Astral Chain Sales and Critic Predictions

Nintendo is on a roll with Mario Maker 2, MUA 3 and FETH being big hits. In 19 days, add another hit to that list. Astral Chain comes out August 30th and it could be a huge new IP for Nintendo. Here are my predictions for it’s sales and critical reception. Let’s go!

Critic predictions

Platinum Games usually get great reviews. Especially Nier Automata and Bayonetta 2. I can easily see Astrail Chain in the 88-92 territory with critics raving about the combat, the art style, the depth, characters and the scope. Some may criticize the game for the story, and some may not like the hub which looks to be complex. This will be a big critic darling.

Sales

Sadly, Platinum games don’t sell that great. Although, Nier Automata sold 3.8 million. Astral Chain could turn out to be their biggest hit. I could see Astral Chain hitting 4-5 million lifetime sales. I could see this selling 700-900k it’s first week and 2.4 million by the end of the year. America and Japan will be the 2 biggest markets, with Europe being 3rd. This could be a huge new IP for Nintendo and that’s great. Plus, it will give Platinum another big hit after Nier, sood news all around.

Platinum Games deserves all this success and I hope Astral Chain does do what I predict. Don’t sleep on this game Nintendo fans, giving Nintendo new IPs will help then grow and make more games like this. On August 30th, go out and get this game!

Link: https://www.platinumgames.com/games/astral-chain

https://www.google.com/amp/s/wccftech.com/astral-chain-gameplay-intricate-combo/amp/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.gamespot.com/amp-articles/astral-chain-hands-on-preview-two-characters-make-/1100-6468702/

Photo courtesy of: https://www.google.com/amp/s/mynintendonews.com/2019/07/15/five-minutes-of-astral-chain-direct-feed-gameplay/amp/

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Nintendo Switch and Mario Maker 2 Dominate June NPD

According to Mat Piscatella from NPD, Mario Maker 2 destroyed it in June as the top selling game for the month. Crash Racing came in second and MK 11 was no3.

The Nintendo Switch was the top selling console for June, but the steep drops in PS4 and X Box One sales offset the Switch’s growth. July will be interesting, will Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance go no1? Will Mario Maker 2 hang onto no1 or will Fire Emblem debut at no1? I got my money on FETH debuting huge and MUA3 coming in a close second. We shall see.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3nPe3QVv64

Photo Courtesy of: https://usa.inquirer.net/34029/unleashing-your-creativity-with-mario-maker-2?fbclid=IwAR3Vv613AWQRx4ZEoFLnjjDIpPEocPY7ZlfQHnYnpilKtPcRvHiLxEM_-PM

Part 5 of My Top 100 Favorite Movies of All Time

60: The Little Mermaid, I know this is a glossed over version of the horrific fairy tale, but I don’t care. I still love the Little Mermaid. Catchy songs, wonderful characters and glowing animation light the screen up like the 4th of July. I’ve seen this movie over 30 times and I don’t get tired of it no matter how many times I’ve seen it. A family classic for all.

Rating: 4 Stars

59: The Cell is an underrated cult classic that deserves more respect. Some people are put off by the dark subject matter. I love this movie for being daring. It is chock-full of wild images, and it was one of the first movies to dig into the mind of a killer. It asks the audience to care about a killer. Jennifer Lopez is sparking as the protagonist giving a human touch against the darkness. I admit this movie is not for everyone, but if you give it a chance you may like it. The directing is on point and the actors are game. An original and terrifying movie. This is one of the most original and horrifying movies I’ve seen.

Rating: 4 Stars

58: Working Girl, Harrison Ford, you were my schoolgirl crush. His charm and sarcasm make him appealing for comedies. He adds greatly to this classic comedy. Weaver knocks it out as the ice boss, and Griffin is charming as the title character. An adult comedy that is a grown-up look at relationships how the workplace treats women and how sexism still rears its ugly head. A winner.

Rating: 4 Stars

57: X2: X-Men United is one of the best comic book sequels of all time. X2 stars the incredible Hugh Jackman who runs through every scene like 20 bulls in a china shop. The X-Men contend with 2 villains this time, Striker and Magneto. The incredible scene of Nightcrawler at the white house and the police standoff are just a taste of the greatness this movie has to offer. X-Men was great, but X2 took the series to another level.

