A Fundamental Flaw with Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Image credit: Nintendo

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a turn based, tactical strategy game with RPG elements that was released on the Nintendo Switch in 2019. This is not going to be a review of the game. I shall keep it as spoiler free as possible as I share a complaint that has completely eradicated my excitement for the game during my second playthrough.

The game’s protagonist is Byleth, who is quickly appointed a professor in the monastery. At the beginning of the game you get to decide which house you will lead; the Black Eagles, Blue Lions, or Golden Deer. Each house comes with a unique cast of characters you can interact with, teach, and utilize in battle. Through the RPG portions of the game, which have you running around the monastery, you can build support with characters outside of your own house to recruit them as well. The storyline is split between these houses, meaning that you won’t get the full picture unless you play as each house in three separate playthroughs. As well as this, each character has their own personal background that you can discover through conversations with them, and at the end of the game you receive an epilogue to tie a neat ribbon around the narrative.

I adored my first playthrough of the game. I chose the Golden Deer and spent just over 70 hours. I spoke to everyone in the monastery, carefully planned out my lessons, honed the class progression of my students, went fishing, entered tournaments, invited people to tea and dinner, and fulfilled all of the quests within the monastery. No stone was unturned by the time I had finished, and I was enthused to play through it again as another house.

I waited for a while (hence why I’m writing this post now rather than closer to the game’s release) as I wanted some elements of the game to be fresh again. Now, I’m not usually the type of person to play through a game more than once, especially not one that demands so much time. On my second playthrough I wanted to try New Game+, and I wanted to play for mainly the story of the other houses, not so much the day to day activities in the monastery.

You see, most of these can be monotonous. The conversations are middling (this will be important later) and the quests are mostly find this item and take it to this person, meaning it can get repetitive. I thought since there’s not going to be much variability in this section of the game I should focus on the monthly missions to progress through the story as much as possible. That’s not to say I didn’t spend any time in the monastery at all, I did still build support with my students, but I wanted to get the playtime down from 70 hours. I never skipped the prompted conversations that arise (there will be a message saying ‘X wants to speak with you, is now a good time?) and you can choose to play through the conversation or not. There is also an option in the menu to view support conversations, which happen regularly as the game progresses and relationships between the characters within your house build up.

Now, before I continue with my main gripe I do have a minor one from my first playthrough. I played on the ‘Classic’ setting, meaning that if a unit falls in battle they die permanently. I thought I would try this out as I assumed that this mechanic would lead to some good story developments. Many of the characters are well drawn and interesting, so how would it affect my students if one of them died in battle?

Well, the truth is nothing happens. In fact it’s as though they never existed at all. I lost one student (I don’t play on a hard difficulty, and there are ways within the game to undo deaths) and I let this death play out because I assumed there would be a funeral scene, or some melancholy conversations where the other students can pay tribute to their fallen peer. Instead it was as though they were plucked from the world with little ado, erased from every memory aside from my own. This was unsatisfying, but it was only one blot on an otherwise incredible game, and was simple enough to avoid; I played on ‘Casual’ mode in this playthrough (meaning that if a unit falls in battle they merely retreat and are not removed from the game).

So onto this second playthrough then. I chose the Black Eagles (and some of you reading may guess at what’s coming up). I managed to avoid the more monotonous parts of the game and made quite good progress. Around 15-20 hours in a choice arose that was the main reason for me choosing this house. Basically, you get to either side with your house leader or turn your back on them (I’ll leave the particular details of why this choice occurs out in case anyone reading this has still yet to play the game). I was all ready to make the choice (siding with her, if you’re wondering) only to find that it was robbed from me.

I knew that there were some requirements to get to this choice (like having a certain support level) but these were easy enough to achieve without paying too much attention to them. I didn’t want to look up too many details in case the storyline was spoiled for me. But after missing it I had to figure out what I went wrong and apparently in the month leading up to this choice you have to speak to your leader in the monastery.

