Category Archives: review

Review: Baby Driver

 

So Initial D is kind of about a guy who doesn’t speak much but drives really fast and likes listening to music. Make it an action crime thriller set in America and I give you…a strange movie title? Now that I think about it, I still haven’t even read a single synopsis. Let’s check Rotten Tomatoes:

A talented, young getaway driver relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss, he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.

Screen Shot 2017-06-30 at 21.50.15.png…Not sure about you, but ‘Initial D, but American crime-thriller’ like sounds much cooler description, if you can forgive the soundtrack not being eurobeat. But why did I go? Well I saw the trailer in the cinema and it looked kinda cool. But honestly, hearing that’s it’s an Edgar Wright film would have been more than enough.

If you’re worried about it not being thrilling enough, let me just say that I already felt like I needed a lie down after only the first scene. Even the noisy people sitting behind me felt the need to shut up by the time we were two minutes in. Despite that, they managed to include a pretty large amount of comedy throughout the film with just small witty exchanges but not enough to overpower the fact that this is an action thriller, not some random comedy. I would have actually been happy just watching a two hour long car chase just because they were so intense.

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Not to mention they were timed so well to the music, which is, by the way, used BRILLIANTLY. Pretty much all of the soundtrack used is playing from Baby’s iPod or his own music library and everything is matched up to it perfectly, from his movement as he comically mouths the words to every gunshot and footstep. There are even little touches like muting the left side if his left earphone is taken out and even adding that ringing noise when he hasn’t been listening to anything.

The story itself is genuinely good, interesting and well told. I mean, guessing the ‘plot twist’ in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made the remaining duration of the film not quite entertaining enough for me to not start looking for ways the story could have been told better. Baby Driver, on the other hand, I had no idea where anything was going the entire way through. All I did know was that it would end in one big mess (but I guess you can tell that from the synopsis). Sure, you could guess that ‘X’ would happen next, but you wouldn’t know what would happen after that. I was so glued to the screen that I barely touched my Tango Ice Blast (a rarity for those who know me well).

Screen Shot 2017-06-30 at 21.49.40.pngThe characters are well fleshed out and are each given appropriate amounts of screen time and development for their roles in the plot. Let’s just say that they all face consequences for their actions, including Baby (for once our protagonist does not get away scot free).

If you like thrillers, crime dramas, action, or even just a decent film that isn’t a damned superhero movie : go no further than Baby Driver.

In a nutshell: awesome

But seriously, Baby should have considered late night tofu deliveries.

Review: “FREE ANIME DVD” (GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!)

Just a heads up that this is a 15 rated horror film and I included information that may or may not be classified as spoilers.

Over the years, I’ve developed a habit of picking up whatever freebies I’m offered, usually resulting in the accumulation of various leaflets with discount codes, extra carrier bags and energy tablets(?) every time I go to London Comic Con. This year was no exception, and so my attention was drawn to the “free anime DVDs” being handed out near the entrance.

At first glance, I thought it would most likely be a like an anime version of Sharknado, or something.

Discarding the parody aspect, I wasn’t entirely wrong…

 

Are you ready for the invasion? A devastation, disgusting “Death Stench” is spreading across Japan, creating deadly mutant fish as it covers the land!

The country is being invaded by ferocious fish with sharp metal legs, hell-bent on death and destruction! Amidst the carnage, Kaori embarks on a desperate quest to find her missing boyfriend before he is lost to the mayhem that is sweeping the land. Facing four-legged killer sharks, machine driven squid and the myriad dangers of Tokyo, now an urban war zone, Kaori must find the truth behind these mechanical monsters and face an evil greater than she could ever have imagined.

Based on the popular manga from the master of macabre, Junji Ito (Tomie, Uzumaki), Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack! is a bizarre thrill-ride that has to be seen to be believed.

So, as the back of the DVD says, these killer fish with legs that smell of rotting human flesh take over Japan but our main character is trying to find out if her fiancé is ok, amongst all the chaos.

Sounds average.

