Mary Poppins Review

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Mary Poppins is definitely a classic film that I’m sure most of us have heard of at some point or another. It’s a light hearted musical/comedy with a punch of supernatural elements to keep things fresh. It’s definitely held up well and can certainly be considered as the definitive musical. I suppose it depends on how literal you take the term since some films are right on the edge of being counted.

The film starts off with yet another Nanny running away from her responsibilities. She simply can’t handle the two rebellious kids and their constant running away. The father is forced to run an advertisement for a new nanny. That’s when the Professional Reality Warper, Mary Poppins shows up for her first attack. She summons a tornado to (fatally?) take down the competition and hires herself. Will she be able to make the kids be more responsible or will this be beyond her abilities?

The father is definitely the best character in the movie. He sets the tone early on when he bursts through the door at exactly 6:01 and bursts into song. Clearly this is a man of culture and finesse. He isn’t one to be trifled with and commands a very strict home. He reminds his wife that a classic British House is run as tightly as the bank. His song has quite a few great lyrics like that and once the kids return from their brief escapade he is firm but not mean. He comes up with an advertisement in the mail that is quite good. While he may be on the back foot against Mary Poppins, he is always quick to recover. He may have cracked by the end and suddenly become a very happy person but even that role he plays with discipline. He is just the perfect character and certainly the one that I was rooting for.

Mary Poppins is an interesting character. Based on the advertisement that the kids left you would assume that she is a very nice person. Well, that actually isn’t the case. She takes everything personally and does seem to hold a grudge. She seems to have a thing against having fun and always has to be goaded into using her abilities. Mary Poppins completely shuts down when anyone asks her a personal question or just anything about her magic and tries to make everyone look bad by denying its existence. It’s hard to get a bead on her and it just seems like she didn’t really want the position at first and only warms up to the kids by the end. Her abilities are definitely as impressive as they ever were though. She has advanced reality warping abilities which are quite handy in any kind of situation.

There are also the two kids but they don’t seem to be very good characters. For starters they make the Dad seem like the bad guy but if we’re being honest they deserve most of the blame. Since numerous baby sitters have run off over the years we have to assume that running away is nothing new for them. They don’t have any good reason for running away either and cleaning their rooms is apparently too much to ask. While they get some character development over the course of the movie I just couldn’t find myself being able to like the kids. They even sabotaged their father’s career by making a big scene at the bank and tackling an old man. Any respect I may have gained for the kids before this was certainly lost during this moment. The kids have to learn to control themselves. Even singing their advertisement was not a good move as the only thing it did was really push the father away from accepting it.

There is also Mary Poppins friend who knows about her powers. If sounds like they have gone on quite a few adventures so I’m assuming that he follows her around. After all, Mary Poppins seems to travel around quite a bit for each of her cases so I doubt she has been in this town before. Since the guy doesn’t even have a classic job, he probably just gets an occupation at whatever destination she goes too next. He’s a good friend for Mary since she takes everything too seriously while he is the opposite. He may make it harder to cure his uncle from the laughing flu since he is always laughing as well, but that’s his one main weakness.

The film’s actual plot is fairly direct and concise so the film does go on some tangents do but time. Fortunately these tangents are actually good do a change. One such scene is with the laughing uncle which I mentioned earlier. I don’t have any sympathy for the Uncle by the way since he can easily stop floating if he really wants too, but it’s fun to see the friend trolling Mary by getting everyone to laugh. Again, the guy is a pretty solid character. There is also a rather long, but fun Looney Tunes esque skit where Mary suckers a few jockeys into letting her win and the characters mess with the animal Olympics. The scenes would probably not be too good if the music was not in point so this is one of those times where the music really amplified the experience.

A musical lives or dies on the music after all and these songs hold up very well. The tempo/beat of the music is always very fast and lively which is a good thing. The lyrics aren’t bad either as the characters talk quickly and get a lot of messages in a short amount of time. You’ll just find yourself paying more attention to the musical sounds than the lyrics and that’s not a bad thing. The made up word in the film certainly got popular as well and has enough syllables to be in a song as well.

Overall, Mary Poppins is a lot of fun. It’s a film you can enjoy at any time. It’s one of those light hearted films that surprisingly doesn’t get serious or dramatic at the end. It stays whimsical all the way through which is quite rare. It has a lot of replay value and being enjoyable is always the first goal of any film so this one really succeeded. The film doesn’t drag on and the music is on point. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely correct that. It’s a movie that actually does live up to the hype and that is really rare to be honest. Now I’m ready for that sequel coming up but I have my doubts on if it can be as good as this one. Maybe if she has to fight a dark Mary Poppins in a cool CG fight though.

Overall 7/10

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Invisible Woman Review

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It’s time to look at an old sequel. Everyone knows about the Invisible Man, but who knows about the Invisible Woman? The film seems to have fallen under the radar although I can see why. It’s not exactly a masterpiece and can be rather forgettable but at the same time I thought it was decently fun. The film goes by quickly and there’s not too much to dislike here. Granted, the characters can be annoying which I guess it fairly major, but they’re not extremely bad or anything like that.

The film starts off with a crazed scientist finally coming up with a good invention. He can now make people invisible. His benefactor, Mr. Russell isn’t too pleased with Gibbs for wasting money on such an experiment but the old man is sure it will work. He writes an ad in the paper but since he isn’t willing to pay the test subject only one letter comes through. Kitty is willing to take the serum as there’s a lot she can do with being invisible. Then scientist agrees, but only barely because he tries to stay away from girls. The experiment is a success but instead of waiting for Russell to come in Kitty decides to get revenge on her boss. A lot of shenanigans occur but then a gang breaks in and they decide to kidnap Gibbs. Can the Invisible Woman save him or are they all doomed?

The gang is honestly very out of place here. The whole film is really a light hearted comedy with Kitty just having fun with her powers. As such, the villains are about as serious as the kidnappers in every Air Bud movie. They aren’t exactly a threat and we even get a long scene where Kitty knocks out every member. Being invisible is honestly an incredible ability to have for every day life and you would be almost unstoppable in many situations. The villains are even driven to tears at times. Given that they are used for comedy I suppose they weren’t that bad, but I was still surprised when they showed up at all. It’s not like they really affected the outcome much at all.

Kitty was a fun lead though even if she was a little too rebellious at times. She makes sure to drink as lot even when keeping a low profile and should probably be a little more harsh with the professor if she wants to stay consistent. She did a decent job of getting back at the boss even if she may have let him off a little easy there. At least he did have a change of heart so she certainly made the working environment a lot better for the rest of the models. It does seem like a pretty bad job though so they should probably just have left a long time ago.

Gibbs may be a scientist but he isn’t very smart. He doesn’t realize when villains are around and holds a grudge even when you save his life. He’s exactly the kind of ingrate you would typically want to avoid to be honest and I never felt sympathetic to him. Sure, Russell doesn’t believe him, but I wouldn’t either since this guy has apparently been wasting money for many years. We can’t forget that little detail and have the guy slip it under the rug. He better product results and until then it makes sense that his funding is cut. Russell went from being rich to apparently having no money now.

