Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Review

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Directed by Isao Takahata Grave of the Fireflies is an Animated war film that is based on a story from 1967 with the same title.

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This is by far the most tragic film in the Studio Ghibli Collection it starts with the corpse of the main character Seita being searched by a Janitor in a train station, he takes a candy tin and throws it into a field and this releases the memory of Seita’s younger sister Setsuko who is joined by the memory of her brother,  they both board a train and then the film shows the struggle they went through during the end World War 2 that eventually lead to both of them dying.

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Even though the beginning the film shows that the outcome of these characters is not good, what makes the film worth watching is the message that it gives, throughout the journey audiences will be rooting for Seita and Setsuko to survive because of how well they get along and how much they truly love each-other.

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The tragedy of the film is truly Seita’s character, he wants the be the protector of his sister after their mother dies, but he doesn’t have a lot of experience doing this eventually pushing away everyone who tries to help them. Its his stubborn nature that causes the downfall in their story but he means so well and only wants the best. This makes the film extremely difficult and sad to watch its a really good movie with excellent animation and characters, I actually think that these are some of the best characters the studio has ever produced because they seem so real.

Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most hard to watch animated films ever made, its a great piece of cinema that shows that cartoons and animation really is not just for children and families, this film is not suitable for children and it definitely wasn’t made for them its a story that will cause emotion and pain for all who see it, its fantastically tragic.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Grave of the Fireflies

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Castle in the Sky (1986) Review

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Castle in the Sky is technically the first movie under the Studio Ghibli name but it is recognised by the company as their second film after Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind.

Its a fantasy-adventure film which was written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

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After an attack on an airship a young girl named Sheeta falls slowly and lands in a small town where she is discovered by an adventurous orphan boy called Pazu, who takes her into his home to take of her, not long after this they are attacked by the pirates who want to steal Sheetas necklace which holds mysterious powers.

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The Pirates are my favourite part of the film they are really funny and often cause epic and comedic chase sequences between them and the two protagonists, another reason I like these characters is because they are not just typical villain characters they do have hearts and at times even help the two children in their adventure to keep Sheeta safe.

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The main antagonist of the film is agent Muska who had originally abducted Sheeta in the beginning of the movie and hunts her down throughout the adventure, like the Pirates he also wants the necklace but his intentions are to use it to take over Laputa (Sheeta’s home land) he is voiced by Mark Hamill in the English Dub of the movie.

While I do like the animation of the film I much prefer its soundtrack, the music was composed by Joe Hisaishi.

The soundtrack is beautiful and matches the theme and pacing of the film extremely well, it has hints of adventure with hidden moments of sadness and wonder which works to emphasise the films emotions.

Castle in the Sky is a fantastic movie it blends various genres together, fantasy, science fiction, steam punk, comedy, action and adventure and it does thsi extremely well for an animated feature, its intense but also charming and romantic, its a film that I feel that no matter what age you are you will love it, its one my favourite animated films and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fast paced movies with a lot of heart and imagination.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Castle in the Sky

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Nausicaa of the valley of the wind (1984) Review

Welcome to an unusual Christmas series, this year I have decided to discuss the Studio Ghibli feature films collection, some of these films I have already discussed on this website many years ago but I feel its time to update those older reviews. The reason I have decided on this series is because while they don’t have anything to with the holidays I find myself watching them every Christmas and I think they will be more interesting than regular Christmas movies so without further ado lets begin with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

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Based on a Manga of the same name Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a fantasy-science fiction movie based in a post apocalyptic world. The film was directed by Hayao Miyazaki a true legend of film making and animation. This was Miyazaki’s second film after The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979

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A thousand years after an apocalyptic war the land has been turned into a toxic jungle with giant and deadly bugs roaming around and causing trouble for the humans that remain.

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Nausicca the Princess of the Valley of the Wind has the ability to befriend various animals and creatures, she is able to calm the angry bugs that are causing trouble for the humans and her main goal is to find a way for the humans and the bugs to exist side by side in peace.

