‘The Good Dinosaur’ film review

The Good Dinosaur is pretty great. It’s a Pixar movie, yes, but don’t expect the caliber of Up, Wall-E or Toy Story.


It’s basically a coming of age story where Arlo, the smallest dinosaur in his family (and the most useless, as the film tries to portray him), has to encounter dangerous situations and grow the hell up. After he gets separated from his family, he must learn to survive on his own, and get back home before the winter hits, and to prove his worth and make a “mark” on the family honour. He has to deal with the rain, finding food and other dinosaurs that want to eat his new friend, a friend that is helping him to grow up.


Let’s be clear though, the story is quite predictable. It doesn’t add anything new to the adolescent coming-of-age story. Of course Arlo is going to become close with that kid he initially hates, and the spoiler early on you could probably guess was coming just by watching the trailer.


But who cares? It’s a terrific movie. It’s heartwarming, it’s funny, well-written and it looks amazing. The voice cast is great and Arlo himself is voiced by a child, and I found his portrayal quite authentic.


The kids are going to love it, and the older crowd will dig it too, just like every Pixar movie.


Rating: 4/5.



‘Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F’ film review

For some reason I wrote this early August when the movie was showing in theatres, right after I saw it, but never got round to publishing it. Hope you enjoy nonetheless. By the way, I watched the dubbed version rather than the subbed version, because that’s how I watched DBZ as a kid, and even if I didn’t I probably wouldn’t really give a damn and watch it subbed anyway.

Full disclosure: Was wearing nostalgic goggles.

Man I must have not watched Dragon Ball Z since I was in Primary School, so about 10 years or more. I used to love watching it after Pokemon on Cheez TV on Network Ten. Those were the days.

The last movie, Battle of the Gods a few years back, was the first Dragon Ball Z anime story in about 15 years, I didn’t see that one though, so this was all through fresh eyes.

I didn’t need some amazing reboot or extravaganza that put the series in new directions, I just wanted the DBZ that I remember and loved. For some, that might not be good enough, because this movie doesn’t do anything groundbreaking. It’s almost like an extended sitcom episode, where a badness happens, and everything resets. And just like the Japanese Godzilla movies, a baddie comes along, and Goku shows up and deals with it.

I was fine with that. The characters are just as I remember, Goku’s still the goofy hero, Vegeta’s still the anti-hero in a rivalry with “Kakkarot”.

Krillin’s still a dork, Android #18 still acts like an Android. Bulma is the matriarch. Piccolo senses stuff. I don’t remember Master Roshi being buff when he felt like it, but okay.

I was surprised how funny it was. It felt very much like the show I remember.

This film is very true to the original anime. It plays out exactly how’d you expect and want, unless you wanted a revoltion. Yes it’s more of the same, but I didn’t care. Just a few Kamehamehas and I’m good.

I guess the only part I didn’t like was the ending. Felt a little bit like a cop-out, and was a bit predictable. Oh well, still a great movie. A MUST for DBZ fans, just don’t expecting anything new. For most of us, that will be enough.

Rating: 4/5.

‘SPECTRE’ film review

For reasons unknown, I never got round to publishing this, but I wrote it right after I saw Spectre in the middle of November, so it is still a fresh review from a fresh perspective, just not for your eyes for about a month…

Spectre may the worst of all the Daniel Craig James Bond movies, even worse than Quantum of Solace. That’s not to say that either of the two are bad, but Skyfall and Casino Royale were fantastic, so by comparison they are extremely disappointing.

It’s a shame because Spectre does many things right. The cold opening was a very strong start with impressive cinematography and score, and the story was told through minimal dialogue.

The acting is great, the stunts and action scenes are incredible. There’s even a pair of satisfying Michael Bay explosions.

Spectre tries to tie its plot to the other Daniel Craig movies, and that’s where problems start.

