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 Promised Neverland


Well, this series has been getting quite a lot of hype lately so it’s nice to finally start it. It’s definitely got a pretty unique premise so that’s good. I’m wondering how this plot can be stretched out for very long though and I’m hoping for a big time skip. Still, a solid start and I’ll review the series once it’s over.

Overall 6/10

10 Cloverfield Lane Review


The original Cloverfield was an intense monster film. The hand held camera filming technique was a bit jarring and the party scene ultimately crippled the film, but at the very least you couldn’t say that the film didn’t try hard. This sequel completely throws all of that out the window though. The monster barely appears and for the most part this film has nothing to do with anything. Definitely not a title I would recommend.

The film starts off with Michelle driving away from home. She has decided to leave her family for good after having a disagreement with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she takes her eyes off the road and someone slams her off the track. When she wakes, Michelle finds herself the captive of a crazy man who believes in a bunch of conspiracy theories. This villain is very possessive so she is going to need to find a way out and fast. The problem is that the only other inmate here broke his arm and also believes that Howard is just here to help them. Becca will need to convince him otherwise.

The film breaks quite a few cinematic rules right from the start. First off, the film opens with the lead crying and we get a lot of dramatic scenes where her sadness goes on. This isn’t good because the film has only just started so we haven’t been given a reason to care about her yet. Moreover, Becca’s family plot never becomes relevant so this makes the scene even more out of place. She could have just been driving out to the market or something and it wouldn’t have changed the plot. Giving her some drama like this without any kind of purpose in the story doesn’t really help it. Naturally, it’s hard to be too harsh on how she takes the whole situation at first since being a captive is pretty scary, but it’s also more crying and such. I think the film tried too hard to make her just an “ordinary” person to the point where she is too passive.

That’s hardly what really holds the film back though. The whole plot is about Becca being kidnapped by Howard and the whole film is them being stuck in this house. It drags on considerably and of course she has to defer to the villain for the majority of it in the interest of self preservation. A good and realistic move on her part but still one that isn’t any fun to watch. Howard just keeps getting the last laugh for most of the film. Then the movie doubles down by making the film way darker for no reason as we learn about another victim from the past. There’s enough implications here where it destroys whatever was left of the film. If you’ve got an iffy plot and decide to go for being dark, there’s not much else the film can do to save it.

Once we finally leave the house we do get an alien monster fight scene. It’s definitely an “about time” kind of moment for sure. That being said, the monster has been considerably weakened. The film is operating on a tiny budget so they try not to show the monster much but from what I can see it didn’t look like Clover. I’m thinking it’s a different monster or maybe these aliens arrived to try and fight Clover while destroying the humans. I’m sure there’s some mind of reason but it’s not like the film would explain that. It makes for an exciting climax but even this part gets fumbled as Becca is able to take down a huge Kaiju with a single bottle of wine. Are you kidding me? If the monster is this weak then we’ve got problems. She hit it through the weak point but monsters can’t resist the urge to roar so it would be easy for others to replicate the feat.

The character roster is pretty small so it’s easy to talk about the main three characters. First off we have Becca of course. She’s not a terrible character, but I admit that she is one of the weaker leads that I have seen as of yet. Again, I’ll refer back to where I wrote about her earlier. The film makes her too nervous and just not pro-active enough. She makes too many “General Audience” type decisions which come back to bite her. She had a few opportunities to really take Howard down for the count but always opted to flee. Granted, Howard had quite a bit of plot armor to help him.

There’s one scene that involves a pot of acid and somehow he manages to tank it. I didn’t believe that for a second, it’s a bit much considering that guy is just human. It’s not like he’s a super bodybuilder or anything like that either. Naturally there is nothing to like about Howard. He’s just another crazy villain out to destroy the world. Then you have the other guy named Emmett who is extremely naive and just plain annoying the whole time. He’s slow to believe anything and conveniently he had his arm broken so he can’t help Becca fight back. When you factor all of that in he just isn’t all that helpful and half of the time is just annoying. It’s that gray area where some of this isn’t the character’s fault but it’s hard not to blame him at the same time.

Overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane is definitely not a film that I would recommend. It really does its best to completely ignore the original Cloverfield movie and that’s not a good thing. The film could and should have just called this movie something else and it would have been a lot better. You just can’t make a sequel and not have the monster be one of the main characters. It’s just not going to work. The scenes at the end don’t save it, especially given that the monster looks so bad the whole time. If the monster had won or something then it would have been fine, but since it ended up losing it defeats the whole purpose. The film seemed to hint that the radiation is turning people into zombies or something so having a zombies and aliens vs humans plot would have been infinitely more interesting. We don’t even get to see how the army reacts. Avoid this film at all costs and you’ll be fine. It’ll ruin your memories of the first film…even if I wasn’t a big fan of that one either.

Overall 2/10

The Visit Review


It’s time to look at a film where the villains are senior citizens. That’s always gonna be tricky to pull off because these guys don’t exactly push fear into the hearts of many. There was a recent film about a lady and her basement that I remember getting mocked for similar reasons. Either way this film’s definitely getting a thumbs down but at least the found footage aspect wasn’t as obnoxious as it could have been. Likely because the main characters were kids.

The film starts off with their Mom explaining that she ran away from home a long time ago. She then had kids before the guy ran off and now she’s with the rebound. Well, the grand parents have decided that they want to see the kids at long last and the Mom lets the kids know they can go if they want too. The kids do want to go so they can ship the Mom and the rebound character together. However, they quickly notice that the grandparents are rather off, once night falls the Grandma acts like a monster and the Grandpa is always vanishing into a suspicious shed. Maybe they should have stayed home after all.

Right away the film reminds you that this is a horror film through the bad writing. Tyler is incredibly annoying even compared to most kid characters. He’s only 13 but already sings rather edgy songs and has quite the potty mouth. His character was doomed from the start to be honest. Tyler gets a football related sob story which ties in at the end but by and large the character just doesn’t do much more than be around just to fill out the cast. I can’t stress enough how annoying and bad he is. Almost every line Tyler has is guaranteed to make you cringe.

Becca is certainly a lot better. Her origin story involves not looking at mirrors and that part was done pretty well as you may even notice this early on. Of course even if you do you most likely won’t attach any real significance to this until the twist occurs. Becca can be a bit too trusting and probably should have helped Tyler alert the mother sooner but for the most part Becca is pretty solid. I do think she definitely should not have tried pressuring the grandma into answering a question about her mother a second time after being completely rejected the first time. The grandma had such a violent reaction that risking such a response again is asking for trouble.

Naturally the main characters are kids so they have a bit of a better excuse as to why they make so many mistakes compared to the average main character. For example I definitely would not go into the oven since that’s basically signing my death warrant. There is a lot of tension there beneath the surface as the character may have been pushed in had she refused, but at least you could try to make a break for it. Once you’re in the oven then it’s all over. Also, opening the door after dark when they know the Grandma is dangerous was incredibly risky. She came super close to making it to their room in time and that would have been an unfortunate way to die.

Naturally there is a twist about the grandparents. It’s a good twist as there are cinematic clues you could fall back on from earlier in the film. Noticing them at first may be difficult, but after the twist they become obvious. It does remind me why I immediately thought the plan wasn’t a good idea on the Mom’s part. I don’t care if the grandparents want to see her or not, they’re her kids so she gets the final say. She absolutely should have gone with them to make sure that the grandparents were legit.

The film does get onto the violent/dark aspect towards the end. Most of the film is fairly tame by horror standards as all the bodies and slashes don’t start factoring in until the end. Unfortunately it also adds in a gross aspect which was wildly out of place. That part alone is enough to destroy the film’s score had it been high by this point anyway. It just goes to show that a horror film can rarely resist the urge to add something like this as opposed to staying classy.

Overall, The Visit is definitely not a quality film. It mixes the classic horror tropes with kid protagonists. I can tell you right now that this is not a winning combo. Tyler is annoying with his constant rapping and the villains aren’t scary. They’re only powerful because the main leads are kids which is more annoying than anything. The only other character who appears, a neighbor, acts incredibly naive and not very smart with how she handled the situation. It does continue the trope of horror supporting characters not being much smarter than a sandbag though. There was also the teenager who got beat up by an old man….but that’s just so crazy that I don’t even need to go into that. I also think the rebound subplot wasn’t great either since it seems like the Mom moved on awfully quick. The kids still remember the old father so it can’t have been too many years ago. That plot barely appears but is still something worth noting. If you want to watch a film with a bit more tension, go watch the original Pokémon film.

