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Troop Zero (2019)
6/10
Mckenna Grace can barely hold her own in her rare comedy films
19 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I don't have much to say about it other than it's just meh. It has some funny parts, the acting is okay for the most part, and the characters are quirky enough with some interesting nicknames (wish we found out about their real names though).

But the characters' arcs aren't really that much special like the redemption arc of Hell-No just seemed like other Hollywood movies, kind of rushed and was quite predictable. The emotional moments tend to get overshadowed by either humor or some other cloying moment such as the ending where they all pee which was just gross as all hell and had no idea why it was there in the first place. And sometimes Mckenna Grace can come off as fake and wooden in some of her acting. It's a shame because Grace is a really good actress in other movies but she barely seems to hold her own here and it may be because she's used to more dramatic movies rather than comedies. Also, that ending with all the shooting stars, I did not believe that ending.

The only good thing I can say about the ending was that I'm glad that it didn't go the predictable route where the characters end up winning and get their happy endings. The ending is still quite light-hearted as is the rest of the film, though.

Troop Zero may be something more for kids to enjoy. It isn't a bad film if you're in the mood for something silly and cheerful but don't expect something great.
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4/10
It's hard being a pigeon
28 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The film is essentially a rip off of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with a tinge of Trigun mixed in there especially through the character of Walter. From his interaction with his mother about how he's getting bullied at school to the end where he is saved by birds and even had his hair up a la Flint Lockwood once. He even has a tinge of Vash the Stampede in him, with his pretentious morals about pacifism which ends up getting him hurt at times. He lacks the depth these two characters have and even the appeal. He seems quite pretentious and won't shut his mouth so I can sympathize with Lance's annoyance with him. I mean, the idea about pacifism is a good message to send in a kids movie but it got moralistic to the point where he'd either end up getting himself hurt at points where self-defensive violence was necessary or somehow fazing villians with his kittens and glitter whereas most villains wouldn't care about anything cute when they're trying to attack their victims. The only good characters in there are the secondary characters which are the girl and her partners that I forgot the names of but they didn't even get enough screentime to have any sort of depth. All of the characters overall are either two-dimensional or one-dimensional.

Which brings me to how contrived this film is from its dialogue to its story to its characters. A lot of the dialogue was unnatural and talky especially through Walter, where at some points he even breaks the show, don't tell rule. There's even a bird who I can't remember the name of who somehow eats anything he sees. The film is full of cliches, the love at first sight relationship going on between Lovey and Lance (good thing that Lance didn't fall in love with her back), the character arc of the main character being seen as an outcast before he becomes a lovable, famous person, the relationship development of Walter and Lance and so on. Even a lot of the jokes were gross-out, some were funny though. Even the pacing of the story is way too fast, characters never die or get hurt very often, they're usually saved by some sort of plot armor, which means the tension is barely there.

The film had some good ideas about pacifism, being weird and working together with somebody you don't have anything in common with but fails to execute these ideas due to its uninteresting characters. Now, I would've been okay with the pacifism moral if that was part of character development where he starts off as a weak person who doesn't want to hurt a fly but then learns that using self-defensive techniques when the situation calls for it are okay even if they are violent, but there's none of that there and honestly, it would've been better and more refreshing than the character development he has. I also liked the voice acting, especially with how Tom Holland and Will Smith play off each other and most of the animation is decent except there are some cartoony looney tunes antics that like I said in my Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs review doesn't go well with a CGI animated feature film. And Walter's Flint-like character design is also a minus.

I don't see how this film is doing so decently with the audience. I give it a 4.8 out of 10. While I wasn't expecting much good out of this anyway, because it had a few good ideas, it was a very disappointing film that could've been decent if the characters and jokes were more original and compelling.. It's just a stupid film that younger kids will have a good time with but anyone ten years and over would probably be better off seeing Little Women instead. This was a very mediocre animated holiday film to close the decade and year off with. Honestly, My Spy looks better and I hope that is a better version of Spies in Disguise.
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2/10
Insufferable main character
8 December 2019
The main character is a little aloof brat! I could not stand 10 minutes of this little brat whining and arguing and ignoring his father! He is so disrespectful. Maybe he gets better and I don't know what the original Miles was like but I don't care to watch anymore. I don't know why everyone finds him so likeable, he's so overrated. I know you two have different worldviews but be like Flint Lockwood and at least be more caring and try to respect your father, Miles.
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Hair Love (2019)
4/10
Bad Hair Day
7 December 2019
I was excited to see this short and how it represents us black people. It's about a father trying to do a girl's hair and I was interested in the story of it. The only few good things about it is the message, representation, and a few funny moments but that's it. I was disappointed because I was not expecting such a serious melodrama from this. There are scenes such as the girl getting so upset with her father that she slams the door on him and locks it while also deciding to show him how to do hair, that didn't make any sense. If she still had a bit of hope, why did she get all salty and slam/lock the door? The ending was also sad but hopeful. It looks like it was trying to be Pixar. I think Pixar should've picked this up, maybe they would've done a better job with it.

Sony Animation, unless you can get people to do better dramas, stick to light-hearted stuff like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs since both this and Spider-verse failed at being dramas. Granted, dramas aren't my cup of tea and I liked Cloudy because it was mostly feel-good with only a few touching scenes in there. Also, please get Lord and Miller to head the studio in directing films, I think this duo got potential and maybe they will help the studio get back its glory.
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6/10
Just a cute Christmas special
4 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It's a sweet Christmas special about the value of loved ones, though I don't think it was really necessary. When I first heard about this, I was like "Wow, that came out of nowhere. More How to Train Your Dragons" and don't get me wrong, I like this franchise but I feel that it ended perfectly so I felt this special was unnecessary.

Another thing I don't like about this special's place in the timeline is because apparently, this takes place before the very last scene of the film. Which is confusing because as you can see in the epilogue, the kids were taking their time trying to warm up to the dragons so why are they all of a sudden afraid of dragons again? Even if this did take place before they met Toothless in the epilogue, it still wouldn't make sense if they started like dragons here but then are afraid of dragons again in the epilogue.

