5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Beyblade Metal Fusion Review


It’s time to look at a recent Beyblade game I got. We own the final 2 games in the series after this so I had been wanting to get this installment so we could finish the series. Unfortunately it is definitely the weakest title I’ve played from the franchise. It takes all of the fun and creativity from the earlier titles and replaces them with pure RNG and microphone mechanics. I’m already not a huge fan of the stylus controls so throwing in the microphone is overkill. There are some decent ideas here and the graphics are solid, but the negatives kept this game from going into the green.

The basic plot is that the main character has entered a Beyblade tournament as usual. He is ready to win, but quickly discovers that something shady is going on. It turns out that a villain group has entered and they aim to destroy all of the beyblades they fight. The heroes don’t like this and aim to stop the villains, but is the villain group really doing this or are they all getting played by a new character? One thing’s for sure, the world of Beyblade won’t be safe until all of the villains are thrown out and justice prevails once and for all.

So the gameplay is the problem with the game and I will describe why that is here. Each match is a best of 7 set against the opponent (Why 7? This just drags out each fight) and the goal is to either break your opponent’s Beyblade, knock it out of bounds, or hit it enough times where it stops moving. Each method of victory is worth a different amount of win. 3, 2, and 1 respectively. Each stage is a small circle where your beyblades spin around and whack each other. You can’t move your Beyblade, but you can determine where it charges by swiping with the stylus. Additionally you can tap the stage to recover health, tap really quickly to jump, or tap on your Beyblade to activate your shield. Then you’ve also got the two special abilities at your disposal which you can equip prior to the battle.

Your Beyblade will start out at rank F and as you fight it will improve. Additionally whatever support equipment you have on will level up as you play more games. Eventually your stats should be high enough where winning will be easy. It’s a long process though and you lose all of your progress when you leave the game aside from your rank and possibly the equipment upgrades. The story mode is structured like an arcade title so you have to beat the 8-10 levels in one shot. You get infinite continues so eventually you should be able to power your way through, but you do have to make sure that you don’t leave. It should only take around an hour so if you’re having fun then you’ll be okay.

Part of the problem with the game is your Beyblade is completely outmatched from the start. Even if you get a perfect launch and all you will lose in a straight up fight. Towards the end of the game the only way to win is to knock the other Beyblade out of the ring. Winning straight up in any other way appears to be impossible. Then to give yourself a little extra health at the end you have to blow into the microphone which is pretty odd. I’ve rarely seen games force you to use the microphone like this and it definitely didn’t award Beyblade any extra points. I’d rather not have to use that thing unless 100% necessary. It just feels like a gimmick.

So for most of the levels you are really just focused on swiping every which way until your Beyblade knocks the opponents out of the ring. You have to do this twice in each match to get the necessary 4 points to move on. If you do decide to fight head on, I’d recommend the Power Slam move which does a good amount of damage and the healing ability. Those make for a good pair and do work pretty well until you get to the final 2-3 fighters. At that point things get pretty dicey so get ready to focus on knocking the Beyblade away. I went with a full attack set of equipment, but there are a lot of different options so you may want to experiment.

In terms of the graphics I thought the game did a pretty good job of looking sharp. The illustrations were definitely on point and made the game feel dynamic even if there wasn’t much of a story to look at. Having more cutscenes definitely would have been very helpful to the game if you ask me. It makes the whole thing just feel more engaging. The bits of story we did get were pretty fun too. The villain was solid and his final line of asking the main character to be friends was definitely wholesome. It reminds me why the franchise looks so cool.

There isn’t much of a soundtrack to speak of. Meanwhile I wouldn’t say that there is a lot of replay value to speak of. I suppose you could work on beating the story mode with all of the characters. There are around 30 or more to choose from so that should definitely take you quite a while. By the time you’ve done that I think you’ll be ready to part with the title. Each story is around an hour to 90 minutes so you’re looking at a 30+ hour game. Hopefully there would be enough of a story mode there to justify it for you though because that’s a lot of Beyblade matches for this kind of gameplay.

Overall, Beyblade Metal Fusion was one of the harder games I’ve played, but not in a good way. The levels weren’t well designed or anything like that. It’s just that the gameplay was hard to wrap my head around and the opponents always had superior specs which didn’t really allow for the matches to be fair and balanced. Ideally the Beyblades should be around equal so then you can win with your own skill. I do have high hopes that the next game should be better. The series still does have a solid track record aside from this game. Unless you are a huge Beyblade fan I’d recommend buying one of the older ones instead or just taking a pass on this one. It really doesn’t have much to offer you.

Overall 5/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yugioh Duelist of the Roses Review


It’s time to look at what I’d say is easily the strangest Yugioh game. For starters the game has nothing to do with the actual characters from the series and the plot seems to be based on a war from a very long time ago. The story definitely isn’t very interesting and there isn’t much of one in the first place so the gameplay will have to hold the game up on its own. Will it be able to make this title a success?

When you start the game you are summoned as the legendary Rose duelist by the Red Rose army who are currently losing the battle against the White Rose. You are their last hope to try and turn the tide of the war. Seto, who is the leader of the White side shows up and asks you to join him instead to rule the world. This is where you make your choice of which faction to play as. The game is around 10-11 duels long and the path you take determines which array of fighters you will be contending with. The goal is to get all 8 of the cards by beating 8 guardians and there are some extra fighters along the way.

When you first start the game you get to choose your starter deck. All of them are pretty awful if you ask me and you can expect to lose quite a lot of duels at first. Your opponents have everything whole you’ve got basic cards that aren’t strong enough to win. What I was surprised about is that the computer already has significantly more powerful monsters at 2700 from the start while your guys are limited to 1500. Anyone who was able to beat these guys with a starter deck right off the bat has my respect on this one.

Another complication is that the game doesn’t even follow Yugioh rules. I was surprised about this because of you don’t have the rules or the characters then why is this a Yugioh game anyway? I should mention that the main connection in the story is that the characters happen to look like Yugioh characters…that’s it. It’s like when a show does a Christmas Carol and they are all not themselves for that one AU episode. This is the same concept and I guess you’ve got the monsters even if the gameplay is different.

