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My Impressions On Super Smash Bros. 3DS Demo

Howdy ladies and gents, today I’m gonna do something a little different when it comes to my blog posts as I am going to give you my impressions on the demo for Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Now wouldn’t usually do a review for a demo of a game, but this game in particular is pretty much one of the biggest games of 2014 especially for Nintendo fans and after several lucky punks got the demo early, I thought I would just give my thoughts.

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Gameplay

When it comes to the gameplay, it is just the same as ever, anyone who has played a game in this series will be able to jump right in and play. When it comes to the demo you can only play 2-minute matches with 1-3 other CPU’s at level 1-9 and you’re limited to the Battlefield stage (with the option to play it normally or without platforms). As for characters, veterans Mario, Link and Pikachu return, while Villager and Mega Man join the fray as the newcomers. The old characters are pretty much the same (especially Mario), but there are subtle changes to Link and Pikachu’s movesets where some of their attacks have changed, either hitting harder, changing in range or having slightly different hitboxes than before. As for Villager, that guy is crazy. He’s good for close range combat and all of his moves are based off of the activities and items from the Animal Crossing series and to see him pulling weeds to swinging umbrellas to dropping bowling balls is a delight and his taunts are just the best thing ever. And then there’s Mega Man, his move set is more long distance and unconventional, all of his moves are based on the robot masters powers from Mega Man 2 and 3 (I believe) and they work better from a distance, that’s not to say that Mega Man doesn’t do well in close combat, it is just because he doesn’t have any strong A attacks or powerful special attacks. That being said, when you get the hang of him, he’s hella fun to play as.

Controls

For the most part the controls are fine as the 3DS button layout is very similar to that of a GameCube controller (the standard controller for a SSB game), the only thing that is missing is a C-stick. But even without that little convenience, the game controls well with your A and B buttons being used for standard and special attacks, Y and X are the jump buttons, R being your shield and L being a grab button. The 3DS Slider works for the most part, however, it isn’t as precise as your classic control stick and sometimes the Slider misreads a tap for a dash movement or an upward smash for a jump and it can mess with your flow a bit. And while the button layout is great, any veteran of this series may find that buttons are a bit too close together as well, but maybe that’s just me.

Presentation

One thing that SSB doesn’t skimp on is the presentation which is bloody impressive. Visually the game is incredible and the screenshots online do not do the game justice at all. While this is not the HD glory that is the Wii U version, the 3DS version sports a great cel-shaded look and the level of detail in the animation, character models, backgrounds and foregrounds is nothing short of incredible. In addition to that the game runs very smoothly at 60fps and the 3D in the game is great too with a nice level of depth. The only issues I found was when certain assist trophies, Pokemon or items would be used, there was a noticeable amount of lag and I think that’s mainly due to those items being limited to 30fps. But other than that snag everything works fine.

Summary

Pros

  • Gameplay remains unchained for the most part
  • The speed of battle is better than
  • The new items and assist trophies are awesome
  • Mega Man and Villager are great new additions
  • Visual and audio presentation is excellent

Cons

  • Some changes to veteran character moves feels off
  • Hit boxes feel a bit off for certain attack
  • The 3DS Slider misreads movements
  • Button layout feels a bit cramped

In conclusion, while it definitely feels different Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS feels great and while I am still adjusting to the subtle changes to the basic game system, overall it looks awesome, sounds great and plays wonderfully. I’m still getting to grips with this game, but if this a taste of what’s to come with the Wii U version then I cannot wait at all! I really want it to be October 3rd so I can play the full version with all the other characters, stages and play online with other gamers.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Media, Video Games

 

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The Fantastic Four Gets Delayed & Assassin’s Creed Film Now In Limbo

Howdy once, again people, I return to this blog to update you all on some comic book film news and this one is both disappointing and funny at the same time. The following information comes from ComicBookMovie:

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It’s not a major delay, but the wait for Josh Trank’s The Fantastic Four has now got a little longer as Fox have shifted its release date from June 19th, 2015 to August 7th, 2015. The reason for the change isn’t quite clear, though as filming has already come to an end, it’s likely more of a strategic choice than for reshoots or post-production issues. A six week delay is a shame, but nowhere near as disappointing as the fact that Assassin’s Creed is now undated. Michael Fassbender is attached to star in the ambitious project which will bring the popular video game series to the big screen. Ubisoft are also hoping to turn Splinter Cell into a movie starring Tom Hardy, and while that all seems fine (it’s at a different studio anyway), this isn’t particularly good news for Assassin’s Creed.

So after the great news about Deadpool, this happens. Wow, seems like 20th Century Fox really have problems going on right now. Firstly, let’s talk about Fantastic Four, bloody hell, that the film just isn’t in the best state. With a young cast not many people are keen on and a severe lack of information and visual material for the film, this delay in the film doesn’t make the production of this film any better. For me, I want to see this film prove me wrong, but there hasn’t been anything released about this film that I’ve been excited about. I love how most fans on the internet are actually happy about this news because it pushes the film further away from being released. As for Assassin’s Creed, that is bad times. While I’ve never been super stoked on the idea of a AC film, I have been interested in seeing how it would turn out with Michael Fassbender’s involved. When a film is in limbo that is never a good sign and since there is no sign of a replacement date, that puts this film in an awkward place. Will it get a replacement date or will it go into development hell or will it get cancelled altogether? I know those are some extreme options, but they have been known to happen before.

In conclusion, this news isn’t good for either film, however, I can’t help but chuckle a little bit at the FF’s situation, that film is not having a good time and I don’t think anyone cares. So what do you think about this news? Be sure to comment below.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Films, Media

 

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The Deadpool Movie is Really Happening, Set For a 2016 Release

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for some film news relating to superheroes and this is a very important news story for me. For the longest time most comic book fans have been waiting for a live-action version of Deadpool from 20th Century Fox to be made, however it has been in limbo for years. But now it seems like that is about to change… The following information comes from IGN:

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The merc with a mouth finally has a date with the big screen.

20th Century Fox officially announced a February 12, 2016 release date for the long-awaited Deadpool movie. Yes, Deadpool is a Valentine’s Day weekend release!

Deadpool’s competition on that release date includes the genre epic Gods of Egypt, the animated Pets, and the romantic comedy How to be Single.

Ryan Reynolds, a fan of the character who played Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and has been attached to star in the solo film/reboot, was recently asked about the leaked test footage of him in the Deadpool costume. “The movie has been in a state of limbo for a while. There was such an overpowering reaction to the footage, you sort of feel like, ‘Oh, so we weren’t crazy for our reasons for loving this character, for loving this role.’ It’s interesting to see the power of the Internet. It’s awe-inspiring, actually,” Reynolds said to the Niagara Falls Review. “And it’s neat that Twitter and Facebook and Instagram can move mountains when used in the right way.”

Tim Miller will direct Deadpool, and The Hollywood Reporter says that, while no deal is in place for Reynolds to star, “Bets are that he will.”

When saw this on the internet, I just had to check out another site to confirm that it wasn’t some kind of joke, but it is true and I am a happy man. I mean there’s been talk of a Deadpool film for AGES, since 2009, but no one at 20th Century Fox seemed like they were totally committed to the idea of creating a film about the crazy Marvel character without first sorting out the age rating, Ryan Reynolds’ involvement and where it would fit in the X-Men timeline, if at all. Needless to say more X-Men films got made and Deadpool drifted away into nothingness. That is until now. We have a release date and while they can always change, this if the first time this film has had anything solid and official happen for it, and I’m totally cool with that. The only question now is, what will be the rating? Are the filmmakers going to commit to a full-on 15/18 (R) rating, giving us Deadpool as the comics intended or are they going to dilute him and give us a 12A (PG-13) rating? While you can get away with a lot with a 12A rating these days, I feel like it would be difficult to give fans the best version of the hardcore character at a nerfed level, but hey it is still early days, we’ll have to wait and see at this point.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Films, Media