Overall 1/10

The Mummy’s Shroud Review


The Mummy has returned to usher in a new era for horror films. At least, that’s likely the intent here, but the series has made some mistakes in the past so we’ll see if this film can really take home the gold. While it does ring more true to the classic Mummy mythos than the previous film, it does make its share of mistakes. I don’t think you’ll be bored though. We have a pretty colorful cast of characters here and at least one character does try to fight back against the Mummy.

The film starts off with a flashback about how an Egyptian king was overthrown and everyone got murdered. We fast forward to the modern day where Dr. Basil and the rich Stanley have broken into the tomb. They steal the coffin and head back home to show it off. Unfortunately it appears that the coffin had a curse within it that has begun to affect everyone who walked into the tomb. There is now a murderous Mummy on the loose and the bodies are starting to pile up. Stanley wants to leave, but the cops are keeping everyone in one place. Can he get out alive?

Stanley may be a predictable character, but he sure is an entertaining one. He’s the classic rich guy who doesn’t care about lives. He just wants to turn a profit and let everyone else take the fall. This is especially evident when he tries to discredit Basil and throw him away for life. Stanley ultimately only seems to care about his family, everyone else is considered expendable. He’s certainly an antagonist, but a fun one nonetheless. You’re still rooting for him against the Mummy. He did make a lot of big mistakes though. If you’re trying to flee the country you probably shouldn’t wait in a dark alley for someone to come and help. Especially when you’re rich and the locals know it. Ah well, Stanley tried.

Then you have Dr. Basil who is reasonable I guess. He was annoying in his final scenes, but I guess that makes sense since he was poisoned. Still, it makes for a scene that drags on quite a bit as an old lady makes fun of him and then he’s taken out of the picture. Speaking of which, the old lady was annoying as well. She’s basically just here to rub the deaths in the faces of the victims before they perish. She doesn’t have much point here except to egg everyone on and get them into trouble. I mean, she performs the role quite admirably of course, but cutting out the drool in her scenes would have helped me take her seriously.

I consider Stanley to basically be the main character here, but Paul and Maggie get big roles as well. Paul is the son of Stanley and unlike his father he wants to work his way to the top. He doesn’t want to be drunk on power and sets his sights on stopping the Mummy instead of fleeing. Meanwhile Maggie knows how to read Egyptian and was against going into the tomb in the first place. Still, now she may be the only one with the power to stop this situation. It puts her in a tricky spot. Both characters are pretty reasonable. I do think Maggie made a big mistake in going to some random fortune teller to try and dispel her fears though. Even if the fortune teller wasn’t evil, did she really think anything could be done at that stage in the game?

I also have to give the cops some credit here. They were on point for the most part even if they didn’t really uncover much in their investigations. At least they were trying to help out and they certainly managed to be a thorn in Stanley’s side. The chief finally even relented in the end so at least he could try and save some victims. He maybe should have done that a bit sooner, but I think he just wanted to axe Stanley. Not the most heroic move of course, but it is what it is. Stanley’s wife also looks pretty good here. She’s always being passive aggressive and really enjoys the fact that she never went into the tomb.

So, most of these are positives, but what are the negatives? Well, pretty much the usual Hammer stuff. The film can be a bit violent here with everyone getting bumped off. People are strangled, burned to death, crushed, etc. The Mummy makes sure to take everyone down at some point or another. The Mummy also doesn’t make for a particularly good antagonist. He’s slow and you can’t believe that he is beating everyone the whole time. Even if he is bullet proof you can at least out run the guy. The only one I can’t blame is Basil since he was sick. At least the photographer tried fighting back though. You’ll feel bad for Stanley’s right hand man though since the guy gets the short end of the stick throughout the film.

The movie’s humor and writing were on point though. This one actually was a step ahead of most of the other Mummy titles. It could have definitely been a lot worse. At least it’s entertaining throughout and has a quick pace. If you’re going to do a Mummy film then you can definitely take a lot of cues from this one. It knew how to properly develop the characters after all.

