The Great Race Review


It’s been a while since I saw a film that was nearly 3 hours. Out of all the films I wouldn’t have guessed that a comedy like this would be one that would have such a long run time. It just would have struck me as a bit unlikely. Still, it does accomplish a lot in the time that it has. It probably could have trimmed some of the scenes a bit to be honest but at the very least it won’t be a film that you forget anytime soon. The Great Race really did feel like a huge ordeal that went past a whole country.

The film starts with introducing us to the contrast between Leslie and Professor Fate. Leslie is one of those guys who is a complete star and succeeds in everything he does. Everyone throws themselves at the guy and he is able to escape from a balloon in mid-air while tied up. He’s an ace driver and is talented at all he does. Then you have Fate who is incompetent at everything he attempts and everything turns out badly for him. No matter what he tries, Leslie is always one step ahead of him. It’s at the point where even if he isn’t outright mocking Fate, the villain takes it personally. When he finds out that Leslie has decided to have a race from New York to Paris, Fate knows he has to join. If he is able to defeat Leslie here in front of the whole world then he will have finally gotten his revenge. Can he really pull this off though?

Yes, the race does actually last for the duration of the movie. This is due in large part to the fact that nobody can possibly go this whole distance without breaks though. They stop at many different towns along the way ranging from Kingdom revolt to a small town where they want to show off their hospitality. Leslie is always ready to waste some time since he’s sure that Fate is no threat and Fate always ends up stopping as well. After all, he can’t win due to Leslie lowering his guard. He wants to defeat the guy fair and square.

There is one other big player in the film and that is Maggie. She is very vocal about being the first female reporter ever. She forces the head of the paper to let her into the race and to cover it that way. You have to give her this, she is definitely very confident in her abilities. She is willing to challenge anyone on anything to prove that she can hold her own. Of course, challenging Leslie isn’t the best bet since this guy is already more advanced than most characters. She was a fencing champion for example but so was he so that didn’t go well. He’s just too skilled.

We get a lot of good back and forth between the characters though. Maggie tends to lose out on these exchanges but she does put up a good effort each time which is the important thing. Then finally we have Fate who gets wrecked by everyone throughout the movie. He’s usually the punch line for each joke so as you can imagine things don’t go particularly well for him. He is a genius to an extent as he can build just about anything but always finds a way to mess it up. His character arc can be rather tragic but then you remember he’s a villain so you can go back to chuckling at him. He does help give the film a lot of energy though because he is a big part of what makes the film fun.

Of course, it all depends on how much you enjoy this humor style. It’s a very retro style with the heavy emphasis on slapstick and physical gags as characters get blown up and beaten left and right. We even get a wild west type bar fight where the characters are knocking each other around. This part definitely felt like a parody of the usual kind of fight with how over the top it was. The characters were literally tearing the place down as they fell through windows or into the stairs. It’s an extended fight that definitely worked really well. There’s also a big pie fight that happened later on but nothing can beat the fisticuffs.

There is even a sword fight later on or I guess it may be more effective to say a fencing battle. Part of the fun in having such a long run time is that you can take time to do all sorts of things. Now, if one plot had to be shortened though, I would have reduced the length of screen time for the King in the plot where he switched places with Fate. I have to be honest, the King wasn’t that amusing. His whole gimmick is using his crazy laugh over and over again but he doesn’t have much personality beyond that. You’ll feel like rolling your eyes at the guy by the end.

The movie is at its best when it’s straight up acting like a parody. Fate infiltrating Leslie’s board of directors meeting was pretty hype since his disguise almost held up. Using a race to finally end the various car rivalries was nice as well. Fate’s plans all blowing up in his face was always amusing as well. Perhaps it could have been repetitive if the same gag as used over and over but it was always a different thing that stopped him. This is one area where the Beach films could learn a thing or two as the motor gangs there could be very repetitive. It shows what a good difference in writing ability can achieve.

In a film that is as over the top as this one it makes sense that not all of the jokes would land though. On the whole I would say this one got more right than it got wrong. It’s just a pleasant film that is fun to follow along with. The movie sets up the dynamic with Leslie and Fate very quickly which is effective since it stays in place for the rest of the film. We also have a subplot with the newspaper agency trying to survive as the Woman’s Rights movement takes over the building. At one point the leader is even taken down and forced to plead insanity as he vanished. Now, none of this is outright stated on how it happens but one moment the leader is there taking names and the next he is at Happy Farms and his wife now owns the company. I was not expecting that so it was a good gag.