But enough of that, let's get to the special. This short tells the story of how Hiccup misses Toothless but his daughter, Zephyr is not believing in the town's fondness for dragons due to never have seen a dragon before, only seeing them as vicious creatures in books. So, Hiccup decides to set up a play that tells the story of how he met dragons when he was younger and to show that they really are friendly.

Now that we know what the kids are like, I like Nuffink the best. Zephyr is okay, though occasionally a bit too sassy and cynical for me but like I said, she hasn't seen a dragon so it makes sense. Nuffink is a fun guy and always happy and excited.

The night lights, unfortunately like the light fury are flat. They just do a lot of banter and are curious about Berk but we don't really know them beyond that and their personalities aren't distinctive from each other. Which is really disappointing because there seems to be some symbolism between the dragon family and the viking family of Hiccup, Astrid and their two kids and only the human kids had personalities but the dragons didn't so there's no dynamic here.

Again, the story is sweet. The special is decent as a whole but nothing to write home about and won't go down as being one of the best of the franchise.
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7/10
Cloudy with a Chance of Tastiness
28 November 2019
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs never fails to put a smile on my face. It has some clever jokes with some sweet messages about being yourself and solving world hunger. It's a very silly, over-the-top film but unlike most films like this, it actually has a lot of quiet moments like with the father-son dynamic, a few touching scenes, and a lot of development to the characters as well.

While the story may start off as cliched, it has a unique concept about an inventor who uses water to create food to help his impoverished town. I also loved his relationship with his father, even if the whole "parent doesn't want child to follow his dreams" thing is common in films, the child here is around young adult age, the age where people should be allowed to be independent and free and the relationship with his dad shows that some adults can be restricted in what they want to do. This happened with me and my mom so I found that relatable.

I also didn't mind the misunderstood inventor who keeps failing story. Yes, it's cliched but it goes along with the theme about being yourself, embracing your creativity, and keep trying even if you fail. A few things I didn't like about the story were the romance and third act. I thought Flint's repetitive attempts at kissing Sam were absurdly forced and at awkward moments that came out of nowhere since they just met each other and people aren't usually that brave enough to kiss their crush without built-up romantic tension. I love the Jello House scene though, I wish that was an actual attraction. I also didn't like the third act, I thought the whole thing about getting the kill code kind of dragged and the whole third act was very anticlimatic.

The voice cast from Bill Hader to Anna Faris to Mr. T really made the characters. I thought almost all of the characters were well-rounded. There were some that we enjoyed and some that we love to hate such as the mayor and Baby Brent. Flint is such a positive guy, he's altruistic, excitable, creative, intelligent, and passionate. I liked how Sam goes from being a dumb blonde to a girl who learns to embrace her intelligence and her passion for science. Earl is funny, he's serious about his job and I like how they used a more doting relationship between him and his son to contrast Flint and Tim's more estranged relationship. Even Tim, who disapproves of our protagonist's dream, means well and just cares about his son but has trouble expressing his feelings. He finds inventing harmful to Flint and I find that sympathetic. I didn't understand how people initially liked Brent being in his underwear as an adult but even if he was a hateful character, gets some major character development by the end, becomes useful to the plot, and becomes a more likeable character.

The only character that I couldn't care for was Steve, I thought he was the least developed character. He's static and added very little to the plot other than to be comic relief. He, like most monkeys is an annoying little troublemaker and I'm also against monkeys being kept as pets which is a cliche as well. He likes ripping off mustaches for some reason that they never explained and he has no backstory. I don't think he has any appeal for anyone over the age of 7 considering that I watched the movie when I was 11 and didn't like him then.

I didn't care for the looney tunes style animation and the ridiculous designs on Flint and Tim. It would've looked okay on a nickelodeon tv show but not on a CGI feature film.

I also wasn't a fan of the end credits scene, I thought it was really weird but just listen to Raining Sunshine, it's very catchy and really shows how happy the film is.

I give this movie a 7/10. I would've gave it an 8/10 if Steve hadn't overstayed his welcome. Just make sure you eat while you watch it.
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Klaus (2019)
7/10
It's hard being a post man
19 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This was a pretty interesting origin story to how Christmas and Santa could've came to be. It's not great but it's a heartfelt and honest movie about kindness and redemption that you and your kids can learn a thing or two from. I loved all the music in this.

Jesper was okay, he was annoying at times but had a good heart. Klaus was the best character out of the film, being the most developed and even provides a few touching moments. Margu, the 4 year old saami girl is adorable though I couldn't find subtitles for the saami language? But I still liked her relationship with Jesper and how kind her family were to him.

There were a few things that bring the film down, though other than Jesper's occasionally mean behaviors, I didn't like the romantic parts of the film. They didn't have much development to them and seemed forced in there, no different from other kids' animated films. I didn't like the beginning when Jesper first comes into town and everybody treats him like trash for no reason. This part is supposed to go along with the cliche of a protagonist who is hated at first but then loved. That running gag of the old man in a rocking chair getting pranked got old really fast, thankfully it was only in there like twice but still annoyingly mean. And lastly, the part where people get together to try to stop Christmas from preserving, I thought that was pointless and wish there could've been more of a reasoning why these people, who are supposed to be the antagonists did not like their town's atmosphere changing. There were a few silly moments like how toward the end was Jesper able to successfully avoid going back to his hometown when we thought we saw him actually on the boat?

So overall, a decent feel-good movie that you can put on for you and your kids to think about the true value of Christmas and to smile at the most wonderful time of the year.
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Abominable (I) (2019)
6/10
Interesting but some things are off
9 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
At first I didn't think I would like this film. The main character was very standoffish and unrelatable. At 17 years old, she's a weird case as she cared more about herself than having friends or spending time with her family. Most people her age and in fact, any human craves socialization. I understand her situation and she did have some character growth but still. I mean, the film is just a sweet film with a positive message about connecting with friends and family. Yi's cousins, Jin and Peng also started off as annoying comic relief bubbly teenagers but their actions are subdued as they interact with Yi and Everest. The only characters that didn't really grow on me were probably the mom and the grandma, as they didn't have much to them other than worrying about Yi. I don't blame them as they're not in the film much. The best and only solid character out of this was Everest, he's adorable, huggable, and magical. But overall, the character interactions, growth and the theme is where the film succeeds at the most.