The gameplays a bit complex, but here’s my best attempt at a solid write up. You start out with your captain or vanguard if you will. You can move him one space a time along a board that is fairly large. Around 10 by 6 or something like that. The goal is to destroy the opponent’s guardian. Both guardians always start with 4000 HP but that can go up or down based on spell and trap cards. If you attack the opponent directly then your attack power will determine how much health is lost. You can summon 1 monster per turn and that monster can move 1 space per turn unless it has a type advantage and then it can move two times. All of the opponents you fight will have the type advantage so expect them to always be moving two spaces at a time. A spell card to change the terrain comes in handy for this although they have a very limited range so they aren’t always too great. It’s still a good balancer in the right circumstance, but keep in mind that playing this spell will prevent you from summoning a monster that turn.

You gain 3 stars each turn and monsters require stars to summon. The strongest monsters need 8 stars so you can choose to either wait a few turns and summon them or keep on summoning weaker ones. Usually you want at least one card to defend yourself with and then you start saving up. Then you’ve got all of the spell and trap cards to deal with and you can fuse some into monsters to make them stronger. You can also fuse monsters from your hand but the game doesn’t let you know if they’re compatible so it’s a lot of trial and error here. If you make the wrong call then you’ll lose the first card in each fusion which can be a bit tiresome. This is the best way to clear your hand out to get more cards though. Just smash all of the cards together and next turn you’ll get 5 fresh ones. There’s a lot more to this gameplay, but it’s so complex that the only way to really get it is to play the game first hand. That’s when it’ll all really start to make sense.

As for the graphics, the game has some pretty good illustrations. For the most part there aren’t too many cutscenes but we get a few paintings at the end and one at the start. I prefer animated cutscenes but there was a good amount of effort put into these pieces of art. In game the stages and effects are decent but not all that fun to look at. All of the stages are pretty similar and the whole thing looks pretty dreamy all the time. Better level designs would have been ideal.

I already spoke to the game’s difficulty level and I can assure you that it’s one of the toughest games I’ve played. Beating the whole thing with a starter deck is impossible so the idea is you beat the first few guys, take their cards and keep on beating them til you get a lot of good ones. Then you move on. It requires a lot of wins as well as rng to get the right cards. Then in the duel you need a fair amount luck to draw the right card at the right time. Ultimately I had to just grab some cards through the password mode to get through these duels. I recommend doing this if you need to save some time because otherwise you will be here for a very long time. It does help with the replay value I suppose. The game should last you for quite a while and once you beat it you get to play all over again as the other team.

Overall, Yugioh Duelist of the Roses is an odd game with a confusing gameplay system. It takes quite a while to learn how to really play the game and even then it’s hard to get invested into it. The duels feel like they take quite a long time although that’s normal for a Yugioh game. Once you turn the animations off it speeds up quite a bit. If you like a good strategy type game then this is the one for you. There are a few similarities to Fire Emblem after all. Otherwise I would definitely recommend playing a different Yugioh game instead. My top recommendations would be World Championship or any of the PSP titles. Those actually follow the Yugioh rules and have a better plot. (Note that some of the World Championships don’t have a plot so carefully choose which one you want to play)

Overall 5/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ghost Review


It’s time to look at a film dealing with the supernatural. It’s always interesting when the hero becomes a ghost as opposed to the villain for a change. Usually you see the villains messing with everyone like in the Grudge or something and the heroes are all bumped off. On the other hand, when a hero uses the power usually they aren’t quite as strong for some random reason so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Ultimately I was glad Sam got some powers and it’s a reasonable movie, but there are things that hold it back a bit.

The movie starts with things going pretty well for Sam and Molly. Sam’s crunching the numbers at the bank and Molly’s doing pretty well with her pottery and sculpting. Sam’s noticed that some numbers aren’t adding up at his company, but he’ll figure out the issue soon. Time is on his side…or that’s what he thought until one day he is mugged in a dark alley and murdered. It all happened so suddenly that Sam’s soul is unable to move on and now he can only watch without interacting with anybody. That’s when he learns that the whole thing is a conspiracy. His murder wasn’t accidental and if he doesn’t do something quick then his wife Molly will be in trouble. Sam is forced to enlist the aid of a supernatural medium scammer named Oda. Can he convince her to work with him on this?

The concept here is pretty sound and a classic. The main character gets murdered so now he has to solve the case from beyond the grave and see to it that the villain doesn’t get away. It’s certainly frustrating for Sam at first since he can’t interact with anything, but gradually he gets used to his abilities which makes him more of a formidable threat to everyone involved. Sam’s power does go to his head a bit as he has a tendency to play with his food rather than finishing the job and goes for a quick hug even though it puts everyone in danger thanks to the side effects. He’s not perfect, but he’s still a pretty solid main character.

Unfortunately the heroine Molly ends up faltering here. She’s good at first and seems like a supportive character. Where she really ends up failing is when Sam’s friend Carl shows up and she rebounds with him even though Sam only died a few days ago. That’s so incredibly soon that it’s crazy. Even if you ignore the fact that she thought he may still be around as a ghost or that he was grisly murdered…it’s only been a few days since he was gone. No matter how sad she was there’s really no excuse for going with this guy. I thought that whole scene was pretty terrible and I have to say that it did end up hurting the score.

We had gotten quite a few romantic scenes with Sam and Molly earlier so it just made those feel hollow. In general the romance just wasn’t written well as a result and we could have just cut those scenes entirely and replaced with more supernatural hi-jinx. Maybe have Sam troll a bunch of people from beyond the grave by moving things around. It is entertaining to see him messing with Willie and Carl. He also annoys Oda quite a lot until she eventually agrees to help him. When you’ve got ghost abilities you may as well use them right?

