym, but Falcon wants it to be someone more relatable so he goes to Black Panther. This is only the start of where Falcon starts to act petty. He brings his girlfriend along for the ride basically just to show off and she gets competitive with the others very quickly. She picks fights with almost literally everyone she comes across and even throws a spear at Black Panther just to get his attention. Thanks to her, two of Black Panther’s guards are murdered and Falcon doesn’t seem to care as he keeps bragging about his upgrades. He runs back to show them off to Cap and is quite eager to take on the Avenger in a fight.

While Falcon was gone, a smear campaign was run against Captain America on TV and it was quite successful. So successful in fact that within days the whole country was agiainst the hero, even the Avengers. It’s almost laughable how quickly Iron-Man shows up with his threats and Falcon starts to have doubts as well. Even Nick Fury quickly jumps on the bandwagon. Captain America begins to lose faith in America which is understandable but before he call it quits, it’s time to take down the Secret Empire. It turns out that they have also kidnapped most of the X-Men so Professor Xavier, Jean Grey, and Cyclops arrive as backup. Together, the heroes stand a fighting chance, but Cap may have to cross some lines in order to clear his name.

The Evil Cap part is what the new Secret Empire is really going for while here it was all just bad media coverage. I think a big problem with the arc is that it all hinges on Marvel’s America being as gullible as possible. Did everyone really believe these media interviews so completely? What happened to the Daily Bugle and their reporting skills? Why didn’t the Avengers launch a campaign of their own? Why would everyone accept a new Moon hero coming out of nowhere as Captain America’s replacement? I felt like this comic took a lot of beats from the Thunderbolts but in a far more rushed and less believable scenario. I don’t know, the whole thing was rather fishy the whole time.

Captain America also wasn’t at his most likable in this comic either. He basically said that he wouldn’t help the X-Men until they pointed out that it was the same villain behind both schemes. He falls for every trap that the enemies laid out because his emotions cloud his judgment the whole time. It’s easy to forget that he is supposed to be a seasoned veteran here because he rarely acts like it. He also makes the wrong decision to end the comic and this has got to be the 4th or 5th time he’s done this. I didn’t realize that he was lacking in confidence so often. He’s still an entertaining enough character to watch, but he can be annoying.

Falcon is unfortunately even worse. He spends the early issues being jealous of Cap and then he rushes into battle without actually remembering how to fight. In a critical moment he ends up knocking out Black Panther and himself by mistake and tends to lose in all of his fights. Even in his big return fight where he teamed up with Cap, he lost in under 5 seconds. Naturally he started throwing petty insults at Cap after that. Falcon has just got to be the most petty superhero of all time and I’d consider him to be more whiny than Alpha from the recent Spider-Man comics. I’m glad that the Falcon has improved over the years because otherwise I can’t see why he’d stay on as a main character.

Black Panther looked good here. Despite everyone rushing him and murdering his men, he stayed calm throughout and always had a plan. He was definitely useful here. Thor and Iron-Man had decent motivational speeches, but didn’t do much in the story beyond that. There is a subplot where Peggy thinks Cap still likes her while he actually likes someone else. This drama plot definitely feels like it’s out of left field. It could be resolved rather quickly but Cap is too nervous to say anything. I’m not too surprised. It’s not an easy decision of course, but he still needs to make the hero call here.

As for the villains, we mainly focus on the Tumbler. He’s not half bad although you can’t help but feel like he is just Batroc by another name. His agility lets him take on guys like Captain America, but I can’t see him lasting too long otherwise. The Moon villain was more of a threat and he was someone that I could take a lot more seriously. He had super strength, speed, and intangibility. I think he could also teleport. Captain America and the others really couldn’t beat him during the issues so his fans must be thrilled. He gave the issues some more stakes as this was a villain that they couldn’t beat with brute force alone. I also liked the design.

We also have the corrupt politician. He wasn’t quite as fun as Godfrey, but I liked him all the same. He did a good job of stringing everyone along in his plot. The Secret Empire members also weren’t bad although most of them weren’t actual characters. It is interesting how Hydra created so many splinter groups. It really is a dangerous organization in that sense since every major villain group seems to be connected to them in some way or other. I’m trying to figure out who the politician who destroyed himself was since it obviously rattled Cap. On one hand, I want to say that it was the President, but I suppose that would be a little too bold. Whoever it was, I still wonder why it would break Cap. Maybe they’ll say it in a future comic or maybe they won’t.

The art was certainly on point. Everyone was in their ironic costumes and it was easy to go from page to page. Everything was sharp and this comic has aged incredibly well in that respect. I breezed through the issues as a result. Good art can certainly make a difference in a comic. Now, this review may have been on the negative side as I just had a lot of logic issues with the whole thing, but it was a fun comic. If anything, it just reinforces to me that the Marvel characters are still a lot meaner than the DC ones. They doubt each other and change sides at the flip of a hat. That hasn’t really changed much over the years.

That said, the adventures were still fun to follow. Seeing Cap have to break out of jail and steal stuff was pretty interesting. The team up with the X-Men was a lot of fun as well and I hadn’t been expecting that. It was also interesting to see the X-Men in their extremely old costumes while everyone else looked quite a bit more modern. I believe their was a plot reason for that, but it was a fun contrast. I would have liked to have seen Cyclops do a little better in the fights, but this wasn’t exactly his rodeo.

Overall, It’s been a while since I read a Captain America comic. In many respects he was portrayed well as he takes command of the situation and always walks around with a strut. That being said, his self doubts and general disregard for everyone else could be a little extreme. The Falcon was certainly extreme and maybe it was just the writer who didn’t really understand the characters. It can make the issues funny in an ironic way as you wonder why everyone is acting this way, but it is certainly entertaining through and through. There are no objectionable scenes in the comic and it never drops a random animal scene or anything else to worry about. It’s just a fun action adventure and you can’t ask for much more than that. I’d recommend checking out this comic and you may look at Captain America in a whole different way.

Overall 7/10

The Day The Earth Stood Still Review

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It’s time to look at a really retro Sci-Fi film that would change the way we all looked at the genre…forever. It’s a title that you’ve probable heard many times even if you’ve never watched it before. It’s definitely a solid movie that has aged well. The monster is good and the effects actually aren’t half bad. It may have been the first big Sci-fi classic of the 50’s since it even came out before Godzilla.