Rating: 4 Stars

56: LA LA Land, Yes I love movie musicals. Wonderful charm, sweetness, and bright colors make me want to dance in the street. Emma Stone is perfect and Ryan Gosling is charming their chemistry comes off the screen. The cinematography is gorgeous and the songs are toe-tapping perfect. La La Land will put you in a good mood it does me. A glorious return to old school musicals.

Rating: 4 Stars

55: My Neighbor Totoro, my goodness, this is one of the best-animated movies I’ve ever seen. This isn’t the only Japanese Anime movie you will see on my list. What a thrill ride of joy, innocence and how children deal with a sick parent. The gorgeous images and adorable characters will make you fall in love with this movie.

Rating: 4 Stars

54: The Shinning, Kubrick’s gorgeous horror movie is one of a kind classic. It easily makes my top 5 favorite horror movies of all time with great scares and great directing. The stellar performances and the innovative directing make this an instant classic. Some people gripe (cough Stephen King), this isn’t like the book. WHO CARES! Shelly Duvall carries the heart of the movie, Jack Nicholson is terrifying and the cinematography is simply stunning. Kubrick’s use of wide-angle lenses changed horror movies.

Rating: 4 Stars

53: Dr. Strangelove, Another Kubrick masterpiece. The quintessential cold war comedy that still has a bite. Peter Sellers is the best comedy actor of all time. I dare anyone to find an actor with a better resume of movies and performances. Kubrick’s stark black and white colors pop, the pacing is incredible, and the music soars. I know a lot of people who haven’t seen this movie, what are you waiting for? Check out this perennial classic now.

Rating: 4 Stars

52: The Abyss, James Cameron, you really know how to direct great movies. This is one of his best movies. Abyss was overlooked at the box office when it came out. Thankfully, it became a hit on home video. Ed Harris and Michael Bein put on great performances. The Abyss is like an 80s version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind the last 20 minutes are simply stunning. Cameron is a master of visual and emotional storytelling.

Rating: 4 Stars

51: Night of the Living Dead, this still the best of Romero’s zombie opus. This classic dealt with subjects like racism and classism. Romero’s directing gives you a claustrophobic feel the characters are real and relatable which helps the scares matter. A bulls-eye for horror movies. Still the best zombie movie I’ve ever seen. This is based on the original version, not the disaster of a remake.

Rating 4 Stars

Photo courtesy of: http://www.piecesofamom.com/2016//01/my-eight-favorite-movies.html

Your Name Review

Review By Michelle Lynn Tackett

Ratings:

1 Star: God save the Queen!

2 Stars: An OK Movie bought down by some major flaws.

3 Stars: A good movie that just misses the mark of being a great movie.

4 Stars: One of the best movies you can see.

I love anime so much. The colors, stories, gorgeous images, and colorful characters. I think anime gives us a lot of things that American animation doesn’t. When I watch great anime, I fall head over heels for it, and Your name is one of the best anime, no, movies I’ve ever seen.

Characters

Mitsuha and Taki are two of the greatest characters I’ve seen in any movie. They’re your typical high school kids. Mitsuha is struggling with rural angst while Taki is struggling with Urban disdain. Miki, Yotsuha, and Hitoha round out one of the most wonderful casts of characters who you’ll see. Taki and Mitsuha are lovable characters that you’ll want them to succeed badly. Your palms will sweat, and you’ll shed some tears over their pain. This is how you do it! Disney used to know how to do this in their movies, but they have lost that magic touch. Thankfully, movies like this haven’t. The perfect voice acting is the icing on the cake.

Story

The story revolves around Taki and Mitsuha. How they deal with their daily struggles, trying to balance work and school. One night, Taki and Mitsuha are going to a celebration, the next morning, they switch bodies. This is where the fun begins for them. I am not going to give too much away, but there is a reason this is happening to them. The story has some nice depth, and the plot makes sense. It unfolds in a natural way with some nice surprises and emotional depth. What a wonderful story that’s perfectly executed.

