It Came From Beneath The Sea Review


It Came From Beneath The Sea is an old monster film that you’ve likely heard of even if you may not have seen it yet. The movie deals with a lot of classic monster themes like escaping from towering buildings and finally developing a weapon to stop the threat. It checks off all the right boxes even if there is little imagination in the film to differentiate it.

The film starts off with a giant octopus bringing the pain to a bunch of government agents who were in an underwater sub. In that sense the premise is a little similar to The Meg. The government brings in the two leading authorities on Marine life in the world to get cracking on this mystery. Despite their findings the government refuses to believe until things start to escalate. Is it already too late?

The movie has a pretty small cast and unfortunately not the strongest one. The main character, Pete is a little too into romance to focus on his job. He’s constantly going after the scientist named Joyce and gets jealous very quick. He’s quick to assume that she would want to be with him no matter what and needs more than a few reality checks. By the end he’s been set straight and of works out, but he definitely isn’t the most endearing main character. For the most part the film tries to portray him as you classic leader, charismatic, but a guy who knows how to get the job done. His character just can’t recover from the romance subplot.

Then you’ve got his rival who seems to be all over the place. At times he seems interested in Joyce as well and totally oblivious in other moments. By the end he seems to be trying to play matchmaker to an extent which is very odd considering his position. I guess it’s good that he’s taking this so well, but it’s almost too well. His name is Carter by the way and he is an expert in this monster research as well. As I said, he’s a nice guy, but I do think the writers were a bit confused with how to go about writing his character.

As for the heroine Joyce, she is good in some ways, but doesn’t age well in others. The good part is that she wants to be tough and independent. She rejects most of Pete’s advances and tries to concentrate on her work. That’s all good, but she does tend to fold a bit during the monster attacks which hurts her points. She’s the first one to scream when the monster shows up and is utterly terrified the whole time. After her speeches about how she doesn’t need anyone to protect her it just isn’t a good look. She also waffles back and forth a bit on the romance aspect as well.

So, this may be a classic film, but the writing isn’t quite as good as usual. Typically in a film like this the writing is pretty awesome and on point throughout. While most of the characters still work well, the main 3 aren’t that great which is a bit of an issue. The film just doesn’t really compare to most other monster films of its era. It’s a good film for sure, but one that could probably have been great if it wasn’t holding itself back the whole time.

As for the giant octopus, he has a reasonable design. It’s fun seeing him take down the civilians as he stomps through town. Nobody could stand up to this guy although they shouldn’t be expected to anyway. With a single swing of his tendrils he can lay waste to whole buildings and even sinks a ship. It always makes for some fun scenes. The army is a little slow to acknowledge its existence though. Even after there is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt they continue to be skeptical. Honestly the way the scientists presented the case wasn’t even all that far fetched so I’m a little surprised at all the doubt. Ah well, just goes to show that people don’t want to believe in giant monsters.

It’s fortunate for the monster that the humans didn’t believe in it for a while because this is one of the few ones that probably would have gone down pretty quickly to a full frontal assault. It’s not impervious to the stronger guns aboard the boats and while it can move in quick bursts it doesn’t like running. At one point the characters even comment on how it wants a fight. Once the fight starts it is really all over for the Octopus. I do question why the characters had such a poor plan where ultimately they are forced to go up close to end the battle. They just didn’t think things through and likewise a helicopter gets in way too close as well and gets squashed. You gotta give the monsters a wide berth or they’ll walk all over you.

Overall, It Came From Beneath The Sea is worth checking out. We do get some nice banter and of course you can’t go wrong with a classic creature feature flick right? The Giant Octopus is a fun villain to have around. The ending may be a bit sudden, but the flip side of that is that the Octopus gets to dominate for most of the movie. That’s definitely nice to see for my fellow monster fans reading this. It’s also a pretty short movie and doesn’t drag on at all. The pacing’s pretty tight. The movie doesn’t do anything particularly original, but it also doesn’t make any crucial mistakes so that’s a good balance if you ask me.

Overall 6/10

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The Other Review


Most films have something to bring to the table even if they aren’t particularly good. Resident Evil had good fights and a tight soundtrack, Pixels had a lot of humor and good graphics, and even Transformers had nostalgia on its side. The Other is a film that has none of that. There is a saying that goes “Smash? More like Trash am I right?” in the world of twitch. That one wasn’t accurate but if you throw in the Other instead of Smash then you’re actually on to something.

The Other starts off by showing two kids playing at the lake. They aren’t very nice kids so they quickly take the time to intrude on a neighbor’s property. From there things only escalate as one kid begins to murder everyone in the family. Can Niles stop helping him long enough to stop this guy or is he as evil as he appears? Just calling them kids is gonna get confusing the whole time so the important thing to remember is that the evil one is called Holland while the less evil one is Niles.

“Strangely” nobody ever sees Holland or even comments about him. Then there is the fact that the two brothers look identical. The twist is pretty obvious especially with a theme being that the main character can talk to the dead. As a result any scene with him in it is pretty bad. None of his “nice” scenes will work for you since you won’t fall for his tricks and either way it’s annoying how he always tries to change the subject. He just can’t face reality.

This film is just super mean spirited. Bad things just keep on happening to everyone in the family and none of them get a happy ending. You can also blame this on the writing and a poor script. There is nothing to grab your attention here and you’ll have a hard time paying attention since there is no one to root for. The film drags on and on for the whole duration. None of the characters are particularly smart either.

Even after one of them ones what is going on she decides to keep leaving the lead alone in the same room as other characters. Surely she should know how things would play out from there right? If not, then that definitely makes her look bad. We also can’t forget how she is able to play the control a dead person game and yet she doesn’t use it to try and find the missing person at the end. The whole film is leading up to her using that ability for this sole purpose and it doesn’t happen. When you’ve got supernatural powers that can save lives you really need to use them. Far as I’m concerned she’s an accessory to all of the murders that take place in this movie…and there are quite a lot of those.

Overall, The Other is definitely a film that you’ll want to avoid. None of it is any good from the characters to the plot. It’s ultimately just a big waste of space and you’ll be glad that you skipped this one. It’s a shame that such a good title had to be wasted on this movie but that’s how it goes I suppose. Not all of the films can be winners and some are destined to fall all the way down to stinker territory. There’s not a whole lot more to say about the film as it isn’t terrible in an entertaining way. It just falls down the stairs from the start and never climbs back up. It fails at being a movie.

