Tag Archives: Review

Battlebots 2018 Season Review

The 2019 Battlebots season has just begun but I want to take us back and reflect on the 2018 season and what made it work and what could be improved.  But first, I totally missed watching the 2018 season when it premiered as I was in Wyoming with no TV or internet access.  Thankfully, now back in civilization, I have finished binging all the episodes and I’m ready to dive in.  Let’s take a look!

91hq5zuu4l._ri_

Switching networks, switching styles
The transition from ABC to Discovery Channel is a welcome one.  At its core, Battlebots is a reality show focused on engineering and destruction, perfect for the modern Discovery Channel and its programs.  DC understood what makes Battlebots great and modified it to give us quality and substance.  The end result was a whopping 20 episode season, 10 more than the previous ABC season and on par with the Comedy Central-era show.

This was an excellent choice.  With only one weight class, the show could focus entirely on the competing robots and treat the show like a professional sport.  I’m mainly referring to the playoffs which is such a great choice I’m baffled why it wasn’t introduced sooner.  We have so many robots that we love but we don’t see too often given the brutal nature of a KO Tournament.  With playoffs, we see robots get second (and third and fourth) chance of proving they’re the best and they can give us a good show.  That means we can see bots that do average or okay fight each other and not against the brutes that would otherwise dominate them (I’m looking at you, Duck, you magnificent robot!).

This also means we have a excellently seeded 16 bracket that give us, without a doubt, the best robots of the season by win record.  We can eliminate the duds (like veterans SubZero, Overhaul, and Chomp) and give us the robots that pack a mean wallop (like newcomers Whiplash and Monsoon)!  The bracket gave us a few 4-0s and a lot of 3-1s, most of whom got their seed based on satisfying KOs.

Most of the episodes are focused on the playoffs with each episode ending with an Event Match, a fight that gives us something to look forward to.  This was another smart choice as it gave us really great robots that have done well in previous seasons but who never fought each other (like Tombstone vs Minotaur).  The event match also gave a chance to newcomers who were doing well like Whiplash and Duck who both did incredibly well given they were facing against Tombstone.  Playoffs were great as it helped cement in our hearts bots that we grew to love.

duck-bot-s2018-1140x760

Duck!  was one of my favorite new Battlebots.  I honestly thought it was robbed from appearing in the sweet sixteen but it did tremendous.  Excellent ram/lift bot!

Pad for Time
Unfortunately, this season was the worst example of filler content as almost every episode had only five battles.  The previous seasons crammed more in there with the trade off that we saw highlights for the battles that were slow or inconsequential.  This…I’m okay with, if a battle isn’t exciting then it’s not exciting; probably a quarter of battles in Battlebot history end with two robots barely functioning with both weapons nonfunctional.  As long as we see a good clip here or there, I’m cool.

The Discovery Place network, however, did not do this.  Now, I’m one of those fans that doesn’t mind filler but a good chunk of the episode is basically me waiting for a battle to happen without a lot of fulfilling content.  The filler is basically Faruq announces the first bot, the builders wave to the audience, Faruq announces the second bot, the builders wave to the audience, the builders are interviewed, once in position the first builder punches the button, the second builder punches the button, some more waiting, the lights go on, and FINALLY the match begins.

Previous seasons, most of the time, had a quick introduction by the announcers for each robot and they jumped right in to the battle.  That’s it!  And that was all I needed.  To have the above formula repeat five times for 20 episodes got tiring after awhile.  You could’ve definitely made it six battles per episode and cut out all that filler.

Now, I definitely don’t mind the filler for the actual tournament itself, that is great!  Really gets you hype up for the tournament.  You can play that out because these are robots that actually deserve to be introduced with some spotlight treatment.  You could also use filler for behind the scenes action.  What are the builders doing?  How are they recovering from the match?  What damage did their robot sustain?  How are they fixing it?  I would love to get into the nitty gritty of that.  It would really show the teams’ comradery and intelligence in working together to get their precious bot up and running.  Thankfully, the 2019 season looks to be doing this more and cutting down on the intro filler.

huge-team-s2018-1140x810

My other new favorite from the season.  HUGE was so hilarious but the height advantage and those weird wheels made it an unlikely, fantastic foe.  Too bad it fell apart in the Sweet Sixteen otherwise I think it could’ve beaten Bite Force!

