Skyrim Mod Massive Retrospective (Joy Reviewz?)

Lexi in early 2012, having just started Skyrim: “Vanilla Skyrim is the best game in the world! I love it so much, I'm overwhelmed by wonder! I don't even know how mods work and have no use for them (except Better Females because that's just goddamn necessary).”

Lexi in 2013, having recently beaten every major questline in Skyrim: “Skyrim was pretty fun, but it definitely had its fair share of flaws. I'm done with it for now.”

Lexi in mid 2014, having briefly restarted the game and gone back to grab a couple old mods, only to find that there are... lots of them now: “Wait... there are so many and they all look so awesome. And they actually work if you use this program? But... but... but....”

Lexi in late 2014, with blisters on her WASD fingers: “MODS. MODS. I NEED THEM. I LIKE THEM. I LOVE THEM. I NEED MODS FOR EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING DAMMIT.”

If that didn't give you a good enough idea, I am currently re-hooked on Skyrim, the majesty all restored through the glory of efficiently modding the game. While certain purists aren't a fan of corrupting the original game content, and I respect that, I've found that giving the game some... “tweaks”... has not only brought back the wonder of Skyrim, but made it more fun than it ever was before. I've now reached a point where I don't even need to quest to have fun, and just searching for the next new modification gives me an addictive, crack-like thrill that has hindered my productivity for some time now.

Y'know how people say “this is why we can't have nice things”? Skyrim's modding community is the reason we can.

In honor of this new addiction, and in order to get my obsessive thoughts on the subject out of my system, I've decided to scrawl up this “educational” retrospective on Skyrim's many, many mods... or, more specifically, the ones I happen to use and can somewhat-accurately “review.” Or, at least, give my opinions on. Which is basically what a review is.

So, without further ado, let me try to organize these as best I can.

Essential Mods:

These ones are kinda boring but they're pretty necessary. They don't give everyone bigger boobs or turn dragons into Diablo but you still want them.

Nexus Mod Manager: This is what makes mods, um, happen. I mean, sure, you can manually install every single file into your data folders, until they're all piled up and you have no idea what you left where and then eventually totally destroy your computer. But why not just use this instead? It makes everything work a hell of a lot better, giving you greater flexibility and the ability to turn mods on and off at your will. This is enormously necessary, seeing as not all mods play nicely together, and any single incompatible or poorly-made mod can cause your game to crash like a little bitch. You have to be able to turn things off without needing to dig out each file like fragments of a shotgun shell in your chest cavity.

SKSE: The standard script extender. While this isn't part of Nexus's mods it IS necessary for a lot of larger and more advanced mods. This isn't a very interesting one but you do kinda need it.

SkyUI: A staple for PC users like me. While Skyrim's menus are notoriously laggy and poorly-constructed, this alters the interface in a lot of key ways that allow you to more easily access menus by keyboard. Yay!

Run For Your Lives: This makes NPC's go inside during dragon attacks, dramatically reducing the likelihood of them dying horribly and making you unable to buy another sweetroll from them ever again. Nobody wants that.

The Paarthurnax Dilemma: Y'know when the Blades force you to either kill Paarthurnax or take a long walk off a short pier? This little ditty lets you tell them you're the motherf***ing Dragonborn and you do whatever the f*** you want and if they have an issue they can shove it up their fus ro dah.

Realistic Lighting Overhaul / Lanterns of Skyrim: Okay so this one I have mixed feelings on. While I like the lanterns and I kept them, they're mostly useful when everything is DARK AS HELL which is what happens when you use the Realistic Lighting Overhaul. While this mod makes everything look better and makes dungeons more realistically dark and gloomy, it can also be a huge pain in the ass, for a couple reasons.

First, not all locations (this goes quadruple for mod-originated locations) “register” as being dark, so your legion of scantily-clad followers won't pull their torches out and make you able to see. Secondly, even when you do have followers holding torches for you, they'll put them away during combat... which is sort of when you want to be able to see. Thirdly, the mod eats up a lot of the game's efficiency, causing lag especially if you (like me) have a s****y computer.

So, if your compy can take it and you are willing to sacrifice convenience for immersion, pick these two up. If not, leave them be.

A Quality World Map: Self explanatory. Makes your world map not totally useless, not sacrificing any of the map's 3D flavor while simultaneously actually showing you where the roads are.

Cutting Room Floor: Restores some dummied-out content and stitches the game up a bit.

Unofficial Skyrim Patch: Does its best to fix a lot of Skyrim's bugs. Admittedly, there are still too many to be truly repaired... especially once you start modding and can expect a crash from time to time. Save often.

Skyrim Project Optimization: Increases performance while indoors at no cost to graphics. No reason not to get it.

Toys:

Little changes that will affect gameplay in a noticeable way, but don't follow a specific theme.

Race Menu: Changes the character creation process a bit. This is supposed to be an essential must-have but I haven't noticed it to be thaaaaaaat great. It is necessary for some other mods, though.

Convenient Horses: Exactly what it sounds like. Just get it and thank me later.

Better Magic: Self explanatory. Overhauls magic.

Enhanced Night: One of the first mods I ever used, recommended to me by my girlfriend at the time who was an astronomy enthusiast. While I don't give much of a damn about the stars, this overhaul does make the sky much more pleasant to look at.

Helmet Toggle: While I'd be content to just not wear a helmet, those stupid perks that force you to wear a matching set really want me to. But if I'm gonna wear a helmet there's not a chance in hell I'm actually gonna look at it.

Immersive Settlements: Adds some odds and ends to the towns, making them feel a bit more “whole.”

Sounds of Skyrim: Comes in three different flavors (wilds, dungeons, and civilization). Makes the sound a bit more immersive.

Improved Combat Sounds: I haven't noticed a huge difference from this, but nor have I used it for a very long time. Still, I have faith in it.

Guard Dialogue Overhaul: Makes the guards less insufferable. Go ahead and grab it.

Monster Mod: Adds more monsters to break the monotony. Comes in lore-friendly and lore-unfriendly versions.

No Naked Comments: So you wanna run around naked and don't want people to keep yelling at you for it. I get that. We've all been there. This mod forces those snooty NPC's to keep their lips zipped and enjoy your nudity as much as you do.

Auto Ammo Unequip: Takes a minute to figure out but holy crap is it worth it. If you're like me, having a bow and arrows on your back really cramps your style and you wanna remove it all the time. This gives you one less thing to have to remove – removing your bow removes your arrows too.

Dovahkiin Perks: Changes your Speech skill into, somewhat weirdly, a Dragonborn-styled perk tree with a lot more options and cool things to get. Worth grabbing.

Path of Shadows: Overhauls Stealth to make it more realistic. This is really one you may want to take or leave – it changes some perks around and makes it so that positioning matters a lot more during stealth. Gone will be the days of being totally undetected by someone while you stand right in front of them.

