Pokemon Mountain – 10/20/16



It’s been about a month since I’ve had an interesting dream, but my dream last night had a tiny bit of structure, so that’s what I’ll write about.


pokemonisland.jpgIt was late in the afternoon on the island when I began looking for them, the Pokémon that is. I wasn’t a trainer, more of a breeder or caretaker working for the professor. I didn’t know exactly what he was the professor of, but that’s what we called him, or at least what I called him. There was nobody else on the island. I walked out of the gated valley area where I had taken my nap and looked up the mountain at all of the adjacent, fenced in squares over its winding trail. Most of the pens were empty with the gates open, but a few of them, particularly over the grassy areas, had gates closed with a few creatures that were not quite Pokémon caged inside. The one I could see looked more like a pen of quadrupedal raptors with long feathered tails that ploofed at their ends. I shivered, and opened what I could only describe as my Pokédex in attempt to locate the other Pokémon I needed to get to their pens. By the time I found and returned a few of them, I got a call from the professor asking me to create a new Pokémon, which didn’t strike me as odd at all.

300px-crested_raptorHe wanted something powerful, but kept naming Pokémon that had abilities that would not combine to be as extraordinary as he was expecting. I told him that I’d come up with something, and hung up. After looking at a chart of Pokémon on my Pokédex, I decided I wanted to go with something that had a lot of flair, and that knew Hyperbeam, naturally I chose Gyarados. It took me a while to think of what to combine him with, however. I wanted something that would help to eradicate weakness as well as strengthen his Hyperbeam overall, and instead of choosing Dragonite (which I only thought of once I woke up), I went with Venusaur. Since during the dream, I didn’t realize, or care that Venusaur knew Solar Beam, not Hyperbeam, I decided they would be a magnificent combination, and began getting to work on how it would look, how to create it, and what to name it.

3.130.pngWhile trying to come up with a name, I got a call from a young colleague of mine, who heard about my predicament and what I was attempting to do. She came up with the name “Garysaur” but I could only have it if she was allowed to draft the email to the professor, begrudgingly, I said yes, and regretted it immediately. When I finally read the letter (after she’d sent it) I realized that she’d tried to take credit for the entire creation, not simply the name. Fortunately, he’d already agreed upon the Pokémon combination, so I didn’t have to worry, but I felt a sickening combination of betrayal and aggravation before I woke up.


Video Game Review: Life is Strange (2015)


What is it?

An M-Rated episodic video game with an interactive non-linear story developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix. The game is a cross-platform single player game, available on Steam (Mac and PC) PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The full game is 5 episodes long, and was released worldwide with the first episode launching January 2015 and the final episode in October of 2015. 

The Good

urlThere so many good things about this game. Any of the reviews you read on Steam are just about guaranteed to rave about the game’s music, composed by Jonathan Morali. I am not an exception. One of the first things I do when playing a game is adjust the music and sound effects so that I can listen to other things (people chatting in Skype/Ventrillo or Netflix going in the background). I was pleasantly surprised that this game had an indie music feel to it, meaning the music was phenomenal and I highly recommend to any gamer to keep it audible while playing.

From the very first episode the game itself was engaging, immersing the player in the fictional town of Arcadia Bay Oregon. I was pleasantly surprised with how painless and streamlined the tutorial was. I was also excited when I saw how the game both allowed players to skip any backstory they weren’t interested in, but made sure it was there, for those who were interested or those who would eventually want to go back and get a more thorough experience. This optional depth played through in the later episodes as well, allowing for players to get exactly as much story as they needed while letting them get as much backstory and additional information as they wanted. Plus, most of the game has voice over, where Hannah Telle , the voice of Max Caulfield and Ashly Burch, the voice of Chloe Price did a phenomenal job. (I think it’s worth mentioning that the original script was in French and Dontnod had decided allocate more of the script to their voice overs and script than any other part of the game).

life-is-strange-allusionOriginally, I was going to say the shout out to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was a slightly annoying marketing ploy, but upon further research and a brief conversation with a friend about how Platinum Games, the developers of Bayonetta II, did a shout out to Nintendo for letting them make the game, I realized I couldn’t just assume that Square Enix requested the Easter Egg. I also found it cool that there were a lot of other geeky references that I enjoyed, and a few I missed during my play through.