 

 

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The animation isn’t terrible, but it appears to have been made at about 20 frames per second, or something stupid (most likely in an attempt to cut costs). Despite this, the 3D animation is surprisingly okay. Sure it’s obvious and it doesn’t mesh very well with 2D, it’s not obtrusive in the overall viewing experience. But really, Ufotable animated this? I would expected better from the studio behind the cutscenes for Tales of Xillia, Zestria and Berseria (as well as the anime for the latter two). The character design seems to make up for the animation, making everything and everyone seem more mature and realistic, despite the giant sharks flying around the streets.

The music is okay but it’s the generic kind of stuff you’d expect from a horror film.

However, I quite like the directing. There are just little things here and there that made me go “that’s cool”. For example, the choice to visually show the smell is especially effective when it appears for the first time, along side the appearance of the first walking fish. Not 10/10 but definitely, notable.

Unfortunately, this is where my praise for the film ends.

I don’t know what kind of story the manga had but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to get away with something this…meh for more than a couple chapters.

 

Our main character has two generic friends and a generic fiancé/boyfriend. They literally exist to be infected by the killer fish and eventually die…wait, does that count as a spoiler? Whatever, it’s too obvious anyone to actually care. The photojournalist guy seems like he could have been an interesting character if he had more time to be fleshed out, but I guess that’s asking took much from a 71 minute horror film. The rather boring characters paired with the most bizarre explanation of the disaster (blaming everything on World War 2 experiments got old a long time ago) just amounts to a very bland, cliché story. The only original part is probably the fish themselves. But the vague explanations form them really isn’t good enough. They should have just kept it a mystery.

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And then, there’s the writing. It’s not unbearably cheesy or anything, but there are quite a few scenes where responses feel poorly timed or out of place. I know there isn’t much time in this film but the photojournalist’s backstory is given less than 10 seconds of slightly out of place expository dialogue. If you’re going to do that, you may as well not bother including it, especially since it adds NOTHING to the near-nonexistent story. They probably only included it so that the audience would become emotionally invested in him, making his end more tragic? I don’t know, that’s the only reason I could think of. MC also overreacts a bit too much in a few scenes, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ it’s allowed, I guess.

Ultimately, everything about this film can only be described as average. If you want a random horror movie to waste 71 minutes of your life, go ahead, be my guest. Just don’t expect high quality entertainment.

But does it “have to be seen to be believed”, like the DVD blurb said?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In a nutshell: meh

GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack! can be bought on DVD wherever you tend to buy your anime DVDs.

Fire Emblem Heroes: Review

screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-09-16-17Fire Emblem Heroes came out a few days ago, so I thought I’d give it a go for a bit.

I’ve been a little skeptical of “pay to win” games like Pokemon Shuffle and Tales of Link, but, from the few hours or so I played, FE Heroes doesn’t seem to bad.

Yes, you do have to use ‘orbs‘ (the things you’re supposed to buy with real money) but so far, I’ve managed to summon 5 heroes and get through Chapter 3 without even having to consider buying more. Not too bad, although, I will point out that the prices are pretty ridiculous. Call me cheap, but I’d rather not spend £1.99 on only 3 orbs…

There are also other replenishable things ‘Stamina’, and ‘Dueling Swords’ but I haven’t seemed to run out of them to the extent that it’s been a problem yet? I might have to find out what they actually do…

 

Other than the micro-transaction gimmicks and the summoning part (more on that later), the game pretty much runs the same way you would expect a Fire Emblem game on mobile to run. For your convenience of playing on the go, each chapter (there is a story but…¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) is split into small maps that shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes to complete with your four unit team, which still manages to capture the essences of playing a game from the main series (the newer games, at least).

The part where you waste all your money

Let’s talk about the bit you’ll probably waste all your money on summoning. If you saw the Fire Emblem Direct last month, then you already know that the more times you summon in a row, the few orbs it costs. To elaborate, summoning 5 heroes consecutively would cost you “only” 20 orbs, compared to 25 if you were to summon  one on 5 separate occasions. By the way, the 6th consecutive hero starts a new summoning session and goes back up to 5 orbs.

When you summon you have to select one of the following types of orb/crystal things: red, blue, green or colourless. I can’t quite remember what’s what but even if I did I would highly recommend looking up what colour the character you want is to minimise disappointment.

