Anime Corner: Akame ga Kill

Blog Akame Ga Kill Review Title

Kill the really good anime series.

What’s the Story?

Tatsumi is a bright and idealistic young man, he heads out to the Capital so that he can make a living, and save his struggling village from poverty. His naive ideals are soon shattered though, when he discovers that the Capital is overflowing with corruption. He joins Night Raid, a group of assassins, who make it their mission to punish the wicked, and who one day hope to lead a revolution that will free the Capital, and the kingdom, of this darkness forever. Unfortunately the path towards this goal is not easy, and much blood shall be spilled along the way.

The Review

Just to start, I’d like to say I really enjoyed this series, but there is one aspect of it that I think will turn some people off, and that’s the body count. Seriously, the amount of people that die in this series is astronomical. If you’re not prepared to watch characters that you care about die on a near regular basis, I’d probably suggest trying a different anime. Normally I myself don’t like an overabundance of killing in what I watch, especially when its main characters that are getting the chop, but Akame ga Kill has found some kind of magic formula. With a lot of series like that, eventually characters dying becomes just another plot twist, you become numb to a character’s pain, and there’s always the argument of, if you know they’re just going to die, why should you bother investing in the first place? Akame ga Kill somehow manages to get around that and keep you invested. Most of the deaths are genuinely sad, as the characters have a last heartfelt moment before they pass on (I have no shame in attempting that this show has had me in tears on a couple of occasions).

I think what keeps it interesting, is the fact that people never die as you expect them to. There is always a twist, or things won’t go the way you expect. You’re constantly on the edge of your seat trying to guess who, how or even if someone’s going to die this time. You get especially nervous when a character starts discussing their back story, but by the halfway point of the series, most of the characters have so many death flags on them that any one of them could die at any moment.

It helps that the characters are all really fun too. They’re not exactly deep, but they all have distinct personalities and they’re extremely likeable. They all have just enough of a back story, and enough different shades to their personality for you to invest in them quickly and easily. The thing I like most about them though, is that the characters (outside of Tatsumi at the start) are under no illusions. They are not heroes. They are simply bad people killing worse people. I like that, because a lesser series would have passed these characters off as the pure and noble heroes for us all to cheer for, but instead it admits that this is a very morally grey area.

But the series doesn’t just let us invest in the heroes, it lets us get to know our villains too, and even feel sad when they die. The villains aren’t exactly deep either, but it’s shown that they can just be as goofy as our heroes, and in some cases just as caring. Most of them are twisted psychopaths, but likeable twisted psychopaths.

There are only two characters that I feel get the short end of the stick. There’s Run who hardly ever has any focus or development. His back story is pretty much thrown in during the second to last episode just to get it out there. I know why that is though, it’s because the arc that dealt with his story was cut from the anime so that they could hit their ending within 24 episodes. And yes, the anime has an original ending. It manages to stick pretty close to the manga throughout its run, just having to rearrange a few things, and the actual ending (though not the greatest) feels like a natural and logical conclusion for the most part. It fits with what came before, and I’ve seen far worse original endings. (Besides I tend to prefer having an actual ending, than being forced to go read the manga to find out what happens next.)

The other character that gets left out of the picture too often is an odd one. It’s our title character Akame. I don’t know if other people feel the same, but I had trouble investing in Akame. She’s a perfectly fine character, and I do like her, I just don’t feel for her like I do all the other characters. Maybe it’s that her back story, though a sad one, is only ever told to us. I never felt her carrying the weight of her previous life (not until towards the end of the series anyway). Or maybe it’s that when I first saw her I was expecting this stone cold badass, and instead I got this badass who’s warm and goofy, and likes to eat a lot of meat. The show never felt that interested in her either, giving a lot more focus to all of the other characters. Honestly I felt a lot more sympathy for Akame’s sister.

Something this series excels at is mixing its goofy shonen antics with the darker subject matter. You’d think it would be really jarring, and although it is shocking, it all feels apart of the same world and show. It never takes you out of the moment. I also have to praise this series for its fight scenes. The animation is generally of a really good quality, but it hits another level once the fighting starts. You can’t help but cheer and gasp as the fights get bigger and wilder. This is all backed by a fantastic soundtrack, and once certain tracks start, you know stuff is going to hit the fan, and it never disappoints in that regard.

The Verdict

Not exactly deep or thought-provoking, but a consistently fun ride, filled with likeable characters and some fight sequences that are worthy of legend. The darker aspects of the show, and the final body count, may be off-putting for some though.

fish stamp great

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

Anime Corner: Chaika the Coffin Princess – Avenging Battle Review

Blog Chaika Review Title

Chaika ended. Miss girl with broken speech. Sad now.

What’s the Story?

Following on from season 1, we continue the adventures of the mysterious Chaika, her hired-muscle Toru and Akari, and Frederica the dragoon. They’re travelling across the country, out to gather up the remains of Chaika’s deceased father, who happened to be a very bad man. He was an all powerful wizard, and an evil emperor who trapped the country in an endless war. Finally he was overthrown, his body cut into pieces, with a different part given to each of the heroes who defeated him. Now Chaika just wants to give her dad a funeral, but the thing is she’s not the only Chaika. There are a bunch of other Chaika’s gathering up the remains for different purposes, and after the ending of series one, there are serious questions about not just who, but exactly what is Chaika?

The Review

I have to admit, I do love Chaika, both the character and the series. Chaika at first appearance looks a little weak and helpless, but she has guts and determination when it counts. It also helps that she’s damn adorable, especially with her broken speech. It’s strange, I can remember watching the very first episode and really wishing Chaika would shut up, her speech pattern really grated on my nerves. I don’t know what happened, a couple episodes later and I found the way she talks to be really endearing. I think it’s that Chaika is more than just her outward appearance and the cutesy factor. You feel her pain as she struggles to figure who she is and what exactly is her purpose. The first couple of episodes for this second series did a really good job of showing that struggle, both for the main Chaika and a few of the others we’ve gotten to know.

Chaika isn’t the only good character, I like the rest of our main cast too. Toru and Akari are our badass warriors. Toru is a bit of the everyman, who’s both cool and put upon by the crazy people in his life. He’s gone from being the bored layabout, to a man with drive and purpose, most of that centred around Chaika. Akari is both hilarious, and a little creepy. Her constant attempts to foster a romance with Toru had me falling over with laughter (I just had to keep reminding myself that they’re not actually related by blood). Frederica is the odd one out I suppose. She’s both cute, and a monstrous badass, you know she can kick everyone’s behind in a matter of minutes, but that’s kind of the problem. Because she’s so powerful, the show had to continually come up with new ways to keep her out of the action. It just gets frustrating in the end. I can’t think of a time when she’s really been allowed to show off her true power.

