Disney and Pixar Onward | Rapid Reviews (Spoilers)

Disney and Pixar’s Onward: Great movie. I laughed and cried. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited for a Pixar movie. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. The whole “teen embarrassed by a family member” thing was a bit cliche; but as a whole, I enjoyed the experience. My personal hype for it paid off–usually the expectations I place on it don’t match up, but this time they did.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Season 7: So far, I’ve felt like the series never ended. It doesn’t seem like there was a gap in new episodes. Usually, when they have a restart of a show years later, they try to modernize it and it fails. So far, it seems like the producers are keeping it in tune with the old seasons. I also like the Bad Batch, who remind me of the Ninja Turtles. You got your tech guy, your disciplined leader, the tough guy, and the comic relief. Though with the Bad Batch, it seems like the one you’d think would be more like Raphael, Wrecker, is more like Michelangelo. It is actually Crosshairs that is more like Raphael, go figure.

Ninja Turtles UK Insurance Commercial REACTION/BREAKDOWN by THE OLD TURTLE DEN: I’m glad THE OLD TURTLE DEN showed the whole commercial without reacting before going back through with his reaction. In other videos by the same person, they would show the clip/video but keep pausing it to discuss what they saw. It made it difficult for me to follow and made the video seem longer. I’m glad to see that they can change; it makes me want to continue watching their videos; it shows they listen to their audience. As for the commercial, the CGI Donatello looks amazing. There are times when you can tell it isn’t as good, but it is only a minute long commercial and not a movie or series. The part I liked is that you can tell Direct Line cared about the property they were using. They didn’t just slap something together and go, “People will watch it because it has a Ninja Turtle in it.” I could tell they worked hard and spent a lot of time and money on it.

THE OLD TURTLE DEN
Direct Line

Thanks for reading…and I’ll see you next wormhole.


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Not Teen Titans Go | 101 Dalmatian Street Review (Spoilers)

The Disney+ show 101 Dalmatian Street follows the lives of Dolly and Dylan, two descendants of the original 101 dalmatians–give or take a generation. Dolly and Dylan care for the other pups while their parents are at work, which usually ends in some form of chaos. 

When I first heard of the series, I thought, “This is great!” I really liked the 101 Dalmatians movie and animated series (Amazon Affiliate link). But, then I saw the first trailer and became worried that they were going to do the same with this show as they did with Teen Titans Go. I was worried that the series would be too for kids–that it’d be full of fart jokes and random humor. I was pleased to see that while it is still targeted for younger audiences, it is not overly for kids. The humor isn’t overly silly and the characters aren’t over-the-top goofy or stupid. The characters are believable. They seem like they could be real people/dogs. The show doesn’t take a flaw or trait and over inflate it like they do in Teen Titans Go

img_2674I also enjoy the animation style. It has the simplistic style that has been in many animations lately, but not so simple that it looks like the animators don’t care or are rushed to finish.

While I was thinking about my review, I realized what my problem with Teen Titans Go was. I thought it was the animation style, but I’ve seen shows with weirder styles and enjoyed them. What bothered me is how it is like the show talks down to kids. In Teen Titans Go it seems like they think all children care about are fart jokes and people joking about baby hands. I feel like the show insults the intelligence of children. In 101 Dalmatian Street, the plot is kid-friendly. It isn’t complicated and deals with issues children might have–such as crushes or jealousy–but it isn’t watered down to an insulting level.

The people in charge seem to know how to talk to children on their level. They make the show entertaining while still sharing a lesson or message. 101 Dalmatian Street treats the audience with respect…so far. In shows like Teen Titans Go or Thundercats Roar, it seems like the show runners think the audience is stupid, or the producers don’t have much faith in humanity because all the characters act like idiots. Meanwhile, shows like 101 Dalmatian Street and Steven Universe seem to think of their audience as equals. These producers seem to be trying to make something unique instead of just following the latest trend.

