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

Jack Frost Review

After watching the animated Jack Frost movie a while back, I had to check out the live action one. Don’t let this intimidate you…but Michael Keaton is Jack Frost this time around. He may not look like the Jack from the animated film, but it doesn’t really follow that plot anyway. It’s a fun film that breezes by, but the ending holds it back a little in the replay value department.

Jack is the lead player in a band. The problem is that it means he doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with his son Charlie. One day, Jack is called away on Christmas, which is the last straw for Charlie. Charlie gives up on being a musician in his downtime from being a hockey all star in training. As Jack drives away, he decides that the gig just isn’t worth missing Christmas for. Unfortunately, he had already set things into motion and is murdered taken out of commission on the way home. Charlie doesn’t take the news of his dad’s death very well and keeps to himself for the next year. When a snow man barges into his front yard the next Christmas while claiming to be Jack, Charlie is understandably skeptical. Could Jack have really been given a second chance to watch Charlie score a goal?

The film takes a while to get to the actual Snowman part and it isn’t a very long movie to begin with. Luckily, the first half is still pretty interesting. Jack wasn’t written as an extremely bad Dad or anything so it made the role more realistic. He did have a bad habit of cancelling his promises and it was definitely an issue on his side since he completely forgot about it in the movie as opposed to being called out for work. He should have turned down the Christmas gig on the spot since that was something that could be avoided, but nobody’s perfect and he made the right call in the end. Jack was a likable main character and if anything, you may want to see more of him than the Snowman. Speak for yourself if that’s the case though since I liked the snow form.

It felt like something out of Frosty and the movie even references this. The film runs into a major snag here though. Jack doesn’t want Charlie to let anyone know that he has come back from the dead…this includes Gabby, Jack’s wife. So, why does he not want her to know this? Well, that’s tough to say because it doesn’t make any sense, especially with Jack’s personality. There’s no way that he’s just ashamed to see her as a snow man. For one thing, the snowman was well made aside from its head being too big, also Jack just has too much confidence for that. My guess is that they didn’t want her to know because it adds an extra level of drama to the film as you have to question whether Charlie is actually making this up or not. The whole cast should see the snow man talking, but only 2 of them actually react to it. So, either everyone has bad eyesight or maybe this is actually fake. Luckily, the film doesn’t go down that terrible path, but I feel like that’s what the film was going for. It wasn’t worth it though.

Also, as mentioned before, the ending is pretty underwhelming. It’s not a terrible ending like Bridge to Terebithia, but it’s not a brilliantly out of left field ending like Madoka Magica Rebellion. It just ends on a flat note while you wonder why Charlie isn’t a little smarter. Considering that a few sounds from his magical instrument were enough to set the events in motion…couldn’t he have just played a little more with a different wish? Not only does Charlie not try this idea out, he doesn’t even consider it. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me. Now I know why Charlie couldn’t hit the J shot, he never thinks outside the box.

Charlie…wasn’t a good main character. I couldn’t sympathize with him much at all. He definitely has good reason to be a little upset at Jack choosing his job over the family for Christmas, but at least Jack was hoping to earn some money for all of them since the family was on the poor side. For the rest of it, Charlie could have taken it all better. At least he helped stick up for the little girl during the snowball fights with the bullies. It was great…until he left her to fend for herself when there were two bullies towards the end. He flat out just left her and the character never really recovered from that.

Gabby was a good heroine. She was pretty reasonable the whole time and didn’t jump to a lot of hasty conclusions like some other characters have done in the past. She took the snowman plot in stride. We also had the Hockey coach. I just have to mention him because he had one of the most motivating speeches I’ve ever heard in Hockey and really helped the team get their competitive spirit back. Never winning is definitely tough so I’m glad that his team pulled it out in the very end. Another character was one of Jack’s band buddies, but he didn’t do much. He mostly just slept on the job and attempted to have some witty dialogue, but he forgot the wit part of it. The side characters didn’t have much to do, but again…it was a fairly short film. There wasn’t a whole lot that they could do so the film just developed them all a bit and kept it moving. Hey, it still had time to fit in the “cheesy bully turns good” moment.

The best moments in the film were probably the snowball fights. These action moments were a good contrast to the rest of the film. There were a few solid rounds and they all had very serious themes playing. Yes, the film actually had a soundtrack and it was actually very good. I was pleasantly surprised to see this. Watching the kids all get defeated by a Snowman was also pretty rich. Hey, Jack’s a natural at this. The animation for the Snowman wasn’t bad I suppose as they got the permanent glare that Frosty always had, but the actual design could have been a little better. I would have liked fists instead of twigs for the hands since it would have let Jack fight a little more. I suppose that was good news for his opponents though.