Overall 0/10

Christopher Robin Review


It’s time to look at this recent Winnie The Pooh spinoff that came out in theaters. It’s the kind of film where the trailer doesn’t really speak to you as it’s more of a subdued experience. Still, films like this can be fairly emotional if handled right and that’s certainly what you expect to see. This ends up being a good film. Christopher is definitely really annoying though, but the rest of the cast are able to hold their own as they remind him what it means to be a quality character.

The film starts off with a bit of a montage showing Christopher growing up. He used to hang out at 100 Acres with the rest of the animals, but as he grew up he started to forget the place. By the time he was a grown up he convinced himself that they weren’t real and he had simply been imagining them. (That must have taken a lot of self-brain washing tbh) He is now working at a classic 9-5 job where the company is going under. His boss instructs him to fire a lot of his colleagues in order to keep the company afloat. The problem is that this will require him to work the weekend when he had planned to spend it with his family. He also isn’t thrilled about firing everybody, but is ready to make the hard calls if necessary. Will he ultimately choose the job over his family?

It appears so. Fortunately, Pooh is coming home to get Christopher. See, at 100 Acres all of his friends have vanished. He needs Christopher to find them, but the journey will be tougher than he thought possible since Chris has renounced his ties to his friends. Gone is the nice kid who would help out all the time. All that remains is a shell of his former self, a man who is stuck being the Yes Man at his company. Pooh’s going to have to try and teach him what it means to be a good friend.

Well, you can tell that I didn’t like Chris. He’s just really mean to everyone the whole film. The worst part is that he plays the victim card the whole time. He acts like he’s doing this for everyone else when that isn’t the case. One example of this is how he wants to send Madeline to boarding school despite his wife Evelyn pointing out that this will not be for the best. Chris likes the idea since he was sent to boarding school, but look at how he turned out from there? Then he doesn’t stand up to his boss at all and doesn’t seem like the sharpest tool in the shed. Christopher’s character arc is pretty obvious from the start. You know that he will ultimately see the light so the thing to look for in this kind of arc is how bad the character gets before he starts to turn things around.

Some characters manage to not fall too far down the rabbit hole in the mean time while others really go over the bend. Unfortunately, Christopher is the latter case. It’s impossible to sympathize with the guy since all of his troubles are of his own making. Lets take the weekend trip. Sure, this is important so maybe Christopher should be at the meeting. Well, he still could have gone to the summer house for the first day since the meeting wasn’t til the next day. He could play with Madeline and Evelyn at that point and then work through the night before driving back. Sure, he’ll be sleep deprived, but that’s the kind of sacrifice he should be able/willing to make in order to please his family. What’s a few sleepless nights if it’ll calm down the household?

Throughout the film Christopher acts like he has no choice when there are so many easy ones. Closing the door when the others are trying to dance was also pretty rude. He puts his job ahead of his family with the justification that it’ll make things better once they’re old, but that’s no good. You gotta live life to the fullest now and don’t worry about the future like that. Once you’re old you won’t be able to enjoy things quite as much as you could back in the day anyway so the logic is just backwards. As long as your situation is livable then you’re fine.

Meanwhile, Evelyn and Madeline were all right. They were fairly reasonable characters and were at least here to help guilt trip Chris through his character arc. Without them around his arc wouldn’t really have much of a purpose so they’re definitely necessary. I’m glad they did get to see some action towards the climax of the film at least. If we ever get a sequel where the characters have to fight monsters in 100 Acres I definitely expect them to participate.

As for Pooh and his friends, they were pretty solid as well. Pooh may not be the smartest bear in the bunch, but the guy has heart. Plus, technically none of the animals are all that smart so it’s not like Pooh gets out shined by the others there. None of them are able to come to terms with the fact that they are not supposed to know how to talk in the human world. He does what he can to help instill life lessons in his friends. The voice is also iconic. Then we’ve got his friends who are all nice enough. The best one is the donkey-like creature who is always being a downer. His lines are all pretty genuine and you can’t help but feel bad for the guy. Aside from Pooh I think it’s safe to say that he got the biggest role from all of the stuffed animal creatures.

I’d say that this film shines in its ability to avoid the negatives. There isn’t really much wrong with the film. The pacing is pretty good and the plot’s interesting. Those are the two fundamentals you need for a good film so I could definitely recommend this one. Pretty much anyone could watch this film and have a good time of it. Once in a while you may get a scene that’s a little too silly to take seriously like Christopher fighting off invisible opponents, but for the most part the movie takes itself seriously. You will feel bad for Christopher’s house by the time Pooh is done with it though.

Overall, Christopher Robin was a fun film. The lead did his best to drag it down, but the other characters remained. I do have to say that I was surprised we didn’t really get closure with the neighbor who wanted to play cards. Admittedly that guy did seem a bit iffy, but if Chris had expressed interest in playing in the first place then he was leading the guy on. He should have given a firm “No” and that would have been the end of that. Maybe in a sequel the guy would appear and now they would get along better since Chris is a changed man. If you haven’t seen this film yet and are looking for an emotional experience then I’d recommend checking this one out. You won’t look at Pooh the same way again.

Overall 6/10

The Gorgon Review


It’s time to look at a pretty old horror film. There aren’t too many films about the Gorgon since they tend to focus on Medusa so that’s a good change of pace. Considering how bad most of the Hammer films are this one was actually pretty decent. It even avoided the old animal violence trope. It’s still nothing great, but it’s a film that’s actually watchable and fairly entertaining. I was impressed.

The film starts off with a bunch of people being murdered in a small village. One day another girl dies and her fiancee decides to get to the bottom of this. He has no luck and is destroyed so his father comes along to see what he can dig up. The townspeople threaten him and the cops allow it because the whole town is corrupt. The father manages to see the Gorgon and uncovers the truth, but dies as soon as he writes a letter. Then his son Paul shows up to finish his legacy. He wants to find the truth behind these murders but is being hampered at every turn. He’s called in his old pal Karl to help him out and a nice heroine by the name of Carla is also eager to help in his discoveries. Will the 3 of them be able to take down the Gorgon or will she turn them to stone?

