Candy Flurry Review


Candy Flurry is a fairly recent Jump title that never managed to get out from the bottom of the rankings. While its cancellation always appeared imminent, it seemed to have a pretty cool gimmick going. Who doesn’t like sweets? In many ways it was going after the One Piece angle of eating a food that gives you special powers while still being different in its own right. It’s a solid series but I think its attempts at humor were ultimately its undoing.

The series begins by explaining the general lore of the series which is that Tokyo was destroyed by a bunch of giant lollipops that rained down from the sky. 5 years later nobody has actually started rebuilding yet but people are still trying to raise funds to do so. A toy company had come out with 100 snacks which gave people super powers. Each candy is unique so no two people will have the same power. As a result the government put together a special unit known as the Recette to track down these 100 power users.

Each user needs to either register with the government or be arrested. You are not allowed to use your powers against non power users and that is true even for government agents unless you’re taking down a criminal. Nobody knows much more than that about the company that released these snacks and so the world is still going ahead as normal but now there are many people who no longer like snacks.

We’re then introduced to our main character Tsumugi. She has the ability to use Lollipops in combat but is not the one who attacked the system. This is dangerous because as the world knows, no two people can have the same power. So nobody will believe her if she tries to say anything and since she knows this is a lie, is it also a lie that there are only 100 power users out there? She aims to find the true culprit and live a normal life in the meantime but it’s difficult with criminals running everywhere.

Her life is changed forever when she meets a guy named Misaki. He’s a young member of the Recette who is determined to be a great agent but lacks real ability. She saves him from a punk so now he is the only one who knows her identity. Together they must catch the criminals while making sure she isn’t detected but that will be difficult. Can Tsumugi pull this off?

At its core this is a classic Shonen Jump title. It’s a very light hearted adventure that is part school comedy and part action. It reminds me a bit of the opening act for Seraph of the End but without the violent beginning. This doesn’t really seem like the kind of series that will go that far. It’s early on of course but definitely happier than most titles and you can get a feel for that from the art style as well. Perhaps World Trigger would be the best comparison.

One of the strongest positives for the series is the artwork. It’s way clearer than you would expect from a new series. Unlike the Ghostwriter, I don’t believe this is from an already established artist either which only serves to increase how impressive this is. The powers are very clear when they’re in use and the fights are on point. The action scenes are always pretty fast though with Tsumugi typically defeating her opponents in a single shot.

I’d like some longer fights but I’m sure the author was trying to cover as much ground as possible so I can see why the pacing is so fast. The fights are good and I do like the overall atmosphere. The school combat routine lends itself well to these kinds of adventures. Many memorable titles started out like this such as Bleach, Buzo Renkin, Seraph of the End and more. There are so many different ways you could take this and there is a lot of groundwork laid out for a lot of extra lore.

You’ve got different classes of fighters and a whole government structure. The toy group will clearly have a nefarious agenda and with 100 power users, that may not sound like a lot but it’s still enough to last for a few arcs until we get more villains. Presumably the Recette isn’t completely useless so lets say they’ve already apprehended about 30 power users. The government probably employs around 30 agents so when you throw in Tsumugi then there should be at least 30+ on the loose. If they’re all strong then that will work out well.

You’ve also got the steroid pills that anyone can use so you can have human villains as well. I do think it was a mistake to show us some of the most powerful government workers this early though. Irie and Amanai are both members of the top 5 agents in the whole government and they are struggling against the villain group right away. That’s why you usually keep the strongest fighters hidden until later. Jujutsu Kaisen pulled it off by showing Gojo right away…but he wasn’t struggling in his first fights. That would be anti climactic and so Candy Flurry should have made these guys maybe Top 30 or Top 20. Going straight to Top 5 is too fast.

Still, it’s all good so far so where does the series struggle? Personally I think the writing is the biggest problem that Candy Flurry has. It’s not nearly as funny as it seems to think it is. One of Tsumugi’s gimmicks is commenting on how cute she is so the guys will always buy her snacks and be nice to her. That’s a rather…narcissistic trait for a main character. I was rather taken aback when she talked like that. We learn that she has been asked out like 30 times or so which I guess has bolstered her confidence every time she declines.

Then she accuses one of the villains of sexual harassment when he pointed out that his gum might get stuck in her hair when he’s shooting his attacks (He has gum powers) so maybe she should cut it. That’s….a very big stretch on her part. It just makes Tsumugi a little more unlikable than anything else because that’s a very out of place line and destroys any chance at bantering.

I like Tsumugi’s confidence when in battle but as a character I actually didn’t like her all that much. She has her share of comedic moments that are solid and she is serious in battle but her personality just doesn’t mesh well with the character. If anything you just feel bad for Misaki when Tsumugi is using him or framing him to higher expectations than he can ever hope to achieve. He is rather slow on the uptake though so a lot of it is his fault.

Not to pile onto her character too much but she also has some of the worst comebacks to the villains. One of them mentions how he wants to make everyone a power user so he can be the strongest with his lollipops at which point Tsumugi says that sweets are for eating not fighting. Keep in mind that she’s saying this after smashing people in the head with her Lollipop and defeating numerous opponents. Her speech about how anything connected to a stick can be a lollipop also felt incredibly random.

So, Tsumugi has her charms but I think the writing hurts her character. Ideally as the series went on she would get a lot better though. Not every character is amazing out of the gate like Bam, Yoh, or Yugi but if a series goes on long enough usually you will improve. So I don’t doubt that she would get better. One step to doing that would be to stop holding back even when you’re about to die but that’s mostly on the series being abruptly ended so I think she wasn’t meant to be as powerful as she was in the final chapter.

Continuing on the writing angle though, it’s not like this only hurts Tsumugi. Irie is another character in the series and one of the Top 5 fighters that I mentioned. She has some of the same iffy dialogue. She accuses another villain of harassment and what I did like is that he calls her out on it. He asks why she has a double standard between him and another villain who’s traditionally more good looking and she struggles for a response. When she accuses him a second time he flat out denies it and she admits that she made a mistake.

This in no way makes Irie even slightly likable. Now, she was stalling for time in the second instance so you could say this was to that end, but it has to be one of the worst ways to stall for time. Additionally she is very one note. Her personality is that she can be really smart at times and really dumb at other moments. She’ll make a great deduction and then fall for the simplest trick in the book. Or she’ll land a great combat technique and then remember that she left her books at home.

Thing is, this happens in every single one of her appearances. This goes back to Candy Flurry trying to move really fast even to its own detriment. Each character has a gimmick and the author wants you to remember this so it is brought up every time. Irie has her forgetfulness, Misaki always follows the rules, Amanai is a tough coach, Tsumugi’s teammate is super in love with Irie and always crying, etc.

Now I get that there is pressure to move fast or you’ll be cancelled but this does end up hurting Flurry a bit. I think to a large extent the series was trying to also be a commentary on Shonen Jump titles like Medaka Box but doesn’t have nearly the same level of writing ability. You have Tsumugi criticizing the trope of just jumping into battle without a plan, a villain getting insulted for wearing a uniform that just so happens to have an image that looks like him, etc. The dialogue can feel really meta a lot of the time but it’s just not executed very well.

You know how when meta dialogue is very well done you don’t think twice and just grin because of how true the critique is? That’s not the case here as you’ll just pause and think, would the characters actually say that? It’s entertaining though even if not very realistic. To underscore, the series is still a lot of fun. There are plenty of humor moments that do land like the dialogue with the Popcorn user and Tsumugi. The debates about which candy is best can be good as well. What truly counts as a Lollipop and what doesn’t. Things like that are interesting and I also like that the characters don’t have exaggerated reactions to the humor. They take things personally and keep joking around while trying to hurt the other one. The moments like this are really good so I think the series is at its best when the humor is being direct like that. So it has its flaws but I do want to underscore that you should still get some good chuckles out of this.

Lets talk about the rest of the characters now. I already talked about Tsumugi quite a bit and also started on Irie. Not much more to say about her but Irie’s ice cream ability seems like it would be really useful. It’s just a shame that she isn’t immune to her own power and can only fight for 3 minutes after activation which is a huge weakness. I also found it a little funny how she disregards Tsumugi as a suspect for being too weak since Irie was stomping her and nearly murdered the heroine but later on we find out that Tsumugi was holding back and is actually way stronger than Irie….

Misaki is the main guy here and while he may be powerless, he has a heart of justice. It would be nice if he were a bit stronger though as he loses to random minions on the street. Additionally, he gets beaten up by the bullies because he refuses to harm a civilian. Sorry but this is taking things wayyyy too far. If someone’s beating you up then you better defend yourself. There’s nothing heroic about being pounded into the dirt so that hurts him quite a lot.

As for Amanai, he doesn’t appear nearly long enough to get much of a read on him. They’re definitely going for an Eraser feel for him as the guy has a similar costume, is sleepy/bored all the time but gets really serious about the rules. He doesn’t get to have a proper fight though as it is interrupted by the main villain and he’s sidelined real quickly. I could see him being a fun character if the series had kept going though.

Umino is the son of the boss of the Recette so he’s a fairly big shot but his opening appearance is him crying a lot. Now, this is a character I can maybe get behind. If you can get around the fact that he is constantly trying to impress Irie even if it means dying in the process and his lack of confidence, and you’ve got a good character. He has enough power to defeat several fighters at once after all and even gives the Popcorn user a good piece of advice.

I dare say that he is probably my favorite hero in the series. I’d have to think about it some more but off the top I’d say that’s true. I also think there were a lot of things he would probably do in the future. My actual favorite character is the pop corn user. What’s his name? Well, this is a slight nitpick for the series but they rarely use names so that makes it difficult to find them. Even for Umino, they only say his name once in his debut appearance chapters on a little tablet when you’re looking at the tournament bracket. Otherwise you just don’t know who he is. Seriously, in the first three chapters where this guy appears they don’t say his name once so I’m just going to have to call him the Popcorn guy.