To be fair though, none of these characters (outside of possibly Chaika) are especially deep, but they are fun and loveable. That brings me to the side-characters. I do wish Gillette and his squad got a bit more exploration and development, but then they’re supporting characters, and we’re on the clock here, so needs must I suppose.

This series feels like an old school adventure, travelling across a magical kingdom with a bunch of likeable weirdoes as they collect some magic items for whatever reason, and the reason was really good. The mystery surrounding Emperor Gaz and Chaika was an intriguing one. That being said, this series does have some flaws. First, in regards to that mystery while the build up is good, the actual answers aren’t all that interesting. Everything turns out kind of how you expect it to, with no huge surprises, which is a real shame. I just feel a little disappointed, this series was doing so well, I was hoping for something that would blow the plot open, and make me see it in an entirely new light, but we didn’t get that.

Also, season 2 shares a problem with season 1, and that’s that the tone can take some really jarring shifts. In season 1 the series suddenly went really dark in the last few episodes (especially concerning the fate of a bunch of young girls taken from a village), and this season we got the Black Chaika turning into a tentacle monster (She will be haunting my nightmares for a long time to come). I never really understood why it had to go so dark, most of the time the series bounces along nicely with goofy antics and some great action. Like I said, it’s just jarring how the story shifts gears so quickly.

And while I’m talking about the ending of Season2 (I’m trying to avoid spoilers, so just be warned that the next two paragraphs have a couple). Emperor Gaz, bit of a letdown wasn’t he. He’s built up to be this super powerful wizard, it took eight of the country’s best heroes to take him down before, he shoots down a flying castle with one bloody shot! His battle with Toru is pretty good, if a little short, and then he just gets blown away like he’s nothing. It kind of makes me wonder what the point was of him coming back in the first place. At least Chaika got to give her father his funeral, in a manner of speaking.

Actually I think that’s what’s thrown off this second season of Chaika, the pacing. The ending feels way too rushed. I’ve been checking down the back of the sofa to make sure I haven’t misplaced a few episodes. It feels like Chaika deserved at least one more episode to give the series the conclusion it deserved. And it’s not just the ending that was rushed. There are a couple of emotional beats that needed more time to breathe, if we wanted to give this ending its full impact, like the friendship between Chaika and Niva. We got the beginnings of their relationship, and we can see where it’s headed, but then we skip straight from those beginnings to the conclusion. We miss out all of the progression in the middle, and that hurts the finale. The same with Frederica’s constant pleas for Toru to become her Dragoon Cavalier. It took so long to get to the resolution of that subplot that in the end I didn’t cheer with joy, I just screamed ‘About bloody time!’. It’s a shame, but I do feel that Season 1 paced itself a lot better.

The Verdict

Despite a few flaws, such as pacing and a lack of depth to some characters, this is still an enjoyable series. An old fashioned fantasy romp that’s always fun, has a likeable cast and has some truly great animation (especially in the fight sequences).

fish stamp good

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

Introducing Anime Corner!

Anime_Corner_Logo

It’s a new year and so I’d like to announce a new section of the blog.

Ever since I did my first impressions of the Fall 2014 anime, I was planning on doing a kind of final impressions when those series came to an end. I’ve now decided that I’m going to create a subset within my blog to handle those reviews, thus welcome to the Anime Corner! I’m going to be doing reviews on most of the series I covered in my first impressions posts, but not all of them. I’m only reviewing series that I got all the way to the end of, so stuff like Terra Formars (which I dropped after two episodes) I won’t be reviewing as that’s not fair to the show. Who knows, maybe it got really good after I left (I doubt it, but you never know). I also won’t be reviewing the shows that are carrying on either (I’ll get to them when they end).

Every now and again I may drop in a review of anime from years gone by, this could be either a classic, a modern-day juggernaut, or maybe even something that is often overlooked. This won’t be a regular thing though, as I like to rewatch stuff before I write up my thoughts on a subject, and it takes me a lot more time to get through an entire anime, as opposed to one animated movie.

I’m going to try a different reviewing method with the Anime Corner as well, and that includes a scoring system. I’m not doing numbers though, as in all honestly, I’d just be plucking numbers out of thin air, and I have no idea what the difference between, say, a 7 and an 8 will be. I’m going to keep it simple and stick to a five-point scale. Here’s the breakdown of possible scores.

Unmissable – Stop whatever you’re doing, go watch this anime right now. This is the best of the best in my opinion, and you need to see this no matter what.

Great – Something truly wonderful. While you don’t have to drop everything to watch this, you should make sure it’s on your ‘to watch’ list for the future, otherwise you’ll be missing out.

Good- A couple of flaws, but a really enjoyable experience. Check this out if it sounds interesting to you.

Watchable – Fair to middling. It has good aspects, but some bad ones too. If it sounds like it might interest you, or you have nothing else to do. Give a couple of episodes a watch and see if you like it.

Avoid – Spare yourselves the torment, and go watch something else instead. Watching paint dry would be a better experience than this.

Anyway, that’s enough out of me for the moment. The first Anime Corner review will be posted soon.

The Infallible Fish Reviews: HTTYD: Gift of the Night Fury

Cursed into the form of a talking cartoon fish by a half-mad deity known only as the Writer, the Infallible Fish has no idea who he is, or where he comes from, all he does know is that he has a burning urge to watch some animated stuff.

                               Blog HTTYD Gift Review Title

How To Train Your Dragon is probably my favourite animated film of all time, which is odd, because it’s a DreamWorks film. Not that I have anything against DreamWorks, they make some really good films, but never anything on the same level as Disney and Pixar when they’re on their A-game. Despite that though, HTTYD found a magic formula that leaves me enjoying every minute of it, and its sequel. It has a funny, witty script. The animation is gorgeous, helped along by some jaw-dropping cinematography. The flying scenes are especially beautiful, and they capture the sensation of soaring through the air. I even enjoy just admiring the lighting on each scene. The soundtrack morphs between soft and sweet, to epic and grand effortlessly, seriously this is one of the best soundtracks to, well, anything. The characters are all likeable, with oodles of personality and believability. You feel each character’s joy and sorrow. The only tiny complaint I have with the first film is that we don’t get to see enough of the supporting cast. Most of the other students are reduced to basic character-traits. I like them, and they’re all funny, I just wish we got to know more about them.

