Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Shack (2017)

Plot: Mack was living a bountiful life with his loving wife Nan and children Kate, Josh and his youngest daughter Missy. Suddenly his life is shattered when a serial killer called the Ladybug Killer kidnaps and murders Missy thus destroys his already weak faith in God. Then one day, a mysterious telegram enters his mailbox signed by "Papa" (Nan's nickname for God) inviting him to come to the shack where Missy's dress was found. Mack reluctantly agrees and travels to the cabin where he meets the holy Trinity, Papa (The Father), Jesus and the Holy Spirit (who goes by the name Sarayu) and seek to help him understand, heal and forgive.

I've read The Shack a couple of times, and for the most part I think it's a very enlightening and enjoyable Christian book. I may not always agree with everything that is written there but I think like other Christians/ Christian related literature such as Dante's Inferno, or C.S. Lewis's non-Narnia books like The Great Divorce or The Screwtape Letters, it isn't something that should be considered 100% real about God or faith and things like that per say, but be more a fantasy with a piece of mind expressing someone's interpretation about God and his love and his word. Anyone who says it isn't enjoyable book agrees that it at least tries to tackle the argument of why God allows terrible things to happen wild still loving us and wanting to be with us. It has its strength of trying to be unique and interesting while still having an enlightening moral. When I saw the trailer for this movie most of it looked a visually promising while finding it questionable that Sam Worthington is playing the lead character. Having just watch the film yesterday, I can say that a lot of it met/exceeded my expectations. Is it a terrific film? No, but it's a very faithful adaptation that brings the story to life in a why where it's just as much of an experience as the book itself.

Visually speaking, the movie for the most part is perfect. The film has a lot of what I personally envision when reading the book from the appearances of Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu, to the shack itself, too Sarayu's Garden. Some of the effects you can easily tell are fake, but they're done in a way where they still look nice and you can enjoy the showmanship. The actors who play all three parts of God are very good. The guy playing Jesus is very friendly and upbeat, Sarayu is kind but is aware of the pain happening in the world, and then you have Octavia Spencer as Papa ... where do I begin with her? In many ways Spencer is the real star. She brings the most life into scenes, and her dialogue is very mysterious but in endearing to listen to. The book is written so that Papa/The Father is the bigger focus and the other two parts of God are secondary partly because the book points out that people commonly view The Father as very vengeful and wrathful when he isn't. There may be some interactions with the other heads of God where they point that out like when Mackey says he feels more comfortable around Jesus because he was human, but even if the film doesn't directly point out the stereotype of The Father the way the book does, they still keep the focus mostly on Spencer than anyone else. But even with that said, I still enjoyed watching Mack interact with all three of these parts of God to the point that it makes the idea of spending a weekend with God just as heartwarming and touching as it is when reading the book. And while they do take some part of the book out, the story as a whole feels well paced. Nothing feels very rushed, they really take a lot of time to establish the characters and their relationships with each other before and after Missy's death.

Now I have been reading some reviews for this movie, and some people dislike the movie because  they dislike that God is appearing in different races, particularly with a black woman representing The Father. If you're one of those people who has that kind of problem, I want to point out a couple of things, 1) this is how they are portrayed in the book, 2) If you really are having a problem with the choice of people casted to play the three parts of God in terms of race, then then frankly it's little wonder that Donald Trump is holding present. (Yes, I know that is a very low shot, but honestly it's a little hard not to think otherwise given that this is really the biggest problem some people have with the movie), and 3) this isn't supposed to be a common stereotypical view about who God is. By design, the book and the film is meant to point out that God doesn't necessarily have to appear the warmest people believe he will like The Father appearing as an old man with a big white beard like Santa Claus or Gandalf (which they make fun of more in the book.) The Shack is meant to take you out of your expectations of who God is like because there's only so much we actually know about him from our own interpretations about the Bible itself.