The Sony leak revealed there was concerns about the film being over budget, and the word “over” describes this movie in many ways. It’s over budget, over long, overly convoluted, and at times even feels overdone. At other times it’s undercooked, many story elements aren’t explained adequately. I watched Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace a few days before watching Spectre, and if I hadn’t I would have not understood the references, especially to Vesper from the first movie, who still seems to be there without actually being there.

Another example of this is the previous M who passed away in the last movie. Bond partakes in an unofficial mission that she asked him to do in a video she left.

The writing is quite predictable. Of course Bond is going to disobey orders to stand down from duty. Of course that order is going to be made, and of course they are going to want him back by the end of it.

The two villains are simply not memorable. C is in a power struggle with the new M. C wants to replace the 00 program with Nine Eyes, which is a mass surveillance operation involving nine countries. Blofeld is Bond’s step brother, who seems to harbour some resentment towards Bond’s relationship with Blofeld’s actual father, which is why he killed him and started Spectre. He apparently is responsible for all the bad things that have happened to Bond in the last few movies.

Lea Seydoux is a great actress but she’s back to damsel in distress and has daddy issues. She falls in love with Bond, naturally. Worst part is when they make a big scene when she decides to dramatically walk away, and you just know that something is going to happen to her. And of course, she becomes a hostage.

The movie goes on for bloody ages, about two and a half hours. Even Avengers: Age of Ultron was easier to understand. Quantum of Solace was equally incomprehensible, but at least that movie was under two hours.

There’s parts of a great movie here, but unfortunately some bad decisions and writing lets it down. Bond fans will still get a kick out of Daniel Craig’s acting, the action, the score and that magnificent opening scene.

Rating: 3/5.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ film review

There’s been a theme in many of the reviews for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that being the phrase “Star Wars is back!”, but I can’t think of anything that better describes that feeling across the world this week.

In short: just go see it. Star Wars fan or not, Episode VII is a great movie. I actually consider my feelings indifferent towards the Star Wars franchise, but even I dug the hell out of this and can’t wait until Part 8. The fact that the trailers and pre-release material merely teased the characters, plots and themes, rather than outright spoil the movie, as the Batman v Superman trailer seems to, you’re better off watching this right now and reading as little about it as possible.

If you’re reading this and haven’t seen it yet, why the hell not? Here’s the rating, go see it, and if you have, read onwards.

Rating: 4.5/5.

Okay, MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW. You have been warned.


JJ Abrams and the cast and crew did exactly what this movie had to be, and what they said it would be. It’s a movie for Star Wars fans. The fans still bitter about Jar Jar Binks and rough sand. Fans who saw hope in the pretty decent third prequel. Fans who have memories of seeing the very first movie back in the late ’70s and have been obsessed ever since. Being a fan himself, Abrams knew exactly what he had to do. Cut down on the CGI, bring back the practical sets, have a good script, give us some brilliant acting and then hit us in the face with spectacle. It’s an instant classic Star Wars for the modern fans.

My first worry for this movie was whether the returning veterans were going to overstay their welcome, making it tough for the new cast members to find their own voice…kinda like Scrubs Season 9 (yes that’s what we’re going with…). But that’s not the case at all. The story is about new leads being wrapped in the affairs of the old cast, but their personalities and conflicts are set in stone from their very first appearances.  This is despite the opening space crawl almost implying that the entire story is about Luke Skywalker going missing.

The trailers, teasers and even the poster deliberately fooled us. Observing the film’s entire marketing campaign, you’d think that Finn is a Jedi, but Rey using The Force becomes a key spoiler that hopefully wasn’t ruined for you.

The acting, one of the major elements that took down the prequels, is thankfully strong in this one. Daisy Ridley plays an exciting lead in Rey, up to the task of any challenge. And yes, they made her a damnsel in distress and then have her save herself, so that’s a good thing! Finn (the sweaty John Boyega) seemed to turn to the light side fairly quickly, but his words in the trailer alone gave him a backstory and a personal justification for his actions. You have to root for him – he doesn’t even have a name at the beginning!

