Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Hercules Review


It’s time to watch another big Disney classic. This time we are thrown into the world of myths and heroes with Hercules. This is definitely one of the more action packed titles and it holds up quite well to this day. While the songs aren’t quite as memorable as some of the other films, we do get one of the best Disney villains in Hades. The guy has a lot of charisma and steals all of the scenes he is in.

The film starts off with Hercules being born and Zeus has a big party to celebrate this. He invites all of the other gods of course and it’s a perfect day. This changes when Hades shows up and hatches a plan to prevent this. He turns Hercules into a mere mortal and Zeus is forced to banish him to Earth. The only way for Zeus to re-obtain his godhood is to become a true hero by performing many feats. It’s not as easy as saving people though, he has to do something truly heroic for noble reasons. Can Hercules become a god again before Hades conquers both of the worlds.

Lets quickly just talk about some things here that are a bit iffy, but in character when you look at the myths. One thing is how Zeus can’t let Hercules stay once he is mortal. Zeus is the highest ranked god in this universe right? Why does he have to obey a law when he is the one making them? Most people who create laws rarely end up following them and Zeus is always shown to be a pretty selfish guy. I guess this one’s just too heroic for that, but it’s still a bit iffy. He’s also super oblivious like how he didn’t notice that Hades tried to stab baby Hercules. How he didn’t realize that Hades would be a bit upset after being banished to the Underworld is also interesting. I do like Zeus a lot to be fair. He’s just a lot of fun which is rare for most portrayals of his character. That being said, he’s not very smart of strong. In the climax he looks pretty terrible to be honest.

I also have to question how there is a potion that can take away your godhood so easily. Can’t Hades just trick the other gods into drinking it too and then he would rule the world? If the film mentioned that it only worked because Hercules is half human then I’ll have to retract this issue. Both of these are extremely minor observations that don’t effect my enjoyment of the film or the score, but were worth noting. I was definitely thinking about this as I watched the film.

Hercules is definitely a good lead. He reminds me of early Superman when he would work on the farm using his super abilities. Hercules doesn’t have a secret identity to worry about so he just works hard and does his best at all times. The townspeople are annoyed by him which is unfortunate. While Hercules can be a bit sloppy, he really seems like an earnest chap. He does fall for Megara pretty easily and doesn’t listen to Phil as much as he should, but all in all Hercules can easily hold his own film. He already seems more powerful than most of the gods which is also quite impressive.

Phil was always fun in the Kingdom Heart games and is good here as well. He definitely flirts a lot though so I have to doubt his concentration as a coach, but once he actually gets his hat on straight then he’s ready to work. He probably could have done a better job of explaining to Hercules what was up though. As for Megara, she’s a tough heroine. Megara is the kind of character who always tries to get the last word in and is pretty jaded on romance in general. This does result in what I would say was a pretty quick 180 with Hercules but I suppose he is basically a god so I imagine he was impressive in person. I do think it would have been a good dynamic to have had them stay friends though.

As mentioned earlier Hades is definitely the big character here. He is proactive compared to the rest of the gods and characters. While they sit back and eat he is always planning. His plan was pretty much fool proof and while his lackeys aren’t too helpful (They don’t really add to the film and could have been cut out) Hades is prepared for that as well. He probably should have just hurried a little more near the end so Hercules wouldn’t arrive in time. His abilities aren’t tough enough to actually fight head-on with Hercules and Zeus, but it would have been interesting to have seen him fight a little more. Most of the gods lost effortlessly to the Titans though so those guys got quite a lot of hype.

I did like that in the ending Hercules quickly went to the underworld to save Megara. In any story where the underworld is a place you can visit it feels mandatory that the characters should head on over. Hercules was able to win on his turf so he should at least believe that he can win here as well. That’s the level of determination you need in order to be a good main character. What would have made the ending perfect would have been if Zeus said that Hercules and Megara could both come to their world and they could just go back between Earth and the realm of the gods whenever they pleased. It’s the last the gods could do since they’d be dead otherwise.

