Comics, Movies, Video Games, and More

"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Battleship Review

Remember that board game called Battleship you used to play? Chances are you still have it in the closet or basement. Remember how long and strategic the game was, to the annoying and famous phrase "I sunk your Battleship!" and that sense of accomplishment when you sink an aircraft carrier? Now imagine a movie based on it. Looks like Hollywood or Hasbro for that matter is desperate for ideas that they're grabbing a board game with no plot behind it whatsoever. Instead of being a smart military action movie, it has a light-hearted tone and tries to be 'fun' like Independence Day or the Transformers movies. Now take a step back and think, what could be the antagonist for this movie? An opposing battleship? Apparently someone thought otherwise. Apparently someone thought....aliens. ETs would make the perfect antagonist for a realistic board game called Battleship. Instead of it being a realistic military sea movie, it's a science fiction story, because hey, when you think of Battleship, you think of aliens. This review is for one of the biggest bombs of the year, it didn't help that it was released around two weeks after Marvel's The Avengers, a much, much superior film. I read a 0 star review for this film in the newspaper a few months back. After watching it last night, I can definitely say this film is one that should be avoided. If you're thinking of watching it, there are tons better in the genre.

Making a story from a game with no backstory is no easy undertaking...or is it? Since it's pretty up-in-the-air you can do almost anything with it. Key word here is almost. Aliens does not go with Battleship. It would be like adding gremlins to the inevitable Parcheesi movie. They could have made it work with a much better script and a more serious tone, but it didn't go that way. With that said, the interesting story revolves around a battleship that comes in contact with unidentified object. Soon the world is in panic when China is struck by some objects, and not long after this whole thing becomes an 'extinction level event.'

So how about the opening act? You know what I like about it? It's a good thing to look at when wondering what not to do. This may be just the worst opening part I've ever seen in a movie. Words cannot describe how awful, cringe-worthy, and a slap in the face to the people who paid $12 to see it. Basically, it's the main character's (Alex Hopper, portrayed by Taylor Kitsch) birthday and he and his brother (Stone Hopper, portrayed by Alexander Skarsgard) are at a bar when what the film considers to be the 'hot girl' walks in. Naturally Alex goes to her and finds out she wants a chicken burrito but the kitchen is closed. So our pal Alex rushes to the food store across the street. He then comes to the horrifying realization that the store is closed. Then what follows is some of the worst comic relief I've seen in a film. He breaks into the store, albeit falling several times and looking incredibly silly. Then he runs out holding two chicken burritos with the police after him. He gets tasered...but keeps on going while saying things you would find in a SyFy channel original movie. Then he gets tasered a second time. I can understand if at the moment people walked out of the theater feeling ripped off. about those battleships?

The movies picks up slightly during the middle act. There's a sense of danger when the alien ship rises out of the ocean. The sound effects are fantastic. Sadly the major thing bringing this film down is the acting. Really, there is some cringe-worthy acting that belongs in an Asylum movie. The opening twenty minutes didn't do wonders for Alex. I'm sorry, but Kitsch just wasn't good in this film. There was no emotion and the majority of his lines were so unrealistic. At the soccer game he tells his would be replacement "Do you want to die today?" I'm sorry, but this film needed a better lead. (Or script for that matter.) Alex's older brother fairs better. The more sensible one, and you know what happens to sensible characters in these films, right? Liam Neeson surprisingly doesn't get too much screen time. His character, Admiral Terrance Shane, is alright. He did his best with the script. But even he couldn't save this movie. Brooklyn Decker is Samantha Shane, the 'hot girl' according to the film. (Think she was put in because of her acting skills? Think again.) My gosh, she cannot play a therapist, it's just forced and fake. I would not feel very encouraged by her. Then there's Rihanna...which is her acting debut. It's usually the Asylum or SyFy original movies that get singers so the films could at least get some views. So when you put a popular singer in a summer blockbuster, eyebrows will be raised. Unfortunately her character isn't that great, you can really tell she's acting the part. This is all really sub par summer blockbuster acting. Thought Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was the bad action film of 2012? It looks like The Dark Knight when compared to this film. Surprisingly, it's the side characters that shine. Alex Hopper's subordinates are more likable than the captain himself. Then there's the handicapped Mick Canales, portrayed by Gregory D. Gadson. Not only is he the best character, but the viewer can feel sorry for him. Only shred of emotion found in this movie.

