Dr. Stone: Terraforming Review

The Dr Stone manga may have ended a little while ago but the franchise lives on with the anime special, future seasons, and now this one shot. There are certainly a lot of other stories to tell here in the verse and I was glad to see that the one shot takes place after the series. It’s sort of like a speed run of readapting the first arcs but with the whole gang already around. It goes by quickly and captures the classic charm of the series.

The story starts with Senku lost at sea and no memory of how he got there. Gradually he remembers and basically the cast was on a plane when lightning struck and knocked them all down. They were able to use the revival formula to turn into stone but Senku fumbled the grab and so he revived himself by mistake. Now he is all alone in the middle of the ocean and has to try and survive now. Can he really pull this off without freezing to death? He may be the mighty Senku, but this is no easy scenario.

The reason why I say it’s sort of like a speed run version of the actual series is because from here Senku works on reviving the rest of the characters one by one and getting to safety. If not for the subplot with Dr. Xeno and the others, you could easily play this as an alternate take on chapter 1. What if Senku warped back but with his current knowledge? In a way it probably wouldn’t change a ton but he would have had an easier time of it. Sure enough, Senku does really well here and gets everyone up to speed.

I wouldn’t say any important developments happen here and that’s the norm for special chapters. This is really just a chance to get to see your favorite characters one last time. After all, there probably won’t be any other Dr. Stone manga chapters for a long while so you have to savor them as they come. It’s a fun adventure that definitely ends quickly but makes for a good all around story. We get some more inventions as well as the formulas for how to make them. For example, making sails out of fish skin definitely seems like a very obscure tactic that you probably wouldn’t think of right off the bat.

The characters are all around to help but for the most part Senku is really the one pulling the strings. Suika and Chrome get to help out with one idea though and as always Kohaku is good as actually doing the manual work. She may not succeed in getting Senku flustered but completes all of her other missions. I’d say the chapter is the author trying to really re-confirm to everyone that Senku is still a man of science who doesn’t have time for the more emotional moments. So anyone hoping that would change here probably will be in for a bit of disappointment but the series had been setting this up for a very long time at this point.

The artwork is as good as always. The series has a lot of detail and there’s just a whole lot of ways that it enhances a story like this. The oceans look good and all of the background details as well. It’s definitely the way to go. This artist certainly has a lot of skills so I look forward to him doing more stories whether it be Dr. Stone adventures or some more One Piece stories. Either way works.

In a way the story also sets up for a bunch of other sequels as well. There’s a lot of materials that the heroes need to get after all on their way to building the time machine. What I’m most interested in is how this will play out. What are the time travel rules that this series will use? Additionally, it may be easier said than done to actually prevent the whole stone event from happening. Senku has enough clout where maybe he could convince someone like Xeno to help him in the past but he would have to handle it very interesting. That could easily be enough for a full oneshot volume or something like that. I think it’s the next logical step in the Dr. Stone mythos.

Overall, This was a fun story. It just goes to show that no matter what kind of situation you put him in, Senku will be just fine. It helps that the revival fluid can help you cheat death at any time. A series about how this affects society would also be interesting. The fact that there’s a substance which can heal you indefinitely has to have had a major effect on the world right? It changes the way everyday life would be played out, particularly for risky kinds of situations that would be more standard now. If you enjoyed the main manga then you should certainly read this oneshot. It’s a very solid self contained adventure.

Overall 7/10

Dredd 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

Judge Dredd has returned for another film outing. The first film was rather solid and had a good blend of action and excitement. This one doubles down on how corrupt the city is which makes sense on why the Dredds are around. It unfortunately focuses a little too much on the tragedies as opposed to Dredd making the world a better place and ultimately falters due to its own violence but at least you do get a hype soundtrack here and some memorable action scenes.

The film starts off with Dredd taking out some more delinquents and then his boss says that he will have to evaluate a new cadet. Dredd isn’t thrilled about that because historically he’s been a solo act but this is how it has to be this time. The new recruit is Cassandra and she is a telepath which is definitely handy to have in the field but Dredd still feels like she might not be ready for the level of danger in this job. He intends to be a harsh but fair mentor but what should have been a routine bust ends up being a whole situation as Ma-Ma takes over the building and locks it down. She is the head of the ultimate gang that runs this show and says that Dredd must die. He and Cassandra must try to stay alive while also keeping their prisoner Kay alive so he can be tried and brought to justice.

With the heroes locked in that does make for a rather tense setting in the building. I also thought there was a good amount of variety as the heroes go through the floors so it never felt confined. This is a really big building after all so that never became an issue. The visuals are solid here with a lot to look at and Dredd’s uniform definitely appears to be very faithful to the comic. I wouldn’t have any complaints there. It also ties in well with the really good rock music that plays throughout the film. It helps to get you in the zone and it makes the film as a whole a lot more exciting too. A good soundtrack goes a long way.

Dredd also makes for a very solid main character. He doesn’t let his emotions get in the way and tends to be a very pragmatic character who wants to take in his opponents alive but if they shoot first then he has to respond. Often times they are dealing with hardened murderers here so Dredd and Cassandra just have to open fire when they’re being attacked. Given the context of the world at large and the situation they’re in, it makes sense why they can’t all be jailed. In this world attacking a Judge is also a really serious offense.

The criminal system here is definitely interesting and I’d like to see that go into more depth someday. Regardless, Dredd lives up to his hype of being the most dangerous Dredd around. He overcomes a significant disadvantage in numbers and makes it all look easy. Not to say that he’s unbeatable though and he has to deal with real issues like running out of ammo but he always chooses the optimal path in tough situations.

Then we have Cassandra who does really well too. Her mind reading ability comes in handy several times. I was glad it helped her dodge a pretty big trick by the villains in pretending to be an ally at one point and it also gave her the edge over Kay. When you’re a telepath you should absolutely be able to crush anyone trying to beat you in the mind space and that’s exactly what happened here. If it had been close at all then that would have been disappointing. An expert just shouldn’t lose to a novice.

Cassandra’s abilities also put her in a unique position to really know who is a victim and who is an attacker. She’s more emotional and lenient than Dredd as well which can be an asset or a liability depending on the circumstance. Either way she would definitely make for a very good judge and they would be lucky to have her on the team. There aren’t any other heroes in the film with a notable role so Dredd and Cassandra have to be able to rely on each other when the going gets tough. If either one of them was not prepared for this then it would not have gone over well.

The main villain Ma-Ma was not all that good though. I appreciate that she had a plan for everything at least. No matter what the heroes did she would reveal another tactic or technique to even the field. Right up to the end it felt like she had everything under control and it took a really crafty idea to take her down. I can appreciate the grit it took to rise to the top and all but ultimately she’s quite psychotic and her grand goals don’t amount to much more than wanting to be at the top. If she could fight more personally that would have helped her.

She’s considerably better than Kay though. They’re both rather demented and I don’t think for a second that she would hesitate to do any of the stuff that Kay did, but he was around more so in a way we got to really see how depraved he was. The guy was annoying throughout the film and in a way he’s lucky that he wasn’t shot dead with a lot of the other villains. If Cassandra could have said she was 100% positive he may have been axed out near the very beginning.

