Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review: Power Rangers Megaforce "Stranger Ranger"

     Now that we have five episodes, we need the obligatory "fake ranger" episode.  Basically, this guy is pretending to be the Red Ranger and there is a monster attack.  The Ranger prevent the poor asshole from being killed.  Then they fight the monster, it gets big, they kill it with the Megazord...and that's it.
     I want to review this, but there is nothing to review.  It is, once again, predominantly Sentai footage (poorly cut Sentai footage at that) with voice-overs.

I'm going to give this episode a 7.5/10 only because the footage was very poorly cut.  Other than that, Samurai had better plot development.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: Adventure Time "The Great Bird Man"

     For the first time since "Little Dude" in early February, we get an actual Finn and Jake-centric episode that doesn't make me feel like I was forced to take Nyquil.  In this episode, Finn and Jake meet a reformed Goblin King in the Badlands who claims he has changed.  This is due to a wizard stealing his eyes.  Finn and Jake, thinking he is reformed, give him his eyes back and he relapses like a meth-head on Breaking Bad.  In a semi-anticlimactic ending that still retained the Adventure Time charm, the Goblin King retreats.
     The episode was good and it was very similar to the old style of Adventure Time.  My only complaint was the ending.  The Goblin King manages to go through all these dynamic stages and manages to end with "Oh, well, I fucked up."
     Sorry about the short review, I have a Political Theory test tomorrow as well as the fact that I have a Power Rangers Megaforce review, two Pokemon reviews, an announcement, and two op-eds to do.  Plus, I really don't see that much recurring from the story here in the long term considering it wrapped up the story with the Goblin King nicely.  On the 25th however, with "Simon and Marcy," that should, SHOULD, be a good review.

Final Rating: 9.25/10 (Holy shit, he went to the hundredths place)

Review: Adventure Time "Vault of Bones"

     Well, this was a nice recovery from "Bad Little Boy."  This episode was the most recent to address Flame Princess and Finn's relationship and, it did a pretty good job.  It picks up with Finn trying to change Flame Princess's alignment to good from evil, despite her father trying to keep her evil.  So Finn decides to take Flame Princess into a dungeon so she could get interested in Finn's interests.  However, she gets bored and does not find the enjoyment that Finn does at these tasks.  Eventually, after Finn tells her to do what she likes, she starts burning things down and destroying things with fire.
     It was a cute, well timed episode, intended on keeping the whole Finn/Flame Princess relationship relevant to the viewer.  It was also interesting because it showed the whole conflict of personalities between Finn and Flame Princess.

In all, it was a good recovery from the episode with Fiona and Cake and thus is rated a 9.5/10

Final Rating: 9.5/10
Rating Compared to other Flame Princess episodes: 8.5/10

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review: Silver Linings Playbook (movie)

     Today, I decided to go and see just why Jennifer Lawrence deserved her Academy Award for best actress.  Granted, if she didn't win, I would seriously doubt the legitimacy of the system if she didn't win, purely based on who the other nominees were.  I'm not saying that Naomi Watts is a bad actress, I'm saying that movies such as Zero Dark Thirty are not the kind of movies that spring winners in the "Best Actress in a Leading Role" category.  Now, as for the movie, it is about a man who's wife cheated on him, and he beat up the man she cheated with.  He is put into a mental institution as a result and he is released.  He meets a girl who has issues of her own, and they help to rehabilitate each other through dance.  I will break down the rating of the movie into categories and average it for the score.

Plot-9/10: The movie, despite taking place over months, does a good job pacing the movie so there isn't a lag moment.  The flashbacks are well timed and are used to illustrate the back story.  My main complaint is the fact that there is, to a certain extent, an element of unrealistic situations when the same police officer always deals with him.  To a point, such as domestic disturbances and other calls to the house are understandable, however the same cop responding at the movie theater on Halloween came off as either the cop is stalking him or all of Philadelphia has one police officer. Also, at the Eagles/Giants game, the police took far too long to respond to a brawl at a tailgate.

