Monday, December 29, 2014

GadgetJax Reviews: 'Frozen', by Walt Disney Animation Studios (This gun be good)


Okay, everyone. Real Talk. Have you ever seen a movie that you really liked, but then started hating for 'no reason'?

I think there really isn't any point in me drumming up suspence anymore, since you already know what I'm reviewing. You read the title, so why am I trying to act impressive?

No reason, I just like to over-do things. But I'm telling you, the only overdone thing here, is my toast. :)

So, Frozen. *takes a deep breath* I'm going to try and be as unbiased as I can during this review. I'm going to acknowledge what it does right, what it does wrong, and I won't be bashing it to a pulp just because I don't like it. Oh, and one more thing...

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

So, Frozen. The plot is standard Disney fare. Princesses (Anna and Elsa) get caught up in some problem, needs help from some wandering guy (Kristoff) with an animal, exactly what you'd expect from Disney. The animation is done really well, and the attention to detail is quite impressive in certain scenes! The dialouge stays funny when it needs to, but still transitions into the serious portions without any real contradiction. Another thing that makes this movie 'memorable' is the characters themselves. Olaf has some of the best lines in the entire Disney franchise, and his curious-yet-naive personality fits him really well! Also, the soundtrack for this movie is quite catchy.

Now, for what I don't like... *Inhales like crazy*

While I know that a lot of people like positive reviews, I'm going to tell you all real quickly 2 reasons why I choose to usually review things I don't like.

Reason #1: "All comedy is derived from grief". I like being funny when I do these reviews, so choosing a book/movie/topic that I'm not fond of allows me to express myself in a way that is humorous to the audience.

Reason #2: "It's easier to tell you why a car doesn't work, rather than why it does work". What it means is that it is much easier to tell you the flaws of media, rather than what makes it good.

So, with that out of the way, let's get straight to the broken car reviewing- er, Frozen. No, I don't plan on reviewing cars...

First issue, this soundtrack is TOO catchy. Some of the music is nice and upbeat, but other songs get grating over time because they feel either out of place or too slow to match the mood. The (in)famous 'Let It Go' is something that I enjoyed only a few times before starting to hate it because of how slow the lyrics are, and the logic behind it. So, Elsa was isolated in her castle, she escapes it to feel 'free', but her idea of being free involves isolating herself into another castle? I don't understand the logic behind that.

Next problem, some of these characters aren't the greatest. Actually, what I mean to say is that everyone is a great character EXCEPT Anna. She isn't a mean character, but she does little to progress the plot, and it often feels like she impedes the story, rather than progressing it. Her foolishness got her hurt by Elsa in the intro, HER stubborness drove Elsa off the edge and made her flee Arendelle, HER persistence got her hurt by Elsa in the Ice Castle, HER cluelessness got her to get Hans into the Castle to take over, oh, and speaking of Hans...

This movie did not need a villain. It really didn't, and the movie would have been much better without one, since the whole conflict of the movie revolves around Elsa, who is NOT a villain. Until his unveiling near the end of the movie, Hans is one of the most likeable characters in the entire movie. Him revealing to be the villain feels like a Last Resort effort on the behalf of Disney, because he steps out of characteristics that have already been established. Also, he did NOT know about Elsa having ice powers until AFTER the blessing request that he made with Anna, so that means that Hans must have been a good guy, but changed his mind during the event of the film FOR NO REASON. I imagine this choice like this:

Phil: Well, looks like we're just about finished with the script for Frozen!
Franklin: Looks nice so far! Wait a minute, I just realized something... we don't have a villain!
Phil: Okay, but it's too late to introduce a new character to the plot, so what should we do?
Franklin: Let's throw darts do decide which character turns evil!
Phil: Sounds great!

-_-

Back on the subject of Anna, she does do a few things to help progress the story, such as purchasing those tools for Kristoff and saving Elsa's life near the end (before getting chilled), but she just feels like a dead weight to the plot. Not a 'Jerk' kind of dead weight, similarly to characters like 'Patrick Star', but enough to make you mad at her after 2 or 3 viewings of the movie. I know none of the problems she caused were voluntary on her part, but if you were to discover that your sister had magical Ice powers and then she proceeded to freeze the entire region, wouldn't you start focusing more because the situation is tense?

And that's all I got to say for Frozen. I wouldn't say it's a bad movie, but it defenitely doesn't deserve all the money it makes. Highest Grossing Animated Film? Yeah, that doesn't seem at all like a scam. So, if I don't like the movie, then why did it sell so well?

It has 2 Princesses. Olaf is funny. Let It Go is catchy the first time through. But that's about it.