Right away I have to say that all the misdirects at the beginning were a blast. The main character switches like 3 different times until the actual lead shows up. The first two live long enough where you think that they actually would have made it through. Now that’s an unexpected death if I ever saw one. The town being corrupt was also done in less of an iffy way than usual although naturally they all still look pretty bad as you’d expect. Doesn’t the town realize that if they let the Gorgon run free it will mean the end of everything? They’re content to just murder anyone who tries to murder the threat that is after them, but that logic is just so bad.

The only one that has a valid reason to help Gorgon for spoiler reasons is Namaroff and even he can be pretty bad the whole time. He changes his tune quite drastically by the end which makes his whole journey pointless. The guy was basically around to fulfill the role as the corrupt doctor but his goals and aspirations just didn’t make any sense either. By being overly cryptic and curt he should have known what was ultimately going to happen. The guy just wasn’t very smart.

Now lets talk about the standout character- Karl. Karl is a hardened professor who has been to many corrupt towns like this one. He knows how to fight and is also the smartest character in the movie. He knows law like the back of his hand so the police aren’t able to bully him as they did with Paul. He outwits everyone and constantly digs up facts about the case. He even solves the mystery early on but naturally Paul won’t hear anything of it. Without Karl, Paul would have been doomed from the start. Effectively this professor is Sherlock Holmes and he completely stole the show. I was surprised to see a character this likable in this film.

Paul is the actual main character of the film and right away you’ll see what I mean when I say that the guy wouldn’t last long. He’s not all that smart. He always talks tough but can’t back it up so when it’s fight time he is doomed. He tries quite often to persuade the doctor to help in his cause but it’s futile from the start. He also starts to let his emotions get the best of him as he forgets logic by the end. It’s one of his many issues in the movie. In general the romance between him and Carla wasn’t particularly good. I think the film could have done without that. It also would have made the identity of the Gorgon a little less obvious. After all there’s only 1 female character in the film. I wonder who the Gorgon can be……

Carla is a reasonable character for the most part. I think she should have also suspected what was happening a little sooner, but it’s also reasonable to assume that she would have some memory issues. By the end of the film her will power wasn’t particularly strong though which hurt her character arc a bit. Willpower isn’t something you can train all that much, it’s just something that you have but she could have used it to a better extent.

The writing was actually pretty good here. I can’t say I had any complaints with it. I mean, the town could be super unreasonable but at this point I can’t even say that is an unrealistic thing to see. The film is quite short so it doesn’t drag on and is over in the blink of an eye. The film isn’t super violent or graphic compared to the average Hammer film either. At worst the film might just move a bit slowly at times, but I would argue that the film’s plot never comes to a halt either. There really isn’t much time for big filler scenes.

Overall, The Gorgon certainly is a film that you have seen many times before. Switch out the character names and this could work as any other retro horror film. Still, while it is generic the film doesn’t necessarily handle itself poorly. It’s still a big improvement over films like Dracula and the Werewolf titles. I’d recommend watching it if you want an old horror film like this one. It takes itself seriously and I’d say that it has aged well in the sense that it’s not campy or anything. That can actually be a tough thing to accomplish nowadays. It feels like most old films can be pretty cheesy when watched in the present.

Overall 6/10

Leave No Trace Review


It’s time to look at a survival film which mainly takes place in a large forest. It definitely goes to show why it’s such a tough task to take care of these places since people are always trying to go in there and try to live on the land. The authorities in this film are actually super lenient all things considered as I could easily see the main characters getting jail time for what they try to do. At the very least, that’s what I would picture Will’s fate would be. It’s an interesting film that’s pretty low key and is more of a down to Earth story than many other movies. It can be a bit on the tragic side as well though.

The movie starts with Will and his daughter Tom living in the forest. At first you wonder why they are there. Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Vampires running loose? No. It turns out that Will doesn’t like humanity so he has decided that the only way to enjoy life is to live outside without any other souls around. Even if the characters are alone they can’t live in a house unless it is one that Will found first and no humans have lent him. This is a rough lifestyle for Tom, but she does her best to get by. The cops eventually catch the two and Tom gets a glimpse of what life would be like with a warm bed and food. Still, Will isn’t satisfied so he tells her that they have to evade the cops and head back to the forest. Tom is reluctant to do this. Can they really survive under such a lifestyle? Well, she’s about to find out!

While you might not mind Will for a few minutes, you’ll probably know almost right away that something is off about this scenario. Why are the main characters living in the woods? Before the film reveals that Will is basically crazy you assume that maybe the zombie apocalypse came early or something like that. No, Will just doesn’t like to live like the average person and that’s when the sympathy for his character ends. You’re just waiting for Tom to try and escape him the whole time. It still makes for a pretty mysterious beginning though. I’ve never been a fan of camping so living outside for any prolonged period of time would definitely be pretty rough. It also doesn’t make for the most engaging of films typically but fortunately this movie doesn’t let itself get bogged down in the details. We don’t see them eating insects or anything like that. That’s when the film would have crossed the line.

While I can’t say that I liked Will, Tom’s a good character. She is trying her best to adapt to the situations she is put in and does so without a fuss. She is young enough where it is believable that she is following Will’s bad advice as well. You can’t really fault her for not trying harder to distance herself since that’s not really an option. By the end of the film she also makes the right call. Without Tom doing her best to help Will get used to the new lifestyle the whole thing probably would have been even tougher on the main characters.

It’s also a pretty interesting look at how the rangers prevent people like this from living in the forest. It’s certainly not a job I would envy as it seems extremely difficult so I hope they are compensated well. The forests are huge so you can imagine how tough it is to constantly be surveying it. The guard dog certainly did good as well. I’m not sure if this is how it works in real life with how the organization tries to re-locate these people, but if so then it is a much more generous process then I would have ever imagined. Rather then go to jail they give Will and Tom a fairly nice house and a whole lot of freedom. They have so much freedom in fact that I’m not sure if this is even a good idea. Of course the characters aren’t bad people in this case, but I do think this could have gotten very wrong. Of course it still isn’t enough to make Will happy, but it was a nice attempt by the agency. Even the tests they gave the main characters weren’t invasive in the slightest while still being a little effective. I’m not really sure I buy into how they really think you can understand someone through vague questions, but I know there is some science to it.

