TL;DR – This is a show with a lot of potential that would have worked a lot better had it not stumbled in critical places.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this series.
Pacific Rim: The Black Review –
When you hear that there will be an American Animation TV Series, done in the style of a Japanese Anime, based in the Pacific Rim universe, and then set in Australia, well, that is an exciting combination if I have ever heard it. Good or bad, you want to see how it works. With that in mind, let’s dive into this fascinating if flawed world.
So to set the scene, we open in the days after chaos erupts across Australia as rifts open up the centre of the continent. After a valiant fight, it becomes clear that Australia is lost, and the call to evacuate is put out. Everyone had five days to reach Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, or Sydney. While trying to help with the evacuation, one Jager team stays back to stop the Kaijus because their children had yet to leave. They tried to get to the evac point, but they were too late. Instead, they took the group of civilians back to their home base Shadow Basin which was also destroyed. The parents left everyone behind in an oasis and leave to go to the coast to get help. Five years later, Hayley (Gideon Adlon) and Taylor (Calum Worthy) have a fractured relationship as their parents never returned. However, one day Hayley fell down a metal hole and discovers that not all of Shadow Basin was destroyed, with the Atlas Destroyer Jaeger and its AI Loa (Erica Lindbeck) still there. But that discovery becomes a beacon for all the danger in the world. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – Super charming and a fun new direction for the franchise.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Star Trek: Lower Decks Review –
When it was announced that the next new Star Trek series would be an animated show that would take a more comedic look at a life aboard a Starfleet vessel, many people treated the news with some hesitation. However, when we got to see the first episode Second Contact, you felt the tone they were going for and how it was able to walk this line between making fun of Star Trek and showing its deep love for the franchise. Well, the full season has finally been released outside of North America, so it is time to dive in and see if the whole run stands up as well.
So to set the scene, we open in on the USS Cerritos in 2380 (which for those playing at home is two years after the return of the USS Voyager and twenty years before the start of Picard). The Cerritos is a California Class Starfleet Vessel that specialises in second contact, which is the follow-up mission after first contact, not as much glory but still significant. Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) has just come on board from Outpost 79, and this is her first placement on a starship. Her orientation guide is Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) a very straight-laced command track-captain seat hopeful Ensign. Orientation is soon side-tracked as Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) decides to take D’Vana on a more personalised tour. But as we soon learn Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) has her phasers set on Mariner and is looking for any excuse to boot her off the ship and preferable out of Starfleet. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
Well, it has been a long, and let’s call it, interesting year, but today brings to a close our last reviewed of a film from 2020. To round out the year, it is time to look at Pixar’s next entry, and given we already had a strong movie in Onward this year. I came into Soul with some reasonably high expectations.
So to set the scene, Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a high school music teacher, but his real passion is performing jazz. This puts him in conflict with his mother Libba (Phylicia Rashad) who wants him to have a stable job. Well, those two worlds are about to collide when he is offered a full-time position teaching while also getting the chance to perform with the famous Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). This would be a big decision for Joe if he didn’t then fall through an open manhole and wake up on the escalator to the other side.
There has been a couple of attempts in recent times to do the ‘what if the fantasy realm that you know was set in modern times’ and well, on the whole, they have been bad. But as a concept, it is solid, so I have been wondering if anyone would be able to pull it off. Well if anyone can do it, it is Pixar, and boy did they.
So to set the scene, Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is just an average teenage elf, winning math awards, learning how to drive, avoiding his brother Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) and trying to find friends. He is trying to find his place in the world with his brother, who is a bit of a screw-up, and his mother Laurel Lightfoot (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who is trying her best with the chaos. On his 16th birthday, their mother surprises them with a gift from their late father Wilden Lightfoot (Kyle Bornheimer) which turns out to be a magic staff and a spell, one that can bring him back, but only for one day.
TL;DR – Unfortunately the issues of the first Chapter are back
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy Review –
When the first Chapter came out for the War for Cybertron, I liked some character aspects, but unfortunately, I came away from it feeling a bit hollow. I wanted to see if they could fix some of these issues in Chapter Two, but I am not sure they did.
So to set the scene, at the end of Chapter 1 – Siege, Optimus Prime (Jake Foushee) took many Autobots as they can away from Cybertron on the Ark. However, Megatron (Jason Marnocha) and the Decepticons think the Ark exploded taking the Allspark along with it. Megatron is in a state of despair, as he has no enemy to fight, and the planet is slowly dying. On Cybertron, the few remaining Autobots led by Elita-1 (Linsay Rousseau) try to free those locked up in detention camps. But on the Ark, things are not going well, even before some unexpected visitors pay a visit. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole, and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
There is this common misconception that animated films are somehow an inferior form of cinema, especially those slated for a younger demographic. However, this is simply just not the case, and several animated films over the last few years have proved that point. This week we get to see another movie enter that frame with the follow up to The Croods.
