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

When Worlds Collide Review


It’s time to look at a sci-fi film from the 1950s. This one’s definitely pretty old but holds up quite well to this day. There are some fun characters here although one definitely goes off the deep end to me by the end. The romance is rather weak but everything pertaining to the actual world about to blow up plot is quite interesting. I’d definitely recommend a look at it if you ever happen to see it airing on TV. It’s a fun adventure.

The movie starts with Randall being given a top secret mission. He is to deliver some secret photographs to a Mr. Hendron and shouldn’t ask any questions. Randall finds this a bit odd but they are paying well for this mission to he heads over. Hendron’s daughter spills the beans by mistake though and admits that the world is going to be destroyed. Once at base Randall finds out the full story. The Earth is going to be hit by a new star/planet and they will all be dead in a year. To that end Hendron is going to build a rocket to get 40 people off the Earth safely. It’s a good plan but Randall feels as though he is not qualified to be a part of the crew and is only being included because Joyce likes him. What is he to do?

The plot of the Earth being doomed is nothing new, but it’s such a great premise that you can make a lot of very good films about it. I’m sure there weren’t quite as many in 1951 either so this may very well have been the template for a lot of them. It’s handled really well with a lot of the film being about the build up to the big day. In general the best disaster films are ones that take place during the end of the world or right before with characters panicking a lot. The ones that have a good chunk of action after the event would typically be weaker. I like to see the build up myself and the film does a good job with it.

From the summit meeting to casual conversations it’s nice to see everyone’s takes. One of the men who ends up funding Hendron’s rocket is a guy named Stanton. He’s definitely the main antagonist in the film but easily the most enjoyable character. He has more of a cynical view on society and believes everyone will ultimately break down and attack once the day approaches. He really isn’t wrong either. It’s one of those times where you may not wish he was right, but it’s definitely the most likely solution. When the chips are down people tend to go into survival mode. Fortunately Stanton was right and even had his gun at the ready. The scene where he turns the tables on someone was very good.

It actually makes the ending pretty emotional. Stanton planned out everything really well except the betrayal at the end. It’s why it is very tragic when you have to rely on someone else for help and can no longer just save yourself. There was no way Stanton could possibly escape once Hendron decided to sabotage him and it’s the most emotional scene in the film. You can feel Stanton’s frustration there especially since he no longer had his gun. Hendron’s a pretty rational guy, but I thought he definitely crossed the line there. Deciding to stay is one thing, but forcing someone else as well is definitely another. That makes him a total murderer there. At least it’ll be a quick death on Earth. Personally I would rather stay there and die than travel in space for who knows how long and most likely die a much slower death. At least on Earth it’ll be quick.

The only weak part of the film is the romance triangle between Joyce, Tony, and Randall. Joyce and Tony were about to be married before Randall broke into the scene. Joyce then moved on from Tony and decided that she liked Randall instead. Look, it’s totally valid to move on from someone if you aren’t wed yet. I would argue it meant that she never liked Tony all that much though. I don’t see how you could be ready to marry someone and then fall for someone else. It seems very shallow to me as in you are just judging by appearances at that point. Tony does his best but it’s obvious from the minute Randall appears that it’s over for him. Ultimately Tony is a good sport about it and handles the situation quite well.

Randall is more obnoxious though. He openly flirts with Joyce even while she is literally dancing with Tony and is always staring at her. They make Tony feel terrible throughout the movie and the guy can just never catch a break. Randall even bursts in to where Joyce is while she’s serving food to mess around a bit while poor Tony is watching on the security cams. Despite all of this, Randall was also planning not to go into space for quite a while. That would have left Tony and Joyce together again but with both of them knowing that this is the backup choice which isn’t ideal. Yeah, I just didn’t like Randall.

The same is true for Joyce. She was just moving around way too much. It’s good that she realized Tony wasn’t the right guy for her but she should have told that to him directly instead of brushing him off to be with Randall the whole time. She led him on until the literal last second and even then she didn’t tell him, Randall had to be the one to basically break things off. Joyce needed to make a decision as not making a decision is the worst thing you can do to the guy. I think the film would have been just fine without having any kind of romance plot. The actual story and writing were strong enough to make do without it.

Overall, When Worlds Collide is a very solid film. It’s nice to see all of the characters rationally discussing their options and trying to save at least some people. The World Summit meeting was also cool and it was nice to see the old school translators. I wonder if they still do that, I imagine they would since having a machine translate wouldn’t be nearly as accurate even with today’s technology. Some things are just better in person and I expect it’ll be many years before a machine can quite keep up. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should change that.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Starlink: Battle For Atlas Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 5h
Pilot Level 15
Frost Barrage Level Max
Laser Cannon Level n/a
Flamethrower Level 0/3
Arwing Level 3/5
Equinox upgrades 15/36
Vylus 90% Controlled
Haven 0% Controlled
Kirite 79% Controlled
Sonatus 17% Controlled
Ashar 58% Controlled
Unknown 0% Controlled
Unknown 0% Controlled

Collection

Hangar 9/56
Tactical Data 35/43
Enemy Codex 24/27
Alien Factions 23/36
Atlas Discoveries 32/114
Database 17/32
Activities 0/31

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Short Circuit 2 Review


It’s time to take a look at the sequel to the original Short Circuit. This time we get more of a focus on the sidekick Ben as the leads from the last film do not return. I actually thought this film was an improvement over the first one. I still wouldn’t call it great or anything, but it was pretty entertaining and I did like the climax. We get a fairly iconic song and a lot of tension.

So the film starts off by showing us that Ben is now selling tiny Johnnys down at the street. I don’t know how they let him sell government technology like this or even how nobody is buying them when they are clearly super sophisticated. There’s a lot of plot details that you just have to roll with right off the bat. Anyway, that aside he ends up meeting a girl named Sandy who is interested in the product. She wants 1000 of them within the month so she can finally have a good deal to show her boss. Her job is on the line because she has been unable to develop any good toys for the company. Ben is convinced he can’t do this, but he is stiff armed by Fred into doing so. Once Sandy leaves the two of them realize that they are in big trouble. Especially since some thugs keep showing up to their factory and beating everyone up. Luckily Johnny 5 shows up and decides that he is going to help these two.