So the Dredd movie has a lot of nonstop action and I love the premise of being stuck in a building filled with enemies and no way out. That part’s good but the film just ends up suffering due to how over the top violent it is. In a lot of ways I think the movie was trying to really show that it was different than the original. The original was more comedic and had a lot of light hearted moments so this one probably wanted to show how dark the city of Dredd’s is. It does make sense that it would be bad out there since the point is that the world’s really gotten as bad as possible but even then you can do that without all of the details.

The people who die are basically cut up and die in really vicious ways. You have the whole mental battle with Kay and Cassandra which immediately goes for the gritty/nasty kind of visions for them. They both play dirty in order to get the win at the audience’s expense. Then even the gun fights could be handled in more of a stylized way. You definitely don’t need the full explosion for every shot. There are plenty of action films with gun fights where you know the hit connected and the guy goes down but it’s not a huge splatter. It’s not as big a deal as the other elements since they are at least combatants but you could tell it’s the film trying hard.

I also thought the slow-mo was way overdone here. I went in a full circle with that because at first I was rolling my eyes at this, then they showed that it was a part of the plot. So I thought, all right…they showed this so we could understand the drug. But then it kept on happening over and over again so it went all the way around the world back into being excessive again. At that point it just became a negative. Slow motion shots can be cool, a lot of action films use this to great effect but there needs to be a purpose. A cool background effect, a nice scene, a great pose, etc. Not just someone smoking their drugs as we see it in slow-mo. It was just annoying more than anything. At least it did nullify one scene that I thought was going to be a fanservice moment but it turned out that this was not the case. Slow-mo has its use there at least although you could just say that the scene was filmed well because slow-mo could also backfire in that kind of way.

Overall, Dredd is a very intense action film. I can see the appeal as it’s basically the Punisher in a really rough environment who doesn’t need to take any prisoners. In this case he’s even government sanctioned so it’s not like he is defying the law to do it. I’d say you can do this without making the film be so over the top though. It takes away from the scenes that are pretty cool like when the other Judges showed up. That was really interesting. This film in a lot of ways is like Resident Evil. It’s a very interesting film but also tragic in the sense that you can see how this could have been great if it could have just held back a lot.

Overall 2/10

Yugioh Vrains Review

It’s time to link into the Vrains! Yugioh was always known as the big trading card franchise for a long while as even Duel Masters could not keep up but as the years went by it started to lose its ground at the top. Nowadays you could make a fair case for Cardfight Vanguard surpassing it in discussion at least for the shows. That said, Vrains is the end of the old guard in a sense since Sevens is really the start of a whole new direction. Vrains is another great show so Yugioh continues to go strong there. While I do think it ended up being the weakest of the classic Yugioh shows (Aside from Capsule Monsters and the original show) that’s more due to the high bar set by the franchise as opposed to this one lacking in anything. GX, 5Ds, and Arc V still remain at the top by a longshot, then you have classic and then Zexal, then Vrains comes riding through. We’ll see if Sevens can break into this very exclusive group of shows or if it’ll lag behind.

The show here follows Yusaku, whose alter ego is Playmaker. He was involved in an experiment as a kid that traumatized him as well as a lot of other kids and then the incident was buried. Yusaku has some issues with his memory, why he was there in the first place, and also has trust issues now. So he really stays by himself and the only person he truly trusts is Kolter. Yusaku now works as a hacker so he can find out the truth in the world and he’s also an expert duelist on the side. The only leads he has is the group known as the Knights of Hanoi and SOL Technlogies, and an advanced A.I. program (Ignis) named Ai. Will Yusaku be able to put this puzzle back into focus?

So lets talk a bit about the show as a whole first before getting into the arcs and characters. I do like the idea of dueling while on airboards now. It’s a natural piece of progression after being on motorcycles before. Arc V had rollerblades and flying through the arena so it’s only natural that fighting while in the air would be next right? The characters have to watch out for the constant tornadoes but it’s pretty intense. I would say motorcycles is still the best aside from normal dueling but this one is still cool.

The gimmick for Vrains is also considerably better than the one in Arc V where you could just randomly grab cards. Here you get to use a unique skill once per turn and every player has a different unique skill. It’s an interesting mechanic that doesn’t completely take over every duel so it actually feels rather balanced. At the very least I thought it was handled pretty well personally. It’s a visually interesting ability and with the characters already in the air, the whole thing helps to augment the duel without distracting from it.

I also enjoyed the mystery angle in the show with Yusaku trying to find out about his past. If he had full amnesia or something then that would have been annoying but instead it’s about that one specific event which always raises a lot of questions for Yusaku. Why wouldn’t it right? The whole thing seems incredibly suspect so it’s no wonder that he wants to find out exactly what was going on there. It’s a slow boil as you gradually find out the details of the mystery and that’s handled well.

Yusaku also makes for a very fun protagonist with how rude he can be the whole time. Yusaku is very much not a people person and he reminds the case of this a lot with his subtle burns. He’s never sarcastic but he will put a character in their place with a sharp remark at the drop of a hat. Yusaku is a master duelist so he can also quiet other characters down that way. As the series goes on he gets to be a nicer guy and someone who even believes in the power of friendship but he never completely loses his edge. He’s a solid character through and through as well as someone that all of the villains have to respect as a solid threat.

It was also nice to have various factions running around here. You had SOL Technologies and their various duelists and fighters running around. They even hire a bounty hunter at one point. You’ve got Yusaku and his friends on the heroes side and then you have the Knights of Hanoi with their own schemes to hack the world. So at all points in the series there are at least 3 factions running around and I think that’s a good thing because it always means there could be a wild card running around. It helps to keep things from being too static or straight forward.

Naturally the animation is very solid here. Yugioh never goes for looks that are too fancy or anything but it’s all well detailed and I had no issues with how anything looked. The designs and backdrops are always solid as well as the dueling effects. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable than some of the previous Yugioh titles though. I can’t really recall too many of the individual dueling themes and the English version of the theme song at least was rather underwhelming. So on the music side this one doesn’t quite hold up.

Now I suppose the question is what keeps Vrains from beating the other Yugioh shows. Well, I do think the soundtrack and animation play a part as it doesn’t look or sound as good as any of the others. While it’s not a major deal in the grand scheme of things, it’s still an important factor when you’re going up against elite titles. Faster music would have been good and the animation just didn’t get as out there as you would expect. GX and 5Ds for example came out ages ago but the animation still holds up even better I would say, especially in some of the biggest duels. I don’t even have to go into the soundtrack since those were amazing.

The cast is also a bit weaker overall. There aren’t a whole lot of Vrain characters that I would say are really high tier. One character who eventually got high tier didn’t reach that point in the final season. This was Ai as he was annoying for around the first 100 episodes before finally getting good. For the most part the characters just didn’t reach the next level though and as a result you had less heart pumping duels. The climax of each arc would get fairly intense but I would say that it could take a little while to get to that point.

Now all of these points are speaking relative to the other titles. This is still an 8 star title so you can tell that it is great all around. When you look at the show by itself, I wouldn’t consider these to be true weak points as the show still handles them well. It’s just the little things that can keep you from reaching the top and shattering all of the limits. It’s also difficult following a title like Arc V which was the big crossover saga for all of the series. That may be why this one intentionally tried to be a little more low key and about the mystery/world instead of always being about the duels. At least early on it’s going more in that direction which isn’t even a bad idea. It’s pretty enjoyable to see Yusaku playing detective and to see where that goes.

