Pikmin 3 (2013 – 2020) Review

Before continuing to read this review please check out my reviews of the first two Pikmin games !

Pikmin https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2019/01/23/pikmin-2001-review/

Pikmin 2 https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2019/08/19/pikmin-2-2004-review/

Pikmin 3 is the third game in Nintendo’s popular action-strategy series where players are given control of Hocatate Captains who control the adorable Pikmin creatures to collect treasures and defeat big bad bugs.

In the game our three Captains Alph, Britany and Charlie are scouting various planets seeking food sources with little luck, they eventually Crash Land on PNF-04 better known as Earth and are separated, they eventually find each other along with the Pikmin who help them find lots of food sources in the form of different fruits.

Data files left behind by Captain Olimar and his assistant Louie can also be found in the game, this eventually leads to the trio realising that the two former explorers are in serious danger and the main goal of the game becomes having to track down signals and rescue the series beloved heroes !

The Series staples Red, Yellow and Blue Pikmin return and to replace the Purple and White Pikmins from the second game, here there are two new types, Rock Pikmin which can be used to deal major damage to enemies and bosses as well as smashing crystals and Winged Pikmin which are able to fly and sprout these pink plants which often hide treasures and fruits.

The game is fairly easy due to the amount of fruits available as well as the fact that the combat has seemingly been tamed compared to the previous games, I played the Deluxe version on Nintendo Switch on the Hard difficulty setting and only really had major trouble in two areas of the game, the boss Quaggled Mireclops who’s tongue can take out large quantities of Pikmins in one swipe and the final challenge of the game before the final boss encounter.

You control three captains in the game and you can choose to have them all in one party or you can split them up and set them different tasks, It was very rare that I chose to not keep them together because while there are areas you can explore by doing this as well as collecting more fruits, it adds a significant amount of danger to all three parties as each would have less Pikmin to take on larger enemies and mini bosses.

The reason fruit is important is because it gets juiced which provides a food source for the captains, one bottle is used each day and if you run out you will get a game over, I feel like this is unlikely considering that on my first playthrough on a hard difficulty I completed the game with 38 bottles of juice still left over, I suppose if you have never played a Pikmin game it might be more difficult, but in my opinion it is by far the easiest game in series due to the abundance of fruit and the fact that enemies appear to be weaker than they ever have been previously.

In the Nintendo Switch version there are various differences but the best one by far is the two side stories that are unlocked through out story mode, both of these see Captain Olimar and louies journey before the events of Pikmin 3 and focus on hitting certain goals such as gathering enough treasures to pay off a debt, beating tough bosses and hitting all goals within a time limit and many more.

I have never played the Wii-U version so I cannot comment on it here nor can I tell you many of differences so please use this link for an accurate list of ever difference between the two games

https://www.pikminwiki.com/Pikmin_3_Deluxe#Changes_from_Pikmin_3

This may be my favourite soundtrack in the series, it is very simple and has a very innocent feel to it, I think this suits a series like this very well, It is not as whimsical as the first games soundtrack but I do prefer over it Pikmin 2’s music, the music is more intense in the games final area the Formidable Oak but it is not so intense that it feels out of place in a game like Pikmin.

Pikmin 3 is a fantastic game, I hadn’t played Pikmin since 2017 before I started this one and it immediately got me hooked and reminded me why I love this series as much as I do, the only real issue I have with it are the easy difficulty and its very short length, I beat the game in less than 8 hours and I am only glad that I got the switch version for the extra content because at least I had more to do after I finished the main campaign. Apart from this the game looks gorgeous and carry’s all of the charm, humour and wonder that this series is known for. I still recommend the game because even though it is short, it has a lot of replay value with its in game achievement system and a more difficult campaign is unlocked after beating the final boss.

I missed Pikmin so much and really hope that a fourth main game is released soon, but for now I think I will give this an 8/10 putting it right in the middle, better than first but cant compare to Pikmin 2 which is still superior and I only wish that those first two games get re-releases on Switch as well.

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Book Review: The Hunger Games – MockingJay

Lets finish this trilogy

Checkout my Review of Hunger Games  https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2018/01/23/book-review-the-hunger-games-by-suzanne-collins/

Checkout my Review of Catching Fire  https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2020/05/11/book-review-the-hunger-games-catching-fire/

The Hunger Games – MockingJay was written by author Suzanne Collins as the final chapter in the story of the heroine Katniss Everdeen in her quest to destroy the Capital and shut down the Hunger Games. The book was released in 2010.

Katniss and her family are slowly adjusting to life in district 13, The district has been turned into a hidden headquarters for survivors of the Hunger Games and members of the rebellion which wants to help tear down the capital scum who have imprisoned other survivor’s of the games including close friend and love interest to Katniss Peeta, unfortunately for Katniss Peeta’s imprisonment and torture is used as a weapon against her since the capital now realises that she is a serious threat to President Snow.