Overall, The Mummy’s Shroud is actually decent. The shroud itself is actually important by the end so it’s also a title that makes sense. That’s always a good idea as opposed to just having that in the title to sound cool. The slasher elements we could have done without, but it’s handled in a less graphic way than it likely would nowadays. I won’t give the film a positive score, but it’s not bad either so it lands smack in the middle. If this film sounds like your cup of tea then you should check it out. At the very least, this film will keep you guessing as to who will get bumped off first.

Overall 5/10

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

The Meg Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent shark film known as The Meg. This one definitely had an interesting trailer for the most part although it definitely seemed to shift in tone quite a bit. For the most part this film takes itself seriously but always keeps a light tone throughout. It makes enough mistakes to keep it from being a good film, but does avoid the critical error involving a dog that could have been tricky.

The film starts off with a group of divers heading lower than they’ve ever gone before. They’re in a submarine so at least they feel pretty safe against the elements. They are a part of a group that is being funded by a billionaire known as Jack. Unfortunately they are attacked by a giant shark known as Meg. There is now no way to bring them back up so the team is forced to call in former expert Jonas. Jonas quit because of an incident where he was attacked by a giant shark and was only able to save most of his team. Well, they want him to go back in the ocean again, but can Jonas really face the same beast twice?

Meg is one of those movies where the plot gradually changes as the film goes on. If you watch the trailer before seeing the movie you can guess what the final act will be as you are waiting for the scene to happen for a very long time. The movie is pretty fun. There’s good pacing and the plot is certainly engaging. While the cast isn’t amazing, they’re better than what I’d consider to be the average for this kind of film. I may as well say up front that the film did a great job in saving the dog. There’s a scene where you think it may be all over for the little guy and it was going to be over for the film’s score as well. Fortunately that didn’t end up happening which saved the film 2 stars I’d say. Now that could work as a jump scare, but I still think films should mainly avoid the animal angle.

Of course, it does put the film in a dicey predicament as the main villain is an animal. How do you stop Meg without injuring her? Well, the quick answer is that you can’t and that limits the film’s potential from the start. Naturally I’m rooting for Meg the whole time because she is just trying to live in a tough world. It’s the pesky humans who keep getting in her way all the time. Meg makes for a good antagonist. She’s pretty huge and certainly vicious. Meg puts up a great fight throughout the film.

While the film’s theme is nowhere near as hype as the classic Jaws tune, the movie does its best to give Meg a theme as well. It works reasonably well in setting up the tone for her scenes. The effects are solid as well. Now lets talk about the human characters. I thought Jack was a pretty solid character. The billionaires in these films are always a lot of fun. Of course, you get the feeling they’re gonna die as soon as they appear since that’s pretty much a staple for this character type. Well, at least his scenes are very memorable throughout. He’s constantly talking tough and for the most part thought things through well. He just got a little sloppy by the end. I also don’t see how you can trip in such a situation, but it felt like all the characters in this film were constantly tripping. I guess the boats can be slippery.

Jonas makes for a good lead. Contrary to Dr. Heller’s assessment, he made the right call when leaving the ship in the intro. I thought that should have been obvious when the whole thing exploded seconds later. They all would have died. Jonas still goes back to help everyone out even though he isn’t particularly thrilled at the prospect. He tackles all of the tough jobs including using himself as live bait. I do think the heroes started stretching their luck with some of the plans though like having him swim towards the shark and launching a tracker. From that close distance in all likelihood Jonas would have been doomed. It’s basically a suicide mission but the characters don’t act like it’s that dangerous.

So, the writing can be a bit dicey at times, but it isn’t terrible or anything. Another instance of bad writing it one of the side characters. He’s basically only around to crack dicey jokes and is one of the first guys to go. He’s another guy where you know he is doomed from the start. He doesn’t add anything to the film and that’s certainly worth noting. The main heroine is good though. Suyin is always ready to jump into danger and is the first one on the rescue mission to help the stranded divers. Her daughter also gets quite a bit of screen time. She can be a bit iffy when trying to play matchmaker but definitely knows a lot about the sub. It’s always good to start learning about tech and such at a young age.

Overall, The Meg is an action film that delivers on everything it promises. There are some films where you basically know exactly what you are getting into from the start. This is one of those movies and that’s not a bad thing. The film’s consistent. It still lost a lot of points for animal violence and a dicey script, but if you’re not someone who minds the animal violence part then you’ll probably enjoy the film. The action scenes are on point and Meg definitely lives up to her hype of being a huge shark.