Although the game is not very long, it is a very content rich game. One of the things I felt was done exceptionally well was Dontnod Entertainment’s ability to tell an interactive story that actually changed with the decisions the player made. Although overall story wasn’t changed all that much, the decisions the players made had an impact on the options for decisions they could have in future episodes. I loved how real they were able to make the game, despite having fictional characters and a fantastically unrealistic mechanic (time travel) allowing it to combine entertainment and engagement. Not only did the player have to think, but they often had to feel the consequences of their actions. That being said, this is not really the type of game to play while half asleep or if you want a game to just pick up and play for some mindless fun. Luckily, even though the subject matter was pretty heavy and fairly deep, the controls and general gameplay was simple to understand, making the player focus on the puzzles they need to solve, rather than the format of the controls (even though I had a hell of a time controlling the camera even up until level 5… I’m still not sure why it gave me so much trouble).

I also wanted to give the story props for hitting a subject that is seldom touched upon in games such as suicide, abuse (emotional and physical), abduction, and the gritty portrayal of victims. These along with the sociopathic portrayals can be a daunting thing to put mass market on an entertainment platform, but they were done in such a way that was both indelicate and well received.

jtrmf6djjhwsbqybmeypFinally, on the expected story path, the game was very well written, making players feel the emotional baggage. When I first started playing, I had started streaming the game on my Twitch.tv channel (a site that allows people to watch gamers play a game live). When I was about a third of the way through the first episode, someone came in my channel and told me “I hope you like crying on camera,” then left. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I cry pretty easily during movies, especially Pixar movies, those guys really know how to tug my heart strings, but I had made it to episode 5 without sheading a tear, even though I was pretty emotionally invested in the story. However, I can tell you with fair certainty, that one of the possible endings is very likely to make most players at least well up, with how it’s told (and yes, I did cry).

The Not-So-Good

SPOILER ALERT – Until “Final Thoughts”

Life Is Strange™_20150324205212

So the core of the game, and its story, circled around how Max had a vision of destruction, then obtained time control powers… from taking a picture of a butterfly? The way the game seemed to go was there was a phantom deer that represented Rachel, and the butterfly seemed to represent Chloe, but it didn’t make much sense to me how she got her powers, unless it was just some sort of weird cosmic happenstance to teach her a lesson… but even then, why would she have had a vision of what was to come if she kept using her powers, before she got her powers…? The whole thing probably could have been explained and/or thought through just a bit better.

ce612875d67d9f49cc27ddb7ea393186Another major problem I had with the game was the alternate ending (the one that the developers didn’t want/expect players to see). It felt like a total cop out, or something that had to be quickly thrown together because the developers ran out of either time or money. Whereas the scene that I (and presumably most) players chose first is rich with emotional hardships for sacrificing one person, the ending where you let the entire town die to save your best friend just shows the player the wreckage without any heartfelt turmoil as you get to drive into the sunset of rainbows and unicorns leaving responsibility and regrets behind you, even though you passively murdered your best friend’s mother, she’s just OK with the whole situation. It was like they just parachuted something in to “appease” those who chose an ending beside what they wanted/expected. At the end of the game, when it shows the statistics of who picked what, you find that about half of the players chose the disappointing ending (although as I mentioned before I’m going to assume that most of those were people replaying the game to see the alternate ending, because you know you were curious – I just looked it up on YouTube, but still!).

Final Thoughts


Overall, I’d give this game a 9/10 stars, deducting a star because of the secondary ending and the lax explanation of how Max obtained her time travel powers to begin with (as well as her random psychic ability?)


What did you think of the game? Please leave your comments below!