If I had one problem with the movie it sadly would have to be Sam Worthington as Mack. Like I already said, I was concerned about him playing Mack when I saw the trailers like I said earlier, but was willing to be  open-minded about it. As it turned out however, I found Worthington's performance to be... a bit of a mixed at best. On the one hand, he does a decent job in making his character likable and establishing his close relationship with Missy and we understand his pain, but on the other hand he goes back and forth between his American and Australian accents and when it comes to the really powerful emotions like whenever he is angry with God or sad because of his loss, or even worried about his daughter when he realized she's missing, his performance was underwhelming. Vocally, he delivers most of these emotions well, but facially he usually has the same face for almost everything. It's gotten to a point where I think the director and the post-production people might have intentionally edited the film so that his most emotional moments are expressed through voice-over where the camera is not focused at its face in attempt to hide that he can't give us what Mack is feeling visually. While not a terrible performance, aspects like this make Worthington easily the weakest aspect of the film.

Now another reason why this movie has been attacked by the critics is the common claim that while most of them agree that the message is well intentioned, the film feels more like a sermon with virtually nothing but talking as if we are watching a seminar hosted by God and otherwise full of theological stuff that a lot of them disagree with. I will admit that this is a movie that is dialogue heavy, but I think it is necessary for the moral that both the film and the book are trying to get across: that God does love us, he's there for us through the pain we go through and we need to trust that we know what he is doing and that he goes before us. If that's just not what you believe about The Lord whether you are a believer or not, I understand, but given the controversy that this movie has, I strongly suggest that if you ever watch this movie or read the book that you should keep an open mind. This is a fictional story used as a tool to get a moral across and much like believing in The Lord and his word, it's up to you on what to agree or disagree with what is being said. It's not a doctrine, it's a fantasy to express the human condition and faith in God. 

And that's my review for The Shack.  In my point of view as a follower of Jesus, I think the story itself whether it's in the book or the film is an enlightening and heartwarming piece of Christian fiction that has some interesting ideas about putting faith in God through the painful moments in life and remembering that he loves us no matter what. There are some things I don't entirely agree with, but in the long run it's an enjoyable look at how we should put our faith in God and his word. The movie succeeds in bringing the story to life in terms of its visuals and all around being an enjoyable experience with a solid cast (apart from some moments with Sam Worthington.) There's a lot of controversy that makes it necessary for me to tell you that you need to keep an open mind with how God is portrayed and what the film is trying to say. It's important to know that the film is fiction and should not be taken seriously apart from the moral it is trying to say and whether or not you will enjoy it or what it says is entirely up to you. 

Rating: 80%

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Assassin's Creed (2016)

"You were the chosen one! It was said that you would lift the curse, not strengthen it! Bring video game movies out of the hole, not dig it deeper!"
 - quote from Michael Kaye. Check out his review for the movie here:

Plot: Callum Lynch is a murderer who is sentenced to be executed but is rescued by Abstergo Industries. He is told that the Templars are searching for the Apple of Eden, which contains the genetic code for free will, in order to subjugate the human race and they need the memories of his ancestors back in the time of the Spanish Inquisition to do it. There Callum finds out that he comes from a line of Assassins who fight the Templars with the goal to free people from the Templars' tyrrany and the Assassins must find a way to obtain the Apple of Eden before the Templars do.

In my opinion, making a good video game is not impossible. All it takes is giving it to the right people who won't pretend to be anything else or talk down to their audience and above all will stick to the source material and what makes it good. Assassin's Creed by its concept alone is a great example of that. The movie got so much hype long before it hit theaters because the idea was perfect for an interesting movie. It's a story about a battle between good and evil and going back in time with the genetic code of your ancestors with all these different weapons, gadgets, mythology and unique opportunities to be both violent and educational at the same time. So with all of this material available, Assassin's Creed was deemed as the one video game film to finally destroy the curse of bad video games movies once and for all. Now I came to see this in theaters slightly nervous about it just from seeing the cover for Jeremy Jahns' review of the movie where he is pinching his temples while standing right next to the poster for the film. I was hoping that I would find a movie that somewhat similar to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in that this would be a misunderstood film that has a few notable flaws but has good ideas that make it an all-around enjoyable movie. When I left the theater, I and the guy I saw the movie with, Kevin thought that it was a mixed bag at best, but the more I thought about it later, the more I realized that this film is deep down another film where they almost completely dismiss the heart of the source material.