Overall, Jack Frost was a fun film. It’s not the kind of film that will end up being particularly memorable, but it hit enough of the right notes. I wouldn’t say that the film did anything wrong and while the ending was underwhelming, it wasn’t terrible of anything like that. A bad ending can go a long way, but this ending is good enough to not hurt the film. I’d recommend this to someone that just wants to see a nice film for Christmas. It’s mostly pretty uplifting and while it tries to have a somber plot, I’d say that it is less successful in that department. Maybe it’s about time I check out those Santa Clause films again. It’ll help pass the time by until they make a Jack Frost vs Mummy 2018 film or something. That’d be a fun match up although they’d need to power up Frost a bit. This version was not too strong to say the least.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

She’s a Good Skate Charlie Brown Review

It’s time for another Charlie Brown special. Surprisingly, Charlie doesn’t have much of a role this time, which is actually quite shocking. Patty is the main character this time around as she enters an ice skating competition so she has to train quite a lot if she wants to take home the gold trophy. With Snoopy as her coach this goal is definitely possible, but it will still be quite difficult. Will she fall to the Charlie Brown curse or will she be able to win the whole thing?

It’s definitely unique to have Patty have such a starring role. She is a decently good character, but I have to say that Charlie Brown has more charisma as the title character. One scene where Patty shows why she is a good main character is when she is attacked by around 10 bullies. Charlie Brown would have ran away, but Patty eagerly fights them off along with her coach, Snoopy. Snoopy then clears the field so the 10 kids are shoveled away. It’s why you never want to mess with Snoopy when he is coaching someone. It was probably the highlight of the special.

As with the last Peanuts special that I reviewed, this one is essentially a sports themed one. Ice Skating can be a sport after all and Snoopy teaches Patty all that she knows. Unfortunately, Snoopy was probably burdened with too many tasks this time. He makes costumes, handled the music, handles the field, and is Patty’s coach. This gives her an edge on the other contestants, but Snoopy mishandles the music so Patty has to wing it with the whistling of a bird nearby. The other contestants weren’t bad for their ages, but they simply didn’t put in the same amount of practice that Patty did. She got up at 4:30 after all and while her homework may have taken a hit as a result, at least she got to have her 5 minutes of fame and a trophy that will last a lifetime.

If I had one complaint with Patty, it would be that she is rather ungrateful to Marcie. Patty asked Marcie to make her a costume out of the blue so Marcie tried her best, but the end result wasn’t so good. Still, the thought is what counts, but Marcie threw in some insults right off the bat. It was a bit harsh considering the situation. Ah well, not all of the characters can be as awesome as Snoopy right? Charlie Brown and the others only get a line or two and typically only try to discourage Patty from afar. These friends don’t have a lot of confidence in her.

The animation is fairly standard for Peanuts. If you’re a fan of this more abstract retro animation style, then you’ll like it. Keep in mind that these specials did come out quite a while ago. The songs used for the skating scenes are all classics that have aged well to this day. They are all soothing and fitting for a nice game of Ice Skating although I wouldn’t want to see the themes pop up in an action film. Some music are simply more suitable for one genre than another one, although battle music is pretty much always applicable.

Finally, it’s nice to have a happy ending for a change. Most Charlie Brown specials have rather sad endings to remind you that life isn’t easy. That’s fine for most of them, but once in a while the characters should have a victory right? This is that moment and maybe it will just be a running gag that the only films to have happy endings will be the ones where Charlie Brown isn’t the main character. That would be rather sad, but also an interesting gimmick.

Overall, She’s a Good Skate Charlie Brown was a solid special. It felt more to the point than some of the others and there wasn’t really any filler here. The special didn’t try to buy any time and just launched right into the plot. I feel like some Charlie Brown specials have a hard time cutting out the padding so this was nice to see. I’m always up for a snow time adventure as well since the scenery is quite sharp. If you want to see a charming little adventure than this special is right up your alley. It’s also short so it is not as if you would lose a lot of time by watching it. It’s over in a flash.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

The Polar Express Review

THIS IS THE POLAR EXPRESS!!!!! When the conductor yelled that, it was an intense scene. It’ll remind you of a time when someone may have said that you’re homemade oven baked french fries tasted like McDonald’s so you’d say “What…THIS IS THE HOME COOKED DINNER I MADE!” I dunno, I just got that vibe and it was a pretty epic quote. I can’t say that the film is very epic though. It’s a nice Christmas story, but that’s about all that I can say for it right now. It definitely needed some work in different areas and doesn’t fully live up to its hype, but it feels good to see a quality Christmas film.