I loved this book, it might be my favourite entry in the series due to the fact that it really puts the stakes up for Katniss, the previous book did as well this but now that Peeta is captured and tortured, it makes her even angrier towards the capital. His mental health deteriorates so badly that he changes as a person. This causes Katniss to question her love for him which goes against what the capital expects, they start to panic and become more violent as the plot progresses.

In the previous books President Snow is really sinister and quite scary but I feel that is the first time he begins to show fear by stepping out of line with his threats, I don’t want to spoil too much but a great example of this is when he blows up a children’s hospital just to send a message to Katniss.

There are a lot of deaths in this and some of them are really upsetting, I honestly feel that Suzanne Collins handled the characters she kills off very well compared to some other authors who feel like they kill people off just for sake of it without it having much narrative on the protagonist or the story.

Definitely a great ending to what is a fantastic trilogy of books, I would highly recommend reading these but I think you should consider how violent they are when deciding if your little ones are old enough to enjoy these stories themselves.

With that I am done with the Hunger Games books, I might discuss the movies one day but for now I am just happy that I managed review all three books.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Hunger Games: MockingJay by Suzanne Collins

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Cadbury Perky Nana Review

So I woke up this morning to a delivery from Australia, this package contained many snacks from down under which is very exciting as I do not often get to try snacks from across the Globe, out of all the items I received a yellow bar from Cadbury called a Perky Nana immediately caught my eye and I had to try it first.

I couldn’t find much information on this I even checked the Australian Cadbury website but I had no luck, the small piece of information I could find was that the bar consists of soft marsh mallow covered in chocolate

The bar looks as expected, mine has slightly burst due to me lightly poking before I opened the bar, this is a very fragile chocolate, they smell very fruity with an artificial banana smell which again is what you would expect.

I dont think my description of the taste will do this justice but the mix of chocolate and banana marshmallow is amazing, its very sweet, I only took a small bite and I feel satisfied like I want some more but I want to take my time with it instead of shovelling it down.

Why the heck havent we got these the UK Perky Nana is awesome, if ever get to visit Australia I will be buying these in bulk to bring back home.

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Sonic The Hedgehog (Sonic 06) Review

The 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game was the first Sonic game to be released on the 7th generation hardware and is often considered to not only be the worst Sonic game ever made but one of the worst games ever made period, is this game really that bad?

Following a pattern seen in earlier 3D Sonic games, Sonic 06 has multiple short stories that each connect with each other instead of one campaign, due to this I will discuss each one separately and give my thoughts and opinion.

The plot of the Sonic Campaign mainly revolves around a princess named Elise who is kidnapped by Dr Eggman in order to harness her power and resurrect an ancient and deadly power that is hidden inside of her, he would then use this power to take over the world.

Sonic’s gameplay is fast paced action and 3D platforming that has some serious issues with lag and the game often struggled to keep up with the speed of Sonics character, this often led to either Sonic dying due to slow down or falling to his doom due to textures and platforms not loading correctly.

I played the PS3 version and found lag even in the overworld when I was walking around, this issue resulted in my experience of this campaign to be mainly based on luck, patience and hope rather than skill and compared to previous games in the franchise this was not enjoyable in the slightest.

While Sonic was often too slow due to the lag, other characters in his campaign were extremely light and made flying and hovering really difficult to control and it didn’t feel natural at all, I felt like I had very little control over characters such as Tails and Knuckles, the small segment with Silver actually controlled fine and I will discuss the Silver Campaign next..

Sonic 06 introduced fans to newcomer Silver the Hedgehog, in the game Silvers story sees him travelling through time to destroy Sonic, Silver believes that Sonic is the reason that Iblis an immortal demon of flames was resurrected, due to this he assumes Sonic is a villain who wants world domination, Silver plans to kill Sonic before later teaming up after realising that he is a friend.

Silvers gameplay is very unique as it requires players to take their time and use more strategy compared to other campaigns. Silver has telekinetic powers which he uses to pick up objects and throw them at enemies to damage them, objects take a while to regenerate so players will need to use them wisely trying to damage multiple enemies at once so you don’t need to wait long to get more ammunition. I thought it was really cool that you could also grab enemy bullets mid air and shoot them back at them, Silver is also able to hover temporarily but this is a very short distance so you need to use this wisely as well.

Alongside Silver are a handful of stages where take control of Blaze the Cat, Blaze’s levels are very similar to Sonics gameplay as she can move quickly but she has a heavy reliance on combat similar to Knuckles, in reality she is a combination of the two and it works extremely well and she is genuinely a really fun part of the game.

I really enjoyed Silvers campaign it had very little issue with Lag or glitches, not to say they weren’t there but compared to my experience with Sonic this was much better. I found his story to be really compelling and thought he was a enjoyable all around, in fact I wouldn’t a mind a solo game with Silver such as what they did with Shadow but due to how bad that game was I cant see another spin off happening any time soon.