 

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LATE NEWS: Skull Island Adds Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Actor Tom Hiddleston

Good day to you ladies and gents, time to talk about some later film news that went online a few days ago that I just had to talk about on my blog yo. The following information comes from superherohype:

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Legendary Entertainment has announced today that the recently-announced King Kong prequel film Skull Island now has a director in Jordan Vogt-Roberts and a leading actor in Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston!

Vogt-Roberts directed and executive produced the Sundance darling The Kings of Summer. He has also directed the pilot and multiple episodes of FX’s new series “You’re the Worst” and is set to direct Metal Gear Solid for Sony. His other credits include directing the pilot of “Cocked” for Amazon Studios and directing and executive producing the concert documentary Nick Offerman: American Ham.

Appearing to be a sort of Kong “origin story,” Skull Island looks like it will explore the life of the classic movie monster before he was taken to civilization. Previous works have touched on the island, but staying and exploring this mysterious and dangerous place offers Legendary the opportunity to take audiences deeper inside this rich world with a style and scope that parallels other Legendary productions.

Skull Island will be released on November 4, 2016.

Well, this was certainly a surprise for me, but definitely a pleasant one. When Skull Island was announced at Comic-Con this year I thought it was still a ways off from getting any major announcements, but here we are with a director and lead actor. Firstly I‘ll talk about the director, now I haven’t really heard of Jordan Vogt-Roberts and I have never seen any of his films, I know of The Kings of Summer and will probably check that out at some point, but since I haven’t seen any of Vogt-Roberts material I can’t say whether this is a good fit for him or not. That being said when it comes to Tom Hiddleston I am totally down with that idea. Hiddleston is a fine actor, he’s shown us why he is brilliant in three Marvel films already (Thor, The Avengers & Thor: The Dark World) and in Only Lovers Left Alive, the man is clearly talented and I feel like this is the kind of role that will propel him further into stardom. Right now, as much as I love Hiddleston, I feel like he needs another big role in another franchise to help break him away from Loki and Skull Island seems like a step in the right direction.

In conclusion I‘m happy about this news and I’m curious to find out what other news will be going down about this film in the coming months. So what do you think about the latest news relating to Skull Island? Be sure to comment below and give me your thoughts yo! :D

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Films, Media

 

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Chef Mini Review

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to another film review, today I will be reviewing Chef, a film that was released in the summer that I really wanted to see, but due to limited film screenings I missed it. However, thanks to Cineworld’s “Take 2 Thursdays” I got the chance to check it out and now I will pass judgement in this small review.

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The film can be summed up in the following premise:

“A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.”

I thought the story for the most part was pretty good, it did take a while for the film to find its feet and there were some tonal problems here and there, but for the most part this was an interesting film that deals with the pressures of life, pride, reconnecting with your past and doing what you love. The film’s main story surrounding Carl was pretty interesting and emotional at times, but I felt like it worked best when his son and co-workers were involved. The dramatic elements were the best parts of the film as I they felt genuine and were better executed than the humour which I felt wasn’t as snappy or witty as some other comedies I have seen this year.

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When it comes to the cast they are all very good. Jon Favreau as Carl Casper was very nice, I haven’t Favreau in many films, however, this is probably the best performance I have seen from him. Carl is a man who has been through a lot, he loves food and is very passionate, but has a hard time doing things his own way and finding a way to connect with his son. The man goes on a journey which is very emotional and Favreau brings his A-game. Emjay Anthony as Percy was really good as Carl and Inez’s son. Percy’s a boy who wants to be part of his father’s life, however, because the nature of his parents’ relationship and his father’s work, he does feel lonely. Anthony was pretty good in this role and I believed in his struggles and emotions when it came to his father and his cooking. John Leguizamo was awesome as Martin. This man is Carl’s friend and partner, they both share the same love for food and he has Carl’s back when they go off on their food adventure. Leguizamo is a man who I’ve really started to like over the last year and that continues in this film as he is very charismatic and funny.