Carl’s a pretty terrible character right away. The instant he starts going after Molly you know there’s no hope for him. It’s also fairly obvious where his character is going even before Sam dies with his line about how the numbers aren’t adding up after he gives away his account numbers. It’s definitely a good lesson on why you shouldn’t trust people too much. There are certain things you should never give someone else like your social security number or password to your office computer. Those are things that just always ring true and nobody ever needs to know those things either. The deadlines were quickly approaching but you’ve still got to not budge on this.

Oda is a pretty fun character. She’s definitely reluctant to help and has to be convinced quite a lot and at different points in the film. Oda also tends to mess up on things like writing out a check and pretending to be someone else, but at the end of the day at least she is an ally who is here to help Sam. Those were in short supply. Also, she’s just a lot of fun. All of her scenes are pretty entertaining and in part it’s because all of her reactions are pretty well justified and realistic. It’s incredibly hard for anyone to part with 4 million, especially when you’ve been taking life or death risks all day. You feel like you should at least get 1% of that which would still be a pretty good sum. Not everyone can get rich though and at least she kept the moral high ground.

One of the best scenes is when Sam goes into a train and is confronted by another ghost. It was cool because we hadn’t seen anyone else until then and it was also the first moment where Sam experienced real danger as a ghost because this guy could actually interact with him as if Sam was still alive. It was a shocking moment for the lead and he did his best to adjust. My issue with Sam here was just that he went down awfully quick without even landing a counter blow. I like to think that he would at least have done something.

Overall, Ghost is a decent movie. It’ll keep you entertained as you watch it even if you’ll question the characters at different points. Sam really should have been able to end things with the villains a lot sooner than he did. If anything the instant that one of them threatened to murder his wife at the end if Sam didn’t meet his demands, Sam should have taken him down. Waving a knife doesn’t do anything to someone who’s intangible and at the time Molly was still upstairs. Sam could have just reached over and ended the guy in many different ways. There are even hundreds of non lethal ways to take him down. My point here is really that Sam didn’t use his abilities nearly as well as he could have and was probably having too much fun with the villains when everyone could have already been safe by then. That was my main issue along with Molly not staying strong at least for a longer period of time, but even then if you go with anyone it should never be the best friend. If you want to see a movie with this interesting concept then I’d recommend checking it out. Otherwise I don’t think you’ll be missing a whole lot.

Overall 5/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Attack on Titan: Before The Fall Review


It’s time to look at one of the Attack on Titan spinoffs. The manga really lasted for an incredibly long amount of time considering how short the novels were. Even then the first novel is skipped for the most part as we cut right to the Kuklo stuff although the manga eventually adapts the older material. It’s a little better than the main series, but significantly less engaging which may sound like a contradiction. Put it this way, the main title is a lot more interesting and will keep you at the edge of your seat. It has more hype scenes and a better cast of characters, but the guys in Before the Fall are less morally bankrupt. The series is also shorter so there are less opportunities to mess up, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t give this series a particularly high score.

So Kuklo is a kid who grew up in a tough situation because he is known as the Titan’s son. This isn’t actually true, but people say that because his mother was eaten by a titan but he survived since he wasn’t totally born yet. As a result he grew up in a cage where Xavi would beat him up daily for many years. Eventually Kuklo was able to escape and thanks to Sharle was able to learn what it means to be human. He has now dedicated his life to ending the Titans. He wants to shed his title as the Titan’s son and this will be one of the best ways to do it.

As this title takes place in the past the goal of beating a Titan is significantly more outlandish than it would be otherwise in the eyes of the masses. It’s almost scary how back in these days beating one titan was crazy while in the main title you have guys like Levi taking them down by the dozens. It shows how equipment and technology has improved so much since those days. I suppose one of the interesting parts of the manga is seeing the heroes develop the 3D gear that would later be used to strike down all of the Titans. It is definitely a really handy piece of technology that is a must have.

Part of what hurts the manga is the whole plot with Kuklo. Attack on Titan has always been a series that thrives on being gritty and grim throughout. Even for this title it was rather dark though as it’s basically a kid being tortured every day. It also makes Xavi too far gone for him to ever be sympathetic. The series tries to make him a bit of a redeemed character by the end, but it’s a hard pill to swallow. As it is, maybe you could have tried to pull this off if this was the only thing he did. The guy was a kid so he didn’t know any better or something like that. Well, even in the present he tries to murder Kuklo repeatedly. Even when they’re in the middle of a mission to end the Titans which has huge stakes for the whole world his only priority is to murder Kuklo. Xavi really has a one track mind. It’s a shame because otherwise he is probably the most engaging character in the series. Why couldn’t he have at least had an honor code or been more of a reasonable character? That’s all I wanted to know.

Meanwhile Kuklo is a good character. He can be a bit naive, but you have to give him credit for not holding a grudge with Xavi. That can’t have been easy, but Kuklo consistently proves to be the bigger man and doesn’t let these things bring him down. While he isn’t as intelligent as Eren, Kuklo also has some pretty good ideas and plans that come in handy. He’s resourceful and knows how to survive even in Titan infested areas. His super senses come in handy for that and physically he seems a little stronger than the average human. Maybe there is something to the whole titan child thing in that the fluids at least gave him abilities or something. Either way he works as a solid lead.

His best friend is Cardina and that guy has a big role for the majority of the series as well. While he isn’t quite heading to the front lines as much as Kuklo, his expertise with the machinery comes in handy. He has a wealthy upbringing, but that ultimately just got him into trouble which is how he ended up heading outside with Kuklo. Cardina was a good ally and it was nice for Kuklo to have someone else who could help give him support since Sharle wasn’t always around to help with that.

Sharle is a pretty solid heroine meanwhile. The manga gives her a lot more screen time in which she is able to contribute. It works out well as she gets Angel out of his shell and back into action from retirement. She learns a lot about the inner workings of the 3D gear and also stands up to Xavi in defense of Kuklo. A lot of the time she is kept in the dark on what’s going on, but is always looking for Kuklo and doing her best to help out. Sharle tries really hard to always be ready for action so I definitely have to give her some good credit there.