With a movie going for as humorous a tone as this you can expect that it would have some fun with the ending. It’s a bold one to be sure but in universe I think everyone would be absolutely livid with the main character. The race is quite important after all so messing with it is definitely not a good idea. We get one last big explosion for the film as well which was pretty neat. The writing was on point and at the end of the day that is crucial for any film.

Overall, The Great Race is a very fun film. We get a lot of great banter between the characters like Maggie and Leslie. I could have done without their romance there as it definitely felt rather rushed though and it also felt like Leslie would try and dodge the debates by pulling the moves on her. I’d have preferred they stayed insulting each other the whole movie as that would have made for even more great dialogue. It’s also ironic that she is the one plan of Fate’s that actually worked rather well but in this case that was not a good thing for him. There are a lot of other events that happen throughout the film as the race has numerous pitstops but you’ll have a good time checking them out as they arrive. This film is very much a relic of its time but one that works in every era.

Overall 7/10

The Atomic Brain Review


Time for a really old sci-fi film that’s also incredibly short. The film is barely over an hour so the whole thing really vanishes in a flash. It has some interesting ideas but don’t expect the characters to make any smart moves. They fall into every trap possible which makes sense because otherwise you’ll wonder how such an old lady can possibly hope to keep them on the defensive. The only way this works is if the heroines don’t know what they are doing.

The film starts by explaining the premise to us. Hettie is a lady who is quite old at this point and she is not ready to die yet. Her idea is that she will take over the body of a much younger girl so that she can live again. The issue is that nobody has succeeded in doing a brain transplant like this yet. Well, she has found one doctor just crazy enough to do it. Otto is his name and victory is his game. He hasn’t quite succeeded yet, but she is sure he will crack the case. She sends her assistant Victor over to pick up the three girls who responded to the interview letter in the paper. Bea, Anita, and Nina are looking forward to a pleasant job here but it looks like they may have gotten more than they bargained for with this one.

From the start you feel like the experiments are suspect at best. Hettie was taking a huge risk allowing the experiment to be performed on her since she could die or any number of things could happen to her. Additionally, this also assumes that Otto isn’t very smart. Everyone knows Hettie will betray him as soon as she has her new body. All he cares about is having funding to continue his experiments on forever and that won’t work. With her sedated for the experiment he has all of the power. So not a good plan and Otto doesn’t make for a particularly smart villain either.

Then you have Victor who is constantly used and manipulated throughout the film. It gets worse when you consider that he has been manipulated for many, many years without even suspecting that something is up. By the time he does, well lets just say that he doesn’t look very good at all. The guy definitely knows how to let his guard down even when in enemy territory. You’d think he would have at least been a little ready for an attack.

As for the three main characters, Anita gets the smallest role from the main 3. She doesn’t know a lot of English but quickly can tell that this place is shady. Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot she can do though so she ends up being taken out pretty quick. Nina and Bea are really the two main characters here. I’d say Bea is the best character as she comes up with plans and is a lot braver than the other characters. I thought the way she went out was a bit unnecessary though. The film’s basically over at this point so why not let her have more of a happy ending right? Feels like Bea really couldn’t catch a break here.

Finally you have Nina who may not stand out as much as the other characters but she did well enough on her own I guess. Ultimately she needed a lot of help but how you get out is the important thing. Again though, you feel like the ladies should have just overpowered Hettie at any point because she is so old. Especially near the end where she makes it plain as day that she will be murdering everyone. Why not take a chance and attack her since things aren’t going well anyway?

The same thing would apply to Victor and Otto as well. At least Otto had a plan though but it seemed like Victory was just going to take everything lying down when he could be doing just about anything instead. He has a lot of reasons to attack Hettie and secure the win that way. Doing so would absolutely have made more sense than just standing there and getting drunk as he feels sorry for himself.