Johnny 5 is incredibly advanced so making the 1000 is a piece of cake at this point. As a result the film needs to add some drama to make the film longer. We get that in a few different ways. First we have Fred who is trying to sell Johnny for big bucks which causes a trust issue between them. Then you have Ben who has fallen for Sandy immediately and keeps trying to ask her out but failing. Finally you have 3 comic relief villains who are trying to steal from the nearby bank. When intimidation doesn’t work it appears that they will have to use Johnny’s naivety against him. It’s an underhanded technique…which means it is perfect for these villains! Johnny also isn’t the smartest tool in the shed so it’s not like it’s a very difficult plan.

The main thing that holds this film back is the romance plot. It’s one of the worst ones that I’ve seen in a while. The point of the plot is to be rather cringey as Ben isn’t exactly used to dealing with girls, but that doesn’t make the plot any more tolerable. It’s all rather cheesy and forced the whole time. Even Ben should know better than to just read off the screen when it’s saying absurd things. The whole plot goes a bit too far. Ben is a lot better than he was in the first film, but he’s not yet a great character. He still gets in over his head and makes too many mistakes.

Fred is the far more entertaining character. He’s got a lot of street smarts so he isn’t about to get tricked or swindled by corporate. He does let greed go to his head though and it’s hard to simply wave off his betrayal of Johnny 5 in the climax. He really was going to sell the guy which is crazy since by then he knew that Johnny was alive. When it came time to fight off the thugs Fred also looked absolutely terrible. He is definitely the definition of a character who is all talk and no action. Still a fun character who elevates the movie though.

Then we have Sandy who is a big step up from the first heroine. Her journey to try and impress her boss is a lot more sympathetic than what they were going for with Stephanie. She is really desperate to do well this time and puts in the effort. The romance is pretty cheesy as I mentioned but at least Sandy was just ignoring that bit for as long as she could. The cast of the film isn’t all that big so the only other major character would be Oscar. Compared to most of these characters he is a genius so it’s pretty easy for him to get his plan across. The heroes just didn’t really know how to deal with a character like this. Johnny looked terrible in letting the comic relief villains sneak up on him in the end though.

That does take us to Johnny. He is much better than in the first film because he is no longer quite as new to the game. He still does act like a rookie at times like when people trick him into breaking into cars though. Johnny also tends to lose most of his battles by underestimating his opponents which isn’t a great trick either. I know this all sounds negative, but what helps is how he handles himself in the climax. Right when the “I Need a Hero” song starts to play you know that things are going to get good. Yes it’s a little over dramatic but this is a moment where a little cheese is fine. You’re not really meant to take this seriously but it’s still a powerful moment since Johnny is close to death at this point. It was a solid way to redeem his character right at the end and it also bumped up the movie’s soundtrack at the same time.

Overall, Short Circuit 2 was more fun than the first one. The writing was a little better with some more enjoyable jokes. Perhaps it is just that the New York style or humor works better for these guys. Fred was just a really good character to have some banter with Ben. Johnny also looked better and the climax was actually fun. It’s too bad we never got a third film since they were having this upward trend. Perhaps it will still come out at some point although it sounds like that isn’t very likely at this point. If you want to see a fun little film then this is a solid one to check out. It really doesn’t connect to the first almost at all so you can easily just jump into this one.

Overall 6/10

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

Short Circuit Review


It’s time to look at a film from a while back that I only began hearing about recently. Apparently it was a pretty big film back in the day. It’s a nice enough story and was more enjoyable than E.T. although I wouldn’t call it the most exciting flick out there. You should be reasonably entertained throughout the adventure although you’ll be shaking your head at how the characters keep making the worst decisions they can think of.

The film starts by showing off the robots through an exhibition to the army. These guys can take down opposing armies and seem to have quite a lot of potential. Unfortunately one of them becomes sentient and decides to live his own life. In the next film he’ll be known as Johnny so I may as well call him that here. Johnny meets up with a girl named Stephanie who believes he is an alien. Eventually she learns the truth and must now decide if she will help keep him safe or if she will deliver him to the feds. Can she trust them not to murder the poor guy?

Naturally in a film like this it will likely depend at least on part whether or not you think he is truly sentient. Would turning Johnny off really be the equivalent of murder? It gets pretty philosophical. Right now I don’t believe we are at the point where a robot could get sentient, but hypothetically if it was possible then naturally destroying a robot would still be the wrong thing to do. Here we have Johnny literally begging for his life so Stephanie is right in trying to keep him safe. That being said, she really doesn’t do a good job of it and gets them into a lot of sticky situations.

Johnny isn’t really my kind of character because he just doesn’t know enough about human culture. A good chunk of the film is him making a mess of Stephanie’s life and constantly missing the point. He ends up helping out more towards the end of the film as he kidnaps one of the villains and saves Stephanie’s life, but it takes him a long while to get to that point. He’s better than E.T. because that isn’t all that hard to be honest but I can’t really give him a lot more credit than that. In the end he can barely hold his own in a fight and usually has to rely on gimmicks despite having some pretty good armaments. That tells me that he still needs to work on his battle strategies.

As for Stephanie, she was trying a little too hard to be quirky. She wasn’t one of the more engaging main characters out there. She means well of course, but that’s not enough on its own. She does beat some of the other characters though. Ben is one of the scientists trying to locate Johnny and he’s easily the worst character in the film. The film takes the trope of the scientists not knowing much about human culture way too far. Almost all of his lines are pretty terrible and he’s really just good at ruining genuinely wholesome moments. He is a little better in the sequel but was written really terribly here.

Newton is the character who should be more reasonable. He’s a scientist who built his robot a little too well and Stephanie has to convince him that Johnny’s change is real. This is all well and good except that Newton is way too stubborn about the whole thing. It takes him an eternity to get with the program and his romance subplot with Stephanie is about as rushed as you could possibly imagine. Newton had potential to be a good character and has some decent scenes, but they weren’t nearly good enough.