The plot is relatively straight forward. A mysterious object shows up on the scanner and everyone starts to panic. It is moving too fast to be a ship and it’s unlikely that it’s a bomb. Either way, the army gets set to fend off whatever lands. A human walks out of it and reaches for his gun so the army sends him to the hospital. His pet Robot disarms a lot of the guards, but the human stops him. After a brief rest, the mysterious being reveals himself as an alien named Klaatu. Klaatu is here to wipe out the threat that the Earth poses to the universe. He’ll blow it up if necessary but he wants the world to abandon their space program otherwise. If they do that, then Earth can continue to exist. America knows that the Soviets won’t be on board with this so they prepare for the biggest fight yet!

Klaatu doesn’t actually state his mission for quite a while though. He wants to talk to everyone at once which isn’t really possible and you can’t help but feel bad for the army at times. Klaatu really doesn’t make it easy for them with his large demands and the guy should realize that humanity can’t unite on a whim. He basically states that their affairs don’t affect him in the slightest, but they kind of do. Ah well, in the meantime, Klaatu will hang out with a kid and learn more about human customs. He learns that not everyone is ruled by fear, just most of them.

Klaatu is very annoying, but hes a good character. At his core he seems to be a nice guy who really doesn’t want to destroy Earth. The fact that he came here at all supports that since he could have let Gort go on alone to destroy everything. He seems to possibly have some abilities as he escaped a hospital room quite easily. He also carries around sand that speeds up the healing process and a ray on his ship that can help to stall death. It’s all pretty useful when you’re in a hostile environment. He’s a nice guy and always stays polite to the rest of the cast. Here’s why he is annoying though.

Klaatu just can’t take a hint. He constantly asks the impossible and then ends up going with threats by the end anyway. He basically took it out on the scientist I felt and while he doesn’t fly off the handle, he’s a little unfair to the humans who are actually trying to help. He’s not supposed to be perfect though and those laws I can live with. He’s a fun lead and takes things in stride a lot better than most aliens. The rest of the cast isn’t quite important as they are merely around to help fill in the plot. The main kid gets a pretty large role as he isn’t yet old enough to fear Klaatu and instead enjoys all of the cool new inventions that he finds out. The media also does a good job of burying the story as per usual.

Helen is the main heroine and she is all right although a little slow to act. She is glad that KIlaatu gets along with her son so well at first, but then her friend shows up and tells her that it’s a bad idea. She ends up just listening to him even though the guy seemed very selfish and uncaring. Their romance falls through anyway as he chooses riches over her in the end. It’s hard to see how they ever gt together in the first place since the movie does its best to write him as a very unlikable guy. He never leaves a positive impression on you. Helen cuts it a little close when delivering her final message to Gort, but she gt the job done in the end so that worked out.

It’s always fun to see everyone talking a good game about the alien while sitting at home and drinking coffee. You probably wouldn’t see that much paranoia in real life if an actual alien showed up as here even the radio kept having people talk about how they needed to destroy it. It was all handled so casually which made it all the more fun. The few dissenting opinions were quickly dodged so everyone could be in unison.

Of course, while Klaatu may have barely been an alien, Gort certainly was one. He has a cool laser blast that can disintegrate whatever it touches. That makes him a very formidable threat in this film and he looks good throughout. He comes across as a very reliable friend that you can count on and it’s never personal with this guy. He just destroys people as part of his job. No apologies accepted and none given. It would have been neat if the film ended with him firing off one last giant energy blast to destroy the world, but I suppose that would have been rather dark right?

As expected, the writing is quite good. I can’t really think of any bad lines here and all of the characters looked pretty good. Even the unlikable ones were written well as they weren’t too exaggerated. They simply went into their roles and did a good job. The film’s pacing is also rather good. If I have one complaint, it’s that the middle of the film starts to clue you in on how nothing is really going to happen. After Klaatu is rejected a few times and goes to meet with the first scientist, you know that he’s doomed. There’s no way he’s going to get his audience because the film has already told us what his goal is. By that point you can figure that he’ll never get his audience but at least he’ll get to hurl a few last insults before leaving. It may not have been the most satisfying way to end the plot, but it was still an enjoyable ride throughout.

Overall, The Day The Earth Stood Still is a good film. It reminds us that paranoia is no good and you’re better off sticking to more productive things like making memes with good messages at the end. The climax/ending of the film may not have been all that satisfying, but the build up was good and it’s still a really good premise. The opening act was probably the best part of the film and it usually is in a film like this as I love the opening reactions from everyone. Klaatu will have to work on being more subtle about his alien knowledge if he ever returns for a sequel. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then you should definitely fix that as this is a must watch for Sci-Fi fans.

Overall 7/10

The Time of Their Lives Review

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Looks like it’s time for another Abbott and Costello film. I dare say that this one makes a case for being the best one yet as the characters take part in an ambitious ghost story. The Supernatural elements are handled well even if the rules surrounding them are a little muddy. The plot can also be a little confusing at times as you try to remember who the traitors were and why everyone is so gun happy. It all makes for one chaotically fun adventure that you won’t want to miss!

The film starts off with Horatio returning from a big mission. Nora greets him happily and brags to the world that he is actually is a pretty great guy who never slacks off. What she doesn’t realize is that Horatio has an iconically low IQ and can’t understand anything for beans. Still, they’re together and that’s what counts. This is stopped when Horatio’s old enemy Cuthbert shows up and locks Horatio in a chest. He is freed by Melody who warns Horatio that they need to get out and warn George Washington of his impending doom. They are shot on the way over and cursed to be trapped in the land forever until they are proven innocent of being traitors. Fast forward to the modern day and some people live in the mansion. Horatio and Melody decide to play tricks on them to make themselves feel better, but then realize that if they can get the new owners to find the letter…they’ll be free. How can they do that when they’re ghosts though?

It was pretty ambitious to actually have the main characters murdered in the beginning. Nora was possibly offed as well. I can safely say that I was not expecting that in the slightest so the shock value was handled well. There’s also a lot that you can do with the ghost gimmick so that was fun. The rules confused me a bit though. So, people can’t hear the ghosts, but they can feel them…sometimes. The ghosts can make contact with each other…sometimes. What’s the point of going invisible when nobody can see you? The ghosts do that a lot with a cool spin move (That was admittedly handled very well) but I wondered what the point of it was. Horatio could do the spin move sometimes and sometimes he couldn’t. I thought that the rules were a little convoluted, but I suppose that’s part of the point right?