This film actually has a narrator which is not something you see very often anymore. It’s one from the villain’s point of view for the most part as he constantly defends them and explains why things are the way that they are. The voice doesn’t have a whole lot of energy to it though so you can tell he’s just trying to get the lines over with. On one hand, I’d say the film’s dialogue has aged rather well and has that fun retro feel to it. I always tend to like back and forth from the old days like this.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t say the film is quite as fun as some of the other old classics because we don’t really have an active main character here to take everyone down. None of the heroines ever get to fight or anything like that and the subplot of the cat who got a human’s body isn’t exactly a positive for the film. I’ve never been big on the whole humans acting like animals thing. Most recently it gives me flashbacks to that film known as “Cats” which was….certainly an experience. Regardless, you’d think the cat would be a little more cautious or be able to run quicker when you’ve got random monster men out in the field. The film liked to have fun with its hybrid monsters though and everyone gets injured at some point. Bea getting sliced and then squashed was one combo for example.

The heroes just didn’t keep their guard up as much as they should and ended up losing quite a bit more than you’d expect. I think the film could have focused a little more on how crazy this whole thing was and maybe switched everyone’s bodies instead of going down this road. It’s a film with some promise like the nuclear reaction but at the end of the day the character cast is really weak. I dare say you could point to almost any other film from this era that I’ve seen and the cast holds up better.

Overall, What this film really needed was a main character to take some action and get to the bottom of this. Maybe have the police show up at some point to put a little pressure on everyone. Those kinds of details would have helped take the movie to the next level for sure. As it stands, the brain transplant doesn’t work quite as well as it could have with the cat brain since it’s not like the animal can do much here and you feel like there is no point to the animal hybrids since they don’t actually do anything.

Overall 4/10

The Courtship of Eddie’s Father Review


Time for a rom-com film from a while back. So right away I had some concerns here because a kid was going to have a big role in the film. As you may know, kids tend to distract from the film going on with a lot of their crazy antics and holding things back. Unfortunately Eddie is no exception and easily the worst character in the film. Fortunately the rest of the movie is still pretty decent and it’s a film I could recommend. I just think it could have been even better if Eddie himself just wasn’t in the mix the whole time.

The movie starts by introducing us to Tom. He’s a man whose wife recently died so he’s doing his best to go on with life as normal. Unfortunately Eddie isn’t happy about this and wants to have a Mom again. Tom assures him that the two of them will be okay but Eddie throws fits and begins crying all the time. So Tom begins on his journey to find someone and ends up meeting a lady named Rita. Unfortunately Eddie doesn’t like her because he wants Tom to marry their next door neighbor Elizabeth. There are a ton of reasons why this shouldn’t happen, particularly that Elizabeth was Tom’s wife’s best friend. You’re not really going to marry her best friend right? Right?….well we’ll see if Tom can stay strong.

So I’ve already wrote about Eddie but lets wrap up his character now so we can move on to the others. He’s just really not coping well at all and tries to deflect this all the time by saying that Tom isn’t happy. You can see how visibly confused Tom was because they had just finished watching a movie that he enjoyed quite a bit but Eddie quickly threw cold water over the whole thing. Throughout the film Eddie is constantly projecting like this and Tom ends up being under a lot of pressure to find someone and fast. Then you’ve also got the scene where Eddie is rude to the girl at camp. This is already bad but even worse is the fact that everyone in class was always teasing her so Eddie had been the girl’s only friend. This sudden betrayal would be hard for the girl to deal with and this is never brought up again. Eddie’s just really mean throughout the entire film and every scene with him will have you cringing.

As for Tom, he’s okay but I wouldn’t actually call him a good character either. First off, as much as Eddie whines about the whole thing, that shouldn’t be enough to just make him find a new wife so quickly. Then you’ve got the fact that you can’t really take him seriously in these new relationships. He is seemingly interested in 3 women during the course of the film, Dollye, Rita, and Elizabeth. Dollye is taken off the table early on but with Rita and Elizabeth the guy can’t make up his mind. He actively goes on dates with both of them and doesn’t see any problem with this. Inevitably one of them won’t have a happy ending here.