Acting-10/10: Everyone has already beaten to death how good Jennifer Lawrence was in this movie, so I won't spend too much time on that topic.  She did a good job portraying a depressed widow and she does a good job conveying emotion, something that most current actors cannot do.  She has command of the stage when she is on it as she demands all the attention.  Bradley Cooper does a good job portraying the crazy guy fighting to get his wife back.  However, when he is in a scene with Robert De Niro or Jennifer Lawrence, he is overshadowed.  Robert De Niro is great in this movie.  He plays a bookie who is trying to make the money to open a restaurant.  He does his usual style of acting, making him appear as if he is in a continuation of Goodfellas.

Characters-8/10:  The characters are deep.  We get extensive knowledge into their back-stories and why they act as they do.  They are not stock, static characters, they are new and exciting and dynamic in their personalities.  My issue is the amount of drive that Pat has toward his ex-wife.  Personally, if my wife cheated on me, I wouldn't try to get her back.  I accept that the man is insane but still, there is not enough effort on the part of everyone else around him to try and make him accept the fact that, while he was in a mental institution, she moved on.  Also, the fact that no one says "Listen, she cheated on you, move on" bothered me a lot.

Final Rating: 9/10

This was a great movie and, at this point, wait for it to come out on DVD.  There are too many fans of The Hunger Games going to see this movie now.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Power Rangers Megaforce "Going Viral"

     The first character-centric episode of the season is always a big occasion.  It is the first opportunity for the new writing staff to depart from the formulaic opening and begin character development.  This episode, did not seize that opportunity.  In my opinion, where the Mighty Morphin' episodes of the same type provided insight into the character (the first example that comes to mind is Zack with his hip-hop fighting style, which in hindsight was incredibly racist), this one was merely used to teach a simple lesson to children.    I do commend it however for not taking the Disney Channel Approach and saying "today's lesson will be..." and at the end saying "today's lesson was..." However, if you did make a drinking game out of the episode and took a shot everytime Noah said "I believe in myself" in some form, you would die of alcohol poisoning. I think that too much of the episode is devoted to the fighting, something that was apparent from last week's episode, but I wanted to give it a chance.

Rating: 7.5/10
Spoiler: Noah got new zords and the Sea Gosei Great Megazord was unveiled.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Adventure Time News

     To those of you who like the television show Adventure Time, there is news.  First of all, next week's epiosde "Vault of Bones" is centered around Finn trying to turn Flame Princess good, against her father's wishes.  The trailer shows a few things that are of note.  Finn's demon sword is back as well as the fact that he is wearing a gauntlet.  There is no news as to the significance of this.  Also, more on the technical side, music writer and storyboard artist Rebecca Sugar is receiving her final credit as storyboard artist in the episode "Simon and Marcy" which should air, if there is no break, on March 11th.  However, I have a feeling that there will be a break or the episode will be pushed back.  Rebecca Sugar writes most of the songs from the show including "I'm Just Your Problem", "I Remember You", "Nuts" and "Fry Song."  Her role in creating music in the future is unknown, however, she will no longer be writing episodes.  To get a feeling for how much of a loss that is, here is a list of episodes written by her:

201: It Came from the Nightosphere
207: Power Animal
211: The Chamber of Frozen Blades
215: The Real You
218: Susan Strong
225: Mortal Folly
302: Morituri te Salutamus
309: Fiona and Cake
310: What was Missing
314: Beautopia
316: Jake vs. Me-Mow
326: Incendium
401: Hot to the Touch
406: Daddy's Little Monster
412: Gotcha!
416: Burning Low
419: Lady and Peebles
425: I Remember You
502: Jake the Dog
511: Bad Little Boy
Unaired: Simon and Marcy

Pretty big loss if you ask me.