The humor is basically the same as it always is so you either like it or you don’t. Horatio spends the majority of the film sputtering and stammering as he takes everything literally and is the but of every joke. You have to admire the fact that he never lets any of this get to him though and always gets right back on the saddle. The guy has heart and charisma. It is admittedly the same array of jokes in every Abbott and Costello film so I can see how some would get tired of it, but it always works well if you ask me. The style is pretty nice and Horatio isn’t a bad character. Even though he is stuck with Melody for almost 200 years, he resists all of the flirting attempts as he thinks about how to get back to Nora. Melody felt a little more fake on that note as she was willing to rebound with Horatio until she could move on and be reunited with her original partner.

Ralph takes himself seriously as always. He gets picked on by the ghosts quite a bit so in a way it’s like Costello is finally getting his revenge for all of the other films. It works pretty well, but you have to admit that there wouldn’t be much of a movie without Horatio. I mean, it would be a decently serious mystery I suppose, but the comedy is what makes the film. Horatio may make a lot of mistakes but the fact that he is so petty makes him more endearing. The human characters get a fairly big role yet they are largely forgettable. They are mainly here to get picked on and scared on many occasions by Horatio. While they may not have much of a personality of their own, it’s still fun to see them slowly believe in the ghosts one by one. Stealing poor Ralph’s whiskey may have been a bit much, but it showed that the ghosts meant business this time around.

And to think that I was actually worried that we’d be stuck in the past for a little while there. Trust me, that wouldn’t have been nearly as engaging. It was rather painful for the lead as well since he ended up falling on a giant pitch fork there. No, he’s definitely glad that they’re in the present now even if he was stuck there for quite a long time. He may not be even remotely smart, but he still knows enough to try and stay away from gunfire. Now if he can just learn the difference between a recording a live voice, then he’d be golden!

Finally, I think what helps this film is that it feels like it’s always moving in a straight line. The plot is simple so it is always the focus. Every minute of the film is essentially trying to get to that goal. Because of that, a large intro isn’t needed or a bunch of twists and turns. After all, this isn’t really a mystery, it’s more of an adventure. It’s a pretty big change from the other films and it’s one that works well. I’m also getting slightly closer to watching them all so that’s pretty fun.

Overall, This film was just a lot of fun. It’s fairly short so the pacing is tight as each scene keeps on moving with quite a lot of speed. Horatio and Melody make for a pair of charismatic main characters. It was fun to see them enjoying their time as a ghost for the most part since most ghosts end up falling into self pity mode. They ultimately did enjoy their freedom, but at least they had fun in the process. I do think they could have stopped the cops a lot easier tough like by hitting the wheels or something. I suppose that as long as their methods worked it all ended up for the best though. The surprise ending was pretty intense though and a fitting way for the film to close out. Washington always gets the last laugh after all. I’d definitely recommend checking the film out and then you can decide for yourself if it’s one of the best Abbott and Costello films or not.

Overall 8/10

The Colossus of New York Review

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It’s time for another retro film that tried to be like Frankenstein. This version is a lot more powerful though and the film is also quite a bit better. That being said, the film sabotages itself when it was so close to grabbing an easy 7. It’s a reasonably fun film though and you’ll definitely want to stick around for the ending as it suddenly feels like a comic book title. Beware the lasers, for they hunger!

Jeremy was a very promising young genius who was going to help end world hunger. Unfortunately, he saw a ball roll in the middle of an airport and decided to run after it. A truck ran over him instead and he died instantly. His father, William didn’t like this though as he always felt that Jeremy was destined to save the world. As such, he grabbed the brain and built a robot body so that Jeremy could live again. Jeremy’s brother Henry wasn’t thrilled about this since he had been hoping to take Jeremy’s wife Mala for himself while Jeremy was dead. Henry decides to pursue this plan anyway so now Jeremy has to take things into his own hands. He doesn’t want his family to know that he is alive because he feels like his robot body doesn’t look good, but that won’t stop him from doing what needs to be done.

In case you couldn’t guess, the plot that I’m referring to which hurt the film quite a bit was the Henry trying to rebound with Mala part. It had no real place in the film. While we can guess that Henry is a bad character from the onset, it also makes Mala look really bad that she was going along with it. She didn’t have a lot of objections to this by the end as Henry won her over quite easily. She sure got over Jeremy right away and that’s kind of sad. He had seemed like a very nice and earnest guy. Sure he’s dead, but getting together with his brother seems kind of mean spirited don’t you think? Henry was rather petty and jealous the whole time. I can’t say I expected much from him, but I expected more from Mala.

At least Charles was a good character though. He’s Jeremy’s son and still very young so he doesn’t fully get what’s happening. This works well for Jeremy since he is able to play with Charles when nobody is watching. He also lets Charles know about the kill switch on his chest in case Jeremy ever loses his mind. This leads Charles to make the tough call at the end of the film. It was clearly not the right one, but as he is a kid, it’s not quite as terrible as when a grown person does it. Charles didn’t fully understand what he was doing after all.

Discussing Jeremy is a little complicated since it’s hard to say when exactly he lost control of himself. Having a robot body certainly came with side effects and one was that he would lose his mind. It’s easy to see why as well since connecting the brain came with a lot of trial and error and he was treated like a machine for a while. Still, he seemed like a nice guy pre transformation and probably would have been a good lead. As the main villain he also does a good job. The robot design is pretty good and he even comes equipped with death lasers that can disintegrate a target on contact. Now that is efficient!

William may have meant well initially, but he certainly didn’t think much about Jeremy’s point of view when bringing him back to life. He was confident that Jeremy wouldn’t care about missing out on the human angle since he could now work in peace, but evidently he wasn’t as work focused as Will thought. William also didn’t really respect Jeremy’s wish to rest in piece and ultimately his selfishness was enough for me to consider him as the villain. He really only thought of himself and that’s never a good track to take. Once Jeremy learned how to mind control people, it was all over. William only has himself to blame though as he could have stopped Jeremy, but his reactions were very slow and he couldn’t hit the off switch in time. Letting Jeremy break the switch was a fatal move.

The writing’s pretty good for this film. It’s always interesting to hear the characters subtly mock each other and use guilt trip tactics. They were very effective in this film. The debate about the soul was also interesting enough. My stance is that the soul leaves the body immediately and then the body/mind are useless while William tries to claim that it can still act without a soul. The film portrays him as being correct to an extent as Jeremy still exists, he just loses his emotions eventually.

