The Badger On: Your Name (Movie)

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This is the first anime movie that I have done a review on and I couldn’t be happier that it is Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name. I would have loved to have seen this in theatre and I did contemplate it but the timing was never right as it was released here in Australia at the end of last year. I actually tried to torrent it but I am happy that I never did as it was worth the wait.

 

This is a beautifully animated story with a lot of heart and feels and if you like me you will cry by the end of it. The story revolves around Mitsuha, a high school girl living in a small fictional mountain town of Itomori. She is the daughter of the local mayor and lives with her grandmother and little sister in the local shrine where she works as shire-maiden. The other main character is a high school boy named Taki who lives in Tokyo. He is kind, short-tempered and works part-time in an Italian restaurant.

 

They begin to switch bodies every couple of days and they communicate by leaving messages on their phones or writing in notebooks. After Mitsuha sets Taki up with an older co-worker and her mentioning a comet that is supposed to come by as their date finishes the switches stop.

 

Feeling like there is something missing he travels to Mitsuha’s town using memories from the switches and drawings he had made of it. He finds the location but the town had been destroyed by a part of the comet that broken off three years ago with everyone living in the town dying. He locates the isolated shrine and goes there and drinks the saki that Mitsuha had made and they are able to switch once more and is able to warn her of the comet strike. They attempt to write each other names on their hands so they won’t forget each other but they do.

 

Mitsuha races back to town and convinces her friends in assisting in getting the town evacuated. They partially do but Itomori is still destroyed by the comet. 5 years later Taki is looking for a job but feels like there is something or someone missing from his life. Mitsuha has moved to Tokyo and also feels this way. One day they see each in opposing passing trains and they both get off at their next stops and run around Tokyo looking for each other before meeting on a set of stairs in which they ask each other their names.

 

You really have to see this to fully understand it and feel the emotion. As I have said the art in this is gorgeous especially those in and around Itomori though the scenes within Tokyo are also lovely and realistic. The other thing that I would like to mention about this is the music which is also beautiful and suits the movie. It is done by a Japanese rock band Radwimps.

 

I cannot recommend this movie enough

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Trailer

 

 

 

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The Badger On: Spider-Man: Homecoming (Movie)

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I did not see this in the cinema which is I think obvious since it was out a couple of weeks after Wonder Woman. I am also not a fan of Spiderman in general if you have read my review for Captain America: Civil War or any of my Pop Goes the Badger posts in relation to the Marvel in general.

I have seen this twice through the digital copy that I bought through iTunes not so much for me but for my fiancé The Eagle and also for my nieces. I watched it first on my own and then again over the weekend with the Eagle as he is a Spidey fan.

Admittedly I didn’t think much of it the first time that I saw it though my anxiety was pretty bad that day and so I was having a few issues with focussing. I did enjoy it a bit better the second time but I think that it was mainly because the Eagle enjoyed it.

The story starts after the Battle for New York in the Avenger where Adrian Toomes and his salvage company are contracted to clean up the city. They are taken over by a government operation and angry about this he and his employees keep the tech that they had already salvaged and use it to create weapons.

After returning from the battle in airport in Civil War but is told by Tony Stark he is not ready to become an Avenger. He returns to school and annoys Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) with updates with what he is doing. He does local stuff in the evenings and eventually stops and ATM heist when the crooks where using weapons developed by Toomes.

After another altercation with people working with Toomes Spiderman meets the Vulture. Spider-man is able to track Toomes and cronies to Maryland and he re-joins his school’s academic decathlon team so that he can go to Washington. He sneaks out gets traped but escapes and eventually saves his classmates after they are trapped in an elevator at the Washington Monument.

Coming back to New York Peter find out where the Toomes is going to be next. After a battle on the Staten Island Ferry in which Tony Stark has to come to his rescue Tony tells him off and also takes back the Spider-Man suit. Peter returns to normal school life and asks his crush Liz to the Homecoming dance. When he goes to pick her up he realises that her father is Toomes/Vulture. Toomes also realises that Peter is Spider-Man and threatens him. Peter ends up abandoning Liz at the dance to go after her father. They have another battle in which Spider-Man saves Toomes’s life.