Shadow’s Campaign can only be described as a train wreck but before I go there lets quickly go over his story.

In the game Shadow is tasked with rescuing the ex villain and now G.U.N agent Rouge the Bat after she has gone silent while searching for the Sceptre of Darkness from Dr Eggmans Base. He finds her at the end of her mission and because of his interference Dr Eggman arrives at the base, a fight for the sceptre ensues and unfortunately it is shattered into pieces releasing Mephilis an evil spirit with a likeness to Shadow who is the other half of Iblis after they were separated by experiments on Solaris.

Shadows gameplay is like Sonic’s but a lot worse, he also moves very fast so the lag is back to maximum levels but on top on this he uses roller skates which give his character a gliding effect when he runs, with the lag spikes it makes the general movement of shadow clunky and also slippery, he is practically unplayable on foot but in vehicles he is slowed down and they play smoothly enough.

There are two other playable characters in Shadows campaign, Rouge the Bat is primarily used for treasure hunting, in a similar style to Sonic Adventure 2 she can climb walls and glide temporality, she generally controls ok but I had always had issue getting off of the walls when I was climbing, whenever I tried to jump off it was like she being held in place and this quickly became very frustrating.

The other character is Omega, his gameplay is mostly combat with little platforming, he uses projectiles to shoot enemies and this works fine, it was the only part of Shadows campaign that was actually fun and had very few issues.

Shadows campaign in Sonic 06 was really bad, the plot was great and from story narrative this may be the best part of the game but unfortunately the majority of this section is almost unplayable to the point that you begin to realise that the developers must have known about the issues because they are so constant.

After completing all of these campaigns you unlock a final story segment which concludes the game.

One of the biggest issues in the game are load times, these are slightly longer than you may wish but for me I was more annoyed with how often they appeared, they play between level segments and even during cutscenes.

In between stages you are often taken to Castle Town, A hub world which separates the levels and often requires the player to complete several side missions, some of these quite fun but again the load times are a little frustrating, the best side mission is the hidden race against Sonic Man, its very stupid but I cannot deny that it did make me laugh.

There are also collectable silver medals hidden throughout the game, I personally wouldn’t recommend going for them as they do not affect you percentage of completion, I played the game on the Playstation 3 and there were no trophies due to this being an early title on the system so I didn’t really go for any major completion goals in the game.

The soundtrack to the game is very good, Sonic Games are known for their fantastic music and this is no exception, I love the main theme of the game, it stuck with through out the whole experience of my playthrough and was always a pleasure to listen too when it played, other great tracks include aquatic ambience, wave ocean and tropical jungle, I do wish there was more vocal tracks but I cannot deny that the soundtrack is not disappointing.

So I finally finished Sonic 06 and it was a lot worse than I honestly expected, I was really hoping to go into this one and find something positive to say about the game but I have to review my experience and it wasn’t good.

Graphically the game is ok and the soundtrack was enjoyable with some very memorable music pieces. Silvers Campaign was a ton of fun and I really liked the new game play style, there was very little issues with his sections and if the entire game was like that I would be a lot kinder than I am being now. Sonic and Shadows campaigns had serious lag problems and were very frustrating, Shadows was the worst because it lagged and had slippery controls.

It sucks that I dislike this game because I think it had a lot of potential, you can tell that it took a lot inspiration from the Sonic Adventure titles but even compared to that first game this really falls short and its not because the story or levels are bad, its because the game isn’t finished and is full of issues, the developers rushed this game and released it knowing that it was an incomplete product, what does that say about the developers and publishers? I really did not want to follow the trend of hating this game but I have to be honest with my self and admit that it is really bad and deserves a rating no higher than a 2.5/10

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The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004) Review

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is an action adventure game developed by Flagship with funding from Capcom for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance.

It is the twelfth game in the Legend of Zelda game series and is the first game in the timeline which focuses on the villain Vaati, who’s story is continued in both Fours Swords and Four Swords Adventures. Minish Cap was directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi.

The game focuses on Vaati a new villain who was previously seen in Four Swords and would appear in Four Swords Adventures later on, This is his origin story and his first evil scheme where he turns Princess Zelda to stone, this event causes link to collect the elements and form the Four Sword in order to save her and defeat the evil Minish wizard.

The game follows a very similar formula to prior games in the series where you will travel across the Land, collect upgrades and conquer dungeons, I found that the game felt closer to the original games as it didnt really hold your hand or drop too many hints on where are you are supposed to go which really helped to encourage players to explore on their own which is the best way to play any game in this series. When you reboot the game after shutting off the power, the character Ezlo (Links Hat in the game) will tell players what the current main quest is, I like this as it is useful as a quick reminder without forcing you to stick to the quest.

