Danball Senki Wars

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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

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Phase IV Review

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It’s time to take a look at an old school horror film. This one naturally gets tricky because of course when animals are the focus you have to get a little nervous. If the ants win then they’ll probably still suffer collateral damage, but if they lose then animal violence is assured. As a result, it does feel like there is no winning at times right? Well, that’s basically the situation and unfortunately this film was not able to get past that. It was curtains from the start.

The film starts with a meteor hitting the Earth and granting the ants extra intelligence to help balance them against the humans on the food chain. The Ants decide to take over the world, but they are willing to play the long game. They decide to start off in the suburbs and quickly take the local town over. That’s when two scientists arrive to try and see what can be done about all of this. They may be in a little over their head this time though and when another family is murdered they are also forced to look after a teenage girl. Now they must either try to stay and survive in the base they have built or attempt to escape.

Ernest is the main researcher and he believes that the only way to deal with the ants is to wipe them out. He wants to beat the Ants at their best though so he toys with them for a while. Naturally the ants don’t take too kindly to this. Ernest has a serious superiority complex which also doesn’t mesh too well with the situation. He’s one of the main antagonists here as he tries to prevent Kendra from escaping the base and continually puts the heroes in a bad spot. I can’t say that he was likable.

Of course, Kendra isn’t any good either. She had a traumatic start of course since seeing your family get taken down by ants can be pretty rough. Still, she nearly sabotages the heroes from the start as she breaks a box of ants and causes Ernest to get bitten. She is pretty afraid of the ants the whole time and just can’t keep up with them. At the end she also makes a pretty poor decision which sums up her whole character arc in the film.

Finally we have James who is the last of the main character. He decided to come along and study the ants, but doesn’t realize just how serious the situation is at first. He came to have fun but is quickly thrown into this game of death. He wants a peaceful alternative to dealing with the ants, but that kind of thing never gets to work in these films. You can appreciate the attempt I guess, but at the same time it’s basically just him giving up.

As hinted at earlier the film does have animal violence which really hurts its chances. There is a dog who shows up and naturally doesn’t last long against the Ants. Any animal that gets in their way is quickly demolished. Then you’ve also got other animals like the Grasshopper who shows up and gets wrecked which is pretty unfortunate. I was rooting for him to take some names. The animal violence is pretty bad so the film was definitely sunk at this point.

It also has a bad habit of dragging on scenes forever as we just see the Ants walking around. This’ll just bore you to tears and it speaks to how low the budget must have been for this film. It was just trying to buy time throughout which was too bad. The final segment of the film at least tries to be a little interesting with the twist ending as the Ants learn how to mind control humans and reanimate the dead ones. That could make a sequel a lot more interesting, but since this only happens for the final 1-2 minutes of the film I certainly wouldn’t say that it really impacts the score. At least it didn’t end on a low note right?

I suppose the writing isn’t bad here. The characters may not be the smartest, but at least they don’t always panic right away. For the most part they make an effort to try and stay objective about the whole thing. Blowing up the Ants’ energy cannons was a good idea. I certainly do think they should have had better defenses against the Ants though. Ultimately the insects are just able to walk into their base and destroy them. Meanwhile I thought the ants did a much better job of defending themselves with their cool heat waves and such. They even had fighter Ants of various elements to try and counter whatever the humans had up their sleeves. Their army coordination was on point.

Overall, Between the animal violence and the very underwhelming trio of characters, I can’t say that Phase IV is a film I would recommend to anyone. The dog scene guarantees that and having insects as opponents is never a good idea in basically any form of media. There are a very limited amount of routes you can take here and they all lead to disaster. If you want to see a good horror film I would suggest turning back and watching Poltergeist III instead. Otherwise, you should back up and check out a different genre like Scooby Doo. Those films will always be happy to throw a few puns your way.

