Kung Fu Panda II

I watched this movie a few days ago. This review probably came a little late since the movie is reaching the last few weeks of its theater-life. The wikipedia article has the entire spoiler for the movie, so if you would like to know the story instead, you might choose to go there.

I would actually go so far as to say that I was disappointed with the movie. Not that the effects were bad, but the plot was very predictable. As I have told some of my friends, the movie is so predictable such that I can predict the last 5 minutes of the movie from the events in the first 5 minutes. However this could be due to me being chinese, and having seen so many dramas or movies that you associate inner peace, the shifu’s taichi moves that you know that it would become a key part of the battle. Once the main evil villian is announced, and his weapon of choice being the cannonball, it is not difficult to put two and two together to realize that it should have something to do with rebounding the cannonball. This is what the ending of Return of the Condor Heroes did too.

There wasn’t much omph as compared to the first story in Kung Fu Panda I. In Kung Fu Panda I, the story revolved in finding the dragon warrior to having the sense of disbelief that the panda is a dragon warrior, to training him and finally fighting. In Kung Fu Panda II, I find that it is merely battles after battles that does not really help much to advance the storyline.

All of a sudden after the panda’s own tragic past is revealed, he attains inner peace. I find that terribly quick. There was no rage. The explanation was that the panda realized that his life was great to him after his tragedy, so he accepted his fate. That requires tremendous forgiving that seemed a little too quick. Considering how his shifu took decades to comprehend and find inner peace, it does feel a little bit rushed.

As of similar animated style movies, the duration of the entire experience was no more than 1 and a half hours, and that includes some advertisements. Personally with a story like that, I would think it wouldn’t be very worth it to watch in a cinema. However since I had a student price, I suppose I wouldn’t mind.

Valentines Day (Movie)

I’ve watched the movie called “Valentine’s Day” yesterday, a day after the real Valentine’s Day. The movie theatre was packed, which I presume was due to the nature that it is the second day of new year, and those who have finished their visiting due to smaller family size would have some spare time to go watch a movie, since there is nothing much to do when most shops are not open. Wow. What a long statement.

“Valentine’s Day” is quite “Love Actually” in the sense that it is many different love stories happening at the same time. I forgot if “Love Actually” has any link between the various couples, but in “Valentine’s Day”, all the couples are linked one way or another. Plus “Valentine’s Day” seemed to have more of a darker feel compared to “Love Actually”. Why do I say that? Allow me to comment, but there would be spoilers.

Spoiler’s Alert

There are several characters in the show that have quite sad elements in them. Let me quote them one by one. Ashton Kutcher’s character proposed to Jessica Alba’s character, and she said yes. Being a newly engaged man, he is naturally excited and goes about telling everyone that she said yes. Most of the people didn’t believe it at first, because they thought she would never have agreed. When he went back during mid day to place a surprise in their room, he found her with all her luggages packed and an empty wardrobe. She just couldn’t marry him. I felt that it is a little sad because she shouldn’t have agreed if she wasn’t ready. And what’s more, to break up on Valentine’s Day, after a proposal. You can just feel how disappointed he would have been, from an all high climax to a all new low.

The second set of characters involve Patrick Dempsey and Jennifer Garner’s characters. Patrick’s character is a married man, having a mistress, who is the character of Jennifer’s. When he goes to Ashton’s florist shop to send flowers to both his wife and his mistress, Ashton realized that his friend Jennifer is the mistress, and struggled with himself to tell her. I hate infidelity. I don’t know how to express my plain disgust for such type of acts.

The third set of characters involved older actors. Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine. They are a set of husband and wife, and on Valentine’s Day, Emma Robert’s character, who is the babysitter of their grandson, spoke to them about how she was going to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time. Emma said “Who only sleeps with one person in their life?”, to which Hector said that they did that, even though they had to endure long periods of time apart from each other. Shirley cried and went to the living room, and Hector followed. Guess what. Shirley confessed about an affair from some time ago. Gosh I could just feel the sense of disappointment that Hector has. And he said “The truth makes everything else seemed like a lie”. Can you understand how troubled he would have felt, and on Valentine’s Day itself? Knowing about your wife’s infidelity? I hated it. I didn’t understand why they got back together. Just because it was on Valentine’s Day? What does it mean by “You have to love a whole person, not just the good parts, but the bad parts as well”? What bad parts? In my opinion, infidelity is a rotten part. It’s an act of betrayal that is very hard to forgive.

