Ninja Scroll: The Movie Review by Eugene Alejandro

Ninja Scroll: The Movie is a 1993 Japanese animated Samurai Cinema, and Period Drama movie that’s directed and written by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, and was made and released by Madhouse Studios (along with Toho, JVC, and Movic). I should also say that the movie is a homage and influenced by the novels of Futaro Yamada. I haven’t read of any of his novels at the time of this review, so I am very uncertain what elements from the novels were being used when making the movie (the movie even has an alternate title called Jubei The Wind Ninja).

The story of Ninja Scroll: The Movie is that a lone wanderer (Vagabond in the English Dub) named Jubei Kibagami, ends up getting involved with a plot by the Eight Devils of Kimon who were hired by The Shogun of The Dark to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate. In order to now stop the Eight Devils of Kimon, Jubei gets the help from a government spy named Dakuan, and a female ninja named Kagero (I really don’t wanna say anything else about the movie’s story. If you wanna know more, please watch the film).

When Ninja Scroll was first released back in 1993 (and brought over to the USA thanks to Manga Entertainment), it was met with strong critical acclaim and financial success, and also contributed in helping Japanese animation become very common among the USA (with other critical and financially successful Anime movies such as Akira, and Ghost In The Shell 1995 doing that as well). A TV show titled Ninja Scroll: The Series also aired in 2003.

As far as how I feel about the movie, I’ll go over each aspect of it in good amount of detail like I did with my reviews for Akira and Ghost In The Shell 1995 in order to get my overall opinion about the movie across. With that said, I will be saying a lot, but please enjoy.

-The Story and Writing: While there isn’t anything deep and/or compelling about Ninja Scroll’s story, what works very well is the overall element and feeling of fun the plot has. Ninja Scroll definitely has some very cool and memorable action scenes, but if I am going to nitpick a few things about the story, it is that it does at times like a lot more could’ve been included to the story regarding. An example is that The Shogun of The Dark is only mentioned in the film and never makes a full appearance at all in the film. Another nitpick is that there isn’t an explanation for how and why Jubei’s sword can create and wind slash powerful enough to cut through his enemies. The plot in the movie does at times really feel like it’s part of a much more larger story that didn’t happen, but that doesn’t really bother me as what is presented is still very solid, and works fine. So while I will way that the story/plot in Ninja Scroll: The Movie ain’t as strong, epic, and/or revolutionary as in Akira: The Movie, and Ghost In The Shell 1995, Ninja Scroll is still a very fun movie to watch because of what is presented story and script wise. I do gotta say that the film does indeed have gore and nudity, so please DO NOT have a child under the age of 18 watch this movie.

-The Animation: As expected from an Anime movie by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, the animation in Ninja Scroll: The Movie is absolutely amazing (and even more so back in 1993) with all the character designs, movements, and backgrounds looking awesome. While I will admit that Ninja Scroll’s animation isn’t as groundbreaking as the animation in Akira, and Ghost In The Shell 1995, Ninja Scroll’s animation is still very impressive to look at and admire for what it is.

-The Music/Score/Soundtrack: The soundtrack for Ninja Scroll: The Movie was made by Kaoru Wada. In my honest opinion, the music isn’t as memorable and iconic as the music from Ghost In The Shell 1995, and Akira, but for what it is, Kaoru Wada’s score is works perfectly well with Ninja Scroll’s tone and setting. The best way that I can describe the music is that it really does belong in a film set in the genres of Period Drama and Samurai Cinema as the instruments used to make the score do have the feeling of a feudal setting. So just to recap, Kaoru Wada’s soundtrack in Ninja Scroll: The Movie is very fun to listen to (even if it doesn’t hold up to the epic scores from Akira, and Ghost In The Shell 1995).

-The Voice Acting: I will talk about both the Japanese Language, and English Dub that was done for Ninja Scroll: The Movie. The Japanese voice acting is very solid as all the voice actors do a great job sounding their parts very well. The English Dub that was done by Manga Entertainment is also very good, but if their was one thing I have to nitpick about the English Dub is the voice actor who voices Jubei (Dean Elliot). While he does a solid job with his voice acting, the accent that he provides for the character doesn’t fit with the setting the film takes place in. But like I said, it’s just a nitpick because the overall English Dub for Ninja Scroll is fine.

