Mad Max Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be even more negative
It’s time for one of those films that has always been known as one of the worst. It’s always an interesting experience to go into a film knowing that there is over a 95% chance that it’s going to be terrible. Well, Mad Max certainly lived up to the hype. There is no real plot and the writing is worse than an Adam Sandler film. There are no redeemable qualities for this film whatsoever and right away you can tell that this film is going to be a chore to get through. If this film was intending to be good then it failed miserably but if deep down its intention was to be known as the greatest mess of a film during its time, then perhaps it succeeded. Either way, I think we know what the score is going to be here.

The film starts off with the corrupt cops knocking each others cars over and getting steamrolled by two random crooks in a car. Nobody in this film knows how to drive and that point will keep on getting brought up over the course of the film. If the villains even so much as try to turn, then the heroes get knocked over because they can’t do the same. The cops nearly lose this round, but the villain randomly crashes and blows up. Now there is a biker gang on the loose who are trying to avenge the other villains and go around blowing up cops and murdering towns. Max, being the hero that he is, decides to run away and leave the rest of the cops to fend for themselves. He takes his family to an abandoned part of the forest where nobody can possibly help them and then runs off again. They’re murdered and now Max has to try and avenge them. Thing is, if he wasn’t even remotely intelligent prior to he smart enough to finish off the job?

Where to start with this film? First off, the writers should clearly rethink their careers because the story is as nonsensical as it can be. There is no focus to the story as its just the bandits messing around with everyone. They might even have more screentime than the main lead and half of the time it’s just them acting obnoxious and yelling a lot. Nobody even makes any logical moves. Take Max for example. Since he was a cop, he knows all about the biker gang and how they target anyone they come across. This also seems to be common knowledge across the country in this alternate future. Why would he possibly leave his family alone once they made it to the woods? This area isn’t far from all of the biker gang attacks after all so he should have gone with them. Even once he meets up with the family, he deserts them again in the very next scene to check out the forest. Finally, when he is trying to murder all of the bikers, he falls into their very obvious trap. Maybe if the film was trying to portray him as an unintelligent person then it would be decent writing, but this is clearly not the intent. Nobody looks smart here and unless this is a film that’s actually taking place in the past and everyone’s a caveman, then it just doesn’t work.

The rest of the cops? Don’t worry about them since they never actually get a role in the film. Like I said, over half of the film is about the villains and the last 15-20 minutes are about Max’s payback. Nothing else that we see in the film is ever important and most of the scenes can be considered as filler. An important thing when constructing a universe is to make sure that everything makes sense. If you live in a society where there is no law and you’re in constant danger, then everyone should always have a gun at the ready. If driving fast is essential to staying alive, then you’d expect people to know how to drive right away. Yet, nobody actually acts like they live in the world that they’re set in. Characters act as if they’re in a normal world and are then surprised when they are constantly attacked.

Mad Max is also a very mean spirited film as you might expect. The villains have their way with everyone and the heroes always suffer very slow deaths or fates worse than death. This film is quite graphic and dark. There’s never any actual happy scenes so instead the film plays the happy tunes when the main character tortures and murders the villains. Definitely shows you what the writer was thinking while writing this. It’s definitely a film that is trying its best to be as edgy and over the top as possible. It definitely succeeds in that regard and with all the shock value thrown into the film I suppose it was never trying to have any sort of quality anyway. This is the kind of film that you can chuck into the can within minutes. I can’t imagine being in the theaters for a film like this. You’d be dashing to the front to get your refund so fast that you’d be a blur. The problem is that everyone else would have the same idea so it would still be tough.

At least the film has a soundtrack so I suppose I should see that as a silver lining, but since the sound director had no idea what he was doing, the music is placed in all of the wrong scenes. It never actually makes sense and I get the feeling that the person in charge of the music didn’t actually watch the movie. Smart idea actually so he’s probably the smartest guy on the team. I can’t really put too much blame on the guy as a result.

There’s not too much more to say and bash about Mad Max since you get the drift. If the characters are poorly written, the plot is nonexistent, the music isn’t placed correctly, the writing for the universe and everything in it is terrible and the script is terrible…what is left for the film? Even the scenery is rather bland as it’s just a bunch of roads and we don’t have any cool buildings. Everything is torn down and old, just like this film. You can get to snoozeville before you actually find something interesting about this film. If the writers couldn’t be bothered to make an actual story why would you even want to try to find one? There is nothing to be found here, only despair and decay.

Max Max’s main incentive for viewers is to see a revenge story. It’s supposed to be exhilarating because they make villains that are really mean and then you get to see the hero become just as mean as he destroys them all. It’s just such a poor way to try and create a plot. Revenge fantasies are just no good as the “hero” ends up becoming just like the villains in his mad quest for vengeance. Still, it’s a popular writing technique for writers who don’t know what else to do because it is extremely easy. Just have a bunch of tragic things happen that causes the hero to snap. You could come up with a plot like this in seconds and that’s likely what the creative staff here did. You could probably come up with a better plot and script in a few minutes than what we got in this film.

Overall, This film is definitely a disaster. It’s the kind of movie that you play to get everyone to shut off the TV and save electricity. There’s no enjoyment to be found here and you’d have a lot more fun just taking a nap or watching a show about paint drying. Sure, paint drying is the classic example, but at least it’s so much of a meme that it would still be a little entertaining as you just space out. I don’t have any real hopes for the sequels to be honest, but how much worse can they get? I know that a film can always get worse, but you do really have to try to be this level of bad. Next time you think of watching Mad Max, remember that nobody deserves to have to watch this film. That’s just how bad this movie is.

Overall 0/10


Lovely, Still Review

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It’s time for a very unique romance film. This one definitely isn’t like most as it’s actually about two senior citizens. You typically expect that people would be satisfied with their current living situation by that age, but I guess not this lead. I’m not a big romance fan and while there are some exceptions, I can’t say that this was one of them. Still, it does have some pretty interesting visuals at times which keeps you guessing.

The film starts off with what is a usual day for Robert. He gets up early to go to work, goes home after work, then he goes to sleep. It’s pretty empty since he has no hobbies, but it is what it is. Then one day he is approached by his new neighbor and she wants them to immediately start dating. She seems awfully desperate, but so is Robert so they quickly get together. Mary’s daughter tries to warn her against this, but she’ll hear nothing of it and Robert asks advice from everyone he knows. Can this romance really work?

Well, as I mentioned, Mary seems really desperate the whole time. That should ring up some serious warning bells for Robert if you ask me. It just never feels like the romance was natural and that Mary was targeting him from the start. Sure, it’s nice to see some initiative from her I guess, but I just don’t know about this. Now, there is a massive plot twist by the end which does help this aspect of the movie. By the end Mary is a much better character than she appears to be. That’s one positive aspect of the twist and it really changes the whole dynamic of the film.

Throughout the film we also get some very random moments where Robert is dreaming and we see a lot of bright lights. It gets very trippy and meta with horror music that you would expect from anime. It’s fun to look at though and while it is pretty pointless, that’s one way to pad out the time right? It makes you wonder what the film is going for so you start having a lot of theories like, what if Robert is actually crazy? It’ll at least pop up in your mind, especially since Robert wrapped himself up a gun for Christmas. He’s definitely pretty unstable.