Sofia Vergara as Inez was good, she was beautiful and funny, Scarlett Johansson was gorgeous as Molly, another friend of Carl, who always supports him and wants him to strive for more. Bobby Cannavale was hilarious as Tony, he had a lot of good scenes and it was great/strange to see Cannavale in this role after his appearance in Boardwalk Empire. Dustin Hoffman is great as Riva, while Robert Downey, Jr. as Marvin, could have been played by anyone, that being said RDJ’s contribution to the film was greatly appreciated because of his charm and finally Oliver Platt as Ramsey Michel is very good as the online food critic.

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In conclusion Chef is a feel-good film with a good if somewhat familiar story with fun performances, beautiful food and a lovely soundtrack. It isn’t perfect and the humour’s a bit off, but overall it works.

Rating: 7/10

So have you seen Chef, and if so what did you think of it? Leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters!

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass Return to the Bourne series!

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for some film news and boy is today’s story an interesting one. I just woke up around 20 minutes ago and scanned the internet as usual, then I see a news story about Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass returning to the Bourne film series, at first I think it is just another rumour, but to then see it on other sites as well, I realise that this is real and that I have to talk about it on my blog. So here I am! :D The following information comes from IGN:

Film Title: The Bourne Ultimatum

Jason Bourne is back! Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass, who teamed for the second and third Bourne films (The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum), are in the process of cutting deals with Universal Pictures to return for a third film together in the series.

Deadline has the report, which confirms Latino Review’s scoop from months ago that Damon would return to the titular character. Damon had always said he would not return without Greengrass, while the director had made it clear that he felt he had nowhere else to go with the character. Now, apparently, he feels differently.

Interestingly, Universal already had a Bourne film planned for a July 16, 2016, release, though that was to have been the Jeremy Renner-starring sequel to the spin-off picture The Bourne Legacy. But now the plan reportedly is to go into production first on the Damon/Greengrass film for the 2016 date and then follow up with the Renner sequel, which is to be directed by Fast & Furious franchise stalwart Justin Lin. This will enable Lin to focus on Season 2 of HBO’s True Detective, which he is in talks for.

Well, this is unexpected and I mean unexpected because I didn’t think it would happen. Now of course there have been rumours, whispers and conversations about Greengrass and Damon returning to this franchise for around 2 years now, but it was all just talk and I believed that both of them were done with this series and wanted to move on to different projects. But I guess it must have been a money issue or something that would have brought these 2 together again. Now, while I have been adamant about there being no need for any more Jason Bourne adventures, at the same time, this is Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, they make magic together and if there was ever a trusted set of people you would want to have in a series like Bourne, it would be them. I guess this means that Justin Lin will be out of the director’s chair  and while that sucks because I would have been interested in seeing what he brought to the series, it is Greengrass at the helm, this guy has yet to make  a bad film. So I wonder how this will affect Aaron Cross’ character, obviously The Bourne Legacy was his film and the way that film had ended it was clearly left open for a sequel, but now that Jason Bourne is coming back does this mean that Cross will be pushed to the side or will both characters have equal screen time? And will they team up or will they clash? There’s a lot of questions and possibilities in the air now, I guess we won’t know until Universal post an official story synopsis or if Greengrass, Damon or Renner have something to say in an interview at some point down the line.

In the end this is good news, I wasn’t overly interested in this franchise going forward with Aaron Cross, but now know that my boy Jason Bourne will be back makes me giddy with excitement. So what do you think of this news? Are you down with  Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass’ return to the Bourne series or does it not sit well with you at all? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below. Laters. :)

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Films, Media

 

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For The Days When You Can’t Be Arsed.