Then you have BB-8, who I initially thought would be a derivative of R2-D2, and it is a little bit. They must have tried so hard to avoid an annoying Jar Jar Binks character, and they succeeded, because BB-8 becomes one of the best parts of the movie. There’s some good humour in this movie and this droid becomes a very important part of it, and I almost forgot about how important he is to the plot.

Adam Driver as Kyo Ren in a way seemed like a lightweight., but by the end you’ll both fear and hate him. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) I assume is the third lead protagonist, but will most likely have a bigger role in the upcoming movies in contrast to this one where he shows up and acts cool for a bit. I guess they wanted more time to service Harrison Ford’s last hurrah as Han Solo, who plays a much bigger role than both Leia or Luke.

While this is a fan service film, JJ Abrams should be commended for taking incredibly bold decisions. Perhaps it seemed too easy to make Kylo Ren the son of Han and Leia, but then to have Ben KILL his father. As I said earlier, I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but that still got to me. I know that long time fans, some who saw the original Star Wars back in the 70s, just had their whole world lit up when they heard “Chewie, we’re home”, and then destroyed in one foul swoop. That took guts.

Force Awakens is for the fans, but doesn’t play it safe. Some may think it’s just derivative of A New Hope, and maybe that’s a fair argument. I don’t think that was a huge issue this time…BUT,  if the next movie becomes just Empire Strikes Back with Luke Yodaing Rey… That, on the other hand, would be lame, but I have high hopes.

Force Awakens got the fans back on board, and for me, now I’m one of those hardcore fans. I may not buy a Star Wars mug, but I look forward to the next two parts. I’ll even watch the spin off movies.

Star Wars is in safe hands for the future, but for now, the Force is strong in this one.

“Ant-Man” film review

In short, Ant-Man was more enjoyable than I thought it’d be. In fact, it’s excellent. While Avengers: Age of Ultron almost collapsed underneath its sheer girth with all the characters and plot threads, Ant-Man benefits greatly with just four core cast members, all new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It works very well as a stand-alone film, just like Guardians of the Galaxy. There are nods to the other movies and of course its original source material, but they don’t confuse audiences who aren’t a follower of this mega-franchise.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a former systems engineer who just left prison after serving a sentence for petty theft. After he discovers a suit that allows him to shrink in size but also become physically stronger, he becomes a part of a “save the human race from their own demise by stopping a weapon getting into the wrong hands” plot that becomes much bigger than him (ha!). Guiding him is scientist Hank Pym (Michael Dougles), who became the original Ant-Man in the ‘60s after mastering the [INSERT SCIENCEY-FICTIONEY STUFF] that makes the shrinking ability possible. His estranged daughter, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), along with his former protégé, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) have taken over Pym’s company and pushed him out. There are fantastic side characters, but these are the four that matter.


During this heist movie, arguably the biggest theme is family, especially with father figures. Lang’s wants to be the hero his young daughter thinks he is (she’s currently in the care of Lang’s ex-wife and new fiancé), and Pym has a strained relationship with his daughter and Cross, who Pym once saw as “the son he never had”. Cross despises Pym yet at the same time wants his approval so badly, that he’s willing to revive his mentor’s dangerous secretive technology.
All the personalities are brilliant. You root for Lang, because he made a terrible mistake and wants so badly to make everything right. Cross’s demeanour may be one of the most bloodcurdling in the entire MCU, yet he’s not some crazy super villain trying to conquer the world. Pym’s arc with his daughter becomes the most satisfying in the picture, and both are just bad arse characters.

You may be sick of origin stories at this point, but I doubt most non-comic book fans had even heard of Ant-Man, so watching him learn how to shrink in size, control ants and attack targets so much larger than him is simply thrilling to watch. The script and ideas are on point, and the sight of a vicious fight scene at microscopic size on a Thomas the Tank Engine train set was hilariously awesome. Despite the stakes of the heist hinging on a potential dangerous weapon, the characters are so good you just worry whether they get out alive, rather than if we all do.