Writing Exercise #4

writing in notebook

Over the weekend, I saw a performance called “Raw Stories” at Theatre of NOTE, a theatre in Hollywood. It was a fun event with a bake-off and some rather entertaining stories, all with a general theme of family holiday mishaps and other relatable stories. It got me thinking about all the crazy, wacky, and seemingly dysfunctional mishaps my family has; both during and outside of holiday times.


Prompt #4 An Amusing Family Dysfunction

For this prompt, I thought it would be fun to tell a story of a “family incident.” It could be something funny, lighthearted, some sort of blunder, a slip of the tongue, or some full blown drama. The story can be pulled from something that you remember recently or that has long since past, but it has to be at least based in truth. For this prompt, try to focus on bringing the reader along with the characters, your family, and allow the story to unfold (cutting out what you think is irrelevant or less compelling for your point). This will also help to create characters that are more relatable when creating an entirely new story, as you remember people who you love and interact with acting at, well, not their brightest moments. Try to keep it to a story that could be read in under 5 minutes, or told in less than 10.

office.jpgResponse to Writing Prompt #3:

I didn’t sit outside, but here is what I heard on my lunch break at my office.

The air conditioner was blasting air colder than it needed to, it always did. It bit at my skin and made my fingers numb. I wondered if I’d ever remember to bring my jacket in. Around me, I could hear the clicks of keyboards, those who were not yet ready to leave their desks to seek nourishment. From behind, I could hear the crinkle of plastic bags and the crisp sounds of chips, they made me want to walk across the street to the convenience store and pick up a bag of Doritos chips. Behind the closed doors I could hear the faint murmurs of meetings and conference calls.

Garlic and Onion Help Make a Speedy Cold Recovery!


$R2WWSDV.jpgWe all know that colds in the summer suck. On Monday afternoon, I began showing cold symptoms (runny/stuffy nose) by that night I was in full-on sick mode with fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, trouble breathing, you name it. I felt too “sick brained” to drive all the way home (I work about 30 miles from home) and this amazingly sweet guy I’ve been seeing lives smack dab between my house and my work. He offered to take care of me for the night. Worried I’d get him sick, I asked if he was sure, about 30 minutes later I was at his house and he was almost done making me a bowl of soup!

My average cold lasts somewhere between 1 and 3 weeks. My typical ways to treat a cold are as follows:

  • Take zinc tablets, usually Zicam (for a speedy cold recovery)
  • Drink water until I can’t anymore (to re-hydrate from cold sweats and to help the body fight the sickness)
  • Take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) (helps to lower fevers)
  • Take the maximum allowed dose of day/night quill (to generally help calm the cold symptoms)
  • Mucinex (for that gross cough and sniffles)
  • pGNC1-2332293dt.jpgLive off of Progresso Chicken Noodle Soup (as chicken noodle soup in general – not just Progresso brand, has a mild anti-inflammatory effect, soothes the throat when warm, and helps to clear nasal congestion. It’s also very healthy)
  • Drink “Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat” herbal tea with about 1.5 tsp honey (helps soothe sore throats and tastes pretty good)
  • Go through a box of tissues (getting it out of the system by gently blowing the nose seems to help get better faster – presumably because you are helping get the virus out of your system rather than letting it continue through your body)

This time, I was able to feel better in about a week (I have a very mild cough now after barely being able to breathe the past few days)

  • Had about a half a bowl of soup with freshly chopped garlic, chili peppers, and fresh onion. (I’ve never thought of putting garlic, chili, or onion in the soup, and I really didn’t think it would help but I’ll be doing this every time I get a cold.)
    • Garlic – Research suggests that garlic is a natural antibiotic and antiviral (among other things). For example, the guy I was with ate a bunch of garlic while taking care of me, and he barely got sick at all after about 48 hours of direct contact with me being sick.
    • Onions – As a rich dietary source of quercitin (a powerful antioxidant) onions were once used as a homeopathic remedy – and I can see why.
    • Chili Pepper – Although I knew Cayenne pepper is very healthy, I would have never guessed that chili pepper would do anything. Honestly I’m not sure if all it did was help clear my sinuses as hot food often does, it still made me feel a heck of a lot better!

the-amazing-benefits-of-honey1.jpgAlthough I also took Tylenol (Acetaminophen), cough drops, drank herbal tea with honey, and went through a box of tissues, I didn’t have my usual tea, nor did I take any over the counter medications, I still got over my cold faster than I can ever remember.