Of course, I won’t bring out the violin for him either. Apparently he’s one of those guys who plays the field and goes for a lot of rebounds. A bunch of characters sued him for a bunch of things and apparently they keep winning since he’s losing money. He never seems like a particularly great guy. The banter between him and Kitty is all right at best, but it’s a little generic and doesn’t make him any better. After all, Russell is insulting her looks just so he can goad her into becoming visible again. The film didn’t go for any easy pitfalls like having her appear at inconvenient times at least. That would probably happen if this film were newer so it’s another good reason to stay retro.

When you think about it, not a lot happens in the film though. Act 1 is just Kitty messing with everyone, then the villains arrive and she beats them up. The film is over an hour, but it doesn’t feel like that. Of course, this is a good thing since it means the pacing was on point and the movie never dragged on but at the same time you could also make the argument that most of the film could be cut out and nothing would actually change. That’s just how it goes I guess, at least she didn’t go crazy like the last Invisible Man though. She kept her sanity through and through.

One thing I’d do to improve the film would be to have a few scenes of Kitty messing with Russell. She scares the boss and spooks Russell’s assistant but she never actually gets him. Knocking him out or giving him a startle would at least give her a leg to stand on during their verbal confrontations. Meanwhile, I forgot to mention the butler. I thought he was a well written character and easily the most likable character in the film. He gives Russell some good advice and while he is always retiring you can tell that the guy really wants to be helpful. He does his best to always be there for Russell during the tough times. A fun ending would have for him to have become rich by placing some stocks in the right place or something and then leaving on a high note where Russell and Gibbs wonder where they went wrong. A sequel could then be about them turning to a life of crime with the invisibility serum.

Overall, The film is a little generic and doesn’t do anything noteworthy, but it doesn’t really do anything wrong either. The writing isn’t particularly good and the characters can be one dimensional, but they are still working with a good script. Cutting out the villains may be a good idea, but they didn’t really hurt anything either. If you’re looking for a fun film where the heroine gets to use some super powers and overall look more impressive than the main guy this is a good film to check out. Especially since the guy doesn’t even seem like nice person. Just don’t go in expecting a serious film, that’d be your first mistake.

Overall 6/10

Handa Kun

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It’s time for another spinoff although this one is a direct prequel. It’s about Handa back in his school days and as always he is having a tough time fitting in. As someone who was never the biggest fan of the village setting I can definitely see this one passing the main series. Of course, it will be a little limited in what it can do without causing issues in the main title, but there’s still a lot of room to explore here. I’ll have a review for the series when I finish it.

Overall 7/10

Love Story Review

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It’s time for another romance film. This one’s an interesting case as the negatives are different, but just as strong. For starters, the romance angle is just as bad here if not worse as the two characters are just so mean at first. I suppose they’re going for the whole “They’re brutally honest” approach but it certainly doesn’t work well. At least Jenny works towards being a better person as the film goes on, but Oliver is content to stay spiteful at basically everyone for the whole film. Makes that sequel look even more iffy, but lets stick to the original at the moment.

So the film starts off with Oliver hanging around at a cafe (I believe it was a cafe) and then meeting a girl named Jenny. She immediately starts hurling insults at him about how he’s not very smart and only got this far thanks to being rich. He tries to respond with witty banter of his own, but she continues to defeat him at every turn. It’s not like he has much of a chance since he actually does like her even if he finds it hard to admit. Anyway, they get together really quickly despite their first interactions being complete insults all the time. They don’t stop insulting each other for quite a while. They decide to get married, but will Oliver’s Dad approve and how will they get by without money?

A good warning bell from the start is the film’s tagline. Clearly it’s trying to be clever but it’s just so far out to left field. Saying sorry is always important and especially if you’re in a close relationship. Feeling like you don’t need too if your bond is strong enough is just incorrect. You’ve always got to own up to your mistakes and considering how mean both characters are, I think the film is just trying to justify itself which isn’t going to fly either.

The main characters are important here so lets start with Oliver. At first you figure that the parents are going to be antagonistic and that’s why he is constantly avoiding them. The twist is that Oliver is the mean one who constantly pushes them away and is very disagreeable about everything. Sure, it’s a pretty original twist, but it does make him look quite terrible if we’re being honest. He doesn’t attend his father’s birthday celebration and even refuses to talk to him in general. All of the things Oliver says about his father to convince Jenny that he’s a bad person turn out to be untrue. Oliver’s just projecting his own insecurities and then still has the nerve to ask his father for 5000 dollars. Yes, he’s asking to help keep Jenny alive a little longer, but he refuses to tell his father any of this. If anything this just shows what a nice guy the Dad is since he gives Oliver the money despite Oliver just being really mean the entire time.

Oliver gets to the point where he even puts his anger at his father over Jenny. Jenny never asks him for anything, but even when she asked him to get on the phone for a minute he refused and even yanked the phone from her hand. This is not a guy that you can sympathize with or like at all throughout the movie. A movie can only be so good when the lead is terrible like this so that was already putting it at a disadvantage. I am glad that the parents weren’t just randomly mean for no reason but having them be nice and the main character mean is pretty mean spirited in itself.

As for Jenny, as I mentioned it’s hard to see how the romance starts. She does admit during one round of insults that she just likes him for his looks so I guess we can take that at face value. It’s still not a romance that I can get behind though and as I mentioned she is the only reasonable person in this relationship. Even once she is diagnosed with a fatal disease and doesn’t have long to live Oliver decides not to tell her this. He doesn’t even give her a chance to get treatment right away by stalling so Jenny had to find out by herself the hard way. Oliver’s certainly not winning any awards for husband of the year. He’d probably win the Razzi since apparently he does get over her. I feel bad for Jenny since she could have done so much better.

Even the whole Wedding ceremony felt like it was trying to make you dislike the characters even more. Jenny’s family was looking forward to a traditional Catholic wedding for their daughter, but then Oliver walks in and that is gone. Jenny says that it was a mutual decision, but I don’t really believe that for a second. Not only is it not a marriage in a Church, but it’s one that is barely official. They are just holding the wedding on their own in a random room. Do you even get a proper certificate from that? They even made up their own vows which didn’t work well. It was a bit of a painful scene and while I do agree that most weddings are too expensive and I’d want a cheap one personally, I’d still want an actual wedding as opposed to a self made thing that just seems fake.

This film definitely goes heavy into the drama territory for the second half as you’d imagine with the whole dying bit. It’s not a film that would have any real replay value as a result since the film just isn’t very fun. The second half is hard to get into because it’s just everyone being sad the whole time and the first half is dragged down by Oliver. Well, he drags down the second half too, but you know what I mean. I’m not really into tragedy films that doesn’t really help this one’s case. They should at least try to have some fun before she dies as opposed to spending the last weeks in a hospital. I know this will differ for many people, but if I only have a little while left to live and it’s confirmed..then what’s the point of staying in the hospital? So they can extend my life for a few days? I’d rather spend a week at home over 2 weeks in the hospital.

