Dragon Ball Side Story: The Case of Being Reincarnated as Yamcha Review

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The manga trilogy has finally ended so it’s time for the review. This mini series only got three chapters so it’s pretty short. That’s too bad because the premise just had a whole lot of potential in it. The basic plot is that a kid in the human world is a big fan of Dragon Ball. Unfortunately in the real world he’s just a really unlikable guy who has no redeeming qualities. One day, he decides to fall even lower on the moral totem pole when he falls down a flight of stairs and breaks his neck. It’s surprisingly a happy moment since he felt like the main antagonist. Instead of dying, the kid wakes up as Yamcha in the Dragon Ball series. He must now find a way to become a better character and avoid dying. Since he knows the events in advance he has a real shot here, but can he do it?

You can probably see why the premise has potential. There’s so much you can do with this kind of story since you know what is going to happen and can take steps to avoid it. Yamcha may not be able to do much against the final threats like Cell and Buu but even those are things that he can get past if he knows the origins. For Buu, just eliminate Spopovich and the other ally before they can get Gohan. For Cell, attack him in his first form or tell everyone where he is and that should be easy enough. You can escape almost any scenario.

The main character actually does do quite a bit of this at first. He trains hard so he is able to actually help against Frieza and the foes before him. He basically gives up on doing this by the Cell arc and decides to just watch which is fine I suppose. He knows he’ll come back to life anyway. You just can’t explore this concept as much as you could have if this was an ongoing series. Additionally, the series throws in the twist of having another human being warped into the series and the lead has to find out who he is. Naturally, this character is evil so they have a fight but the power of being a DBZ fan wins him over. This is all so rushed and unnatural that you have to wonder exactly why it was added.

Again, this could be a really interesting concept especially when you find out that if you die you get to retry your time in the universe. It could have been like a Groundhog Day where they explore many different avenues. Instead the whole second human plot is finished in one chapter. The ending was certainly an interesting twist as we at least get a reason why the human got into the world. Unfortunately, even the ending is wrecked as the main character immediately goes back to his old shady ways of being a creep. I thought the whole point was that he was going to learn a lesson…not that he would use his newfound abilities to be even worse in the real world.

Really, this manga is only held back by the main character. Otherwise, it’s pretty solid. The art is quite good and really does resemble DBZ at some points. It isn’t as consistent and has some flaws in that respect, but I would say that the art is quite good. It’s certainly a lot better than I would have anticipated from a short title like this one. I wonder how many people even know that this manga exists.

Overall, it’s a fun concept but you can only do so much with it. I’d recommend checking it out as many fans have always wanted a fun little alternate universe story like this one. You can even argue that the story could be cannon and wouldn’t make a difference. It would raise a lot of questions of course, but it could work. Hopefully we get more Dragon Ball spinoff mangas. Despite its overwhelming popularity we haven’t gotten as many titles as I’d like. We need to keep it rolling and get the Saiyans in a bunch of different adventures. Just resist the urge to add a human original character to the mix and then we’re golden. If you do add one, just keep in the death from the first chapter without actually bringing him back, now That would be funny.

Overall 5/10

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Ratchet & Clank Into The Nexus Review

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It’s been a while since I really got to enjoy a Ratchet and Clank game. I tried playing All 4 One a while back, but the game kept freezing on me. I suppose it’s bound to happen when you buy as many games as I do, but that one along with Rayman advance not working definitely stung a little. I get the chills just thinking about those games. Into The Nexus was always notable for being very short and I can see why. You really breeze through the game. Considering that I took it down in a few hours while managing to die at least once in every level…it’s very short. I mainly just kept dying because I would forget about certain gimmicks. There were a lot of controls and no manual in the game so if you forgot how to do something…it becomes button mashing time. Still, it is a very solid game despite the length and there is a reasonable amount of replay value to be found here as well.

Ratchet and Clank are serving as escorts for a pair of dangerous villains that need to be brought to jail. Unfortunately, they break free and murder two of Ratchet and Clank’s friends as they head off to destroy the universe. Ratchet decides to disobey orders to retreat back to home base and pursues the villains. This time it’s personal and Ratchet isn’t playing games. He’s armed to the teeth and is ready to make the hard calls. With the whole universe in the balance, Ratchet may learn that sometimes you need to have a backup weapon at the ready. Luckily, Ratchet always has a bunch of guns.

While the gameplay appears to be the same as always on the surface, it’s less polished. You’ll quickly get used to the 3D shooting style as it’s made to be easy to pick up and play. I love 3D games and Ratchet & Clank has always nailed it. That being said, this one is missing a lock-on feature. You can use L1 to “focus” which is like locking on, but it won’t follow the enemy. You always have to manually aim while fighting. It’s not a big deal, but it can be a little inconvenient if you’re used to having a lock-on at the ready. Due to the size of the game, the weapon selection is also a lot more limited. You have less than half of the weapons that an average Ratchet & Clank game has along with half the gadgets. They each only have 3 base levels as well so you’ll max out the weapons quite easily. It seems like there are an extra 3 levels that pop up later on though so that helps. This makes the Platinum Trophy easier I suppose, but it still sounds reasonably difficult.