Howdy ladies and gents, how are you all doing? Today I’m just gonna do a quick blog post outlining my current feelings about life at the moment and would you believe that it is back to the topic of being lazy, again.

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Yeah, I know go on about this kind of thing a lot for those of you who have read this blog for a while, but to be honest it’s hard not to talk about it as a topic for blogging. Every once in a while you just feel that lack of effort in life, whether you don’t want to get out of bed or if you don’t want to go outside or if you don’t want to deal with work, it can be any number of things. One could argue that being lazy or not putting in any effort is not the best way to go or will try to say bad things about you because of that attitude, but in the end it is your life and only you can decide what’s worth doing and what isn’t. And of course, there will always be that moment when you’re just like “Fuck it, I’m done.”

For me, I haven’t been that bothered to do much since August ended. With summer over and pretty much nothing to go back to (I mean education-wise), I’ve been feeling empty and bored. I have felt no need to go to the cinema or when I’m at home, I feel no need to do any of my basic activities like gaming, watching my backlog of TV shows or even blogging, yeah it has gotten that bad. September really is a rubbish month if you’re not in education or have any plans to go on holiday. While there’s some good TV, video games and conventions on the horizon, it is still a few too many weeks/months away and this month feels more like a barrier to better times than a month full of good times. I’m basically playing the waiting game until October now and it is really boring. I may as well just sleep of the next few weeks and wake up when September ends… Haha, I will laugh and give points to anyone who gets that reference.

So that’s my mini blog post done, now I open the floor to you lot. Have you ever had a point in life when you’ve just not felt like doing anything or if like time is taking ages to get to better events in the future? Whatever you have to say drop it in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post. :)

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Life

 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Season 1 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to do a review that I’ve been meaning to get off my chest for a while now, I am going to be reviewing the first season of the Ultimate Spider-Man. Now any of you that have followed this blog since 2012 will know that I started watching this show and did reviews up until episode 9. After that I just couldn’t take the show anymore and gave up. Now 2 years later, this show is in its 3rd season and is even more popular than before (how I don’t know). So back in the summer I got curious and decided to give this show another chance, and while it was a painful experience I made it and I was meant to have this review done back in July but I haven’t gotten around to writing it now so please bare with me. So how does this show’s 1st season fare? Well read on and find out.

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So the story for this show can summarised up as the following:

Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for a little while now, but then he is recruited by Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. who offers him the opportunity to become a better superhero. So then Spider-Men joins a team of teenage superheroes, including While Tiger, Nova, Iron Fist and Power Man, and together they must battle villains of varying levels of danger while also trying to bond and become an efficient crime-fighting team.

Let me get this out of the way first, if you’ve started watching this show straight after the brilliance that is The Spectacular Spider-Man, it will seem like a MASSIVE let down. This show in terms of its stories, character development and interaction and just the level of intelligence is astronomically lower in quality and it takes a while to adjust. The main problems I have with this show are high in number, but when it comes to the story, these things come to mind:

  1. There’s a Lack of Interesting Stories & Overarching Plots: For the first half of the show I found incredibly hard to be invested in some the episodic stories because they weren’t terribly interesting, important or cool. And I was waiting for some long-term story to take place over the course of the season, but that kind of storytelling didn’t take place until way down the line.
  2. Too Much Humour & Not Enough Seriousness: This show likes its jokes, a lot, to the point where it can be overbearing and worst part is that most of it isn’t funny at all. Besides a few chuckles or smiles, this show’s humour is juvenile at best, so many cut-aways and not enough time to write actual funny material. So with all that time devoted to humour, there’s no time for moments of seriousness or drama, and when it comes it barely connects because of the humour overload.
  3. The Show Ignores The Best Elements of What Makes Spider-Man Good: Whether it is the emphasis on characters other than Spider-Man or taking aspects of the comics and messing with their origins, it seems like the team behind this show are determined to make a Spider-Man cartoon without some of the key elements that make it good. There’s no sense of drama, relationships with girls, problems with his dual life, actions and consequences and proper lack of Uncle Ben too, all the things that make Peter Parker’s life so engaging.
  4. The Writers Think Spider-Man is For Kids Only: I have watched a number of children’s shows that were educational or had mature/adult themes that were awesome like the 90’s cartoon adaptations of Batman, Spider-Man and X-Men, those were smart and incredibly deep shows with well-thought out stories, characters. This show on the other hand, thinks that there are only children watching so it uses the lowest forms of humour, throws out generic and dull storylines and has little to no educational values at all. Spider-Man has always been about learning life lessons and this show doesn’t seem like it wants to teach anything and when it does the execution is dodgy.