Overall 0/10

Metal Arms Glitch in the System Review

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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

Swamp Thing Review

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It’s time to look at an old school DC film. This movie doesn’t really feel like your average comic book film and could easily be mistaken for just being another horror film. That would probably be the best outcome for all parties involved since I doubt anyone wants to take credit for this movie. It just isn’t good and does so many things wrong that you’ll end up wondering what the film was thinking. The characters aren’t very smart and so it’s hard to root for anyone.

The film starts off with the main character, Alice heading over to the Swamp. She is here to fix some sensors, but the broken sensors were sabotaged by terrorists so she isn’t allowed to go near them. Since she has nothing else to do she hangs around the pair of scientists who are trying to make some breakthroughs and insults them the whole time. The main guy is married, but seems to forget this all the time so all scenes with him are cringe worthy. That’s when the villains come in and murder the two scientists in the hopes of getting their research. Alice managed to snatch one book though so their collection won’t be complete. The villains don’t like that and decide to give chase, but they have one more obstacle to try and get past, The Swamp Thing!

The film doesn’t exactly hide the Swamp Thing’s identity, but I won’t allude to it in case you need that reveal. Needless to say, The Swamp Thing is here to help. “This is My Swamp!” should have been his opening line but he’s a creature of action as opposed to words. As the film goes on he does start to get a little more chatty though so I guess that’s a good thing? Unfortunately, he isn’t quite as intimidating as the average creature. In most of these horror films you see the monsters just destroying everybody until they die in the end. Since the Swamp Thing is a heroic creature, he doesn’t get the same treatment. He gets captured and beaten by the crooks. He doesn’t do a good job of taking the villains out of the equation so they always pop right back up to give him some more grief. He isn’t opposed to murder as we see him do it several times, he is always in just too much of a hurry to get away. He’s just not a very likable character. His abilities also don’t seem all that impressive in this film. He was nerfed all the way into the ground.

Alice isn’t a bad main character although she can also be a little iffy at times. For the positives, she is a fighter. Alice does put up a struggle whenever she appears and even lands in some good hits. On the other hand, she is rather slow on the uptake. Even when seeing the Swamp Thing mowing down her opponents she keeps telling him to back off. She’s certainly safer with him than without. She also has an unfortunate tendency to trip over just about everything. She probably hit the ground at least ten times. Cmon Alice, you can do better than that!

Then I have to quickly rewind to the beginning of the film to explain why the normal joe characters always fall below expectations. So you have a guy running through the swamp when a few guys with guns walk up to him. He quickly lets them disarm him and then runs. What’s the point? They’ll just shoot him down. He’s dead either way so he may as well have held on to his gun and taken one of them down with him. This is preferable for many reasons. One of which is that by firing right away you at least have the slimmest of chances to survive. Second, at least they’ll be forced to gun you down right there which is a far less painful death than the alternative. Third, you get to die with some dignity. Trying to run away in a swamp when you’re outnumbered like that won’t work. Even if it was just one guy he could shoot you once your back was turned. These hostage situations always drive me batty.

This film is a little on the violent side with people getting snapped and crunched. The main villain’s transformation scene was also shown to be as grotesque and violent as possible which is a little on the rare side for transformations. Usually you expect those to at least be a little pleasant right? The violence isn’t extremely over the top but certainly is high enough that it’s noticeable. There isn’t really animal violence if you look at the film casually, but it’s there when you drill into the specifics. The unlikable main characters were running experiments on the animals which is a no go. These animals don’t care about the science so why should they have to be used like this? The animal certainly didn’t look like it was having fun being all wet like that.

Swamp Thing also goes out of its way to make the villains unlikable. A good villain should command respect but also be fun to root for/against. None of that is here with these villains. At the most the main villain isn’t bad. He’s one of those random rich guys who wants to see the world burn. The main villain is really one of his subordinates though who chases Alice around quite a lot. Naturally he is shown to be rather depraved and of course he couldn’t just be a professional trying to earn a paycheck. I get that guys like him will typically end up being the villains since it makes sense, but it doesn’t make any of his scenes work any better.