Directing

Makoto Shinkai knocks it out of the park with perfect directing. Every scene makes sense, and his attention to detail is astonishing. You feel like you are there with Taki and Mitsuha. Astonishing scenes of beauty are coupled with lots of adorable laughs, and incredible shots of cel animation that makes most Hollywood animated movies look primitive. Who says animation cannot have mature stories with real characters. Shinkai’s innovative use of low angles and wide shots to tell a compelling story. This is movie making at it’s best. When you watch this movie, you’ll see a clinic for film making. Take notes while watching, you’ll learn something.

Screenplay

Makoto Shinkai did a fantastic job on the screenplay. Take out the cynicism of most Hollywood animated movies and replace it with genuine emotion with characters we want to root for. That makes this a mind-blowing screenplay. I dare anyone to watch the garbage Disney has been spewing out to this masterwork. Perfect dialogue, incredible heart, and genuine emotion raise this above anything Disney has put out as of late. Void of cliches and lazy storytelling, this screenplay nails the importance of storytelling. Your Name shows what animation can be as a medium. You can feel the love coming out of Shinkai. He wants us to feel for the characters, laugh hard, and cry so much it hurts. Chills would run up my spine in some scenes, they were that good. This is how you do it.

Flaws

What are those? This movie has none of those you speak of.

Final Thoughts

From the perfect animation to the lovable characters, wonderful story, perfect directing, and gripping screenplay, Your Name is an exercise in film making at it’s best. If you are worn out on American animation, Watch this movie instead. You will see one of the best animated movies ever. Rarely does a movie blow me away this much, but Your Name did. I have seen it multiple times, and it gets better with each viewing. I laughed a lot, cried a lot, and I thought a lot about my life. This movie makes you think about important things in your life and how we take them for granted. I cannot recommend it enough.

Grade: If I could give it 100 stars, I would. 4 Stars! Breathtaking animation mixed with wonderful characters, gorgeous story telling and a screenplay written to perfection. Your Name will be VERY high on my list of favorite movies of all time.

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU47nhruN-Q

Link to trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU47nhruN-Q

Links to buy Your Name: https://www.amazon.com/Your-Name-Blu-ray-Michael-Sinterniklaas/dp/B074QVZD11

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Name-Blu-ray-Michael-Sinterniklaas/dp/B074R4KSTM