-The Subtitles: The English subtitles that I saw when watching Ninja Scroll: The Movie are colored Yellow, and are easy to read and stay on the screen for a good amount of time for the viewer to see them. I do gotta say however that the subtitles seem to be worded differently depending on what version you see. To clarify, I noticed how the words in the subtitles differ from the DVD I own, to the version that I watched on HULU (where is how I first saw Ninja Scroll to begin with). The best example of what I’m talking about is when in the DVD that I own, The Shogun of The Dark is subtitled “The Dark Shogun”, the subtitles on HULU just say “Shogun of The Dark”. But regardless, that really isn’t a massive flaw with the movie itself. It’s just something I wanted to bring up. So if you want to watch Ninja Scroll: The Movie in English subtitles, just expect the subtitles to be worded differently depending on what home video release, and where you watch it from.

So that’s really all I gotta say about Ninja Scroll: The Movie. While it may not be as legendary as Akira, and Ghost In The Shell 1995, Ninja Scroll: The Movie did achieved a good amount of critical and financial success when it was first released, and did contribute greatly to the Anime rise that was starting in the 1990’s (meaning that it helped people in the USA get into Anime). So if you wanna watch a very fun, and well-animated Samurai flick, please give Ninja Scroll: The Movie a watch.

I give Ninja Scroll 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.


Ghost In The Shell (1995) Movie Review by Eugene Alejandro

Disclaimer: The version of the movie that I’m reviewing is NOT the 2.0 version. This is a review of the normal version of the film which I own on DVD. With that said, please enjoy the review.

The 1995 Ghost In The Shell movie is a Japanese animated science fiction and cyberpunk film directed by Mamoru Oshii, made and released by Bandai Visual and Production I.G, released into English by Manga Entertainment, and is adapted from the Manga series of the same name by Masamune Shirow (the movie even has an alternative titled called Mobile Armored Riot Police: Ghost In The Shell).

The plot of the film is about an intelligence department named Public Security Section 9 who is on the task of hunting down a massive ghost hacker called The Puppet Master. The world of Ghost In The Shell is that there exists a special technology that allows the consciousness of a human being to enter an enhanced cybernetic body (hence the title of the movie), and for there to be someone who can hack into the cybernetic bodies is a very big problem. The movie mostly centers on the main character for the film; Motoko Kusanagi, who while going along with the mission in trying to capture the Puppet Master, ends up wanting to know more about the hacker (which ends up leading up to a pretty clever and surprising plot twist that I won’t spoil in this review).

In the same vain of other Anime movies such as Akira, and Ninja Scroll, Ghost In The Shell helped introduce Japanese animation into the USA, and was the huge critical and financial success when it first came out back in the year 1995 (the movie also served as inspiration for The Matrix franchise). Does the movie hold up and aged well from it’s grand reputation though? Yes it does. Similar to what I did in my review for the Akira movie, I will talk about each aspect of Ghost In The Shell (1995) in good amount of detail, and then say my overall final thoughts on the movie.

-The Story and Writing: In a very good way, the story in Ghost In The Shell 1995 is very deep and complex, and moves at a great pace thanks to how the script is written. If there one small thing about the story (and how it’s written) that I should mention however, is that because of the complexity of the plot, the story can sometimes be hard to follow, so I would strongly recommend watching this movie multiple times in case you are unable to fully understand the story from just one viewing. As far as the character development is concerned in the story and writing for Ghost In The Shell 1995, while there aren’t any flashbacks that show each of the characters origins in great amount of detail, the characters that are mostly presented in the film do at least have solid motivations for what they are doing, and serve a good purpose in the film. So as far as Ghost In The Shell 1995’s plot and writing goes, it’s excellent. I should also mention before I forget that the movie does have a very good way of foreshadowing things that happen. I won’t go into the specifics about if for this review, but it is something I wanted to bring up about the film’s writing and plot.