That brings me to today’s review, the HTTYD Christmas special, Gift of the Night Fury. It’s a short film, lasting a measly 22 minutes, and while I wish there was more, I’m more than happy with what I got. The story is this, it’s Christmas (It’s never called that, but it’s the season in all but name), and as our favourite Vikings prepare to celebrate the holiday with their new dragon friends for the first time, disaster strikes. Suddenly all of the dragons leave with no sign of coming back, and Astrid’s attempts to cheer everyone up (“Let’s create new traditions, you know, to bury the sadness.”) only lead to one calamity after another. It’s up to Hiccup to find out where the dragons have gone, and save Christmas!

Firstly, just let me say, this is a really funny, and really heart-warming tale. It has just the right amount of sweetness to give you that warm feeling without being so sugary that you almost overdose. There are also some really good jokes and lines throughout this episode. My favourite has to be Astrid’s reaction when her little plan with the dragon eggs goes awry (“The eggs explode!”). I also like that we get to see more of our supporting cast. They’re given a good chunk of the story, and while it’s not like we any deep character moments, we do get to see more of their personalities, and how they play off of one another. Astrid definitely gets the best deal out of this short film, as we get to see more of her goofy side, as opposed to the her warrior side that was on display in the first film.

Hiccup has his moments too, showing more of his ingenuity, and how the village has come to respect him (everyone immediately rushes to Hiccup once the dragons disappear). The moments between Hiccup and Toothless are really sweet and lovable too, showing the deep bond that has developed between them. This entire short film feels like a natural and logical continuation of the first film, and I think bridges the two films perfectly.

The aspect I love most about this special though is that it’s not overloaded with Christmas. It’s a genuinely good story, with Christmas as a backdrop. Yes there’s snow, and a tree, and presents and lights, but none of that is shoved into your face. I’ve seen all of that stuff in every other Christmas special, and I’m tired of it. Most series don’t get the idea that those parts are nice, but they’re not the point of Christmas. It’s a time of giving, of good will to all, of spending time with those you love. Gift of the Night Fury gets that, the focus is on the characters and the bond between them. I will happily cosy up on the sofa, in front of a warm fire, and watch this every Christmas. That’s what makes this special, well, special. In fact, I think I’m going to go and watch it again right now.

Thanks for reading everyone, now go be with those you love. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

My Top 5 Disney’s Hercules Episodes

As Christmas is a time of sharing, I’ve decided to do my first Top (insert number here) list. (To be honest I just need to talk about something good, well something better than I expected, after last week’s train wreck of a film.) But before I go into that, this cartoon series is based off of the Disney Hercules film, so I suppose I should do a quick little review of that.

The film is fine. Well on to the cartoon then.

Ok, ok, for a bit more detail. It’s a fun little film, it’s energetic, it’s funny and moves along nicely enough. Yes its nothing like the Greek myth it’s based upon, but this is Disney, their adaptations are about as loyal to the source material as a cat is to its owner. The characters don’t really have much depth to them. Hercules is sweet and a little charming, but that’s it. Meg is a Lois Lane impersonation. Phil is, well, Danny DeVito. Hades is probably the best character, he’s a great laugh and a real joy to watch. He makes the film for me. The songs are pretty good too, they’re not classics, but they’re fun and bounce along nicely. I also like the design of the characters, especially for the Gods (which we really don’t get to see enough of, another flaw with the film), it’s really creative and a decent break from Disney’s usual house style. Though I can see how it can sometimes hinder the film though. The film is just a little too Las Vegas, it’s Aladdin on acid, it just gets a little too much in my opinion. I do enjoy the film, and I have re-watched it a couple of times, but it kind of sits in the middle of the Disney table, it’s not great, but it’s not bad either. Now on to the cartoon.

The cartoon is set in Hercules’ early years, where he goes to school while training to one day become a true hero and rejoin his father on Mount Olympus. Now most of this show is exactly what you’d expect from Disney, your typical corny high school drama with an obvious moral-of-the-day. Most of it is kind of meh.

I will give them credit for actually trying to adapt a couple of myths, and throw in a few references, so it feels like the creators have at least flicked through a book on Greek myths (as opposed to the film, which just doodled dirty pictures in the back). Though the cartoon does take the same approach to continuity as the film did to its source material, i.e. ignoring it completely (explain to me how Hades spends most episodes trying to kill Hercules, when he’s not even meant to know he’s alive until he’s grown up?).

Another good part of the cartoon is that we get to see more of those great designs for the Gods. It’s great to see all the creativity and imagination that went into them, seeing as how we only got glimpses of them in the film. Though, while it’s good to see the gods, it’s less so with our supporting cast. The worst offenders are the token girl, Cassandra, who gets visions when the plot demands it, and generally likes to be sarcastic and sulk around. Then there’s Icarus. If anyone deserved to fly too close to the sun and burst into flames, it’s this annoying little gremlin. He starts off as your typical annoying sidekick, making lame jokes with a voice dedicated to gradually grate on your nerves like sand paper. It doesn’t help that he’s obsessed with Cassandra, and constantly pursues her no matter how repulsive she finds him (I’m with her there). This isn’t funny, it’s creepy, and I suggest Cassandra gets herself a good restraining order (or failing that a strong can of mace).

So the show has good and bad qualities that leave it hanging somewhere around the fair to middling mark. Now I didn’t grow up with this show, I only went into it to check a couple of episodes I’d heard about, and a handful of episodes really impressed me. Now let’s finally get to the point and list my Top 5 episodes. Just to clarify this is my Top 5, and therefore this is entirely opinion-based, feel free to disagree and maybe make your own list. If you haven’t seen any episodes of Hercules, give these ones a look and see what you think.

  1. Hercules and the Yearbook

Now this is a clipshow (put those pitchforks down, we don’t need to burn this one.) Basically this episode is set after the film (it’s a little late to try and create continuity now), we see Hercules and Meg living happily ever after. This is the first reason I like this episode, the characters aren’t the greatest, but it’s so rare that we get to see life after the happy ending that I’ll gladly take this. Meg stumbles across Herc’s high school yearbook, but Herc is embarrassed and tries to hide it. I do like the message (and the song) at the end of the episode, about how even though you may mess up and be awkward in school, those experiences will shape you into who you are. Also I care a lot more about the couple’s relationship after this episode, they have great chemistry together and it’s sweet to watch them play off of one another.