The standout character here was actually Howard. He easily has the best scene in the film as he surprises everyone by whipping out a gun when the heroes were heading for the getaway car. It showed that he still had his old agent skills at the ready even though he no longer works in the field. That’s the kind of boss you want to have. He commanded respect and I would have liked to have sen more of him. He was also quick to fire another member for disobeying orders later on which is the right step. You can’t properly lead if you have someone undermining your authority.

The action scenes when they occur are pretty good. It was nice to see Johnny take down the other robots. They may be a bit clunky so the fights aren’t super big or anything, but they’re still solid all the same. While the film’s humor is usually missing the mark, it does have some solid scenes. The writing is pretty bad so the movie couldn’t deliver as well as it might have wanted. Short Circuit is an interesting title in that sense as I wouldn’t call it a bad film but it makes enough mistakes where I can’t call it a very good film either. That’s why it is square in the middle. It does enough right to hang in there.

Overall, Short Circuit is not the best film I’ve seen, but it will keep you entertained from start to finish. Think of it as a good film to watch once, but you won’t need to check it out again. If you like a wholesome story about a robot learning how to make friends then this is the one for you. It can get a little cheesy and the characters are pretty weak, but the core concept isn’t all that bad. It’s almost like Terminator except the robots simply aren’t a true threat at the moment. They hype up Johnny’s laser at the beginning but it never truly becomes all that powerful if you ask me. He still takes a lot of losses as the film goes on.

Overall 5/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Starlink: Battle For Atlas Review


Now it’s time to look at a game that I technically got a long time ago but didn’t get to play until recently. Part of the reason for the delay is because my Switch didn’t have enough space so I had to buy an SD card in order to correct that. I got the SD card for my Birthday so now it was time to check it out. I still can’t believe Best Buy was selling this game for only 5 bucks. Considering that it brings a whole figure as well that’s pretty crazy. I didn’t get to use the Arwing controller since the Joy Cons are busted but it was still cool to look at.

Star Links starts you off with a mission as the team is fighting off some aliens. The commander gets captured by the mighty Grax and so now the team must try to rescue him and save the universe in the process. Are they really up to the task without their leader? The crew isn’t exactly the well oiled machine you’d expect from most other sci-fi teams but if they can put their differences behind them then they will be unstoppable. Also they’ve got the legendary Star Fox team behind them. I can’t imagine playing this game without Fox to be honest, he’s just too awesome of a lead and talks tough the whole game. When someone asks him the whole “are you sure Fox?” He responds “I’m always sure” which is a really excellent response to that question.

The gameplay is that of a 3D shooter where you take to the sky in some levels and stay on the ground in others. I haven’t seen many games utilize both features like this since Star Fox Assault. This is also a good place to note that Star Links is the Star Fox game I’ve been wanting. It’s much better than Star Fox Zero and the controls/gameplay are better. Aside from Assault it blows the other Star Fox games out of the water. Back to the gameplay. You can equip two weapons at a time. The Arwing normal lasers are very good so I highly recommend keeping one of them active at all times and using the ice cannon on the other side of the ship. The ice blast locks in on an opponent which is handy and t seems like almost every enemy has fire type opponents so the ice blast is super effective. The fire blast is a straight shot and rarely ends up doing much. Definitely use it if you’re on an ice planet but otherwise the ice gun is the way to go.

Those are the only 4 guns you get in the game since the rest you have to unlock via the Eshop. I’ve never seen paid dlc in a space shooter game like this before although I’ve seen it done with characters like in Star Wars Battlefront II. The same goes for any extra ships beyond the main two and fighters. I wonder if all of these dlc items ever even came out. I imagine this would certainly make the game a lot easier since you get to respawn every time you have another ship available. More guns would have been cool for variety though. I did like the initial ones but having more options is never a bad thing especially as the game encourages you to use a stasis weapon for many levels even when they don’t give you one.

I think what really makes the gameplay work so well is how in control you feel the whole time. You can move very quickly throughout the land and in the air. You can use evasive maneuvers with the boosting option and you’ve even got a cool shovel to block attacks with although it runs out of energy really quickly. The game uses a proper open world system so you always have the option to quickly beat a hasty retreat away from the fight to recover your energy. Your energy recovers pretty quick so if you stay out of the action for a few seconds you will be okay.

There are also a lot of upgrades to be found here. You can upgrade your pilot to learn some skills or you can upgrade your ship and weapons. As you progress through the game you will notice yourself getting stronger so the game’s progression is pretty good. As a result the game should be pretty challenging for most of the campaign. The final planet in particular was very challenging and even more so than the climax of bosses. (Since when respawning during the final boss he wouldn’t regain health from previous phases) Defeating the tower took a whole even with my ally boost skill. You really have to mix in some good tactics and evasive maneuvers. The game always felt fair though, this is a title that I didn’t mind having to restart some fights.

One mild complaint I would have with the game is the planet ally gimmick. As you land on planets you have to try and defeat the various villain bases so you can 100% control the planet with your allies. Building bases and defense areas will help you keep control. What I don’t like is if you leave a planet for a whole you lose control so it can be a bit endless. I’d say that once you beat a planet you shouldn’t have to keep going back to save it. Fortunately the game doesn’t make this mandatory in the slightest so it’s not something that will really hurt the experience. This is how such gimmicks should always be. If they’re not mandatory then I really don’t have a problem with them.

The main campaign should take you around 10-15 hours. After that you have a lot of options on what to do next. You can go around liberating planets, filling up your database, or completing the side quest missions. Either way completing everything will probably take you closer to 20-25 hours by the time all is said and done. Replay value is not a problem for this game. The graphics are pretty top notch and hold their own with any game at least where gameplay is concerned. I have to admit that the cutscenes do see a noticeable drop in quality compared to the gameplay which is a little odd since it’s usually reversed. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty small but the tunes are good. There are a lot of high energy themes to be found here which work well with the gameplay.