I can understand if people had sex with other people before they got married, but I would expect that after marriage, it is of paramount importance to be faithful because you love that person. It is not about how having sex makes you feel happy, so you go around finding other people; it is about the love and the bond between two people that makes it special isn’t it?

Spoilers End

Well, those are the darker kinds of thing they bring out in the show, but in the end it was about love all right, and finding them. And being happy. I guess it is an alright movie, but some parts were just slow to me. But maybe romantic stories are like that and guys will always find it slow. But I enjoyed it though. πŸ™‚

Happy Valentines to those who celebrated on the 14th. We should all celebrate White Day as well. πŸ™‚

Angels and Demons

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I watched this movie with Nelson and Mazin yesterday at the Cathay at Dhoby Gaut. The outing was lame from the start because the meeting point is station control, and there are two station controls at Dhoby Gaut. Naturally I realized that there’s this possibility that they are at the other side, because how can they not see me when I’m there already. So I asked to meet them at Cathay. After I reached, I got an sms saying they’ll meet me at the top. So I went up. They weren’t even there yet lo. I thought people will say that only when they reach first.

My other two friends Jiahao and Waikit also watched it before me, one week ago on the 14th when it officially opened. There are alot of people in the theatres though. Could see faint outlines of xmm(s) in the theatre.

But I must say that Angels and Demons is a freaking good movie. Kudos to the director for making it interesting from the start, and it goes right into the action without wasting time. I only remember starting to watch and then I never had the time to think about anything else.

However (tadashi), there are quite a few missing elements or edited elements in the movie as compared to the book. Of course it is expected since there is so much extra information. I am perfectly fine with the director not including the BBC reporter section. But I am a little confused with the Illuminati guy. In the book that guy believes in the Illuminati and believes in what he is doing is right. This actor doesn’t seem to give me that feeling at all. Perhaps the director didn’t want that to happen.

The director of CERN is also visibly missing. And the structure of the Swiss Guards is different. The one driving Langdon around should be the head of security. Not the guy who is framed by the Camenlango (spelling not sure). That’s only a Captain.

During the show I also knew Langdon wouldn’t be able to go up the helicopter as written in the book, because it’s really hard to include that in and explain how the hell he is still alive from a free fall with no chute.

But I must say the director wrapped things up very nicely. Although the plot is changed in a major way (how they found out the Carmenlango was the bad guy), the whole thing actually flows like a nice story.

I have some complaint though. I wanted the Illuminati Diamond. That’s the best brand. But they had to change it so that they can immediately know its St Peter’s tomb. I would very much would like it that the Carmenlango goes into a trance and keep shouting “Upon this rock I will build my Church”, and then running into the tomb. Greater effect and the movie length only increases slightly. And at lease you get the best brand in the entire movie. Earth Air Fire Water in a perfect Diamond.

Langdon is also supposed to receive the brand as a reward, not the Galileo’s text (which he koped one page from). And that page is ruined when he saved the Water preferatti. So even in his last will and testament, that page cannot find its way back to the Vatican. Plus the water guy is not supposed to be alive! But if you kill him, Langdon probably cannot find his way to the Church of Illumination so quickly. It would be interested to have a branded Pope. Haha.

But it all flows nicely in one good story, and that is what good movies should be. Good movies should not follow the book too strictly because sometimes they become lousy movies. Movies are for entertainment, and people should read the book for more information.

Angels and Demons is probably the best movie I have seen so far this year. 4.5 stars out of 5.


On another note, updates on my life. After the movies I went to Great Eastern because my friend Lennard went to hear the Adam Khoo talk for the Internship program 7. So the few of us who joined previously went down to meet him and talk. It was enjoyable. Tanoshii.