The scene with Hades talking to the fates are interesting dialogue-wise but the whole eyeball thing was more gross than creepy. I could have gone without that scene to be honest. As for the songs, we do get some catchy songs from the fates, but none of them quite have the same heart that you would see in Aladdin or Frozen. I already can’t say that I remember the lyrics to any of the songs. They have that classic Disney auto tune (Not auto tune, but a voice modification thing that makes them all sound the same) effect which works well and I’m glad they had these songs as opposed to not having any, but it’s not the strength of the film.

The writing is really where the film shines and the pacing is tight. Then we’ve got the solid animation which is as sharp and colorful as you’ll remember. It holds up to any and all of the other Disney films. We also get some fun fight scenes which is great like Hercules vs the Titan or the first bull creature. I was surprised that Hercules didn’t win his first fight with more ease though. Even if he didn’t know how to fight yet, I figured that his super strength would make any fight an easy win. I guess it’s good that he’s not too OP yet, but then it does make you wonder how strong the gods are. It is reasonable to say that the humans could possibly win a fight with them in a few hundred years once they got gun powder.

Overall, Hercules is a very good movie. It’s definitely the definitive version of the story and I’d be down with Disney making a sequel someday. They’ve been doing a lot of remakes lately but not a bunch of sequels. A crossover of all their 90s classics would also be a blast. That’d be very ambitious, but it would make for an excellent watch. I was long overdue to watch this film and it lived up to the wait. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then I recommend changing that and watching it as soon as possible.

Overall 7/10

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6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Reviews

Pilotwings Review


It’s time to look at my next adventure into the SNES lineup. This one always looked like fun from the Super Smash Bros stage so I was ready to give it a whirl. It reminds me of the toy helicopter game I played for the Wii a while back. It’s about teaching you how to make rescues and perform tricks. Most of the game is a lot of tutorials like that until the very final level where we actually get a plot. Some villains have taken people hostage and we have to get past an entire army to save them. I’m not sure if any of you guys ever played Blackhawk Striker back in the day on the PC, but to this day it is my favorite game in that genre. This final level sort of feels like a chibi version of that and it works out quite well. I was definitely satisfied with the game by the end of my run. There is no replay value whatsoever in this game which hurts as having some kind of post game is pretty important. It’s a good one step playthrough but you’ll likely never play it again.

There are 4 different kinds of gameplay although they all have similarities. The objective of each level is to get a fairly high score like 220. You have 3 minigames to do so which means that on average you want to get a score of roughly 80. One of these minigames puts you in a plane as you fly through some rings and then attempt to make a good landing. It’s a lot trickier than you would expect as you have to land just right and with a good amount of speed to get a good score. This part also feels pretty realistic with how the plane will bounce if you attempt to land too quickly. It took me a ton of tries to get it right and this is probably the most difficult of the modes. It’s also the most fun one though.

Then you have the parachute version which is a free fall through some rings and then you aim for a perfect landing. With the wind and all the turning going on it can be pretty tough to get the landing just right. Then you have the hang glider which is basically the same thing only this time you’re on a parachute. It’s pretty fun as well and since the mechanics are the same for all of the games you should quickly get the hang of it.

The final level switches things up as you’re given missiles and have to fight actual enemies. I’m a little surprised that they went to the trouble of adding in new mechanics for a single level. It was a very nice surprise though as I was not expecting a plot to actually show up. The final level is easily the most epic part of the whole game. Trying to dodge and fire back was just epic.

My advice for this game is to always go full speed near the beginning. Time impacts your score quite a bit and there will always be time to slow down after you grab the rings. This is especially important in the plane levels since getting a perfect landing means almost nothing if you took all day to get there. You need maximum points and the way to do that is to just go full blast right from the start and slow down afterwards. For the final level, I recommend shooting all of the cannons down before even trying to register the hostages. One hit means death in this final level so if you let your guard down for even a moment you will end up regretting it.