As for Robert, I’m afraid that I didn’t like him. With or without the plot twist, he’s just not a character that I can get behind. The film makes him appear to be incredibly naive, but he’s an old man right? It’s not like he just skipped his teenage and adult life. This guy should be pretty familiar with life as a whole by this point. Even if we incorporate the plot twist and assume that these parts of his past are foggy, it should also make him aware that something’s not right. So, I’d say that it just doesn’t really add up. He also jumps to conclusions and seems to be rather possessive. In short, there wasn’t really any reason for me to like him. He’s just not a lead that I can get behind and he’s not too grateful to Mike considering how helpful he was.

Mike is Robert’s boss and a pretty upstanding guy overall. He helps Robert pick up presents and even gives him a ride. He shares his intel and life experience with Robert in order to help the date go well. He is nothing but supportive and even then Robert just doesn’t show up to work one day and doesn’t even call out. Mike only found out because he happened to drop by the house. Mike was the best character by a long shot to be honest and easily the most enjoyable character. At first you’re not sure if he will be a nice guy or a really tough guy, but in the end we find out that it was the former all along. He is the comic relief character of the film, but not in the way you’d suspect. He’s not unintelligent or constantly making mistakes. Mike is actually very smart and even has plans on how to get rich. His comedic moments are from his quick dialogue and tips that may not go over so well. He delivers these lines with a straight face though and helps keep this film from being a total romance with no interesting plots to keep you hooked.

While the romance isn’t as bad as a typical modern film where it escalates from 0-10 within a night, I still didn’t like it. Again, romance at this stage is just too late. Even if it wasn’t, it’s just way too corny. Most of the scenes are just hard to watch. The whole time you’ll be asking yourself why these two people couldn’t just be friends instead of dating. If they’re both just lonely and want a companion then being friends makes sense. It doesn’t always have to suddenly get romantic. As a result, I just couldn’t get behind this. As far as the plot twist is concerned, it’s definitely interesting. It definitely adds some tragic elements to the film as well but they aren’t overplayed. It gives the film more depth and as I explained earlier it also makes the romance a little more passable. It’s not enough to save the film or anything, but it was a good twist.

Overall, This is a romance film that really feels like a romance film. Aside from the plot twist the film doesn’t do anything to make itself stand out. I suppose they felt like the gimmick of having the main characters be really old was good enough. While it’s not as if the film is poorly made, this is just a genre that has to be executed extremely well or it simply won’t work. There are millions of romance films and only a small% of them are actually good. It’s also really hard to build up a romance in a single film since there isn’t much time for development. If you watch this film, definitely watch it for Mike’s antics. He’s actually a fun character and his scenes are a blast. Still, you can’t expect one character to hold an entire film on his own do you? He does his best, but it’s not enough. If you want to watch a better romance film….I’m not sure what to tell you. If you want a good emotional film, then I’d recommend watching Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F. You’ll definitely get emotional when the Earth is targeted!

Overall 4/10


Love Story Review

It’s time for another romance film. This one’s an interesting case as the negatives are different, but just as strong. For starters, the romance angle is just as bad here if not worse as the two characters are just so mean at first. I suppose they’re going for the whole “They’re brutally honest” approach but it certainly doesn’t work well. At least Jenny works towards being a better person as the film goes on, but Oliver is content to stay spiteful at basically everyone for the whole film. Makes that sequel look even more iffy, but lets stick to the original at the moment.

So the film starts off with Oliver hanging around at a cafe (I believe it was a cafe) and then meeting a girl named Jenny. She immediately starts hurling insults at him about how he’s not very smart and only got this far thanks to being rich. He tries to respond with witty banter of his own, but she continues to defeat him at every turn. It’s not like he has much of a chance since he actually does like her even if he finds it hard to admit. Anyway, they get together really quickly despite their first interactions being complete insults all the time. They don’t stop insulting each other for quite a while. They decide to get married, but will Oliver’s Dad approve and how will they get by without money?

A good warning bell from the start is the film’s tagline. Clearly it’s trying to be clever but it’s just so far out to left field. Saying sorry is always important and especially if you’re in a close relationship. Feeling like you don’t need too if your bond is strong enough is just incorrect. You’ve always got to own up to your mistakes and considering how mean both characters are, I think the film is just trying to justify itself which isn’t going to fly either.

The main characters are important here so lets start with Oliver. At first you figure that the parents are going to be antagonistic and that’s why he is constantly avoiding them. The twist is that Oliver is the mean one who constantly pushes them away and is very disagreeable about everything. Sure, it’s a pretty original twist, but it does make him look quite terrible if we’re being honest. He doesn’t attend his father’s birthday celebration and even refuses to talk to him in general. All of the things Oliver says about his father to convince Jenny that he’s a bad person turn out to be untrue. Oliver’s just projecting his own insecurities and then still has the nerve to ask his father for 5000 dollars. Yes, he’s asking to help keep Jenny alive a little longer, but he refuses to tell his father any of this. If anything this just shows what a nice guy the Dad is since he gives Oliver the money despite Oliver just being really mean the entire time.

Oliver gets to the point where he even puts his anger at his father over Jenny. Jenny never asks him for anything, but even when she asked him to get on the phone for a minute he refused and even yanked the phone from her hand. This is not a guy that you can sympathize with or like at all throughout the movie. A movie can only be so good when the lead is terrible like this so that was already putting it at a disadvantage. I am glad that the parents weren’t just randomly mean for no reason but having them be nice and the main character mean is pretty mean spirited in itself.

As for Jenny, as I mentioned it’s hard to see how the romance starts. She does admit during one round of insults that she just likes him for his looks so I guess we can take that at face value. It’s still not a romance that I can get behind though and as I mentioned she is the only reasonable person in this relationship. Even once she is diagnosed with a fatal disease and doesn’t have long to live Oliver decides not to tell her this. He doesn’t even give her a chance to get treatment right away by stalling so Jenny had to find out by herself the hard way. Oliver’s certainly not winning any awards for husband of the year. He’d probably win the Razzi since apparently he does get over her. I feel bad for Jenny since she could have done so much better.

Even the whole Wedding ceremony felt like it was trying to make you dislike the characters even more. Jenny’s family was looking forward to a traditional Catholic wedding for their daughter, but then Oliver walks in and that is gone. Jenny says that it was a mutual decision, but I don’t really believe that for a second. Not only is it not a marriage in a Church, but it’s one that is barely official. They are just holding the wedding on their own in a random room. Do you even get a proper certificate from that? They even made up their own vows which didn’t work well. It was a bit of a painful scene and while I do agree that most weddings are too expensive and I’d want a cheap one personally, I’d still want an actual wedding as opposed to a self made thing that just seems fake.

This film definitely goes heavy into the drama territory for the second half as you’d imagine with the whole dying bit. It’s not a film that would have any real replay value as a result since the film just isn’t very fun. The second half is hard to get into because it’s just everyone being sad the whole time and the first half is dragged down by Oliver. Well, he drags down the second half too, but you know what I mean. I’m not really into tragedy films that doesn’t really help this one’s case. They should at least try to have some fun before she dies as opposed to spending the last weeks in a hospital. I know this will differ for many people, but if I only have a little while left to live and it’s confirmed..then what’s the point of staying in the hospital? So they can extend my life for a few days? I’d rather spend a week at home over 2 weeks in the hospital.