I don’t want to give too many spoilers here as there is a lot of side content to discover but one of the most interesting for me at least was when I accidently found a port hole which took me to a house where I was able to help exorcize an evil spirit. Because I chose to do this, later on in my quest the main plot returned me to this house and I was awarded the Light Arrows, unlike other games these are not needed to defeat the boss but are substantially more powerful than the original arrows.

In the game you can find items called kinstones, these can be paired with other characters kinstones to unlock secrets and helpful items, almost all NPC’s have kinstones so just try to connect with as many as possible, I thought this was one of the most creative parts of the game and I really enjoyed finding as many secrets as I could and I know that I left a lot behind so I look forward to returning to Minish Cap again to try and find the rest of them.

The main mechanic of the game is the ability to shrink down to the size of a Minish, the Minish are miniscule elf like creatures who live in tiny homes hidden far from the human eye. Link can shrink in many areas of the game and this mechanic is used for discovering further secrets and to defeat some bosses and solving dungeon puzzles, I really enjoyed this mechanic as it added so much more to the game and was implemented really well as it very important to the plot and was genuinely a lot of fun to use.

The game recycles a lot of music from past games and uses a few original tracks as well. The re-used music has been enhanced with some changes so that it works on the GBA and it sounds really nice, the soundtrack may not be as ground-breaking as other games in the series but it is very impressive for GBA title, The music is well composed and has extremely high quality for a game on the GBA, in fact some of the music in this game I prefer over the original versions from games such as Ocarina of Time and a Link to the Past.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap really surprised me because for some reason I always skipped on playing this one, I’m glad I played it now as it was one of the best gaming experiences I have had in a very long time, as it normally is with hand held titles the game was short and after I was finished I really wanted to start the game again hopefully this time discovering new secrets.

I do have some complaints but they are only minor, the first is that while collecting sea shells and trading them in for models was a cool idea I thought it could have been executed better as it took a long time for me to empty my shells so that I could make space for more, the only other issue I had was the fairies, in all games prior to this fairies your trap in bottles would either fully heal you or give you a fair amount of hearts when you die, in this game you only get four hearts back so you really want to focus on buying Red Potion instead. I would not normally complain about this but it is so different to what we got before and it is not explained in the game that they will only give you a few hearts so it is very annoying for regular fans of the series who would not expect this.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is easily one of the best GBA games I have ever played, It was really fun to explore Hyrule in this and the new mechanics such as shrinking, the mole mitts and fusing kinstones gave me lots of secrets to uncover and it felt like a title in the series that really took a leaf out of Zelda’s roots, the complaints I do have with the game are tiny, the fairies are very annoying as it was not stated clearly in the game that they wont fully heal you and while the models took a very long time to empty your shells, you don’t have to do this at all, I know wont be doing this next time I play it. The sound track while mostly recycled was very good and I loved every second of it, graphically the game is stunning and is an art piece throughout, as a Minish when you start to explore smaller areas it is beautiful and I give credit to the artists.

My issues with this game as so small that I think unfair for me to even consider them for my final rating, the worst was the fairies but unless you are a long time fan of the series this probably wouldn’t bother you, so with this in mind I think that this games does everything that a Zelda should and more, it is pratically flawless in its visuals, music, gameplay and story and is now one of my favourite games in the series and it is only deserving of a 10/10 a rating which has only be received by a Link to the Past so hats off to Minish Cap it truly is a wonderful gaming experience.

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Thank You for all of your support.

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Diddy Kong Racing (1997/2007) Review

Anyone who knows me quickly comes to realise that I am big fan of Kart Racing video games and that I can be very critical of their quality. A game in this genre that I have a history with is Rare Wares Diddy Kong Racing which released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997 with a Remake coming out on the Nintendo DS 10 years later in 2007. Unlike most game I actually came to know the game through the remake and have only recently finished the original which is the version I am focusing on today, I will however be addressing differences between the DS version at the end of this review so that I can give a comparison.

All is calm in the jungle until Diddy Kong receives a letter from his friend Timber the Tiger, poor Timbers Island has been taken over by a wizarding space hog named Wiz Pig and the only way to get rid of him is to beat him in a race. Diddy quickly contacts his friends Banjo the Bear and Conker the Squirrel (yes these are the same characters you are thinking of) to meet him at Timbers Island and together Diddy, Timber and all of the Island folk team up and practice racing, getting ready for the tough race against the evil Wiz Pig.

The game uses a Hub world as a means of travelling between the different areas of the game and while it is a very basic hub world it is still fun to explore and even has some hidden balloons that need to be discovered.

The main purpose of the game is racing and it is very similar to other Kart Racers such as Mario Kart however this game has a bit of a twist because as well as cars you can also race in hovercrafts and aeroplanes.

All of the vehicles are easy enough to control however finding the strengths of each racer will help you determine the best choice for each vehicle, I personally found that Tip Tup the tortoise was a great choice all around and I mainly used him.