Fine, you might say that I should be speaking to them every month anyway, but as I mentioned before the conversations within the monastery are mostly brief and don’t add as much insight as the ones that are prompted. It was not hinted that I needed to speak to her, nor was it labelled as a quest or signposted. There was nothing to suggest that it was important to speak to her on this particular month. I don’t know why they would hide this path behind this optional action and not give any sign or any way to return to that point after the fact. They already have the function to prompt conversations during the month, which I always did. Why was this not one of them? At least then if I skipped it I would understand that I had made the choice to ignore something the game was trying to tell me was important. All the conversations the game told me I should pay attention to I did. All the quests that were integral I did. This one conversation that opens up an entire storyline that is the only reason I chose this house for this playthrough is hidden behind an optional action that is never displayed as being important.

That, to me, is a completely baffling decision and I just can’t wrap my head around it.

When I realized this the wind was knocked out of my sails. The only way to get back to this point is to replay the first 15-20 hours, meaning that if I want to get to the end of the playthrough it’s going to be getting close to the 70 hours that I wanted to avoid in the first place. It’s a baffling design decision that has completely drained me of all enthusiasm not only in this playthrough, but also to play through the final house. If there’s a decision in the game to be made then let me make it, or let me choose to ignore it. Don’t hide it from me, especially when getting back to that point is going to take a huge chunk of time. I’m not going to be inclined to make that journey again, and at this point I’m just thinking of giving up on Three Houses entirely.

Burying this choice has buried my feelings for the game. Maybe I’ll give it another couple of years before I play it again and try again, but I’m not sure I’ll ever forget this frustrated feeling.

Have you played Fire Emblem: Three Houses? If so, have you completed all playthroughs? Did you manage to find the Crimson Flower path, or did it elude you as well?


AEW Star Spotlight #1 – Jamie Hayter

Image Credit: AEW

I’m beginning a series where I look at some of my favourite AEW wrestlers and talk a little bit about why I like them, what I think their shortcomings are (if any) and where I’d like to see their stories go. Since I come from the same town as the current AEW Women’s Champion, Jamie Hayter, I thought she would be a natural place to start.

I began watching AEW in late 2021 and it’s been a joy to watch the ascension of Jamie Hayter to the position of champion. She’s been getting better and better as time has gone on, and is now arguably the most over champion in AEW, especially now that The Acclaimed are no longer tag champions. Hayter has nailed practically everything in her presentation. Her theme has a high-octane rhythm to rally the crowd into a frenzy, and it’s an apt precursor to such an impressive performer appearing on the ramp. Her attire again adds to the majesty of her entrance, the jacket reminiscent of a warrior’s cloak they skinned from large beast. The championship belt is just the added extra that fits perfectly; she certainly makes a believable champion.

This extends to her in-ring work as well. Her power is undeniable. I never get the sense that she is holding back with her strikes, and her opponents do a good job of selling the crunching moves, especially the devastating ripcord lariat, which comes across as having the impact of a gunshot. But although Hayter is a dominant champion, she does not steamroll her opponents and sells well, making herself all the more impressive when she eventually overcomes them as well as giving a bit of shine to whoever is in the ring with her. Another aspect she excels at is her involvement of the crowd, and it’s no wonder she grew as popular as she has when her expressions and taunts help the audience to connect with her. Her moveset really fits in with her character and I can’t think of anything she does that looks clumsy or awkward. She seems like a wrestler who knows what she’s good at, and excels at it.

So where do I think she could improve?

Well, there’s one aspect that I think hasn’t been explored as much as it could have, but I don’t think Hayter is to blame, and this is her promos. While she was merely Britt Baker’s sidekick she had a few opportunities to speak, but it was mostly to parrot whatever Britt was saying. Over time she’s been given more opportunities to express herself on the mic and in promos, but I still think more could be done. At the moment she’s been given a few brief moments where she ends with the tagline ‘Hayter Hits Hard,’ but I would love to see her in the ring addressing the fans. When she has had a chance to speak I think she has been great. I enjoyed the insight into the former friendship and rivalry during the feud with Toni Storm. Hearing how they lived together during lockdown added an extra edge to the match, and I was more inclined to be emotionally involved.

Now, I’m hoping that this is going to be rectified soon because the story of the AEW Originals and the Outcasts seems to be heating up. I would love for there to be added personal tension among the wrestlers involved. We know that Hayter and Storm have history, and I’d love for Hayter to juxtapose why she remained friends with Britt Baker while she turned on Storm. Given that Saraya is from England I could also see an angle where Hayter was inspired by Saraya (I have no idea if this is true in real life or not) and has been disappointed at meeting her hero, who hasn’t lived up to what Hayter always thought she would be.