UPDATE: Having just seen the extended Season 5 preview, clips from the episode "Simon and Marcy" are in it.  See the video below:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories/RE: Chain of Memories

     The sequel to Kingdom Hearts was released, not for the PS2, but for the Game Boy Advance.  The name: Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories.  The game picks up where Kingdom Hearts leaves off and you are plunged into the eccentric world that is Castle Oblivion.  Here, you are confronted with 13 floors where each one is a different world taken from Sora's memories and you need to complete the floors and fight numerous enemies including Axel, Marluxia, Vexen, Larxene, and even Riku.  The game introduces a new fighting system that is played like the card game "war" where you play cards and your card is "broken" if the opponents play a higher level card.  Upon completion of the game, you unlock "Reverse/Rebirth Mode" where you get to play through Riku, starting on the lowest basement and working up to the first floor.  The events of both stories lead directly into Kingdom Hearts II.  In terms of plot, the story is just as good as the games after it and before it.  The most common complaint is the card system and that is easily figured out by the end of the first floor.  My main complaint was that "100 Acre Wood" made the cut while the world based on Tarzan did not, when "Deep Jungle" is an integral part of Kingdom Hearts's story.

Overall: 8.5/10

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Adventure Time "Bad Little Boy"

     When fan service goes to far, something like this is spawned.  This episode attempted to emulate the first Fiona and Cake episode and failed.  The whole opening sequence went too long, and there was a legitimate 7 minutes of episode, if that.  The point of the episode, and I understand this, is to bring back Fiona and Cake, but that could have been done during the premier of the season (however that would have been far worse) the saving grace for the episode was Donald Glover's performance as Marshal Lee.  For the no doubt large amount of money they paid Neil Patrick Harris to appear in the episode, he didn't make nearly long enough of an appearance.  The musical sequence took up most of the episode which, in my opinion detracts from the episode from the episode as a whole.

Rating 7/10.  Worst episode of the season to date and it did not live up to the hype.

Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book)

    I realize that this may be long overdue, but I have begun rereading all of the Harry Potter books.  Starting, of course, with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  A little bit of background of the series, I began reading these books in 2000, when I was in first grade, as part of a feud between my mother and the mother of another kid who was already reading these books.  So, I read them and was hooked.  This is the first time rereading them in years and, now at 18, I can appreciate the pure literary genius that J.K. Rowling possesses.
     Even if you haven't read the book, odds are you have seen the movie, so I'm not going to go too far trying to block spoilers.  The story is magnificent, where The Hunger Games lags to the point where it is unreadable in the beginning (middle and end as well) this book carries the story with significant plot details.  The beginning features the introduction of key characters to the series, as well as an introduction to key, yet minute details as to what will play out in the future.  The book is well written, illustrating a higher level of vocabulary than most books written for children.  One of the most striking things about the book is the lack of specific spells, curses, jinxes, and other things of the sort.  This is significant because overly focusing on the magic aspect of the setting would, in my opinion, detract from the story.  In hindsight, one of my favorite things that is in the book is the number of references into how impossible it is to break into Gringotts.  I'm not going to talk about variations from the movie, that is for another day, but probably the coolest thing about the series is how everything comes back somehow.  If something is referenced specifically, it is almost guaranteed to be significant.

Final Rating: 10/10

Next week, I will review the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, followed by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets the week after.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

News Round Up

     Today is Thursday, February 14th 2013.  Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  Here are the most recent stories relevant to this blog:

     Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special has been confirmed to air on November 23rd, 2013 on BBC HD and in 3D movie theaters.  At this point, not much is known about the contents of the episode however rumors are speculating that it will feature a reunion of the past 11 Doctors.  Matt Smith's future on the show is also uncertain as he has been cast in a feature length movie named (fittingly) How to Catch a Monster.  It is rumored that he will leave the show after the next season, but these rumors are unfounded.  