Hair, Cars, Disney, and Writing – September 2016


And the roller-coaster takes me through yet another loop…

mWCrTxKah_FWyH3726VucHA.jpgSo, most of the month has been a struggle with my acceptance and learning to deal with Alopecia Areata, an auto-immune disorder where my body decides that my hair is a foreign threat and my body attacks it, causing the hair to fall out (and fortunately not destroying the follicles, yet I’ve not had any luck re-growing hair yet, even with the treatment). Even though my friends and family are overwhelmingly supportive, and nobody has pointed, laughed or stared at me (I am able to cover the spots up fairly well with a new hairstyle) it’s bee much harder to cope with than I expected.

ab8-239x300.jpgOn top of that stress, I also have to deal with the fact that apparently my passenger airbag is a bomb waiting to explode shrapnel on any of my friends that may be present in its seat if some a-hole decides to hit me… Again! I’m so very grateful that my previous accident didn’t cause my air bag to go off, as this shrapnel thing is a serious issue and has been reported as killing some of its passengers. How terrible is that. The thing that’s supposed to save you kills you. Although I’m no real car buff, to my understanding in order for an airbag to deploy, a tiny explosion happens inside of it, which inflates the bag. Although there is not supposed to be shrapnel that escapes this explosion, the defective (and now recalled) airbags, one of which currently residing in my car, allows a small amount of the shrapnel to fly through, and can strike the passenger, much like how the shrapnel of a fragmentation grenade (frag) is deadlier than the shock wave it creates. The best part, you ask? The replacement part won’t be in for about 6 weeks (so 5 weeks from this post) even though when I initially ordered the part they told me 2-4 weeks… I wish in the waiting package they gave me a sign that said “Danger! Hitting this car may cause the driver and any passengers to die… so if you don’t want to be charged with vehicular man-slaughter, drive carefully!” On second thought, that’s too many words for a bumper sticker!

disneyland-00-full.jpgI did, however, have some fun. For my friend’s birthday, I finally renewed my Disneyland Season Pass and was able to go back to the park for the first time since March! Oh how I’ve missed you Disneyland. I wore a hat all day to keep the sun from burning my scalp, then just kept my usual “indoor” hairstyle that I wear everyday at night, to keep people from seeing my newly exposed scalp. While at Disneyland, my twinzie (whose birthday it was) showed me some feet that are under the stairs at California’s Tower of Terror (they can be seen under the left staircase as you exit the ride, closer to the gift shop than the ride elevators.) She also showed me a tiny house (fairy house?) at the base of a tree near the entrance of Indiana Jones. It couldn’t be more than a foot tall. It was super cute! What was crazy was she showed me before we left the ride area, as it was broken down (oh surprise surprise… Indiana Jones broke down??) well, as she was showing me, the ride opened up again and we were on one of the first carts that went through it (so we basically walked onto the ride, on a Saturday!)

california-adventure.jpgThe following day, I went to Disneyland yet again, to meet up with a friend I’d met at a 24 hour Disney event and her two children (who have grown more than I thought they would have in the almost 2 years since I last saw them)! By the end of the day, my feet were screaming at me! (And I’m going to be on my feet all day Saturday for the LA County Fair… yay? (I’m kidding, it will be crazy fun! I’m going with the same guy I’ve been seeing for a while now and his family. They’ve been dealing with some stressful BS so this will be good for them ^.^!

