The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review


The Hunchback of Notre Dame is definitely quite a bit darker than your average Disney film. Someone breaks their neck in the opening scene and from there it only gets darker. The movie does a good job of balancing this out though so it stays intense without going into super gritty territory. I wouldn’t say that it’s quite on the level of something like Frozen but this is a very good film. I thought it had one of the most memorable songs from the villain which definitely mixed in well with the flames everywhere. If you want a very atmospheric title then this is the one for you.

The movie starts with Claude going around murdering people as per usual. He manages to destroy a mother and goes for the child when a member of the Church shows up. He scares Claude into having the boy adopted instead. This boy would grow up to be known as Quasimodo. His body is quite deformed and so Claude has decided to hide him away in the church for all eternity. The Church doesn’t seem to have any qualms with this and Quasi was brainwashed as he was growing up to never leave the room. Still, he hopes to leave someday to experience life outside of the walls. One day he gets his chance and sneaks out. There he meets a dancer named Esmeralda and they become quick friends. Can Quasimodo keep this secret away from Claude? Additionally, Quasi may have to choose a side soon because Claude has decided to ramp up his efforts to murder all of the gypsies in the land.

The plot of having the villain trap and trick the hero is definitely a Disney classic. It wasn’t so long ago that I saw Tangled with a very similar premise. The idea is to manipulate the hero right away so that he just doesn’t know any better. I would argue that Claude is a little less obvious than the villain from Tangled but of course it would still be nice if Quasimodo has escaped earlier on to get into the spotlight. It doesn’t help that in his case the townsfolk probably will be pretty mean to him since they’re never happy to have someone who looks different. There’s a whole contest in the town about making fun of people. It’s not the nicest town so in some ways it’s not like Claude was totally lying about it, but of course we all know that his intent wasn’t exactly just. He knew exactly what he was doing the whole time.

As a main character Quasimodo’s not bad. He certainly means well and is a pretty nice guy. Things don’t always work out super well for him but he’s earnest. He does help Esmeralda when things get tough and at the end he’s pretty understanding. I wouldn’t call him one of the better characters, but he’s not bad. Then you have Esmeralda who is a pretty strong heroine. She does a good job of rebelling against Claude and making a mockery of his events. In some ways she’s a lot like Zorro as she uses her athletics to get the better of her opponents. The fact that she can actively fight is definitely very good and so she’s a standout character here.

Next up is Phoebus and he is a worthy counterpart to Esmeralda. He’s a soldier in the army who wants to do his best but gradually sees more and more how corrupt the whole thing is. Eventually he has enough of this. Once he turns away the guy never looks back and was definitely crucial in helping one of the families from a burning house. He does let his guard down at times but fights rather well. There are a few supporting characters like various gargoyles flying around but I wouldn’t say any of them were particularly entertaining. I understand why they’re around though as Quasimodo’s scenes may not have held up as well without them. He needs someone to talk to after all. I’d also say I was less than impressed with the main priest. He talks tough but ultimately doesn’t really stand against Claude.

As the main villain Claude’s definitely not one of the better ones. He reminds me a whole lot of Jafar. He’s more interested in scoring the main villain than in something more ambitious like taking over the country. He already has great influence within the town even though he doesn’t like the people. He just wants to eliminate the Gypsies at all costs even though he can’t decipher his own feelings. It’s part of what makes the Hellfire song pretty intense though. The villain songs tend to be quite memorable and this one is no different. It has some of the best background visuals I’ve seen in a song since Aladdin and there’s always something going on. So while I can’t take Claude seriously as a villain, at least he has that going for him.

In general the animation is quite striking and is easily one of the best looking Disney films. I dare say it even looks better than some of the ones that would come afterwards like Frozen, Big Hero 6, or Tangled. The colors are very sharp and all of the movement is on point. It may even be the best looking Disney animated film when I think about it. The songs from the Gargoyles don’t really rank but the villain song alone puts the soundtrack on the map as well. The writing is on point and so the film succeeded in all of the key areas. As I mentioned, the film doesn’t hold back on being quite serious as well. I was not expecting the opening scene to be quite so sinister and it sets up some tension right away as Claude is willing to do whatever it takes to win.

There is some romance in the film which I admit was not handled all that well but I was glad there was no drama with Quasimodo. He is satisfied being a good friend which is important. For Esmeralda and Phoebus, they only just met so the whole thing seems rather rushed. I think you could have axed that plot and it wouldn’t have really hurt the film at all. You could use the extra scenes to maybe show the Priest actually fighting back against Claude. That would have looked really good for him at least.

Overall, The Hunchback of Note Dame is a solid film. The movie feels very high quality throughout and the pacing is quick. The movie definitely goes all in on making Quasimodo deformed to the point where he may be a little harder to look at compared to other main characters but does underscore that he’s a good guy. The narrative irony being that the main townsfolk are the real monsters here as they eagerly go about trying to put others beneath them. The town seems very mean spirited in general so it’s good that there are some heroes around. Phoebus and Esmeralda will likely go about making the town a whole lot more hospitable in the future. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the sequel since by now things should be looking up. I suppose there are probably still enough corrupt people running around to keep on messing things up though. It’s hard to change the whole place in a day.

Overall 7/10

Night of the Living Dead Review


Night of the Living Dead is quite the title right? I imagine that just about everyone has to have heard of this film. The zombies owe a whole lot to this one. It’s a pretty interesting look at the classic horror feeling of knowing that you’re surrounded and there’s no way out. The film does start to go into edgy territory towards the end though trying to be more gritty than necessary. It definitely fumbles the landing and while it will keep your attention, I wouldn’t say this is a good movie. One character in particular also gets pretty annoying very quickly.

The movie starts with Barbra and her brother visiting a grave. He’s trolling her as usual when a guy starts walking towards them. He jokes that the guy is here to murder Barbra and unfortunately he’s right. The brother is able to distract the guy long enough for Barbra to get away but is murdered in the process. She escapes to a house but unfortunately there are a lot of these zombies running around. A man named Ben shows up and he’s also been on the run from these guys. He tells her that they have to make a stand in the house for as long as possible and boards things up. They’re not along though as it turns out that you’ve got Harry, his wife Helen, Tom, and his wife Judy along with an injured kid who got bit by one of the zombies. If you’re familiar with your films on contagions and stuff, being bit is never a good sign. Can the heroes really make a stand here or are there just too many zombies?