Overall, Starlink is a very good game and also a challenging one. You won’t be running through these levels unless you have some kind of a plan. It’s one of the best sci-fi shooters that I’ve played. There’s just so much to do in this game and the graphics hold up. The story isn’t the most original out there so it probably won’t leave much of an impact on you, but I wouldn’t call it bad either. It goes through the motions and at the very least you have team Star Fox here to carry things. Without them it would probably be a bit of a tougher road for sure. If you’re going to get Starlink then I highly advise getting it for the Switch. You may not be able to find it for 5 bucks anymore, but I’m sure the price will still be quite reasonable.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Megaman Zero Review


It’s time to look at the original Megaman Zero game. I’ve always thought that the Zero games had some of the most dynamic covers in the series. The overall art style helps you feel like the games do take place a lot farther in the future than the X titles. The plots were awesome and in many ways the games were ahead of their time. That being said, what holds this one back are some mechanics that fortunately didn’t make their way into the sequels. As a result while this game is good, it could have been way better.

The game starts with Zero being revived into a new body. It has been many years since he was active to the point where he is known as a relic of the past. Ciel is the lady who has revived him and she explains that X has gone on a rampage trying to murder all reploids. Zero doesn’t think this sounds right, but is quick to agree that X has to be destroyed. He’ll do what he can, but the resistance is fairly small and X has legions of powerful mavericks on his side. If Zero can’t defeat them all in time then there won’t be much of a planet left to save.

The idea of X turning rogue is definitely an interesting one. The guy was always so heroic that it’s hard to picture him turning evil, but being resurrected does tend to have a pretty big effect on a person’s psyche. X would hardly be the first person to turn evil from the experience. A game actually adapting the Elf Wars would be awesome, but Megaman Zero gets to start you off with a lot of suspense which is always a good thing if you ask me. The stakes are also high as you see guys in the background getting destroyed quite a bit as the game goes on. While the ESRB doesn’t list any blood in the game you may think otherwise as you look in the various level backgrounds. It’s clear that the mavericks aren’t pulling any punches in this game. The Zero saga is easily the darkest one in the Mega Man franchise.

The gameplay is pretty easy to get used to, but difficult to master. You have two main weapons, a buster and a Z saber. You can use these weapons to slay your enemies. You can also dash and jump so be careful to get out of enemy range. Of course, that will cause minions to re-spawn if you go too far back so always charge forward. The bosses are very difficult so the best thing to do is dodge their attacks entirely. Play it safe until you master their attack strategies and you’ll be fine. They all move very quickly so you’ve really got to get it all down to muscle memory. If you do that then you’ll be in good shape.

You can level up your weapons by using them a lot on minions. One easy way to max them out is to go back to one of the first levels and attack the tower that never moves. Just keep attacking it for about 40-50 minutes and you’ll have the weapons maxed out. They don’t learn a whole lot of new skills, but the Z Saber has a charge attack that’s neat and the buster gets to charge faster which is handy. You can also farm Elves this way which you can then use in the levels. An Elf aids you either in a direct way or through a supportive role. These can mean the difference between life or death in a fight. Just remember to activate them manually or they won’t take effect. You also lose the Elf whether you win or lose in the level.

This brings us to the mechanic that slows the game down though. You have 3 lives in the game and you don’t get any more. The only way is to beat a lot of enemies and hope they drop a life. I beat many enemies and I never saw a single extra life but apparently it is possible for them to drop one. It’s just really rare. This is a very difficult game so you’re going to really need those lives. The final level is one of those classics where you have to fight all of the bosses again. I was able to beat 2 bosses, but then I lost to the 3rd. Doing all of this with a single life is pretty crazy hard. Additionally you have to click through the cutscenes each time you re-start since the file loads you to before the conversations.

The game also made it so if you lose a level then it vanishes completely. You only get 1 chance for all of the levels except the big ones like the intro, finale, and a level near the middle. Otherwise the bosses just get away and Ciel thanks you for trying to stop them. It’s an interesting mechanic to have the game continue, but I don’t personally like it. I can’t think of a game where I was glad such a system was implemented. It didn’t work in Armored Core or Pikmin and it didn’t work for this one. It’s the main reason why this is the weakest Zero game for me. Between that and not getting any more lives it feels like the game is being way too harsh.

As for the graphics, Megaman Zero is definitely top tier there. The colors are very nice and the effects are ahead of their time. This could easily pass for a DS game. It’s sprites at their finest and so it can challenge the earlier shaded style of the DS and 3DS. It all looks perfectly dark and dreary to match the tone while still using a lot of colors. Zero is more of a dark purple than a light red like in the old games for example. Then the soundtrack is top tier as well. A lot of the tunes here would go on to be fan favorites and I often enjoy listening to them online.

Overall, Megaman Zero is a fun game, but one that does have its share of issues. The game is very short and you would be done with it in about an hour if you actually manage to win the levels. I got to the final level in about an hour after all and it would have been sooner if I didn’t stop to grind out the weapon levels. The difficulty should make this longer than an hour of course, but it feels artificial to an extent. The lives should not be limited and should replenish when you get a game over like in other titles. The soundtrack and smooth gameplay ensure that you’ll still have a lot of fun. You’ll probably end up watching the cutscenes online so you actually see how it ends. It’s all very engaging. If you don’t mind only experiencing some of the game then I definitely recommend buying it. Otherwise you should start with Zero 2.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

A Certain Magical Index: The Movie – The Miracle of Endymion Review


It’s time to look at the Index film that came out a while ago. The series has definitely expanded quite a lot with three different shows coming out. Two of them already have 3 seasons which is quite impressive. While the series is mainly an Index film it does bring together the leads of all 3 titles. Unfortunately the film doesn’t really plan out many things for them to do and falters with some fanservice issues which limits how solid the title could ultimately be. It’s an interesting premise with a solid opening act, but it just couldn’t stick the landing.

The film starts off with Touma and Index meeting up with a singer named Arisa. She’s quickly become mega popular over her songs lately and even someone like Touma who doesn’t really listen to music much is a big fan of hers. The three of them get along well enough, but then Arisa is attacked by 3 mages working for Stiyl. Touma tries to figure out what is going on, but Stiyl gives no answers and the heroes are saved by the arrival of a mysterious group of robot riders led by Shoutaura. After everyone leaves with no explanation Touma invites Arisa to stay with him and Index for a while until they sort things out. Everyone is after Arisa and Touma aims to protect her for as long as he can.