Like Eddie Tom tends to lose his cool pretty quickly though so that also hurts him as a character even aside from not being able to make up his mind. He’s constantly insulting Elizabeth so it’s no wonder that they didn’t hit it off. Additionally when he tries to turn her logic against her when she rightfully points out that he’s always scared and pouting…it doesn’t work. He tries to say that she is also afraid of being in a relationship except that she is still going out on dates and has a solid gig as a nurse so…his argument was terrible from the start. She’s also the one making the effort to go to his place and see Eddie so this is a one way street.

Elizabeth is a decent heroine but I also feel like she was moving in rather quickly with romantic intentions. So, this goes back to the ole rebound that I always speak against in these films. If your wife just died or you split apart, you can’t move on to someone so quickly. How serious were your feelings if you are already prepared to move on? Both parties are suspect there. Even though Tom is meant to be wrong in his speech about how Elizabeth was just there to get married…this did start to go in that direction rather quickly so was he really wrong? Elizabeth said she went there platonically but it sure didn’t stay that way for long. Additionally Tom was the one starting to seem desperate as he kept inviting her for drinks. Yeah, I can’t give that guy a thumbs up.

Rita was a pretty reasonable character as well. She was also interested in Tom from the start and did her best to claim him. Unfortunately Eddie was always trying to ruin things there. She handled things quite rationally and in the end it was Tom who just tossed her aside once he decided to be with Elizabeth. I appreciate the fact that the film didn’t immediately try to make her some kind of villain or anything like that. Rita stayed as a solid character throughout so I appreciate the film’s restraint.

The other two supporting characters were Dollye and Norman. I was fine with both of them being written out rather early though as they got their own subplot because they weren’t quite as interesting. Dollye definitely had a very odd first appearance. Fortunately it went well but if I were Tom I definitely would have had doubts on the request. Her overall quest is good though as she works to get more outgoing. It’s a very noble goal and one worth pursuing. Meeting up with Norman was quite fortunate for her because that guy is quite good at being bold and letting this be known far and wide. Whatever the guy wants he gets. Definitely not the most trustworthy sort but you hope things will work out for them.

The writing is pretty fun though. We do get some nice scenes of humor particularly with the maid who is trying to learn Spanish. She has clearly put in a lot of work to her craft and is just a likable person. She does try to look out for Tom a bit in her own way. In general while I may not be big fans of the main characters or the romance in general which I found to be a bit weak, the film itself is nice and interesting. I wouldn’t really say there is a whole lot against it beyond that. The film is reasonably long and a lot happens. It may drag on a tad at points but not enough to say it’s a bad film. Put it this way, you should have a good time giving it a watch but it probably wouldn’t rank for giving it a re watch after that.

Overall, If you can get past the fact that the characters are going for a rebound romance then this is a decent film. It’s a film that would have benefited from not having Eddie participate at all though. Seriously, the kid really didn’t need to be here. Without him the story would be a lot tighter and you could probably even develop the romance more since it wouldn’t all just be from pressure that the kid provided. If you ask me that’s a winning combination. I somehow don’t think Eddie will be going back to camp after all of this though, he certainly burned all of the bridges he could have there and the little girl isn’t likely to forget his final scene either. Maybe he could be more likable in a sequel if we get a big time jump or something.

Overall 6/10

The Vampire Bat Review


It’s time to look at a really old film about Vampires. This one definitely goes pretty bold with the premise of this vampire attacking while the main detective doesn’t believe in it. It’s always fun to see a lead who is super skeptical like this because it makes for a nice contrast to the rest of the townsfolk who have completely jumped head over heels for this superstition. They basically become hysterical in the very first scene. The movie may be short but I feel like it still captured a lot and was a pretty fun experience. It’s a good example of why you always gotta keep your guard up.

So as I mentioned the movie starts with the town telling Karl about the vampires running around. The reason why they believe that the vampire is running around bumping people off is because each of the victims have the classic 2 fangs mark on their neck. The villagers point out that only a vampire leaves this kind of mark, not to mention that all of the victims have been completely drained of their blood. Karl dismisses this theory and runs off. Unfortunately the bodies continue to pile up. There is currently only one suspect, a suspicious guy named Glieb who is completely obsessed with bats. Is this too obvious? The town is ready to condemn him but Karl doesn’t want to be too hasty. After all, a man’s life is at stake here.