Ant-Man is a superb motion-picture. For some, the superhero featured in this film seems a tad lame, but trust me, just go see the movie and you’ll change your mind. A great script, great cast, great action and a running time that doesn’t drag on at all, just go see it.

Rating: 4.5/5.

“Metroid Fusion” video game review

Game Boy Advance’s Metroid Fusion is also known as Metroid 4, but you may not have noticed, as it was released the same day as Gamecube’s Metroid Prime, which went on to be hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. While Prime began a legacy of 3D first-person adventures, Fusion is a 2D action-adventure in the same vein as Super Metroid, also hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. By the way, this is the only 2D Metroid game I’ve played. I’ve completed the Metroid Prime Trilogy and got quite far in Metroid Prime Hunters but never clocked it.

You play as Samus Aran, the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy, who wears an upgradable space suit granting her special abilities. Her arm cannon is used to gun down enemies, while her Morph Ball ability allows her to literally morph into a ball to roll through tight spaces. At the beginning of the game, much of the area is inaccessible, so Samus must traverse what is accessible to pick up power-ups to make her stronger, acquire new abilities and unlock doors. Oftentimes bosses are standing in the way of achieving these goals. Eventually, more of the area is accessible and Samus’s abilities reach badarsery.

Every other Metroid game prior to Fusion basically said “here you are, this is the area, you’re on all own, go find stuff and use it to kill stuff”. Super Metroid was nice enough to have a map, whereas the original Metroid on the NES has players scribbling out their own map on paper, as well as passwords instead of save stations. In Fusion, you have Navigation Rooms where a computer guides you on what to do next, usually pointing to a Data Room on the map, or telling you to investigate some suspicious activity.

Some may believe this takes away from the Metroidvania style of players being lost and having to find their own way in a non-linear fashion. It is more linear yes, but the guide is simply a step in the right direction. You still have to figure out how to get to the destination yourself, and no-one tells you where secret upgrades are. Samus’s interactions with the computer also help with storytelling. Plus for a handheld game, that pick-up and play nature works well with this new format. I’m not a fan of being lost and wondering around aimlessly (which still can happen despite the game’s linearity), so I liked the way Fusion played.

The story sees Samus bring sent by the Galactic Federation to the Biologic Space Laboratories (BSL) space station after an explosion to see what’s up. The station is swarming with X parasites, which can replicate their hosts physical appearance and memories before killing them. Samus’s new mission is overseen by a computer who she nicknames ‘Adam’, after a late friend.  The Fusion subtitle refers to Samus’s fusion suit; after she is infected by the virus and saved by surgery, parts of her suit have become physically attached to her body and too dangerous to remove. Her infection means a fully capable Samus Aran X parasite is wondering around the BSL.  It’s a good story, well told, and gives a new light to some familiar Metroid characters, mainly the Galactic Federation.metroid4_12

The worst part of a Metroid game is usually the beginning. You’re not only powerless physically, but mentally, as you have no grasp of the world around you. Once you get a groove on everything – the story, the controls, the map – and you start to collect some cool power-ups, Fusion starts to feel and play beautifully.

For a handheld game with 2D sprites, the sound design and graphics work surprisingly well to create atmosphere and tension. The music certainly sounds like it would fit in any science-fiction movie score.

The game is short, but is extended slightly by being very hard. Thankfully there are plenty of save stations around, because no-one likes to repeat things. Unlike Nintendo friends Mario and Zelda, the bosses Samus faces are not easy and go beyond attacking the same spot three times when the boss puts their guard down. No, to defeat the bosses in Fusion, you need speed, endurance and agility, because they hit Samus hard.

I don’t mind short games, you’re likely to actually finish them and Fusion is the sort of game you would want to replay. And of course, good short games don’t overstay their welcome.

For Metroid fans, Fusion is a must-have. In fact, anyone a fan of action games should give this one a spin. It’s a fun, challenging, well-polished and involving sci-fi adventure..