The toughest part about these kind of scenarios is that you don’t know how many zombies there are or how long you have to hold out. These questions nag in the back of your mind the whole time. It’s part of what makes titles like The Walking Dead or Resident Evil so popular. It’s easy to get behind a survival story as you try your best to stay alive as long as possible. I’d argue that it’s part of the appeal of Fortnite as well. It’s just fun to test your limits. Where the film goes wrong is in the more shock value type scenes. We actually see the zombies eating people which can be pretty graphic. There are quite a few scenes where you see them chomping on limbs and such. It definitely makes you shake your head because it really wasn’t needed. The atmosphere is enough to really make you feel the fear of the zombies and why they are so intense. You don’t need to throw the violence on top of that, it’s just not necessary.

As for the characters, well Barbra definitely stands out in a bad way. After the opening scene where she does a good job of running for safety and doing what needs to be done, she freezes. Now, the adrenaline has run out by now so I do expect a little crash. The worst part is that the crash lasts for pretty much the entirety of the movie though. She never gets to a point where she is a fighter after that and has no good ideas. It’s a shame but she definitely doesn’t help matters as the main heroine. Then you’ve got Harry who just likes to argue about everything. His idea to stay in the shelter is pretty terrible.

Here’s why it’s an awful decision. When you go down there you have absolutely no exits. It’s blocked by a locked door..and that’s about it. The zombies will eventually punch through and you don’t have a lot of options after that. Ultimately you would have to go back into the house anyway but this way you don’t have any protections and the zombies can be anywhere. It’s obviously a smarter idea to lock up the house and do what you gotta do. If you do have to escape it’s much easier to do when you’re already up and about as opposed to hiding in the basement. So it’s no secret that I was completely against Harry’s plan. It just makes no sense. Then you’ve got Tom who was at least willing to help. It takes Tom a little while to actually pick a side but he ultimately does which is the important thing. He never goes traitor the way that Harry does. Then you have Helen and Judy although their roles aren’t huge. Judy sort of cracks while Helen does well although it takes her a while to make a move.

That leaves us with Ben who’s certainly the most experienced member of the group. He’s been taking down zombies for a while not and knows how to fight them. He’s definitely fed up with everyone right now though and feels like they’re holding him back. They definitely do slow him down quite a bit between Barbra freezing and Harry actively trying to murder Ben. Ben handles the zombies pretty well for most of the film although at the end I’d say that he got a bit sloppy. I suppose there’s not a whole lot he could have known about the situation though so I’ll give him some slack there. It made for a pretty intense ending that’s for sure.

I was glad that we actually got to see the government get involved. It feels like a lot of the time you don’t get to see a whole lot from them here. It makes sense that they would be gearing up to stop the zombies though. The scenes of the professionals discussing things and making plans was nice. It’s always good to see everyone banding together to stop a threat like this and humanity is united rather well. I do feel like they would be able to defeat the zombies rather easily when you think about it. A head shot is all you need and the zombies are incredibly slow. As it stands I feel like the main characters should have been a little less nervous about things at times as you could pick them off pretty easily. Honestly if Ben had one more fighter with him then they probably could have just taken them all down. With two people it’s a lot safer to actually go in and start bashing the opponents. With 1 you gotta be careful since they do have a little super strength so any good hit could turn the tables.

Overall, This is probably still a better film than most zombie titles. It’s not exactly one of the better horror genres if you ask me so for the most part this one was rather decent. If they would just tone down the cannabalism and the violence then this could even be a winner. You even have the horror twist type ending which is always classic. Throw in the brief Sci-Fi angle and the government part and there is definitely a whole lot to enjoy here. I get the feeling that this will end up beating the sequels as well. If you want a suspenseful film about trying to survive in the middle of nowhere then this is probably an appropriate one to check out. Otherwise there’s always the original Home Alone about defending yourself against powerful forces while all on your own.

Overall 3/10

Corpse Bride Review


Corpse Bride reminds you that you gotta be careful when stating your wedding vows. Someone may get the wrong idea if they’re in the area. It’s a pretty interesting story since the main character isn’t brave enough to fight back so he gets himself in a lot of trouble. The film does tend to get a little grotesque with its visual humor though, particularly when in the land of the dead. It’s why despite how the heroine may be a nice person, it’s hard to see this working out for the guy. The whole eye popping out all the time would definitely make you shudder.

The movie starts with Victor preparing for his arranged marriage with Victoria. He’s pretty nervous about the whole thing. After all, the two characters have never even met before which makes things pretty difficult. Still, he is excited to meet her so he preps for this. He ends up being unable to talk much when he sees her and then messes everything up at the wedding rehearsal. Ashamed, Victor heads to the forest and put the wedding ring on a tree finger as he recites the vows. It turns out he said this to the corpse known as Emily who gladly accepts. He is now stuck with her in a wedding pact in the underworld. Victor needs to find a way back to the land of the living so that he can finally be with Victoria. To do that he’s going to need to trick Emily but should be really be doing something so underhanded?

From the start you can tell that most of the characters here are not meant to be all that sympathetic. Victor’s parents are usually taking shots the whole time. The mother in particular really just wants Victor to get married already so they can have some dignity. Meanwhile Victoria’s parents are completely out of money and they’re hoping that this will get them a nice pay day. The irony here is that as elites you figure that they would have a lot of cash at the ready. Both families are really using the kids as tools.

Fortunately it does work out that Victor and Victoria do like each other but at the same time it makes it easier for you to possibly root for the dead girl. After all you can only connect so much after a few minutes right? The cast is fairly small to be honest as the only other big character would be the villain Barkis. I can’t say that Barkis was very good though. I liked his initial appearance as he showed up to complicate things and mess with everyone. I can always respect that and he has a lot of confidence but his plan was basically to marry Victoria so that’s no good. We also learn about his past near the end which seals the deal as his not being a very good guy. Of course you would expect that from a villain bus his goals seem to petty and it also seems like he’s just not good at managing money. That’s a bad combination.