By the end of the show I could see that things had improved somewhat from the beginning, but even then, several of the things I wasn’t keen on still remained by the time the final episode was over.

Somewhat memorable episodes:

  • Field Trip
  • Strange
  • Beetle Mania
  • Snow Day
  • Not a Toy
  • Revealed
  • Rise of the Goblin

DOCTOR STRANGE, IRON FIST, SPIDER-MAN

When it comes to the characters, good gravy, if they aren’t annoying as hell, then they lack common sense, always crack jokes or are just dull. I understand that things can’t stay the same forever and some character traits need to be updated for modern times, but there is updating and then there’s completely changing things for the worst.

Firstly, there’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man, he’s awful. The tried and tested formula of a teenager dealing with the responsibility related to being a superhero while also dealing with school, his job and his friends and family has been replaced with a bumbling buffoon who’s constantly messing up, has no sense of logic and isn’t very cool as a superhero. This iteration of Spider-Man is just painful to watch and it is made so much wore by the whiny voice of Drake Bell. White Tiger is a character it took me a long time to like, she constantly argues with her teammates (especially Spider-Man), she’s always made out to be smarter and more tactical than the boys and when it comes to fights she hardly has anything amazing to add to combat. Then there’s Iron Fist and Power Man, the former of which is the cooler of the two. I like Iron Fist mainly due to his calm demeanor, martial arts moves and interesting sayings and there’s Powerman who is pretty strong, but a little on the dumb side a bit generic as a young black superhero. Both of these characters are decent, but lack their trademark comic book flair and style and never get as much screen time as some of the other members of the team. And then there’s Nova, bloody hell that guy is annoying. He’s a hot head who says and does things without thinking, he’s constantly butting heads with Spidey and bring out the worst him, but worst of all, he’s always talking smack and cracking jokes but he’s not funny or cool. I just don’t like the guy and he has no credibility as a member of the team at all.

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The villains don’t fare much better, there’s too many to mention, I mean they butchered so many characters like Doc Ock and Venom, but the one villain they did well with was Sandman, that was kind of cool. I didn’t care much for the Green Goblin because it was the Ultimate version rather than the classic one that I love. The addition of other heroes like Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America is a bit hit and miss, they best ones were clearly Cap and Iron Man.

Also, Nick Fury wasn’t nearly as cool or badass as he should have been, I felt like he was just there to bitch and moan, but wasn’t some badass leader and man of battle and justice. I wasn’t keen on the treatment of Mary Jane Watson either, I mean I appreciated that she was more active and not just some nice girl who was the object of Peter’s affections, however, she was still in the thick of danger on numerous occasions and constantly kept needing to be saved by Spider-Man because of absurd and illogical decisions. Harry Osborn was alright, but all of the dramatic elements of his character that made me him cool were absent and what they did with his character in terms of making him one oft he most classic villains ever, that just annoyed me. Aunt May she was just horrible, she has no value in this show and never has relevance to any of the stories besides one awkward one involving her and Agent Coulson, I feel like she could be written out of the show and it would have made no difference. Having JK Simmons back as J. Jonah Jameson was nice, but I feel like his character didn’t have the same style an impact that he did in the films. Seeing Agent Coulson in this show with a pretty big supporting role was cool, however sometimes I feel like his character is used too much in the humour department rather than the cool guy we know from the MCU and lastly, the Stan Lee cameos are pretty nice and offer up moments of awesomeness and humour.