Overall, This film felt really mean spirited. By the end none of the characters have had a particularly good time. Oliver is going to be depressed since Jenny is gone. Jenny is gone so she didn’t have a happy ending. The Father’s not going to have a good time since his son is constantly pushing him away. There are just no happy endings here so it’s just a tragic film with sad ending. That isn’t a winning combo and if anything it’s a confirmed losing combo. It’s a little hard to be a good film throughout all of this. Not to mention that even without the sad aspects the romance does not work at all. They go from being enemies to taking the step past the friend zone in a few nights. The romance never feels realistic at all. You’re better off checking out a different film and skipping this one altogether. There’s just no point to this one whatsoever. While the sequel doesn’t actually affect this one’s score since they’re separate, it’s existence makes this one feel even worse.

Overall 1/10

Breakfast At Tiffany’s Review

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It’s time to look at a classic romance film from back in the day. Like many iconic titles this one doesn’t hold up well though and instead serves as a cautionary reminder that you should always be careful when leaving the friend zone. Holly appears to be a rather suspect individual who is a bad influence from the start, but Paul is intrigued and determined to learn more about her. This begins the roller coaster of emotions for both characters leaving the viewer wondering if Paul would have been happier if he had stuck to his novels.

The film starts with Paul moving to New York. He is ready to hit it big in the city, but has unfortunately forgotten his keys. Fortunately, he is able to get into the building and decides to try his luck with the neighbor downstairs. Holly lets him in, but her house is a mess and she’s half asleep. Paul immediately loses interest in making a call to get his keys and just follows her around the house listening to her life story. Fortunately his decorator shows up to save him. That night Holly shows up from the window at the dead of night and Paul fortunately wakes up in time to prevent himself from being robbed since she made a lot of noise. Still, she wants to be friends and Paul sees no harm in that. Can this pair really get things to work or are they doomed?

Right away Paul should have seen the numerous red flags. For starters, Holly is used to using men for their money. All she cares about is being rich and she doesn’t mind doing just about anything to get higher social status. He learns this through her huge parties and how many crazy acquaintances she has. Holly even got married to someone in the south and he has come back to bring her home. He hears her insulting everyone behind their backs and reveals her true nature to him since they’re friends, but he somehow doesn’t think she does the same about him once he leaves. He gets pretty upset multiple times, but always comes back for more since she manages to apologize the next day.

This is why the romance never works from the start. It’s really just him following after her the whole time when she simply isn’t interested. She does say she would be interested if he was rich, but he isn’t. You think there could be a twist where he is rich, but that would have made Holly look even more suspect if they had gotten together after that. As it stands, even in the final 5-10 minutes of the film she wants nothing to do with him and is constantly trying to push him away. She just has a change of heart in the final 2 minutes since she simply doesn’t want to be alone. This is not the basis for quick a quality romance is created.

Furthermore, Holly is just a terrible character. Well, I’ve already explained most of the reasons. Her violent mood swings make her blame everyone but herself as well and this includes her cat. She leaves the cat stranded in a back alley while there is a downpour going on. Paul heads back for the cat after stopping for a few minutes to deliver a “harsh” but fake speech as he still immediately accepts Holly once she returns. They find the cat so at least that’s good but it can’t forgive that act of cruelty. Holly would not have gone back for the cat if Paul didn’t stop so her character was utterly irredeemable by this point.

Holly’s supposed to be rather scatterbrained, but it’s taken to an extreme. She also appears to be very naive while also being portrayed as street smart in other aspects which doesn’t mesh very well. I can’t say Paul is a good character either though. For one, he’s quite nosy. He is ensnared by Holly way too quickly and even against his better judgment. Paul should have just left well enough alone instead of getting involved in her affairs. I still think more warning bells should have gone off when she broke into his house and this is exactly why you should bolt your windows if you have a fire escape. It’s just not safe.

The film also juggles quite a few plots and background elements that don’t really go anywhere. We have the whole mafia angle where they are tricking Holly into delivering drug routes and secrets across the border. We’ve got this rich guy from Brazil who is interested in Holly although the film consistently hints that he isn’t actually serious and she would have been disappointed by arriving. He just sends a letter that the cops were too much for him. Then there’s also the case of land lord living upstairs. He’s definitely an intriguing character although one who certainly isn’t very smart at all. He should probably remove all of the safety hazards if he is going to constantly bump into them when he wakes up. At least he actually did call the cops and it wasn’t all a bluff. The guy just isn’t a likable character though and while he gets a few good lines and moments, it’s not really enough to sell me on him. The ex husband from Texas was also really random and out of nowhere. Maybe it was just there to set up the other relative dying later on, but we never even saw the guy so it’s hard for it to really come across as a very sad scene. If anything the whole situation just continues to make Holly look worse and worse. Particularly if the ex wasn’t lying and they did have a few kids (Adopted) waiting back home when Holly just ran off without a word. So much for maturity and responsibility eh?

I suppose the writing isn’t bad. The dialogue is technically good even if the characters speaking the lines aren’t bad. The New York backdrop is nice to see as well. The library has certainly changed quite a bit over the years and I think I would have liked the old system of grabbing books quite a bit. Naturally it wouldn’t work in modern society with how many people are around and it would take forever to get all of the books but it’s pretty fun. That’s one of the fun parts about old films, getting to see what NYC was like back in the day. The parks certainly haven’t changed much.

Overall, Despite the title, the characters never have breakfast at Tiffany’s. Just thought I should mention that in case you were waiting for a scene like that. This is a romance film where the romance isn’t handled particularly well at all. Holly just seems like a really terrible person who just causes a lot of grief for everyone and I can’t feel sympathetic for Paul because he absolutely knew what he was getting himself into. The scene where he fires his decorator was also rather odd as she didn’t even seem like a bad person. Maybe she was a little too friendly with him all the time, but he could have simply said something instead of just letting it happen the whole time. She seemed like a reasonable boss so the fact that he was so harsh with her the whole time seems like it comes out of the blue. I’d recommend staying away from this film. It’s not the quality entertainment that you will be looking for. Good romance films are hard to find but it’s worth grabbing those as opposed to seeing the dime a dozen ones like this title.

Overall 2/10

My Little Pony: Legends of Magic Volume 1 Review

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My Little Pony has always been one of those franchises that most people judge instantly. It seems like a show for little kids with happy creatures that you can’t take seriously. It is a kids show, but one that’s well written and has a lot of quality episodes. As I’m about halfway through season 1, I can finally consider myself a part of the fandom. Now I’ve gotten to read another MLP comic and I’d certainly say that this is a good one although I definitely found myself missing the Main 6. There are 6 stories and each one is a self contained adventure although the series is hinting at some kind of plot getting ready to develop with the scholar who is reading the stories.