The film is certainly a slow burner though so you’ll need to appreciate the landscapes and atmosphere here. A good chunk of the story is the characters walking through the forest and doing their best to come to terms with the elements. The landscapes look pretty nice though and it’s definitely a forest that I would be up for visiting. I’m still more of a “lounge by the hotel” kind of guy, but it’s a good change of pace. Basically all of the human characters who show up are nice which is fortunate for the main characters since the situation could have gone sideways pretty quick. Characters like the truck driver were pretty reasonable and all of the dogs in the film were a blast. Again, pretty much every character aside from Will is solid so that’s definitely a good thing.

Overall, Leave No Trace is a pretty decent film. It can definitely be a little tragic at times as you feel bad for the rescue workers who are just doing their best. Naturally it can also be pretty tough for Tom the whole time. Fortunately the film always stays pretty tame and doesn’t let the situation get too absurdly bad for the main characters. It’s never a film that’s hard to watch. At most you’ll probably just get frustrated with Will the whole time which is intentional on the film’s part. Beyond that, it’s a pretty unique film and one that is probably informative as I imagine it is likely pretty realistic. These kind of films usually have a good basis in fact with the writer doing some research before the film comes out. If you want to see a film about how you could possibly survive in the forest (As long as you have a ton of money. Will is conveniently loaded so he can constantly buy whatever they need) and why it is not as good as just living in a house then this is the one for you.

Overall 6/10

A Fistful of Dollars Review

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

It’s time to look at an old Wild West film. I’ve never been a fan of the genre. It’s just not my thing as the scenery isn’t all that engaging and everyone always seems to be pretty unlikable here. Fortunately this one was actually pretty decent all things considered and I may go as far as to say that this is my favorite Wild West film. It’s just more enjoyable than the average one and there is quite a lot of strategy going on here which is always nice.

The film starts off with our nameless hero wandering into a corrupt town. There are two factions here which are always battling for control. They are the Baxters and the Rojos. The Baxters are technically the Sheriff group so you’d think they would be the heroes here but considering that they’re all bullies who like shooting everyone up then I guess that isn’t true. The hero decides to take both families down by pitting them against each other. In the process perhaps he will be able to save a couple who has been separated by the warring factions. (Not that they each joined a squad but that the Roja’s have split them up for their own amusement.

A good chunk of the film is about the main character lying to both sides and getting them into trouble. Naturally there is no reason to feel bad for any of the people that he is tricking because they are all bad hombres from the start. He grabs two dead Mexican cops and plants them in a grave yard which causes both groups to want to reach them in time. I can understand the Rojos wanting to silence them but I don’t really see how this would help the Baxters. They are hopelessly outmatched against the Rojos anyway. Why wouldn’t the Baxters go to the next village to grab some cops if they really needed backup? I feel like that would have helped out a little unless they were worried about being undermanned at the village for any amount of time.

One scene near the end of the film is a pretty big stretch though. The hero frames the Baxters again so the final 4 Rojos decide to go to their base and murder them all. The Baxters are supposed to be decent fighters in their own right…right? Well, they manage to somehow lose a 20+ vs 4 battle which is just shameful. They keep running out of the house without their guns or at the very least without any kind of aiming skills. At most you can see the first few members falling for this but we’re talking dozens here and the scene lasts for a very long time. They just keep running out of the house and getting shot. At least take one or two guys down before you die. Going out like that is just embarrassing. It would be tragic if the Baxters weren’t such bad characters.

Naturally there is no reason to like the Rojos either. The main villain is pretty much your stereotypical gang leader who is only concerned with getting money and messing everyone up. At least he is able to plan better than the Baxters though. Still, the only 3 good characters here are the main character and his two pals. The more minor of the two is the coffin maker. He doesn’t do a whole lot but ends up playing a pivotal role towards the end of the film. Then you’ve got the bar owner who helps the hero out a lot. Naturally this ends up being a pretty painful experience for him which is always the case when you ally yourself with the main character. He stays strong throughout though and is also a pretty good shot with his gun.

Finally there’s the main character although I think I’ve already mentioned that he’s pretty solid. This guy knows how to plan and he’s a very quick shot. He manages to take down multiple opponents quite a few times. Without his gun he can still put up a fight although at that point trying to fight a 1 v 4 is basically impossible. He also gets put through the wringer here as the scene where he is beaten by the group is quite intense and certainly lasts for a long while. The film can get pretty gruesome although that’s to be expected. It’s another Wild West thing. Still, it could have been worse.

Aside from the violence the only other aspect of the film that can hurt it is essentially how the villains are winning for 99% of the film and by the time they are defeated there isn’t much left to save. It always takes a bit of the triumph out of the victory because the villains got away with so much before finally being taken down. That’s just how it is sometimes I suppose, but it’s also fun to see the hero swoop in and save the day before all of the damage has been done.

Overall, A Fistful of Dollars is a Wild West film that manages to tick off the usual boxes without making too many mistakes. The film doesn’t particularly drag on and having a good lead is certainly important. It can be annoying to see the entire town corrupt as it is said early on that basically everyone else has already been murdered. Without the main character around things would have definitely gotten a lot worse. By the time the police actually get ready to show up as the film is ending you know that they were just way too late for it to even matter. I’d recommend checking this film out. You’ll see how to properly do a quick draw.

Overall 6/10

Phi Brain: Puzzle of God Review


It’s time to look at a puzzle anime which is pretty unique. There are a few puzzle franchises out there, but if we’re strictly looking at shows the only one that I can think of is Layton and I haven’t seen that one yet. A puzzle is different from a mystery after all as you’re trying to find the way to complete it, not so much finding out who made it. The season’s definitely a lot of fun and basically handled everything flawlessly. It’s a show that you can certainly recommend to anyone and it has no weak points.

The show starts with Kaito Daimon (Get used to his full name as all of the characters like using it) beating the puzzle club’s best puzzles once again. Try as they might they can never defeat him and that’s because Kaito is a genius. His catch phrase is “There ain’t no puzzle I can’t solve” which is a triple negative so it basically turns into “I can solve all puzzles!” It’s definitely one of the best catchphrases I’ve heard in a while although “I’m not done yet!” still wins at the moment. His best friend Nonoha isn’t any good at puzzles but they still get along pretty well with how different they are. Kaito’s life gets a little more complicated though when an evil organization known as the POG shows up. They have begun setting up puzzles which are designed to take the life of those who challenge them.