The best character in the film is definitely the kid who owned the gas station. He was on point and could sniff out danger a mile away. It’s a shame that his gun was defective but there’s no way he could have known that. Even though he was just a kid he did a lot of work and helped get Alice to a safe place. He brought the film a level of charm and wonder that it didn’t have previously. Not enough to save the film or anything like that, but it was still neat.

Overall, Swamp Thing is definitely not a film that I would recommend. The characters aren’t all that smart and Swamp Thing himself looks quite weak. I’m glad he kept in his healing powers, but being able to fight a little more would have been great too. The film drags on a bit and the only good character got a really small amount of screen time. This is definitely one of those movies that you should skip and I’d advise you to check out some of the classic Godzilla films instead if you want to see how a creature should be portrayed. I can guarantee you that at the very least he wouldn’t go down easy like the Swamp Thing.

Overall 3/10

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Review

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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

Yugioh VRAINS

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The latest Yugioh series is finally here! I’ve only seen the first episode of this show so far, but it’s already setting up a lot of hype plot points for the future. Make no mistake, this is a show that is certainly going places. It’s already got all the makings of a great show, the only question is how it will fare against the other Yugioh titles. I shall have a review with all of those answers once the show is over.

Overall 8/10

Transformers: Power of the Primes Review

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It’s time to look at the final installment in the online Transformers trilogy! The trilogy has definitely showed a lot of promise at times but has been limited by how short each episode was. It’s a shame because a full length season of Transformers hype with this backdrop could have been really cool. No sense in thinking about the what ifs though. While this season was not quite as good as the last one, it’s still a pretty fun adventure.

Last time Megatronus arrived and showed Megatron’s crew a glimpse of his power. He’s on a level that none of the other bots could really comprehend. Megatron decides that the team needs to grab the legendary blaster along with whatever other ancient weapons can be found. Optimus Primal agrees to help them but makes it clear that if the situation gets dangerous he will ditch them. The heroes accept these terms and prepare for their final battle. Meanwhile Overlord and Rodimus Prime continue to destroy all robots in their path as they look for Megatron. Eventually all of the fighters find themselves in the big climax.

The show dug itself into a big hole with the final episode of the 2nd series. The issue is that they made Megatronus too powerful. Not only does he have greater physical power than the combiners, but he has the greatest speed stat out of all the robots as well. This makes it so that no fighter can reasonably hope to challenge him and win. What the show does is quickly get rid of his speed in this season and on the whole that works as a big nerf. Suddenly everyone can fight him and the heroes even pin the guy down for quite a while. It’s a bit of a shame, but completely expected since he was simply too powerful. Megatronus is still a great villain though and I like the design.

Overlord also finally gets to have his closure with his subplot about taking down Megatron. Naturally the Decepticon is a little preoccupied at the moment, but Overlord certainly doesn’t care about what is convenient for his arch nemesis. He’s definitely a strong fighter and the show does a good job of depicting that he is a heavy weight. I do think Megatron would defeat him in a fair fight, but it would be a close battle. Overlord certainly does tend to win any fight that he is involved in.

Then we’ve got Rodimus Prime who ends up being controlled by Unicron. It’s certainly a bit of a change in dynamic there as initially you just think of him as an evil version of himself. I wonder if the show always meant for him to be Unicron or if that was changed for some reason. Either way he does make for a good villain although I didn’t care much for his redesign at the end. I thought his normal design looked good as it was. I dare say that he could might have even been stronger than Overlord and Megatron by the end although it’s hard to say since he fought a souped up Primal and that guy didn’t fight anyone else so it’s hard to compare them all. It’s unfortunate for Rodimus though as his ending definitely isn’t very happy.

Meanwhile Megatron makes for a good leader. It was definitely fun seeing him take over for Prime for once. Of course it wouldn’t be so out of place in the comics, but as far as the shows go this was definitely a very new take. Considering who he was teaming with Megatron is definitely the perfect pick for the leader. He gets the job done and has the power needed to back up his command decisions. The rest of the team would have been completely lost without him.