A good chunk of the film is really about balancing the mystery angle of the movie along with watching people get bumped off one by one. There’s a decent body count here. As always it can be sad to see some of the heroes go down because they were handling things as best they could. Unfortunately it’s just hard for everyone to be able to walk away here. The villain is pretty tough after all. I won’t say if the villain actually turned out to be a vampire or not but I will say that the ending at least hints that something slightly supernatural was going on. That or someone had a very big change of heart which could be possible but I like to think that this was not something quite so explainable. The climax itself could be a little suspect at times though with how someone turned the tables.

Karl is definitely a solid lead. He really does a good job of not panicking like the others. Karl likes to look at things step by step until he gets to the right answer. It’s a slow but methodical approach that really helps him in not making any real mistakes. He may not have a ton of character but Karl has enough charisma to hold the film. He has a very solid scene at the end which really helped him as well. The heroine Ruth isn’t bad. She’s certainly a lot braver than Gussie who kept on fainting as the film went on. Ruth made sure to hold her own with the characters even if she didn’t really go to the front lines much. There’s just not a whole lot to say about her as a result.

Then you’ve got Dr. Otto who is here to try and make sure that justice is serves. He isn’t quite as dismissive of the supernatural element as Karl but still thinks it’s something practical as well. It’s always good to have a Doctor on board since things can get out of hand with how many people keep dying here. I do think his idea to keep the windows open doesn’t make a lot of sense when there is a murderer running around though. Seems like it’s better to just endure the stuffy air in that circumstance. Better than being bit right?

Then we have Glieb who is the big suspect. The guy doesn’t make things easy on himself. He always looks really suspicious and knows about the vampire rumors but still makes sure to run around playing with bats. He doesn’t have a whole lot of awareness here and going to each of the murder scenes wasn’t really a good look. The guy’s also not that subtle with how he was trying to steal the fruits away from the table. The worst part is that Gussie would have given him some so why try to steal them the whole time? I definitely wasn’t a fan of this guy but I suppose you always need the “obvious” suspect to keep us guessing.

The movie really flies by so all of the plot elements occur pretty seamlessly. There isn’t a whole lot of action as the final scene is the only real battle moment. Still, the mystery keeps you engaged. It’s a very simple story but one that is executed well so it all works out. The writing is on point and it doesn’t go for any real shock value type moments. It’s all just about the atmosphere and watching Karl try to piece things together while being ridiculed and distracted by Gussie. She certainly wasn’t making things easy on him.

Overall, The Vampire Bat is a pretty solid film. I suppose it’s probably one of the first big vampire type films since 1933 was so long ago. It definitely beats most vampire movies that I’ve seen. Of course it’s going for a pretty different feel than something like Dracula but I dare say that it nails this approach quite well so maybe more films should be like this. Mystery is a good genre that works well with most so it comes as no surprise that it would pair well with vampires as well. Right from the start you have to decide if you’re on Karl’s team or not and that will affect how you view the rest of the film. The important takeaway from the film is naturally that you should always lock the doors and definitely do not under any circumstances leave the windows open while a mass murderer is at large. Do those things correctly and you reduce the chance of being murdered. That or get a guard dog, the dog did very well in this movie. It only appeared for a scene but definitely took charge.

Overall 7/10

The Heiress Review


It’s time for an old school romance film. This one definitely serves to remind you that trust is something that needs to be earned. If you’re rich then you end up with a lot of advantages in life but also some unique disadvantages. One is that you never know if people are being straight with you anymore or if they’re just watching your pockets and trying to get some money. You need to be aware of this at all times. People say “More money more problems” which is probably a saying from someone who had a lot of money since I don’t buy into that, but being rich certainly doesn’t mean you’re problem free. Oh no, you’ll definitely have a lot of new worries so in a way it’s a trade off. You may have to live a bit more of a lonelier life if you’re rich so you’ve got to be clever and discrete. The main character was neither here.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the family of Catherine, her father Austin, and her aunt Lavinia. The three of them now live under one roof with Catherine feeling like the odd one out. Lavinia’s had a very social life and just has a lot of fun in day to day activities. Then you have Austin who has built an entire empire although he is now old and getting closer and closer to death. Catherine has an inheritance of 10,000 dollars a month and once Austin dies that will go to 30K. The only issue is that right now she has no suitors. Catherine hasn’t done a lot to really stand out in appearance or in manners. This created a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy where she has lost all confidence in herself and can’t hold up even the beginnings of a normal conversation.