Even though the animation isn’t my favorite and the plots are more geared to younger audiences, I found the series more enjoyable than others like it because it treats the audience like a human and not as an easy cash-grab. 4.7/5


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Never Gonna Stop | Top Run Review

It’s finally here. Top Run by Katata Games is available pretty much everywhere: PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, Steam, and mobile. But ever since I got my copy, I’ve had Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” stuck in my head. I can’t figure out why though.

Maybe it’s because Kevin, the protagonist of Top Run, says something similar to “I’m never gonna give you up” when you free Joy from her cell.  Or maybe it’s because I got on Fortnite and they have the Never Gonna emote where your avatar dances while the song plays. Or it could be because Valentine’s Day was a few days ago and pretty much everyone was singing it. 

But, maybe it’s because Top Run is as much of a “brain worm” as “Never Gonna Give You Up.” I just can’t stop playing the game! 

In the game, you play as Kevin as he runs endlessly to save his hometown from bad guys. 

Use my Amazon Affiliate link to buy the song for yourself. That way you can help support my blog and listen to it forever and ever and ever and…I’m not really helping my case here, am I?

I think that might be part of why I enjoy the game so much. There’s no big mystery; no having to search through the website’s code (that I know of); no messing with image brightness to see the hidden message. You just run. I don’t feel like I need some kind of masters in cryptography to understand it. In a time of shared universes and theory-hunting AR games–where everything has to have a cliffhanger, it’s nice to see one that doesn’t have all that…weight. The game does have a backstory; it tells you how Kevin got his powers and that’s all you need.

Also, the controls are simple and easy to master. It did take me a couple minutes to change over from the app controls to controller buttons; but once I figured out the button layout was basically the same as it was on the app, I was back in my groove.

I also appreciate that once I pay the purchase price, I don’t need to pay out more. The skins and upgrades are purchasable by collecting pixels. The upgrade/skin prices are also fair. I don’t feel like it takes forever to collect enough pixels to buy a skin, but the price isn’t so low that I can purchase all of them after only a few runs. They are a difficult goal to reach but not impossible.

Speaking of reachable goals, the objectives are similarly difficult yet obtainable. None of the game objectives seem that difficult–some are harder or take longer to complete than others but all seem doable. 

img_2674But enough gushing for a moment. I have noticed that some glitches have carried over from the mobile game. Sometimes the cell holding a friend will fall through the floor. Other times the cell will just be laying on its side. Coming from my own time coding programs and games, I’m sure this glitch comes from the cell’s random generation. The cell generates in an open space and falls. Even with a billion numbers to choose from, sometimes you get a one.

Another glitch is a little more comical. Sometimes the dash wears off and I end up running right into a foe, usually a Bikey Mikes; but instead of dying, we collide. Kevin and Mike run into each other and just stop. Kevin continues to run and Mike continues to ride but they aren’t going anywhere. It looks like two people going, “Get out of my way!” “No, you get out of my way!” “Why don’t you move?” “Why don’t you move?!” A couple seconds later, the game catches up and it’s Game Over.

The last error I can find is that the invincibility after a power-up wears off or when you rescue a friend can sometimes feel a little random. Sometimes, it seems to be only a second; but one time, I was able to survive a blast from a Hack like five seconds after freeing Ben.

However, for like 99.9 percent of the time, the game runs smoothly–unlike some other games that have a tendency to crash now and then.

So…I’m still not sure why I keep wanting to play Top Run over and over. It could be the simplicity. Or it could be the added perk of annoying everyone around me by playing the Beckett soundtrack endlessly.

But, I think it might because Mr. Schnitzel (the cat) has added subliminal messages within the game–why else would there be so many neon lights. It’s all part of his evil plot. Today, he gets us to buy Top Run; tomorrow…endless catnip.

Nah, I think it is because you can feel the hard work and passion of Katata Games and Fantastico Studios. 4.9/5

PS: If any TV/movie producers out there are reading this, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Top Run series (or at least a comic). Now, I’ve got catnip to buy.


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No Badniks Allowed | Sonic the Hedgehog Review (Spoilers)

Well…it’s here. The genie is out of the bottle. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie has arrived. After controversy and redesigns (we’re not going to talk about that other image), the movie is out for all to see.