What holds the movie back to an extent is that the imagery can be pretty gross the whole time. Burton’s definitely no stranger to rather odd visuals that’s for sure. He likes having the goth motif and it can work reasonably well although I’ll take traditional any time. Whenever we’re in the underworld you can expect people’s eyes to be falling out, worms everywhere, and stuff like that. It’s definitely not the most pleasant backdrop and does limit the film a bit. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also hard to root for Emily as a result. Now the film does play the sympathy card for her quite a bit and to a degree you may feel bad for her. Her real life didn’t work out so well and so this was her chance to really make a comeback. In the present the whole misunderstanding is really on her though.

Is Emily trying to say that she only heard the vows and nothing before it? Additionally with context clues she should have been able to figure something out. Now it’s part of the main plot of course but Victor tries to tell Emily this was a mistake the whole time. The afterlife has not been great for her either as Emily just looks dead. This isn’t the kind of movie where the dead person still looks pristine. Even though Victor was willing to make this work it’s just hard to see this working out well.

Victoria’s a nice enough character although I wouldn’t say there is much to her. She definitely does her best to make sure everything turns out well though so I’ll give her some props there. The scene of her trying to ask the priest the tough questions was one of the funniest moments of the film. It was handled very well for sure. Then we’ve got Victor and I’m not a fan of that guy. He’s way too nervous and just goes along with what he’s told to do. The guy doesn’t have a whole lot of agency to himself. He’s really responsible for all of the messes he gets himself into. If he was just a little bolder and more outspoken then he wouldn’t have fared so poorly. Try this on for size, if Emily hadn’t made the call for him at the end then Victor would have just gone through with the whole thing. If anything you have to doubt his devotion to either heroine since he was clearly willing to go with either one or the other.

Overall, Corpse Bride is a pretty unique film. It’s definitely rare to see more of a Halloween romance film. The story’s not bad and there are some fun moments to be had for sure. The scene of the dead people going into the church while staying quiet was really nice since they still had respect was great. It was also nice to see everyone just hanging out and having a good time at the end. Zombies aren’t as scary when they’re actually good people and still have free will. The whole gross aspect of the dead side holds the film down to an extent though. It puts the film squarely in the green, it’s not a film I’d ever plan to rewatch but it’s not bad either. It doesn’t ever make any huge error that would make me turn it down. You can’t help but feel like it could have been a whole lot better though. If you want to see a film with this kind of atmosphere then I’d recommend watching Coraline sooner but you’ll have a good time here.

Overall 6/10

The Green Slime Review


Now this is a pretty amazing film title right off the bat. Who doesn’t want to watch a film that sounds like it’s about a ton of slime? This is a gold mine and the best part is that we all know it. You can’t get around the fact that this just sounds incredibly hype. The Green Slime is not to be trifled with and it’s got a fairly decent monster design. It honestly looks more like a minion then the big bad for most of the film but I can respect it. It’s also got enough special abilities to make it a little more impressive than the average monster. Classic lasers won’t be enough to stop this guy.

So we’ve got another mission into outer space. The team is going to be led by expert astronaut Jack. The difficult part is that Vince wants to come as well because he’s always had an inferiority complex around Jack. This is for many reasons. Jack’s always been known as the best guy in town and he also used to date Lisa who is now with Vince. Vince may have become commander of the space station while Jack has been promoted to other duties but he can’t escape the man’s shadow. Perhaps if they both go on a space mission together Vince can prove that he’s better than Jack. Well, the mission goes decently well but they are forced to head home pretty quickly after some complications. The issue is that they brought the slime back with them and it turned out to be a semi sentient monster bent on eating all the electricity it can find. It absorbs energy like a sponge. Is there any way to take this guy down?

A good portion of the film is the rivalry between Jack and Vince so how much you enjoy the film will depend on how much you like that aspect. It’s pretty fun although I consider it to be incredibly one sided. For starters, Jack is actually a great astronaut. He’s not all talk and consistently makes better decisions than Vince during the film. Jack is all about following orders and doing things by the book while Vince wings it. He also never puts people in danger for no reason. Vince intentionally makes a risky decision just to mess with Jack and it ends up costing some lives. Vince knew it was the wrong decision but did it to spite Jack. That’s when I knew that he had absolutely no chance here.

Jack’s no saint though. While he and Lisa are over and done with he tries to reclaim her after arriving back on the spaceship. He knows that she is with Vince and does this anyway. Not very sporting of him. The guy’s massive confidence works against him in this instance. He’s a solid lead but that’s one part of the plot where you just can’t root for him. He’s made it clear time and time again that the job is most important to him so you can’t really get around that fact. Meanwhile I don’t care for Vince because of his lack of confidence and how he keeps messing everything up. Lisa’s a solid heroine although I think she could take a harder stance against Jack. As long as she maintains control of the conversation she can keep him at bay and that would be the best way to go about things if you ask me.

Still, while they may not be super likable as characters, it makes for a lot of fun scenes. I’ll tell you right now that the characters are a lot more memorable then you may expect for an ole sci-fi film like this. You aren’t likely to forget about them anytime soon. How about the monster? Well, he’s pretty much mindless if you ask me but he does land some good shots. Usually that’s because the heroes move very slow but he still gets his wins so I have to acknowledge that much. He has a Swamp Thing type design while in human form. Mix in the regeneration and accelerated growth and I maintain the stance that he is a little stronger than your average monster from this era. I’d like to see more of a wide scale invasion but the idea of having to deal with a monster while you’re isolated in space is a strong one. Who knows, maybe Alien got the idea from this film. I wouldn’t be too surprised.

As expected the writing here is definitely on point. The dialogue is pretty sharp and all of the characters try to sound very eloquent even when disagreeing with each other. The pacing is solid and the movie is just very enjoyable. I do question how the slime got past the sensors when Jack even insisted that they all get scanned twice. I think they need to invest in some new ones and quickly or this won’t be the last invasion that they have to fend off. The effects have aged pretty well and so this film has really executed on all points. There are a lot of ways you could do a sequel to this one even if by now the odds of a sequel are fairly slim.