An Experienced Crew, a Thoughtful Show
By now, the people who have worked on Battlebots these past few seasons have a lot of passion, love, and experience with the sport.  You can tell they have a lot of fun doing what they do and I don’t blame them!  I remember how I was initially critical of our hosts, Kenny and Chris, but I now think they are great.  They know the bots very well, they have seen many battles, and they know how to comment and keep the battle entertaining even when it may be slow.  Seeing Kenny being outspoken against some of the judges’ decisions was something I could appreciate deeply.  I think Kenny may come off as apathetic when next to the hyperactive Chris, but when you see him defend bots and disagree with the judges it really shows he cares for about the sport.

I also like the intro skits, silly they may be, I find them quite entertaining!  My favorite was Warhead lighting the birthday cake on fire though the staring contest with Huge got a good chuckle out of me.

Overall, Battlebots returned from a two year hiatus but it was worth the wait.   My only complaint left is that I wish Battlebots would show the best fights on Youtube!  That would further spread the love for the show I think.  Looking forward to what the rest of 2019 has to bring for us!

Thoughts and Review of Godzilla 2014 by a Godzilla Fanatic (Spoilers)

This movie has garnered negative and positive reviews from both fans and critics alike and I can certainly understand why there is a clear divide.  I want to address some of the fans criticisms but first here are my basic thoughts.

I like this movie, I really do.  It’s not a great movie and it’s not the best Godzilla movie either but it’s still pretty good.  Monsters fight, buildings crumble and people fled in terror, that was all I was looking for and by Godzilla I got it!  Everything in between was not that good but the stuff that worked, REALLY worked!

The two MUTOs were cool and atypical in appearance compared to your average Godzilla villain.  I liked the concept of having a small, flying male and a large, earth-stomping female.  It’s not often that Godzilla fights two villains at once and as such, this was a real treat to watch.  Also, the MUTOs’, and by extension Godzilla’s, backstory I thought was perfect.  All Godzilla films have these crazy scientific theories that have NO basis in logic whatsoever and this was no exception.  Large monsters used to live on the surface and then burrowed underground to feed on the radiation there.  Perfect!  That’s all I need!  An explanation where the monsters come from and why they are appearing now, love it.

BTW, I thought it was cute that the male and female MUTOs did a little nuzzling when they first met each other.

The fights were good but I wish I could have seen more of them especially the first one.  Seeing the first fight should have been a priority since we are seeing Godzila in action for the very first time.  Even though it would have been just a smackdown, I would have still loved to have witnessed it.  That said, the final fight was amazing with a series of battles that build upon each other to a climatic finish.

I remember distinctly near the end of the movie that this Godzilla hadn’t done his atomic breath yet and I was worried that wasn’t going to happen.  But wait!  His tail spines were glowing!  I leaned forward in anticipation, making excited noises much to the chagrin of my fellow movie watchers.  And then…BLLLLLLAAARRGGGH!  The atomic breath came and I was like “Yeah! Alright!”  I was thrilled when that happened and right there I knew that this was Godzilla, no doubt.

But the best part had yet to come, when Godzilla fought the female MUTO for the last time. The two titans struggled and I was giddy with excitement.  I asked myself how were they going to end this fight.  And then, Godzilla grabbed MUTO’s jaws with both of his hands and I was like:

Reaction

I gave a grunt of excitement and thought Godzilla was going to rip MUTO’s jaws in half similar to what he did to Anguirus or what King Kong did to the T-Rex.  But something even better happened.  His dorsal spines glowed with power and he released a might atomic breath into the monster’s throat.  I was then like:

Super Saiyan reaction

I screamed with excitement and I was the only member in the rather stiff audience that was whooping and hollering.  I wanted him to take the now disembodied head and throw it to the ground like an adrenaline-filled football player throwing his pigskin to the ground after a fantastic touchdown.