But yesterday there was a huge bomb thrown for the July holiday trip. We got fed up again with the lack of planning, and yesterday night we stayed up to settle the budget and plans for KL, and issue a deadline of Friday for the Jakarta plan. We shall see how it goes. Hopefully it’ll be planned well with no sudden increase in budget.

The lessons learnt are enormous. We should always not waste money, and plan first before sinking in the money. Always set a budget and work with it. Don’t assume everyone is a rich kid who has plenty of money to spend. Besides, we have been digging a hole to fill an existing hole. That’s wrong. We should solve the problem and fill the hole and not create another hole!

Always plan the itinerary and then decide the duration. This is because why book a long duration if you only need a few days to see everything? In the end you add stuff and that adds to the budget. And never ever think there is time for planning in the future. You don’t know what is going to cock up in the future. So what if the plan may change? At least there’s a plan to begin with, something you can be sure that works. Better than when problems come up and there’s no plans to edit, causing problems for everyone.

Anyway I hope it’s going to be settled without any future problems. I think it is hard for other people to become what I expect of them, and I guess if I’m ever going for a grad trip, I should find people who can fit my expectations.

I’m in the middle of getting inspirations to revamp this site. It has been a year already and it needs a new look! πŸ™‚ Kthxbye

Taken

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I’ve just watched a very nice movie called Taken which is showing in cinemas now. The whole movie is a short 1 hours and 30 minutes, and may perhaps seem a little clichΓ© to people, or even boring since it’s just a typical action film but I really enjoyed it very much.

I was glued to the screen during the entire length of the film, and in my opinion, it was exciting. Basically I would say it’s short and sweet, not too much nonsense, and the actions just runs throughout the entire movie. There’s no part where it drags and every part is a nervous wait to see how he saves his daughter.

Basically this is a story of a retired CIA agent who has a broken family. Due to his absence from home for operations, his wife divorced him and went to another man. He retires and moves near his daughter so he could spend more time with her. He appears paranoid at time, refusing to allow his daughter to go to Paris with just another friend since they are about 17 years old. However, to make his daughter happy, he agreed with a few conditions. I think one should be able to feel his parental love for his daughter, and I can see that he’s a very sad character.

Why so? The step father is rich and gives his daughter a present that outshines his. At that moment I could feel the disappointment he had as a father trying to spend time with his daughter. I could even feel the slight tinge of regret, in a way he’s trying to make up for time lost, but doesn’t get much chance.

But his paranoia comes true as his daughter and her friend gets kidnapped in Paris by a human trafficking organization. His daughter was on the phone with him during the kidnapping, and hence he is able to obtain a voice recording of the kidnappers’ voice. Using his CIA skills, he goes to Paris to hunt down the very people who did this to his daughter.

Throughout the whole movie, he uses his CIA skills often especially in hand to hand combat, and manages to obtain information at each step that finally leads to him finding his daughter and saving her from the man who bought her.

I guess the reason why I liked this movie is because it shows how much the father actually loves his daughter even though he didn’t spend enough time with her when he was still a CIA operative. This kind of intensity that makes one go all out to save someone is a very touching kind of love, something that isn’t easy to get in today’s world. And I think that makes it a good movie. At least, I enjoyed it, every second of the movie.

Movie Review: Wall-E

Wall-E

I know it’s a little behind other people’s reviews, but I just watched it the other day on my friend’s birthday. Didn’t intend to watch it since there’s no time during the semester, but since they suggested so I’m all right with it. (Jiahao’s review can be found here)

Basically Wall-E is about this little robot that’s cleaning up Earth. All of those assholes who have dirtied Earth have been sent to space to live in absolute luxury served by robots. It’s already 700 years after they left Earth and the people living in that spaceship are all fat people because they haven’t been moving much.

Eve came down on a mission one day, and Wall E starts to fall in love with her. Mind you, he hasn’t seen any other robots in years. All other Wall E robots are dead. Not to mention he has been watching those darned TV shows where you have all the hold hand and love thing that’s enough to make robots feel that they are lonely.