The first comic is a story about Princess Celestia and Luna from their Pony days. Celestia apparently was still a bully even back in her youth and picks on Luna a lot. She reminds Luna of her previous failures and points out that she will never be proficient in magic. Luna tries to show Celestia that she is wrong and opens up a portal, but it takes Luna away to a dangerous place. Celestia goes along with the Wizard to save her, but it’s a treacherous journey and her power alone may not be enough to win. It’s a pretty fun way to start the comic although it solidifies the fact that I will never become a Celestia fan. She’s just so mean throughout the comic to the extent where it’s hard to believe that she becomes one of the Princesses. It’s easy to see how Luna turned evil for a little while if she had to put up with this every day. I’ve always been a Luna fan so I’m glad she finally gets her due respect in the modern episodes. Her magic eventually did become more impressive than Celestia’s.

Our next story takes us to good ole Rockhoof, a legend among his people. He was a Pony who stood up for what’s right and defeated many powerful adversaries in his day. This story takes place after the legend most are familiar with and he is invited to join the army. He does, but gradually begins to put on a lot of weight as his fans take him to many dinners. He is then too weak to defend the kingdom from a powerful monster and begins to wonder if friendship isn’t magic. The other characters confirm this so he goes back to his rigorous training and makes it in time to stop the giant monster on his own. He finally realizes that hanging out with friends is all right, but at the end of the day you can only count on yourself. It’s a pretty reasonable story and while I would have liked a fight as opposed to words being enough to stop the monster, it’s a resolution that I can get behind. I’d like to see Rockhoof show up in the present at some point.

The next story was quite a bit weaker than the first two. There once lived an old nanny who liked to traverse the wilderness. One night, she noticed that a kingdom was being attacked by animals and no work was getting done. She decided to broker a treaty between the two which is fortunate since Luna had been sent out to deal with the threats. Not officially, but Luna noticed unlike all of the others and would have certainly beaten the animals on her own. Instead, friendship prevailed and Luna altered the Kingdom’s plans so that it wouldn’t interfere with the wildlife. Even back then Luna was a more benevolent ruler than Celestia. The story wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite as exciting or action packed as the first two. The old lady also didn’t make for as good a main character as the other ponies.

Following that adventure was the original Wonderbolts as they struggled against a Tornado. This tornado was going to rip through the lives of many griffins, but the Ponies were declined access across the border. The Griffins wanted to deal with the problem themselves so the Pony commander decides to let them all die. The other Wonderbolts can’t agree this and quit so they can help out without causing a big war between the two species. It’s a pretty noble gesture and I always knew the ponies had it in them. The commander looks pretty bad, but don’t they always? It’s a good adventure even if it’s not the most interesting one. Again, it’s a comic without any of the old characters so you do miss them quite a bit. Rockhoof’s story pulled it off, but it is a difficult thing to do for sure.

On the next adventure we meet our first Egyptian pony. She was known as one of the wisest ponies in all of Equestria and she solved all of her problems without the need for violence. A pretty impressive feat when you consider how unruly and dangerous most of Equestria was. One day her kingdom was being attacked by a large snake so she decides to deal with the issue. She’s a pretty great main character and a step up over the last two stories. She may even be the best main character in the book. It’s a fun enough story and who doesn’t like seeing a giant monster show up? This is one character who would definitely fit right in with the Main 6 if she ever met them. A pacifist is always welcome in Ponyville and especially one with Twilight Sparkle’s intelligence.

Finally, the last story was about a bunch of Pony zombies. This may seem a little out of place in the happy world of My Little Pony, but again, you can’t let looks deceive you. A wandering healer happened to be passing by and decides to cure the Ponies. Unfortunately they aren’t too grateful and make fun of her one liners. Ah well, everyone’s a critic these days. The hero didn’t have a whole lot of personality this time around, but she seemed nice enough. Someone you would want to have in your corner at any rate.

So this was a good batch of My Little Pony stories. It’s always good to expand the universe so having a whole comic series dedicated to this is pretty clever. That being said, the main plot could easily overshadow the stories if the series isn’t careful. It ends in a cliffhanger with the kid trying to find Twilight so that could be intense if it’s played straight. I don’t like that guy, but I guess he didn’t really do anything wrong in the comic so I have to cut him some slack.

As always the writing is solid. These stories could easily have been boring or simply bad if we had a bunch of crude humor and bad characters to bring the story down. Fortunately this wasn’t the case as everything was on point instead. The stories were able to develop naturally and at worst some parts would just be a little rushed since all of the stories had to end rather quickly. They never drag on though and most of the characters seemed pretty reasonable. If you’re going to make a trade paperback about new ponies, they’ve got to be good and the comics did good there.

Unfortunately, the art isn’t very good though. In fact it’s actually pretty bad at different points. It comes across like a cash in although I’m sure they put a lot of effort into the comics. The art just feels unfinished which is a little regrettable. It’s still clear though and you always know what is happening so it’s far from the worst case scenario. It’s nothing that would seriously hurt the score or anything like that. Hopefully it does improve as the series goes on the artist gets more used to the characters.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out this graphic novel. It may not have the Main 6 and can feel like filler at times, but the stories are good. It’s a pleasant enough read and you’ll find yourself blasting through the pages. I would even say that it does beat the main ongoing comic so that’s definitely pretty impressive for a spinoff. Hopefully the library gets more MLP adventures soon so I can check them out. In the meantime I can be satisfied knowing that I’ve learned more about the world and its history.

Overall 7/10

The Ladies Man Review

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Ladies Man is one of those films that you know will be bad before you even watch it. The premise is no good and it’s something you would expect from a Harem anime, not a mainstream comedy. It’s also a very exaggerated one where the jokes last a lifetime and most of the floor is covered with dead jokes by the end. I know some stale memes which would give you more entertainment value than this film and that’s pretty impressive for what boils down to a single picture. The film’s take on this genre isn’t even done particularly well and it should have looked to Nisekoi on how to properly handle this plot, should it be necessary to actually go through with it.

So the movie starts with our protagonist Herbert getting friend zoned as his girlfriend gets together with someone else behind his back. This traumatizes him to severely that he can’t even be in the same room as a girl. Naturally he is hired at an all girl’s hotel in his new job and while he is reluctant at first, our hero decides to give it a shot. How hard could it be right? Little does he know that he won’t leave this film with his dignity in tact. As if that was ever an option anyway though right?

Let’s break down why this film was a mess. We will also ignore the genre from this point forth since I’ve already gone through that. Let’s assume that someone put a stick of butter to your head and threatened you with gaining 29 pounds before the big Christmas gathering with your family if you didn’t make this movie. Then you have to try and find out why this genre could be successful in the first place. One way they could have handled this film would have been for the main character to stop looking at them all as girls and instead he would have grown to think of them as acquaintances or even friends. This would help him get over his trauma and we don’t have to jump right into romance land. It’s at least a reasonable way of getting over himself and becoming just one of the gang would have been good character development for him.