I don't give scores to my reviews anymore, but if I honestly had to grade Frozen, I would personally give it only about a 7/10. It's good when it's good, but bad when it's bad.

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Want to see more of what I do? Head on over to Pokemon TCG Headquarters, my personal blog all about the Pokemon Trading Card Game. I try to update it as much as I can, and the more support I can get from you guys, the quicker new posts for both of these blogs can come out! As always, have a happy 2015, and take care everyone! http://tcghq.blogspot.com/p/welcome-to-pokemon-tcg-headquarters.html

Friday, December 26, 2014

Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell by John

I read Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell.  It was an adventurous, exciting, and funny book.  It is about a 14-year-old  Navaho Indian girl named Bright Morning.  As you read this story, you will see what life was like for the Navaho's in America during the mid 1860's.  You will also realize that the Indians have a very strong family heritage.
 John

Friday, December 12, 2014

GadgetJax Reviews: The Wishbone Series! (more specifically Unleashed In Space)

*Note. The following review, while containing moments of frustration on the reviewers behalf, contains professional opinions towards a book series that is admired solely by a younger audience. If you happened to enjoy the Wishbone books prior to this review, I would recommend closing this tab, as things are about to get quite uncomfortable.* -The Editor

For the most part, my reviews usually follow a set pattern. They pretty much are exclusive to books that are "Good, but flawed". While I haven't really read any other reviewers opinions about the Wishbone Adventures books, I don't think I'll be making any enemies by saying that this book left the worst taste ever after reading it.

Let's start with the plot of the series in general, shall we?

Pretty much every Wishbone book follows an established formula. Wishbone, the dog, is performing some kind of activity with his human owner and his friends. (they are such generic characters, that I forgot their names. For now, let's call Wishbone's owner "Senor Cardgage." I won't matter, anyway, since these human characters never do anything relevant to the plot, for the most part.) The activity they are performing usually gets Wishbone to start daydreaming about a story in relation to the activity.

While this may seem like a cool idea for a book at first, It's not. It's not like the first chapter of the book is about the activity, and the rest is about story. Of course it isn't about that, because it would take effort to write that, and Internet Forbid anyone put effort into a book about dogs!

Instead, every 2 chapters or so, the daydream story re-transitions back to reality, where the story is absolutely dry. Seriously, reading these portions is awful. They aren't even bad, they just don't have any flavor! If I had to give an analogy, reading the script to the Percy Jackson movies is like eating a pile of garbage, while reading the reality portions of Wishbone is like eating a pile of unseasoned rice. Even though the Garbage tastes awful, the rice has absolutely no flavor, making it unsatisfactory and pointless to eat. I mean, is it really that difficult to put some salt on the rice? That's not hard, so why was it impossible to put any effort into the reality portions?? WHY?!?

Oh, but the daydream portions! What about them?!? Oh, they are just as bad! Okay, since Wishbone is a book about dogs, you think that the stories would be modified to represent a story moreso tailored to animals replacing the human characters right?

Take a wild guess. Seriously, throw a dart at a dart board, then come back and read this and tell me your answer. The answer?

No.

While I haven't read any specific Wishbone books aside from the one that is the subject of this review (Unleashed in Space) and "The Hunchdog of Notre Dame", I can tell you right now that every story is awful to read, because Wishbone is just 'copy and pasted' into the story without much other additional modification (I say not much because a lot of the more 'complicated' and 'mature' parts of these stories are dumbed down for younger audiences). Don't you just love reading the story about that 1 dog and 3 humans that traveled the galaxy?

No.

Aside from the main character being changed to Wishbone in order to fit Wishbone's personality, there isn't a single character that acts differently towards Wishbone because he's a dog, and because of it, Wishbone sticks out like a sore thumb. If you really wanted to do something like this, why not just make all the other characters dogs as well?!?

No, that would take effort, which clearly wasn't in the budget. No wonder these books used to cost just $4 apiece! The sticker on this print says $1.99 for goodness sake. I have that much worth in coins in my vest pocket right now!

And finally, the narration. This book gets itself so confused. The commentary is told from the persective of a narrator, but the transitions between reality and the daydream are from the perspective of Wishbone! Why? This isn't an actual flaw, honestly, but I would have appreciated it if the author would have stuck to a specific narrative, instead of confusing me.


In conclusion, I find that the Wishbone series is probably the most unbearable, tossed together franchise I've ever reviewed on this blog. The stories are Copy and Pasted, the reality portions are boring, and many elements get just flat out confusing! Unless you have a thing for dogs, young children who have just got into chapter books, or you enjoy torturing yourself, I would not recommend these books. At all. Seriously, if someone is selling these for just 25 cents at a Garage Sale, avoid it, because those 25 cents could always go towards something better.