Now I’d say that’s a pretty good time to start jumping into the story arcs and talking about the characters a bit. The show had 120 episodes so as you can probably imagine, there was a whole lot going on here at all times. It makes for a great adventure and the longer you go the better. So if you’re 100+ episodes and an 8? Well that means you’re in for a treat because that’s a lot of content for greatness. If you’re 100+ but a 7 or lower then that’s still pretty good but it isn’t nearly as mind-blowing or anything like that.

The first part of the season’s more about the introductions. So while Yusaku is on his quest to find the answers, he gets to meet up with a lot of characters both friend or foe. Those who enjoy Link Vrains and those who want to see it go down. The Knights of Hanoi have taken a very drastic approach in this endeavor as they seek to completely delete it which will keep A.I. from taking over the planet. See, part of their concern is that humanity relies on the A.I. too much and so if they ever revolt, the world could be in trouble. While this may seem a little drastic, the show does give them some ammo here.

See, everything in this world relies on A.I. From entertainment to schoolwork, to hobbies, and normal work. Everything is connected with the sci-fi elements at this point. The Knights of Hanoi have seen firsthand how dangerous this can be and so they aim to nip this in the bud. It will of course be a huge inconvenience to everyone who uses Link Vrains but at least it’s not like they’re trying to blow up the planet or anything. It makes for a very interesting goal on the villains part. Then in a way SOL Technologies would be the good guys since they control Link Vrains but they have so many secrets and shadowy figures that it’s not like you can trust them either. At the end of the day Yusaku can only really rely on himself.

That said, I do think SOL Technologies could have done a little better with their council of elders. Those guys talk a really tough game but at the end of the day they can barely fight. You never see them actually running to the frontlines or anything like that. SOL has the money to buy a bunch of bounty hunters and such but I would have liked to have seen these guys getting in some action too. Now that would have been a lot of fun.

As mentioned earlier, Kolter is Yusaku’s main friend and he’s not bad. Hostage situations do force him into some tricky calls later on in the series but for the most part he’s dependable. I just wish he could duel a little better so that he could actively help Yusaku instead of always being on the sidelines. He helps out with the coding and all but dueling is the best way because you can just get right in there without any delay. He and Yusaku also have some good conversations on hot dogs and whether they’re a sandwich or not. I always thought those conversations were pretty cool.

Then there’s Ai. Well, I’ll talk about him a bit more again for the final arc but for the majority of the series I didn’t really care for him. Each Yugioh series always needs a mascot/advisor to the main character. The one in the classic Yugioh is Yami Yugi of course and he’s really serious but then sometimes you may have someone like Astral where you can’t trust him all that much and he’s not a great character. Ai is more on that level as he talks tough but is proven to be wrong every time. His confidence is never warranted and he just holds Yusaku back so there’s no way for me to like him much. It’s not until the final saga that he suddenly becomes a pretty good character.

Now Zaizen is a high quality character. At first he may seem like your classic government worker type villain who can’t fight and just sends goons after Yusaku but there’s a lot more to him than that. One of his motivations for getting to the top is so that he can protect his sister Skye and he even tries to prevent her from dueling for that reason since it can get rather dangerous. He does take it too far but you can get at least why he has that general view. Then when it’s crunch time he actually is able to duel. Sometimes Zaizen does take the easy way out and just follows the company line, but otherwise he will stand up for himself which is always what you want to see.

He looks into SOL Technologies on his own as well and gets a lot of character development. Ultimately I wouldn’t call him a hero but he was one of the most interesting characters in the whole show. Then you have Emma aka Ghost Gal who he would hire to get info sometimes. She’s sort of like a bounty hunter who will do missions for the right price. Typically she leans more on the side of being a hero and doing the right kind of tasks but I wouldn’t say exclusively. Ultimately if you’re willing to pay then she is willing to help out. She can duel very well too so she can take care of herself when a mission goes sideways. She brings a nice dynamic to the series.

Next up is The Gore but I never ended up liking this guy. He’s your classic strong but not very smart guy. There’s a nice touch to his character with how he fights so that the orphans can have someone to look up to. I think if that was played up then he could have been really good but he gets entranced by the darkness several times. It feels like he was always being a traitor and it’s not like he’s an expert duelist either. If his character had gone in a different direction then it could have worked but not like this.

As for the villains, lets start off with the leader Varis. He has a personal vendetta against all Ignis because he believes that they go too far. He doesn’t necessarily have a problem with A.I. and technology itself but since the Ignis have a will of their own they become too dangerous. He really thinks that this level of technology should not be around and so he tries to eliminate them and make a mess of Link Vrains. He has a very solid backstory here to set up this goal and his confidence is always high.

In a lot of ways he will definitely remind you of Kaiba. The two of them have a lot of similarities as characters and are both top of their field. Even by the end of the series Varis still has some edge to him. There’s one fight that he ends up throwing near the end of the series that I found to be a little cheesy though. I get that he wanted to end the cycle of violence but I would have liked him to have stayed the course and gone off to destroy the Ignis anyway. That would have been the ideal scenario for me.

Then you have Specter who I like to think of as the right hand man. The Varis group doesn’t necessarily have full rankings like that but this guy always proved himself to be the most capable fighter. His fight with Skye was really a highlight in the series as it was one of those battles that subverted your expectations several times. His backstory was surprisingly emotional and he just made for an excellent all around fighter. The guy is one of those villains who loves taunting his opponents and he puts this to great effect. The characters just have no idea how to deal with him since he throws them so far off their game.

Then you have Dr. Kogami who is a mysterious scientist who ends up having a big role later on. He’s overshadowed by the other two villains for me but this guy wasn’t bad. He has grand ambitions and has quite a few “All according to plan” moments so I’ll give him that. Maybe if his deck had more of a shiny gimmick to it that would have helped him be even more memorable.

I mentioned her before, but of course we can’t go on without talking about Skye. She plays a big role here as the main heroine and has to balance being a celebrity in Vrains while not letting her brother realize that she even uses the system. That makes for a difficult balance of course but she pulls it off. I liked Skye well enough even if she probably could have used a few more wins in the dueling world. After a while you realize that none of Yusaku’s friends can hold their own (Until Soul Burner arrives) so he really has to pick up the slack for everyone. Ultimately you can always count on Skye to do her best in helping out though.

Now we enter the meat of the first arc which is that Varis and the Knights of Hanoi have constructed a tower. Each duelist they defeat is destroyed and put into the tower. If it isn’t stopped quickly then all of Link Vrains will be taken down for good. Yusaku will have to rely on his friends to help him here but when they are soundly defeated then it’s up to him as expected. Seriously the friends do their best to help but often times they don’t really help much in the grand scheme of things. Yusaku has to do the heavy lifting at all times.

There are a lot of hype duels throughout the tower experience as you’d expect. The three highlights are Yusaku vs Varis, Skye vs Specter, and then Specter vs Yusaku. As I mentioned earlier, Specter is just a master of mental manipulation and I was really impressed with him the whole time. Initially I figured he was going to be more of a throwaway villain who was not going to be ready to fight in the big leagues like this but he proved me wrong. This guy was absolutely ready to swing for the fences.