As far as the graphics go, the game has aged pretty well. It’s still not the highest quality title out there, but by the SNES standards it has aged pretty well. I like the attention to detail with the character in the free fall turning around and the places to land are marked pretty clearly. I do think they should show up from farther in the map as you can totally miss it in some sections, but all in all that’s a pretty minor thing. The soundtrack is pretty nice. It’s definitely peaceful while still feeling like it has some energy behind it.

Overall, Pilotwings is definitely a fun game. It’s also a very challenging one. Without the SNES Online features it would probably take a little while longer to complete it. The controls are just hard to really master because of the angles. You’ve also got to pull it off 4 times in a row as one bad score can set you back a whole section. It does help to compensate for the short length of the game though as beating them all in one shot would probably result in you completing the game in 30 minutes. We’ll see which SNES game I play next, but I have to say that it will have a bit of a difficult time taking down Pilotwings.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Pretty Poison Review


It’s time to look at the film known as Pretty Poison. I actually did review this film once, but my whole review got deleted so this is version 2. I’m not sure exactly why it didn’t save, I’m thinking somehow I lost signal so the transfer didn’t go through or it got archived somehow. It’s happened to me in the past, but it’s been a while. Usually I also keep a copy offline just in case until I see it go through, but I had seen it in my gmail so I thought it went through. I dunno, tech can be a little weird sometimes. Regardless, reviewing the same thing twice was an interesting exercise.

The film starts off with Dennis meeting with his probation officer Morton. Morton lets him know that Dennis now has a job at a chemical company and so he should be good to go. Just keep in touch for a while. Dennis already seems a little crazy but agrees and then quickly stops making contact. Once in the area he meets up with a girl named Sue Ann and decides to recruit her to his cause.

Dennis is convinced that he is a foreign agent meant to shut down various companies in the US. He tells Sue Ann that he is from the CIA though and his first act of terrorism will be to sabotage the chemical plant where he works. Yes…the main character is literally a terrorist and targeting the place where he works at almost right after joining makes it all so obvious that you have to wonder what his plan is. Most likely he doesn’t have a plan, but things take a turn for the worse when it turns out that Sue Ann is even worse than he is. She just wants to watch the world burn and is ready to murder as many as it takes.

This movie has a lot wrong with it. One of the primary factors here is the weak main cast. First you’ve got Dennis who is just a terrible lead. The guy’s not heroic in the slightest and his delusional fantasies turn him into a complete villain. There’s nobody to root for here and his final decisions in the movie make no sense. The final scenes have him refusing to state his side of the story and he doesn’t co-operate with the cops at all. It’s some misguided passion to let others die as he says that the poison was pretty. It’s a metaphor for how nobody will understand how evil this person is until they’re stung, but then he is simply accepting the fact that there will be more victims. He’s not helping anyone so that just makes him part of the problem. After all if you aren’t stopping evil then you are aiding it. You’re never given the impression that he was ever trying to help the heroes either which just makes things even worse.

Then you have the main villain Sue Ann who definitely isn’t a likable character either. The whole point of her character is that she is even worse than Dennis after all so this likely won’t come as any kind of real surprise. It’s just how it is and the romance plot between her and Dennis was also doomed from the start. It’s not a well developed romance with both of them using each other the whole time. Dennis is really slow on the uptake here.

Then you’ve got Morton who was the parole officer, but never really did a good job of reigning in Dennis. From the start Dennis breaks the laws and his probation so I would have liked for Morton to have gone after him a little more. You gotta do something when the rebellion is so open the way that it was here. If Dennis had at least made the effort to look like he was going to change then that’s different. Instead he basically just threatens Morton and somehow the guy decides to look the other way. I dare say that this makes him at least indirectly responsible for some of the damage that happens later on.