The weapons that we do get are pretty good though. They’ll all old I believe so don’t expect anything new, but all of the good weapons made it back. All you’ll really need are the bombs and machine gun, but I do recommend buying the missiles and metal discs once you are able to as well. Earning money certainly isn’t hard in this game and just enter a few tournaments if you want some quick cash. It’s definitely worth the trouble. There are 5-6 worlds in the game and each one can be completed in under an hour. The tournament planet was probably the shortest plot-wise, but since there are bonus tournaments, it ends up lasting a little longer.

As always, the graphics were definitely on point here. The animations were very smooth and the character designs were as sharp as you could expect. The energy attacks all look really good and I enjoyed the level designs as well. The game did a good job of grabbing the classic stage traits like a City level and a forest one as well. That’s definitely a good thing since every Ratchet game should have at least one City world. Those always look fantastic. The soundtrack never really stood out to me though and I couldn’t recall a single tune afterwards. Music is probably one of the only areas that isn’t a strength for this series.

As mentioned, there is some decent replay value. Getting all of the trophies will take some time and that helps make the game worth the price. Even without the replay value, I think the game goes for around 10 dollars now. That’s certainly not a lot of money for an AAA title. The plot may not be as grandiose as the others, but it’s still engaging. As far as the platformers go, it destroys most of the competition. Only Jak can really keep up with it consistently and I’d still give Ratchet and Clank the edge.

One thing that I can definitely get behind for this game is that the level up system is so smooth. Aside from your weapons, you can also level Ratchet up. It’s not particularly long or time consuming to power up, but you still don’t have to unless you want too. The bosses are definitely beatable if you want to go straight for them. There are also constant check points so even if you lose, you never have a long way to go. I think the phrase that I’m looking for is “Quality of Life” mechanics for this game. You never get lost for hours and hours like LoZ and you never have to go back through a long area with unskippable cutscenes like Orphen. Into The Nexus is a game that’s made with the gamer’s needs as top priority and it’s something that I’d like to see more games achieve. It’s easy to see why the series is known as one of the all time greats.

Overall, This felt like a little treat for Ratchet & Clank fans to hold them over until the next full installment. I’d think of this as more of a spinoff than a full fledged game. Think of it as the mini adventure to keep you ready for the next big title like what Kingdom Hearts does. Of course, KH spinoffs are still typically at least 20 hours long, but we’ll let that slide for now. It’s short, but that doesn’t mean that Into The Nexus is any less of a good game than you’d expect. While it’s not as polished and complete as the others, I still had a blast playing it. The time really flies when you’re blasting the opponents. I’m definitely looking forward to playing the next game although I hear that it switches up the format a little. Hopefully it keeps in the fun and intensity of this game.

Overall 8/10

Sly Cooper Thieves in Time Review

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This game was on the backburner for many years, but I finally got around to completing it. The story takes a while to get good and honestly it is probably the weakest game in the series, but it was still pretty good overall. I just think that the game should have been a little less formulaic and should have gone for a more connected and changing story. It would have made the whole thing a lot more interesting and Ratchet and Clank is always adapting like this. It would have been simple enough for Sly to have copied that approach. Well, it is what it is.

Sly had finally gotten his happy ending after the third game. He pretended to lose his memories so he could live a peaceful life without having to force Carmelita to choose a side. Unfortunately, someone is messing with the timestream and Sly can’t just let this go unpunished. He must bring his thieving skills back to work with his old gang as they time hop to find the source of the problems. The trust that has been lost between him and Carmelita may be hard to repair so this case is going to be a very personal one. Is Sly up for the job?

As always, this Sly game is a 3D platformer. You use stealth for most of the game as you get from point A to point while getting past obstacles. You can also fight enemies and take them out easily enough, but it’s usually faster to slip past them or use the one hit KO stealth attack. Each area is very large so you have a lot of room to maneuver and you can also use that time to grab some extra collectibles. They’ll all come in handy by the end if you want to earn the shiny Platinum to add to your collection. You can never have too many trophies right? This is the only Sly game that I have not Platinum’d yet so I aim to fix that at some point in the future.

Aside from playing as Sly, you get to play as a lot of other characters this time around. That’s because one of the gimmicks in this game is that you finally get to meet Sly’s ancestors. Each era in time has a Cooper and they all have their own special abilities. One can climb walls and another has a gun. This results in some new twists that are added to the usual gameplay and that’s a good way to make the gameplay more diverse which was good. Bentley also gets his own minigames as one is like an overhead version of Tron and another is a 2D shooter. His minigames were always fun so I was glad to have them around. Murray’s is probably the least exciting as you just go around punching people. Finally, we can’t forget the short driving levels as you play in the mini car. Those were a nice change of pace as well, but in the end, the classic Sly gameplay is still the best.

As always, the gameplay is handled really well and the controls are very smooth. It makes the cases fun and going around the city is so streamlines that it makes the grind for all of the collectibles very manageable. The quick time event bosses were always handled well and they always feel great no matter how many games use them. Final Fantasy XIII-2 still did the best job out of all the games, but it’s a little hard to match the level of epicness that title was able to attain.

Graphically, Sly looks good. It may not stand out the same way that something like Super Smash does, but it holds up well on the good ole PS3. When it comes to the soundtrack, that part is a little more bland. You aren’t likely going to remember a lot of the tunes once you’re done. They’re passable, but just aren’t anything all that grand when you really get down to it.