But why do I still rate the film as a whole this low? Well, for starters, I didn't like the story. It was the same story of someone who meets a creature whom she forms an unlikely bond with and goes on a journey to send him home. The dialogue can be awkward at times and I can't remember laughing at more than a few jokes. A lot of the jokes just came off as effortless.

There were a couple moments in the film that I felt stood out, like the blueberry one, the Jin screaming as he travels one, and the Buddha one. Even though I didn't understand how Yi's violin was suddenly able to create magic, I did like the subtext of her grief with Coldplay's Fix You, the rain, the statue looking like he was crying, and Yi finally shedding a tear, this all makes it a beautifully emotional moment.

Abominable gets a 5.9/10. It may not be great, but it's a cute film to watch with your kids.
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3/10
I'm done with KyoAni
15 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Even though I'm not a fan of KyoAni, I have tried watching several of their works. I don't know why, I guess I can't resist the animation style, and I'm sure that they can be capable of creating great things but everything I've seen from them fell short. A lot of their projects tend to focus a lot on melodrama and there's a lot of crying and tragedy in their stories. This out of the ones (Clannad, Kanon, and Air) I've seen appears to be the most darkest of them all due to its emphasis on war as well as dealing with stuff such as heartbreak, depression, and grief.

There is even one episode with a little girl that has a similar story to one of the characters of Clannad. It's the one where she's losing her mother to some unknown illness and the thing that she has in common with this girl from Clannad is she's becoming orphaned at a young age and has to live alone, taking care of herself. I don't understand the point of these episodes, they're just trying to emotionally manipulate the audience in a contrived way and why nobody appears to have come to take them into a home? Not only that, it's also implied in the light novel that the girl had depression! Judging from her dialogue when she said something like "As a child, I could do nothing but cry". Why? Because she appears to have no caretaker or therapy to help her cope with her grief! The child is going through death of a loved one at a really early age and nobody even cares! How stupid is that?

I tried watching like 6 episodes of it before dropping it. There is crying in just about every episode of the show, which isn't strange for something that's a bit like a soap opera but you know, this is why I'm not a soap opera fan. There is little in the way of comedy or light-heartedness despite its colorful tone. Violet Evergarden is much too involved with trying to pull at the emotions of the audience. There are people being mean to others and the people that Eleven Evergarden (I'll get to why I call her that in a minute) meets always has to have some tragic backstory at hand.

Besides the plot being way too sappy, I also don't like the story of it. What's the point in the idea of having people write letters for people? It's such a childish idea, I mean, why can't people write the letters themselves? It's like a 4 year old came up with this.

The character Eleven Evergarden seems like she has some interesting character development of learning how to feel and understanding other peoples' emotions but one thing I didn't get is why she seems so sheltered as to not know why "I love you" means? Maybe they explained this more but I just wasn't patient enough to watch it to the moment. And in the first episode, she undressed in front of a guy like, I'm just going to call her Eleven because she has as much social skills as Eleven.

There is no memorable music in there and this is coming from someone who loves just about any soundtrack in a piece of media.

I think that Kyoto Animation has potential due to their exquisite art style but just need help with toning down the melodrama of their stories. Maybe adding quite a bit of light-hearted comedy while keeping the melodrama to like a minor amount or so would make them more tolerable for me to watch and then maybe there would be a better balance of drama/comedy and happy/sad.
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Cannon Busters (2019– )
4/10
It has some unique concepts but fails to execute them well
21 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Its story and even its characters are derivative of other anime such as Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Trigun, and Michiko to Hatchin but lacks the charm of what made Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo and Trigun good. I was surprised that Shinichiro Watanabe didn't even touch this show. Many things about this show take cues from few of the previously mentioned anime that he was involved with, from the characters, to the story, to the genre, to the art style (which was silly at some points), to even the music sounds like Cowboy Bebop's jazz soundtrack. If you've seen these anime, you would've already seen Cannon Busters, you're not missing out on much.

Philly the Kid is like a combination of Spike, Mugen and Vash down to the afro. He's a bounty traveling with two girls which causes violence to follow them (Vash) and he has a cynical, sarcastic sense of humor (Spike) but unlike Spike, those traits make him more annoying than charming. Like, I think Spike had more sense than he did, Philly is just a butthole.

Samberry A.K.A. Sam is friendly and naive to a fault, which can even get her in trouble. I don't mind her being a friendship type robot but she clearly has the guts to hurt people when they hurt her friends yet sometimes she doesn't take a hint when people treat her and her friends wrongly or appear to have hidden evil traits, she just thinks everything is a game.

Casey is like Ed in her childlike, sweet, tech-savvy personality but somehow manages to be even more annoying than Ed. She's a Charmy Bee-sounding robot who's constantly blabbing her mouth about everything, she has no personality flaws, and has a stubborn obsession with anything technology.

Sometimes I don't blame Philly, if I was around two dense robots, a Mary-sue who thinks that everyone is her friend and another who talks like a freaking 8 year old, while I'm trying to survive in a world that is so different from their naive minds, I would get annoyed too.

Even the secondary characters are mediocre. Prince Kelby seemed like a nice guy with a sweet relationship with Sam who for some reason turned into a cold, jerkish guy and his relationship with Sam ended up being... you know. And the worst character of them all, 9ine (probably a reference to the singer) is your typical amoral, rude anime character who drinks to an unhealthy amount.

There's rarely any memorable songs in there. The only song that's catchy is Showdown, which is definitely the most memorable song out of the whole show. And the ending theme, Regardless, while not as memorable still sounds good.