-The Animation: One of the truly most memorable things about Ghost In The Shell 1995 is its animation. The movie was (at least to my best of knowledge) the first Japanese animated feature film to use an animation making process called DGA (Digitally Generated Animation). This is the result of combining cel animation, and computer graphics together. As far as how that process of making the animation for Ghost In The Shell 1995 went back then, it was done incredibly well as the backgrounds have such strong amount of detail put into them, the character movements are very strong and help the character feel real, and even the animation regarding character facial movements also does a good job at helping the characters feel alive. The use of computer generated graphics for this movie also help make the animation even better as the visuals are groundbreaking for the year that the movie came out. So without rambling on and on, the animation in Ghost In The Shell 1995 is amazing and holds up very well to this day.

-The Music/Score/Soundtrack: Another memorable part of Ghost In The Shell 1995 is the outstanding soundtrack for it that was created by Kenji Kawai. What’s very fascinating about the music is that a majority of it is actually created using the ancient Japanese language; Yamato. The overall score by Kenji Kawai in the film is beautifully haunting, and helps fit with the movie’s very deep and complex tone. There are moments however when the movie is devoid from the soundtrack, but that at times is actually a good thing because the silent moments in the film actually work with how the overall movie is made. I honestly got nothing else to say about the movie’s score, so let me just say that overall, the soundtrack in Ghost In The Shell 1995 is fantastic.

-The Voice Acting: Both the Japanese language, and English Dub voice acting for Ghost In The Shell 1995 are really good. I do have to say however that because of me watching this movie mostly in the English Dub, I will say that I strongly recommend watching the movie in the English Dub of Ghost In The Shell as all the voice actors in it do the great job with their roles as each voice actor matches the character they are voicing very well. As far as the Japanese voice acting is concerned, it’s done very well, but not as memorable as the English Dub in my opinion. So in a strange way, I will have to say to mostly stick with the English Dub of Ghost In The Shell 1995.

-The Subtitles: The DVD that I own of Ghost In The Shell 1995 includes subtitles that are colored white. The subtitles that I saw when watching the movie in the Japanese language are done very well as all the words are very easy to look at, and they stay on the screen for a good amount of time for the watcher to read them. So if you want to watch Ghost In The Shell 1995 in Japanese with English Subtitles on, be glad to know that the subtitles (at least in the DVD copy that I own) are well made.

With all that I could say about Ghost In The Shell 1995, I’ll finish up this review of it by saying that the movie truly does deserve the strong reputation that it has gotten since it first came out thanks to its deep and complex story, themes, and tones, groundbreaking animation, and breath taking music. To anyone who is a fan of Anime, Sci Fi, CyberPunk, etc, should really give Ghost In The Shell 1995 a watch.

I give Ghost In The Shell 1995 Two Thumbs Up, and 5/5 Stars.

Akira: The Movie Review by Eugene Alejandro

Akira is a post apocalyptic, science fiction, and Japanese animated feature film directed and written by Katsuhiro Otomo, made by TMS (Tokyo Movie Shinsa), and originally released theatrically in Japan in the year 1988. The movie is also adapted from Katsuhiro Otomo’s own manga series of the same name.

The setting of Akira is that it is the year 2019, and Japan (more specifically, Neo Tokyo) is going through a massive economic crisis due to them trying to recover from the aftermath of World War 3, and spending most of their money for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Sports Olympics (the reason for why World War 3 happened in the movie is explained, but no spoiler about that will be said in this review). The movie’s basic plot is about a boy named Kaneda Shotaro who gets worried for one of his best friends named Tetsuo Shima after Tetsuo is taken by the Japanese military after an incident in which the biker gang that Kandea and Tetsuo are members of were fighting another biker gang (to clarify, this isn’t the very start of the movie. This only happens during the beginning of it).

The reason why Tetsuo was taken by the military is because when he got injured in the incident, he ended up getting physic powers (I recommend watching the movie for more details as to how and why he got the powers). Because of these powers he’s gotten, Tetsuo falls into madness, and is determined into re-awaking a character named Akira (who he keeps hearing about in his head) even if it means destroying the world just to do so (and yes, the movie is actually named after that character). Later on in the story, Kaneda finds out about Tetsuo’s powers and goal, and is determined into stopping one of his best friends in order to save the world.