As for Varis, well the series was hyping up his duel with Yusaku for a very long time and it lived up to it. Technically they had several duels but this was the big one to end the arc so it was extra special. A few other villains also appeared here who were reasonably solid even if they couldn’t top the big two. One was Faust and he’s a bit of a genius although all of the villains are to an extent. He has a solid duel and makes his presence known. After this season he would continue to appear but he doesn’t get to duel nearly as much. He’s more of a supporting character.

Finally there is Baira and she came up with a solid computer glitch that can damage you even in the real world when you duel in Link Vrains. That was no small feat and she made for another solid villain to go up against. Then you’ve got one hero I hadn’t talked about yet in Shima. This is the comic relief character of the series and so I don’t have many positive things to say about him. Comic relief characters can be cool of course but the first step is that they need to be funny and Shima never was. He just tries too hard in his scenes and he’s not even a good duelist. That’s a bad sign in a show about dueling.

Now with season 2 we enter the main arcs of the series. The planet that the Ignis lived on has been destroyed and so now they are appearing on Earth. Some of the Ignis wish to conquer it while others want to take a peaceful approach. Lightning ends up being the ring leader here and he quickly gets Windy on board. Then he uses the cyborg Bohman and his brother Harlin to back him up. Even the Ignis who were on the fence like Earth have to take a stand and the Knights of Hanoi aren’t making it easy to convince them of a peaceful solution since they vow to destroy all the Ignis either way. Yusaku will have to try for peace but is that even possible?

Lightning even ran simulations which showed that eventually war would break out between the Ignis and humans which would cause everyone to die. He ran this simulation numerous times and it always ended up the same way which is why he decided to make the first move. I do like that this does at least give a good reason for why he turned evil like this. If you see that in the future everyone ends up dying every time, then you would probably feel really tempted to attack.

Lightning also just made for a really solid villain. He’s easily the most memorable of the Ignis for that reason and is an exceptional duelist all the way through. Then you have Windy who is also a solid villain. I would say that he doesn’t quite keep up with Lightning in part because he had to be convinced and isn’t a true leader in that sense. Still, Windy does his share of damage and doesn’t crack when he is nearly destroyed by the humans. This was definitely another villain that the heroes had to watch out for.

Earth was my least favorite member of the Ignis. He decided to stay on the fence and also didn’t confess to Aqua quickly enough. He tends to take forever to make a point and ultimately gets captured. His fate is the darkest by far among the Ignis and it’s probably the darkest scene in the series to be honest. You definitely feel bad for him and at the same time it really makes Lightning’s point on why the humans can’t be trusted. There will always be some of them around who will show up to try and destroy the Ignis. This was just the latest example of that.

Then there is Aqua and she’s nice enough but unfortunately her dueling skills aren’t quite on the same level s the others. She’s more of a pacifist but at least is more determined than Earth was. Aqua ends up having a good bond with Skye and does her best to help out. At least she did choose a side instead of staying in the middle so I give her props for that.

Finally we have Flame and I liked him well enough although I expected better out of both him and Soulburner. On their initial appearance it felt like they were going to be the cool rival character to give Yusaku a run for his money and then it never happened. It helps that Soulburner’s human alter ego just isn’t as cool as you would expect. Part of the point is that he’s actually not a super cool dude in the real world but I would have switched that so he was cool in both realms. Would have just worked better right? As for Flame, he does a good job of backing Soulburner up but it felt like he didn’t have a ton of personality most of the time.

He’s a good guy and he can hurl some insults but that’s about it. At least Soulburner has some good rage moments when it comes time to deal with his backstory or fighting against Varis. So there would be full episodes where Soulburner actually was really cool. It doesn’t happen all of the time but when it happens that’s definitely cool at least. Now it’s time for the 4 villains in this arc. First up is Jin and sure he’s being manipulated the whole time but that means he is still showing up as a villain here.

He just didn’t end up being nearly as cool as he could have been as a result. The guy has no willpower and is really just a puppet to be used the whole time. Considering how long it took Kolter to find him, it would have been nice if Jin was more helpful. Maybe give him one big duel before he gets brainwashed. Then you have Bohman who gets brainwashed a lot as well. The guy is given different memories each time just to mess with him. The reason Bohman is cooler though is because at least he can duel really effectively.

He gets stronger in each duel and by the end he even learns how to have goals of his own. He has some really solid duels throughout and you just grew to like the guy. Bohman is a great example of a fun villain. Not saying you’ll be rooting for him or anything like that but like Lightning he at least has a fairly good thought process on what he’s doing.

Then there is his brother Harlin. That guy’s more on the emotional side for the villain as he has a hard time really appreciating Bohman until it starts to be too late. Harlin’s confidence well exceeds his overall dueling ability so he doesn’t stand out quite as much. He’s decent but you just won’t be putting him above any of the other big villains. Finally you’ve got Shepherd who is a bounty hunter and a nice wild card to throw onto the field. You definitely don’t want to underestimate this guy and he even got Yusaku into a sticky situation several times. He also can’t stand A.I. like Varis and that makes him another good character to have around. He’ll attack both heroes and villains depending on the job and I like those kind of characters. Shepherd will do whatever it takes to fulfill his own ambitions.

Finally we’ve reached the final arc which is rather short but very impactful. It raises a lot of good questions and it also what made Ai go to being a fairly high tier character. So the season starts off with Ai making a big choice. He realizes that the Ignis were right and declares war on humanity. He will take them all out and just needs to obtain the two card keys from SOL Technologies. After Ai obtains the first one, the heroes know that he is serious about this. Somehow he has become a world class duelist with exceptional cards though so defeating Ai won’t be easy. Pretty much every available character is rounded up to stop Ai but will they really be enough to defeat him? With Yusaku being shaken up at the revelation, it won’t be easy this time.

The whole A.I. vs humanity angle is something that the show goes into quite a lot as I discussed earlier in the main Ignis arc. It’s really an interesting plot and I like it when the show goes into this. The humans are always attacking them after all but it was still very surprising to see Ai going to the other side. He usually just gets beaten up by everybody but still bounces back with a smile. It turns out that he was looking at things a lot more seriously than he let on. He probably should have talked with Yusaku before going out on his own though. Ai ends up being very impulsive when it matters.

It would normally be hard to take him seriously though which is where the show did an excellent job with his character. He gets a whole new design and actually looks really good. Now he is a fighter that the heroes can’t afford to underestimate at all. Doing so could cost the planet. Naturally there are a lot of twists and turns here as well as infighting with the heroes. After all, the season is still close to 20 episodes so it’s not like the whole thing could just be the Ai duels. Fortunately the other duels are still a blast as well. This was a fitting way to end the series and it was really hype as a climax.

The ending of the series is very final and does feel like a good way to wrap things up. There is one scene in the final episode that definitely helps to give it a good buff. It’s the kind of scene that I enjoy having there as a positive twist at any rate. So that’s the story of Yugioh Vrains and it’s a good one. Of course I didn’t go into details on some of the twists and turns here so you can get into it on your own. That way they’ll really have a lot of bite and substance to them. There’s no way you walk away from the series with any feeling other than just being happy and thrilled.