Instead, not only does he not really show much change until the end of the film, but he is also played up as rather brainless and a jerk to boot. He yells at several of the characters for mispronouncing his name and the odd part is that this is early on in the film where he is supposed to be afraid of girls. So much for that plot point eh? I guess we have to assume that the name thing overrides even his fear of ghosts but I’m not sure I buy that. Seeing him be mean to everyone the whole time also ensures that you will never root for the guy. There is just nothing redeemable about that guy and you will be hoping for him to get fired already. Honestly he should have been fired right away. The scenes of him crying and embarrassing himself are also so extreme that it hurts. I haven’t seen a character this exaggerated in a very long time. The film also goes all out on this angle as his parents are pretty suspect too and his whole family may just not be ready for the outside world. Although they still seem more capable than him.

The only scenes with some imagination were the ones with the Dog/Lion and the Trippy room Herbert walked into where the reality warper messed with his mind. The film could have made that whole scene cooler but considering what flick I was watching, it was still higher than my expectations. At least it lived up to the subplot where everyone kept telling him to avoid that room instead of nothing happening and the hype being for nothing. As for the Dog, I was glad that someone was trying to bark some sense into the lead character. The twist about his true design was fun and I also appreciated the Lion at the end. Those were fairly good gags that were only weakened by the main character.

One of the worst scenes in the film is when the maid has to feed Herbert. It’s pretty gross and also stretches on for an eternity. In general this is a problem that the whole film has as each scene simply goes on for too long. You understand what the gag is in any given scene within seconds so that’s roughly how long the scene should last. Stretching it across while minutes is just bad design and certainly this is the case when the original joke wasn’t even good to begin with. I could point to many more moments but the main thing to draw from this paragraph is that the film is never all that funny. That’s terrible for a comedy film and really dooms it in the long run.

Here’s one more example of a gag that’s too long. Unlike the other one it actually starts off pretty decent as the concept is at least pretty good. A really tough, burly fellow shows up and lays down the ground rules for the main character. He bullies our “poor” lead for a while and forces him to keep bowing to this new authority. However, the gag keeps going as eventually the main character unintentionally turns the tables on this guy and completely breaks his suit and ruins the character’s reputation for good. It’s supposed to be funny but it’s just cringe worthy and this style of humor either didn’t age well or this film’s execution of it was that bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a mix of the two to be honest but most of it likely lies with the film. This film just didn’t understand humor at all and as a result the whole movie suffers.

The mean spirited nature of the movie also doesn’t help. When the head of the school is finally about to achieve her dream of being on TV, Herbert naturally goes out of his way to mess the whole thing up. It all feels very intentional since there’s no way he didn’t know what he was doing. He was actively running away from security as well so he clearly wanted to sabotage the experience so he would be fired even if that didn’t pan out. If we were meant to root for this guy then I definitely can’t say that the film succeeded. If it went self aware at this point…then it still didn’t do a good job so it’s a lose-lose situation that the movie put itself into.

Overall, Ladies Man is a really bad film that only gets worse and worse as you think about it. It hasn’t aged well at all and won’t keep your attention for more than a few minutes. The forced humor rears its head early on and never goes away. I would advise you to stay far away from this one. I can’t say that I would recommend the harem genre at all since the very premise is basically asking for trouble. Stick to solid action thrillers and then you will really be set. Those films will probably give you more laughs than this one.

Overall 2/10

Your Name Review

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Not to be confused with “Call me by Your Name”, a film that doesn’t look like it has any potential based on the one screen cap I’ve seen of it. It’s time to finally look at the recent anime film that turned a lot of heads. Your Name certainly became a huge hit in both America and Japan and you’re sure to have at least seen the poster somewhere. It’s a body switch, romance adventure so it’s fitting in a lot at once. I’m not really a big romance fan, but if handled right it can work. The romance here isn’t actually a thing til near the end anyway so that’s all good. An underwhelming ending slows this film down, but it’s a good adventure nonetheless.

Mitsuha wakes up one morning and prepares for a normal day. However, everyone around her is acting quite oddly. They explain that it’s Mitsuha who was crazy the other day so they were just wondering how she would act. Mitsuha can’t even remember what happened yesterday, but it can’t have been anything too dramatic. Things change when she wakes up in the body of a teenager named Taki. He is living the Tokyo life that she has always dreamed of. While she believes it to be a dream at first, gradually she realizes that this is very real. Naturally it goes without saying that Taki also randomly wakes up in her body some days. They quickly have to find a way to live around these circumstances and ensure that the other person doesn’t do anything too drastic. Unfortunately, Taki isn’t about to tone down his aggressive nature and Mitsuha will continue to waste all of his money on food which makes for some tricky shenanigans. Can their reputations survive and why is this even happening in the first place?

The first chunk of the film is all about the body swap shenanigans. There is certainly quite a lot that you can do with that concept and I think it could make for a good action series someday. Of course, it’s a concept that you have to handle with the utmost care or it’ll be used for all of the wrong humor. The best chunk of the film is probably each character messing around with the other person’s life, but not even this film can resist going for the low hanging jokes. The second half of the film becomes a more serious drama with lives at stake and both characters constantly fighting their fading memories.

Before we go into the film any further, lets talk about the characters. Taki is the main guy here and unfortunately he is not likable at all. His first instinct when transformed into Mitsuha is to act like a stereotypical anime character and take advantage of being in this body to satisfy his curiosity. He doesn’t just do it once, but it’s a running gag that he messes around with her body every single time he transforms. It was already bad the first time, but as they get to know each other and become friends it just becomes a serious invasion of privacy and takes away any shred of dignity he had left. As a result, you can’t sympathize with the guy at all and it hurts the romance angle a bit. He also knows how to always make the wrong move at the right time like when he ends up leaving a heartfelt message when he was supposed to write his name. If he had done the latter then a chunk of the climax might have changed, but he was too witty to follow the rules there.

Mitsuha is the other main character and she’s a lot more reasonable. She still goes through the same cliches as Taki, but unlike Taki she eventually stops doing the same thing every morning. She also tries to help his social life like when she pairs him up with one of the employees and in general makes his reputation skyrocket. She does actively waste his money and seemingly doesn’t feel bad about it but it’s a start. She also has a much tougher life than Taki as she is stuck in a village with nothing to do. At least Taki is in Tokyo and can do just about anything.

Taki does have the better supporting cast though. His friend with the glasses is pretty reasonable. He helps Taki out when Mitsuha forgot to bring a lunch and also comes along on the quest during the latter part of the film. He may have been just having fun with Miki and not really concentrating but it’s the thought that counts. Miki was also a pretty nice character. She saved Taki (I’ll just use the character’s name no matter who is controlling the body unless it’s important to specify) from a scammer and also proves to be a pretty loyal friend. For Mitsuha’s supporting cast, we had her two friends as well. They were agreeable enough and did help her out in the big master plan at the end even if it sounded crazy. Not quite as interesting as Taki’s friends though. Mitsuha’s grandmother could be fairly annoying. She knows quite a lot, but never really does anything with that knowledge so she may as well not know it then right? The sister was okay, it’s not her fault that Taki was always wrecking Mitsuha’s reputation.