But yeah Popcorn guy is pretty great. He’s clearly modeled off of Bakugo’s character design to the point where one panel almost seems ripped straight out of MHA. Same costume from that angle and the same pose. I like that this guy is your classic “Really wants to fight” character while also having some original traits. When Tsumugi calls him a loser he refuses to tell her anything about the villains which is reasonable. A lot of times you see the villain still tell everything but he took that insult rather personally.

In fact, he takes every insult she dishes out (And there are a lot) personally and even tries to change himself as a result. Umino points out that this would actually make him a loser if he changes upon request so you feel bad for the guy because everyone is taking shots at him. Still, as a villain he has a lot of personality and just really sticks out. Which I quickly skimmed through the chapters and it looks like none of the villain members aside from the leader gets a power so they’re just off handily referred to my their snacks. I guess like a hero name? Hmmm…..well I’ll go with that for the review too then.

Another villain member is Gum and he’s another good villain. He’s the one who called out Irie’s double standard and he is fairly creative with his ability. Even once the gum is frozen he is able to quickly figure out how to fight with it. The guy is even crying during the battle because of how hurt he is. Candy Flurry really loves its emotional characters that’s for sure. It works well for this guy.

Then you have Gummy who is one of those villains that acts like a hero the whole time. He doesn’t believe in cheap shots and just wants to have a clean fight. He doesn’t like hostages either. Yet…he does use cheap shots and take hostages so the guy is absolutely all talk. He seems to want to help Misaki keep his secret identity though. It’s hard to get a read on him so ultimately I’d say he’s just insane or heavily misguided. We have a quick flashback where all of the villains actually wanted to be heroes the whole time but it never worked out due to off screen events we’ll never know about.

I think it’s an interesting idea to have a villain who feels like he’s a hero. You can do a lot with that but this guy betrays his ideals within the span of a chapter so I can’t take him seriously. Meanwhile there are about 4-5 other members who show up briefly in the third last chapter but they’re all taken out off screen and only appear in one more panel. I guess they were about to have some big fights before the author was told that the series was about to be abruptly ended. They looked like they had potential but we don’t know a whole lot about them at this point. The third member would be cookie I think but he didn’t even get a line so there’s not much to say about him.

It is uncanny how each member of the villain group looks so similar to other characters. You have Bakugo from MHA, Yuji and Megumi from JJK, Zora from Black Clover, etc. I suppose it’s tough to come up with new character designs after a while but with so many characters it’s hard not to notice.

Finally you have the main villain Amato. This guy took out an entire city so he’s definitely a threat and he does take out most of the heroes really quickly. His goal of turning everyone into power users is a pretty interesting one although we don’t know how he would go about doing this yet. I do like that he’s very loyal to the rest of his group though and even sets out to save them.

Based on the flashback we see that he’s a rather caring guy as well. I definitely expect he would be turning good at some point since the series already laid the seeds for that along with the rest of the group. Ultimately he only gets to fight for 2 chapters at which point the series ends but he was impressive. I liked his personality and abilities so he could have gone far.

The snacks lend itself well to the fight scenes because of how much variety they had. They were very different from your average fights and I imagine the creativity would have only continued to increase if the series was given more time. The giant robot at the end felt extremely random to the point where it became a bit of a meme but I think that only happened because the series was cancelled. Otherwise it makes no sense because no matter how Tsumugi tries to explain it…that robot was not a Lollipop in any shape or form.

I did appreciate the twist that Tsumugi was actually the most powerful sweets user around and was just holding back the whole time. I’m all up for having an overpowered protagonist and it also explains her absolute confidence the whole time. I do suspect that she was not meant to be this powerful and had to be boosted since she needed to beat the main villain in one chapter but maybe not. It was hinted in one chapter that she was super powerful when she “barely” defeated one villain only to suddenly be at full strength when fighting another. Even the villain commented that she had seemed tired just a moment ago.

As you can see by the size of the review, there was a lot to discuss here. I think that speaks volumes about the potential of the manga. It was only 19 chapters and yet there is so much to talk about. It really was a unique experience even if a lot of the overall fundamentals were on the generic side. After all, a lot of battle Shonens will have similarities and it’s that extra element you add to it that determines if you will be an all star or not. If this could have gone on for many more chapters maybe it could have been the next big thing.

As a final note, here’s what I would have done differently to keep the series from being cancelled. The first thing is to make Tsumugi more of a likable character. Just don’t make her the kind of character who is too into herself and take away the accusations from the villains. It seems like the author wanted to make her a very confident character based on most of her portrayal so just focus on that.

Maybe throw in some bragging about her abilities or trash talking during combat. Give her the kind of lines you would see Yusuke, Ichigo, or Ryoma have since it seems like she should be that kind of protagonist. That’s a quick fix and I think it would be a good one since Tsumugi does have a lot of instances where she is very likable. Just a tiny tweak here and there and you would stick the landing.

Work on improving the writing as well. Get rid of the dialogue that feels extremely out of place. If you want to keep the humor up, keep doing it with the meta dialogue and all but try to make it feel more natural. A key thing to remember here is also that the heroes should be likable so don’t make them create false claims to buy time or give the villains any chance to make it seem like they are the sympathetic ones. With the government being as extreme as they are here and the lab doing live human experiments on kids…it makes it very easy to be rooting for the villains more than you should. Especially when they’re the ones using the power of friendship while the heroes are fighting among themselves.

Beyond that, I’d say just take it slow and keep introducing everyone. There’s a lot of potential for this to have been a really long running series. There’s not much more to say as those are really the only two things I would change. Writing and Tsumugi. With those two areas improved I think you’ll have a real winner here.

Overall, Candy Flurry is a fun title. It’s certainly got its flaws but nothing super drastic. I would still call this a pretty good title through and through. At only 19 chapters this makes for a very quick read. It seems like most cancelled titles tend to get a bonus chapter when the volume comes out as an epilogue of sorts so you’ll want to keep an eye out for that to give it a read when this becomes available. We’ll see if the next cancelled title can keep up with Candy Flurry. At the very least it’ll be tough to top the fights and artwork since both were quite solid. Who knows, maybe in 20 years this will get a sequel or something.

Overall 7/10

Time Walker Review


So I finally watched the trailer for Time Walker after checking out the movie and let me tell you, it’s pretty intense. I think if the film had kept up that same energy it would probably be remembered a bit more fondly. Play up the alien angle and lets just get it rolling. As it stands, this is a pretty classic old styled horror film where you’ve got a creature walking around and a bunch of humans doing their best to stop him. The characters aren’t that great but the creatures themselves have some decent abilities.

The movie starts with the archeologists breaking into another tomb to see what curse they can inflict on the world this time. They end up finding a giant sarcophagus and figure the best thing to do is take it back to the school. Professor Douglas uses this as a learning exercise for the rest of the gang. There’s a mysterious fungus on the coffin and one of the students is sloppy so it gets all over him. So here’s how this works, the fungus will basically spread across your body until it turns you into a skeleton. Radiation speeds up the process.

Anyone who has touched the fungus is doomed. Now this would be easily contained except unfortunately one of the students is a guy named Peter and he’s not the best guy. He notices some gems in the coffin and steals them. He then gives them to various students. What he doesn’t realize is that these gems are needed by the alien that was trapped in the coffin for some kind of device. Now it is mad and aims to take all of the gems back with force if needed.

Now, what is the point of having the Mummy actually be an alien? Well, that’s a good question because it really doesn’t seem to matter one bit. Yeah you have the very last few seconds but otherwise it doesn’t impact the plot and that is a bit of an issue. If it walks like a Mummy, looks like a Mummy, and acts like one then it might as well be a Mummy right? The alien factor just doesn’t come into play so I can see how this would be pretty disappointing if you were watching it in the theater.

The alien aspect was a huge part of the promotion so for him to not do anything is disappointing. I’d also say the design in the posters is a bit cooler as it has a bit of an Iron Man vibe. The version in the film doesn’t really look like that and just appears to be a Mummy with some kind of power source. At least he does have super strength though so I’ll give him some points for that. A single throw was enough to take someone down for the count.

There aren’t really any likable characters here though. Most if not all of the students are just annoying. They’re busy having parties and messing around with each other the entire time instead of taking anything seriously. One of them has a girlfriend but immediately gets distracted by another girl. Instead of breaking up with this chump, the girl allows herself to be bribed by a gift in the very next scene despite witnessing what just went down. Then you have Peter who actively works against the investigation and it’s due to his need to steal things that the Alien Mummy gets so many victims in the first place. If the gems had stayed in one place then there wouldn’t have been an issue.

Douglas is also pretty suspect as a professor. You really shouldn’t let students be messing around with something that could be extremely dangerous. They weren’t wearing masks so what if there had been some kind of plague in the air when they opened the coffin? He’s also having an affair with one of the students which is another questionable part of his character.

Okay there are some more fun things about the film though. One is that the sound effects are absolutely on point. The warning sounds for the generators and computers sound like something out of an old Galaga game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got the sounds from there. While it wasn’t executed very well, I also liked the idea of the alien needing to grab these gems to accomplish his goal, whatever that was. It’s like a villain collectathon which is different from the usual mission.

I don’t really understand why the Egyptians would bury the alien along with his power gems though. Why not keep them separate in case he ever wakes up? If the gems had been gone then you can only imagine the whole time that the alien would be out of luck because there would be no way for him to find them. He has a hard enough time locating them at short range so I doubt he would be able to find them at long range. I mean, even when he was in the room with the gem he had to look around and check every part before finding it in the case. This was just for an artificial scare and some fanservice but it does make the alien look even worse. Cmon now, if your scanner’s any good you should have known where in the room it was as soon as you entered….

