12 Days Of Dino Dicember #20: When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1970)

The third (and penultimate) entry in Hammer’s “Cave Girl” series (One Million Years BC, Prehistoric Women, and lastly Creatures The World Forgot), when Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (or The World, in its UK release) is also one of Hammer’s prehistoric cavemen and dinosaur films to be confusingly retitled as “When Dinosaurs Chased Their Own Tails” for its italian release, which also altered the opening voice over narration to make some random ass sexist and classist remarks about dumb bimbos and how unlikely “lazy student protesters“ were in the stone age and so on.

It would be utterly random if i was not well acquainted with the comtempt and disrespect italian producers at the time had for most “foreign but not american” films (or for example the shameful adaptation/mangling they did of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, especially the movies), and combined with the fact we usually made cavemen movies as comedies. Sex comedies, too.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #18: Cowgirls Vs Pterodactyls (2021)

In the spirit of exploiting terms like “gender equality” and “inclusive”, i had to follow up my review of Cowboys VS Dinosaurs with this one, because everyone (aside from nazis, fascists, and their “variants”) is welcome to make its own bad movie about dinosaurs, with effects that really stretch the modern goodwill towards crap movies to excuse stuff that’s embarassing even by film student standards.

So cowgirls can fight the other – and honestly more represented in cinema – group of specific dinosaurs, because we’ll pretend we can’t afford to create any other dinosaur that isn’t a pterodactyl.

I do like pterodactyls (and Aerodactyls), so whatever, what plot brings these two factions to fight for the fate of the land without having to kidnap emperors?

A stolen husband. Yep. One day a teacher’s husband is pteronapped, so she enlist the helps of a prostitute and a gunslinger (a rpg class not represented in the title, for shame) to save his ass.

One thing i was hoping for is them trying to do this as “period piece”… and they do!

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Pokemon Scarlet/Violet NSWITCH [REVIEW] | Out Of The Pokéoven

My first review of a new Pokemon mainline title here, yay!

Felt like i had to since i didn’t do so for Legends: Arceus or the Diamond/Pearl remake (as i previously explained), and we do need to talk about this one. Sternly, too.

I only wanna preface i won’t be considering the competitive aspect or balance there of as i honestly never cared too much for that even decades ago, less so today, meaning i can’t and won’t be giving a throughout evisceration of the meta, so to speak.

Fair warned be thee.

The first titles of Pokemon 9th generation, Scarlet/Violet take place in the Paldea region, heavily inspired by the Iberian peninsula, so if you felt the spanish and portoguese vibes from the trailers, you were correct. The story starts off with you reaching the school’s annual Treasure Hunt event in time to encounter your rival/friend (aka the pokemon rival equivalent of Son Goku from Dragon Ball), but interestingly (and as advertised) this lead to three story routes you can follow, which also include the regular old fashioned fights against Gym Leaders for badges leading to fight that region’s Elite Four equivalent and then the Champion.

The other ones involve a region-wide quest for mystics herbs protected by giant Pokemons, and the storyline that pits against an antagonistic team of trainers, in this case rebellious students that form a gang called Team Star, spread in various bases with a respective Leader ruling it.

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[EXPRESSO] Avatar: The Way Of The Water (2022) | Catboys Galore

In a way, i was looking forward to see this in theathers, as in i wanted to get this thing done and dealt with as soon as possible, so i could move on to far more interesting releases.

And watching the movie confirmed exactly what i feared/expected: another constipated public dump by James Cameron (of James Cameron fame) about space “non-native americans” tribal catboys that have to defend their land from the evil humans that want their planet and resources.

Set 10 years after the event of the first movie, Way Of Water introduces Jake’s family and their struggle to escape from an old enemy (returning into a Navi’ body), by leaving the jungles of Pandora and seek refuge into one of the water-dwelling tribes of Navi’.

Still a lot of vapid neo-age tribalistic mumbo jumbo bullshit designed to look pretty but with an artstyle derived from a mid 2000s “alien landscape wallpaper” search, be technically impressive but devoid of any substance that couldn’t be found into a 90’s kid movie about climate change, the character are mostly paper thin, by design too.

We gotta make room for all the other excesses that could have been cut from the movie, but let’s never explain some incredible shit that might actually need it, all made worse by an incredibly bloated and unwarranted runtime (for this theatrical cut) that goes BEYOND the 3 hours mark.

Still, despite all these issues, i gotta admit some of the new stuff it’s pretty cool (like the new robots/mechs), the movie delivers on the spectacle, there’s a lot of action, Cameron still knows how to direct some really fuckin cool action-combat scenes, and there’s enough to make it entertaining on a basic level, even if it IS cinematic constipation.