Rating: 4/5.

“Jurassic World” film review

*Minor spoilers* The original Jurassic Park was one of the first movies I loved as a kid. My parents had no qualms about me watching it, compared to say, Jaws, because dinosaurs don’t exist anymore and thus it would be less scary. Although I literally just read an article that said scientists may be able to recreate living dinosaurs within 5-10 years. Thankfully we have four Jurassic movies to show why that could be a bad idea.

Welcome to Jurassic World. Taking place 22 years after the first movie (did Lost World and III not happen???), humanity seems to have dinosaurs under control, well at least they think they do to have another crack at a theme park, with more kid-friendly rides and the whole shebang. A young boy named Gray (Ty Simpkons) and his teenage brother Zach (Nick Robinson) go to Jurassic World, not just because Gray is obsessed with dinosaurs, but also to spend time with their aunt, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is Jurassic World’s operations manager. Being head of operations, Claire doesn’t have time to show the boys around because she’s trying to attract corporate sponsors to expand the park, so she gets her assistant to show them around. Meanwhile, Claire is showing velociraptor trainer Owen, (Chris Pratt) their new “asset”, a genetically modified dinosaur hybrid, the Indominus Rex, when it manages to escape and starts to wreck havoc on the island, and the boys are in danger.


By the way, I really hated Howard’s character. The movie must have tried to build sympathy for her by presenting someone trapped by the corporate world interfering with his family life, but it’s hard to feel that when she (and many of the other characters) have almost no reaction to their co-workers deaths. The only who does is Pratt’s character Owen, – who is highly likeable in many ways – he didn’t just train the velociraptors, he connected with them like family pets. He may be the only one who doesn’t describe the dinosaurs as “assets”. The fact that he remains sympathetic to Claire makes my blood boil. Rather than a protagonist, I see her on almost equal footing as the so-called villain Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who wants to use the dinosaurs for military purposes; and the sole returning character, Dr Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) who designed the creature to be a killing machine (but he did what he was told I guess). I swear the next Jurassic movie better chuck her in a jail or something.

So yeah, those were the main problems I had with Jurassic World, but it’s still a great movie. It’s exactly what moviegoers will want to see. The pacing is strong, a testament to good editing. You get the awesome special effects and you get dinosaurs interacting with humans. You can tell production really enjoyed inserting John Williams’s iconic score from the original film for that establishing shot of the theme park. The spectacular reptilian battles will satisfy those disappointed with last year’s Godzilla reboot for not having enough epic monster fights. By the way, the climax of the movie is what changes it from a good movie, to a great movie! You’ll see for yourself.

Jurassic World is laden with references to the first movie, a bit of humour, and unsubtle social commentary. That social commentary, aside from the obvious “this is why science shouldn’t clone dinosaurs”, I picked up fairly easy. A critique of capitalism, as those at the top decided bigger and more dangerous creatures would boost profits, is what led to the big crisis, as well as taking away from Claire’s family life. The militarisation of these dangerous creatures is also placed in the limelight, a possible allegory to other very dangerous weapons. Is the movie a slap down on American capitalism and militarisation? Or am I just thinking about this too much? Well, that’s I got from it.

Most people aren’t going to care about any messages that may or not be there, they just want a great popcorn-munching and movie-viewing session. The issues I have with Jurassic World ultimately do not ruin a very enjoyable experience. The box-office is going nuts for this, and it’s easy to see why, it appeals to everyone – the fans, the critics and general public, and it’s just plain fun.

Rating: 4/5.

‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water’ film review


This second SpongeBob film doesn’t do anything new to justify the trip to the big screen, unlike the South Park and Simpsons films…or the first SpongeBob movie for that matter.

Once again Plankton tries to steal the Krabby Patty formula, in a slightly more dramatic fashion than usual. Then it disappears from thin air and Bikini Bottom becomes a post-apocalyptic zone. SpongeBob believes Plankton is innocent, so he shields him from the backlash. There’s a live action thing going on at the same time where we see that the Krabby Patty formula was actually stolen by some pirate who finds this book that makes any text that is written in it become reality.