There is one decent character which is the local cop. He’s definitely not pleased about this becoming a big deal and is eager to quickly get this under wraps. The guy’s not super brave though and gets nervous early on when the alien is on the move. I also liked the president of the school who was not willing to listen to the professors and said the show must go on no matter what. He even invited the press to the whole coffin angle. I always like these characters who have a whole lot of bravado. Same with the teacher trying to replace Douglas. He even has a whole Scooby Doo type “I caught you red handed!” speech at the end. You’d think he has bigger things to worry about but the guy just wants his promotion immediately.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. I doubt you’ll remember a lot of tunes by the end but it’s got a decent danger theme when the alien is running walking after the heroes as well as any scene when it’s causing havoc. I know what you’re thinking. How can you ever get caught by an alien that moves with the speed of old molasses? Well the main way is to trap yourself in an elevator with no way out or to charge the alien as if you’re Superman. Otherwise the alien should have no chance the whole time. How hard is it to stay ahead of someone who can only walk at turtle speeds? This is definitely something they need to fix with these Mummy type creatures. Seeing in all green doesn’t exactly make it any spookier either since nothing tends to happen in those scenes.

Now this is an 80s film but you will have to remind yourself of that several times. It really doesn’t feel like one, this could easily pass for a 70s film visually and even a 50s film in terms of writing. It’s all very old school. Now the writing itself isn’t anywhere close to the old films but it does have a grand feel to it. If anything the horror soundtrack here would work really well in those classic films like “Curse of the Fly”. After all, Time Walker does take itself extremely seriously…even if you won’t be able to as a viewer. The whole final scene is meant to be dramatic but I thought it was pretty funny. When you think about it, the angle of the gunshot should never have made hit the guy if he was aiming at the alien. Then you have someone grabbing something that he should have known has been incredibly lethal to anyone who touches it. It was a comedy of errors by the various characters in the climax that’s for sure.

Overall, Time Walker is a glorified Mummy film. I would say it’s a good Mummy film, far better than most but this is not an alien film despite the poster. There is no time travel here and the alien isn’t acting much like an alien. I’ll give the film credit for the ending though. A lot of times these old films tend to end rather suddenly but even for this one I was wondering how things were going to play out since there were only a few minutes left and the film hadn’t ended. Well…that’s because it doesn’t. The film closes out on a big “To Be Continued” screen which was actually impressive. That’s something I’d like to see more films do. Granted, I think they’re slowly getting more accepted in the mainstream like the Hobbit or Infinity War but even those don’t end with a huge “To Be Continued” message like this one does. It’s bold, ambitious, and I like it. It’s just a shame that we didn’t actually get the sequel for this. I’d definitely have been pretty psyched about that.

Overall 6/10

Curse of the Fly Review


Curse of the Fly is interesting with how it mixes together a ton of different plot threads that don’t have much connection to each other. First off, it’s called Curse of the Fly but there is almost nothing to do with the actual Fly movie. The enemies don’t even look like Flies. You have the main heroine who has escaped from an insane asylum but she doesn’t seem crazy at all. Is this place actually a criminal organization? Then you have the actual mansion of criminals performing human experiments. It does make for an interesting combo even if it’s really mixed up the whole time.

The film starts with Patricia escaping from the Asylum and meeting up with a passing driver named Martin. Martin figures she can use some help since she seems distressed and takes her over to a hotel. She has a mysterious past that she won’t talk about and Martin doesn’t want to dig his own skeletons out of the closet so he asks if she wants to be married. She agrees and they head over to his place. He’s fairly well off but nobody in the house seems happy to see Patricia. Has she just stepped into a more dangerous situation than she had expected?

Now the opening scene of the movie definitely does drag considerably. It’s a long montage of Patricia running away from the house which just seems to be there for fanservice. The whole prologue of her getting married to Martin is also more low key as you’re just waiting for the characters to get to the house. Will Martin’s allegiance be to his father and the experiments or to his new wife? Unfortunately it’s the former and he really puts her in a ton of danger. There is so much happening it’s hard to even put the review in order but lets take it piece by piece.

The secret Martin is hiding is that he and his father are still conducting human experiments including teleportation and a drug that will allow Martin to stay human. See if he doesn’t have the serum in time then he starts turning into a Fly. I guess you can say that’s the true connection to the Fly film but even this isn’t really treated like a big deal half the time. It only happens maybe 2-3 times in the film.

Now this wouldn’t be all that bad on its face. If anything there would be no reason to keep it a secret. Well, maybe the Fly part but not the experiments. Where things really go wrong is when we find out that they are also running experiments on humans and keeping them locked up in cages. Among them is Martin’s real wife. So…the guy is married and yet he went on to marry someone else? That’s an instant game over for Martin. Not only is this a rebound but hiding the fact that he is actually married is a huge deal.

Martin’s definitely the antagonist around here. Even when Patricia nearly gets attacked by these creatures the guy doesn’t do much. In fact he does worse than nothing since he tries to convince her that she is crazy. Keep in mind that at this point he knows she is from the asylum so he is intentionally using that as leverage to try and make her doubt herself. It’s a pretty low blow.

Now, it should not have worked though. It’s always annoying when someone sees something and just gets talked out of it. At least Patricia has more of an excuse than most characters because of the asylum background but her self doubt should not have been enough to overwhelm her own senses. She saw everything clear as crystal. That should have been the end of it, she forces Martin to come clean and now they’re on even ground. It’s too bad that didn’t quite work out.

Also, we do have a brief subplot where the inspector from the Asylum is coming around to try and figure out what’s going around. He talks to a colleague who knew Martin from a while back. They try to make some headway on this case but as you can probably guess they don’t really do anything until the climax. I did like the inspector’s confidence though. Initially Martin refuses to see him but the guy calls his bluff with a warrant and gets in. Martin doesn’t want the press around due to his shady experiments and the institution doesn’t want them either so both of their goals align in that respect.

Not to worry, we’ve got more plots around. So Martin’s brother Albert who was also in on the experiments a while back but he did the smart thing and ran out of there. He completely got out of the business but where he made the mistake is when he decides to come back and help out after getting some pressure on him from the father. He absolutely should have stayed far away and that would have really ended up helping him a lot. Going back to the scene of the crime could only end badly.

You also have the rest of the staff doing their best to mess with Patricia the whole time. She probably wouldn’t have caught on so fast if the maid wasn’t letting the old wife run around the house or putting pictures of her by Patricia’s bed to mess with her. There’s a lot of mind games going around and it’s clear that the main staff wanted Patricia out of there. Ironically they’re the ones who bolt out of there pretty quickly.

Patricia is one of the more reasonable characters compared to these guys. At the same time, it shows why you shouldn’t marry someone you’ve only known super briefly because it’s not going to end well. Since she had her own secrets she was more open to letting Martin keep his, but that definitely didn’t go over very well. I’d say she should have bolted the moment she saw the inhuman monster running around the place.

Martin’s father is much more open about being a villain and that’s why he beats Martin. The guy puts science above everything including other lives. He’s very up front about this and is always giving lectures to the other characters with how many risks they take. He reminds me of Lou Chaney with how he sounds and talks as well. The guy’s just very charismatic. Not charismatic enough where he should have been able to convince everyone to go along with his crazy schemes though so Albert and Martin are not off the hook. They’re all mass murderers at the end of the day.

The writing is pretty solid though. It’s got that old Universal type writing style where the characters are all sophisticated and talk like mad scientists. The creature designs are fairly memorable. Really this film should have just not called itself anything having to do with the Fly and I think it would have gone over a lot better. Even with Martin becoming a fly for some reason, there isn’t enough of a connection for this to really make any sense. The movie’s only a little over an hour so it was really cramming a lot of content into it.

That said, it’s for that reason that the film stays interesting I suppose so I can’t dock too many points from it. The characters aren’t too smart but I wouldn’t say that’s a writing thing though and just the characters meant to be that way. Like when the maid antagonizes one of the villains. Doing so can only end one way so you’d think it would be better not to say anything….but I guess that’s how it goes. The film ends on a bang and so by the end you feel like you really had a complete adventure here.

Overall, Curse of the Fly does hold up pretty well as a suspense film. There’s a lot of dramatic music throughout which holds up pretty well. The core story may be basic but it’s pretty engaging at the same time. The body count is surprisingly high for an old film and it really shows how crazy some people will get while still thinking they’re on the right side. Meanwhile, the idea of switching around who the main antagonist may be is something that wasn’t used a whole lot back in the day so that’s different. Initially you think Patricia may be suspicious since she refuses to talk about why she is at the Asylum (We never find out why even as the film ends) and she had to break out which is a red flag since she doesn’t quite tell Martin about this. Yet when she enters the house we find out that Martin is the real villain here. (even if the film doesn’t always treat him like the antagonist) If you’re looking for an old school thriller to check out, this is a good one to pick up and you don’t even need to bother checking out the first film since they really aren’t connected.

Overall 7/10

Wicked Stepmother Review


When you have a film about a wicked witch who joins the family you know that things are about to get rocky for the whole household. Unfortunately the witch tends to take everyone down pretty quickly so you don’t expect a lot of likable characters. I would say that’s true for this one as well. By the end of the film most of these characters just don’t stay strong. It’s a film that will give you a good amount of laughs but doesn’t overcome its negatives.

The movie starts with Jenny and Steve finally heading to her father’s home. He had been pretty quiet lately so they want to make sure he’s okay. Well, it turns out that he married an old lady named Miranda and she has completely changed him. Sam loves watching TV all day now and has stopped being a vegetarian so he could go back to meat. The two of them seem pretty content but Jenny doesn’t like this one bit. She wants her father back to his old self but to her dismay even her husband Steve is getting along with her just fine. Making matters worse is that Miranda’s daughter Priscilla has shown up as well and may try to break their marriage apart.

I’ll give the movie this, the opening scene is legitimately filmed as if this was a horror title. You have a lot of suspenseful music the whole time as an inspector walks in a house and we learn that the tenants have vanished. Apparently someone has been going around bumping people off across the country. We then find out that the family was shrunk into tiny dolls and nearly died since they could have easily been stepped on. At this point we learn that Miranda really does have super powers so this doesn’t bode well for the heroes.