Not looking forward to the third one.

Bleach: Soul Resurreccion/Ignition PS3 [REVIEW] | Hollow Warriors

Yep, going to try and get that “SEO synch energy” going… or so i planned, only to forget, but regardless, it’s still worth pointing out that somehow Bleach is back, with the anime getting new episodes to continue where they stopped years ago, the manga resurrected itself on its 20th anniversay with an one-shot chapter to set up either a new arc or a “Boruto” style follow-up series about Ichigo’s kid, so i guess it’s time to talk about this forgotten Bleach game.

You might argue that this isn’t a “proper” musou but i feel it deserves to be called at least a “musou-like”, and one that nowadays it’s hard to own in any legal sense, as it was released exclusively on PS3 in 2011 and there still remains, most likely due to being an anime licensed videogame, or being co-developed by Racjin and Sony’s Japan Studio.

One that nowadays it’s hard to find and commands some “interesting prices”, FIY.

So yeah, Soul Resurreccion (or Soul Ignition, if you wanna use its japanese title) is the closest thing we have to a “Bleach musou”, and as most avid Shonen Jump readers could guess, it’s mostly based on the Hueco Mundo section in the Arrancar story arc of the Bleach manga-anime, which makes sense since there’s nothing but sand, monsters and bigger monsters in this desert world, so let’s mostly adapt that part of the arc, since it’s very videogamey anyway, with the various encounters against the Espada and then the final confrontation again the big bad Aizen.

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[EXPRESSO] Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022) | Splintered Spectacular

Years in the making, but Guillermo Del Toro’s take on beloved italian literary children classic Pinocchio is here, available worlwide on Netflix, after a very brief debut in some select theathers.

It takes many liberties from the book but does so in a way that makes it a more interesting adaptation of the story, and the changes (also needed cause of the tale being retold/reinterpretated squillions of times) do compliment that, like it now taking place in fascist WWII Italy, Jiminy Cricket being an actual character with agency and some background to him, Geppetto being more important of a character, with a new tragic backstory involving its dead, unwooden, real son.

It embraces the darker tone and themes of the original work, like, completely, far more than 2019’s Matteo Garrone take, for one, as in to committs to retain the savage nature of many events, Pinocchio’s ability of being far worse than “rambuctious”, and the often terrifying imagery, while also showing a lot of creativity in both reworking or adding new characters and lore to expand the story, give some surprises and changes to make the story interesting and different from previous adaptations, without completely transforming into something that isn’t Pinocchio anymore.

After all, this is Del Toro’s vision and if i wanted the original Pinocchio experience, i’d just read the book (which i still recommend doing, if you haven’t, btw) again.

I’d say more but i would just spoil some of the original material, so i will just bite me tongue.

the stopmotion animation it’s excellent, absolutely impeccable work, the songs are nice enough, plenty but quite brief (never overstaying their welcome, and overall i’d say this is easily one of the best adaptations of Pinocchio, like ever, and somehow able of actually living up to expectations.

Simply excellent.

Dead Island Riptide (Definitive Edition) PS4 [REVIEW] | #deadislandretrospective

Aka the “actual” Dead Island 2, as time would eventually tell.

Technically not, but actually yes, since it’s developed by Techland and in terms of story it’s a direct sequel, following up immediatly (after a brief recap) where we left off that unremarkable (to be kind) narrative, which means the group of survivors gets aid by an american Navy ship but it’s immediatly captured by one of the side villains from the previous game, Serpo (guess Betraldo didn’t have the same ring to it), intenting of using their immune blood to concoct a cure and a weaponized bio weapon, or something. Doesn’t matter much, as you shipwreck into a nearby island in the archipelago, where the zombie epidemic has also spread after the incident in Banoi, and learn that they plan to nuke the entire island in order to contain the zombie plague.

Yeah, the story it’s about as crappy and easy to completely not give a shit about, with the obvious twists seen coming miles and miles away, but i’d argue it’s actually, objectively worse since there is barely a plot in Riptide, like, at all, aside from the beginning and ending, where a side character in the first game becomes the main antagonist… barely, so you can say this game does recycle too much from the first, even in this regard.

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A review of Pokemon Scarlet/Violet is coming later this month, actually + EXPRESSO review of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio

While i did make some first impressions/ramble on both Pokemon Arceus and the Diamond/Pearl remake, i figured this time i HAD to make a proper full lenght review of the first 9th gen Pokemon title, especially since it’s a mainline release. And since i did actually preordered the damn thing this time around, and i kinda wish i didn’t. Kinda.