The most annoying character in the series is definitely still Perceptor. He seems to only be around to get in the way. Even while the characters are fighting to the death he is worried about his tech and yells things like “Be careful guys!” This guy is completely unrealistic and doesn’t seem to care about the lives of his friends. That makes it impossible to root for him and at the end of the day you want him off the team. To date he has not had any moment that has made him even close to being a likable character.

Windblade is still solid although her role here is certainly smaller than in the last 2 seasons. While she initially seemed to be more of a leader figure or at least one of the most important characters, that role was given to Megatron so she isn’t left with a whole lot to do. She is still around for the whole season of course, but at this point none of her weapons can even singe the armor of the villains so she isn’t all that helpful.

One of the big guest stars here was Optimus Primal of course and he definitely comes out of nowhere. I’d say that he was a fun character, but he does come across as rather annoying the whole time. He is very quick to try and ditch everyone, but surely he must realize how futile that would be. The villains would inevitably go after him next and he isn’t strong enough to stop them. Helping the heroes is his best chance at ultimately keeping the blaster safe which is his purpose. Also, he definitely should have taken the shot against Megatronus considering that targets don’t get much easier than that. He ends up being really strong, but as a character it is hard to root for him.

We certainly do get a lot of action here which is nice. The climax has a lot of fun moments and the energy blasts always stand out. It is impressive to see Megatronus just rip his opponents apart. I do think the Autobots should look into making their heads a little more secure though given how easy they seem to be to pry apart. In particular this doesn’t end up boding very well for Victorion but I’m confident that the writers just don’t like her at this point. She looks so terrible across all of the seasons of the show that it can’t be accidental. They certainly succeeded since I’m not a fan of her either. The whining can be a little endearing in a comical sense at times, but that’s about it.

Ultimately you may wonder why the Dinobots were added. They were fun to have around of course, but aside from Grimlock the others were just around to get wrecked. Even Grimlock didn’t look all that good for the most part. I do appreciate the fact that the series brought so many people in but it did seem to be more out of obligation than anything else. Even Predaking showed up very briefly for some quick destruction scenes and a fight.

The writing is pretty solid throughout. The script takes itself seriously and works well in constantly showing that the heroes don’t really have a chance without overdoing it. The show isn’t very heavy handed in that respect. Even the characters I don’t like aren’t super annoying or anything aside from Perceptor who is fairly unbearable the whole time. I would be interested in this creative team tackling another show someday but with an actual budget and full length episodes. I think at the end of the day an important thing to note is that the episodes didn’t drag on. It would be hard for them to do so, but nonetheless it was a fun ride.

While the animation still looks like really old PS1 graphics, I still do like it. It’s pretty nostalgic and works well for the mecha. It would never beat any really solid traditional animation style, but it’s still not something that I’d consider as a weakness for the show. It’s clunky and it does make it difficult on the show with the fight scenes since nobody can be too agile but it’s still vibrant for the blasters. It also does get the dark color scheme across pretty well like in the image below.
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Overall, The trilogy is now over. It’ll certainly be forgotten rather quickly and didn’t end up making much of a name for itself but it was a fun ride. At the very least it doesn’t take a whole lot of time since the episodes are so short and there are only 10 episodes. Even watching all 3 seasons back to back wouldn’t take very long either. It does end on a cliffhanger but it’s barely even worth noting since it won’t amount to very much. The odds of this getting a sequel are slim to none. I think the best way to look at this show is as if it’s just a promo trying to get you interested in the franchise. It’s a movie that was split into many different parts to pad it out a bit but if you merge it all then it makes for a fun film that will admittedly feel a little rushed since the plot will change many times during the adventure. If you’re a big Transformers fan then you should certainly check it out. Otherwise it’s probably best to start with a different one like Transformers Prime.

Overall 7/10

The Mole People Review

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It’s time to look at a really old film featuring everyone’s least favorite retro monster…The Mole People. I’ve never really found these guys to be all that interesting to be honest. Their designs aren’t much better than the average human’s and they don’t seem to pose much of a threat. Still, a film around them could prove promising I suppose but they better be cleaning shop and wrecking the humans.