I didn’t actually realize this while watching the film, but the main character’s name was actually never said? That’s pretty surreal if you ask me. Well…it’s not like he was a likable character anyway so I can get around that. One day, the kid goes outside so he can catch Santa Clause in the act of giving away presents, but a train pulls into his backyard. The conductor tells him to climb aboard and the main character reluctantly obliges this request. Once aboard, he meets the other kids, but the main character can’t stay out of trouble. He drops a girl’s train ticket out the window so now he must try to find it as the train gets closer and closer to the North Pole. Time to meet Santa!

As you can already guess, I did not like the main character. He was constantly double thinking the other kids and was always way too hesitant. Who would leave their warm house on Christmas Eve in the dead of night to go aboard a mysterious train? I would have still had some respect for the kid if he had gone in right away, but he waited until after the train was leaving to jump on. These moments of hesitation just make him look bad. The main character also loses the girl’s ticket in rather clumsy fashion. How hard can it be to hold on to a ticket?

The film likes to be very mysterious so you can decide on whether things really happened or if they were a dream. In one scene, the main character sees the conductor take the girl to the top of the train where they braved the elements and walked all the way over to the front area where she took charge of the controls. The main character tried to follow them, but it was a long journey and he got to go Skiing. I’m pretty sure that he just fell in the snow and fainted before waking up and quickly walking over to the front. Still, I wonder if he had started making the journey at all and maybe this was all just an elaborate dream…nahhhh. I still would never say that this was a dream, supernatural elements are fun after all.

The main girl was all right so she helped to cover for the main character. She believed in having a good time and going with the flow. Unlike the main character, who forgot about the kid who jumped aboard and then did not want to take the risk of giving him any hot cocoa, the girl was always ready to help. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the shy kid who came aboard. Jumping on the train was already dicey, but then deciding to hide by himself in the final car….I don’t know about that. Seemed like a strange move and there weren’t even any token bullies that were around to keep him away. There was the smart kid who loved to talk and talk and talk, but the guy was never mean spirited. If anything, it was impressive to see him keep up with the main characters. Almost a little too impressive, but I’ll let it slide.

There aren’t a whole lot of Christmas songs to be found here, but a few did pop up before the film ended and those tunes were good. The soundtrack was good enough considering that I didn’t have huge hopes for it and the quick Hot Chocolate dance wasn’t bad either. It was neat to see how you can throw a Hot Chocolate in such a way so that it would not spill. Now that’s what I call true Skillz!

The animation still isn’t my thing. It sort of reminds me of those “Animate yourself” ads that played a while back before the hand drawn versions replaced them. It doesn’t feel very high budget even though it probably did cost a bit for the transition. I think American animation can be good, but I prefer more of a traditional approach like Justice League or something or that nature. It allows for more streamlined action scenes. For example, jumping on the train and getting across the mountains would be more intense visually using the classic animation strategies. The scenes were still cool though and the animation isn’t bad like some other styles, but this “theater” feel that I get from the film isn’t really a positive this time.

I felt like the film moved on at a fairly quick pace. I never found myself bored, but you definitely need to go into the film remembering that there is barely a plot. Most of the film is just the train ride to the goal and the slight setback of going through a factory first. Nothing really happens by the end so you can go away with an empty feeling, but maybe you’ll walk away with a grin instead. I feel like the film would have been significantly better with older main characters. Yes, not just better, but significantly better. I actually thought up a plot that would have made this film almost unrecognizable in terms of quality.

The main characters could have been business folk who never had time to spend with their kids on Christmas because they would work overtime or they would be catching up on zzzzz’s. So, one day a train rolls into the backyard on Christmas Eve saying that they will learn the true meaning of Christmas, and a large check of money if the trip was a waste. The business guys and gals would jump at the chance for this and during the ride: bonds would be formed, (Friendzone bonds because the main characters will all already have an attachment or just not be interested in that sort of thing) challenges would be overcome, and lessons would be learned. The dialogue would be much better and the characters would have a chance to be charismatic.