Seriously, while the game has already been discussed and fairly criticized enough for the obvious reason (it runs and looks like ASS, let’s be brutally honest about it), and while the undeniable fact of Violet/Scarlet selling 10 millions in 3 days it’s kinda depressing and makes it clear once again how “boycotts in videogames” are useless for many reasons and most often feel moot since we’re talking about franchises that do incredible numbers by name recognizition alone… we do gotta talk about Violet Scarlet’s issues proper.

Especially since the fact of it being Pokemon means for many the plethora of issues are mostly handwaved or pre-forgiven, when we’re pretty much in a Cyberpunk 2077 situation, yet we didn’t and we’ll never see the same backlash, despite derserving it and the criticisms being pretty similar in origin and nature.

So i’ll do what i can to “balance the scales”, and talk in length about the many problems and strenghts of Scarlet/Violet, a game i’m currently enjoying despite everything, but one i’m also feeling quite disappointed, since it was clearly something that Game Freak should have been made able to cook in the “development oven” for at least 1 more year.

To misquote Strong Bad “this goose isn’t cooked”.

Seriously worried this will be become another costant issue plaguing Pokemon releases, because sure as shit Nintendo isn’t gonna make Game Freak take more time, but crack on with the “AAA pretty much biannual” style of releases.

On another tangent, while i did find some theathers that showed Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio almost a week before it’s Netflix release date… it was literally like 5 days, as much as i prefer watching movies in theathers i also can use to save me some cash, and i still have a Netflix subscription, so the EXPRESSO review for that it’s gonna be a little later than it could have been, but regardless, it’s coming soon.

[EXPRESSO] Disney’s Strange World (2022) | The Ventures

Apparently Disney’s latest animated film (no, it’s not a Pixar joint) is bombing in theathers, and i do wonder why exactly, especially in its home market where people celebrate “turkey day”.

Probably the choice to market it a little too late to generate some online buzz, and as much it’s funny to point out how many “first gay character in a Disney movie that can be easily edited out for China” Disney seems to possess and parade about… in this case the discussion distracts from the fact this one it’s pretty good.

Strange World is a surprisingly good throwback to adventure films of yore, pulp adventure comics, and of course the old literary classics involving discovering new worlds with bizarre or extinct animals and fauna, especially Verne’s Journey At The Center Of The Earth.

The movie starts with a Davy Crockett-esque tale of Jaeger Clade bouts of ventures alongside his son Searcher, then we see Jaeger continue alone his voyage to find out what lies behind the enormous mountains that surround their village, while his son decides to remain to study a rare plant they found while exploring.

25 years later Searcher has basically created a new utopia as his botanical discovery led to them farming the plant (named Pando) and using it as an energy source/fuel that powers everything.

He lives with his wife and his son Ethan, but as the Pando plants begin to suffer from a sort of disease, he’s forced to journey into the inner depth to find out why, but it accidentally leds to them discovering an entire new world full of bizzare creatures, alien flora and living “isles”.

Likeable characters, fun interactions, lots of adventure and action in a world that does amaze and inspire in its oddities, and solid themes of enviromental coexistence.

[EXPRESSO] The Cuphead Show (Season Three) 2022 | Devilicious

I’m gonna be brutal and make it extra clear (in case you didn’t read the reviews of the two previous season/slices/cours): i’m kinda glad this is the end and i hope there’s not more of this to come.

Unsurprisingly so, the whole cliffhanger with Mugman dragged to literal hell by the Devil and Cuphead finding a way to rescue his brother is immediatly dealt with in the first episode, though at least it’s a longer opener to better make the Devil… basically Squidward. Even more than before.

After that we’re back to the usual episodic fair, but there are still some notable moments that also elicit some legit laughs even for the older audiences, and guess what, once again it’s due to the Devil being such a big pile of luciferian ham.

Just in time for some delightfully long christmas themed shenanigans, with a 30 minutes Devil-centric Christmas special that also happens to be the best episode, hands down.

Actually, to be fair, this season does involve the Devil more into the various episodes, might as well since his presence stopped being special, and he still the best character by far (alongside Porkrind and King Dice, of course).

As much i really forced myself through all of The Cuphead Show more for completition sake after season one, i can’t deny this show can still whip up some intriguing visuals and show off some nice editing and composition, alongside some decent jokes, not too bad for something that it’s aimed at kids and just isn’t interested in the amazing opportunity brought by its license…. to do anything that resembles the Cuphead “inspiration materials” aside from the looks.

It’s a Netflix style adaptation of a popular franchise/brand alright, but keeping all THAT in mind… it’s alright, it’s inoffensive. It sure is content.