Pretty Combat Animations: A customizable must-have that lets you adjust the way you hold and use your weapons. Also the way you sneak.

Followers:

Follower overhauls and custom-made followers. Pretty straightforward.

UFO - Ultimate Follower Overhaul: A must-have. Overhauls the whole follower... thing. Makes them a bit more complacent, causes them to level-up along with you, and allows you to have more than one follower at once (yes, I do have a small army).

Better Followers: I forget what this one does. I think it adds more followers to the game, but I've been too busy using custom-made ones to look for 'em. Still, may as well grab it. Can't hurt, right?

Ariel: Great design, useful in combat, wears what you tell her. She also seems to be disappear-proof. However, she uses default voices and therefore, despite her cool look, is a bit “faceless.”

Mindi Badweyn: Not quite as uniquely-designed as Ariel, Mindi also uses default voices and looks nice, even if her mouth bugs out sometimes and makes her look like a blow-up doll. What makes her stand out is that you can change her combat style when you install her to fill whatever role you need her to fill.

Mirai: Mirai supposedly has an actual questline she's supposed to give you, involving spiders, but she doesn't want to do that for me. Still, even without quests she's got a nice design, is an efficient mage, and is voice-acted. Not a top pick, but a good one.

Arissa: Fully voice-acted, with great dialogue and quests that actually work, Arissa is a well-made and useful lass to have around. The issue with her is that she's a judgmental f***ing bitch. She has a “regard” function where she can grow closer to the Dovahkiin, opening more quests and dialogue options. Issue is, if you... aren't exactly a “nice” Dovahkiin, her regard for you reduces dramatically, to the point where she refuses to even hold gear for you. If you're going on any Dark Brotherhood missions, leave her behind.

Sofia: The follower to end all followers. While Sofia doesn't have any quests, she's well-designed, badass, has a tracker in case you lose her, will ride a horse, and is actually nice to you unlike a lot of other user-made followers who like to be sarcastic hags. You can also change her combat style if you so desire. Most importantly, however, Sofia is fully voice-acted with TONS AND TONS of dialogue, all of which is well-written, hilarious, interesting, and often more than a little bit perverse. She's also a fun option for a queer Dovahkiin – while Skyrim has always made it possible to be romantic towards same-sex followers, Sofia will actually acknowledge that your character is female and admit that she's attracted to her anyway. She sounds a bit conflicted about it, but at least she actually addresses it.

Stealth Kills for Followers: Allows followers to make sneak attacks. I haven't really used this one yet but it sure sounds good.

Vanity:

Some mods that will make your avatar more kickass. This will be pretty sparse since I tend to favor a more... “mature” type of Vanity mods. Check the “After Dark” entry towards the end.

Apachii SkyHair: Though I can't decide whether the name is racist or why it would be, this adds a heap of great new hairstyles that you can choose. And a bunch more horrible ones. But hey, one nord's trash is another nord's treasure, right?

Believable Hair: Rather than adding new hair, this edits the textures of the vanilla hairstyles, making them look a little bit less, um, awful.

Better Females: Technically there's a Better Males out there too somewhere, but I haven't checked it out yet. This makes your ladyfolk look significantly less freakishly hideous and makes elves look like elves, not undead crackhead goblins.

Black Sacrament: A beautiful and immersive set of armor and weapons. This is a little bit tricky, since there are some bizarre and deceptively challenging quests you have to go through to be able to craft it – thing is, the quest may or may not actually work (didn't work for me at all). Nonetheless, if you're good with console commands you can gather up the sets anyway. It might just take a while. A long while. Worth it for how gorgeous these armor sets are. Non-cheesecake.

Feminine Running: You can take or leave this one, I'm not totally sure how I feel about it yet. Makes female models run a bit more... girlishly.

Seraphine's Armor: Normally I don't like borrowing costumes from other franchises, but this one is so damn obscure (Hunted: The Demon's Forge) that I don't think anyone will notice or mind.

Better Homes and Gardens:

Places for your Dovahkiin to actually live. Or otherwise go. Or whatever.

The Asteria: A dwemer airship that's exactly as cool as it sounds. Fairly easy to access, it has everything from mannequins, to a smithy, to an enchanting table, to an alchemy table, to plenty of weapon racks, to plenty of ingredients and presents, with several bedrooms, lots of space, and A WHOLE F***TON OF LAG. A fantastic mod but don't go anywhere near it unless you have a high-end computer.

Northern Cardinal: Your very own ship! An actual ship, though; not an airship. Nonetheless, what the Northern Cardinal lacks in flair it makes up for in efficiency. It requires a short questline to acquire it, but several perks – this ship can actually MOVE to several ports in Skyrim (including Falskaar, which we'll get to later). The insides are well-crafted and wonderfully decorated, with everything you'd need in a house, much less a boat. In addition, you can actually have a crew, comprised of followers and other NPC's, including a few shopkeepers such as a blacksmith and alchemist. Extremely highly recommended.

(After Dark) Bathing Beauties Luxury Suite: Your very own bathhouse! Can get you income from admitting customers, lets you hire guards, etc. Also makes a great player home since you can stay in the master bedroom of your very own little hotel.

(After Dark) Underground Bathhouse and Paradise Valley: What can I say? The bathhouse idea attracted me. This one is different in a lot of ways, mostly in that it's significantly larger. Still, the idea is the same and both locations are very similar in nature. You probably only need to pick one, depending on whether you want a small and fairly believable hotel... or a lavish paradise manor.

Loading Screen Goodies:

Let's face it; we spend as much time in Skyrim's loading screens as we do in the game itself. Let's spice it up.

Uncle Sheogorath's Helpful Hints and Tips: Remember Sheogorath? Otherwise known as the best part of the Elder Scrolls mythos as a whole? Replace to boring “helpful” text with lore-friendly rantings by Uncle Sheo, and get a laugh each time you're forced to load yet another interior.

(After Dark) Sexy Skyrim Loading Screens: While Sheogorath gives us something fun to read, he doesn't give us anything to look at. This does.

Areas/Questlines:

Some people are really ambitious. Some people don't think that just making a little suit of armor is sufficient to express their not-insignificant modification skills. Those people make stuff like this.

Moonpath to Elsweyr: The weakest of the three I'm listing here, MtE has its pros and its cons. The new areas are beautifully rendered with no noticeable lag, taking you on a beautiful journey through the jungles and waterways of Elsweyr, the home of the khajiit. It has a few short questlines where you get to fight against the oppressive Thalmor, a new armor suit, and a player home as well. However, a lot of the khajiit shanty-towns feature excessive amounts of narrow stairways that I just love to fall off of countless times. The audio is also a bit fudgy, and the subtitles very rarely do anything resembling lining up with the actual dialogue. Fun, but not a masterpiece.