Detective Pikachu Review

Ratings: 1 Star: Get me outta here! I hate this movie! 2 Stars: A decent movie bogged down by some issues. 3 Stars: A good movie that is close to great. 4 Stars: A real winner! A wonderful movie that needs to be seen. Video game movies do not have a good track record when it comes to movies based on them. From Super Mario Bros to Mortal Kombat, video game movies have been examples of how NOT to do movies based on popular intellectual properties. Can Detective Pikachu break the curse? Let’s find out. Characters The characters are getting mixed reactions and I don’t understand that. Tim is a very relatable character who struggles with his confidence and the effects of his father not being in his life. Lucy is the plucky reporter in training who helps Tim along the way and of course Detective Pikachu himself who steals every scene he is in! Detective Pikachu is one of the best characters I have seen on screen in a long time. Ryan Renolds is gold! His comedic timing and light touches do miracles in bringing Pikachu to life. It shows what a wonderful actor he is. I do think the villains could have used some fleshing out, but they do their job to help drive the story along. Justice Smith does a great job of showing the insecurities and vulnerabilities of a young person trying to find their way. Lucy could’ve used more screen time, she’s cute and energetic, but she doesn’t have enough screen time to develop her character. Hopefully, a sequel will help flesh her out. There are some good characters in the movie, but Tim and Pikachu are the standouts. Story The story is getting some criticism for being too predictable, but some of the criticism isn’t good. I won’t give too much away, but it does have a standard hero story. There isn’t a lot of big surprises, but did Endgame have any twists or original story? Not many movies have original stories anymore, so I judge if the story works in the context of the movie. Does the story work? Yes, this is a simple introduction that helps establish what this world is and why we should care. It has a human story that anyone can understand and the story makes sense. We do know that Tim is trying to find out what happened to his dad and only Detective Pikachu can help him. What I liked is how they didn’t bog the story down with too much plot. The story is easy to follow and is easy to understand, even if you’re not a Pokemon fan. Directing Rob Letterman directed this movie and he did an excellent job. I liked the Eastern influence he bought to the movie. It had some Blade Runner vibes with the nighttime scenes. I have heard Grace Randolph and other reviewers mention this as well. He does a good job mixing light and dark tones together. One minute the movie is a lighthearted family movie, the next it’s a dark film noir mystery. The use of close-ups helps with driving home the emotional scenes. You can see the pain with the close-up shots. No tricks or fancy camera work just solid, simple directing that lets the scenes play out. The action scenes are easy to track and the pace is just right. Screenplay Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, and Derek Connolly wrote the screenplay. The movie has sharp writing and touching moments that work well together. Tim’s problems are treated with real emotion and not as a punchline as some movies do, (Avengers Endgame, I am looking at you). I can see some of the internet fan people going off about how there are not many Pokemon battles, (this is a movie called Detective Pikachu, it’s not meant to be the anime). It is based on the 3DS game. It didn’t have Pokemon battles in it. This movie is more of a detective movie and the screenplay wisely focuses on the journey and knows when to place the action and laughs. There are some Pokemon battles, but they’re not the main attraction. Family content Is this a good family movie? Yes, it is. There are only three curse words and it isn’t even bad. A few jokes have some adult themes, and there is some scary action, but other then that; there is nothing in this movie that would offend anyone. This is a PG movie and it doesn’t have a lot to upset families. I would recommend children over the age of seven go. Some scenes might be too scary for little children. Flaws Every movie has flaws. The biggest complaint I have is the running time. It is only 1 hour and 44 minutes long. With all of the Pokemon and human characters in the movie, it should’ve been over 2 hours. The movie moves at a fast pace and there isn’t enough time to get to know some of the minor characters. Also, the villain should’ve been more fleshed out. I do hope the sequel gives us more time with them. Other than that, I can’t find anything to criticize. Final Thoughts Detective Pikachu is a great family movie. The real star is Pikachu himself. He is so snugly, adorable and cute you want to reach through the screen and hug him for hours! The other Pokemon look great too. From Jigglypuff to Squirtle and Psyduck, they got the looks of the Pokemon right and their personalities. This is how you do beloved video game characters in a movie. This is how you don’t upset a fan base so much that they want to grab pitchforks and torches, go to Hollywood and riot. The makers of Sonic the Hedgehog could learn a lot from this movie. This is how you make the fans happy, this is how you make a great family film that doesn’t insult the audience and gives people their money’s worth. Score: 4 Stars A snugly wuggly grand slam of an adorable family movie that will put you in a good mood. If you love Pokemon or just good family movies. Go see this movie now! Photo Courtesy of: https://thepopinsider.com/interests/movies-interests/detective-pikachu-valentines/

Stephen King IT 2017 Review

Ratings 1 Star: Avoid like the plague! Run for your life! 2 Stars: A decent movie that isn’t good or bad. 3 Stars: A good movie that just misses the mark of being great. 4 Stars: A real classic that you need to experience. Stephen King movies are a mixed bag. The Shining is one of the greatest movies ever made, but Sleepwalkers is a horrible movie. This is how it goes with King’s adaptations. IT is one of King’s most beloved works. The 1990 TV movie was highly rated back in 1990 when it was released. However, King was not happy with some of the elements in it. He wanted to do another version so he could make it closer to the source material. That is how the 2017 version of IT got made. Depending on whom you ask, it is either a great movie or an embarrassment to the cinema. Which group do I fall under? Let’s find out. Characters Georgie, Bill, Beverly, Ben, and the rest of the losers are back. The problem is the young actors who portray them aren’t that good. Some of the characters live up to the one-dimensional stereotype, (the bad girl, the nerd, etc), there is no depth to them and it makes it hard to care about what happens to them. They come off as typical bratty kids, not kids we want to see live. The worst character in the movie is Pennywise. Why on Earth would any child give this obviously creepy clown one second? Seriously? Tim Curry at least added a bit of charm to his portrayal of Pennywise. Bill Skarsgard puts on a one-note performance that he has no tone. Is he creepy? Funny? Which one is he?! His portrayal is all over the place. He has the subtlety of Chris Farley. Wait? He makes Farley look like Leonardo DiCaprio when it comes to subtlety. He tries too hard to come off as scary, and I don’t believe him for one second. Directing Andy Muschietti directed this movie, and he doesn’t do a good job. The colors are washed out and his use of shaky cam when Pennywise tries to be “scary” are so gag-inducing that it makes Michael Bay look like Orson Welles. We don’t need loud music cues, cheap jump scares and dumb shaky cam to scare an audience. Some scenes that were meant to be scary, but they didn’t scare me. Some scenes were supposed to be funny, but I didn’t laugh. Without a good atmosphere or tone, a horror movie will sink. That’s what happened to this movie. There is no tone or atmosphere. Just silly jump scares that do not scare or make you laugh. Which one is it supposed to be? I can’t tell! This movie frustrates me so much! This movie is such a forgettable, lifeless waste. Story