I have to give the film a good amount of credit for actually having a climax. Not just a climax either, but a pretty satisfying one as there is a lot of action. It is a little grim though as Jeremy breaks into the United Nations building and destroys a ton of people with his death ray. Many international leaders and police officers lose their lives before Charles finally takes him down for the count. Jeremy may have been stopped, but the damage is most certainly already done. His plan was pretty good as well since it’s not as if he can be stopped very easily. A few missiles would have put him in his place eventually though.

Overall, The Colossus of New York was a pretty interesting film. Obviously, the movie taking place in New York was a pretty nice way to start things off. The robot design was cool and the climax was exciting. As I mentioned, the part that crippled the film was Henry’s plot, which was just pretty sad. The scenes where the characters are building Jeremy back together can drag on a bit as well. Jeremy also takes a little too long to realize that Henry may not be the nice guy that he had always assumed him to be. The film takes off a little smoother once Jeremy breaks free of the controls and totally turns evil. The first half is still enjoyable enough though. This film will just end up being forgotten in the long sea of other monster films and I can’t say that I mind this occurrence all that much.

Overall 5/10

Patterns Review

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It’s time for an old film about corporate business. You see large businesses like Wal-Mart messing with people all the time, but nobody is ever able to stop them. They’re too powerful and even control politics. Well, this film is about one such incident where a small town guy ends up being hired by a big company. The problem is that it’s all very overwhelming and he notices Ramsey (the boss) picking on his supervisor, Mr. Briggs. Will Fred do something about it or will he quietly wait so he can get the promotion. He has to decide and quickly before a murder occurs!

One of the ways that you can tell this is an old film is how there’s a lot of background noise. It’s like the home videos we create at home where the wind sounds extremely fierce over the loud speaker. There were times in the film where it would almost drown out what the characters were saying. I felt like the film improved on that once the first act was over, but it was definitely pretty interesting to see. The black and white color scheme can definitely help for this kind of flick. It gives the film a more intense backdrop.

The cast is relatively small here so you can just focus on the inter office politics going on. I’d say that Fred did a pretty good job for the most part. He did stick up for Mr. Briggs in the final office and also tried to set the matter straight that Briggs helped him. It’s definitely tough to talk back to the boss in this kind of setting, but that’s why you’ve gotta be bold. I like to think that I won’t take anything from a boss. Naturally they get the last word in and can ultimately fire you, but a good polite, but stern comeback can always go a long way.

Now, a big part of whether you like Fred or not will probably come down to his decision at the end and whether you agree with it or not. It’s definitely one of those decisions that will make you wonder and for what it’s worth, I probably would have gone with his plan. It makes sense to do what he did because then you’ve still got a fighting chance at making the company better from the inside. The giant pay increase doesn’t hurt matters either. It’s definitely a busy business and one with people who really want it to grow. Someone’s got to keep them in check.

Naturally, Ramsey was the big villain of the film. He’s definitely a mean guy who doesn’t give much thought to the people around him unless they are working perfectly. He just wants to make the business as great as can be and will do anything to see that happen. He makes for a good antagonist and is the kind of guy that you’d want as a correspondent when meeting other companies. You need a tough guy who won’t back down to the rivals. That being said, the negative consequences of this on your own staff are obvious which is why you would have to let him go. When he rises up to become the big boss, that’s when things get tricky. There’s always the question of whether you should help people at the expense of your business or growing to new heights and potentially helping more people in the long run, but messing with people in the short run. Spoiler alert, the first option is always best. Keep trying to improve and raise revenue, but it can’t be at the expense of your workers or environment. That’s just a sign that you have to come up with a new idea. As a consumer it’s great to see such low prices at Wal-Mart, but you know that they come at a big price which is unfortunate.

Mr. Briggs is essentially the only person watching out for the little guy until Fred came along. As such, he is thrown under the bus quite a lot. At his level the company can’t really fire him which means they have to try and bully him until he quits. I’m always mocking social norms and this is exactly why. The company can’t fire him because of their image which means that as long as he doesn’t care about the insults, Briggs can just keep collecting his check. News flash, that’s exactly what I would do. I know there’s nothing they can do about it so I’d just show up to work with a smile every day and let the insults roll over me. Whenever the insults start to get personal, I’d just look at my bank account and smile again. If they do decide to fire me, I receive a very generous severance package so we take those. Unfortunately for Briggs he has a heart condition which starts to get fatal so he couldn’t engage in the benefits, but he had a good attitude about the whole thing as he vowed to never quit.

There were a few other supporting characters who showed up once in a while. Briggs had a kid named Peter who was around to make him feel more guilty about the job. Fred’s wife also popped up to make the situation a lot tougher for him and to guilt trip him into doing the wrong thing. Finally we had the secretary who was pretty good at her job, but ultimately didn’t make many moves to stop the corruption. She simply focused on staying alive in the job. As you can tell, I thought the main cast was a whole lot stronger than the backups.

One area that I thought the film did a really good job in was not making Mr. Briggs petty. I was fully expecting him to be really jealous of Fred since the main character was hired to replace him. Even knowing this, Briggs never acted mean to Fred. Sure, he may have slyly tried to seat Fred a little further down the table once, but they got along right away. The world turned against Briggs, but he stayed as a nice guy right up til the end.

Of course, one thing that didn’t help his heart was the fact that Briggs ran to the beer when things get tough. Most of the characters in this film had a “It’s Miller Time!” moment when the situation kept on deteriorating. That’s definitely a bad habit and hopefully one that they can break. That was the one line that the film was missing as the writing was quite solid otherwise. The script was on point and all of the characters were pretty realistic. I would have liked to have had one more ally in the board room, but it is true that most people suddenly begin to look out for themselves in that case so I could see everyone staying quiet.

Overall, Patterns is a solid film. While it may have been satisfying for Fred to have landed a hit on Ramsey at the end and been arrested or fired, having him around to insult the guy with back and forth banter for the next few years is still pretty interesting. The moral of the story is that you want to be in a union or a top executive so you can’t be fired and then you don’t have to take anything from your bosses. If you have a tough boss or enjoy seeing films like this, I’d definitely recommend checking this film out asap. It’s definitely aged pretty well and this is something that still happens nowadays so the film isn’t dated in that sense. The only thing that can take some getting used to is the odd static sound in the background, but you’ll be able to tune it out before long.