Falskaar: Closer to a masterpiece, Falskaar is an open-world island not far from Skyrim proper. It features new armor and weapons, plenty of side-quests, a main quest, a new shout, and lots of other goodies. The whole place is lovingly rendered but not entirely unique (seeming very much like normal Skyrim's landscape), and everyone on the entire island is voice-acted. The only issue with this is that the leader of Falskaar, who you will have to listen to for the longest time, is horribly voice-acted and takes about 300% of the necessary time to croak out each halting, emotionless sentence. This also has a few minor bugs that break the immersion, usually involving NPC's taking way too long to perform quest-related tasks.

Or the jarl persistently antagonizing my companions and forcing them to kill him again and again.

Helgen Reborn: Here's our masterpiece. While I haven't finished it 100% yet, I know quality when I see it. Unlike the two I mentioned before this, this mod never leaves Skyrim proper – instead, it takes a “dead” area (post-Alduin Helgen) and turns it into a massive questline that involves rebuilding and defending the ruins. Beautifully voice acted with new companions on top of it, characters have unique personalities and the quests feel very organic and amazingly crafted. The only thing that makes Helgen Reborn seem like it isn't a natural part of Skyrim is that it's better than the official content.

Elvenwood: A little tree-top village populated by Bosmer. Not a masterpiece or even that detailed (in fact, I'd have put it in another category if I had one) but I like it anyway.

After Dark:

Anyone who's talked to me, read anything I've written, glanced at me from afar, or heard my name mentioned knows that I'm more than a bit of a pervert. Hence, it's not a huge secret that the mods that attracted my attention first were the naughty ones. Those under 18, go ahead and just don't open this spoiler block, 'cause this ain't for you.

(Note: That doesn't mean there will be any nudie pics in this section.)

UNP / CBBE: These two mods alter the female model a bit, and in some different ways. You can only have one, of course – meaning you're either an UNP person or a CBBE person. The majority of “sexy” armors or other functions require one of these two mods to function correctly. The difference? Not much – UNP is a bit more athletic, is more detailed, and has a bit more content. CBBE is curvier and has a better slider.

Which do I use? I use the Dimonized “Skinny” UNP build, since I'm currently playing an elf and wanted her to look slim.

Brokefoot's UNP Mashup: This is just basically a big pile of customizable female outfits that can be crafted. And they're all totally awesome. Not exactly NSFW but definitely skimpy.

Merta Assassin Armor: Craftable once you find the manual in the Dawnstar Sanctuary (or by nabbing it with a console command), this NSFW armor set is pretty wonderfully rendered and actually kind of awesome too, making your “slutty assassin” seem like equal parts slutty and assassin, rather than just full-slutty (nevah go full-slutty). You can also reforge the armor sets to make them gradually less slutty if you're into that kind of thing.

R18Pn Set: This introduces some pretty great-looking sets, which come in varying degrees of immersion-breaking. I like to enchant them and give them to my mages.

Sexy Idle Animation: Makes your Dovahkiin do something other than stand straight and give you the stink-eye.

Sexy Mannequins: I can't decide if this one is cool or horrifying. It turns your mannequins into live models... that don't ever move... and are basically lifeless statues. Kinda neat for an evil Dovahkiin as you can pretend you've been working on your sick taxidermy skillz.

Sexy Vanilla Armor: Sexifies all the basic armor sets for UNP-users. Pretty straightforward.

Sotteta Necromancer Outfit: Pretty decent but I mostly just took this one for the bottom piece, which I quite... um, like. The robe itself, however, has a really cool enchantment that does poison damage to anyone who dares come near you.

And with that, I've spent about three hours doing something absolutely meaningless and, now that I think about it, rather self-absorbed. So, I hope this helps you out if you plan to do some excessive modding in the future – and, if not, I hope that it managed to at least be kinda funny and give you something enjoyable to read while you poop.

39 Comments

How the RPG Board Helped Me Grow as a Writer

It's been a while since I started playing on Comic Vine's RPG board. During that time I've created a multitude of aliases, but have also had breaks, slowed down, or hit massive bursts of activity, depending on my mood and my schedule. Given time, I started to realize that something I initially thought was a pleasant time-waster was actually starting to help me a lot as a writer.

I suppose that deserves some explanation. As a writer trying to work on novels, comics, and various other mediums, I had a few specific struggles. One of them was motivation, keeping up my creative spirit, and sitting down to actually do the writing. Another was making my writing and stories more than just... well, characters doing things. My stories tended to settle one- or two-dimensional characters down a linear pathway that made up the tale's storyline. They were dry, to the point, and often shorter than they should have been.

How the RPG board changed that:

After making character after character, and storyline after storyline, my desire to write began to grow. I didn't know how each character would end up growing because of the way they interacted with the characters and players around them. I learned how to create different kinds of situations. I learned how a single character can react to different things in different ways, and how those differences and nuances were what created a multi-layered person. I became increasingly driven to see what would happen to those characters as they tackled more hurdles and steadily grew, and that was when I realized something huge.

Characters take time to develop. You can sit down at a desk and write out the most complex character you can think of, but characters primarily grow reactively. Without writing them, they'll never fully develop. And if you develop them too much early on, they'll end up overly (and artificially) complex. The point of this revelation is that 99% of writers start writing their story with their main character, a character with no development. They have to develop over time, meaning that you'll never end up with a nuanced personality until halfway through the book, if at all.

Take, for instance, the Icewind Dale trilogy. While R.A. Salvatore is a sketchy writer at times, there was no denying that his characters felt organic and lived-in from the get-go. Why? Because those books were based off of a D&D campaign. Those characters had players, and those players gave those characters distinct voices. By the time Salvatore started writing the books he had already been living with those characters for some time. Despite their simplicity, they were developed before he ever even put them to paper (besides their character sheets, of course).

It's vital to develop a character, through writing them, before committing them to paper. Not doing that earns you a one-dimensional character who never faces any challenges that you didn't specifically put them through, already knowing how they'd handle them. I feel like characters need various interactions and challenges before they can feel “lived-in.”

Take the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games. Those characters showed how they acted not only in their interactions with you, but with each other. Each character became faceted and unique, with vibrant personalities that were easy to love and identify with, but that was because each one seemed complete by the time we meet them.

Now, on the flip-side, take the constant onslaught of Straight White Male Everymen that current media tosses at us. How many of these can you relate with right away? Yeah, a lot of them have storylines that slowly unfold by the time the film's over, and you might be left kind of enjoying them. But rarely will you like them right away – that's left for the supporting characters who have more intense personalities and usually end up dying before we can get attached. These characters aren't created to be deep, they're created to be blank slates that can be slotted into whatever role the plot necessitates. And they're universally boring. This is as much true of books and games as it is movies and shows – without a personality that's already been explored in some manner, that personality rarely actually shines through in that character's actions and dialogue.