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At least the visual presentation is up to par as it is the best part of the Ultimate Spider-Man. The animation is fluid, full of detail and has some great use of camera angles and tracking shots, while the art is good for the most part with most characters looking like their comic book counterparts, besides some updated hero and villain designs which really aren’t that cool, some are dull and some rely too heavily on recent live-action films. This is the best spider-Man has ever looked in a cartoon and it is arguably Marvel’s best-looking animated show so far.

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In conclusion the first season of Ultimate Spider-Man is a bit a mixed bag, but it has worse than it is good. While the art and animation is amazing and the fact that Spidey gets into interact with so many famous other superheroes is cool, it doesn’t make up for the bad jokes, poor character development, unengaging characters and lack of proper storytelling. Hopefully season 2 will improve on the good points of this show.

Rating: 6/10 (It isn’t a complete waste of time, but it is a bumpy ride. Approach with caution)

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Favourite Songs #33: ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION – After Dark

Howdy people of the interweb, and welcome to the 33rd edition of my series of blog posts dedicated to some of my favourite songs ever in life. Today I’m gonna talk about my not only one of my favourite anime songs ever, but also one of my favourite songs in life which is ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION’s “After Dark“.

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Just have a listen to the tune below:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_IsnEZcl4E%5D

This is a strange music video I know, but the music is undeniably awesome.

I first came across this song in 2008 while watching Bleach in college and while I was a big fan of Bleach and it’s opening and ending music, this was the first that really caught my attention and ever since that point in time I’ve been obsessed.

So what is it about this song that I love so much? Well, I think it is from the time the song starts up you know you’re in for a good song, the drums have a great beat, then the guitars kick in and then the song just explodes. What I really appreciate about most rock music is the intensity. I love songs that feel like a hurricane of power or an explosion set off by a massive bomb and this song has that. There is a raw energy coming from this song, not only from the instruments, but the vocals as well. Masafumi Gotoh sings his heart out as the main vocalist and his voice in beautiful and it compliments the power of the music as well.

Since listening to this song all those years ago, it has become a mandatory part of my music playlist whenever I’m on the move and always play it when it gets close to another session at the MCM London Expo too. It was also because of this song that I actually went off and started listening to more music from AKFG and eventually started listening to more music from Japan and while they were again primarily attached to anime, I do feel slightly more culturally diverse in my music choices now than I did 6 years ago.

So to conclude “After Dark” by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION is pretty much the best opening song to come out of the Bleach anime and it is just one hell of a rock song in general. The song is pure energy thrown in your face and I love how hardcore it sounds at high volumes. If you’re a fan of Japanese rock or just rock in general, I would highlight recommend this. It is badass, nuff said.

Well that’s another song review done, what do you think of my song choice today? Whatever your thoughts, leave me a comment below and be sure to come back next time for another song review yo! :D

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Media, Music, Reviews

 

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The Boxtrolls Review

Good day to you ladies and gents, with the summer film season well and truly over I haven’t really had any reason to go back to the cinema, until last weekend when I watched The Boxtrolls. Now this is one of the few animated films I’ve been really excited to see because I love Laika as an animation studio and with their great work on Coraline and Paranorman, this was a must-see film. So how does this film fare? Well, read on and find out!

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The story for the film can be described as the following:

“The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Eggs who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collecting trolls called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are targeted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher and Eggs has to save his family from Snatcher.”

The story for this film was pretty good, it offered a familiar tale while still being fun and interesting. I liked Egg’s origin story and how it tied into  the villain’s story too, and seeing the way everything unfolded was quite bizarre but also fun and unexpected. Now if I were to compare it to Laika’s previous projects, I would say that this film is better than Paranorman due to its story and character’s being much stronger, but I still don’t believe that Coraline can be touched when it comes to story and characters. That film was special, creepy and full of all sorts of scary stuff you just don’t see in a children’s animated film. In the end it comes down to the source material and this film’s material is good, but just not that strong to be innovative or too different from what we’ve seen before.