Now, this is a comedy film so don’t think that the whole movie is going to be suspenseful though. It’s because this is a comedy film that they can effectively use horror scenes like that. It’s a great amount of contrast. There’s probably a name for this kind of scene but it’s a scene that’s so serious you can’t help but find it funny since you know the film as a whole isn’t a horror.

The scene with Inspector MacIntosh trying to find the culprit among a group of old ladies made for a fun scene as well. These ladies were really tough as they were beating people up and did not act their age. On the whole I would say the film had a lot of its best gags in the first half. You also have a scene where an old lady throws Priscilla out of the phone booth since she had dibs on the next call.

There’s a fun scene where Priscilla pretends that she is melting as well before revealing that the Wizard of Oz made that up and it doesn’t work on witches. MacIntosh actually going to a school for wizards was genius as well. Honestly, if I found out that witches were for real then it wouldn’t be a bad idea since all the things that I thought were hogwash would suddenly have some merit. It’s just a shame that he didn’t actually learn anything but I would say he had to be the best character in the film by far.

So we’re off to a good start but once we get to the actual film that’s where it falters. So with an evil step mother throwing a hex onto Sam you already know she is going to try this again. She messes with Steve as well. Honestly you expect that he’s going to cheat on his wife with her early on in the film since even as an old lady Miranda seemed to be flirting with him. With Priscilla around…well Steve never stood a chance. The guy faltered quicker than the poor guy in the Cinnamon Toast Crunch parody commercial. Steve didn’t seem devoted to Jenny for more than a few minutes.

The film plays up the fanservice angle with Priscilla quite a lot. Outside of the affair with Steve she gets a very random dance where she also seduces the private investigator that Jenny hired. So much for will power right? Priscilla is able to dominate any man that she sees in moments since as a witch she also has absolute hypnosis in addition to her other abilities. The heroes have no shot right from the jump.

Let me quickly explain the Miranda and Priscilla situation. So, they are mother and daughter, however they can’t inhabit the same body so one of them always jumps into a cat. The body seems to change around the soul so they still look different. It’s a little odd and you’d think that with their magical abilities Miranda could just make herself look young anyway though. If not for the issue of needing another actress in the first place the plot would have made more sense to just have said that Miranda was shape shifting.

Actually…that would have made more sense anyway. Just say she is constantly shape shifting to make it easier to seduce everyone. It also removes some of the plot holes from later on. Alas, the film didn’t go that route. Neither Miranda or Priscilla are all that likable or even logical. With the kind of abilities they have, there is no reason for them to even go through with the theatrics. They could have taken Sam’s money at any point. They could probably conjure it up, but if that’s not possible just mind control him to sign something giving her the money. With witch abilities this would be easy.

Well, we’ve established why Steve’s a pretty bad character and Sam’s in the same boat. He is mind controlled by Miranda rather easily. That leaves Jenny but I didn’t like her either. She really doesn’t give Miranda a fair chance. Yes, we know that Miranda is the villain from the opening scene but she has no reason to believe anything negative about the old lady. Yet from the start Jenny is antagonistic towards her and acts rather rude. It’s hard to find any scene where Jenny isn’t being mean to her.

The film has a lot of fun at Jenny’s expense that’s for sure. It’s all just done so drastically that she ends up being royally unlikable. I liked the investigator she hired except for when he suddenly fell for Miranda’s tricks. That was a low moment for him. At least he got the last laugh in the end I suppose.

We do actually get a real climax for the film though so that was pretty hype. There’s an actual magical battle filled with a building blowing up and both sides actually using their abilities. I wasn’t really expecting much action at all so I’ll certainly take this. The ending even leaves room for a sequel which would certainly be interesting. There’s always potential with witches and magical attacks, the film just needs to focus more on that and less on the homewrecking aspect next time.

Overall, Wicked Stepmother is a film that really does have a lot of good jokes but it’s not enough to distract you from the unlikable cast. Seeing Miranda/Priscilla seduce all of these guys without effort can be a bit much. Tone down the romance/affairs/fanservice and focus more on the actual comedy part of the film. More scenes with McIntosh would have done wonders for the film since he was actually on top of things. The scene of him quitting was pretty powerful and seeing more supporting characters would have been nice. There’s a lot of potential for interesting dynamics here but none of them ended up appearing. Maybe a reboot would have better luck.

Overall 4/10

Vice Versa (1948) Review


It hasn’t been too long since I saw the newer Vice Versa so it was time to see how this one stacked up. It’s certainly a lot older but it has a very sophisticated feel to it with the script. The movie has a lot of fun with all of the characters using big words to the point where I’m fairly confident it was to parody the very nature of this to an extent.

The movie starts with Dick getting ready to go to school, only he doesn’t want to this time. He doesn’t really explain the reasons to his father Paul much so he just cries a lot and makes a scene. It’s certainly not the most effective way to get your point across, that’s for sure. Paul explains to Dick that school is a blast and he should enjoy it more. So Paul wishes on his magic stone that he could be a boy again while Dick does the opposite. Now that they have flipped roles, Dick forces Paul to go to school. Can Paul handle these tough kids? Will Dick be able to manage his father’s affairs? Also, what is that magical stone that I just mentioned?

Well, going back a bit, the corrupt Marmaduke got a hold of this magical stone. He then learned it was corrupt so naturally he brought it over to Paul so he could throw the bad luck at him instead. He didn’t realize it was a magical stone though. Unlike other versions of the movie, you only get 1 wish for each person this time. So no just wishing yourself back to normal right away.

From the two plots, Paul’s is a lot more interesting. On Dick’s side you have him flirting with the maid the whole time which gets old fast. You’d think he would be using his newfound power to do something a little more useful instead of just messing around. He’s rather sloppy as well and doesn’t help his father’s reputation in the slightest.

There’s one subplot where he has a duel with Marmaduke and it’s the only part of the movie that really dragged on. The duel just keeps on going and going and going. The joke was well played out by this point as everyone chased each other around the castle the whole time. We even got a court scene thrown in. That was at least the silver lining moment of this subplot since those scenes are always fun. We even got to have the audience all come together with music.

Now with Paul’s plot, we got to see him go up against Grimstone which was fun. Grimstone is a particularly tough teacher/principal who makes sure his students are not slacking. He doesn’t even allow them to have candy or anything like that. When they play soccer, they have to let him win or they’ll go into detention. Grimstone is without a doubt the best character in the film. He also has the most sophisticated vocabulary among the whole group. He is always talking like a rather regal figure.

He doesn’t exactly teach by the book but I also wouldn’t say he is too exaggerated. He makes for a much more interesting villain than Marmaduke. Marmaduke has big plans but at the end of the day he got outsmarted by Paul when he was still a kid and probably should have been more careful when talking about his big plan. He was practically begging to be defeated.

Then you have Fanny who is definitely playing the field the whole time. You’re not actually meant to like her either way since she’s another antagonist but why couldn’t they all be as solid as Grimstone? As for Paul, he’s a pretty enjoyable main character. He certainly did like school back in the day although he seems to have grown out of several aspects of it at this point. He complains a lot and gets the other children in trouble. He probably should have thought about that a little more before getting on their bad sides.

That’s one thing you will notice right away here. Paul and Dick keep forgetting they have switched bodies for the entirety of the film. Even right through the final scenes they keep on mixing up what’s going on and talking to people as if they know them. There’s no way you can forget that you’re in a different body considering that the way you see the world is so different. The height difference is absolutely crazy on that front. So part of you wants to think that this is just the film trying for some more parody moments but it’s hard to really get on board with that idea.

The movie doesn’t play this as a gag after all but totally straight. It’s a comedic scene of course as they both keep getting turned away but it doesn’t seem crazy that they forget nor is it addressed. It’s rather surreal and the only explanation here is that both characters really aren’t smart at all. I can’t think of any other reasons in-universe on how they could keep on doing that.

While that part may be questionable, the actual writing in the film is still excellent. All of the dialogue will keep your full attention. That old school way of talking is always a blast and really gets you psyched. It’s just something you don’t see a lot of outside of that. It also makes the film flow by pretty quickly aside from the duel. In general Dick’s subplot was on the annoying side and you can’t possibly like the kid since the power went to his head immediately. If I’m Paul I’m definitely punishing him now that the adventure is over.

Overall, Vice Versa is a pretty good film. It makes for an enjoyable experience and you get to see what would happen if things were switched up like this. The whole magic stone plot was also pretty intense although the villain should have held onto it. I certainly wouldn’t just hand it off to someone without running some experiments. Imagine if it ended up making Paul rich instead? Marmaduke would regret it for the rest of his life.

Overall 7/10

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Review


The Promised Neverland Season 2 was definitely very controversial to say the least. It really did a number on the fans who wanted a faithful adaption and even to non fans who felt it was super rushed and didn’t feel natural. It’s certainly a unique case where it seems like the studio just wanted to wrap it up as soon as possible. At the very least it was fun keeping up with all the theories on why it ended so quickly and all of that but the burning question is…did it change for the better? Well…I have to say that it did. Granted I was never the biggest fan of the manga but the anime effectively toned down some of the darker elements of the story and made it more of a standard adventure which I’m game with.

Last time, the kids had just escaped and were on the run. Now that they were out of the orphanage they could try and either get over to the proper human world or at least survive somewhere safe. Emma has promised that she would go and save the rest of the kids though so no matter what happens, she won’t be leaving without them. Still, it’s a cruel world out there so this environment is going to test all of her abilities.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with the animation in the first season and it’s more or less the same here. It’s pretty standard stuff with some giant CG demons running around. The demons have lost their edge compared to season 1 though so don’t expect them to be all that intimidating here. They’re mainly only relevant when they’re getting beat up and need Emma’s help. How the times have changed eh? The CG is fairly minimal though and in a way I guess if you’re going to use it for something, demons make sense since it makes them look that much more crazy.

For the soundtrack, it’s also not too memorable. I couldn’t tell you a single theme here. The new theme song definitely isn’t up to par with the original one either. That one’s fairly iconic at this point while this one just sort of fades away. I wouldn’t call it bad, but it doesn’t leave any kind of impact. On a technical level it felt like this show was sort of just going through the motions.