I don't think this anime is as awful as some people make it out to be as there are several good things about it. It has some funny parts, even a few witty dialogue moments and the beginning and ending were interesting. The way the show sets up the characters were interesting, we have a friendship robot, an outdated robot who wants to be upgraded, and an immortal who has tattoos of the amount of times he dies. And the last two episodes had more tension and even character stakes which is unfortunately rare in this series as the characters are quite two-dimensional. I didn't expect it to be renewed due to mixed reviews but here's hoping that the second season will have as good of a story as the last few episodes or else I'm skipping it. It's disappointing that this was written and directed by the guy that co-directed The Boondocks and I was happy to see an anime with a predominantly black cast.

Cannon Busters gets a 4.8 out of 10.
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3/10
I can sum this movie up in three words "I don't care"
21 August 2019
I'm a fan of the Conjuring movies. I liked all of the ones I've seen but this one by far is the most disappointing. I refused to see Annabelle and The Nun after hearing how mediocre they were so I don't know if it's worse than them but this is definitely the worst of all the Conjuring films I've seen.

First of all, instead of Lorraine and Walter, the focus is shifted to Judy and we almost never see her parents, making me wonder where are the parents? What are they up to?

It's too bad because Judy is poor as a main character. She was fine as a side character but I never thought of her as a character that can hold her own. Here, she's now 11 years old adjusting to middle school. Because of changes, she's withdrawn and sulky in the beginning. We also see that she's an intuitive character, able to know what's going on in other peoples' minds. Though, she's really just a bland, contrived protagonist, making me wish Lorraine and Walter were the protagonists instead. Like how does pointing a cross at a ghost make them go away?

Like the whole story is just stupid, we got a boring protagonist who barely does anything due to the fact that she's just an innocent child who can't do anything about the ghosts. She had no reason to be the protagonist when Lorraine and Walter could've done much more than her. A stupid, rebellious teen who caused the story to kick off in the first place by her own rebellious actions when she snuck into the creepy room while cooking a freaking birthday cake, opened the glass Annabelle was in, basically releasing her and burning the cake. What's even more surprising is that she found the key while putting down a picture of Jesus for no reason.

Now I see why this film didn't do so well. I don't recommend going to see it. With its bland characters, predictable story, and insipid plot, Annabelle Comes Home sits at a 3/10.
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Gemini Rue (2011 Video Game)
8/10
Best story game I played
20 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
As a mystery noir game, the atmosphere is very dark and suspenseful. By the end of this game, I was on the edge of my seat at all the surprises and twists and turns this game had. It kept me guessing until the revelations. I was like wow, this is a really unique and interesting story, this whole thing about erasing people's memories and giving them new lives and personalities was fantastic.

What I found interesting was that the developer put Cowboy Bebop easter eggs into this game and it's fun to see how Azriel interacts with them while they're just being them. Even though they unfortunately couldn't get the original actors to voice them, their voice actors sounded similar to their original voice actors.

The gameplay is unique as well, it's challenging and requires a lot of thinking and attention to detail to find things. It puts you into the mind of a detective and there's also a unique gimmick where you have to search things up using a google-like terminal.

However, there are several things (most of them minor) wrong with this game: There is a bit too much dialogue in the story like there's a bit of background provided for the more minor characters that weren't really needed in those moments. The controls were a little wonky, and the fight scenes were cumbersome, particularly when you're trying to get a headshot, which isn't worthwhile to do because it's too slow and hard. When you play around with different items and touch everything that the character doesn't want to do, they pretty much say the same dialogue no matter what character you use. The voice acting, while decent and fitting for the characters, didn't put much emotion into their performances. And while I like the art style and it's 90s feel, the character designs are pixelated, you can't see their faces and you can barely even see their eyes in their pictures. About the gameplay, there's one part that I found tedious, it is where you have to find the right weight to put onto the pedestal and it took me a long time going back and forth trying to find the correct weight because I don't remember any clues to that part.

This game is underrated, it's a shame it gets slept on. It has a unique story and nostalgic graphics. It's probably the best game story-wise I played and I don't usually like story games.
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Camp Camp (2016– )
4/10
Annoying Camp
1 August 2019
The kids are so annoying. I don't know why people even enjoy watching these stupid little brats disrespecting adults and think it's funny.

Max is the jerkiest 10 year old ever.

Nikki is a stupid little 9 year old who cries over little things and ignorant of periods.

The show is weird and stupid and is filled with bad role models.
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Cadence of Hyrule (2019 Video Game)
8/10
A new unique formula for a Zelda game
14 June 2019
I didn't know what to expect since I never played Crypt of the Necrodancer but out of all the Zelda spin-offs, this is the one I'm most interested in. Sign me up for a rhythmic Zelda game!

There's not much to say about the story other than it's lackluster. I didn't get about the story is how Hyrule has somehow mimicked the world of Cadence's or how Cadence arrived there in the first place. I see that they were trying to mimic the old games' nonlinear stories but there were plot holes that weren't tied up.

The greatness instead lies in the gameplay. The gameplay mechanics are so unique they take time to get used to. I never played a game like this so I had to think about the enemy movements in accordance with the beat. As a beginner to the Crypt of the Necrodancer formula, I had to start with fixed-beat mode where you can move as fast and as slow as you want without worrying about the beat and practice moving along to the beat with that. I was worried about if the whole game was going to revolve around moving to the beat but it's a nice touch to beginners and players who don't want to move according to the beat and once you clear out all the enemies, you can move however fast you want. And there's a double beat mode that I think lets you move faster if you move too slowly. So yeah, there are a lot of other cool modes in there too to keep you entertained such as a daily challenge mode as well.

The game takes inspiration from very old Zelda games such as A Link to the Past even as far back as the nonlinear Legend of Zelda. I love how it remixes the music from older games and they sound great modernized. It's a nostalgia trip, especially for older Zelda fans.

A few disappointments in the gameplay though. The game is too short since players were able to 100% it in about 7 hours. CotN takes about as long as 45 hours to 100% so that was a letdown. You can mainly only play as Link and Zelda. Unfortunately, you can't play as Cadence, which would've been a nice inclusion to make the game longer and for players who want to use the protagonist from the CotN game, though I have heard you can play as Cadence sometimes but I didn't get to play as her that much.