I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that, through using characters to interact with other players, I've created personas far more deep and complex than those I've written on solo projects (these tend to end up feeling either too bland or too bizarre). My confidence is gradually increasing in my writing and specifically in my ability to create characters, locations, and story arcs. I've learned about character interactions and relationships. I've learned about creating different facets that all shine a different way when a different light is shone upon them. For that, I thank the RPG boards. It's made a big difference in the way I write and the way I feel about my writing.

And then, a gecko devoured the sun.

32 Comments

My CV RPG Character Accounts

CVnU Characters:

CharacterAccountSpeciesAlignmentArcana
Vel'aaruvelaaru_of_illeaIllianChaotic Good0. The Fool
Isabelle DeLanceygloomyizzyHumanChaotic Neutral1. The Magician
AvarysoccultrixDemon MutantNeutral Evil2. The High Priestess
Ziah Darksongziah_darksongLorian MutantLawful Evil3. The Empress
NymphixianymphixiaDemon / DemigodNeutral5. The Hierophant
Kate/Kim Kleisenharlequin_twinsClown TwinsChaotic Neutral6. The Lovers
Veraza T'zereverazaDrowLawful Neutral7. The Chariot
Lindsay AlexandersweetsnowbellHuman MutantLawful Good8. Justice
Silhouettesilhouette_Xul'arNeutral9. The Hermit
Leenacircumstance_impUnseelie FairyChaotic Neutral10. Wheel of Fortune
Dirge Havocstormdirge_havocstormDynianChaotic Evil11. Strength
Sarah Dreznersarah_maniaHumanNeutral / CE12. The Hanged Man
Anne Bishoptwisted_anathemaHumanNeutral Evil13. Death
Sue Ji Leesnapping_dragonflyHuman CyborgLawful Neutral14. Temperance
Zera Thyiazera_the_exileVorian VampireChaotic Evil15. The Devil
Cassian Godwinnecassian_godwinneImmortal HumanNeutral Good16. The Tower
Belle Nightingalebelle_nightingaleHumanNeutral Good17. The Star
MaxiwynnelilmaxieGranseelie FairyChaotic Neutral18. The Moon

Alt U Characters:

CharacterAccountSpecies/RaceAlignmentSetting
Tamsin Eógandeaths_daughterPict (human)NeutralAge of Hyboria

Bust Chart:

[ I dunno man, I had one, so I decided to include it. ]

Anathema = AA
Izzy = A
Leena (imp) = A
Kim / Kate = A
Sarah = A
Silhouette = B
Sue = B
Tamsin = B
Veraza = B
Belle = B
Vel'aaru = B
Leena (elf) = C
Maxie = C
Ziah = C
Zera = C
Nyx = D
Avarys = DD
Snowbell = DD

105 Comments

Joy Reviewz Library

Okay, so I made another thread for this a while back, but it was pretty cluttered and I can't really say I was completely happy with it. Here is a new, official library of all of my reviews, which I will regularly update by way of editing the OP rather than simply bumping the thread with a new review. This will also be more organized and whatnot, separated by genre and alphabetized from there.

* Reviews preceded with a " [ " are part of a set or series.

So, let's get started. First, the two sites that I actively write for:

^ Both links lead to my page on these respective sites, not the homepage. ^

Total Review Tally: 59

Film!

  1. Review - After Earth
  2. Review - All Cheerleaders Die (2014)
  3. Review - Asian School Girls (with comment by Minnie Scarlet!)
  4. Review - Barbarian Queen
  5. Review - The Beastmaster
  6. Review - Berserker: Hell's Warrior
  7. Review - Carrie (2013)
  8. Review - Curse of the Dragon Slayer
  9. Review - Dark House
  10. Review - Divergent
  11. Review - Dracula Untold
  12. [Review - Dungeons and Dragons
  13. [Review - Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God
  14. [Review - Dungeons and Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness
  15. Review - Fire and Ice: The Dragon Chronicles
  16. Review - Frozen
  17. Review - I, Frankenstein
  18. Review - John Wick
  19. Review - Killjoy (contains all four Killjoy films)
  20. Review - The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu
  21. Review - Maniac vs. Maniac
  22. Review Double-Feature - Mazes and Monsters and Dark Dungeons (crossover with Paul Brian McCoy)
  23. Review - Merlin and the Book of Beasts
  24. Review - The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
  25. Review - Pandorum
  26. Review - Pompeii
  27. Review - Trick 'r Treat
  28. List - Top Five Most Quotable Movies

Comics!

  1. Review - Dead Letters #1
  2. [Review - Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe
  3. [Review - Deadpool Killustrated
  4. [Review - Deadpool Kills Deadpool
  5. Review - Injustice: Gods Among Us Annual #1
  6. Review - Night of the Living Deadpool
  7. Review - Shotgun Wedding #1
  8. Article - TransTalk - Sir Ystin
  9. List - Top Ten Most Sympathetic Comic Characters
  10. Rant - Red Lanterns/Bleez

Television!

  1. Review - Constantine 1.01 Unaired Pilot (crossover with Paul Brian McCoy)
  2. Review - Constantine 1.02
  3. Review - Constantine 1.03
  4. Review - Constantine 1.04 (retweeted by Matt Ryan!)
  5. Review - Constantine 1.05
  6. Review - Constantine 1.06
  7. Review - Constantine 1.07
  8. Review- Dungeons and Dragons: The Animated Series
  9. Review - Legend of the Seeker

Video Games!

  1. Review - Neverwinter
  2. Review - X-Blades
  3. BALRGHAVRBLE - Skyrim Mod Massive Retrospective

Music!

  1. Review - The Scarlet Ending
  2. Review - The Vincent Black Shadow

Fan-Fiction!

  1. Review - SpideyIvyDaredevilFan26's Gotham City 21

Snacks!

  1. Review -- Milk Chocolate Pringles

This same list can be found here, on my Tumblr page.

29 Comments

Joy Reviewz -- Asian School Girls (2014)

Title:Asian School Girls
Studio:The Asylum
Starring:Minnie Scarlet, Sam Aotaki, Catherine Hyein Kim
Writer:Tim Culley
Director:Lawrence Silverstein

...Yeah.

What can I say. I'm weak.

When I saw this as a new release on Netflix, the title caught my eye for reasons that hopefully aren't too obvious. I saw right away that this was done by the infamous studio The Asylum, perhaps best known for Sharknado, but against all odds I remained optimistic – from what I could tell, this seemed to be the sort of movie Asylum actually does fairly well (that being “grounded, low effects raunchy comedies”).