This goes against what Kaito believes puzzles should be like. He plays them for fun after all. Now he is obligated to try out all of these puzzles so he can solve them before anyone gets hurt. He registers with the school as a genius with an official title so he can go after the POG and is also chosen by the Armlet of Orpheus which grants him super human intelligence for a time, but also completely exhausts him. He won’t be alone though as 3 other geniuses from the school, Gammon, Ana, and Cubik are also chosen. Together they have to stop the POG, but are these other guys just holding Kaito back? If so…how can he get them to back off?

A great deal of the season is shrouded in mystery as we only learn more about the POG in small steps. At first all you really know is that Kaito has to stop them. Gradually we see inside of the POG. Their motives, how the organization works, etc. Especially towards the end as we get a full flashback episode and you get all of the context. I’d say that the show does a good job of answering all of its questions. I still have to question how practical the POG is. Apparently they used to be more of a heroic organization but gradually they became more ruthless and were just hiring a bunch of murderers. However, from the start they were going around murdering people so it’s safe to say that this was all a front. If anything the disturbing element of the POG is how like most other cults they get a lot of people who seem like ordinary citizens to quickly be eager to destroy their fellow man. It’s definitely not what you would expect from a teacher at the local school for example. The POG also gets away with quite a lot to be honest, but I suppose one day the cops will learn of them and they’ll all do some time.

Back on target, as I mentioned the puzzles are one of the big selling points of the show. They certainly deliver. All of the puzzles in the show are properly explained. They are nice and complex without being hard to understand. For example, when you see the puzzle you will quickly know what to do even if you aren’t sure how to find the actual answer. The puzzles are just written really well. My favorite one is probably the Lightsaber duel. There’s a lot of strategy there while also being more of a physical test of skill since you also need to be able to move fast enough to pull off most of the moves. The same can be said for some of the other puzzles like the battle atop the construction building. If you can’t run from pillar to pillar fast enough then it’s really all over.

The animation is quite sharp. I like the effects that are used for the armlet and the glowing eyes that Kaito and Rook have. The energy effects are just very vibrant and same with all of the backgrounds. The show always looks sharp and you can tell that a good amount of effort was put into it. I also greatly enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s an interesting Brazilian/Portuguese type soundtrack with a lot of fast paced tunes that work well for the puzzles. The theme song is also really good which is definitely fortunate since the whole season just has one. iI still think that a theme song should change every 13 episodes, but I suppose that can get expensive. It’s definitely a memorable bundle of songs so that is reason enough to give this one a look.

Now lets look at the main cast. Kaito is our main character and he’s a good lead. He is very confident throughout the series and never even considers the fact that he might not win. He knows that he is a top notch solver and I do tend to enjoy characters like that quite a bit. He does have a few times where his confidence is shaken thanks to stuff that happened in his childhood which the villains love to use against him. Still, it never keeps him down for long and Kaito always bounces back. He has to work extra hard most of the time so he wins the puzzle while still saving his opponent. It’s definitely not an easy road, but it’s one that he can handle. The best character in the show is certainly him or Gammon.

Gammon is the rival here. He’s another very confident character who is convinced that he is the best. Initially he is a solver like Kaito but eventually he remembers that he used to be a Giver. (Givers create puzzles while solvers…..solve them) This leads to a rather iffy decision where Gammon joins the POG for a while. Now this is where it’s pretty complicated. See, the show doesn’t play it off as too serious a thing. He betrays the heroes and works for a bunch of murderers, but he never personally destroys anyone. The heroes also seem to think that he knew they would survive each time which is why he had no qualms about murdering Kaito. Still, it’s taken quite far so even if the heroes can forgive him I’m not sure if I can. At the very least he did drop from being my favorite character to going under Kaito. I suppose I’ll put him in 2nd for now, but it will be interesting to see where his character arc goes from here. His tale is tragic at times admittedly as he is quite good, but always gets overshadowed by Kaito. That’s why it was interesting to see him as an antagonist since he busts into the villain base and starts taking everyone down. The fact that he was able to beat everyone aside from the boss Rook (Who he never got to fight) is quite telling.

Nonoha is the main heroine and she’s a fun character to have around. She can actually fight unlike most of the cast which is certainly handy in case any of the villains decide to take matters into their own hands. I also like how she was helpful right from the start like in the very first episode where she helps Kaito during the maze. Yeah, she almost fell to her doom, but it was a good effort. She’s always around to cheer Kaito and the gang up. Even after all of Kaito’s friends start running scared she manages to stick with him the whole time. Definitely a quality character and even if she can’t solve puzzles hopefully she continues to get a big role in the next adventures.

Cubik is one of Kaito’s less impressive friends. He tries to stop Kaito from solving puzzles several times. The worst instance of this was when he put something on Kaito that wouldn’t let him focus on puzzles and would give him shots of pain if he tried. It’s always tragic to see since those puzzles would have been easy for Kaito otherwise. Cubik also deserts Kaito when the lead needed him most. He has his reasons and at least he had one unlike the next character, but he could have handled the situation much better than he did. It was still rather tough for him to recover from what happened in the end. Cubik also isn’t one of the better solvers to be honest.

Then there is Ana who is the worse of the friends. For starters, when he deserts Kaito there is no good reason. He just couldn’t take the stress and thought that Kaito was going to die so he wanted no part of it. Even by the end of the series all he got to do was show Kaito a painting. Sure, that was Ana’s big moment, but it wasn’t nearly as emotional or impactful at the others. Ana just could have done a lot better and never taking anything seriously doesn’t help his case either. Sometimes you gotta take things seriously or overconfidence will be your downfall.

Jikukawa is the mysterious student counsel president who works directly for Principal Baron. He acts like a troll most of the time and is just around to give the heroes their orders. He keeps a lot of secrets from them, but at the end of the day he does try to help them out at times. He just has the dangerous attitude of letting them go to the death puzzles and deciding that if they can’t solve them then it was simply their time. He starts taking more initiative as the series goes on and gradually becomes a better character as a result. You should only listen to corrupt orders for so long after all. Then we have the Principal who never really became a good character.