Overall, Yugioh Vrains is definitely a great series. I would recommend it to any anime fan, whether they’re someone who is already into Yugioh or someone looking for a good show. Either way it’s easy to follow and a good enough starting place for any future Yugioh fan. As I wrote above it’s a great show that’s well balanced in all areas. It’s also emotional that this is effectively the end of the traditional Yugioh shows. We’ll see if Sevens is able to top it as the start of the next gen or not. Either way you won’t be forgetting Vrains anytime soon.

Overall 8/10

Sword Art Online – Re: Aincrad

It’s really nostalgic to be seeing the good ole Aincrad adventures one more time! This was definitely Sword Art Online at its peak and I’ve got really high hopes for this one. We’ll see if it delivers and of course I will have a review up as soon as the series is over. More Kirito action is always good!

Overall /10

Assassin’s Creed: Awakening Review

Assassin’s Creed is a series that I still can’t say I’m super familiar with but now I’ve watched the movie and read two of the manga titles (Haven’t finished the second yet) so slowly I’m becoming a bit of a veteran you could say. Typically manga based on another product don’t tend to have the best art and I’d say that’s true of this one too, but it’s good enough. It’s definitely better than the average adaption title at least and it makes for a fun read.

The story starts with Edward Kenway barely surviving as his pirate ship is downed. It’s a shame for him because he had been gearing up to be a great pirate with lots of influence but that’ll be tough now. He does come across a mysterious guy who is dying though and after evading the man’s last strike, Edward takes his gear. Edward now appears to me a member of the Assassin’s Creed but in doing so he has made enemies out of the rest of their members. Additionally while he sides with the pirates, they are slowly being outnumbered by the government and people who have defected from the pirates. Can he find out a way to thrive in this new non-pirate era?

Then in the present you have Masato who is living out these experiences through a fancy VR machine. The developers say it is a video game that will be released to the general public soon but the whole thing seems rather shady. The only reason Masato even agreed to this is because apparently his mother recommended him as a tester and his parents have been distant at best. Now maybe he can actually connect with her but part of him is still bitter so he’s not even sure what he really wants to do.

Of course it seems like the VR machine is always just a tool for the enemy to find out about the Creed’s secrets in the present. At least from what I’ve experienced so far that always seems to be the case. The two scientists don’t act too shady at least so it’s not super obvious but since Masato is already on edge that at least gives him a fighting chance in not just blindly obeying them. The way the machine works is also clever since Masato thinks he is the one actually in control, not realizing that he is just following a series of predetermined steps. Since in a way he becomes Edward during his play time, he naturally acts in the way that history ordained even if he doesn’t realize it.

I like that he actually did provide some nice criticism of it though. He makes for a solid main character and ultimately does get with the program pretty quickly. Partially because of how he’s always upset, Masato doesn’t trust anyone naturally. The ending of the manga is a bit abrupt in the present timeline as his father shows up but it does make for a pretty hype ending. We see exactly what Masato can do and exactly why the VR is a double edged sword for the villains.

On one hand, through the recordings they get to see exactly what happened through Masato’s eyes but on the other hand he retains the combat experience so eventually he will grow up to be one of the deadliest fighters. In a way it’s a shame that the manga ends so soon though because I think the most interesting aspect of the series would be seeing what is happening in the present. The old era with the pirates is decent and all but the scenes in the present have a lot more gravity to them because you really don’t know what will happen. It’s an open book and I’d like to see how the two factions are operating in the present with current tech. In theory it should be a lot harder for them to run around without causing attention.

Lets talk about the past though since that is still the majority of the series. We follow Edward Kenway and he’s not nearly as likable as Masato but he’s decent. The guy is a bit rough around the edges and certainly no hero but I do like his confidence. The guy is a quick learner and even becomes a true member of the Creed by mastering the fighting styles and trials. He’ll do whatever it takes to win and doesn’t shrink away from fights where he is outnumbered. A lot of the pirates end up taking the easy way out later on but not Edward, he just keeps at it.

Ultimately you feel like he will be captured at some point because the enemies of the pirates are just too vast but at least he’ll go down on his terms. Blackbeard also made for a fun ally who held his own in the fights. Edward doesn’t have too many friends that he can rely on so at least he had one there. While this plot gets more screen time tan the present, you still feel like you’re just at the tip of the iceberg with his adventures. I’m not sure if the manga adapts the whole game or not but I’m assuming that it does end early so this is more of a preview to get you hyped to play the game. I’d be really surprised if it ended on this note at least.

As I mentioned earlier, the art’s not bad. It’s actually a little better than I was expecting. The action scenes work out pretty well and the only times where you can feel the weakness a little tends to be in the character’s facial expression. They can be a bit shaky but the style itself works out well enough. You’ll be breezing through the pages either way so the art won’t be slowing you down there.

There’s not a ton you can do in two volumes but I would say the series did well with what it had. There surprisingly isn’t really any kind of supporting characters beyond the two developers and the father who appears at the end so if this kept on going I assume that a bunch of characters would show up. Then in the past I’d like to see more of the Assassins because I think the group has a lot of potential. There are clearly members whose skills match and even exceed that of Edward’s so they can give him a run for his money. Throw in the fact that the other faction should be just as strong and there’s a lot of lore to enjoy.

They’re both looking for a certain treasure that will apparently grant you a lot of power. I forget if it is knowledge of all things in the form of an apple or I might be mixing that up with a different title. Either way this is something that the Assassins have to protect and the villain group want to find. One group wants to maintain order while the other one wants chaos. Since neither one of the groups appear to be purely good, it would be interesting if the villains try to turn Edward at some point. I’m sure each group has a lot of dirt on the other and Edward’s nearly been murdered by both sides after all.

Ideally Edward needs to build up his own group of strong pirates to stop either side should they try to get in his way. It may be easier said than done though given how skilled they are. Most of the pirates seemed rather weak the whole time which is why they were so quick to side with the government. Speaking of which, the government would be a nice third party but something tells me they’ve been infiltrated by both sides anyway.

Overall, Awakening is a good manga but it’s one that ends as soon as it has begun. It almost feels like a cancelled manga in that sense where the adventure ends but there are so many open plot threads and lore to get into that it could have just kept going. Maybe one day it’ll get a sequel or something because manga onlies should still get a complete experience here. If you’re looking for a solid pirate manga then this is a good one to check out though. The action is almost nonstop as something is always happening and you should find the present plot to be very intriguing. The series knows how to keep the suspense high and right now I would say it’s the best Assassin’s Creed title as it is currently beating the other series I was reading. Of course, that could change depending on the other one’s final volume.

Overall 7/10

Interstellar Review

Interstellar is a movie that feels a whole lot like the 2001 Space Odyssey. It’s going for that super drawn out feel where you have a lot of nice visuals to look at but you can go a while without actually having any plot developments. I thought it had an interesting start but really started fading from there. Chop off about an hour or so and I think you’re looking at a better movie but either way I would say to give this one a skip. It’s just not going to be the winning sci-fi film for you.