There’s really nothing good about this film and it’s a crawl from start to finish. A good chunk of this film is really just about showing how delusional Dennis is and how out of his depth he is as well. It’s all played seriously so it’s not even a comedic plot where you can mock Dennis for not being able to keep up the act once Sue Ann really starts testing him. She really figures him out pretty early on if you ask me. The ending of the film can be interpreted a few different ways. Sue Ann definitely isn’t going to stop taking people down, but the latest guy seems obviously shady as well. I can see them both bumping each other off so it’ll probably all depend on who goes out first.

Ideally the cops will have figured all of this out by then though. While Sue Ann got rid of a lot of the evidence there should still be some things that pop up eventually. Her finger prints would be all over the bodies, even the guard who was drowned unless the water gets rid of it. I don’t know exactly how all that works, but I feel like some evidence should still remain. If not….well I guess the town is basically doomed.

Overall, Pretty Poison is definitely one of those films that you will want to completely sidestep. It’s a pretty dark film that doesn’t have good pacing and gives you nobody to root for. The romance is one of the worst that I’ve seen in quite a while. You’ll be checked out early on and the title will become pretty obvious near the start so you don’t even have that to keep you engaged. I think what could have helped the film would have been if Dennis actually wasn’t insane and aliens ended up arriving near the middle of the film, but I suppose this would be a very different kind of movie at that point.

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Fate is the Hunter Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Hot Millions Review


It’s time to look at an old film about a conman. This is definitely one of those films that you aren’t likely to have heard of in the past. I’m sure it has its own following of course especially as I do buy into the whole “every movie is someone’s favorite” line. Still, there isn’t a whole lot to keep this movie too engaging so while it is a good watch, there isn’t much replay value here.

The film starts with Marcus getting out of jail after being exposed for embezzling lots of money. He decides that he will try again and this time plans to outsmart the computers. (A computer is why he was caught the first time) He tricks a big company into hiring him while under the guise of a successful computer engineer. The main obstacle standing in his way is the fact that there is no way to turn off the computer without a key and the main character can’t risk being caught again. Amidst his trials of trying to get around the computer he gets a secretary who has not been particularly good at any of her jobs. Still, Marcus is a pretty laid back kind of guy and doesn’t mind since it’s not like he plans to stick around anyway. Will Patty ultimately be an ally for him or will she turn out to be an enemy?

Right away you’ll realize that there is no rooting for the main lead. He doesn’t even have some kind of sympathetic reason for embezzling. Marcus just wants to get rich quick and considering that his salary was already making him a ton of money you can see how he is a little on the greedy side. It’s even worse when you consider the fact that if his plan succeeds then a lot of people are gonna end up being fired and the company will be in the red. He is a charismatic guy but there is still no actual reason to root for him. I wanted the company to catch him the whole time, but alas it was not to be.

Then you’ve got Patty who is having a lot of job trouble. Unfortunately you have a hard time taking her side as well. She lucked out by having a nice boss like Marcus but you can’t blame the company for firing her since Patty was late for a week straight. It seems like she was prepared to lie about it, but when they brought up that the computer found out the info there was no going back. A sketchy pair of leads eh?

Then you’ve got the main villain. Gnatpole likes the heroine and dislikes Marcus from the start. He’s definitely a classic company man but one who is distracted way too easily by his thoughts of romance and quickly becomes the worst character in the film. Gnatpole is way too pushy and is definitely an annoyance to everyone around him. It’s too bad because he had some potential. Before the heroine obsession started he fulfilled the role of having the skeptic in the office. In any film with a shifty lead you want to have another character who is absolutely not buying what the lead is selling. The movie just went too far in making him unlikable.

As expected the romance is pretty poor here. It definitely happens quite quickly. At least the film waited til Marcus wasn’t her boss anymore but it definitely didn’t need to be included in the film. Then even after that Marcus encourages Patty to use Gnatpole’s obsession with her to delay him a big which is a dicey choice to say the least. There really didn’t need to be romance here.

