The Black Hole Review


It’s time to look at a film with a title that you figure you would
have seen more over the years. After all, black holes are pretty
interesting and when you throw in some sci-fi wrinkles they get even
better. While this film had a good premise and can be fairly
interesting, it also starts to drag on a little by the end which
limits its ultimate potential.

The film starts off with a Star Trek type crew wandering trough space
when they notice a distress call from a ship stuck near a black hole.
Naturally they are obligated to go and help but everything about this
scenario seems highly suspicious. This ship is from an expedition
launched 20 years ago and the crew was presumed dead. Well, one member
apparently survived but regrettably the others did not. This doctor
was able to create a robot army though and now he wants to try and
slingshot his way through a black hole. The captain realizes that this
guy is insane, but it may already be too late to leave.

The plot is fairly standard but always a good premise for a title like
this. It’s basically a Star Trek episode with the crew quickly
realizing that a guy marooned on a lost ship was able to advance the
art of robotics more than a planet of scientists with proper
equipment. It’s pretty surreal. Naturally the main villain isn’t all
that subtle with his ambitions. From the start you know that something
is a little off about the guy. Too bad the scientist of the main crew
couldn’t realize that though. He is ready to abandon the Earth in a
heartbeat so he can go through a black hole with the villain. It’s
almost tragic because that basically means that there’s not much
waiting for him at home. Still, it doesn’t excuse how slow on the
uptake he was. The guy nearly doomed them all.

Then we have the main heroine who isn’t all that subtle on learning
that the main villain is nuts. I guess I can’t blame her for trying
over and over to help the scientist see the light since staying behind
would certainly be lethal but I think she should have prepared herself
for what was to come.

The captain is pretty solid. He basically takes all the good qualities
of Captain Kirk without any of the bad ones. He’s a capable leader and
probably the best character here. He’s suspicious of this whole thing
from the start and is always on guard. I think if you take him away
from the flick the whole movie gets weaker.

I do have to also give some credit to the main robot though. Typically
the robot companion ranged from rather weak to just being very
ineffective. This robot is none of those as he has perfect aim and
even manages to take on one of the big villains. I may not have been
sold on him at first, but he backed up the tough talk by the end. You
can’t deny that his confidence is well warranted.

Where the film suffers a bit is that it can feel aimless once in a
while. The plot is very straight forward. The heroes voyage through
space and try to learn more about the universe. They see a ship and
you know that the man inside of it is very dangerous. It’s not like
any of this is unexpected for the audience so you feel like you’re
just going through the motions until the end. There is a decent amount
of suspense, but it’s drawn out just a little too much. You get the
feeling that this film could have been trimmed down.

There’s really nothing negative about this film which is also pretty
important. It can be hard for a film not to make some kind of error
during its duration so whenever this does occur it is pretty
impressive. It’s not as if you will be super bored or anything during
the film either so I wouldn’t dock the score much for it. The writing
is pretty solid and while not all of the characters are likable, I
think they’re handled pretty well. You can clearly see why the captain
was selected as the leader because the other members would surely lead
the crew to ruin.

The end of the film does try to be a little too “deep” and moving
though. We get a lot of trippy colors and the heroes effectively
travel through hell in order to get back home. It goes for a very 2001
vibe although fortunately it stays classier than that film could ever
try to be. It’s a very odd way to end the film as it doesn’t seem to
match with anything we had seen earlier, but maybe the film had some
extra budget leftover and wanted to use it. I can’t really fault them
for that and it can be a little humorous unintentionally.

Overall, The Black Hole is a fairly good sci-fi film. I can see why it
didn’t get too popular since the film does start to drag on by the end
but it’s still a fun enough story. It doesn’t get too detailed in
explaining the universe, but goes far enough for you to understand
what you need to. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then you
should. It’s an interesting look at how a Star Trek from Disney
probably would have played out.

Overall 7/10

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Danball Senki Wars


It’s been a while since the manga came out, but it’s finally started to be scanned. It’s off to a reasonable start. The art’s a little choppy, but the plot’s good and as the show was solid I’m expecting good things from the manga as well. I’ll have a review for the series up when I’ve finished it.