If it's one good thing that can be said about this film, it's the amazing special effects. There are some truly outstanding effect sequences, such as the alien attack on China. Lots of explosions in this film. (This is basically a Michael Bay film, minus the more questionable humor...for the most part.) The only effects scene I had fault with was the cars on the bridge, you can tell they were all CGI. Regarding the aliens, a lot of the 'hype' was on them. In the trailer it looked like they would have a pretty cool design. The armor itself is pretty awesome, but take off the helmet, not so much. Also add to the fact that apparently these guys aren't truly hostile. It's hinted at, but the film does a poor job of explaining it. There seems to be a deeper reason of why they're here, but by the end, nothing is explained.  We're left with yet another alien species with no backstory or is even that tough. After Skyline, Battle: Los Angeles, and The Avengers, it's getting a little tiring seeing such canon fodder creatures. If you somehow stay after the credits, you'll find a scene that's an obvious cliffhanger for a sequel. (And since the film did so badly, you can say farewell to that.)

Overall, I'm usually very open when it comes to science fiction movies, I'll watch them all with an open mind. Even if they're poorly made films, (have to bring up Godzilla vs. Megalon) if they're fun, then they're watchable. Sadly for Battleship, it doesn't quite have that ridiculous fun factor, it's just a bad movie all around. The acting is bad, not even funny bad, just bad. The special effects are fantastic, this very well could deserve best special effects of 2012. There are some pretty dramatic scenes in the middle attack, with the attack on China being an incredible scene. Sadly the aliens are unexplored in their motives. It works for a film like Battle Los Angeles, but here the film goes out of its way to hint that these guys aren't truly hostile Xeonmorphs. But in the end, nothing is explained. Thinking of watching Battleship? Skip it and go watch a much better film in the genre, such as War of the Worlds, Independence Day, or even Battle L.A. Maybe the Candy Land movie will be good.


Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Things I Want to See in Season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

It was only a couple of months ago when I discovered Friendship is Magic. I had never realized how well-written the show was, just a couple of months later and I consider it to be the greatest cartoon of the 21st century. It's a show where you can go back and enjoy each episode a second time. Season One debuted back in 2010, with Season Two the following year. Personally I think Season One was a little better, but they're both great. The third season is on course to come out this year, truly exciting. Here are five things I want to see happen.

5. More Princess Luna

Princess Luna was the first major villain of the show, under the guise Nightmare Moon. As a villain, she was about as cheesy as they can get, perfect for the premiere two-parter. In the end, she departed from her evil ways to be reunited with her sister, Princess Celestia. After that, she disappeared for all through Season One. She reappeared in the Season 2 episode Luna Eclipsed. In it, we discover that she wants to be liked  by the public but due to her scary background and deep voice, the other ponies of Ponyville aren't too welcoming and run away in fear. So Twilight Sparkle takes it upon herself to get Princess Luna acquainted and change her villain background name. She then disappears until the season finale two-parter where she makes a brief appearance in each. Princess Luna is definitely one of my favorite characters, and one of the more interesting ones in general. Her relationship with Princess Celestia is like that of Sonic and Shadow. Celestia is the day-time light-hearted hero, whereas Luna is the night-time more serious hero. I'd like to see her get another episode to herself. I was disappointed that she didn't get to fight against Queen Chrysalis in the season 2 finale, I want to her fight alone or alongside her sister at least once in the upcoming season. She has a great personality, I'd like for an episode to explore it.

4. The Cutie Mark Crusaders Get Their Cutie Marks

The Cutie Mark Crusaders are a team of young ponies consisting of Rarity's sister Sweetie Belle, Applejack's sister Apple Bloom, and a young Pegasus who thinks Rainbow Dash is awesome, Scootaloo. These girls have one main thing in common: they're the only ones in their school without a cutie mark. Debuting in the episode Call of the Cutie, the running gag is that throughout the show they do all kinds of crazy stuff in hopes of their marks appearing. In one episode Apple Bloom unnaturally gets a fake cutie mark through the use of Zecora's potion. Two seasons later, it makes sense that they would finally get it. After all their endeavors, they deserve to finally get them.