The story is the same as the book. It follows a lot of the beats of both the book and the mini-series. It follows the book more than the mini-series. However, that isn’t always a good thing. IT is a metaphor for childhood fears, but the annoying characters don’t pull is in, so we don’t care about what happens to them. Also, when one character dies in the movie, why does their relative act like nothing happen? How much time has passed since their death? Why not show the after effect of what happened? Let us FEEL the pain, but no, they can’t even do that right. That would require actually trying with the storytelling. That is too much to ask, isn’t it? I hate it when they make the villain the one you cheer for. The fact that he’s killing kids makes it worse. The story is decent, that isn’t the weak point of this morovie.

Screenplay This (along with the directing), will make or break a movie. That’s the biggest problem with this movie. The bullies are MORE annoying than the main kids. But, since you don’t care about the kids, you don’t care for what happens to the kids! Some are smoking to be rebellious. WHOA! I’m impressed, (sarcasm). The tone is all over the place. Some people say they laughed at this movie. LAUGH? This is a movie about a psycho clown killing kids. If you think that is funny, look for the people in the white coats, you need to be locked away. There were five writes for this movie. five! They could have used five more so they could nail down a tone, atmosphere, character, or story. This movie is a mess! The lazy jump scares show how little effort went into writing this. I’ve seen better writing from Fifty Shades of Gray! Yes, you heard me. At least that horrible mess had a tone to its screenplay. As bad it was, it was better than this abomination of a screenplay. Flaws Where to start! The directing is lifeless, the characters are annoying, the scares are cheap, the effects are bad, the humor is flat and the tone is all over the place! Can you pick a tone and stick with it for Heaven’s sake? I get a headache watching this movie. I made the mistake of trying to watch it again. I thought I was being too hard on this movie, but NOPE! I was too easy on it my first time. This is a trash movie with no tone, no heart, or scares. Any real horror fan who has seen better movies like Halloween, the Exorcist, or the Evil Dead has seen better than this. Heck, Halloween 3 is better than this movie! Why was this abortion of a movie a hit? I have a heart condition and I would rather watch someone perform open heart surgery than to watch this pile of a dung heap again. Final Thoughts There is supposed to be a part 2 to this. Oh JOY! If it is anything like this utter mess of a so-called movie then count me out! I wanted to like this, but when Stephen King gave his seal of approval, I should have known better. This is the man who liked the mini-series of the Shining better than the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. King also thinks Sleepwalkers is a great movie, so I think I know how to find the good King adaptations. Whenever King doesn’t like it, it’s good! When he does like it, IT’S TRASH! Score 1 Star! What a trashy movie with no heart, tone, characters, scares, or craftsmanship whatsoever. Go watch Troll 2, that is a better-made movie. At least I know they were trying to make a bad movie with that one. Photo Courtesy Of: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/4396583/pennywise-the-it-clown-2017-stephen-king-halloween/

My Neighbor Totoro: Review

Grades:

1 Star: A pile of crap that’s best forgotten.

2 Stars: It’s ok. Some good and some bad, but not enough good to make it good.

3 Stars: A good movie that you can enjoy, but it’s not great.

4 Stars: A classic that will stand the test of time.

Movies stick with us for different reasons. Some make us cry and we feel the intense drama. Some make us laugh so hard until it hurts. Some movies can do both of them and one of those is My Neighbor Totoro. A legendary film from the great Hiro Miyazaki. When I do my list of top one hundred favorite movies of all-time, this one will be way up there.