Overall 7/10

Metal Arms Glitch in the System Review


It’s time to look at a third person sci-fi shooter. That likely sounds pretty good, but I’m afraid that the game was certainly more on the underwhelming side. The levels were poorly designed and the game isn’t always clear on what the objective is. Throw in the game’s crazy difficulty level and you have a title that is best left on the shelf. The 10 hours it takes you to complete the game will feel like forever, but at least you will get some satisfaction out of this achievement.

The story focuses on a robot named Glitch. All of his friends and family have been taken down by the Mills. This is a different robot faction that wants to conquer the whole universe. So far their plan has gone over quite well, but Glitch will fight to the last man. To do that he must find the leader of the enemies and also destroy as many bases and factories along the way as possible. It won’t be easy, but this guy has spunk and the will to make it happen.

First off, I have to say that the story is quite bad. One of the game’s big selling points is the strong language where almost everything has to get beeped out in certain cutscenes because of how intense everyone is. It’s certainly not a joke that works well and it’s stretched out so long that it simply never had a chance. It’s rare for me to say that the writing in a video game was bad, but this was definitely one of those times. You couldn’t wait for the cutscenes to end in these instances. I guess the only good part would be the stinger that sets up the sequel. The odds of us getting a sequel are virtually 0 at this point, but a person can dream right? A sequel could be good if the game was fixed from the ground up and I have a feeling that it would be. The plot and characters are another story of course, but there’s always a chance.

The main villain is wrecked by the end as well. For the whole game you are convinced that he is a very cunning and powerful leader. He had a secret agent infiltrate our ranks and considering his large army the guy must know what he is doing right? Well, we find out by the end that the guy can’t talk and just likes to beat his chest like King Kong. He has no real character and can’t think too well. It turns out that the right hand man was the real brains behind the operation but the game could have done that without wrecking the final boss. Meanwhile none of the heroes are any good except for Glitch. I’ll say that he was a reasonable lead. The game lightly tries to make him a Hal Jordan/Han Solo kind of guy except he rarely gets to talk so it’s hard to see that. With more of a presence in the story I think he would have worked quite well.

As for the gameplay, as I mentioned it’s a TPS. When you first start you only have Glitch’s main arm cannon. As the game goes on you get a variety of weapons including the 3 best ones, a Gatling Gun, Rockets, and a Sniper Explosive. There’s also the Shotgun, but it’s basically useless until you upgrade it to level 3. At that point it becomes the best weapon in the game, but the ammo runs out almost instantly. I highly recommend upgrading all of your weapons, but getting the parts to do it can be tricky. You also always want to keep some money on hand in case you need to buy some health during a level. The levels are typically platformer style so you have to get to the end while fulfilling some kind of objectives. Keep blasting and the way will be known to you. If you pause the game you will also see a vague mission outline as well which can help you if you’re stuck. The game’s pretty dark so make sure your TV screen has a nice brightness level or you’ll really be in a pickle.

There are 42 levels in the game and it should take you around 10 hours to complete them. After that you can go back and find all of the secret chips to unlock extra multiplayer levels. Naturally as this game has such a multiplayer mode the replay value here is basically limitless. I’m sure it’ll be a blast too since the only thing holding the single player mode back was really the insane difficulty and glitches so the title could live up to its name. If you leave your vehicle behind be prepared to restart the level. Same thing happens if you leave an explosive behind. Also watch out for making it to a checkpoint with low health because you may end up dying quite a lot as you try to survive. Sometimes it’s better to just re-start the whole level. I actually had to replay the first 5 levels again because I initially played the game on normal mode before having to go back to Easy. This game simply didn’t play.

Making matters worse is the fact that 1-2 levels can’t be completed if you go in swinging. You had to play the levels with no guns equipped so the robots wouldn’t shoot at you. There’s almost no way to know that in advance so it feels a little cheap. I cheesed a few levels by just making a beeline for the goal. I had quite a few close shaves there. Now, this isn’t to say that difficulty is a bad thing. Games should be hard and you want a good challenge. However, this difficulty just feels cheap as you die to a few hits or the enemies infinitely respawn. If you don’t have the right grenade to mind control the robots then you’ll be stuck there for a while. I think this game just wasn’t nearly as polished as it should have been and will ultimately go down as one of the worst shooters that I’ve played. The gameplay could possibly be overlooked a little more if the story was any good, but it’s not.