     Ninfia, the new evolved form of the pokemon Eevee, has had an official western name and a new trailer attached.  The Pokemon Facebook page announced that it is to be called Sylveon and it gave a video of it in action.  The type and evolution method remain unannounced.

     Earlier today, a Nintendo Direct was held that announced many games.  First, Animal Crossing: New Leaf has a western release date of June 9th, 2013 while Europe has a release date of June 14th, 2013.  Two major games slated for this summer have been announced.  The first is Mario Golf: World Tour being developed by Camelot and features courses from both the Mushroom Kingdom and traditional courses.  The second is Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, the fourth game in the hit series.  This game takes place entirely in Luigi's dream with you interacting with the sleeping Luigi to get through puzzles.

      Also, two other relevant release dates, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon both come out on March 24th.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Power Rangers Megaforce "He Blasted Me With Science"

    Where to talk about this, I'm not sure what there is to say about this episode, it is similar to every other second episode because it involves the requirement of the megazord for the first time to defeat the enemy.  Basically, the aliens decide to study the humans and they send down a monster that can transform into UFOs.  The rangers defeat it and it grows into the huge form.  They summon Zords and destroy it.  The only things to actually note is the name for the individual zords before they combine is now mechazords and they keep on shoving Jake/Gia down our throats.  It is obvious that Jake likes Gia.  Get over it.  Finally, this was a very generic episode that was pretty good.

Rating 9/10

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Adventure Time "Little Dude"

     Two weeks from now, we will be dealing with Fionna and Cake.  Why this exists, I cannot tell you to be honest, but to bide time before that, this week's episode was "Little Dude."  The basic premise is that Finn's hat comes to life when he and Jake try to become friends with it.  They later find out however that it was created when it touched a flower sprout that grew on the head of an evil wizard who buried himself, making the hat evil.  So Finn, Jake, and the wizard go after the hat who first possesses a candy person, then a Gumball Guardian.  They defeat the hat by turning animating objects in a good alignment to attack the Hat-Gumball Guardian and remove the hat.  In the end, the wizard animates the Hat with a good alignment and sets it free.
     Do not worry, Finn is getting a new hat.  DO NOT PANIC.
     Anyway, it is obviously a random episode but, unlike the last few, this one should have repercussions in future episodes.  There is now a wizard that can animate evil objects running around which could signal a way for the Lich to return.  That is an extreme case and it is more likely that his character arc goes the way of the Magic Man.  It was a good episode purely because of the dark undertones of the wizard having an abusive father and caring mother and it is that level of character development that is not standard in Children's Television.

Final Rating: 9/10

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review: Power Rangers Megaforce "Mega Mission"

     Another year, another season of the hit children's series Power Rangers.  This season, we have Power Rangers Megaforce. Let me start out by saying, I'm NOT going to review this like I would review a show with a deeper meaning like Adventure Time and I am not going to look critically at it or criticize it on the level I would criticize a show like The Newsroom.  This is a children's show and should be viewed as such.  This week's episode was called "Mega Mission" and following the proud tradition of every team of rangers before them, the Megaforce Rangers begin their formulaic journey of taking down the enemy group, in this case invading aliens.  I'm not going to do an in-depth plot synopsis of this episode because, if you watch the pilot of any other season, it is essentially the same.  The thing that sets this episode apart is the stark difference in quality between this season and its predecessor,  the acting is tons better, the story is relatively more realistic, the characters and their relationships seem more realistic and less forced.  Also, there are a number of throwbacks to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers with Ernie's making a return in the form of a frozen yogurt place, the characters and colors are similar in personalities, and Gosei was trained by Zordon.  My only complaint is that I would have used this episode in a similar way to Power Rangers Dino Thunder's episode "Legacy of Power" to show off all the past teams and their achievements.  For some reason, I think the Lightspeed Rescue team will be important in the future.

