The Power of the Dark Crystal (November 2017) comic review

Rated: 1.5 / 5

So in case you didn’t know, The Dark Crystal is my favorite movie of all time.  I love everything about it: the music, the practical effects, the old-school special effects, the simple story, the creatures, the lore, the philosophy, etc.  I love practically everything about that movie.  So I was a bit intrigued (and extremely skeptical) when I learned that Netflix was going to do a prequel to the film via a Netflix produced series.  Well, my hopes were dashed a few weeks ago when I got a hold of this comic.  Why should they be dashed?  Because I fucking hate this comic.  What does that have to do with the prequel Netflix series outside of being based on the same film?  Nothing, I just think it’s going to suck.

This comic does everything I dread having a sequel do.  It relies way too much on the prior entry it is extending (while this may be a comic, it’s a sequel to a film).  You know, like The Force Awakens.  This is a fatal flaw that makes the work incapable of standing on it’s own.  If you want an example of a sequel done right, look at The Godfather Part II (while a sequel that has the same characters from the last film, it continues the plot without too many call-backs to the first, and evolves the characters in natural ways, and contains enough original material to stand on its own), Aliens and Terminator 2 (while it does follow a similar pattern to the original film, with a similar last act of escape and blowing it out the airlock, it expanded the lore of the alien/robot creatures, had more backstory given to the protagonist which ties into events of this film, and utilizes the similar beats in a more action-oriented setting rather than a horror-oriented setting to give it a different feel and makes it its own thing), The Empire Strikes Back.  They all possess their own unique moments that make them stand out from their predecessors while not copy-catting them too much, if at all.

But not this comic book.  It has virtually all (and I mean ALL) of the problems The Force Awakens had.  Also problems that 2011’s The Thing had (those assholes couldn’t even add a fucking number to the title, or a letter, or anything, so now it’s more difficult to distinguish from the title alone which film you’re watching).  Not to mention that Brian Froud (if I remember correctly) was firmly against there being a sequel to The Dark Crystal.  The story was told.  It was done.  It didn’t need a sequel, it left nothing open for a sequel.  Anything that follows was meant to be left up to the viewer’s imagination (that thing Hollywood doesn’t remember anyone has).  Plus the theme was wrapped up, how the crystal was cracked because of the urSkeks’ pride and folly, a lesson they have learned from when they became reunited.

From here on, I’m assuming you’ve already seen The Dark Crystal, and don’t give a shit about me spoiling the events of what happen in this comic.

First of all, this film begins with the same goddamn opening narrative that the movie did.  Motherfucker, you should assume people reading this already know about this!  And if they don’t, encourage them to go watch the original movie!  This isn’t fucking Star Wars where everyone is ok with the opening intro, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…”

So right away I was getting a bit annoyed and worried when it was doing callbacks like that.  But this thing is just getting started.

So we get a new race introduced (just one character from that race).  Fire people.  This fire child needs to break the crystal open, take a shard, and take it to the core of the planet to restore her people, which will supposedly result in the destruction of the rest of the world.  But their time seems limited anyway, since the crystal doesn’t burn as brightly as it used to, because I guess the crystal is supposed to have a limited lifespan which must be rejuvenated by breaking it apart, taking it to the planet’s core, and restoring it to its glory while wiping out practically everything else.

RCO026_1487829212

Alright, I’m not going to lie.  While I am a fan of the film, I’m not a fanatical fan.  I don’t think I’ve ever been a fanatical fan of anything, despite what some reviews of some movies may lead you to believe.  If I’m a fanatic of anything, it’s regarding entertainment in general in the movie/series/books department.  I want to experience things that bring me joy; and let the others that don’t bring me joy, or disgrace the material they are based on, suffer my wrath so that I can feel better about myself (you know, constructive criticism disguised as destructive criticism).  Either way I’d like to get some joy out of the experience.  The point I’m trying to make is that I haven’t ever gone in-depth with the Dark Crystal lore.  I haven’t read every spin-off novel/comic, I haven’t read The World of the Dark Crystal in its entirety (though I enjoy the snippets I do read of the latter).  Because I believe there are some things that should be left to the imagination.  And if someone thinks otherwise, that they wish to explain things so that there are less things left to the imagination, then they had better know what they’re doing.  Because if they don’t, there’s going to be hell to pay.

So I don’t know if the Firechild was something brought up in The World of the Dark Crystal.  I don’t know if the crystal was meant to have limited power that would run out (because I guess getting powered by the 3 suns, by the conjunction, isn’t enough apparently).  What I do know is that the execution of these ideas is terrible.  Some firechild (emphasis on the “child” part) gets sent to explain her people’s plight and take the shard by force if she must.  Out of all the schmuks they have in their race, and they fucking send her?  Her!?  The girl who stumbles over her own words and seems to be new at just about everything?  Who is careless with her powers?  Christ, at least they had a decent explanation for sending Jen out into the world to set things right rather than anyone else, because he was all the hippy Ur-Ru had.  The main reason the writers seem to have done it this way is to have the firechild be exactly like Jen, only female, and stronger with more passion and character.  With similar hippies raising her to be the chosen one for a journey.  The only difference is the race and the context.

Second, the Gelflings certainly seem to have repopulated the world quite easily, and established social and political hierarchies.  After only 100 years.  I’m calling bullshit on that.  This is taking the easy way out to construct a traditional formula that we’ve seen done thousands of times in mainstream films/shows to make a socio-political message.  The Gelflings are back, repopulated, and running the show, in control of the crystal, and have low-class and upper-class people that are looked down and up upon respectively.  And it’s the lower-class that is looked down upon that are the chosen protagonists for the story.  A “child” of fire, a young Gelfling boy who is treated poorly by the upper-class of Gelflings.  What the hell has happened to this Dark Crystal world?  Why is this shit in a Dark Crystal tale?

Anyway, the firebitch does end up breaking the crystal (partly to spite the upper-class/religious asshole gelflings).  Which results in the skeksies and ur-ru to come back, as we all remember them from the last film.  Relying on the original source much?  But why would the skeksies and ur-ru come back when they’re supposed to be one as the urSkeks?  Why is it that the comic thinks things are supposed to work that way?  Because that seems to retcon a few details provided in the movie itself, nevermind Brian Froud’s The World of the Dark Crystal.  Oh, it gets better.  The skeksies throw a hissie fit at the chamberlain again, making him some-what outcast, and thus putting him in the exact same fucking position that he was in the movie, whimpering, and pursuing the two lead protagonists through much of the story.  Oh, right, and the Garthim show up, just like that.  Except the Garthim are now controlled by Jen (who wields the scepter, which I guess controls the Garthim), which he uses to pursue the firechild and the lower-class gelfling.

“What if” art concept that had some alterations for the final product.

This is just volume 1, which is supposed to be a collection of 4 issues, out of a 12 issue series, which means there are 2 more volumes set to come out later this year.  And I have no desire to read them.  I’ll read other reviews and stuff, but I consider this sequel series to be a disgrace, and am glad the planned movie adaptation didn’t come to fruition.  It has too many call-backs to the movie making this less capable of standing on its own.  The plot is dumb.  And it brings in socio-political stuff that isn’t utilized well enough to make it fit into this fantasy world.  Dune this is not (and was never intended to be).

The only sections that got me invested were when Jen and Aughra were conversing with the firechild and attempting to understand her position and grapple with the state/fate of the world.  But those moments are brief and fleeting.