I was... right and wrong. Let's take a look at Asian School Girls.

I'm doing my best to judge this based on how it markets itself, what it wants to be, and what it actually is. These things are not as close to one another as you might think.

How Asian School Girls markets itself is as a fun, wacky, action-packed comedy starring hot girls in schoolgirl outfits.

What Asian School Girls wants to be is a badass rape-and-revenge drama in the vein of I Spit On Your Grave.

What Asian School Girls actually is is neither of those things, though it contains some elements of both. The plot centers on four (wait for it...) asian schoolgirls faking their ID's and heading to a party, where they are subsequently daterape drugged by a couple of decent-looking guys. This leads to the technical epicenter of any rape-and-revenge flick, which is... well, rape. However, unlike the way this is traditionally handled, the rape scene is short (not even ten minutes), non-gratuitous, and not even particularly brutal (nobody really gets hurt, and one of the guys is even forced into it and is fairly gentle).

After that, the situation is handled awkwardly as all hell. The girls are just kind of let go, with the ability to place faces at locations, and that doesn't even take into consideration their attitude about what just happened – they all seem genuinely peeved, but through a flaw in either writing or acting the tragedy never really hits home, with one exception: The most “innocent” of the quartet, Susie, was not only deflowered in the event, but is chastised by her family for getting into the situation at all. Mild spoilers – she commits suicide in what is, considering its source, a pretty grisly and sudden scene.

This sets the three survivors, previously willing to let this whole thing fade away, on a mission to avenge themselves and their fallen comrade. They start seeking out the guys that drugged them and gathering weapons and training so that they can handle themselves... mostly.

But first they get jobs at a strip club to make some extra cash, not to mention keep an eye on the place the guys last mentioned being.

Now, in the age of bait-and-switch flicks with little to no nudity, it's worth noting that Asian School Girls has plenty of it, which includes two of the protagonists. If this doesn't satisfy your desire for flesh, then what you're watching probably shouldn't be an actual movie. Hell, there's even a brief, if seemingly non-canon (it's never mentioned again in any capacity) girl-on-girl scene towards the end. I like to think they lived happily ever after together.

All in all, is this movie any good? Not really. The plot, while not... perfect... is cohesive enough, but the dialogue is lazy, and the acting is primarily awful (to clarify, the best performance is given by the stunning Minnie Scarlet, who's a porn star – admittedly, she actually pulls off being the smart one).

So, yeah. It's a half-assed revenge flick, a passable skin flick, is only funny because of how bad it is, has mediocre-to-poor action scenes, and is mildly racist (though, to be perfectly honest, it pokes more fun at racism than it actually promotes it). Was it terrible? Nah. At no point did I have to scan the room for something to bash my own head in with, and if it wasn't at least watchable I probably would have stopped watching it. Not the best thing The Asylum has squeezed out, but far, far from the worst.

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Hey thanks :) Made an account w/ my twitter just to comment!

<3

xoxo

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Joygirl's Play-by-Play "Son of Batman" Commentary

Contains spoilers.

Poor Deathstroke, jobbing to Ra's like that.

When did Damian Wayne become Yoda?

I think Batman has a cleavage fetish. Both of his "great loves" have huge tits and unzipped catsuits. Not that I'm complaining.

Sweet, Killer Croc being badass.

Who's the hot punk teen and when is she coming to canon? Apparently she's 13 so... um, this is awkward.

Yup, I get it, Damian's the bestest at lots of stuff.

Why is Man-Bat a monkey?

Hookers! Dibs on the one with pink hair.

When did Sagat and Bronze Tiger f*** and have Ubu?

Alfred's the best part of this so far.

Yes, we get it, Robin's classic costume is super gay. We get it. Everyone gets it.

Batman: "GETTIN' REAL SICK OF YOUR S*** DAMIAN."

Oh hey Nightwing. Kewl.

Damian you stupid f***.

Oh okay, hot punk is Langstrom's daughter. That'll make family dinners weird.

MAN-BAT ARMY? Nuhhh.

"No swords. Use these bladed darts instead, way more humane."

Since when is wood Slippery When Wet?

My patience for Damian's slasher grin is wearing thin.

Starring Nightwing as "Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Film"

"You're sure?" "I'm sure. Two mountains side by side couldn't possibly be anything else."

Talia in bondage *fapfapfapfapfap*

Fridge Logic: Why didn't they actually make helping Ra's into the Pits a priority? He almost made it himself, with even a tiny amount of help he would have made it.

Batman is officially an elf. He gets a free Search check when passing by a secret door. That just happened and I cannot be convinced that he isn't an elf.

When does Rebecca Langstrom get naked? That needs to happen. INTERNET MAKE IT HAPPEN. Pure thoughts.

Why is Batman so skinny? Making up for how buff everyone was in Flashpoint Paradox?

Also Bruce's jaw is too narrow. Where's the Bat-jaw?

Starring Curt Connors as Dr. Langstrom

Since when does Batman attend to Bat-Business in Bruce Wayne getup? Isn't he way too paranoid for that?

Why does Damian covet the uniform so much if he thinks it's gay as f***?

When did the Robin outfit get a hood? Did Damian sew it himself?

Why isn't Ubu recovering? He just got his ass beat, 12-year-olds endure worse beatings on a daily basis and don't go comatose from them.

Judging from his suddenly cool-ass boots, Damian DID sew the new costume himself. Unless Bruce has a "Bat-Individual-Robin-Costume-Creating Machine"

"It's a kid, get him!" -- Whaaaa?

I dive into endless chutes all the time. Who cares where they go? I'll probably be fine. /sarcasm

"Don't you dare dip my mother into that life-giving magical pit! I'll kill you first!"

Heh, Slade's really letting Damian have it.

Slade's a trained killer. There's no way he'd shoot a pistol one-handed when his other hand is free, it's less accurate.

Nananananannanananana bat-ninjas

Nobody knows better than to fight Batman with bats?

Slade doesn't fight with two swords. That's Rose's thing.

When is Talia gonna get naked?

Isn't the Lazarus Pit supposed to make you crazy? Like it did to Jason and like it does to Ra's every time?

Speaking of Jason, where's Tim?

"Talia would have been mine"? This is what this is about? Slade wants to tap that ass?

Yesssss stab Damian *fapfapfap*

YOU CAN'T BLOCK BULLETS WITH SWORDS. STOP IT.

And the award for Jobber of the Year goes to... Slade Wilson! Let's give him a hand everybody! *clapclapclap*

"You call it luck! I call it BEING A MARY SUE!"

Fridge Logic: Since when does Deathstroke try to set up crime operations? He's a mercenary, he kills stuff. He's not a spiteful, vindictive little bastard who sets up rackets like this.