The soundtrack is pretty solid at least. When you hear the main menu theme playing near the climax you know that things are finally getting serious. It was a pretty emotional moment and the other sci-fi themes aren’t bad. The graphics I won’t really fault either. It’s hard for me to say one way or the other if the game is too dark because my TV is always pretty iffy there, but it definitely could have been brighter. The destruction effects are pretty solid. Technically the controls are fairly good as well. You won’t miss a shot that you don’t want too.

Overall, Metal Arms is a bit of a missed opportunity. The game could and should have been amazing. The story of a robot rebellion rising up against its oppressors should be a classic. At the same time, it just missed every easy opportunity that it possibly could and by the end of this game it’ll be hard to remember the good times. The developers were slick by having the best levels be the final ones, but it’s simply too little too late. Unless you’re a huge fan of shooters and want to test your skills here, I would recommend avoiding this game. It’s simply not worth the pain and effort of trying to clear it since the story won’t even act as a reward.

Overall 4/10

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Review


It’s time to look at a rather unique Sci-Fi film that balances a bunch of genres, but mainly focuses on the drama aspect. Unfortunately it suffers from being an overly long, melodramatic film that makes quite a few mistakes. It doesn’t make for a particularly engaging watch and the whole time you will just be wondering where Skynet is. When you watch films with humans worrying about the robots becoming a threat, you look forward to seeing the robots take over. Instead the film is mainly just the humans picking on the robots for a long while with no real payoff of any kind.

The film starts with a couple deciding to adopt a robot kid in place of their real son who is in a coma. This definitely didn’t seem like a reasonable move right from the start. At first you think that this might make sense because you presume their son is dead. (Still a terrible decision as the wife even mentions that it’s like trying to replace their original kid since they bought a robot that looks exactly like the son) but when you find out that he’s alive then the whole thing gets real messy. The worst part is that the husband is the one who decided to get him and once the son gets back he immediately turns on the robot. Breeding robotic kids already seems like a super sketchy business to be honest. Well, the family abandons David so he goes on a journey to find out how to return home, but it could be difficult.

In this world robots aren’t able to fight back against their human oppressors so the humans use this as an excuse to beat them up as much as possible. The robots hopefully can’t really feel pain, but it’s still pretty dark and gruesome to be honest, much like the rest of the film. The whole film just comes across as rather disturbing and very dreary. There is never really a moment where the film feels hopeful or even fun. It’s just a very dull experience where the characters are stuck in a dystopia that they can’t hope to escape. You’ll definitely feel bad for David, but the problem is that he isn’t even an enjoyable character.

David may be an A.I. but he still isn’t very smart. Since he was programmed to be a kid that may serve as an explanation for this, but he doesn’t even know his robotic limitations. He He attempts to eat food when dared to which causes him to shut down and then he doesn’t even know common sense. He shouldn’t even be able to lift a pair of scissors since you’d think that it would register as a weapon and his self defense mechanism doesn’t seem very great to be honest. He also comes across as very ungrateful at the end of the film as he is mean to the beings who find him and is always sulky. Kids can’t really hold their own film and I suppose this still applies even when the kid is robotic.

David meets up with another robot who helps him learn the ways of the world, but that guy isn’t great. His character gimmick is that he is a robot who provides pleasure for the Earthlings, but that doesn’t work out well either. Naturally some other humans don’t like this so they frame him for murder and send him to the robot circus where they are all blown up. David doesn’t even feel bad about ditching this guy which tells you all that you need to know about him. There are no good characters in this film, that’s something you’ll learn very quickly. If you count inanimate objects, which you probably should because once you go into robotics the distinction starts to get a little tricky, then the Teddy Bear is reasonable. He’s another rather dark character with a morbid sense of humor but at least he won’t be backstabbing anyone like the other characters. He seems like a really random character at the start, but by the end he fits in well enough.

The end of the film gets really crazy. I won’t go into detail, but the jump does take us 20K years in the future to see how the Earth ultimately turned out. It’s definitely the optimal timeline if you ask me even if it does seem like the inhabitants probably aren’t having too much fun at this point. I guess you can’t win em all right? At least there shouldn’t be much crime at all anymore. It’s not a great ending or anything, but I guess I can appreciate how out there it all is. Throw in some big fight scenes and maybe the film could have been saved.