Then we have Gloria whose character arc is definitely a bit more tragic than some of the other characters. I think she should have played the ending a little better. She falls for the whole posturing trap where she talks a really good game throughout but still puts herself in some bad situations. I think she underestimated just how corrupt the city is, but at least had some contingency plans so she was able to take a lot of people down as well. It would have been nice if she could have kept on appearing. Then you have Jorge who is effectively the Erwin of this era. He’s a good planner and a solid general. He tends to make the right decisions throughout, but doesn’t really leave much of a mark on the series. You really just know him for being a good general and that’s about it.

As I mentioned Angel doesn’t get as big a role in the manga as in the light novel and it ends up hurting him. Most of the time when we see Angel he has already fallen into depression from retirement and has no more hope that the humans can win. It doesn’t really paint him in a god light as by the time Sharle has gotten him to think otherwise we are basically done with the series. I liked him in the original novel and he still looks good in the flashbacks, but I think having his worst scenes first ends up hurting the experience.

Finally we’ve got the Ogre who is responsible for Kuklo’s mother perishing at the start of the series. As a result there is a vendetta between the two of them. Ogre seems to be more intelligent than the average titan and is fairly powerful. He’s not an easy target and made for a pretty good end arc boss. A normal Titan just wouldn’t have been nearly as thrilling to fight. I suppose we couldn’t have a talking titan since that would have been too soon, but I admit that it would have made Before the Fall’s climax a little more exciting.

One of the themes in the main AOT series is whether the humans are the real monsters or not. This series doesn’t go quite so far, but the humans do look pretty terrible most of the time. Even when Titans are outside the gates they’re busy murdering each other for political position and power. The Titans wouldn’t be doing nearly as good without the humans constantly destroying each other and constantly getting in the way. Even by the end we find out there is a traitor in the Survey corps and this person came awfully close to murdering a member. I feel like the person got off rather easy although it could have been worse. There still was a punishment at least which is good, but every time you see a traitor like this you can’t help but shake your head.

The humans will never beat the Titans if they’re constantly fighting like this. You’ve got characters getting jealous of each other and all that. I’m fine with the fact that the survey members didn’t appear much here because whenever we see them most of the members are pretty bad. It was good character development to have Kuklo and Cardina become squad leaders though. They really did grow a lot as the series progressed and that’s one aspect where the longer run time ended up helping them out. By the end it’s hard to imagine that Kuklo was ever not the strategic captain that people look up to.

In regard to the art, I’d say that Before the Fall is pretty good. There’s a solid amount of detail here and the characters don’t look too similar or anything like that. The titans have the creepy designs you would expect. The human vs human fights are really where the title excels with a lot of good speed lines and dynamic angels. The series can get pretty violent as you would expect though. It’s got the usual Titans munching on poor humans who really don’t stand any kind of chance. People aren’t begging for their lives as much as in the original title but the Titan scenes still end up being some of the weaker parts of the manga. Give me the Kuklo vs Xavi fights anytime.

Overall, Before The Fall does a good job of maintaining the tone of the original series. That being said, the main series is one of the weaker manga that I have read so it didn’t bode well for this one. The character cast isn’t all that strong and it falls into most of the usual Titan negatives like excessive violence and everything being too grim the whole time. It’s hard to root for the humans when half of them are evil and when their whole mission seems futile. They are having a hard time dealing with 1 titan and there are hundreds of them beyond the borders. It just feels like the humans would never get past this and since we know this takes place way before the main series where things are pretty much the same…it all feels a little futile. You can’t help but think that nothing these guys does will matter in the end. It has no real effect on the main series. It’s a complaint you can have with any prequel, but most of them do a good job of at least making you feel like the characters are making a difference.

Overall 3/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Review


It’s time to look at another adaption of Miracle on 34th Street. It’s definitely a pretty well known story to have so many adaptions and it’s a story that doesn’t grow old so it’s always cool watching it again. This film does a good job of telling the story. There really isn’t a lot different from the others if you ask me, but it’s all executed well as expected. I dare say that it may even beat the original this time around. There are no real weaknesses here although Santa is a little more emotional than I’d expect.

The movie starts off with Kris (AKA, possibly the real Santa) noticing that the Santa who would be in the big parade is drunk. He’s pretty outraged about this and scolds the guy before going on his merry way. Dorey shows up and fires the guy before heading over to Kris and making him the new Santa. It all goes very well for a while with Kris helping the store’s reputation and making everyone happier. The villains don’t like this though so the rival store hires two thugs to bring the drunk Santa back and frame Kris. Kris will have to think quickly in order to turn things around or he may spend a long time in jail.

One change here I suppose is that corporate is more of an active villain. The CEO actually gets complete villain music accompanying him and his two lackeys are basically the villains from Home Alone. They’re not the brightest characters around and tend to make a mess of things, but they keep on trying. They actually do get some success in the end with their framing plan so I have to give them some props here.

I have to take props away from Kris though. He gets easily tricked and provoked by the villains pretty quickly as he takes his cane out and whirls it around like a weapon. It’s not very hard for the villains to make it look like he’s making an attack and the drunk follows him around outside to seal the deal. Didn’t anyone see this guy harassing an elderly citizen? It’s a shame that nobody on that block had the courage to defend him or to at least back up his story of being provoked. The thing is though, Santa shouldn’t have resorted to violence so quickly anyway. He needs to be the bigger man in this situation and in the end he just didn’t pull it off.

As for the other characters, we’ve got a good cast. Susan is better than the average kid character in most films. She is skeptical of Santa existing which is good because he is fake. I’m actually with Dorey here on not teaching her kid that Santa is real because it’s good to keep them honest from the start. Even if you let the kid choose for herself if she wants to believe in Santa or not, you shouldn’t be trying to convince her of something that’s not true. Dorey could let her be into more kid stuff, but she didn’t seem unreasonable and I dare say that Susan turned out pretty well from what we saw.

As a result I’m less on Bryan’s side here. He is really trying to push the Santa angle despite it not being what Dorey wants. He really shouldn’t be surprised when she turns down his proposal which also was a little bit out of the blue. He seems like a nice guy for sure, but given how long he’s been with Dorey he really shouldn’t have been quite as surprised as he was at her answer. It seemed to be pretty in character for her.