Overall 7/10

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) Review


It took a long while to get to this review, but I’ve finally made it. TMNT was one of the only big 90’s action shows that I had never watched from start to finish. Well, that finally changed and it certainly lives up to the reputation that the 90’s have created. I can see why no other TMNT show can top this one since it would be extremely difficult. This show handled all of the characters and lore perfectly. With solid action scenes, animation, and a great soundtrack, there is a lot to like here and not much to dislike. It can attract any and all action fans.

The show follows 4 Turtle warriors who become humanoid hybrids once they are exposed to a mysterious ooze. They are trained by a rat named Splinter who teaches them how to master hand to hand combat. They live in the shadows since the general public isn’t quite ready to handle them yet. They work to oppose the various gangs that are around like the Purple Dragons and the Foot Clan. The Turtles also obtain several allies over the years and make a lot of enemies as well. With 5+ seasons and a bunch of episodes along the way, you can bet that numerous obstacles stand in the way of world peace.

Let’s talk about the cast. Leonardo is the leader of the group as always and commands the team well. He trains the hardest and takes everything more seriously than his brothers. He is always calm and collected when dealing with the villains. With all of this in mind, surely he is the strongest right? I’d say that he definitely is. Raphael has always been known as the tough turtle, but in this show, he lags behind the others. Leonardo puts up a great fight against the Elite foot ninjas and just has way better showings in general when compared to the others. Leonardo temporarily became very hot headed like Raphael when his power was not enough to save everyone. It was actually a pretty fun phase and one episode in particular showed how changed he was. When two random guys with wings started a brawl in the city, both Raphael and Leonardo wanted to take them both out instead of talking it through. Leonardo became a better Raphael than Raphael. While Raphael was my favorite as a kid, Leonardo is definitely the best turtle this time, at least in this show.

Raphael is still the second best though. He talks a real good game and while he may not be as skilled as Leonardo or Michelangelo, he is still a strong fighter It would have been cool to have seen him get more one on one fights like what Leonardo got so we could get a better picture of just how strong he really is. There’s not much reason to dislike Raph and the guy makes a lot of good points on how the heroes shouldn’t be hiding all the time. It may have gone the X-men route if they had shown themselves to the world since I’m sure that the humans would try to attack them, but it would be good to get out of the sewer more.

Michelangelo is the comical character of the group and proves that natural talent can go a long way in this group. The other turtles train constantly while Mikey sits back and watches comic books, yet he ends up being a better fighter than Raph and Don. One would think that this is just a fluke, but he outshines them consistently. Mikey’s definitely a likable guy and this is probably one of the only TMNT products that can do him justice. It is very easy to badly write this kind of character since the constant jokes can easily get annoying to see. Luckily the writing is on point. The running gag of Raphael hitting Mikey is also voice acted well on Mikey’s part as he always manages to sound shocked no matter how often it happens. You almost feel bad for Mikey since it isn’t always his fault, but the Turtles are always eager to get into a fight.
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Finally we have Donatello. He was always my least favorite member of the group since I always have preferred the fighters. He is written well like the others though and the team definitely does need his expertise on many occasions. Also it is not as if he can’t fight either. He is roughly at the same level as the other Turtles, he just prefers the gadgets angle to being in the fray. His staff is definitely a better weapon than the nun-chucks if you ask me, but it does lose to the twin sai and the sword. His weaponized truck was definitely Donnie’s best idea. Having that thing around was always super handy.

April and Casey are main supporting characters. Their romance could be a little dragged out and unnecessary, but I guess it was handled better than most. Casey makes for a good rival to Raphael, even if he is left in the dust by the end of the series. His beef with the Purple Dragons helped the threat to really hit home. His personality makes Casey a good rival to have around, but a power boost would have helped as well. April is like Lois Lane. She doesn’t have quite as much spunk, but isn’t afraid to get in on the action. She never got to really fight though which is too bad since she does know some mild hand to hand skills. Having a cool crime fighting outfit like in the CGI film would have been cool. She certainly helped the turtles out a lot by giving them a place to stay and providing pizza. The gang would have been sunk without her.

Time to talk about Bishop. It’s a bold move talking about him before most of the characters, but he was a highlight in the show and easily the best character. I can’t say that I had been expecting him to be so awesome so it was a very pleasant surprise. As you may know, I love seeing the government play a role in any action show where they have to deal with supernatural foes or meta humans. I also like it when they look good and Bishop certainly served the country well. He was actually overpowering the turtles when they fought despite being outnumbered 4-1. I dare say that he is the strongest character with no super powers in the show. He may barely count since he may have a super soldier serum or something like that, but I don’t think it was ever stated officially. Capturing Splinter, Karai, and besting the Turtles is really all the evidence you need. Not to take away from his hand to hand skills though, Bishop was just an exceptional character and it’s hard to do him complete justice on that regard. You really have to see the episodes to really appreciate how awesome he is.

Another character who was a surprise hit was none other than Baxter Stockman. I figured that he would be your average mad scientist. He would talk a good game, but would not be able to back it up in the slightest. Stockman may not have turned out to be some kind of intense hand to hand fighter, but he was a lot more confident than I could have expected. He keeps on talking back to Shredder and showing no respect even after getting his arms and legs ripped off. Even losing his whole body aside from his brain didn’t deter him. It’s pretty crazy that none of this caused him to lose his bark. In the end Shredder could not break him so that was pretty good bragging rights for Stockman.

Hun was essentially Stockman’s main rival so they were polar opposites. Hun was very strong, but not particularly smart. He wasn’t nearly as fun as Stockman though and could never hold his own episode in the same way. He made up for it by having some good fights though. He started out at a level where he could take on multiple turtles at once, but by the end they can all handle him rather easily. Another big villain was Karai. She was a little more noble than the Shredder. She was still a villain of course, but she preferred to take the turtles on in fair hand to hand battles. She was definitely quite skilled and proved to be stronger than the turtles one on one except for Leonardo. He would always have the slight edge over her although it was close.

We can’t go on in the review without talking about the Splinter right? As the sensei to the four turtles, he was definitely a force to be reckoned with. I’d say that Leonardo definitely surpassed him by the end, but Splinter never got too weak. He could hold his own and his age never really got to him. His cane could even be used as a weapon even if it was nowhere near as good as a sword. I still disagree with most of his fist decisions about not going to the human world though. It never made much sense and it still doesn’t. If they are going to be heroes, then they will have to confront the villains at some point won’t they? They gradually begin to make their own decisions though and this is especially the case when Splinter is written out of the show for dozens of episodes at a time. I can’t say that I really missed him to be honest.