In races players can collect power ups (rockets, speed boosts, oil, shields and magnets) if players hold onto a power up and collect more of the same coloured balloons the power up they have will be upgraded and this can done up to three times for maximum power.

After completing a boss race players will need to repeat all of the races again but now having to collect all of the silver coins and still come first, this becomes particularly challenging in the later worlds of the game.

After beating a boss the second time you can then compete in a trophy race which is not needed but does go towards completion of the game and most people do want this. The issue have is the repetition here, its the same races three times in a row and while still fun it does get a little a bit boring.

There are four main boss races in the game not including the two races against Wiz Pig which I have not included images of in case you want to beat this game yourself. All of the races are actually very challenging and had me stuck a few times, in the end I had to learn the patterns, avoid almost all obstacles and try the race with multiple characters until I could win, these were all very memorable and really satisfying to finish.

Each world hides a hidden key which will open a door to a battle mini game, these are a nice break from the racing and were in my opinion very easy but one my favourites parts of the game if only because it was different. Some of the keys are really difficult to find and don’t worry once you find one you can return to the lobby and the key will still be with you so there is no panic to win the race as well.

There are two secret unlockable characters in the game, one of these is Drumstick the chicken who is easily one of the best racers and the other its T.T the clock who will challenge you to a race if you beat his times for each course, after winning all of the times trials and all of the races against him he will become a playable racer.

The music was composed by David Wise who had previously worked on the Donkey Kong Country series, the music is wonderful in this game and it has that Rare Ware quality that I love, they didn’t hold back here and I feel this specific game focused more on fun music than atmospheric due to the fact that is a racing game and not a big immersive adventure such is the case with other other Rare Ware N64 titles. I really enjoyed the music in the snow world as it reminded of Christmas music but with a more energetic twist.

Diddy Kong Racing is a great game and I have very few issues with it, in fact the only real problem is that it is a little bit repetitive, I would have fixed this by having the second races replaced by either having to do a scavenger hunt or solving a difficult puzzle in the main hub which would eventually unlock one key hole in a giant door and once you unlock this door you can do a boss rush to unlock another secret racer (who ever that may be), this boss rush would replace the second boss races and the puzzles would replace the silver coin challenges.

Apart from this, it has nice visuals, fantastic music and super fun gameplay which shouldn’t be missed and if you have a N64 I recommend picking this one up as it is not too expensive and is a really good time.

The game was remade for the Nintendo DS handheld system in 2007 first change to note is the absence of Banjo and Conker who due to the Microsoft purchase of Rare Ware were replaced by Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong.

The game is practically the same with small differences of course the DS is a dual screen so when you race you now see the map on the bottom screen instead of the screen you are racing on and honestly I prefer this, what I don’t like is that once you finish a race you cannot return to it until you have completed the world so if you want to return for the key you cannot do that without first finishing the worlds boss.

Silver coin races are now replaced with touch screen challenges where the players has to click on all of the silver coins and balloons over three auto driving laps of races and this helps to break up the repetetive game play and is a good change in my opinion.

Wiz Pig and Taj the Genie can also be unlocked as playable racers in the DS version and some race tracks have had modifications to help them feel a little more fair for example in star city there is an additional route beneath the bridge so that if you fall you do not need to back track and in the final race against Wiz Pig the lasers have been removed to make it a little bit easier than it was previously, although for the final boss this change felt unnecessary as it is supposed to really hard.

The DS version is very good and is almost the same game with few differences some of these are great and others maybe not so much but I am finding it difficult to determine the inferior product here as I feel while the strengths and weaknesses differ between games the end products are so close in quality that its only fair I give them a similar score and say for you to decide which version you would like to play.

Diddy Kong Racing 9.6/10

Diddy Kong Racing DS 9.6/10

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Book Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I wasnt sure that I would be doing one more Christmas review this year but after recently diving back into the Charles Dickens library I thought I may as well do a quick book review in celebration of the holidays.

A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens in 1843, it is a short story otherwise known as a novella, but regardless of the books length it has been adapted to screen many times and is Christmas classic known by all.

The story is about an angry elderly man who has a cold heart and not a drop of love within himself, he is cruel to his employee Bob Cratchet who he underpays and has little sympathy for, he refuses to donate to charities and says that he would rather the poor die instead of help them and generally is a very unlikable character.

Throughout the story Scrooge is visited by ghosts one is his old partner Jacob Marley and the others represent the past, present and future who take him through time to see his life flash before his eyes and showing him the error of his ways.

If you cut apart all of the film adaptations and stitched parts together you would get a page for page perfect adaptation of the book and there not a is single part of the book that hasn’t included in any of the on screen tellings of the story.

there are few things in the book that are not often shown, one is the spirits in the air after Marley visits, in the books this shows ghosts all sorts of people who have done wrong and now carry the chains of their sins.