For example, I selected the red crystal/orb to get my husbando Lon’qu. I ended up with a 5 star Tharja  which is pretty good for my first go, but it’s not Lon’qu. (There may or may not have been a tear in my eye)

I am so glad I’m broke right now…

More technical stuff

The app itself doesn’t run offline but it doesn’t seem to eat away at your battery very much (connected to wifi, at least). But I will mention that in terms of space, it is an absolute beast! The initial download seems pretty small but after the two additional downloads it performs after you open the app for the first time take up well over 500MB, so be prepared to delete a few other games or compress your music library…

If you do have space for it, you can find Fire Emblem Heroes in the App Store and Google Play Store (sorry Windows) right now for free, as long as you don’t count the lengths you’re willing to go to get your favourite character on your team.

Verdict: 9/10

Overall, the experience is pretty enjoyable and I can actually see myself playing it for a bit longer than Pokemon Go or Miitomo. I mean, I didn’t even keep those on my phone for more than a week…

In a nutshell: Haven’t found any serious or unexpected disappointments that take away from my Fire Emblem on mobile experience so far, but the orbs are far too expensive and quite honestly, I rather not compress my music even more.

The Worst Thing Ever

A couple days ago, a friend of mine send me an almost incomprehensible message about something called ‘zanen naga-something’. A quick search told me it was a shoujo manga so I kind of assumed they wanted me to read it?

I will never assume such a thing again.

Zannen nagara Chigaimasu is the worst manga I have ever laid eyes upon. Heck, it’s so bad it doesn’t even deserve to be called a piece literature.

To save you the suffering of reading, I summarized it:

A man randomly takes a high school girl he sees on the escalator to Starbuck and then asks to sleep with her, to which she agrees (wtf?) but they have to get married first since he doesn’t break the law (check Japanese marriage & consent laws). The story ends with them filling out the marriage registration form in his apartment.

That’s it. No parts omitted or skipped over. It just ends there like it’s happily every after.

These characters have no personalities and the story, quite evidently, may as well be non-existent. I bet I could probably just summarise in in three pages:

The art is.. so so, I guess? (maybe that’s a bit generous…)

Despite that, I guess you won’t be surprised to know that I wouldn’t even give this a 1 out of 10 (and I still think it’s a bit generous).

Please excuse me while I try to erase this abomination from my mind…

Review: Final Fantasy XV Kingsglaive

As the long-awaited release of Final Fantasy VX draws closer, the guys at Square Enix decided to further whet our appetites with a couple treats, one of which would be the movie Kingsglaive.

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As with anything to do with Final Fantasy, the plot is rather confusing (which probably has something to do with why it only got 7% positive review on Rotten Tomatoes). In short, the film partially explains why everyone’s fighting each other prior to the beginning of the game. In terms of story timeline, you can place Kingslaive right before Episode Duscae (quite weirdly). It’s pretty much a must see if you’re planning on playing the game since it also gives a much better idea of the kind of world the game is set in, compared to the trailers and demos.

If you thought the graphics for the game looked great, then the film is on a whole other level.

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Anyone who’s seen Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will know to expect the beautifully crafted fight scenes that leave the audience wishing they were cool enough to drive a car down the sides of buildings or use magic to summon hundreds of swords at once.

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You may notice the odd bit of product placement from Beats, Audi and a few others but personally I think it’s use has made the world more real and genuine compared to using only fictional brands with names that sound like they were created by a 3 year old.

I’ve already mentioned how beautiful it looks but the music is equally as beautiful, which is to be expected of anything Yoko Shimomura works on.

The characters themselves were well written and you were kind of forced to care about them (if that makes sense).

Despite all of this, I have to admit that I did try to check how much time was left around the 90 minute mark because I felt like it was supposed to have ended by that point.

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Overall I really enjoyed the film and I think it’s made me even more excited for the game’s (delayed) release. It’s not perfect but still a great film, definitely deserving of at least a 7 out of 10 (if you’re okay with complex plots).

In a nutshell: A beautiful mess

Final Fantasy VX: Kingsglaive is is currently available now for digital purchase and on 4th October on DVD and Blu-Ray. The first 12 minutes are also available to watch for free on Sony Pictures Entertainment’s YouTube channel.