The pacing and writing were fine though. It’s always interesting learning more about the world and there is certainly a whole lot of dialogue here. You can see how things get sped up at the beginning and ending though. Norman showing up near the beginning of the show felt rather crazy since it was a big deal that he was gone. I still have to say that it feels like a lot of plot hax how he actually survived and escaped though. The demons are clearly awful at their jobs as well as the human guards. How do you let a kid escape like that?

There are a lot of plot convenient things happening here though like an old man who has every answer you can possibly need and the villains getting foiled because of numerous traitors and getting overconfident. It also helps that the villains always miss their shots when they’re firing their guns or don’t fire at all. The kids don’t have guns in this version so they’re even more outmatched.

The final episode can be almost funny though with how things are skipped over. The actual promise with the alien thing? That’s a single camera shot here so if you were watching The Promised Neverland for…the promise, then you’re out of luck. That’s not something you’ll get to see here. The show throws in a few Easter Eggs like the wolf girl appearing in a prison cell and at least a reference to GoldyPond but that’s about it for throwing a bone to the fans who missed some of the skipped content. The ending’s far better than the manga version though so I’ll give you that.

That’s enough on the pacing though, lets talk about the characters and how they ended up shaking out in this version. First up is Emma since she is the main character after all. She’s certainly come a long way since in season 1 she wanted to escape at all costs and would slaughter any demon who got in her way. Things are more complicated in season 2 though since she has now met demons who are not really combatants. It turns out that demons have families and loved ones as well so this puts Emma in a rather difficult place.

It does end up hurting her character though because one thing I don’t like is when a character is opposing the main plan but has no actual solution. It’s something you would see a lot of in Attack on Titan. So Norman’s plan is he’ll poison the water and in that way they will end the entire demon race. The scary thing about the plan is how easy it will be and yet it will still be super effective. The demons won’t stand a chance and humanity will finally be saved at long last.

The problem is that Emma now wants to spare the demons. There are a few problems with that though. For starters, the demons will die if they don’t eat humans are a while anyway. It’ll be the same effect as Norman’s poison water only slower and potentially more painful. Additionally given that they need humans to survive, talking with them is already out of the question.

Feeding them humans is also crazy since that’s how we got here in the first place. Norman does his best to explain this to Emma but she doesn’t really care. Now the show does offer a convenient way out of this predicament but until that solution appears, Emma is rather unreasonable here. There are times where you really have to make a choice. Choosing both sides just puts everyone at risk and it’s not worth it. Emma has a responsibility to the kids she has already saved.

Her lack of determination ultimately holds her back in this season quite a lot. Then you have Norman. I miss his updated manga design though as the guy finally got the big time skip super form that he deserved. In this version he looks pretty similar to how he did in season 1. His plan and motivations are similar enough with trying to end the demons once and for all but it’s all a lot more rushed here. He basically sees a demon with Emma’s name and calls it a day. So much for his determination and will to come out on top no matter what right? At the end of the day he folded like a deck of cards.

I also think he was acting rather rashly by walking into a demon village by himself while his team was busy. He easily could have been taken out by a stray shot and then all of his plans would have been for nothing. Whenever there’s a bad plan like that I have to call it out because while it may have worked, that doesn’t retroactively make it a good idea. In the end Norman was still pretty fun here the whole time though, he certainly still seems to be the smartest character around.

As for Ray, I would say his role here is smaller than in season 1. He used to be the tough member of the 3 who would always play the bad cop role. He would mention the most practical solution while Emma would say the most ideological one. Norman would then try to compromise and find a plan that would save everyone. With Norman gone though, Ray mainly lets Emma call the shots and does his best to assist her. There’s just less character to him as a whole at this point though. He does everything he can to help Emma but doesn’t do much beyond that so he doesn’t feel like the gruff rival anymore.

Don and Gilda still aren’t some of the more likable characters for me though. Gilda gives yet another lecture to Emma about taking too many risks and all that. Maybe Emma wouldn’t have to take so many risks if she actually got some backup once in a while right? That would have certainly helped a lot but Don and Gilda never really do much of anything. I guess they do more than the rest of the kids but that’s almost by default.

Mujika and Sonju get to do a lot more here. As they are demons who can actually converse with the main characters that means there is something different about them. They end up being some of the most important characters in the series due to how their blood works. Without them things would be pretty tough on the heroes. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan though but Sonju does have some fun scenes. The heroes may not want to underestimate him based on some of the things he said earlier on.

Then we have the return of Isabella since you naturally have to bring in this classic villain for the end. She has definitely lost her edge since season 1 though. She acts as a hype person to the kids at times and then makes her move by the end. No matter how you slice it the whole thing is pretty cheesy though. Her character motivations by the end are utterly unbelievable.

If you want a more compelling big villain here then you’ve got Peter Ratri. He’s the mastermind behind everything and is a man who isn’t even afraid of the demons. Now that’s someone to be feared because you never know when he’s going to pop out and start taking names. The guy may be an ordinary human but he is a grown up which means he could technically defeat most of the cast with ease. I was pretty cool with this guy being the final boss, he was a fun enough character.

Finally you have Norman’s new group. These guys were excellent so I’m just sad they couldn’t appear more. First up you have Zazie. He can’t really talk due to how the experiments messed him up but he’s got super strength and is not someone to underestimate. Then you have Vincent who is pretty decent although he doesn’t seem as powerful as the other members. He’s a strategist like Norman although of course he can’t fully match that guy.

For the real stand out characters you have Cislo and Barbara. Cislo is sort of the Captain America of the group. He is a natural born leader who really dislikes the demons but doesn’t show his emotions the same way that the others do. He doesn’t panic and is quickly to call out any member who gets out of line. You’ll enjoy any scene he is in because the guy is just that good.

Finally you have Barbara who goes as far as to even eat the demons she defeats. She really doesn’t hold back and has really been through a lot. It’s why you know that she will never be able to see eye to eye with Emma on this. How could she? She had to live through the worst of the demonic experiments while Emma had a very pleasant life in the orphanage. It’s another reason why it’s really hard to back Emma in her goals throughout the season.

The inclusion of Norman’s group helped transition this into more of an action title since these guys are able to beat demons in large numbers. Since the anime version has no super demons or anything like that, you could actually say the humans were more powerful this time around. That’s kind of crazy to think about but it ended up being the case this time. It’s part of why none of the demons were actually a threat in this one. No matter what they could possibly try, Norman’s group would take them down a few pegs.

This great power does come at a large price though. It’s not sustainable so the characters have to finish this quickly. It should add a layer of tension but at the same time you don’t feel like they’re in too much danger. Norman has already cheated death before, why not do it again now? The guy’s a genius so surely he can think of something.

Ultimately a lot of these things I couldn’t consider to be severe negatives though. The plot hax and sudden character turns always seem awfully convenient but it’s not the kind of thing I dock points for. The show includes some animal hunting for no real reason which can be annoying but the show doesn’t exploit it in nearly the way some other titles would so this one doesn’t sink into the negatives. Ultimately what keeps it from being higher is more due to a lack of positives than an abundance of negatives. At least the series will keep your attention from episode to episode which is important.

Overall, The Promised Neverland may have ended with a rather controversial season but at least it ended. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some more time to have Norman have a proper debate with Emma and Ray though. Surprisingly I wouldn’t say the three of them interact all that much here. Often times they are in different places and so they can’t even debate the whole demon thing much. Norman hands Emma a few Ls and that’s about it for their conversation. The season tackles some pretty interesting themes but with all of the scenes that were cut, there isn’t enough time to try and make the demons all that sympathetic. At the very least the attempt didn’t work this time. If you liked the first season then you should still enjoy this one well enough. The main thing to keep in mind is that the horror genre has been completely removed in favor of more of a classic adventure genre here.

Overall 6/10

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Review


Demon Slayer certainly became a global sensation. When the anime launched it was appearing everywhere and so it’s only natural that a movie sequel by UFotable would continue to get a ton of press and box office. This movie adapts the train arc which is certainly one of the strongest parts of the series. It’s the first time we get to see a Hashira fight seriously which is a pretty big deal. It also works really well as a movie so it was a good pick by the company.

Picking up where the series left off, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu are boarding the Mugen Train. They are to team up with the Hashira known as Rengoku to stop the demons that are on the train. People have been going missing left and right on the train and the slayers sent previously have all been vanquished. Tanjiro and the others may still be newcomers to the organization but they have proven themselves in battle. They are ready to conquer this train.

Unsurprisingly Rengoku is the one doing most of the heavy lifting though. He is a Hashira for a reason and Demon Slayer has a pretty solid power level setup going for it. In fact, when paired up with most of its Shonen Jump companions you could make a strong case for this being one of the best in terms of the power levels making a lot of sense. It’s a strong point for Demon Slayer and never for a moment does it looks like the rest of the characters are competing with Rengoku. He is definitely the star of the show here.

I like Giyu a lot and he’s the only rival to Rengoku in terms of being my favorite Hashira but ultimately I would say Rengoku definitely wins this. He’s a very earnest guy and his flame abilities are incredible. I would go as far as to say he’s the strongest member of the group in terms of base abilities, so no red swords. He has tremendous speed and in the movie we see how difficult it is to protect one car and yet he was protecting 5. He has a pretty emotional backstory and never gets tempted by the demons.

Still, while Rengoku has a lot of screen time I would say this is still Tanjiro’s movie. He is forced to confront his past and the idea of an alternate reality. It’s never easy to leave such a dream but he does it rather well. It’s also just pretty painful in general to leave even knowing how you do it but the guy is resolute. Tanjiro’s always had a lot of determination after all. His fight with the demon may be quick but it’s a solid action scene all the same.

Then you have Inosuke who looks good as expected. He’s confident in his abilities and gets a good tag team with Tanjiro. His inner dream is also the most amusing out of the 3 which reflects his inner mind rather well. Zenitsu gets the shaft from the 3 which may surprise some fans since you would figure that a movie where the heroes are constantly in a dream-like state would be to his advantage. In some ways it is as he couldn’t protect Nezuko nearly as well while awake but his action is mainly off screen.