flash-fiction.jpgThis week, I read a blog that did these really cool posts of tiny stories (100 words) every day for a year. Since I’m a writer (I’ve opted out of calling myself an aspiring writer as I will soon have written work in 2 video games – I’m scheduled to work on the second one later this month or the beginning of next month) I decided to do something similar to this myself. Instead of doing 100 word stories I wanted to create 365 stories that were 365 words or less (but more than 100 words. I’ll be putting these into a graphic and posting them on my twitter @alissams91 (yeah, I know it’s empty), facebook, and creative blog: alissas91.wordpress.com. I will post the first flash fiction story on October 1, 2016, and will be posting one each day until November 30, 2017. Wish me luck! (I’m so excited!)

Back to my predicament… Yesterday, I discovered yet another bald spot from my alopecia areata. It’s still puffy (unlike the one at the top of my head which is just bald) and the hair is still falling out (and the one on the top of my head seems to be done losing hair but not so keen on re-growing it, not to mention it has occasional bouts of extreme itchiness, which I haven’t read anyone really having when researching it online. Although this one is lower on my head (and thankfully more naturally covered by the way my hair fall) it was still a devastating discovery. I was sitting at my desk at work and nearly burst into tears when I felt the puffy balding area of my scalp. I’m a generally positive person, so these discoveries have really been depressing me more than I know what to do. I have a doctor’s appointment at the end of the month (as well as tickets to an Alan Menken concert) so hopefully my doctor and Disney music will cheer me up. (I could probably write an entire post on the psychological roller-coaster hair loss is putting me through, but instead I will leave you with this video on how to keep stress from causing damaging effects on your body. Oh how I love TED talks!)

Stolen Recipes at the Cafe – 9/15/2016


box-full-of-stuffThe world was made of Legos… or something like it. I remember there was a reason, like something I did, or somewhere I came from led to this, but I don’t remember what exactly. I do recall that there was some sort of co-ed fraternity that I was a part of. I found our box of decorations after it had been put away. I was helping clean up after a party, and the box was put away too soon. I carried the final decorations to where it was stored, only to find the box was already quite full. I remember being upset at how so many of people’s personal belongings were in the storage box, but was told that they were used as costuming only, even though they belonged to individual members and not the group as a whole.

c0a05769d25729ef73921bb190251141.jpgAs I was leaving the area, I went through a pixel or Lego land. It was a very strange area with a toxic river and little things that seemed to be stop-motion animated. The whole thing felt rather surreal. It was at this point that I controlled a small rocket with a little handheld controller I found. It was shaped a bit like the SNES controller. Making the rocket fly got the attention of some others in the area, something that I neither expected, nor wanted. I had to jump on a small log-like thing and rode through the river before I got to a miniature Japan area.

Styles--pTRU1-11577876dt.jpgI walked through the streets, seeing Japanese characters and realized that it really was a weird mini clay seeming Japan that I found by steering a log through a stop motion river, passing through an industrial area, and surviving the toxic waters. The islanders had no idea they were miniaturized nor did they seem to realize that they appeared to be clay. They went about their day as if it was business as usual. As I got closer to the island to inspect it further, I realized that rather than looking down on it’s people, I had become them. As I walked and moved among them, it became more and more difficult for me to notice that they looked clay, or maybe their features were just getting more detailed. Soon, I too began walking the streets as if I belonged there. I saw a kid on a skateboard and couldn’t help but wonder if it was a Tech Deck, that toy from the 90s. Before long, I had no idea why I would think something like that, and pushed the idea from my mind completely.

f8e67d63d709f66483a4de2ab7a359e4.jpgThe world around me seemed so real that I soon wasn’t able to tell if it was stop-motion, or reality. I found myself in a small bakery, but rather than everyone speaking Japanese, everyone talked in English. I went up to the counter and ordered a cookie. While I was waiting, there was a young woman, about mid 20s, yelling at the lady behind the counter and accusing her of stealing her grandmother’s recipes. She had wild curly blonde hair, that shook when she spoke, and was livid. She hollered at the employee,claiming that the cute cupcakes and pastries their company claimed to have created were stolen from her family and how they should be shut down. I finished paying another worker for my cookie and sat at a small round table munching on my treat and watching the drama unfold.

