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As you've probably already noticed if you follow me here, I haven't been active on DA in more than half a year. I still post artwork over on Tumblr, but I just sort of fell out of DA. I have great memories of this site and had a great time with it, but in recent years my reason for updating here has grown more and more distant. I can't say I'll never come back and resume posting here, but generally, though it's a bit sad to say, my DA days seem to be generally over (hell, this is my first time signing on in months. Sorry for all the unanswered comments, notes and replies). My general drawing attention has been directed towards a project of mine I'd been wanting to get off the ground since 2011. This past year, with the help of another, I've been able to put some real wheels under this project and really get it rolling. So now that I'm finally working on a creation of my own to share with the world, I don't have as much time to draw other things. I've cut out commissions this past year for that very reason.

While my run on Deviantart, which was at its most active between 2009 and about 2015, was lots of fun, helped me meet a lot of wonderful artists, fans, and friends, and helped me establish a name and fanbase, it was also, in a way, holding me back. Not to put it down - my experience with DA was loads of fun - but when I got really into keeping consistent art flowing for my fanbase here, I kind of put all my focus on that and never allowed any time to work on actually getting a project of mine going. I just became a guy who drew a ton of fan art with no real goal or ambition, wasting my creativity in a way. It's likely mostly an unrelated coincidence that shortly after "abandoning" Deviantart my project started to come together, but I wonder if I would have taken the opportunity had I still been frequenting this site. 

Well, anyway, I can't give any news on my project as of yet. I'm waiting until enough work is done on it to release a teaser of some sort, which will be a LONG way off. It's a lot of work, but I am so excited to finally be really making one of my own inventions. Here's hoping I'm able to produce a product that you guys will love.

So, while this isn't a definite good bye (there's always a chance I'll come back to DA) I will say thank you to all of you who helped me have a great time on here, and helped me make a decent name for myself in the online art world. While on DA I met a ton of new people, did commissions, drew for group collaboration projects, helped manage the now gone Nintendo fan group "The Brawl Fanclub/The World of Nintendo", had a mini series of written movie and game reviews going, posted tons of artwork, received lots of great feedback, inspired people, got inspired by other people, got some great criticism to help me improve, held art contests, and just had a blast. While I may not have the best things to say about the DA management, they're far from the worst out there, and there are some great people in the community. Thanks for all the fun and motivation guys. And sorry for my earlier, whiny journals I used to write. Good god I was such a salty brat my first couple years on here.

Here's my tumblr for those who wish to continue to follow my art, though even there the updates are rather seldom: brendancorris.tumblr.com/

Lots of love to the now deceased Brawl Fanclub/World of Nintendo group fouded by my buddy :iconhoppybadbunny: and Game Art HQ. Both groups were a big part of my DA years.
  • Listening to: Christmas music
  • Watching: Singin' in the Rain
  • Playing: Heroes of the Storm
  • Eating: A Burrito
  • Drinking: Water
Yeah, I'm still alive. I know I haven't really been active at all for months, and I apologize, but I'm really into a personal project of mine at the moment and haven't really been drawing much of anything other than work for that. My updates will likely be even more scarce than they were in previous times this year.

But, anyway, a couple of you have asked me about my thoughts on Nintendo's new lineup of games for their next console, so I'll jot my feelings down here on some of the titles and the console itself.

SUPER BOMBERMAN R
While I've always liked the Bomberman games, I was never a die-hard fan, just a casual admirer, but I am so happy to hear that this game is on the way. This is mainly due to two things: 1 - Konami's actually going to still make games people want every now and then, and 2 - Konami hasn't thrown all of Hudson's work they acquired in the trash. I'm honestly sort of astonished by how little attention this game is getting. People have been demanding Bomberman's return for years now. I guess people only care about a character returning if it's in fucking Smash. Well, the thing that made me happiest about this game's announcement... A NEW BONK GAME??? I've always loved the Bonk series, and if this is a sign of a potential new title in the franchise (though doubtful) then I'm hyped already. Hell, bring back Adventure Island, too. To be honest, I'm not sure if this title is a new game or just an updated version of an old Bomberman game, like the SNES one or something.

ARMS
Well, nobody was asking for this, and certainly no one was expecting this, but I can't just hate on it. This game is already getting a lot of hate, and, yeah, it doesn't look like something I'd be too into, but I don't think it looks bad. It looks like a fun little party kind of game. I'm not about to be one of those fans who begs Nintendo to make new IPs, and then just bitches when they actually do it. For years people have been saying Nintendo needs more new IPs, and as soon as one is revealed, before we really even know anything about it, everybody hates it and is just bitching "what is this shit? Where's Metroid? Where's F-Zero?". Sure, I'd love returning franchises we haven't seen in a while, but I swear if Ninty had revealed a new Metroid game, everybody would be bitching about it already.

Arms may not have the most appealing title, it may be a turn off for many to hear it's another motion-control game, and the character concepts are rather odd. While the game is about "arms", it would seem the characters actually don't have any arms, rather they wear detachable, synthetic arms that they swap out for battles. I think this design looks pretty good, and I like the armless concept, but I can see it being a bit too odd for some audiences, and perhaps the cartoony yet semi-realistically-proportioned character style makes it look stranger. I think, had the cast mostly been some sort of inhuman creature, as Splatoon did, people would have been more accepting of it. Even aside from the "arm" issue, I feel the art style does sort of struggle between "realistic" and completely cartoony (they look sort of like something you'd see on the cover of a 90s board game), with regular heights, stiffer, more human-like bodies, but then super bright colors and cartoony faces and hair. It's not the most appealing balance of styles.

But as a game, I don't exactly see it becoming a big hit, nor do I see a serious scene for it popping up, but I see it as likely being a decently fun game to play with friends now and then.

SPLATOON 2
I loved Splatoon. I'm sure I'll love Splatoon 2. Here's hoping Octolings are playable (and in some way different in play style than Inklings). As for Captain Cuttlefish.... is he dead???

SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY
....eh....
Honestly, this title seems to be the second most successful reveal thus far, and I kind of have no interest in it. I know I'm from a totally different era than most gamers these days, but I've never really cared for most 3D platformers. I've stated this before on this account, and others, but I just never thought they really worked, always found them boring, and often felt they weren't even actually "platformers". This game looks like a call back to the N64 and GCN days, which is cool for the thouands of younger gamers who have been demanding a return to this formula while Nintendo mostly catered to the NES and SNES eras on the Wii and Wii U, but it just looks like a snooze fest to me.

Like many of the 3D platformers I hated in the past, this game looks to have very little level structure, obstacles, or challenge in it. The areas just look like mostly vast, open, empty environments for you to just roam around in aimlessly and fuck about until you find an item or switch of purpose, with random and seldom enemy encounters and platforming segments sprinkled here and there. While some gamers complained about the straight-forward, well, ACTUAL platforming elements of 3D World, I greatly welcomed them. 3D World was the 3D Mario title all gamers wanted and expected back when the "Ultra 64" was first announced. It was the first 3D Mario platformer that actually felt like a platformer to me (well, 3D Land that is). I've heard people complain that "the levels are made only to be levels" and... well, yeah, what do you want them to be? Toasters? I know they want vast areas to explore and baron stretches of land that happen to have little easter egg stuff, but I just don't see a game like that being Super Mario. As much as people say Mario needs a change, I don't think the change needs to be so drastic that it isn't even the same type of game anymore. We get plenty of Mario sports games, racing games, RPGs, puzzles games, and all sorts of stuff. Mario's always been a jack of all trades, but the "Super Mario" series should remain what it was always intended to be - platforming. It seems some people think Mario should just become a super watered down Zelda-like experience.

That being said, I do want Mario to evolve, too. I loved NSMB Wii, but with the NSMB series, they just never evolved it at all. It remained the same graphics, same music, same controls, same engine, same enemies, same obstacles, generally the same power-ups, and so on. Rather than continuously clone what they started with the first NSMB games as they were (more or less a combination of Mario's NES and SNES titles), they should have, at least by the Wii U, actually made a new sequel. Instead, they basically made a hack. All new graphics and art direction, all new controls, all new areas, all new gameplay elements and innovations. That's what they needed. Nintendo's sluggish rehashing only further fueled the argument of gamers who are convinced that the only way to evolve Mario is to totally abandon its roots. You can still make a new sidescrolling Mario platformer and make it feel like a totally new and exciting game. SMB1-SMWorld all accomplished this immensely. I'm not saying Mario needs to stay 2D all th time, nor am I expecting these games to be made for me, but I honestly can't see any real appeal in what they've showed of this game. There were about 2 shots of actual platforming in the trailer. Everything else was Mario running in vast, empty, nothingness or fucking around areas that don't look mandatory. The game simply just looks like "you fuck around". Have some time to kill? Just wander aimlessly around New York and hop off cars or swing on lamp posts. Who knows, maybe you'll find something? Maybe you won't? It's about as much fun as being bored with a Tony Hawk game, wandering around the fake empty city and not skating.

And the whole changing of worlds thing just looks, I don't know, ugly. Sure, the graphics look good, but so many areas don't match the characters and just make it look off. Also, attempting realistic artwork on such an underpowered console really lets you see how underpowered it is. The "real people" in the city area look so lifeless and stiff. They look like generic Sims avatars from an early 2000s game. The game honestly really reminds me of the unfinished "Mario's Wacky Worlds" by Phillip's for the CDI, and Mario's Missing. Neither one is a game you want to imitate. The whole style just looks like the kind of thing that people tear Sonic apart for but just love when they see Mario do it. While, true, I always thought Sonic co-existing with realistic human characters was really ugly, odd, and stupid, I won't say the Adventure games were bad games. Not too good, but certainly not bad, and, I still feel, when it comes to 3D platforming, Sonic has always actually done a much better job of keeping them as actual platformers than many other series.

So, I'm really not interested in this one. I loved 3D World, and while I didn't want them to just copy it all over again, seeing what they gave us instead makes me kind of wish they just did.

I really wish Switch was getting the Crash Bandicoot trilogy remakes instead. That looks freaking awesome.

MARIO KART 8 DELUXE
Not really a new game, but interesting enough. I will probably pick it up, though paying $60 for a game I already paid $60 for and barely play much is kind of ridiculous. The fact that it took them this long to add a proper battle mode to MK8 is utterly inexcusable. I'm glad to see it there, but in all the years it was out on Wii U they definitely could have made it DLC. People complained about that on launch day. I don't see too much more potential in this game, but it will likely be wise to just replace your Wii U one with this one, so if you ever want to play MK8, you can play the more polished, more complete version. Also, I love that they put the Inklings in. More adorable Inklings are always welcome.

FIRE EMBLEM WARRIORS
As I've said before, I don't play Fire Emblem, I don't have any knowledge of Fire Emblem, I don't have any interest in Fire Emblem. Not saying it's a bad series, just not something I'm into at all. I know it has a big fan base in Japan, but I still swear Nintendo pushes this series so much harder than tons of its more demanded IPs. I was excited for a surprise "Hyrule Warriors 2" when the company info went by, then when I heard the Fire Emblem theme, was massively disappointed. But, if you're a Fire Emblem fan, I guess this is cool. Now there's one game where you can play as all your favorite skinny, blue-haired, plain looking swordsmen. Oh wait, that game already exists. It's Smash 4.

1 2 SWITCH
Nope

ULTRA STREET FIGHTER II
Seriously. Street Fighter II needs to be done at some point. You've been remaking and adding to this game for almost 30 fucking years. MAKE SOMETHING NEW. And while I don't play SF5, it is pretty shitty that rather than get SF5, Nintendo just gets the same fucking SF game they got back in the early 90s.

ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD
As I said before, I'm really not into vast, empty games that just waste your time (much more so in the case of a series that's meant to be a platformer, though) and BotW was really looking to be a game I wasn't very excited for all year, but this recent trailer won me over. Call me a Zelda tool. Call me a sucker for Hyrule. It's all true. Seeing the races, the characters, the story elements, the different game mechanics and environments just gave me a massive Hylian hard on. I love the Zelda series so much, and while I still think the world looks too big, still think there needs to be more gameplay on every inch of the game, still don't want to go hunting and cooking and shit, still want Link to wear Link's damn clothes, I can't deny that this game looks freaking amazing. I will definitely be getting this and the console on day 1 and playing the hell out of it. I haven't watched most of the gameplay streams of the game. I want it to be a surprise. I can't wait to dive into another Zelda quest.


As for the console as a whole... it looks OK. Gimmicky, yes, but OK. There are things I'm not wild about, mostly the storage space and power of the console, and the fact that 2 player games look like they will involve using a controller so small you'll need insect fingers just to play them. But, the idea of a fusion of home and portable is great, especially since I've never been too heavily into portable gaming yet always hated when I missed out on interesting portable only titles. It's good to just have all their games in one place, and it's smart. Now gamers like me who bought Wii U games, wanting to buy games like A Link Between Worlds and Kirby: Planet Robobot, but didn't want to buy a 3DS, will now buy all the games they want. If Ninty's truly done with portable and all games will just be for Switch, I'd say their game sales should go up a significant amount. However, being how limited the system's handheld battery may be, I'd say a phasing out of the 3DS may not yet be upon us. Overall, I don't think this system looks amazing, and it's pretty much what everybody joked Nintendo would make, but I'm hyped and, possibly foolishly, optimistic about it. I hope Nintendo the best, and I will be buying it.


Anyone who has been following me for a while knows I'm not a fan of Warner Bros.'s recent DC films, so I naturally had no interest in seeing this one. Call me a Marvel fanboy or whatever other random playground names you need to, but I just don't think WB has done a good film in this cinematic universe thus far. While I had no intent on seeing another one of their 2 hour+, overly caricaturized and angsty pictures spewing high school level political commentary and unnecessarily over the top epic darkness, a handful of my friends wanted to see it and invited me along last Saturday. Luckily, through unbelievable circumstances, we found four free tickets lying around, and through a bunch of weirdness, we somehow ended up seeing the movie for free and ending up with 3 free tickets to any movie until 2018. It's a long story.

I'll give Suicide Squad one thing – they knew how to advertise that movie, even if much of it was totally misguiding and (ironically for WB) sort of a Wile E. Coyote trap set down to lure in viewers. The add series showcased all the characters individually, almost in a “collect them all” sort of fashion, getting people interested in the diverse cast and oddball personalities of each character. The bright, psychedelic motif with the graffiti info cards used in the advertising made the movie look like it was going to be a stylish, wacky fun time. They certainly knew how to set up merchandising with this one.

Well, I guess the best place to start with a movie that banked all of its advertising on the cast is the characters. Boy, they sure introduced a hell of a lot. This movie, with characters, as well as many other places, bit off WAY more than it could chew. Some characters were done pretty good. I thought Will Smith, while not exactly anything like the character from the original source material, did a really good job with his performance. He was emotional when he needed to be, and even funny at times. I liked Deadshot. He was my favorite part, and being that he was pretty much the main character, that's not too shabby. However, there are A LOT of other characters to discuss here, so let me break them down one by one.

RICK FLAG – Despite getting close to no hype during the advertising to this movie, Rick Flag is honestly really the second main character of the film. We get A LOT of screen time with him, the main plot circles around him almost through the entire movie, he's got a heavy connection to the main villain, and the most focused story arc of the film is Deadshot and Flag going from completely hating one another to gaining a certain respect and understanding for the other. The only problem with Flag is, well, he's boring. You have a cast of clowns, alligator-men and fire demons and we're focusing most of our time on a bland soldier with a cookie-cutter personality (might as well been the marine guy from the 2014 Godzilla) and close to no unique abilities or traits. The film even portrays him as a failure as a soldier multiple times who needs saving from the Squad. Why would he be so high in command if a bunch of untrained prisoners and nameless soldiers under his lead perform more efficiently?


HARLEY QUINN – One of two characters who totally hogged the promotion of this film, Harley's that Batman character who just kinda came out of nowhere in the 90s and recently just completely took over the franchise. Go to any con and you'll see at least 10 Harley cosplays within 5 minutes. Originating as a simple 1 time character for the animated series, Harley has somehow exploded into, quite possibly, the most popular comic book character of this decade. I kind of feel Quinn and Deadpool have reigned as the two most popular comic characters for years now. Guys all go gaga over Harley, and girls all want to be Harley. As for me... I kind of never liked her. Her original story was pretty good and all, but I never liked how she not only took over Batman after not being in it for over 50 years, but also that a classic character like the Joker was completely changed forever after that. Now, the biggest part of the Joker everybody features is his relationship with Harley. I also just find it sick how people glorify the domestic abuse and torture that goes on with them. Their story is supposed to be scary and twisted. Joker's supposed to be a horrible guy for doing what he does to her, and she's supposed to be tragic and hopelessly pathetic for clinging to such a piece of trash, but Harley fans, a great deal of them being female themselves, love this “relationship” and glorify the “mad love” bullshit, ultimately idolizing Harley. If you idolize Harley Quinn, you've got fucking issues. I also find her kind of obnoxious.

Any way, enough of my thoughts on the character in general, how was Margot Robbie's performance as Dr. Quinzel? People were raving about her portrayal even before the film came out. Well, it's honestly not too bad. Like I previously stated, I'm not too crazy about the character or her lore/connection to other characters – but I don't HATE her, she's still OK – but Robbie does a pretty good job of pulling off the character. She does the whole obnoxious “I'm a little kid, heehee” act that I never liked, but she also shows the serious and troubled side of Harley pretty well. Her trademark Harley Brooklyn accent, which I didn't think she had in the trailers, comes and goes at complete random. Really, her accent is so inconsistent I'd swear she only made it in the re-shoot scenes. Generally, I'd say Harley was simply OK. Not bad, but her backstory and character building was very scattered and presented in a very random and unorganized fashion, like the rest of this movie. Also, being that she's supposed to live for the Joker, they sure made her get over his supposed death fast. I know she was acting like she wasn't sad to keep up her image, but she should have been so destroyed that she didn't care about her image anymore. Harley should completely lose it if the Joker were to die. It's like even she was saying “oh well, we all know he's not dead. He'll show up again later with no explanation”.

JOKER – I hate this Joker. Seriously. Over-acting up the butt. He talks like he's Jim Carey in Liar Liar with 'the claw”. With every little facial movement and line Leto is just pushing the “I'm so insaaaane” bullshit so hard, it's incredibly cringe-inducing. Whether he's shooting people for seemingly no reason, massaging dude's faces like he's Silva in Skyfall, or, for whatever reason, spending hours setting up 50 knives in a perfect circle around him and then pretending to make a snow angel in the middle of them, he's just being unbearably hammy and embarrassing. I find it funny that people still won't stop poking fun at hammy performances like Dennis Hopper in Super Mario Bros., an movie that knew what it was and was never meant to be taken seriously at all, but then with DC films, which are all gritty as fuck, usually trying to portray social and political commentary, die-hard fans pretend the over-the-top performances of most of their characters are perfectly OK. The Joker really doesn't “joke” at all, and is more or less a California mob boss whose answer to everything is just “shoot everybody” while doing a pitiful, honking “laugh” that's about as scary as Ernie's laugh from Sesame Street. The biggest crime of all with this character, though, is the false advertising used with him. The trailers showed SO MUCH Jared Leto, even a handful of shots that were never even in the movie. They even marketed Harley and he as the main characters while one is more like the third most important, and the other is practically just a cameo. The advertising involving Leto's Joker was a dirty way to just popularize on the character and fill theater seats with asses through lies.

BOOMERANG – Advertised as the “comic relief” character, Boomerang, despite being a classic SS member, is, let's be honest, totally out-classed and worthless on the team. There isn't really too much to his character other than he's a beer-guzzler, he wants out, and there's this really random, un-explored joke that he loves pink unicorns (???). I don't know if this was a “brony” joke or something, but it just felt so unneeded and forced. No other character ever acknowledges this, it never leads to any actual jokes, there's never an explanation for it, and we barely even see enough of it. Somebody really needs to clue the writers in on how to write jokes. It's not a joke if there's no lead in and no punch-line or build up. You can't just throw it in for three quick scenes you could miss by blinking that he keeps a plush pink unicorn in his coat without doing anything with it. Making one of the other characters see it in the bar scene and just be like “what the fuck is that?” could have been hilarious, especially if there was a funny, ridiculous explanation for it given by Boomerang after that, but, nope, never acknowledged, explored, introduced, or explained. “It's funny because it's weird, right?” The character also fights the whole movie for freedom from the Squad, bails out on the team at the bar scene, then, with no explanation at all, is just back the next scene. Again, why explain?