At the end of the day, this movie could have been better if it wasn’t so disturbing and creepy the whole time. If you’re going to do a story about Androids and what it means to be human, you need to do it in a better way. I don’t think it works very well if the main android is a kid because then it isn’t able to really handle the themes properly. It just doesn’t work at all and the alternative is to have a film like Terminator where the robots decide to take over the world. Having a twist like that during the second half of the film would have been absolutely amazing. A shame that it didn’t go that way right?

Overall, I would not recommend A.I. While it is a step up from complete flops like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it reminds you why the Sci-Fi genre is best when it doesn’t try to hard to be super deep and emotional. Mixing those two genres just doesn’t work very well so you need to focus on the action aspect or just being a light hearted adventure in the future. Emotional films like this one would likely fail either way, with or without the Sci-Fi angle though. If you want to see a film that just tries to be a Debbie Downer at all times then by all means go for it. Otherwise, I’d suggest just watching Terminator Genysis instead and reminding yourself why these robots can be dangerous and will eventually wipe out humanity.

Overall 1/10

Mega Man Fully Charged


The new Mega Man show has finally come out. It feels like this show was in development for an exceptionally long time so it’s good to see it alive and well. I’ve seen the first 10 episodes so far and the show is off to a good start. I look forward to all of the fights that will be popping up. I’ll have a review for the series up when it finishes.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Omnibus Volume 2: A Long Time Ago Review


It’s been a while since I read the first Star Wars Omnibus but now the second one is here. It adapts the second movie so I’m guessing that the third one will wrap up the original trilogy. The volume also has its own plot going on with some connected stories and a few that are essentially stand alone. It’s a fun collection and I’m sure fans were glad to have these issues around while waiting for the next movie.

One of the main plots is about Han Solo. Jabba The Hut still has a large bounty on his head so Solo wants to clear the debt. He actually does manage to find Jabba and forces him into dropping the bounty. Unfortunately as soon as Solo leaves the bounty is placed on once again. It’s definitely the best plot in the volume though simply because Han is the most enjoyable character whenever he pops up. You just have to like his confidence. When the other characters are panicking he is coming up with more plans. Han also doesn’t hesitate in launching an attack against Darth Vader even if it is unsuccessful. Of course with how the volume ends it could be a little while before Han shows up again so definitely enjoy his appearances here while you can. That should not be very difficult though.

Meanwhile Darth Vader also gets his own subplot as he chases after Luke and the gang. He lands on one planet where a cyborg has decided to silence the only informant who knows the name of the person who destroyed the Death Star. Vader needs that name so naturally the two come to blows. Vader is basically untouchable here as you would expect but I do give the guy props for effort. He held Vader back long enough for the informant to get away. It was a rather dark ending though as the only way for the guy to get away was to die. It’s one of the few times where Vader was foiled, but he still did win he fight.

Another fun Vader comic is when he shows up on a bank planet for diplomacy at the same time Leia arrives. No weapons are allowed on this planet so both sides have to try and outsmart the other in different ways. It’s a big game of mental chess between be two sides with the highest of stakes. As you can probably guess Vader tends to have the edge here, but to say that Leia lost would be a simpflication. She still achieved her objective, she simply wasn’t able to prevent Vader from doing he same so if anything it is a bit of a draw. A very unique Star Wars comic through and through.

Then we have the big movie adaption which covers the film in great detail. It does a good job of getting those who only read the comics up to speed on what is happening. You certainly can’t say that you missed out on what happened at the very least. It quickly switches art styles for the event which was interesting. The new art certainly felt very Marvel esque which was cool. I do think the normal art probably wins but both were quite good. Naturally the highlight of the film adaption is the big battle between Luke and Vader. Beyond that the story holds up pretty well in all of the other scenes as well and is just a good adventure.

Lando seems to have taken Han’s place as one of the main focuses in the series. In his subplot he is flying around and scouting strong fighters for the resistance while just looking for anything that could be helpful. His comic probably felt the most random out of them all as he meets a retired super hero who has decided to stop with the heroics and now he is just a guy who tries to stay out of the way. Lando gives him a speech and the guy realizes the folly of his ways. Not a bad comic but a bit weaker than some of the old ones.