Everyone going after the new film character isn’t really a new concept. It’s a convenient way to get everyone in on the action from the jump and works well enough. Arisa is also a likable character who just wants to spread the joy of music to everyone so I have no complaints with her. She also stays strong and sings her song for as long as possible even when the circumstances are getting quite dodgy for her. She never gives up and that’s good since not all of the characters here can say that. There are 2 other important new characters.

The first is Shoutaura who has a personal stake in this. She does not like miracles at all and brings this up quite a lot. Shou is a solid fighter and her group comes in handy on more than one occasion. For a while she was my favorite character but she cracks quite a bit by the end and makes more mistakes than I could allow. I understand her being generally upset and not liking the main characters but by the end she becomes totally crazy. She should have just stopped at trying to murder Ladylee for a while. At least that made sense. Her final target made 0 sense and destroyed her character.

Meanwhile Ladylee is the main villain. She is cursed with immortality and isn’t having any fun so she is trying to get Arisa to fulfill her plans. I don’t think her plan is all that good because there’s no reason why it should erase her immortality. I suppose she needs to try something but ultimately this is a long shot. At least in the meantime she built up a pretty solid reputation and succeeded in life. Even if things don’t pan out nobody should be any the wiser so in theory she can continue her existence.

So, why did the film’s plot not work out so well? Well, as I mentioned the beginning is pretty interesting. You have the magicians and science users all going after Arisa. There’s gotta be a good reason for this right? Well, it’s a bit underwhelming. Basically Arisa has the potential to become a very powerful Angel who could throw the world into chaos. That doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to be hunting her. If anything all this does is make it a whole lot easier for the villains to try to get a hold of her. It also makes Stiyl’s group impossible to root for because they are hunting an innocent girl with no proof that she is bad. If anything they know that she is a nice person in the present and don’t care.

I’ve never been a big fan of Stiyl so it’s not super surprising so much as it’s just disappointing on his part. Meanwhile Kaori also appears briefly and while she is more sympathetic to Arisa’s plot, she isn’t exactly trying to stop her group either. She gets a decent scene trying to stop some rockets but there is no reason why she couldn’t stay to help in the climax except that the film didn’t want her there. I’m also dubious that her slashes could not cut through the random mechs that the villain group was using.

Another problem here is that the film sets up a lot of big fights and character moments only for them not to happen. One case is Accelerator as we see him fairly early on in the film with Last Order, but then he does nothing until the very end. He at least gets a fight right? No, he just gets to slam a tower, but that’s it. There was no real point to his inclusion then but he deserved to do something since he’s such a big character. You can’t throw someone like that into the mix and then not use him. Last Order was fun as always though and did have a good line about why Accelerator should care.

Then you have Misaka who falls into the same boat. She appears early on with her friends and even escorts Arisa through the villain base. (Although they didn’t know it at the time.) After that she doesn’t do anything until the end of the film where she zaps some robots and breaks a tower. This is another case where the whole thing is a missed opportunity. Misaka has broken the law before and has experience being a vigilante. The film should have gone into that as it would have been a pretty interesting plot line. Have her finally get to work with Touma and pals. That would have been really cool instead of doing nothing.

The weirdest part is that Ladylee has two main henchmen who work for her. You’d think that each character would get one right? Well, one of them dies at the very end without being able to fight while the other one is busy dealing with Shou. Both of these characters got some nice build up so it was an odd way to end. At least the main robot got a few fight scenes before he got blown up so it felt like he had an important role. The others…not so much. It just made so much sense to have all of these characters get some action. This is probably the single biggest way in which the film limited its potential. The setup was perfect for a big 3 on 3 fight and it just didn’t happen.

Now, the film wasn’t devoid of fight scenes or anything like that. We got quite a few good ones with solid animation. Stiyl and friends vs Shou was solid as well as Shou’s fights against the robot. The movie’s animation was consistently very solid with the character designs looking good and the energy effects being on point. The soundtrack is also good with a lot of the classic tunes thrown in. Unfortunately my favorite theme from the show didn’t show up but you can’t win em all. That would have helped enhance any scene you throw it into though. We do get a few insert songs from Arisa though which are a lot of fun. Her songs were actually translated in the English version which is cool. Those scenes are definitely a lot of fun.

One area the film struggled with was the fanservice as mentioned earlier. Characters just randomly walk around with nothing on for no reason. Mainly Shou was guilty of this and after it happened multiple times you can tell the film was just being cheeky. It had to throw in random bath scenes and Touma walking in on people too so in general the film was squeezing in as much of this as possible. It’s not as if any of the scenes themselves are all that terrible, but they’re consistent which is still a big problem.

Accidents aside, Touma looked good here. The accidents here weren’t actually his fault. Sometimes they are, but in this film they weren’t so I don’t hold it against his character. He’s quite patient despite being put in a few tough situations like having to pay for large meals that Index likes to eat. You’d think Index would contribute once in a while, but she never seems to help out financially. Touma also does his best to help out during the fights and is in general a good lead. Index isn’t nearly as solid as she just tends to get in the way all of the time. She is certainly not quite as helpful or charismatic as someone like Misaka generally and Arisa looked better in this film.

Overall, A Certain Magical Index: The Movie is decent at best. You’ll get a fun enough story that feels like it could be a two part episode of the show. All of the characters show up and since the music is the same as well it easily fits in with the series. Unfortunately it would be adapting some of the weaker stories with a plot that isn’t particularly strong and more fanservice scenes than some of the episodes tend to have. If you’re a big fan of the series then I imagine you’ll want to check this film out. It still is pretty fun and you’ll be engaged while watching. The weaknesses of the film don’t become as glaringly apparent until you’re done with it. While watching you just keep seeing scenes where you’ll shake your head and think it should have gone another way but there’s always a chance it could change by the ending. Otherwise you really aren’t missing much and you can definitely just go ahead and watch Railgun S instead. That’s still the single best part of the Index series with Misaka showing why she is a one woman army.