Then we have Dorey who is a pretty solid character. She is absolutely a facts person who has no time for Santa or things like that. She’s also handled the annual parade for so long that she doesn’t really care about it anymore. I suppose if I was doing the same parade year after year I probably wouldn’t care about watching it and would just take a nap too.

One of the best parts of any film with a court scene is the actual court scene and this movie was no different. It was a lot of fun to see Kris enter the stage and to have everyone making a ton of comments. Kris did almost ruin the whole thing again and proved himself to be a tough character to root for, but everyone else was ready to do the majority of the legwork. It’s a fun set of scenes and managed to stay entertaining all the way though.

Miracle on 34th Street has good pacing and is just a lot of fun. It’s a solid film to see on Christmas especially, but would hold up well at any time. The writing is sound and the character cast is good. Kris is weaker than in the previous adaption, but it countered by having a better kid and I do like how the villains were handled as well. It’s fine to have them get a little extra animated considering how much money is at stake. It’s reasonable for the villains to be trying anything they can.

Overall, What more needs to be said? This is a very fun film you can watch with the whole family and debate on if Santa is real in this film or not. The movie is fairly ambiguous on it and you could make the case that some things don’t make sense if he doesn’t have supernatural abilities. Personally I think that this version of Kris just was a bit insane. At the very least he seemed to take things literally a whole lot and didn’t notice when people were making fun of him or putting him in a bad spot. Being the real deal doesn’t mean he had to be smarter, but it would have helped his case. If he is a bit crazy then it’s fine for everyone to be tricking him the whole time.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movies

Chariots of Fire


It’s time to look at the well know Chariots of Fire film based on the real events of the 1924 Olympics and follows the two runners Harold and Eric. Both characters get a lot of screen time so you can say that this film really has 2 main characters as opposed to one. We see their motivations and both have a lot of trials to get through in order to perform at this event. It’s a pretty solid adaption.

Eric is a very talented runner who has had a lot of success over the years. He has now been selected to go to the Olympics and is thrilled about the opportunity. He does receive some push back from his sister Jennie though who believes that he should be focusing on his missionary work and that it is distracting him from God. Eric’s counter is that God gave him his speed for a reason and he honors him through running. Eric also does intend to do the missionary travels, he just wants to run this race first.

His main dilemma is that one of the big races in the Olympics is on the sabbath and so he can’t race. Eric gets a lot of pressure from the committee and basically everyone involved, but doesn’t budge on this. It’s definitely why he ended up being my favorite character in the film. Harold and the others are solid as well, but Eric to me had the strongest resolve. He did not waver or even seem hesitant about his decision at any point. From start to finish he was not going to race.

His actions also proved that he hadn’t put God behind racing and always had his priorities straight. Whether or not the other racers agreed with his decision or not was immaterial to him at that point. It was the right call. Meanwhile, I wasn’t a big fan of Jennie because I feel like she should have been more supportive throughout. Having someone there who has your back is very important rather than having to do everything on your own.

Then we have Harold who has always known himself to be the fastest runner. This changes when he is defeated by Eric and now he is desperate to claim victory in the re-match and prove himself once more. It’s easy to see why he was frustrated since he always used to win, but the guy isn’t quite as humble as Eric. Furthermore, I would make the case that Eric was more talented even after Harold improved through the training. Eric was just really gifted so there shouldn’t be any shame in losing to him.

An interesting parallel is that Harold had much more support throughout the film. His fiancee Sybil was around to knock him out of his depression from the first bout. While he wasn’t in the best place art the time, it was definitely important to have her there because otherwise he would have been too stubborn to change enough for the future rounds. Then you have his coach Sandy who was really solid. He helped Harold pick up his form and do little things that improved his overall speed. There is a point where being self taught will have its limits so having a coach is extremely handy.

That’s not to say that Harold had an easy time throughout though. The College did not like that Harold hired this coach trying to say that it’s just not done and making up various excuses, but there is nowhere in the rules that forbids it. There was a lot of passive aggressive talk in the room, but Harold stuck to his guns with his coach and ended up doing quite well.

As this is based on a true story the ending does get a bit sad for one of the characters. It is good that the movie chose to stay accurate rather than omitting things just to make it more uplifting. Either way you see the complete story for both characters and see all of the good they did. Both of them brought honor to God in their own ways and ran really good races.

Overall, Chariots of Fire is a pretty good film. You’ll definitely see a lot of running throughout with various montages and such as they hone their skills and race in bigger and bigger settings. I haven’t seen a whole lot of running based films so it was definitely engaging. A fun thing about the sport of running is how simple it is. Ultimately you just have to get faster and faster. Whether you win or lose will totally depend on how you perform. There are no random elements to consider or outside factors that start to appear. It just comes down to whether or not you’re fast.

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Coma Review


It’s time for an old school thriller dealing with a massive conspiracy. Conspiracy films like this are always pretty interesting because even though you know the heroes are most likely doomed you want to judge how realistic it is. Conspiracies have and continue to happen in real life. Not everything is a conspiracy though as much as it may seem like that if you stay online long enough. Conspiracy films have to feel at least a little believable and I have to say that this one passes the bill here. You could see this happening to an extent, the fact that it came out in the 70s helps a lot since there would be less cameras and such back then to actually be double checking everything.

The film starts with Dr. Susan working in the surgical wing of a big hospital. She is one of the place’s best workers and always gives each task her 100% effort. It has paid off quite well for her, but one day her best friend dies during what was supposed to be a normal operation. Everything in the chart looks perfectly normal so Susan is disturbed, but the doctors tell her that it was just a freak accident. This doesn’t calm her down and her boyfriend Mark, who is also a surgeon at the hospital, does not seem to believe her. As Susan tries to dip deeper into this she notices a lot of other identical cases and now there is an assassin trying to hunt her down. Who knows the truth about it and who can Susan trust? She’ll have to think about all of this very carefully.