Baron is one of the big members of the POG and he tries to get the heroes to solve the puzzles. The problem is that his end goal is to defy the POG but he does a really bad job of it. He’s in over his head and doesn’t even know what is happening half the time. He may as well be a villain since he does whatever they say without question. Don’t let his peaceful words fool you, the Baron is not someone that I would trust and the heroes should probably be less happy to see him each time. Then we have Jin who used to hang out with Kaito and Rook before vanishing. The way his plot goes may be a bit unsatisfying, but it was an original twist. Lets just say that the big showdown really didn’t go his way despite the guy’s confidence. Maybe he would have done a little better if he had kept the armlet.

Time to look at the villains. The leader/main villain of the series is Rook. He was Kaito’s friend back in the day before vanishing. Now he is focused on destroying Kaito because he wishes they could have been friends without anyone else. Of course, I don’t trust Rook much though and I think he would have made them go through the Puzzle of God anyway. I haven’t really talked about that part much, but basically the ultimate goal of the POG is to develop a talent strong enough to challenge the Puzzle of God. Here’s where it gets a bit confusing, you need 2 solvers to challenge the puzzle at the same time since it’s a battle puzzle. The loser dies while the winner receives the Book of God which can be used to destroy the world..somehow. I don’t think the show even knows how it would work, but it’s basically just an incentive to get everyone fighting. The actual book is never all that important. Fortunately since the two solvers in the past already solved it, the book is already out in the open. Back to Rook, he’s not the greatest villain. He seems pretty intense by the end with how he wants to be with Kaito, but still chooses to act as his enemy the whole time. He let his jealousy turn him mad which wrecks all of his composure. He has a cool design, but he’s probably one of the weaker villains personality-wise.

Then we have Bishop who is Rook’s right hand man. This guy was pretty cool and it’s too bad we couldn’t have seen him more. The guy’s a genius in his own right even if he is a considerable step below Rook. He always keeps his cool and helps the villains from behind the scenes. He believes in winning fair and square so he doesn’t use any cheap tactics. That definitely makes him an honorable fighter in my book. It’s certainly possible that he may return, but I just get the feeling that he probably won’t do much. Meanwhile, one of the other big villains is Elena. She’s a villain by night and an entertainer by day, but both roles involve puzzles. Her heart is never really in it compared to the others, but she still stays on the side of the POG. She may as well since she’s a celebrity and doesn’t have to fear them as much as the others. Elena is a fun character and pretty resourceful. The heroes definitely owe her for the insider information she gave them. I could definitely see her showing up again at some point. She got a lot of development so it’s time for her to challenge a puzzle as a hero.

That’s basically it for the relevant cast. I’ve also covered pretty much everything about the series so it’s almost time for the wrap up. It goes without saying but the writing is also pretty solid. I think you’ll be kept engaged from start to finish. The show has a lot of replay value given how you can also choose to pause the puzzle from the start and solve it yourself. Some of them can be a bit of a stretch to solve without clues, but others are laid out from the start with a solution. You’ll just need a paper and pen handy to see if you can crack it. It’ll definitely take you longer than the characters from the show though.

Overall, Phi Brain is definitely a blast. It’s a series that I highly recommend. The puzzles are really well thought out and the cast of characters are all pretty interesting as well. I think the random episodes of the heroes beating puzzles of fools and POG traps may have beaten some of the more plot based episodes of the second half, but both have their strengths. You can be satisfied with knowing that season 1 is a complete package. It’s a story that has a beginning and an ending. There isn’t even a real cliffhanger for season 2 as long as you don’t watch the preview. I’m certainly glad that there are more adventures to be had with the main cast though. They can easily hold their own plots. Even without a main villain group the puzzles would be good enough, but we do actually have a fresh villain group coming up which will be cool. They have a lot of potential.

Overall 8/10

Rodan Review


It’s time to look at one of the original giant monster films. Many believe that Godzilla is really what kicked off the Kaiju boom, but you have to consider the mass market appeal that Rodan brought with him. Rodan isn’t your average giant monster, he is one that can fly. In fact, if we took this version of Rodan unnerfed and put him up against the other giant monsters, he would crush them. Not even Godzilla would last long against such a threat. Rodan helped audiences finally take giant monsters seriously and still works very well as both a thriller and a Kaiju film. While the film does drop off quite a bit at the end, it’s not enough to negate the rest of the experience.

The film starts off with a group of miners heading to the caves. Unfortunately they are brutally murdered by a bunch of giant worms. The humans go for backup but none of their guns are all that effective. Fortunately that’s when Rodan shows up to eat all of the worms and claim dominion over the skies. Any jets that stay in the air are promptly destroyed. The humans realize that the only way to stop Rodan is to throw him into the volcano, but this task gets a little more dangerous once there are 2 Rodans on the field. What can they possibly do?

The short answer is nothing. There’s no way that the ending even could happen. What the film should have done was have the humans acknowledge that they can’t hope to stop Rodan. This would have been the signal for a very emotional scene to start as the humans team up to create a giant paper mache version of Rodan that they sail off to an uninhabited island. The Rodans would follow it and leave humanity alone for a little while. Even I may have teared up a little bit at such a spectacle. As it stands, the ending is emotional but in a sad way. I was rooting for Rodan the whole time and was looking forward to seeing him wipe out humanity. For that not to happen is simply tragic.

Enough dwelling on the ending though. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t quite horrible enough to drag the film down too much. I have to give credit to the special effects here as they were handled a lot better than expected. I dare say that it even beats most of the modern films when it comes to depicting Rodan’s speed. In this version you actually can believe that he flies at super sonic speeds since we see him outmaneuvering a jet. Rodan may not have a fancy laser to shoot out, but with moves like that he doesn’t even need one! I also liked the size difference between Rodan and the worms. Since we already saw how massive the worms looked to the humans, it’s clear that Rodan is a colossal beast.

As for the humans…there’s not much to say about them. They’re around of course, but they don’t really contribute much to the story. The dub has fun with them as everyone gets in a few good one liners. It’s hard to tell if you’re supposed to take the characters seriously or not. On one hand, it’s not as if they’re making obviously bad decisions or anything like that, but on the other hand…they just don’t seem as invested into the situation as you would possibly expect. After all, having a giant monster around destroying everything is kind of a big deal right? I didn’t dislike the humans, but as with most of the old monster films I found them to be a tad forgettable. Granted, it’s probably because I’m focused on the monsters.