Godzilla was also great, he definitely reminded me of Godzilla 2000’s Godzilla.  He was a neutral force that did whatever he wanted.  That is definitely my favorite rendition of Godzilla and I’m very happy the film went for this choice.  He’s fighting cause he wants to fight and if people or buildings get in his way then so be it!  He also had personality and I really felt for the guy when things got tough for him.  Also, for those who’s saying this Godzilla is fat..um…he’s always been fat, look at his thighs and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Now, let me focus on the criticisms that many people had for this movie.  Mainly: the characters were flat, we don’t see much of Godzilla, and for the few critical die-hard fans, this was not Godzilla.

Characters were flat: For over a year, I have been watching Godzilla films that I have never seen before or haven’t seen for a long time.  As such, I have a pretty good understanding of some of the most popular tropes in these films.  One of the most used tropes is flat characters.  This is pretty standard in a Godzilla film.  Godzilla 2000, Godzilla: Final Wars, and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah are some of the rare exceptions to this.  Those characters were fun and memorable.  Everywhere else though I’m like, eh, whatever, don’t care.

This wouldn’t be a problem for the film except that we got Bryan Fucking Cranston in it.  He plays his role so damn well that I forgot he was Walter White and an actual character in a Godzilla film.  I felt for him, I moved for him, I wanted him to succeed….and then he died!  I was shocked that he died and was sure for a minute or so he would revive due to some radiation pulse or whatever.  But nope!  He straight up died!  The rug was really pulled underneath me when that happened.  Which meant we were stuck with his son, Sargent Boring.  Now this was a character I did not care about!  He nor his family!  But he had a purpose and he served his purpose well.  I was hoping he would die but alas, that was not the case.  The good news is that hopefully, if we’re following traditional Godzilla films, he won’t be in the sequel.  Fingers crossed!

Though I did like the Asian scientist Dr. Slackjaw (his expression throughout the whole film) and his assistant Dr. Concern.  I wanted to know more about them, what’s their story??  I hope they make a return as they can keep on spewing the crazy scientific theory stuff that makes Godzilla films great.

Godzilla does not appear often: This I sort of agreed with but at the same time, many of the films in the franchise also follow this formula.  Less is more.  At the same time though, I did wish we could have seen more of the big guy, particularly wider shots of him instead of close ups.  Godzilla 2000, also a reboot, saw Godzilla a lot, hell, we even saw him near the beginning and I’m not talking just his spines or whatever, the whole thing.  This could have been changed if we had at least saw more of the first fight.

Godzilla 2014 was not made by Toho and is not portrayed in a giant rubber suit: This is probably the most stupid complaint to me.  Just because Godzilla is not portrayed in costume or his film was not made by Toho doesn’t mean he is not Godzilla.  He’s big, he’s reptilian, and he has an atomic breath, boom, that’s Godzilla.  Take Batman for example, he has had many incarnations during the 75 years he has been on Earth; some were campy, some were serious, some were down-to-earth, some were not, but all shared the basic understanding of who Batman was.  Godzilla is the same way, he has had many forms in the Toho films, he has been represented in comics, video games, tv series, and so forth.  They were all Godzilla.  And Godzilla 2014 is without a doubt Godzilla and a good one at that too.

 

Well, this review has gone on long enough so I’m going to wrap it up.

Pros: Godzilla, the MUTOS, the 3rd fight, Bryan Cranston
Cons: Sargent Boring and his family, only glimpses of the first fight, Godzilla theme was not in this movie
Final Godzilla Rating: 4/5.  Go see this movie in theaters while you still can even if you’re not a Godzilla fan, it’s well worth your time.   The bland characters bring the film down a few notches but this is made up with everything else the film has to offer.  Here’s hoping King Ghidorah will be in the next film!!

Also, in the future, I’ll write an article comparing all the Godzilla reboots together (i.e. Godzilla 1985, Godzilla 2000, and Godzilla 2014).  What they got right and wrong and how they affected the franchise.