Let's start with the good stuff. First of all, I liked Michael Fassbender's character even though his backstory felt very generic. The action scenes - while surprisingly lacking in blood which is one of the most notable aspects of the video games, has some really cool moments. Some of the costumes and sets look are good and faithful to the time period of the Spanish Inquisition and the faithful design of the Abstergo Industries building was nice to see. The visual effects had some noticeably good moments too. I saw this movie in 3D and for the most part, the 3D in this movie was neat to see. It wasn't blow-me-away fantastic like the 3D for movies like Avatar, Titanic 3D or Pacific Rim, but I appreciate that it wasn't supposed to be something as big as the 3D in those films. It's mostly there to be used for extreme wide shots of the locations or specific points of view that looked really neat to see making it a good way of incorporating the 3D without making it a theme. I also really appreciate that the film does give us the basic idea of what Assassin's Creed is about. Could they have done better? Absolutely, but I appreciate that it didn't waver from the general story and mythology as a whole.

 Okay so with all the good stuff by the way, what's really bad about this movie? Well, I'd say the biggest complaint for me is that there are a lot of things that are left unexplained. For one thing, we don't quite understand what is happening during the time of Callum's ancestor. We get the gist that they're trying to protect this young prince from being used to get the Apple of Eden, but we don't really dive into why the apple is so important. In fact, when I was talking to Kevin after the movie was over, he made a really good point that they don't really explain what the Apple of Eden even does. All we get is Sophia and her father saying that it's going to rid the world of violence and things like that, but we never see it happen. In the video games, you see people use the Apple of Eden to control people, making the danger behind the artifact real, but in the movie, nobody uses it. If they showed the Templars using the Apple of Eden against other people to show how important it is to keep it away from them, then the audience would be on board with what is happening. In fact, there were moments where I thought a character was going to use it on another person to get what they want, but for whatever reason, they decided not to. In a way, the lack of establishing the danger is right up there with the execution seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Incubus' tentacle attack in Suicide Squad and Krall's weapon in Star Trek Beyond; meaning the characters are expressing how serious the problem is, but not in a way where the audience can connect to what is happening.

The biggest problem with many fans is the fact that they focus too much on Callum, Sophia and her father in the real world and not nearly on Callum's ancestor. Not to be fair, I get why they made this decision. From a storytelling standpoint, I can see how it made more sense to the filmmakers to focus more on what's happening in the present than in the past because the general plot line is about who gets the Apple of Eden in the present. But the fact is part of what made the Assassin's Creed games so good is the fact that we are focusing on the past. We get to know all these fictional characters who interact with these famous people in history and have their own adventures that tie into specific moments in history, because like I said before, one of the strengths of the Assassin's Creed games is how they're violent but also educational in they're own special way. But here, we get so little of what takes place in Spain that I hardly got to know any of the characters that were in that time period. I had a general gist of who they were and their relationships with one another but I wanted much more than that. I wanted to get to know them more than I know Callun or anyone else from the present but instead, I know so little that I don't know who their names are or even if the movie told us who they are. This is a particular problem because it's this kind of information that's where I thought this movie could have been the one to break the curse of bad video game movies. It's set during the Spanish Inquisition, there's bound to be plenty of people both fictional and non-fictional that Callum's ancestor could interact with, and we could have gotten a fictional, action-packed version of some notable points in history. By all accounts, substance like this I think would have secured in this movie becoming good, but instead, they left it out to focus more on Callum, which - while not horrible, is boring by comparison.

 Show me the biggest let down in this movie is the ending. I'm not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet, but while I do understand why they made this choice, it still led to an anticlimatic ending with a forced 180 on Sophia's character. Obviously they were hoping that this was going to lead to sequels, but given all the other problems I already listed, that isn't happening any time soon.

And that's my review for Assassin's Creed. I think I understand why they made the decision to focus more on the present then in the past, but it's the past that gives Assassin's Creed as a video game franchise its meat and what we really wanted to see. When we do see the Spanish Inquisiton and all the action that goes with it, the film is good, but since it's not as much of a focus as it should have been, Assassin's Creed has sadly fallen victim to the video game movie curse like so many before it. There are more insulting adaptations to video games than this, but sadly this is another film to prove that the curse is going to stay for a little while longer. 