A part of me wants to write (aka bitch) about this some more, but I’m going to reign myself in and leave it at that.  If you want to read a decent Dark Crystal spin-off comic, read the 3 Creation Myths comics.  Sure they’re not perfect, but they do enough to be their own thing and offer some interesting insights as a prequel series (which I believe the Netflix series will be based on).  I don’t agree with everything that is brought up, particularly in volume 3, but they’re nowhere near the disaster of this sequel.   There’s also one other prequel comic series titled Song/Shadow of the Dark Crystal, but I haven’t read them… yet.  I’ve heard the Netflix series is supposed to be based on those (mainly because the writer of those comics is involved with the writing of the prequel Netflix series).  There’s also a manga series (believe it or not) that I also haven’t read titled Legends of the Dark Crystal, a 2 volume manga series (which is miraculous considering how long most manga series go). #NotMySequel  #FuckTheSequel

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) review

Rated: 2.5 / 5

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing this.

“What’s that?  What the hell is wrong with you!?  Do you not know how to be entertained!?” you may ask/shout.  To which I would reply, “You sir/madam are too easily entertained.”  All the positive reviews this film has been getting, like just about every Marvel film released since, well, The Avengers, has been getting.  At this point I’m convinced the critics have been paid off (something I will dig into in much more depth, with proof, in a later review when that topic becomes more relevant for that specific film, never mind for Black Panther, which, for the record, I haven’t seen).

I’ve been worn out of Marvel superhero films ever since Captain America: Civil War.  I’m sick and tired of all these goddamn superhero films having the same goddamn stories, the same goddamn arcs, the same goddamn finales, the same goddamn CG overload, the same goddamn feel of coming off an assembly line that likes to play it safe and PC, with some subliminal advertising for either feminism or immigration tossed in for good measure.  This film, despite all the praise, is no different from all those other fucking Marvel films that have been coming out for the last decade, despite how it tries to have this 80s retro thing at times which just doesn’t mesh at all with what is going on.  Though I do appreciate the effort despite its failure, at least some today admit that the 80s were awesome and had awesome style and attitude, and wasn’t full of bland bullshit like much of the stuff today.

It’s all about the 80s, dude.

Guess I’m rambling too much.  Well, guess I mine as well as get on with this review.

I got a bigger laugh out of this gif than I did the entire movie.

So the first problem I noticed with this film, the humor.  A lot of people are saying this movie is funny, and it’s the funniest Marvel film to date, beating out Ant-Man in that category (which I also thought was a mediocre film, though I will admit the final fight was genius and far funnier than any of the shit in this movie).  Well, guess I don’t really share their sense of humor.  I mean sure, there were a couple moments that made me chuckle, but only a couple.  The humor in this film is forced to the extreme.  It’s ridiculous.  This film would’ve been far better if it played at least half the scenes straight, but you’d be lucky to get through a third of a scene without some half-assed joke being forcefully thrown in there.  From the opening fucking moment, with Thor in chains, dangling above the ground, turning slowly in mid-air while in a conversation with a CG version of Tim Curry from Legend except blown up to bigger proportions, and on fire.  “Up, wait a second, wait until I turn back towards you, hang on…  Ok, there we are.  You were saying?”  Shit like that happens throughout the entire film, even at the expense of moments which should’ve been dramatic and somewhat heartbreaking, like when ragnarok finally happens (oh yeah, spoilers by the way, not that I really give a shit because these films have gotten quite predictable, even without watching trailers that tend to give it all away anyway).  They just couldn’t let that moment go without inserting a joke into it, ruining what could’ve been a nice emotional moment where the protagonist looks on with sadness, and possibly regret over something he wished he didn’t have to do.  The jokes suck the life out of this movie.

As awesome as this image looks, it’s too brief and, believe it or not, played for laughs.

What else?  Oh right, the CG.  Yes, the CG is done well, it’s fine.  They even use it when Cate Blanchett is fighting off an army of people, because let’s face it, this woman in real life isn’t capable of pulling off this sort of stuntwork.  Kinda wish they would do what they used to do back in the day and have a stunt-double wear that ridiculous outfit and do all the kung-fu acrobats with it (I’m pretty sure the Chinese could pull that off, and it would be another excuse to get some Chinese people inserted into the movie so it could make a profit in China, though that didn’t work out so well for The Last Jedi).  So while the CG is fine and all, again, overload, making me not care all that much for what’s going on on the screen.  If a film is going to use so much of it, why not just make the thing animated?  I mean, for Christ’s sakes, they already have animated superhero films out there, they just need to make them more mainstream.  Considering that Disney owns both Pixar and Lucasarts and Marvel, you’d think that would be a cinch for them to pull off in terms of getting it into theaters.

To the film’s credit, there was one sequence that actually drew me in and got my investment.  When Thor fights the Hulk.  That entire sequence is the best part of the film.  Why is it good?  Why did that action scene get me invested when just about all the others didn’t catch my interest?  Because more than just fighting was going on during the fight.  Callbacks to the first Avengers film, Thor trying to get a friend to snap back into reality, Thor discovering his true powers (though I am getting a little sick of the trend, “You don’t need the weapon, the power is within you!”; a trend that was used as a parody in fucking Spaceballs, nevermind used too seriously in Wonder Woman).  There was actual development happening during the fight, and the action choreography was shot pretty well too.  Sure it had a good dose of CG, but let’s face it, there’s no way practical effects would make that fight work.  At least not in the way it was handled in this film.

You see, CG has made things too easy nowadays.  I know, you’ve heard this all before, but it fucking matters damnit!  And as long as I keep seeing movies that keep making my point, I’m going to keep bitching about it!  Back in the 80s (and earlier), because they didn’t have CG to utilize effectively and didn’t always have the best budget, they got creative with when and how to use practical effects, and how to shoot it.  Sometimes that creativity was a hit, sometimes it was a miss, but at least there was passion put into it that you could feel through the screen.  Hell, it’s even possible to pull off such restraint today.  Look at Gareth Edward’s adaptation of Godzilla.  He never overplayed his hand when it came to putting CG on the screen.  He showed just enough of the monsters and their fighting to keep you eager to see them trade blows, and showed enough of a payoff during the finale to make one satisfied.  Because he showed restraint.  And that’s an element that these fucking superhero movies are missing (and discouraged for utilizing) nowadays, restraint.  They have too much big explosive action too often and too early, without much if any buildup.  And even if it does have decent buildup, it lasts too long for what it is.  It’s like having foreplay before rough sex.  Foreplay is appreciated and nice, and the sex can be good while it lasts, whether it’s 10 seconds or an hour.  But just rushing into the rough stuff without the foreplay usually lessens the passion, and having too much sex can wear one out and make one exhausted.  All I’m saying is that there can be too much of a good thing to the point where you forget that it even was a good thing.

Fuck with me, and this is what will happen to your dick!

Well anyway, one last talking point, then I’m done with this.  This film has a pro-refugee theme to it, obviously made intentionally in this day and age for the purpose of encouraging viewers to believe that taking in refugees is a good thing.  Because of course the only optimal place to take them would be Earth, of course that’s where Loki would send Odin for some fucking reason (come on, how many other worlds are out there that he’s familiar with?  Earth can’t possibly be the best possible world Loki knows of.  You’re holding out on us screenwriters!).  Their world/country is fucked, so bring them on over to this world/country, we’ll take care of them, they’re all good people like in reality!  Ah, but whatever.  Despite that bit of subliminal messaging, it had a decent them to it about how it’s the people that are the world, that they matter more than the place, which shouldn’t be a permanent anchor for them.  And that bit of subliminal messaging is the least of the film’s problems (at least it’s not the worst of the film’s problems), and just more of a nitpick than anything else.