He tries to impress her by giving her things he collected, like lightbulbs, or a rubic cube that she solves within nano seconds. Eventually Eve got excited when she saw the plant he gave her and she took the plant and deactivated. Wall E was sad and stayed with her hoping she’ll wake up. Eventually a spaceship came and took Eve away, and Wall E went along.

By the way, to drift a little, when the spaceship got past the earth’s atmosphere, you see many satellites there in space. That is actually true. There are that many satellites there in space, some junk and some working. Almost every mother son launches a satellite in space.

Back to the story, the story is about how they eventually got the plant to the ship, how robots tried to sabotage the plant, and how they all returned to Earth in the end to take the first step in reclaiming the environment. And how Eve fell in love with Wall E after knowing all he did for her. Aww.. lol.

Anyway I kind of like the story. The moral of the story is that we have to take care of our environment ourselves and we are responsible for it. So please recycle and use both sides of the paper!

Joker: The White Knight Review

The movie is actually Batman: The Dark Knight, but I thought it would be a great title to give it an alternative name, Joker: The White Knight, as a tribute to the actor Heath Ledger who died after the movie was done. The tribute is not something that I give out without merit. Seriously, the character Joker was portrayed so well that I feel Joker IS the main character, rather than Batman.

Why The White Knight then? White as in versus black. Similar for Joker’s white face and Batman’s Dark mask. Perhaps it should be called bright vs dark, but I thought The Bright Knight sounds weird. Anyway in the movie Joker tells Batman “you complete me”. In a way, Joker is the opposite of Batman. The balance of good and evil. The yin and the yang. The white and the black, whatever you call it. I find it alright to say Knight since in a way the Joker is fighting for himself, and is quite good at showing how corruptible the human beings are.

It’s a first, but I must write this here instead of writing this after I end off. I rate this 9 out of 10. It’s very good. Kept me captivated for the whole 2 and the half hours. If any movie deserves to be called action packed, this is it. It’s really packed with action from the first hour. I saw the Joker get caught, I thought it’s going to end soon, but it’s wrong. More action comes, more plot, more sinister Joker moves, plenty of chances for the Joker to show his power. It’s really captivating and great.

Jiahao reviewed this long ago and Waikit did too. Read their reviews for more information.

I fully understand why people have called for Heath Ledger to be given a posthumous Oscar. This movie allows him much room to play and display his brilliant acting skills. His portrayal of Joker is so good and so evil that I feel Joker is such a more interesting character than Batman in the movie.

By the way, Batman Begins is supposedly the prequel, but you don’t have to watch it to watch The Dark Knight. I haven’t watched Batman Begins before, but perhaps I should watch it. Time for some Batman maniac time.

Hancock

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I watched this movie with Jia Hao on Monday, as part of the celebrations for his 22nd birthday. We wanted to watch either Wanted or Hancock, but I heard from my friends that Wanted is super lame, hence Hancock is was, and I think it’s pretty much worth it, considering we only spent 6 bucks.

Basically Hancock is a superhero gone bad. The intention to save people is there, but he does many things that make people resent him. Everytime he saves someone, he creates a huge mess that loads of money has to be spent. For example, knocking into the directional signs, jamming his legs into the highway, bringing the bad guy’s car onto the roof of a tall building blabla.

And when he saves the PR guy, he destroys the front of the train in the process and all the goods behind the train gets messed up pretty badly. Imaging stopping a moving train there and then with no displacement. The impulse will be so great when the train segments collide right? Ok enough of physics.

Eventually he underwent an image change and a mentality change and emerges as the perfect hero, saving people, not getting wounded at all, but he is lonely. And (spoilers) it turns out that the PR guy’s wife was the “wife” of Hancock. They are like angels, blabla, and when they get together their powers degrade with time.

Hence Hancock got shot, and his enemies come back to take revenge. What happens? Well, I guess you should just watch the movie to find out. If you ask me about ratings, I guess a 6.5 upon 10? It isn’t that great a movie, and I guess Get Smart is a better investment.