Tony Stark has a change of hearts and offers to allow Peter to join the Avengers but Peter declines saving that he wants to stay local for a while. Tony however does return the suit to Peter.

The performances were good especially Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spiderman but then he was good in Civil War and they choose the right person this time around. Michael Keaton also played his part well as Adrian Toomes/Vulture but at the same time I think his motivations were a little weak. I enjoy the character of Ned played by Jacob Batalon as the BF/sidekick character to Peter Parker.

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The Badger On: Wonder Woman (Movie)

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So I guess I am a little late in getting this up considering how excited I was to see this movie in the first place. I have also seen it twice now. Once opening weekend with the fiancé (engaged now btw) and again over the weekend with both nieces and mother.

Both times I enjoyed it immensely and will have to say that it is the movie that I have enjoyed the most this year but I think that was going to be a given but we will have to wait and see if Justice League lives up to potential. With my dislike of Spiderman, in which I will most likely see in cinema because of fiancé, and Thor, which I probably won’t unless fiancé again, I doubt that I will enjoy either movie as much as I did Wonder Woman as both times I came out feeling happy and with a smile on my face. Fantastic Beasts was the last movie that I felt that way about.

I could go through the plot but it is an origin story and if you know the basic history of Wonder Woman then you pretty much know it already. Diana grows up on Themyscira (Paradise Island) with her mother Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons and the Amazons themselves. She learns to fight becomes a great warrior and has never met a man until Steve Trevor crash lands. She leaves the island with him but she might never be able to return.

This how the first part of the movie goes though Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) never wants Diana (Gal Gadot) to learn to fight but eventually she is taught by her Aunt Antiope (Robyn Wright). Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) does crash land but unlike most telling’s of her origin he is not the only man to land on the island as he is followed by the German army. The first battle scene on the beach is beautifully shot, though admittedly all the fight/battle sequences are.

Just like in BvS: Dawn of Justice Gal Gadot is luminous as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and she brings a tough innocence to the character. She and Chris Pine have wonderful chemistry together. He was also wonderful and charming as Steve Trevor. Lucy Davis as Etta Candy was delightful and comical and so were Steve Trevor rag-tag team of Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), Charlie (Ewen Bremner) and Chief Napi (Eugene Brave Rock).

As for the antagonists Danny Huston does a good job with the red herring German General Erich Ludendorff as does Elena Anaya as Isabel Maru (Doctor Poison). I am however a little disappointed with Ares though I will admit that I didn’t see the misdirect when it came to him.

As mentioned before the direction and battle sequence are wonderful especially the No-Man’s Land sequence and Patty Jenkins deserves all the accolades she is getting and she should definitely do the sequel and get more directing gigs after this one.

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The Badger On: Prince Of Stride : Alternative

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Now usually I am not into sports anime favouring fantasy/sci-fi and occasionally a slice of life style show with a comedic bent or something with heart. I do have a fondness, I guess, for shows that are based in a high-school as I find the Japanese educational system quite interesting.

I decided to Prince of Stride a go as it was one of the shows available on Animelab that had been dubbed and thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that I actually watched it twice back to back finishing it the first time Saturday afternoon and re-watching last night all twelve episodes.

The show is about a high school Stride team, a fictional extreme sport that is a combination of a parkour and relay racing. Each team consists of six members 5 runners and a relationer. The relationer and runners are connected to each other through earpieces and the relationer will give instructions to their team during the race. The runners have to make sure the connect with their teammates with a hand-slap or be disqualified. They also have to deal with obstacles along the course which is where the parkour comes into.

The show follows the Honen High School Stride team of Tokyo who were once well known but are now fallen on hard times due to in-fighting and the resignation of members. As such at the beginning of the series there is only three members third year and team captain Heath Hasekura and two second years Hozumi Kohinata and Ayumu Kodowaki.