3. The Return of Discord 

Nightmare Moon wasn't truly an evil villain at heart, just one angry sister. Queen Chrysalis on the other hand was pure evil, fooling the cast other than Twilight and having a definitive goal in mind. As queen of the Changelings, her goal was to make sure they have food and take over Eqestria. She was rather serious for the most part, no fooling around. Discord on the the hand loved to have fun with the ponies. Instead of being a straight up fighter, he plays mind games. In the Season 2 premiere, he got the Mane 6 to disband. This guy is just a real blast to watch, he loves chaos and likes to mess around with the characters. I mean, Twilight's like "Stop it Discord, you're not playing fair!" and he's like "I'm not playing fair? Perhaps we haven't met. I'm Discord, spirit of chaos and disharmony, helloooo." His lines are just great. I would love to see this guy return for another two-parter.

2. An Armageddon Future Episode 

In one of my favorite shows ever, the 2003 incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it had an episode titled Same as it Never Was. The story in that takes place in an alternate future where the show's antagonist, the Shredder, is ruler of the world. The turtles have lost, there is only the Shredder in a very 1984-like setting. I'd love to see an episode like that this upcoming season. Swap out Shredder for Queen Chrysalis, we'd have a very interesting and dark episode. Having Twilight somehow getting warped into the future and finding out the Mane 6 have disbanded and Queen Chrysalis reigns supreme over Equestria would make a cool and memorable episode. It would also be a neat way to bring back the Queen without having to worry about doing a present-day story with her.

All those things are great, but the primary thing I would trade any of the above for is...

1. The Same Level of Quality 

Friendship is Magic is a great show for one primary reason: each episode brings something to the table, each episode is filled with quality. The writing, stories, voice acting, songs, and most of all, the friendship morals, are what makes this show fun to watch and why I personally think it's one of the greatest. I want to see that continued in Season 3, I don't want the show to go down the Spongebob path and become something that was once good, but now something mindless. Thankfully, I doubt it'll go down that route.

And those are some things I'd like to see in this upcoming season. If not, then in probable future seasons.

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Super Mario Bros. 2 Review

The original New Super Mario Bros. came out six years ago, and is the best selling game for its system. It brought back the side-scrolling last seen in Super Mario Land 2 and proved that side-scrolling still works today. It was a simple game (but pretty challenging on its first play-through) that one can jump in and play, not to mention that it was fun and introduced many new concepts. It was only natural that a sequel would come, I was just surprised it took three years. New Super Mario Bros. Wii came out three years ago and to date is one of the best selling Wii games. It took the concept from the first one, added Yoshi, and many new power ups and concepts like the Super Guide, which would later be carried into future games in one form or another. Plus it had four-player co-op, which was fun. (Not to mention enraging for veteran players teaming up with rookies, or when one of your teammates purposely makes you fall into the lava.) Now with the 3DS, Nintendo decided to unleash the 'true' sequel to NSMB, New Super Mario Bros. 2. The thing about this one is the emphasis on coins. (Look at the pretty golden box-art.) Take out the New in the title and put in old, there is virtually nothing 'new,' it has a lot of the same everything. It's pretty much a placeholder for New Super Mario Bros. U.

This is one of the easiest Mario games I've ever played, I literally speed blasted it in three days. If you've been playing these games for a long time, this will be a walk in the park. You can literally speed blast almost every level. The challenge comes in looking for the Star Coins. Before anything else, know this, I'm not saying this is bad game, it's a really fun one. It's just that after two entries, this does nothing to change the formula. It's not a cash-in on the name, but it's close. Like almost an insult to the fans, the music is lifted from the Wii one, with very little modifications. The Ghost House theme? Check. Fortress? Check. Castle? Check. The exact sound files, they couldn't bother to do new music for this game. To even further insult the fanbase, the story is the exact same thing from the Wii game, minus the clever use of cake. That's right, if you love Bowser's bratty Koopa Kids, then you're going to love the story. (Though strangely Bower Jr. is nowhere to be seen.) They use the Clown Car and *gasp* kidnap the Princess. It's a joke because all Peach does is yell for help, yet she has enough room to fight to back, she doesn't even try to slap them. It's a joke. This is what twenty-eight years of Mario gaming have come to? I really thought Galaxy would set the tone for future games.