The Vallley of the Wind is one of most peaceful places left on earth, the rest of the planet are at war with eachother and fighting to gain power and resources after the effects of the war, unfortunately one of these of these other lands decides to attack the Valley of the Wind and kills Nausicca’s father leaving Nausicca to try and keep peace and prevent any other person or bug from being needlessly killed.

 

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I really enjoyed Nausicca’s character, she is a great warrior who also has a plan of action when she needs too, shes emotional and cares a lot about the people and creatures around her but she wasn’t my favourite character in the film that would have to be Lord Yupa a swordsman and secondary father figure to Nausicca, he’s voiced by Patrick Stewart in the English dub and that might be why I like him so much, other noticeable names are Shia LeBouf, Uma Thurman, Frank Welker, Jodi Benson and Mark Hamill.

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I love the art style and colouring used in this film, its dark and gritty with a style of animation that looks like a mixture of anime and a comic book, the rough design of the bugs are my absolute favourite part of the film but I enjoy the beauty of the world in which this film takes place especially the jungle with its plants and trees that are imaginative and full of creativity and are one of the films most standout features.

Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind is an excellent film that takes a world of wonder and throws into land of a chaos, its a tragic movie that shows the effects of humankind and its greed and selfishness that ultimately causes nothing but heartache, corruption and pain to the world that we often take for granted and Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind shows this in ways that will be remembered forever making it a very important part of the history of animation.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind

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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The Simpsons Arcade Game (1991) Review

 

 

Simpsons-Arcade

Created and released by Konami in 1991 the Simpsons Arcade Machine was extremely popular when it was sent to arcades. Not long after hitting arcades the game was ported to MS DOS and Commodore 64, these versions were poor in comparison to the original game and we wouldn’t see a very good port of the game until 2012 when it was released on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

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The Simpson family are walking down the street when they bump into Waylon Smithers who has just robbed a jewelry store, the diamond that Smithers had stolen falls into Maggies mouth, Smithers steals Maggie and runs away leaving the Simpson family to fight off Mr Burns Goons throughout various areas from the show on their way to The Nuclear Power Plant to take out Mr Burns and Smithers.

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In the game you can play with up to four players and each player can be one of four characters Homer, Marge, Bart or Lisa Simpson.

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The game is a 2D Beat em up which has the Simpsons traversing through various areas and defeating variants of enemies until the screen has cleared and the player can move onto the next screen. Each character has one attack move and each fight in different ways Homer fights with his fists, Marge uses a vacuum cleaner, Bart rides his skateboard and uses it to attack enemies and Lisa uses a skipping rope to defeat her foes.

In multiplayer two characters can merge together to perform a super attack, these attacks change depending on which characters are being played.

Players can also pick up objects in the various environments to either throw at enemies or to use them as a weapon, the sling shot is the most useful in my opinion.

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At the end of each of the 8 stages you will need to fight a boss battle, each boss is quite difficult and unique to the plot.

Konami has always been really good with their video game soundtracks and this game is no exception, the music is super fun and fast paced and still has that Simpsons feel to it. Its by far one of best soundtracks in a Simpsons game, click the video above to check it out.

The Simpsons Arcade game is a fantastic Arcade game and should be played if you ever get the chance, it is quite tough which is to be expected from games in the Arcade as they are made to make money, it took me 30 credits to finish the Simpsons arcade. If you want a decent version of the game to play at home you can purchase it on Xbox Live and PSN, the Xbox Live and PSN versions of the game even come with some additional modes. If there was anything I would say to improve the game it would be to add an additional attack button as just having one main attack gets a little boring after a while, but all in all the Simpsons arcade game is great 9.6/10.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Simpsons Arcade Game

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Book Review: Jack Dawkins by Terry Ward

I would like to say a big thank you to Publishers Push and the author of this book Terry Ward for supplying me with a review copy of this book.

This excellent book by author Terry Ward follows the story of Jack Dawkins better known as the Artful Dodger in the Charles Dickens classic novel Oliver Twist

The story continues where Jack’s fate was hinted at in Oliver Twist presumably being sent to an Australian penal colony after being caught stealing a silver snuff box.

In this continuation of the Dodgers story, Jack Dawkins is given one last chance to change his ways narrowly escaping the punishment he was lined up for.