  1. Hercules and the Gorgon

Now this is kind of a simple episode, but it’s one of the first ones I saw, and I have to say I like it mostly because I really like Medusa. She’s funny, she has a lot of charm, and her torment is a tragic one. I’m sure you all know the story of Medusa. Snakes for hair, and one look and you turn to stone. Turns out a life of loneliness isn’t much fun, so she beseeches the gods to make her look normal. Honestly the scene between her, Hades and Aphrodite is hilarious. I also have to mention that Aphrodite is brilliant every time she shows up in this cartoon, though it is creepy how Hades keeps hitting on her. Yes the moral is obvious, but I like the jokes (ok, the jokes featuring Medusa, Hades and Aphrodite are funny). My only complaint about this episode is that Medusa doesn’t show up again in the series, have I mentioned that I really like her?

This is a simple story, but a fun one.

  1. Hercules and the Song of Circe

In this episode Cassandra finally gives Icarus the boot (about time!), but by some divine prank, he gets a new girlfriend in the beautiful sorceress Circe (I only ask that you turn out to be evil and turn him into a pig or something). Wait a minute, Circe’s voice? It sounds familiar. Oh. My. God! It’s Idina Menzel. Idina Fricking Menzel! And she’s singing! (Thus proving that Idina can make any song sound great.) My ears are having an orgasm, is that physically possibly?

Also, this episode has my favourite joke with the narrator (who we learn is called Bob). Basically it’s the Muse’s line “Bobby? Are you ok? I’ve never seen you like this? In fact, I’ve never seen you at all”, it’s silly, but it tickles me. On with the story though, Circe is of course evil, and more importantly comes to her senses after five minutes. She dumps Icarus and turns him into a platypus. Herc also gets turned into a lemur, which is pretty funny. I especially like how he misses the tail afterwards. Of course Cassandra has to realise her mistake and go to save them. Well I suppose we have to count that as a happy ending.

  1. Hercules and the Dream Date

Now this may sound a touch insensitive and cruel to a dedicated team of TV animators, but who let the real animators do this episode? The animation for most episodes is pretty standard, nothing flashy or special, but this episode? It’s bloody gorgeous. The motion is so fluid, and the shape-shifting especially exquisite.

But what’s the story? Well there’s a big dance coming up and Hercules needs a date, trouble is he’s useless with women and no one will go with him, so he decides to make a date out of clay (a natural conclusion). This is based on an actual myth again, so kudos guys. Now Aphrodite steals the show again. I love the scene where she asks Herc what personality he’d like his dream date to have, to which he replies that he just wants her to be crazy about him. “Digging deep, huh?” Yeah, this goes about as well as can be expected, and Hercules ends up dating a crazy woman who attacks any other woman near Herc. I especially like the terminator references in this episode. Yeah Herc is a bit of a jerk, and the moral is obvious, but this is a really fun episode, and the fights aren’t too bad either.

  1. Hercules and the Arabian Night

Now this is the episode that caught my interest. This is the one where Hercules meets Aladdin. Our two heroes work well off of each other, but for me the best scenes are between Hades and Jafar, who meet up and plot to pit our plucky heroes against one another. Hades and Jafar are just fantastic together, every scene just has me laughing all the way to the underworld. This episode doesn’t disappoint, so I’m not going to talk about it anymore, just go and watch it already.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

Are We Too Quick To Hate?

 

Love and hate are two of the strongest emotions we, as humans, can have. And in this age of the internet, when everyone can freely voice their opinions, I hear a lot of hate for many different things. Whether it be story arcs, characters or even entire series, people always appear very quick to hate something.

One of the most prominent outpourings of hatred in my memory was against Ultimate Spider-man as it replaced Spectacular Spider-man. Now Ultimate Spider-man appeared to be damned pretty much as soon as it was announced. I do get the sentiment, I loved Spectacular Spider-man, I think I’d rate it as one of my favourite cartoons. I love the way Spectacular mixes the different origins into one cohesive whole, cherry-picking the best bits of the mythos. The drawing style may be an acquired taste, and a touch simple, but it leaves the animation budget free to create some really great moments as Spidey swings through the city. And seeing all of that taken away after only two seasons to be replaced by something else, I admit I was hurt.

Ultimate Spider-man had to be fantastic to win over the older members of its audience, and it just isn’t. I haven’t watched many of the recent episodes, but I gave the whole first season a try. From what I saw I think its main problem is that it failed to capture the spirit of Peter Parker. It just didn’t feel like Spider-man, what with the backing of S.H.I.E.L.D., a team of teen heroes and fourth wall breaking jokes. That’s not Spider-man’s style of humour. And it all feels too, lucky I suppose is the word I’m looking for. That’s not Spider-man at all. He’s always meant to be down on his luck, struggling against the reality of his situation, but always pushing through as it’s the selfless and responsible thing to do. The show just feels like some executives saw Batman Brave and the Bold, and said, ‘Hey! We can do that.’ ‘Yeah, and Spider-man is Marvel’s flagship character, so let’s make the show about him.’

I don’t like Ultimate Spider-man, but I don’t hate it either. I can see that the people behind it are trying to make a decent show, and I know some kids like it. So I’ve resigned myself to not watching it. It’s not for me, I’ll wait for the next Spider-man cartoon in a couple of years.

In fact I don’t hate that many things. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things that drive me into a boiling rage, but I don’t hate them. I always try to find the good parts, even if that’s just one tiny little bright spot. I also like to think that I’ll give something a passing grade, if it can convince that it tried. Even if it’s technically bad, I will enjoy it if I can see that the people working on the project put some effort in. It’s harder to try and fail, then never to start at all.

A prime example of this is the Percy Jackson movies. Now I’m a big fan of the books, but I don’t hate on the films just because their pale imitations of the source material (though that is a part of it admittedly). I accept that film is a different medium, and changes will have to be made to accommodate that difference. I understand that, and I sometimes appreciate the changes that are made. I actually prefer the ending of the first film, to the ending of the book. It makes more sense, and it’s more dramatic, for Percy to have a fight with that character especially before the main plot has been resolved. And to give the film credit, the beginning isn’t that bad either. It chugs along nicely. I can see why purists would be upset by the changes to Grover and Annabeth, but to be honest Grover practically carries the film, and Annabeth is still a badass (even if she does have the wrong colour hair).