I also don't like how when you die, you lose all your rupees and some temporary items. I don't know if this applied to the original Crypt of the Necrodancer but it's tedious to try to get back everything especially for a game as challenging as this. This is Zelda, not Sonic. Good thing that it's easy to get rupees and things like shovels and torches though you also lose keys and gear equipment, which aren't that accessible to every location. I don't know how useful they are, though. There are some items you can buy in the shops like bombs but what about some items that cost like a 100 dollars? Maybe losing like half of your rupees when you die are okay but not all of them.

This is a great Zelda game that I recommend every Zelda fan to try. It's different but it's different in a fun way.
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Missing Link (2019)
5/10
The Missing Link is missing...something....
8 May 2019
There are so many cliches to the movie that it makes this less of a Laika film and more of a Dreamworks Animation film. Add in the cloying disneyfied story with little tension and predictability and you get Missing Link, one of the weaker Laika films. I mean, this film has nothing special worth mentioning about it, even Laika's weakest film "The Boxtrolls" had more quirky elements and suspense to it. There is not much suspense in this one because one, I didn't care for the characters and two, the ending is anticlimatic, and three, there's not enough heart and soul to be found here. None of the humor I found that funny, I might have chuckled at one joke but that's about it. It's aimed particularly at children and a lot of the humor is either just lowbrow humor for the 9 year olds would get a kick out of or gags that you've seen in other kids cartoons.

There is no chemistry between the characters like for example, the forced romantic subplot between Zoe Saldana's character who I forgot the name of and Sir Lionel. The romance angle and her character alone was so contrived, like Zoe Saldona's character joins the adventure after Link and Sir Lionel robbed her house. Who would want to hang out with some stranger who broke into your house? Worse yet, they force in a romantic subplot between her and Lionel which doesn't make sense, why does she like this guy so much? This is the same jerk who broke into her house with some weird-looking monster, I don't get her whole weak character and her development. She is such an annoying character so it makes the film more intolerable to watch.

Throughout watching this film, I couldn't help but feel like it was missing something. Maybe it was missing the heart and soul that usually filled Laika films. For all intent and purposes, if you're looking for a nice animated buddy movie with some heart, you're better off watching Smallfoot, it's a bit different from this film and it's nothing groundbreaking neither but it has slightly more chemistry between characters and more heart to it. I don't believe a kid over the age of 9 would enjoy this. The only good thing about this film was a few of the action scenes and the animation, I cannot deny the animation is gorgeous as usual with Laika's films but that's the only points I can give it. I have no more to say about Missing Link. From its characters to its story, the writing was just meh, it's not horrible but it's not breathtakingly-good. I know I keep mentioning Laika's other films like Coraline and Paranorman but maybe I'm missing the darkness from those films because that's what I come to expect from Laika films. Maybe from this bomb, Laika will learn their lesson and return to the more whimsy and quirkiness of films like Coraline and Paranorman.
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4/10
So bland I had to turn it off
24 April 2019
I used to love this film as a child but I watched bits and pieces of it again and turned it off. First of all, the beginning is melodramatic, why just because the parents lost their job that they have to send their child away? Shouldn't they have enough money to still support their child? My mom didn't have a job and she still took care of me so either they're dirt poor or they became homeless and didn't want their child to be in that situation but I don't know, I didn't rewatch much of the film to remember all this. Also, why didn't Hayley call her parents and tell them that her aunt is too mean and that she needs to be picked up? This shows Hayley as a boring, weak little girl character when even 3 year olds can pick up the phone and call their parents?

Contrived melodrama of a film and I'm glad that it's not well-known. It doesn't deserve to be. If you have a child under the age of 11, they might enjoy this but otherwise, stay away.
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Dumbo (2019)
4/10
Where Timothy Mouse at?
16 April 2019
Seriously, Disney? Where has all your magic gone? Why did you replace good ole Timothy Mouse with these two boring kids? Expect me to mention Timothy a lot because he was my childhood crush and I was so disappointed to see him replaced by these cliched, flat human characters.

Dumbo was one of my favorite movies growing up. I remember as a preschooler, it was one of my most watched films. I haven't seen it for many years now but this film made me want to watch the original Dumbo again to relieve myself the disappointment that is this film.

The human stories are full of cliches. The film starts off with two young kids, 11-year-old Milly and her 10-year-old brother (I forgot his name and I don't even care) reuniting with their dad, who apologizes for not responding to their letter or something. Then, later on, we realize that the kids had lost their mom. Seriously, what is with Disney and these recent remakes about kids having deceased moms and their dads being too busy? It's like Christopher Robin (busy dad) and Mary Poppins (deceased wife) got together and had a baby. Why couldn't Disney just leave Timothy Mouse in the film as Dumbo's mentor instead of replacing him with human characters who are having cliched family conflicts in an attempt to be realistc? It shows that Disney had really ran out of ideas, remaking their already great movies into cliched borefests. It's been a long time since I seen Dumbo so I remember very little about it and can't compare it to this film that much. I also think maybe they put the dead mom trope in there just so that they can make Milly better relate to Dumbo. If I'm correct, Timothy didn't have some problem dealing with his mom and he still was supportive and compassionate of Dumbo.

The acting was robotic. The only emotions the kids showed were grinning but they just looked bored throughout. Which I don't blame them for because this film is so boring. Watch the original with your kids instead. This is just a borefest for both kids and adults.

I'm sorry for saying his name 5 times already but why they couldn't bring back Timothy Mouse is beyond me. Maybe they didn't want to put creepy CGI on a mouse but bringing him back would've made the film at least 2 times better.