There is a good amount of replay value here as you can go back to all of the chapters to grab treasure, collectibles, and open the safes. Buying everything from the shop will take some time as well and each story level is roughly an hour or longer. It’s certainly a game that gives you a lot of content for the money that you paid, which sounds good to me. It’s not artificial length like some other games either as you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you go through.

I do want to take a second to say that all of the past Coopers were annoying. I felt like the game wasn’t even trying with them as they were all super gimmicky. The cave man Cooper was the most annoying as you couldn’t understand what he was saying and he just wasn’t that smart. All of the Coopers had a lot of attitude, but it wasn’t deserved as we had to save them all from the villains. None of the Coopers were able to do anything on their own so you have to question how they got such a famous legacy. Evidently, Sly is the only cooper who can hold his own. It just makes you wonder.

Sadly, the classic banter that we had in the previous games is gone in this one between Sly and Carmelita. It’s an unfortunate side effect of their dynamic completely changing thanks to the third game. I’ll definitely miss it since the Sly games had the strongest dialogue from the three main Naughty Dog series for a while. The writing’s still good, but it’s just not as clever. Sly’s still a good main character even if he made a lot of the wrong decisions. Carmelita’s also good as the tough rival who is always making threats although this is not her best portrayal. Murray and Bentley are around as usual. I can’t say that they’re my favorite characters though. The villains are all right I suppose, but while they all technically have personality and character thanks to their origin stories, I never got too attached to any of them. The main villain is also a Skunk who is comic relief so he isn’t meant to be taken seriously either.

Overall, Sly Thieves in Time is a good installment to the series, but it’s not the game that I want to be known as the final in the series. It’s certainly a step down from the other games and that’s partially why it took me so long to complete it. I was never able to play the game with the same gusto that I tackled other titles with. It was a good throwback since a game hadn’t come out in a very long time for this series, but the plot did hold it back quite a bit. The supporting cast just weren’t all that good and this game lacked the impact that the first three did. It really survives on the gameplay alone because every other part of the game was either not that great or simply could have been better. To be fair, gameplay still is the most important quality in a game so that is enough to justify a good score. The cliffhanger for the game is pretty intense although to fully see it you better get that Platinum Trophy ready. It does make you wonder about some things though. All those months…what was Sly doing? It depends on how you interpret the ending I suppose, but another game would clear that up. This is certainly a must buy for Sly fans and generally, I think any platformer fan will be able to appreciate this title.

Overall 7/10

Terminator 3 Rise of The Machines Review

This is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the uncut version would likely be more negative as edited versions help to address my complaints for a product…typically.
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It’s time to take a look at the third Terminator film! The second one was very enjoyable and really captured the feel of what a Terminator film should be like. The villain was impressive and the time travel aspects were handled well even if I had some questions on it. The third film wasn’t quite as big as the second film and certainly not as legendary, but it actually holds up to the second film. They’re very close and while I may give the second film the slight edge….it’s very close. Both of them outdo each other in various ways and I’ll compare them again towards the end of the review.

Sarah Conner is gone and John must now fend for himself. The problem is that John wasn’t prepared to attack the world on his own. He has managed to scrape by somehow, but now Skynet has sent another Terminator after him. The original Terminator is around to help John against the TX, but can the older model really prove to be effective at this point? Judgment day is at hand and the humans will have to get ready for what is about to happen. Only John can save the world, but can he even save himself?

As with the last film, John makes for a very poor protagonist. It’s hard to root for him when you consider the fact that one of his very first scenes is him getting locked up in a cage and swallowing some intriguing pills. He doesn’t get much better than that as his personality is simply unlikable. It’s like he was only half listening to Sarah’s warnings and he barely even seems to remember the Terminator from the second film. Granted, it’s another version of the character, but I expected more of a reaction although he clearly does remember the cyborg since he references the second film several times. I don’t know, he just didn’t feel consistent in that area and he never became likable.

Kate is the main heroine and she probably gets the saddest role in the film. The TX naturally takes down her fiance so that she essentially has no choice but to hook up with the main guy. She moves on from the Fiance in about 5 minutes so I don’t think that the relationship was that serious anyway, but it still makes her look bad. She really had no reason to like John since they hadn’t seen each other in years and the Hollywood effect (As I like to call it anyway) should have just let her off the hook here. As just friends, it would have worked out a little better.

Enough about the humans though. John and Kate are really the only two important ones. Kate’s father does have a role involving Skynet though and the fan favorite Dr.Peter also makes a quick guest star appearance for another fun scene. Beyond that, the Terminators really take on most of the important scenes so let’s talk about them. The classic T-800 is still a very likable character. He remembers what happened in the second film thanks to a sort of unified mind or something like that.

The fight is certainly tough for the Terminator since he’s really outgunned at this point. The TX is supposed to be superior in every way so only plot hax can protect the T-800. He’s still the best character in the film, but I have to admit that the fight scenes were really stretching logic at times although I’ll go into that more in a second. If you liked The Terminator in the first two films, you’ll likely enjoy him here. He gets more than one great burn and most of his scenes have him doing something cool like “Talk to the hand!” or “You’re Terminated” There was definitely a lot of memorable material here.