The problem with the first film is the middle, because with this film, the spot of bad is so anger-inducing in me that I can only hate this film. It’s so lazy and boring. There’s a perfectly good plot in the book, but no, that’s not going to work in a film. No, we can’t have logical progress in a story. No, we’re going to use a stupid map to tell our characters exactly where to go. (Wow, that’s never been done before has it!) It’s so pointless and so mind-bogglingly lazy, that to me it just screams ‘we don’t give a damn, just give us your money so we can make a sequel’. It’s not in the spirit of the book; it’s not in the spirit of decent story telling! There is no care, or attention, and it’s just annoying.

Now the second Percy Jackson film, Sea of Monsters, I actually like. I like it a lot more than I should. I recognise it as a bad film, but it actually tries, and I am so grateful for that I give it a free pass. It captures the spirit of the book, there’s more characters there (acting as they should most of the time), there’s more modern day technology tied to the mythological stuff, the plot flows nicely with no lazy plot devices. My only major gripe is what the hell happened to Annabeth in between films? It’s like she dyed her hair blonde and changed from being to the daughter of the Wisdom Goddess, to the daughter who keeps falling on her behind. I don’t understand that.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is its fine if you hate something, I just feel that we don’t always have to jump straight to hate. Hate is a powerful emotion and sometimes it can consume us and block out all the good that is there. I try to find the good in something, or see how other people might appreciate it. Even though I hate the first Percy Jackson film, that hate is tempered by the acknowledgement of its few good aspects. And I believe that’s a much better way to look at this world. And I did give the film a chance, I went in with tempered expectations, it’s unfortunate for the film that it was even worse than those expectations. You have to give something a chance, if you go into something wanting to not like it, you could miss out on something great. Sure a lot of the time the gamble won’t pay off, and you’ll probably not like it. There’s always a slim chance though, that you may find something that surprises you, something that you can love. That’s what I think anyway.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

The Infallible Fish Reviews: Thumbelina

Cursed into the form of a talking cartoon fish by a half-mad deity known only as the Writer, the Infallible Fish has no idea who he is, or where he comes from, all he does know is that he has a burning urge to watch some animated stuff.

Thumbelina Review Title

Once upon a time there was a mouse, given life by a half-mad wizard…

This sounds kind of familiar.

Hush. The mouse was to rule over all of animation. The mouse did this for a long time, but many mortals grew jealous, and plotted to steal the Mouse’s crown. But the Mouse was too strong, none could match him, until the age of CG, where the Mouse faltered and was forced to share his crown with two giants known as Pixar and DreamWorks. That is a story for another time though, today we shall discuss the one mortal who came closest to toppling Disney, Don Bluth.

Ah, Don Bluth. He created some of the greatest animated films of the 80s, Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven. It’s a shame things fell apart in the 90s for him. The weird thing about a lot of Don Bluth films is they are often mistaken for Disney films. When I was a kid I genuinely believed that Anastasia was a Disney film (they only wish it was their film). I mean they have a fair few things in common, they’re hand-drawn, they have a great quality of animation, and they follow along a similar formula for a kid’s film. Mr. Bluth actually came pretty close to beating Disney at its own game.

Heresy! No one may stand against the Mouse!

That brings us to today’s film, where Mr. Bluth may have gone too Disney for his own good, Thumbelina. Now this is a fairy tale princess movie, something that Disney is famous for (which is wierd considering that the actual princess movies only make up about a quarter of the official cannon).

Let’s start with the animation. This is Bluth animation, so we know it’s going to be good, and it is, for the most part. The animation of the human characters is especially mesmerising. You can tell they had a life model for Thumbelina, she moves with such realism and fluidity, it’s beautiful. The most stunning piece is our introduction to Thumbelina. I adore the way the petals peel open and the graceful movements as Thumbelina wakes up.

Unfortunately on the other end of the scale there is the handful of CG backgrounds, and they look terrible. Now I’m aware Mr. Bluth had filed for bankruptcy around the time of this film, so it’s clear he didn’t have the money necessary to finish those scenes properly. It’s a real shame, and really jarring when we switch from a nice painted background, to a horrible fly-through of CG boxes.

The animation is the best part of this film (despite the CG), but the absolute worst part, is the songs. Because, according to Kid’s Film Formula rule 2307, we must have songs. The problem with these songs is that they just don’t stop, they’re played and reprised near constantly and it drives you crazy. To make matters worse, these are not good songs. (“La la la, ho ho ho.” Great lyrics there guys.) The lyrics are often repetitive. They’re not exactly subtle. Our first song basically repeats that we are to ‘follow our hearts’ about fifty times. (Gee, I wonder what the central message of this film is going to be?) Also, they have Gilbert Gottfried singing! (Come on guys, not even Aladdin inflicted that upon us). “Marry the Mole” was actually nominated for a Razzie it’s that bad. The only bright spot with the songs is the singing voice for Thumbelina is really good, I could listen to that voice happily, I just wish the songs themselves were better.

Let’s actually talk about our main character, Thumbelina. Honestly, I like her. She doesn’t have a whole lot to work with character wise, but she has personality and I genuinely feel sorry for her in some of her darker moments. There’s the point in the film where she believes her prince, Cornelius, is dead and you can see how devastated she is (Though she could take a bit more convincing). Another part I like is when she’s upset because a beetle called her ugly. Her bird friend, Jacquimo, tells her not to listen to such things. She doesn’t love the beetle, so who cares what he thinks. It’s just a small little moment, but I think it’s nice (I just wish there was less of an emphasis on beauty and more on personality. But this is playing by the old Disney formula, so that’s not going to happen. Love is always instant and it’s always between the pretty people. Sorry, I’m getting off topic).

My only major gripes with Thumbelina are that she’s a too quick to give up, and I really wish she wasn’t so obsessed with marrying her Prince. I mean if she just wanted to get back to him so she could spend a bit more time with him, then marrying him at some point in the future, that would be fine. I mean this was made in the 90s, not the 50s. I can only surmise that the script is trying to be faithful to the original story, but the thing is that story is really old, and won’t match up with our current sensibilities. Why do you think most Disney films are connected to their source material in name only? I think this is one time where Bluth should have been more like Disney (heh). Thumbelina does have a moment of attitude towards the end of the film, where she basically turns down all of her suitors one after the other. Its one tiny moment that shows what could have been to make this film so much better.