Tom Hanks ended up being the best character here and more adults in the film could have given him some competition if given the chance. Characters are very important and you can always count on that aspect of the film being able to tip the scales when given a chance. We need a Polar Express remake with adults and as long as the writing is on point, you can bet that it will be an improvement.

Overall, The Polar Express is a good film. I don’t really buy into the enormous amounts of hype that the film got back in the day, but it’s a fairly nice adventure. I just wish that the characters could have been more likable as that was the film’s main weakpoint. I wouldn’t have minded an action scene or two as well while I’m on the subject. You can’t go wrong with a quick fight right? I doubt this film is getting a sequel at this point, but if it does…I want Santa Clause to have to debate on whether he should work on Christmas anymore or not. I also want to see the parents ask where the kids went during the night, they must have noticed that something was up after all! (I do like how they dismissed the bell though, it was an epic troll moment. Of course, I could go on and on about the bell. Just when I thought the main character couldn’t get worse…he put the bell in his broken pocket. I just don’t see how you would do such a thing, you would notice that it wasn’t in your pocket immediately right? Noooooooooooo)

Overall 6/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

We Ski Review

I rarely ever give video games a negative review. I’ve played hundreds of them in the past and have probably only considered around 10 of them to be downright bad. That being said, I’m afraid this game earns that. While it may have some redeemable features, it’s not enough to break even and I really won’t be missing this title. It was quite the challenge playing it for as long as I did.

There’s not really a story mode here. You’re launched into a very snowy island and have to fend for yourself. It’s tough, but your Mii is ready for whatever obstacles he may face. Prepare for a lot of not very helpful NPCs as they will tell you to be careful, but not much more than that. You can run around taking photos and doing side quests like that or just tackle each of the Ski trails. The one sad thing about the Ski Trails is that you’re just trying to get a solid ranking. You’re not actually racing or competing with the other racers in any shape or form. That’s a bit of a let down since I can tell you that the racing is the best part of the game and I only got to experience that through multiplayer mode.

For the Ski Trails, you get ranked on how fast you completed the level, how quickly you were moving, how many tricks you did, and how good you were at turning. If you get 3 S+ rankings and 1 D, your ranking for that stage ends up being a D. It’s a very dicey way to score a section and will make you wish that it was more like a regular video game which gives you a nice average. It doesn’t help that the game isn’t all that fun so you may not bother trying to get your ranking any higher after a while.

Why is the game simply not fun? It all comes down to the controls. This game is very unresponsive and you will find it accepting your commands after a delay at times, which can destroy you in the tricks category. Turning in this game is broken as the game wants you to do a lot of really small turns to get a passing grade, but it’s extremely difficult to do so while still getting a good ranking on speed. It’s just hard to get any traction in the snow and your character will simply refuse to move from his spot. It can get quite annoying and makes you restart the level once again.

Naturally, the game uses motion controls so you’ll be tilting your controls every which way to try and move, but it will be to no avail. You’ll quickly realize that it’s all futile, but at least you’ll understand the controls right away. You simply won’t be able to win with them…that’s a shame. As mentioned earlier, there are various modes here like racing and Moguls, but they all play exactly the same way. You’ll be riding down a slope with your Skis and it’s a fight to the finish!

On the bright side, the graphics are actually fairly decent. They’re not amazing, but they get the job done and the game is certainly very clear so you always know what is happening. The soundtrack is also fairly good. You can actually hear some Pac Man music if you strain your ears. I can’t prove this, but it certainly sounds like the classic theme, although it may have been slightly remixed. Either way, that’s reason enough to play the game right? Wrong!

There’s not a whole lot of replay value to be found here unless you actually like the game. If you do, then you can have fun in multiplayer or completing all of the quests in Single Player. Unlocking everything at the shop should buy you some time and getting all S ranks will be no small feat. You can probably spend lots of hours just owning all of the events as long as the controls are doable for you. The game is deceptively difficult thanks to the controls though so that really extends the game’s length. Seriously, it’s just unreal, but I did get an S rank or two myself so that was neat.

See, I just can’t get past the controls. Try as I might to like the game, it simply didn’t work for me. The game didn’t grow on me like the MnM’s game did. That being said, I’m still planning on getting the sequel at some point. It may just be the power of a good trailer, but the sequel actually looks really good and the gameplay seems to have sped up quite a bit. That’s what I’m talking about and the excitement/hype is very real now! I can’t guarantee that the sequel will be a good game, but I certainly hope that it can rise to the occasion.