Overall 3/10

The Girl From The Other Side


This manga’s definitely got a unique premise. It starts you out in a world of mystery but things quickly begin to make sense. It’s an enjoyable read so far and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. I’ll have a review for the series up when I’ve finished it.

Overall 7/10

Notorious Review


It’s time for a classic Alfred Hitchcock film. He’s made quite a few good mystery thrillers over the years and his writing skills are always consistent. That being said, this is definitely one of those plots that doesn’t really age well, or you could make the stronger case that it was never a good plot. As such, the very concept of it limits the execution quite a bit. It’s not a film that is nearly as enjoyable as his average flick, but still retains more dignity than other films of its nature would nowadays.

The movie starts off with someone being arrested as a Nazi spy. He is arrested and taken to the chair, but the government isn’t able to get a whole lot of useful information out of it. As such, Agent Devlin is instructed to locate the traitor’s daughter Alicia, as she has long been opposed to his betrayal. She is reluctant to do so, but Devlin gets her on board eventually. That’s when he learns the truth of her mission, Alicia is to marry the leader of the Nazi faction Alex and gain access to all of the secrets. Devlin has a tough choice to make. He can say no to the order and escape with Alicia or he can go through with the whole thing. Ultimately he is too scared to go with the former option so he ends up going with the latter. That’s where I lost all respect for Devlin and he never quite recovered from that. Alicia is proving to be successful at her role, but can she keep this up or will she ultimately be found out and bumped off?

It’s a mission with high stakes, but it’s such a dicey mission that there is no longer a side to root for. The only sympathetic character here is Alicia. She does a lot of stuff she did not want to do all to help Devlin out. It’s not even so much about helping the country, but just making sure that things go well for Devlin. He’s definitely not a very grateful recipient about this though and constantly treats her coldly. It’s too bad for Alicia, but at least her ending is fairly positive at least. She can be rather proud just like Devlin but you can’t blame her since otherwise she would just be caving in every time. I can’t really blame her for anything in this film, she’s at least doing her best. I don’t agree with her mission, but I blame the ones giving it to her more than her carrying it out.

That’s why Devlin was doomed. He basically spends the entire movie sulking and whining. The guy’s a terrible agent as he couldn’t even guess what the mission was until it was told to him plainly. We’re supposed to take this guy seriously as an elite agent? He’s a scrub and I’ll go more into that later on. Agents can’t let emotions sway them but they constantly do for Devlin to the point where he makes all of the wrong calls. If you’re going to be emotionally driven then at least let it help you out. It’s like Devlin can’t do anything right. It may be harsh, but he was an absolutely terrible character. If anything Alex was far better.

Alex is the main villain and we can’t forget that. However, at least he acts like a decent guy beyond that. He’s polite to Alicia and trusts her quite a bit. He gives her freedom and the benefit of the doubt quite a bit. It’s only once it becomes obvious that she is cheating on him that he turns. Even then he is able to stay in control and goes through with a pretty diabolical plan (Not of his origin but at least he followed it) rather than falling into a panic. He’s the antagonist, but he’s a well written one and just seems like a more quality character than Devlin.

Lets go back to Devlin. As I mentioned, Alex eventually starts piecing it together that Alicia is a traitor. Why was he able to do that? Well, the official plan is that Devlin and Alicia are to meet just about every day at a public park. They will be meeting there every day and could not be more obvious if they tried. Still, somehow they get away with it for a while so then they decide to escalate this. They meet up at the horse races where Alex and his mother are. Keep in mind that he’s the top ranking member of the organization so it would make sense that he has minions and generals watching his every move as well as watching her. Alicia and Devlin don’t take this into consideration and meet up for a while. They’re caught of course. As such, Alicia invites Devlin to the house where they can’t control themselves and are caught in the act once more.

They make so many crazy moves that you would be forgiven for mistaking this for a horror movie. Finally they make the worst decision of the film. It’s so huge that you could basically call it a plot hole if we assume that Devlin is even remotely intelligent but we won’t make that mistake. The mysterious dust is being kept in Wine bottles so Devlin has Alicia steal the key so he can check it out. Of course Devlin drops one of the bottles so it breaks. He sweeps it under the drawer and then puts another one in its place. He gives Alicia the key (Too late at this point) and runs away. So…Alicia forgets all about the key. Shouldn’t she have realized that Alex couldn’t get into the wine cellar without it and so he would realize that someone had swiped it? It becomes increasingly obvious that Alicia swiped it and the whole thing is just pretty sad for all parties involved.