The only good things I can say about this film are that Dumbo is cute and there were some memorable scenes that were faithful to the source material like Dumbo's touching relationship with his mom like for example the Baby Mine scene and then there's the pink elephant scene.
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Cyberbully (2011 TV Movie)
2/10
Pointless drama
3 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A lot of the drama just comes out of nowhere and the reason for it is because of the characters. All of the characters are poorly developed, it's like the writers said "Hey, let's make a film about cyberbullying" without thinking about how to write well-developed characters with believable motivations and personalities or a cohesive story. And the drama could've easily been solved had the main character been smarter. I mean, the whole story is that people are impersonating her when she could've blocked them or reported them. There's no stakes to it, especially when the main character doesn't even know how to get the cap off.

The characters are all nothing special. Taylor is nothing different from an average teenager, she's angsty, reclusive, mean, and boy-crazy. Why is everyone so mean in this film? It's just dull watching a film where everyone is so negative. You got people like Lindsay who bullies Taylor, you got Samantha who back-stabs her due to a bad experience she had with Taylor's boyfriend Scott, you got Eric who likes to create mischief for no reason, no adult is doing anything about the bullying and Taylor has a short temper. Like what is up with everyone? The film would've been better if it went a lot deeper other than "Oh, they're teenagers so they have to be mean." People who bully usually have a reason like trauma or insecurity but the film doesn't go any deeper on why these people are mean, they're just mean. They have no character development or much personality. But the only character that gets development is Samantha and even that was pathetically executed and was revealed much later into the film.

Enough with the negative personalities of the character. Let's talk about Taylor, she was such a stupid crybaby of a character. I don't care if she's a teenager and her emotions are going through the roof. If somebody has hacked into your account, why just passively stand in the bathroom sobbing about it when you could've just deleted it, changed your password, and told everyone that you've been hacked? She's supposed to be our protagonist yet a lot of the film consists of her crying, arguing, and being meek. This girl is so stupid she doesn't even think to report or block those who bully her. Like, come on man, she's 17 years old, a 5 year old would be smarter than her. She doesn't even learn how to stand up to bullies until the end of the film after she goes to a support group, what a boring character.

The dialogue is unrealistic and pointless. A lot of it is just filler and whoever wrote it acts like they've been alien from people their whole lives because people do not have a bunch of random conversations like that. What kind of 17 year old doesn't know how to open a pill bottle? And after she and her friend dropped the pills all over the place, why would she yell at her "What did you do?" and start wailing? Just pick them up, it's not that big of a deal.

The acting is so melodramatic especially from Emily Osment. She has no expressions other than sadness or anger and in those scenes, she tends to be overdramatic. During the dramatic scenes, the movie consists of a bunch of poor montage shots of Emily having panting and bawling like a baby. The film looked like it was made on a low budget with an amateurish director.

The only prop I can give this film is that it at least had a moral, it wasn't executed the best way but it had a moral about how to deal with bullies. But otherwise, this is a forgettable film and it's a shame since it was trying to teach morals about dealing with cyberbullying.
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Wonder Park (2019)
5/10
Not much fun to be had in this park
20 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I was quite excited to see this film since I have been a lover of theme parks and theme park building games ever since I was little and I came in there expecting an entertaining, cheery, comedic ride and came out disappointed.

It starts off fun, a little girl and her mom imagining this theme park but the whole beginning was still contrived. Why is a 6-year-old acting like a grown-up? I know child geniuses are common in fiction but sometimes June doesn't act like a genius when it doesn't involves park building, she can be dumb. Still, I don't see what 6-year-old would be able to construct a roller-coaster around the whole neighborhood.

Then... the film takes a dark turn. Wow, that escalated quickly. The drama was weak and I didn't find myself invested in the story. It was jarring how quickly the film just shifts from being light-hearted to tragic and with not much development given to the mom for me to even care much about her problem. She's okay. she's a pure character but why did she have to get sick all of a sudden? And to be honest, there's not much to her besides she's a very caring mom who wants the best for her daughter, which is to be expected from a mom.

I also found it messy how it was a mix of light-hearted and dark and it couldn't pick between the two. Like is it lighthearted, because it's a film about imagination that has this bubbly girl who loves theme parks and getting into mischief with quite a lot of action to boot or is it dark where it deals with her depression and fear over her mom's illness and her father's safety and how reclusive and indecisive she gets? But possibly because they fired the director, they decided to mix up the different tones and it was a big chaos of tones and themes.

It's too bad that director was someone that worked with Pixar as I'm sure that if he was still on board, the film would be at least decent and much better if it was pitched to the Pixar crew. They can handle emotional films a lot better and they also got some funny, light-hearted moments to boot. This film tried too hard to be a Pixar film and failed. Like look at the animal designs, a few of them even copied off of Disney movies that I guess June probably watched which inspired her.

Actually, let's talk about the design and animation. It's not the best but it's colorful to look at, especially with the park. The only designs I didn't care for were June and the animal designs. They were lazy, especially with June, who seemed to have the exact same face model at ages 6 and 9.

The characters are dumb and most of them had no personality besides June and Peanut. I mean, even June and Peanut weren't that good of characters. June is just a sassy, annoying little girl who protects her father too much, the kids are unbelievably nice like why wouldn't the boy who had a crush on June be suspicious about her getting him to fake vomit on the bus? Why do the kids admire June like nothing happened to their neighborhood in the beginning of the film? Wouldn't they be holding a grudge against her? The bear is (I couldn't even remember all the characters names because it's so forgettable) a sleepyhead for some reason? Those little beavers do nothing but fight. Greta had a weak romantic subplot with the porcupine that didn't have much to it. Peanut is a Debby Downer. And the porcupine's whole personality was just annoying and forgettable. All of the characters ranged from annoying to mediocre.

There is too much dialogue in the film which added to its blandness as well as some scenes that dragged on too long that were just there as filler. Such as them messing around Wonderland (why is it called Wonder Park instead?).

There is this message about how every cloud has a silver lining toward the end and that message is ruined by the mom turning out to be alive. With that message, you would expect her to be dead to see how June would deal with it now that she's grown as a character. What kind of illness did she have anyway? Was it cancer or some rare disease and she just miraculously recovered?