KILLER CROC – Was he in the movie? Really? He was? Yeah, you wouldn't think you could miss or forget a big, mutated crocodile-man, but Suicide Squad finds a way. No explanation as to how he is what he is. Why give a backstory to a gator mutant living in the sewers in a cinematic world that the creators describe as “much more grounded in reality than Marvel”? He's just a mutated croc man. Nuff said, I guess. He has about 5 lines in the film, most of which just amount to “hey guys, I'm black”. Apparently they figured “Let's not bother writing him lines or story, let's just make a couple jokes about his ethnicity and move on”. Aside from Deadshot and Harley Quinn, all the other member's backstory rundowns get shorter, shittier, and more void of any real purpose or explanation. It's more or less “here's more characters to go by Funko POP Vinyls of”. Unless my memory is serving me wrong, I believe we never even get to see Killer Croc take a bite out of anything. What a waste.

DIABLO – Again, a character who could have been good had he been focused on more and fleshed out. When we do get his true backstory later in the film, despite it being a pretty good and tragic story, it's just portrayed in such a caricature-esque way, all hammy and cheesy, that it's hard to take seriously, and when he turned into a flaming, 10ft Odolwa, I kind of felt they needed some MAJOR explanation. You can't just have a character turn into a giant flaming skeleton with a headdress with no explanation at all.

SLIPKNOT – Who? The guy who had no lines, no intro cinematic, no backstory, and the shittiest description of a skill ever. It was insultingly forward of them to introduce this guy the way they did. He was there solely to be killed in two seconds and for no good reason, really. They at least could have waited until the enemies attacked to have him flee and get killed. Nope. He dies as soon as the mission starts. Boomerang tells him they should escape, he smiles like “duh, yeah, me escape, good idea, huh huh” then instantly gets killed to be an example to the others. Lame. He was only in here to up the character count and sell more shit.

KATANA – Shoe-horned in for no reason halfway through the film, she's explained as the one who has to keep an eye on the Squad and make sure they don't run away... which is already the job of Amanda Waller and Flag, as shown earlier with the whole pointless Slipknot scene, making this character EVEN MORE pointless. While I don't think she is a bad character, she had no reason to be in this movie other than more marketing, and she has little to no screen time. There's a brief, 20 second explanation of her husband being killed, then at some point she's crying on her sword and “talking to her husband”, explaining that her sword is Shang Tsung. No other background or explanation. She only speaks Japanese, and even then, barely ever. She really has no interaction with any cast member. Gotta love how even when the katana weapon saves the day, it's in the hands of Harley Fucking Quinn and not Katana herself.

AMANDA WALLER – One of the better portrayals, Viola Davis' depiction of Waller is pretty spot on and intimidating, but her actions are kind of random and illogical at some times. The fact that she put together the Squad in the first place was backed up with pretty bad reasoning, but, luckily for her, it somehow worked out and a disaster caused by 'meta-humans” happened to burst out the next week.

ENCHANTRESS – Talk about false advertising, Enchantress was marketed as a member of the Squad since the film's first ad, yet she becomes the lead villain only minutes into the film. She's pretty void of personality and honestly terribly explored for not only such an interesting concept, but also for the film's main antagonist. We see a rushed, vague intro of her at the beginning, then she quickly becomes the villain, brings back her brother who looks like the Destroyer from Thor, then starts turning the city into Puddy People (she even looks like the new Rita Repulsa). She spends most of her screen time belly dancing in place and talking with horribly rendered voice-overs that sound like an evil version of Rosie from the Jetsons spewing the same “I am the all powerful god who will consume your world with this device” trash we've heard in every super hero movie and Saturday morning cartoon ever. We also get a ridiculous ending where the girl she's embodying (Flag's girlfriend) isn't dead after being impaled on a katana somehow and just peels through the Enchantress skin like she was just cosplaying or something. Super cheesy way to make a happy ending when there really can't be one. I also felt that such a super-natural, major, over-the-top type of enemy isn't what the Suicide Squad should have been fighting. Such a monumental, Earth-saving threat should be saved for Justice League members.

There were other characters on top of all of those, mostly all just being crammed in as an attempt to “build” their cinematic universe, like Batman and Flash, not really getting how to do it properly. Flash shows up for two seconds in Boomerang's quick montage at the beginning with no description or introduction at all. These movies seriously are only being made for people who have extensive comic knowledge. Sure, the Flash is generally recognized, but you haven't introduced him fully yet. That's not how character building works. You can't just show a guy's face a couple times then expect that everybody now knows him once Justice League rolls around. Casual movie goers are going to be so confused when they see this, and even those who know the Flash will just be saying “well that served no purpose”. The characters, by LARGE, are pitifully realized in this movie. Lots of their scenes were clearly chopped up and removed in the re-shoots and edits, and the bulk is only there to sell merchandise and quickly attempt to establish a large count of characters in their universe early on in the cheapest way possible. Despite the film marketing itself as an ensemble cast, it's really just Deadshot, Flag, and Quinn, accompanied by a shit ton of background characters.

So, as for the story, it's just like the character development – chopped up, rushed, and poorly explained. It's the same story that's been done in 1,000 super hero movies – evil person makes a device that opens a portal of evil to try and take over the world. The plot barely even gets discussed until the last 40 minutes, though, as the rest of the film doesn't know what it wants to focus on. We get random flashbacks that are irrelevant to the main plot and don't get explored or shared with other characters, we get qualities in characters that never come into play, and we get characters who never even come into play. The scenes are shot and paced so quickly and randomly. It really just feels like you're watching a series of promotional trailer clips all sloppily glued together for 2 hours. Things are shown without telling the audience what they are out of assumption that they know, like the Flash and Joker Serum, and the cast never really interacts much with each other, making it feel less like a team and rather a bunch of random people who happen to be fighting relatively close to one another. Somehow simple explosives and swords constantly kill spiritual entities and destroy dark magic energy, Flag, for whatever reason, was conveniently carrying a wad of Deadshot's daughter's letters on him just in the rare case that he and Deadshot would reach an emotional understanding, as well as lugging around a “top secret” folder that lists all the organizers' horrible plans like “Flag's boning Enchantress” (still don't really get why that was as big a deal as it was), and Batman's a fucking DICK. Showing up to fight and arrest somebody in front of their 8 year old daughter and then saying “I don't want to do this in front of your daughter” yet still continuing to fight and arrest them is a super dick move.

So, from a pacing, organization, character, and plot standpoint I'd say this movie's pretty terrible. There are some decent things, though. For one, the visuals aren't bad. The shadowy effects with Enchantress look quite badass, and the costumes and makeup were done beautifully. The weird Puddy People looked pretty damn fake, but most of the CG was good. Sadly, despite being marketed as extremely colorful and bright, many scenes still just paint a boring, dark, dreary city with little to no color. More color than previous DC films, but still generally lackluster aside from the cast. I do appreciate the handful of actor-executed stunts, too. So the visuals, I'd say, get a decently good rating, which they should since 90% of this movie is music videos.

Speaking of the music, boy do they try hard to win you over with the soundtrack. Every second the film is playing a wildly popular song from the past, most of which are from the 60s or 70s (likely trying to copy Guardians of the Galaxy, which not only didn't play nearly as many songs and paced them appropriately, but also had a reasoning for them with the Awesome Mix tape). This movie is starting up another pop song every minute, seemingly trying to pretend the movie's more fun and bouncy than it is and sell soundtrack albums. The movie may be a tad more comedy-centric than the other DC films, but it isn't nearly as light and fun as the constant pop songs try to pretend it is. The music mostly feels forced and out of place. But, boy, it tries. Creedence, The Animals, Rick James, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Eminem, Queen... it is constantly dishing out those super-platinum hits you've heard in billions of movies to date. Although it seemed like a cheap attempt to make the movie more fun, it at least had my foot tapping the whole time.

Suicide Squad has A LOT of problems. It's marketing was totally fake and misleading, it's writing was sloppy and inconsistent, half the cast was worthless, and it was clearly two entirely different 2 hour films chopped up and spliced together at the last minute. The idea had a lot of potential, but like with all of DC's cinematic universe films so far, WB's just trying too hard to flesh out dozens of characters too early in their library. This movie begs to follow a solo Batman film focusing on Joker and Harley, and possibly other films. There was way too much to successfully flesh out in 2 hours. The movie's a mess, it's written terrible, and any glimmer of potential it had with some characters and concepts only makes the lack of utilizing said potential even worse for the film. I would strongly suggest avoiding it in theaters. This is the kind of movie you only throw on in the background at parties when nobody's paying too much attention.

And just to let any angry commenters know, no, I don't hate DC. I actually like DC's properties quite a lot, which only makes how much I despise these recent DC films all the more painful. I would love to see a DC film series done well. It doesn't have to be Marvel's formula, I'm totally down for it being its own thing, but let that thing actually have some standards and care put into it. Don't be different just to be different, and don't blindly rip-off Marvel without fully getting why they do what they do. Shameless after credit scenes that say nothing other then "there's a Justice League movie coming" after you already told us about the movie years ago, already told us the teased characters were going to appear in it, and already teased the same characters in the last movie. I don't even want WB to step up their game. I just want their current universe to crash and burn so they can start fresh and a new with new and more practical directors.

Just to start things off, none of these opinions are final, as I've still only seen what they have shown for the game and it doesn't actually hit shelves until March. Also, keep in mind that for the most part, my opinions on Zelda usually greatly differ from those of any other fans I talk to. I loved Skyward Sword and Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, and I think Twilight Princess, while still a good game, is one of the worst and most overrated Zelda games ever. I'll redo my Zelda series review soon as my opinions have changed slightly over time, and I feel I was harder on games I didn't need to be and too easy on games that deserved harsher judgment, but I don't know when I'll get around to that.

Anyway, from what I have seen so far, I regret to say that nothing at all is getting me hyped for this game. I hate to say that, because Zelda is one of my favorite series ever, but, while I'm not saying it looks like a bad game, it just really doesn't look like a game I'd like. I was already wary when they announced the incredibly enormous overworld for the game, as I felt Wind Waker and Twilight Princess already had main field areas that were far too enormous and empty for no real reason other than to create the illusion that the game is longer than it actually is. I'm really not one to get into these extremely long, slow-paced, life-consuming games, and I was fearing Zelda was heading more and more in that direction. This game, though, takes it to a whole new level.

Now, you collect different clothes, have to go hunting, eat food to survive, cook food, and explore endlessly in an overwhelmingly massive and empty wild world. I can see how that could be enjoyable for some, but it's just far too much for my tastes. I may just be dating myself as a gamer here, but I mostly enjoy a game that I can sit down and have quick fun with  and possibly complete in an hour or 3. Obviously, I like plenty of games that don't follow that formula, too, but when games start to reach this "second life" status, they really lose me. I was hoping, with talk of returning to NES Zelda style early on, that this game would be returning to the quicker, simpler style, and cutting out all the extra time-wasting extras that recent Zeldas have added, but they actually went the complete opposite route. This game's focus on survival seems to be extremely dominant. Call me old fashion, but when I buy a Zelda title, I want to be going through dungeons and figuring out traps and puzzles, not going hunting and cooking dinner, making sure I'm wearing proper attire to keep me warm in the weather. 

A lot of people are complaining about what they've seen, and a lot of people are defending it, mostly saying "who cares if it's different. Zelda needs to change", which is fair enough, but I feel like it's changing in ways that don't make a lot of sense. Now, again, I'm not too familiar with newer games like Skyrim, Whitcher or Monster Hunter, but I feel like it's games like those that Nintendo's attempting to imitate here, likely not fully understanding how or why those games do what they do. Anytime Nintendo tries to dip their feet in their competitor's pool, they usually end up embarrassing themselves. It looks like they're trying to turn Zelda into a competitor for games it never needed to compete with. I see no parallels between Zelda and survival zombie apocalypse games, so I can't understand why it seems to be modeled after them.

The game's visuals, while beautiful, look very generic to me. It pretty much just looks like Earth, with Earth animals, and generic red devils for Bokoblins. The scenery could be any scenery from any "realistic" modern game, and there just seems to be no unique charm or style to the world or its inhabitants. Link is also never shown wearing his hat and tunic. Obviously, I know he will at some point, but it does kind of hurt the attempted Zelda feel when the main hero is never dressed in his trademark outfit. Imagine playing Mega Man where he's just wearing shorts and a t-shirt until the last 2 stages.

Obviously more characters, enemies, and dungeons will be shown off later, but as of now, all we really see is Link not dressed like Link and a "guardian" which is more or less the evil robot from The Incredibles. I'm sure more Amiibo will be released at its debut, but I find it funny that there are three Amiibo that are really just for the trailer. "Here you can get the Zelda Wii U trailer Amiibo set, featuring three of the few things that were shown off in our short-ass trailer." I'm assuming there will be much more to the game that the trailer cutscene, so why literally have three Amiibo that are just three stills of the scene in the trailer? The wolf Amiibo concept was the best thing shown off, and probably the best use of an Amiibo thus far, but further just creates that "we want to imitate survival games that are popular on the other consoles" gimmick.

This is actually the least excited I've ever been for an upcoming home console Zelda game. Like I stated before, I'm not saying this will definitely be a bad game. Most people will probably love it, and I may even end up liking it, but from what I've seen thus far, I have almost no personal interest in the game at all. I do also fear that Nintendo will likely fail if they attempt to copy popular games on other consoles like this. They will likely mess up major fundamentals in the styles their copying, as it's their first time attempting it, and end up getting a generally sour reception from seasoned gamers. I just feel like some games are getting way too big and way too time-consuming, without even being fun, for me to play. If I'm going to be throwing away hours a day on a game, I at least want to be accomplishing something and, most importantly, having fun the whole time. I don't want to spend three hours changing clothes, making sure my character is well fed, and walking around an endless world hoping I'll find something of use and failing to ever do so. I'd rather just pop in a platformer I can fully complete in that time, or fire up a fighter and have intense, fun, valuable experience battling friends dozens of rounds in that time. This new game is just not shaping up to be something I'm terribly interested in.

How do you guys feel about it? Are you hyped? Do you think this will be a disappointing turn in the series or do you think it will likely be the best Zelda in years Let me know.

Also, this was just a first thoughts review on the footage I've seen, so sorry if my ideas were a scrambled mess. In the future, I'll be more carefully planning out my reviews and structuring my thoughts in a more organized fashion. My TMNT: Out of the Shadows reviews was such a mess of thoughts all over the place, there was so much I wanted to say but didn't, I know it must have been a bitch to read, and it was a bitch to write, having no structured flow of ideas to follow. So, from now on, my movie and game reviews will be more structured, but might take an extra day or two to go up.
  • Listening to: E. G. Daile - Mind Over Matter
  • Eating: Olive Garden

TMNT: Out of the Shadows SPOILER Review

Journal Entry: Fri Jun 3, 2016, 9:49 PM
Skin by TMNT-Raph-fan




So, I finally saw my most anticipated film of the year. Despite not being very impressed by the first movie in the rebooted Paramount Ninja Turtles series, the trailers for this sequel, as well as the early news of what they were including, bot my very hyped. Hearing that it was receiving new directors along with these additions made me feel very hopeful that it could be good. That being said, I was not expecting it to be good, but I more or less was looking to it to be the answer to one of my biggest childhood dreams - put Rocksteady and Bebop in a movie. I had been waiting to see those two in a live action movie since the first film released in 1990, so this movie instantly became the most hyped movie of the year for me, just for that alone.

So, how was it? Well, I've seen it two times now, and I actually feel I have to rewrite this review a bit, because after my first viewing, I was a little too hard on it, likely mostly due to the fact that I saw it with a non-Turtle fan who tore it apart afterwards, but when I saw it again yesterday with a fellow Turtle fan, I LOVED it. I still agree with what I originally said - the story is very rushed, some side characters are barely used, I don't like Casey Jones in this, and Megan Fox still sucks. But, other than that, it's actually really freaking good. It's a huge homage to classic Turtles, a complete thank you to all of us fans who supported the franchise back in the late 80s and early 90s, and it's silly, action packed, and fast paced enough for children to love.

The good things, well, obviously, they worked in a TON of stuff from the classic Turtles cartoon and toy line. Also, many of the characters were done really well. Bebop and Rocksteady were freaking perfect, being just as silly and stupid as they should while still being threatening and powerful as hell. The physical design for Krang was pretty close to perfect. The best thing about the movie, though? It's actually about the four turtles. Sure, we still have a good deal of April, which we do need in a TMNT story, but no where near as much as last time, and the turtles are always front and center. The immediate story revolves completely around the turtles and the Foot Clan, just the way it should. The dynamic between the turtles, as well as their sub-plots were very well done. These were four brothers you could really root for and even want to kick back and chill with. I'm even, mostly, over their physical appearance. They still look like Shrek and Doomsday's offspring, but the colors are brighter, their accessories are done a bit more tastefully, and their personalities are so well done, I really stopped being bothered by how they look... except Mike. He still just looks so damn ugly. But, even then, Mike barely bothered me at all. When characters are written so perfectly, I kind of don't care at all how they look I guess.

Also, like TMNT should be, this movie is packed full of humor. And a lot of good humor, too. The Turtles, Bebop and Rocksteady, Baxter, and Vern actually all made me laugh out loud multiple times. The movie's great at not taking itself too seriously, and the humor is perfectly applied to each character. And, although I said it was a flaw, the fast, Saturday-morning-toon pace of the movie arguably makes it feel more like what it's based on - a Saturday morning cartoon. The movie had a lot of new characters and plots to work with, so they had to move quickly. There are a few scenes that are really abrupt, but many can just be viewed as a fun, quick, silly way of story-telling, and I feel it was a great way to tell the story for kids. This film is great at being a family film. It has legitimately good humor and action sequences as well as nostalgia for adults, while still pleasing kids with colorful, crazy characters, lots of humor, and just an overall fun layout.

The movie also does a great job setting up potential sequels. Shredder and Krang are now stranded in Dimension X again, Baxter's been taken away just like in the cartoon, likely to be turned into the fly, and Bebop and Rocksteady are merely in jail. With Dimension X being the base of operations next time, it's very likely we could see Rock Soldiers or something in the next film. Also, despite my complaining about Shredder's limited use and the under-focused Krang battle, my friend helped point out that they likely did that to save them for the next movie, and that's actually a damn good move if so. Give us the true massive Krang and Shredder fight in the future after you build it up and hype it enough. This movie was more or less laying down the foundation for the series, so I don't mind the lack of major battles.

Although I couldn't see the first viewing, I was able to spot a frozen Triceraton in the Technodrome the second time.

So, what are the problems? Well, like I said, this movie moves way too fast while having way too much going on. I feared this would be a problem early on being that it's hard to add so much to a film and still have it flow well. Well, this movie does not flow too good. Scenes just keep jumping from one to another, and so many subplots keep starting every second. 15 minutes into the film, Shredder goes through a portal, happens to appear face to face with Krang (who he, for some weird reason, isn't scared of or confused about at all) gets retromutagen ooze and instantly decides to partner with this weird ass brain alien he just met. We have the plot of Shredder carrying out Krang's plan with the Foot Clan, the introduction and mutation of Rocksteady and Bebop, the quest for the dimensional portal machine parts, the introduction of Baxter Stockman, the very detailed introduction of Casey Jones, the turtles wanting to become human except for Leo, the turtles worrying if they aren't a good team, Leo worrying he's not a good leader, the turtles being exposed to people, and the summoning of the Technodrome and the invasion of Krang all happening in one movie. Needless to say, it's a mess, and goes by way too fast. The final showdown ends very fast in a rather anticlimactic way.