Rating: 35% 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Tarzan and Jane (2002)

Plot: It's been a year since Tarzan and Jane have gotten married. Jane wants to secretly surprise Tarzan with a party to celebrate their marriage, but Tantor and Terk, try to convince her otherwise by reminding her of some of the adventures she and Tarzan have experienced. The first is a story about Jane's friends from London coming to the jungle and wanting to make Tarzan act civilized, the second is about two men convince Tarzan to lead them to a cave of diamond, and the third one is about Tarzan getting jealous when a childhood friend visits Jane.

Tarzan and Jane might be one of the cheesiest direct to DVD Disney sequels I have ever seen. There are one or two things I do like about it and it did start the Tarzan animated series which was a decent show, but for what it is, it's so cheesy and so boring that is probably one of the least interesting Disney sequels that I have seen. 

What makes this sequel so unbearably corny are the stories themselves. It probably goes without saying that it's clearly not even really a coherent story worthy of a full length movie given that it's just three stories of together just like with Cinderella II and Atlantis 2: Milo's Return which I'll get more into with those two some other time, but man are the stories themselves cliche. At first I couldn't even get past the first 10 minutes of this movie just because I could tell very quickly what was going to happen in the first story and I really did not want to go through that. The other two stories fell pretty hard into the line of being boring and predictable - especially the third story which has a big misunderstanding thing going on between Tarzan and Jane and it's as dumb as it sounds. I think the most annoying thing about all three stories is that the one thing they all have in common is there is always a conflict between Tarzan and Jane over how much Tarzan should try to give up or try to adapt into the ways of Jane's old life. Now don't get me wrong, the concept of that is good and I'm sure somewhere there's some interesting stories that Disney could have done, but the way they do it here is so predictable and uninteresting that it's hard to really pay attention. 

The animation is obviously a major downgrade from the first film. The first movie was so creative with Tarzan swinging and surfing vines and has all these quick moves, but here, you can tell that they're trying to keep into the spirit of it, but it's just not the same. This is also a shame because some of the stunts that Tarzan pulls in this movie like escaping an erupted volcano could have come out really cool to see if they had the right budget.

Speaking of the original film some more, I'm just going to say it; where in the world is Kala? I mean yes, she briefly appears without a line at the very end of the movie, but why does she not have a leading role in this movie? Or even the show for that matter? I know that the title is Tarzan and Jane, but I get the feeling both this film and the TV show make Karla completely disappear along with the rest of the Apes. I guess that's kind of a bother for me because in my mind, I often viewed the first movie as partly a mother and son story. It did have all the adventures with Tarzan being conflicted with being half man and half ape and things like that, but it always seemed to come back also being a story about a mother and a son and what they're going through together. So with that in mind, I find it a little concerning that Kala has almost no part whatsoever in Tarzan and Jane or the show. I'm not saying that the focus shouldn't still be on primarily Tarzan, Jane, the professor, Tantor and Terk, but shouldn't we see Kala every now and then? Isn't he supposed to take care of the apes after Kerchak's  death? I also say this because when I was a kid, I remember seeing music videos advertising this movie that lead me to believe that it was going to be about Kala and the apes accepting Jane as part of the family. I guess to me that is so much more interesting than anything this film gave instead. 

If I have anything legitimately positive to say about the movie, I will say that I liked Jane's role. While none of the original voice actors come back and most of their replacements sound a little off, the voice actress who replaced Minnie Driver gives her own energy to it. I also really like the moments where she shows that she's braver and more accustomed to the ways of the jungle than she was in the first film. The first story contains her and her friends ending up lost int he jungle and she just does all these things that disgust her friends but she's like "we're doing this or we're going to die. Simple as that." That was nice to see. There's also moments where she tries to be a little more like Tarzan like surfing vines or trying to help him against a panther or something. 

And that's my review for Tarzan and Jane. I liked watching Jane herself, but the plot is as cheesy and predictable as you can get, the animation is not as good as the original, and I think it would've worked better if it was more about Jane and Kala more than any of the stories they're telling here. At the very least it lead to the TV series which like I said was decent, but on the whole, I would definitely skip this.