It is the beginning of the school year and Nana Sakurai in her first year has come to Honen specifically to join the Stride team aiming to be a manager, though she ends up being a relationer instead. Takeru Fujiwara has also attending the school for the same reason. The last of the firsts years is Riku Yagami who wants to join all the sports clubs and has an aversion to Stride as his brother, Tomoe, is a well-known Stride competitor, and former member of the Honen team. Tomoe and Riku used to trained together until Riku gave up as he didn’t think that he could compete with his brother and Tomoe also took the fun out of the sport.

The team go through a lot of trials just to make it through to the big Stride competition called End of Summer, including injury to Ayumu and recruiting of an ex-team member, Kyosuke Kuga, who left of bad terms due to taking the blame for others misdeeds to the return of Tomoe, who has returned to Japan after studying overseas and has joined a rival team, and the impact this has on Riku’s confidence.

This show has a lot of heart and humour and like I have said before it has pretty good music and I don’t just mean the beginning and ending themes but also the music used through the show. I am also surprised in a way that this hasn’t developed into a real sport, in a way that Quidditch did. I really enjoyed this show so I really recommend it.

 

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Trailer

The Badger On: iZombie (TV Series)

I have been a fan of this show since it premiered in 2015 and watch it through the Australian streaming service Stan. We are now into its third season but I am not going to review the season per say but the show as a whole.  I am not sure I will call it a review either as I did considering putting this up on my other blog but thought it was be better situated here.

Though I am not really a zombie person, despite watching the first 4 seasons of the Walking Dead, I was attracted to this show for a couple of reasons. Two of the main character were involved in another show that I enjoy in Once Upon A Time that being Rose McIver and David Anders. The second being that it is based on a comic book by the same name distributed by Vertigo which is an imprint of DC comics.

Well any who the show follows Liv Moore (Rose McIver) who was well on her way to becoming a doctor when is scratched at boat party by a zombie and as such becomes one. The zombie thing works a little different in this universe as a zombie can look and act like a normal human being but will become more like a stereotypical one if deprived of brains. When brains are consumed they take on the personality traits of the one who has died and will occasionally have flashes of their lives.

Liv quits her promising career and takes a job in the city morgue so that she can have ready access to brains. She also breaks her engagement to Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley), who Liv turns into a zombie later on to save his life. Her boss at the morgue Dr Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) works out that she is a zombie and assists her while also trying to find a cure. With the flashes that she gets from the deceased she then uses what she knows to help police detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) solve murders. She passes herself off as a psychic to begin with though by the end of season 2 Clive finally finds out that she is a zombie.

The show is a comedic police procedural with the supernatural thrown in. Though there is a case of the week there is an over-arching story involved. Seasonally it tends to change a bit though usually it has to do with finding a cure and David Anders character Blaine DeBeers is usually involved as the antagonist though he is kind of an uneasy ally at the moment as he is no-longer a zombie as Ravi found a cure but the side-affects result in retrograde amnesia.

This is a great show. It is funny, has heart and the acting performances are wonderful and the concept as whole is wonderful and fresh. It also has a wonderful opening theme in Stop, I’m Already Dead by Deadboy & the Elephantmen. Another plus is that David Anders gets to sing every now and again and that is a treasure on its own.

 

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Opening Theme

The Badger On: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (Movie)

If you have read my list of favourite Marvel movies found in my Pop Goes The Badger Blog you would know that  Guardians of the Galaxy came in at number 2, after the Avengers, as the Marvel movie that I most enjoyed. Despite 3 more movies coming out since then, including this review, I will stand by that. Even though Captain America: Civil War is probably their best made movie on a enjoyment level I still prefer the Avengers and Guardians more. Actually I will say that Winter Solider is still probably my favourite Cap movie, on my enjoyable scale, as the last time I watched Civil War (and second viewing) I fell asleep. I might have to revise that list to include the three additional movies but might wait until after Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok are released.