Aside from there being a handful of characters done very well, many are completely pointless or barely used at all. Splinter, Karai, and even Shredder, are barely utilized at all. Karai might as well not have even been there.

Also, I know it's a family fantasy film, but there are a couple things that were a little too ridiculous for me to ignore. For one, April O'Neil sneaks into a ninja hideout undetected, spies on the ninja in their own headquarters undetected, then steals from them right in front of their faces and gets out unharmed and not followed. Damn, a news reporter just out-ninjaed the Foot Clan. I thought for sure when that dinky door came up helping her escape that Bebop and Rocksteady would come busting through it and an awesome chase through the building would occur, but nope, the Foot just lets her steal their top secret shit. Also, if you're a regular person and a giant rhino-man kicks you in the chest while riding top speed on a motorcycle, sending you 50 feet crashing into an SUV and denting half of it in, you're f*@%ing DEAD. You can't just stand up and shake that off. I know you can't kill off Casey Jones like that, but, seriously, there's no way he could survive that. He's dead or slowly dying as all his bones and innards are crushed to hell. Oh yeah, and Karai not being able to take out April and Vern, getting knocked out with a laptop... that's insulting.

Despite these flaws, I think this movie was a ton of fun, and a great family action experience. It's great to have these light-hearted kinds of silly super hero movies in a year with so much grim, dark nonsense. Don't get me wrong, Civil War was AMAZING, but this movie was damn good in its own way, too. I highly recommend it for Turtles fans, and I greatly look forward to what this series will go on to do in future films. This very well may be the second best TMNT film of all time.

Anyway, to celebrate this victory for we Shellheads' favorite rogues, here are all the TMNT villains pics I've done in the past year or two:
The Shredder by BrendanCorris Krang by BrendanCorris
Bebop by BrendanCorris Rocksteady by BrendanCorris
I promise I'll actually finally have some new artwork up very, very soon.

  • Listening to: E. G. Daile - Mind Over Matter
  • Eating: Olive Garden
I saw this on its second day and, damn, all the hype you heard for this movie was WELL worth it. This is, without question, one of Marvel's greatest movies yet, as well as, possibly, their most impressive accomplishment to date. It's very hard for me to pick my favorite MCU film, as there are many candidates fighting for the #1 spot, but this is definitely up there. There is SO MUCH to talk about with this film, so I'll try to keep it simple and cut it down to limited segments. Here we go...

THE ACTION
Don't read me wrong, I am not just nerding off and being a Marvel fanboy with this review, it's just that good. The action scenes are, without even having to think about it, the best action scenes ever in a super hero movie. There are some good standard battle scenes, but the two that really stand out are the stairwell battle/chase scene, and the already infamous airport face-off. The chase scene begins with a wild, fast-paced and beautifully times brawl with Captain America and Bucky fighting off government soldiers sent to take out the Winter Soldier. What makes it even more intense is that, while Steve is protecting Bucky and fighting off the agents, Bucky is not yet on his side fully and is almost fighting off everybody, and doing a kick-ass job of it. The battle eventually leads to our first look at Black Panther in action as well as a freaking insane and well shot chase scene where everybody is going after Bucky Barnes. Bucky even pulls off an extremely badass move of grabbing a running bike and flipping onto it to continue riding it. Characters are running 30 mph and it looks believable and amazing, and we finish with Black Panther pulling off an awesome leap-slash to Bucky's rear tire. The scene, to say the least, is intense as hell, and shot beautifully. The flow to the fighting in this movie is so rhythmic and perfect. Everything moves insanely quick and in an exaggerated way due to their powers, but is so fluent and natural that it just truly feels like a beautiful piece of art.

Of course, I have to talk about the airport brawl. This scene is a masterpiece. Not only does it perfectly breathe life into super hero rumbles from the comics, but the fact that so many actors and stuntmen could be so well choreographed at once, allowing all characters to show off their powers, all sub-battles within the brawl get even footage, and all characters get a good portion of lines and funny quips, really just amazes me. This seemed like something that would be damn near impossible to pull off successfully, but they do it so right. Every bit of the battle is portrayed so well, and, again, choreographed beautifully, and all the characters are so alive and on point. It is a cinematic feat that this scene was pulled off so perfectly, and it is easily the best fight scene ever in a super hero film. The film also doesn't tease you with it like films like 2014's Godzilla did - you get 20 straight minutes of this battle, and it closes the 2nd act, meaning more action follows, and plenty of action came before it. For action, this movie definitely gets my highest vote possible.

THE CHARACTERS
In a movie like this, obviously, the characters play a huge role. Being that most of them are returning characters we have already familiarized ourselves with, it should come as no surprise that all returning characters are handled well. Many have undergone even better writing and development. We actually get to the human side of Bucky and learn what he feels for what he has done, and Falcon just gets even more badass than he was in Winter Soldier. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., aka Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, do an amazing job playing complex, emotional portrayals. Both have a lot on their minds, and their weaknesses are showing. Their jobs playing these two characters, I'd say, may be at their finest yet. They are just played in such a believable way, and dive into much more complicated emotion than in any previous films. War Machine is also very good in this, and his standpoint is very understandable. In fact, that's what makes the characters so good in this film. The movie never once tells the audience who they should root for. All characters have their own personal, logical reasons for standing on which side they choose, and all are understandable. This makes the final battle between Tony and Steve all the more painful. You don't want these characters to have to fight since you like and understand all of them, you know exactly why they feel they must. A big reveal before the final battle really creates a situation you can feel is devastating and uncomfortable for Cap, Bucky, and Stark, and it just pulls at your heartstrings to see them all at each others' throats.

Obviously, since this is such a large ensemble cast, not all the heroes really get as much screen time as others. Hawkeye gets very minimal screen time, which is a bit disappointing, after gaining so much more story and success in Age of Ultron. Ant Man also doesn't have too much screen time, but when he does, he makes it more than enjoyable. Paul Rudd was hilarious. These two I excuse, as they weren't major parts of the direct story, and they were mostly very good when on screen, but then there are a few that really could have used a bit more. Crossbones is killed off extremely quickly at the beginning of the film. I understand why they did it - there are SO MANY characters to sort through in the MCU, they didn't want a big bad villain for the film as it was more about allies vs allies, and they wanted a natural way to segue from Winter Soldier into Civil War, but it seemed a bit of a waste. This was the first time we got him in his costume, and he had been hyped up quite a lot in Winter Soldier, only to be a statistic within 10 minutes. I feel they didn't have to use him a lot in this film, but maybe allow him to return in future movies, but oh well. The biggest waste, I thought, was Scarlet Witch and Vision. I like both characters, but I couldn't help but feel like the developing story around them kind of went nowhere. Both characters are a bit lacking compared to the other Avengers, and neither one was developed very good at all in Age of Ultron, so it was a shame to see them used so sparingly and weakly in this one. Again, I understand why they were cut down, as they were dealing with dozens of characters and neither one was a main star, but I just kind of feel like the earlier scenes with them were a bit of a waste since they sort of go nowhere.

As for the new characters, holy hell Black Panther is badass. He comes as a great contrast to the other Avengers we've met so far. Even when the other heroes are cracking jokes, Panther never shows much of a sense of humor. I like the humor in Marvel films, but it is a breath of fresh air to get a totally serious character. Arguably Scarlet Witch is a more serious character, but even she has started making some one liners in this film. Having different personalities that contrast is something Marvel is great at, unlike some other super hero film writers, and Black Panther is a welcome change. Also, his fight scenes, his costume, BAD-ASS! This guy just looks so cool in action. Very glad to have him on the team. Of course, we can't talk new characters without addressing Peter Parker, Spider-Man himself. Spider-Man's introduction does come pretty abruptly in the film, but, man, is it done SO well. Just when I saw "Queens, NY" written on the screen I got as giddy as a schoolgirl. Spider-Man is perfect. I used to say Tobey Maguire got too much hate and was a great Peter Parker, and while I thought Andrew Garfield was an atrocious Peter Parker, he was a pretty damn good Spidey, but holy shit Tom Holland knocks it out of the park. This kid IS Peter Parker. He's awkward and pretty nerdy. He's nervous and childlike, but an obvious genius at the same time. Then, when he dons the mask, he becomes energetic and silly. He cracks jokes, never stops talking, and even stops to tell the heroes how cool they are. I didn't even notice it until others pointed it out, he finally has a New York accent too! This is the cinematic Spidey we've been waiting for. I don't mind his limited screen time, or the fact that he was pretty much just there to set up his solo film, because he was done so right. This serves as a perfect preview for what we will likely get in his solo film years from now. The only sort of weird thing was Marisa Tomei playing Aunt May. Realistically it makes more sense for Aunt May to be younger, as Spidey is so young and she is never referred to as "Great Aunt May", but it does seem like an odd and unnecessary change. Tony Stark even makes some 4th wall breaking jokes about her being "weirdly attractive". It was never part of Aunt May's character, so it just seems a bit odd. I don't know how I feel about the woman who gave me a boner as a kid in "My Cousin Vinny" being sweet old Aunt May.

And before moving on from characters, let's talk Baron Zemo. I have mixed opinions on this character. For one, he's written very well, and I like the fact that the movie does not escalate to a predictable show down of all the heroes vs him. He is teased as a potential main threat the whole movie, but ultimately the real final battle is just between Cap and Stark, which is ideally how a film of this nature should go but usually doesn't. Zemo is not directly a villain, as he even kills Hydra agents to get what he needs. He's more or less a man bent on vengeance for the death of his family as a side result of the Avengers' actions during Age of Ultron. He never dons the purple mask or title Baron in the film, leading me to believe he will return to a larger status in future films, which is a good way to avoid making him a major villain for a film that doesn't need one. I also love that the fabled other Winter Soldiers are all just shot by him before ever awakening, killing the predictable climax everybody probably expected. So, yeah, there was a lot done well about him, but he still just suffered a bit from a void of interesting personality for me. He didn't stand out very much, and, like many past Marvel villains, came off as a vengeful, sour brat. Sure, what happened to him was devastating, and very good cause to want the Avengers dead, but his personality just seemed to relate to those bitter, petty villains from other past movies. So, ultimately, I don't really know how I feel about Zemo. In some ways I thought he was very well done, and in others, I found him petty and boring.

THE STORY
We all know the basics of the story - action to put government control on the Avengers is taken, and the members split up between those who support it and those who don't, resulting in a war among the heroes. This basic story is here, but there is so much ore going on and it is just told so well through such wonderfully written characters. The story is definitely solid. The only problem there may be is that, at times, it's so busy that some of the sub-stories don't get fully explored, like the Scarlet Witch/Vision stories I mentioned before. However, the main story surrounding Steve, Barnes and Tony is fully explained and told in a very emotional and entertaining way, and most side stories are utilized as much as needs be. This movie is two and a half hours long, and it feels like an hour and a half. The film is just so entertaining and so fluent, you don't even feel like it's as long as it is.

CONCLUSION
I know there's so much more that can be said, but I'm going to stop here or I'll be typing forever. All in all, this movie is a straight up masterpiece. Taking a concept like this that has arguably never been done well on the big screen before and executing it so perfectly is a feat to behold. I was really hyped for this movie, and it still blew my expectations out of the water. As said before, this is not only one of the best MCU films to date (arguably the best) it is, without question, one of the best super hero/comic book films of all time. I can't recommend it enough. People aren't saying this movie's amazing just to prove a point. They're not being fanboys, they're not bought out by Disney to say so, it's the honest truth. This movie is amazing.Go see it. NOW.

The Avengers movies are great, but this is definitely the most rewarding movie for following all the MCU thus far. Oh yeah, and that CG modified younger Robert Downey Jr. was insane. It's like I was watching Back to School again. Hats off for that.

As for my drawings, sorry for the lack of updates recently, I got very ill a while back there but I'm good now. I should have a couple new drawings up soon.
Just to clear up a question I get all the time, no, I don't hate Pokemon, I'm actually quite fond of it. I know about 5 or 6 years ago I said I hated it, but that was during my "hater phase" where I pretty much said everything sucked because, well, I was young, stupid, and overly judgmental. Since then I have given Pokemon a huge chance and I love it. I've only played gens 1, 3, and 4, but I consider myself a fan. Anyway, onto the review.

Prior to getting this game, I had no real interest in it at all. Two of my friends have been super hyped for it for months now, even joking by saying "#pokken hype" after every time Pokemon is mentioned. Well, this past weekend we picked it up and played a lot of it, so I have a pretty solid opinion of it now, despite not yet seeing everything it has to offer, and not getting very good at it yet either.

Pokken was created by Bandai Namco, a fighting game based on the style of their Tekken franchise, but set in the Pokemon universe with Pokemon monsters as the playable fighters. Despite there being a year of my life back there where I played a ton of Tekken 5, I've really never cared for the Tekken games. However, anytime I speak about Tekken, I always say they are not bad games at all - likely far from it - but they're just really not for me. I'm typically not into games with very complex control schemes or an overwhelming abundance of possible abilities. I'm better with simple games, providing about 8-15 basic abilities, yet enabling infinite possibilities with the use of said abilities. In Tekken games, characters typically have over 100 different moves triggered by different button combinations, and modern Tekken titles house around half one hundred characters each. To learn what all those different abilities are, then learn what practical uses and situations they all coincide with, it takes a ton of dedication. To learn multiple characters? That's insane.

I've only played Tekken 1, 2, 3, Tag, and 5, mostly 5, namely because a friend of mine used to always play it when we'd all hang out. Even he, who played it all the time, didn't seem too well-trained in it. In such games, I always find myself limiting my style to 5-8 moves and just looking for opportunities to use those few moves, and, naturally, getting my ass kicked. The fact that there are so many abilities, too, can extremely easily cause me to do moves I didn't intend to, or even ones I didn't know about. You have back and kick, back/down and kick, and down and kick, for example. All three can do incredibly different things, so if you do the wrong one by accident, you're so screwed. My friend, who played it all the time, seemed to limit himself to about 10 moves per character himself. Now, I know some people are amazing at Tekken out there, and all respect to you, you've got patience, but for me, the game just seems more complicated than I'd want to bother with. I actually do better in Tekken when I just press random buttons in a frenzy than when I actually try to play strategically. 

A game like Smash Bros., despite my recently losing general interest in the franchise, is the kind of fighting game for me. Tekken is extremely complex with abilities, but, at least for me and people I've played it with, very simple in gameplay (though I'm sure trained Tekken players would beg to differ, and are probably right to do so), while SSB, although very simple with abilities, thanks to the platformer-esque level structure and physics, is extremely complex in gameplay. The controls and moves are easy to get down and remember, but then you can take those few abilities to infinite lengths. Pokken falls somewhere between the two of those. It's certainly not as inspiring or well-constructed as the style of SSB, but it's a lot simple and more user-friendly than Tekken.

I really thought I was going to hate this game. I was telling my friends it would suck for months, and once they started playing it for the first few matches, I, as well as some of my other friends (including one of the friends who was hyped for it) were laughing and calling it complete garbage. But, quickly afterward, we all gave it more of a chance, actually read the in-game manual, and started to learn it. And, well, it proved to be pretty damn fun. It's no masterpiece, probably just OK, but it is certainly fun to play. Each character really feels like a lot of unique care was put into their fighting style and stats. It controls very fluently and does not take very long to learn. 

The game comes with a story mode, which helps you unlock assist Pokemon (before every fight you can choose a pair of support Pokemon who will be able to be called upon to perform an ability once their meter is full), stages, and other bonus material. It also comes with a local 2 player mode, which is extremely refreshing these days, when most competitive games either get their 2 player mode later through DLC, the 2 player mode isn't at all like the 1 player mode and is more just a silly, halfass mini-game, or they just have no sort of 2 player mode at all. There's a training mode, which works like how you'd expect, an online mode I haven't yet tried, a home area where you can customize your trainer and account, and a single player mode where you battle random CPU foes endlessly. In story mode and single player you can level up your Pokemon and boost their stats, which you can choose to enable in 2 player mode or not. 

The graphics are good enough at a glance. The playable characters look very good, until the camera zooms in too much, then some of the details, like muscles, can start to look sort of pixely and blurry. The backgrounds, since far away, look pretty good, but the people and Pokemon in the backgrounds are pitifully animated, and would probably look quite awful if you could zoom in on them. Just look at the person on the trampoline in the gym stage. That animation is sad. The art style for the people also looks very off. Rather than look like actually Pokemon people do, they look like generic, realistic 3D models. But then, any humans who are connected to the story are not even 3D, nor do they look like Pokemon people. They just look like the most stereotypical anime people you have ever seen. The energy attacks and special effects look great, and the playable characters look good enough, but the rest of the graphics could use a little work.

The sound is good, but the music, at least for me, is pretty forgettable. Not sure if they are stylized remixes, but I have not heard a single classic track from the actual Pokemon games. I was really hoping to hear a great collection of action-packed remixes of my favorite Pokemon themes, but, no, we just get very bland, generic techno beat stuff. No problem with techno, but some personality would be nice, and some representation of the actual Pokemon soundtracks should be there. The dialogue is also extremely annoying. This random girl they made up, referred to as your adviser, never shuts up. This generic, bland character was clearly their way of trying to sucker in anime fans with "Look guys, don't you love her? Waifu, right?" but she's just annoying as hell. Luckily, the game is sane enough to let you mute her and limit her appearances.

The biggest controversy with this game was the negative reactions it received for its roster. Sure, it is very small, especially considering how vast the potential fighters list was, and it's insulting that there's two Pikachus and two Mewtwos in there, but, aside from the 2 of one guy bullshit (the Pikachus, at least, are not clones. Haven't unlocked regular Mewtwo yet, so I can't speak for them) I really have no problem with this. They say as of now there is no plan for DLC at all. Not only can this change, as it completely changed over night with SSB4, but even if it is true, I don't think it's so bad. Fighting gamers these days seem to count quantity over quality. They expect 50 characters, then bitch when 38 of them are total ass. Pokken, at least to me so far, seems very balanced, and it feels like a ton of work and thought went into each character, like I said earlier. I would like to see more DLC, as there are just so many possible fighters, but more importantly, I'd like to see it balanced and done well. If we do get DLC, my top picks would be Roserade, Blastoise, Heracross or Scizor (need a bug rep.) and Rhyhorn, which I know will never happen, but he's my favorite Poke based on physical design. An alternate rock rep. I'd want is Rampardos, but these are just my personal picks. The only guys I've mained in the Pokemon games that made it into this one are Gardevoir and Garchomp, although I have used a good deal Lucario in gen 4, he's damn good, but not particularly a favorite of mine like Garde and Chomp. In Pokken, I've had the most comfort and success using Gardevoir, and since she's also one of my favorite Pokemon, she's mostly been the only one I've been picking. One of my friends has become pretty unstoppable with Machamp, though.

Like I said, I don't see the roster size as a major problem, just a personal nit-pick, especially since I saw the birth of fighters, and most of the fighters I consider to be the best ever had between 8 and 16 characters. The game is simple and fun, great as a party game. It's not hard to learn, but it's also not the most interesting fighting engine I've seen. It's simple fun, but pretty redundant. The core of the fighting revolves around the "attack triangle" which is- counters hit attacks, attacks hit throws, and throws hit counters. Most of a fight will just become both players getting in each others' faces and trying to mind-game the other player with this attack triangle, making it almost all luck-based gameplay. All fighting games have similar aspects and the element of surprise and guessing, but this game just simplifies it too much and focuses on it so heavily that it really is more or less just a really flashy looking, Pokemon-themed version of "Rock, Paper, Scissors". The other big problem with this attack triangle is, it breaks quite frequently. Many times actions will react incorrectly to their opposite action, driving the luck factor home even further. This repetitive and mindless cycle makes Pokken grow very boring very fast.