Overall 5/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Gravity Rush 2: Juuryoku-teki Memai Tsuisoutan Review


It’s time to look at a really quick manga that adapts part of the Gravity Rush 2 manga. It seems to be about 2 volumes long based on the chapter count. I remember playing Gravity Rush a long time ago so it’s pretty nostalgic to see the characters back in action. Interestingly the series doesn’t cover all of game 2 when I thought it would have. Usually you don’t do that if you’re a one shot or one volume, but 2? I suppose either this series was cancelled or the author just wanted to go in depth on what could be adapted. Either way it’s a fun series although you won’t remember it much after a little while.

Sometime after the events of the first film Kat and Raven get attacked by some monsters. While the monsters don’t prove to be much of a problem they fall into a black hole along with Syd and the three of them get transported to a new world. Kat loses her gravity abilities and Raven goes missing. Kat must now find her friends and prove that her powers aren’t imaginary. In the meanwhile she will have to get along with the civilians of this world and the harsh working conditions that they all have to endure. It certainly won’t be easy but it’s something that she is ready and willing to do. Meanwhile we have some mysterious new villains on the rise who are aiming to sabotage Kat and possibly take over the world.

We don’t really learn what the villains’ plans are in this series. They don’t get time to have any concrete goals and just show up for a quick fight or two. I like their designs though as the main ones seem to be robotic in nature. It’s also good to have some actual enemies for Kat and Raven to fight beyond the little monsters that they always beat up anyway. I’m guessing most of the confrontations with them are probably in the second half of the game which is why we didn’t see them. The bulk of the villain group don’t even appear until the final chapter which is only around 10 pages or so. The cliffhanger ending does help build up a lot of hype for the sequel game though. You really think about checking it out someday.

When Raven shows up again in the series she quickly goes back to being the best character. She’s a fun rival to have around and is the Shadow to Kat’s Sonic. Her abilities may not seem to be quite on par with Kat’s but she does her best against the opponents. We get one nice team up fight with the duo. Admittedly they are fighting a robot who can barely fight back, but I’ll take that over nothing. At least it’s still an action scene to have some fun with. Kat is also a pretty solid character. She’s always optimistic and does her best to help out the town. Once she got her powers back I would have liked to see her stand up to the miners a little more. Surprisingly she doesn’t really do much to resist the villains and just uses her powers to mine more efficiently. I get the feeling that by the end of the game she probably does more about it because it would just strike me as a little odd that she is just going to wait around and watch the whole time.

Meanwhile Syd is a little annoying here. He acts really shady during the game but I don’t think he’s evil. He seems to have some kind of plan that he doesn’t want to share just yet and ends up being more of an obstacle than a help. In general I’ve never been the biggest Syd fan but at least in the first game he would actively help out. Perhaps he would end up doing more as the series progressed though. I suppose there is no rule that you have to help out right away.

The artwork is pretty enjoyable. It can get a little chaotic at times with a lot of things happening all at once, but the calmer pages allow the artist to show off a bit more. Kat and Raven’s designs are very intricate so I imagine that they aren’t the easiest to draw. When you take all of that into account then the series really did an admirable job here. The writing is good as well. The series ends up being pretty vague and distant, but that’s probably hard to avoid given that it is adapting part of a story. You aren’t really given time to care about any of the characters Kat meets in town so the title is at its best when we are getting fight scenes. I do think the writing being better could have let it take off anyway, but as it stands this is still a pretty enjoyable experience.

Overall, Gravity Rush 2 seems like it would be a good game and the manga works as a good intro for if you end up playing the game. I suppose you don’t really need it if you are going to play the game right away though because then you would just be doing some of the same events twice in a row which may get old. I’d like to have an ongoing Gravity Rush manga since that would really allow us to explore the universe more. There’s only so much you can do in a mini series like this one. Nothing really gets accomplished so you have to enjoy the ride. I don’t believe this would have a lot of replay value as a result. There’s nothing negative about the series so it keeps a solid score at the ready, but it’s unlikely you would ever need to read this with how many others there are to check out.

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

Kill Switch Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at a fairly recent Sci-Fi thriller. The title’s pretty neat and the poster’s cool so this should be a hit right? I feel like the writers really messed up here. It’s actually got a pretty engaging start and a solid plot. The problem is that the plot doesn’t progress after the first 5 minutes so the rest of the film is the characters being confused the whole time. The characters never seem to act logically and there is a ton of plot hax throughout. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film that wasn’t thought out to this extent. It’s still way better than other films I’ve seen recently, but it’s not good enough to give a positive score.

The movie starts by introducing us to Will. He had a pretty solid job and clearly makes a lot of money. Still, he’s called in by a powerful company called Alterplex and they make him a deal that he can’t refuse. His family will be rich and the only catch is that he will be on call 24/7 for some kind of great experiment. The film cuts us between the past and the present quite a lot, but that’s the general plot of the past. In the present Will finds himself on another world and he must find out why exactly he is here and how to get back to his family.

I don’t really mind the jumping between the past and the present so much. It’s a pretty good way to jump us into the action right away and then find out why he did it. The only problem here is that the film overrates how confusing it is. It’s pretty easy to follow what’s happening, but the film gives us a few too many flashbacks to really try to give us all the details. I think a little less jumping in the second half would have helped because after a point you already get what the film is trying to go for so we don’t have to keep treading down that road.

Ironically the flashbacks were more interesting than the present scenes and I can’t think of another film where that happened. In part it helps that the flashbacks had better camerawork that was more like a traditional film. The graphics were good here and the characters were more interesting. I would have been fine staying in this plot although the drama with his sister and the kid wasn’t as interesting. Will did make the right move in deciding to go back to their old place. The kid was clearly not adjusting well even though he tried to be a good sport and it was clear that his sister wasn’t happy either. So even if it cost them a lot of money, Will was ready to leave. Things just didn’t work out so well for him there.

In the present, the problem is that Will should have died early on. We get a ton of scenes with SkyNet type drones flying around and blasting everyone. They have machine guns at the ready and are built like tanks so you really shouldn’t be knocking those out very easily. Despite this, we see humans blasting away at them and winning most battles. There are points where Will just runs up to them and start blasting. Somehow they miss every shot while Will knocks them down. It’s a common rule of action films that the villains will miss every shot while the heroes land theirs, but this one takes it to the extreme. The odds don’t matter to Will as he just runs through everything. It gets incredibly hard to take seriously.