I just want to say that I think it's a little silly to have to 'unlock' Luigi. It New Super Mario Bros. It should be like in Mario World where you freely switch between characters. Let's talk coins. Unlike the previous games, this one puts a strong emphasis on them. Your goal is to collect a million of them, which I personally think is a cheap way for replay value. Fans of Super Mario Bros. 3 will be happy to see the Racoon Leaf back in action. It plays great here, it really should have been in the Wii one. (Guess the Propeller Mushroom took its place.) By far the most exciting power-up is the Gold Flower. Basically it's a souped up version of the Fire Flower, instead of throwing little fireballs, you throw large goldenballs, which gets you coins from the enemies and blocks it hits. The final battle isn't bad, but it should only take you two tries. It's not as good as the epic final Bowser battle in the Wii game. For the Star World, they re-use Dry Bowser. You beat him, and that's it. Nothing special happens.

The music is great but since 99% is lifted from the Wii game, can't really praise it all too much. (I do like the tweaking of the Atheltic Theme, catchy.) The part that gives the game challenge and replay value is collecting the Star Coins. This is by far where it's hardest to find them. On one level I want back over ten times cause I couldn't find one, they're smartly placed. Unlike in the previous game, the worlds are downgraded to six as opposed to eight. Yes, there are two secret worlds, but that's beside the point. This game really needed the two extra worlds for when playing through the game for the first time.

Overall, you probably think I truly disliked the game. That isn't the case, I enjoyed it. I just had to point out that this is barely New Super Mario Bros. If this is your first Mario game, or first game in the New series, then you would definitely give this a 9/10. But for the majority of the fans, people like me, who have been playing these games for years, I have to give it a bump down to an 8/10. It's a really fun Mario sidescroller, it's worth the buy, but it borrows too many things from the previous two games to stand alone as a true successor. I expect the WiiU game not to not follow the same mistakes.


Thursday, September 20, 2012


I wonder if the GODZILLA ongoing will actually be about Godzilla anytime soon. In its fifth outing, not much really improves. Kiryu makes his debut, which is something, but turns out to be nothing. He was made from the blueprints of the original Mechagodzilla along with knowledge of Godzilla's philology put into its weapons to make a better fighter. The fight was okay, but personally I enjoyed the short tussle between Titanosaurus and Rodan last time due to its more uniqueness. The battle here was okay, but again too short, and *gasp* Kiryu is defeated, end of story. Godzilla has no personality whatsoever. He just stomps on things, battles anything that's in his way, and continues on. No purpose. This ongoing just doesn't 'get' the title monster like Half Century War does.

The thing I'm beginning to appreciate more of Kingdom of Monsters is that the monsters had a considerable amount of focus, here it's too much on Boxer and his kill crew. The big twist here is that we find out Harrison is actually Boxer's son. It's interesting, but the previous issues gave absolutely no indication. It was done for shock, but it was kinda out of left field. Oh, we also learn why Harrison is mute. By accident? Nope. Turns out it's by choice, and has been so since he was nine. C'mon, over fifteen years and he doesn't
choose to speak? Doesn't make sense and isn't realistic. The American controlling Kiryu kinda ruins it, his dialogue is so cringe-worthy. Now the interesting part of this issue is this new character Ms. Asuka. She's recruited into the Monster Island base. I like her, she has a certain coolness that the majority of the cast is lacking. Her words on the final panel is what's intriguing. "So, Dr. you want to see how to make a giant monster fall in love?" But they're aren't any female monsters at the moment, so...I don't fully get it. But with the words 'sample' and 'results,' it also sounds to me like they're creating a female Godzilla, which in itself is quite an odd concept. Next issue Mothra makes her debut, so hopefully we'll get some answers along with this average series improving.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

GODZILLA Gets a Release Date!