Rating: 25% 

Moana (2016)

Alright I've been meaning to see this movie for a while, just happen to have enough free time before going to work, and now that I finally see and it's how was it? I would say it's pretty good. What I say it says good on par with Zootopia? No, but for what it was I had a good time.

First off the story itself is interesting. The legend that's told in the beginning was a good backstory and it let me wanting more. But what drives the movie the most is Dwayne Johnson and Auli'i Cravalho as Maui and Moana. There are aspects to the development of their other relationship that I thought were mediocre, but they still work because at the same time you can tell it's done with a sense of heart. Johnson I thought was maybe a little too cocky for my taste as Maui, but he had a few good jokes, some pretty cool powers and a backstory that I'll admit I kind of liked. His origin isn't black and white, you can understand why he did what he did and it was kind of nice. Moana was also an interesting character. She's not entirely your typical Disney princess, she wants to go out there and be her own thing, but she is also a quick thinking leader for her village. I also like how there are a couple of moments where they make fun of some of the stereotype of Disney princesses in a way that's kind of too obvious but is backed up with Moana being so passionate of what she wants, is very strong-willed and because of the journey that she goes through. If there any of the characters that I like to bring up I would say the Ocean as a character was surprisingly likeable. Even though it's supposed to be some mythical spirit, they also gave it an interesting and fun personality that led to some cute jokes.

The animation is movie is beautiful. I know that's to be expected from Disney, but it's a marvel here. There are so many moments in the film where I find myself being blown away at how beautiful everything looks. There are so many great shots that lead to a lot of breathtaking colorful imagery and some impressive effects

 The music in this movie is great. There are a couple that I am not too big on namely Johnson's song You're Welcome even though it is catchy and the crab song Shiny which I also thought was the weakest part of the film. But some of the other songs I found myself enjoying so much that I bought online. The Village song, Where You Are had some fun moments, We Know The Way was a lot of fun, and I really love Moana's song How Far I'll Go. I wouldn't say it's as big as Let It Go, but as far as a Disney princess song goes I really enjoyed it. It was deep, it was powerful, it was exciting - just the chorus alone made me feel watery eyes it was so powerful. And it really plays of to an emotional and fulfilling end of the second half.

If I had any other problems apart from the scene with the crab, it would have the be the climax. On the one hand it has some amazing visuals, the villain looked cool and the twist was unexpected, but I think there could have been a better build up for how they handle the twist. They settle the twist with a moral that is good but feels a little out of nowhere and doesn't really connect to what the twist is. Maybe it's something that makes sense the more you watch the film, but as well meaning as the ending is, it felt a little forced to me.

And that's my review for Moana. The main characters are fun to watch, the side characters are likable, the music is a delight to listen to for any Disney fan and the animation is some of their best work yet with 3D animation. If they handled things like the moral at the end a little better, and maybe cut out the giant crab, it could be a little more solid, but it's still a great addition to Disney's collection of animated films. I think Zootopia is the stronger film because of the subject it was talking and had a lot more jokes, but this is still an enjoyable Disney film to check out.

Rating: 85%

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008)

Plot: George, Sedgewick, and Elliot (Pa Grape, Mr. Lunt and Larry the Cucumber respectively) are employees at a dinner theater who want to be seen as heroes by their loved ones but believe their dreams are unattainable because they are cabin boys. Suddenly, a mysterious object called the Helpseeker transports them to the kingdom of Monterria where Princess Eloise summoned them to be the heroes that will save her brother Alexander and their father the king from an evil pirate named Robert the Terrible.

So how does the second VeggieTales movie holdout? Sadly it's much more childish in a way that makes it a downgrade compared not only to its predecessor but to VeggieTales in general. Jonah wasn't a phenomenal kids film, but for what it was, it still succeeded in being a fun film for both kids and adults to enjoy. It had lovable moments with everyone's favorite VeggieTales characters, fun music, and a good message about God and his love. This film, on the other hand, seems to focus more on just the kids which gives us some of the cheesiest things ever to be put into VeggieTales.