This film is definitely a thriller and does a good job of it. You’ve got a nice heavy atmosphere from the jump with danger seemingly around every corner. You never really feel like Susan is all that safe because the people in the hospital know where she lives thanks to employment records and she still does have to show up to work or she’ll lose her job. She could move out of town, but running away isn’t in Susan’s playbook. She wants to solve this case no matter the danger. Fortunately Susan is a lot smarter and more resourceful than a lot of main characters. She’s always careful not to trust people too much.

Susan also doesn’t let her emotions get the better of her when her friend dies. She keeps a level head throughout and the only times she goes down is when she literally faints of exhaustion. By and large she is careful not to fall for any traps. You do have to wonder how Susan and Mark are together though because they don’t seem to get along at all throughout the whole movie. Even before the conspiracy they were having a lot of issues.

Mark doesn’t seem to believe Susan for most of the film. In his defense her story does seem far fetched and he still does help her out a lot of the time. Eventually he just starts to get in a little out of his depth and he also wants the big manager position so he has to try and keep her out of trouble in the meantime. Ultimately in the end he does make the right decision so that was good. The film’s ending is a lot better than I expected it to be. It still has that dark vibe where you don’t know who is safe, but it’s a lot less futile than others I’ve seen in this genre. The film lets you interpret everything however you’d like in the end. The two cops who were hanging around at the end? Maybe they’re legitimate cops or they could be silencers from “the company.” Both scenarios can be supported so you just have to decide what you think. Personally I definitely think it’s the latter.

So this sounds like a pretty great movie right? Well, it’s certainly very engaging, but it’s ultimately a film that wasn’t really going to get a very high score. The main reason for this is the various hospital scenes we get. We do get a lot of surgical operation moments which can be pretty grimacing. I’ve never been a fan of these kinds of things and while it may be a little unavoidable in a film that takes place in a hospital, it’s still hard to get around. There are a ton of these scenes and so they’re pretty violent even if it’s not in a combat scenario. It’s also pretty grim how they’re murdering all of these patients who are sedated.

We get to see one location with a lot of bodies in the middle of the film. It’s definitely a suspicious place with how it’s totally abandoned and nobody finds out about all the bodies there until Susan strolls through. It’s all a bit disturbing since everyone is naked of course and are being kept stable by some sci-fi robotic contraption. By this point in the film we’re definitely all the way inside the conspiracy. Money was always going to be at the root of something like this. Why do a conspiracy unless it’s going to make you rich right?

The romance in the film is a bit on the weak side. As I mentioned the pairing of Susan and Mark doesn’t really give itself time to make sense. We only have a quick beach adventure with them for the most part though. Usually the film is too busy with the thriller aspects to worry about the drama and I think that’s definitely a smart move. The action scenes are pretty solid here. You have the assassin going around bumping everyone off and he’s always one step behind Susan. When they’re playing cat and mouse it’s pretty tense as you wonder which room to pick. I always thought it’s an interesting backdrop to be in a big building because you could potentially pick the right door and the guy would never find you. On the other hand if you pick the wrong one then you’ve just boxed yourself in. There are pros and cons to switching rooms around.

Due to the nature of the film I can’t talk about the film’s story much further because a lot of the intrigue comes from going in blind. You want to start connecting the dots yourself while examining everything closely. Everyone and everything deserves a second look in this kind of movie because you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. It also reminds me why I’m glad I don’t work the midnight shift because I would probably start seeing ghosts everywhere. Give me the afternoon sun anytime!

Overall, Coma is a very interesting film. Films about conspiracies like this are almost guaranteed to be engaging and you should be at the edge of your seat throughout. You will need to have a high tolerance for looking at medical situations though as surgeries are being performed while the movie is on. If you can get past that then you should enjoy this film. While the film’s apparently PG please keep in mind that you’ll want to see a TV version which censors the naked bodies that show up in the second half of the film. Otherwise that could get a little dicey for viewers. So based on all of this you should be ready to make the decision on if you’re seeing the film or not.

Overall 3/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Meet me in St. Louis Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film about lots of romance and drama. It’s not one of those old classics that has aged really well with a compelling story. On the contrary the characters can be a bit on the annoying side and most of them tend to make the wrong choices time and time again. In particular you’ll feel bad for one character who just wants to move to New York where everything will be amazing, but is being guilt tripped by everyone. The film definitely had potential and could/should have been better, but ultimately was not able to step up to the plate.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the various characters. First off we have Rose who is the eldest daughter and she is expecting a phone call from her beloved with an offer for marriage. Well, he does call but doesn’t really have anything to say which ends up hurting her day. Perhaps everyone was just too hasty in assuming anything important was going to be in the call though. That’s what happens when you let the assumptions rise with no real basis. Well, at least there is a big dance coming up so she can look forward to that.

Then you have Esther who has fallen for the next door neighbor. She isn’t really sure how to approach him though which mostly leads to a lot of scenes of the two characters not knowing what to do. John seems to like Rose at first, but eventually comes around. Their relationship gets put to the test when Esther’s little sister Tootie tells her that John hit her. Family should always come first, but would her next door neighbor really do such a thing? Meanwhile her father ALonzo has received a promising job offer in New York and so he plans to leave and of course the whole family would have to go as well. Can Esther really start fresh?

I think one of the main problems for this film is the fact that it’s a romance film that has a lot of weak romances spread together. For starters Esther falls for John almost instantly without even meeting him when he moves in. It feels quite superficial from the start and at least in their first meeting with turning off the lights he doesn’t even seem that interested. Then after she assaults him in retaliation for allegedly hitting her sister he takes it in stride almost too well. He has that “Things happen” kind of attitude about it and so they stay together.