I’m glad that Britt Baker has taken a step back. It shows a lot of humility from her as it can’t have been easy to do so when she had been the focal point of the women’s division for, well, certainly as long as I had been watching. I know a lot of fans were clamouring for Hayter to turn on Baker, but I actually like them sticking together and the development it’s shown for Baker to take somewhat of a back seat. It’s a rivalry that they can return to at some point in the future, and I’m happy for them to stick together for now as they take on the Outcasts.

But the one major flaw and the thing I’d like to change the most is just to have her on TV more. I mean, she’s the women’s champion, and all the elements of her character point to her being a big deal. When she comes on TV she seems like a star. Jade Cargill has this as well, but unfortunately her ring work isn’t up to the same standard as Hayter’s. Given that Hayter always gets the fans on their seats I believe she should be on TV every single week. Orange Cassidy is super over and he wrestles every week. The Acclaimed got over and they ended up on TV every week. Why not the same with Hayter?

Now, I can possibly think of one reason, and it’s the lack of depth of the women’s roster compared to the men. I can understand them not wanting to run through all of Hayter’s opponents quickly and have her fight the same people over and over again, which is one of the main failings of the TBS title. However, given that she’s still relatively early into her reign, especially in the sense of title defences, I’m not sure this argument holds water. You’re always guaranteed a great performance when she’s in the ring. She’s a great asset, and she should be showcased far more than she is. If this is the concern then there is an obvious way around it; Saraya could use her ‘outside connections’ to bring in challengers, and since Hayter doesn’t seem the type to back down from a challenge I don’t think she would refuse the chance to prove her (and by extension AEW’s) superiority to whoever wants to try and take the belt. I do feel this would be a little repetitive to the various gauntlets AEW favours so much, especially the recent Danielson one, but it would be a good way to put Hayter front and centre and say ‘This is our Champion, watch her and take your first gulp of the Hayterade’. Having a fighting women’s champion would also be a good contrast to MJF’s reign with the men’s belt as well.

Overall I’m excited to see how this overarching storyline with the Originals vs. Outcasts unfolds as I’m sure it will lead to more Hayter on our screens, and that can only be a good thing. I hope that this is just the beginning of a long title reign because I think she has the chance to put together a seminal stretch of matches that could truly elevate the division as a whole.

So what do you think; is Hayter deserving of more TV time? Who would you like to see her wrestle in the future? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be back with another Star Spotlight soon.

Hangman and Mox Bringing Beauty to Texas Death

Warning: This post contains spoilers for AEW Revolution 2023. Image Credit: AEW

It began with a gentle strum of a guitar. Hangman Adam Page, a cowboy dressed in black and with demons in his eyes entered the arena. He was soon followed by the feral, savage Moxley, a man whose bride is violence. They had already shared concussions between them, but the rivalry had boiled over until there was only one way to bring it to an end, in a sea of bloody carnage. Jon Moxley has made violence and pain his trademark, but Hangman was there to meet him every step of the way. What followed was a display of artistry that cannot be rivalled. The ring was littered with instruments that would inspire a melody of anguished screams and wide-eyed gasps. Chairs were wrapped in barbed wire. Rings of it spiralled on tables, spiked circles that waited to tear through flesh. Soon enough bricks were brought in to cave in skulls, a chain as deadly as a venomous snake slithered along the mat, and in Mox’s hands a fork became a deadly weapon.

I cringed as the prongs were dragged across Hangman’s forehead. Rivers of blood poured out, and there were moments when it seemed as though Mox was crazy for trying to eat soup with a fork. Instead he was just crazy enough to want to carve a man’s face off. He stabbed with fury and I winced with every jab. Hangman was flung head first into barbed wire, his thick locks of hair torn from the scalp. Blood started to pour from Mox’s head as if by will, the bright lights of the arena making it shine cherry red. Tables crunched. Barbed wire became garments as the men wrapped it around their fists and their bodies, making it a part of themselves. Flesh was torn asunder as both of them descended into violence, surrendering to the glorious will of this chaotic god. The crowd chanted for more, then gasped when it was given to them. Heads bounced off the mat. Bodies were snapped in half from heavy lariats. The impact of every strike reverberated around the world, echoing in the hearts of all those in attendance and those watching at home.

