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  • 182 weeks
    Shin Godzilla

    Well, it's been a while since I've done...well...anything on this site. Pony-fatigue is still running strong and my mind is catching up from several years of immersing myself in almost nothing but MLP (from a personal entertainment perspective). But now I'm back, fresh from the theater with a review of Shin Godzilla.
    I'm sure I'll get back to pony eventually...

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    7 comments · 1,619 views
  • 195 weeks
    And so...

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    19 comments · 1,742 views
  • 197 weeks
    Movie Review: Now You See Me and Now You See Me 2

    So, in between updates on the latest story, I've decided to review another movie, or rather, another pair of movies, both because I have a lot I've wanted to say about these two movies in particular (this being the only real outlet I have for that) and because some of my readers actually seem to like this. To wit, my review of Now You See Me 1 and 2.

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    1 comments · 675 views
  • 199 weeks
    In Other News...TMNT Review

    Well, in between editing and posting chapters for my latest story, I found time to see the new TMNT film in theaters and thought I'd give my opinion on it...for those who are actually interested in that sort of thing. So, here it is, my review for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

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    2 comments · 559 views
  • 201 weeks

    (Collapses, gasping for breath) It's done...I've finished. The final story of the Savage Skies series is finally complete. Suffice to say, I had originally planned a rather brief kinda multi-chapter epilogue...that ballooned out into multiple story arcs, stretching out into a 173,000+ word monstrosity. It didn't help matters that my muse...

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    19 comments · 997 views

In Other News...TMNT Review · 6:39am Jun 16th, 2016

Well, in between editing and posting chapters for my latest story, I found time to see the new TMNT film in theaters and thought I'd give my opinion on it...for those who are actually interested in that sort of thing. So, here it is, my review for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

I just know the excitement's killing you.

Warning! Spoilers Ahead!
Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a fun experience and really thought that they did a good job, especially in nailing quite a few of the problems that dogged the film's predecessor. That said...I can see why the critics savaged it so thoroughly. The truth of the matter is, that while the film is quite fun, it doesn't actually hold up as a film. Primarily, that's because it isn't a film. Rather than a movie, it's actually an extended, big-budget, live-action episode made in the style of the 90's era cartoon that most turtle fans are probably more familiar with than the old comic series that spawned the franchise. To wit, the movie is structured very much like an episode of a TV series, making it more akin to a television pilot than a work of cinema. In fact, save for the minor references to the previous film, which I note Out of the Shadows goes out of its way to minimize, this film feels more like a solid starter point for a proper franchise than the previous one did. It introduces our big players, sets up the overarching plot, and ends with plenty of loose ends to be picked up in future episodes-er...films.

In many cases, this film feels like it exists primarily to address the complaints that were raised about the last one. It basically has everything people were originally looking for, but didn't get when the first film was made. The Shredder is a character played by an actual Japanese-American actor from the beginning, rather than being edited in through a bunch of obvious reshoots to cover up the fact that the role was originally supposed to go to a white guy. Bebop and Rocksteady are introduced, along with Krang for the villains, while our heroes get Casey Jones added to their roster. The Foot are actual ninjas this time around, rather than generic, gun-toting terrorists. We get Dimension X (though it's never actually called that) and the Technodrome, all the things that were a fixture of the 90's era cartoon. April O'Neil has an excellent role this time around (though Megan Fox's acting skills still leave something to be desired). Casey Jones gets to make his impact on the plot without overshadowing the turtles themselves. He and April even get a certain degree of romantic tension written in without it completely gumming up the plot, although it would have been cooler to see him with the mask on more often.

Bebop and Rocksteady are definitely the breakout stars of this film. They're a lot more fun than the title characters a lot of the time. I especially like how they don't seem the slightest bit bitter over their situation. There's a brief bit where they entertain the notion of setting themselves up in Shredder's place and even propose a partnership with him when he comes for them, only for Shredder to quickly disabuse them of the notion. They are then transformed into hideous mutants who might never have the chance to be human again and become his glorified gofers. Rather than angsting about it, they roll with it and embrace both their new roles and their new forms with an enthusiastic gusto that's refreshing when half the title characters are practically drowning in their angst over their inhuman appearance.

April has a lot more to do as a character this time around (although, again, Megan Fox is a pretty subpar actress). She's definitely a much more active participant with a serious role this time around, though the movie seems to forget that she's a reporter until the very end. She definitely shows a lot more skill and initiative this time around, and not the "stupid, running headlong into life-threatening situations" initiative that was so annoying in the last film. There's an excellent part in the beginning of the movie where she walks through a station store and assembles a new disguise in a matter of seconds that allows her to get close enough to her target to hack the files on his smart device that was brilliantly executed...only undercut by the fact that the director used it as an opportunity to objectify her as a sexual object. Oh well...It's the little victories that count, I suppose.