So I come home from the first night of AWANA and hit up Twitter. Right when I enter I see some people talking abut a GODZILLA update and that I should be extremely pleased about it. A few moments later I see that the release date has been unveiled. May 16th, 2014. I will admit that I haven't had much optimism in this being released, but now I have a strong confidence. Just check out this snippet from the press release.

Warner Bros. will return the character to its epic roots with a gritty, realistic actioner.
Epic roots? Gritty? Realistic actioner? Sounds like everything the 98 film wasn't. You can tell this is going to be ultra series with pretty much no humor, like the original film. Also since MONSTERS is Gareth Edward's only other film, I can see a tone similar to that. Anything else I have to say will just be pure speculation. We'll probably get a trailer with Pacific Rim next year, then the internet will really explode.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Latest Figure Hauls: Bandai Godzilla Jr. and Bandai Showa King Ghidorah

Two figures in one? How awesome. Technically these guys came a few days ago, but I didn't write up the article because it was my birthday yesterday. But here we are now. First off, Godzilla Jr. This is the Movie Monsters one, cool little figure.

This guy came came in a Bandai pack featuring Titanosaurus, Hyper Gyaos, Showa Anguirus, and Jet Jaguar. All that for $77. Now I already had everyone save Jr, so the rest go up for sale. Titanosaurus alone will fetch like $70, so it'll be a good profit.

Ah, this is the big one folks. I managed to win a Bandai Showa Ghidorah. Bandai has made only one figure of the Showa version back in 1984, which has been reissued a few times. For a figure that was made that long ago, the detail is incredible.

The three heroes take on the King of Terror

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"

That is probably the greatest video game line of all time. It's unexpected, and even haunting to the player. With the highly successful Ocarina of Time, the obvious move was to make the sequel. Before it became Majora's Mask, it was originally going to be something like an expansion or remix to Ocarina. That project was scrapped, and then the game we see today came along. This may seem like a shock, but this game came out twelve years ago, one year before the Gamecube launched. That means it was released around the 64's final run. (Which is similar to Skyward Sword on the Wii.) As a Nintendo fan, I've always known about the game. Not really many details, but the title and the fact that it was a sequel to Ocarina. It wasn't until a few months ago that thanks to Club Nintendo I got the chance to play it. (For free!) I've heard things on how dark and twisted it was. I wasn't expecting anything drastic, Twilight Princess was pretty dark. I wasn't expecting anything 'twisted.' That changed once the game loaded up.

What I like about this game is that it's a direct sequel. So there's no Link trying to find his destiny and all that stuff. After Majora's Mask they went back to that formula with Wind WakerTwilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. This game doesn't even bother explaining the controls, it assumes you've had experience with Ocarina. Unlike the overrated and extremely boring Skyward Sword, this game grabs you from the start and doesn't let go. Right from the intro with the Happy Mask Salesman laughing while beholding the mask, you know you're in for something else. The game begins nice and smooth, with Link riding on his horse, Epona, before getting ambushed by two fairies. Then the supposed antagonist shows up, this imp called Skull Kid, and he's wearing Majora's Mask. This guy laughs, (you will not be forgetting this laugh) then he precedes to steal Link's Ocarina while he's knocked out. I know I've stated this before, but it's great to see actual things indicating that this is a sequel to the previous game. This guy just keeps laughing while the two fairies argue, and then Link gets up. Bewildered, he attempts to grab Skull Kid, but the latter jumps on his horse! Now here's comes the cool part and a reason why Link is not only a hero, but a darn cool one. He actually grabs hold of Epons's hoofs as Skull Kid rides away, dragging our young Robin Hood with it!