Characters

Meet Satsuki, she is a rambunctious child who lives with her father while her mother recuperates in the hospital. Mei is her younger sister who is such a sweetheart. She has so much energy and cuteness that shines through. They live near a kind lady who they name granny. The voice acting is impeccable. No one over does it and every line is delivered with perfect pitch and timing. The characters are like the ones you usually see in a Miyazaki movie, the understanding dad, the wonderful mom, and the relatable and cute kids. Does this take away from the characters? Nope, they are so real and likable, you don’t even notice. They are normal people who we can relate to, and see the world through Satsuki and Mei’s eyes is quite an experience. Totoro and his companions are great. They have personality and great design. You will never forget the cat bus. Yes, you heard me, a kitty cat bus! It’s sooo cute you’ll wish there really was a kitty cat bus! Oh the horror! Make it real!

Story

The story is simple and it works. A father and his two kids move out to a small home, so they can visit their mom (his wife), more often. Mei goes into the woods and she finds a creature named Totoro. She tries to convince her sister and father that she found him, but he doesn’t appear. Is this all in Mei’s head? The story does deepen when mom gets sick. Satsuki and Mei try to find a way to see her see if she is ok. This is so relatable to any child. Who wouldn’t want to rush to the hospital to see their mom if she was supposed to go home, but gets sick? Mei and Satsuki also try to find out what is Totoro’s deal. Is he a friend? Watch and see.

Directing

As usual, Miyazaki does his typical perfect job directing the animation with vibrant colors, wonderful character design, and a smart screenplay. I love how Miyazaki makes his characters look like regular people, instead of the typical anime tropes. It makes their situations more relatable. There are quiet moments in this movie that are spectacular. Miyazaki respects the audience’s intelligence. He knows we can handle quiet moments and lets us fill in the blanks on what’s going on. Audiences don’t need zooming cameras and in your face loudness in order to compel us. Give us a good story and characters we can relate to, and we can have the patience to watch any movie.

Screenplay

The screenplay maybe my favorite part of this movie. When Mei tells her dad and Satsuki that she saw Totoro, we could’ve gotten the same, “Sure you did, you are nuts.” tropes we’ve seen a thousand times. Instead, we get a caring father and sister who really want this to be real for Mei. That is such a breath of fresh air to see in a family movie. The story has enough depth, but doesn’t bog down the story with too much plot. Instead, the screenplay focuses on the journey for Satsuki and Mei. This is perfect! It keeps it simple and relatable without drowning out the spirit of what makes this movie so good. It is pure magic. Simple, sweet and gentle. My favorite part of this masterful screenplay is the lack of cynicism. This is an honest and sincere screenplay without a hint of cynicsm in it. This is so refreshing and I wish more screenplays would take this approach. This is one of the best screenplays for any movie, I’ve ever seen. Miyazaki wrote this masterwork of a screenplay and should’ve gotten an Oscar nomination for it.

Flaws

I can’t really name any to be honest. Maybe the running time, which is eighty-seven minutes long. I would have loved if this movie had been four hours long! Maybe, that’s the sign of a great movie. It leaves you wanting more! This is a near perfect movie that delights with sights, sounds, heartfelt moments and hearty laughs.

Final Thoughts

My Neighbor Totoro has become a huge cult hit and it is easy to see why. The gorgeous visuals, adorable characters, charming story and sweet tone will make this a family favorite for decades to come. Ninety-nine percent of big Hollywood animated movies pale in comparison to this movie. If you are looking for adorable, and wholesome family entertainment that is also a great movie. Look no further than My Neighbor Totoro, one of the best movies, (not just animated, but movies period), ever made.

My Score: 4 stars. One of the best animated, no, movies PERIOD, of all time. A charming classic that you will love and watch many times without the magic wearing off.

Photo Courtesy of:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/toys-games-napping-with-totoro-my-neighbor-totoro-ensky-puzzles/32328880

Why Is Anime So Popular?

In the 21st century, Japanamation (or Japanese Anime), has exploded in popularity. Names like Miyazaki, Hosoda and Shinkai mean as much to animated fans as Pixar does. What is causing this? Let’s take a look!

Different Style

Anime has a distinct style that allows bigger facial expressions and over the top humor that wouldn’t work with western style animation. This can lead to bigger for audiences and it can convey different story telling methods to the audience.