I think the main four reasons for this game's struggle are - 1) the arcade got poor reception in Japan, 2) Nintendo did a shit job of advertising this game. While the Pokemon Company has been hyping this game like mad since the arcade hit stores, Nintendo has mentioned it almost never. I feel it's possibly out of spite that their own property, the Pokemon Company, would try to put another big fighter on the Wii U, since they clearly want SSB4 to be the console's go-to exclusive fighter. 3) Everybody's mad because the roster's so small, and, more specifically, their favorite Pokemon didn't make the cut. Sure, we all have the ones we want in because we love them, like the ones I posted above (though the bug types I listed were there only because we need a bug type and they seem to be some of the most popular and likely candidates in such a game) but we can't expect the game to be made for us. They did a pretty damn good job of including most of the top most popular Pokes, like Charizard, Mewtwo and Gardevoir. And, 4) the general style of fighting and engine are very simple, pretty boring, and quite broken. It's hard to get too into it due to this, and tere's really no excuse for the game to be as broken and glitchy, nor as repetitive, since it had a year of hands-on player testing in Japan before its console release.

The game's not perfect, but it's pretty fun for a night or two. I'd say, if you own a Wii U, might as well check it out. If you don't own a Wii U, don't worry about it. I wouldn't say this game is a reason to get the console.
I just saw Disney Animation's latest film, Zootopia, several hours ago. It may not have been the best Disney film by any means, but it was definitely a really great movie. The movie was released at a very odd time of the year for a major Disney film, but given Disney's 2015/2016 schedule, it makes sense. Rather than let their animated flick of the year bomb next to their own titan, Star Wars, at the holidays, which is when every recent Disney film has debuted, the mouse instead put out Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" then and waited until after award season to put out Zootopia. Between Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and their own creations, Disney kind of has a potentially massive money maker for every part of the year.

Well, Zootopia, despite being revealed years ago in a couple concept sketches and the title at a press conference, was kept under pretty heavy wraps for a while. The first teaser trailer came out in the summer, giving away nothing at all about the film and neglecting to even show any second of footage. This trailer didn't seem to catch the interest of many viewers. Fast-forward to the holidays and we started to get our first footage. From then on, Disney just revealed SO MUCH of this movie in trailers, commercials, and just entire clips. This did, unfortunately, kill the movie a bit. It was still great, but almost every single joke was shown in some sort of promotional content. I knew practically every joke before it came, and I purposely did not watch any more of the footage released after January. Despite the later trailers catching a lot of general attention, I did feel it seemed kind of desperate. It made the team appear like they had no confidence in their product and had to show everything just to win people over.

But, anyway, let's get to business. The movie takes place in a fantasy world inhabited by animals who walk upright, talk, and live in a human-like society. Predators and prey coexist in harmony, but some things are still generally frowned upon, such as small, cute creatures on a police force. That's where Judy Hopps comes in. Ever since Judy was little she dreamed of breaking from the mold of her carrot-farming people and becoming a policewoman in the big city. When she finally makes that dream a reality, she is met with harsh rejection from her fellow officers. Through some fortunate mishaps, Judy ends up going from being a meter maid to being given 48 hours to solve a big case, or she will lose her job. Nick, a con-artist fox she had been watching turns out to be a lead in the case, and she blackmails him into helping her discover the whereabouts of the missing Mr. Otterton. The two can't stand one another at first, but, obviously, start to open up to one another over the course of the film and become great friends. Though they have their problems at times, with the help of one another, they pull through and not only discover the whereabouts of the missing otter, but also solve the mystery of mammals going "savage".

The world is INCREDIBLY well fleshed out. The scenery is stunning, and every little aspect of the world clearly went through a ton of thought. Even the way they were able to make all the "people" look like wild animals who just stood up right rather than slapping animal heads on human bodies was impressive. Every animal's body shape is done perfectly. From a visual standpoint, which is to be expected by the Disney Animation team, it gets full stars. The music, however, didn't strike me as anything too memorable. I may need to give it a second viewing to possibly have some of the music stand out, but after one watch I remember none of it. The only vocal song for the film is the Shakira original track, but "Wreck-It Ralph", a non-musical film, managed to have an incredibly powerful and memorable soundtrack.

The story is certainly not bad. It was very cleverly written and pieced together, as well as entertaining and gripping, but it did grow a tad tiresome at a few points, mostly because of the pretty repetitive Disney tropes that popped up. Once again, there is a scene where one character offends another and thy have to find the other to clear up the misunderstanding and put the duo back together, and once again their is a surprise villain. Every Disney movie since "Wreck-It Ralph" has had a surprise villain, so that twist is getting pretty old. Sure, it makes more sense in this movie as the whole story is a detective tale of two cops trying to solve a mysterious case, but it is still the fourth film in a row to do this. I'll admit, Hans surprised me in "Frozen" when he turned out to be evil. I honestly didn't see that coming. "Big Hero 6" we were just told straight up that the villain was a mystery, but it was pretty easy to predict it would be Callaghan. In Zootopia, I didn't know it would be who it turned out to be, but I just knew there was going to be a crazy twist villain that you weren't supposed to expect. As was the case in "Frozen" and "Big Hero 6", it turned out to be one of the nicest, sweetest characters we thought we knew.

The conflict scene between the two heroes is also incredibly brief, and they make up so quick, it really served no purpose. Sure, people can argue this common plot is never necessary, but I feel it is if the "split up" lasts long enough. I guess it lasts just about as long as Ralph and Vanellope's quarrel in "Wreck-It Ralph", even having a very similar scene involving Judy and Chief Bogo to the one with Ralph and Gene, but it just seems a bit more rushed and less emotional. When this plot point is pulled off successfully, it really invests the audience in the characters and makes them desperately want to see the characters make up. It just didn't seem very powerful in this movie. I was already invested in these characters a lot. We got both of their backstories, learned their problems and insecurities, and saw them support and grow with one another. The quarrel just seemed a bit rushed, especially when they make up. I kind of feel it added very little to the story, and more or less was just in there because the team's so used to putting it in all their films at this point. It did help push some of the story along, and sort of display how strong Judy and Nick's trust was for one another, but not completely necessary if you ask me.

The last flaw I can really think of is one that didn't bother me, personally, but may have bothered some moviegoers, the fact that most characters get very little screen time. Almost all the characters were advertised heavily in the promotion of this film, but many of them, like Yax, Lionheart, Duke, and many others, really only have a scene or two of screen time. I thought it was fine, as they are on a case, meeting with various suspects and leads, so it makes it more fun to just keep quickly meeting such unique, oddball characters, but some viewers may have really liked some of those characters from the previews, only to be disappointed when they learn that character only has a couple lines of speech in the movie. Like I said, I found this to be OK. We were able to meet Hops, Nick, Bogo, and the other major cast members better this way, and it kept the movie fresh and exciting. It was fun trying to guess what kind of wacky creature they'd meet next.

As for other pros besides the visuals, the characters, regardless of how developed they be, and all extremely likable. They're all guaranteed a slew of laughs, and, typically for Disney, you can really feel for our main heroes. The movie also, better than any other kids movie ever possibly, depicts a realistic version of segregation, stereotypes, and and even police warning people that "other animals who are born differently are dangerous". Sure, such themes are commonplace in a lot of media these days, but to see it done so boldly and honestly in a Disney film is surprising. They actually did it better than most media intended for older audiences typically does. The pace of the film is very good, the world is ingeniously constructed, the characters are great and bursting with personality both visually and in writing, the graphics are beautiful, the action is intense, great, and even very suspenseful and eerie for a modern kids' film at times, and the story is still very fun. It's a solid, fun, mystery movie/buddy cop film. It may sound as if I were complaining quite a lot, but I just needed to explain the negatives. The only real problems are the recurring stale tropes, and the mediocre soundtrack. It's still a great movie, a DAMN great movie at that, but just not quite one of the strongest recent Disney films I feel. Very close, but still a slight notch below some others. It's still loads of fun, though, and definitely worth watching.
Back in October ABC launched a brand new Muppet show, confusingly named simply "The Muppets". I followed it weekly then, and around the holidays they took a break to return in February. Well, they did come back, and the season came to an end this past week. After the Jim Henson company clearly noticed the past two movies scored well with adults, yet horribly with children, decided to gear the show for an adult audience. It is pretty much a parody of other sitcoms in the style of The Office, as a fake reality show. The Muppet team is the staff of Piggy's late night talk show, "Up Late with Miss Piggy", the show within the show.

When I was little, there was certainly a lot of Jim Henson around me. When I was very little, like many babies, my mom showed me Sesame Street daily. Around this time, I also watched two of the Muppet movies, "Great Muppet Caper" and "Muppets Take Manhattan" frequently, and Fraggle Rock was also all the buzz on TV then. A few years later my family and I got into the sitcom "Dinosaurs", and I began watching reruns of "The Muppet Show" constantly for a year. So, needless to say, The Muppets were a decently big part of my childhood on and off. It wasn't until reconnecting with these characters in the past two movies that I remembered what a big part of my youth they were. This is probably mostly due to the fact that my mom was clearly a pretty big Jim Henson fan at the time. While I thought the most recent movie, "Muppets Most Wanted", was hilarious, it seemed like most people gave it very little love, so I was pretty surprised to hear they were coming back in full force with a TV series.

So, yes, the Muppets were made more adult in this show. It's pretty weird to hear sex jokes coming out of the mouths of Gonzo and Kermit, but the comedy is actually well written. The show made me laugh many times. The characters and setup lend themselves surprisingly well to more mature humor, but, as I was saying in my Fuller House first thoughts review recently (I actually have a ton more to say about that show having now watched more episodes, so expect a season 1 review of Fuller House soon) the original feeling of the source material is pretty much completely dead. While it's clearly Kermit, Fozzie, Piggy, and the Electric Mayhem, you'll still have trouble remembering that this show is a continuation of any previous Muppets material. I'm not about to say they are wrong for making this change, as it seems to be helping their popularity immensely, but personally I just feel like they go a bit too far sometimes given the original franchise they're working with.

The show gained a lot of momentum early on by promoting the whole series with a break up headline - Kermit and Miss Piggy split up. This was not only a parody of celebrity break ups, but also an ingenious marketing scheme to get people who may have skipped the show to watch it. Sorry, "Muppets Tonight", but splitting up the most famous puppet couple of all time is a much better way to bring in fans than having Clifford, one of the most unknown Muppets ever, star as the host. It was pretty obvious to all viewers that Kermit and Piggy would end up together again, as many predicted months prior to the season finale, where just that occurred. I don't really have any opinion on whether this break-up joke was a great, clever way to get viewers or a dirty scheme to sucker in viewers, but either way, it worked.

As is the case with any Muppets production post-Henson and Oz voice acting, the new voices really take some getting used to. Some characters are done extremely well, some the voice actors are trying really hard but just not doing a very good job, and others they just completely change their voices altogether. Some people slammed the show immediately after seeing it once just by saying "can't watch this, that voice is all wrong, that's not Kermit"... well, no duh. What are they supposed to do? Revive Jim Henson? The voices, with the exception of Dave Goelz (Gonzo, Rizzo...) are all provided by new talent. Some of the newer voices are a bit harder to get used to than others. Janice of the Electric Mayhem sounded WAY off when I first heard her, but once I got over that, I realized she had some of the best lines in the show, and may even be the funniest character in it for me (plus, go back to "The Muppet Show", she had like 40 different voices during its run anyway). Some of the characters are better written than others. Piggy, as always, is hilarious, and Uncle Deadly is amazing. All of the Electric Mayhem members are damn funny, all just taking their already existent joke personalities even further, but then others seem totally changed. Scooter has been completely altered to be the stereotypical loser geek who still lives with his mom and is afraid to curse or date girls. Sure, they got some good laughs out of him in the season, but it does seem a bit wrong to completely rewrite one of the most important characters like that. My guess as to why they did that was because, despite being one of the main six Muppets from the start (Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rowlf, and Scooter) he was always CLEARLY the least popular and frequently forgotten of the bunch. Add to this that, while he did have personality, he didn't really have any running jokes or personality flaws like the rest of the gang. Hell, he was getting less and less screen time with every movie and show that came out. I guess they figured the best way to keep him front and center was to rewrite him as a character that would appeal to modern audiences.

I felt Fozzie had some of the funniest plot lines in the first bunch of episodes, but as the season went on they just seemed to ignore his potential more and more. Sam the Eagle seems to also have lost most of his original personality after being reduced to an endless joke about a crush he developed on Janice. It was funny for one episode, but after that one, when they kept doing it, it just seemed really random, and a major waste on such a unique character, especially after he was freaking amazing in "Muppets Most Wanted". But, yeah, most of the characters are still pretty damn funny and entertaining. I've also developed a huge respect for Pepe, the prawn from the 90's who I never payed much attention to prior to the show. He's hilarious.

As was true in all previous Muppets shows and movies, celebrity guest stars are abundant. Some were really damn good in their cameos. I love how Jason Bateman portrayed himself as such a douche bag. He was funny as hell. They did a good job with keeping the Muppets front and center, unlike the 2010 film that was really a movie all about Jason Segel with Muppets in the background. As an interesting side note, Walter, the newest Muppet from the past two movies, seems to have been completely removed from the cast. I can understand why, being that he really wasn't very funny, and a lot of the classic Muppets fans seemed mad that he returned as part of the gang in "Most Wanted". Many background Muppets are getting mainstream attention now, though, like Bobo the bear, Chip the IT guy, and Carl the monster.

So, while it's played out "Office" style is a bit redundant, some characters took very bizarre turns and suffered from lack of use of their potential, and that the adult themes and voices take some getting used to, it's still a damn funny show, and a very easy watch. It's true to the original enough to satisfy Muppet fans, but also knows its target age group and tries to satisfy their comedy needs in ways their childhood Muppets can't today. It brings back lots of classic characters (Yolanda the rat, never saw her coming back) and really takes advantage of its possibilities. It's just a fun show. Definitely worth checking out. It's certainly not the best Muppet production, and I have my problems with it, but a funny show is a funny show, and this certainly is just that.

When I think back to my childhood, I remember plenty of TV shows my family would watch - Alf, Cheers, The Golden Girls, etc., but I think the one show everybody in the family agreed on was Full House. Sure, looking at it now, it was extremely cheesy, unrealistic, and sappy, but back in the late 80's and early 90's this show was as good as it got for lots of families. As was true for most sitcoms of its time, it followed a formula of being funny for adults and small children, while also being wholesome, able to teach important family values. Sure, it can be viewed as incredibly corny, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the days when some TV programs were dedicated to such a style. Sure, we still had dry, cynical wit from other great shows, but these days, in a world where every type of media is just sarcastic, condescending and extremely self-conscious, I really long for some of that good old wholesomeness to mix it all up. I do occasionally watch reruns of Full House on TV, which always bring me back, but the last time I watched it regularly was back in the late 80's and early 90's when every Friday my family and I would crowd around the living room couch and watch TGIF. Being that Full House was not only such a major part of my most youthful years, and hasn't been a major part of my life since then, but also such a critical pop culture piece from its time, the show provides unparalleled nostalgia for me. Just hearing that theme song gets me all happy.

A few months back, a long running rumor of a Full House reunion was finally confirmed. Sure, the leads appeared in a few commercials together in recent years, but this news told us that practically the entire cast would be reunited in a brand new sequel show on Netflix. I had very mixed feelings about this when I first heard about it. My initial thought was that they would modernize it to a cold, self-aware satire and ruin the show's original charm. Then the trailers came out, and it was revealed to have all the heart and class of the 1987 classic. And now, it's finally out and I've watched the first three episodes of "Fuller House" back to back.

Now, this is just a first thoughts review, so it won't be very concrete. It will more so just be random thoughts and ramblings, as it is 6:00 in the morning and I literally just watched all three episodes minutes ago after working all night. The first episode set up the premise, which parallels the original. While the classic series centered around Danny Tanner, whose wife recently passed, raising his three little girls with the help of his brother-in-law, Uncle Jessie, and best friend, Uncle Joey, this series follows Danny's oldest girl, DJ, now grown up with three boys of her own and recently widowed after the passing of her husband, raising her children with the help of her younger sister, Stephanie, and best friend, Kimmy. They end up moving back into the same house from the original show (literally the same set), and it's pretty much history repeating itself. Is this a problem? I honestly don't think so. Now that the girls are grown up, they're such different characters, and seeing as how at least one of the old "fathers" guest stars in each episode, and the new characters have their own unique personalities, it makes it new and fresh while still retaining a familiar setup that old fans will warmly welcome.

The show is VERY heavy on the nostalgia. As a fan of the original back in the day, I love that, but I wonder how that might go for new kids. Being that the show is pretty family-friendly, and most adults today remember watching the first show with their families, I'm assuming many kids will be seeing it. While we adults will be smiling or possibly even choking up at some of the nods and flashbacks, kids may just think "what the hell's going on?" and lose interest in the show. Like I said before, we live in the time of sarcasm and dryness. Will kids today enjoy a wholesome style like Full House, or is this strictly going to appeal to those who grew up with the 1987 series? 

So, let me get to the style. Since it is clearly trying to adapt the same style as the original show, I can't help but feel it's a bit off. Don't get me wrong, they do a pretty good job. Most of the jokes are pretty cheesy, the family values are there, and it just pumps you with positive energy, but I can't help but feel like it's a bit too "sexy". Not only are there a decent sum of sexual jokes and sexual imagery, but there's even jokes about drugs and drinking. Now, before you label me Mr. Rogers, no, there is nothing wrong with jokes like this, nor is there anything wrong with sex in media. Anybody who knows me certainly knows I'm not opposed to raunchiness, but I just feel like it kills a bit of the Full House feeling. The dirtier jokes they make aren't even really funny, they just feel like the writers were afraid to make it TOO wholesome because they didn't want to be labeled as "dorky", or they just have so much trouble following that formula that they can't help themselves from adding in such content. I understand it must be hard for a writer in this day and age to try to completely shift their writing style to follow a style that has been dead for over 20 years, but it does get in the way of the show a bit. They even seem to break the fourth wall a bit too often, even to some times poke fun at the old show. None of these "problems" surface too frequently, and the jokes, when made, are strategically worded to be well hidden from younger audiences, so I wouldn't call it a butchering of style exactly, or a satire. The show is clearly, and proudly, paying homage to the '87 series. I just feel these little bits were added in an attempt to slightly modernize it, but they seem so minute that I feel they are out of place. And we definitely need that sweet dramatic music back, damn it. This show is too music-less. How can Tanners hug it out without some heart-warming strings? (Even John Stamos' character, Uncle Jessie, references this)

So let's move on to the characters. While DJ was the more "rebellious" kid in the original, and Stephanie was the goody-to-shoes,
some how, over the years, Stephanie has become the wild and cool party girl while DJ has become the "dorky", responsible girl. The transition is interesting, and understandable as DJ was married and had so many children while Stephanie was single with no cares. Candace Cameron does a great job reprising her role as DJ Tanner, now DJ Fuller (get it). She's actually an amazing actress, and you really believe her character. Kimmy Gibbler, once again played by Andrea Barber, is still the great, wacky Kimmy we know and love. Stephanie, played by Jodie Sweetin, however, didn't grow on me in this new series the way the others did. She's not bad in the role. She plays her character really well, and she can even be pretty funny, but I just don't feel that character as Stephanie. Sure, I know, people change a hell of a lot in 20 years, but I just don't feel a natural change. Even though DJ is all grown up and totally changed, you still feel you are watching and hearing DJ. There isn't any shred of Stephanie in the new script. Her character just feels like a totally new character for this series, or at least to me. As for the former male stars, they're great. They're pretty much spot on the same, as are all the other returning cast. The only ones not returning are the Olsen twins, and, well, who cares.

The new characters, the children, are pretty good. We have a baby who is just there to be a chore for the cast, much like Michelle was for several years, but the two older sons and Kimmy's daughter, Ramona, are actually pretty good. The youngest son is a neat freak, and exceptionally smart for his age. He's all about being polite and correct, making him the Stephanie of the show. The kid's a little loud, but not bad. The older son is the slightly more angsty and troublesome one, making him the DJ of the new generation. He and Kimmy's daughter, who initially don't get along (I'm calling a romance between them at some point now. Just watch, it will happen) are actually really damn good at their roles. Sure, there are lots of good child actors today, but to see these kids nail a style of acting that has been dead for over two decades is remarkable. Going into the show I wasn't expecting to notice the kids at all and was all ready to focus on the veterans, but they really put them front and center with everybody else and did a good job with them.