For a game that was made twelve years ago, the graphics hold up really well. Obviously there's a lot of blockly textures, (especially with the Giants,) but the framerate is great. Eventually Link goes flying as Skull Kid goes into a cave, laughing. Okay, so far, it was pretty intense, but nothing really dark and twisted. That all changes once the player enters the cave. Once Link entered, everything changed. He falls down a cliff. What a follows is a rather trippy scene with colorful emblems of various masks and ocarinas. Once Link hits the ground, Skull Kid's there,  just levitating. He says "What's with that stupid horse of your's?! It doesn't listen to a word that's said to it. There's no point in riding a thing like that. So I did you a favor and got rid of it...Hee. hee.." That is when I was taken off-guard. He killed my horse?! HE KILLED EPONA?! What follows is the beginning of the end for the sanity of this game, he transformed Link into Deku form. (The sequence before that with the Dekus ganging up on Link was pretty intense.) So he's transformed into this little thing with a Birdo-like snout, meanwhile with Skull Kid laughing it up and making fun of him. From there the game gets more interesting. Once Link goes up to a door, in the background someone says,

"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"

Link turns around, and the camera zooms in for us to see this grinning guy with a bag of masks. This guy doesn't even have a name, he's simply called the Happy Mask Salesman. He is pivotal in the game, and is also one of the more disturbing characters in the series. In one frame he's shaking his head, another he's yelling, and then the next one he's smiling again. This guy is just weird. It actually turns out that Skull Kid stole Majora's Mask from him, so he makes a deal with Link. (It also turns out that he's been following the green-suited hero.) If Link can bring back the mask, he will transform him back to normal. What's also disturbing (and pretty awesome) is that he has a Mario mask in his pack. That aside, Link exits the place and the screen is confronted with the words,

Dawn of the First Day -72 hours remain-

This is the key factor separating Majora's Mask from other Zelda titles. In the game, you have three days to complete it. What happens if you don't? The moon is going to strike the land of Termina, and destroy it. No matter what, it's going to strike. You're left with with the feeling that you have to beat this thing quick, to prevent the end from happening. The three day cycle is the main reason why Majora's Mask is one of the cruelest games of all time. You can't afford to lose, because the cycle continues. What that means is that if you spend 3 hours on a dungeon, but can't beat the boss in time, that 3 hours goes out the window like it never happened. (People with a fast temper will be throwing their remotes out the window.) That is when the songs come into play. The Song of Time is the main one, when you use to save and rewind time. Eventually Link gets the ability to revert back to human form, but could also transform depending on the mask. The transformations are pretty disturbing for a rated E game, just take a look.

What is that?

Now that would be creepy, except for the fact it looks like the Annoying Orange.

The goal in the game is to go to the four areas, Swamp, Mountain, Ocean, Canyon, and free the Four Giants. Unlike Skyward Sword and even slightly *gasp* Ocarina, the game doesn't feel like a chore. The fast pace and story gives you motivation to keep on playing. It doesn't have things that just stall for time.' (I will never forget the tadtone level in Skyward Sword.) If you think it's all dandy and you're just here trying to beat the dungeons in time, you're wrong. You know the very handsome and heroic looking Mirror Shield in Wind Waker? Well, it's in Majora's Mask too.

I really have no idea what the creators of this game were doing, you have to see that thing called a shield all the time once you get it. Also...

Okay, that's just wrong. Basically really later in the game you get this song called 'Elegy of Emptiness.' It creates a statue in your place, perfect for holding down switches. Yes, that's in a rated E game by Nintendo, it doesn't get any better. The game, like all Zelda games, has numerous sidequests. If you happen to get all the masks, for the final battle you get to be Oni Link, which is pretty darn awesome. Link gets god-like powers, probably the coolest thing in the series. I also love the writing, it's very strong, especially in the climax part. The final boss is very satisfying. (Form 2 is just plain trippy, it dances around and pretty much mocks Link the whole time.) The ending I found was a little disappointing. I would have liked more explanation, especially with why the Moon Children look like the Happy Mask Salesman...

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is an experience all gamers should have. While it's still less popular than its predecessor, it's a different game. The story is unlike any other one, it is engaging from beginning to end. Also add to the fact that this is the most twisted Nintendo game to date. For just $10 on the virtual console, it's the game to get if you're never played it before.  

"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"