Now the next parts are about an element of the film that may be considered a spoiler so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know about it. 3.2….1… Go. So, the characters are set apart by 3 years with good ole time travel so it helps explain some things like why they couldn’t just call each other right away. That’s good since it would have been too easy otherwise. That being said, it shouldn’t have been a twist as the characters should have known about it instantly. They’re using Cell Phones and laptops during the movie and those always show the year next to the time. They should have instantly known something was wrong. Even more basic than that, a Friday on the 24th this year would be a Friday the 21st 3 years ago. The date should always be different or the day of the week. Leap years could mess with that, but it’s still a pretty big deal. Also, when they’re looking for each other, Taki has to come up with very detailed sketches to find where she was. Couldn’t he have just remembered the name of her school, or town? It may have been easier for Mitsuha than Taki in this case and she actually did track him down so I’ll give her some credit there. I just don’t see how Taki would not have been more observant so he could have found the place easier. To an extent this is all for plot convenience. It’s hard to write a time travel story that doesn’t have some kind of issue, especially when it’s used as a plot twist and all. It’s not something that would actually hurt the film either way, just that you shouldn’t dwell on the specifics too much or you’ll start to pick up on these things.

The animation for the film is pretty sharp. We get some nice visuals for the shooting stars from the poster towards the end. The city landscape looks great and the foods are on point as well. It’s definitely a modern anime film that clearly got a good budget. The character designs are also better than some other modern anime features as they feel more mainstream and less abstract if you will. I also enjoyed the music. We get a number of insert songs throughout and they’re handled well. I’m always up for a lyrical song as long as the lyrics themselves don’t distract from the scene because of how bad they are. If the song’s lyrics are great or understandable, then there’s nothing to worry about and these were good from what I heard. I can’t say that I remember any of the lyrics at the moment, but that’s just how it goes. It takes a few watches for me to get the lyrics unless the song is just that phenomenal.

At the end of the day, the important thing is for the film to be enjoyable. I can definitely say that the film was fun. The setting was nice and the characters were good. It’s an upbeat story that surprisingly hasn’t been done too often before. I actually wouldn’t have minded if the body swap part had effectively been the whole movie and when the comet passes they simply stop seeing each other. It might have not had the same impact for many viewers, but I think it could work well. Of course, I’m sure the film was actively trying to ensure they didn’t wear out the plot as focusing on just that for 100 minutes could have easily backfired. Maybe it’s for the best then.

As you may know from watching films over the years, an ending is always very important. Depending on the film, an ending can shift a film’s score by around 3 stars. Sometimes more and sometimes less. This is one of those films where the ending was extremely ending. If they went a certain amnesia route then it probably would have lost another star. If they’d gone the optimal route then it would have gained a star. It’s an underwhelming ending that lands it squarely in the middle, but doesn’t really damage the film. I’ll be content with that, but I still wasn’t a fan of how it all went down. In any film where memory is an issue and people are asking about each other’s names and such, I always want them to remember. I can’t get much more specific here, but you’ll probably know what I mean by the end. The characters run in circles with their memories for a while and I always think you should finish the race and get the memories as opposed to the alternative. The worst case ending would have involved a few hundred deaths plus total amnesia so I can at least confirm that the ending never goes into that territory. Now that would have been a travesty.

Overall, Your Name is a good film. I’m always up for a good body swap film. It was engaging throughout so the film really sped by. The drama angle in the second half was definitely handled a lot better than it may have been in another film. I’m still not crazy about the ending, but it could have been far worse. Taki’s running gag and one gross scene hold it back from getting that extra star, but it’s still a film that I can recommend. If you want to see a film about Bonds that Transcend Time and don’t want to rewatch Yugioh for the 100th time, this is the film to check out. You can see why took off so much with everyone who viewed it. It’s theoretically a film that can be fun for basically everyone.

Overall 6/10

Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! Review

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Pokemon is definitely a big franchise that has had a lot of hype moments and hard landings throughout. On the whole it usually has many more successes than failures though and the anime is one that can be recommended to all. The Pokemon Go game is probably the title that I’ve played the most overall as well and there’s just a lot of variety. Partially to cash in on Pokemon Go and the nostalgia for the original episodes, this film was made instead of a Alola title. That sounded good to me, but now I wish they had gone the other route instead. Not all of the films have been amazing. They range from great to fairly mediocre. However, this one went to a new direction that I hadn’t even thought to be worried about, it decided to get rather dark. This is not the Pokemon film that we had been waiting for.

It’s a reimagining of Ash’s first days as a trainer so it starts with him being late to Professor Oak’s lab. He gets Pikachu and survives a Spearow attack. The first warning bells here is when we suddenly get a massive jump to Erica as Ash wins the gym badge in an instant. The majority of the fight was skipped and what about all of the fights before this one? Sure, they were never going to be able to adapt all of it but why skip that much? Well, Ash meets up with Sorrel and Verity who decide to tag along with him. He comes across an evil Pokemon named Marshadow who wants to corrupt him and plunge the world into darkness. Can Ash stop him and any chance at this adapting more Gym Battles or will he be forced to give up on his quest?

I made sure to sit down and read something before writing this review to calm down a bit first, but the film still didn’t sit any better with me. It’s clear from the get go that the writers had a very different idea on why People liked the original season than I did. I liked the original Pokemon season because of the cool gym battles and Pokemon action throughout. Ash was a great main character and Gary was a fun rival. It could get pretty serious, but was a light hearted adventure all around. The movie went through great pains to destroy every one of those concepts.

First lets talk about how they ruined Ash. He gets corrupted by Marshadow and starts acting mean to everyone. He bad mouths Charmander behind his back for losing and says that he would have won with Pikachu. He tells Pikachu that he wishes he got a different Pokemon and distances himself from everyone. This leads to a scene of him being in a normal school and finally making it back to the real world where he gets over it. Sure, Marshadow was manipulating him, but why is there even such a scene in the first place? If it had to happen, give it to one of Ash’s forgettable partners. Ash’s character shouldn’t be sacrificed for such a small plot that had no actual bearing on anything. Take away those couple of minutes and not a thing changes. Then it’s also annoying how Ash loses to Cross because he didn’t have any strategy. Telling Charmeleon to use the same attack multiple times when it was clearly not working was also very annoying. Then getting suckered by Cross into losing his feather by the end makes you shake your head. Ash just looked terrible at many points throughout this movie and is certainly nowhere near his TV show counterpart. He has his moments, but at the end of the day he’s not the great trainer that you’ll remember from the old days.

As the show is condensing a long season into a movie you at least want the big fights, but we don’t get very many action scenes in the film. Most of the ones that we do get are over in 1-2 hits as Pikachu zaps someone or tackles them away. It was clearly not a priority for the film. The fact that Sorrel never gets to fight at all aside from getting one shotted and likewise for Verity just shows how the fighting was pushed to the side. I wanted actual trainer fights and good battles against the Wild Pokemon. This just never happened and the action in this film is quite limited. It’s something that most of the other films did with a lot more success than this one.