Ok, let’s talk about our male lead, Cornelius. He’s pretty much the same as Thumbelina character-wise, there’s not much depth to him, but he has a ‘charming’ personality (see what I did there?), though he does have a step up on Thumbelina as he has boundless optimism and determination. I wasn’t sure I’d like him at first. We first meet him when he’s shirking his princely duties to fly around on his bumblebee. He spots Thumbelina, spies on her and sneaks up on her (I see, he follows the Sleeping Beauty method of picking up women). Of course the two fall instantly in love, well at least they learn each other’s names first. Still, I like Thumbelina and Cornelius as a couple, they have good chemistry, and I want to see them get together at the end of the film (it would just be nice if they held off on the marriage). They have a nice little sequence dancing across the lake (which in no way looks like that segment in Fantasia). And before you can say plot convenience, or “Don’t be an idiot”, he has to run off, promising Thumbelina he’ll be back in the morning. And of course Thumbelina is kidnapped (This happens a lot in the film, she’s almost as bad a Princess Peach. Come on girl, be a bit more proactive!).

So let’s talk about the villains of our movie. One of the things I like about this movie is the fact that there’s no completely evil person in this film. The villains are just greedy, selfish people. There’s a mole who hates sunshine, but loves money, a greedy mouse housewife (should that be mousewife?), a beetle who likes to make a song and dance (as well as complain about toads), a grumpy toad who’s a bit of a brute and his showbiz family. There are no unnecessary plots for world domination, or villains just for the sake of it. The only real problem I have with the villains is that most of them just want to marry Thumbelina. It’s like that’s the only thing they can think to do with her, and they only care about her looks or her voice, and this really annoys the feminist in me. These are the bad guys, so they’re not meant to be role models, but I just wish there was some other kind of threat for Thumbelina to face. (I’m doing an awful lot of wishing in this review. Where’s a star when you need one.)

This movie does have one true villain though, the worst of the worst, and that is a devilish bird known as Jacquimo. He dresses like a harlequin clown that shows up in horror films, and masquerades as Thumbelina’s friend, but we (the audience) know his true purpose, to drive us so crazy that we give a good attempt at reaching into the screen to strangle the feathered freak. Let’s have a look at the Character 101 handbook, yes here’s the chapter I want. ‘How to Write an Annoying Sidekick’. Yes, you give them a catchphrase, and make them repeat it, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again! Jacquimo likes to keep reminding Thumbelina to follow her heart, and nothing will be impossible. Just shut up already! We get the message, stop telling us! You could be more subtle with a jackhammer than this damned bird!

All of the other characters fall under one category, the one called ‘Cute Fuzzy Animals’. According to Kid’s Film Formula rule 1567, kids like cute things don’t they? And if they talk, then they can be funny (or at least attempt it). And this movie takes that rule to the extreme. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many talking animals in a film (you could fill Noah’s Ark twice over with all these guys). It doesn’t help that every one of them looks like a Disney rip off. I don’t care what you say, that dog in the beginning is Pluto’s long lost grandpa. The worst part of these characters though, is that these critters are here for one purpose only, padding! Outside of the villains 90% of these characters are completely pointless.

My only other gripe with the film, is the ending. It feels really rushed to me. I mean we last see the prince falling to his death when he fights the frog. Then, after Thumbelina’s escaped the mole, he just turns up. No explanation as to how he survived. No mention of the fate of the frog. And why does Thumbelina suddenly grow wings? Was she a fairy and just didn’t know it? Where’s the set up for this plot point? All of it just comes out of nowhere, and it makes me question why we needed all that padding earlier, when we could have had set up or explanations for this stuff. But the scene with Jacquimo asking a rabbit where to find the fairies, while said rabbit is being chased by a fox, was just soooo important to the story.

Honestly I like parts of this film. The animation is great, and I do like Thumbelina and Cornelius, even though I’m not always keen on how the film treats Thumbelina. Saying all that, this film has a lot of flaws. This feels and looks like a Disney film, it’s just missing the magic that Disney brings. Add on the fact that this feels like an old Disney film, something from the 50s or 60s, not the 90s, and you get a film that I probably won’t watch again. It’s a real shame, and I can’t help but come out of this film disappointed. Bluth is normally really good at showing the beating heart of a story, and creating some truly memorable characters, unfortunately that isn’t here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch Anastasia to see Bluth get the princess genre right.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

Is There Such a Thing as a Perfect Ending?

The other week I was reading the very last chapter of Naruto, and it struck me how hard it is to come up with a good ending to a long-running franchise.

Now, I have to admit, I haven’t really enjoyed Naruto in a long time. I’ve kept tabs on what’s been going on, read any chapters that caught my interest, but it’s never been the same as when I started. The first three seasons of the anime, taking us from the beginning all the way through to Naruto’s fight with Gaara, are my favourite. That was when I connected with the characters the most. It was funny (most of the time), it was exciting and really emotional. The arc with Zabuza has to be my favourite, with the ponderings on what it means to be ninja. I loved watching Naruto grow from an idiot who wasn’t very good at anything, to the accomplished ninja who takes down Gaara. It’s not that it got worse after that point, it just didn’t top it, until we got to Pain. Naruto’s battle with Pain was the stuff of legend. An electric battle with heart-wrenching emotions, adrenaline charged action and thought-provoking philosophy. I found the stuff about trying to find a way to peace really interesting, and I think it was great that in the end Naruto didn’t have an answer. But, my favourite part of that arc was the aftermath. When Naruto returned to the village to be greeted as a hero. It was so wonderful to see the kid that everyone used to ignore and mistrust, finally be accepted. The series could have ended there and I’d have been happy.

The actual ending of Naruto I was less emotional about. Honestly the whole thing felt like a piece of fan-fiction, not that it was bad, it was nice to see where everyone ended up. The only problem I have with it is that there was no surprise to it. Everyone ended up with who you’d expect (though saying that there are several characters who I have no idea who they are), they all had kids and were all happy. The chapter before was a little better, with Sasuke giving a monologue about his new view of the world, and what it means to be a ninja. Though I have to say the sudden u-turn of his feelings from previous chapters is likely to induce whiplash. But, I can’t count that as a satisfying ending as I was never a huge fan of Sasuke. I never liked the way how the series was so in love with Sasuke, constantly telling us that he’s the best. Nor did I like how all the girls in the series drooled over him (and don’t get me started on him ending up with Sakura, after all the stuff he put her through. Get some self-esteem woman, leave that useless jerk! Sorry, that’s a rant for another day).