When Akira was released in 1988, not only was it met with high critical praise and financial success, it also served as a landmark in Japanese animation (or Anime to say it more simply), and is also one of many animated products from Japan that helped introduce Anime into the West (with the others being the 1995 Ghost in the Shell movie, and Ninja Scroll from 1993). So with all that info about Akira said, does the movie live up to all of that recognition? Indeed it does, and I’m going to try talk about all the aspects of the film so that you can know why I think it is a spectacular movie (also, there will be NO spoilers in what I’m going to say, so you don’t have to worry about that).

-The Story and Writing: While the story of Akira (for the most part) ain’t anything new (even for the time that it was originally released), the story is greatly supported by a strong script that contains solid pacing, excellent character development, and just overall all the aspects good film writing needs. All the important characters are each well-written, and entire movie in general just has an epic feel to it thanks to how the script was written into allowing that. I must also include that the movie also has a satisfying ending to it (and ending I won’t go into detail about for the sake of this review). Earlier in this review, I did mention that Akira is a movie adaption of a manga of the same name by same person who directed and written the movie adaption of it (Katsuhiro Otomo). I bring this up because to anyone who’s read the manga, would know very well that there are a lot of changes made for the film adaptation in regards to some of the characters and the ending of the story (stuff I will not spoil). For how the movie adaptation of Akira was made, the changes work very well, and help the movie maintain its legendary status without alienating people who read the manga. Before I forget now I’ve just remembered, while the story and writing in Akira are very good, the film is (at times) a very dark plot that contains a lot of scenes of violence, so I certainly CAN’T recommend watching this movie if you are under 18 years of age (trust me. The movie is rated R for a reason).

-The Animation: For a animated theatrical released movie from Japan that came out in 1988, It felt more like a movie that came out in 1998. The animation in this movie truly is revolutionary as for the time, this film utilized backgrounds and character designs with strong amounts of detail put into them. All the characters have excellent facial expressions for whenever they are happy, mad, sad, etc. This a good for the animation because it helps the characters feel alive. The animation regarding the movements is also very impressive, and helps make the animation in the entire film work. I should also talk about this movie’s use of colors as I’m sure that even the colors used in the animation for this film were also revolutionary. I say this because there is just so much detail put into this movie’s colors that helped make the animation look even better.

-The Music/Score/Soundtrack: The soundtrack in Akira was made and provided by Geino Yamashirogumi, and Tsutomu Ohashi. This movie’s music is without a doubt one of the greatest movie scores of all time thanks to all the instruments, notes, and how it fits the tone of the film very well. The music is also another novelty as (at least to my knowledge anyways) I don’t think any other Anime film at the time of its release (or possibly even before that time) had music this epic. So overall, Akira’s music is great, and definitely worth listening to.

-The Voice Acting: I must state that for this review that I am going to talk about both the original Japanese language and English Dub. While I myself don’t speak Japanese, I have watched numerous movies made in Japan to the point that I am able to notice how the performances are. With that said, the Japanese voice acting in Akira is great with each voice actor and actress fitting the character they are voicing very well. The English Dub by Pioneer/Geneon is also excellent with each voice actor to voice their characters in English fitting the roles perfectly without a single one standing out. In conclusion, the voice acting in general in Akira is good.

-The Subtitles: Originally, I didn’t feel like talking about the subtitles for this movie that were included in the Pioner/Geneon DVD that I own, but to those who are reading this review, and are interested in watching this movie with the original Japanese speaking language with English subtitles, the good news about that is that the subtitles for this movie are solid. The subtitles for the DVD that I have are colored yellow, and the way that all the words are presented whenever a character is speaking look well enough for the watcher to easily see them. The words also stay on screen for a good amount of time for the watcher to see them without them having to pause the movie just to read the subtitles. So if you are looking for good English subtitles when watching Akira in Japanese, expect the subtitles to do their job just fine.

Now that I have said and pointed out all my reasons for why I believe Akira is a fantastic movie, I can certainly recommend giving it a watch as the film truly is a legendary groundbreaking work of cinematic art that has helped introduce Japanese animation to Western audiences thanks to its very strong story and writing, fabulous animation, and epic soundtrack.