Another major character in the mythos is the Shredder. He plays a major role in the series like you’d expect. The show took a big gamble as it decided to make Shredder an alien. The show pulled it off quite well so I had no qualms with it. I don’t care for the design, but at least we never get to see it all that much. When he is in the suit, this version of the Shredder still has the absolute best design. He even gets a robotic voice that makes him even more menacing. Shredder proves to be too powerful for the Turtles most of the time as you’d expect, but he never really got any power ups. As a result, I do think that Leonardo ended up surpassing him. Shredder is my third favorite villain in the series behind Bishop and Tengu Shredder. It should come as no surprise then that most of the episodes with the Shredder as the main villain are highlights. He always has a pretty good plan at the ready and action is constant throughout.
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Tengu Shredder was another surprise hit although we should say that the surprise was very mild. I was expecting him to be pretty good the whole time, but he went above and beyond my expectations. He was essentially the Shredder, but even more intimidating and imposing. If you’re familiar with the show, then you’ll know that this is a pretty difficult feat to accomplish. His power level was also off the charts and if not for the Turtles getting serious upgrades as well, it would have all been over. To put this into perspective, you can’t even compare Tengu Shredder to the rest of the heroes and villains. Even powerful foes like the Shredder and Bishop are still meta humans. Tengu was above that and his physical stats were something out of an anime. It was a treat to watch.

The show did enjoy its array of Shredders so we got another one in the form of Cyber Shredder. He may have had less personality than the other two, but there’s not much to dislike with this guy. Since he is essentially a data clone of the Shredder, he retains the personality and fighting skills of the original with some data enhancements. He was another fine addition to the cast. Going back to more minor villains, I enjoyed the Evil Turtle Bot. His role in the show is tiny and I probably wouldn’t have thought much him if not for playing the video game. The game certainly made me see him in a new light since he was awesome there. He’s a pretty decent minion and actually gave the Turtles some trouble.

Another good minion was the Foot Tech Ninja. They may have been handled rather easily after their initial appearances, but they looked really good during the beginning. You can’t count these warriors out and they made good use of their tech. Even the normal Foot Soldiers are actually pretty cool minions. I could certainly get behind these guys at any rate. It’s important for a show to have good minions since you’ll be seeing them quite often. The best minions were certainly the Foot Elite though. They were able to hold their own against the Turtles and aside from Leonardo, I dare say that they were winning. They certainly didn’t earn the title lightly and since there are four of them, it makes for a fun fight against the four turtles.

Another faction was the Foot Mystics. They were pretty interesting since I remembered their original forms quite well, but wasn’t aware that they had a true form. I couldn’t take them very seriously as villains to be honest and they weren’t as impressive as the rest of the Foot. Their elemental abilities are handy to have though. Leatherhead is another supporting character that I wasn’t fond of. He became a good guy for a good portion of the series, but he always struggled with the dark side. He rarely got around to actually helping the heroes and while he is strong, his lack of hand to hand skills would have likely been exposed if he appeared more often.

The Ninja Tribunal was a powerful group of warriors who were so powerful that it was easy to assume they had entered the wrong show. These guys didn’t fit in with the others as with the whole season, but that didn’t take away from how awesome they were as characters. The group was pretty mean and I certainly wouldn’t trust them, but they were an imposing group. Were they over hyped? Yeah, they didn’t perform quite as well as one would have expected but at least they still did try to put up a fight. Their character designs and special abilities were pretty fun.

Another super group that may have been a bit out of place here was the Justice Force. They are a not very subtle homage of the Justice League and they tackle the threats that no one else would dare oppose. Unfortunately, we never really got to see how they would fare against the Shredder and the gang. Again, it’s almost as if it was a completely different show when these guys would show up. At most they may have met the Shredder very briefly in one of those alternate future kind of episodes, but I can’t really recall that with any certainty. Their version of Superman and Batman were definitely the highlights here. They acted the part well and did a good job when it came time to fight. Batman’s character didn’t actually join the group for a while, but he took the plunge in the end.

One character that I didn’t care for much was Renet. It’s not to much that she was a bad character, but that she always brought along bad episodes. Each episode she appeared in was a very painfully drawn out filler episode where you would just want the plot to return. She didn’t really add anything to the series and you would constantly just wonder what she was even doing in the show. It felt like some kind of crossover for the fans, but I don’t believe she was ever a big character so that didn’t work well. (At least for me)

Cody was a main character in the infamous Fast Forward season. He’s a nice enough kid and you could make a lot of comparisons between him and Chris from Sonic X. It does feel like he was forced into the series to make the Turtles a little more sympathetic since you could now put yourself in the kid’s shoes. It was a nice wrinkle that Cody was rich though. His uncle may have been crooked, but that didn’t stop Cody from trying to save the day. He’s all right, but the character is so generic that it is hard to dislike him. By the same token, you could dislike him because he is so generic. Serling was a much more charismatic supporting character that was introduced in the season. He got a lot of witty dialogue throughout and had some of the best facial expressions. He actually could fight when necessary and even became a suit of armor for Cody towards the end of the show. His attempts at humor usually worked quite well and fleshed out his character.
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The Ancient One is the kind of character that you would expect big things from right? He taught Splinter’s master so he must be super strong? Well, the guy let himself go so now he’s very overweight and prefers to be the crude humor specialist of the show. It’s always sad whenever the guy is on screen and he never fights so that leads me to believe that he is actually not all that tough. It’s a shame, but I guess that’s what happens when you buy into the hype. He was a wasted character and one who luckily didn’t get to appear much.

Viral was a fairly intense villain who appeared in Fast Forward. She had some really potent abilities and it was hard to permanently destroy her since the data could keep on coming back over and over again. She certainly didn’t mess around and while her role was ultimately pretty minor, Viral left a good mark on the show. Another decent group of minor villains were the Dark Turtles. Leonardo’s certainly got the most personality and he came close to turning good even if he ultimately couldn’t make the switch. The other three were comic relief for the most part, but it was still nice to see a team of counterparts to take on the real Turtles.

Khan is one of those characters that will make you take a step back and wonder where the writers were going with him. When he first appeared, Khan got a lot of hype since he murdered the Turtles in the future. Well, after his initial appearance, Khan was treated as a lightweight. The heroes didn’t have to pay any special attention to him and just wrecked him as they would any other villain. I feel like the writers maybe forgot that plot or had to shelve it due to backstage drama and as a result, we skipped Khan’s entire character arc. It’s too bad since the character had a lot of potential and could have been one of the best if handled right.