So, WOW, I had no idea I had this much to say about Fuller House. Well, the important question - is it good or not? I think it is. Sure, I don't really think it's anything too special, but it's enjoyable. It doesn't quite feel like the classic series to me. I feel like I'm watching a brand new series based on Full House rather than a continuation, but I suppose that's what it was meant to be, so, yeah, it's no masterpiece, but hats off to it. Being that I had no intentions of watching this at all, I say bravo for actually being able to catch me. I feel I'll check out at least the rest of the first season. It will never replace the memory of the original in my heart, but it is a welcome sequel series, and I am glad they were able to make it mostly in the classic style, regardless of knowing if that would make it popular or not.

And I'm going to have to proof read this tomorrow because I'm tired and it's probably full of typos.

And I just can't get behind the new rendition of the theme song. Sorry, it's the old bastard in me, but losing those smooth 80's intros does kill the mood a lot.
A sequel to the 2001 comedy, Zoolander, Zoolander Part 2 was a sequel I saw no need to make, but after seeing the promos for the film, decided it looked like a lot of fun. In the early 2000s, Zoolander was the shit. That movie was hilarious, and is undeniably Ben Stiller's best. Since so much time had past, and I haven't particularly had interest in much of anything Stiller has done in years, when the sequel was announced, my reaction was simply "why?"

So, what do I think now that I've seen it? I think it's pretty good. It's nothing amazing, and it is far inferior to it's prequel, but it's still a damn funny movie. I'd say it's OK, though I do still feel it wasn't entirely needed. It in no way improves upon the first, or really even adds to it. The first Zoolander would still be a classic forever had this sequel never come out. But, still, it's not a bad movie. Like i said, it's good, just not amazing.

Obviously, the movie does get quite a lot of laughs out of you. It's a funny movie - damn funny honestly, but again, it's not nearly as funny as the first one was when i first saw it. Understandably, it is a sequel, and the curse of any sequel is that it's not new and exciting anymore, so the all around concept won't seem as appealing as it first did. The first film in any film series will almost always be your favorite, even if you do love the sequels, just because that was the one that invented the world and got us into it. A comedy is almost always going to be funnier than its sequel, because the characters and comedic setup is new to us the first time around, making the jokes unexpected. Once we are familiar with the characters and style of humor, it becomes pretty easy to know what to expect. That being said, though, the characters of Derek Zoolander, Hansel, and Mugatu are just funny as hell, so they still had me laughing quite a lot (although there's not nearly enough Mugatu). They're not the only ones who carry the film, though. Some supporting characters are pretty funny, as well as cameos, but most pail in comparison to those three leads. I do have to say, though, even more than anyone else in the movie, I was laughing my ass off most to Don Atari. It was a shame he was in the film so little, but the times he was on the screen I laughed at pretty much everything he said. Best character in the movie hands down.

So the characters are funny, which helps the film A LOT, since 80% of what makes a comedy good is the characters, but there were still many problems. Like I said before, many of those really funny characters were not used much at all, and even some of the really funny ones had those moments where the jokes were just failing (except Don Atari, every moment was golden). The movie made a critical error I find too many comedy sequels, especially ones that come out over 10 years after the first one, make - repeating the same jokes from the last movie. So many comedy movie sequels do this - Austin Powers, Dumb and Dumber, Airplane, and hundreds of others. Almost every major comedy sequel ever has just redone jokes exactly from the first film, sometimes with a minor twist to the scenario. This is the point where most films cross the line between homage and rehash. It's OK to have a throwback like this maybe once or twice in your sequel, but you also want to make it full of new jokes and situations for these characters, not just trying to make money off of jokes that were written years ago. I feel like most sequels that have ever done this have bombed, so I still don't get why studios keep taking this approach, but I guess just enough people like seeing constant reminders that this is indeed related to the last film for the studio to make a good enough buck. This movie does fall victim to this practice. Many of the jokes and situations are directly mirroring events or jokes from the 2001 film. Hell, the last 20 minutes of this movie mirror the first film so much it actually gets kind of annoying to watch. I feel like bringing these characters and their world back was enough to make it a proper sequel. We didn't need to parallel the entire first film to make it feel right. I actually enjoyed the first 3rd or so of this film the most as it was totally new and fresh, but then, the more it goes on, the more it just keeps redoing every joke and plot device from the first one.

And that's another problem - the plot. This complaint is more personal, as it's entirely opinion, but while the first film's plot was COMPLETELY over the top and silly with brainwashing male models to assassinate world leaders by making them listen to Franky Goes to Hollywood, I found that level of silliness to be hilarious, extremely fun, and just the right amount. However, the conspiracy in this film, while still able to make a funny movie and get plenty of laughs, just wasn't as funny a concept to me, and seemed to almost get a little too silly, even for a series as bat shit insane as Zoolander. The delivery of the explanations of the plot just never seemed very funny to me, and all it really did was set up ways to parallel scenes from the first Zoolander, like I mentioned before.

The celebrity cameos were pretty good in the film, though. Almost all of them were pretty damn funny playing themselves, and you could just really tell everyone was having a lot of fun with this one. One more negative note, I couldn't help but feel like the swimming joke with Derek and Penelope Cruz's character was kind of stolen directly from Cabin Boy.

So, do these flaws make Zoolander 2 bad? Definitely not. I think it was fun and a pretty good laugh. It's worth seeing for anybody who likes comedies, but I still just feel it wasn't entirely necessary, and it wasn't extraordinary. It's just a pretty good comedy. I'll still watch the 2001 film over it any day. Oh yeah, and that just brings up one more side note... it still surprises me to hell to find out that stuff from the 2000s is already considered retro. I honestly always still think of early 2000s stuff as recent and modern. I guess that WAS over 10 years ago. Hell, I knew I was getting old and part of my life could be called "retro", but I always thought of that being the 80s and early 90s stuff. Damn, now my high school years are considered retro. If that doesn't make me feel old I don't know what will.
Just got back from seeing Deadpool. Now, just before I start this, I just want to get it out there that I'm not really a Deadpool fan. That doesn't mean I dislike him, that's entirely not the case, I just mean I'm not familiar with his comics or origins or anything. The only bits of DP I've been exposed to have been occasional comic panel scans on Facebook, as well as captioned cartoon screens, his appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and his massive fanbase you will meet at comic conventions. So, that being said, I am unaware of any fatal inaccuracies this movie may have done to his character, story, or origins, so please keep in mind that this film was my first formal intro to the character. And how did I like it? I loved it. This movie is fucking awesome.

Obviously, one of the most important parts of a Deadpool movie would have to be the humor, and it was done very nicely. I was legitimately laughing out loud for a very large chunk of this movie. Not only was Ryan Reynolds hilarious as the titular character, but a huge chunk of the supporting characters had me laughing, too. Going in to the movie I was a little worried it would seem like they were forcing that R rating material as hard as they could, but, although the humor is often times extremely crude and obscene, it feels natural. Prior to seeing it, I had watched a Youtube video with a petition demanding a P13 rated version of the film so that kids could see it, and, having not known anything about Deadpool or what to expect from the movie, I was like "yeah, why not?" but now that I have seen it, holy shit, there is literally no way in hell you could do that. Every second of this movie is R rated, and almost anything that isn't would go right over most kids' heads anyway. This movie, simply put, needs to be R. I'm not about to go all out saying anybody who suggested a PG13 rating is an asshole or anything, they're likely just as i was prior to seeing the movie, having no knowledge of the character and not understanding why that rating is so necessary.

But, yeah, it's hilarious, clever, gruesome, and just plain entertaining the whole time. As I've been told for years, Deadpool is famous for breaking the 4th wall, and in this movie he does this trademark justice. Dozens of references to pop-culture, the actors behind he characters, other movies even outside of the film's canon, and just taking note of the viewers and overall fact that this is a movie, and its all very cleverly written in. The film is, surprisingly, without a doubt, canon with Fox's X-Men films (a surprise indeed. Fox's X-Men films aren't even canon with Fox's X-Men films) and makes great use of that fact. The two X-Men characters who were featured in the movie were both pretty likable. Colossus may have looked pretty unconvincing, but his design was spot on, and his personality and accent were too, while also being pretty damn funny too. The teenage girl was also way less obnoxious than I was originally expecting. Just about the only character who came off a bit boring was the generic, bald, evil, British villain (which the film pokes fun at) but his contrasting, grim seriousness made the comedic characters work off of him even better.

Being rated R, the action could be as bloody and intense as they desired, and it payed off well. The action sequences in this film are actually some of the most exciting, fun, and well choreographed fight scenes I've ever seen in a super hero flick. The fast pace of the storytelling, constant humor, and insane action make for pure entertainment, and when they're paired with an amazing soundtrack, surprisingly featuring loads of classic 80s love ballads, Deadpool is just fun from start to finish.

While it may not exactly be one of my top favorite super hero movies, it sure is a damn good one, and the best one Fox has ever done if you ask me. You can just feel how much more love and dedication went into making this movie right, unlike the disaster that was Fantasic Four half a year ago. I definitely support Fox's decision to cancel any continuing work with the Fantastic 4, especially when a Deadpool sequel was put in its place. They clearly had confidence in this one, and for good reason. They knew they had a good product here. I'm sure there will be a slew of haters who just bitch about one or two things they may have changed or left out, calling the whole movie utter trash for those simple things, and they may not emerge until a few weeks from now, much like the haters of The Force Awakens did, but, well, fuck them. It's trendy to hate everything that people ask for non-stop and finally get these days, so hopefully Fox doesn't listen to them exclusively and and continues having confidence in this film, because it is damn good.

Also, Stan Lee's cameos are getting better in every movie now, and the after-credit scene is a hilarious - a homage to one of the earliest after credit scenes from an 80s classic. Definitely worth sticking around for. Go check out Deadpool - it's worth it for sure.
THERE ARE SPOILERS IN HERE! DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO HAVE THE PLOT AND CHARACTERS SPOILED PRIOR TO WATCHING THE SHOW

Being an "Evil Dead" fan, I knew I had to see the Starz original show, "Ash vs Evil Dead", debuting on Halloween night. However, I didn't get around to watching it until this past month. I don't normally get into these huge modern day TV series. Not because I refuse to, but simply because they take up so much time and require so much dedication to follow. I've seen an episode or two of some, like "Game of Thrones", and I even began to follow Netflix's "Daredevil", though I failed to continue, but "Ash vs Evil Dead" was one I had to check out, and one I couldn't stop watching. Being that I finished watching the whole season a couple days ago, I figured it was time for a review.

For anyone who doesn't know, "Evil Dead" is a film franchise created by Sam Raimi. It tells the story of Ashley "Ash" Williams, and his never ending quest of battling "deadites", which are demonic spirits taking over human corpses, as well as other super natural phenomena. The series is most famous and beloved for its campy plots and special effects, over the top gore, and purposely cheesy and funny dialogue and characters. The series became even more caricature-esque as it went on. The first film, while intentionally campy and cheesy, is much more grounded in horror, while "Evil Dead 2" and "Army of Darkness" are far more exaggerated. Ash was once a normal guy who ended up at a cabin in the woods with some friends, as well as his girlfriend. They find a book and an audio tape. Unbeknownst to the cast, after playing the audio tape, it reads a passage from the book, summoning evil forces into our world. These demons possess Ash's friends and he, alone, must behead all of them and bury them. The book, wrapped in human flesh and inked in blood, is the Necronomicon, a summoners tool for bridging the gap between a world of darkness and ours. Over the course of the films, Ash becomes tougher and more fearless, as he continuously fights off the demons from this indestructible book. He cuts off his possessed hand, replaces it with a chainsaw in battle, battles a "bad" version of himself spawned from his demonic hand, and even travels back in time to King Arthur's time to battle an army of demons.

Well, for all who knew what I just said, well, that recap was pointless, and for those who didn't, shame on you. Go watch those movies IMMEDIATELY. Anyway, the show picks up 30 years after "Army of Darkness", or more so, after the 2nd ending to it. "Army of Darkness" was originally meant to end with Ash ending up in a post apocalyptic England, and that still was the ending in some parts of the world, but I, personally, am glad they went with the ending we got in the US for the new show. Not saying the original ending was bad, but for the show, I find the premise they used to be a lot more fun and unique than the recently overly done post-apocalyptic setting. The explanation as to how the plot of the show starts is fucking hilarious. Seriously - best intro to a show EVER.

The show, while modernized in some ways, is still very reminiscent of the original films. The effects either look as hilariously stupid or eerily amazing as they are meant to, just like I'd expect from "Evil Dead". The humor is in great abundance, and the gore is awesome. There are some seriously amazing effects with the gruesome and horrific things that happen in this show. Even the nature of which it is filmed is very similar of the film trilogy. As far as pacing, choreography, set design, mood, special effects and gore are concerned, this show gets an A+. It's just a ton of fun. Campy, cheesy, ridiculous, and entertaining as hell. I feel the first episode was the best constructed and most entertaining episode in the series, being no surprise as it was directed by Sam Raimi himself, but the whole show is just shot and presented in such a great fashion.

Probably the most important thing about any "Evil Dead" product, though, is Ash. Bruce Campbell's legendary character is a pop-culture icon. He's egotistical, uses awesome one-liners, kicks a ton of ass, isn't too bright, and is just hilarious as all fuck. How does "Ash vs Evil Dead" do with the character? FLAWLESSLY. Ash is just as awesome and hilarious as ever. They even manage to have a couple moments where we get a hint of how Ash still feels for people and is saddened by what his life had to become and what he's lost, and it doesn't completely ruin the character either. These things are touched upon very briefly sometimes, and he shows very little emotion towards them, but just enough to let the audience know. He's still always being the Ash we know and love. That's good character writing for you. Subtly! We don't need to be beaten over the head with emotion for it to be present. So many writers and directors today turn every character into an emo joke just to stress that there are things that upset them in their lives. Ash never steps out of character, but we certainly can tell that everything he's been through and fears he may go through do upset him. Ash is, obviously, the best character in this show by far. He is perfect.

As for the other characters, most of them are alright. His two younger sidekicks are alright. You learn to love them a bit, but I wouldn't call them amazing. Pablo is certainly the more likable of the two if you ask me. He's innocent and looks up to Ash immensely, while still having his own strong sense of right and wrong. Kelly, while likable and with a few very funny scenes under her belt, feels a little more forced to me. I was honestly not expecting her to become a main character at first. When we first meet her, all I was thinking was "oh great, here's that over-done cliche female character who's so flawlessly badass and tough and just always makes the main character look like a dumbass we've seen a million times", and to a certain degree I was right, but there's at least a little more to her. She is that pretty typical badass chick we've seen plenty of times before, and she, as well as a few other characters, do seem to too frequently have to point out how wrong or dumb something Ash says is, but she still actually respects him and owes him her life, and she isn't anywhere near as badass at battling deadites as he is, so, at least they didn't go full blown stereotype with her. I kind of feel Dana DeLorenzo, her actress, is a little weak when it comes to somethings, especially scenes involving lots of screaming and emotion. She's good when being dry, sarcastic, and laid back, but when it comes to a scene where she's either yelling like a madwoman or she's scared and screaming hysterically, her acting sudden;y gets really off-key and bad. I give her credit, as she plays many scenes well, and is good at the characters main personality, but, despite how campy the series has always been, her acting while screaming is a little cringe-worthy sometimes. There's also an ongoing romantic mystery between the two. Pablo is in love with her, and she's seemingly in love with him, but we never really find out if they both share the same feelings, or if she is just looking out for him and cares about him like a brother figure. It's pretty generic and a cheap way to keep some viewers interested. I could do without it, but it doesn't exactly annoy me either. I could give or take the romance plot. It's not great but not bad.

The only other two recurring characters are Ashley Fisher, a pretty bland character, but a pretty damn fine woman, and Ruby, a mysterious woman who blames Ash for all that is happening. I'm assuming we will learn more about Ruby as the series goes on. At first, she is introduced as someone who wants vengeance on Ash, as she is related to some of his friends he had to kill in the first film, but by the end of the season, we learn she was actually the author of the Necronomicon, and is actually a demonic being. It's still not really clear if the identity of author is still true or not, but it was honestly pretty damn easy to see her being a villain. I called it the first time I saw her. Ashley is introduced as a cop who teams up with Ruby for a bit, as she's been led to believe that Ash was responsible for her partner becoming a deadite, but eventually teams up with Ash and becomes a brief love interest. She's not a very long-lasting character, and when she gets killed off, it made her lack of unique personality make a bit more sense to me. I suppose they didn't want audiences getting too attached to a recurring character who was going to die, but she was still likable enough. There are a few other characters who pop in for an episode or two, and all are good enough. I can't really think of a character who was written just straight up terribly. They're all pretty good, but none come close to the awesomeness of Ash.

The season ends on a cliff note, and I am so eager to see where it goes in season 2. All in all, I'd say this show is fucking awesome. I can't get enough of it. Some of the characters are a little weak sometimes, but never enough to ruin the show, and everything else is phenomenal. If you haven't seen it, go watch it. I'd say it's guaranteed to please any "Evil Dead" fan.
Just got back from the theater where I watched Tarantino's latest film, The Hateful Eight. Keep in mind that I just saw this movie and only briefly discussed it with a friend afterwards, so I haven't had as much time to think about it and soak it up as I usually do after seeing films before writing these reviews, so this review may not be too long. Also, I feel that this is a movie that deserves spoiler-free reviews, as the entire picture is a mystery.

I've been looking forward to this one since I saw the first trailer. I've never seen an Quentin Tarantino movie I didn't like. Some are phenomenal, some not as good as others, but they're all pretty damn good, and Hateful Eight is no exception. I wouldn't say it's one of Tarantino's best, but still pretty damn good. As Tarantino's always been famous for, this film can dedicate lots of time to characters making small talk, yet keeping you entertained almost the entire time. Even all the small talk scenes only help fuel the suspense. They make you start to analyze which characters may be on each others sides, and they create an amazingly overwhelming web of potential connections. This makes guessing who's who lots of fun. Up until the guilt was exposed, I was guessing like mad who it could be on. Those are the two things this movie achieves perfectly. It may have awesome visuals, a great ability to establish the setting through visuals and mood, and pretty kick ass, suspenseful instrumentals, but the movie shines brightest with its character writing and its mystery. These characters are so well fleshed out. They may be gritty caricatures in a lot of ways, but they're also extremely realistic in their own, exaggerated sort of way. There is so much depth to most of them, and that is what makes the mystery of the film so amazing. Any film can try to put in a mystery, but if the characters are boring or don't give you much to work with, you can't really care. With bland, one dimensional characters in a mystery movie, you may as well just play a game of Clue. But in this film, all the characters have a slew of beliefs, allies, enemies, and history, and in a human-like fashion, many of those beliefs are altered during the events of the film. We get to know these characters extremely well, but in a clever way, we also don't really know anything about them. The mystery is so well done, I was actually having a ton of fun as the characters were putting it all together and trying to figure it out.

The story follows eight men and one woman in 1870's Wyoming. Some of the men are bounty hunters, while others are an executioner and a sheriff among other things. Almost all of them, for one reason or another, were on their way to the town of Red Rock. One bounty hunter, played by Kurt Russell, is carrying a bounty around, the one woman. She's to be hanged in Red Rock. When all of these people get caught shacking up in a shop for a few days from a blizzard, Kurt Russell suggests that one of them is in cahoots with his bounty, known as "Daisy", and tries to control the scene as to make sure they don't prevent him from bringing this supposed murderer to justice and making his $10,000. From that point on, all of the characters become uneasy and lose any trust in one another, trying to discover allies and enemies in a way to expose the guilty man.