And in the middle of it all these two men danced with death.

I have never sought out death matches, and although I winced at points in this one I could not turn away. Hangman and Mox turned it into an artform. There were moments when it was as graceful as any ballet, the heights as soaring as any opera. It spoke to a primal part of my brain and they showed how this gory and brutal thing could be elevated beyond the shock and awe and taboo gruesomeness. Hangman and Mox played their roles to perfection, losing themselves in their characters. Mox has always lusted after violence and more often than not leaves the ring a bloody mess after he has done his shift. Hangman has been pushing himself to newer heights, and newer depths, never shirking from a challenge. They clashed, each promising that neither of them would back down, and throughout the match I believed it.

The small details made the match special; the way Hangman staggered to his feet through nothing but instinct, a dazed look in his eyes, of Mox, who after being thrown onto a barbed wire table waited a moment for the shock to pass before he bellowed in pain, the sensation etched all over his face. There was disbelief as both men kept getting up when they should have stayed down. Maybe it would have been more sensible if they had, but their tenacity could not be doubted and as the match reached its conclusion I was utterly absorbed. And, as Hangman wrapped the chain around Mox’s throat and dangled him from the ropes I was so invested in what was happening that I actually believed I was about to watch a man die.

They both put in committed performances and the story that unfolded through the match was compelling. I’m sure that a lot of people would have been put off by the waves of blood that poured down both men, but beyond the violence lay an elegant tapestry. This was a display of two men who are experts at their craft and they put on a masterclass for all of us to enjoy.

For Mox I am intrigued to see where this is going to lead. It was a situation of tap or die, but I can’t imagine he will be happy with having lost, so who else is he going to make bleed? He seems to be walking a darker path, and I would not be surprised if his BCC buddies join him.

For Hangman he has shown how far he is willing to go, how deep he can reach into the depths of his soul, and I pity the man who gets in his way. If he can survive a death match with Jon Moxley, then he can survive anything.

I enjoyed AEW Revolution 2023 a lot, but in my opinion this death match was my match of the night. The little touches really added some nice nuance to the overt violence, and neither man held anything back. It was a relentless, absorbing contest that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from, even though there were some moments that I wanted to. I know it might be difficult for some to watch, but this match wasn’t just about violence for the sake of violence. It was about two men pushing each other to the limit and seeing who broke first, with the outcome leaving me interested in what happens next for both of them.

Movie Review – Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher, Maika Monroe, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Deobia Oparei

Twenty years after humanity fought of the alien invasion, a signal is received. They’re coming back.

Like many others I was surprised when I heard they were making a sequel to Independence Day. However, I had the pleasure of watching a double bill of the two films this week and after I watched the first one I did find it interesting to think about what the ramifications of humanity would have been in the aftermath, and not to mention the fact that all those aliens were stranded on Earth. Resurgence answers these questions in satisfying ways yet doesn’t get bogged down in showing the intricacies of the world. It’s fast-paced, much more so than the original.

A few of the original cast members return, combined with new faces that have ties to characters from the first film. While it’s good to see Goldblum again his presence is fairly incidental to the main plot of the film and I don’t think the story would have had to change any without him. Same with Hirsch. Pullman and Spiner have good roles though. On a personal note I’m actually going through a re-watch of Star Trek: The Next Generation at the moment so it’s nice to see Spiner on the big screen again.

Perhaps the thing I most liked about Resurgence is how it shows that humanity continued to work together and didn’t fall back into old habits. One thing I also noticed about the film is that there’s very little conflict among humans. Some may complain about this, and say that conflict is the essence of drama, but I appreciated how everyone was working to a common goal and while they may have had different ideas of how to go about it, ultimately they were one people. I also appreciated the efforts made to make this less American-centric than the first, with Oparei’s warlord one of the more memorable characters.