Time after time she is taken to parties but nobody wishes to dance with her or anything like that. Then one day she meets a man named Morris who is incredibly interested in her. He claims this to be love at first sight and wants to marry her that same week. He quickly pressures her into agreeing to engage and then get married a few days later. Catherine’s father Austin is not thrilled at this. He claims that Morris is a bounty hunter just looking to take her money. He decides to try and prove this to Catherine but she simply won’t believe him. Is it really true that Morris is just using her or is he actually a good guy? The stakes are quite here as she might lose her one true love or prepare for a loveless life.

There’s definitely a lot to say on this matter. For starters, this is why you can’t just fall for someone so instantly. I’ve never believed in love at first sight. I believe people mix that up with infatuation or a crush. Those things can happen in an instant since it’s purely superficial attraction. Love is something you build up as you hang out with such a person and begin to admire their other traits. There’s a world of difference between a crush and love. So even if Morris is on the level with his feelings, they come across as quite shallow here. The only reason he has so much sway over Catherine is because she is so desperate for love after being turned down for so long. She is quite desperate to be in a relationship.

It’s why you have to be content with yourself first. If you’re not having a good time then getting into a relationship is hardly going to change things. At most it’ll just tide you over for a little while but you need internal happiness as well, you can’t just be happy when someone else is around. It’s also a fair point that Catherine didn’t put in a lot of effort if she really wanted to impress the men around. There’s a whole lot you can do with your appearance to try and catch someone’s eye. Assuming that she simply preferred this look which is fair, she could have learned some talents. Dance for example is something she could have definitely studied and I also question why she was so slow on the uptake with everything. Catherine never seems to understand what is going on even if it’s being done right in front of her face.

While the film sometimes uses this as dark humor, it doesn’t really hurt her case. Either way you’ll feel bad for Catherine regardless. The film can be quite tragic and even if she should have picked up on some of the things everyone was saying, you can’t help but empathize with her plight. It may not be all that relatable but she does get crushed quite a few times in this film. That’s not to say that other characters don’t make mistakes though. I liked Lavinia quite a bit and for a while she was the best character in the film. Then she starts to get played as a sucker towards the end which really hurts her. I suppose you could make the case that she knows how this will end but still feels like Catherine will be happier. I don’t see why she would believe that though. It’s just not a good look there. I did appreciate the energy and spunk she gave the film though.

The best character in the end would be Austin. Austin was looking at things scientifically right from the start. He may come across as rather cold and aggressive but at the end of the day he was still looking out for Catherine. He figures it’s better to stop things now even if it hurts her a bit rather than letting them go too far and then having her realize what is going on. As a result he has to play the bad guy for most of the film. He does go a bit far at times like not being able to see any qualities in Catherine. If she doesn’t currently possess any skills then it’s his job to help her acquire them. We know that he has made a reasonable attempt at this but he could surely do more. Even in terms of looks he has wealth and means so he could take her to beauty salons and such. If he were more helpful to her during all of this that would have been nice as well.

Finally we have Morris who certainly gets a pretty big role in the film. He’s certainly bold if nothing else like his final scenes. You’d have to be living under a rock to really accept what’s going on at the end there. If anything I’m not sure the jewels were needed, but I guess to build up the anticipation further so there’s a bigger fall to rock bottom. I get the concept at least. I can’t say that I was a big fan of Morris from the start though. You really should never come across as too desperate and he seemed desperate from the start.

The writing here is pretty solid. The movie does a good job of keeping a sad tone afloat the whole time for Catherine without going over the edge with it. You’ll definitely feel bad for her the whole time and you don’t even need a lot of sad music tunes to get that across. There’s one section in the film where she wears the Sith Lord cloak from Star Wars and that was pretty intense. Her character definitely started to change towards the end and it made for a very interesting character shift. I wouldn’t have minded if that had been her regular attire for more of the film. It has aged pretty well.