The ending is also rather flat. It goes a little too hard in trying to give everyone a happy ending when the two main characters haven’t really earned one at this point. I’m glad that things worked out for the company but it’s very cheesy. The President should especially still be furious since he trusted Marcus so much prior to this. The president was definitely the best character in the film btw. He was a genuinely nice person and did his best to help everyone succeed. The guy may not have used the company’s assets 100% the way they should have been and had a dicey scene in the train, but at least he was a company man through and through.

Part of what makes the plot tricky here is that you have to suspend your disbelief a lot. There are dozens of moments throughout the film where you think it’d all be over. One of the biggest ones is when they actually catch Marcus in the act of trying to steal money from them. He quickly makes up a story about how he was testing their security and all that jazz, but why would they even buy into this? There’s no real reason to take such a story seriously and that should have really made them double think the entire job. Marcus also isn’t very subtle the whole time since he’s desperate to get rich quickly so he can go home. In a way the company brought all of this upon themselves.

Overall, Hot Millions is a pretty unique film but I’ve got to say that it could have been a whole lot more interesting. It can be a little slow and the movie is a little long considering that the plot isn’t all that complicated. There are a bunch of scenes that could be cut out and the film would be better off for it. It is going for the slow burner approach but this isn’t the kind if film that could have a dramatic payoff for the climax so it really doesn’t work. If you’re really in the mood to watch a low key dramatic film about an embezzler trying to outsmart the computer then this is the title for you. Otherwise I’d say to skip this and watch a more exciting one like Ocean’s 11.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Postman Always Rings Twice Review


It’s time to look at a film where the whole concept is about being the rebound guy. As you can guess that means the romance was doomed from the start. Since this is mainly a romance film that did put this one in a tough spot from the start and it never quite recovered. I was just waiting for the Postman to show up and shock everyone to the core, but it never happens. Turns out that it isn’t one of those literal titles, but it really should have been to be honest.

The film starts off with the district attorney giving Frank a ride. Frank’s been in a tough spot lately and that’s due in part to the fact that he is a free spirit. He loves just going wherever the wind takes him and living life on the edge. Well, he’s finally found a job at a burger joint, but immediately warns the owner, Nick, that he may not stay long. His plans change when Nick’s wife Cora shows up and Frank immediately decides that they should be together. Despite Cora’s half hearted rejections Frank forces the issue and they decide that Nick has to be murdered. Can they really pull off such a feat?

With a plot like this there is nobody to root for. Of course, you would expect to be rooting for Nick but the film goes out of its way to make him hard to root for. He doesn’t pay Cora any attention and is way older than her so that was never going to work out anyway. He’s oblivious to the point where he basically pushes them together and at the end of the day sees Cora as more of a helper than an equal. He doesn’t even consult her when making his big decision at the end of the film. He also gets drunk and in general just doesn’t seem like a good person.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. Frank knows that Cora is married from the start. It’s not as if they were hanging out for a long time before he figured this out, it was made clear as day to him immediately. He pressed on anyway and then cheats on her later on in the film anyway. It’s no surprise though because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Frank does everything half heartedly and never becomes a decent person. By the end of the film he basically goes insane.

Meanwhile Cora is shown to be very manipulative. There are large portions of the film where it doesn’t seem like she actually cares about Frank and is just using him to get to her own goals. It’s pretty easy for her to manipulate him so it’s not like it takes a lot of effort. She’ll go from being overly friendly to him to giving Frank the cold shoulder. None of the characters handle the various situations well but her main failing is that she wants to stay in the burger choice even if that’s where all of the cops will connect the dots. She had a lot of opportunities to simply leave, but never took them. That was simply too big of a mistake to come back from.