The acting is also a worthy thing to mention. Samuel Jackson is freaking awesome, and pretty damn funny. While he stands out as the best performance to me, I don't mean to discredit any of the other amazing performances. Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, and all the actors, all put on amazing acts, too. Most of the characters just worked off of each other so well, and the actors really seemed to get into the characters a lot. Even though there are so many big name actors in the film, you keep thinking of them exclusively as the character rather than the actor, simply because they put so much into the performances. Each one just seems to have so many layers to them rather than just being one solid, mono-toned cliche, even though some almost seem like they will be when first introduced.

Now, although this was a solid film, there are some flaws I feel the need to touch upon. The biggest flaw, I found, to be the pacing. I know Tarantino has been known to make some long ass movies, but this one felt a bit longer than it needed to be. I'm familiar with his generally non-linear style of storytelling, too, but when this movie makes time jumps, it seems kind of silly and unneeded. This is mostly due to the fact that for the first two thirds or more of the film, it's completely linear storytelling. It isn't until one of the final chapters of the movie that suddenly we get a massive flashback scene. It's not a bad scene by any means. It's entertaining, but I kind of feel it was unnecessary. We just start to learn exactly who is responsible for the events of the movie, and then it cuts to a really long flashback scene where we see the whole damn thing. Then, it cuts back to present day, and the film, again, pieces the puzzle together. It just seemed like a way to lengthen the movie. Everything that the flashback shows is explained, or could have been explained, in the linear story line without seeming sloppy or out of place. It also sort of kills any imagination that could be used to fill in the gaps. It literally tries to show how every little damn thing happened. It's a cool addition to fully explain the mystery in its entirety, down to the most meaningless of details, but a bit too drawn out for my personal tastes. It felt like he was afraid we wouldn't completely get what happened unless it was shown to us in full detail. The movie is also just a bit too long in general. Most scenes are pretty important to the plot, even when seeming like minute detail, since everything counts in a mystery, but damn near 3 hours is a bit too long for a film about eight guys spending about one night in a shack in a blizzard. It doesn't make the film bad at all, I still enjoyed almost every minute, but it could have been sped up just a little bit. The theater I went to also didn't pause for 15 minutes for the intermission the way the film was intended to, so for almost 3 hours I had to sit there and not go to the bathroom.

This movie is really damn good, except for the minor complaints I stated above. I'd say it's definitely worth watching, especially if you like Tarantino, or if you're just a fan of murder mystery type movies. For anyone who might be interested in it but has no knowledge of it, the only warnings I feel the need to give are that there's extreme violence, hateful language, and the movie's very long, but if you've ever seen any Tarantino movie before, you should already be expecting all of those.
  • Listening to: Squeeze
  • Drinking: Water

Recently I have been coming up with my personal order for Disney movies, ranked from least favorite to favorite. It’s a difficult and complicated task, but in the mean time I squeezed out a solid order for Pixar films. Now, these are purely based on personal opinion, and are ranked more so for how much I like them rather than how good they actually are, but, obviously, being that it’s my opinion, I think these films are ranked pretty fairly by actual quality, and I will list as many supporting reasons as to why I feel the way I do about each one. I figured I’d put this up now as I hope to see The Good Dinosaur soon, and wanted to concoct this list in time for it.

 

Pixar’s list was not only easier to construct than the Disney Animation Studios films because there’s far less of them, but also because I’ve never considered myself a diehard Pixar fan, so choosing between favorites and grading them more on the facts rather than nostalgia was much easier, where in the Disney collection, I love so many of their films, it’s really tough to decide which ones should be considered better or worse. That being said, I don’t think Pixar is bad. I think the team is extremely talented, and they produce the best current animated films second to Disney themselves, but their movies just never interested me on the level they seemed to for others, for the most part. So, without further ado, I will begin listing each Pixar film from least favorite to my #1 favorite. I won’t be including “Cars 2” because… well, I’ve never seen it.

 

WARNING – there are spoilers in some of these reviews.

 

#13 – CARS

“Cars” sucks. Plain and simple. Well… at least, that’s how I feel. Pixar’s usual floorplan is a movie about non-human life forms living like civilized humans through as many puns and clever visuals as possible – toys living like people, fish living like people, bugs living like people... – but, while films like their “Inside Out” and “Monsters Inc.” approach this in a far more creative, clever, and imaginative way, “Cars” is the bottom of the barrel. In a case like Monsters Inc., the idea is clever because it’s built on something everybody can get. How do Monsters come out of kids’ closets and scare them at night? The film designers came up with an extremely imaginative world with ludicrously in-depth explanations for how such a phenomenon could occur, just as “Inside Out” cleverly explains, through characters and a secret world, how the human brain works and why we feel the things we do. “Cars”, on the other hand, is not anything like this. It is simply a movie that takes place in a weird parallel world where only talking vehicles with faces exist.

 

The cheap car jokes are constant, and really never very clever or funny at all. Even aside from the crappy setup, the film is only a sub-par, generic romantic comedy template with a cartoon racecar mask slapped on it. I find the characters to be extremely uninteresting. The most memorable one is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, and that is NOT a good thing. The thing that confuses me the most about this movie, though, is the world. Why IS there a parallel world with living cars? It’s never explained. And if there was a world of cars, why is it parallel? Route 66? Tokyo? Why do these places exist in this world? Better yet, HOW do these places exist? Cars don’t have hands. Who built the buildings? Who built the trash cans? Who uses the trash cans? What do they empty out in the toilet? Gas? Isn’t that, like, their blood? Wouldn’t they stop moving? Why build doors when you don’t have hands? Why have roads if the only living things are cars? Why not just drive everywhere? Who builds the cars? Are they born through natural birth? Do cars screw? Do baby cars grow in a female car’s gas tank? Why is there an interior to them if people don’t drive them? It makes NO sense. And, I know, it’s a cartoon, it doesn’t have to make sense, but there is a point of senselessness one can reach where, even in a cartoon world, it’s ridiculous. When you see, sorry to keep mentioning them, “Inside Out” and “Monsters Inc.” and really notice the amount of work and thought that went into coming up with how these worlds work and how everything can exist according to those rules, it’s just incredibly disappointing to see a lazy, half-ass job like “Cars” make it big.

 

If this was Pixar’s first movie ever, I would have excused it, but it wasn’t. It was their SEVENTH film. They had already made far more creative and fleshed out films like “The Incredibles” at this point, so seeing this thoughtless wad of laziness pop out when it did was just sickening. I remember watching “The Incredibles” with a friend back when it first came to video. I had already gotten him in agreement with my joke that “all Pixar makes is movies about non-human things living like humans”, so when this preview came on before the movie, both of us just laughed and were like “Really? That’s it?”. I didn’t see the movie until years later, and after seeing it, I still feel the same way. Even the character’s physical designs are a bore. They’re all just cars with the same face slapped on it. Every kid sees faces out of cars (I always saw the headlights as the eyes myself) but that doesn’t mean it will make a good movie, and it certainly did not. “Cars” still remains, by far, my least favorite Pixar film.

 

#12 – TOY STORY 2/A BUG’S LIFE

I can’t decide which one of these two is better or worse, so I’ve clumped them together. I know
“Toy Story 2” is a popular one, but, well, I just wasn’t feeling it very much. Let me start with that one before jumping into “A Bug’s Life”.

 

The first “Toy Story” was not only revolutionary for its visual style, but also for its creativity. Sure, animators as far back as the 30s or earlier have been depicting toys as being alive, but the extra step Pixar took in making them real was something not many achieved. They created rules about how your toys live, when they come to life, what they care about, and how they feel hurt or loved depending on what you do. It was a pretty good, cute film. “Toy Story 2”, though, falls in that “more of the same crap” category for me. I liked “Toy Story”, but not enough to care for this sequel. The sequel sees Woody once again parted from Andy’s toy collection, only this time Buzz leads the other toys to rescue him.

The jokes were probably a bit cleverer in that they utilized the potential the toy theme offered more than the first film did, but that didn’t make them funny. I found most of the jokes to be extremely obvious and generic. They try to create more emotional scenes with Woody finding out about his true past, learning he is part of an old Wild West toy line, and having to choose between them or Andy, but even that plot is destroyed as the Sheriff toy turns out to be bad and Woody just defeats him and rejoins Andy’s toys, bringing the other two toys from his set with him anyway. It’s a typical style of plot that movies suffer where, there really isn’t much of a plot. Sure, stuff happens, there’s a twist and all, but none of the suspense was really for anything. The big choice never had to be made. Nothing that was building up really mattered much. With this weak plotline I didn’t care about, the jokes I found either too goofy to be funny or too bland to be funny, and the fact that I felt this movie never needed to exist in the first place, “Toy Story 2” gets a pretty bad ranking on my list.

 

And, similarly to the way I feel about “Toy Story 2”, I find “A Bug’s Life” to be rather boring. It was their second film ever, and Dream Works had just released a similar movie with “Ants” a month or so prior to its debut, so it wasn’t coming on very strong. I honestly can’t rate this one as fairly as the others, because I just don’t remember it very good. I saw it a couple times years ago, and I just remember it being incredibly plain. The main characters are boring and one dimensional, the story is generic and uninspiring, and even the abundance of characters is a problem. For instance, the circus bugs are some of the only remotely interesting characters, but there’s so many of them that each of them barely gets enough screen time. Most of the screen time is wasted on the boring ant and grasshopper characters. The movie seemed to use the caterpillar character as their main “funny” mascot character for the film, and he’s just your run-of-the-mill fat character who just lives to eat. The movie just felt uninspired and lazy to me, thus earning it this spot on my list.

 

#11 BRAVE

Part of me is telling me this should have been the #12 spot, but oh well. Brave was Pixar trying something they had never tried before, but everybody else has done to death. It was marketed all wrong, portrayed as an action film starring a tough, badass female lead, but the movie was actually the story of a snotty bratty teenager and bears… A TON OF BEARS. I find it weird how little mention of the bears was made in the merchandising and promotion of this film, because the whole movie revolves around bears.

 

The main character, Merida, is cute and spunky in her own way, certainly likable in a sense, but it’s hard to really care about her. Sure, arranged marriages suck, but, I mean, ALL royalty did that back then. Hell, almost all people did. And, over time, it was done away with. So what is she fighting for? She’s more or less using the marriage as a way of exploding her teen angst allover her mother because she asks her to actually take responsibility in life (not talking about the wedding, talking about everything in Merida’s life) and not just spending all her time riding a horse, climbing waterfalls and wandering the woods like a klutz. Basically, her mother just wants her to not be a deadbeat, and Merida just can’t take anybody asking responsibility from her, so she turns to Twinrova from Ocarina of Time to cast a horrible evil spell on her mom for revenge (was I the only one who found the scene where she tries to get the mom to eat the mixture eerily like the end of Stephen King’s “Thinner”? Makes Merida seem even more twisted and messed up). The spell turns her into a bear, and Merida acts surprised as hell, kind of leaving me to wonder “well, what did you think was going to happen? Did you want her to die???”.

 

The movie just becomes a generic, empty quest between her and her bear-mom working together to cure her of her… bear-ness. Of course, during this “quest”, which isn’t so much a quest but just the two hanging out in the woods for no real reason for a while, the mother starts to see that she was too hard on Merida and decides she should never be hard on her again. So… yeah, the message here is “if your parents ask you to do something, throw a temper tantrum and cast a hex on them, then you will get your way”. The marriage part is only there to try to drive it home to audiences that the family asks too much of Merida, but, I mean, again, in those days, that’s what everybody did, so Merida fighting that is no different from kids today fighting that hard about having to go to school.

 

Aside from its generic storytelling and bad morals, the film just feels uninspired. It feels like the creators didn’t even really care about the movie or what it had to say. All Brave really did was prove that maybe we should all leave the princess gig to Disney.

 

#10 FINDING NEMO

For whatever reason, Finding Nemo has always been not only one of the most beloved Pixar films ever, but one of the most beloved animated films of our time. I don’t think it’s a bad movie at all, I just find it wildly overrated. It has a good story that surely gets the audience to invest their emotion into the film, but I just find it rather plain.

 

The jokes, for the most part, are the kind that leave me wondering how people love them. Most of the jokes are rather scientific jokes about animals and the unique traits of species, most of which I feel the majority of casual movie goers wouldn’t even be aware of or understand. No casual audiences, especially children, know what the hell a sea cucumber or a clown fish are. The movie seems to generally just be a series of segments dedicated to different animal jokes. First we get the jokes about Clown Fish, then the jokes about jelly fish and the other kids at school, then jokes about sharks, then jokes about sea turtles, then whales, and so on. Then, add to this the fact that I found Dory to really just be annoying, and it’s no wonder I put it at #10.

 

Again, don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t bad. It’s a cute story, has some fun characters, and has a lot of heart, but I just don’t see it as anything more than average. Even the main character, Marlin, while sympathetic and likable, is pretty boring.

 

I guess I should comment on the upcoming “Finding Dory”. I don’t really have any interest in it. As stated before, I found Dory pretty annoying, like her personality was too forced. It didn’t seem authentic. It more or less felt like Ellen was trying too hard, or was told to try too hard to pull off that “hey, I’m that super wacky, zany character who never shuts up or stops moving who says stupid, random stuff for cheap comedic effect we’ve seen way too many times before”. On top of this, the new movie tries to make Dory the emotional pull of the movie, hinting towards a tragic past involving her mother in the trailer. I find it hard to get emotionally invested in a character who acts like such a caricature and is kind of impossible to relate to. It’s like trying to relate to the Animaniacs or something (great characters, by the way. No hostility there). Add to this that she physically wanders off and now Marlin and Nemo have to search for her and, yeah, you lost my interest. Her long term memory loss is obviously a big focus in the film, but the entire search should have been a metaphorical “finding” of her past, not physically looking for her as she and Marlin did for Nemo in the first film.

 

As most of Pixar’s films do, Nemo was taking a world other than our own and making it as it would be with a human-like society.

 

#9 MONSTERS, INC.

Monsters, Inc., I feel, had more potential than was fully utilized. The core concept was pretty ingenious. Sure, similar concepts have been explored in countless children’s books and cartoons, like Nickelodeon’s “Aaaah! Real Monsters”, but the film’s explanation for how monsters get into kid’s closets and why they need to scare people is extremely clever, in a fun, abstract way. There was a lot of potential with that idea, but I just feel it wasn’t properly explored. It’s not a bad movie by any means, it’s just very weak.

 

Our leads, Mike and Sully, are certainly likable. Mike, despite being the sidekick, is clearly more of the focus. Far more time went into building up his world and personality than Sully’s. The plot is meant to revolve solely around Sully, but all there really is to him is that he’s the top “scarer” in the industry, and he’s Mike’s best friend. Mike, on the other hand, has FAR more jokes than Sully, a girlfriend, running jokes with other characters in the movie like Roz, Randall, and his girlfriend, Celia, and was even the main advertisement for the film. When Monsters, Inc. was released, Mike was everywhere. In newspaper ads, dominating all of the time in the TV commercials and trailers, and even filling toy shelves with the most merchandise. Several of his lines in the film became well known before the film’s release and were being marketed in toys and ads. Hell, even the logo for the movie is similar in design to his iconic eye. Sully was just kind of the other guy. The problem is, Sully is supposed to be the main focus.

 

Aside from Sully’s personality not being fully explored, the plot is also very over-ambitious, and kind of becomes a mess. Sully’s the first employee to realize that humans are not hazardous to monsters after befriending a human little girl, but then all this other mayhem ensues. The first half of the movie is just seeing how Mike and Sully’s lives at Monsters, Inc. go. Then Boo, the human child, shows up, and they freak out. Shortly after Sully develops a fondness for her and begins to believe that the stories of humans being hazardous to monsters are wrong. Mike doesn’t agree with Sully and wants her out. So, now the plot is about Mike and Sully returning her to the human world, but then we suddenly get this whole other story. Monsters, Inc. turns out to be an evil corporation that is scamming the world and making a profit off of lies. Apparently, though the monsters’ world is powered by human screams, the company has a secret, alternate method of extracting energy from monsters with some weird tube thing and… yeah, I don’t really get it. It turns out that by doing… that… they are able to get the same energy they got from human screams, but, like, way more and way cheaper or something. It really has NOTHING to do with the main plot, and just seems so out of place. Oh yeah, go figure, the one employee that Mike and Sully don’t get along with, Randall, is in on it. Of course.

 

The movie would have already been entertaining enough had it just been about the two monsters freaking out, trying to return Boo home while everything in their daily lives seem to be at risk, only to eventually grow attached to the kid and end on a positive note. This all happens, but almost in the background of a totally different plot at some point. The evil corporate plot just seems so far removed from the base story that it kind of just ruins the film entirely. Was it an effort to use the company president character more? Did they feel he was too unexplored? Was it a way to make Randall seem purely evil? I don’t really think it serves any purpose. It isn’t even really referenced much at the end of the film. The end of the film really just focuses on Sully being sad now that Boo is gone.

 

Another flaw in the film, I feel, is how Sully is kind of a bad friend. I mean, not terrible or anything, but it still seems to be the case. I understand that by showing Sully caring about Boo’s wellbeing so much and Mike just worrying about himself (well, both of them, really) we’re supposed to think Sully is a kinder, braver character, and Mike’s being selfish, but really, Sully never worries about Mike the way Mike worries about both of them. By the time they’re with Big Foot, Sully really has ruined their lives over Boo. Everything either one of them ever had is lost – their reputations, their jobs, Mike’s relationship with his girlfriend, and, hell, they are literally lost, too, and it’s all because of Sully. However, while this is happening, Sully doesn’t give a damn. Mike is explaining this all to him, and Sully is completely ignoring him just trying to see through the snow so he can save this kid he just met a day ago. Ironically, to me, Sully comes off as the selfish one. He doesn’t seem to value his friendship with Mike as much at all.

 

The biggest flaws I see in this movie lie within the fact that the main character is not very interesting, he’s kind of an ass, the friendship between the two main characters doesn’t seem too genuine, and the story becomes a mess with misguided direction and unneeded plot twists. I think if they took out the scream scheme sub-plot and spent a little more time fleshing out Sully, this movie could have been damn fun.

 

On a side note, many of the character designs I found to be weak, too. The main characters looked good, but most of the supporting cast consisted of uni-colored shapes with faces. They felt lazy and uncreative to me. Not a major complaint. I understand they want the designs to be cute and simple for a kid’s film, but I still would have liked to see more originality in the designs. A theme like monsters offers so much potential, and they just made the characters walking pastel triangles and circles.

 

#8 MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

Well, I just went on about Monsters, Inc., but there’s more “Monsters” to discuss. While this movie is no masterpiece, I do find it slightly superior to the first film. Sure, it is kind of random to take Monsters, Inc. and turn it into homage to 80s college films like Revenge of the Nerds, but, oddly enough, it kind of worked. The world felt more explored and fleshed out. We get to see the world they live in outside of Monsters, Inc. for the first time, lending opportunities for more clever scenery design, like trees with bat-wing leaves, and making the world more relatable and human for the audience. More of the supporting characters feel better explored in this movie, too. We meet loads of monsters, all of which have a ton of personality and substance, yet Mike and Sully still remain front and center. Many of the supporting character designs in the film are also much more creative and involved than those in the first film. Everyone from the bullies, the fellow nerdy kids, the cheerleaders (although, as a little joke, they all look the same), teachers, and even the kids hosting the games, have fun, interesting designs.

 

The movie’s a prequel to the first. Where the first film was centered on Sully, this one is centered on Mike. Ever since he was little, Mike wanted to be a “scarer”, despite everybody constantly telling him he’s not scary (I don’t know, if something looking that freaky came out of my closet, I’d be pretty terrified). Mike goes to the best school for scaring to pursue his dream. They have some pretty well-done humor by messing with the audience when Mike is walking into his dorm, saying he will meet his life-long best friend, only for the audience to see Randall in the room when obviously expecting Sully. Honestly, I know they had to make Randall a “bad guy” to set up the first film, but I found it a shame. I actually liked Mike and Randall as best buddies for the time it lasted. It just seemed genuine, like two awkward geeks. Once he’s very quickly and sloppily written off as a villain, he kind of disappears from the movie, serving little to no purpose.