I will say that the writing was solid. These films definitely take place back in an era where scripts were actually handled with care and you didn’t have to cringe at every other line. The pacing of the film is good as well and it manages to cover quite a lot in a short amount of time. There’s not much that the film could have done to be much better in these areas as it was just solid. I can only imagine how impressive this movie must have looked back in the 50s. Whether you are currently a big Kaiju fan or just getting into the genre, this is a movie that I can definitely recommend checking out purely on a technical level in addition to being a monster film.

Overall, Rodan is a fun film. He’s always been a solid monster, but one who is probably a little over matched against the others. He’s simply too fast and strong so he tends to get nerfed quite heavily. I’m hoping that the upcoming American film has a good idea of how to use him, but I am going to be entering that film with a few reservations on the power levels department. No worries, it’s still going to be film of the year, but with all of these Kaiju running around I hope that corporate knows what they are doing. Still…when do they not?

Overall 7/10

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle Review


It’s time to look at the new Godzilla film! While the last Netflix installment wasn’t great, it was still a pretty good film. We got to see a reasonable amount of Godzilla screen time and the action scenes were pretty intense. Unfortunately this one is even more focused on the humans to the point where it can barely be called a Godzilla film. This movie is definitely a mess and I blame most of it on the painfully low budget that this movie seems to be tied down with.

The film starts with Haruo waking up and realizing that humanity has survived after all as a girl tended to his injuries. The Earthlings have fused with Mothra dna to allow themselves to survive the reign of Godzilla. They also use Mecha Godzilla’s armor to create arrows with which to fight back. The problem is that nobody is able to even damage the King of the Monsters. The heroes decide to use the armored city to fight back but can a city which doesn’t even move hope to win this fight?

The sad thing about this film is that most of it would be impossible if this was a different version of Godzilla. A single blast would have done the trick if Godzilla didn’t wait to make a move until days pass by each time. Even when he does finally make a move Godzilla only fires a single shot. Apparently he knows that beams won’t work but in that case he ended up playing himself since we find out that it actually would have been an effective tactic. One blast melted all backup harpoons and various parts of the city. Why would you not fire again?

The film can’t seem to decide whether Godzilla is extremely powerful in this version or if he is actually one of the weaker more brittle versions. Either way he didn’t look impressive. He literally walks into every single trap and shows no signs of real intelligence. The film makes him look like a zombie the whole time. The design wouldn’t be bad either if it wasn’t for the lack of animation which makes him appear to be frozen the entire time.

Another thing that’s tricky about the film is that you don’t really have anyone to root for. The humans certainly aren’t going to win a vote since they are already pretty divided with a lot of factions that would betray each other at the blink of an eye. One group becomes a little more extreme here which is unfortunate since prior to that they had been reasonable. It’s true that the humans severely overreacted with the whole merging with machine thing when it was voluntary, but that shouldn’t have made everyone go off the deep end. There is also a bit of romance here but it’s so forced for extra drama later on that you won’t get emotional about it.

High command doesn’t do much here and they still seem at a loss for answers. They don’t have a choice but to help if you ask me since they are running out of fuel and won’t be able to make it to another planet anyway. Their only chance is Earth so even if it will be tough they should try to make do. It’s not like the world is uninhabitable since the insect people still live and as long as the humans can make more masks they would be okay. Honestly if they weren’t so determined to try and crush Godzilla they probably could have coexisted well enough. It takes him days to wake up from a nap so where is the risk? Just lie low and accept that humans are no longer at the top of the food chain.

I didn’t care much for the animation in the first film and that hasn’t changed here. It looks like a cutscene you would see in a 3DS Fire Emblem game. That may work for small scenes but if you’re making a whole movie then surely you have more budget than the cutscene development crew right? Yet, the animators are afraid to do much of anything so most of the film is just characters talking and walking around in circles. There is very rarely any real movement to speak of and that’s just a shame. It’s not a fun film to look at.

Most of the movie is also rather silent so prepare to focus on the dialogue I guess. The few scenes with music that we do get are quite solid though so it is just a shame hat it couldn’t have happened more often. It had a good sci-fi beat to it that was very fast paced and made you feel like you were suddenly in an energetic film.

As there is one more film in the trilogy we do get an after credits scene. Unfortunately it is also sloppily done and destroys any chance that the scene may have had of actually being really good. The whole thing is recycled footage and several scenes pop up more than once. It was just painfully bad especially since everyone already knew who the name was going to be well before the line since this monster had been rumored/semi confirmed ages ago. The execution just wasn’t there.

While there are a lot of negatives to the film lets at least look at some positives before concluding. When we do get music it’s pretty good so that’s solid. I do like the mech suits that the heroes wear. They feel pretty powerful and do move very quickly. They effectively can’t be hit as long as the heroes don’t make any obvious mistakes. The concept of a Mecha Godzilla city is pretty sound even if it’s not as cool as actually having Mecha Godzilla. It may have even been able to win if the heroes weren’t rushing it so much. Did they really need to force a fight with Godzilla right away? Waiting 2-3 days or more would have ensured their victory and I think that would have been worth it. Since they can communicate with the mother ship they could have come up with a plan.

Overall, This film was definitely very underwhelming. If it wasn’t called a Godzilla film then it would have been a little better but even then I doubt it would have been anything more than average. It technically makes no critical errors like animal violence, fanservice, or anything like that. Yet, the film is just rather boring the whole time and it’s hard to get engaged since the heroes never feel like they have much of a chance. There is no way their plan should have even been close to succeeding if we are being honest. I’d probably advise you to skip this film and watch one of the live action Godzilla films. As a longtime fan I can tell you that this one forgets what a true Godzilla film is. A battle of Kaiju that shakes the planet. That’s why if the directors didn’t want to do this they should have labeled it as a classic sci-fi indie film about overcoming a large monster. It’s just that when you put Godzilla in the title you get a certain set of expectations.

Overall 5/10

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review


It’s time to look at the new Jurassic World film. The franchise has typically received low scores from me as it ranges in the 3-4 star category, but maybe this one would be different. I can’t say that I had high hopes for it to be honest since the trailers were rather worrisome with the dinosaurs getting trapped and everything. Unfortunately the movie is as bad as I feared with this part being played up a lot. As always the humans seem to have the edge on the dinosaurs which defeats the entire point of the franchise. Definitely a film that you are going to want to give a pass this time around.