Now, in my opinion, endings are the hardest part to get right. They carry a huge amount of expectation from the audience, and each member of the audience will have their own way they want the story to end. And if you can’t do that, if you can’t satisfy those viewers’ expectations, then you’ll ruin the ending and in the wrong case scenario that could sour the entire story. That’s even if you have control over when a series ends in this age where the executives are too scared to back anything that isn’t a known brand, cutting down smaller independent stuff before it can get going, and keeping other series going long past their sell-by dates.

Now my favourite endings are often ones that speak to the core of the characters. Something that sums up the journey they’ve been on, and demonstrates how much they’ve grown, whether that be a noble sacrifice, or a moment of pure awesome.

In my opinion, one of the greatest endings in all of anime (scratch that, in all of television), is the ending to the original Fullmetal Alchemist. The sacrifice both brother’s make is completely true to themselves and beautiful to behold. I love that last image of both their hands reaching out to the sun, hopeful for the future. It’s why I’ve never watched the movie (because I’m terrified it will taint such a wonderful ending). Now I get why some people wouldn’t like this, because it’s not actually much of a conclusion, but it digs so deep into the core of the characters, that I can think of no better point to leave on.

Another of my favourite endings is in the comic book Batgirl written by Bryan Q. Miller, showing the rise of Stephanie Brown as the new Batgirl. The series transformed her from an amateur in over her head, into a butt-kicking heroine worthy of the bat symbol. Now my only complaint about the ending is that as a conclusion to a long-running arc it feels a tad rushed. The reveal of the mastermind behind the plan, and his defeat, only takes up a small portion of the book. I don’t blame the book for this. I blame DC for cancelling the series to make way for the New 52. (Must suppress Internet rant. Must suppress Internet rant.) What makes this such a good ending though, is what follows the villain’s defeat. We get a series of splash pages as Steph hallucinates all of her adventures that will never be. We get to see what could have been in store for us had the series continued, as well as follow Steph into adult life. Now this had more of an impact on me than Naruto, as her future life took routes I wasn’t expecting, it tore my heart out to know I would never get to see these things come to pass. Though I feel this ending came too soon, I can’t think of a better one for Steph. Her ending was just like her character, hopeful for the future.

When you watch or read something you want to know that all the time and love you’re pouring into following a group of characters isn’t going to go to waste. You want to see them fulfil their journey with a suitable conclusion, even if that ending isn’t always happy. Trying to find that ending is a big task, and you’re never going to be able to please everyone. There will always be something that someone wanted to be done differently. So maybe there isn’t such a thing as a ‘perfect’ ending, but there are many great endings.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

First Impressions: Yuki Yuna is a Hero

My last first impressions of the season, what have we got?

Hey, ever wanted magical powers? To defend humanity from inter-dimensional monsters? Well now you can with this handy app!

Ok, that aside, let’s talk about the show. The first half of the first episode really wasn’t holding my attention. It was just your typical slice of life/school comedy thing. Then time froze, the sky peeled back and our heroes entered a strange new world.

So far this series isn’t exceptional, but it’s a lot more interesting than that first half of episode one was. The characters are all good, the animation is nice, the fights are exciting and there’s some good designs for the monsters.

Wait a minute, a group of magical girls, beautiful painted backgrounds, silent malevolent monsters…oh my God! This is Madoka Magica! Quick battle stations! Snipers keep an eye out for Kyubey. You see so much as a hair of that hell weasel and you take it out. I want its head mounted on my wall!

Sorry, I really hate Kyubey after what it did to those girls in Madoka Magica. Though saying that, Madoka Magica is one of my favourite anime so you have my attention Yuki Yuna, don’t waste it.

I don’t just want to see a repeat of Madoka though (my heart wouldn’t be able to take it), and from what I’ve seen so far this show could only pass as a pale imitation. I hope this show finds a new angle to come at it from, something unique to itself.

Saying that, I’ve just watched episode 5 and they’ve already hit the season finale. They’ve beaten the last monster, got to show off their mega levels and saved the world. Victory has been declared. So what exactly is the rest of this season going to do?

The Infallible Fish Reviews: Monster House

Cursed into the form of a talking cartoon fish by a half-mad deity known only as the Writer, the Infallible Fish has no idea who he is, or where he comes from, all he does know is that he has a burning urge to watch some animated stuff.

Blog Monster House Review Title

Fish? Fish! Where are you? The reviews meant to have started. Fish? What are you doing under the bed?

Writer? Quick get under here before it notices you.

Notices me? What will notice me?

The house you idiot, it’s alive and it’s going to eat us! Now get under here!

But it can’t eat me, I’m just a disembodied voice in italics, I’m not actually here.

Oh, right. Well get lost before it notices me then.

Look, what’s put this silly notion in your head about the house being alive?

There was film, a terribly deceptive film, I thought it would be ok, it looked like your typical kids film. It started so nicely, with this wonderful bit of animation as we followed this leaf fluttering down an ordinary street. Everything appeared to be perfectly fine, with annoying little girls, cantankerous old men and kids spying on their neighbours (Ok, that was kind of creepy), but slowly the film revealed its true monstrous self. A film where old men have heart attacks, people get eaten left, right and centre, there’s nightmare inducing imagery, and, oh God, stereotypical comedy police officers, the horror!

Get a hold of yourself Fish! This is only the second film you’ve reviewed. You can’t be beaten so easily, I have so many horrific tortures planned for you, you can’t let them go to waste.

You’re not exactly selling me on this reviewing thing you know.

Let me put it this way, I know you can review this film, I believe in you Fish.

You do? You know no one’s ever said that to me before, I almost feel as if I could review this…

Besides if you don’t I’m going to write the most obnoxious comedy sidekick in existence to join you for all future reviews.

Let’s review Monster House!

Firstly, just let me say, I like this movie, I really do, but this is not a film for small children. Mature children should be able to handle it with the least amount of nightmares though. This film gets dark in parts (not Coraline levels of dark, but still) so just go in forewarned.