Jack is sent to live with a man called Mr Godden who gives Jack work to do on his farm, his beautiful daughter Lysette catches Jack’s eye and she soon becomes the new focus of the Dodgers life.

Jack Dawkins by Terry Ward is a splendid book that shows the Artful Dodger in a new light, the book shows the past criminal as a caring and brave individual who shows several acts of heroism throughout the story in order to gain the heart of the person he loves.

In another side plot in relation to the Dodgers parents we see an emotional side to Jack that makes you feel for the character and root for his success.

My favourite part of the book was the love that Jack felt for Lysette Godden, I love a good romance so this soon got me hooked on the story, I also really enjoyed the references to Jacks criminal past as well as some character appearances from the Charles Dickens book Oliver Twist.

Jack Dawkins by Terry Ward may be one of the best books I have read in a long time, it is an excellent take on the Artful Dodger that gives the character more humanity and in my opinion makes him more likeable, the author was very brave to write a story based on such a timeless character but he did a wonderful job and I will be look out for Terry Wards books in the future.

5 STAR REVIEWS FOR JACK DAWKINS’!!
Jack Dawkins, AKA as the Artful Dodger, wants to set the record straight about what happened to him after he was obliged to take up lodgings in Newgate Prison. Thanks to the genius of Lionel Bart, we all have a lasting image of him skipping away into the sunset, arm in arm with Fagin. Well, the young jackanapes is here to tell you that the truth is very different.
You don’t have to know your way round archaic words, history or the works of Mr. Dickens, because Jack has very kindly provided a Glossary that you can refer to as he relates in his own inimitable fashion, his encounters with an unusually erudite Bow Street Runner, murderous villains, turnkeys, philanthropists, Innkeepers, Owlers, passing strangers-and Miss Lysette Godden, the first human being he has ever loved. Strangely enough, Jack also reveals that, as he conducts what proves to be a highly dangerous search for his mother and father, he finds his true self.

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I thought you might like to take a look at Jack Dawkins’ ghost-writer.
You can see more of both of us on the You Tube video ‘the spirit of the Artful Dodger’,
in which Jack does the decent thing by returning from ‘Mutton Pie and Porter heaven’ to give me a helping hand.

 

Thank you for reading this review of Jack Dawkins by Terry Ward

JACK DAWKINS- being the further adventures of the Artful Dodger’

 by

Terry Ward.

In which the Artful Dodger expresses his opinions on:

Fagin:  He reminded me of one of those ravens you see strutting about, frightening the pigeons.

Poverty:  ‘Youi ought to try living on the streets of London, summer and winter; it’s an education.’

Judges; ‘I can’t stand their type.  They’ll condemn an out of work man for stealing enough to keep his family alive, then go home to a mansion and a two-hour dinner.’

Army generals:  ‘Kill one man and they’ll hang you for it.  Kill a hundred thousand and they’ll put up a statue with your name on it.’

Romance:  Well, there’s kissing and there’s kissing, isn’t there?

Sex: ‘You don’t spend your life living in overcrowded warrens without noticing things you ought not. I’ve seen just about everything from life being made and born, to death having the last laugh, so you’d better think again about what I can and can’t do.’

Down on the farm: ‘Farming is a disgusting business. Horse dung, pig dung and

cow dung keep piling up in pens and all over the yard. It makes

me grateful that the two hundred sheep Mr Godden told me he

owns are doing it in the fields, otherwise we’d be up to our necks

in the stuff in no time.’

Fantastic reviews for

‘Jack Dawkins-being the further adventures of the Artful Dodger’

By

Terry Ward

ISBN  9784-1-911546-30-6

Widely available from online book shops

Foyles, Blackwells, the Telegraph, Amazon etc.

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Here is a link to my Review of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2016/12/25/book-review-oliver-twist-by-charles-dickens/

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The Thing (1982) Review

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The Thing is a Sci Fi and Horror movie written by Bill Lancaster and Directed by John Carpenter.

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The Thing follows the story of American researchers in Antarctica who due to an unfortunate incident discover a strange alien creature that is able to take the form of any living entity it consumes, after discovering malformed humanoid bodies and a dog that had been affected the men become paranoid of who they can trust as the creature could have taken the form of anyone in the group.