In general I do think that some of the final stories were a bit weaker than the early ones but it’s a fairly small sample size and the Leia vs Vader comic is an obvious exception. Most likely the series will stay pretty consistent even without Han Solo to back it up. I’m looking forward to seeing Luke a little more now that he knows how to fight pretty well. In theory there is no excuse for him to lose to just about anyone now. He is the true last Jedi after all.

A pair of characters who were fun while they lasted were the dictators in the first few issues. One was blinded by Vader and now has to wear cyber goggles while the other one isn’t brave at all and so he is content to be the 2nd in command. These villains may not have been the strongest ones out there, but at least the main one had a lightsaber which made for some pretty good fights. It’s why the first half of the arc was my favorite as we had Han causing mayhem everywhere and these villains popping in more than a few times. Perhaps they will return at some point. In general the character cast in this volume was quite solid.

As I mentioned before the art is pretty solid. The characters all look right and the art is easy to follow. It complements the fast pace of the issues and also works pretty well for the fight scenes. The writing is on point as well with a lot of clever dialogue from all of the characters. I’d certainly expect no less.

Overall, This is definitely a great follow-up to the last installment. Han will be missed, but the series will live on. If you are a big fan of the movies then you definitely need to check these out. If you haven’t watched the movies yet then you’ll quickly get caught up on what is happening over the course of the first few issues and will still be able to enjoy it. It’s just a quality sci-fi action story so I can recommend it to anyone. Hopefully the third volume continues to be just as strong.

Overall 7/10

Futureworld Review


That tagline is definitely a little dicey. It’s clever in its own way, but I get the feeling that it wouldn’t really fly nowadays. Here’s the problem, we don’t actually see the twist about fake people until the very climax of the film. Were the posters that came out before the film actually spoiling the entire movie so casually? All of the various posters that I’ve seen for the film have other lines more or less with the same premise. I’m surprised that the film would do such a thing since while it doesn’t come out of nowhere it is still treated as a rather big twist near the end of the film.

The film starts off by showing us Chuck the reporter. He’s a tough guy who always gets his scoop. He is the one who wrote the original piece on Westworld which destroyed whatever reputation the place had left after it murdered all of the guests. Well, he gets a call from someone who claims to have a scoop on the place, but just as Chuck arrives the guy is murdered. Chuck decides to go back to that amusement park and has to work alongside Tracy on the project. The two don’t get along but don’t mind quickly going past the friend zone anyway just to be contradictory. Westworld has reopened all of its sections except that one and now Futureworld is the main attraction. Chuck suspects that everything isn’t as it appears to be though and decides to check it out.

The elephant in the room is certainly how the place could still be operating. It is a huge leap in logic that the film never even tries to defend. The CEO talks about how they got some bad publicity but shrugs it off as if there was just a minor technical malfunction. Over 50 people died, but apparently the world doesn’t care as it is still quite busy. Surprisingly enough, World Leaders from around the planet are attending which is certainly fortunate for the company but would anyone really allow someone important to go to such a potentially dangerous place? I really don’t think so.

The main characters are also pretty unrealistic. As I mentioned a romance quickly starts between the main characters and it’s about as rushed as can be. It makes no sense and is just there to fulfill a quota. Tracy herself also comes across as way too mean and bold. She talks back to her boss and doesn’t care that he could fire her. Tracy goes out of her way to try and love Futureworld which is quite sad since she should at least stay objective about the place. She also can be a little slow on the uptake like when she fought her doppleganger. She is absolutely shocked even though she just saw the mech a few scenes ago. I’ll give her credit for somehow winning the gunfight though. That was still pretty impressive of her since I assume that the robot has a quick trigger finger.

As far as Chuck goes, I do like how antagonistic he is to everyone. He tries to get along with Tracy, but doesn’t give Mr. Duffy and corporate the same effort. After all, he’s not here to make friends with them, he’s just here to get a story. After seeing his informant murdered so casually it makes sense that he would be rather obsessed at this point. Still, he’s not very smart. At one point he grabs his gun and is ready for anything. In the next scene he puts the gun down to make a phone call and then gives his back to the door. Naturally this is when Mr. Duffy walks in to snatch the gun and hold him at gun point. Chuck only wins because Duffy isn’t very smart and doesn’t even bother to check the rooms properly even though he suspects that Tracy is there.