You may think I'm being too generous with this 5 because I had a lot of problems with this film. But it's because of there are some fun action, a few slightly funny moments, and an interesting idea that I have to give it credit for (a movie about saving theme parks from being swallowed up? Sign me up!), and how sweet the mom is. I'm giving it a 5 since I've seen a lot of things that were worse like The Emoji Movie for example. It's not that bad of a film but it's not good neither. There are a lot of confusing moments that didn't make sense but I believe kids under the age of 10 would enjoy it. It's too childish for anyone older. There are films that are a lot better than this such as Inside Out, A Monster Calls, and My Neighbor Totoro.

I really hope the tv series would have better directors and writers.
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7/10
Disappointing finale but the clunky story becomes solid about halfway through.
14 March 2019
I have to give this film a mediocre 6 or 7. Why? Because of the messy plot and all of the new characters being uninteresting.

The beginning was boring due to it taking like 20 minutes too long to get to the main plot. A lot of it is just characters doing silly stuff. But once they get to the main plot, it's still bogged down by sappy romance between Toothless and a bland dragon who I will get to and a tiresome villain. Instead of focusing on dragon romance, why not focus more on Hiccup's character development since he's trying to adjust to being a leader? Or more focus on them trying to find the hidden world and they run into more obstacles that bring about action? Action and adventure is what I expect from a How to Train Your Dragon film. Or better yet, both, of course.

The light fury didn't have much personality. Compared to Toothless, this is really disappointing how much he stands out in personality compared to whoever this light fury is. Because of that, the romantic subplot between them was boring. And why didn't anybody name her?

The reason why Hiccup and Astrid's relationship work is because both of them are well-written characters. They both have distinct personalities and there is more to them than just being young people developing a budding romance.

The villain is a boring character with no motivation or personality other than he's a bad guy who likes to kill dragons. He also tends to bog the film down by explaining details like the lore too much and this all makes him a forgettable character.

The returning characters are all still good, though. Nothing's changed about them. Hiccup gets decent character development and Valka's really cool and smart.

It isn't until like an hour into the film where they really start focusing more on the plot and the film becomes solid. So, yes, it's a clunky story but it gets better. Some of the jokes are corny and they're not laugh-out-loud moments but some of them were a little funny.

Overall, the film did not go out with a bang but it wasn't that bad of a finale. It had a sad but believable ending that wraps up the whole franchise.
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I Kill Giants (2017)
5/10
Some interesting ideas hidden in a mediocre story
14 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It's a unique look and symbolism on protecting the ones you love and dealing with the realities of life but it suffers with having a cast of mostly unlikeable characters with the exception of Sophia and Mrs. Molle, which makes for a so-so story that had potential. It had a good idea and a good message but I feel A Monster Calls is a lot better.

Barbara is a complex character though I couldn't necessarily like her because of how mean and anti-social she is. The interesting thing is that the film explains the root of her problems and that's what makes her an interesting, perhaps a bit more of a well-written character though still isn't very likeable. She's relatable in the sense that she tries to escape from reality by dealing with killing giants, which allegedly represented the cancer that's killing her mom but we found out that he's trying to help her cope with her grief. Since there is nothing that Barbara could do to stop her mom from dying. She's also relatable in the sense that she hates dealing with grief. I liked how brave she is but that's about it. If she was written to be a more friendly character, I would give this film a higher rating. Though, Madison Wolfe (The Conjuring 2) did a pretty good job capturing her complex character and her awkward personality. I'm looking forward to seeing more from her.

To be honest, the only character I liked was Sophia. I think she was the only well-written character out of this whole cast. She was natural and very well-acted by Sydney Wade. Really, all the actors were convincing in their roles and were really in tune with their characters.

Though, I think the film took a little too long to explain what was going on: I don't know why they felt the need to censor Sophia asking Barbara why didn't she tell her about her mother if the audience could take a hint that the recording she was listening to was maybe her mom speaking. I also didn't know why the film was afraid to reveal this already.
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Cora Unashamed (2000 TV Movie)
7/10
Sweet story
11 March 2019
I haven't read much of the original short story but I saw a user complaining about how they didn't like it because Cora changes. That wasn't something that bothers me, character development makes a film better and if the book didn't have it, it might be one flaw it has. I liked to see Cora becoming more confident and assertive as the film went on, it was a nice change from the quiet, grieving woman she was when her daughter died. She is a strong character with a caring personality and wise words and what really shines is the relationships of the characters and no I'm not talking about the Lizbeth, Arthur, and Jessie connection, they had a really unhealthy and abusive relationship with sweet, innocent Jessie that eventually leads to something really bad, which I won't spoil. Lizbeth was uncaring and too dramatic, such as when she nags her daughter over not performing the poetry right and Arthur doesn't even try to protect Jessie most of the time, he just allows Lizbeth to yell at her and only talks to Lizbeth when she's cries a river.

But Cora's relationship with her daughter, Josie and Jessie was heart-warming and really sweet, it helped Cora grow as a character and cope with her grief of losing her daughter by having a motherly relationship to Jessie. Josie and Jessie also had a beautiful, unique friendship that was cute to see. It's too bad their time together was cut short because Josie dies in the beginning. I know that she had some sort of incurable disease but I felt that if Cora gave her more treatments, she probably could've lived a little longer. Her dying didn't really emotionally impact me. When Jessie had went through something really bad at the end, it's more emotionally impacting because we got to know her for a much longer time. I mean, the beginning of the film was weak and rushed overall.

Overall, this film is a really sweet, inspirational, and charming story. It's too bad it's not that well-known. I just gave it a 7 because the beginning was a bit clunky and because of how much I hate Lizbeth and Arthur.
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Tenchi Muyô! (1992– )
2/10
Forgettable is all I have for this
9 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
While I'm biased since I don't like harem anime, I thought this was a formulaic series with nothing much special going for it. There's little to be interested at here besides Ryo-ohki, who is a sweet and cute cat-rabbit animal with a personality and the first episode when compared to the rest of the episodes in the series was okay. This also had some good music, though I disliked the dub, the actors sounded like they were just reading their lines and Ayeka's voice sounded too old for her physical age. It started off great and interesting until Ryoko came along. I was interested in what will happen next but once that grouch Ryoko came up, the series started dropping the ball more and more. There is not much of a plot here and all it focuses on is silly comedy and melodrama.