Overall, This film felt really mean spirited. By the end none of the characters have had a particularly good time. Oliver is going to be depressed since Jenny is gone. Jenny is gone so she didn’t have a happy ending. The Father’s not going to have a good time since his son is constantly pushing him away. There are just no happy endings here so it’s just a tragic film with sad ending. That isn’t a winning combo and if anything it’s a confirmed losing combo. It’s a little hard to be a good film throughout all of this. Not to mention that even without the sad aspects the romance does not work at all. They go from being enemies to taking the step past the friend zone in a few nights. The romance never feels realistic at all. You’re better off checking out a different film and skipping this one altogether. There’s just no point to this one whatsoever. While the sequel doesn’t actually affect this one’s score since they’re separate, it’s existence makes this one feel even worse.

Overall 1/10


A Silent Voice Review

It’s time for one of the most mean spirited manga titles that I’ve ever read. Deadman Wonderland probably still takes the cake for being the meanest one around, but this one really tries to surpass it. Volumes 1-6 are all pretty dark/tragic and even half of 7 is still like that. We get a sort of happy ending, but the question you’ll be thinking the whole time is…was it all worth it? I’m afraid not so lets dive into this manga!

The manga follows the adventures of a bully named Shoya. He enjoyed his days as a delinquent and is upset when a deaf girl named Shoko is transferred to his class. Shoya decides to make her life as miserable as possible and the rest of the class including the teacher get in on the action. After enduring all of this bullying and even having Shoya rip her ear, Shoko is transferred out and fortunately her mother also threatened the school with legal action. This means that they need a scape goat so all of Shoya’s “friends” decide to turn on him. Likewise with the teacher of course so they beat him up a lot and even try to convince him to commit suicide.

Fast forward a few years. Shoya decides he’ll commit suicide after finally meeting up with Shoko again and apologizing. She has apparently forgiven him and he decides to keep on living so he’ll be her friend. The problem is that he still has a pretty bad image and Shoko hasn’t gotten over the incident as much as she claims. Her Mother naturally dislikes Shoya as well. Shoya’s old friends have mostly gotten over it but they know about his past and Shoya fears that they’ll tell his new friends about it. A lot of drama happens and by the end of it, you’ll be shaking your head.

Okay, the manga’s whole problem really just stems into the meanness of it all. You see the classic theme of someone doing something really mean or evil and then receiving a judgment just as brutal which is supposed to make you feel good. The problem is that two wrongs don’t equal a right so it just makes the whole thing feel dark. A good example of course is Sword Art Online Fairy Dance. (You can use SAO for just about any hypothetical if I’m being honest) After the main villain was messing around with Asuna and tormenting Kirito, you’re supposed to cheer when Kirito decides to very slowly and painfully execute him one piece at a time. The problem is that you’re not cheering because it is still super painful. You don’t feel bad for the villain, but you didn’t want the hero to stoop to the same level. (Attack on Titan has this same problem) You want a quick resolution. Unfortunately, this manga’s whole message is about how “You’ll get yours!” and the villains all get some intense payback at some point or other. That is, unless they’re being used for another message like how they’re misunderstood.

The series starts with Shoya thinking about ending himself and then moving on to Shoko. Finally once all of the characters are broken and have been publicly humiliated, then they can all move on. Honestly, Shoko’s depression is probably where the series really jumped the ship although the beginning was incredibly rough as well. It’s impossible to like Shoya after the start. He just went way too far in the bullying phase to the point where you absolutely cannot buy into his redemption arc. The ear rip felt especially painful and he does physically punch Shoko. That’s one of the big lines that you don’t cross and he went through with it almost immediately. Shoya also seems to make the wrong move in just about every scenario, every time. He’s just incredibly annoying and the fact that he is the main character certainly doesn’t help matters either. If he’s not blowing up at his friends or having a martyr complex then he’s typically having confidence issues or being in a coma.

Shoko is a decent heroine except for the fact that she is way too forgiving of everyone. She basically gets along with Shoya immediately and puts the whole thing behind her. Honestly she should have told him to get lost when he showed up again. Otherwise, it’s nice of her to forgive him, but then to move on to being best friends and then more than that almost immediately? No, no I can’t see that happening. It was an incredibly poor romance that I just couldn’t take from start to finish.

Naoka is the other heroine. She actually liked being a bully and is mean to everyone throughout the series. She decides to change her ways because of Shoya, but never actually changes. She still talks bad about everyone and while it is supposed to be endearing, you have to wonder how much she has actually changed. She is quick to hit everyone and definitely causes a lot of drama. The one quality she has that is quite good is how she gets over everything pretty quick. The rest of the characters are constantly making mountains of molehills while she just forgets about it all the next day and is back to normal. It may be a little iffy as she’ll just stir up more chaos, but it beats the alternative.

Miki is a character that I think the author didn’t know what to do with. She was one of the big bullies in the first volume, but always denies this and blames others. She purposely tells everyone that Shoya was the big bully and gets everyone to retreat from him again. (He helped quite a lot though) She lies to everyone and is generally very fake throughout the whole series. The issue is that nobody calls her out on this and she effectively gets away with everything by the end. I’m glad the series didn’t go overboard with the payback on her, but she didn’t even get a slap on the wrist. She got away completely scot free and since I didn’t like her at all, that was annoying. If the author never meant for her to be one of the main villains, then he/she should read the series again.

Miyoka was the only character who was nice to Shoko at the start. Unfortunately, since she is the nice character she is also the timid one and a single insult caused her to stop coming to classes. She now wants to be a model but is very self conscious of her looks. Naturally the others are ready with the insults. She can be a little annoying as well and while it’s great that she got along with Shoko as well, I’d be a little sore with how quickly she ran off. She’s not a dependable friend that you can count on.

Yuzuru is probably the only real good character. She made it her mission to beat up the bullies who messed with Shoko back in the day, but unfortunately she was too young to really track them all down. Still, she managed to grow up as a tom boy to protect her sister as best she could and even took up whole hobbies like taking pictures of dead things to try and get Shoko to distance herself away from thoughts of suicide. Her only iffy moment is probably not stepping in to help Shoko when she was getting beaten up by Naoka. I can see why she was upset since Shoko tried to jump off a roof, but you still can’t let one of the old bullies beat your sister up. Isn’t that the whole reason for why she got strong in the first place?

Tomohiro is Shoya’s first friend at the new school. He’s a nice guy and all. He may not have any friends and pretends that he does all the time, but he gives Shoya someone to talk too. He has his iffy moments for sure but the series would have been a lot darker without him. I’d say that he’s really here just to lighten the mood. I’m not so much a fan of him as he just beats most of the other cast by default. His movie gets tragically panned though which was another moment where the manga decided to just be really depressing again. I mean really..was it necessary to also have the critics mock each and every one of them for the movie? The heroes quickly acted as if they didn’t care, but couldn’t they have had at least one happy ending as a team? It’s like the author didn’t want any of them to have something nice happen for a change.

Satoshi is the final main character and he’s the anti bully guy who shows up to subtly threaten Shoya the whole series. It’s actually portrayed as a bad thing that he’s against bullies. The scene were he throws away everyone’s backpacks honestly didn’t seem like a big deal to me since those actually were bullies. Him throwing water at the teachers and going overboard after that was a bit much though. Again, it’s a little hard to have him come back into the fold so easily again. It’s great to be against bullies, but he came off as a rather violent guy himself and I didn’t get the whole subplot about how he loves kids. This character should honestly have just not shown up.