For more scenes that will make you roll your eyes we do get a scene with the Gunslinger from the original film as Tracy goes for a rebound. Is it still a rebound if you get together with someone in your dreams? Absolutely, it’s just as valid cheating as if you were doing it in the real world, maybe even more so. It was definitely a scene that really didn’t feel necessary with the rest of the film and should have been cut out to be honest.

I guess the biggest problem with Futureworld is that it can be rather dull. There aren’t any real action scenes until the very end of the film. Most of it is just the characters wandering around. The beginning of the film started it off with a lot of tension and suspense, but it all dissipates by the time the film gets around to actually doing anything. The writing is also not that good so you can’t expect it to hold the film up either. That’s probably the biggest reason why Futureworld doesn’t end up being all that great. You need solid writing to pull this off. I also have to say that the actual Futureworld looked so boring that only a few minutes are actually spent on the spaceship. The rest of the film is just them in the labs or wandering around Westworld.

A sequel to this film would probably be more exciting. We now know that the whole island is filled with robots and run by other robots. Since their scheme to conquer the world may take a backseat after the story gets out, fighting will be their only option. It’ll be Terminator level action scenes happening everywhere although since the robots aren’t bullet proof the ending will be a lot different. Still, at least it’ll have more going on for it than this one had. For all of the first film’s faults, at least it was never all that dull.

Overall, Futureworld isn’t a great sequel, but to be fair Westworld wasn’t a good movie. Lets put it this way, Westworld has the far superior premise, but Futureworld has the better execution. It’s not by much though and the films are rather close to each other in quality. I think I would give Futureworld the edge overall, but it’s close if we look at it purely from how entertained you’ll be. If you can get past the annoying characters and the rather slow moving plot then it’s not all that bad. The film doesn’t do anything all that original this time around, but at least it avoids easy mistakes like animal violence since mainly there are just a lot of robots around. I wouldn’t recommend this film unless you’re a big sci-fi fan and like robots. Then I suppose that it’s probably worth checking out.

Overall 5/10

The Iron Giant Review


It’s time for another classic animated film. I think many of us have heard of the Iron Giant before. He got the iconic fight scene against the army and in general we don’t get too many animated films about a giant robot. At least not in America. It’s a really solid film with only one scene holding it back. The film is just a fun ride from start to finish with startlingly good animation backing it up.

The film starts out with the main character heading to the diner where his Mom works. He is trying once more for his Mom to accept the wild animal he has caught so they can all be a family. Unfortunately it escapes the cage and wrecks the cafe. As our lead is apparently known for this kind of behavior and making up stories, it doesn’t help his cred. As such, when he finds a giant robot in the forest, nobody believes him. He quickly realizes that this is a good thing though since people would probably panic and try to shoot the robot. No, he will have to be very careful about how he handles this. Unfortunately, one of the local drunks calls in the army because he thinks he saw something so they send in their best private eye. He’s got his sights set on the main character so can the boy mislead him or is the robot doomed?

Right off the bat I need to give the government agent some major credit. He’s one of the best antagonists I’ve seen in a Western animated film and any scene with him is a guaranteed hit. “Big things happen in big places.” is probably the best line in the whole film. Still, he quickly finds out that there really might be something to this little town and decides to get to the bottom of it. His detective skills aren’t bad and the sad part is that he probably is the government’s best agent so it’s a shame that he isn’t heroic. Even when his boss tells him to give up the case, he doesn’t. Mansley instead decides to get close to the kid by renting out the spare room so he can follow him around. He had a bunch of synonyms for the word “pal” as well so he never ends up having to repeat himself. Trust me, this is one character you absolutely want to have in your corner. At the end of the day, he just wants to get famous though so it’s inevitable that he wouldn’t be in your side someday.

The animation also deserves some credit for Manzley’s excellent character. The designs are really eye catching with how they pop out. Manzley’s grin is so wide that it practically stretches into the next scene and the voice completes it. As with all films, The Iron Giant is good because various aspects of it are good. Mix them all together and you have a great product on your hands. It’s yet another reminder for me that hand drawn animation will always destroy CGI. You just can’t make computer animation that is quite as expressive as what we get in this film. It’s not even that new at this point and it still really stands out.