Usagi was treated as a hype character and you could also say that he was a guest star since he has his own comic series to think about. Unfortunately, I definitely didn’t care much for his character. I’d say that his skills were drastically overplayed to make him appear to be an even match for Leonardo. His advice was never all that good and once Leonardo went into his toughness phase after not being strong enough to save the day, Usagi didn’t do much to help. He was called in to try and calm Leonardo down, but it didn’t work at all and Usagi was always more about talking than acting. The character was just irritating whenever he’d appear.

That was a lot of characters eh? Well, now lets look at the show as a whole. The first season really started the show off on a strong note and you could make a strong case for it being the best season. Shredder Strikes Back, Return to New York, and The Shredder Strikes were all fantastic multi part events. I dare say that Shredder Strikes Back Part 1 is the definitive episode from the entire series. It’s my personal favorite because just about the whole episode is one large fight and it shows why Leonardo is the leader of the gang. I don’t believe that any of the other 3 Turtles would have been able to last very long here.

The next season started off with the weakest big event of the series. The intergalactic space war just wasn’t very interesting and since it was 5 whole episodes…it dragged on a great deal. Luckily, the season picked up again once they made it back home since we got to see more of Bishop and the Shredder. This season spent a lot of time with the Tournament at the end and had a good amount of stand alone episodes as well. It had less stand out episodes than season 1, but when you consider the consistent quality of the show, it’s not as if it was much of a change. Season 1 was more epic, but you could really appreciate season 2 because of how the tight continuity kept expanding the show.

Season 3 is probably the weakest season. Granted, you can have a very different experience when actually watching the episodes as opposed to remembering them from afar. That being said, the only 5-6 episodes were about the Space Invaders once again and that had to be the worst plot. Let me explain why this plot just didn’t work. I didn’t really care about the Dinosaurs or the resistance organization that they were fighting. I just wanted the Turtles to head back to Earth so they could have some good hand to hand fights with the villains. That’s really all that I wanted and this space business just didn’t do it for me. The villains simply weren’t as interesting as the Foot or even dare I say, the Purple Dragons. We did get a pretty nice climax where Shredder, Bishop, and the Aliens all got to play their final gambit. Bishop once again got the last laugh I’d say, but all of the characters got a good amount of hype there. Usagi got to appear here so that was too bad though.

Season 4 was pretty exciting. For starters, this season changed the status quo much more than any other previous season. Leonardo blamed himself for what happened on the fated missile and became a hot head like Raphael. He was more dark and brooding and stopped being the calm and collected leader that he used to be. This made for a lot of great dialogue and it also helped Leonardo keep his place at the top of the food chain. While later seasons started to mess up the power levels a bit, this one could not since it was a part of the plot. The final episode of the season was especially exciting as it directly led into the next big adventure with Tengu Shredder. It was a really bold and epic way to close out the season. This saga also had Leonardo infiltrate the Foot headquarters and basically beat up every single person there. These were the kind of highlights that were lacking in season 3.
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Season 5 took a very different approach to the show and it worked well. While the first four seasons were your standard action adventure, I dare say that season 5 was more like an anime. The Turtles had to come together to stop an evil menace and to do this, they would have to learn how to wield super powers. Michelangelo got some great speed and really won out here since his ability was the only one that was lethally dangerous from the get go. The others also got some useful abilities and from there they worked to stop Tengu Shredder. They may not have had a lot of luck in the end since the Tribunal was overwhelmed, but the whole season had a feeling of danger and unease. Something was always happening here and it certainly had the fastest pacing out of all the seasons. Of course, at 12 episodes that was probably a given. Even the 12 episodes part seems like a homage to anime in general. Everyone suddenly got so crazy powerful and the fights were so good that this season really could have been a contender for the best in another title. As it stands, the short length does keep it back ever so gently.

Season 6 brought another twist to the show. It was the Fast Forward season and took a more toyetic approach to the show. It suddenly felt more like a Saturday Morning Cartoon and as such, every character suddenly had futuristic equipment at their disposal. It was a radical switch as the entire cast was switched out for a new one with the exclusion of the main 4 turtles. I thought it was fun enough. On its own, it was still good enough to get a 7, but you couldn’t really compare it to the older seasons. It was fun, but not as epic or action packed as what had come before. The Bounty Hunter Zixx was a decent addition to the cast though. He always had the upper hand on the turtles and was good at getting people to lower their guards.

Finally, we have the Back to the Sewers season. The appeal of this last installment was obvious as the Turtles finally got to go home and relax. Unfortunately, duty called as Splinter was split across the Digital World and Cyber Shredder wanted to break out of there and head to the real world. The Turtles had to move fast and activate all of their Tron gear in order to escape. Because of this, it still had some Fast Forward elements while bringing back the old cast. It was like a fusion of the two and it was a fun enough season. The new designs may have taken a bit of getting used too, but they were still pretty solid. I definitely preferred the old ones as they made for far better fights, but this will still beat most of the modern animated titles.

At 7 seasons long, the show had a lot of time to introduce characters and get you used to the lore. This is part of what made the series so successful. There were a lot of hypothetical match ups that you could spend time thinking about since they hadn’t happened in the show yet. I really wanted to see Shredder fight Bishop or to have any of those two go up against the Justice Force. The two aspects of the show rarely ever met up which is a shame, but I like to think that the series was saving that just in case it ever wanted to do a really big crossover episode. To an extent, the rocket finale was the closest that we got, but I wanted more.

TMNT lasted long enough where the show got to try out a bunch of different genres and we had a lot of action scenes. IT’s worth mentioning that even episodes without a big villain or a lot of fights could still be good because of the solid writing. It was just a well written show and the characters were portrayed in an accurate fashion. My only gripe was the noticeable lack of pizza in the show. TMNT goes hand in hand with pizza. That’s how it is and that’s how it’s always been. I’m sure that the show could have included pizza in more scenes if they wanted to do so. It just makes sense to add that into a Ninja Turtles show. Still, it’s a relatively minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.