If this film was split into a few episodes it would work just fine. None of your favourite faces do anything out of character, there is no jump the shark moment and humour is just as random and light-hearted as always. So it does stay very true to the show. But, even if that was the case, maybe I’m just older, but the jokes aren’t as funny or memorable as the first movie, and there’s no believable character development or any emotional hooks. The live action segments with the pirates and the annoying seagulls are unfunny and feel like filler, as if to show the audience “yo, it’s not just a few episodes stuck together, we have this big thing going on!”

Then later on, SpongeBob and friends become superheroes out of water, which judging by the marketing campaign (and the subtitle!), you’d think was the premise of the entire movie, but nope it’s in the second half. It seems like they were band wagoning on The Avengers or Big Hero 6.

The first movie was great not just because it was funny, but because it led SpongeBob and Patrick on an epic journey to find King Neptune’s crown; not only to restore order, but for SpongeBob to show that he’s more than just a kid. That was the emotional hook. And spoiler alert for that film, but SpongeBob and Patrick end up reaching the surface, and, thinking they are about to die, felt satisfied that they at least found the crown. That always stood out for me. In Sponge out of Water, they again go back to the surface, but they don’t do anything interesting with the superhero concept or the characters.

This movie is not bad, but it does reek of corporate fulfilment. In short, Sponge out of Water feels like the new Simpsons episodes – it’s short on new ideas, repeating the old ones and exists just because it can, not because it should. But maybe that doesn’t even matter, because I’m sure the kids will enjoy it anyway. I just realised the last movie came out 11 years ago, when I was 11 years old, back when I was still the target audience. That is something to keep in mind, SpongeBob may not be for me anymore – it’s for kids, and they could see a lot worse.

Rating: 2.5/5.

‘Metroid Prime 3: Corruption’ video game review

So the Metroid Prime Trilogy is finally coming to the Wii U? Took them long enough, I had just finished Metroid Prime 3: Corruption on the Wii version of the trilogy that I borrowed from my friend. It’s been so long since I played Metroid Prime 2: Echoes that I can’t even remember how long ago it was. Maybe about seven years? I was surprised how familiar the game felt once things got going, even though it had been so long and the series had moved to a new platform with revised controls.

The Metroid Prime games are first-person-action-adventures. Some may call them a first-person shooter, and yes shooting is the combat, but the focus is on exploration. The gameplay involves exploring planets, scanning stuff for clues, acquiring power-ups to unlock new abilities and defeating enemies. Most of the action takes place in the first-person, especially against enemies with gunfire, but some puzzles require the Morph Ball, where Samus literally turns into a metallic ball and is controlled from a third-person perspective. Many areas you encounter may not be reachable until certain upgrades are found or bosses defeated.

The story Corruption closes the Prime trilogy. Samus has spent the last two games assisting the Galactic Federation in their ongoing fight with the Space Pirates, who have been using Phazon to gain power. Phazon is a newly discovered powerful mutagen substance. In the first game, Phazon corrupts a Metroid (life-sucking organism) and it mutates into a large being called Metroid Prime. After Samus defeats it, it absorbs the Phazon from Samus plus her DNA, and revives itself as a Dark Samus. After Samus defeated that evil doppelganger in Prime 2, it somehow revived itself in space. We get to Prime 3, after Dark Samus invaded the Space Pirates homeworld with Phazon and brainwashed them to be her followers. Dark Samus for some reason wants to spread Phazon across the universe so it spreads the mutagens to various planets. Samus teams up with the Galatic Federation to stop the spread of Phazon, as well as the Space Pirates and Dark Samus.

The storytelling has improved; it’s still convoluted, but much less so. The other Prime games also felt like a one-woman show, but in this game, Samus has other characters to interact with, full voice acting and all, something uncommon in Nintendo games.