The TX is the first female cyborg to be shown and she makes for a merciless villain. Technically, she is easily the strongest Terminator that we have seen at this point and her weapons are very impressive. A single hit from her energy gun can destroy most Terminators and her instant regeneration is about as good as the T-1000’s. She can take over other pieces of technology and just acts more like a modern robot villain in general. She was certainly an imposing figure and made for a good enemy to the T-800. Even if she was a little overpowered to be honest.

Unfortunately, this film has more plot hax than the first two by a long shot. As mentioned, the TX is supposed to be superior to the T-800 in every way and she proves that in several scenes. Yet, the T-800 is able to physically overpower her during the big showdown and he actually lands a number of hits. It’s like watching a Mario player in Super Smash fight someone who doesn’t know how to DI. The Terminator simply keeps hitting and flipping her and she doesn’t really try to fight back. Eventually, she just seems to realize that she’s in a fight and disposes of him rather quickly. Perhaps she was toying with him since the Terminators do have a little personality at times, but the film didn’t play it off that way. She also had many opportunities to destroy John, but didn’t. One example is when she was on the car that he was in. Simply firing her energy blast would easily destroy him along with the vehicle. Such a minor explosion would barely harm her after all, but instead she tried throwing some punches and got knocked off of the car. Rookie mistake TX….

While the plot hax was around, the fight scenes were still the best in the franchise. The film producers/directors must have realized that CGI is the way of the future as the battles are like watching the Man of Steel if it was made a few years ago. The characters are really landing heavy blows on each other and they even have some decent speed feats. The action scenes are certainly ahead of their time and while you won’t enjoy them if you don’t care for CGI, CGI fans like myself (Only for live action) will definitely get a kick out of the bout. The TX should have won without much of a fight, but it’s more entertaining this way I suppose. Their battle was certainly the highlight of the film.

I found this film to be less violent than the second one and it feels like the series is getting a little tamer with each installment, which is always good. Of course, keep in mind that I am reviewing the edited version. The film can also still be intense at times like when the TX impales someone and drives while in that position. That scene was definitely pretty gruesome and the body count does get rather large at times. The implied violence can also get to you so naturally, you should know that you are about to watch a pretty intense film when you start this one. The soundtrack is also great and I have to say that it might even be better than the second’s. It’s very fast paced and the classic theme also shows up to increase the intensity. Most of the tracks really fit the scenes and while you won’t remember them for long, they are enjoyable while present.

In the end, how does this film stack up against the second one? Well, T2 has the edge with the main protagonist as Sarah is much better than John. T2 has less plot hax in the fight scenes and it was also a lot more epic as the stakes felt more real and theatrical. T3 was really epic as well, but in a way, you could tell that it was the sequel that was meant to be more comic bookey. Not a real word, but that’s a good way to describe it. While T2 was more of a thriller, T3 felt like a comic book film with super villains fighting the main lead. Even just looking at how the Terminators teleport onto the scene. T2 had the much cooler entrance as the Cyborgs just appear while T3 has a black bubble that appears first, which looked decently interesting, but it wasn’t quite as epic. T3 easily had the best action scenes of the trilogy and I dare say that it had better one liners for Arnold although most of his lines tend to be really cool. As such, it’s a close battle and both films are neck and neck, but I’ve got to give T3 the slight edge here. It’s hard to say whether T3 will always have the lead or not as one may age better than the other, but it’ll be interesting to see.

I’ve also got to give T3 props for the ending as it was fairly incredible and the kind of ending that you don’t see very often anymore. At least, not without a “Part II” or a direct sequel. While Salvation would end up rolling along, this was still an ending to a complete film and one that was fairly surprising. I was expecting more plot hax to be honest like the bomb plan actually working, but I loved every bit of the ending. It was all part of the plan and the heroes were just being led along. I’d love to see another ending like that sometimes, but it’s hard to handle correctly. We’ll just have to see if anymore films have it in them.

Overall, Terminator 3 was better than I ever could have anticipated. The fights were a lot of fun and the humor was handled well. It felt like a complete film and a very interesting one that used time travel to its fullest. Skynet never gives up and the quick pacing of the film keeps the audience guessing. The pacing isn’t quite as good as T2 as it slows down sometimes, but it’s typically fast enough. If John had been a better main character, the film would have been that much better. I definitely recommend this film to Terminator fans and you may be pleasantly surprised upon watching it. I wonder if the upcoming Terminator film will manage to have a stronger Terminator than the TX. Somehow, I doubt it, but that would be interesting to see.

Overall 7/10

Sonic Universe Volume 7 The Silver Saga

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It is time to look at another Sonic Universe arc. Unlike the Journey one, this proves to be an epic of immense proportions. It is no exaggeration to say that this very well could be the greatest Sonic comic that I’ve read. That’s quite the feat considering that Sonic and Shadow don’t really get a role here. You will be on the edge of your seat for this story!

200 years from the current Sonic comics, Silver is still trying to find a way to save his future. All he knows is that a traitor from the Freedom Fighters will do something in the past that destroys his world. While he tries to unravel this mystery, Silver learns how to harness his abilities. Suddenly, an intruder breaks into his universe and attacks. Silver manages to defend himself and follows the opponent back to an alternate past where a demi god known as Enerjak rules. Enerjak has destroyed most of the inhabitants on the planet and now plans on ruling every planet in the multiverse. Can Silver defeat a being of unlimited power?