Enmu is the main villain here. He’s not really much of a fighter in close quarters combat which is why he has the whole train scheme. If you put everyone to sleep then perhaps you can end up winning without having to go through all of the trouble of fighting. I do think he overthinks it to an extent though. Due to how it’s hard to wake up in general and it takes a while, I think the easiest thing to do would just be to stab the slayers as soon as they’re asleep. The plan with the kids was decent and apparently it works a lot but it feels like a lot of work.

Enmu isn’t quite as solid as a lot of the other demons in Muzan’s ranks though. I never became a big fan of his personally. His abilities are unique to be sure and he does have some quality dialogue but that’s about all I can say for him. In true movie fashion his super form is pretty much just a giant blob that can’t fight back. So those action scenes while well animated don’t quite hold up to the rest. Give me the opening action scenes against the random demons anytime. Akaza also looks great in his appearance and already cemented himself as the greatest villain in the series by this point. The guy really enjoys battling and even has a bit of an honor code about him as he tries to get the heroes to his level as well. You definitely have to respect the commitment.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Ufotable film without some kind of insane action sequence. The fun part is that pretty much any chunk of the film could be used as a great display of animation. Even the “standard” fights of the movie look great which is to be expected. I still have Ufotable as the best pure animation company in the biz right now. Their shows just look incredible. My favorite will always be Pierot but in a 1 on 1 contest the smart money would be on Ufotable to win. The final battle looks incredible. The colors are striking and you can tell it’ll be years before anime are able to churn out fights like this on the regular.

It was just an excellent way to wrap up the adventure. Mugen Train is one of those films that is fairly long but certainly doesn’t feel like it. The movie just keeps going from scene to scene with an engaging story so it never drags. There are some pretty tense moments as well like the conductor punching in all of the tickets which works really well. The soundtrack is very good. It’s definitely got a Fate vibe to it which always works really well with the animation style. It’s got a grand feel to it and ups the anticipation/hype of every moment. There are some themes from the show but also some new ones to be sure so there’s a good mix there.

The movie isn’t nearly as violent as the show which also works well for making this a big theater experience. The most blood is probably when the characters are slashing at the blobs which is certainly the weakest part of the film since these blobs can’t do anything but for the most part the film is ready to just jump straight into the action. I wouldn’t say there are any real weaknesses to the title. I suppose if this had been the true climax that would have been really underwhelming but fortunately we got to end with something spectacular.

Overall, Mugen Train is definitely a great film. It’s got top tier animation and music at the ready along with a great cast of characters. Every scene with Rengoku is really a great moment. His self preservation instinct is really on point and the guy also feels like a natural leader. His very presence instills confidence in anyone who’s around him. Most likely you’ll already know about the true final act by the time you watch the film but if you don’t that’s probably a good thing because it’s one of the best cinematic twists of all time. It’s something that really pushes the film to the next level and I would consider this part of the movie an absolute necessity. Whether you’ve watched the anime or not you should be able to jump into this film and have a good time with it. I’d definitely recommend giving it whirl and now we’ll see when the next film comes out.

Overall 8/10

Jujutsu Kaisen Review


Jujutsu Kaisen has quickly become one of the big names on Shonen Jump. It’s quickly approaching the big 3 and hunting demons is always a good concept for a show. This one’s off to a very solid start so I hope to see it continue down this path. With a movie already on the way and a season 2 probably coming pretty quick, this franchise is well on its way.

The story starts with introducing us to Yuji. He’s a nice kid who was born with physical abilities far exceeding that of a normal person. He can run extremely fast and casually match world records on throwing and things like that. He’s a part of an occult club at his school since it gives him a place to just hang out. One day he meets a sorcerer who tells him that Yuji’s friends are in great danger. Yuji manages to save the friends from the demon by teaming up with this guy and swallowing the magical item that was putting them in danger.

The item turned out to be one of Sukuna’s fingers. Yuji is now the vessel for the most powerful curse to ever walk the planet. He has 2 choices, be murdered or locate the rest of the fingers and after eating them all he will be murdered. Yuji chooses the second option so that he can at least save people in the meantime. He is placed into Gojo’s squad along with Nobara and Megumi. Gojo will help his squad get very powerful and perhaps one day he can convince the elders not to murder Yuji.

I’d say that’s the general premise at least. Naturally it’s the kind of series that should have a ton of arcs by the end so the plots will change but it works well as a general story scope. There’s already a lot of lore within the series such as ranking the curses as well as the sorcerers from Grade 3 to Special Grade. The lower you go, the more powerful you are. You don’t need to pay too much attention to it though because as Gojo points out early on, these rankings aren’t super reliable anyway. Special Grade comes too soon so as a ranking it’s incredibly broad.

Right away you can definitely tell that a whole lot of effort was put into the animation here. Mappa didn’t hold anything back and so the show can keep up with just about any other. In particular the show got pretty big for the hand to hand choreography which lives up to the hype. You’ll see characters actually go for wrestling throws and other pretty impressive moves the whole time.

Yuji’s fighting style even feels like that of a boxer at times. He definitely knows how to both land and take a hit. Every fight has really quick movements and nice contrasts with the hits. This one definitely holds up with the animation. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening but maybe it’s one of those that will land more later on.

In terms of music the show is top notch as well. “Looming Threat” is probably the best theme in the show. It only plays very briefly when Yuji nearly gets sniped by the traitors on the other team but the full version even transitions to more of a rock tune by the end which is pretty cool. There’s a lyrical song Megumi gets during one of his fights as well and a pretty inspirational theme for the end of the series.

The show avoids fanservice entirely which is great. I dare say the modern Shonens have all been rather impressive with this so if that’s a trend that will continue I’m definitely on board with it. Black Clover, My Hero, Dr. Stone, and now Jujutsu Kaisen are all modern titles that really don’t have any fanservice which is great to see.

Due in part to the very nature of demon hunting the show can get violent at times though. Definitely be ready for things like a character ripping his heart out or characters basically being blown up/deformed by the villainous Mahito. You certainly get some rather crazy visuals in the world of JJK. It’s also rough for the heroes since they can’t exactly heal someone who has gone through the process. Once you become a demon there’s no way back.

Yuji is the main character and a very solid hero. He wants to ultimately make the city safer and becoming a sorcerer was the easiest way to pull this off. It’s definitely shady how the sorcerer government keeps wanting to bump him off but Yuji doesn’t take it too seriously. I didn’t really have any issues with how he acts throughout the story. He’s always making the right moves and also does a good job of always getting right back up again even when he has to power through a bunch of attacks. Now that’s some solid dedication right there.

He’s sort of like a good mix of Naruto and Ichigo. Then you have Sukuna who is always waiting for his chance to emerge. So far the series is playing him off as a full villain who won’t be turning good. We’ll see about that since it usually feels inevitable in these things but he definitely leaves a strong impression. Whenever the guy appears you can feel his strength and that’s considering that he’s not even at 50% yet. If the guy ever fully awakens then the heroes are going to have a lot of trouble.

Megumi is definitely one of the biggest characters in the series and he looks good here. While it’s one of those unique cases where you could argue that the main character has already surpassed him, Megumi is tough in his own right. Hey, not every rival can be stronger than the lead right? Megumi talks tough and knows how to effectively fight along with his summons as needed. I do think that summons will always limit you in the end so I’d like to see him focus on hand to hand going forward.

he’s a rock solid character though so I see a good future for him. Then you have Nobara as the main heroine. Her fighting style may be the most unique in the series since you almost always see Voodoo as more of a villain technique. She uses her hammer to punch nails through her opponents and as long as she has a piece of DNA she’s good. It’s really a difficult combat style to get past although her weakness would naturally be against long range foes or close range ones who can get around that. Her skills aren’t up to par with Megumi or Yuji’s yet but she has solidified herself as a tough fighter through and through. Her tag team battle with Yuji was pretty great.

Then you have Gojo, the most powerful fighter in the series. His inclusion is really a big part of what makes JJK so much fun. He’s just a fun guy even without his abilities. He’s very laidback and really allows the students to express themselves. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Kakashi and I suppose he fits that mentor role. On the other hand, he just feels a lot younger and more confident. His absolute confidence is one of the most enjoyable things about him. A lot of characters are strong but will act oblivious or be modest. Gojo’s not modest in the slightest. He’ll tell people to their faces that he’s the strongest and can back it up.

His ability is the Infinity. Nothing can hit him because the distance to infinity will always be just beyond your grasp. It’s a really great ability and you can see how versatile it is right off the bat. He can use it for offense, defense, and even just for speed. There are probably limits to the ability that he hasn’t yet explained but even with those it’s just really hard to get around. Effectively you need to just be able to purely overpower him and break through infinity itself or at least to whatever Gojo’s limit is since true infinity cannot exist.

It’s also a fun dynamic with the villains since they acknowledge from the start that they cannot defeat him. That’s the whole point of why they want to trap him instead. The only other time I’ve seen this is with RWBY where Salem and her cabal have to be careful of approaching Ruby since her Silver Eyes can one shot them. Of course, they overthought it since nobody helped teach Ruby about her abilities which was a cool subversion in itself. Here though Gojo’s power is very much the real deal.

Now, this is part of why I see Gojo turning evil. There have yet to be any signs of this happening yet in the series but it sort of adds up. He’s already mentioned the idea out loud about murdering all of the elders in the Kaisen world. Those guys are so corrupt that they’re practically villains anyway but of course the instant Gojo uses his abilities on someone like that there would be no going back. Gojo continues to be frustrated with the way things are going and I just see him snapping. Who better as the final boss than the man who commands Infinity? Of course it will need to be handled carefully since right now he is easily the best character in the series. You don’t want to mess that up by having him turn evil in the wrong way.