Hey, it’s nice that he’s so cool about it I suppose, but you’d think he’d at least he asking some more questions as to why she came over and beat him up without a word. She didn’t even explain it when she came back. Where John drops the ball is at the final dance though. At the last moment he shows up and explains to Esther that he can’t go with her because he lost track of time playing Basketball and didn’t pick up the suit. Really? That’s one of the worst excuses I’ve ever heard. Look, if you’re taking a girl to the dance then you’ve got to actually take her. Cancelling at the last second is completely terrible. If he doesn’t have a suit then he should still go with her even if he’s in more of an informal attire. Maybe he’ll be embarrassed, but it’s the least he could do since otherwise he’s just wrecked Esther’s night as well. It’s not her fault that he isn’t good at managing time. John’s just not a good character. Esther may not always be the best, but at least she definitely wouldn’t pull something like that.

Lon gets one of the smaller roles from the group of kids. He’s the only son in the family and likes a girl in the town, but that relationship is barely even referenced until it happens at the very end of the movie. You could cut Lon out and nothing really changes. Meanwhile Rose gets more of a role, but definitely does seem more stuck up than the others. I think part of it is that she just has a hard time talking to the others and doesn’t always mean to appear arrogant, but it’s just how she keeps her guard up. Her character isn’t nearly as interesting as Esther’s. Then there is the old grandpa in the house who looks good. He at least arrives to help Esther when John ends up completely failing.

All right, now we’ve got the best and the worst characters left to talk about. Who should go first? Let’s start with Tootie. She’s the youngest kid and a chronic liar. Lying is already pretty bad, but when you’re lying to get someone else in trouble then it’s even worse. She makes up a story about John hitting her and everyone believes Tootie since I guess most people don’t know she tends to lie. After they find out Tootie basically gets away scott free as everyone comments how funny it is. I don’t see what’s so funny about really hurting someone’s reputation by saying that they hit kids. Tootie should have definitely been punished for that. Throughout the movie she’s also just generally annoying as she likes to say edgy stuff for no good reason.

The whole night party in the neighborhood was also a scene that started to drag on for quite a while. Nothing was really happening except Tootie ended up throwing powder in an old man’s face as part of a dare. Again, she is definitely the worst character without a doubt and the film started to get pretty mean spirited here. Some of these scenes seem to have been supposed to be funny, but they were far from it. The humor did not land in this film and I’d question the writing as well.

Finally we have Alonzo who does his best to fix the film. From the start you feel bad for him since he arrives home after a long day at work and everyone wants him to skip his bath and eat dinner hours early. He’s pretty confused at this and asks why this is the case, but they all just lie to him. I’m glad he insisted on taking the bath and then came in later on. Likewise he gets the same treatment at the end as he gets a new job which will pay a lot more and comes home all excited…only for everyone to give him grief about this. Alonzo can’t catch a break throughout the whole film and it’s a shame because he just seems like a really nice guy who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He doesn’t hold it against the others, but it does make for a lot of pretty emotional scenes.

Overall, Meet me in St. Louis is a film that had a reasonable premise, but ended up dropping the ball. You really need to drop Tootie and then the film could rise up to at least a 5 or maybe even a 6. She just holds everyone back, but in general was just the biggest issue here. I’d say that the writing was really at fault with characters making questionable decisions and the pacing wasn’t very good. It’s a fairly long film that feels long. The ending should have also just had them all go to New York. It would have been the perfect ending and then at least Alonzo would have gotten some kind of win. He earned that much.

Overall 4/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis Review


It’s time to look at the next big LEGO adventure. This time Aquaman takes the center stage as he tries to prove himself. It’s a pretty fun LEGO adventure and while it can’t quite match up to the best ones out there, it holds its own pretty well. We get some decent fight scenes and it’s always fun to see the Justice League return no matter what format it is. So without further ado let’s dive into this.

The film starts off with the Justice League sending out a call for help to Aquaman. He is delighted to hear this, especially because the villain is attacking a river so he’ll be able to do some real damage. Unfortunately this area is just called a river but it’s totally dry so Lobo beats Aquaman up. Aquaman struggles to hold onto his confidence but even the Justice League can barely defend him in faqront of the media and Ocean Master has now taken over Atlantis. If Aquaman doesn’t regain his confidence really soon I’m afraid that it’s going to be too late for him.

DC’s been doing quite well with the Lego adventures and this one continues the run of solid titles in the franchise. While Aquaman can’t hold his own film nearly as well as the Flash, he’s a fun enough lead. We really hadn’t seen him in the other specials so this was a good way to give him some focus with the league. Naturally a lot of his scenes are played for laughs. Most of the characters land a lot of burns at his expense but Aquaman does his best not to let it get to him. He still keeps on trying to be the best and after he gets drunk Aquaman finally experiences some clarity on what he has to do next. It took him a while to get to the answer, but better late than never right?

The Lego animation is fairly consistent with how all of the others were. Lego in general still isn’t my favorite style but this one still gives us some pretty good fight scenes. Superman surprisingly (well maybe it’s not too surprising) doesn’t look great in the battles though. Lobo is just too powerful and really deals out the pain to everyone who goes up against him. It’s always nice to see him looking good though since Lobo is often one of my favorite DC villains. I like his biker theme and the fact that he actually can fight with the likes of Superman. His appearances in the DCAU is really what got me into being a fan.

Meanwhile the humor is pretty sound as you’d expect. My favorite humor scenes are admittedly the ones that are poking fun at Aquaman a lot. It’s the low hanging fruit of course, but you can’t help but smirk when Ocean Master shows his little compilation video of Aquaman getting wrecked. The humor scenes that don’t work quite so well are the more over the top ones like when Wonder Woman gets dazed/confused for a while. Damian trying to act like a kid also doesn’t work quite as well. I was surprised to see him and Batgirl since they basically come out of nowhere, but the more guest stars the better.

Ocean Master makes for a fun villain. He may not always be the biggest mastermind but he did convince Aquaman to give up the throne without a fight which does take a good degree of skill. A lot of villains would love to be able to say that they took over Atlantis without having to lift a finger. It’s usually just not that easy though. Things may not have worked out well for him in the end, but if not for the rest of the heroes being around he probably could have pulled the whole thing off. There’s also the slight sympathy angle that any story with Ocean Master comes equipped with because Aquaman tends to put him down without realizing it. “It’s good to be king!” was definitely something that Ocean Master doesn’t need to hear from Aquaman on a daily basis. Still doesn’t make him any less of a villain though.