The Forgotton Hollywood Category, Drama.

Let’s face it, Hollywood don’t do good dramas anymore. Some independent movies can do it well, but big budget dramas are almost dead. In Anime though, it’s alive and well. You feel the pain the characters do, movies like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Your Name and Ponyo will have you in tears when they feel pain, and cheering when they are happy. Drama when it’s done right can be so rewarding.

Less Cynical

Aren’t you tired of cynical movies? Don’t you want movies with real heart and sincere emotions? You get that a lot in anime. Wolf Children is a great example of a loving family who works to stay together and you really know that the family loves each other. It is real and the characters don’t wink at you to let you know it’s a game. This makes you more invested in the story and the characters.

Great Escapism

When you turn on TV or go to You Tube, you can come across so much harsh reality. We all need to deal with it, but too much can bring you down. Watch a sweethearted anime movie. You can see relatable characters overcome obstacles and hardships. You’ll see lots of gentle stories like the Secret World of Arrietty. What a sweet story about a loving family who happen to be small and how they deal with it. You’ll feel so good after you watch it. Forget your problems for over 2 hours and enjoy. There are other movies like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Ponyo that will make you feel great after watching them.

Imagination

Oh the things you can do with animation. Spirited Away is a great example of this. You’ll see creatures you’ve never seen before and a world that will make your sensors go wild. Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro are packed with imaginative images that will fill your mind with gorgeous colors, character designs and weird creatures which will blow your mind. You’ll feel like you are on cloud nine seeing all of these incredible images.

Diversity

Anime has a lot of different sub-categories. Some are wild sci-fi, sexy, some are dark and some are wonderful family movies. You don’t get a lot of adult animation in the west (adult swim used to, but not now), anime knows there are fans who crave adult animation. Vampire Hunter D, Death Note and Akira are great adult animes that are smart, dark and edgy for older . Then you got cute and wholesome animes like The Castle in the Sky and Summer Wars that are great for the whole family.

Relatable Characters

No matter how wild the images or creatures, anime gives you very relatable characters. Taki and Mitsuha from Your Name, are typical college kids who are trying their best to get by. Working jobs, going to school and trying to balance their home life. Who can’t relate to that? Even though there is a sci-fi element, the movie never forgets to give us characters we can relate to and care about. Wolf Children is another great example of this. Hana, Yuki and Ame are a typical family. Yuki is a regular housewife who is trying her best to raise her kids on her own. This makes the drama real and we feel for them when something happens. No matter how outrageous the story.

Traditional Animation

Remember when Disney did movies like Aladdin, the Little Mermaid and the Lion King? Nearly all western animated movies are CGI now. Don’t get wrong, I love CGI, but there is something about hand drawn animation that is appealing. The colors are brighter, the textures pop and there is a quiet charm about it. Princess Mononoki, Your Name and A Silent Voice can stun you with beauty in ways CGI can’t. The gorgeous colors that will make your eyes do somersaults and the fluid movement that will cause your brain to work overtime. Hollywood has forgotten that a lot of people still prefer hand drawn animation to CGI. Anime is one of the few places where someone can get that nowadays.

Final Thoughts

For all of the reasons above, Japanese Anime is gathering a huge following in western Countries now. It isn’t just movies or tv shows either. Video games as well are showing a growing interest in anime. Games like Persona 5 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 both have sold over 2 million copies. America is taking notice. JJ Abrams is remaking Your Name, (please let it turn out to be good), and stores like Walmart are carrying more anime. This is great! If you haven’t checked out anime, do yourself a favor and check some out. There is something for everyone. Long live Anime!

Links to some of my favorite anime:

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Name-Blu-ray-Michael-Sinterniklaas/dp/B074R4KSTM/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?crid=14AP5PSLP62RF&keywords=your+name&qid=1556481013&s=gateway&sprefix=your&sr=8-3

Links to Anime becoming popular:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/comicbook.com/anime/amp/2018/05/03/anime-overseas-popularity-study-released/

https://www.infoplease.com/us/arts-entertainment/manga-and-anime-japanese-invasion

TV Shows:

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.snaptubeapp.com/how-to/anime/japanese-anime-movies.html

Kong: Skull Island Review

Grades:

1 Star: Horrible! This movie makes me want to quit watching movies.

2 stars: An OK movie that could’ve been good, but it was sunk by some major flaws.