I give Akira: The Movie 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie Review by Eugene Alejandro

Fifty Shades of Grey is a major motion picture adaptation of the first book in the Fifty Shades Trilogy of the same name, and is released by Universal Pictures and Focus Features, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, written by Kelly Marcel, and produced by Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, and E.L. James (the creator and writer of the Fifty Shades Trilogy). The movie adaptation stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele, and Jamie Dorman as Christian Grey.

I have not read the book that this film is adapted from, so I will just review the film simply as a movie in general rather than an adaptation of the source material.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this movie because even before I watched it, I already knew it got a lot negative reviews, and was nominated for a lot of Razzie Awards. The reason why I saw it was because I curious and I wanted to make a review of it. And much to my surprise, it isn’t one of the worst movies I have ever seen (I have seen much worse movies), but it is still a boring and dull piece of cinema I’ve had the displeasure of sitting through for the sake of this review. Before I talk about why I disliked Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie, I do want to mention the positives the movie has.

The first and biggest positive is the music by Danny Elfman, and the soundtrack that consists of other already existing songs. Danny Elfman’s score that he provided turned out great and even fits the tone of the movie. I can also say the same for the songs. The second positive is that the camera work is very solid and very well-done. I’m giving major props to the cinematographers and camera crew for the excellent work they did.

Before I now begin to talk about the negatives in Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie, I do want to mention one thing that I found very polarizing to me. What that is, is the casting and acting. I will give credit to the movie that the cast is pretty solid for what it is, but most the performances (while not horrible) are definitely sub-par, but I’ll say that the cast did try the best they could with the script for this movie, and also the way the movie was directed.

It’s now time to talk about the negatives. The first is the very weak script this film has. The reason why the script is weak is because it causes the movie to move at a very slow and boring pace, the romance between Anastasia and Christian lacks good chemistry, there are a lot of unexplained random moments, and the ending is very abrupt.

Since I just mentioned the romance, please allow to elaborate as to why it is very lacking and not good. The reason’s are as I mentioned earlier is primarily the chemistry between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, and how their relationship is presented. Their chemistry consists of just them being attracted to one another because of their looks. That is not how romance works (especially for a movie that is in the romance genre). Romance is about two people falling in love with each other because of their personalities, interests, etc. Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie fails at being a romance film since it doesn’t know how it works.

The relationship that Christian and Anastasia have is that Christian is controlling Anastasia to the point that if she does something to his displeasure, he will “punish” her by performing many BDSM acts to her (and since he is controlling her, she accepts it). This is not the kind of relationship you show in a movie. For Christian to be controlling Anastasia to the point where he “punishes” her with BDSM just ends up causing this movie to have a bad message to it. I also found it to be uncomfortable to watch.

Another negative this film has is that some of the dialogue the characters say is unintentionally hilarious, and makes this movie feel less like a erotic romance drama. This is due to the bad script Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie’s was made with. Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie also fails at being an erotic film, as there isn’t even a lot of erotic content as you would expect from a story like this all because the bad pacing makes the audience wait a very long time of any of it to be shown to them. And even when the erotic scenes happen, they are boring and uncomfortable to watch.

In conclusion, Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie is not one of the worst movies I’ve ever watched, but it’s easily one of the my least favorite films of all time. I must also warn that because it has BDSM in it, it is certainly not to be watched by anyone who isn’t age-of-consent.

I totally almost forgot to talk about the unexplained random moments I mention earlier in this review. What I’m specifically talking about are the scenes in which Christian Grey flies a helicopter, and a jet plane. There is not an explanation (and reason) as to why he knows how to do that, and it really hurts the story because of it.

I give Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie 2/5 Stars.

Suicide Squad Movie Review by Eugene Alejandro

Suicide Squad is a 2016 movie adaptation of the comic book series from DC of the same name about an anti-hero group that is forced to participate in missions or else they will be killed. The movie adaptation of the comics is directed and written by David Ayer, and stars Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leo as The Joker, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, and Karen Fukuhara as Katana.

While Suicide Squad is nowhere near as good as James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy (another movie about a team of characters with each of their own unique abilities and powers that has comedy in it), or as entertainingly funny in a good way as Tim Miller’s Deadpool, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad manages to be an entertaining movie in its own way without trying to act like another movie in the hopes of becoming successful.