Shoko’s Mom is another character who should have been good, but they went overboard with how mean she is. Are you honestly telling me that she would have an objection with Shoko using sign language at the table? She wants Shoko to be tough so I understand the haircut. That was fine since Shoko was clearly not defending herself so the Mom had to do it for her, but breaking her confidence at home as well was just random. I give her some props for deciding to beat up the bully who was attacking Shoko though. That was easily her best scene.

The art was below average. It tries for a very gritty down to earth feel which sets the vibe in rather quickly. In a sense that’s a good thing as the art is atmospheric but since it’s a dark and gloomy atmosphere it doesn’t really help matters. I just couldn’t get into the art and while it’s clearly not the worst I’ve seen, it’s quite low in the charts. Since this is a “realistic” manga there is also an unfortunate amount of language. This will always depend on who is translating it of course, but unfortunately the original one decided to add quite a bit. It’s just another unnecessary addition.

At the end of the day, the manga’s issue is that it’s just very moody and depressing the whole time. It’s not fun to read. You’ll keep reading until the end and you’ll be reasonably invested, but then every volume has another tragic scene within it. The amount of times someone is beaten up or bullies is uncanny in this series. If the series wanted to be good, the first volume should have been shorter and the bullying should have been less intense. We shouldn’t have had Shoko suddenly break down by the end and we certainly shouldn’t have had to have Shoko get beaten up yet again.

Also, why did the blond kid just randomly show up a few times? Considering that he beat up Shoya, stole his shoes, and bullies him quite extensively for a while…why does Shoya have to patch things up? I don’t get how nobody acts like the other kid did anything wrong. He was just as bad as Shoya and also got away scot free. The most annoying thing is that he’s apparently still friends with some of Shoya’s old contacts so while I guess they are cool with Shoya now, they’re not sorry enough to actually regret it.

I’m trying to think of some positives for the series…but it’s hard. When a series leaves such a bad taste in your mouth, it sours the whole experience. The scenes were they’re all having fun can be good except that they instantly go sideways and you always know that something is going to happen. It’s just inevitable but I suppose you should savor those scenes while you can.

Overall, This series was pretty brutal. It started out on a really low note, got semi decent for a bit and then crashed again. I also didn’t like the ending, but what else is new right? It’s essentially inevitable after a while because if you don’t like the characters and aren’t engaged by them, then there’s not much that the ending can do to change that. You’re just way too annoyed by everyone by that point. Manga should always be fun and enjoyable to read throughout. They can go through rough patches and have serious themes of course as just about all of them do, but it should still be a pleasant experience. You can’t use that phrase to describe this manga. I’d highly advise checking something else out instead. If you want a good realistic manga title to read, how about Zodiac P.I.? It has some supernatural elements, but is mostly down to Earth and is up beat despite some rather serious cases.

Overall 3/10


Bambi Review

It’s time for a timeless classic. Unfortunately, being a classic doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be a good move. Bambi deals with one of the classic themes of cinema, death in the family. This theme can be handled pretty well, but mainly with humans. When it comes to animals it is a whole different story. If you’ve been reading my reviews, you’ll know that I always take off points for animal violence. Well, this film has a whole lot of that so you could say that it was doomed from the start. It’s quite tragic, but Bambi simply won’t be going places in the cinema world.

The film starts off with Bambi being born and making a lot of friends among the other animals. They call him Prince Bambi and they are all pretty friendly. The only real obstacle for him is that he has a tough time walking with his really long legs. He keeps on tripping and losing his balance, but Bambi presses on. He goes to a forest to meet his father but then poachers attack and things get sticky. Can Bambi survive or is this the end of the road for him?

I definitely had nothing against the first chunk of the movie. I liked the Rabbit who helped Bambi learn how to hop and use his legs. He may have unleashed a lot of burns but his Mother always called him out on them. Even then the Rabbit would really drag out the response to at least try and save some of his dignity. He was a good character to have around, that’s for sure. I also liked the Owl and his cool facial expressions as he would glare at the little animals while preventing them from eavesdropping on the heroes. He didn’t get to do much, but was still fun.

Unfortunately, Bambi isn’t really a great main character. He panics a lot and is a little too scared of the female Bambi for the most part. It takes him a long while to get used to her and he doesn’t really become a good main character until he learns how to fight and takes on a pack of dogs along with an evil Bambi. Those scenes were good as the hero finally learned to fight and everything, but it took him quite a while. As everyone kept pointing out as we were watching the film, he’s no Rudolph. I still remember Godzilla Meets Bambi the film and I guess I can see why people put those 2 in a fight. It’s not to say that Bambi is a bad character, but he is one of Disney’s worst leads.

Lets also quickly talk about the big bombshell in the film, the animal violence. All right, so you probably know the main strife from the Bambi film as Bambi’s Mom ends up biting the big one. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only scene that comes into play here. We also get scenes of poachers shooting down birds, rabbits, and other animals that are in the way. It’s a pretty brutal array of scenes to be honest and I was wincing the whole time. “Now that I think about it, the writer’s big plan had a lot of holes from the start. Wanna eradicate the animals? Maybe next time don’t make a film in the first place!” Now, I may have slightly borrowed that phrase which is why it may feel out of place, but it works here. If you really feel like you have to add animal violence to tell a story, then it’s clearly not a good story. The same goes for romance, fanservice, excessive violence and language. If you have to force those elements into a story to get the message across, then it’s a message that didn’t deserve to be told in the first place. These scenes just absolutely destroyed the film beyond recognition. The evil Bambi showing up was even a Guilty Crown or Sword Art Online esque moment and I wasn’t exactly expecting to see that in a Disney film. Good thing Bambi was around.

It kind of sours the whole film, but if we ignore that for a minute, the animation isn’t bad. The techniques they used were fairly original as the colors started shifting during Bambi’s big fight and there were a lot of epic zoom ins. The animation has aged pretty well over the years and that is definitely an area where Disney has been consistent through the years. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is rather underwhelming. None of the songs are good and the opening theme has to be one of the weakest. I just can’t think of any good tunes here which is unfortunate. That always makes the film go by a little faster.

To make up for that, Bambi has one thing that most films don’t have, a hype character. Bambi’s Dad gets a lot of hype in the forest and he actually looks pretty good the whole time. The animals can definitely use him since the rest appeared to be doomed the whole time. It’s a pretty sad message for them in the end as the humans continue to gain ground and there really isn’t anything that they can do about it. They are simply outranked and outgunned by these people. The humans never actually get to appear so you just have to focus on the bullets.

As a whole, Bambi just seemed to be a step down from all of the Disney films in just about every category. The characters weren’t very good, the writing wasn’t very on point, the music was lack luster, etc. The animation is really the only aspect where it felt like Disney put in a lot of effort. It got a sequel which I like to think is better than the first, but we’ll see if that actually means a whole lot or not. It’ll probably be a while before I see that one though.

Overall, Bambi is one of those films that you should absolutely avoid at all costs. It may seem like a happy little animal film at first glance, but it sure isn’t. The animal violence just doesn’t stop and it completely overshadows the rest of the film. By the end you’ll be wondering why Disney is always murdering their animals. I fear for the Lion King’s safety. I don’t remember this one having quite as many animal deaths as Bambi, but it has been a while. This film is just not in good taste and I don’t know what they were thinking. Bambi can keep its legacy, I’ll take something a little more intense like All Star Superman any day.