Overall, We Ski can proudly show itself off to the world as one of the only bad games that I have ever played. At its core, We Ski still shines as a game with potential. The multiplayer mode is actually quite fun after all and the Skiing can be all right when the controls are actually working smoothly for a change. These things are just inconsistent at best and dicey at worst so you can’t really count on the game. A game should never be frustrating to play and I don’t really see myself playing this game again. It’s time for it to build up dust in the game collection area, but at least it had its moment. If you manage to get all S ranks in the levels for this game, you’re a true warrior!

Overall 4/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Frosty The Snowman Review

I’m sure that just about everyone has heard of Frosty The Snowman. This guy is a living legend when it comes to Christmas movies and you definitely don’t want to miss the yearly airing of his film. It’s a pretty nice story that leaves you feeling good. It’s rather old, but the animation is still easy to look at and it doesn’t hamper the movie.

The plot is pretty simple as a few kids decide to celebrate as they get off from the final day of school. They didn’t like the magician who came in to entertain the class very much so they dashed outside to build a snowman. They put a magic hat on him and he becomes…Frosty The Snowman! Unfortunately, the weather begins to warm up so their big plans will have to be put on hold. Frosty knows that the only way he can survive is if he makes it to the North Pole so Karen decides to accompany him there. Will they really make it all the way there and still get Karen home in time for supper? This will be close!

This is the kind of film that you just don’t see anymore. It’s charming and it really has no faults. It’s a pretty fun film from start to finish and Frosty is a pretty likable lead. He only wants what is best for everyone and he makes the ultimate sacrifice to help his friends. It’s a very touching story and the implications of one scene are very huge. Let’s just say that Frosty may have had the chance to save his life if he had busted through a window, but he knew that could have endangered the lives of many plants and Karen to he kept still. He is a true hero.

Karen is a pretty good character as well. She makes a rock solid case against Mr. Hickle on why Frosty should keep his hat and she also decides to accompany Frosty to the North Pole without a whole lot of hesitation. Her one negative may be that she didn’t properly thank the rabbit at the beginning. He went to a lot of trouble to help the heroes out so it would have been good if they had acknowledged that.

Mr. Hickle is the main villain and he’s actually pretty sinister. He’ll do just about anything if it means that he can get rich and he resorts to stealing from little kids. It’s a good thing that Frosty and Santa were there or he could have kept embarrassing himself in front of crowds with his fake magic tricks. He is also pretty fast since he chases Frosty across a few hills and he doesn’t feel any remorse when he traps Frosty in the equivalent of an oven to the poor snowman.

Luckily, Santa Clause sets everyone straight by the end. This is Santa Clause as you would expect him to be portrayed. He’s virtually indestructible and his super strength knows no bounds. He is able to basically give every character what he or she wants for Christmas and he does it without breaking a sweat. He probably doesn’t even need the reindeer at this point, but he probably loves the view. It’s a team effort after all so all of the players have to pitch in to help. Santa’s also pretty cunning since he knows just how to break Mr. Hickle without having to use one of his famous energy blasts.

As I mentioned earlier, the animation is pretty decent. It’s old so naturally some of the proportions can be off at times and most of the characters have big heads, but that just gives it an extra boost of nostalgia value. It still feels more real than many of today’s shows and you can tell that a lot of work was put into this one. I’ll still take old hand drawn animation over C.G.I. almost any day. The soundtrack is decent and you’ll hear a lot of Christmas songs. I’m not a huge fan of some of the Frosty The Snowman renditions, but they’re not bad either. They definitely get you in the mood for the film.

Overall, Frosty The Snowman is another good title to watch for Christmas alongside the Little Drummer Boy. It’s a pretty emotional story where the stakes actually end up being pretty high. Frosty may be a little oblivious at some times and you have to question his selective memory, (He knows about thermometers and other snowmen, but he doesn’t know what a traffic light is) but he always tries to learn what to do for next time. Mr. Hickle is a pretty tough villain and he’s someone that you can root against. I’m also sure that everyone will be pleased with Santa’s portrayal since he looks pretty tough from start to finish. The title is only about 30 minutes so you’ll definitely have time to check it out before you go back to your Christmas celebration!

Overall 7/10

Battles, Lightning Battles, Snow Battles

Snow vs Lightning

Lightning got to punch out Snow quite a couple times in the game. Snow was never able to dodge or fight back so his fighting skills aren’t that great. He takes a loss in this battle. Lightning is just the stronger warrior and takes this match. Maybe one day Snow will get tougher and win this match. Lightning wins.