Right from the get go, you can tell that this is not going to be your average Sonic adventure. For one thing, it’s a lot darker and more serious toned than the rest. The setting is a ruined city and only a few heroes are still alive. We really haven’t seen a Sonic comic that was this intense. Even my other favorite Sonic comics never had this much of a sense of danger. Now, the Silver Saga is fairly dark and intense, but it never goes overboard. Silver is still throwing around jokes through these turbulent times and the other characters contribute when necessary. It helps to prevent things from getting too intense and it is still in the usual Archie style so we get to have some incredible fights.

I don’t think that I’ve seen any better fights in all of the Sonic comics either. Silver and Enerjak’s battle could pass off as a DBZ battle as they hurl islands at each other and land some tremendous blows during their fight. It is incredible and I remember a big Silver fan commenting on the blog years ago about how much cooler Silver was in the comics than in the games. I can’t deny that he is very awesome here. I liked him a lot in Sonic 06 as well, but this is certainly the definitive Silver.

It almost goes without saying that the art is very good. The author does a good job of showing how different the alternate world is from the current one. All it takes is one small change and things can really go bad. Absolute power corrupts after all and it is one of the main themes in this graphic novel as the being who calls himself Enerjak was once a hero, but he was tainted by the powers of the Chaos Emeralds.

Silver is the main character of course and this comic should help fans draw a lot of similarities to Trunks from DBZ. These two characters have always been compared as their back stories are very similar. I even found myself reading his lines with Trunk’s voice as a result and their personalities are more similar than I could have guessed. Future Trunks was a great character in DBZ so this certainly helps Silver’s case and it is safe to say that he has moved up the character ranks for me. He’s still behind Sonic and Shadow of course, but after that, he may just be a few spots away from them.

I am certainly convinced that he is one of the strongest Sonic characters. Enerjak had the power of all 7 Chaos Emeralds and he was able to beat Super Sonic and the rest of the heroes. Silver wasn’t even using his Super Silver form and he actually had the upper hand against Enerjak. He remembers that he shouldn’t solve every issue by fighting and quickly changes tactics, but it is heavily implied that Silver could have kept on going if he wanted too. It seems like he has Chaos Energy within him and can access Chaos Emerald levels of power without actually possessing them. There’s a chance that Silver has unlimited power within him, which is being hinted and that would be really cool. He’s a lot like Superman as well since Silver always tries to find a peaceful solution and can take quite the beating. It’s just hard not to go on and on about how impressive Silver was.

Enerjak made for a great villain as well. His design is really good and he did defeat the heroes. Upon destroying them, Enerjak stole their souls and uses them to power robotic copies. He never uses Sonic’s, which is too bad, but we see almost everyone else. The robots don’t have the original’s experience and ingenuity so they aren’t quite as lethal, but they are still powerful. Although, Enerjak doesn’t need them to fight. He can sink continents with ease and throw islands around. Enerjak’s power is unlimited as long as he possesses the Chaos Emeralds and he’s another top tier Sonic character. I would have loved to have seen his fight with Super Sonic as that would have definitely have been a lot of fun. I want to see Super Sonic take on foes like this as it has been quite a while since I have seen him.

I am convinced that I may never see a Sonic comic that is this good ever again. The Silver Saga was simply exceptional. There is a cliff hanger which leads into the next Universe volume and that one should be fun, (The character gets a lot of hype as everyone could be in danger according to the cops!) but topping the Silver Saga is going to take a lot more than that. We’re going to need a Sonic and Shadow team up or something like that. Every series has an ultimate arc eventually though so I guess Archie finally got one. The scene where we see all of the fighters who Enerjak has defeated may be iconic at this point and it is when we knew that things would never be the same for Sonic and his friends.

I’m also interested in seeing Silver continue with his plot to find the traitor. I’m wondering who it is and if the plot is still relevent with the recent universal shakedowns that have been happening. Hopefully Silver got to find him/her in time or his adventure will have had an abrupt end. Meanwhile, I can’t say that the new Freedom Fighters were terribly interesting, but they didn’t need to be since they just acted as distractions for Silver in this fight. They weren’t bad either, which is great since I can safely say that this comic had no negatives. It was just incredible and the ultimate Sonic experience.

Overall, The Silver Saga is one adventure that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It really had just about everything that I could have wanted in a Sonic comic and I was not expecting it to be this good. It was amazing and felt like an epic arc that could have been in any show. I saw glimpses of the Justice League Unlimited Two Part episode, the Trunks special, and more. The idea of alternate timelines can still work. I don’t like when they get a whole movie or show about them that doesn’t seem to ultimately serve a purpose, but when it is similar to the original like with the Justice Lords, then there is more potential. This opens the door for good what if fights like Enerjak and Silver. This comic really had it all and succeeded in all areas. I highly recommend checking this out if you’re a big Sonic fan and especially if you want to see a dark Sonic adventure. Even if you’re just a comic reader, this is one of the best comics of all time so you should really check it out! Get ready for fights that will rock your world!