So, overall, this film turned out exactly as I was expecting.  Wouldn’t have watched it if not for a co-worker begging me to see it.  Well, considering I got the fellow co-worker introduced to the original Star Wars trilogy in exchange for this, I’d say it was worth bearing through this dull monotonous Marvel world again.

 

PS: And no, I’m not interested in Black Panther either.  I’m over Marvel films.  I’m willing to give Infinity War a shot (and even then my interest isn’t all that great), but that’s about it.

The Post (2018) review

Rated: 3/5

Intro

Warning, this review gets political, makes no apologies about it, and gives no free flying fucks if you disagree with it (unless any of you dare to try having an honest discussion with me). You’ve been warned.

The Post, a movie.  Like how there was a TV series called The Office.  Now all there needs to be is a miniseries titled The Post Office.  All joking aside, The Post is short for The Washington Post, which I guess wouldn’t have attracted as many viewers to the movie for some reason, or perhaps because they wanted to eliminate “Washington” from the title, considering it’s supposed to be corrupt and led by a corrupt president during this time period (everyone’s favorite corrupt president that films always like to remind everyone exists and is corrupt about as often as they like to remind us Hitler was a scumbag, Richard Nixon).  How they stood with The New York Times in publishing a story on the Pentagon Papers regarding how Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon both kept the reality of the Vietnam War hidden from public, that it was a war we were either destined to lose, or a war that we would have to be fighting for a long time with a lot of manpower in order to win.  Basically a similar situation to what the British faced during the Revolutionary War, except America had assistance from France.

I’m not going to lie, I had preconceived notions when going into this film.  I expected this to be a preachy movie that praised the Washington Post, to the extent that it’s the end-all-be-all of news and newspapers, that it should always be allowed to post stories because all their stories are flawless and true.  That, and to bash the Trump administration ever so subtly (something I’m sure we’ll see more of for the next few years, as evident from a few films that came out near the end of last year).  So yes, I expected some serious subliminal messaging, or even messaging that is too blunt to be considered subliminal.  And while that stuff is here, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Besides, as I had to remind myself, any decent movie is a work of art that can be viewed with different perspectives. More on that later.

 

Review

There are some negatives I had with the film.  There’s a brief moment near the end of the film after the Supreme Court sides with the papers over the government (oh, spoilers by the way, for any of you who didn’t already know or take an educated guess as to how things would turn out).  We see Meryl Streep walking down the steps surrounded by a bunch of smiling women.  Pro-feminism message much?  She can be an inspiration to both men and women, not just women goddamnit!  Can’t we live in an age where any gender and race can inspire all genders and races?  I mean, for Christ’s sake, the whole film is supposed to be about how an underdog newspaper company did a brave/bold thing which caused all other major papers to follow suit and side with freedom of speech over the power of the government telling them no.  That’s a cause everyone can rally behind!  But it’s just a minor moment that only lasts a few seconds, and I’m just making a big deal over a nit-picky moment.  The rest of the film is quite solid.

For the first half of the film, I started to wonder why it wasn’t about the New York Times.  I mean, it seemed as if they were doing all the interesting stuff.  But then during the 2nd half, it becomes clear why The Washington Post is the main focus of the film.  While the New York Times was the first paper to print on the Pentagon Papers, and the first to be challenged by the government over their publication, it’s the Washington Post that gets a hold of the larger amount of paperwork, and ultimately follows what the New York Times did.  The thing is, I think the film would’ve been more interesting if it focused on both sides, on the New York Times and on the Washington Post.  Certainly would’ve been more energetic and intense.  But then there would be less time for the more dramatic character moments, especially this one moment between Streep’s character and her daughter, which is definitely one of those moments where Spielberg is indulging himself with the drama.  It’s the one aspect about him that’s been a bit bothersome ever since E.T., where the character drama and character interaction comes off as a bit too emotionally manipulative and overdramatic.  It plagues a respectable number of his films.  That said, I found it bothersome in only that one scene.

The obvious themes come up from a film like this, about freedom of the press, freedom of speech, needing high quality reporting for high quality newspapers that readers will love and therebye become loyal fans of, how the papers have a duty more to the people than towards the government, etc.  An element in the film that took me by surprise is how it showcased that some of the higher-ups in the press tend to have political connections, and are friends with some high-standing government officials.  And this causes an inner conflict when they must consider if they value their work more than their friendship, or vice-versa.  A welcoming subplot in a film like this.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/b1d79872-e1cd-11e7-b2e9-8c636f076c76

 

 

No More Pussyfooting

Now, with all that said, let’s stop pussyfooting around the pink/white/orange/black/whatever elephant in the room shall we?  I’m not going to ignore how many reviewers state that this is a timely and relevant film that has strong parallels to today’s environment.  And we all know what they’re talking about. Consider the headlines from some of the reviews:

‘The Post’ Review: Steven Spielberg’s Spectacularly Entertaining Journalism Thriller Is a Rallying Cry for the Resistance — David Ehrlich of IndiWire

“The Post” doesn’t feel so urgent because it was rushed into production — it was rushed into production because it feels so urgent. In a year full of accidental Trump movies, this is the first one that’s completely on purpose.

[…]

“The Post” works as a history lesson, but its priorities are clearly sorted by their relevance to the crises we’re enduring right now, the need for a free press being first among them.

[…]

Nixon is a pivotal character, but he’s sheared down to the parallels he shares with Trump

[…]

“The Post” is essential because it stares down cynicism with a smile, because it enshrines the fact that governments only see journalists as a threat when they have something to hide.

The Post film review: Steven Spielberg’s riveting newspaper drama could be subtitled: ‘FAO Trump’ — Christopher Hooton of Independent

Holding political feet to the fire, it will be applauded by a newly politicised Hollywood, looking to give the Trump White House some serious side-eye.

[…]

Is this a political film about holding truth to power? An industry meditation about journalists uniting for a common cause? A feminist reading of Graham’s role in history? Or a parable for the situation the press currently finds itself in with President Donald J. Trump (“I don’t think I could go through this again,” a character laments in one of the final scenes)?

‘The Post’ isn’t just a masterpiece, it is a call to arms against Donald Trump — Gregory Wakeman of Metro

What feels most prescient, though, is the fire that it looks to set underneath all of us, especially journalists, when it comes to their duty to take on Donald Trump and his attacks on the freedom of the press. “The Post’s” final speech will hopefully immediately stir and inspire.

So yeah, all that stuff. Even Spielberg noted that he made this film in 2017 because he felt either he makes it then, or not at all, because he felt it was so timely, because he spotted parallels between Nixon and Trump. Over the past couple years, Trump has been bashing several major news outlets, though never to the extreme that Nixon did in the early 1970s. Because that’s the reason the film exists, as a call against Trump bashing the news outlets.

However, and this is what I suspected would be the case, this is not the only way to view the film. Like any decent film, like any decent work of art, there is more than one way to view it, even if it doesn’t conform to the artist’s original intent. Some mainstream reviewers can attest to that.