Overall, The Green Slime is definitely a movie that I recommend watching. If you like the Sci-Fi genre or just want a tense film about dealing with a creature then this is the one for you. It’s got action to keep you entertained and a pretty good monster to work as an opponent. What he lacks in character he makes up for with pure ability. When you think of a Sci-Fi film you think of an adventure in outer space with an alien. This one really captures all of that and it’s part of what makes the film so good. It really embraces the Sci-Fi genre and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The body count does get a bit high though so you’ll definitely feel bad for the crew as the movie goes on.

Overall 7/10

Hand of Death Review


Sometimes when you turn a film on you know right away that things are going to get pretty deadly. The title itself can be a pretty good indicator of that after all. Well, this film’s definitely pretty solid and you’ll be glad to have checked it out. It can be a bit by the books at times of course, but at the end of the day it’s all executed well. The film’s pretty short though so it really breezes by. You really feel like they don’t make 1 hour movies like this anymore. Granted, I always think a movie should be as long as possible since it makes the experience even better but if you know ahead of time that the plot won’t hold then going short makes sense.

The movie starts with a driver noticing that something’s not right as there are a few sheep fast asleep inside of private property. He rushes inside and is promptly knocked out. When he wakes up a scientist named Alex lets the guy know that they’re running some secret experiments so he better not tell anyone. Alex is glad this happened though because it proves that the serum is safe on humans. He rushes home and explains to Ramsey that he has built the ultimate weapon for war. You can spray a whole country with this gas which will immobilizze them and also make them susceptible to hypnosis and all kinds of commands. Ramsey lets Alex know that their lab isn’t for war but Alex wants to proceed and Ramsey allows it. Alex is rather clumsy though and splashes himself with the mixture. He has now become a walking monster of death. Anyone he touches will surely perish. Alex threatens Ramsey that a cure must be made and soon or he’ll start murdering people. Can Ramsey make the cure in time or is the town already doomed?

One thing that was a bit surprising is how crazy Alex was. At first you expect that he’ll be your standard hero but the movie doesn’t really play out that way. Now, you can make the case that the mixture turned him crazy and he was actually a good guy otherwise. I have my doubts but it’s certainly a valid argument. The guy just dials it up to 11 though as he instantly threatens Ramsey and isn’t very reasonable about anything. I felt bad for the old guy because Ramsey did warn Alex that this was a risky endeavor. It’s hard to sympathize with Alex as much as you could have since he actively goes around murdering people. If it felt like he was a little more hesitant then that would help but I just did not get that vibe from him.

This does play into the interesting dynamic between him, Carol, and Tom. Technically Alex is with Carol but Tom seems to like her and she decides to mess with Alex to get him jealous. Mix that in with the fact that Alex is never around while Carol and Tom have to work together all the time and the whole thing already seemed dicey. It definitely put in some warning bells for Alex because the film had to do something to have one of them win. I think we know how that went now. Carol’s a reasonable character but I wouldn’t say she handles the situations all that well. She tends to panic quite a lot although at least she wasn’t really the fainting type. Then you have Tom who is pretty confident the whole time. I do feel like his sudden lunge at the end was all to bait Alex into charging to get shot. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but it seemed like it was all part of an elaborate plan.

Ramsey was the best character. It’s just a shame that there’s not a whole lot that he can do. The guy can’t really walk all that well as it is. His final scene was a bit odd though because it made no sense. It’s like he lunged at Alex which I’m sure was not the intention but it certainly came across that way. At least you hope that wasn’t what he was trying to do because it wouldn’t really make any sense. As the film goes on there is a pretty decent body count stockpiling up. Most of the characters were just trying to have a good day so it certainly didn’t work out for them.

The design for the monster isn’t bad but he definitely doesn’t look too intimidating. I’d say it’s sort of like a cross between the Thing and Swamp Thing. The fact that Alex can’t really talk all that well in this form doesn’t help matters for him. As expected the writing is pretty solid here. The characters are on point and it makes the whole experience pretty interesting. As I mentioned the film is pretty short so the pacing is also very fast. We even got to have the detectives and cops show up near the end which is always fun. Having the government get involved tends to bring any monster film to the next level and they looked pretty good here. They were definitely ready to deal with Alex and his super powers.

Overall, Hand of Death is a very accurate title. A single touch from this guy and that’s game over almost instantly. It’s a very lethal ability to the point where it could be very lethal in war as well. Of course you have to get close enough to touch someone so if you’re shot then I suppose this won’t be doing you a whole lot of good anyway. It’s a very basic movie with a small cast and a direct plot but I wouldn’t say that it has any weaknesses either. The fundamentals are very sound and that’s really all that you need. These retro horror films tend to be some of the best in the genre. They just don’t make them like they used to.

Overall 7/10

Night of the Lepus Review


The instant you know what the plot of this film is you know that you haven’t exactly picked out a winner. Evil rabbits? Yeah I don’t see any way that could work out well for any of the parties involved. It’s a quick recipe for massive animal violence on all sides and the film doesn’t disappoint there. It’s pretty unique so I’ll give the film that. You don’t see a whole lot of movies about evil rabbits, it just isn’t done and I guess now we’ll see why. The main thing to remember here is that if you’re being chased by evil rabbits just calmly stay in your car and drive forward. One character did try this but unfortunately a ditch got in the way. Nothing much you can do in that case I suppose.

The film opens with a farm being completely overrun by Rabbits. While this may not sound like a huge issue it does upset the balance. The rabbits are eating all of the crops and wildlife so nothing can grow. One farmer suggests using poison but the ranchers are against this. If they do that then nothing will grow here for a long time so they will have effectively doomed themselves. The other farmers are worried since the rabbits will keep on spreading. Well, Roy and Gerry are called in to put a stop to this. Roy thinks of a solution which is to stop the rabbits from breeding but it doesn’t work and then his daughter decides to mess with the experiment. She frees one of the contaminated Rabbits and it quickly runs over to meet up with the rest. Now the heroes are dealing with an army of angry Rabbits who are not only larger than the average animals but also more vicious. Now it’s the Rabbits ensnaring the humans all around them. Will there be any escape from this menace?

