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Film

Detective Pikachu – A Short Review

I have very little to say on this one. If you have seen the trailers of the film then I can tell you that you already have a solid grasp of the film’s tone and quality: it’s a kids film that gets dangerously close to being extremely adult, it does a wonderful job of bringing pokemon to life and blending them with reality without it feeling outlandish. It’s still a film for kids, so don’t be surprised when the plot is predictable and those elements presented as twists are conspicuous from a mile away, I was only surprised once, and I’ll save commenting on it until I’ve put up a spoiler tag.

As a 90’s kid (by technicality, didn’t live through enough of the 80’s to get the memes) I was raised to expect a very different sound coming from a Bulbasaur, but watching a troupe of them skipping through a stream was an absolute delight. I know I’m not alone in noticing a lack in diversity in the different types of pokemon on screen across the film, and considering that the number of pokemon and number of real species are starting to meet in the middle that lack of diversity is very conspicuous, multiple slakings, a lot of joltics, a lot of greninjas, a lot of panchams a lot of doduos and dodrios, and in most cases I’m not talking about them having a major screen presence, a lot of this is background material too.

I wanted to complain about the excessively fluffy pikachu, not the most rodent-like of fur, I was expecting something sleeker, but gengar took care of that for me, I genuinely loved the the depiction of gengar. It was about as family friendly as I’ll accept without being as harrowingly dark as I’d have liked, but all-in-all stunning. Actually every depiction of pokemon abilities was made realistic with no effort, making for a surprisingly immersive experience given the source material.

Odd question, is this a video game film?

And yes I know about the 3DS game, and yes the storyline is broadly lifted from the title of the same name. But Detective Pikachu is not that well known so far as the franchise goes, and while being based in the world, does not adhere to any of the mechanics that make the franchise great, it’s closer to a point-and-click. Even then, is it fair to compare it to other video game films?

I don’t think it is but hear me out! Detective Pikachu is filled with references, no two ways about that, but most of them come from the anime (and one Home Alone reference), like the entire Mewtwo narrative, a lot of the background details, kicking the magikarp, the squirtle squad, shamelessly heavy use of the theme tune. I noticed a couple of video game references beyond the fact that both this and the anime are based on a game franchise, the snorlax blocking traffic, and the background details. But here I think is a film based on an anime… based on a video game. In either case I think it’s a little unfair to include this in the discussion around video games and films.

The storyline – oh spoilers by the way – is shockingly noir! A street drug that enhances the aggression of pokemon for combat, a suspicious corporation and a contract that goes sideways, the journalist and her self-destructive pursuit of a story that nearly gets her killed. A ramped-up ditto shapeshifts into people, and not only does it make everyone you encounter highly suspicious, it’s also profoundly creepy when you see people with ditto-eyes. When Bill Nighy takes over the mind of Mewtwo, it’s a beautiful match-up of voice and character that I did not anticipate, and while it’s easy to predict his “turn for the evil” from his scene in the office, I still loved his dark mastermind moment at the finale.

Spoilers over but to be honest so is the review. I genuinely have little to say on Detective Pikachu but that may be the biggest compliment I have for it. I’m accomplished at complaining, and tend to be at my most verbose when irritated. This isn’t an unforgettable experience, nor would I advocate rushing to the cinema for it, but it’s certainly worth a watch and deserves all the praise it’s had so far, and Ryan Reynolds crying his way through “I Want To Be The Very Best” is a moment I think deserves to be well remembered in cinema and pokemon history.

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Film Review – Shazam!

Too often have I gone to the cinema after being told a film was some form of transformative experience. Shazam! doesn’t want to be such an experience. Instead, Shazam! stands on its own feet, introducing a humorous cast to the DC Cinematic Universe. Whether you’re a fan of DC as a whole or not, this is a film that you should consider checking out. Here’s our full review of the hero of pure heart.

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THAT Sonic the Hedgehog Trailer

In 2019, we should be getting a Sonic the Hedgehog movie. In principle, this is a good thing. The blue blazer has been part of video game history since the early 90’s. However when Paramount got ahold of Sonic, you’d have thought it’d have translated fairly easily. There’s an already well established cast, a simple but fun protagonist and lots of reference artwork… But yet, it still went wrong, didn’t it?

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Top 10 Tentacled Beings

GeekOut Top 10s

Squids! Octopi! Aliens! What do all of these things have in common? That’s right, tentacles. Okay, aliens maybe not always, but the rest are definitely tentacled. Whether or not you’re going to have a biological tentacle, or a mechanical one, these appendages are long, limber and part of many people’s fantasies. You know what I’m talking about. Anyway, here’s our Top 10 Tentacled Beings.

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Not Reviewing Endgame

It took me a month… a whole month to get through Infinity War. Seriously, here are the articles:

Spoiler-Free Study – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 1/4
Super Team Ups – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 2/4
A Darkness Falls – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 3/4
A Generation In Cinema – The MCU & The Avengers: Infinity War 4/4

And they were some of my best work, I was seriously proud of that content! 6128 words and that’s only a fraction of the content I’ve written on the subject of the MCU as a whole. This is the crowning glory of ten years of cinema, twenty-something films and a host of supporting content, the greatest minds in the industry, the biggest budget, and the finest talent, has been poured into a saga of films. Almost as many titles as James Bond crammed into a little over a decade, all drawn from the pages of comic book history, and featuring actors who have played the same characters in a stunning number of films.