But where the destruction in the original film is visceral and terrifying, somehow it feels less so in the new one. There are some heart-wrenching moments, but in this aspect at least it falls short of Independence Day.  I also felt that even though this film broadens the horizons to space and brings an even bigger threat, it still felt smaller. I don’t know if it’s because the threat is too big, almost too abstract for us to comprehend, or if it’s simply because the actors chosen aren’t able to bring life to their characters, lacking the natural charisma of Will Smith, but I felt more detached from this film than I did the original. However, it’s still enjoyable by any standards and there are some intriguing subplots that hint that they may be yet more stories to tell.

Movie Review – Gods of Egypt (2016)

Director: Alex Proyas

Stars: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Elodie Yung, Chadwick Boseman, Geoffrey Rush

Set interrupts Horus’ coronation and declares himself to be king of Egypt. With Osiris slaughtered and his eyes taken from him, Horus slinks off, defeated, and exiles himself in a tomb. Set rules over Egypt with a heavy hand, craving more and more power as he slaughters the gods who dare resist him. Meanwhile, Bek, a mortal, is struggling to free the love of his life, Zaya, from one of Set’s most loyal servants. This leads to an unlikely alliance between man and god as Bek seeks Horus’ help to end Set’s tyranny.

The world of Egyptian mythology feels much fresher than that of Greek, and even though I prefer Greek mythology I appreciate the change here. I’m by no means an expert on Egyptian mythology so I cannot comment on the accuracy of the characters but I enjoyed the dynamics between the gods and mortals, as well as the exploration of the ancient Egyptian world. The world presented is a hyper-realistic one in which gods and mortals walk the earth together. I feel that this is well-handled as the film uses techniques to give the gods a larger-than-life feeling, and the script worked well to show the hubris of the gods in not paying well enough to the matters of man.

Horus and Bek form an uneasy alliance as they travel through various parts of Egypt in search of a way to defeat Set, who is growing stronger all the time. Again, I enjoyed the varying locales, and also the mere fact that the film is so bright! It seems common these days for movies to be cast in shadows and darkness, but Proyas does not shy away from using the sun and golden hues, and it made me more immersed in the world as it had an aura of majesty about it.

The cast was mostly good. I enjoyed Thwaites as Bek the most. He was basically playing Aladdin, but he and Eaton shared good chemistry and it was just a shame that her basic function was to drive Bek’s motivation. However, her faith in Horus did play an important part in the story so she was a little more than window dressing. Elodie Yung fared much better as Hathor, goddess of love. Coster-Waldau was decent, although as much as I enjoy him in Game of Thrones I don’t think he’s quite leading-man material. I found it amusing how Butler didn’t even try to hide his Scottish brogue, but he was suitably imposing as Set. The worst actors were Set’s vipers, and thankfully the only had to deliver a few lines but even so, their awfulness is immediately apparent.

I enjoyed the action and while the plot isn’t anything revelatory I liked that it focused on a different mythology than I was used to. The score is bombastic and the effects are, I think, pretty decent. At first I wasn’t sure how good it was going to be having the gods transform at will but Proyas did a good job at making them feel like gods, and after the generic fantasy fare served up by Warcraft I found the golden sheen of Gods of Egypt a welcome change.

Movie Review – Hardcore Henry (2016)

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Stars: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth

After waking up in a lab with his wife attaching cybernetic implants in him, Henry is then forced to go on the run from Akan (Kozlovsky), while trying to find a way to hunt him as he captured his wife. Along the way he finds help from Jimmy (Copley). Oh, and the whole thing is shot from a first-person perspective.

When I saw the trailer for this I was impressed yet remained skeptical for I wondered if, over 90 minutes, the visual style would get annoying. I am pleased to report that it does not. In fact, it is incredible and I can foresee a few more films following this trend. Henry doesn’t speak through the film and yet it’s testament to the script, the direction, and the way the actors react to Henry that we do want Henry to succeed and feel an attachment to him. The style is obviously a tribute to video games and I’m sure that there are many homages to various titles that I didn’t get because I’m not into that whole scene. I loved how different the film feels though. The stunts and camerawork is impressive and the sense of humour is prevalent through the film. If you want a gauge to see if you’d like this or not then think of Crank as it is very much in the same vein.

Copley is brilliant here, and in my opinion its his most enjoyable role since District 9. It’s clear quite early on that there’s something going on with his character, and all I say is that the colonel is my favourite.