I do have to mention right away that I was surprised at how Amanda (the daughter) never owns up to the fact that she is directly responsible for so many deaths. Nobody ever finds out that she is the one who let the Rabbit out and she doesn’t feel guilty about it either. She never apologizes about it and you’d be forgiven for forgetting that it was even a plot point. If not for her meddling then this film wouldn’t have lasted so long presumably. Of course she didn’t know any better but it’s why the kid characters tend to hold everyone back. Without her the farmers may not have been in great shape but they would have lived to tell their tale.

As for the actual main characters, Roy and Gerry are okay. I wouldn’t call them particularly memorable but they do their jobs of researching this predicament and trying to come up with a solution. Ultimately they basically fail but I suppose it was a worthy attempt. There’s just not much to say about them. They’re just reasonable people but don’t have much character beyond that although you could say the same for most of the characters here. Take the Sheriff. He’s a good character, a solid leader who does his best to end the threat. You really can’t say much about him beyond that though and that’s the underlining issue with some of these characters. I did like the train conductor though. At least that guy had a presence with how he could barely even be bothered to get up and help with a Rabbit army on the way. He clearly couldn’t care less about most of this.

The film’s final plan of having a bunch of cars turn on the lights and get in a row was interesting but I wonder how effective that would really be. It’s good the people didn’t panic. I was shocked at just how eager they were to get in and help. You certainly wouldn’t expect to see that nowadays. There’d be panic and people running every which way instead of just following the orders. The Rabbits did their best to disperse but ultimately it’s not like they’re bullet proof so when up against the whole army they were doomed.

We don’t get to see the Rabbits during the day much at all but design wise they’re effectively just a lot bigger and have sharper claws. Beyond that they’re effectively normal Rabbits. I wouldn’t have minded adding on spikes or something to make them look extra dangerous. It’s not like it would save the film though. It almost goes without saying but I still need to say it. What holds this film back a whole lot is the fact that there is a lot of animal violence. The heroes shoot the rabbits, stab them, etc. Of course it’s every man for himself in this film but even so you never want to see the Rabbits get injured. It’s the reason why making a film with the Rabbits being super evil is basically impossible. Either you win without injuring any of them in which case the film would likely get a lot of shots for not having any tension or you do fight back against the Rabbits and get yourself in a whole mess. Either way it doesn’t exactly bode well for the movie.

You’ll also feel bad for some of the characters who get bumped off. For example there’s a nice old lady just minding her business at the store. The instant she is introduced you know that she is doomed and minutes later her fate is sealed. Her character only existed to get bumped off and everyone watching the film knows this. The sad part is she would have possibly lived if she had made the wrong choice and not pestered the Sheriff to go and see if anything was wrong. So effectively she got punished for doing the right thing. It’s a pretty sad moment for her character to be sure.

You’d expect a horror movie like this to have a big twist ending but it’s pretty low key. Basically it sort of hints at a sequel as you can assume that the one left has powers so it should start to spread them again. It may take a little while though and it’s just not as spooky as it could have been. How I would have ended the film would be to have the characters drive home only to have the trunk pop open and a giant Rabbit jumps out. It then slowly walks towards the leads as the music swells up and then lunges at them along with a gunshot sound and then fade to black. Now that’s how you get a suspenseful end scene. Perhaps a bit cliche, but effective nonetheless.

Overall, Night of the Lepus is a pretty bad film. It’s not very surprising though. That’s what you get when you have evil rabbits running around. None of the characters are particularly memorable. If anything they can be annoying. Amanda put everyone’s safety at risk and her friend was willing to keep the secret. He didn’t put the pieces together but forcing her to ditch her pet was a pretty bad first impression. The heroes are just lucky that the townsfolk were so cooperative this time. It’s rare that you see everyone band together to fight such a common foe without any real resistance. If you want to check out a horror film then I definitely advise skipping this one.

Overall 1/10

Sakura Wars: The Movie Review


Sakura Wars the marathon has now reached the big movie. It’s always great to see a series get its first feature film since that’s when you know that you’ve made it into the big time. The Sakura Wars film does not disappoint and is a quality follow up to the show. It may not be going for a very ambitious story but it’s a nice chance to see the characters again and even introduces another member to the squad. You’ll be entertained the whole way through and most of the characters get their big moments to shine.

All right, so the film opens with the heroes having another successful show. They’re then introduced to a new person who has been dispatched to join the Flower Division. Her name is Ratchet and she comes from a more extreme division. She’s not here long term but figures she can learn something from the group during this stay. She has a reputation of being quite fierce though. Orihime and Leni used to work with her. Orihime is jealous of how skilled Ratchet is while Leni straight up fears her. It’ll definitely be tough to get this unit working together, particularly since Ogami is no longer with the group.

Then you’ve got the fact that a new company has shown up and claims that the Flower Division may not be needed soon. That’s because they have built their own mechs and in their defense, these mechs do seem rather powerful. The demons are attacking more than ever but these guys are always around to stop them. It’s a little convenient that they show up at the perfect spot each time right? The business man quickly gets the government on their side but when things go sideways the Flower Division will have to band together for one more adventure. Will they be able to get to the bottom of this conspiracy and keep the country safe?

I think the instant the businessman shows up you’ll suspect foul play. In truth I don’t think you’re supposed to have any doubt on who to root for here and the real dilemma is seeing the bigwigs at the government get fooled yet again. It’s really not hard to trick these guys eh? You’ll mainly just be disappointed in the fact that all of the higher ups are not particularly quick on the uptake here. Yoneda’s right hand woman is eager to just follow orders and Yoneda himself doesn’t do much until it’s too late. It’s really up to Sakura, Ratchet, and the crew to set things right.

Now, at this point the cast is rather large so not everyone gets to do a lot. While most of the characters get their moment to shine, some don’t do a whole lot. Sumire for example is one very popular character that I was surprised didn’t get to properly do anything here. I suppose she got enough screentime in the show but I would have expected some kind of rivalry between her and Ratchet. It’s hard to see them getting along very well but they were pretty amiable here. Kanna gets to knock out a guard but doesn’t do much beyond that. Kohran finally had an invention that didn’t break so I’ll give her a pass here. Iris spends her time consoling Leni and this is Leni’s worst appearance by far. Ratchet is pretty intense but I feel like Leni exaggerated in being so afraid of her. At the end of the day Ratchet does seem like a good person.