The movie takes place in the future where things are rather dire now. There isn’t a whole lot of food left and so farmers are super important. Cooper works as a farmer but he was hoping for something better for his kids. Unfortunately the school seems to be rigging it so the family will all have to be farmers. Cooper isn’t thrilled about that and then one day he and his daughter Murph end up wandering onto a super secret government base. The officials explain that they are looking into two plans to save humanity since the plants are eventually going to die and the planet is nearly done for.

One plan is to find a suitable planet and have some people land there and repopulate the planet. The other one is to make use of mysterious wormholes that have appeared recently which can be used to get most of humanity across. Both options will be difficult but Cooper agrees to help since it is the only way that his family will be okay. He gets on the ship and prepares for a voyage the likes of which he has never seen before. Unfortunately for him it’ll be a much more difficult voyage than he ever could have guessed.

Now here are the good parts of the film. For starters I like space and the whole sci-fi angle of taking place in the future is fun. I enjoyed the first act as we see what the planet is like and how the heroes bust into the base and start thinking about the future. At this point it felt like this was still going to be a very solid, traditional sci-fi film. I can tell you that I was fairly excited at all of this.

I would say the cracks first began to show once they made it to the first planet. So it turns out that time is different here so one hour is a whole day and it only gets more drastic the further you get. So one of the dilemmas here is that Cooper could end up throwing his life away pretty much by going to these planets. There won’t be much to save if he ends up taking too long. It’s a high intensity situation so you don’t want to blame anyone per say but one character hesitates quite a bit and she ends up putting the others in danger. If you miss your evacuation point then you’re really sunk since that puts you off by a few days in real time and that’s much longer with how the time portal is working. So that was definitely tragic.

The film definitely goes for a very emotional vibe here as the years tick by and Cooper starts listening to recordings from the kids. The recordings are still able to go through but in a way he sacrificed anything including the chance to be with his children. They just had to go on without him and that fuels some resentment on their side. It’s rare to see a plan just completely fail on the hero’s side like this but sure enough, Connor just had to live with the regret of al this. I think if he could have changed it so he never left then he absolutely would have. In a way he tried to do just that by warning Murph in the past but that didn’t really work so well.

Time basically works in a loop of sorts here so you can sort of see the past and interact a bit but you can’t do much more than be a ghost. I thought there were a lot of very interesting ideas to see here and it does nail the sci-fi elements. Again, the only reason this film didn’t do better is because it’s so incredibly drawn out. The movie’s biggest failing is simply that it’s boring. There is 0 replay value here. You won’t be laughing or smiling as the film goes on and while the ideas are interesting, they’re not going to hold the film up for very long. You need good ideas and solid execution.

When Interstellar remembers that it’s an active movie then it gets more interesting again. For example I did enjoy one of the characters who shows up to add a little danger to the mix. It makes sense that being on your own could turn you a little batty and I thought that whole part was pretty interesting. That character may not have looked very good with how he cracked and all but it actually gave the film a sense of danger.

Then you also have a twist involving the old man’s plans which I thought was really solid. It definitely hits hard and makes the whole thing even more tragic. While the effects can be drawn out, I did think that the planets looked good. So there really is a lot to like here. The writing is good and the visuals are nice. I can’t say that I remember any of the tunes in particular but I feel like they were pretty decent tooo.

Cooper is a decent main character too. He’s taking all of these risks and going on this journey to protect his kids. It’s a great motivation and it’s clearly not something that he wanted to do otherwise. He does his best in every scene and so you do like the guy. He was a solid pick as the main character. The rest of the crew ranged from choking under pressure to being decent. The android was the best character though. I liked how he could talk very tough and at the end of the day he would come in handy. His strategy of being mostly honest also ended up being effective at several times in the film.

There’s not a whole lot more to say without talking myself into circles. I do think if you cut out about an hour of reaction shots and just looking off into the stars that this would be a pretty good movie. I dare say you could see a jump of 3 full stars otherwise. Because the story really isn’t bad and the characters are good. I liked the writing and there is a lot going on here. The twists land well so everything is in place except for it just being too drawn out and boring. You never want to get bored while watching a movie and so that’s a huge blemish against the experience. For example, I would never be tempted to watch this again and would actively avoid it. That’s why I can safely say this is not a good title.

Overall, Interstellar is one of the more tragic films because you can really see how it could have been good. In that respect it is still leagues ahead of 2001: A Space Odyssey because that film never had the same level of potential. That one was doomed from the start while this one was actually fairly close. Maybe a sequel would win but I get the feeling that the odds of this film even getting a sequel are slim to none. It just doesn’t feel like that kind of movie, but you never know I suppose.

Overall 4/10

The Time Machine Review

Whenever you have a film with time travel you know that things are going to get good. That was my thought upon watching this film as well and it definitely delivered. What you have to understand right from the jump is that this isn’t an action title though. It’s actually very low key about the time traveling aspect. Sure, there are some punches thrown near the end but for the most part this is a dialogue based film but one that works rather well here and I like the time travel rules that the film abided by.

There are a lot of time travel rules after all. The ones where you can’t alter the past or the future, the ones that create new universes, ones where you can’t go directly to your own past, etc. Personally my favorite styles tend to be when you can change things and you just see a lot of ripple effects. It makes the most sense to me even if we don’t actually know how time travel would work yet. Back to the movie though.

So George invites his friends over for dinner but when they arrive he is very late and appears as if he’s been in some kind of battle. He explains to them that he has been travelling through time and this triggers a flashback which is from the rest of the movie. So a while back he tried to show his invention to them but they didn’t believe him. It was partially on him for only showing them the basic version when he could have messed with the real one and proved the machine quite easily. Instead they laugh and run off while he decides to use this machine to go to the future. At first George just has fun seeing how things will change in the next year or so but then he ends up going over 800,000 years in the future. Humanity seems to finally be at peace but is there some darker secret here? George will have to find out fast because his machine may be in danger.

Naturally if your time machine breaks for any reason then that’s game over so you don’t want that to happen. The way the film handles it, the machines effectively exists outside of time while it is being used and then it appears in the same spot that it was, just in a different universe. It’s a very handy ability that’s for sure and the controls are very intuitive so he is able to stop on a dime in any era. Somehow George even made a mini version of it so he has completely mastered the mechanics of it. He could really become rich with an invention like that even if that’s not really his style.

So the first half of the film is just very calm as he goes from place to place and has fun. He can be a little slow on the uptake and draws attention to himself all the time but nobody is really going to be thinking about time travel so that part’s safe. The real high stakes of the film don’t appear until after he’s in the far future though.

So Humanity pretty much blew themselves up it seems because al technology is gone and the world is back to the cave man era. The people are still rather dignified though so it’s not a full reset. People have grown lazy though because now there is a race of alien type creature that cater to their every whim so people don’t need to work anymore. Their food is served to them and they don’t bother reading so people just live every day on repeat. George is quite dismayed about this but at the same time he meets a lady named Weena that he likes so that’s a silver lining there.

Now he has a reason to embrace this new time period. The film never makes it clear why these other beings are watching over humanity and how they prepare all of this when they seem mindless. There are a lot of questions here and perhaps another film could go more into detail but it’s not like George has a lot of time to find out all of the answers. He’s busy just trying to stay alive the whole time and he does a good job of it too.