Then you’ve got Arthur who helps plead their case in one of the court sessions. He’s actually pretty good even if the guy seems pretty shady. He may not be helping out for the right reasons, but the guy definitely does have talent. He added a little intrigue to the situation. Then you’ve got the D.A., Kyle. He’s definitely not sympathetic to their cause, nor should he be. Even by the end of the film he whips out another trump card and you can see why he has such a strong reputation in the film. He always gets his man.

Of course the film couldn’t help but throw a cat into the mix for no real reason. The scene just comes out of nowhere and he doesn’t live through the scene. I suppose the film was just desperate to lose another star but with the lackluster plot it’s not like the film needed any help. The writing in general is decent, but with none of the characters being particularly intelligent some scenes can seem like bad writing as well. The film also drags on quite a bit. On one hand it is impressive just how far the plot changes from the beginning, but on the other hand it starts to outlive its welcome by the end. It’s around 30 minutes longer than it needs to be, especially since the plot is fairly basic.

I suppose the ending will be happy or sad depending on who you’re rooting for. Considering that the main characters are openly cheating I’d say that the D.A. and the long arm of the law is probably who you’d be rooting for. If you look at the ending with that lens then it does change things quite a bit. On a minor note, at least the burgers did look pretty good. I could definitely use one right about now and if we had more scenes of the characters preparing food for their restaurant perhaps it could have distracted from the weak story. Almost all of the film takes place at their restaurant after all and yet the scenes with real food are scarce and far apart.

Overall, The Postman Always Rings Twice is definitely a film that I’ve got to give a thumbs down. How can you like a film where the main character is so petty? He’s basically a crook the whole time and is super ungrateful considering that Nick was giving him a place to live and a decent salary. Also, even before Frank’s romance was starting he seemed like a rude person. When Cora dropped her lipstick he made her come to him to pick it up rather than just giving it to her. It’s the kind of petty power play that you would expect from someone like Frank. The ending is also completely his fault since he was the one at command. He should have realized that he didn’t have the skills to multi task.

Overall 4/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Toejam & Earl Back in The Groove Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to a game that came out quite a long time ago. I know the name of Toe Jam & Earl because of how crazy a title that sounds. Beyond that I can’t say that I know almost anything else about the franchise. You don’t really need to know much else though because the plot isn’t all that expansive. It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not you played the other games as you’ll quickly understand what is happening anyway. The gameplay is definitely pretty unique, I wouldn’t say that it’s all that good, but I suppose I can see the appeal if you’re playing with friends or something.

The basic plot of the game is that Jam and Earl are on a spaceship with the two heroines. They’re ready to finally head back to Earth, but by mistake they press the black hole button and end up sending themselves and the planet into another dimension. They must now recover all of their rocket parts in order to head back home, but that will not be an easy ordeal. No, if anything it may just be the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do, but the toughest choices require the strongest wills. They will have to be careful as the humans would like nothing better than to destroy the aliens who messed up Earth.

Now I’ll describe the gameplay so follow along as best you can. The game starts you off on a level with an overhead view. On the level you have a bunch of interact-able objects which include humans, demons, creatures, bushes, trees, houses, phones, etc. To get off of the level and onto the next one you have to hop in an elevator. It will take you to the next level. Also, keep in mind that the levels are used much like in the real world so by “Level 2” I’m saying that you are one floor higher. The game has 25 levels and the goal is to reach the end while obtaining 10 rocket parts. If you don’t have the 10 rocket parts by the time you reach the top then you have to go back down to find them. To get back to an earlier level just keep jumping off the level and one by one you’ll get down. You can also take an evil elevator to go down by one, but that’ll hurt your health a lot. Keep in mind that villains can also knock you back down floors so then you have to run to the elevators again.