Steven Spielberg’s The Post Is Good, and It’s Not About Trump — Kyle Smith of National Review

[…] the hacks will note that the film’s co-star, Meryl Streep — on the strength of her January Golden Globes speech, which she devoted entirely to attacking the president — is as strongly identified with anti-Trump sentiment as any major Hollywood player. For these reasons, The Post stands to be one of the leading contenders to win the Best Picture Oscar on March 4. Academy voters who are dying to turn the ceremony into an expression of revulsion for Trump will have no better weapon this year with which to attack him.

Yet The Post is simply a potent newspaper thriller that could have been released in the Obama years (when it was written) or for that matter at any other point in recent decades. It offers very little in the way of actual parallels to Trump, and to Spielberg’s credit he doesn’t include any overt Trump bashing. Hysteria-prone Hollywood liberals who see the president’s likeness in every passing cloud will be thinking of him throughout the movie, but only because hysteria-prone Hollywood liberals are prone to hysteria.

[…]

Today, of course, the public trusts neither the government nor the media, but it would take a more ironically minded filmmaker than Steven Spielberg to capture that in a film.

[…]

The lasting importance of the Pentagon Papers was not that they altered the course of the Vietnam War (I’m not sure they did) but that they heralded a media Reformation, a new era of doubt and iconoclasm in which journalists like Bradlee (and Graham, who was personal friends with McNamara) chose an antagonistic new stance toward institutions. This isn’t activism or partisanship: Journalists should relentlessly investigate whatever Washington is doing, regardless of party. While it’s true that the media are much more hostile to one party than the other, the principle is a valid one: Journalists should be diggers, not Victorian gents.

Good follow-up to the above article here: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/454367/steven-spielbergs-anti-trump-movie-post-meryl-streep-and-tom-hanks

Despite how much the film aims its sights at Nixon (a metaphor for Trump) as the villain for attacking freedom of the press, historically speaking, it was more due to Henry Kissinger for attacking the press than Nixon (though I’m sure Nixon was all for Kissinger’s actions). That aside, as I said earlier, this film doesn’t make any stretches or anything all that blunt about bashing Trump, it’s made well-enough to be considered a sort of time capsule that can be watched in any time period to reflect upon this historic moment in the early 70s, followed up with the Watergate scandal (covered in All the President’s Men), and eventually Nixon’s resignation.

Anyway, I bring this all up because I disagree, strongly, with the message being taken from this film by many people, even if it’s the message Spielberg wished to inject into the film (but again, viewers can have opinions differing from the artist). First off, the idea that the Trump administration is attacking the press anywhere near as violently as the Nixon administration did (or even McCarthy, as can be seen in the highly recommended and still quite relevant film Good Night, and Good Luck). He bashes them, sure, but never to the extent that he’s also attacking the first amendment. I mean, for crying out loud, there’s a scene in the film where Nixon bars the Washington Post from a wedding reception and from any other White House event. While that may have happened in 1971, the case is reversed in the present, where CNN (among others) voluntarily choose to not attend similar White House events of their own accord.

And then there’s the other message contained within the film. It is said briefly in some speeches early on in the film that reporter integrity is vital, the quality of the paper/article helps to gain readers/fans and thus keep the Post alive. They have a responsibility to report important events as much as they do for reporting the truth. So thus I found it possible to also view this film as a call for news integrity, for honest and unbiased news that doesn’t leave out facts much like how Nixon and LBJ left out some inconvenient truths/reports on the Vietnam war. Most, if not all, of the instances I’ve seen Trump bash the media has been because of their false/biased reporting. Because they are not being as honest as those from the early 1970s. And it’s a long list of events where the media has falsified stories or taken them out of context.

http://thefederalist.com/2017/01/10/washington-post-reporter-doubles-down-on-fake-news-about-guns/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2017/01/01/fake-news-and-how-the-washington-post-rewrote-its-story-on-russian-hacking-of-the-power-grid/#6fd9e4e27ad5

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266714/anonymous-sources-washington-post-and-cnn-fake-daniel-greenfield

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/washington-post-disgracefully-promotes-a-mccarthyite-blacklist-from-a-new-hidden-and-very-shady-group/

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/washington-post-blacklist-story-is-shameful-disgusting-w452543

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/05/15/washington-post-creates-fake-news-timed-release-story-intended-to-capture-evening-news-lede/

https://thinkprogress.org/washington-post-fake-news-lomborg-climate-e13681c350f8/

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/265832/why-medias-trump-lie-machine-failing-daniel-greenfield

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/8/dems-media-have-no-problem-lying-about-trump/

Should news agencies not be bashed if what they report is bullshit (assuming they’re not literally reporting about shit falling out of a bull’s ass)? Do those they report against falsely not have a right to attack them back for doing so? Should fake news not be treated as false? It’s stuff like this that makes me think of the other elements in the film, about how the higher ups in the media/papers are sometimes associated with government officials, and how that can lead to bias and not producing coverage of their “friends” when it’s honest and negative coverage; much less the fact-checking and source-backing (done to a greater extent in All the President’s Men). The sort of thing that should be done more often to government entities that are corrupt like the Clinton administration and portions of what Barack Obama did.

So there’s the other perspective one can take from this film. Not just a call for government honesty, but also for press/media honesty. As they said in the film, the press is more for the people than it is for the government. More for the ruled than for the rulers.

Otherwise, there is the social media alternative, and more are emerging beyond Twitter and Facebook.

But anyway, recommended film.

Jumanji (1995) and Welcome to the Jungle (2017) dual review

Jumanji is one of my favorite films from the 90s.  It’s not just a good kid-flick, but a good film in general.  So when I heard they were making a sequel to it, all I could think was, “Why?”  Then I saw the trailer, and I thought, “WHY!?!?!?”

My second thought was, “So this is what it feels like to have your childhood raped.”  So I expected this to be terrible going in to see it.  That probably should’ve worried me, because setting expectations so low provided a decent chance for the film to rise above them.  Which is ultimately what happened, and that pisses me off even more.

I wanted a film that gives me plenty to rant and rave about damnit!  It’s supposed to be worse than Star Wars: The Last Jedi!  In all fairness, The Last Jedi is a better film than this one, but that’s only because this film is simple mediocrity, with no aspirations whatsoever (make the movie, have fun, cash out) where as at least The Last Jedi at least strives to be more than that.  And for that matter, so did the original Jumanji movie.  From here on out, when referring to the 1995 film, I’m just going to call it Jumanji, while this new one I’ll call WttJ (Welcome to the Jungle).

 

Rated: 4 / 5

Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got fun and games!

When watching Jumanji, I admire several things about it.  This film is a drama, with some adventure and comedy thrown in.  At its core, it’s a film about taking responsibility and facing your fears, and the consequences of not doing so.  It takes a long while before this becomes evident, as the film does a somewhat unique style on how it introduces our main characters.  I haven’t seen very many films that pull this off successfully.  First we’re introduced to Allen, a young boy who doesn’t want to live a life his father wants for him, and wishes to run away rather than face his father on the issue (at least not too much).  His girlfriend is introduced more slowly, first by dialogue discussions between Allen and the bullies, and then she is revealed later on.  Then they (unintentionally) play the game, a mystical board game that looks too well-made from a wooden design standpoint for something that isn’t well known (thus helping with that mystic aura it gives off, sound effects and musical complimentary notes aside).  An accidental play, much like how life throws unexpected surprises (some good some bad) at us.  Allen is sucked in, and disappears, much as how he intended to run away and disappear.  And his girlfriend, Sarah, runs away rather than tries to help him get out of the game (but, in all fairness, she was just a girl at the time, and was scarred emotionally by the whole ordeal, so it’s easy to sympathize with her, just as it’s easy to sympathize with Allen).