I like to think he’ll give some more closure to the characters in the present at some point but the ending is a happy one either way. George was a solid main character once he found his footing and really got used to traveling through time. He should help make the future era a much better one as well. Then Weena was a good heroine as well even if she didn’t get a whole lot to do in the future. She was brave enough to talk to him when most wouldn’t say a word.

The film really thrives because of its writing. A film like this absolutely needs high quality writing to survive since that is going to be what executes on the solid premise. I have no complaints on that area and thought that the script was quite solid. Yes, I do have some issues with how George could have done a much better job of proving his time machine to the group. That is a bit iffy so I’ll just make an excuse for him and say that if his friends would barely entertain this idea of his then maybe they didn’t deserve to see it anyway. He had one good friend in Filby but even that guy didn’t really believe him the whole time. At least he would defend George but that’s about all I can say for him. Nice guy but if he had taken the next step and actually assisted with the time travel that would have been ideal.

Overall, The Time Machine is a fun, dare I say relaxing film. It’s just very low key so there isn’t a ton to say about it, but it’s interesting enough. I think the concept is what intrigues you the most because it’s fun to put yourself in George’s shoes and think about what you would do with a time machine. The possibilities are really endless especially with the level of freedom you have with this machine. Of course you have to be careful not to leave it alone or to let it get broken or you’ll be really sunk. If you want a nice look at the future then this is a good one to check out without a doubt.

Overall 7/10

Invaders from Mars Review

Invaders from Mars has an excellent premise. Who doesn’t like the ideas of aliens showing up to shapeshift into people and change our way of life right? Well, that part was fun but the film is held back a little by the fact that the main character is a little kid so there isn’t much he can do to help. There was quite a bit I liked in this film but also a lot of parts that I thought could have been better. So ultimately I ended up being a little on the fence here but you should have a good time.

The movie starts out with David noticing a spaceship landing in the backyard area one night. He asks his father George to check it out so George does but he is instantly defeated by the alien menace. When he returns he now has a weird injury on the back of his neck and he talks rather robotically. At first David doesn’t realize what is quite wrong here but George is so over the top suspicious that the pieces begin to come together. The issue is that at school this has already started to spread as more of the kid and teachers are taken in. How can David get his family back before it’s too late?

David really blows it right from the jump though. So early on after he figures out that something has happened to the Dad, George goes missing for a long while. David’s mother is worried and David somehow doesn’t suggest that they check the backyard area. He knows that is exactly where the ship is and how George had been so suspicious about it the whole time. Why not check that area out? If David was scared about it being a trap then he should have told her that. Instead he just watches as they head over there and she is naturally taken out as well. George did not help one bit.

Meanwhile at school you have the nice nurse Linda who hasn’t been taken over yet. The story is rather fantastic but she starts to believe it because the aliens are just that obvious about it. They turn all skeptics into believers with how unconvincing they are. So Linda makes the smart move…she gets the government involved. Now I have to pause here to say that I was shocked at how big the government’s role was here but in a very good way. This was absolutely the right approach to dealing with the aliens.

The army is also portrayed very competently. At one point the aliens impersonate some army members and try to assassinate the general but his right hand man knocks the guns out from their hands and takes them out. It was highly impressive and that’s when I knew that these guys weren’t playing around. If they had taken over the film entirely from David and Linda I would not have minded at all. This was the best part of the film and it even became more of a classic action story.

We get good fights and action scenes all around. Additionally, the effects have aged rather well. The aliens look interesting at least and their base of operations was also intense. Now the aliens may not be very smart as I mentioned how they tend to be responsible for all of the sticky situations that they find themselves in but at least they have character. They definitely take things quite personally and while they seem emotionless at first, that facade falls through right away.

I could have done without the scene of one of the aliens eating a frog though. They controlled the mean teacher right away and so this leads to her always chasing David around but where does the frog come in? Do they just eat frogs as a general species rule or was this just for kicks? Either way it was a rather odd scene to include. The aliens don’t even know how to properly drink coffee so George spills a lot at the beginning. Personally, if they’re this sloppy as actors then they just should have gang rushed the town and abducted everybody. It would probably have had better results than waiting the whole time.

In the end, the only likable character here was Linda aside from all of the government guys who were a lot of fun. I never warmed up to David and I can’t say that the parents looked great with how easily they were taken out. We see the alien base later on after all so we know what the aliens are capable of and I like to think that the parents should have at least been able to yell for help or something and make a big commotion. Perhaps they were sneak attacked each time but it’s still not a good look on their end with how David was able to escape the whole time.

Now as to the ending, I was less than pleased with how it went. Of course I love a twist ending and a cliffhanger. If you do either of those things then you have probably ended in the right way but the big issue here is that it’s not a super interesting ending. I think it would have needed to show you a little more in order to get hooked. Personally I like the idea of David being stuck in a time loop of ever changing events sort of like the Terminator series. The overall premise is the same but the way things happen will be different each time. It would explain a bit but not how the aliens are such good actors now. A sequel could have capitalized on this and in retrospect would have made the ending better. Otherwise I think a different cliffhanger would have worked better.

Overall, I would have liked a different main character but Invaders from Mars is still a solid film. The writing is on point and the pacing is pretty good. It’s got a good sci-fi angle going and I like the idea of the aliens gradually taking over the town one person at a time. The execution just wasn’t as good as it could have been and I don’t think there would be a lot of replay value here. Still, if you’re up for watching an alien film then you could do worse than this one and you will get to see why you should always voice your concerns about aliens flying in from Mars because if you wait then it may be too late.

Overall 6/10

The Sorcerers Review

This is definitely what I would consider to be one of the more mean spirited movies. It’s really just about someone getting absolutely crushed by another person’s mental abilities and you’re just thinking, “You have to fight!”. Whether that means talking into the mirror and saying the words fight over and over again or getting a pair of glasses since the lead is always grabbing his face, you have to find a way to resist the telepathic abilities of the enemy. If you don’t, then the game is already over before the match has even begun.

The movie starts off with Mike not being the nicest fellow as he ditches his girlfriend and best friend for no real reason. He decides to just hang around town to have a good time but gives up on this and ends up going to a bar. At this point he is approached by an old man named Marcus who guarantees he can give Mike a good time. Mike figures this doesn’t sound ominous at all and follows the guy to his flat where he is strapped into a chair and hypnotized. When he awakens from this he doesn’t feel any different and leaves but now it turns out that he can be mind controlled by Marcus and his wife Estelle. At first it’s innocent enough as they have him break an egg and they just enjoy feeling different sensations. Then things grow a little darker and Marcus starts to have second thoughts about this.

While Marcus seems like he would be the main antagonist here, he’s mostly just kicked around the whole time. He looks so weak in the film too that you have to shake your head. Like come on man, you can do much better than this can’t you? It feels like he is just not contributing much at all here. Surprisingly he still talks tough the whole time and while he ultimately makes a move at the very end, he just handled everything horribly. How do you get defeated so completely like this?

Meanwhile Estelle is definitely as cruel as can be. She isn’t afraid to push the envelope and do what she feels needs to be done. There’s nothing really interesting about her though. She gets drunk at one point and starts talking about making this a game so it seems like she just always wanted to prove that she was stronger than Marcus? Perhaps there is a good backstory in there somewhere but this film definitely didn’t have time for that.