Meanwhile you have the principal Yaga. He has the power to make cursed spirit objects but beyond that he hasn’t really gotten to fight yet. He seems like a good enough supporting character but there really isn’t a whole lot to say about him. We already know he’s much better than the Jujutsu leader though. That guy wants to murder Yuji immediately just for being a vessel. He seemingly has no logical comebacks to Gojo’s arguments on why they should keep Yuji around so the guy already lost the battle. His guitar skills have been shown only off screen so we don’t know how tough he is yet.

Mai is one of the fighters from the other sorcerer division and she’s certainly rather ruthless. She has no problems with the murdering Yuji plan although I guess none of them have any issues there. Her gun skills are really sharp but you do feel like she will need a better weapon if Maki can already catch those bullets. Using a gun against curse spirits also feels like a dead end. I can’t possibly see any special grades having trouble with such a weapon. I do like her confident façade even if she starts losing hype when she starts complaining about the past. In short, Mai made for a good villain but I’d like to see her grow stronger.

Then we have Toudou who is easily the most impressive fighter. He’s so powerful that he is able to take on Yuji in a proper fight. His teleportation ability is also very sharp and makes for some good strategic moments. He has a rather odd tradition of finding out if someone can be worthy to fight him though. It seems to be related to an origin story that hasn’t actually happened yet.

Right now I’d say he’s definitely a standout character. He’s certainly quite obsessed with an idol but at the same time I wouldn’t say Toudouu acts creepy about it or anything. It’s not something I’d deduct points for yet at least and he was also nice enough to give Mai his ticket to one of the concerts at one point which was nice of him.

Mechamaru would be one of the lower members of the team for me so far. Mainly because this guy was absolutely trying to murder Panda and was throwing a pity party for himself from the start. Now, I think its fair to say that he has had a rough time of things to be sure, but it’s still no excuse for going all in like this. His battle with Panda was definitely a highlight in the show though. No doubt about that.

Noritoshi seems like the group’s leader and he does a good job in the role. His skills are impressive and it’s implied that he would have probably beaten Megumi if he was actually going in with 100% of his skills. He isn’t able to do much against Hanami but to be fair, pretty much nobody could do anything at that point. His blood arts seem quite versatile so I’d like to see more of him.

Momo has one of the smaller roles from the team. She can fly rather quickly with her broom and that makes her a tricky opponent to catch. In a fight though? She’s not going to be able to do much at all. She’s also on board with Mai feeling bad for herself. Honestly at that point half the team are feeling sorry for themselves, you definitely can’t compare these guys to the main team. I hope she’s hiding some extra skill beyond her broom.

Then you have Kasumi who’s a lot of fun. She goes down fairly quick against Mai but from the team her moveset might be my favorite. It’s simple but I like her little en field which serves as an attack range and her sword. She is lacking in experience right now but if she can improve her base skills then she should definitely be ready for the big time. Hopefully this loss doesn’t discourage her too much.

Now lets talk about Yuji’s senior teammates. First up you have Maki who may not be able to use curse energy like the others but she’s a master at close quarters combat. Way I see it, you can never go wrong there because when all else fails, you can always count on the abilities you learned on your own. She takes down several opponents on her own and even has a good fight with Hanami so she’s proven herself to be one of the most powerful fighters here. Catching the bullet with her bare hand was also very impressive. She’s off to a great start.

Panda is another fun character. He may be a cursed object technically but at this point he has a will of his own and emotions so you may as well consider him a sentient being like any other. In a way he is a special object in that sense because he is truly alive at this point in time. His battle style is sort of like Yuji’s as well with the various combos he throws out. If he hadn’t been so injured I’m sure he would have contributed a lot to the Hanami fight.

Finally you have Toge. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of his yet. He has the ability to turn his words into power which is really handy. Effectively he can tell you to go away and a blast of sonic energy will accomplish that task. He has fairly low durability though and can only talk for a little bit before being taken down for the count. Additionally, the amount of words he can say goes down further based on the strength of the opponent. So that’s all things to keep in mind. He means well but I really think he needs another ability on top of that to really make it here.

Now lets talk about some of the villains. First up is Jougo. As the first big villain to attack you know he’s doomed from the start. Still, I do appreciate his confidence since he’s the only villain to just flat out attack Gojo. He wanted to see what this fighter was all about and got his wish. Jougo’s fire abilities look really fierce and against anyone other than Gojo he may have really had a fair shot at winning.

The anime does a good job of showing that he’s clearly in a different league compared to most of the other villains. So he may not have gotten to do as whole lot in the grand scheme of things but I definitely liked Jougo. Then there’s Hanami who is my favorite villain from the show. Effectively she can manipulate the planet itself for a lot of great combos. She can also absorb energy through spores and has terrific hand to hand combat.

Group fights are always a lot of fun with everyone jumping in and out of the fray. This one pretty much goes in that direction as she takes a lot of foes down. The battle with the heroes is one of the most memorable and her defenses were enough to survive Purple as well. That’s no easy feat. The villain group’s off to a pretty solid start all things considered.

Then you have Mahito who is one of the main villains. He isn’t the leader or anything but has a big enough role where you could see him growing into that role. He has a lot of similarities to Shigaraki both in terms of personality and design. Mahito’s ability to alter his soul is also not something you really want to underestimate since it makes attacks really difficult to land. How do you hit someone who’s always something else right?

The guy’s pretty twisted so I don’t see a redemption arc for him or anything like that. He likes to fight which is a plus and the guy gets very active no matter what the situation is. I’ll need him to score some wins or just look more impressive though before I like him more. I have a hard time taking him too seriously since it seems like he’s always getting absolutely pummeled no matter where he goes. Technically the guy is tough though.

Then you have Junpei and I was not a fan of this guy either. Now granted he did get a pretty bad shake. He gets bullied at school for no real reason and no matter where he goes he always runs into jerks. However, this doesn’t give him a free pass to turn evil and do whatever he wants. What really hurt his character for me is when he goes home and sees the murder, he doesn’t come to the obvious conclusion. Why didn’t he stop to think for a moment that the evil curse he was working with may have done this?

The person who died…died to a curse. If you ask me that can really only mean one thing. That should have been the natural train of logic but instead he went in a different direction. Even by the end he’s really slow on the uptake. So I can see why he is a bit of a sympathetic character but he made way too many mistakes throughout the show. It made the task of liking him too hard and ultimately I just never got behind the guy. He needed to be smarter.

Finally you have Nanami who is another senior exorcist. He’s more on the level of Gojo in that he’s a sensei. His ability is naturally not as strong as Gojo’s but he’s still very tough in his own right. His cuts have a lot of power to them and he can even increase his strength in short bursts when necessary. He doesn’t exactly love being a sorcerer but he does what’s needed. His origin story where he helps the cafe owner was definitely pretty fun. Allowing her to keep the curse would have been very suspect. So this guy’s a fun character to have around.

There’s not much to say about Getoh yet since he’s mostly still planning in the shadows. He’ll certainly get a pretty big role in season 2 and going forward though. The guy’s not going to hide forever after all. It is pretty surreal how you see the villains just having fun and goofing off in the little specials after each episode though. Not that you should take those too seriously but it would be something if they do actually just hang out and have fun when they’re not messing with the heroes.

The highlight of the anime for me is definitely the tournament arc. After all that’s basically what it is as the two schools fight each other in the Exchange event. We first see how the Kyoto team are all tools who are willing to murder people aside from Toudou and it adds some stakes to the event. Yuji also gets a chance to show what he can do after perfecting his skills. The fact that he was taking on an entire team at once is crazy impressive.

The climax with Hanami is also really hard to beat. Now that’s how you end the story arc in a big way. There are technically 2-3 other arcs in the show but this was definitely the biggest one. You’ve also got Junpei’s arc which is a pretty solid one. It’s the arc that gives Yuji his resolve to fight on as well as his motivation for the rest of the series in stopping Mahito. The tag team battle with Nanami was also on point and it was the first time Yuji really got to cut loose.

Then you have the final arc with Megumi and Nobara. Megumi’s power up was a good way to end his arc although you definitely feel like he should have used the ability a little sooner since he almost died a bunch of times. It is a last resort and he goes kind of crazy after using it, but it’s still worth it. Yuji and Nobara’s combo attacks against the twins was also really solid. While the two villains weren’t very memorable, it was just a great showcase of the heroes’ abilities.

There was definitely a lot to cover here that’s for sure. The show has pretty nice pacing so there’s always another adventure around the corner. The writing is on point so the show is really good about not having any big weaknesses. Hopefully the heroes do something to keep the elders at bay though because it’s always annoying when the heroes are effectively working for the villains but can’t do anything about it. Even in Naruto and Bleach you always had the bosses basically act like villains the whole time. Yuji is a lot stronger now so he can defend himself, but he really can’t let his guard down.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen definitely started off strong with this show. It’s clear that Mappa put in a ton of effort as I can’t overstate how good each episode looked. There were constantly top notch fights that got a big budget and it helps to enhance the overall quality of the show. The story is good and the character cast is on point right now. If you’re up for checking out the next big Shonen title then this is a pretty good one to check out. It’s got all the classic action elements you could want.

Overall 8/10

Goke, The Body Snatcher from Hell Review


I actually had some reasonable expectations for this film but ultimately it fell flat. Goke just wasn’t able to really live up to my expectations because the film decided to go the vampire route instead. Things got a little gritty and instead of cool hand to hand action scenes the humans were just bickering a lot. You can’t win like that, that’s for sure.

The movie starts with a bunch of people on an airplane. They’ve all got big plans for the rest of their lives and are enjoying the pleasant cruise when there is a bomb scare. Sugisaka along with attendant Kuzumi try to find out who has the bomb but then the plane crashes. The heroes are now isolated in a desert region and have no way to salvage the ship. They also must deal with the fact that one of the passengers may have a bomb. Additionally, they know that nobody is coming to save them after turning on the news and hearing the reporters confirm this. One of the passengers quickly breaks the radio though since it was being too helpful.