Why is everyone all gaga for Tenchi? He's a bland average Joe character, he's not that cute or handsome, he is whiny, dense, and an all-around forgettable character. Sure he had an interesting story in the first episode but character-wise, he's iffy.

The animation and designs show their age. Tenchi is supposed to be the guy the girls are hot for, yet he's not even that hot, he just looks like a boring everyman character. A lot of the animation is excessively goofy and there is a lot of exaggerated facial expressions for the sake of comedy, which I blame the decade it came out in for. I know that it fits the style of the show but I've seen some anime that came out around that time that had less stupidly poor goofy animation.

Aside from the space element, action, and a little mystery, it's not much different from your average harem anime. It's disappointing because there could've been more plot and for a series revolving around a bunch of quirky girls living with a guy, I was appalled by how much drama and crying there is in this show. It can jump from being a romantic sitcom to a space opera melodrama and it just didn't mix well. It's almost like it didn't know what it wanted to be.

Back to the characters, most of them are just busy fighting over Tenchi and therefore, aren't that interesting. All of them are either crybabies, dense, bratty or all of the above. Sasami is the nicest one out of the whole cast but even she turned out to be a Mary-Sue with her overly friendly attitude she has towards everyone. There was even one episode where she was crying over Mihoshi leaving but from what I've seen, they don't interact that much, they're not that close so why is she having such strong feelings about her leaving? She's like what, 6-9? And she cries too often in the series!

This series is so overrated and I don't get the appeal of it. Watch something better like Wreck it Ralph or Road to Avonlea.

3.6/10
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3/10
This spoonful of sugar won't help the medicine go down
18 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
What was the purpose of a sequel? The first film is 50 years old and I do not see why it needed a continuation. I don't know who asked for this but this film did not build on anything for the first film and is just there to be a cash grab because Disney is on a nostalgic roll with their films.

What really disappointed me about this film was that the original songs didn't make a return. The only one that I remember made a return was Let's Go Fly a Kite but they didn't even sing it, it was just heard. There's no Chim Chiminy, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, or A Spoonful of Sugar. Most of the songs here are poor and forgettable, the only one I kind of like was Music Hall. The story was fairly a rehash of the first film but with a little more drama to it, which is the dead parent theme and the struggling father which was also weakly presented in Christopher Robin, a film that came out the same year as this one. Disney is really liking this struggling father cliche now, aren't they? There is also an unnecessary dark scene where one of the kids get kidnapped and then there is this chase scene where they have to go after him. The first film was much more light-hearted so this slightly more dramatic, darker tone to this one was off.

I don't think any of the characters are really people that stuck out to me. Micheal has become a stern father who is cold to Mary Poppins and I know that he's become cynical and world-weary due to his age and the problems that he's been going through but this inconsistency in characterization brought nothing worthwhile to the story. His kids aren't much more than precocious kids: Georgie is annoyingly selfish which is probably done to make him look cute and he is the worst actor of them all. John started off having personality but he just became an empty robotic plot mcguffin who is not going to stick in my mind but even his personality in the beginning didn't stand out to me because he just seemed along with Anabel the typical precocious "I don't need anyone" kid. Mary Poppins is a bit more stern than I remember but I may be wrong, I haven't seen the first film in a long time. I think they also overplayed the everything is possible thing with her way too much, making the movie seem more contrived.

I guess overall, most of the actors did okay with what they were given but some of them seemed to have overacted. The poor direction and screenplay was just a waste of talent for them.

The climax was anti-climatic and was disappointing considering that there were some fun scenes where you can see the characters having fun. Fitting with the predictability and simplicity of this film, you know that they were going to save the day, there was no tension in that scene where they stop the clock. It was just too simple of a climax, if Georgie hadn't forgotten the kite, this scene wouldn't have happened. Though, there wasn't a lot of tension in this film anyway, most of the scenes that tried to be suspenseful ended up being simplistic, like the characters somehow finding their way home using just lights.

One thing I could give props to the film for was that they didn't bring the dead mother back. I was worried because of how predictable, contrived, and simplistic this film was and that because of Mary Poppins's belief in everything being possible that she was going to bring the mother back somehow, whether in spirit or physical. It's a common problem found in many movies especially Disney films.

This just reminds me of Disney's era of sequels that is just a safe kids film. Kids may find some enjoyment out of seeing the beloved Mary Poppins return for more fun adventures but it's nothing worthwhile. Skip this one and go watch the first film, it is a great film with memorable music and a fun, light-hearted storyline.
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Big City (1948)
6/10
Decent film until the third act
15 January 2019
The film was okay up until the last quarter of the film where they start establishing a bond between Midge and Shoo Shoo that has a hint of romance to it.

They made O'Brien who was a pre-teen at the time physically appealing to this woman named Shoo Shoo. They had her sneak into a bar to watch her performance with nobody being wary about a child being in the bar and forced her and Shoo Shoo to develop a shallow romance and what disgusts me is that this is between a grown woman and a young child. I mean, I guess I kind of understand that they want to bond and connect to each other because they're potentially going to be mother and child but I still find this romance and Midge's sneaky behavior inappropriate. And yes, I get it, it has a lot of romance in it and it's about family but it's not much of a romance film.

As for my problems with the earlier parts of the film, there is one major problem I had, I didn't like the parts where they have boys messing with Midge for reasons out of her control yet they barely do anything about this. There could've been a positive message about coming to accept others instead of bullying them but that unfortunately doesn't become the centerpoint of the film and thus, the boy has a fairly shallow redemption character arc and this is because he has too little screentime in the film.

It's a disappointing film which is quite a waste of talent from the sweet, talented Margaret O'Brien on a shallow screenplay and somewhat poor direction.
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