The comedy in Suicide Squad works surprisingly well despite the story being about people forced to take orders or else they’ll be killed because David Ayer’s script did a solid enough job working in humor in order to help make the film fun for people to watch. There are some jokes that didn’t impress me, but there was enough good comedy that I didn’t mind the weak jokes.

The entire cast does a great job portraying each character thanks to David Ayer’s directing. Not only that, but in my opinion, each actor was well-casted as they do very much feel like how the characters in the comics would behave.

The special effects in the Suicide Squad film (both practical and computer) are fantastic and look very real. In my opinion though, I belief they would’ve been ever better to see in 3D, but the way I saw the film, I was at least satisfied with how the effects looked so I can’t really complain.

The soundtrack contains original music as well as already existing songs, and for what the soundtrack has to offer, it’s great to listen to. I really liked that the movie included Queen’s Bohemiam Rhapsody in it (that song is in one of the trailers so it’s not really a spoiler for anyone who’s reading this review).

My only nitpick with David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is that the story while not terrible, dull, and/or weak, doesn’t add anything too new to movies based on comics. I’m aware that I am reviewing a movie based on DC’s Suicide Squad comics, and that I shouldn’t be expecting a grand epic story, but I still felt that the plot for the Suicide Squad movie was just too simple.

In conclusion, Suicide Squad is a fun enough movie that I can recommend watching this year as it has it’s moments of good humor, and also a lot of cool action scenes. It’s also nice to finally see the characters in a live action motion picture.

I give the Suicide Squad movie 2 Thumbs Up, and 4/5 Stars.

Monster Hunt Review by Eugene Alejandro

Disclaimer: I watched the movie on Netflix which only has the Chinese language version with English subtitles. That means that this review will not be of the English Dub.

Directed by Dreamworks animator Raman Hui, Monster Hunt is a live action Chinese major motion picture with the monsters in the movie being CGI (Computer-Generated-Image), and is the second highest grossing Chinese film of all time (the film that currently took the spot of the highest grossing Chinese film of all time is Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid).

The plot of Monster Hunt is about a world in which Humans and Monsters co-existed together until the humans decided to get rid of the Monsters, and banish them into a land separate from the Human land. In the Monster Land, a civil war breaks out because the current king of the Monsters was killed and overthrown. The monster queen of the previous king flees the monster land while being pregnant along with her bodyguards because the new king believes that the child will overthrow him, and unite the humans and monsters again. The queen and her bodyguards escape to the human land, but two humans named Song Tianyin, and Hua Xiaolan end up getting involved in the situation, and now must protect the new future king of the monster race.

The best way that I can describe Monster Hunt is that it’s one of the cutest and weirdest movies I’ve ever seen that is no way horrible, but average at best.

Since this film is notable for its CGI monsters, I want to talk about the designs of the monsters and the quality of the CGI they have. The effects used to make the monsters come to life in this movie are done well as the quality of the CGI makes them look like they exist in the real world thanks to the texturing on them being solid, and the movement animation on them is also great with them running very fast, climbing, jumping, and some of them even doing martial arts techniques. The designs of the monsters however, is a mixed bag to me. To elaborate what I mean by saying that, is that while the designs aren’t horrible (in fact, some of them are very creative) some of the monster’s appearances do look like they were copied and pasted from other monster designs in the film (meaning that some monsters look too similar to others with only a few differences). In general, the special effects in Monster Hunt are decent enough to belong in a theatrically released film.

The directing and writing in Monster Hunt does have its moments of good storytelling, character development, and mixing humor into some serious moments well, but in my opinion, I found the story about the monsters to be superior to that of the humans because while I didn’t hate that the movie focused on the humans, I still preferred if the film was more about the monsters as their storyline was superior in my opinion.

There are three songs in the movie (two play during the film, while one plays at the credits), and I’ll say that I did enjoy listening to them as they are sung very well. While one of them is a random musical number, it’s still entertaining no less.