The other is Ebenezer’s sister Fanny who is very rarely put to screen and in the book it is told that she dies young and is the mother of Ebenezer’s nephew Fred.

Funnily enough one of the only adaptations to correctly depict the Ghost of Christmas Past was the muppet version as in the story and that version the spirit is said to be a glowing light.

What really surprised me was that in the original Charles Dickens story there is no part where Scrooge goes to Hell, in fact the story seems a lot more straight to the point than any version that came after it and I think it works better that way, so many of the re-tellings added this part and now I see that it really wasn’t needed as Dickens wrote the story so well without it.

It’s not easy to review this because while the book is really well written and very educational the later adaptations are definitely more memorable, in fact there are so many adaptations of the story that it is quite insane, if that doesn’t go to show that this is one of the most important stories every written I don’t know what does.

A wikipedia link which lists all adaptions of the original story

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptations_of_A_Christmas_Carol

I think I want to end this review by saying that I really enjoyed this book, I didn’t think that I would because I didn’t enjoy Oliver Twist another popular story from Dickens, back then I put it down to his writing style but I have to take that back because this story was wonderful. Perhaps I should check out his other stories in the future but for now I am very happy to say I will be reading this one every single year.

Merry Christmas and God Bless us Everyone !

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The Lord of the Rings – The Christmas Classics nobody ever expected

I want to start by saying that this is not a review, it is a discussion about what these movies mean to me, my history with them and why they remind of Christmas and are Holiday Classics for myself. I am only discussing the Peter Jackson Lord of Rings movies and not the books nor the animated version by Ralph Bakshi.

I don’t have photographs of my childhood with these films so I am using images from google, if anyone has an issue with an image I use please email me at my contact email address in the contact me section of this website and I will change it for another.

Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Fellowship of the Ring was released in December of 2001 and I was eight years old, my grandmother had come to visit the day after her and my Grandad went to the cinema to watch a film called The Lord of the Rings.

I remember asking her to tell me about it and she told me it was load of rubbish and was so boring and stupid that she fell asleep not long into the movie, this may be surprising but keep in mind that when she was younger she grew up with the books and while I haven’t read them myself yet I am sure they are quite different to the film adaptations.

After hearing about this boring movie eight year old me left the room to play and knowing myself it was probably Crash Bandicoot on the PS1 although I cant be too sure.

One year later on Christmas day 2002 I opened up one of my presents and it was that boring movie my grandmother told me about, I left it alone for a while as I was more interested in my new toys but on Christmas it has always been tradition for my family to watch a movie together and that year my mother wanted us to watch Lord of the Rings.

I quickly became obsessed with this movie and would play the tape almost daily, I’m not sure what really got me into the films but I do know that I had recently became interested in Wizardry thanks to Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone which was released in theatres around a year prior to when I was gifted Fellowship.

Gandalf the wizard became a favourite character of mine and even my friends, we all began quoting the famous “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” line while playing games in the garden and I we used to love re-watching his battle with the Balrog time and time again.

Another Scene I remember watching vigorously as a child was the fight with the Cave Troll, definitely one of the most intense parts of the movie and for an eight year old it was very memorable as a battle, again this may be due to Harry Potter which also had a troll fight, I dont like comparing the two but in my childhood this makes a lot of sense now that I look back almost 20 years later.

The movie ended on a fairly un-conclusive note so while young, I was still aware that there was more of the story to be told but at that age I was fairly distracted with school, video games and other hobbies so I never gave this much thought until the second movie ended up in my hands.

The Two Towers (2002)

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers released in theatres December 2002 I remember seeing posters for the movie but I was too young to be allowed to see the movie in the cinema, instead I would have to wait until the following Christmas before the tape was finally added to my collection.

I don’t remember the Christmas that I received this very well but I do have some very fond memories of this film and this is probably the video tape out of the entire trilogy which I played the most growing up.

It was the first interaction that the hobbits had with the creature Gollum here played by Andy Serkis who voiced the character and did live action work before the animation. Gollum is easily the best part of the film, he is very funny especially when he starts arguing with his other personality Sméagol.

I always wanted a Treebeard action figure when I was younger thanks to his scenes in the Two Towers, as a nine year old I was very jealous of Merry and Pippin getting to ride in his arms, I think he was a really lovable character and to this day he is still one of my favourite parts of the film.

I could never understand the whole Gandalf the Grey turned Gandalf the White when I was a child, It’s not that I didn’t like the character It was just a little bit too complicated for me to grasp back then, re-watching the film recently I must say it is really impressive how the cinematography, clever use of lighting and editing makes it seem like its Saruman before the big reveal.

The battle scene for Helms Deep was replayed so many times on the video tape that this section began to wear out before the rest of the video did, me and friends would often rewind this part and re-watch it, it is generally a very intense and fun battle scene, the fellowship only manages to get a 300 man army to take on 10’000 orcs so your really on the edge of your seat watching this.