The most tragic part for Ocean Master though is the fact that he starts to be overshadowed by the other villains here like the Red Lanterns. How can he really hope to compete with powerful foes like that? Dex-starr and Atrocitus both get fun roles and you don’t really doubt that either one of them would be able to clobber Ocean Master. It was a cool team up though because that’s one of those out of the box pairings that seems like it would be interesting.

Meanwhile we have a full subplot about Jessica Cruz working to find confidence in being a Green Lantern. It’s not as good as the main plot, but it’s decent. Most of it involves her ring giving her a lot of snark as it constantly mocks Jessica and makes things tough for her on purpose. Honestly Jessica has enough trouble trying to be a fighter, the ring doing its thing really doesn’t end up helping matters at all. It just ends up getting in the way and making trouble for both of them. I lost a lot of sympathy for Jessica when she started making fun of Batman’s utility belt though. The first time you can write off as an accident, but after that it has to be intentional. It may have been a humor plot, but it still hurt Jessica all the same. Especially since Batman was the best character in the special. One simply does not disrespect the Dark Knight like that.

Overall, Rage of Atlantis is a fun DC special. There’s not a lot more to say beyond what I’ve already mentioned. If you like Aquaman or the new Green Lantern Jessica then you should enjoy this one. Quite a lot of characters show up and so the special is able to make the most of its longer run time. I wonder which hero will get a lego special next. I dare say that Green Lantern has earned his, but I wouldn’t mind another Batman centered JL special either. Those are always fun.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Review


It’s time to look at a DBZ game that has always been quite well known as an underratted classic. Just about every threat I go to about great DBZ games there is at least one person naming this game. People seem to love just how in depth it went as well as the solid gameplay. While I’m not ready to call it the best DBZ game I will say that it is great. Ir’s too bad that they couldn’t have covered more of the story than just the Saiyan Saga, but you’ll likely never see such a detailed lookthrough in any other game. It’s impressive how much is shown here and the gameplay is pretty tight.

The story actually starts with some adventures from Dragon Ball. The main part starts when Raditz shows up halfway through the way though and we learn that more Saiyans are on the way. Goku and friends will have to surpass their limits if they want to beat these guys, but the problem is that time is not on the hero’s side. They will only have an hour to get ready and that’s a really short time table. Still, the heroes have been through worse odds before and come out on top so they won’t let this get to them.

So the gameplay is similar to the turn based style of Pokemon, but more interactive. I’d say that the Mario & Luigi series is a good benchmark for this one. The reason for that is because you can click buttons at the right time to minimize damage which is always an interesting change. If you get really good at blocking then you’ll need to do less grinding than someone who isn’t able to react in time. It adds some strategy there. Then you’ve also got the line-up strategies. You can have 3 people in the front and up to 5 in the back although you’ll never get a full party of 8 in the game. You will probably figure that having 3 people in the front at all times is your best bet, but there is actually a good reason to only have 1 at times. The EXP you get in battle is evenly split up between the characters in your active party with the backups only getting 10% of it. So if you’ve only got 1 guy in the front then he will get massive amounts of EXP. It helps a lot with leveling.

Typically I kept my whole group of 3 in the front though. If the other members die in one hit for the boss fights then you’d be in trouble anyway so at least this way it kept the fighters close. At first in the game I would lose to the boss each time which would then require more grinding. The game can be difficult so expect to have to level up quite a lot. There are numerous strategies to try out though and a vast level up tree. What abilities you decide to improve and rank up will play a huge factor in how your character turns out. Personally I decided to just max out attack power for everyone and I always ignored the other stats. Good attack will go a long way right? That’s the way I figured it. Unfortunately when you beat the game you are taken to right before the final boss so you can only control Gohan, Krillin, and Goku. Everyone else that you trained up is lost forever unless there is some way to find them again. That part’s a little unfortunate.

Most of the game you will just need to figure out on your own as you play through. I personally say you should max out one special attack for each fighter first. Then work on unlocking ultimate attacks by powering up other techniques and you should be good to go. Definitely buy a good amount of potions for the end game because you’ll be going through 5-6 boss battles in a row. Losing in the middle of those would have definitely been rough if you ask me. I recommend being around level 50 to make the battle go smoothly and be careful with the Kaio-Ken. It’s the best move in the game but if you can’t finish the opponent off before it runs out you are most likely doomed to be defeated since you can’t move or block for a few turns.

There is a lot of content in this game and it took me around 20 hours to conquer the main story. Should you decide to do the bonus content like fighting Broly and maxing everyone out it’ll take even longer. This is not a short game so you’ll have a lot of replay value here. Even without playing any side quests you’ll be here for a while since I didn’t really do any of them myself. The game can be a bit pricey online but at least you know you’ll be getting a great game.

Meanwhile the game doesn’t cheap out on any other areas. The graphics here are quite good. One thing that might drag on for you are the explanation points and other symbols that show up after every line in the cutscenes. Hold down the R button to speed things along, but let go when clicking on the dialogue or otherwise you’ll skip some lines. Doing this helps to make the cutscenes go by pretty quick. All of the attacks are flashy and I like that you can see the improvement as you level them up. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty good. The boss battle against Vegeta was great and I also liked the general danger theme that plays constantly. The basic boss theme is also sound. It’s just a very well rounded array of tunes.

Overall, Attack of the Saiyans definitely lived up to the hype. It’s a classic DBZ RPG that can hold its own with the best of em. I managed to beat the game on Friday the same day that Kakarot arrived so it was good timing. Now I can effectively take a look at the PS4 version of the RPG. I already know it’s going to be a top notch game for sure. While I’m sure most of my readers will be picking this one up, I’d say you should also buy Attack of the Saiyans if you’re a big fan of the series or if you just like RPG titles. It’s a lot of fun with really sound gameplay mechanics.

Overall 8/10