I mentioned earlier that this movie is weird. I want to clarify that by saying that there only some weird moments in the film that exist for comedy, but for what they are, they do not contradict that film’s overall tone. I also found that for a family film, some of the weird humor is a little bit adult, but not offensive.

The physical acting and voice acting is really good as all the actors give solid performances to their characters, and you can tell that they are having fun with their roles. The English subtitles that are provided by Netflix (which is where I saw the film), are worked into the movie very well, and don’t look cheap and/or rushed.

Since this is a martial arts film, I obviously have to talk about the martial arts in it. The martial arts scenes in Monster Hunt are very creative, and pulled-off well thanks to how the movie’s directed. If you are a fan of martial arts cinema, then you will like this movie as it has a lot of fun martial arts moments in it.

After all that I have said, Monster Hunt is a decent enough Chinese martial arts flick that I can recommend watching out of curiosity as it does have it’s good moments, and was clearly made with love and passion with good special effects and a solid story, but is in my honest opinion, an average movie.

I give Monster Hunt 3/5 Stars.

Hero Quest: The Movie Review by Eugene Alejandro

Hero Quest: The Movie (also called A Warriors Tail, and Savva. Heart of the Warrior) is a Russian animated movie released around the years 2015 and 2016, and has the voice acting talents of Milla Jovovich, Whoopi Goldberg, Sharon Stone, Jim Cummings, Joe Pesci, Geoffrey Cantor, Jason Harris, and Will Chase (at least for the English Dub of the movie which I am reviewing).

The story of Hero Quest is about a young boy named Savva who must save his mother and village from being sold as slaves to the Monkeys from beasts called Hyenas. On his journey, he meets the last white wolf named Angee, a baron type character named FAFL (who is cursed to have a mosquito on his shoulder all the time), a pink lemur-like creature named Puffy, and the daughter of a shaman named Nanty. Together, they all set out to find a magician for each of their own reasons, but must fight their way through the monkeys lead by the three-headed Mom JoZee.

Since I am reviewing an animated movie from Russia that was translated into English, I do want to talk about the quality of the English dubbing first. The English Dub in Hero Quest (for the most part) is really good thanks to the talented cast starring in it. Milla Jovovich especially did a great job providing the voice for the character of Savva who is male as she really does sound convincing as a male character. Whoopi Goldberg also did a good job voicing the character of Mom JoZee as she was able to combine the characters humorous and evil personalities together very well. The rest of the cast also do a solid job, except for Sharon Stone as Puffy. I say this because while she didn’t do a horrible voice acting job, it was still a weak performance because she didn’t even sound recognizable, and the voice she gave to the character was just annoying to me (the character in general is also annoying).

The movie’s computer animation is really solid. The backgrounds, some of the character designs, the movements are all done very well, and the lip-syncing animation for the English Dub perfectly matches what the characters are saying. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but a Dragon does show up in it, and the design of it as well the quality of it’s animation and how it moves is spectacular. There are some moments however when the animation isn’t all that good. For the most part, the human characters look a bit cartoonish for the film’s tone, and that’s pretty much the only weak part of the animation for me.

The movie’s music and soundtrack is another thing that I can praise to an extant in this movie as it instruments used to make the music are handled very well and help with the movies tone, and the two songs that play during the movie are sung great. The only part of the music and soundtrack that I didn’t like was the ending credits song. The ending credits song is a mix of pop and rap (at least of what I heard of it) which I found to be out of place for the movie. I know it’s just a credits song, but I still wanted to talk about it.

Now for the part of the movie that I didn’t like, and that is how the story flows sometimes. To elaborate, there are parts of the plot and feel very rushed, and sometimes whenever it would change to another scene, it would do it by fading to black as if it was a made-for-television movie that would go to commercial. The story itself isn’t horrible, but I felt that it needed to have been told a little bit better. Also, some scenes in the movie feel completely pointless and random (which doesn’t help the story at all).

After all that I have said about Hero Quest: The Movie, it is a harmless mediocre computer-animated fantasy movie that does have a solid cast who give good voice acting performances (except for Sharon Stone), decent looking animation, and good enough music and soundtrack score, and an average fantasy plot with some writing issues that aren’t too bad, but are still noticeable.

I give Hero Quest: The Movie 3/5 Stars.