3 stars: A good movie that just misses being great.

4 stars: A can’t miss movie, a movie that you need to see.

Some movies are bad and some are good. There is no in-between. They are either good or bad. This makes it simple to review movies, but it’s those movies that are in the middle that make it hard to review movies. Kong: Skull Island is one of those. Sure, it has some good creatures, special effects and one character you can like, but the rest of the movie is a mess. The rest of the characters suck, the story is bland, and the directing is mediocre at best. That is why this movie is so frustrating. This could have been a great movie, but we got a mixed bag instead. Let’s get into the review.

The acting:

I know monster movies aren’t known for their acting, but there are ways to act in them without effecting the movie. That strikes Kong: Skull Island out. Samuel L. Jackson’s acting is too over the top, Tom Hiddleston is boring, he looks like he is reading off of a badly written q-card, and John Goodman just grunts and yells his way through the movie. OK, there is one decent performance. That would be Brie Larson, who does a decent job of making you feel for her character Mason. You don’t want her to get crushed by the monsters. The rest of the characters, you can’t wait for Kong to squash them so he can put you out of your misery dealing with these downright annoying characters.

Directing:

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts isn’t without talent. Some shots are very well done, but he is very inconsistent. Some of the action scenes are well done. He does a good job of keeping the camera focused on the characters, but he does too many unnecessary cuts that make Michael Bay look like Orson Wells. The giant spider scene is a perfect example of this. When our “heroes” try to tangle with the spider. Some of the angles make it hard to know what is going on in the context of the scene. You want to scream at the screen and tell the director to focus the camera. Some scenes that should’ve been on the spider were on the humans, and vice versa. The final fight in the movie is well done, but the overuse of slow motion is a bit of a distraction. See what I mean? This movie is so frustrating! They can’t keep the consistency.

Screenplay:

This movie had four writers, think about that. That should tell you why this movie was a mess. The writers, Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, and John Gatins are like the movie itself, a mixed bag. Some scenes that try to come off a dramatic come off as goofy instead, and the story is so paper thin. I wish some depth would’ve been added to the story to make it more interesting. Also, whoever wrote the scene that King Kong should have a stare down with Samuel L. Jackson, needs to work at Pizza Hut instead. Never mind, if their pizza making skills are as half baked as their writing skills, then we would all get sick from under-cooked pizza. The writers don’t know how to balance action, with character development. Good action movies know how to do that. Even 2014’s Godzilla did a very good job at balancing character and action. This one relies too much on the monsters and not enough on the characters to carry the movie.

Characters:

Typical military characters who don’t have a lot of depth. The best character (Mason), isn’t a great character, but she does give you one person to root for. The difference between a mediocre special effect movie like this and a great one like Aliens is in Aliens you still remember the characters, (Ripley, Newt, Hicks, Hudson, Apone and more). Special effects shouldn’t overshadow the characters, they should help propel the story and the characters.

Flaws:

Were to begin! The forgettable characters, the silly dialogue, wooden acting, and wasteful story bring down the one good character, a few decent action scenes, and the cool looking monsters. This movie is a complete mess. It is worse than a bad movie, it is a frustrating movie. I would rather spend twenty four hours lost in the Forrest being chased by bugs (I have a phobia of bugs) with no map or compass. That would be less frustrating than watching this movie again.

Final Thoughts:

This movie is so frustrating that it made me want to stop watching it and go watch Fox News! Kong: Skull Island could’ve been a great movie, but most of the characters, bland story and inconsistent directing make this movie a chore to watch. There are some good scenes in the movie, but there are too many bad scenes that hurt the movie. Some action scenes are thrilling and the monsters look very impressive, but no amount of cool monsters can make up for the huge flaws of this movie. Go watch Godzilla 2014 instead. The end credits of that movie are more thrilling than anything in this mess of a movie. Kong deserves better and so do we.

My grade: 2 stars

Photo courtesy of: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Kong-Skull-Island-Blu-ray-DVD-Walmart-Exclusive/55702349