The_Kennel-Thing_puts_out_tentacles_-_The_Thing_(1982)For me the best part of the film was the creature design, of course technically the creature can take the form of any living organism it pleases, however its the grotesque visuals when the creature is in mid transformation that it is most visually pleasing, each time this happens the form it takes is different but all of them are disgusting and really horrifying.

endjc3The entire cast is memorable and so are the characters they play but by far the two most recognisable actors who also give the best performance in my opinion are Keith David who plays Childs who you may recognise from my review of They Live and Kurt Russell who plays Macready the lead character of the film but putting these two aside everyone in the film did a fantastic job.

The Thing is an amazing film and the suspense and mystery of it is something that you don’t see much in films today, you don’t know where the creature is for a large chunk of the movie and while the characters in the film don’t know who to trust neither does the audience, and even to this day some questions about the creature have gone unanswered leaving many viewers to have to try and theorise certain areas of the movie for themselves.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Thing (1982) if you respect my opinion I will respect yours.

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King’s Quest 1: Quest for the Crown (1990 Edition) Review

A few weeks ago a friend of mine begged me to play through and review a series of games called Kings Quest, I had heard about the games many times growing up, but I always skipped them because at the time I was more interested in my Sega so I tended to stay away from PC gaming.

I remember playing a Kings Quest game when I was in Primary school but at the Time I was way to young to be able to understand the puzzles and the complexity of the game.

It’s been over 15 years but I have finally finished Kings Quest 1: Quest for the Crown

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in the game you play as Sir Graham the most heroic Knight in all of Daventry

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The kingdom of Daventry is suffering from many hardships which can only be put to rest if a hero finds three legendary treasures that are hidden through out the kingdom, the treasures are a Mirror guarded by a ferocious dragon, a chest guarded by a towering giant and a shield guarded by the mischievous leprechaun king. During these hardships King Edward is dying and has called upon Sir Graham to find the three treasures and as a reward he will be crowned king of Daventry.

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I like that the game has a simple to follow plot as this is a children’s game, a lot of critics complain that the plot isn’t very immersive and in depth compared to other fantasy series such as The Elder Scrolls. I don’t personally agree with this theory but if you really want a more in depth plot take a look at the games manual because there is an entire section expanding on the games story.

The most important aspect is the game play and for the most part its really great, for those who don’t know kings quest is a typing adventure game, you have the ability to move Sir Graham around the kingdom by either moving with the arrow keys or clicking with the mouse.

You can then communicate with the in game NPC’s and enviroments by typing an action such as look, talk, move, give, take, jump and duck

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I really enjoyed the gameplay in some ways it reminded me of old Zelda games with its vast world and complex puzzles, but thats not to say that the gameplay didn’t suffer from some major issues such as its controls. Long time fans may dissagree but to me the controls felt really clunky. If I wanted to use the arrow keys to move Sir Graham I couldnt stop moving in that direction and this often led to my death but I also found that if I used the mouse to move I no longer had this issue but instead I would get stuck behind in game objects such as trees.

The controls did not help in certain areas which required fast or careful movements such as climbing a beanstalk or walking across a tree branch.

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the puzzles and the layout of the map is perfect nothing really feels out of place and the map isn’t so big that the game gets too complicated but I do feel that younger players really struggle to figure out some of the games puzzles as their isn’t many clues and the player is left to figure things out by them self, I feel that the game could have benefited from a couple of difficulty options.

The game looks fantastic, I must say that for a game that came out in 1990 I am very impressed, the in game environments and NPC’s are absolutely full of detail and the game really benefits from a great mix of colours

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My biggest issue is the lack of audio in the game, there is very few audio tracks in the game and the majority of the game has hardly any sound at all. I would be more forgiving if this was the original and not the remake as this is an issue they could have fixed for the re-release

I really enjoyed kings Quest 1, it was not as good as I expected it as it suffered a lot of major issues but when it shined it really shined. I had a great time and I cant wait to play the sequel 6.7/10

I hope you enjoyed this Review of Kings Quest 1
If you respect my opinion I will respect yours
By Padawan