Overall 9/10

Planet of the Apes (2001) Review

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Well, looks like it’s time to check out another one of the Ape films. I can’t say that I went in with high hopes after the first batch, but this is a reboot. With new directors comes new opportunities right? This one was a solid improvement over the last few as it managed to work on most of my big problems with it. That being said, it’s guaranteed to make you sleepy once you start watching it.

Captain Leo is at his space station when the commander decides to send a chimp into space. Leo protests this, but the commander won’t listen. The chimp doesn’t know how to use the controls so it slowly starts to fade away into the silence of space. Leo won’t allow that to happen so he hops into a pod and chases the little guy. Both of them fall into a portal, which leads to the far future. Apes have enslaved humanity and they now rule the world. Can Leo lead the resistance away from the apes or are they all going to die?

The plot is fairly similar to the first film, but with some improvements. For starters, Captain Leo is actually a likable character. He went after his monkey, which was the hero move and he was pretty cool about it. Unfortunately, he quickly starts to lose his edge once he is stranded on the foreign planet. Good things can’t last forever I suppose. He does stay defiant all the way through to the end though. He may not have been quite as tough as he was in the opening, but he is dealing with meta powerful apes so he has to be careful about how he operates. I dare the new films to think up a more likable character! I rarely mention actors, but it’s safe to say that the actor did a good job here.

Now, the main thing that you are likely wondering about is the animal violence right? After all, that’s what utterly destroyed all of the other Ape films. Well, you’ll be happy to know that it was significantly reduced from the other films. I dare say that this one has the least amount of it although I remember one of the old films being decent about it. Perhaps my memory has started to fade a little sooner than usual. It’s not completely eliminated though and you’ll also feel bad for the horses that are caught up in these petty wars. It’s a negative that is still around, but considering that this is a film about apes, Burton managed to take away as much of the animal violence as he could.

One part of the plot that felt a little like a plot hole were the cave dwellers. In the first few scenes, it seemed like the humans could not talk. They may not want the apes to know that they can talk, but there’s no way that they couldn’t utter a “Huwahhhhhh” or “Gwagggg” as they were being taken away. At least a “Help” at one point would have sufficed. No, they seemed to be totally mindless until they randomly started talking towards the end of the film. I’ll assume that this part simply wasn’t thought about very much as the writers just wanted to go through the plot already.

The ending is pretty epic. I love the concept although it could have been made even better. The film ending with Leo arriving on Earth where Birds have taken over the planet or something like that would have been cooler. As it stands, my take on the ending is that he’s in a parallel world. I don’t think he can be on the same Earth that he was in before because he is back in the past and yet things have not really changed. There’s no way that the past could have been altered from the future and the humans would have not lost so quickly and suddenly. It’s too bad that this didn’t get a sequel to surpass all my hopes and expectations…….or maybe it wasn’t.

One of the main problems from this film is that it will make you incredibly sleepy. As you’re watching the characters drone on and on about things that don’t ultimately matter, you will feel your eyes start to get a little heavy. As you try to keep yourself awake, you’ll slowly start to sink into the pillow that you have on the arm rest of your chair. Slowly, but surely, you will eventually fall asleep and only wake up as the film is ending. Such is the fate of all who eventually watch this film…in theory. It’s simply not very exciting at all and that really hurts how much you can actually enjoy it.

Also, you simply can’t save a bad concept no matter how good the execution is. Attack on Titan is an incredibly good example of this and I always love to use it. The anime played everything just about perfectly, but it still had to adapt the manga and that was the problem. No matter how likable they make Leo or how much they try to get rid of the animal violence, you simply can’t fix the film when it’s using this plot. There will always be some animal violence as long as the apes are the villains. There will always be the human enslavement plot that is not fun to watch because it’s part of the plot as well. That’s why the plot has always been known as a very important part to the film because it can destroy a film just as easily as it can make the title really cool.

Well, we’re getting a lot closer to the latest Apes film continuity, which is supposed to be the best yet. I have my doubts as the trailers did not look very good, but I suppose that you never know when a film will end up surprising you right? I’ll likely be seeing them soon or at some point in the future and then you can count on a review. We’ll see if it ends up topping this one or fading away.

Overall, Planet of The Apes really gave its all into making this film a success, but it simply didn’t work for me. I appreciate the effort though and the animal violence is noticeably reduced, but it’s simply not enough. Leo also had a great start as the main character and then he started to become more generic and less impressive. None of the apes are likable or interesting. You’ll really think that you’ve seen them before because they are all essentially cardboard cutouts of the original apes from the older films. We have the nice scientist/royalty member who wants to live in harmony with humans and her scared husband who is afraid for his life. Then there’s the main villain who wants to take control of the clan. Seriously, you’ve seen this all before so nothing is new on their side. There’s only so much that you can do with this plot after a while. If you want to see a film about creatures deciding to defeat humanity, I recommend watching Future Card Buddyfight 100. The monsters decide to take things into their own hands this time!

Overall 4/10

Source Code Review

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It’s time to look at one of those films that you may have heard of. It’s certainly possible since it was in theaters for a while, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if you just missed it. Source Code is a pretty interesting film and I thought that it was a fun ride. Reliving the same 8 minutes over and over again is always a fun plot. (It’s unique as far as the 8 minutes goes, but not when you consider the reliving plot itself) We saw that kind of plot in Edge of Tomorrow recently so let’s see how this worked out back in the day.