f915eec763dd571e2ea585ea9089c48e.jpgThe cookie wasn’t all that good. I remembered thinking I could taste the baking powder… Or was it baking soda? I could never remember which of those is which. A woman with long dark hair took the seat across from me. She was holding a strawberry filled roll, not like a pastry roll, but like a hotdog roll or maybe it was a baguette, and staring at it intently, like she may have expected something from it, or from me? Finally, she spoke, saying that she knew she knew how to make it (I assumed she was referring to the strawberry roll), she just couldn’t remember. She continued that if her mother were around, she’d know what to do, but she’d be very disappointed. I stared at the woman a little longer. She looked to be in her late 40s but the way she was talking she sounded like a little girl.

a5b76797176e1ca65065808a43763307.jpg“What’s the matter?” I finally said to her.
“Oh,” she said looking up. “It’s just that this shop stole my mother’s recipes and they’re not coming clean about it. The media keeps spinning it as if we were the ones who are in the wrong, meanwhile our shops keep getting closed down.

I looked at the strawberry roll in her hand then back at her. “You know, I just ate a cookie here and it tasted awful. Too much baking powder, or soda… I said”
“Baking soda,” she said definitively, looking at the remains of the cookie I still had sitting on a napkin. “That’s not our recipe,” she continued, her voice hard.

“So, maybe go after a bakery that has better tasting goods?” I offered helpfully. “I mean this one is internationally recognized, but…”

89f729ce43156157a123124204245431.jpg“Yes, I know,” she interrupted, “but their bread rolls, and cupcakes those are ours, my… Amy (I don’t remember her name) gets a little carried away. The media follows her and her accusations, we really have no proof aside from the taste.”

I looked at her, unsure what she wanted me to say.

She looked back down at the roll “But now, I’m not even sure I know how to bake,” she said, unable to hide the anguish on her face.

url.jpg“You could try to gather evidence, build a real case. If a shop actually stole your, mother’s recipe, I’m sure there’s some proof around,” I said, more as a question than an outright statement.

She gave me a hopeful smile as we both heard Amy at the counter, yelling and screaming about something before standing over us at the table. She didn’t seem to notice my presence as she fumed at the dark haired woman I was speaking with.

“We’re done here,” she said, grabbing the older women by the arm and dragging her out of the cafe.

I stared at their backs as they left, then considered if I should take another bite of my cookie, before deciding not to.


The dream then flashed over to a third person view to the two women. They were in what I assumed was either their home or their bakery. My view panned, something like a dramatic scene in a movie, over to a strange pod. Inside was an older women, wrinkles at the corners of her gently closed eyes. Still, as if time itself was frozen with her as she slept. Her face greatly resembled the woman with dark hair, as if looking into what her future self would be but with one distinct difference. Rather than straight dark hair, this woman’s curly blonde hair was wild, and more untamed than the blonde’s from the cafe. Both women kneeled in front of the pod and quietly said, “Soon, soon we will be able to bring you back.”CryogenicSleep-580x300.jpg


Dreamer’s Note:

This was the third dream I had in a series of (at least) 3 dreams last night. I got as many of the details down as I could remember, but as always, there may be some things that were changed or left out from the actual dream.

Movie Review: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)


What is it?

Based on the Original story by Shannon Tindle, Kubo and the Two Strings is a 3D stop-motion film created by Laika, the same company that made Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), and The Boxtrolls (2014).

The Good

Oh, where to begin. Watching this movie, I could feel the love the creators must have had for it. The entire movie was graphically stunning. From the sets to the characters, color pallets to the animation, everything seemed to have been considered for the final feature.