 

Well, Sully shows up as the descendant of a long line of “scarers” who were always regarded as the best. Being that Sullivans have always been known for being the best, he feels no need to try and just wants to party. Through some mishaps, he and Mike end up hanging out, and both failing an exam (I found their friendship more believable and fun in this movie). The two spend the rest of the film trying to earn the school’s respect. It’s a fun plot. Nothing original, and no masterpiece for sure, but definitely more fun than the awkward mess the first movie had. The emotional scenes seem more legit than in the first film, and the attitude is just brighter and more energetic. Like I said, it’s just fun. Not great, but a fun movie.

 

#7 RATATOUILLE

I think of Ratatouille as a standard good Pixar film. There’s not much about it that stands out as exceptional to me, but there’s really nothing wrong with it either. It’s a damn good movie, just not one that I hold particularly dear. The characters, whether they be human or rat, weren’t particularly interesting or memorable, but you still care greatly for the main protagonists regardless and want to see them succeed. While the strength of this movie is certainly not in its characters, the story is just well told and fun.

 

 I think the greatest aspect of this movie, though, is the mood and setting. Through the beautiful visuals and lovely music and accents of the characters they perfectly paint a picturesque, romanticized French fantasy world. I wouldn’t be surprised if watching this film made somebody want to visit Paris. The whole mood of the film is very cozy. The warm-lit restaurant and the beautifully colored skies accompanying urban streets decorated with cute shops really gave a unique flavor and culture to Pixar that their films couldn’t quite achieve prior to this one.

 

But, as I said, it isn’t without flaws. The characters are mostly pretty flat and predictable, and the story isn’t anything too impactful or memorable. Not bad at all, but not too exceptional either; just a solid good movie. I’ll leave it at that.

 

#6 TOY STORY 3

This one is regarded as one of Pixar’s best, if not, their crowning achievement, by most fans, and I can see why. While I think there are still a handful of stronger Pixar pictures, I can definitely see the appeal, and I do think it is a pretty damn good movie.

 

Toy Story 3, I believe, is the only Toy Story sequel we ever needed. Toy Story 2 seemed like a pointless addition that more or less only existed to make money off the popular name and establish Toy Story as Pixar’s largest franchise. However, Toy Story 3 answers all the questions that needed to follow the first movie. Andy is grown up and going to college, his toys haven’t been touched for years, and the toys, and Andy, all have to accept letting go of each other and moving on. I, myself, have always been one to get very emotionally attached to places and inanimate objects (often even more so than people) and I feel humanizing the toys in this film portrays the exact emotion I feel when having to part with such things. Any time I need to say goodbye to a place or object that meant something to me in the past, I feel like I’m leaving a friend forever. I remember all the memories I shared with it, and actually feel bad for it, like I’m hurting its feelings. I believe almost everybody can agree with me that they’ve experienced similar feelings, and that is why this film is so important. It speaks volumes about letting go of your childhood, as well as dozens of other things. Just change in general. It’s a coming to terms story that gets more personal by connecting to something we all cherish – playing with toys as kids. Obviously, in this story, the toys are ACTUALLY supposed to be alive and have feelings, but even if you look at that in a metaphorical sense, it’s emotionally powerful.

 

Pixar films almost all have something to say, but this is the first time they truly made an important and powerful message, I feel. This movie also boasts plenty of other good qualities, though. We get the same cast we’ve known from the first movie, and this movie may take the best advantage of toy and child jokes of any Toy Story film yet. There’s plenty of good humor (Spanish Buzz is awesome) and the story is just very well constructed.

 

As everybody surely knows, most people praise this movie for the final scene. I heard so many people tell me this made them cry before I ever saw the movie. After seeing it, I can say it was surely an emotional scene, though it didn’t get any tears out of me. It’s a bit drawn out and exaggerated, but it doesn’t feel too forced as to ruin the pace or heart of the scene. It was a perfect ending to the series, closing the story of the toys’ lives with Andy in a the best way possible… but that wasn’t the end, was it? Holiday specials and an upcoming 4th film had to come out afterwards. I’m not going to judge any of them, as I haven’t seen them, but I really felt Toy Story 3 should have been the end. Oh well, guess you gotta keep making what you know sells.

 

#5 TOY STORY

Pixar’s first film, debuting in 1995, Toy Story was one of the most revolutionary animated films of all time. Sure, today the animation looks very dated, and now that there are so many Pixar films, and animated films of its nature, it doesn’t really stand out as anything too special, but when this movie was new it was one of a kind. It popularized the fast-paced, sarcastic wit of new animated features, as well as the star-studded cast, both aspects that would later be exaggerated further by Dreamworks’ Shrek.

 

Seeing an all CGI film in the 90s blew our minds, especially since, at that time, the CG was far superior to anything we had seen in computer animated cartoons. But that wasn’t all it brought to the table. As I said before, the top of the line casting wasn’t very common for animated features then, and the style of the humor and storytelling was very innovative for its time. Hell, even the concept was. Sure, it wasn’t anything brand new, but it paved the way for many other animated films after it.

 

Toy Story mostly makes this spot for me due to its importance to the genre, but even that being said, it’s a thoroughly entertaining and creative film.

 

#4 UP

It has been said so many times before, but, hell, the introduction to this film is beautiful. It could have been a self-contained short film, and possibly could have been better in that form. The bitter sweet story of two kids with big dreams of becoming explorers, growing old together after marriage, and one passing away, leaving the other alone with their childhood fantasies is so powerful, you can’t help but love it.

 

That’s not saying the rest of the film isn’t good. It certainly is, but it just doesn’t come close to the opening segment. The characters are VERY strong in this film. They are developed so well emotionally, you can’t help but care so much about them. Carl’s getting fed up with daily life without Ellie and up and taking off (literally) to pursue their childhood dream for her is a story that can touch anybody’s heart, and his growing appreciation for the boy, Russell, who mistakenly gets stranded with him after seeing his childhood self in him is a great touch, too. Sure, there is some really weird stuff halfway through the film, like the talking dogs and the villain and all, but I believe, in retrospect, it all works well with the purpose of the film.

 

While I found all of those parts a bit weird and random when I was watching the movie the first time, when I looked back on the film they made a bit more sense. Carl used his childhood dream as a way to escape dealing with the loss of his wife. It was a final goodbye to her, achieving one last thing together before moving on. However, as he learns when meeting his childhood inspiration, Charles Muntz, things are never as great as you hype them up to be in your mind. The image Carl turned his old hero into in his head was entirely different from what Muntz truly was, yet he becomes exactly the hero he thought Muntz to be to Russell on the journey. It teaches the valuable lesson that you can’t expect other people to be who you want them to be, you need to become that person yourself. So, after thinking of it that way, I can see why Muntz has to show up in the movie, and why he has to be so disappointing to Carl.

 

This is a truly great picture, and definitely one of Pixar’s strongest works.

 

#3 WALL-E

Wall-E is a very well composed film. I thought it might be a bit too slow to start for kids when I first saw it, but seeing how successful it was, I don’t think this was the case. The first half is very atmospheric and soothing, which, ironically, is a strange way to look at the Earth after death. The world is completely abandoned, and the humans, who now live aboard space colonies living an immobile life of constant media-binging, send scrap robots down to planets to collect old garbage. Wall-E, the last of these robots we see on earth, lives a lonely life of wandering the planet and collecting old things the people left behind. When a new robot shows up, he instantly tries to befriend it. The two robots “fall in love”, but must be separated after the newer one, EVE, fulfills her purpose and collects a plant sample, giving proof to the humans that Earth is fertile again, and ready to be returned to.

 

I’ve heard numerous reviewers and others complain about the second half of this film. They say they like the first half because it was atmospheric, peaceful, and cute, and that the second half is a played out, generic message that hogs the spotlight from the main robotic characters. Well, to those people, I have two points to bring up. First off, if it was just the first half, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of story. It would have just been a really drawn out, slow paced love story between two robots. There wouldn’t be any reason for the post-apocalyptic earth, the referencing of the humans, or even the robots being there in the first place. It would just kind of end at some point, with no conflict or resolve at all. It would have been an incredibly empty experience, and all of these same complainers would likely have torn it apart for those reasons, too.

 

Second of all, it’s a kids’ movie. Sure, a message like this is extremely played out in adult scifi media, but barely any children’s movies take a theme like this to such a dark and daring length. It’s important for kids to know the errors of modern civilization, and this movie is able to very strongly convey this while keeping it cute and entertaining at the same time. Wall-E still pursues his love interest, and is reunited with her in the end, but the conflict with the humans is well placed. It really makes this an important film for kids. The whole metaphor at the end where the computer system (technology) is literally trying to keep the people from returning to Earth is a great way of literally showing how we are controlled by our technology. Like I said, it’s not the most revolutionary message ever, but it was extremely well done and very important for kids. The movie could even serve as an introduction to satirical science fiction as a whole.

 

#2 THE INCREDIBLES

Technically speaking, I don’t think I’d say this is a better film than Up or Wall-E, but I just find it so damn likable I had to put it this high. The Incredibles doesn’t try too much new. It’s a super hero movie. It’s actually kind of a Fantastic Four movie, only actually good.

 

The Incredibles tells the story of a super hero family coming to terms with the world disabling them from being themselves. Bob and Helen Parr were the greatest heroes around in their younger years, which happened to be a time when “supers” were allowed to fight crime and use their powers for good. However, over time people became frightened of them and the potential damage they could cause, so a law was passed to prohibit all supers from using their powers. Bob now lives a mediocre life, working a desk job and hating every minute of it. He and his best friend still listen in on police radio signals to hunt down crime and fight it in secret for fun (an idea I found hilarious and fun as hell), but they have never again been able to don their super hero identities.

 

Bob is eventually contacted by a new, underground organization, and is enlisted as a super hero once again, secretly. When the rest of his family goes off looking for him they all realize the importance of using their powers and become super heroes themselves. It has your basic family values messages, as well as being who you want to be and realizing your full potential despite how much the world tries to hold you down. It’s nothing we haven’t heard plenty of times in kids’ films before, but it’s a bit more subtle than usual, and is accompanied by spectacular characters, appealing visuals, intense action, and a really damn fun story. As far as straight up entertainment goes, this is the real deal.

 

It’s been announced that an Incredibles 2 is finally on the way, and I welcome it with open arms. Unlike Cars or Finding Nemo, Incredibles was made to have sequels. It’s a super hero story. Literally ANYTHING could happen next. This might also give us a chance to see more of some of the other characters, as Bob was the dominant focus of the first film.

 

#1 INSIDE OUT

I’m sure everybody who follows me knew this was coming, and I’m sure you have all heard me praise this movie A LOT this past summer, but I honestly feel this movie deserves every ounce of praise it gets. Words can’t really do this movie justice. Every bit of this movie was top-notch, and you can just feel the love and care that was put into it when you watch it.

 

As far as messages go, this movie is unparalleled by anything else Pixar has ever done (and most animated films ever, really). This movie not only teaches a valuable lesson to children, but audiences of all ages. In a world that is constantly telling you that you need to be happy all the time, and feeling sad or frightened is bad, it’s extremely important to be told “no, you have all those feelings for a reason”. This movie emphasizes the importance of all of your emotions, despite how “bad” they may be considered. If you never felt sad, you would have nothing to be happy about. No yin without yang.

 

Inside Out is a case where you can literally translate every scene and line in the movie to a metaphor for how our brains work. It’s not just the “something in-human living in a human world” setup Pixar has done so many times in the past, it speaks so much deeper. Every little place and thing in Riley’s brain is a clever, abstract take on how something in our minds works. This lends itself fantastically to jokes as well as symbolic storytelling. Anger coming up with the idea to run away, Fear trying to quit his job but failing to even do that, Joy and Sadness leaving Riley’s life as she enters depression, making her numb to all intense emotional feeling, Sadness overclouding old joyful memories as time passes to create bitter-sweet nostalgia, even an old imaginary friend taking certain memories away with him as he goes on to be forgotten – they ALL symbolically represent how our brains work and change over time.

 

While most critics rightfully praised this film (although it was financially beat by Minions…) I have heard numerous people complain or “crack jokes” about “mistakes” the characters could have avoided in the movie. This is a complaint I’ve heard several people make about a number of films that I’ve always thought were stupid complaints. We constantly see these “How it Should Have Ended” and “Everything Wrong With…” videos popping up on Youtube these days, and although they’re only jokes, some people honestly judge movies on how efficiently the characters reached their goal. To those people, all I can say is “stop watching movies”. Movies are made to entertain, tell a story, portray a message, or do all of the above. They are not survival documentaries. Characters HAVE to make mistakes to make a conflict and create a plot. If nobody made any mistakes, why the hell go see the movie at all? You know everything will be instantly resolved. Do people think being able to point out what movie characters do wrong makes them look smart?

 

But in the case of Inside Out, that complaint is EXTRA stupid. There is nothing “wrong” in that movie. All the bad outcomes of the conflicting emotions are meant to represent the unstable emotional state Riley is going through. When you are depressed or panicked, your brain doesn’t work right. You don’t know what to do, and you don’t know how to feel. Plus, everything in the movie, like I said before, happens to represent something. The “big sacrifice” Bing-Bong scene that produced so many tears was not there to be shocking or dark, it’s symbolic of Riley letting go of her childhood memories she’s clinging to and accepting her new fate. She’ll never be happy in her new home if she keeps clinging to the past, so, what do you know, the only way to get Joy back is to let go of an old dear memory. It’s sad for the characters, but ingenious writing.

 

But, I could talk hours about how well-done the messages and symbolic story-telling in this movie were, so let me move on. This movie is pretty breath-taking, both in the visual and audio departments. The soundtrack opens with a soft, spacey sound, almost like we are just being born into a weird new world. It sets the tone of the film perfectly. From calm, soothing, contemplative music to cool jazz scores, Inside Out is a pleasure to the ears, not to mention the outstanding voice acting. Visually, the world they built in Riley’s head is AMAZING to look at. The creativity that went into building every little aspect of this world is awe-inspiring, and so much thought is behind every little aspect. From the way the Headquarters looks, to the islands of personality, to the memory spheres and their shelves, to the control deck, and so on. Everything is just so creatively constructed.

 

If I absolutely had to find flaws in the movie and play devil’s advocate, I’d say there are about three minor complaints. One, I guess, is the balance of characters. Not saying we needed more or less, we have a perfect number now, and all of them are great. I’m not saying we needed more emotions, as many people argued there should have been. Five major characters, along with Bing-Bong, in a brand new movie with a huge new world is already an awful lot to take in for one film. Any more and it would have been sloppy and harder to split equal screen time for them all. Many people complained there should have been boredom and romance and so on, which are all, really, reactions to emotions. Romance is the result of someone giving you joy, and likely a hint of fear. These sub-emotions were very well explained at the end of the film by making memories of mixed emotions. I’ve also heard many people complain “why didn’t they do the true core emotions according to this such and such spiritual text” and, well, everybody’s explanation as to what the core emotions are is completely different, that’s why. In all the philosophies in the world, the core emotions differ so greatly, you can’t say there are real set ones, especially since identifying such things is already a man-made process.

 

However, the one that stands out the most as a “semi” emotion is Disgust. Joy, Anger, Fear, and Sadness are all completely individual and well-pronounced emotions, while Disgust is more or less the result of fearing something you don’t understand, thus getting angry with it, sort of like a mix of Anger and Fear. However, this complaint is quickly brushed aside when you realize that, despite her name being “Disgust”, she also represents ego. She’s the one who worries what “cool kids” think of Riley, how good Riley’s clothes and hair look, and what she can and can’t do in public. So, making her the self-conscious, egotistical part of Riley makes her a lot more important. However, that does kind of lead to the second “problem”. While I think the movie is literally perfect, one could argue Disgust gets the least attention of the cast. She’s the only one of the five who never does anything to directly affect the main plot, save a quick scene at the end shared with Anger, and she definitely has the least amount of screen time of them all. Joy and Sadness are, quite appropriately, the leads, Anger was clearly the one they were banking the most humor on, so he gets lots of screen time, and Fear is kind of Anger’s comedic side kick, as well as getting the whole dream scene to himself. Again, I don’t see this as a problem, as all the characters are in as much as they need to be, and she certainly made a funny impression when in the film, but it could be argued to be a bit unbalanced.

 

The third and last “complaint” would be that the workers, aside from the main five emotions, all kind of look like Monsters, Inc. creatures, being circles with arms and all. Again, none of these are really complaints, more so just minor nit-picks I could see other people pointing out and me being able to say “ok, I can see that”. I really can’t think of any real problems with this film. Its humor works great, being that the jokes are all derived from our minds. It’s a subject literally everyone can get. Unlike Finding Nemo or Cars that have subjects that some audiences might not understand the jokes from, Inside Out’s humor appeals to everybody, and it is actually well written too. The humor also isn’t as aggressive as most new animated films, though. This movie isn’t afraid to go minutes without making a joke. It’s extremely emotional, and, just like the humor, in a way everyone can relate to. And aside from the great amount of heart this movie has, it has an unparalleled level of brains. Seriously, this is probably the smartest kids’ film I’ve ever seen. They truly thought out everything completely.

 

Well, damn, it’s awesome. I can’t really keep going on. I could talk about Inside Out for a week. What a masterpiece. Not only is it by far my favorite Pixar film, it’s one of my favorite animated features of all time, right up there in the top 5 or 3. Hats off to Pixar on this one.

 

…so now you can feel free to comment below with your personal order, and/or wait for me to finally see The Good Dinosaur so I can review that and squeeze it into this list. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings. Thanks!

  • Listening to: Squeeze
  • Drinking: Water

Star Wars: The Force Awakens review (NO SPOILERS)

Journal Entry: Mon Dec 21, 2015, 3:06 PM
I caught the midnight showing of this film on Saturday night. I consider myself a Star Wars fan (the original 70's/80's trilogy, that is) but I kind of always forget what a big fan I am until somebody starts talking to me about it. A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back are some of the greatest films of all time, but the prequel trilogy just didn't do it for me. I know everybody says that, and I also know there is suddenly a movement with some people trying to say that they weren't that bad, mostly with Episode 3, but the whole prequel trilogy just sucked for me. Sure Jar-jar sucked, sure the CG was so over the top, sure the characters were bland and unlikable, but EVEN WORSE than those things, I feel, is the fact that they never needed to exist. Hollywood has become so "backstory hungry" over the years. The story of Anakin was already explained as much as it needed to be in the first three films. We never needed to literally see all the things that were implied. It just leaves nothing to the imagination, and seems to imply that all the audiences are just stupid. They also made no necessary connections or explanations of things. They were either things we already knew - Obi Wan and Yoda being great Jedi in the past - or completely pointless and empty revelations that never got tied into the other films at all, like Anakin building C3P0, early Storm Troopers all being clones (coincidentally clones of the father of the random bounty hunter who Vader selects out of a handful of bounty hunters to work for him in the future) or Chewbacca fighting the Sith with Yoda (how fucking old is that guy anyway?). Most of the trilogy was pointless, irrelevant, filler material, with everything we already knew was going to happen anyway quickly being rushed in the final 20 minutes of the third film. We knew Anakin became Vader, we knew Luke and Leia were his kids, we knew Obi Wan had to abandon Vader once he turned bad, we knew the Death Star had to be built at some point, we knew ALL OF IT. There's no reason to make, not just a movie, but 3 damn movies dragging out a story we already know all the answers to. We already know how it ends. We know the whole story. Any connections that were made were unnecessary or just added questions as to why they weren't referenced in the first three films. How does Boba Fett's dad being cloned to make an army of soldiers add anything to his story in Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi? How does Anakin building 3PO add anything to either of their stories? Why does neither one ever acknowledge this in the first three films? They just created trouble rather than explanations.