There isn’t much new in Samus’s jump from the Gamecube to the Wii, but I’ll say what has changed.

Corruption is more user-friendly. In the first two games, Samus explored one large planet (Tallon IV and Aether respectively), this led to a lot of exhausting backtracking. Metroid Prime 3 instead takes place on multiple planets with many landing sites for Samus’s gunship to travel to. There are several planets, but the game primarily takes place on three, all of which are very different. Bryyo was heavily combat based while Elysia had fewer enemies, meaning a larger focus on exploration. There are also more save points, a lower difficulty and checkpoints, meaning you don’t have to go to the boss area again from the save point after you lose to the vile things, you just start the battle again.

The game of course takes advantage of the Wii’s controls. The GameCube controller almost felt like it was designed to work with the Prime games because each button and control stick had a meaningful purpose. Of course with the Wii Remote pointer, the game now plays a bit more like an FPS. Beams powerups (shots from Samus’s arm gun) are no longer switchable, and are just simply upgraded. The new controls took me a few hours to get used to, but once they clicked I was really happy with them. However, they could be quite frustrating at times. The little things like pushing the Nunchuck forward and back to rip something off with the grapple lasso and pulling the Wii Remote away and towards the screen to take out/put in an energy core could be quite fiddly.


Another new feature is Hypermode. As part of the story, Samus is corrupted with Phazon and can switch to this powerful but dangerous state. It makes her attacks very powerful but requires life energy. Later on, her corruption becomes so severe that she falls into a corrupted Hypermode and she must use Phazon energy to get out of it, or die. I didn’t quite understand this concept so when the game surprised me a few times by switching on deadly Hypermode I died a couple of times.

When Metroid Prime came out it was acclaimed as one of the best games ever, and looking back, it’s not hard to see why. Scepticism and scorn over Metroid’s 3D transition being in first-person led to a crazy surprise when it came out and we saw it up there with Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as perfect examples of a 2D series making a fantastic 3D debut. All the Metroid elements were there like the Morph Ball, exploration, a sense of isolation, boss fights, sci-fi settings, Space Pirates and power-ups. Retro Studio’s fantastic innovations such as scanning and different visors made players feel like Samus, and all the aforementioned elements were elevated to immersive highs (although for the sake of full disclosure I haven’t played the 2D Metroids for any meaningful amount of time).

I always liked the Metroid Prime games but never quite loved them. I find it generally hard to get into first-person games in general for some reason, and felt at times that the Metroid Prime games were testing my patience with all the backtracking. I bought the Wii around 2008 or something and Corruption came out a year earlier, but I never felt that it was a must have compared to Smash Bros or Mario Galaxy.

When I first started playing Corruption, I already started feeling frustrated at all the scanning, the fact that you have to be very precise with the aiming instead of just locking on and shoot, and whatever the hell I thought Hypermode was. Once I gave this game a few hours, scanning every room became an exciting habit, the feel of the controls became natural, and I realised how well designed this game actually is.

Metroid Prime 3 is a great game, although I never revelled in the perceived excellence of this series that others had for it. It’s definitely a game for the hardcore crowd, because casual gamers may not find the focus on exploration and scanning too tasteful. For the rest of us, Corruption is a compelling sci-fi adventure.

Rating: 4/5.


‘Big Hero 6’ review

Pixar Dreamworks Marvel Oh it’s a Disney film Disney have another hit on their hands. This wonderfully animated, charming, creative, heartfelt and humorous movie is not only perfect for the kids but has that grip to entertain absolutely anyone who enters that theatre no matter what age.

Big Hero 6 is a very loose adaptation of the rather obscure Marvel superhero team of the same name. The grammatically invalid name refers to six characters, none of which have any superpowers, but benefit from the wonders of their own scientific creations. The main guy is 14-year old Hiro Hamada, a genius who spends his time competing in illegal robot fights. Hiro meets his older brother Tadashi’s friends at the robotics lab at his university, GoGo, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred. Tadashi also shows Hiro his creation, Baymax, a personal healthcare robot (a big, lovable and soft personal healthcare robot). I don’t wish to talk too much about the events that transpire, but a changed Hiro ends up forming a superhero team with Baymax and Tadashi’s friends to take down a mysterious masked villain.