The plot of the film is one thing I wondered about going in, because video games are mostly notorious for having thin stories. This one is better than I was expecting although there are still some shortfalls. For example, Akan has telekinetic powers but there’s no hint as to why, and I do wish more had been made of Henry’s past life. We get flashbacks to his father but there were a couple of opportunities to show some more of his past. However, those complaints are minor because the film is so much fun and there are so many little references to the genre it is paying tribute to that it just feels wonderful.

I highly recommend this. I had such a blast watching it and I hope that the good word of mouth spreads.

Movie Review – Midnight Special (2016)

Director: Jeff Nicols

Stars: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Ezra Miller, Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher

A child has special powers and he and his father go on the run while the government and a cult, who fear him and worship him respectively, chase after them.

I had high hopes for Midnight Special as, although it’s not based on a comic book, it is basically a superhero movie given that it deals with the themes of power and how people react to it. The film begins with a great deal of intrigue as we’re thrust in media res to a hotel room with a newscast playing on the tv about a boy who has been abducted. There’s something strange about Alton (Lieberher) but we don’t know yet, all we know is that his father, Roy, (Shannon) and friend, Lucas, (Edgerton) are the ones who have kidnapped him. The narrative moves to introduce the cult that seeks to worship the child, and the government who soon get involved for, it turns out, Alton has been able to intercept secret government broadcasts. These two factions are both trying to get their hands on the boy while Roy and Lucas are trying to get him to a mystery destination because…they have to?

That’s basically all the film offers. It’s vague intellectualism at its worst. It introduces a few themes but leaves the audience so misinformed that there’s nothing of substance here. Sure, it acts as a metaphor for parents having to deal with their children growing up, and it presents the two contrasting viewpoints on how to view someone with extreme power, but these are neither original ideas nor explored fully in the film.

Shannon gives his best pained looks as he fights to protect his son, and we’re drip-fed some information here and there but there’s nothing to hold onto. I never felt emotionally invested in the story because it never felt like there was a story. It feels like this film is the second act in a film, and it sorely misses the first and third acts. If there’s any meaning here then it’s all on the viewer to infer for themselves. The history the film hints at is interesting, and the future of the world at the climax of the film doubly so, but there’s no point to any of it. There’s simply no point to the film. The pacing drags and I was hoping that it would lead somewhere but it never does. The cinematography is murky, and the dull, droning monotony of the film is interspersed with some sci-fi effects that jolt the viewer from slumber.

Highly disappointed in this one and I’m quite frankly astonished that this has been getting such a good reception. It didn’t engage me on any level and left me feeling cold, so it’s a hard pass.

Movie Review – Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Stars: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman

Based on a true story, Eddie the Eagle depicts the journey that Michael ‘Eddie’ Edwards (Egerton) went through as he tried to achieve his childhood dream of being an Olympian. Facing challenges from the British Olympic Committee and his would-be peers, he eventually convinces washed-out ex-ski jumper Bronson Peary (Jackman) to become his coach, and together they forge a path to the Winter Olympics in Calgary.

First of all it’s important to note the ‘based on’. Much like The Danish Girl this takes extreme liberties with the background of its subject matter, even to the extent of creating Hugh Jackman’s character from nothing, which is quite egregious. But Mr. Edwards himself has come out and said that although the facts are inaccurate, the spirit and essence of the film are correct. The grace with which he approaches this adaptation of his life is symbolic of the film itself, and one that transcends mere facts. I’m 30 so I’m not old enough to remember Eddie the Eagle when he flew, only mentions of him as I was growing up and unfortunately he’s become somewhat synonymous with heroic failure and played for laughs, a punchline to a joke that everyone seems to be in on.

This film corrects that myth and although it is inaccurate and probably exaggerates the extent to which he was opposed by various people (according to what I’ve read his father was in fact supportive, rather than the grumbling figure depicted in the film) it does encapsulate the Olympic spirit, which is that performing to your best is the most important thing. It’s a phrase that has often become trite and patronising, almost a way to soften the blow of defeat, but through this film we are reminded that overcoming one’s own shortcomings is a triumph in and of itself, and in a pointed conversation towards the end of the film we are reminded that it is through heart and attitude that we become champions.