Additionally there is no variety here. As soon as he exits one gunfight we are thrown into another one. Will doesn’t get any rest much like the viewer. I don’t mind nonstop action scenes for most films like car chases of Transformers throwing punches, but at least those have some kind of power scaling. These fights are just Will somehow being basically bulletproof as he takes down impossible odds. It’s really rare that you see action scenes so unbelievable. Will is a good character though. He makes the right choices here and I’m also glad that he didn’t even have to think about the final choice much. It is a bit of a no brainer on if you’re going to save your planet or a different one. It may sound selfish, but it’s not a decision I would think on much myself.

Abby is one of the main characters although we mostly just know Earth 2 Abby. Earth 1 version was fun enough and was certainly invested in her job. Earth 2 tended to panic a lot and seemed really in over her head the whole time. I really think the villains felt no real loyalty towards her even if she didn’t really seem to realize that. This is why you can’t trust villains, at the end of the day they will always betray you. Her final decisions make sense from her point of view of course, but I wouldn’t say that I was a fan either way. She’s just not my kind of character. Then you have Michael who also panics a lot. He comes in handy near the end, but you can’t help but feel a bit annoyed at him as well. His opening scene with Will is really just a compilation of the two characters yelling a lot.

One of the worst scenes in the film is definitely when Will meets up with the leader of the resistance. The guy asks him to say what is name is to which Will ignores him and starts panicking again. Both of them yell a lot but neither one is listening to what the other is saying. It leads us to another gunfight, but one that was super avoidable if Will had just answered the question. It was a simple question so I couldn’t take the scene seriously. This happens a lot in the film where characters will be talking, but nobody is listening to each other.

The writing is very weak. The characters rarely make decisions that are logical and panic way too much. Why did Will have to conveniently get partial amnesia for part of this? He also heals pretty quickly with a lot of the injuries he gets. He’s lucky that the world has a sci-fi healing equipment on hand for the final injury too since that would not have gone over very well for him. The film also randomly gets a bit violent with some of the medical stuff and you do see a lot of corpses on the ground.

Overall, Kill Switch is probably the biggest bundle of missed opportunity that I’ve seen in a very long time. It has a rock solid start and the atmosphere is pretty interesting all the way through. It’s impossible not to notice that nothing happens for a majority of the film though and eventually it gets to the point where it overwhelms the film. Everything is super convenient for Will. Getting more characters into the mix and perhaps identifying the Kill Switch earlier would have raised the stakes. If Will had gotten to meet his family from this side it would have made his choice a lot harder. As it stood, it really wasn’t a choice. It’s interesting, but I’d recommend watching a different Sci-Fi film over this one.

Overall 4/10

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

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Star Wars film in the main saga. It’s been a long road so we’ve been waiting quite a while for this one. This trilogy has definitely had a checkered history with the first film being pretty much a 1-1 remake of episode IV and V destroyed any semblance of Luke Skywalker’s character, but did give us some of the first fight scenes we had in a very long time. This one is definitely better than the last two films. It may not take the series to the next level, but it certainly has more positives than negatives and I would easily recommend it to anyone who wants a good action film.

The movie starts off by with the group scattered once again. The Empire is on the offensive as always and Kylo Ren is searching for even greater power. He has found a new spark of life for his army and they threaten the very universe. Rey has been training so that she would be ready for the next big battle and is closer to being a Jedi Master. This has caused her to not be as available to the resistance which does bring some apprehensive feelings from the other characters. Finn and Poe have done their best to locate more intel but they are heavily outgunned and need some kind of backup support. Can the resistance rise up to overthrow the empire or have they finally hit their limit?

Right away one positive in the film is that it has a very fast pace. Something is always happening and we get to cover a lot of ground. There aren’t a whole lot of action scenes or at least it feels that way, but the ones we do get are very good. Whenever Rey and Ren face off against each other you are sure to have a good fight. The series still isn’t nearly as good at the battles as in films II and III which is a little odd since those are so old, but the battles still hold up. I always like hearing the lightsaber effects and how they are designed as well. The Force abilities are also pretty versatile and can be used in many ways. The film did a good job of incorporating them into the action scenes.

Luke Skywalker actually didn’t look terrible here which is already a point above the last film. He seemed like his old self and I was glad about that. It’s always fun to have cameos from the older characters through their force ghosts although some of them can be a bit much here. One character in particular was a bit iffy since he really shouldn’t have the ability to become a force ghost compared to the others. We can assume that they let him in and it’s not like the rules are totally set, but it did feel a bit cheesy. It does help make this finale feel a little more special though. We get to see almost every important character and location in the series.

One of the film’s weaknesses is that it’s a long movie that does feel long though. In part this is because the cast can’t hold their own scenes as well as the original characters. Rey does a good job as the lead, but Poe and Finn aren’t quite as exciting in the B plot as Han Solo was back in the day. We get to see a lot of nice backdrops in various scenes, but the scenery does add up which also gets attributed to the feeling that the film’s lasting a while. It’s probably a tradeoff that is unavoidable to feel like a LOTR epic, but I think the film could have shrunk the length down a bit or maybe focused more on Rey and thrown in some more fight scenes.

As always Rey is a great lead. In this film she is really struggling with her past a lot and trying not to go to the dark side. It’s a good internal battle and Rey tends to make the right decisions. I do think her friends had a point that she was taking too long training when they could use her on the front lines, but the training did allow her to stay on par with Kylo Ren so without it I wonder how she would have fared. Rey not come out on top every time, but she always fights hard and it’s nice to have a Jedi who is trained so well for a change. It feels like a long time since we’ve been to this point. The scene of her dragging down a ship was impressive the likes of which we haven’t seen since Starkiller.