You definitely won’t have a positive impression of the government in this film by the end. Their dangerous mission for Alicia proved to be basically pointless by the end. I also feel like they could have all just busted into the building since they knew where the base was and then they could have grabbed all of the bottles. Even having Alicia marry the villain showed that these government guys couldn’t care less what happens to her. That kind of ruthless government isn’t uncommon but it doesn’t make them any less antagonistic.

Overall, Notorious is definitely an engaging film, but one that proves to be more frustrating than enjoyable at times. It’s similar to the Mission Impossible 2 plot and if even that series couldn’t pull it off, what chance does this movie have? Whenever a plot involves an agent having to go all in with the villain the movie is probably doomed. It’s just not a plot that I can get behind, nor do I think that will ever change. If you can get past that then this is a reasonable suspense thriller, but otherwise you’re better off watching almost any of his other installments.

Overall 5/10

Astra Lost in Space Review


It’s time to look at a space exploration manga that is pretty unique compared to the other manga titles I’ve read in the past. I haven’t actually read a classic sci-fi adventure like this one before. It’s a pretty fun premise and I don’t think the series ever overstays its welcome. It’s just a solid series all around. There are a lot of twists and turns along the way, but I don’t believe any of them would hurt the series upon a re-read. If anything you’ll probably just examine all of the interactions even more.

The series starts with a group of kids getting ready to go to camp. It’s a planetary style camp instead of a traditional summer one as this series takes place in the future. The leader of the group is a guy called Kanata. He’s a very outgoing guy who is always filled with confidence and he is determined to make this the best camp experience yet. Everything he planned goes out the window though when a portal appears and swallows everyone up. They all appear millions of light years from their planet and nearly die, but fortunately they put their helmets on first. They manage to get onto a nearby space ship and must now try to make their way back. Unfortunately the ship is low on fuel so they’ll have to make many stops along the way. This will be a very dangerous journey and none of them were exactly prepared for this, but they’ll try their best.

Kanata must lead the group and get them all to team up. On his team he has an airhead, a sullen teen with a bad attitude who has a gun, a super shy girl, a really mean girl, an overconfident genius, a rich guy, and a mild mannered being who transcends human limitations. This would be pretty easy, but Kanata has to keep one more thing in mind which forces him to keep his guard up. The controls to the ship were sabotages which is partially why they have to make so many stops. Someone intentionally caused the portal to send them into space and then someone sabotaged their ship after they got one. Clearly one of the students in the group is a traitor who intends to destroy them all and Kanata has to find out who it is before they’re all space food.

Kanata makes for a pretty good main character. He’s definitely very gung-ho and is always giving the other characters good lessons in life. They may seem obvious at first, but they’re all true and it works as a great morale booster. I think it’s fair to say that without him the crew would have absolutely been doomed. They just wouldn’t be able to make it ahead without his natural leadership skills. At first he and Aries have a gimmick where they mishear things or say something that’s a little off from what they mean, but fortunately this vanishes pretty quick. There’s pretty much nothing not to like about Kanata. If anything he probably forgives people a little too quick which is definitely a quality most leads tend to have.

Aries is a reasonable heroine. Her perfect memory is definitely a good skill to have and comes in handy more than once. Like Kanata she can be a bit of an optimist which sometimes works like a weakness. When the characters are trying to get to the bottom of some truths and plot twists she always tries to stop them so the atmosphere doesn’t get too tense. I can understand that but at the same time this is information that they really need to know sooner than later. She can also get a little upset at Kanata even when the lead didn’t mean to do anything. He just has no time to worry about personal dramas when he’s saving the ship.

Quitterie starts out as the rather mean/arrogant member of the group, but she quickly mellows out. It’s probably just the biggest switch for her going from being a rich girl to suddenly trying to make ends meet in space. It’s like going from a 5 star hotel to a random motel. Still, she’s always a fun character to have around and is one of the better members. Funicia is Quitterie’s younger sister and she’s definitely good. Despite being a kid she’s never actually annoying and tends to be quite wise for her age. She’s patient with the rest of the characters and even when she doesn’t get the approval that she was hoping for from Quitterie, Funicia takes it pretty well.