Aside from this, the film has some very nice set pieces. The Technodrome looks sufficiently awesome. The final battle against Krang was very...busy...but still a lot of fun to watch. The first big action beat centered around Shredder's escape was entertaining too. Although, granted, as I watched them, I could practically hear the blue Schwartz Ghost of Yogurt standing on my shoulder shouting "Merchandising! Merchandising!" Especially when they rolled out the turtles' tricked out garbage truck/battle wagon.

There are plenty of flaws to be found though. Shredder may be properly cast this time around, but he doesn't actually get to do. He may not be stuck in that ridiculous powered armor that looks like Tony Stark made love to the cutlery section of a kitchen store, but it would have been nice to see him actually get the chance to be a part of the action, rather than just be the guy constantly telling other people to do things for him. That and he doesn't put on the mask until his final appearance, right before he gets flash frozen by Krang. While it's nice to see the Foot as actual ninjas this time around, we don't get to see much in the way of the classic Turtles vs. Ninjas fights that made the first two live action films of the original franchise such a blast. Krang's introduction is very no frills, with him basically showing up and explaining the plot of the rest of the movie to Shredder, handing him a vial of purple mutating juice, and then sending him on his merry way. The movie's end is very much the end of an episode from the cartoon; Krang is beaten, the Technodrome, along with him and (presumably) Shredder are all sucked back into Dimension X where they will end up launching a new plan to plot their escape, same time next week. And finally, there's the biggest weakness of the movie, the turtles themselves.

Unfortunately, the weakest component of the film is how it handles the four characters who are supposed to be its driving force. Bebop and Rockstead, Casey, and even April get to have most of the fun while the turtles are bogged down by an annoyingly angsty subplot about their having to hide from humans while presented with the opportunity, thanks to the magic purple ooze, to become human themselves if they so wished. Thus, the majority of their screen-time is focused on the drama, rather than the fun and the action. It would have been much nicer for the turtles to actually have more time to actually do stuff other than simply agonize or squabble amongst themselves. There might have been some room for internal conflict and angst between them, but it ends up swallowing up way too much of the plot.

Unfortunately, since the film has, more or less, bombed at the box office, thanks primarily to the bad press left over from the last film, another sequel is highly unlikely, which is a damn shame, since, with the way things things came to a close in this movie, a third turtles movie would have been in position to be darn near perfect. With their having gotten their angst over being turtles out of the way and accepting their roles as the shadow protectors of New York, there would have been plenty of room for a good plot by the bad guys, some excellent ninja vs. ninja fight scenes, with the only major roadblock being whether or not the inevitable romance between Casey and April would end up swallowing the movie. Sadly, that probably won't happen, which might well be for the best.

If we see another TMNT film in the future, it's likely to be yet another reboot, which wouldn't be altogether a bad thing if they can get the formula right. My personal suggestion would be to focus on the the second-to-last word of the title. All the live action films, including the older film series, focused a lot on the "Teenage Mutant Turtle" portion of the title as the primary source of plot, character, and drama. I think it would really be interesting and a good basis for a film if the next iteration of this franchise focused on the "Ninja" component. Those of us who are fans of anime and manga can tell you that there's a lot of plot potential for ninjas, as the whole assortment of legends and lore surrounding the idea of shinobi in general is rich with plenty of ideas for both plot and character (as long as they don't shoehorn in Naruto-style jutsu, pseudo-magic type techniques, that would just be silly).

So that's my opinion on the latest TMNT movie. I'm interested in hearing your opinions down below. Or just tell me to shut up and get back to work. Whatever works for you.

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Comments ( 2 )

I haven't seen either of the movies and don't plan on doing so. I loved the 90s cartoon as a kid and liked the live action movies, but these new movies just scream of the current Hollywood; take beloved old franchise, CGI the fuck out of it and throw in a hot actress/hunky actor, blend until none of the spirit of the beloved franchise makes it to the screen, call it good.

I don't really watch movies anymore, the only ones I've seen in theaters of late was Deadpool and Civil War, I feel that's money well spent. It really takes a job well done to make me sit in a theater for three hours when I could be at home reading fan fiction.

Also, I like these reviews, please keep doing them!

I haven't seen EITHER of these yet (I absolutely intend to, though), but there's ONE thing that Paramount/Viacom should ABSOLUTELY do before they do a third movie/reboot.

And that is.........


*ahem* Sorry about the "yelling", but I don't like Bay, and he always basically ruins any movie that he touches, and that is never so true as with these TMNT movies.

And I know that some folks don't like the 2007 CGI TMNT movie that Warner Bros. did, but, im my own humble opinion, THEY did a way better job that that one than Paramount seems to have done with these two.

Just my opinion on the matter.

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