Rating 9.5/10

Review: Adventure Time "All Your Fault"

     Last week, the episode aired was "All Your Fault."  It was an episode about the Lemongrabs and has no repercussion on the rest of the series.  The premise is that the Lemon Kingdom has run out of candy to feed them so Princess Bubblegum sends Finn and Jake there with candy seeds.  They find the kingdom over run by starving Lemon people and they have to go to the dungeon of the castle to find Lemongrabs.  When they find them, they learn that Princess Bubblegum left the method of creating people from candy behind and the Lemongrabs couldn't control their urge to create life.  They used all the food to create life and decide to storm the Candy Kingdom to create more life.  They use a giant lemon creature to attack but Finn and Jake stop him by activating his heart and giving him feelings.
     As much as the title would suggest, it really is not an important episode for the long term, unless something unforeseeable happens in the future.  The episode was funny while Finn and Jake were searching the castle and they reacted to all the messed up lemon people.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

Upcoming episodes:

2/4: Little Dude-Finn's Hat comes to life
2/9: Preview of Bad Little Boy-Genderswap with Marshall Lee
2/11: No new episode
2/18: Bad Little Boy
2/25: Vault of Bones-Finn worries Flame Princess may be evil

Pokemon Meloetta Event

     For those of you in America, the legendary Pokemon Meloetta will be available at Gamestop from March 4th to March 24th.  Meloetta is a Generation V legendary Pokemon that has multiple forms.  In Black 2/White 2, its form changes when it learns the move Relic Song.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Entourage Movie Green Lit and other news.

     It is official, the movie based on the hit HBO television show Entourage has been green-lit.  So it will not be long until the cast will be gracing the silver screen.  Mark Wahlberg is confirmed to be involved (considering I received this news from his Facebook.)

Other news: Sorry about the lack of review for last week's episode of Adventure Time, there was an issue with the stream from Cartoon Network's website.  Power Rangers Megaforce and Pokemon Black and White: Adventures in Unova start this Saturday and reviews will be posted as soon as possible.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pokemon Red Version: Retrospective and Modern Review

     Today, I am going to review Pokemon Red Version.  The game, and its sister game Pokemon Blue Version were both released in late 1998 for the Gameboy handheld entertainment system.  This game is truly unique in its style and mechanics.  The game's premise is that you are a boy named Red who is going about to start his journey along with his rival Blue (who goes by many other more colorful names) to become masters of creatures called Pokemon.  Your Pokemon are your weapons for defeating enemies and they level up through battle and evolve.  You're job is to defeat all eight gym leaders of the region and then travel to the Indigo Plateau to fight the Elite Four. Along the way, you meet the sinister Team Rocket and their leader Giovanni who are basically the Pokemon Mafia.
     Now, this game's review in its time.  In 1998, it was an incredible spin on the traditional RPG game where there were such a wide array of weapons at the player's disposal and even between the same species, gender, level, and move set, they were different.  However, the game had its flaws.  Out of the 152 Pokemon programmed into the game, only 151 had sprites and 150 were obtainable between the two (with Mew and an unknown Pokemon related to Kangaskhan excluded).  The Psychic type is broken as only Bug-type affects it.  The game had game breaking glitches to get infinite items, making it easy to get the three birds with Master Balls or level up all your Pokemon to level 100 and destroy the elite four without even trying.
     Based on today's games, it is severely lacking.  The colors are limited, the front sprites are off and not alike the official artwork.  This is most noticeable on Pikachu and Koffing, where Pikachu is fat and the skull is on top of Koffing instead of under it.  There are no natures in this game, no breeding, no EVs, and many of the pokemon (roughly 400) are not in it.  This would make the game hard to sell.  Plus the HM mechanic makes the water type in your party know surf while you always have two HM slaves.