As for Mike, like I said he’s basically got 0 agency in this film. He doesn’t remember what is happening to him while he is being mind controlled and has absolutely no way of stopping it. He has 0 defenses and just gets turned at the drop of a hat. Even when he isn’t being controlled he doesn’t seem like a nice character. The guy ditches his friends for no reason and is always very defensive. He’s not quite a murderer like what the villains turned him into but it’s clear that he’s not going to be much of a protagonist.

Alan and Nicole are the other two main characters I suppose but it’s not like they can do a whole lot about this. They suspect that something is going on with Mike but it doesn’t make sense since they’ve been friends for so long so they try to get more details. It does make sense why this whole thing does not make sense since of course mind control is involved but they would have no way of knowing that.

The only exciting part of the film is the climax where we get a whole car chase. The cops are mostly on the back foot here as they keep missing the turns but ultimately they still keep at it until the end. The heroes are really left with no answers but the ending is conclusive. It is just not a very satisfying fun. You’ll feel bad for the various victims who are attacked here. Ultimately they won’t get a whole lot of justice here with how things ended up.

It’s not at all rare to have a film like this where the villain has their fun until dying but the times it doesn’t work is when the heroes don’t get to do much. You can definitely say that this is true of this film because if you think about it, the heroes did almost nothing here. Ultimately the old man had to make a move himself and it certainly took him a long time to do this. The movie ends up dragging because you know how it’s going to end but the build up is just so crazy long. It feels like it never ends until the film is over.

At least I do still like the British way of speaking here. The various mannerisms like ending a sentence with “isn’t it?” as a rhetorical question is always nice. The script isn’t bad either and if the film was longer or the writing better then the movie could have capitalized on this with some strong dialogue. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be and so we didn’t get to fully experience this as much as we should have.

Overall, The Sorcerers is definitely a pretty weak film. It really just has the character get mind controlled over and over again without putting up any kind of defenses. That’s what really holds him back. I would have liked to have seen some restraint or at least being able to confront the villains in the end. It would be more interesting than just seeing him broken down over and over again. The whole film has a rather underground vibe to it as everything is dark and dreary even though it’s still day time. The idea of being able to share sensations is interesting enough but the downsides will always outweigh the positives. In a way you’re putting your life in someone else’s hands after all.

Overall 3/10

Leviathan 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 for a monster movie but unfortunately not one that comes close to topping a bunch of the classic ones. This plays out more like Alien than Godzilla after all. Some interesting ideas here for sure and I liked every moment with corporate but in the end this could not become a winner. Instead it is doomed to be forgotten as one of the titles that just couldn’t keep up in the end.

The movie Steven and his team of underwater miners getting ready to finally leave the submarine. They’ve been down here for months and are eager to get back to dry land. They just have to grab some more materials and then they are set. Their group is slowly starting to crack up too so this was really good timing but one of the guys gets greedy and brings up a treasure chest. It’s not just any old chest either and contains a drink that implants a monster. This creature will not stop at anything in its quest to destroy them all. Can Steven and his group stop this thing or are they about to be completely eliminated?

Now with a movie like this it’s not a huge surprise that the cast is unlikable but it’s still disappointing. There is only so much that you can do when the cast is unlikable after all. I’ll get into each crew member in a second here but Steven did not have a lot to work with. Steven could be a little naïve as well with how he thinks corporate is looking after them so he’s not perfect but I suppose he probably wouldn’t have taken the job if he hadn’t thought that to some extent. Who would really think that corporate is absolutely leaving you to dry right?

The film is not subtle about how corporate is corrupt here. Every time Martin appears on the phone it’s to tell the heroes that there are some delays or not to worry about things. She says it all in a very fake voice the whole time though so you know that she never means it. It makes for a very satisfying scene at the end of the movie while also making her not look very smart though. Lets just say that by the end of the film she shouldn’t be expecting a warm reception and should have some kind of backup plan at the ready. Otherwise she’s just not putting herself in a good spot here.

Okay so lets talk about the rest of the characters. Sixpack is the worst member by far. He just wants to mess around with one of the ladies on the ship and doesn’t think about anything else. He defies orders all of the time and puts the whole crew’s safety in jeopardy. He’s absolutely not the guy that you want to have your back because odds are that he won’t have it. Doc is one of the main characters and while he’s not as bad as Sixpack, he’s certainly not very responsible himself.

Picture this, you’re underwater and end up damaging your suit. This is serious but you know that you have a doctor watching you so it’ll be okay. That’s when you get the call that the doctor stepped out. Really? Doc does this kind of thing a lot based on how the characters discuss this and it’s basically because he wants to drink. A character very nearly dies in the opening minutes because he wasn’t there and Doc does not care.

Doc then makes some horrible moves at the end like trusting corporate one last time and backstabbing his allies. From there I knew that he had absolutely no chance of making a comeback for me. There’s just no excuse for any of this when you’re the ship’s doctor and the one that everyone is depending on. That’s just an awful look all the way around.

Bowman was rather reasonable so she’s one of the few crewmembers that wasn’t annoying. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a place to escape to on this ship and her role ends up being rather small. Ultimately the experience was too much for her and she probably didn’t suffer as much as most of the others ultimately would. Justin was probably the most helpful member of the crew and did a lot to support Steven here. That’s why the ending feels like a bit much because of how things play out. This guy really put in a lot of work.

The movie doesn’t seem to be too sure of what it even wants to do in the end though. There is happy music playing throughout the climax even when it should be a very somber tone at the time because of how things went down and you know….almost everyone is dead. Still the happy music goes on and then we get the big punch at the end. The punch was hype at least, that’s definitely the way to end things even if I think corporate could have played that a little smarter. You don’t want corporate to win per say but just make it an interesting fight and I think that makes for a more interesting climax.

Sadly the monster doesn’t have a great design for most of this. It’s more of a Blob than anything as it controls the human hosts. Think of it like a symbiote that’s running around but instead of a cool Venom design, it’s just undead. It makes the human hosts rather warped and isn’t super fast but makes up for that with power. If it catches you then it’s game over. The shark that appears for a second for no reason had more intensity to it than the monster.

Monsters reanimating a person’s body will never be as threatening or scary because that means it’s bound by how a person can move. Switch that out for a creature that can zip around at super speeds and now you’ve got something more dangerous. It also makes for more gross scenes like when we come close to the Alien chestburst scene and just in general the humans begging to die as the alien walks around a bunch. (It’s basically an alien after all) This film very much wanted to redo the Alien story while underwater and I gotta say that it did not work. Going for an actual underwater creature would have been a whole lot better.

Overall, Leviathan is not a winner here. It starts off on the wrong foot by having a really rough main cast of characters and doesn’t get any better with that underwhelming monster. When you mix it all together, you’ve got a thriller that isn’t ready for prime time. I would say the movie for once would be better without a monster. Have them stuck down there and they have to figure out how to get up without corporate stopping them. Then you could have a good thriller story with a lot of mind games. Not sure the writing would be up to it but the premise would work a whole lot better if you ask me.

Overall 3/10