The levels each have a map which automatically appears when you start, but it is all covered in fog until you move around. Every square of the map that you explore will give you 50 XP. When you level up you randomly get an increase to 3 of your stats from the local wiseman. These stats include speed, (Easily the most important stat) health, luck, present skill, and a few others. You get 300 XP every time you open a present, but they are always risky. One present is a bomb that will cause you to instantly lose a life. Another one is a thunder cloud that will follow you around for a long period of time until you lose a life, etc. Others are good as they give you a speed boost or some health back.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the gameplay mechanics. It’s a lot easier to understand once you’re actually playing compared to when you hear about it. Basically the goal is to go through all of these levels and dodge the enemies. You can’t fight back except for when you have certain items so really it’s like a stealth game. Just dodge everyone and try not to get hit. Problem is that you’re slower than just about all of the enemies so you need to always be prepared to jump into the water to avoid them. Don’t drown though as your air meter goes down real quick.

There’s not a whole lot to do here though which is the big issue for the game. As I mentioned there are 25 levels, but that’s it. Some levels can take you seconds to beat while others are significantly longer. I managed to beat all of the levels in what’s considered the tutorial arrangement, made it to 13 in Fixed Mode and 15 in Random. Still, even as the names switch it is the same levels each time. It has the feel of an arcade game as you just play it over and over to get a high score. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the game feels a lot more like a free to play than a modern PS4 title that you would pay for. You can potentially finish this game in around an hour.

There’s no real replay value unless you really love the gameplay style. Your progress is always deleted once you get a game over so aside from remembering your level or how quickly you beat them all there isn’t even a record to try and break. That’s one of the things you would at least expect to have when you’re playing the same campaign over and over. After the opening cinematic the plot is also over so you won’t see anything else until you beat the game. You also won’t see the ending unless you beat the game in Fixed or Random mode. Basically, it would be fair to say that the game doesn’t really have a story.

Based on the trophies it does seem like the game is mostly geared for multiplayer though. You can play the levels online which allows randoms to join your game. That should make the levels a lot easier to beat even if it will make things more chaotic. I wonder how the screens would work there like if the 4 players have to stay on the same level or if you can divide and conquer. I’m sure that would add a little more flavor to the game, but multiplayer can theoretically do that with any game.

I think at the very least there are 3 main improvements I would have the game do to really make a difference. One it to get rid of the auto death from the presents. The presents shouldn’t have the risk of destroying you in one hit for using them. Why make the presents that risky? It’s very hard to live without them especially since they are your main source of XP, but completely dying from one seems unfair. (Yeah, I died from one…) Another part that is lacking a bit is the constant loading screens. This may be unavoidable depending on the budget, but every time you go inside the elevator you have to sit through a long loading screen as the elevator goes up and the hero makes some snarky comments about it. These are unskippable and while they aren’t quite Sonic 2006 level, they happen a lot more frequently. Put it this way, every playthrough you are guaranteed at least 25 loading screens minimum. That’s a bit much. For number 3, I would add actual save points. I don’t think dying should erase all of your progress. I understand that this is a game decision though, but it’s one that I would have changed.

As far as the graphics go, they look like the online computer games you would play as McAfee. (Probably spelled a little different) You could easily see these kind of graphics in online computer games form 10-15 years ago and definitely can’t compete with modern ones. To an extent the graphics are likely intentionally old to mirror the retro style the game is going for though. It’s extremely undetailed and looks more like a NES game than a PS4 title, but as an artistic choice it’s not terrible. It won’t take you out of the game or anything. The soundtrack is pretty limited, but the tunes aren’t bad. It definitely gives you the feel of the game right away.

Overall, Toe Jam & Earl is definitely a unique game as I mentioned. The name is still a little hard to actually say with a straight face so I’ll mostly be sticking to calling it Jam & Earl IRL. It feels more like an experience game or one of those really old arcade style titles but without the high scores. The gameplay is fun enough, but there wasn’t a lot of incentive to keep going. At least it’s not really my cup of tea but if you want a shot of nostalgia and grew up with the series then I’m sure you’ll like it. While there isn’t a whole lot of content the game can still last you for quite a long while if you just keep replaying it a lot. I’d sooner recommend Asdivine Hearts and Owlboy though. I’ll wait for the next re imagining of Jam & Earl to see if this franchise can really make its mark on the industry.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Nancy Drew… Detective Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Kid Icarus Review


It’s time to look at my next journey into the NES ONLINE collection. This time Kid Icarus was my next conquest and it’s definitely one of those games that is reasonably fun but held back by a lot of dated mechanics. Fortunately the save states do help make up for these aspects.