Then you’ve got Zack who is basically Kanata’s right hand man. As he is able to fix the ship several times the group would have been absolutely doomed without him. On a long term mission like this one you really need an engineer. He makes sure that everything is running correctly and is typically the first to notice when something suspicious is happening. His romance with Quitterie isn’t the best though. I don’t blame her for being rather upset since he constantly acts like she is a nuisance and doesn’t want to be involved with her despite him suddenly claiming obliviousness by the end of the series. No one was buying it.

Luca definitely likes trolling the characters quite a lot due to the fact that he keeps changing gender identities whenever he feels like it. It’s certainly an interesting development. Unlike the others he has already overcome a lot of personal demons and so the twists don’t hit him as hard as they do the others. He probably has the least amount of slumps out of all the characters because he always tries to see the silver linings. Meanwhile Charce is a rich guy who really loves animals and plants. He enjoys travelling on these planets just so he can see all of these new things. He tends to keep to himself more than some of the others, but he’s always ready to run onto the field and help out however he can.

Ulga gets a lot of focus early on in the series. After all, he makes it clear that he doesn’t want to be friends with the others and he has a gun. It’s hard for anyone to trust him and in a small ship like what they have, a gun is a very powerful advantage. As the series goes on Ulga opens up more, but he simply isn’t as chatty as the rest of the characters so he always sticks to himself to an extent. Likewise, the same can be said for Yun as she just doesn’t talk much. She’s very timid and we find out the cause to this through her backstory. Naturally all of the kids have some kind of emotional origin story and the series does a good job of spacing them out. Typically you can expect 1-2 per volume. As such, each volume gets some story developments in the past and the present.

The vast majority of the series is about the kids in space, but occasionally we get a few scenes back on Earth where we follow the adults and see what they think of this. After all, a bunch of kids just vanished off the face of the Earth. You can bet that people are a little panicked back home. It’s always nice to see these meanwhile scenes but they are very rare. I feel like we only got 2 in the whole series. There just wasn’t much time I suppose with only 5 volumes to work with. As I mentioned, we get a bunch of twists during the final two volumes of the series. I’ll admit that at first I thought the series was going to get real crazy. We were going to get some dimension hopping, time travel, aliens, and stuff like that. Instead the series decided to stay pretty realistic so all of the twists have some logic behind them. One involving history will still feel like a big stretch to be honest, but I guess it could work. You just gotta assume that there are a few more things behind the strings as well. At the very least you can’t say that the series was playing it safe with these twists. It was all handled pretty well. I do wish we could have gotten something a bit different from the classic “flash forward to when everyone is an adult” endings though. Especially as the designs just aren’t great. You’d think that the characters would have resisted their fates.

I also thought the humor for the series was handled fairly well. As I mentioned, quite a bit of it involves Kanata’s random fun facts. The scenes can be pretty funny but it isn’t forced. The series is pretty light in general even though it can get serious when necessary. You might rarely feel like the characters are ever in any real danger, but you’ll still be interested from start to finish. It’s a real page turner. This is a good example of a solid manga that didn’t need action to take it to the next level. There are only a small handful of action scenes, the rest is all about adventure. The Godzilla netflix series could have taken a page from this one’s playbook on how to do a proper survival story.

Naturally I won’t say which student is the traitor, but I will say that it was game over for that character. It’s hard for me to regain any respect for that character after pulling such a stunt, especially so late in the game. You just can’t make such a mistake like that and just apologize. The series does a good job of putting the traitor plot in the background though. It’s easy to forget that the plot is even still going towards the end of the series so it makes the whole thing even more unexpected.

Overall, Astra Lost in Space is definitely a fun manga. The premise is good and the execution was on point. The pacing is solid and the characters are enjoyable enough to hold their own stories. There’s really not much to dislike here and it really captures the thrills of a space adventure. It’s a shame that it was so short, but this is the kind of plot where if it goes on too long then it would probably turn into a whole different kind of story. If you haven’t read this manga yet then I would recommend changing that. After all, an anime is coming out soon so you’ll want to be ready for that.

Overall 7/10