One of the best parts of TMNT was definitely the soundtrack. It had a lot of really great tunes and these were themes that you could only hear in the 90’s. As one of the only 90’s shows that I had barely watched from the action genre, this show brought about a lot of nostalgia. I really do miss this style and just watching one episode will remind you of what you are missing. Naturally, the animation is also very sharp. The designs are very wholesome and you can feel every blow during the fights. The impacts had power. The animation style switched a bit towards and the end and it was definitely a step down. It still looked better than the current ninja turtles show, but the glory days were long gone by then. Luckily, that was at the very end so pretty much all of the really epic Shredder episodes had already aired. The show has a similar feel to other big cartoons like Justice League and not only does it age well, but it clobbers a lot of the currently airing shows.

I’m not even typically a huge TMNT fan, but the show was just really solid. Even if you may not have thought the characters were great before, they are solid in this show. A good show can do wonders for a franchise and this show is evidence of that. The recent movies certainly haven’t helped and the current TMNT show looks rather choppy. I’d definitely take another season or this title over that. After all, an element that this show has over those is its tight continuity. You could actually compare it to something like Young Justice as it keeps building and building off of its plot lines. Everything is connected and the more episodes you watch, the more all of the plots start to intertwine. It makes everything feel that much more important. For example, the illuminati guys started showing up very early on in the series and the show kept you guessing as to their true identities for a very long time. While the twist on who they actually were was a little underwhelming, it was always awesome to see those guys apear. They were strong, mysterious, and had everything that you could want in a shadow group who operates behind the scenes.
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Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a great show. It’s one of the lost gems of a legendary era for television and I finally got to check it out from start to finish. It had quite a lot of episodes and a high amount of replay value so it’s the kind of show where you can easily re-watch some episodes of at any point. I’d highly recommend this to any blog reader who hasn’t checked it out yet. I don’t expect any of the other Ninja Turtle shows to match this one. From what I’ve seen of the only others, it’s not even a close fight. This one simply can’t be topped and that means that the 90’s (Well, technically early 2000s, but it feels like the 90s so I may as well stick with that) has scored another big win! If I ever do watch another TMNT show to completion, I’ll try not to constantly compare it to this one every episode, but it’ll be tough.

Overall 8/10

Bride of Frankenstein Review

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Looks like it’s time to take a look at the original sequel to Frankenstein. I did not like the first film and I’m not a Frankenstein fan in general. I didn’t walk into this film with high expectations and I was not disappointed. That being said, it is a considerable improvement over the first film. It’s not nearly as violent or grotesque and handles itself rather maturely this time around. It can still be a bit of a tragic film at times even when it tries to be funny so it can be hard to tell when you’re supposed to be laughing or feeling sorry for the characters. I usually voted for the former.

The film starts off in the “real” world as Mary lets everyone know that the story isn’t over yet. We have some really over the top actors who yell about this and everyone gets excited so she tells them what happened. It turns out that Frankenstein’s monster didn’t die because he fell into the river and Frankenstein didn’t die because his body is very durable. This prompts Doctor Pretorius to arrive and tell Frankenstein that he wants to make a female version of the monster. Frankenstein halfheartedly refuses so Pretorius kidnaps his wife. Frankenstein now has to work against time in order to save her, but can he really duplicate the experiment?

The main improvements from the first film all stem from the reduced violence. The first film had a little kid drowned and we saw way too much brains and body parts for my liking. It was pretty distasteful and this one steers clear of all that. Even when they’re creating the bride, it’s never graphic. The film just isn’t violent in general and the victims are far fewer in number. We do have a few people die of course, but they’re casually thrown aside for the most part so it isn’t all that bad.

Frankenstein has changed a lot since the first film. He’s now incredibly timid and fears everyone. He’s always getting picked on and forced into doing things that he doesn’t want to do. However, he reverts back to his mad scientist phase whenever there is work to be done and it’s like he never changed at all. It would have been nice to have seen him have a little more will power. Naturally, he did have to go ahead with the project to save his wife, but he could have done it in a sane way instead of losing his mind once he was back in the lab.

Pretorius takes over Frankenstein’s role from the first film and I do certainly have to admit that he is smart. The first thing he does is to get the monster on his side and that was crucial since his plan would not have worked otherwise. His use of “Miller Time” and Cigars was a very potent combo. He always has the upper hand on the monster as he even drugs the poor guy later on. Pretorius fears nothing and is just very confident from start to finish. He was a pretty good villain and while it never felt as if he had much of a reason to do what he was doing…do mad scientists ever need a reason to do something? They just do whatever they want for kicks.

Minnie is the main comic relief character of the film and she does a good job in the role. She always talks a good game and is one of the only characters to insult Pretorius to his face. She is smart enough to actually run away from the monster and tries to warn the heroes even if they refused to listen to her. She certainly did a fine job if you ask me. As for the Bride, I guess she was fairly reasonable. Her reaction wasn’t all that bad when you consider that the heroes didn’t give her a chance to relax. Plus, who wants to be thrown into an arranged marriage the instant you are born into existence? Nah, the first thing you’d want to do is get out of there!

The Monster is all right I suppose, but he’s still not very smart and the monster noises can be annoying. I was glad that he finally learned how to talk a bit as the film went on. I figure that will make him a much better character in the sequels although it seems like I wasn’t on the same page as the writers. At least the monster tried to live a calm life at one point and was doing just fine with the blind guy in the hut. It’s a shame that the hunters had to wander in at that point and wrecked his one chance at a happy ending. He didn’t get burned this time and while he was captured at one point, he was able to break free pretty quickly. He certainly had a much more enjoyable adventure this time around.

Be warned that the title of this film is pure click bait. The Bride doesn’t appear until the final 5-10 minutes which is pretty disgraceful. She only gets roughly one line before the film has to end so if you were watching the movie to see her in action, prepare to be disappointed. It’s really just Frankenstein V2 as the film takes a lot of similar twists and turns. It seemed like it was meant to be a homage to the original in a lot of ways even though it had just come out. It was just handled far better than the first film and as a result, the film wasn’t half bad. I can’t say that it’s the kind of film that I’d want to watch again, but it wasn’t a chore to watch the way that I would have expected it to be.

Overall, If you’re looking for a horror comedy film, then this could be the right film for you. At the very least, it’s one of the best Frankenstein films that you can hope to see. That being said, it’s still not all that great and it’s short length ensures that the film has to run through the plot. The ending is pretty satisfying though and that’s always a good thing for these kind of films. Scooby Doo may still be your best bet when it comes to horror comedies, but this one gives it its best. Can the third film manage to defeat this one? I somehow doubt it, but we are getting closer to the Werewolf and that could certainly end up being another story.

Overall 5/10