That leaves the characters with the bigger roles. Orihime has a presence in this film but I can’t say that it’s a good one. She lets her jealousy get the better of her rather easily. Now, it’s a fun plot point and all but if you’re going to act like this then you gotta be able to back it up. Orihime volunteers for a mission that is clearly over her head and doesn’t prepare at all. It’s no surprise that she gets wrecked almost instantly. The sad truth is that Ratchet would have done a lot better which really justifies why she is so confident in herself.

Maria’s role is quite excellent though. She’s always been portrayed as one of the sharpest characters and she’s the first to suspect that something isn’t right. She gets two full action scenes to herself without the mech which is always fun to see. It makes for a great way to close out the film with her final moments and she proves why she is qualified to lead the team while Ogami is away. She’s such a strong character and the only reason I don’t have her higher up the list is because the team is stacked with such quality characters like Sumire and Kanna.

Then you’ve got Sakura who is still the main character of course. She looks very good and patiently helps to make sure that the team sticks together. She naturally disagrees with Ratchet’s more lethal approach throughout the film. While they never really come to blows, Sakura does step in to block Ratchet from murdering more people. Had things continued on that path I could have seen them fighting and I think it would be a close fight. Ratchet seems more skilled to me, but with her holy power Sakura just needs one hit to win. It would be a fun battle for sure. So Sakura is consistent as being a very solid character here.

Then you have the newcomer Ratchet. I must say that I thought she was a fun rival type character. I always like having the hero who shows up and decides that the villains must all be terminated. It always makes for some solid internal conflict. She can also have her lighter moments like when she trolls the characters at the beginning by pretending she can only speak English. Having her show up from America was a nice way to acknowledge the global presence of the fighters. The Flower Division reps Japan but of course there are divisions all around the world. I can’t say I’m surprised that the American branch is the one that murders everyone who stands in their way. That seems to be a common element when America gets involved in these things. Ratchet’s utmost confidence is one of the reasons why her character succeeds.

The only scene I found a bit questionable for her was the final play and in general the scene was a bit confusing. It’s an interestingly layered approach to having her and Sakura talk things out. Thing is, I’m all up for the conversation but it’s implied that Ratchet comes close to murdering her. It can be hard to tell where the play starts and ends with their conversation having multiple meanings but Ratchet seemed deadly serious. Destroying Sakura seems like it would have absolutely no benefit and doesn’t seem to be in line with Ratchet’s goals. Ratchet wants to complete the missions at all costs so destroying Sakura during a mission if she gets in the way makes sense but now? I just couldn’t really grasp Ratchet’s inner motivations at this point. She was clearly conflicted and confused but I thought it was an odd time for this to come out. I’d also argue that the other friends should have been closer by to try and put a stop to things. At their distance they wouldn’t have been in time to do anything.

Ogami gets a very small role here but it’s an excellent one. I won’t spoil what goes down but it’s one of the standout scenes in the movie. I’m glad he’s finally getting some respect here. The animation is definitely really good as you would expect. The best animated scene is likely when Sakura and Ratchet are taking care of the guards. They handle them quite seamlessly and the choreography is on point. The climax is also fun although the animation has less time to shine since the heroes are taking down one of those “I’m huuuuuuuge” opponents who can’t really do much in response. We get some good teamwork combos and determination moments though so it balances out. You always got to end the film with a big action scene and while I question why it always has to be a giant opponent in the end, it does work as a threat to unite everyone.

I didn’t talk much about the government plot but there’s not a whole lot to tell there. The idea of using mechs to support the division honestly isn’t bad. If they weren’t so greedy it could have worked and it’s something Commander Yoneda should still look into. I always thought there was no reason why they can’t make more robots. Sure, the users wouldn’t have spirit energy but wouldn’t the actual mech suits be enough as good backup? I believe it comes down to how durable the demons are but since conventional weapons sometimes have a bit of effect I think it’s worth it. Using captured demons to fuel power to fight demons? Now that’s a plan that sounds doomed from the moment it starts.

The soundtrack is fairly standard. You’ll recognize some tunes from the show and some new ones. None of them are super memorable or anything but they work well enough in the context of the scenes they show up in. I’d describe the tunes are smooth background music that doesn’t really stand out so it helps you focus on the dialogue. I wouldn’t mind more of a metal theme for the fights at some point though. The film has its share of darker moments where an ominous theme would work like when the villains first encounter Maria. Those two villains were pretty creepy and definitely came across as very intimidating.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the Sakura Wars movie. You may be a little confused if you jump into this one before watching the show though. The scenes with Sakura and Ratchet were definitely fun and the movie moves on pretty quick. None of the scenes drag on and there is always something happening. The movie has enough of an upgrade in animation where you definitely feel like this is a cinematic experience. I always feel like having that extra boost helps to make the experience feel legitimate. It tells a very complete story from start to finish. I look forward to seeing what other stories the franchise has in store. I admit that while the franchise does tend to move the characters around I’ll miss having the original group at the ready although it would be nostalgic if they could bring back the American branch from the So Long My Love title. That group was a lot of fun as well.

Overall 7/10

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Review


Mario’s certainly had quite a few RPGs over the years. It’s always been interesting to see Nintendo balance having both the Paper Mario series as well as the M&L titles. It used to be that the former would have the darker plots while M&L would have the hype dialogue. Gradually the Paper Mario games turned into the more fun titles without much of a plot and I’m not deep enough in this franchise to see if it’ll go the same way. Well, this is definitely a fun sequel and I would put it above the first game. The story is a little on the short side for an RPG but at around 15 hours I can’t reasonably say that it’s super short either. It’s long enough and gets the job done.

The game starts with the team deciding to time travel to the past for fun. Apparently that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re bored now. Peach heads to the past but when the time machine returns there is a monster in there instead of Peach. The Mario bros are able to barely take him out and head to the past. There they are quickly defeated by the Shroobs. Fortunately they are saved by Baby Bowser as well as Baby Mario/Baby Luigi. Now these guys are going to need to team up to find out where the present Peach is and save her. The stakes are high because this group is also looking to conquer the kingdom in general. They already own the Mushroom Kingdom in the past and Mario must now stop this from happening in the present.