The film starts off with the world wondering what to do about the dinosaurs over on the island. It’s about to explode so all of the dinosaurs will die unless the government makes a move. The lobbiests don’t care much since they can’t make a quick buck so the government decides not to intervene. This is when Mills decides to save all of the dinosaurs and calls up Claire. Claire is certainly eager to help, but what she isn’t quite as enthusiastic about is having to call up her old friend, Owen. Owen doesn’t want to help and prefers to drink a quick beer, but ultimately he decides to go along since the movie would have been over otherwise. The heroes are double crossed and all of the dinosaurs are captured. The heroes decide to plan a rescue op, but are they really ready for this?

This movie makes quite a lot of mistakes and the first one is one that I already referenced. The dinosaurs spend the whole movie being captured and humbled by the humans. They are caged up and easily defeated by sedatives. Naturally this makes sense as humans will always win thanks to their tech, but it doesn’t make for an interesting movie. After all, how can you be scared of these creatures if they are always losing? That’s one thing that the original film did better than the sequels since there wasn’t much tech at the place so the dinosaurs had control from start to finish. By putting them at the bottom of the food chain, it just doesn’t feel like a true Jurassic film.

Any scene with the humans and dinosaurs is typically brutal for this reason. There’s just way too much animal violence here for the film to have ever stood a chance. Then the film tried to play up the tragic angle by having a ton of Dinosaurs die a slow death as they realize that there is no way to escape the island. We understand their fate from the start so why do we have to watch it? Even after the main characters have gone through their tough experiences they end up making the wrong call and don’t want to help the dinosaurs. It makes you wonder why we didn’t get a better main cast.

Owen is basically the same character from the last film. He’s always ready with sarcastic comebacks, but at the end of the day he is just looking out for himself. He takes a lot of convincing to go to the island to help out Claire and even then he only seems to do it for her and not because he actually cares about the dinosaurs. He makes it abundantly clear that humans win out in the end. He has a good action scene though and makes for an amusing character. He’s not a heroic character, but I suppose he has his moments.

Then we have Claire who has done her best to help the dinosaurs. She is certainly a lot more noble than Owen. It’s just a shame that she didn’t use the last few years to workout more to prepare for another skirmish with the dinosaurs. Her romance plot with Owen is still pretty iffy as well and could have been cut out entirely. She’s not a bad character and doesn’t panic all that much anymore, but it would be nice if she could have done a little more.

Mills is the main villain and he isn’t quite as fun as the last one. He’s your classic rich villain who just likes to see the profits at the end of a long business deal. He isn’t very smart and doesn’t do a great job of covering his tracks, but since none of the other characters are that smart is tends to work out. There’s just nothing to differentiate him from the rest of the corporate villains so he will be forgotten very quickly.

Franklin is the comic relief character in the film. You do always have to question if a comic relief character is needed when the film is already part comedy, but I suppose the writers wanted to cover all of the bases. None of his jokes land and they are all ones that we have already heard. Franklin is just out of his depth here and it’s hard to see how he has lasted so long anyway. He naturally has his big moment at the end, but you won’t be able to take it seriously.

Zia is the touch character of the group and is made to be a complete contrast to Franklin. She talks back to all of the villains and constantly gives everyone attitude. She is ready to help the dinosaurs and never gets scared. The character can be a bit obnoxious like throwing out random insults for no reason, but I’ll definitely take a fearless character like that over someone like Franklin.

Then we have Maisie who comes equipped with her own subplot and a plot twist that the sequel will probably delve into. She’s a decent enough kid who is smart during some moments and less so in others. Once she found out that the villain was doing something behind her grand father’s back she should have called the cops. Of course, he should have done the same thing but made the worst move in the film as he asked the main villain to call the cops. That’s certainly never going to happen when you’re dealing with a legitimate villain. Maisie wins back some points for making the right call at the end of the film though so I’ve definitely got to give her credit there.

As far as the new dinosaur goes, the design was fairly lazy. It just doesn’t have as much personality as the big dino from the last film as it just looks like a big raptor. There’s not much to say about it and while the dinosaur is very strong, I think the T Rex probably could have beaten it. Intelligence was its most potent weapon and that won’t help much when you’re being overwhelmed in a fight. Blue was a loyal dinosaur as always and looked pretty good. It’s just a shame that everyone is always after it and Owen isn’t strong enough to protect her. This is why Blue certainly made the right choice in the end.

The ending of the film is decent as we finally may get to spread things out a bit. Hopefully it doesn’t just lead to the cops shooting dinosaurs all around though as we get to a Transformers situation where the humans have once again gained the upper hand. Hopefully we get to see the water dinosaur again as it keeps on getting quick cameos but then the film is afraid to show it any longer. I get that the dinosaur is OP, but I would still like to see him be featured more. Due to the nature of Dinosaur films though, it’s unlikely that we will ever see a Jurassic World film that is actually good. At most we get glimpses of what it could be like with these two films when the dinosaurs aren’t around. It turns into a bit of a cheesy comedy with less than amazing characters, but at least it’s an enjoyable film. As soon as the dinosaurs come in they bring with them a whole slew of negatives that outweigh the positives.

The writing certainly isn’t good which goes without saying. Nobody knows how to act around dinosaurs and the characters are so busy trying to be funny that they don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. The film even throws in some crude humor in an attempt to be funny, but like everything else this film failed at that as well. Also, you may not want to bother sticking around for the after credits scene as it’s a little pointless since we already get the general idea of it from the normal ending. I was hoping for something with a little more impact like another super dinosaur running around. That would have been a little more exciting. At the very least, I would have liked to have seen NYC get involved.

Overall, Fallen Kingdom is possibly the weakest Jurassic Park film. Currently I believe I have the weakest one as either being the first or the 2nd. It’s a tough call though as those 2 and Jurassic World all got 3s if I recall correctly. This one just combines the weakest elements from the various films and pulls them all together. It brings back the annoying human characters from the last one, throws in the goat scene from the first film, and also brings in the government involvement from one of the other films, but adds it on quite a bit more than any of the others. It’s just a very mean film and one with no replay value. If you like Dinosaurs then this is a film that you will want to skip. I’d sooner recommend checking out an iconic Godzilla film like Final Wars. That movie will still give you big creature fights without any of the extra stuff.

Overall 2/10