I was a little more than worried about the new movie. Game-to-movie adaptions rarely work out well. The original design didn’t help Sonic’s case. From the first trailer, the movie looked like it was a buddy cop/road trip type movie than a superhero hedgehog movie.

But, I was willing to give it a try. I didn’t want to judge it too harshly before I saw it. Sonic is one of my favorite video game characters right next to Mega Man and Kirby. I really wanted to see it succeed. If it did, maybe there’d be more–like a Kirby or Mega Man movie.

So, I was a bit nervous setting in the theater waiting for the movie to begin. Luckily, I wasn’t nervous long.

While the character’s personalities were close to how they normally act, they were a little over-the-top. 

Some other reviews:

IGN
Vailskibum94
IGN

Robotnik is usually a goof, but at times this version was too much. Sonic was a bit confident, but it was more of a fake confidence from not having any social interaction.

As for the design of Sonic, it was pretty good. He still had that furry look to him, but it was much, much better. He looked more like Sonic than some kind of diseased creature that needed to be put down.

The humor was great. I really liked the banter between Tom and Robotnik; the war of words seemed authentic and flowed well. It didn’t seem forced or rehearsed. 

img_2674One of the best parts about this Sonic is that he seemed to be there. He seemed to have weight and speed. It was a little cartoony at times; I could still tell he was CGI, but it was a lot better than other CGI characters. Also, Sonic’s cartoon look just made his CGI appearance look more real. Any odd moments could be explained by the fact he is a cartoon character.

I enjoyed the nods to other Sonic versions, such as him tapping his foot impatiently or playing pranks at super-speed. He would also outsmart foes/turn their own attack on them. Also, when Robotnik is fixing his circuit breaker, you can see a label that says “Badniks.” 

When they announced that the character would be redesigned, I was worried that the final movie would seem rushed. It wasn’t it. It did not seem like it was thrown together in a panic. The actors and crew seemed to care about the movie and enjoy making it.

Of course, the best part was the credits scene with a special Sonic character–my favorite character. The credit scene set up another movie, and I’m hoping there will be one.

While it wasn’t everything I hoped for, it was better than I thought it’d be. I left the theater laughing and I couldn’t stop talking about it. I wanted to see it again the next day. 4.4/5


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Stone Star | Review

Stone Star, a comiXology Originals, follows the adventures of Dail aboard the nomadic space station Stone Star. The station is similar to a traveling circus but instead of bearded ladies and cotton candy, you get gladiators and death marches.

Dail begins his tale as a scavenger and thief but soon runs into a retired gladiator who sees that Dail has a special skill. Not much is revealed at first, but it appears he can control machines and become an energy being.

Eventually, he meets Kikanni, an on-the-run royal who’s family is displaced because of a coup. Dail witnesses the murder of Kikanni’s family at the hands of Stone Star workers. He and she then have to escape and hide.

img_2674The plot was a typical story about an average person with a great destiny and strange powers. The characters seemed pretty bland. The displaced princess, the good guy thief, the stoic and wise mentor, etc. Even by the end of the book, the characters didn’t seem to grow much–but it is the first book. The first book is meant to introduce the characters, setting, and plot. 

Stone Star does have a somewhat interesting plot. Someone murdered Dail’s father. His murder happened shortly after he refused to rig the fights. I think we can see where this is going.

So, if the characters are typical and the mystery is pretty standard, why did I like the story? It was one of those hard to put down books. I finished it in about an hour. 

Part of the reason was the art. It was pretty impressive; though sometimes it did look rushed, there were some moments that made my mouth drop.

I think the other part that made the comic so appealing was Dail’s powers. At first I wanted to know what they were. Then I was like, “Oh, he can just control machines. Big deal.” But then he merged with a fighting robot, and later he was able to semi-merge with Kikanni and learn her backstory. So, even though right now it seems like all he can do is control technology, they hint at something greater.

I also think pacing had something to do with my enjoyment. There weren’t many slow points and when you did slow down, you felt like you needed the rest. You felt like you were on the run with Dail and Kikanni; you felt as much in danger as they did.