Of course along the way a lot of hijinks ensues and you know Bowser will want to have a word in. Surprisingly Bowser’s role here is rather small. He gets a solid role at the end of the game though which was pretty tense. I was definitely not expecting things to go that way. The game does not disappoint with the climax. It’s pretty high-end as you would expect from an RPG experience. The boss has more than one phase and it’ll take everything you had to win. The game is rather difficult if you don’t stop to get some extra level ups along the way. I spent a few hours just going back to get level ups and the final boss was still pretty tough.

The best advice I can give it to really spam the Copy Flower and the Mix Flower. These are really your best options if you ultimately want to score the win. You can deal hundreds of damage just by using the flower once and at the same level my standard attack would do around 70. I don’t see how you can beat the final bosses without these items. I ran out of items the first time I tried to challenge the final boss and ultimately that put me in a real spot. I wouldn’t lose since I was good at dodging the attacks but I couldn’t deal enough damage to ever win. See, the boss has 3,000 HP and she is protected by a lot of other parts. The idea is to destroy the shields and then attack her but the shields regenerate every few turns. So by the time I would destroy 2 shields another would pop up so I would never get to the actual villain. You need the items for this fight. I can tell you that right now.

Also, it’s important to use the roulette to increase other attributes. Initially I was putting everything into Health but I didn’t realize that the roulette gets worse and worse if you focus on just one stat. You’ve got to increase them all to really put yourself in a good spot. It’s the only way to get far here. I recommend always increasing HP, Attack, or Defense. They’re the only 3 stats that really matter if you ask me. Earning XP isn’t super easy in this game though. Enemies don’t respawn unless you time travel so it can take a while to get anywhere. Additionally the EXP amounts just aren’t great. I beat the game at Level 25 and just getting to that point took quite a long while.

The gameplay is classic turn based although it’s fairly interactive. Pressing buttons at the right times will allow you to extend a combo or deal extra damage. You are also given the option to dodge enemy attacks if you time the buttons correctly. It’s a nice little touch that keeps you sharp the whole time. You can’t just space out as the enemy uses their moves. It’s not quite as crisp as your average RPG but I’ll give Nintendo props for keeping things different here. I do think it’s a pretty good idea.

As for the graphics, I’d say that the game looks pretty clear. The character sprites are on point. The animations are a little limited along with the sound effects so you’ll see and hear the characters do the same things a lot but at the end of the day it always feels pretty in character. The soundtrack is okay but the game was really lacking a danger theme. As a result even during the really serious moments you would have a happy theme play and it could dampen the mood a bit. The game could have really used a dark theme or something with a little rock for these moments.

There isn’t much replay value in this case because there isn’t anything to do after beating the game. You can earn more level ups I suppose but there isn’t much of a reason to do so with no post game. It’s short for an RPG as I mentioned but you can get it for a decent price nowadays and 15 hours is nothing to sneeze at. Additionally, the game is just a lot of fun. The dialogue is on point. Now, Luigi does get thrown into the dirt quite a bit as the series always love making fun at his expense. If you’re a big Luigi fan then this could be a rough ride for you. For the most part it’s all done in good fun but you may have doubts.

Overall, Mario & Luigi Partners in Time is a solid sequel to the first game. I thought that the story was a little better and I do love time travel adventures. It’s not a game that will stick with you for long as it’s off to the next thing right away but it’s a solid title nonetheless. I look forward to playing the next one soon. I feel like back in the day Bowser’s Inside Story was known as the best game in the series so I’ll be interested in seeing if that’s the case. I’m definitely expecting another really solid adventure. Mario hasn’t let me down before and I don’t expect he’ll start now.

Overall 7/10

Plan 9 From Outer Space Review


If you ever thought that having a movie with aliens and zombies would be too overwhelming for a film then this is one you need to check out. Plan 9 From Outer Space reminds us that a film can be as ambitious as it wants to be and still succeed so long as the writing is on point. The movie is fairly short but really manages to deliver on a whole lot of content. It’s a fun ride from start to finish and Inspector Daniel really ends up showing everyone how to handle supernatural cases like this. It’s rare to see a detective with such poise under pressure.

The movie starts with some people seeing a UFO as it heads to Earth. It is somehow able to bring the dead back to life and the body count slowly begins to grow. The aliens are using Plan 9 to take over the Earth. Basically what this entails is bumping off the most competent humans and then turning them into Zombies. These zombies will then crush the rest of the humans. The process of turning people into zombies seems rather quick to be honest so you may question why they don’t just turn everyone into zombies and be done with it. With their advanced weapons maybe they could just blow the planet to kingdom come right? I assume they need the planet alive since they want to take it over of course but then at least using it to take out some of the key bases. Well, since they haven’t done that, Daniel has a chance to crack the case and foil this plot.

On the surface Daniel probably seems like he’s out of his league here. He’s a tough detective who has had a long history of finding any kind of clue, but what clues will help him stop Plan 9? At the very least he never really ponders this and just gets into the action which is admirable. Pretty much any scene he is in Daniel starts pointing out mistakes others have made. The others really aren’t of any use without him and it shows. Daniel’s got to be the best character here in part because of his overwhelming confidence the whole time. I always like when a lead is decisive like that.

Not all of the characters are quite as on the ball though and I should say that despite the long writeup…Daniel isn’t the main character. He doesn’t quite last as long as you would expect. No, our lead is Jeff and he’s a pretty earnest guy. He’s certainly seen more action in the field than Daniel as a pilot and quickly gets thrown into the thick of it. If you wanted to see a human actually fight with one of these aliens mano a mano then you’ll have your chance. There is one scene in particular that may stretch your imagination though as one of the zombies heads to Jeff’s house. Keep in mind that the zombies are rather obvious since they can’t move a whole lot and have a vacant expression on their face. At most you can maybe understand his kid not realizing that something was up but Jeff’s wife should have suspected something when the guy just kept grunting the whole time. Then Jeff himself didn’t notice until he went in the car and it was too late to get out. Not very observant eh?