Overall 2/10


Escaflowne Review

It’s always a sad day when a franchise is brought back from the grave just to shatter our memories. I’ve always been of the opinion that more content for a franchise is always a good thing even if it’s bad. I’m glad Dragon Ball Super exists even if it mocks most of the principles from DBZ. I’m glad Naruto Shippuden exists even if it’s painfully low budget and has some of the worst directing of all time. I’m even glad that we have Teen Titans Go because it has brought some nice episodes and scenes once in a while. These additions to the franchise may not have been amazing, but they did have their share of great moments which is why I love to see them. However, a film like this one or the latest season of Samurai Jack does sometimes make me question this. Ultimately, my stance hasn’t changed, but it’s always sad when we get a modern gritty remake/reboot/sequel that really just takes away everything that made the original good. Escaflowne is a terrible movie and it will make you feel bad for the TV show. It has animal violence and gratuitous violence at the ready so with that in order, lets tackle this film.

Hitomi was a normal suicidal teenager when the film picks up. Her friend makes a joke about wanting to be there when Hitomi jumps, but little does she know that Hitomi is serious, she just feels like she isn’t brave enough to do it yet. Hitomi decides to vent on her friend since it seems like this is what all terrible main characters do. Already we can see that the film is being randomly edgy for no reason. Why is Hitomi suicidal? This isn’t a good plot point nor is it a necessary one. It’s just a jarring change to her character which was unneeded. Well, one thing leads to another and she is warped to Gaea. There she meets up with Van.

Van is the last survivor of his clan and now he just wants bloody vengeance on everyone in his vicinity. He naturally tries to destroy Hitomi as soon as he sees her, but she is saved by the resistance. No worries, she falls for him anyway right away because this is the perfect start to a romance. Van decides to use the mighty Escaflowne robot to save the day, but it’s a little more twisted in this version. Escaflowne is a robotic vampire which feeds on its hosts so in order to use it, you have to let it stab you and suck your blood. Again, this is a random change that has nothing to do with anything, but it’s an excuse for the film to be more violent and dark once again.

As such, we get to see Van stabbed repeatedly every time he enters the machine and just moving causes him to be stabbed as well. How was this film not R? The whole time I was watching the film, I was super perplexed at that. This film is certainly violent enough to justify the rating if you ask me. Anyway, with these weapons at his disposal, Van is ready for revenge and so the big battles start.

The film made some good changes so we’ll start with those. Allen doesn’t have a very rushed romance with Hitomi here. There is little in the way of romantic tension here at all so that’s a good thing. The Mole Man also gets a much smaller role which I was glad to see since he was an annoying character in the first film. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all that I can think of for the film’s positives, at least when it comes to changes. The film cut out the main villain of the show which was a pretty big mistake. Folken was never a very interesting character after all and I wouldn’t say that he’s great here either.

Wait, there is one good change to the film. I just barely remember that the concept was good because it was mostly just used for more bad scenes. The characters with dragon DNA can use The Force to blast people with telekinetic energy. It’s a pretty exclusive list though since only Folken, Van, and Dilandau have dragon DNA. It’s a cool concept and certainly makes these characters way more difficult to defeat. Of course, the film can’t control itself and one character uses it to blow a Horse apart. Noooooo! That was the worst scene in the film and I knew it was only a matter of time before the film pulled something like that. It was such a cool concept, but the film couldn’t let it rest. Folken also blasts Dilandau so hard with it that the guy’s head comes close to exploding, but that was way more mild in comparison.

You can already tell that I didn’t like Hitomi in this film, but at least Allen was decently good. He’s as overconfident as ever and easily defeats Van when they fight. He doesn’t get a robot in this film though so he’s completely useless whenever the villains show up. It feels like an even more lopsided war than in the show since the villains have all of the advantages. All the heroes have at the ready are allies who keep backstabbing each other. Van’s even more blood thirsty than usual in the film. It’s hard to find him likable since he’s willing to destroy a defenseless lady (Hitomi) for basically no reason and never really apologizes for it. He’s certainly a very skilled warrior here, but not an ally that you can trust.

The film also added a new character for the lolz. She can see the future, teleport people, and do all kinds of crazy stuff. She wants to see Folken burn so she follows him around and makes fun of him from time to time. In the end, she decides that dying will be fun as long as it’s with Folken and her whole character arc was rather odd. Folken wasn’t a bad villain I suppose. He didn’t really stand out, but he made all of the threats and did a lot of posturing so at least he performed his roll. Dilandau somehow got a happy ending out of this and developed a loyal cadre of minions. I guess he wasn’t a mean leader or something? I didn’t get that impression from him to be honest, but that’s the way the ball bounces I guess. A wise leader doesn’t slice and dice his own men so I’ll take that a complement to him from the film.

The animation is pretty good. I’m not a fan of the character designs, but if you’re able to see past them, then you can see that the rest of the animation is on point. While violent, the action scenes are very fluid with the hand to hand action being quite good. The mind blasts between the characters are nice and Escaflowne’s berserker mode is also really good. The soundtrack is a little less inspiring. I’d say that it was decent. It wasn’t bad or underwhelming, but it wasn’t really anything to write home about.

It’s another case of a film succeeding on the technical levels while not being able to uphold its integrity for the main course. The excessive violence the whole time was just very forced. I always consider it to be forced because there are many examples of shows and movies that have great fight scenes without being violent. Many of them can be completely bloodless or adding in a smidge at times. Dragon Ball Z, Toriko, Sengoku Basara, Samurai Jack, (Original show) Justice League, Digimon Savers, etc. So when a fight scene is really violent, I can only really say that it is forced. It’s just the only explanation in my eyes. At least the movie didn’t add a bunch of language, that tactic is even more desperate. If it is true that Shin Godzilla is rated TV-MA because of that…that will just be sad. The animal violence and suicidal themes in Escaflowne were just icing on the cake by the end. The film was already not in a good spot in those issues just didn’t help it.

Overall, Escaflowne was a TV show that absolutely did not need a film remake. While it is preferable to a recap film, it should have been more faithful to the TV show. Diverging to such a large extent is a high risk/high reward option, but it typically ends up failing miserably. The movie still has some interesting storylines going on and the action/animation are good, but they don’t succeed in covering up the film’s failings. This almost goes without saying, but I’d highly recommend just going back and watching the original show if you want to delve into the franchise. There’s no reason to check this film out. Lets just let it fade away into our memories.

Overall 3/10


Attack on Titan Ilse’s Notebook Review

It’s time for an Attack on Titan prequel OVA. This one adapts a side story from the manga so it’s fairly short. The OVA does manage to pad itself out a little with a brief recap on the state of things though so it’s not extremely short. It’s around the length of the average episode which is a pretty decent length for an OVA. It’s fairly interesting, but I can’t say that it’s actually good as it suffers from the usual Attack on Titan issues.

The main character of this story is Hange (Or Hanji depending on which name you’re more used too) and she really wants to experiment on a Titan. As she has no conscience to weigh her down, she has always been the perfect person to lead the scientist division. She may creep the rest of her comrades out, but that’s just a side effect of being insane. You’re basically rooting for the Titans here since you don’t want them to be enslaved so Hange can stab them forever. Things aren’t moving quickly enough for Hange so she decides to go rogue and head after a Titan. Along the way she learns that there was once a Titan who could talk. What does this mean?