Rating 9/10.  Nintendo shouldn't try to sell this game on the eShop.  It won't sell.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wii U News and Predictions

     Today, like a few weeks ago, a Nintendo Direct was held that fundamentally changed the landscape of the dedicated console market.  While last time, Pokemon X and Y were announced\, complete with trailer for the 3DS, this time the focus was the Wii U.  The information given was that there would be a new Legend of Zelda title that would return "back to basics", Windwaker will be released for the Wii U complete with gamepad support.  The Virtual Console will go live with all games having gamepad and Miiverse support.  There will be a Yoshi title, Super Mario title, and Super Smash Bros title in the near future (at E3). I believe that we will also in the near future have some announcement relating to Super Mario Sunshine.  Why?  When the 3DS came out Luigi's Mansion 2 (Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon) and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out.  We now have Windwaker, where is the Mario title other than the ambiguous 3D Super Mario title that was unveiled.  Recently there have been Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.  Unless it is something totally new, I am going with Super Mario Sunshine 2.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Adventure Time "Mystery Dungeon" Review

     Another week, another Adventure Time episode.  This week is the episode "Mystery Dungeon."  The premise is NEPTR, the Ice King, Tree Trunks, Lemongrab, and Shelby wake up in a Dungeon and they must progress through it using their particular skills. Eventually, they reach the last room which should be opened by BMO and the Ice King's plan falls apart.  It turns out he knocked out everyone and used them to get to the prize, a man who can make anything real.  The Ice King wants to use it to make Fionna and Cake become real.  This fails as the wizard turns the book containing the story real, not the actual story.  It ends with the Ice King saying that he will never give up bringing Fionna and Cake to life.
     This was an alright episode until the end.  I believe that this will open up a new arc with Fionna and Cake allowing for the story lines there to gain more traction.

Final Rating: 8.75/10

Sorry about the length, I feel like death.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pokemon Direct Announcement

     Pokemon Direct has ended a little while ago, and in it Pokemon X and Pokemon Y were announced as the Generation VI games.  First and foremost, the main character has an anime look, similar to games like Tales of Xilia.  The world is in full 3D and the game is for the 3DS. Also, it appears as though your character has roller skates instead of a bike.  The starters were revealed to be Chespin the grass type, Fennekin the fire type, and Froakie the water type.  Sprites have been replaced with 3D models for battles and it illustrates that old pokemon from the previous generations will appear in these games.  Two of the legends appear too, both unnamed so far.  The first is a flying demon/falcon creature.  The other is a deer like creature with rainbow antlers.  The games will be released in all markets in October of 2013.  The video of the announcement can be found here:

     At this point, the games look good, but that is to be expected from a reveal trailer.  As a huge fan of Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, I find this as good news because I hope to see the Hoenn Region rendered to full 3D.  Now, it is time to buy a 3DS and wait the 10 long months for the game to come out.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Adventure Time "Jake the Dad"

     So, Lady Rainicorn had the puppies. Five to be exact.  After Finn and BMO leave Jake behind to live with Lady and the pups, Jake begins to be stressed out by the pressures of fatherhood.  He starts to read them a book about a wolf that eats babies and discovers that it is not age appropriate and throws it out the window.  Foxes discover it and decide that they are going to start eating babies, just as Jake takes the pups for a walk.  Jake falls asleep on the walk and the pups start playing.  Jake freaks out and Lady calls back the pups.  Jake gets mistaken for a baby and gets carted off by the foxes and the pups come to his rescue.  They share a heartfelt moment and Jake returns to live with Finn saying that the pups have aged enough to take care of themselves.
     I feel that it was a good episode, with a small reference to the three episode Lich arc a few months ago with the barn being the same as the one in the Farmworld (correct me if I am wrong).  I think that this wrapped up the pregnancy line too soon and removed what would have been an interesting dynamic on the show.  It could have been written as the pups would be cared for by the Candy Kingdom or Lady herself, but aging them to the point where they can take care of themselves removes them as a factor.

I rate this episode 8.5 out of 10 because the episode itself was good, however if they ended them still as pups it would have made a longer story.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

Tune in next week at 7:30 for "Davey."