There’s just so much going on with a bunch of characters at the ready. As a result one of the characters doesn’t even get to say anything and he just runs around with recycled footage the whole time. It’s definitely an interesting decision and shows that the cutting floor can really change the whole feel of a character arc. The movie is pretty short at only around an hour so it’s pretty impressive how many storylines and characters are juggled. What really sells this film is the solid writing. The characters talk like a really old movie with the witty banter and iconic one liners. They all seem like reasonable people who have to band together to stop a common enemy. You can’t really go wrong with that setup.

The aliens themselves are pretty fun as well even if they do get a bit nervous at times. It’s hard to forget the scene where they lose control of the zombie and it nearly chokes them all out. If you can’t beat your own creations that’s a bad sign. It did foreshadow that they would likely have trouble against ordinary humans though. After all, if you can’t beat a zombie then that means your strength is under theirs and probably fairly ordinary in nature. Their best bet was destroying us all with technology and as soon as they did not go with that plan I knew they were going to have a hard time of it.

One last strength that the film has is certainly all of the government scenes. We see them trying to shoot down the UFO with lasers and when that fails they fall back to pretending it never happened. I always like to see the government involved as it makes everything a little more tense and professional-like. They have a whole subplot here as they try to figure things out and it makes sense since Jeff is also intertwined in that. All we needed was a courtroom scene and this movie really would have had every strong scenario from these retro movies.

Overall, This is a really fun movie. You have a whole lot of themes and genres stuffed in here. You’ve got the mystery from the humans’ perspective of what’s going on, horror with the zombies running around, sci-fi thanks to the aliens, and maybe even some drama with people coping with the dead characters coming back although this isn’t really played up. We’ve also got a fantastic climax with quite a lot of action. On one hand you’ve got the 1 on 1 human vs alien battle and on the other you have a full army war scene of the heroes fighting off the zombies. I was definitely happy to see the army getting involved. Usually you don’t see that, but it makes sense with the invasion plans in motion.

Overall 7/10

Invisible Ghost Review


It’s time to look at a retro horror film from quite a while back. The title right away tells you that this is gonna be pretty good though. How can you go wrong with a ghost who can’t be seen? If you could see the ghost then I’d wager that it wouldn’t be nearly as spooky. That’s just me of course, but I think the logic of it is quite sound when you really think about it. The plot is nothing like what I expected but makes for a quality adventure nonetheless.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the rich Charles and his daughter Virginia. Tragedy struck this manor one day as Charles’ wife ran off with another man and died in a car wreck. He now has an annual dinner with her ghost but otherwise leads a normal life. There is one odd thing about the house he lives in though. A maid/butler tends to die every so often in this place. Over the years there have been a ton of deaths here but the cops are never able to figure out why people keep getting murdered. They’ve advised Charles to leave the house but he refuses since it means a lot to him since it’s where his wife used to live. Well, I suppose the cops can’t force him to leave. Still, the murders continue to strike at an alarming rate. Paul shows up to end this after his brother was framed for the murders and hanged. Can he really get to the bottom of this?

This is a very old school horror. You know who the guilty party is fairly early on so the tension is seeing if the cops can figure it out. It makes for a lot of entertaining scenes though since the villain is quite smug the whole time. Of course, whether or not he actually knows what he is doing may be slightly debatable due to the ending. Personally I would say he was aware. See, my theory is that he realized that the scales had to be balanced. Each visit required another sacrifice to keep the ritual going. It was all in a rather crazy set of circumstances and you’d have to stretch logic a whole lot for this to make sense but it’s not like he was a very balanced individual to start with.

The writing is very well done here. There’s quite a good amount of humor to be found here although the movie is still serious by nature. Characters just have a lot of fun with the facial expressions and quick jabs here and there. Evans for example was a very solid character. He took everything in stride and tried not to get involved in people’s affairs. Of course he still can’t help but notice all of the people getting bumped off and starts to keep his eye on everyone around. Evans doesn’t let his guard down the way that the others do. He even starts the day whistling as he tries to focus on his work. He’s rarely allowed to as things keep on happening in the manor but he does his best. He certainly steals the show.

Otherwise Charles is very solid as you would expect as well and would be another contender for the top spot. His accent is definitely iconic at this point and he has a way with words. Nothing phases Charles in the slightest and he always does what he can to help. Charles is to first one to start with the pleasantries and he always acts with a lot of empathy towards everyone. The guy appears to be as nice as can be on the outside and does his best to cope. Then you have Virginia who has a pretty rough time of it in this film. She has a fiance but things don’t go very well for him and otherwise her role isn’t huge here. She’s a fun character either way though.

As for Paul, I liked the guy’s confidence. He’s the kind of character you always gotta bring into the mix because you know that he’ll shake things up. He acts like a detective and does more sleuthing than the actual investigators. He quickly goes to find some hair and even thinks of bringing in the psychiatrist. I can’t say that the guy was of much help, but at least he was trying a lot of things. It’s hard to say if the cops were trying much of anything here. I suppose as the murders kept on going with no end in sight there came a point where they just threw in the towel. It’s pretty unfortunate when you think about it but that just seems to be how it went down.

There aren’t any supernatural elements to be found in this film but even without a ghost the film is able to keep your attention. That’s due in large part to how good the film’s writing and pacing were. There’s not much more to be said about the film though due to how direct it is. At the end of the day I didn’t really have any issues with the film. It accomplishes in what it sets out to do. There may not be any ambitious story behind the film or anything like that but sometimes you just need to nail down the fundamentals and the rest will follow. This is one of those cases.

Overall, Invisible Ghost is a very old school horror film with a rather basic plot. Someone is murdering a bunch of people and so we have to expose the culprit. You don’t really see stories quite like this nowadays as everything usually has big twists or a much larger plot. Still, you just can’t beat the basic bread and butters of the genre. I would recommend checking this one out whenever you have a chance. The movie has aged exceptionally well and is just a lot of fun. It can be pretty serious and there is a body count but the film sprinkles in just enough humor to give it that nice balance as you eagerly awaits what happens next.

Overall 7/10