Then we are introduced to 2 other characters, Peter and Judy, who we become acquainted with and spend more time with than we did with Allen and Sarah.  These two kids also desire an escape from their current lives, which have gone downhill ever since their parents’ unfortunate death via an airplane crash, while on their way to a ski vacation.  It’s not until far later in the film that Allen appears again, due to the 2 new kids playing the game.  And even later on, Sarah finally re-enters the film.  The main characters aren’t firmly established until the film is practically halfway over.  Have to admit, when taking it in that context, this film seems rather daring.  Having the main protagonists appear early on, then disappear for a good portion of the first hour, and then re-appear to continue the story.  The film eases its way into allowing the viewers to be familiar with the main protagonists.  And it works.

Oh yeah, and Lilith from Cheers is in this.

As the film goes on, Allen, now an adult played by Robin Williams in one of his best roles, eventually comes to realize not just how much his father loved him despite the fight they had, but also what can happen when he runs from his fears.  When he visits the old shoe factory, after going through his old town and seeing how terrible it has become compared to what it once was (think Detroit before and after the 60s), he meets a homeless man who is familiar with the town’s history, who must’ve been associated with it to some extent in the past before becoming how he is now.  His speech to Allen about how the town became how it is now, how the Shoe Factory went out of business, how it was all because Allen’s father searched for Allen endlessly after Allen disappeared, no longer caring about anything else but finding himself.  Likely blaming himself for Allen’s disappearance, thinking he ran away because of him (which is true, but under a different context).  It’s such a tear-jerking moment, especially seeing this realization wash across Allen’s face, realizing not just how much his father loved him, but how much damage his running away has caused (metaphorically speaking, as his disappearance was caused against his will, though he did intend to run away prior to that).

But the film doesn’t just settle for the character trying to right the wrongs of the past.  It also shows how Allen’s character has evolved.  Not just turning into a survivalist with his time in the jungle within the game, but also with how he has become like his father.  He is still afraid, hates himself for not being more mature earlier on, but also becomes angry at Peter for wishing to continue playing the game.  Because Allen knows what will happen if they do so, that more creatures, and individuals, and weather conditions will emerge from the game to make things worse.  He warns Peter of this, but also knows that Peter is right.  This doesn’t make him any less angry, and eventually tells Peter in his anger that he needs to man up and face all of this like a man, because it’s Peter’s doing for causing this to happen.  Immediately after doing that, Allen realizes how he’s acting like his father in the past, and also realizes how he’s being hypocritical, and tries to comfort Peter after this.

Regarding the facing of fears and taking responsibility, the film handles it as it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  And longer one runs from their own fears, the worse things will get.  This is shown early on with Allen confronting these bullies after running from them earlier, the bullies chasing him because he went out with their leader’s girlfriend (Sarah).  It results in him getting beat up, but then things more or less work out after that.  With him running away from his father, and staying away for years (again, the film plays with this with him wanting to run away, and him escaping to Jumanji unintentionally and against his will), this causes consequences resulting in the town going bottom-up economically when the Shoe Factory shuts down due to his father searching for him.  It’s also shown from a more metaphorical standpoint with them playing the game, something they must do to resolve everything, and it continually makes things worse not just for the main characters, but for the town around them.  It’s not until near the end of the game when Allen finally conquers his fear, his primary fear being that of his own father.  It’s some heavy-hitting metaphors, reminding me of Silent Hill 2 with how everything in that game is basically a projection of the protagonists own fears and desires.  And yes, I just compared Jumanji to Silent Hill 2.

Jumanji being a 1995 film, two years after Jurassic Park hit theaters, CG is used, but it’s used along with practical effects.  Granted, the film hasn’t aged THAT well, but it doesn’t look all that terrible either, all things considered.  The CG is dated, but acceptable.  Most of the practical effects work, but a couple are laughable (those spiders, I lose it every time they show up).  Then there’s instances of blending CG with actual objects, which do a good job of making them seem more real.

 

 

 

Practical spiders.

 

 

 

Blending CG with real objects.
Honestly, I still think this effect works.

So, yeah, a film that I still think is great today.  It still works as a character drama mixed with a fun adventure film, with some decent comedy moments thrown in for good measure.  Emotional, fun, all around solid even with the somewhat dated effects.  As for the sequel…

 

 

 

Rated: 2 / 5

Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here every day!

So like I said, I expected to despise this film.  And it started off meeting those expectations.  So some metal drummer punk finds the board game in the sands on the beach, more or less picking up where the last film left off.  Except that the last film left off with the board game on some beach in Mexico, Puerto Rico, or some place where they speak Spanish.  You know, it’s times like these that I think it might be a good idea for American film studios developing a temporary partnership with some foreign studio and allow them to take a jab at the property, whether it’s a remake or a sequel.  Seriously, it might not be a bad idea, and a perfect way to inject a different and fresh style into the film.  Granted, everyone will be of a different ethnicity and speaking a foreign language and viewers would have to read subtitles (unless they’re lazy assholes who refuse to watch any movie subtitled), but for those of us who care, it would be worth it.

But I digress.  Ignoring where the board game wound up in the previous film, this metal dude gets the board game out of the beach sand, takes it to his home, and opens it up to see what it is.  He sees it’s a board game, and says something along the lines of, “Who plays board games anymore?” before tossing it aside onto his stack of Playstation games.

Fuck you you fucking fucker!  Board games are fucking awesome, even back in the 90s!  What, cocksuckers like you never heard of Crossfire!?

How about Forbidden Bridge!?

Kiss my dick and suck my ass!  You deserve whatever fate befalls you for pissing off the Jumanji game!

But rather than letting curiosity get the better of him to try out the game, you know, by hearing that drum beat or something (which doesn’t fucking happen!), the board game transforms into some Atari cartridge game or something so that he can play it.  What the fuck!?

Scarily enough, this is likely foreshadowing.

So that’s basically how they decided to make this into a sequel to Jumanji, by having the board game transform into a video game just for the fuck of it.  And you know, from here on out, aside from this dumb fucking reference to the first film that happens in the middle of WttJ, this movie is completely different from Jumanji!  They could’ve called this film ANYTHING else, anything not associated with Jumanji, and I wouldn’t be forced to do this comparison bullshit.  It has more in common with Tron than it does Jumanji.  Stop making half-assed sequels and remakes Hollywood!  Do what Disney has been doing since the 90s, ripping off stories and making them their own (The Lion King = Hamlet + Kimba the White Lion, Pocahontas rewriting history, The Little Mermaid being more lighthearted than the original source, etc.).  Rip off movies, stop trying to claim that they’re remakes or sequels!

Tron

*deep breathe*  Ok, with that out of the way, and after metalhead gets sucked into the videogame, the film basically becomes its own thing that bares little resemblance to Jumanji.  4 kids get put into detention, one for be a snot-nosed bitch who refuses to turn her cell phone off, 2 of them because they cheated on their school assignment, and the other because she mouthed off to the PE teacher.  And in detention they stumble across this game (somehow), and plug it in, play, and get sucked into it, each becoming a different character based on which character they chose at the start of the game.  So each of them is given a new body with certain personality traits that peak through occasionally.