There is also the competition between Legolas and Ghimli which adds some comedy to the scene and of course how can you forget Legolas riding the shield down the stairs while shooting orcs.

Again the film ends on a cliff hanger leaving me only desperate to get part three with me not realising that it would be the final chapter of this story.

The Return of the King (2003)

December 2003 saw the Return of the King hitting theatres but as per usual I wouldnt see the movie until a year later.

2004 was a tough year for my family, money was running low, savings were non existent and due to the stress of making enough money to feed the family my father had to take up a job abroad. One of the most difficult losses especially for my parents was the loss of our house, we couldn’t afford the upkeep so we were forced to move to an old flat in the city.

Its fair to say that I wasn’t expecting Lord of the Rings that year so I was very happy when it was gifted to me by my Auntie on Boxing Day when we did our usual Christmas greetings of the extended family.

Return of the King is easily in my opinion the best film in the trilogy, I have a lot of memories of this movie and they start from the very beginning, the movie opens with two brothers Sméagol and Deagol fishing on a boat, Deagol falls into the water and finds the One Ring, he refuses to give it to Sméagol for his birthday so he gets strangled to death and this starts the rings corruption of Sméagol and the creation of the Gollum.

I used to hate the scene with Denethor eating as it is really gross, I had a weak stomach when I was a kid so I used to close my eyes at this part, I suppose that’s why it always stuck with me.

The army of the undead was unbelievably cool for ten year old me, I used to love the big fight in this film, it had orcs, trolls, elephants and yes even the ghosts!, even Legolas and Ghimli’s competition was continued in the film and most prominently in this scene, it was tons of fun and both my favourite part of the movie and the videogame adaptation that was released.

There is a part of the film after Frodo leaves Sam he gets tricked into entering the cave of the Spider Shelob where he gets injected with a numbing liquid and wrapped in web, this part used to scare me and is really disturbing, when Sam removes the web from Frodo’s face he looks pale and dead and it isn’t revealed until later on that he is still alive.

For many fans the scene where Sam carried Frodo up Mount Doom is one of the most beautiful and memorable and if I ever review these films I will likely fully analyse this moment.

For me one of the most memorable parts of Return of the King was when Frodo refuses to drop the ring into Mount Doom, the entire trilogy had been building up to this moment so it is difficult to see Frodo be so corrupted that he doesn’t want to let go, of course Gollum jumps on top of an invisible Frodo and bits his finger off, this moment snaps Frodo out of his control and he pushes Gollum to his death in turn destroying the ring and saving Middle Earth.

The ending where Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf go off on the boat I didn’t fully understand when I was younger, I assumed they were going on more adventures, and while this is kind of the case I now realise that they were going to the undying lands where they would settle down until the end of time.

And that’s it, that is all of my fondest childhood memories of Lord of the Rings, as I stated this was not a review but more of my experiences with the films growing up and why I watch them every Christmas, of course they are not Christmas movies but for me they do remind of the holiday and were some of the most memorable gifts I ever received, I know I skipped over a lot of moments in the films and if I ever review them I will do them full justice in a proper review but for now it was nice for me to look back at these epics and why they mean so much to me.

Happy Holidays everybody, I know my Christmas offerings have been less than usual this year, I may try to squeeze one more review out if I am feeling up for it but if not.

Have a great holiday season and I will see you all in 2021 !!

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

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The Santa Clause (1995) Review

The Santa Clause is a Disney Christmas movie starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin a fairly unfortunate character who wants nothing more than for his son Charlie to retain the Christmas Spirit and believe in Santa very much to the dislike of his wife.

Later on in the film after a disappointing dinner at Denny’s and Charlie still unsure about the magic of Christmas, Scott accidently spooks Santa on his roof causing to him slip and fall to his death!

Scott begins to gain excessive amounts of weight and has uncontrollable facial hair growth, no matter what he does he cannot escape turning into the new Father Christmas.

Tim Allen actually looks really good as Father Christmas, all movie Santa’s pretty look the same but I think its the curved moustache that I like the most about this version.

The movie is pretty good but I don’t love it, some of the visual effects are outdated and are bad even for the time, the visuals of him going down the chimney were particularly unimpressive.

The elves being children is something I haven’t seen much in Santa movies, it definitely feels odd having these kids playing adult roles but it works well enough.

The thing I really don’t like about this movie is actually intentional, in the films defence this is not a criticism and is just something that I dislike. The mother character (Wendy Crewson) and her psychiatrist husband Neil (Judge Reinhold) really want Charlie to stop believing in Santa even though he is just eight years old. I really feel that eight is still very young and this intention while it was supposed to be for the child’s own good came across as really cruel.