KUBO-AND-THE-TWO-STRINGS-12.jpgThe movie’s sets, such as the oceans, at times felt so fluid and alive that they felt like they could pass as computer generated (CG). After the movie, it occurred to me that that these sets were all real, tangible pieces of individual artwork that were created and used to tell a larger story. Even though this is ‘typical’ of a stop-motion animation, it makes the whole movie (and medium) that much more amazing to think about.

Another cool thing I noticed, was that since the movie is set in a more traditional Japan, I was very happy about the color pallet that Laika used. Just as you wouldn’t expect to see neon colors in a western, the colors of this movie were more earthy, autumn colors. I felt it really helped immerse me in the story as a whole and helped me to get lost in the world they created.

849905_084.jpgAs strange as it may seem, I have to say that one of the most mesmerizing parts of the movie was how Monkey’s fur moved. In general, all of the animation was phenomenal, but for some reason, I found her character movements to be incredible to watch.

It’s so rare these days to find an original story, and although feelings of belonging and loss with a quest for a 3-part object aren’t exactly new, the way the story was presented didn’t feel like anything I’ve seen, at least not anything I’ve seen recently. I also wanted to make a shout out to the main character being a young boy with a disability. Aside from How to Train Your Dragon’s Hiccup, there really aren’t any characters from children’s shows/movies that have a physical disability (although almost all of them are of slight stature or physically unimpressive in some way).

KUBO-village-set-300px.jpgOne of the main reasons I went to see this movie (aside from my excitement that it was a new stop-motion film) was when I found out that there was an exhibit for it in the Japanese American Art Museum. Lately, Japanese culture has been a bit of a fad here in America, but growing up half-Japanese, I’ve always taken a special interest. I was, however, impressed with how they created a story that was inspired by eastern culture, without making it feel forced or overly westernized, but still appealing to a western audience. What I mean by this is a lot of stories created here in the US about eastern culture have a westerner (usually America) come in and show an eastern country (some mash up between China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan – all which have their own distinct cultures) their ways in order to win some victory, in order to appeal more to a western audience. I am quite pleased to say that was not the case here, and the themes, ideas and stories were closer to human emotion than specific cultures or knowledge.

kubo-clip-facebookJumbo.jpgEven though it felt a bit gimmicky, I really liked how they implemented origami into the movie. Although I was happily surprised to hear George Takei’s (famous for playing Sulu in Star Trek) voice in the movie, one of my favorite quotes was said by Monkey, voiced by Charlize Theron, when she saw origami made by Kubo. She said something along the lines of “That’s not real origami, there had to be scissors involved.” Although I feel like it was a reference to how the origami characters had to have been made in order for the animators to articulate them, it reminded me of what my mother said to me when I was a child and learning origami, unsure how the paper would stay without glue and scissors.


The Not-So-Good

kubo_newtrailer-580x326.jpgThe only nitpick I can think of (aside from the origami being a bit gimmicky) was the very beginning. In the introduction scene, I was taken out of the movie for a minute, wondering how one of the main character could have possibly survived being washed up onto the shore (as a baby). I was a bit disappointed that this was glazed over and never mentioned again, but about 15 minutes into the movie, I had forgotten about it completely, and was immersed into the world. It wasn’t until I started writing this review that I once again wondered about this introduction scene.


Final Thoughts


Overall, I’d give the movie a 10/10 star review. Although it does target a seemingly niche audience, many who see this film could easily mistake it for CG graphics or even a CG/Stop-Motion hybrid. Although this movie feels like it was created for children 7-14, I would extend the recommendation to anyone over the age of 7, as some parts of it do get a bit dark and there is some cartoon violence. I’d say this movie ranks up there with it’s CG competitors (Pixar and Dreamworks) and is a highly enjoyable film for the whole family (or date night).


After Credits Feature?

Personally, I always stay through the credits of a movie I like, I feel it’s respectful to those who worked on it. That being said, during the credits, there is a time-lapse showing the Laika team animating one of the massive characters in the movie. It’s pretty astounding to watch and it plays relatively early on in the credits.


What did you think of the movie? Please leave your comments below!