In an age where much of our pop culture has had a cynical edge Eddie the Eagle is an antidote to the gritty, brooding attitude that pervades much of our entertainment. It’s heartwarming without being saccharine, uplifting without devolving into empty sentiment. Egerton is quickly forging a reputation for himself and should be commended for his work here. Jackman gives a standard Jackman performance, but I liked the way their two characters complemented each other. The direction was good, capturing the majesty and unnerving danger of ski jumping almost as well as The Walk captured the dizzying heights of tightrope walking.

It’s simply a film that reminds you that things are possible, that if you work hard enough you may not be the best in the world, but that’s not the only thing that matters. For a long time Eddie the Eagle has been identified with failure, but he should be championed for his success because he achieved his dream and became an Olympian. We can all learn something from his example, and for that reason I give this film my highest recommendation. Absolutely loved it.

Review – Scribd

Scribd is an e-book service that’s basically Netflix, but for books. It’s not entirely accurate, and I’ll get into that in a minute, but it’s $8.99 per month and you get access to a range of books, comics, audiobooks, documents, and sheet music. The last three categories don’t interest me at all but the first do too. I’d been toying with the idea of getting Marvel Unlimited (which is $9.99 a month and grants the user access to most of the Marvel comics ever printed). However, Scribd has a two week free trial and Marvel Unlimited has not, so I signed up for the two weeks of Scribd to see what it’s like and if it’s worth sticking with over trying out Marvel Unlimited.

I’ve had it for just over a week now, and my initial impression is that I really like it and I’m going to keep my subscription after the free trial period, but it’s not perfect. As I said, it’s a little similar to Netflix with one major difference. There’s a limit of three books and one audiobook a month, which they seem apologetic about in the FAQ but it’s still a little annoying, especially for someone who can read quickly. I’ve read two books in the first week. But to make up for this Scribd do have a number of books that are unlimited, so they won’t count to your total. Also, you can read a section of a book before you take it off your monthly limit so if you’re not enjoying it as much as you hoped you won’t have to regret using one of your slots. Another aspect of this is that if you don’t use your slots they will roll over to the next month, which is another nice touch and it gives me the impression that Scribd really do want to give its customer base the best value and deals possible, and if they have to have a limit in order to make money then so be it because, quite frankly, for the price it’s still good value to get access to their catalogue (especially if you’re like me and you don’t mind owning books).

The other great thing is that comics don’t count towards this limit! And, although it doesn’t have as much depth for Marvel comics as Marvel Unlimited it does have comics from other publishers like IDW and Vertigo, so there’s a huge back catalogue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers comics, for example. The Marvel comics they have range from some classic stories to more recent ones, so overall there’s a good selection. The books are split into various categories and when you sign up it takes you through a process where you enter your likes and dislikes so the right books will come up for you. There are also editors’ picks and trending books, so you can see what other people are reading. So far I’ve explored sci-fi and was delighted to see that there are a plethora of Star Trek books on the service, so I plan to catch up on a lot of the developments in the TrekLit world, as well as some classic stories like Imzadi that I never got around to reading.

I’ve explored a few other categories that I’m interested in and I’m hoping that the biography and memoir section gets some more content added soon, but already I’ve added so many books to my library it’s going to take a while to get through them all.

Once in the library you can make collections, so I’ve split some up into Trek novels, Marvel Comics, Other Comics etc. This is neat, but I do wish that the books would then be taken out of the library just for ease of use and neatness’ sake. I also wish that in the case of some comic series, like Transformers, there was a guide or an easy way to suggest the order in which they should be read. For comic reading there’s one main annoyance I’ve found and that is that Scribd doesn’t offer panel-zoom. So you get the page presented and can’t tap on a panel to enlarge it, which is usually alright on my Kindle Fire if the page is portrait, but on landscapes I have to zoom in and scroll around to read the page properly.

Other than that I really like Scribed. The wealth of books offered is awesome and although the limit is something of a handicap for a voracious reader like myself, I like the fact they’ve made the effort to have unlimited books, and I can supplement my reading with comics or getting books from my local library. All in all I would highly recommend at least checking out the free trial, and if I could make a suggestion to Marvel Unlimited I’d say that they should have a free trial as well