Like being so black and unfunny it pisses the Republicans off.

Now, before I continue, it’s worth noting that the dumb fucks who made this movie think that cartridge games actually have a loading screen.  Did any of you motherfuckers ever play a Sega Genesis or a Super Nintendo?  None of those fucking consoles had loading screens.  Why?  Because cartridges are faster than CDs!  Just take a USB drive compared to a fucking Disc for comparison in today’s world!  On that note, I wouldn’t be surprised if games eventually went back to a cartridge style play, assuming everything doesn’t wind up online (not likely since Net Neutrality has been killed and now cocksuckers like Verizon and Comcast can start throttling other companies if they don’t pay a little extra, like in 2005 when Comcast delayed BitTorrent traffic, or in 2007 when AT&T censored Pearl Jam, or 2007-9 when AT&T forced Apple to block Skype, or in 2011 when MetroPCS announced it would block streaming services over its 4G network except for YouTube, or 2012 when Verizon blocked tethering app use on their phones, or when Verizon and Comcast throttled Netflix until 2014 when Netflix agreed to pay them extra, or 2014 when T-Mobile used data caps to manipulate competition, until 2015 when net neutrality was in place until 2017 when that went away [those dipshits will likely throttle my site now just for bringing that up]).

Too much stress for the hair to endure.

With that tangent out of the way, the plot of the film is that our 4 heroes need to return a green crystal McGuffen to a big McGuffen statue in order to win and get back to the real world.  So no, there’s no trying to roll a 5 or an 8 on the dice.  That’s all I’ll say about the plot.

Honestly, the only time she was funny was during her make-out scene with The Rock, which was definitely one of the funnier moments of the film.

So, are there any deep character moments in this film?  What the hell do you think?  Of course there isn’t!  As if you would think otherwise after seeing any of the trailers.  There’s this theme of friendship, and acceptance, not being selfish, and of tranny stuff like being a woman trapped in a man’s body, or a wimp trapped in a muscular body (or vice-versa), or an average-looking chick trapped in a hot chick’s body.  There’s a line in the movie that goes, “What you are on the outside is not what you are on the inside,” which is stating that it’s your character and personality that counts, not your looks, but it’s more fun to think of this is as a transgender message.  Personally, I think the tranny theme existed just so Jack Black could do that role of acting like a woman.  And in his case, it works, because he completely steals the show from everyone else.  He gets the most laughs and produces the best comedic charisma out of everyone, even doing better than Dwayne Johnson (who also got a couple laughs from me here and there, by doing his usual The Rock routine).  He must’ve loved doing this, and I’m not going to lie, despite my gripes, it was fun watching him do this role.

Or maybe I’ve misjudged this film.  This bit could be a complex female fat joke.

This movie exists primarily to be a comedy, not giving much of a shit about the dramatic moments, which would be fine if it was funnier than it is, but it isn’t.  The film is just another typical forgettable comedy affair that offers some chuckles here and there, but nothing that’s going to be all that memorable.  It’s not the trainwreck I expected it to be, but it’s still a desecration to the Jumanji film, and it does not deserve to have that word in its fucking title.  I would’ve liked it more if it had nothing to do with that title.  Just being called Welcome to the Jungle would’ve been fine.  Hell, I’d be interested if they just called it Atari Jungle or something.

Oh, guess that title was already taken by this suckass film.

So in case you didn’t guess from the rating, this movie is a pass.  You’re better off tracking down and watching the Jumanji animated series.  And you can buy the entire series right now on DVD, all 3 seasons for less than ten dollars (hey, if this fucking movie is going to have advertisements in it, then so will this review!).

 

PS: Oh, right, and there were some blatant obvious advertisements in this film, mainly with Sony, their PS4, their smartphone, and Dave & Busters.  Well, at least they kept it game-themed with the ads.

 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi review

Rated: 2.5 / 5

So I know what you’re thinking.  Will this review contain spoilers?  You bet your ass it will.  I’m gonna spoil the shit out of this movie.  But before I do that, there’s a few things I need to get off my chest.  I’ll put up a spoiler warning sign when I get to that point.  So for those who are worried about spoilers and just want to know my opinion on the entertainment level of this film, how good or bad it is, I’ll say this.  It is better than The Force Awakens, and addressed some of the issues I had with that film.  That being said, this is a film that basically did 3 steps forward, 2 steps back, which frustrates the shit out of me because it could easily have done 4 steps forward and 1 step back instead (there was know way they were going to go all 5 steps forward, not with a Disney movie).  So if you loved The Force Awakens, you’ll love this.  If you hated The Force Awakens, this might change your mind and give you some hope for the final installment in the trilogy (except that that hack Jar Jar Abrams will be back in the director’s chair for that film, which has me worried, even if it’s an improvement upon the last director attached to that film; Christ I wish Christopher Nolan would grow a pair of balls and try one of these out).  And just to throw this in, if you loved The Force Awakens more than Rogue One, go fuck yourself.

Continue reading

Brawl in Cell Block 99 review

Rated: 3.5 / 5

Skip-able Intro

So you remember when I said, “my next review is going to be on a very controversial film that you’ve probably never heard of that you’ll likely only be able to see on a porn site“?  Well, guess I lied.  I’m putting that on hold for a review or two.  Or three.  Lately I’ve been getting bogged down replaying The Witcher (the first one from 2007), which I’ve finished playing and am in the process of reviewing, but that involves finishing editing/uploading the “movie-version” like I did.  That takes a while, especially for that game.  I don’t plan on doing the whole “play and record” thing with the next game I play, because going back and editing footage takes a long time and it becomes frustrating seeing my output suffer as a result.

So I was going to watch and review that “controversial” film, but that got sidelined when I found out about this other movie released recently, still playing in theaters, and is an indie movie.  Well where I live, “movie in theaters” and “indie” don’t go well together, so it’s not playing anywhere near me.  So I opted for the next best thing.  Vudu.com, rented it there for $7.99.  It was worth it.

 

The Review

Holy crap, it’s a miracle.  A film starring Vince Vaughn that is actually good.  I usually take a disliking to this guy, something about his aura and personality in his roles just turns me off.  It’s why I was rooting against him in Dodgeball and wished they went with the alternate ending (sure they would’ve lost to the bigger assholes, but at least the bigger assholes were doing something with their lives and were fun and hilarious to watch, especially Ben Stiller [makes me wonder why he doesn’t play the bad guy more often, because that’s when he’s at his most entertaining]).

Plus that would make for a logical continuation, making this movie sort of a sequel to that movie.  Vaughn becomes more down on his luck, and more angry, and doesn’t get the bisexual chick, so he settles for a straight chick played by Jennifer Carpenter (which, in all fairness, is a pretty good deal all things considered).  Hell, I think the movie is also a sequel to Requiem for a Dream, since Vaughn asks her early on if she “fell off the bandwagon” (ie started doing dope again for those of you who think I’m talking about a western/musical flick or something).  Those would be decent films to watch prior to this one, starting with Dodgeball for the “good old fun times,” then Requiem for “everything crashing down and everyone becoming miserable because life sucks”, and then this film to see where it goes from there.

“Nobody!”

Also kind of fits, considering that Vaughn’s big time Hollywood days seem to be behind him.  That doesn’t seem to be a bad thing here, at least not for us viewers, not sure what that means for him financially.  But in any case, this role is perfect for Vaughn.  Plays a more dead-serious guy, occasionally making a wisecrack to give a peek into his more comedic side.  But make no mistake, he plays a grim character in a grim film with other grim characters and a grim environment.  And grimy prisons.