So far as I am concerned, the MCU is over. I might go see the others, I would like to watch Far From Home, which will be Tom Holland’s fifth appearance as Spider-Man, outdoing his other predecessors; I am curious to see Baron Mordo return in a new Doctor Strange, and I am pleased that Gunn has been taken back onto Guardians 3… but ultimately, this feels done. This is my review, Endgame finished the saga in the best way it could be ended. It is not perfect, it has some glaring flaws that I will not go into yet, but will inevitably discuss in future.

It was beautiful, and it has simultaneously made cinema better and worse. I recommend looking on YouTube for the One Marvelous Scene collaboration started by Nando v. Movies and taken up by some of his friends and cohorts, and then onwards to dozens of other film analysts on YouTube, where they look back on the entire project and pick a scene that they love for its incredible depth of character, implications, or ramifications that ripple out across the series.

For what it’s worth mine may very well be the fight between our first three “main” Avengers, Thor, Stark, and Rogers, as they throw down for custody of Loki while the trickster god sits casually above them all. It’s a wonderful moment of synergy in which they learn a great deal about the ways in which they conflict and complement one another, every moment revealing a little more about themselves: Rogers the tactician, acting with authority and fighting in the name of a diplomatic conclusion; Tony acting recklessly but willing to get “experimental”; Thor, accustomed to victory is shocked to take a beating, all while Loki watches with a wry smile. Note the two conspicuous pair of crows that fly by the Asgardians, as father watches his sons squabble from afar. And let’s not forget “the gong strike”. Action and characterisation in perfect harmony.

In short, I’ll be talking about Endgame for quite some time, watching it again soon enough, and I might review it on the back of some other grandiose Marvel analysis series… actually I’m watching the scene on the lab in the Helicarrier following the custody battle, that’s an article in its own right. Maybe I need to get onto YouTube sooner rather than later. But three hours of Endgame that successfully ties up a decade of cinema with a wonderful cluster of callbacks and conclusions, it’s more than any one review can dissect. I look forward to talking about this for years to come.

Next week I want to talk about the two big wars of the week, Endgame and the Siege of Winterfell. There will be spoilers.


Top 10 Frogs

GeekOut Top 10s

Humans have been telling stories for a long time. One of the most popular stories passed down through the ages, is about the frog who was a prince. They say that a princess kissed the frog, which lifted the curse from the prince. Well, they say you’ve got to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, but today we’re not looking for a prince. We’re looking for the best frogs in all of pop culture, in this week’s Top 10 Frogs.

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Top 10 – Inspiring Fictional Mothers

GeekOut Top 10s

Motherly figures are amazing when they’ve been portrayed correctly. The matriarch of the family can be strong-willed, strong in general or sometimes just mentally in-tune to their children’s needs. As tomorrow is Mother’s Day, today is the perfect day for us to take a look at some of the amazing mothers in film, tv, video games and comics in this week’s motherly loving Top 10. (more…)


Doom Annihilation – A Most Ominous Trailer

Remember how I was pretty vocally optimistic about the future of video games and film. Remember how I thought Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed had some major positive points that made me feel like there might be hope? What I didn’t tell you is that I actually quite enjoyed the new Tomb Raider film, thought it was alright. I started to feel like there was hope, a genuine upward swing, and hell, I even said as much in the comments of my Captain Marvel review.

Then my dear friend Mike sends me this: (more…)


Review – Captain Marvel

The release of Captain Marvel marks the last step to End Game and the first female lead across twenty two MCU films, a milestone that has been long awaited, and there was general consensus that she was a solid choice. Most of the good options from Marvel’s roster of female characters are either X-Men (or memebers of a team), villains, or female iterations of someone else, of those that remain Carole Danvers is easily the best known which, sadly, doesn’t say a great deal. DC at least have always had Wonder Woman to lean on, and they recently found some success with two thirds of a good film, Marvel have never quite had the same fortune.

Nor can we say that origin stories hold up against the big titles that Marvel has become revered for, Doctor Strange was a good enough film, Ant Man was ok, and certainly none of them are as bad as Thor 2, which I maintain still has some redeeming qualities, I’m getting off topic. The Avengers have been the films we have come to respect and love, characters are established and made strong on their own and then brought together to be stronger. A wise man attempts to build his house upon the sand, and tells us that because the house stands so tall that it will stand forever.

There Will Be Spoilers but I’m not going to lie to you here, it won’t make much difference if any at all. (more…)


Top 10 – Fan Created Products

GeekOut Top 10s

You may be wondering how much content genuinely has been made by fans that we wanted to make a list about and the truth is – There’s a lot. We could get specific by saying best “fanart”, or best “fanfic”, or even best “fan made game”… But the truth is, there’s a lot of great content out there by crazy talented individuals. This week, we dedicate it to the fans who make their mark on the world, by taking something they enjoy and running wild with it.

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