The Notebook/Journal that the heroes find is the main item of importance in this story. It’s another tragic tale, but that’s to be expected here. Ilse was running through the woods when a Titan spotted her. The rest of her comrades had already been taken down for the count so she had no backup. Surprisingly, the Titan didn’t destroy her right away as it prolonged the experience by stretching its face and trying to let her know about the war going on and how the series was all a lie. Ilse didn’t handle this too well and panicked so she was quickly eaten. It’s meant to be pretty important since it shows that Titans have some level of intelligence even if it’s been buried pretty deep. At the same time her death in the end made the whole thing suspect anyway. Maybe she was just delusional. The heroes don’t seem to think much of it either as they just use this as an excuse to go on the hunt once more.

Humor has never been a strong point of the series and that continues here. A running gag is that Hange is super unhinged so she chokes one of her comrades and nearly murders him. She loses her cool constantly and I don’t know how she still has her job. Well, the government is corrupt so I guess that fits. It doesn’t make me like any of her comrades though since they don’t speak up about this and just keep on enduring it. Levi and the others seem to turn a blind eye as well. At least he’s one of the few people along with Erwin who doesn’t fear Hange, but if he’s not going to do anything about it, then it doesn’t really matter all that much.

Attack on Titan never fails to deliver on the technical side though. The soundtrack is pretty good as we got an awesome techno theme at the beginning of the OVA. It played when the series was giving a recap of the situation and it made for some fun visuals as well. If the whole OVA was like that, then I wouldn’t have had any problems. The strategic part of the series is when its typically at its best. The graphics are also pretty sharp as it looks and feels very modern. The character designs are on point and the OVA had fun using Sunset effects for when it was getting late, but not quite night time yet. It all looked good and at least that helps the OVA speed along even if it can’t totally nullify the negatives.

In the end, the OVA was still a little too violent and dark by the end. The novels pointed out that Titans don’t bleed so we technically shouldn’t be getting any blood when they’re slashed. The anime has always chosen to ignore that though and either way we have the Titans eating humans as well so that doesn’t help. The scene of the Titan trying to rearrange his face came across as completely unnecessary and eating Ilse at the end wasn’t a great ending either. Following the novels more closely would absolutely help Titan in all of its future products.

Overall, Ilse’s Notebook is fairly standard Attack on Titan fare. If you like the show then odds are that you’ll like the OVA. Eren and the other main characters may not be in it, but the rest of the OVA feels like it could easily be a normal episode. I still say that the show is too violent and melodramatic the whole time and Hange is a pretty terrible main character so she holds it down. To make it more interesting, I wouldn’t have minded some time travel thrown in so Eren could be around to yell a bit. It’s not exactly the feel good film of the year, but if you really want to make sure that you’re an expert on Attack on Titan lore, then you’ll want to check it out. For the rest of you, just go prepare yourself for Season 2 instead. It is certainly drawing closer and closer with every passing day.

Overall 4/10


Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Review

There are some series that can start out on a high note and keep that level of quality intact. Look at the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It has the super emotional song from the first film, but still managed to get by just fine in the sequels without it. That’s because the writing and characters were on point. Other titles like Skip Beat can start out decently interesting and go into the gutter. It’s not about how you start a race, but how you finish it. That’s true in life, cooking, platformers, pie eating contests, and anything else that is worth your while. This novel may have started out to be pretty good and a contender for best novel in the franchise, but crashed and burned in the second half. The title should have been a giveaway I suppose.

The plot of the book takes place in a small little town in the Titan World. The bridge collapsed so everyone is kinda sorta trapped in the town. They can go outside though so I guess they aren’t really trapped at all. I don’t know exactly how the layout is since it doesn’t make much sense, but essentially all of the other villages have left them for dead. All of Rita’s bosses end up getting bumped off so she is suddenly the leader of the military. She goes from being a really nice person to a corrupt dictator and decides that the only way to give the people peace is to murder them and anyone who falls out of line or looks at her the wrong way is subject to death. She will destroy anyone who defies her wish of a Utopia!

Meanwhile, Mathias is the other main character. He was a rich guy who never had to work for anything and was ignorant of the ways of the commoner. He was good friends with Rita, but he ended up murdering her other best friend so he had to go into hiding. He must now find a way to take her down and considers that he may have to use lethal methods. Friendship and camaraderie is thrown to the winds in this tale as everyone does what they feel they have too. Things get a lot worse before they get better and they never really get better so just focus on the first part.

This adventure is two novels long and the first one was actually pretty decent. It was a fun enough tale about Rita and Mathias and how they lived very different lives, but did their best to connect with each other. It wasn’t a bleak and gritty story the way that most Titan adventures were and it was cool to just have a happy scene for once. It figures that this wouldn’t last right? The story started to get a little more grim as Mathias made a deal with some bandits to rob his father in exchange for getting him to the town where Rita was trapped. It didn’t go very well so the bandits murder a bunch of soldiers and then Mathias panicked so he blew up one of the young workers who was helping Rita. He panicked again after that and ran off. This basically happened in the final pages of the first book so it was quite a downer.

The second novel is where it really goes off the rails though. Rita was apparently traumatized after seeing her best friend murder her other friend so she decided to go down a dark path. She forces people to get eaten by the Titan she planted in the city and tortures others until they get her some intel. Nobody is safe now and she murders her father and is prepared to do the same to Mathias if she can find him as well as her best friend Amanda. The novel shows us in great detail just how insane she has become. It gets about as bad as the main Titan series in that regard and there’s no way she can come back from this.

This is why the ending of the book is rather hard to swallow. The author suddenly tries to make her sympathetic as she was only trying to help and she’ll be a nicer person now. She has this 180 character development in the span of 2-3 pages as Titans attack the city and suddenly we’re supposed to see her as a nice person again. Mathias also forgives her for murdering everyone and putting the townspeople in jeopardy every day since it just doesn’t matter now. Never mind the fact that one of Mathias’ main allies was poisoned to death right in front of him on Rita’s orders. She may claim that it was for the greater good, but she stepped well over the line of vigilantism and became an evil villain during this book. It was far more extreme than the book and characters acknowledge afterwards and it was just puzzling the whole time. It was an even more drastic character arc than Shu’s from Guilty Crown and that’s pretty scary. It may not be in Black Butler levels quite yet, but Rita is easily one of the most evil main characters that I’ve ever seen.

It goes without saying that I didn’t like her. Regardless of how good she was in volume 1, she nullified it all in the sequel. I didn’t care for Mathias either as there is no way he should have panicked so much upon seeing the scout and he handled the situation as badly as possible. It was hard to take him seriously as the rebel leader since he was always terrified of everyone and got tricked so many times. He was just annoying to see. The rebels were also a bit much as they were all too overconfident and full of themselves even though they could never do all that much when it came time to fight. The super hyped leader of the Rebels went down in the worst way possible as his drinking habits finally got to him and poison ended his career. You’d think that he would have been a little smarter about something like that.

In the end, the only real good character was Amanda. Even she was a little fishy as she took forever to make a move and just allowed people to be tortured and eaten. At least she did something about it though. She also got a lot of hype as being the best fighter in the squad, but naturally once she turned good, Amanda was surpassed by Rita. So much for the hype eh? She still put up a good fight though and was probably the only character who actually stayed true to herself. Again, the book kind of glossed over the fact that Rita was so evil in the end as she gets Amanda back her gear and they team up again. It just shouldn’t be so smooth. If anything, I think the ending should have kept Rita as a villain, it certainly makes more sense than suddenly making her a hero again.