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As for the cast they’re all wonderful offering great performances in unexpected ways.

Isaac Hempstead-Wright does well as Eggs, he’s a boy who has been raised by the Boxtrolls and it is the only life knows, but once things start to go wrong for his friends and he has to step up and become a hero he definitely grows as a character and becomes a likeable protagonist. The guy is strange, funny and has a good heart and Hempstead-Wright brings a great deal of passion and flair to his role. Someone who might have outdone him is Elle Fanning, who is great as Winnie Portley-Rind. This girl is good-natured, if somewhat spoilt, rude and headstrong, she is very curious and finds herself in trouble because of it, but after she connects with Eggs they bond and then become intertwined in this mission to save his friends and Fanning does a such a good job, her delivery of some her lines is nothing short of funny and delightful. Ben Kingsley is completely unrecognizable as Archibald Snatcher, Kingsley does an absolutely stellar job as the main nemesis of this film being quite humourous, mean and at times very disturbing too. The great thing about this performance is that it is so charismatic and larger than life, but you just wouldn’t expect it from someone like Ben Kingsley, it was such a massive surprise when I saw his name in the credits, just  goes to show you how versatile he is.

And then there’s Snatcher’s henchman played wonderfully by Nick Frost as Mr. Trout, Richard Ayoade as Mr. Pickles and Tracy Morgan as Mr. Gristle. Mr. Trout and Pickles were my favourites, they are both very funny and strange henchmen who follow Snatcher, but question his actions and sometimes discuss matters of moral code from time to time and it makes for some great moments in the film, Richard Ayoade’s voice is just amazing while Nick Frost is awesome as a character who clearly has the most sense out of the lot of them. And lastly Tracy Morgan is the last person I would have guessed as Mr. Pickles however, after I thought about it, it started to make sense. This character seems like a brain-dead idiot, but he is definitely gunning and dangerous, he’s just prone to delivering pain and is single-minded about many things.

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Jared Harris is awesome as Lord Portley-Rind, this character is an upper-classmen, enjoys the finer things in life (especially his obsession with cheese) and has no time for his daughter. I love Harris in this role, I recognized his voice in an instant and after seeing him in Fringe and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows it is impossible to not notice him in anything even if it is just identified by voice alone. Toni Collette is fine as Lady Portley-Rind, Winnie’s mother and the appearance of Simon Pegg as Herbert Trubshaw was totally unexpected, but very much welcomed as his character is totally jokes. And lastly Dee Bradley Baker (Fish, Wheels and Bucket) and Steve Blum (Shoe and Sparky) were awesome, especially Steve Blum who is one of my favourite voice actors.

When it comes to the presentation it is clearly the strongest element of the film both on the visual and audio front. Laika as an animation studio have always been incredible when it comes to crafting impressive-looking visuals and have gone from strength to strength when it comes to shows how much further they can push stop-motion and I feel like they’ve done it again. All of the animation is incredibly smooth, the art design is very nice and the cinematography is so much more dynamic than before with fancier lighting, more camera angles and really impressive tracking shots too. The soundtrack by Dario Marianelli was nice as well offering some great pieces of music to suit the different tones throughout the film.

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In conclusion The Boxtrolls is a very good animated film, which is full of fun and is a very good-looking film which shows that stop-motion is a form of animation that can still be impressive in this world of CGI animated films. Is it the best animated film this year? No. However, that shouldn’t stop you checking this film out, it has plenty of laughs, a great cast of characters and story that is simple, strange, but also very effective.

Rating: 8/10

So what did you think of The Boxtrolls? Have you seen it or are you gonna watch it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! :D

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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