"Oh no, I got magical life-juice all over me! I'm ruined!" *dies*

"Go ahead, finish me." Since when is Slade suicidal? Does he actually not want to live to fight another day? Or is this ONLY so Damian can have a Heel Face Turn?

That Lazarus-mill thingy is built really hilariously badly.

Starring Nightwing as deus-ex-machina man!

"Damian should stay with me." "But he'll want to stay with me." "Lol nope, he's through with you. Too bad bitch." #BatYOLO"

Since when does Batman refer to Robins by their real name in public? Who killed Batman and took his place?

Ah, it's over. Well, that was mediocre.

Hope you enjoyed, everyone. <3

25 Comments

Joy Reviewz -- Pandorum

This movie is exhaustively bad.

The tagline for this should have been “Pandorum: Definitely not a sequel to Event Horizon!” in big happy words. This is yet another attempt at the doomed-to-failure space-slasher genre, something you may have seen in other high-budget-yet-crappy movies like “Sunshine.”

Whoever wrote the script for this was clearly a big fan of Event Horizon (which was actually a really good movie). And, I'm gonna be honest, the script for this... wasn't terrible. It wasn't good, but it wasn't terrible. It seemed to have an adequate premise from what I could gather and a few instances of strong dialogue (like the one guy telling his story about little indians, that was nice even if I don't know what he was talking about).

It was visually good. The designs of things like costumes, weapons, and monsters (gasp, spoilers) were all really pretty well-done.

The acting was good (except in the case of Dennis Quaid). Ben Foster and Antje Traue gave particular strong performances, even if... well, let's say Antje practiced her English a lot between Pandorum and Man of Steel. Her voice is melodic and expressive but the words she forms really mean nothing about 80% of the time. The movie is also wise enough to have her deliver the majority of exposition (in other words, you never get to know what's going on).

What this movie really is, is a directorial disaster. It's gloomy and grimy, too dark to see. The scenes are choppy and the storyline is incredibly challenging to follow. About halfway through I more or less gave up on trying to figure out what was going on, and just figured, “Oh well, space monsters.”

Even that, however, proved to be boring. Focusing closely, I felt like the action scenes were actually decent. But something about the pacing and the music just made me not care, like my eyes drifted away from the screen to look at more interesting things, like my desk, or that guy over there's unsettling mustache.

I can't go into too much detail, both for fear of spoilers and because I didn't understand the majority of the plot, nor care. That's fortunate, however, since this film doesn't really deserve to be gone into in detail. If you decide to watch it because the plot sounded interesting, just rewatch Event Horizon. If you're watching it for Antje Traue, just rewatch Man of Steel. If you're in it for Ben Foster, just rewatch 3:10 to Yuma. And if you're in it for Dennis Quaid... get out.

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Joy Reviewz -- Killjoy

I want to do a mass-review of Killjoy. Not just the 2000 slasher flick, though, no -- I want to review ALL FOUR, all at once. Isn’t that exciting?

So, for those who have never heard of it (you probably haven’t), the Killjoy series of films by Full Moon Entertainment that started in ye olde Y2K. They feature a clown hitman from hell known mostly (but not only) as Killjoy. They vary vastly in quality and consistency, but as a general rule, they are pretty fun.

So, allow me to start with the first film:

Killjoy (2000)

The first movie is okay. It features a very basic storyline with a young boy that gets spurned by his prospective lover and accidentally shot by her gangbanger boyfriend. Right before that, however, he uses some black magic (dum dum dummmm) to bring a little doll to life, one that he dubs “Killjoy”.

The movie picks up with the performance of Angel Vargas, who plays the eponymous clown character and arrives one year later in the film’s chronology. He is sinister and playful, with a decent evil laugh and a hammy attitude that is definitely enjoyable for a villain. He also breaks the mould a bit – Killjoy mocks and taunts his thuggish victims by using a lot of cursing and urban language, which comes off as wonderfully eccentric among his basically clownish and silly persona. I refer to this Killjoy as the “silly” Killjoy, and he most often dances about and rubs his palms together, paving the way for what would eventually turn into a very fun character.

This flick has a girl protagonist, some side characters, and a creepy old wizard guy who seems to know a thing or two about a thing or two. Many things occur, with the protagonists trying to find ways to end him and his teasing, reality-warping murders (which are seemingly functional only in his realm, which takes the form of an ice cream truck). They sort-of succeed after trying a lot of stuff that doesn’t work (including trying to take him at his word, which is disastrous), exiting his “realm” and seeming to escape. Spoiler alert, he’s fine and continues to give the protagonist nightmares even after he’s killed his fill. The story of this movie is referenced by every consecutive film, so it’s pretty important that you see it if you’re going to watch the others. It’s low-quality and campy, with shabby acting and a weak plot – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

For those with an eye out, it contains side-boob with one nipple, giving it a Nudity Rating of 2.

Killjoy 2: Deliverance from Evil (2002)

This movie is… a little bit different. It follows a basic slasher-flick plotline, with a bunch of convicted cons being dragged into the woods for a camping trip by a couple of cops, or… whatever they were. This was the least entertaining of the four films, despite being the introduction of Trent Haaga taking on the role of Killjoy.

This part is important. It heralds a distinct change in Killjoy’s makeup, giving him more sinister red lips and red, wing-like streaks across each eye, as opposed to Angel Vargas’s pink and green semi-ovals. In this movie, Trent Haaga doesn’t seem like he has not fully nestled himself in the role – his speaking voice is deep and gloriously sinister, but his evil laugh lacks conviction. He is hammy, but not perfectly so, and does an absurd amount of evil hand-rubbing.

Killjoy 2 is not referenced in any of the other films, and pretty much seems to have never happened. I am glad for this: it’s the only one of these movies that doesn’t really seem to fit. He doesn’t need a realm to use his powers, and after killing almost everyone he was after, he was casually “killed” by a splash of holy water that completely melts his face. He doesn’t come back, he doesn’t get a creepy stinger after the credits showing his likely return – nothing. However… hope is not lost.

Despite having a sex scene, this is skipped over and this film has no nudity besides some muscular arms in a tank-top, which I am pretty sure do not count. Nudity Rating of 1.

Killjoy 3 (2010)

Eight years pass.

Trent Haaga returns as Killjoy with a whole-new attitude. He’s ditched his bright, satiny costume for some black-and-red threads, his overly-gigantic hair has slimmed down and is now perfect for concealing the demonic horns we never knew he had. His laugh has improved, and so has his acting, and his heavy, hideous makeup has been swapped for some creepy facepaint, turning this incarnation of Killjoy into one of my very favorite killer clowns.

This time-skip also shows a mixed-race cast as opposed to the all-black casting of the first two films, a vast improvement in film and sound quality, and basically the quality of everything. It seems to have a basic premise, an old man summoning Killjoy to wreak havoc and slapping him in a magic mirror to be delivered to some pesky teenagers, who, as everyone knows, are at the bottom of the monster food pyramid.