Even the ending doesn’t offer much hope though as the heroes lost their town to the Titans. Their plan is to head to the next town, but they already know for a fact that the Town doesn’t want them and will attempt to slay the group. It’ll come down to yet another fight and that should give the Titans an opening to move in and take them all down. It’s Attack on Titan though so you should never expect anything even remotely happy for the conclusion.

Overall, What started as potentially the best Titan novel ended up being the worst one. It’s why I always say that you can’t really tell these things ahead of time. A whole novel (or 2 in this case) is more than enough time for a story to turn rotten. You won’t even recognize the characters by the end as they could basically be other people. In the end, what really destroyed the book was that it was way too dark and violent. If you thought the other novels were gritty, this one is far more intense. The novel could have made Rita’s character transformation a little less drastic and it would have worked a lot better. There’s no good reason for her to become a full fledged mass murderer. She should have just gotten more obsessed about the rules and we could have had the town be under a curfew with a lot of punishments handed out every day. The situation didn’t need to jump all the way to 10 so suddenly. Had the book showed some restraint, it would have been a lot better and glossing it over so much at the end didn’t help either. If you want a good Attack on Titan novel, I suggest checking out Before The Fall. It’s the only good one at the moment and shows you what Titan novels should be like.

Overall 1/10


The Frozen Ghost Review

It’s time to look at a retro Lon Chaney film. I’ve seen quite a few of his films and still have a bunch of others to see someday. This one is a classic tale of hypnosis and whether it is real or not. There are certainly quite a few antagonists in this film and their plans are so risky that they can even prove fatal. It’s a pretty interesting film, even if it can get a tad convoluted at times.

Alex is a skilled master of mental abilities and has been working in this trade for a long time. One day a drunk individual shows up declaring that Alex is a fraud. Alex decides to prove him wrong by hypnotizing the guy, but then he also ends up wishing that the drunk would die. The drunk does abruptly die and Alex is thrown into a state of shock. It can’t be proven that he did it of course and everyone tells him that it was a coincidence, but Alex doesn’t think so. He moves into a wax museum to try and get past this and even breaks up with his fiancee Maura. Unfortunately, he has just entered the Lion’s Den as George, Rudi, and Valerie all want him dead. Nina is the only person in the Wax Museum who doesn’t have any ill will towards him, but it’s rather easy to be fooled when everyone around you is giving you false intel. How will Alex get out of this situation without using his mental abilities to fatally end this?

Alex is a good character as always although he can maybe be a little too low in confidence. He immediately blames himself quite a bit and goes into mourning so fiercely that he just tries to make life as tough for himself as possible. It’s not really necessary and pushing Maura away was also a little too extreme. Dishing out his own punishments was definitely not a great call on his part. Alex did have a good plan at the end though and at least he didn’t totally lose himself in what was happening. Maura was a good heroine and she never stopped trying to help Alex. She was able to persevere and was definitely a trust worthy ally that Alex could depend on. He was lucky to have her around.

Nina was rather naive and didn’t handle any situation too well, but it can’t all be blamed on her. As I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to really get what is happening when there is nobody around to give you even a semi-accurate account of what has transpired. She wasn’t a villain at least so that was someone else that Alex could trust or at least not fear. George and the other villains were rather petty and did all they could to smear Alex’s name and erase whatever confidence he had left. They were decent in their roles, but not nearly as interesting as Ilona from another film that I have a review coming out for soon and other such antagonists.

I did like Inspector Brant and while he kept on doubting Alex and not believing in mind powers, I can’t really blame him for that. At least he was doing his job well and quickly hustled to take down the villains. He even swallowed his pride and asked Alex for help at the end with a particularly difficult case. In a rare moment of selfishness, Alex declined as he claimed that he didn’t have any powers just to mess with Brant. I thought that was a little mean of Alex and his decision could have some real consequences. He could have saved a person or even many depending on what kind of crime he may have been able to stop. The fact of the matter is that he let his personal grudge with Brant interfere with his job to help society. Even if it wasn’t a grudge and Alex just wanted to have some fun, it was certainly at the wrong time and I can only hope that Brant was able to solve the case by himself.

You can draw a lot of similarities between this film and Calling Doctor Death. There was a lot of betrayal and hypnosis going around between the main cast. The climaxes may have been a little different, but overall it felt like two alternate routes to what was essentially the same main plot. This film had less monologue from Alex though. Both films were solid, but I might have to give the ever so slight edge to Calling Doctor Death. Regardless, both are rather short films and you can even see them back to back since they’re both pretty fun and fast paced.

You may just lose track of some of the characters after a while. It’s not so much that the cast is big, but everyone has quite a few motives and since Alex is oblivious to everything around him, it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly what is happening. I still say that the villain’s plans also were a little iffy and they definitely wouldn’t work too well against a different main character. There were a lot of gambles here, but most of them paid off I suppose. Without Maura, the villains probably would have had the last laugh here.

Overall, this is definitely another fun film to add to your collection. It doesn’t take itself too seriously aside from Alex since Chaney always takes himself very seriously and always makes sure to be an upstanding guy. Seriously, it feels like people try to tempt Alex to the dark side in every film or give him chances for revenge, but Alex never cracks. He always stays as an upstanding hero and makes all of the right calls. The plot is pretty good and will keep you guessing the whole way. One villain’s fate is rather sad since the plan backfired a little, but that’s why you shouldn’t lock yourself away in a freezer. I forget if that was purely part of the plan or not, but even if it was an improvisation, it’s a sad way to go out. You’ll probably sympathize with Alex as the film goes on and his strong conscience just makes it all the worse for him. I definitely recommend checking this film out and then you can make your own guesses as to whether or not his powers were actually real. For the record, I’d definitely say that they are based on the very first circumstance. I don’t buy into coincidences and it just makes sense. It’d be cool to see how this version of Chaney would stack up against the Werewolf. I may have to actually give this one the edge although the Man-Made Monster, electric version of himself is probably the most lethal. It’s cool to see how many different monsters he’s become over the years.

Overall 7/10


Home Alone 4 Review

It’s time to take a look at the next Home Alone film. Kevin’s back and we already know how good he is at stopping crooks. The problem is that the crooks do a good job of stopping themselves as it is and Kevin doesn’t have as much nerve as you’d think. It’s a solid film that is bogged down by a few elements like the villains and the unfortunate ending. There are less iffy jokes like in Home Alone 3 though so that’s a nice improvement.

Kevin is getting ready for Christmas, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be a good one. His parents filed for divorced and his Dad immediately found the rebound character and intends to marry her as soon as possible. He wants Kevin and his two siblings to spend Christmas at his house, but the Mom doesn’t approve. Ultimately, she leaves it up to Kevin though and initially he chooses to spend Christmas with her. She then makes the really odd decision of telling Kevin to stay with his older brother for a while while she gets some errands done. Kevin tells her that he’s going to get bullied a lot, but she ignores him and leaves. Well…Kevin gets humiliated, lids slammed on him, and a whole lot of other stuff off screen and the Mom’s only response to this is to tell Kevin to go to his room and think about how much worse it could have been. Kevin imagines it all right and decides that instead of having a terrible Christmas over there, he’ll visit his Dad.