So that’s a fairly interesting story dynamic you’ve got there. These passengers who each have their own story and values must put aside their own differences in order to band together. There is just one problem and unfortunately it is a big one. There is also a body snatcher from hell that is here to destroy them all. The creature arrived in some kind of meteorite and quickly takes control of a passenger. The only way to know who is the alien is to look for someone with a huge scar on their face and the characters are too busy fighting with each other to put up much of a fight.

Goke started off on the wrong foot as the movie opens with a bunch of birds dying. See, Goke’s influence is able to stir up the wildlife around him which forces the birds to take down the plane. It’s hard to say what the exact purpose of this is. Is it merely the birds growing afraid or Goke mind controlling them because he wanted a vessel? If you think about it, there isn’t even much value in having a vessel since their spaceships are already strong enough to really do whatever they need to do.

Once we’re on the island, the film makes sure to show us that none of the characters are likable which leads to a Lord of the Flies kind of scenario. Sugisaka is easily the character with the strongest moral compass. Ultimately he wants to make sure everyone is able to walk out of here in one piece. I’ll give the guy props for trying to keep everyone together. I just disagreed with one of his decisions when he said nobody should even think about leaving the ship. Hehe…lets just say I’ll talk more about that later.

Kuzumi was also good. She did her best to help out and make sure things were going well. These are the only two reasonable characters. Next up you have Neal who is the sole American in the film so that’s always fun. She is very dramatic the whole time and cries a lot which unfortunately makes things easy on Goke. I ended up losing respect for her when she was on board with the plan of sacrificing some of the crew for her own personal survival. Yeah that’s the kind of thing that is not going to go over well in the slightest.

Mano is a senator who is really unreasonable throughout the film. He’s always telling people to hurry up and get him out of here when it’s clear as crystal that there isn’t anything anyone can do at the moment. Why is this such a foreign concept to him? The guy is also having an affair with Tokiyasu’s wife. Mano is also very quick to betray the others and does this numerous times throughout the film.

Then you have Tokiyasu who willingly threw his wife at Mano in order to try and secure a deal for his company. That tells you the level of ethics that this guy follows. Noriko is also content to go along with this plan which is unfortunate as well. In horror films being unfaithful usually ends up being disastrous for all parties involved and this movie is no exception.

There’s Momotake but he doesn’t last long. The guy is actually happy about the plane crash because he has a theory that humans will always devolve into their base instincts and he wants a chance to prove this. Yes, great for him…but that’s naturally going to only lead to one conclusion right? Momotake talks a big game but he still seems a little surprised by what he had predicted.

Finally there is Sagai who seemed to be reasonable for most of the movie but then he also decided they needed to start sacrificing people. So he went down the drain. It’s a common theme in the film that at the end of the day you can’t trust anyone. Ultimately everyone will betray you and it’s just a very cynical way of looking at things. It would have been nice if they weren’t all so corrupt.

The idea of the cast slowly all going mad as they’re trapped in a small plane with no water or food can definitely be interesting but it has to be handled really carefully. I saw a film sort of like that (I forget the title) where the characters are locked in a house by an invisible force and all start to go crazy. That one was handled better to be sure even if it had some issues.

Now you would think the alien plot would automatically fix things right? Well, I wouldn’t say that the process is automatic because these aliens are basically vampires. Yes, that’s one of the last things this film needed. The movie isn’t afraid to get rather violent with these interactions as the humans are slowly drained into oblivion. Each of these scenes certainly drags and the movie ends up falling into the classic horror hole of being violent for shock value. Throw in all of the animal deaths from earlier and this movie did not know what it was doing.

Even the design for when the aliens inhabit the human hosts is not very fun to look at. They have to make a giant incision in the person’s face which looks like an obvious weak point. The vampires also aren’t very fast so you know that they can be outrun if the humans would stop tripping and looking back. Just keep on going full speed and you’ll be okay. Why turn back like that? All you’re doing is speeding up your own demise!

Okay, so a lot happens by the end of the film and I won’t spoil the twist since it’s like something out of an M Shyamalan film. Of course the heroes crashed somewhere so a few of them suggest running outside for a while to get to the next town. This idea is slammed down but what if they had actually gone? The ending gives you a look at what would have happened and it does make the characters look pretty bad. From the start I thought it was a terrible idea to stay put. Sure the outdoors are dangerous but you have no water or food so isn’t it better to leave now while you have energy than later?

The one thing I will say for the film is that the ending is pretty hype. Things start accelerating a lot quicker than I ever would have suspected and really changes the whole context of what’s going on. I would actually be reasonably hyped for a sequel. The issue with this film…or at least one of them is that we were just focused on the wrong people. I want to see the rest of the planet now which should make for a much more interesting narrative.

Overall, Goke, Body Snatcher was disappointing. Honestly I was expecting it to be significantly better than how it turned out. The aliens being vampires is such an awful idea and making the characters this unlikable was not a good decision. Whenever any film decides to make the whole cast villains for some reason I have to shake my head because that will never work. It’s just not a good idea because you need someone to sympathize with and this completely removes the chances of that happening. If you want to watch an interesting alien film then you have much better options that you can take a look at. This one is best left to the remnants of history.

Overall 2/10

Field of Dreams Review


Time for a Baseball experience. There is a little less actual Baseball playing than you would expect though as it’s more focused on the drama. It’s a fun enough film to be sure and we have an emotional character arc for the lead. That said, I do think it would have amplified the experience if we had gotten an opposing team to fight or something though. Think Space Jam but the supernatural version.

So the movie starts with Ray feeling a little down because he just isn’t really sure what he has done with his life. His biggest fear is not getting to do anything super important or memorable before he dies. He has some issues with his father due to this when he was a kid because he thought that it had happened to him. One day, Ray hears a message saying to build it and he will come. His wife Annie pokes fun at the fact that the voice did not add any real details to that message so it’s hard to say what the mission even is.

Fortunately Ray continues to get more messages and visions. It turns out that he needs to build a Baseball stadium. That way Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the team members who threw the World Series would finally be able to play again since they were banned for life and died a while back. Ray believes Joe didn’t actually participate in throwing the series despite taking the money since the guy played effectively a flawless game. I suppose it’s one of those things they’ll never know for sure but either way that was a long time ago and the whole team just wants to play ball.

Still, the visions haven’t ended. There is still more that Ray evidently needs to do. The only question is…what? This journey will take Ray many places such as visiting the jaded writer known as Terrence and even talking to a baseball player who became a doctor. That’s not even the biggest challenges he will face though. As Ray is traveling around the world and having a good ole time, his wife Annie is having to deal with the fact that their finances are running dry. The Baseball arena is certainly eating up a large chunk of income after all and the creditors are here to take the main characters down for good.

Field of Dreams is certainly a calming film as it’s really about Ray finally getting to make a difference in the world. He has a good time visiting the various players and trying to figure out what the messages are all about. It’s also good that things did work out because otherwise the characters were starting to get into a sticky situation. For example, even right up to the end of the film he didn’t really have any concrete plans on how to earn money. If not for his daughter stepping in, they were all about to get wrecked by the creditors.

Ray’s determined which is good but I would have liked him more if he had a concrete plan to deal with things. Meanwhile Annie was the one really holding down the fort the whole time. Without her stepping in and resisting the sell offers Ray would have been coming home to a rather empty place. It was also nice to see Annie taking up a position at the town hall meeting and going back and forth with the main speaker there. She was a protester along with Ray in the quick flashbacks we saw after all so this isn’t her first rodeo.

We don’t see a lot of the past but there’s just enough to introduce us to Ray since his feud with his father is a bit of a main plot point. From what we saw the issue was really entirely with Ray as he entered a rebellious phase due to the books he was reading by Terrence. It was a bad look for him to be sure but at least he got better as he grew up. It’s hard to hold his actions from many years prior to the film against him in the present but perhaps that’s part of why he never got all that good. He was even short with his daughter when she was trying to let him know that the first of the ghosts had shown up.

Then we have Mark who is one of the main villains here. While he acts concerned for Ray and Annie it doesn’t change the fact that he showed up to try and get rid of their home. No matter how you slice it he wasn’t exactly doing everything he could to help them out. From his perspective they did seem to be rather crazy of course but there are still better ways to handle that.

Finally you’ve got Terrence who makes for a fun character. His opening scenes of trying to terrorize Ray are quite intense. The guy clearly doesn’t want to be back in the spotlight after all and that’s fair. I think being famous can definitely take its toll on you if people are constantly asking you for autographs and such. Terrence has a good role here though and ends up having a fun dynamic with Ray.

As for the Baseball players, while they were all fun enough, you wish they would have done something to help Ray out. It’s an issue I sometimes have with these supernatural guys. All they want is to have a good time which is fair but they absolutely have to notice the struggled the main characters are having right? Can’t they at least offer up some advice or help out? By the end they start mind controlling the nearby townsfolk and even people across the country to give Ray money but for a while they were just ignoring his plight. Things could have easily gone sideways.

The best player was definitely the doctor. He was an emotional character and didn’t come in until near the end but I thought his plot was the most interesting. He’s effectively given the chance to change his past but decides that he’ll take the life he already has which I liked. The grass is always greener after all and he knows how many people he has helped as a doctor. If he had kept playing baseball then of course that would be different.

Overall, Field of Dreams is a pretty fun film. You do feel like the Baseball players could have helped out a little more though. They basically made Ray do everything and then looked the other way until the climax of the film. One way to give them more agency here would have definitely been to have introduced a team for them to fight. Maybe the winners get a lot of money or something. It would have the players have to face their temptations if the other team offers them money for throwing the game or something like that. The climax we do get is suitably emotional though and does tie in with the overall themes. It’s good that Ray effectively got to make up for some of the mistakes he made early on. If you want to watch a fun drama film then check this one out. As long as you know ahead of time that this isn’t really a sports film and is more about dealing with the past and following your dreams then you’re sure to enjoy it. Some parts are a bit cheesy like a certain antagonist losing the will to fight but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Overall 6/10