The movie is set in…San Fransokyo! Yes it’s a combination of Tokyo and San Francisco, yes it’s the coolest damn thing ever and yes I want to live there now! What I found intriguing…and I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but how the city screams Tokyo at night but feels very American during the day. A simple Eastern/Western culture merge has made the world of Big Hero 6 so much more exciting, with the bridge, the trams and the Japanese scripts.

This suggests a full-blown superhero movie, but that’s only in the second half. Still, this movie is awesome.

Hiro goes through many changes and development through this fast-paced movie. In the beginning I cheered for his cunning tricks in the robot fights but I definitely enjoyed seeing him live up to his potential as a science student and triumph through tragedy. Baymax will of course be the huge draw to this movie. The innocent robot stands out in every single scene he’s in, and not just with his physical presence. All he knows as a personal healthcare robot is to do no harm to any individual. He looks and feels like a big cuddly marshmallow, and naturally this leads to slapstick comedy. It’s also great watching Hiro try to transform him into a fighting superhero, with hilariously mixed results.

The other four members of the group almost felt like peripheral characters rather than part of the main cast, and that’s a shame because they all have likable personalities, brought together by a love for science. Honey Lemon appears at a glance to be a combination of the lovey dovey touchie-feelie blonde, with the fascinated nerd girl, but there’s more to her than that. GoGo is the tough tomboy of the group, but it isn’t beneath her to show compassion.  Fred is a “DUUUUDE” kind of guy, but not of the douchebag variety, while Wasabe is the reserved and sane one without being dull. It’s a refreshingly diverse cast both ethnically and in the female heroes. I hope GoGo’s call to arms, “woman up”, becomes the feminist catchphrase of 2015.

Aside from early on when the friends are introduced, you don’t get to spend much time with them outside of the action scenes. If there’s a sequel (and that’s an if, because Disney’s not a sequel machine like Dreamworks or new-age Pixar), it’d be great to see them develop as they work efficiently and believably as a friendship group bound together by a love of science.


Speaking of which, the whole movie has a pro-science message, which is drawn into Baymax and the other characters’ powers. The love of science adds to the usual superhero story, by using their brains to make brawns they take down the villain at the end by being clever. It does this without actually boring the audience with scientific content. The twist of the villain’s identity I bet everyone will see coming, but the important thing is his motivations which I thought was handled admirably.

The lack of time to breathe is this movie’s biggest flaw. It does move at a fast pace, which is a strength but also a weakness. Big Hero 6’s short running time did not create something meaningful out of the plot’s shift into a superhero movie. The movie is called Big Hero 6 but it really is Hiro‘s story, with Baymax as his co-star. Now this criticism isn’t a scolding, because who am I to complain about awesome superhero costumes and powers? If a sequel is made, it would be great to explore the other heroes, because they have interesting personalities. In spite of all that, Hiro and Baymax are the heart of the film, and the heart beats strongly.

Big Hero 6 is a really great movie that left me wanting more. No it’s not quite as amazing as Frozen or the best of Pixar, but it’s definitely as great as Tangled or Wreck-It-Ralph. Disney seems to be on another streak of great movies, and Big Hero 6 will be loved by generations, for generations. Go see it!

Rating: 4.5/5.

Even this poster focuses on Hiro and Baymax, rather than the Big Hero 6. Perhaps a more accurate title would be Big Hiro's 6. Also, look how awesome San Fransokyo looks!
Even this poster focuses on Hiro and Baymax, rather than the Big Hero 6. Perhaps a more accurate title would be Big Hiro’s 6, but who cares –  look how cool San Fransokyo is!