We also get to enjoy Killjoy’s three clownish lieutenants: Punchy, a demonic behemoth who takes the form of a gigantic hobo clown; Freakshow, a truly disturbing demonic asian mime with a creepy little conjoined twin/dollbaby thing; and Batty Boop, a succubus with an annoyingly endearing baby talk accent who is Killjoy’s “girlfriend” and wears only body paint (yeah).

The plot is basic, showing some basic kids getting killed in increasingly creative and enjoyable reality-warping ways as soon as they enter the mirror, which is Killjoy’s realm in this movie (however, he does seem to have some power outside of it, as the kids are unable to leave the house the mirror is in). All of his lieutenants get a chance to have fun, with Punchy getting a boxing match with Zilla (the resident Big Guy in the teenager team), Batty seduces the main man-guy, and Freakshow just… just terrifies everyone with his horrifying eyes and creepier baby-buddy (seriously, this guy scares me, can you tell?).

When Michael (from the first movie)’s dad shows up, revealing that it was he that summoned Killjoy for the purpose of getting revenge on him, things twist a little bit. Now he and the surviving kids jump into the mirror and try to stop Killjoy there, using any and all methods – by turning his lieutenants against him, to using his true names (of which he has 53) against him, to using the souls of his victims against him, to using good ol’ fashioned protagonist power.

Spoiler alert: None of those things work. When his henchmen turn, he kills them. True names are irrelevant (unless you actually have power of them, see Killjoy 4), and it’s revealed that all of his victims become a part of him, as he absorbs their souls (you see a bit of this at the end of the first film, but it’s vague, he just says “dinner time” to Michael after the entire affair ends). Oh, and protagonist power means nothing.

With just about everyone dead, including the old man, it is revealed that one thing seemingly annoys him enough to temporarily defeat him – laughter. Zilla and Sandie figure this out at the last second, and while Zilla still doesn’t make it, Sandie does. Killjoy is defeated and the mirror disappears, but Sandie is left with an eternal case of psychotic giggles. Whoops.

This flick is by far better than the first and second flicks combined. Trent Haaga’s performance is fantastic and memorable, bringing back to old slang from the first flick to seem eerily modernized with lines like “I’m f***ing Killjoy, I don’t need an excuse!”

This film gets a Nudity Rating of 3 – Batty Boop is a regular character and appears only in body paint throughout the entire film. Add on the fact that those with fetishes for body paint or clowns (cough cough) will get a little something extra, and she provides enough fanservice for the movie.

Killjoy Goes to Hell (2012)

The best film yet – this movie has decided to vote yay for consistency! Trent Haaga returns in his latest, most sinister incarnation, along with, well, EVERYONE ELSE that’s still alive! Batty Boop, Freakshow (sans little baby buddy – he gets a robotic replacement) and Punchy are all back and taking their parts in Hell.

This one features Killjoy standing trial in Hell for incompetent softness, specifically for letting a survivor escape in Killjoy 3 (this seems like a hard attempt to ignore the second film, as he lets two people escape in that one. In the first movie some people live, but they weren’t his targets).

He is stripped of his powers (and a lot of his names) and forced to take part in an infernal court. A deep-voiced, bearded Beelzebub stands as the judge, and the annoying little pimple of a barely-demonic mortal named Skid is his defending attorney against his scantily-clad ex-girlfriend, Jezebeth, who is working against him.

Everyone’s performances are as good as can be expected for a movie with such a low budget. Even the special effects are decent, and some people who were only alright in the third movie (like Batty and Freakshow) have greatly improved by the fourth film, along with much larger parts. Killjoy Goes to Hell perfectly blends comedy with an enjoyable plotline and some distinctly eerie scenes (again, Freakshow, with a surprising show of scariness from Batty). Writing and dialogue are all terrific, and even Sadie, the giggling survivor from the last film, shows up. This is my favorite of the four movies and has solidly cemented the series as a favorite of mine. Yeah – I consider myself a Killjoy fan.

The movie is satisfying from start to finish. If you are a fan of a little camp, comedy, and evil clowns in general, this is the holy grail.

This film has a Nudity Rating of 4 – Batty is back and as naked as ever. Add to that some burly, bare-chested fellas for those who are into that, a DA (Devil’s Advocate, apparently) in a dress that is as indecent as a dress can be, and another demon girl dressed in red paint who appears towards the end, and you have a film with plenty of skin.

This concludes my review for the Killjoy series, and I’m hoping for more to come! Please go check out the films (might wanna skip the second, unless you are into completion like me), and let me know what you thought!

“I’m Killjoy! I’m guilty as hell!”

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Joy Reviewz -- Frozen

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before this moment. Frozen is Disney's current golden child – even after the massive success of Tangled and the slightly-less-massive (but still massive) success of Brave, this movie has blown everyone's expectations out of the water. People absolutely love this movie, in an almost creepy way. I've never heard an unkind word spoken about it. So it was only a matter of time before I got off my lazy ass and actually watched the damn thing. I did that last night.

My feelings were immediately mixed, and I decided to give myself some time to chew on it. I thought and talked about it all night, annoying family members with my proto-review of the film and, inevitably, humming “Let It Go” as I went to sleep. Waking up refreshed and with my coffee in hand, I'm ready to give this film a proper review and tell the world what I think.

But where do I start? I realized a few hours after watching it that this film has a lot going on, even if it isn't apparent at first. Unless I'm overthinking it, there are actually a lot of highly conceptual ideas lurking in this movie, complete with subversions and little tricks.

I'll start, I suppose, with the music. The music was... admittedly, underwhelming to me. I went into this after hearing the hype for it, so I figured that, twenty seconds in, this thing would rock my socks off. It really didn't. Most of the songs felt recycled from other Disney flicks (The Little Mermaid, specifically), even if they were very well-sung. At points there were songs that were barely even songs, but simply characters holding a conversation that consisted of normal sentences that they decided to sing (normally I don't have an issue with this, but it felt... forced, to me).

The film makes up for this weakness in a small way, with a single song – “Let It Go,” which pops up around the twenty-minute mark and is also played during the ending credits. I actually was immediately blown away by this (both the song and the singer) and got chills a couple times. This song was powerful, and conveyed a specific message very strongly, and very well (more on that a little later).

So, overall, the music didn't impress me. The singing was good, but of course it was. The songs themselves just... didn't grab me.

Next is the characters, of which there are a good few. Some are amazing. Some are less amazing.