So to set the scene, we begin with a tragedy as Guy’s (Ryan Reynolds) parents get caught in a tar pit and force Guy to move on without him hoping to return to a mystical place known as tomorrow. Fast forward and a lot of time marching he runs into the Crood Family, father Grug (Nicolas Cage), mother Ugga (Catherine Keener), daughter Eep (Emma Stone), son Thunk (Clark Duke), baby Sandy (Kailey Crawford), and grandma Gran (Cloris Leachman). They live a simple life of foraging for food and trying not to get eaten, but romance blossoms between Guy and Eep, much to Grug’s consignation. But everything changes when they find a big wall in the middle of the wilderness hiding mountains of food behind.
TL;DR – There was so much wasted potential here that you actually start to feel sorry for the film
Rating: 1.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special Review –
Well, few things in pop culture have such infamy as the original Star Wars Holiday Special. Sure you may have been the first time we got a look at Boba Fett, but well you don’t get to be a gag in Weird Al’s seminal White & Nerdy for nothing. Well, today we look at Lucasarts giving a second crack at the idea, but this time Lego.
So to set the scene, at the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The New Order was defeated, so Rey (Helen Sadler) and Fynn (Omar Miller) decided to travel to visit Chewbacca and his family on Kashyyyk to celebrate Life Day. But for Rey, this is a big struggle because she is struggling to train Fynn in the ways of the Jedi and takes a trip to the past to get some inspiration.
TL;DR – This is a strong entry into the Jurassic franchise leaning both into joy and terror of dinosaurs
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Review –
It should go without saying, I love Dinosaurs. I have loved them since I was a kid, and I still love them today. So I take whatever chance to watch, which unfortunately is few and far between. Well, today is one of those few times when I get to sit back and enjoy the world where Brachiosaurus loom over treetops, and you need to be careful at what goes bump in the night. [Insert T-Rex Roar sound here]
So to set the scene, we open with two people running through the jungle trying to reach an extraction before Raptors take one of them out. The other person who we see their point of view tries to escape before being cornered by a T-Rex. That is the point where the VR goggles come of, and we are introduced to Darius (Paul-Mikél Williams). He is trying to beat this apparently unbeatable game to win a ticket to Jurassic World’s new Camp Cretaceous because it was always his and his late dad’s dream to go. Well while tossing and turning in bed, he is woken from a dream and finally it all clicks, and he becomes the first person in the world to beat the game. With this, he books his ticket to Camp Cretaceous where absolutely nothing will go wrong … right …?
When I was growing up in the 90s, there was not enough time in the morning to watch Cheez TV, so you would stick the tape into the VCR and just waited all day to see what was taped when you got home. One of those shows that I still think back fondly on was Digimon Digital Monsters. It was this tale of these young kids getting trapped in a digital world, but they were not alone because they made friends with the local Digimon. It had two solid seasons where we followed their stories, but after that, they did the animated equivalent of Skins and shifted the whole world up and along the way I just got lost. Well, today I get to go back in time and revisit an old past with the conclusion to that story started so long ago. Just before we dive in (because I know this is important to some people), I watched the dubbed movie for this review, not the subbed. Purely because this is the version I grew up on, so this was the version I was going to say goodbye to.
So to set the scene, years have passed since the series and other movies and the DigiDestined have grown up and are going about their lives. However, across the world, an Aurora has been dazzling the night sky from New York to Tokyo. There is nothing to fear … the government says … right up until a portal to the digital world opens and Parrotmon (Yoshihito Sasaki) bursts forth. Luckily Tai (Joshua Seth), Matt (Nicolas Roye), T.K. (Johnny Yong Bosch) and Kari (Tara Sands) along with their Digimon can send it back to the digital world. However, in its wake, DigiDestined around the world have begun falling into a coma, and no one knows who will be next. Now in this review, I do want to spend some time exploring some of the themes, but that will head us into spoiler town real quick. So I will start with some general impressions before delving in more in-depth.
TL;DR – Super charming and a fun new direction for the franchise.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
We are currently living in the middle of a new golden age of Science Fiction on TV, and one of the significant drivers of that has been Star Trek. With Discovery and then Picard, you feel that they are starting to get their groove back. However, when I heard there was going to be a more light-hearted animated series coming out, I felt a bit of trepidation. However, after watching the first episode, I can see I had nothing to worry about.
To set the scene, we open in on the USS Cerritos in 2380 (which for those playing at home is two years after the return of the USS Voyager and twenty years before the start of Picard). The Cerritos is a Federation Vessel that specialises in second contact, which is the follow-up mission after first contact, not as much glory but still significant. Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) has just come on board from Outpost 79, and this is her first placement on a starship. Her orientation guide is Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) a very straight-laced command track-captain seat hopeful Ensign. However, orientation is soon side-tracked as Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) decides to take D’Vana on a more personalised tour. This gets put aside when they go down to the planet to help the Galardonian High Council with a subspace receiver while things down quite go to plan back on the ship.