This is where the plot starts to get a little obvious and unfortunate, but lets continue. The Dad is now with a super rich soon to be step mom who is basically perfect. She has a large game room, personal attendants for everything, and the house is fully electronic. You just say something and the house will listen. Lets just add in the names so it’s easier. Kate = Mom. Natalie = Step Mom. Peter = Dad. So, Natalie is not just super rich and more fashionable than Kate, but she’s also a nicer person. Her only flaw is that she’s super successful and has to go to a lot of meetings and parties. That’s fine though, it pays the bills and helps keep them rich right? Kevin doesn’t approve though and has a bad attitude the whole time.

Marv returns from the first film and brings alone Vera to rob the place. Kevin has to stop them himself since nobody will believe him, but he does it in the worst ways possible to the point where you can’t sympathize with him. If we’re being honest, we all knew how the film was going to end from the start. Natalie would lose out since Kate has to win and the family would get back together again. It all happens as expected, but you just feel bad for Natalie. Lets think about all of the examples from the top.

Kate allowed Kevin to be bullied and was not apologetic about it at all. She wasn’t being nice to Kevin during Christmas time and her plans for Christmas were rather terrible. Meanwhile, Natalie wasn’t expecting Kevin since he declined the invitation and was ready to have a fun night with Peter, but Kevin just walks in uninvited. All right….that may have wrecked Christmas to an extent, but Natalie quickly shifts gears without batting an eye and gives Kevin a great welcome. The day is going perfectly and while Kevin’s a little ungrateful about Natalie and Peter having to leave, he lets them go. When they get back…Kevin has completely wrecked their multi million dollar mansion by flooding the entire thing with water. He did it to stop the crooks, but did he have to be so extreme? Seriously…millions of dollars gone in the blink of an eye. He ruined the entire mansion.

This is already reason enough for Natalie to get Kevin out of the house for good. Instead, she chooses to forgive and forget. This time, the party is at her house so she gets people to quickly fix it up as best they can and hopes for no disasters this time. That’s not in Kevin’s game plan though as he breaks the windows and makes a loud commotion. He freezes the butler and nearly destroys him. Next, Kevin wrecks the dinner as he throws everything at the villains, which leads to a big fall for all of the guests and things shatter. The party is completely ruined and once again, Kevin should have planned things out better.

Natalie is very upset by this point, but she is completely justified in it. It’s not as if she goes off the rails and hits Kevin or anything like that, but she finally tells him that one more “accident” like that and he’ll have to leave. That’s reasonable right? No, the film makes it a point to say that she is the villain and we should be sympathizing with Kevin right now. No, I was sympathizing with Natalie. She was being a good sport the whole time and even helped with putting the tree up. It got taken down because she had a professional company already on the way to put up their own, but that’s not a big deal. Her very small slights against Kevin were nothing compared to what he did and they weren’t even intentional. She then had to endure a painful conversation between Kate and Peter as they talk about how much fun it used to be when they were married and the old days with Kevin. Is that really a good topic to talk about in front of your new fiancee? Peter’s definitely unlikable, but more on that later.

As you can tell, Natalie had to put up with a lot. The ending just makes it even worse as all of the characters gang up on her. First, Peter decides to break up with Natalie because he wants to move back with his wife. This shows just how petty and superficial Peter is. He was glad to be with her for the money and the late night fun that they had. Once he had enough of that, he just dumped her. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me. We’re supposed to be on this guy’s side? No way! He has the delicacy and manners of James Bond if he’s going to be like that and the film gives no indication that Natalie was not a good person at all prior to this. She was a very nice character and it just gives you the impression that Peter was using her the whole time. He got what he wanted and got out.

The next big diaster was that Natalie’s butler decided to quit. He had a very well paying job and a nice boss. Natalie was always reasonable and it’s not as if the butler had a whole lot to do. Still, he quits because Kevin tells him that he should. Natalie’s other butler turned out to be a crook as well so now she has no main employees to watch the mansion. It can’t get worse can it? I’m afraid it can as a subplot in the film was that the royal family was coming over. This was super important for Natalie since it would benefit her company quite a lot and she really needed this contract. Well, that’s out, since the prince wants to have Christmas over at Kevin’s house instead.

Lets recap. Natalie had her ultra rich mansion ruined, She had her party completely sabotaged, She lost her reputation, She lost her soon to be married boyfriend, and she lost her staff. You’re supposed to be thrilled at this “happy” ending, but it was really all just in bad taste. She was easily the best character in this film, but she ended up getting a raw deal anyway. I could go on and on and on about how she was the secret hero here and how the film’s ending is very tragic, but you get the point. Over half of this review was just on that after all.

That’s part of the reason why I couldn’t stand Kate and Peter. Peter’s obvious so we don’t need to talk about him anymore. Kate is just as bad as she is completely okay with bullying and she makes life as tough as possible for Natalie. Busting into the house uninvited was definitely not good manners and then trying to say that Kevin’s past Christmases were better is just hogwash. She doesn’t even cope well as she just spends her Christmas Eve crying in front of the TV. She’s not a good character whatsoever. Kevin’s two siblings aren’t good either as they are even more extreme than usual. They were total bullies and I didn’t buy their “suddenly nice” routine at the end. Even when Kevin was in actual danger and called for help, the brother just laughed at him, insulted him, and then hung up. There was quite a lot of bullying and people being generally mean in this film.

Kevin’s not exempt though as he’s just not a nice guy. He immediately goes into areas where he’s not allowed too just to spite everyone. He has the run of the entire mansion aside from one room so what does Kevin do? He immediately goes into that room. He panics a lot and is scared of the villains even after he was just trash talking. He goes through a ton of personality shifts the entire time and you just have to wonder what his plan is. Half of the time he doesn’t seem to know himself. He’s definitely very unlikable and comes off as an ingrate the whole time.

The villains were pretty bad as well. The film went a too far with how goofy they were. They just kept tripping and slipping up at every opportunity. The girl villain seemed as if she was always chewing on something and the guy would just get beat up by everything. Any scene with those two was a little hard to watch so I was always glad to see them not show up. They didn’t have a major role here so that was good. The slapstick definitely looks very painful here as per usual. The villains should have died multiple times, but they keep on going. At least the butler got to help a bit unlike that old lady from the last film who was heavily hinted to do something at some point, but never got around to it. It’s more of a mild consolation than anything though.

Some of the dialogue can be quite forced in the film. Kevin has conversations with his parents about their divorce and offers up his worldly advice, but then he’ll go back to being a very unintelligent kid after that. He is a very inconsistent main character and after a while you’ll start to realize that the writers just didn’t know what to do with him. It’s definitely cheesy and the parents getting back together at the end was more tragic than happy.

Overall, Home Alone 4 was a fun film. For the most part, it was even better than 3 and I was enjoying it quite a bit. It may be silly at times, but the other parts were written well. Unfortunately, the ending kind of wrecked it for me. I thought I would be giving it a solid 7, but the more I wrote this review, the more that I realized that would not be possible. The ending is just way too mean spirited and the film got its protagonists mixed up. It doesn’t really leave you with a “feels good” feeling at the end so I actually won’t recommend it. 90% of it is pretty solid, but the other 10% is enough to knock it back out. I suppose it breaks even, but just barely.

Overall 5/10