So, what’s this movie actually about? DJ lives across from Mr. Nebbercracker, a grouchy old man who hates having kids on his lawn, always confiscating or breaking anything that happens to land on his precious turf. But all is not as it appears, as DJ and his friends soon discover that Nebbercracker’s house is possessed. They have to find a way to defeat this ‘Monster House’, and quickly, as Halloween is fast approaching, which could quickly turn into an all-you-can-eat buffet for said house.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the animation in this movie. It’s really good, some parts are absolutely gorgeous, the opening scene with the leaf for example. Or the scene were the house’s shadow creeps into DJ’s room, turning the room red as the shadow transforms into a hand, getting ready to grab DJ (I said this wasn’t as dark as Coraline didn’t I? My mistake). The motion of the characters is great too, especially during the action sequences.

There is one odd thing about the animation though, it’s the hair. It’s stuck on, permanently rigid, like the hair of Lego men. There’s not an ounce of sway or bob of movement. I know hair can be a pain to animate, but it kind of sticks out when you just don’t animate it (well it does for me anyway).

The greatest part of this film animation though, is something that is often forgotten when it comes to animation, the cinematography. A lot of time in animation, most of the attention goes on the actual animation, making sure that the characters and surroundings move realistically, to make it as believable as possible. That’s good, that’s what should be done, but after all of that people tend to forget about the camera, and just end up plonking it into the scene without all that much thought. This film is shot like an actual flesh-and-blood film would be shot. The angles, the framing, even the motion of the camera, all of it works to make this world feel even more real, and not just a bunch of models on someone’s computer.

Then we have our cast, and these kids are great. DJ (‘cause actual names are uncool bro I just have initials now, that’s how cool I is), Chowder (because calling him Fat Kid felt a little too on the nose) and Jenny (‘cause Penny was already taken). I joke, but this film gives off a strange 80s/early 90s vibe for me. What with the dark elements, the excessive explosions and violence in the finale, the Home Alone style antics, and these kids feeling like every other kid trope from that time (from the exterior anyway). But, once you get to know these kids, you realise they’re not just tropes, they’re actual characters. They act like real kids, they get scared like real kids, and they’re smart like…some kids are. It also helps that they’re really funny. There are no catchphrases, or zany antics, it’s all done by rather subtle dialogue. From DJ’s breathless astonishment at being kissed by a girl (even though he’s currently risking his life to blow up a possessed house, well at least he can die happy I suppose), to Jenny’s negotiations with the babysitter, to Chowder’s…just Chowder. He’s both stupid and endearing all at the same time. I love that kid.

The rest of the cast is where things falter slightly, not much, just a step or two. Because you see, it’s the kids that get all of the depth in this film. The adults are all pretty much just stereotypes, a little more three-dimensional than cardboard cut-outs, but not by that much. They’re funny every now and again, but there’s no detail to the characters, nothing to make them stand out a great deal from their counterparts in other films. But, then they’re not the focus of this film, so I suppose that’s ok. The best characters of the adults are probably Bones, who feels like a genuine jackass, Zee the babysitter is smart (though girl I gotta hope you get past this Bones groupie phase real soon, he just ain’t right for you), and I like the creepy old neighbour Nebbercracker. I also think it’s a nice moral about Nebbercracker too. I like that he turned out to be a good person, and having a reason for acting so nasty. It’s a really tragic back story as well, and one that adds some emotional heft to all the scares and action. Now I know not every grumpy old man has a reason for being that way, but this movie teaches us that maybe we should look a little deeper before judging.

Now this film starts off small but gets progressively bigger, it does a really good job of building up the threat, then delivering on that threat, and then making the threat even more terrifying until we reach a truly epic (if completely over the top) finale.

The film starts its turn towards the dark when DJ gives old man Nebbercracker a heart attack, and you get to enjoy the horror of the whole thing, all the way through when he falls on top of DJ, pinning him to the lawn (no cutaways here, enjoy the terror my friends), to when the ambulance wheels his body away. This leaves DJ rightly disturbed about the fact that he’s just killed a man, something I give the film credit for, being willing to give some attention to.

Now these are smart kids, and once they realise something is wrong they tell the grownups, starting with the babysitter, then the police. Oh God, the police, I’m sure someone will find these pair of imbeciles funny, but I certainly don’t. They’re ok at first, but they slowly grate on me. Saying that they did do one joke that I found funny, when one of them says they’ll phone for back up, the other one pointing out that the only other officer is Joan at reception. Anyway, so when neither of those options work out, the kids decide to settle this themselves. They start by stealing some cold medicine (Wait a minute, I thought I said these kids were smart?), as part of a plan to put the house to sleep so they can sneak inside.

Yeah, I’m all for independent kids and improvised Home Alone style solutions, but stealing drugs? Really? Any other dangerous ideas you want to implant in impressionable young minds? Explosives? Why not? Hey let’s go the whole hog and throw in some knives and guns, I’m sure the parents won’t mind. Oh, is that too far? Ok, we’ll just stick with the explosives then.

The nightmare fuel properly gets under way when the kids, trapped inside a police car, are swallowed by the house (in a really energetically animated, if terrifying scene). They explore the inside of the house, eventually getting captured by evil slinkies and sinister pipes, and dropped into a gaping maw of rotating teeth (Are you terrified yet? I know I am.)

Then the film decides, heck we’re animated, we can do whatever the hell we want. I imagine the conversation regarding the finale went something like this:

“Let’s have the house start walking around.”

“Ooh yeah, then we can have it chasing after the kids, smashing through all kinds of things.”

“Then, wait for it…we have the house fight a big mechanical digger.”

“Awesome. Then, to finish it off, we can have DJ throw dynamite down the chimney, wait for it…while swinging on a wrecking ball.”

“Epic bro.”

Yeah, as written by a committee of five year olds, and it’s…it’s… Good Lord is it exhilarating. Yes it’s so over the top sharks are flying in formation alongside it, it’s so action cliché it’s funny, but there can be no better ending for this film.

This film is great, a lovely Halloween treat (I know Halloween’s already gone), just make sure you check it before you show it to the little ones, or else the trick might be on you.

There, I did it, I reviewed the movie.

Feel better now?

Somewhat.

Are you going to come out from under the bed now?

You’re sure the house isn’t alive, and isn’t going to eat me.

I’m sure.

And you’re not going to write some obnoxious sidekick to join me on future reviews?

Of course not.

Ok, then, I’ll come out. Now, about these horrific tortures you have planned for me.

Oh look at the time, gotta go, see you in two weeks.

Hey wait a minute! See you in two weeks folks, I’ve got a Writer to hunt down. Get back here!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.