This is one of the best parts about the film in general. It’s great to see Rey as a Jedi Master who is pretty confident and knows what she is doing. I’d like to see her go rogue a little more and just wreck the enemy, but she shows us enough so we know what she is capable of. We haven’t seen someone as powerful as her since episode III so it’s been a considerably long time. The fun part is when you think about it she is way stronger than even someone like Darth Vader just going by the films, but his appearances came before the effects got to this point so it’s not totally an equal comparison.

Unfortunately Finn didn’t bring his A game this time. I found him to be pretty annoying in a lot of scenes where he acts like he knows Rey better than Poe. Whether that is true or not he comes across as pretty obnoxious. One scene in particular is when he accuses Poe of not understanding Rey and when Poe asks him to help get this understanding, Finn just doesn’t bother helping out. It’s like telling someone that they don’t know the right answer and you do, but then not giving it to them when asked. In general I thought Finn was giving Poe a hard time throughout the film when it wasn’t really deserved. Poe was actually quite solid here. He got the shaft in the first two films compared to the other two so it was nice to see him take more of an active role here. Poe is probably the closest we would get to Han Solo so it’s nice to have another hot shot pilot like him.

Meanwhile we’ve got Kylo Ren on the villain side. I still can’t take him all that seriously without his helmet because of how beat up he always looks. The guy can still fight though so ideally this should be enough to get you on his side. While I can’t go into detail on his character too much, I thought his portrayal here was pretty good. I consider it to be an improvement over how he looked in the last two films. His first scene in the movie is probably his best one though even if he made the wrong call in the end.

Part of why most of the characters are at their best here is because the writing is pretty solid. We get a good script with some nice humor included. Most of the characters make the rational choices time and time again. The villains are constantly in-fighting while the heroes keep using their bonds to get through tough times. It helps their resistance feel a little more realistic even if they probably should have been completely wiped off the map by now. I already covered the fights, but the effects in general are really great as well.

Princess Leia is one character who I felt had no real purpose in this film. She was one of those characters who was just here for nostalgia along with a bunch of cameos. We got a flashback scene with her and I feel like it should not have been included because it just makes her look terrible. The reason why she gave up something boils down to her being scared of the future and that’s always one of the worst reasons to abandon something. She also made some wrong calls with regard to certain secrets so overall she really didn’t help the troops much at all.

One interesting concept that the film dabbles with is how the force can allow you to be in multiple places at once and transcend space/time. It seems like an interesting take on the astral plane because in a way that’s how the characters are connected. It was cool to see how they would effect different places at the same time. One point where I don’t see how it worked is how both characters got a lightsaber at the end and you’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film. It’s possible one was on the ground, but if the force duplicated it then that might be stretching things a little bit. Otherwise I think this ability still makes sense and is effectively a further demonstration of the usual force ghost abilities.

It does always make you wonder why the heroes don’t use this more often to mess with the villains. It opens up an interesting can of worms since the heroes could have easily ruined the villain’s plans a lot sooner if they would act in the real world more. One of the novels explained why they do not, but most of those are not canon anymore so I’d like the films to address it at some point. The power levels are pretty good for the most part though so I don’t really have any issues there. The soundtrack is good as well even if a whole lot of it is really just re-used from older films. I’d like to start seeing some new music in any future films going forward.

It’s hard to pick what the best scene in the film is, but mine is possibly when two characters are struggling for control over a ship in the distance. It’s a really nice scene showing how persistent both characters are and was one of the best portrayals of their individual strength as well. It was also the right move for the hero to do there instead of retreating or following. Just grabbing the ship made the most sense so long as it was a feasible option and that’s exactly what happened. One scene where a character made the wrong move is when someone rightfully mentions that they should consider a potential counter and as he is going into detail on why they should think about it he gets silenced. I guess some people just don’t want to win….

This film has a little romance although fortunately not much. Unfortunately it wasn’t handled well at all. This doesn’t feel like a natural progression considering how much animosity was between the two characters. It’s great that they could move past this so quickly of course, but jumping to the next step was a bit soon. Time was of the essence I suppose so it might have been more of a gesture of friendship with one person feeling bad for the other, but no matter how you slice it I couldn’t really give this part a thumbs up.

Rise of Skywalker has a pretty satisfying ending that deals with everything more or less. There is one missed opportunity in my opinion though. One character gets one last line to end the film with and if it was one word different it would have been amazing. It would have probably been pretty controversial as well, but sometimes you gotta take some big risks. This isn’t a negative though as it’s a purely subjective change and either way it works well enough.

So, where does Rise of Skywalker rank overall? Well, I’d put it above pretty much all of the films except III which ages better each time and IV. It’s tough with V, Rogue One, and VI, but I may have to actually put this one above those. Here’s the thing, those films had a more interesting setup and better characters, but I would call this the stronger film. I’d sooner rewatch those in part because it’s been a while, but if we’re comparing initial viewings then I would have to pick this one. So initially I thought this was around middle tier, but this would actually put it near the top.

All in all, this third trilogy is the strongest one. It may have had a slight dip with the middle film, but it didn’t have any bad installments either. I still think the worst thing it did was basically make all of the old films pointless with the reveal in VII that the Empire is back, but after that it recovered well. I think it’ll definitely live on as a nice trilogy for new viewers who don’t necessarily want to go back to the older days. I am interested in seeing new films come out with a fresh cast and all though. One thing I still really want is more Jedi and Sith battles. I’d like some high end battles like in Episode III. This one had some good battles, but there was still nothing even close to the level of those.

Overall, Rise of Skywalker is a solid way to wrap up the Star Wars series. I think I covered about as much as I could without heading into spoiler territory. I won’t call it a great movie because despite the fast pacing it wasn’t always super engaging. I think in part this is because the big emotional moments don’t really land. Seeing some guest stars and throwbacks to the past is always fun and all but I wouldn’t call any of these scenes particularly powerful. The action and effects should still keep you busy though and the film is technically sound. The writing is good and at the very least you can see how there was a lot of effort put in here. I’d recommend checking this film out whether you are a Star Wars fan or not. You should be able to jump in and quickly understand what is happening thanks to the helpful opening text and the fact that the basic plot (large scale) is easy enough to understand. It’s a war and the empire is the evil side.

Overall 7/10