I will try not to be too heavy with the spoilers considering that this movie has not been released in all regions.

First off, it is an enjoyable movie, actually my bf likes this one better than the first though he still thinks that there is not much of a storyline in either movie. I still, however, think the first one has a charm that this one kind of lacks. There is a little growth in the characters and the humour is much more present in my opinion and Baby Groot is adorable and should bring a smile to your face every time he is on screen.

While the original movie was an introduction and formation of the team, Vol 2 is a movie about family and fatherhood. At the end of the first movie Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt) finds out that he is only half human with his father being something that even the Nova Corps were unaware of. In Vol 2 we meet his father a Celestial (a kind of god) named Ego (Kurt Russell). Peter is a little resentful of his father to begin with but eventually get swayed by the charm of Ego and actually finding his father. Gamora (Zoe Salanda) is suspicious of Ego and also resentful to an extant as she feels that Ego is taking Peter away from the family that is being formed within the Guardians.

It is not just Peter and his budding relationship with his father that is being explored. The relationship between the Gamora and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) and the treatment the endured by their adoptive father Thanos along with the relationship of Peter and his kidnapper Yondu (Michael Rooker), who we find out was hired by Ego to bring Peter to him after his mother died but didn’t. Yondu also builds a bit of a relationship with Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) as they are very much alike in some ways.

Like in the first one the music is good though admittedly not as good or used as well as the first one, in my opinion. Stand out tracks being Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain and Cat Stevens Father and Son. The last one in  particular might bring tears to your eyes, as it did me. I think it just one of those songs that you just instinctively know the words too as I was mouthing the words to it as it was playing and my bf was singing aloud to it.

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Trailer

 

 

 

The Badger On: Ready Player One (Book)

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I thought it was about time to do another book since I have only officially ever one. Many of the review I have done were either based or connected to books, manga, comic books and graphic novels with the Hateful Eight being the only movie that was written directly for screen. The one I have chosen has no other medium connection but soon will with Stephen Spielberg set to direct an adaption for screen.

I do own the book in all three forms (physically, digitally and audio) but I have only listened to the book and not physically read it, my niece has the physical copy and I just haven’t had a chance to start reading my iTunes copy. I have though listened to it multiple times and it along with the All Souls books and Harry Potter are my favourite book/s to listen to. This is partially due to the reading of Wil Wheaton who is perfect for the job.

The book is a dystopian sci-fi set in an alternate future. Earth is a mess due to an energy crisis and global warming. The majority of the population have and live in the virtual world called OASIS which a virtual reality simulator that is a MMORPG and a virtual society where the currency used is actually the most stable in the world. When one of the creators of OASIS, James Halliday, dies without an heir to inherit his massive fortune in his will announces a kind of treasure hunt. He has left a golden egg somewhere in the OASIS and the first to find it will inherit his fortune and control of the OASIS.

The story follows one such hunter or ‘gunter’, as they are called. He is a high schooler by the name of Wade Watts who lives with his aunt in the stacks, mobile homes stacked up on each other, after his mother’s death. His avatar is Parzival and he is the second person to find the location of the first key and the first person to win it. The first person to find the location is a female gunter named Art3mis, whom Wade is a fan of and whom he meets on his exit.

The story is littered with eighties, gaming, arcade and nerd culture reference as James Halliday was a teenager during the eighties and was a huge nerd/geek. Even if you are not aware of all of the references the story is still an enjoyable read. The ending is a big climatic battle and race to the finish as Parzival as his friends Art3mis, Aech and Shoto battle to reach the egg before the nefarious Innovative Online Industries (IOI) who are willing to do anything to not only get the prize money but complete control of the OASIS.

If you like sci-fi and/or a geek or a lover of anything and everything eighties you will love this book or story. If you are not I would say give it a go as it a highly enjoyable read/listen.

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