The biggest problem with this film is how unbearably cheesy the script is. The main story is about the three heroes overcoming their flaws such as not being scared of everything, being lazy and always being a "yes man." All of these flaws lead to morals that you can see from little kid shows from PBS or Discovery Kids or some really cheesy Saturday morning cartoons. You know from the first scene with all three of them what is going to happen practically step by step. It even has the horrible cliche of the liar reveal story line which, to the film's credit, they don't really get into it as long as they could have, but it's still there. I know that this is mostly meant for kids, but part of what made VeggieTales so popular was how it was something that both kids and adults can enjoy together as a family as well as delivers morals that connect to God's word. I get that this film is kind of a spin-off of sorts, but it just feels like they're not really trying when they replace important lessons about God and his love with these overused morals about not being afraid or lazy. Heck, do they even mention God in this movie?

If I had anything good to say about the movie I would say that while the villain is cheesy, his mechanical suit was kind of cool and while the songs as a whole don't really stand out, I have to admit the Jolly Joe's song was enjoyable in a silly yet fun kind of way and the TobyMac song at the end credits What We Gonna Do? was pretty catchy. I also like the moments where Elliot is brave or with his girlfriend, but that's mostly because Larry is my favorite character.

And that's my review for The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTalbes Movie. It has some little nice things about it, but it otherwise makes it clear that it's only meant for little kids. The script is cheesy, the villain is forgettable, and the morals are as overused as you can get. You'll like it fine if you are a kid, but if not, then this is one film you should skip.

Rating: 20%

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Legend of Everfree (2016)

Plot: Set the summer break after the first three films, the students of Canterlot High are going on a camping trip at Camp Everfree. Things go well until the camp appears to be plagued with bizarre magical circumstances relating to a local urban legend. Things get more curious when Twilight, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Rarity appear to have somehow gained new magical powers and Twilight and Sunset Shimmer can't agree on whether or not these abilities are good or bad.

When Hasbro announced that the next Equestria Girls movie was going to take place outside of Canterlot High - saying it was either going to take place at a beach or a forest at the time, I was a little excited for it. It sounded right that we should finally have a film where it doesn't take place at the school. The first three films had scenes that took place in other sites such as Pinkie Pie's house, Sugarcube Cafe, and Crystal Prep Academy, but in the end, all the stories primarily took place in this one specific location, so it's nice to finally have a movie were we almost never see Canterlot High. When it was later announced that it was going to take place at a school Camp, I got a little nervous thinking that there's going to be a couple of clichés that might hurt the film. Granted, even with the first Equestria Girls film, Hasbro Studios and DHX Studios currently haven't let us down with giving us something good despite using some clichés, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. After seeing it a few times now before writing this review, I can say that there are a bunch of things that are really good... and there are some things that I think are mediocre at best.

The first and foremost highlight to talk about is characters. Like the show Friendship is Magic, Legend of Everfree takes advantage of all the lovable characters that My Little Pony has to offer. Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer are still the main focus and what they do with them is done well. As a big fan of Sunset Shimmer, I really enjoy watching her grow more and more as the series goes on to the point where she has basically become the voice of reason among the rest of the main characters. There's also the storyline of Twilight Sparkle being afraid that she might become Midnight Sparkle again which was also done very well. You understand her fear that somehow she may be the cause of the magic that's happening at Camp Everfree, and it also leads to a decent conflict between Twilight and Sunset Shimmer disagreeing on whether to consider the magic at Camp Everfree as either a good thing or a bad thing. The other main characters don't have as big of individual roles in the movie as Twilight and Sunset Shimmer, but they're still enjoyable. We got a couple of good laughs with Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy as adorable as ever, we got Applejack as the other voice of reason so to speak, and Rainbow Dash is...well, Rainbow Dash. The only one I didn't enjoy was Rarity. She was kind of annoying with her constant talk about her camp fashion show. The magical abilities they gain work for all of them and they leave me wanting more for future projects.

The supporting characters are surprisingly really enjoyable as well. We get more appearances of some of our favorite background characters like Vinyl Scratch or my personal favorite background character, Octavia Melody. We also get some cute jokes from Bulk Biceps, and we even get a brief line from Derpy Hooves AKA the most beloved background character in the show. That might not sound like much for you who aren't Bronies and/or pegasisters, but believe me when I say just a mere line from Derpy Hooves even after the 100th episode: "Slice of Life" is wonderful.