The film starts off with a 9 minute intro of an old man trying to lay down the hard facts about how the Earth is layered. He explains about the heat and volcanoes but does so in an incredibly bored voice. This whole segment is definitely not necessary in the film and only serves to curb your enthusiasm going into it. This preview just had no sense of direction or energy at all and I can imagine people slowly connecting the dots in the theatre at this point that they had just wasted their money.

We then get the actual start to the movie as the three diggers find some ancient ruins thanks to a local kid. There was a 4th digger but he wasn’t watching where he was going as ends up falling to his death. The others hurry after him but then realize that they are stuck as well. The caves seem man made though which makes the main characters a little suspicious. It turns out that an ancient civilization of humans live down here where they have enslaved the Mole Men. They are quickly convinced that the main characters are agents of their god but know this myth cracks the main characters will be in grave danger. They’ve got to get out of here!

As these humans have never seen light before, the flashlight is incredibly useful against them. Just a quick flash will blind them and cause their whole army to retreat. The tough part is that the flashlight will run out of battery soon and the heroes like keeping it on to comfort themselves. It’s a dangerous move but if they are confident about it then so I will be as well.

One thing that definitely doesn’t help the movie’s case from the start is the fact that the Mole Men have actually been enslaved and must do the bidding of the humans. That takes away from them being the main villains completely. Thanks to the climax we also learn that they have super strength and can easily destroy the humans with a single blow. We also see them easily drag some humans into the ground throughout the film. It’s just hard to believe that they would be turned into slaves like this and it’s a poor direction for the film to go into.

This is where the film is just mean spirited as we see them beaten repeatedly. The main characters show up to help them once in a while but naturally when they are not there you can imagine that the beatings continue. Even the ending is rather mean spirited as one of the main characters gets crushed by a rock. Keep in mind that this is at the very end of the film once they were past the danger. What’s the point of letting this character die and effectively giving the villains a win? I certainly don’t think that was a good idea and just makes the ending a downer.

From the 3 main characters at the beginning, the old man was definitely very annoying. He was constantly panicking and running around. The guy was a liability the whole time and how did he not realize that one of the Mole Men has scratched 3 large gashes through his chest? It was hard to feel bad for him when the villains inevitably found him because he nearly destroyed the whole party. While the other 2 characters were better, they weren’t all that smarter. They were quick to eat the mushrooms which they should have suspected were probably drugged since the villagers really didn’t like them. They didn’t have a whole lot of eating options of course, but another such moment is when they put down the flashlight all by itself instead of holding on to it. Rookie move. At least they could fight though.

Naturally the cave also makes for a very boring backdrop. There’s just not much to actually look at since the film is so dark and it’s just an excuse for the film to get away with a minimal amount of sets. Well, there are definitely worse backdrops than a cave so this isn’t a serious complaint or anything. As far as negatives go it is certainly all the way at the bottom of the list.

Overall, This is definitely a very weak movie and not one that you are very likely going to remember. The Mole Men are incredibly weak and the human villains are not particularly distinct in any way. The human characters are generic but not in a good way and the really boring intro doesn’t do the film any favors. I don’t think anyone is watching this film for a chance to see the humans enslaving more populations so this movie just doesn’t give us the story that we want. It is also worth mentioning that the romance is very tacked on for this film. I would advise skipping this movie and checking out one of the many better monster films out there like Gamera.

Overall 3/10

Star Wars Omnibus Volume 2: A Long Time Ago Review

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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

The Mysterians Review

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It’s time to look at a really old school Sci-Fi film. This one came out back in the Godzilla days during the late 50s. It’s even made by some of the same people from that title so you could be sure to expect quality confirmed. It plays out just like you would expect it to and is certainly an entertaining movie. You’re sure to enjoy it as the film is quite fast paced with a lot of fun dialogue.