Instead, the show focuses on the dark/somber plots from the anime. Butterfree leaving is one of the plots that they choose to keep. Now, it’s not a bad scene in the anime. Ash still got to spend a lot of time with him and we had about 20 happy episodes before and after it. The film is already short so why are we jumping to such a sad scene already? Keep in mind that the film also keeps in the dark Charmander plot where he is abandoned and nearly dies before Ash saves him. The film clearly wanted to be darker and sadder than Pokemon is supposed to be. Those two scenes were already enough, but then the movie really jumped the shark. This is the scene that really wrecked the film beyond repair and what makes it worse is that this scene was absolutely and completely 100% pointless.

Sorrel reminds the audience why he is such a terrible character as when he was a kid he snuck out in the cold. He then fainted so the family’s loyal dog Pokemon had to follow him. Instead of picking the kid up and going home, roaring so people could come help, zapping the kid awake, or making a fire, the Pokemon dies. It just dies for no reason and it’s a very sad moment for no reason at all. The film just wanted to get grim dark to establish Sorrel’s character, but what did it really establish? It didn’t change him in any real way. It’s just a passing line and then the film goes back to trying to be happy in the next scene. I can’t stress enough how pointless this scene was and just how terrible it was. With Pokemon Alola also apparently bumping off Pokemon, it’s just a sad state of affairs that the movie would pick this scene to include in the film. There was no way Sorrel could save himself from this scene of course. Moreover, he talks a good game about being friends with his Pokemon, but does nothing to try and stop Cross when he shows up. He does nothing throughout the film.

Verity at least has some more personality. I was a little annoyed that her fight with Ash was interupted since we could have had an actual battle Ash should have been able to win that one with the type advantage. Her sob story also doesn’t really have a point as she seemingly had some kind of fight with her Mom but then decides to go home and talk it out. More unnecessary drama, but at least it’s not randomly grim so I’ll take it. The film barely acknowledges it after that one scene so that’s for the best. I’m not the biggest fan of Brock and Misty, but I think I would have taken them over these two. At least I think they would have been more ready to help Ash while these two kids simply watched with astonished looks on their faces the entire movie.

Cross is the mean rival and the film does what it can to make the guy as mean as can be. He kicks Charmander and gets away wit it. He beats up Ash and beats up Charmeleon quite a bit and again gets away scot free. While it’s all build up for Ash eventually winning, even that feels negated as he still knocks Ash away and gets the feather. Then he actually turns good which is more of an insult to the cast than anything else. You can’t really convert a character like that in such a short amount of time. While Sorrel reminds Ash that t hey have to respect this guy’s power, they can also respect the fact that they can take him down and bring him over to the cops for Pokemon abuse. Again, I don’t know what the writers were thinking with this film.

As for some actual positives, the graphics are good. Everything looks pretty shiny and modern. This way you at least have something to look at the whole time. When the Pokemon fights happen they look pretty good. Take a shot of water every time a fight is interrupted or ends off screen though. It’ll be good for you. The character designs are on point except for an annoying old man who pops up out of nowhere to contribute nothing to the story. That guy just didn’t have a purpose in the film.

The soundtrack’s not bad. Most of it’s pretty generic and never comes close to the actual first season. The remix of the opening is pretty good. Not as good as the original of course, but it’s more a case of the singer than the remix. The remix sounded pretty identical to the original to be honest which was good. That’s always been the most iconic Pokemon song for a good reason. The new singer did a fine job as well and it was a good way to kick things off. I would have liked a battle theme to accompany it, but since we didn’t really get many of those, I guess that’s why they didn’t bother.

Marshadow is one of the new Pokemon to show up, but I didn’t like him. He was seemingly portrayed as a villain from the start so it was odd that he wasn’t treated like one from the beginning. Unless he wasn’t actually mind controlling Ash and Ash was actually just being super unlikable, but I’m going to just assume it’s the former. He doesn’t even seem that strong and wouldn’t last very long in a real fight. It was cool seeing all of the Legendary Pokemon show up. I was glad Entei basically wiped the floor with everyone although I think Pikachu could give him a good fight 1 on 1. Entei was just running around too much and Ash couldn’t dodge the fire well enough. If he could, Pikachu would eventually take Entei down for the count. Team Rocket is also in this film by the way but seeing as how they just keep getting blasted away over and over again adding nothing to the film, there’s no need to give them their own section. They’re literally just here as cameos for the fans so the writers didn’t really have to think too hard about how to handle them.

So, as far as Pokemon films go this is definitely one of the weakest. I was hoping that a call back to the original Pokemon films would result in this being one of the better ones, but I suppose that just made the flaws more evident. I don’t often like Elseworld stories so I suppose that overrode the nostalgia. The whole thing just didn’t feel right and honestly it just should have had a completely different cast if the plot was going to be so different otherwise. Rename the main character as Stephen or something and then it’s less annoying. I don’t think the score would be any better since it still has the Pokemon death which is effectively an animal death, but it would certainly be less personal. At any rate, I hope this one doesn’t get a sequel and we just go back to the main Pokemon movies.

For an actual list, from what I remember of each film here is how it all ends up. 1. Genesect, 2. Pokemon Destiny Deoxys, 3. Mewtwo, 4. Entei, 5. 2000, 6. Giratina, 7. Heroes, 8. Darkrai, 9. Kyurem, 10. Black n White, 11. Lucario, 12. Hoopa, 13. Arceus, 14. 4 Ever, 15. Volcanion, 16. Zoroark, 17. Jirachi, 18. Diancie, 19. Ranger, 20. I Choose You. The list is a little rough towards the middle. My recollections of 4Ever, Lucario, Darkrai, Jirachi, and Ranger are spotty at best. The Top 5 are pretty well set by this point and will be rather tough to surpass, but not impossible. It’s probably fitting that Sun and Moon, the weakest season in all of Pokemon contains the weakest Pokemon film. If you count it as an Alola film at all, but it’s in that era at any rate.

I can also see why People didn’t like the climax to this film. It just feels all over the place and not really focused. Mind controlling all of the Pokemon and starting a big fight could be good..if the fight actually happened and we weren’t in the final minutes of the film. Ripping off Ash’s famous statue scene from the first movie is also rather shameless and it’s not even handled all that well. After all, this character hasn’t even been through much at all so it’s not as big a moment as it could have been. You can’t do a scene like that so early. The first movie’s scene was also epic as well as sad while this one is just adding yet another sad scene into the mix.

To save this film, it should have just been an adaption of season 1. Why even give Gary a cameo if he isn’t going to do anything? I was expecting him to show up, but it simply never happened. Why give us the Erika fight and mention the Pokemon League if it’s never going to happen either? I suppose these teases are supposed to be fun as you decide to watch the show again, but it just makes you wish for those moments instead of what you’re actually watching. Following the show and having a bunch of Gym Battles would have been a blast. I’d love to see a Pokemon Kai of sorts that does the first season all over again with new animation and I wouldn’t mind if they cut out the filler episodes so it focuses on the main plot. It could have been a blast. Then we would also get a bunch of cool action scenes as well.