There's also surprisingly a significant amount of romance in the film too. Without giving too much away (though I don't think it would mean much if I did), it seems they have made it official that Twilight Sparkle and Flash Sentry are never going to get together. For me, this is a real shame considering how I've been wanting them to work something out between these two because I believed that they could have become a likable couple. All of that being said however, I can't deny the fact that the concept of Twilight and Flash getting together has had such a terrible backlash even before the first Equestria Girls film came out and they haven't really done much with it in the past three films to begin with. So as much as I hate to admit that a ship that I have been supporting is going down the tubes, I have to reluctantly agree that at the same time it's for the best that they have. But with that out of the way, we have a new romance with Twilight's, this time with Timber Spruce. As far as a romance that was introduced in the fourth Equestria film, it's surprisingly not bad. It may not be my favorite MLP shipping, but the development of their relationship is surprisingly pleasant to watch. Timber Spruce it is smart like Twilight, he's caring for his sister Gloriosa and his interaction with Twilight somehow works. The moves he makes on her are corny but he makes them in a way where you can tell he's doing it with a good heart. I won't spoil the ending, but it indicates that maybe they could eventually go further into their relationship, and I think that's something to admire with Hasbro and DHX Studios. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is still quote-unquote "for kids," and DHX and Hasbro have a record of giving us hints of romance in general and then throw them under the rug in order to focus more on just friendship. We may have some possibilities with characters like Spike and Rarity and - as mentioned before, Twilight Sparkle and Flash Sentry, but in the long haul they usually go absolutely nowhere. Any romance we do get comes from other couples who have already fallen in love so there's little room for any real romantic stories. So with that all said and done, I feel hopeful that they're willing to take a possible romance to a deeper level with Twilight Sparkle and Timber Spruce. Who knows? Maybe if we get another Equestria Girls film, we'll get more development between the two of them. I'm open to it.

The music in this movie is good.... but not great. In the long-term, the soundtrack is very enjoyable to listen to, but I guess I just hoped there would be a couple more enjoyable songs than what we have. I guess what I mean by that is I was hoping that we would have music that's more catchy and get stuck in my head for days on end like some of the other EG songs like Academia or Under Our Spell or Help Twilight Sparkle Win The Crown. But all the songs here are still good. The Main title song is nice, I enjoy Sunset Shimmer's song Embrace The Magic, the villain song We Will Stand For Everfree is not as great as Under Our Spell or This Day Aria, but it's still enjoyable enough, Be The Legend You Were Meant To Be is a decent tune and I really enjoy the lyrics behind Hope Shines Eternal. If there's a song that I kind of like the least, it would have to be Midnight In Me. I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of the dislike for this, but to me, it was one of those Daniel Ingram song where it's really good, but I hate that it's only one verse and one chorus long. Everything about it is great from the emotion behind what Twilight Sparkle is expressing to the visuals they're using to express how she feels, but I feel like they could have done more.

If there are any major problems with the movie it would have to be the villain and the climax. To be fair, the villain is better than Sunset Shimmer and especially Principal Cinch, but while her motivations are understandable and relatable, her actions don't really matter. This is spoiler territory so I won't go into any details, but it feels like the solution to the villain's problems could easily have been fixed without Twilight, Sunset Shimmer, and the others. The final showdown between Sunset, Twilight and their friends against the villain is also a bit of a letdown. Don't get me wrong, what they do with the big reveal concerning their powers is great and it also leaves four possibilities of what they're going to do for future projects, but as far as going against the villain is concerned, it's a bit of a repeat from defeating past MLP villains. It doesn't necessarily hurt the film altogether, but it's a bit of a disappointment that they didn't try something different with the final showdown like what they did with the confrontation between Sunset Shimmer and Twilight during the end Friendship Games and I hope they're planning to avoid it in the future.

And that's my review for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls -Legend of Everfree. It's not as strong as the last two films, but it still delivers in being a nice experience with some of our favorite My Little Pony characters that leaves me wanting more. It's not great, but it's still a better film than the first Equestria Girls movie which is always a good thing. It's the weakest of the sequels, but it's still a nice time.

Rating: 65%