Captain Stevens was in a war and he was leading his troops through a pretty tough ordeal. Somehow, he is now on a train very far away from the war in Afghanistan. Chicago may be a nice city, but Stevens isn’t ready for a vacation. The plot thickens when he finds out that this is actually a virtual world. The government wants him to find out who bombed the train so that they can find him in real time before he sets off some more explosions. The government is being pretty evasive about what this program actually is, but Stevens doesn’t exactly have a choice in the matter. They keep on sending him back whether he wants to go or not. He may as well solve this case and save some lives then right?

To say that the situation isn’t very good for Captain Stevens would be an understatement. He doesn’t know what happened to his men and he’s not given a breather either. He seems like a nice guy for the most part and he takes things a little less seriously than usual because he knows that it’s all virtual. So, he’s not a bad character and he’s actually a likable lead. That being said, I did find him to be very slow on the uptake during some of the scenes. They will tell him that he’s inside the virtual world and then he’ll still wonder what’s happening. He constantly asks to speak to his father (An army person) or if he can get briefed on the situation, but after a while he should realize that these guys are not going to help him. These guys are only here on business after all. The main character clung to the belief that he could save everyone in the memory for quite a while and he just seems to reject reality at times. (The film hints at parallel worlds every time the main character does something, but I don’t buy that. These are memories and the only thing that the hero should be able to alter is the world in his mind. So, that text at the end? I’m just going to assume that this is still his mental world. This is out of context so you won’t know enough to be spoiled!)

We get quite a few twists so I naturally won’t spoil them. It’s handled pretty well and you’ll definitely understand once they say what the real situation is. I personally thought that Stevens had been captured by the villains and was being tricked, but it turns out that my guess was actually wrong this time. Scarier things have happened I’m sure, but that was pretty shocking.

One question that I had with the film was whether reliving 8 minutes would actually take 8 minutes in real time. The brain moves much faster than the body so I imagine that experiencing 8 minutes of memory would only take a few minutes. That being said, it is experimental technology so I can definitely let that slide. Although, the film enters into plot hole territory when the main character gets off the train during one of his survival attempts. We see the explosion and he still gets to live for quite a bit longer until the train hits him. It could also just mean that the explosion simply cuts him short on the normal attempts and he actually should have had more time. It’s debatable I suppose.

Another part of the film that could stretch your imagination a little bit is why the government thinks this will actually work. Even if Stevens finds the bomber, what if the organization sends a different bomber this time. The government seems positive that there is only one man pulling the strings, but they did evacuate the whole city so this seems like a very serious situation. If this villain has planned things so well, it’s safe to say that it won’t be very easy to catch him. Things play out pretty conveniently for the government, but it’ll still make you wonder.

The government does look pretty corrupt as per usual. That’s pretty sad for their fans, but at least there is one government agent who seems to be pretty responsible. She sacrifices a lot to help out at the end. In contrast, Steven doesn’t have to sacrifice much since he’s in his memory. He even gets to meet a friend and the ending is pretty upbeat for him. It’s a pretty good ending that I didn’t think left much room for a sequel and was satisfying for just about all of the charcaters involved. Things will get dicey for the heroic agent in the real universe, but at least we have the memory one to fall back on.

Overall, Source Code is a pretty enjoyable film. It’s a pretty simple thriller/mystery that never loses sight of itself as the film goes on. We don’t get any wasted scenes or parts of the film that drag on. You’ll never be looking at your watch because the on screen action is engaging. There may not be a lot of fight scenes, but we do get some action and the main character is a nice change from your typical lead. He was in the army so he knows how to fight and he is always ready to take command of the situation. I definitely recommend this to Sci Fi fans and to anyone who wants to watch an interesting film. If this does end up getting a sequel, it’ll be interesting to see how it’s handled. I’m assuming that it will be about the project and the government will try to get someone else involved, but we shall see. Either way, I doubt that it can beat the original.

Overall 7/10

Deja Vu Review

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I know that some like to spell “Deja” with a few symbols above the letters, but I prefer to just write it out like this. The title can already tell you that this is either the next Groundhog Day or it’s going to involve time. I can safely say that it’s the latter although it’s a bit of a trick question since Groundhog Day did involve time. It’s a decent film, but I am hesitant to say that it’s much more than that. The film doesn’t really end up leaving a big impact on you. You watch it…and it’s gone. (Like Battleship)

The plot involves special agent Doug as he tries to solve a case before it even begins. A terrorist attacks a ship and destroys over 500 people in the process. Nobody knows who did it or where the person went, which is where Doug comes in. Doug is the first person to confirm that it was a terrorist attack and he is then brought on to the elite squad. With the use of satellites, they can watch just about any spot on the planet as of 4 days ago. So, they can wait 4 days to see who did it, but it may be too late by then. Moreover, there is no rewinding available so they need to be able to identify the person right away. The plot thickens when Doug finds out that another person was murdered prior to the explosion and thrown into the ocean to make it appear as if the person was just another victim. Doug is now personally invested in this case and he’s ready to solve this case. Now, what if there is more to this satellite technology than meets the eye? What if Doug can stop the crime before it starts? That’s when the real film begins!