So, going into this movie, I had low expectations. I wasn't very excited for it, despite all the Star Wars hype around the world. I was expecting, at best, it would just be two hours of nostalgia bate. Well, it had plenty of nostalgia, but it was honestly a freaking awesome movie, too. Sure, loads of the old actors returned to their classic roles, but the focus is still the new characters, namely Rey, Fin, and Kylo Ren, and each returning character still served an actual purpose in the new story. In a way, the movie is a retelling of A New Hope, but in many ways it's different. I don't think making the first film in the new series nostalgia-heavy is necessarily a bad thing. Regain the roots of the franchise and actually make it feel like Star Wars again, then move on and build off of that. The movie is a bit predictable in some ways, but not too predictable that it's bad. You'll still be trying to figure things out til the end. 

Of all the new characters, Finn was the one I liked most. His sense of humor mixed with his realistic attitude and will to stand up to impossible odds for his friends when he needs to made him super likable for me. Rey was definitely a great character too, just not as interesting as Finn, I felt. She is pretty much the new Luke of the series, and can even fill some other characters' shoes in ways. I liked the authenticity of her role. She wasn't a forced character. We get so many forced female leads in action films that seem more like shallow statements than actual characters these days. Usually, they have no personality or human-side at all. They never doubt themselves, show emotion, or even fail, at any point. The statement is always just - she's the ultimate action-star badass, and she's a GIRL. Rey was not a petty statement. They authentically just wrote a strong female lead who you can look up to. You don't notice she's a girl first. You notice her personality and character first, then you notice she's a girl. I have nothing against girl leads, but they have to be more than a cheap statement. As for the other characters, the returning ones are all very well done and still likable as heck, and the new ones are great too. Even the villain is well written. And, yeah, BB8's cool too. I'm assuming one new character we didn't see too much of may get more screen time in the sequels.

I can't really say too much more about the film, as I don't want to spoil anything in it, but, seriously, it's really damn good. There was a point near the early middle of the film that they were losing my interest a little, but that was fixed quickly, and now I see the whole movie as a solid, good, complete package. That being said, I still don't really feel it's necessary. Return of the Jedi was a solid ending to the series, but since, obviously, I know they'll be making these movies forever (as Weird Al so wisely predicted in 'Yoda' back in the 80s) I'm glad J. J. Abrams is doing it with actual care and compassion. Since, realistically, Star Wars will always have new movies, I'm just proud to be able to say Star Wars is awesome again. I'm honestly pretty damn psyched to see where the story goes from here. If you have ever liked Star Wars, casually or as a die-hard fan, you need to see this movie. Opening weekend's over, the theaters should be manageable now. See it. NOW.

I literally just got back from the theater and, WOW... what an amazing movie. Now, I understand that some of this may be bias as the 1976 Rocky is my favorite film of all time, and the Rocky series may very well be my favorite film franchise of all time, but it really just did everything right. For those who don't know, this is the story of Adonis, son of the late Apollo Creed from the first four Rocky films. It's more or less a re-telling of the original Rocky film through a new generation, with Rocky taking on the role of Mickey and Adonis filling Rock's former shoes.

Going into this film I was, for whatever reason, afraid it would have very little to do with the original franchise and more or less be a whole new creature holding onto the Rocky name to sell it, but, no, this is a full blown, 100% Rocky film. Adonis is an extremely likable character who's very easy to relate to. He has flaws, he has insecurities, he doesn't have everything figured out yet, but he's got a strong will and a love for family and togetherness. He's very realistic, and that's what makes him such a likable character, just as Rocky was in the original films. Rocky was also a major character in the film, obviously, and delivered, possibly, some of his most emotional scenes ever in this film. He's still the easy-going, fun, lovable guy he was back in '76, but he feels as if his world has disappeared around him. This movie literally made me tear up a couple of times, and hell, I am not afraid to admit it.

I'm glad the Rocky franchise is as cherished and celebrated for most other people as it is for me, because they're just such positive, heart-filled movies that everybody can relate to. I think the most annoying misconception a select few people seem to have about Rocky is that it's "just a dude movie" or "just a fighting movie". If you want to write them off like that and judge them by their covers, go ahead, it's your loss, but Rocky has always had an insane abundance of heart that no other movie of its kind quite achieves on that level. Looking beyond the boxing mask and seeing the films for what they are will reveal how anybody and everybody can relate to these films. They fill you with emotion and inspiration, which is definitely why they've become such a beloved part of our history. Hell, even when 4 and 5 got pretty ridiculous, they were still enjoyable films with positive, up-lifting messages. And Creed is no different. This movie makes you sad, makes you laugh, and just makes you feel good. I was not expecting this level of emotion from this movie, and being that it's a Rocky film, shame on me.

I don't want to spoil too much about the film, but I guess the one complaint I could see audiences having is that the movie is very predictable. You pretty much know how most plots are going to go. However, though you might think I sound biased again, I don't really think that's a problem. Today in Hollywood, movie writers seem to put everything on "the twist". Every movie you see today has to have some insane plot twist that viewers wouldn't be expected to predict, and most movie-goers base a movie's worth on the twist. Not on how it made you feel or how invested you were in the characters, just if there was a clever plot twist. But when you step back for a second, some of mankind's favorite stories are predictable. Hell, how many times have stories like "Little Red Riding Hood" been retold? Sure, there may be a clever twist added, or not, but you still know where it's going. There's even a massive audience for comic book movies these days that say a super hero flick sucks if it doesn't follow the comic story that they already know inside and out perfectly. And, well, Creed is sort of a retelling of a classic story, too. Not just a retelling of Balboa's young life, but a retelling of the classic underdog story altogether. We know what he has to do to overcome his demons, but seeing him and his loved ones go through it is the real point. The emotions of all the characters, and their sacrifices are what make the story so lovable. I don't think they were setting out to write a completely new concept that would blow audiences away. I think they completely achieved everything they set out to do perfectly.

I guess another complaint from some people could also be the abundance of references to the old movies, and, well, quite honestly, there weren't that many. Being that I've known the story of Rocky for so long, I obviously wouldn't notice it as much as somebody who's never seen Rocky watching Creed, as they'd be confused by details I take for granted. I do feel like it would help a lot watching the previous films beforehand, but I suppose you don't need to. Mickey suffered loss and went through exactly what Rocky did, yet we never saw his backstory so it wasn't referenced as much as Rocky and Apollo's were in this film. I feel like knowing the original series really makes this already beautiful film much more enjoyable than it already is. While there aren't so many old references, and most that are were fully explained for audiences to get them, I suppose there's still a lot of Rocky in this film, so, yeah, like I said, if you haven't seen the Rocky films, first, what the hell is the matter with you?, and second, go check them out before this.

2015 was not a very good year for movies in my mind. Most movies I saw did not wow me at all. Prior to this, Inside Out was the only extraordinarily excellent film I had seen this year, but Creed is definitely a masterpiece. There are still plenty of holiday season films I want to see, like Peanuts, Good Dinosaur, and, of course, Star Wars. I'll see them soon, but finding the time and money to see so many films at once can be a tad difficult. Anyway, I highly recommend this movie. It's freaking beautiful.
I don't normally review trailers, but, DAMN, I need to this time.

Now, I know, the last TMNT movie sucked ass, and this could very well do the same, but I've been dying to see Rocksteady and Bebop on the big screen since the first movie was announced in '89. This has been my most hyped movie of the year ever since the news of their inclusion was revealed, and now I'm even more hyped. Sure, the movie has a better chance of sucking that being good, but I honestly don't even care in this case. Call me biased, call me a fanboy, you're probably right, but seeing these two badasses in a film is a childhood dream come true.

Now, I'll get to more on Bebop and Rocksteady in a second. First, I want to go over the rest of the trailer. Honestly, there are a lot of things that, not necessarily the movie, but the trailer did very right. I noticed equal dedicated time to each turtle (each one gets a major dialogue part) especially Don, which I see as a plus since he was totally underused in the first film and reduced to the personality of a calculator. The turtles still look ugly, but I expected the look to stay the same, anyway, and this time around we were all ready for it. We get plenty of jokes and goofy scenes of the Turtles, which is good and true to their characters. The structure of the trailer was good - start off with a hint at the plot (Dimension X, I'm guessing), a bit of intro narrative, shots of the turtles gearing up, an action sequence with the Turtle Van, Casey Jones gets introduced through a pretty badass fight sequence, we see Baxter Stockman, just as goofy and over the top as he's supposed to be (ricking the exact outfit from the 80s cartoon, right down to the polka-dotted bow-tie), then a quick intro to Bebop and Rocksteady's mutations, the Turtles confronting them for the first time, then a bunch of chaotic action scenes. It gets you pumped and keeps making you get hyped for what's coming next. That's how you do an action blockbuster based on beloved source material (Batman v Superman should take notes, but then again, they should have taken notes from Civil War's trailer which was also badass as hell.... but this is all another story..............I hate Zack Snyder DC films). For the most part, the trailer portrays TMNT as it should be - funky, funny, action-packed, and full of bizarre, colorful characters. This trailer genuinely got me pumped as hell for this movie. Also, love the party wagon's manhole cover cannon. That's a pretty badass (and effective) idea for a weapon, and it reminds me so much of the Pizza Tosser vehicle toy from back in the day.

But, that's not to say there wasn't some bad, too. The obvious flaw - Megan Fox. Yeah, we all knew she'd still be there, but damn, still shitty acting, still void of personality... ugh. My big fear is, although the trailer focused A LOT on the turtles, which the first movie had a severe lack of, many major scenes that are panned by quickly involve her, leading me to believe they are just giving us want we want in the trailer, then the movie will come out and be all about April again. And, yeah, I have no explanation for the school girl thing... The other potential problem I see here is, well, how do I put this... a Spider-Man 3? An X-Men: Last Stand? A Batman v Superman? Yeah, it looks like they may be biting off far more than they can chew in an hour and 40 minute movie. We have the introduction and mutation of Bebop and Rocksteady, the introduction (and possible mutation. You never know) of Baxter Stockman, the introduction of Casey Jones, the return of Shredder and Karai, the reveal of the turtles to the human world, the opening up of Dimension X, AND, very likely, the introduction of Kraang. That sounds like an awful lot to cram into one film. It almost seems like "this movie might tank, so let's put every idea we have into this one just in case we never get to make part 3". Here's hoping they do it well. All of the above mentioned subplots are things I've wanted to see in TMNT films, so if they can make it work well, that would be awesome.

But, of course, the highlight of the trailer for me was Rocksteady and Bebop. I thought these goons were the coolest dudes ever when I was a kid, and it always annoyed me that they were A) such pushovers in the cartoon despite being bigger and more menacing than the turtles in every way, and B) never in a movie. Sure, Rahzar and Tokka were pretty cool, but they were a massive disappointment to us all who expected the hog and the rhino. Seeing them in film now is, to say the least, mind blowing. I nerdgasmed so hard during that trailer. I literally just laughed my ass off for over a minute after the trailer ended out of pure joy and disbelief as to what I saw. I downloaded the trailer and have already re-watched it several times. I can't get over how cool it is seeing these brutes in a movie after over 20 years of waiting. Their physical designs are, surprising since the turtles look like Hulk and ET's children, great! Bebop looks a lot more humanized than Rocksteady, and pretty fat, but they still maintain their style from the original designs. The don't have 5 pairs of night vision goggles hanging off their shells or I LOVE NY stickers on their asses or anything. They have just the accessories and outfits one who grew up in the 80s/90s would expect the duo to have, right down to the purple mo-hawk and shades. Simply put, Bebop's design in a bit different, but I think it's a damn good design. Rocksteady looks freaking perfect. I still have never liked CG, and it looks noticeably worse on them than it does on the turtles, but it's not nearly bad enough to ruin anything for me. I wouldn't say it's bad CGI at all, just your average pretty fake looking CG, kinda like how Splinter's CG was noticeably not as good as that of the turtles in part 1 (the turtles are the most human-looking, so I understand why the motion capture works best for them). I would have loved practical effects like the original trilogy, but in all honesty, the CG effects lend themselves to much better action sequences with the characters and unlimited movement, so the CG was probably the perfect choice. The two are also shown within the trailer to be goofy and funny, which I was afraid they wouldn't do right, but, yep, they did it damn right. They even made them powerful and intimidating s fuck, just like I always wished they would be in the cartoon. Bravo, Paramount. From what I can see from this trailer, you did a SPECTACULAR job on bringing these two guys to life, and giving this guy's childhood self a big ass smile.

So, all we can do now is wait until June. I am hyped as hell. And that just about sums up my nerd-off. Hope some of you are as hyped as I am.

I'm still curious who Judith Hoag will be playing in this film. She, previously April in the 1990 film, is in this movie, but no details on her character or cameo have been revealed.
  • Listening to: Rent OST...and singing along...don't judge me...
  • Drinking: Water...yeah, it's boring...
Just saw the new 007 movie on Thursday night. I've enjoyed most of the Daniel Craig Bond films so far, with the exception of the quite bland and unnecessary Quantum of Solace (which had way too damn much shaky camera crap) so I had relatively high standards for this film. I'd say it met the standards, but it didn't surpass them. It's a good Bond film - damn good - but I wouldn't say it's anything special. It may be the 2nd best in the Craig series. Second, of course, to Casino Royale, which I'd say is arguably the best Bond film ever made. It's sure to please audiences, but it does little to make it an exceptional, stand-out film.

As for the good - there's lots of great action in the film. Dave Bautista is an awesome Bond villain henchman and seems truly dangerous as hell as he's beating Bond and all who get in his way to a pulp. It was a bit cliche that his character says nothing the whole film but "shit" just before he "dies", and a little degrading, as Bautista seems to clearly be a type-casting job as the mindless brute from now on, but, hell, he played the part perfectly. All the action scenes are superb. In tradition, the movie starts off with an explosive (pun intended) sequence to grab the audience, followed by the musical titles. The plot, while not amazing, is fun to figure out, even if lots of it is predictable (who DIDN'T see C and his men working directly for the bad guys coming?).

My two favorite parts, though, both deal with the characters. For one, it's the choice of villain. While I found the character of the main antagonist to be painfully similar to all the other recent Bond villains, it was his identity that brought a smile to my fave. Being that the Craig series serves as a reboot of the series, starting by explaining Bond's first mission in "Royale", I was anxious to see when classic Bond villains would be reborn in this new world, most of all, the original mastermind villain of them all, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. All through this movie many hints are placed that this villain is, not only the head criminal behind all the recent villains, but that he could be, in fact, Blofeld himself. When Bond awakes in a torture device to find a cat lying by him, all Bond fans should have known. Bringing in Blofeld truly made this film feel like something great to work up to from Casino Royale to now. I may not think his personality or mannerisms are very than that of all the other Craig Bond villains, but seeing them build the character into the series and breathe new life into him was awesome. 

The thing I found myself enjoying the most in this film, though, is the development of the supporting characters. In the past, it was always James Bond on his own with the dame of the week, and that's how I liked it. In recent movies like Skyfall, characters like M got more hands on in the field, but it wasn't until this movie that I really felt we had a solid team that really contributed equally to save the day, and it wasn't until this movie that I realized I liked that so much. In the last movie, M, Q, and Moneypenny were all rebooted with new actors, and in that film, I didn't care for them at all. However, after breaking them in and spending more time with them in this film, I found myself liking them much more. Add to this that they appear in the field with Bond in lots of the movie, and all of them are right there racing around in the action in the climax, and I really felt like, for the first time, Bond was a new concept altogether - rather than one secret agent who can kick a ton of ass, we get a whole team of them, and all have interesting, unique personalities that contrast or meld with one another's. This very likely may be due to the fact that super hero movies like The Avengers are so popular these days that they figured they'd have to assemble a super hero-esque team to keep their flavor of action movie afloat in today's world. Whatever the reasoning, I felt it worked really well, and the more they do of that sort of thing in the future, the more entertaining I'll find it.

Some of the parts in this movie are suspenseful as hell, too. No one can deny how creepy yet awesome it is when Blofeld just announces mid-meeting that he's aware of James' presence.

Now for the bad - While the action is amazing in this movie, there is a little too damn much of it. Sure, Bond has always been chock full of chase scenes, fist fights, aquatic battles, explosions, and even space fights, but there should be some pacing to it. We get very little of what makes Bond Bond in this film, and that's the scenes of him just being cool, blending in with the bg wigs to get some dirt, find the villain, or catch the attention of the lady in a little black dress. We get some, sure, but I'd say about 80% or more of this movie is action, and very dark, violent action at that. While 007 still maintains his class, the movies have lost a deal of it. Again, to keep up with modern action, Bond films have gotten much grittier, darker, and FAR MORE visually violent than in the past. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but we who remember the days of Sean Connery and Roger Moore long to hear more one-liners and hear more humor. Even the story is practically told completely through action. I'm not saying it makes it a bad movie - it's entertaining as hell - but a break from the action would have been nice, especially since it's still just as long as old Bond films (2 and a half hours) of non-stop action and violence. At some point it does get tiresome. I sense this is also due to the director trying to keep up with modern action films like super hero flicks. All action movies seem to be getting closer and closer to all being super hero movies. Even the Fast and Furious movies are pretty much super hero team flicks now.

The movie wasn't without it's humor. One of the funniest scenes, I feel, was when Bond orders his trademark martini, only to be told they serve no alcohol. By the time he realizes it's a juicing bar, Q comes up and knows exactly what he wants. That made me crack the hell up. I just wish they had a little more scenes like that (I do like the bulldog statue M left for Bond in Skyfall making an appearance in his apartment, though)

The movie makes a lot of great nods to classic Bond, like the overly-intricate (and impractical) traps set by the villain, the bad guy sending a chauffeur to bring Bond to his headquarters where he explains his intricate schemes to him, and just the addition of Blowfeld in general (and explaining the scar on his face). Spectre is definitely a good Bond film, just nothing earth-shattering. I think, even with its homages to old Bond of the 60s, 70s and 80s, this film appeals more to younger Bond fans than older, as it is modeled very much after modern action films, and a lot of the violence and action has been significantly upped. Again, not amazing, but definitely worth a chance, and absolutely a worthy addition to the Craig films.
  • Listening to: Rent OST...and singing along...don't judge me...
  • Drinking: Water...yeah, it's boring...
Not gonna see it. Never watched the show as a kid, but, well, Andre says it all perfectly here:


I've also recently added follow-up conclusion reviews to the ends of some of my "first thoughts" reviews for games like Splatoon and Disney Infinity 3.0:
Disney Infinity 3.0 - First Thoughts ConclusionWell, Sunday I headed over to Toys R Us and picked up the 3.0 starter pack and all of the Inside Out figures (well, all except Fear, who just wasn't in stock). Having never played Disney Infinity before, or, really, knowing nothing about it either, I had no idea what to expect. Whether the game was bad or not, I still wanted the figurines of the characters I bought (I had already bought Ralph, Vanellope, Venom, and Donald Duck). My initial reaction to the game was horror, but after playing for a while, I eventually found the Toy Box mode and realized the game actually was pretty awesome and boasted almost endless possibility. I don't really know how into it I will get. At the moment, I'm still experimenting with it, and haven't even made a solid game or level yet. I've mostly just been leveling up my characters.
Well, I guess I'll touch upon the initial reaction, and why it was filled with disgust (no pun intended). Going into the game, I was told it was a sort of game maker. I've neve
Splatoon: First Thoughts and ConclusionAs I've said before, I am not a shooter fan. I've played over a dozen popular and lesser popular shooter series before, and I have zero interest in the mechanics, controls, goals, graphics, worlds and characters (not to mention the fact that they have been dominating the main stream gaming scene for over a decade). Nothing against people who like them, but they're just not at all for me. Naturally, that being the case, I had zero interest in Nintendo's new IP, Splatoon, when it was first unveiled. I even had a chance to test drive it in January at a con and didn't bother. But in recent months, something about it started to interest me. I hate to sound like such a blind, Nintendo tool, but they just have a way of appealing to me. I'm a sucker for bright colors and goofy, cartoony characters. But Nintendo's visuals and imagination aren't the only things that pull me in, it's also their unique spin on ideas that get me, and, well, Splatoon's turf covering sounded like that to me. So, Game
  • Eating: TV Dinner... yep, one of those nights...