Finally, I think it was the world. The setting of a traveling space station that works as an entertainment center is kind of unique. Also, it was neat seeing all the different alien beings. I liked the variety and creativity in each one. Each showed the personality well. I also liked how Dail looked human but not so much you’d think he was human. You know he’s an alien. The design choice allowed me to empathize with him but at the same time not wonder “How’d a human get here?”

While on the surface, Stone Star seems typical, the pacing, unique characters, and the deigns of the setting and world pull you in and make the read worthwhile. While I would like to see more adventures with Dail, Stone Star isn’t at the top of my To-Read list. I’m going to pre-order the book, but I’m also not marking down the days till its release on June 1. 4.1/5

A couple images from Season 1.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!


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I get a percentage from any qualifying purchase; doesn’t have to be the ones listed below. Thank you for helping to support my blog so I can continue to tell stories, write reviews, and more.

Buy Season 1 Now
A young thief named Dail discovers a dark secret in the depths of Stone Star and has to decide where his destiny lies. 
Pre-order Stone Star Season 2 Now
A young warrior named Dail has been drawn into the ring and is trying to prove himself in the Grand Arena, but there are forces on the station determined to see him destroyed as revenge for his father’s fighting legacy.

Owl House Chat | Review

The Owl House, on Disney Channel, centers around Luz, a young girl who finds herself in a magical land. She soon meets Eda, a witch, and King, a demon. After some work, Eda agrees to teach Luz magic.

When I saw the first trailer, I thought, “Eh, I don’t think so;” but one day, the full episode of the first episode appeared in my YouTube feed and I thought, “Why not?” While it isn’t my favorite show–probably not in my top 10 but maybe top 25–I did enjoy it. I was interested to see where the story went and looked forward to more episodes.

The show is one of those that I could wait a few weeks and binge the episodes. I’m not in my seat going, “Is it Friday yet?!” But, it is in my To-Watch List. 

img_2674I enjoy the animation. It looks professional and as if the crew cared; it does not look like they are trying to throw something together at the last minute. I like how there is some humor, but it isn’t goofy. I found the you-have-to-be-your-own-chosen-one life lesson a little corny. I also found the just-because-you-are-odd-doesn’t-make-you-a-bad-person lesson a little groan worthy too. The good news is it seems like the episode morals are improving. 

One of the best parts so far is that Luz learned her first spell within the first few episodes. I was worried that she would learn her first spell in episode 20 (if we were lucky). I really worried about how long it’d take her once Eda revealed that doing magic is biological. 

I was hoping that The Owl House team wouldn’t have some series wide mystery. After seeing the first few episodes, it looked like each episode would be semi-self-contained…and then it happened. It is revealed why Eda is called The Owl Lady and that is part of an ongoing series mystery. I do hope they reveal the mystery by the end of the season. They can have a new mystery next season or have a continuation of this mystery.

Finally, I am glad to see that Luz is a strong female character without becoming a tomboy. She speaks her mind and is proud of who she is but doesn’t resort to acting like a warrior woman.

So far the plot seems semi-original. I’ve seen many stories where the main character finds a magical land, but The Owl House does an excellent job of flipping that trope. 4.3/5

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

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A deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.
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The Forbidden Corner

I really enjoy the “teaser”/short experience before the main post; it draws you in and makes you either laugh, feel suspense, or go “hmm, that’s an interesting fact.”

Nick's Travel Blog

Halfway down the passageway I realized I wasn’t going to make it through to the other side. I squinted as the tunnel narrowed to a seemingly impossible perspective point. Curiouser and curiouser.

I crawled on as the walls closed in. Attempting to squeeze through, I became wedged at the shoulder and slumped to the floor. I exhaled. The Alice in Wonderland whimsy began to fade as I mulled over my options.

“Guys?” I said, to an absent audience.

The others had made it through the tiny crawlspace and were now somewhere ahead of me in the labyrinth. I conceded defeat and shuffled backwards.

We were at The Forbidden Corner in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Started as a private garden in the 1980s by owner Colin Armstrong, it was opened to the public in the ’90s.

Following a battle over planning permission, the garden was threatened with closure. Armstrong…

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