Well, aside from the animation and soundtrack, a positive for the film would be that Pikachu looks good. While he did leave Ash pretty quickly once Ash entered into dark mode, he looked good in all of his fights. You never enter a fight thinking Pikachu will lose since he looks so impressive here. His speed is on point and he definitely is one of my favorite Pokemon at this point. Top 5 for sure and since there are over 700 Pokemon that is definitely an impressive feat. It would have been nice to have seen more of Ash’s Pokemon, but Pikachu is always the really important one anyway. I like to think he really gave Ho-Oh a great fight as well.

Overall, This Pokemon film just didn’t feel like Pokemon. That’s the biggest problem with it. It’s very sad and dramatic throughout. What the writers didn’t understand was that it’s okay, or at least not terrible to have sad and grim scenes in a show because you can have dozens of happy episodes between them. You can have a grim plot if handled right as well. However, in a movie, you have a limited amount of time so adding in even just a few sad scenes can change the tone of the entire movie. By having a very cruel rival, death, and permanent farewells in one movie, there’s no chance for a happy moment. The happy scenes in the film instead feel rather hollow, especially as Ash is sharing them with complete strangers who aren’t even that likable. Verity isn’t a bad character, but not a particularly great one either and Sorrel is just bad. you want a Pokemon film to be a fun one, especially if it’s an anniversary film. Instead, you’ll walk away from this film being pretty upset and I’m sure the feeling would have been even worse if you had seen it in the theater. Take my advice and skip this film, it’s just not worth it. I’ll still look forward to the next film though as I’m sure it’ll catch itself and start climbing up again.

Overall 5/10

Summer of Fear Review

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It’s time for an old horror film that has not aged well in any shape of form. “So what are we looking at Bob?” “Well, this film has your usual horror tropes. We have an animal death, rebound characters, a villain who is more interested in seducing than murdering people, no character acting sensible…etc” “Maybe we should say these tropes are just common in bad films then?” “Sounds about right. The film does have a big car chase at the end at least” “Bold move Phil…lets see how it plays out!”

The film starts off with our introduction to Rachel. Her life is pretty complete now as she’s together with the cool kid on campus, Mike, and is even going to enter the big horse competition. She’s got it made, but then news arrives that Julia is going to be staying with her family. Julia’s parents died in a car crash, but Julia managed to live. When she arrives, Rachel’s horse tries to murder her, but is quickly stopped. Something seems off about Julia. Rachel doesn’t know if its the occult possessions that she has around like the cursed marionettes, old horse manes, teeth, etc, or if it’s the fact that everyone seems to be strangely attracted too her. Rachel doesn’t care too much, but slowly Julia starts to take everything away from her. Can Rachel out Julia as a witch or will she simply be destroyed?

The film’s definitely a real slow burner, but it’s one that never feels like you’re building up to something hype. You’ll just be wondering where it all went wrong instead. First off, a teenage girl infiltrating the house as a witch doesn’t even sound all that scary on paper. The film doesn’t go for the scare factor until the final minutes either where Julia shows off her true form. It’s more grotesque than scary, but I guess I’ll give the film some kudos for trying. Julia also has some basic magic powers at her disposal. These include telekinesis, mild super strength, and attraction abilities. She’s just not too smart about using them and instead of holding the main characters in place or something, she drives after them. Since Julia never earned her driver’s license legitimately, she wasn’t prepared for the sharp turns on the mountain. Someone should have told her about the hand brakes.

I definitely couldn’t take her seriously as a villain and what was even her goal? It sounds like she planned to murder them all anyway, but why not do it immediately and then move on? She had dozens of opportunities to pull it off. If her goal was to simply make Rachel’s life miserable and then murder everyone, it’s an unnecessarily risky plan. Rachel could have done something drastic like try to murder Julia in her sleep or people may have found out and stopped her. As it is, Rachel’s Mom started to grow weary of the situation. She didn’t handle it well either, but more on that later. Julia’s just not a very smart antagonist, or even a particularly strong one.

I didn’t like Rachel either. Noticing that Julia had a picture of her with sores and then having it happen should have been the big tip off. The horse tooth/mane as well. Instead Rachel would go about it in the worst way possible like yelling about it in front of everyone so they think she’s crazy. Then letting Mike go off with Julia to the dance wasn’t a good move either. Finally, Rachel got a picture of Julia to prove that she was a witch, but instead of convincing the Mom to develop it she starts stating her accusations. Before calling someone a witch, you should probably think all of the angles through. It’s just worth a few extra moments to think of a more surefire plan if you ask me. She could have made a deal with the Mom like saying she’d try harder to bond with Julia if she had a picture. So much for that though.

The Dad looks pretty terrible since he falls for Julia’s charms and gets mind controlled. The same goes for Mike since mind controlled or not, he went for the rebound right away. Mind Control isn’t really an excuse that I buy into. The Mom notices that the Dad starts to be unfaithful, but she does absolutely nothing about it. At the very least you’d want her to get Julia out of there or to confront her. She just cries about it and leaves town for some shopping. Not the best way to handle the situation, but it’s a good way to leave Julia unsupervised in a house of potential targets.

As I mentioned earlier, to add injury to an already broken film, a horse dies. Julia got it out of the way because it knew the truth about her. If only Rachel had acted sooner this could have been avoided, but not this time since everyone was too slow. It’s definitely a pretty annoying scene. It’s reminiscent of the whole film though as you’ll be annoyed throughout the movie. None of the characters are on the same page and as a result Julia just walks all over them. It was also awfully convenient that nobody knew how Julia was supposed to look so they didn’t know she was actually someone else. I’ll assume there was no mind wipe here so it was just a plot device.

No worries, there is a twist ending here. I can’t say that it’s very thrilling and I suppose you’ll only get a kick out of it if you’re a big Julia fan. You just know that this next family isn’t going to fare too well against Julia either. You could argue that their best chance is to be totally oblivious to her, but she’ll still murder them anyway so it’s a lose-lose situation. At least the cops took the situation in stride so maybe one of them will recall the former case and attack Julia. More likely he’ll turn over his badge to her though so you can’t count on that.

Overall, This film was definitely a flop. It never even feels like a horror film and is instead like a very poorly written drama. There’s no intensity here, just bad characters and writing. I think the only character that seemed to be okay was Rachel’s best friend from the hospital. She was reasonable and much more likable than the others. It’s probably for the best that she didn’t appear much or things may not have ended well for her. We had the occult professor who knew about Julia’s tricks, but still didn’t do anything to stop her from defeating him. His only purpose in the film is to confirm Rachel’s fears, but we didn’t need him in the film. She would have been forced to accept the situation at some point anyway. There’s just not much to like about this film and I can’t see any reason why someone would want to check it out. I’d highly recommend you avoid this film as much as possible. It’s not good as a horror film or as a romance title. It’s just a film that you want to forget as quickly as possible.

Overall 2/10