The Iron Giant is also a reasonably good character considering that I don’t usually care for the trope too much. It’s because the film doesn’t really focus on the whole “Robot doesn’t know Earth customs so it’s funny” moments and instead focuses on how the Robot decides to be a good guy. This is where Baymax from Big Hero 6 failed. He never became a cool robot as he just stuck to the naive trope and his berserk mode wasn’t even half as cool as the Giant’s. In many respects you can say that Baymax tried to rip off the Iron Giant but simply didn’t do it all that well. This Iron Giant is a true hero. Even when the kid tries to destroy this by calling him by the name of a villainous Robot and pointing a toy gun at him, The Iron Giant doesn’t give up. Granted, the climax would have been over a lot quicker and with less drama if the Giant had remembered that he had lasers and missiles on deck but I suppose in the heat of the moment we can assume that it slipped his mind.

There is really only one bad scene in the whole film. It is unfortunately an animal violence moment as we find a dead animal in the forest. While this teaches the Giant about guns and violence the film could have gone about it in a different way if you ask me. Just have someone shoot a beer bottle and when it shatters explain the concept of breaking when it comes to humans. That would be a nice out. As I always say, there is never an excuse for animal violence. It’s a real shame but at least the film didn’t make the scene too violent or grim by having it shot or dying while they watched.

The Mom is a nice enough character. She’s definitely pretty patient with the kid considering that he seems to be well known as a troublemaker. Even her inevitable “blowup” moment is very mild compared to most films and I thought it was handled well. She has a tough personality with the outside world so nobody is going to push her around either. When the customers start to get smart she shows them the sign and can throw them out if necessary. I have to say that working at a 24 hour diner sounds rough though. Apparently she wasn’t even home for the whole night near the climax which worked out well for our esteemed government agent.

There is also the junk dealer who is a cool character. He’s quick to leap to the kid’s defense when he gets attacked or otherwise in trouble. He even defends an old man who is getting mocked by everyone. Granted, the mockers had some clever lines and had good reason not to believe the guy. This is why you shouldn’t be known as a constant drunk. It definitely hurts your credibility. When the going gets tough, this guy always manages to make the right call. He may not always be the first to help someone out if he’s not sure it’s the right move but once he is, the guy jumps into action.

The film really had a solid cast backing it up. Since the writing was also good, it definitely helped make the film complete. You know the writing is good when even the kid is bearable for the most part. He really wasn’t half bad. The kid was able to wield the gun and was fairly brave to be going out into the forest at night. He had some slip ups like letting a squirrel lose in his Mom’s cafe and pointing a gun at the Giant, but for the most part he meant well. Some annoying aspects of a kid he can’t avoid but the film does a good job of getting past that.

Overall, The Iron Giant is a great film. It’s definitely even better than I had anticipated and the movie just does a good job of being above average in all areas. The only thing that could have kept it from an 8 was the animal scene but it was just mild enough to barely not take that star away. This is one robot film that I would definitely recommend checking out. Even the ending is perfect as it could have gone one of two different ways at the very last minute and went the right way. The wrong way would have definitely ensured that it didn’t earn that extra star. Now I am ready for a sequel someday. In theory that one should definitely have a bunch of action since other robots may come as they wonder why Earth still exists. The plot would probably be rather similar to the beginning of DBZ.

Overall 8/10

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Review


Time to check out a recent Sci-Fi film by the name of Valerian. I remember seeing the trailer a few times but being skeptical as to whether it’d be good or not. It looked like the kind of movie that would rely on weird environments and good visuals over the story or good characters. I wasn’t really wrong on some of that and the characters are pretty bad, but the film is reasonable. At the very least the film is pretty fast paced.

The film starts off with our two main characters, Valerian and Loreline. They are tasked with collecting a money hedgehog and do so after beating up everyone involved with the transaction. During a universal peace conference they are attacked by a group of blue beings who were thought to be long extinct. The heroes head off to stop them but they may be in for a political war that is above their pay grade.

Valerian is unfortunately a pretty bad main character. He’s a serious flirt who even has a playlist of everyone he has “conquered.” That’s as bad as it sounds. His next target is Loreline and he is slowly breaking through her defenses. Even aside from his morally disappointing personality, he isn’t even that strong. He is portrayed as an elite agent who never fails and that’s why he is supremely confident. Yet, in his first mission in the film he has to be rescued by Loreline because he made a bunch of rookie mistakes and got wrecked. It’s something that happens a little too often in live action productions where the hype characters simply can’t live up to their reputation. He just never becomes a good character which is unfortunate.