Elsa is the film's antiprotagonist (I made that up! Yayyy) and I'll have a lot to say about her later in this review. For a quick, superficial summation of her character – she's okay. She starts off as a total ice queen, but she has her reasons. That's cool. She then becomes more of a tragic figure, also with good reason. She's more of a plot device than anything, though she brings the largest amount of heavy emotion to the production.

Anna is the real protagonist, which isn't obvious right off the bat, but becomes moreso in a short time. I have to say, I was really impressed with her – Kristen Bell puts out a genuinely spectacular performance in this, and Anna was my favorite part about the movie before I start getting into the contextual stuff. Anna is innocent, vulnerable, and lonely. She's awkward and real in a way that is actually befitting of a Disney movie, in that she's just over-the-top enough to stand out, but not so over-the-top that she loses her organic quality. She performs her “everyman” purpose perfectly, while still having enough character to stand out and be worth having an actual name of her own (not every everyman can pull that off).

Kristoff is, um... Kristoff shows up. He also has a reindeer. And while I really want to say something about him, I just don't have anything to say. He never really felt like more than a stock character to me, and while he has his “talks to himself/his reindeer” thing going on, it never really felt like enough to give him a personality. His dialogue didn't stand out in any specific way, his design was bland, and overall he felt like a void in the film that could have been replaced by pretty much anything else. Maybe I'm just not appreciating him properly, but Kristoff just never felt like any more than another plot device/stock companion.

Then there's Olaf.

Oh, Olaf.

I'll admit it right now – when Olaf (the little snowman guy) came onto the screen, I outright groaned. Here comes the token slapstick comic relief character, who will show up, act stupid, talk stupid, and look stupid. He will do stupid things to make children guffaw but he will subsequently cause my brains to melt out my ear.

Only that's not what he did, at all. I mean, a little bit. He did look stupid. And his voice was a little goofy, but it wasn't that goofy. The thing is that Olaf actually carried jokes, real jokes. With punchlines and stuff. And, though I hate to admit it, he was... well, funny. He didn't rely on slapstick or goofiness to get a laugh, he said and did things that were actually worth laughing at. Now, while the humor wasn't this film's strong point, Olaf alone did his part in turning that around. The kicker is, not only was he funny... he knew when to get lost. When he wasn't needed, or comic relief was otherwise not wanted, he either found a way to disappear or he toned himself down. A lot of movies can't boast a comic relief character who's handled this well.

All together, the dynamic between characters is adequate, but not amazing. The majority of characters don't interact with anyone but Anna beyond a few words, so she has to carry the film's relationships on her own. She does alright, but it's a big job – character dynamics beside Elsa/Anna are generally lacking in depth.

Did you notice that, while mulling over the cast, I never mentioned the core villain? I didn't, did I? That's because I... really can't. This brings me to my central point of this film – the morality.

The morality in this is actually interesting, in that a lot of the characters fluctuate and change over time. Check it out:

  • We have the Lawful Neutral Elsa. By the time the events of the intro have passed, we get “Let It Go,” which is entirely about her shift from Lawful Neutral to Chaotic Neutral, all in one go. After the events of the movie progress some more, she eventually shifts to a warm, cozy Neutral Good. These changes make her an absolutely fascinating character from a moral standpoint. She fills the role of the villain for much of the film, but she is obviously never actually evil, and getting to watch her fluctuate and grow as a person is really amazing.

  • We have the Chaotic Good Anna. Technically she doesn't really change her views, but that's because she's, y'know, the hero.

  • Kristoff starts off as a very firm True Neutral, outright stating that he doesn't give a damn whether or not Anna lives or dies. Of course, by the end of the film he also progresses into more of a Neutral Good role.

  • Olaf is a silly snowman and doesn't count. But while I'm at it, I'll peg him as Chaotic Good too.

  • The Duke of Weselton is a very brutal kind of Neutral Evil and it shows pretty quickly. But I didn't list him as the villain, did I? That's because he's not.

  • The true villain is so devious, so cunning, so vile, and so utterly, adeptly, masterfully well-hidden that he shall remain a mystery. For those who have seen the film, you know who I'm talking about. For those who haven't, I won't ruin the twist.

Now, how many films (let alone Disney films) can boast that amount of moral ambiguity and subtlety? Sure, none of this is really going to flip you upside down, but for a kids' movie the actual depth and organic development that goes into these characters is pretty amazing. “Let It Go” is the catalyst here, as the herald of Elsa's initial change, and it was when I started to realize that there was more to this movie than met the eye.

Though, there were other hints. The film is self-aware in a small way, such as its quick and brutal subversion of twenty-minute-marriage Disney love, and the concept that romantic love is not the only (or most powerful) kind of love out there.

Though, that reminds me of something else.

What the hell, movie?! When are you going to get it through your head that if you're trying to establish a platonic, familial relationship, it has to look and feel different from a romantic one? There were at least three (I think four) points during the film where I was compelled to say “...Now kiss.” The sisters would wait until the most tender and emotional moments, the music would soften, they would grow close together... and then it would jarringly break to something else. It really feels like the sisters could make out at any moment (though obviously we know that they can't do that; society would crumble and fall apart) and even the culmination of the film leads up to a “true love's kiss” that doesn't end up happening because the true love is Elsa, so it has to be a “true love's hug” instead. Now, I'm not a filmmaker, so I'm not going to suggest any alternatives. But seriously, Disney, figure out what you want, because the amount of femslash out there is in no way unfounded (not that it would need to be founded to exist anyway, but still).

Now, at this point it probably sounds like I really liked this movie (I certainly have a lot to say about it, don't I?) yet at the beginning I mentioned mixed feelings on it. Well, yeah – the movie was fine. It was good, and I can see how people liked it. Honest.

Now, do I believe it lived up to its hype? Was it the best thing I've ever seen? Even the best Disney movie?

...Nope.

It was good, but it wasn't great. The music needed to stand out a bit more. A lot of the humor was just not that funny. A good deal of the ending just didn't really hit home, and the touching parts were only so touching – they lacked that raw moment of “holy crap is this actually happening” usually exhibited by animated tear-jerkers, and there was never really the serious moment of fear that is needed to elicit a sensation of sorrow/hope/happiness. Even the moment where it looks like Olaf is about to melt could have gone a lot further – he starts getting a little soggy, says he'll risk it and stay anyway, but then ends up just leaving with Anna and being totally fine. The saddest point is in the very beginning (where Elsa starts avoiding her sister full-time), and the rest of the film fails to live up to that brief spark early in the beginning.

That said, it wasn't bad by any means. Even its worst parts were only mediocre, and it was mostly good as a whole. But is Frozen the divine's gift to Disney, a miracle that will revolutionize animation, filmmaking, and storytelling as a whole?

Nah.

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Find this review, along with some pictures of kittens, on my Tumblr page, Ravencourt Asylum.

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Other Viners have reviewed this movie! Check 'em out:

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