Overall, This film definitely reminds you to play things close to the vest. If someone tries to rush you into something then you should think twice about it. The film has a pretty satisfying conclusion so it makes this a very complete experience. At times you’ll definitely wish Catherine would be more active or at least a little smarter but it is what it is. If you like a good romance drama film then I’d recommend checking this one out. The pacing is good and quite a lot happens here. You also get a few verbal debates with solid back and forths like the scene with Austin vs Morris in the dining room. Now that’s the kind of scene I would definitely like to see more of.

Overall 7/10

The Mad Genius Review


It’s time to look a a film from a while back that shows why you’ve always gotta stand up for yourself. If you just allow yourself to be a tool you’ll always end up on the losing side. Part of why this film ultimately ends up failing on every level is that the main characters don’t handle the situations very well at all. They end up appearing to be quite gullible and have low will power. It’s never fun to see them get tricked by the villains so easily. They just were not ready for the real world and it shows.

The movie starts off with Ivan deciding to adopt a kid. Ivan was never able to be a world famous dancer but he will make sure that Fedor will succeed where Ivan had failed. Things are going quite well for many years as Fedor is shaping up nicely. Unfortunately that all changes when Fedor falls in love with one of the dancers named Nana. Falling in love with a co-worker is pretty dangerous and usually doesn’t end up working out but that’s just how it went in this case. Ivan is determined to break these two up even if he has to use trickery to do so. Will he be able to keep Fedor as his living puppet or will he ultimately be unable to truly control Fedor’s life to such a degree?

To start with, Fedor is a pretty terrible character. Ivan’s a villain so that goes without saying for him, but Fedor handles himself poorly in every regard. Once he finds out about Ivan’s deception he quickly runs off with Nana which is at least a good start to what’s going on. That’s the right approach but where things go wrong is he starts sounding like Ivan and even guilt tripping Nana a bit. This leads her to decide to sell herself off to one of Ivan’s friends. Fortunately that guy ends up being rather decent to her the whole time but it felt like we went to 0-100 in an instant. Why couldn’t they just have talked things out real quick? Why did Fedor suddenly change overnight? He is a large part of why Nana felt so desperate in those scenes.

Fedor was also quick to believe Ivan and go back to being on his side. You’ve got to be a real sucker to believe someone who has made a career out of tricking others. Whenever Fedor showed up you could count on him to make the wrong decision. While Nana was a nice character she makes a lot of the same mistakes as well. She makes massive assumptions throughout the film and is too quick to ride the waves or go along with what the others are saying. She shouldn’t have even gone to meet Ivan the second time around as there is no way that could have ended well. It’s not so much a case of Nana being too nice as just being overly naive the whole time.

As for Ivan, he’s definitely one of those guys who quickly abuses his power as soon as he gets it. He allows his dancers to move up the ranks by giving personal favors. It goes against his entire motivation of wanting to have the best ballet. You can’t take his goal seriously if he doesn’t. That’s one of those things a villain just can’t do. If he can’t stand by his goal then that means it wasn’t really much of one to start with. Ultimately things start to catch up to him by the end of the movie but it certainly took a while for this to occur.

The Mad Genius can be rather slow paced at times and the weak characters don’t help matters either. You’ll struggle to find the film all that entertaining or interesting. The title also gives Ivan more credit than he is due as the guy doesn’t seem particularly intelligent. He could have very easily allowed the two main characters to be together and then they would have stayed in the show. By getting rid of them he lost his two best dancers so of course the show wouldn’t be quite as good. Ivan really didn’t think anything over particularly well.

Overall, The Mad Genius is definitely a film that you can skip. The writing isn’t all that good and the film can be quite slow. It feels like not a whole lot happens during the movie and with the characters making so many illogical choices it’s hard to sympathize with them either. The film also loses track of time within the scenes. There’s one scene where one of the ladies tells Ivan she will be right back. We then get a very long scene of a drunk Ivan talking to his partner, listening to his ideas and having an argument. After the argument they go back and forth a bit and then the girl finally returns as Ivan is leaving. That was a whole lot of time to vanish and didn’t really make sense. The film doesn’t really dwell on this though so neither should you. If you want a more interesting piece of media about ballet I would advise you to check out Princess Tutu instead.

Overall 3/10