Loreline is the main heroine and I can’t say that she is any better. She is also supposed to be a hype character as well as the “tough” one in the group. This is quickly negated as she loses to Valerian in wrestling during the opening minute. She gets her ”burns” in as she mocks him and his playlist but knowing about it just makes her inevitable pairing with Valerian even worse. She also spends the entire film glaring which is certainly trying a little too hard to be tough.

It’s the side characters who are a little better as is sometimes the case. The main villain is a political General from the army who covered up a bunch of murders. He keeps his confident persona even when being attacked and threatened. He makes a good speech at the end and is always many steps ahead of the other characters. He was playing chess while they were playing checkers. One weird moment was when he was kidnapped though. The whole time I figured it was part of his plan, but it seems unlikely by the end. I guess he just wasn’t ready for the aliens to make their move.

Naturally the film has to force in a very long strip show scene which introduces a shape shifting character. Not only is this the worst way to introduce a character but this is a sci-fi trope that needs to die. It seems like a bunch of alien based films love to show off the costumes or cgi by including a scene like this or set pieces where everyone forgets to dress out well. It’s something that should never happen as if you feel a need to show off your animation then it probably wasn’t very good to begin with. The character is all right I guess but her role is rather small and needlessly tragic. I didn’t really see a point to her dying. It doesn’t work for shock value since we didn’t know her and from a narrative perspective it had no impact on any of the characters.

This film apparently had a really big budget and I think it was misplaced. Through my followings with RWBY, I’ve gotten to see a lot about how a budget is spent in terms of animation and how it is often not worth it. You can spend a significant chunk on a cgi landscape with a lot of NPCs in the background. Those guys don’t matter so why spend budget on them? I’d say that a budget should be spent primarily on fight scenes, backgrounds are secondary. This film had some nice backgrounds, but a good chunk of it was in a very ancient desert planet and then on a beach with no technology. So I’m assuming that the bulk of the budget was spent on Valerian running through various worlds in the quick 5 minute scene. Using up a huge budget on a minor scene is just not worth it and using practical effects would possibly have cut the budget in half then. The sci-do guns look good and the fight scene where Valerian takes on a bunch of ogres was good. Use the budget for that instead and have a super speed battle where he is zipping around then at lightning speed and dodging energy blasts. Now that would be hype!
I have to question how useful the cannon tech from the first scene was as well. Sure, the villains were pretty scared of Valerian and he was invisible so they had a hard time hitting him but he was still there and would have been destroyed if he couldn’t jack out. An impressive piece of tech to be sure and virtual reality has certainly peaked in this universe but the heroes may want to start thinking of better security options.

The robots made for pretty good minions for the main villain. They would have been perfect if they had also been bulletproof. As it stands, Valerian was able to dish out the pain against these guys but they got a lot of the aliens in the process. The aliens really shouldn’t have just walked outside while defenseless in front of the enemy. They were practically asking to be shot and I get how they’re pacifists and all, but at least do the peace thing behind the magical barrier. Alls well that ends well for the survivors though so at least the race isn’t extinct.

As mentioned earlier, Valerian’s best strength is in the film’s quick pacing. It’s over 2 hours, but the movie never drags on and you’ll stay entertained the whole time. It may make its share of mistakes and so I wouldn’t call it a good movie, but at least it’s a fun one the way that Resident Evil is enjoyable. The two are still in completely different leagues when it comes to quality as well. I think there could be some potential for a sequel here since there’s a lot you can do in space, but I want them to head to a high tech world that can take advantage of the future setting. Also, give the main actor/actress some more sleep before filming next time. They look dead tired in every scene of the film to the point where I’m sure they must have gone through many takes for each scene.

Overall, Valerian is one of those movies that just tries to throw a lot of things at the screen and hopes they will stick. Unfortunately it is very 50/50 in this regard. The film needed more action scenes and choosing a desert planet and then a beach planet when the film is supposed to be futuristic was a mistake. Get some better characters and then we can really begin thinking of a sequel. Until then, this film will need to stay under the radar as we open the way for other sci-fi films. If you just want a film where you get a future setting then I suppose this is a film worth checking out. There weren’t too many films that take place in the future this year. If you want a better film about the future, check out the DBZ Trunks movie.

Overall 5/10