The film starts with him getting laid off from his job, and follows immediately by learning that his wife was cheating on him.  So you would think the film is going to be a slow downward spiral from there right?  Well, not quite.  They actually manage to rebound for a period of time, both in regards to their finances and their relationship.  But there was only one way Vaughn (I’ll refer to him by his character name from now on: Bradley) could do it, and that’s by resorting to illegal activities: being a drug carrier.  He didn’t want to do it, he’s clearly a guy with a troubled past who wants to do the right thing and live an honest life.  But economic conditions just won’t allow for it.  It’s the only way he can achieve the American dream of having hard work and effort pay off, maintaining a sustainable income, being able to support his wife and household, and help raise a family.  But, of course, it eventually goes wrong and he winds up in prison.  Seriously, has there ever been a decent movie made where someone makes a successful living off the drug trade with no repercussions that messes up their life somehow?  I don’t think so, because that’s a bad message to send, because the film industry needs to keep people honest and off drugs.  Except marijuana, thank God.

In fact, the film even mentions the hypocrisy of such a system.

“I’m aware that the system is harder on guys who distribute drugs than those who commit acts of violence against women and children.”

Life isn’t fair, but people must make due with what they’ve got, and hope they make the right decisions, and consider how much they’re willing to sacrifice in terms of their morals.  And his hard work and effort does have some payoff, with his wife, a house, and a baby on the way.

And her life was hard too.

Because Bradley’s life has been hard and he’s had a hard upbringing, he is a hard man.  And by hard, I mean he has a high pain threshold and can beat the shit out of just about anyone.  An aspect of his past life he wants to leave behind, but eventually finds himself in a state where that isn’t possible.  He’s basically forced to fight in prison.  And it’s this portion of the movie where it becomes a cut above the rest (though the previous section was still good too).  It transitions from drama to action, and the action is very well done.  Some honest to God effort put into the fight choreography and directing.

With each fight scene and each situation Bradley is put into, the situation and the environment and lighting becomes darker and darker.  The chances of him getting free to eventually see his wife and daughter become more and more bleak.  But what he does he does for his wife and daughter, for his family.  To say why, and how it all turns out, would be spoiling things, and I’m not going to do that, because I don’t do that for new movies that I enjoy unless I get neck-deep into some philosophical/thematic/metaphorical/symbolic discussions that are brought up in the film.  This film isn’t that deep in that regard, but there is stuff to talk about below the surface (guess that could be considered a pun in this case).

Because Bradley loves his wife and sacrifices much of his time for her, working jobs to support her, he is willing to do “less than legal” things to make that happen, which he discusses with her (how refreshing, a film where the husband who traffics drugs doesn’t keep it from his loved one).  The reasons Bradley ends up in prison.  He could’ve gotten away when some Mexican thugs decided not to do things his way during a drug pickup, when a shootout with police ensues.  But he doesn’t, because he hates how disrespectful the thugs were to him, the country, and to the police.  The whole thing could’ve been avoided, but that’s not how it turned out.  So Bradley ends up helping the police take them down, though it results in him going to prison.  He keeps his mouth shut due to loyalty, which results in him staying in prison.  When his wife’s life is threatened, he does things he doesn’t want to do to try and keep her safe.  Everything he does in the film is either out of sacrifice for her, or out of sacrifice for his patriotic morals.  And the film doesn’t hide that what he does isn’t exactly the most noble deeds, as he is almost constantly in a bad place whenever he is “working.”  Christ, makes me want to get high just typing all this down; it’s making me depressed.

As for the downsides to this movie, aside from personal tastes in how entertaining I can find a film, there were a couple moments where the film tries to be extra violent, but it just comes off as looking fake.  It’s only for 2 very very brief moments, but they’re there.

Let me show you how badass I am by destroying this mannequin!

Other than that, the film is solid enough, but it’s the fight scenes during the latter half of the movie that truly make it memorable.  Plus there’s a moment where Carpenter gets a hold of a gun and uses it, which put a smile on my face.

All in all, well-made movie.  A bit depressing, yet also having a somewhat pleasant (probably not the right word, but thesaurus.com says that’s an appropriate antonym for “depressing,” so…) ending.  Has me eager for the director’s next film, which is titled Dragged Across Concrete and will star both Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson, and is currently in post-production.  Considering how the director doesn’t shy away from violence in his films, at all, and how much Mel Gibson loves putting violence into his films…  oh God, there is hope for the film industry yet.

Because we’re bored with the current state of the film industry.

 

Sonic, and Zombies, and Sexhogs, oh my!

So for those of you who thought I was going to review some classic horror film for the Halloween season, something like John Carpenter’s Halloween, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Puppet Master, etc, think again.  That’s too typical, and you’ve likely seen those films already (though that doesn’t mean I won’t review them sometime down the road).  Oh no, fuck that traditional bullshit, I’m reviewing Sonic the Hedgehog stuff that can be considered Halloween-ish.  And best of all, they can all be seen, for free, on buttfucking YouTube (I hate that site with their goddamn censorship and liberal bias, but they have the most content, so…).

So as you can tell by the title, this is going to be a Sonic Halloween theme.  Now, there is technically a Sonic movie, made in the 90s, and it’s just so-so yet faithful to the feel of the games (which is more than I can say for the Super Mario Bros. movie, so those plumbers can keep sucking dick the way they suck Mario golf balls through a drainpipe for all I care).  But that’s not what I’m reviewing today.  Why?  Because it’s Halloween, and I found this web-series far more entertaining than any other Sonic product as of late.

But first, an appetizer.

Entry #1: Sonic: Night of the Werehog

So it’s ok for what it is.  Basically a glorified promotion for the game Sonic: Unleashed, which I heard was just a so-so game.  Haven’t been too interested in Sonic games since Sonic Adventure 2 (though I’m eventually going to have to give Sonic Mania a shot).  So Sonic and some pincushion I’ve never seen or heard of outside of this film explore a haunted mansion for some reason.  Probably for the adventure of it all, hence why 2 kids arrive earlier just to see if there is anything scary there.  Turns out there is, 2 ghosts with a camera trying to take picture of the victims they scare for the sake of gaining the adoration of this ghost princess.

So when sonic and the adorable pincushion wimp show up, guess who the ghosts decide to target for the scares first?  The fuzzy one obviously.

Fuck jump scares, they’re only useful for parody montages like this if they aren’t going to be a rare occurrence.

They waste no effort in taking every opportunity to scare the ever-loving-shit out of this pink furball that only exists to be adorable when it is scared, or not scared, so obviously I felt no sympathy for this thing when all this started happening to it.  Hell, not even Sonic gave a shit (just wait for the ending, even the creators didn’t give a shit).  This pleases ghost princess, but she becomes dissatisfied when the ghosts fail to scare Sonic himself.  So they attempt to challenge/scare him, but for some reason, out of the blue, with no explanation given other than the presence of the full moon, sonic transforms into a fucking werewolf, er, werehog!

So awesome it’s taunting Zack Snyder to adapt this into a full-length feature film.