The plot of the movie starts off by showing us some people not getting along too well at a parade/event of sorts. We don’t have time for this drama though as a large alien kaiju (Moguera) shows up to decimate the planet. The government manages to destroy this Kaiju as expected, but then aliens show up and say that this is the first of many. Unless we surrender land and people to them they will destroy us all. Naturally Earth won’t go down without a fight so we gather our tanks and planes as we prep a counter attack. It’s hype time!

I fortunately saw the dub version. The film is definitely played off as a comedy here as the actors have a lot of fun voicing the characters. You can tell that these guys had a lot of passion in the project as they would say things very directly. It was like a google translate version of the script. Everyone sounds a little off and naturally none of the voices seem to match, but that’s part of the film’s charm. It should have you cackling and chuckling throughout the entire movie. Even aside from the dub the movie plays out like a comedy at times with the monster getting destroyed simply by falling while on a bridge and then by trying to rise from the ground only for the rocket to squash him. It’s easy to poke fun at the robot’s design as well, but he tries very hard. I did like the robot and actually felt bad for him since the humans were simply too persistent. Moguera didn’t ask for this!

One issue with the film though is that they made the aliens a little too strong. As a result, it’s hard to believe it when thy actually lose to the humans at the end. They were shown to be able to spy on the humans and listen in to their conversations at will. How did they not notice when the humans built two death ray weapons (In the span of a day) and when they were transporting it over. Even once it arrived it should have been easy to shoot it down but they didn’t until it was too late. Apparently they can create flash floods at the push of a button so why didn’t they do so right away? At times you will just be wondering what they were thinking. I guess we have to assume that the aliens weren’t very smart and honestly that is probably a good bet, but even so they should have won this round.

The humans aren’t very interesting in comparison. The two heroines definitely look really bad here as they allow the villains to kidnap them without even yelling in protest. They don’t struggle and simply faint at the sight of the villains. It’s not as if the bad guys were grotesque aliens either. They looked like normal aliens in Power Ranger esque costumes. Nothing scary about that and the heroines could have easily escaped. Allowing themselves to be held hostage like that wasn’t very smart and it also made them a liability to the army. Well….lets be honest, the army barely cared and didn’t stop their assault, but that’s not the point. The heroines couldn’t really redeem themselves from that.

The main guy wasn’t bad though. At least he was smart enough to rush into the enemy base to blast them. The base shouldn’t have been so easy to breech but maybe the bad guys were so intent on building high tech weapons that they skipped on the basics like installing cameras and the like. If so that was a big mistake. I definitely didn’t like the traitor though. He acts as if he was tricked by the end, but I definitely don’t buy that. He simply wanted to make sure that he was on the winning side in the end and that’s not a great reason to switch sides. You can’t just betray the Human race and then decide to come back. It’s simply way too late by that point and there wasn’t much that the character could do to come back from that. It was simply all over for him by then.

I certainly enjoyed the government here though. Sure, they may not have had much of a plan at first as they just kept grabbing more tanks to fire at the enemy, but at least they didn’t even entertain the thought of co-operating with the aliens. The Aliens shot first so of course we have to respond in kind. America also looked really good here as they showed up and started taking names. We even came up with the plans for the death ray or at the very least the guy who brought the plans in certainly sounded American. Again, I have to give the dub credit for the voices here. They were hilarious throughout and show what a difference a good dub can do. It just makes the film flow that much better.

Overall, There really aren’t any weaknesses to point out in the film. The Mysterians manages to be solid all the way through. It’s a fun film with good pacing that really flies by. Moguera looks good while he is around. The design may not be scary or anything like that, but I’m always up for a giant robot to appear as it just makes the film more exciting. The ending leaves a little room for a sequel, but at this point we know that the aliens are doomed and they likely wouldn’t be able to even put up as good of a fight in a 2nd bout. They showed us their limits while we can reverse engineer their tech and get even better. Humanity wins once again. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I highly recommend doing so. You don’t want to miss out on the hype.

Overall 7/10