Well, the satellite thing is actually pretty scientific. I recall reading about it recently that at least 4 satellites are typically trained on the area. From there, it gets a little hazy since I don’t really think that the satellites would typically be able to look through buildings and get clear 1080P footage while you’re in a dark alley at night. It’s certainly possibly in theory though and it’s interesting to think about. If our government actually had perfected the tech to this extent though, the world would either be a really good place or our civil rights would be even more dismantled than they currently are. (America is still one of the best at protecting us though) Things get more than a little hazy once they start explaining about how you can actually look at the past with the satellites. That means that it’s fiction time!

I do give Doug credit for deciding to change the past while the others said that it wasn’t possible. If time travel was actually possible, then I definitely think it could be altered. The two events go hand in hand. If you can go back in time, then you can change it. If not, then time and the events within it are simply unchangeable. That’s always been my stance on the matter.

Doug is a decent lead. He definitely wants to solve the case and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to succeed without doing anything that’s really unheroic. This is the kind of character that you could call a little generic and get away with it. There’s nothing about him that really stands out and he’s only decent in a fight. His final stand off against the main villain was actually pretty bad since he was on the defensive the whole time. One could argue that his end is also a little tragic and not what you would expect while others can argue that it had to happen due to the plot. I dunno, I think he could have put in the extra effort and just moved to the Hotel California to avoid any missteps.

Claire is the main heroine and a lot of bad things happen to her in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a whole lot of street smarts. She gives away her home address to a random guy over the phone that wanted to buy her car. If you’re going to sell a car to someone, at least arrange to meet in a busy section that has a McDonalds. (Or a sports bar, since the guys inside can definitely fight) Her second big mistake is to open the door when she hears a sound outside. First rule of living in any area is that you never open the door unless you know exactly who’s outside. (And you should recognize their tone to know if they’re being held at gunpoint. Although, there’s not much you can do at that point) So, that was a really rough start for her and that leads to the events that transpire afterwards. She’s a decent character overall, but negative things happen to her left and right. She can’t really find any peace at this rate. This also means that she doesn’t get a whole lot of time for character development and the romance is pretty non existent. (It’s pretty one sided until the end where it’s probably both ways, but still rushed)

Oerstadt is the terrorist in the film and he’s as crazy as you may have expected. I doubt I’ll ever like a terrorist character in a film and that’s a good thing. Films shouldn’t even try to make them sympathetic or likable since they’re just bad people when it all boils down to it. Oerstadt is certifiably insane as he wants to murder everyone to show the United States that they need more patriots. He wants them to wake up and start controlling the world since they have the power. Instead, Oerstadt is woken up to the fact that he didn’t think this through and that his only escape options are death and life imprisonment. Not the best set of options right?

One of the complaints that I would have with the supporting characters is that they can be slow on the uptake. Take Doug’s partner. He gets a message informing him that a terrorist is going to blow up the boat so he heads there to stop him. He sees the guy get into the van so he runs towards him. “Stop….Stop…hands in the air” is basically what the agent says. The guy just takes out his gun and shoots him…..eh? When you’re dealing with a terrorist, you quickly let everyone know and you don’t just walk up to the window. At the very least, shoot all of the wheels so that the guy can’t escape. Then, don’t go in front of the window so the shot will at least be a little more difficult. This guy was an agent so I’m sure that he’ll have enough connections to inform the NSA that something’s up.

The film is also pretty gritty. The main heroine’s plight is pretty serious and the partner’s demise is also pretty gruesome. The film shows the aftermath of the terrorist attack and it’s grim as you would expect. They don’t want to make light of such a situation, but these three scenes are still not really any fun. The heroine’s plight happens twice. The first one is off screen and then we see part of the second until the guy is interrupted. That was good at least, but it’s still a bit much since we know what would have happened.

Finally, this film actually has some fanservice, which is a definite no no. I wasn’t really expecting any since I’ve actually gotten lucky on that angle recently. Most of the films that I’ve seen have actually stayed away from that angle. Not here. Doug and his co-workers decide to spy on Claire through their super satellites to see what happens and they definitely take a while to turn the camera. They’re spying on her constantly and that is decidedly unheroic. It’s okay when she’s in proper attire, but they should otherwise change the view immediately. Not a good move “heroes!”

There’s not much of a soundtrack of course. Luckily, that was to be expected here. We had a bit of a red herring involving the main agent in charge since he acts incredibly suspicious the whole time, but his plot never amounts to anything. At least it gives the viewers something to think about. His role is very small and I still wonder if the writers just forgot about him.

Overall, Deja Vu is a pretty standard film. It does end up losing some extra points for the gruesome violence and the fanservice though so it ultimately becomes a little sub par. The main character wasn’t bad and I always like a good time travel story, but the film just wasn’t terribly exciting or interesting. You sort of want to find out what’s going to happen, but you’ll find yourself to be pretty detached from the current events. It’s hard to really get into what’s happening and you could say that it’s a bit of a negative. A film should really keep you on the edge of your seat. An example of this is the big car chase scene. It’s a fun concept, but it’s not as thrilling as you would expect. Maybe the cars just weren’t going fast enough or it’s because I already saw Need For Speed. Well, I wouldn’t really recommend this one and I think you’d be better off watching The One for parallel universe explanations.

Overall 4/10