The basic plot is that Pit has to stop the ultimate evil known as Medusa from destroying his world. Lady Palutena has gifted him with many skills and now it’s up to him to put them to use. The gameplay is pretty basic as you jump from platform to platform as you deal with monsters by shooting your arrows. You can shoot your arrows in a straight line facing forward or up. Typically the levels will ask you to either climb very high or go all the way to the right. Each world has 4 levels and there are 3 full worlds with 1 final level. The 4th level in each world is the boss level which also serves as a huge maze.

The normal levels are pretty fun and will really test your platforming skills. A single misstep can mean the end of you. Your health also depletes quite rapidly so you’ll want to keep an eye on your health bar at all times. You do get a few lives so you won’t go all the way back but these levels are quite difficult so you would be wise not to underestimate them. You obtain hearts by defeating enemies which you can trade for health potions or temporary attack upgrades.

What holds the game back is the 4th level of these worlds. The mazes are quite frankly way too large. You’ll be lost with no end in sight here. It works like Metroid where if you don’t have a guide you will need to draw a map of your own. I can definitely acknowledge the time and dedication you would have had to spend to do such a thing back then. Games are really tricky back then…maybe too tricky. After all, this is more tedious than challenging after a point. You can easily waste hours going through this just as I used up a bunch of hours in Metroid. Some games just really haven’t aged well to be honest. Others have continued to excel though so that’s a good thing. Kid Icarus is kind of in the middle. It’s not bad, but this does prevent it from being truly good.

The final level is a nice look at what the game could have been like though. It’s an aerial level where you blast away at enemies in a level where the camera is constantly scrolling. It takes a lot of skill to blast your way to the end but it also doesn’t feel tedious. The final boss is also quite inventive as you have to blast at the enemy while blocking her attacks. You can only pick one option at a time so you have to constantly time your attacks just right. Mess up and then it’s all over for you. Definitely not a final boss to be taken lightly either. This whole game is one that is more challenging than it may appear at first glance.

As for the graphics, those are pretty good. The game uses the classic sprites as were the norm back then. The sprites do a good job of giving the characters clear designs. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty basic but effective. The main theme has certainly become iconic over the years. I can’t say that I really recall any of the other themes off the top of my head, but it’s pretty soothing and fits in with the levels. After all, this game is a pretty calm platformer in the sense that there is no timer. You can take as long as you need to in order to fully process the enemy movement patterns. Slow and steady will win the race here.

A unique gimmick this game also has is the fact that a certain enemy can transform you into an eggplant. If you are hit with this curse then you need to try and find a healing station to cure you. Until that happens you can’t attack anymore which puts you in a very vulnerable spot. It can definitely be annoying when it hits you since that’s most likely it for that life, but it’s a fun little feature that’s just so random that it really works.

Overall, Kid Icarus has its fun moments, but its downsides as well. You gotta take the game as a mixed package and likewise I gave it a pretty mixed review. Honestly there isn’t much reason to play it as this point though. If you want to experience the Pit adventures then just check out Uprising. It’s an improvement in literally every way and is a very satisfying experience. The original Kid Icarus is a good title to play for the novelty, but you won’t be missing out on much by skipping it. I’m sure it was fun for its time, but there are just better platformers to play nowadays like CupHead or something like that. Of course if you already have the online Nintendo Switch membership then you may as well check the game out since it’s free. It’s only a few hours long and you can use the save states as much as needed in order to secure your win.

Overall 5/10