So Sonic the Werehog and these ghosts duke it out in an amusing but not entirely fulfilling fight (I mean, when the entire film is only 11 minutes long, what do you expect?), Sonic eventually wins, and then proceeds to leave the mansion with his fuzzball buddy.  However, the ghost princess has taken a liking to Sonic (as foreshadowed by her liking for pictures of people being scared shitless decorating one side of her room, and images of werewolves decorating the other side of her room), and decides to go with him, and get the last picture with him.  She does this by impersonating Sonic’s fuzzball friend.

Which is nice and all, Sonic getting the girl and walking off into the sunrise (and for some reason staying as a werehog, later getting very very frisky and having hardcore animal sex with the ghost; I’ll let your imaginations run wild as to how fucked up that’s going to be; there’s a reason I went there).  But then wait a minute–  What the hell happened to Sonic’s fuzzball friend?  Oh, he got kidnapped and tied up by the ghost princess and left to his fate with the other ghosts in the mansion.  Jesus Christ, I think that’s more fucked up than the sexhog sex.

 

 

Alright, warmup’s over.  Let’s get into this.  It’s the Sonic Zombie series created by Balena Productions.

 

 

Entry #2: Sonic Zombie Origins (part 1 of 7 in the Sonic Zombie series)

First off, the image still above for the preview of this episode used to be a tad bit different, actually showing Sonic groping Rogue’s boobs as opposed to being off to the side.  Fucking YouTube.

Anyway, as you’ll tell within the first second (let alone the first minute) of this video, this is not made professionally.  Far from it.  It’s amateur, rough around the edges, and damn proud of it.  None of the characters are loyal to their videogame counterparts, and Sonic drives a hummer rather than run around like the speed freak he is (supposed to be).  Tails is an illegal immigrant Mexican who is obsessed (demonically) with tacos, Knuckles is an Eddie Murphy gangster, Shadow is something, Amy is obsessed with Sonic (“Sonic, will you make me a woman?”), the bunny sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger (and no I couldn’t spell that right without looking it up), Rogue can fight and has boobs, and Sonic is a douche bag.  And this group of seven make up our main characters for this series.  Some would live, some would die and then come back to life again.

And in this episode, everyone gets together for Christmas, while zombies from Half-Life show up in Garry’s Mod to fuck up their festive gathering.

So they go all Night of the Living Dead and start barricading themselves into their house.

Meanwhile Eddie Knuckles gets bitten and starts hallucinating Mike Myers.

Eventually they have to leave the house and get to the airport to try and get away, until a giant fuck-off alien-saurus shows up, and they all seem doomed.  But Sonic knows that there is one thing that can save them all.  Rogue’s boobs!

No she isn’t planning on beating the monster to death with her tits (though I would absolutely love to see her try).  Oh no.  Sonic can go supersonic by feeling up a girl’s boobs.

Anyway, it’s at this point you should know what you’re in for.  This series is stupid, ridiculous, makes up the rules as it goes along, immoral, sacrilege to the Sonic lore (more-so than any official game-to-film adaptation ever made).  And I fucking love it.  It’s so ridiculous and immature and creative that I’ve gotta laugh at it.  It’s seems like it’s written by a 10 year old and narrated by someone with the same mindset and this allows for just about anything to happen.  So many memorable moments, especially the stereotypes.  And this series is just getting started.

 

Entry #3: Sonic Zombie Vengeance (part 2 of 7 in the Sonic Zombie series)

While this may be part to, there are some mini-episodes that I like to call 1a, 1b, and 1c that bridge the gap between these two videos.  Dumb shit happens in them, as usual, and it’s not going to make any more sense of the plot, so it’s up to you if you want to take a look into those.  As for this particular episode, the main highlight of this one is that the werehog makes an appearance, and so does Dr. Robotnik (aka Eggman).  Except the werehog is a sexhog, and Robotnik is Robo-fat-fat-fat-fucknik (and he’s Russian).  And the thing about sexhogs, aside from being bigger badder and stronger that a hedgehog, they are also a lot friskier.  So they basically want to have sex with anything.  So Sonic the Sexhog ends up fucking Robofatfucknik to death.  Seriously, that happens.

And since the sexhog is horny as fuck, you know what that means…

While not as overall hilarious as the previous episode, what it lacks in quanitity it makes up for in quality (sort of).

 

 

 

 

Entry #4: Sonic Zombie in Space (part 3 of 7 in the Sonic Zombie series)

And like most horror franchises, this eventually went into space.  And there is a fabulous payoff to the sexhog here.  But first, after they go to space, they land on a space station that has clones of all our main characters.  They all eventually get loose, and the Shadow clone has a time with Rogue.

Yep, it went there.

And then Sonic and Robofatfucknik get into a lightsaber duel (oh this is awesome).

And the sexhog clones rape each other.

There’s other things that happen, but I wouldn’t want to spoil everything now would I?

 

 

 

 

 

Entry #5: Sonic Zombie the Finale (part 6 of 7 in the Sonic Zombie series)

Final entry (except the one video that comes after this).  And yeah, I’m skipping several videos to get to this one.  Go watch the rest of the damn videos if you want to know what’s in them.  And, uh, I’d rather just have the images do the talking.

 

 

Overall

So this is an entertaining series where the entertainment spawns partly from the “no fucks given” attitude of how cheaply this is made, and how virtually every character is a (racial) stereotype of someone, has some fabulous over-the-top moments, and some legit moments of well-thought-out humor.  Plus, even if it’s not loyal to the Sonic franchise at all, it’s certainly something I would choose over Sonic Boom (fuck that show).  It’s not for everyone, but you have to at least try out the first 10 minutes of episode 1 just to see if it’s your thing or not.

This isn’t exactly a franchise I can go deep into with its themes and characters and stuff.  Because, well, do you really think that’s even possible after all the shit you’ve just seen?  It’s just something with events/lines/images that you can point and laugh at, so the best I can do is just show some highlights.

Plus it’s somewhat inspiring to see that something like this can be made with Garry’s Mod, and makes one wonder of the potential for other mods for games.

 

 

 

Epilogue

Ok, so on a serious note for a moment, there’s a reason I haven’t been reviewing new theatrical releases lately.  For one, the films largely don’t interest me all that much.

“But they interest us goddamnit!  We want to hear your opinions!  Review them!” you may shout at me, to which I’ll reply, “Then donate to me on Paypal or Patreon goddamnit!”

For another, and this is the big one, is this whole Weinstein scandal.  The scandal is bad enough, but what finally sent me over the edge is Corey Feldmen’s video and his plea for funds not just for a budget to make his own biography film, but also for his protection and funds for his legal battles.

This got to me.  So I’ve put forth some funds for him.  If you guys/gals want to do the same, go for it.  If not, fine, I’m not holding anything against you.  Just thought you should be aware.

It’s just seeing how much Hollywood is cracking down on (former) child actors and silencing others and doing all this despicable shit, it makes me less willing than ever to put forth money to watch their stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to be reviewing films, but it’s more likely going to be films that aren’t “New Releases.”  I’ll still likely wind up reviewing some film where some actor/actress was exploited, but avoiding it isn’t exactly going to change what’s already been done.

I’m probably not being entirely rational about this, but it’s currently the only thing I can think of right now as an appropriate reaction to all this.  It’s infuriating, because I love film.  I love entertainment.  And I hate being deprived of it about as much as I hate seeing others suffer for it.  To go further into the irrational side of things, my next review is going to be on a very controversial film that you’ve probably never heard of that you’ll likely only be able to see on a porn site.  Gives me an excuse to bring this up again while the IndieGoGo campaign is still going.