Going back to the elves, the head elf of the North Pole is a character named Bernard, at first I did not like him as I thought he came across a little bit mean but I soon warmed up to him especially near the end of the film when his snappy and commanding attitude was shown more in the light of him really caring that Christmas is able to still happen and is as magical as can be even with a brand new, last minute Santa Claus.

The Santa Clause is a good Christmas movie, It is far from one of my favourites, I think the concept is really interesting, you don’t often see Father Christmas die and have the job passed onto someone else especially in a live action feature. I didn’t like a lot of characters in this film and I also found the visual effects somewhat cringeworthy but saying that this isn’t a Christmas Classic for others is untrue. The movie is often on lists of the best Christmas films of all time and many people have fond memories of watching this, It’s just not for me and at some point perhaps I will look at the sequels to see if I enjoy those more but for now this is one Christmas Movie I will happily sit through again but not as an annual Christmas Tradition.

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Review

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a musical fantasy film starring everyone’s favourite puppet characters, Originally created by the late Jim Henson the Muppets were a huge success on Television and eventually starring in movies until Jim’s death in 1990.

This is a really good video playlist about Jim Hensons career it was made by Youtube Channel called Defunctland and is one of the best documentary series on Jim and his creations, I would highly recommend checking it out

After Jim’s passing his son Brian took the Muppets franchise under his wing and began work on the first movie that would be made after Jim Henson and this film just so happens to be a take on the Chales Dickens story A Christmas Carol.

The story is one of the most well known tales of all time but for those who may be living under a rock, A Christmas Carol is the story of a very angry and unkind man who is shown the error of his ways on one Christmas eve where three different ghosts show him his past, present and future in hopes of giving him a chance to redeem himself and avoid an eternity in Hell.

In this version of the classic story, Ebenezer Scrooge is played by academy award winner and cinema legend Micheal Cain, his performance in this is really good, in fact its my favourite performance of Scrooge in any media. The film is relatively silly as it should be, it is the Muppets after all.

The silliest moments come from Gonzo and Rizzo who are narrating the story while the movie is playing.

Another Great example of Muppet humour is the christmas party scene, it has Animal on the drums, Rolf on the Piano, Bad Jokes from Fozzy Bear and is genuinly one the most memorable parts of the film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jLRLwI6OdU

What makes Cain stand out so well is that he plays such a serious role when the rest of the movie is a Muppets film, his performance in this is so convincing that by the end of the film you even start to feel a little sorry for him, I really do think this is one of his best roles, the only slight issue is that he struggles to carry a tune during his song at the end of the movie and it would have been better if his singing was dubbed.

The rest of the cast is great, I felt the muppets chosen for the characters were really good, Kermit being Bob Cratchett is an obvious choice and Miss Piggy playing his wife Emily also makes sense, but we need to take time to appreciate the smaller roles, Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker play the charity collectors which is seems an odd choice but it works surprisingly well but the best casting which was ingenious in my opinion was the role of Jacob Marley going to

Waldorf and Statler, I dont think anyone expected these guys to play such a large role in the film as they were mainly used for the odd funny remark in the TV show and the previous movies, they are great as Jacob Marley (now split into two brothers) and even sing a catchy musical number.

The music for the film was written and composed by Paul Williams and Miles Goodman, I have very mixed feelings on this I would argue that half of the music is phenomenal and some of the best Christmas themed music put to screen but the other half feels a little lackluster. Some highlights for me were “Scrooge”, “Marley and Marley”, It Feels Like Christmas” and even the “finale Song” was memorable but the rest is so forgettable, I couldn’t recall “One More Sleep til Christmas” or “Bless us All”, the movie had a lot of songs cut from it including songs by Beaker and Dr Honeydew, another by Sam the Eagle, these were not very good so I’m glad they weren’t kept in the film but the track “When Love is Gone” was cut from the film in releases after the theatre since it was deemed to sad and this is a shame because its a really beautiful lyrical piece that helps give more depth to Scrooge and his long lost love Belle’s character.

My favourite track is It Feels Like Christmas sang by the Ghost of Christmas Present, its a really bouncy and fun song about the meaning of Christmas but what makes it most impressive is the Puppet used for the Ghost, he was a life size Puppet made for the movie, a human actor controlled the puppet from the inside while a Puppeteer used robotics to control the eyes and mouth and did the voice acting in sync with the actors dancing and movements.

A Muppet Christmas Carol is a magical movie that is a yearly tradition for many especially Muppet fans like myself, It has a lot going for it with its impressive puppetry, charm that only these characters can bring the the screen and of course you cannot forget about Michael Cain who is just wonderful in this, this is one of the best telling’s of the classic Dickens tale but it’s not my favourite, it falls short is some places I found the commentary from Gonzo and Rizzo a little distracting at times and a few of the songs were forgettable but overall this is a still a really amazing film and it is one of the best in the Muppets library, a lot of love went into it and I have a lot of love for it and I’m sure you will too if you give it a try this Christmas.

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