The Garden Filled With Weeds

Movie Reviews, ACG and Cosplay Discussion, or just any rambling topics that come to my mind.

[Movie Review] Saving Mr Banks – The Movie That Only Disney Could Make March 17, 2014


IMDB: 7.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 80% Certified Fresh

Metacritics: 65%

A topic like this is sensitive, especially since Walt Disney Pictures is one of the biggest companies out there in the showbiz, to ever have Walt Disney being represented by an actor in any movie, is pretty much a miracle of our age.

Disney, or Walt, as he would like you to call him, is a legend, he’s the guy who made revolutionary animated movies, the person who brought us so many wonderful motions pictures, someone who practically paved the path for the standing of animation today.

However, as we grow up, after we learn more about this world, we would slowly realise that, Walt Disney, is a human being too, and no one is perfect.

Surprising as it is, this movie is not about Walt, but about P.L. Travars, the author of Mary Poppins.

The entire story is basically centred around her, and because of that, this movie became a roller coaster of emotions, and a really relatable movie.

P.L. Travars is the person who you would hate to work alongside with, she’s cranky and rude, always appearing as a step higher than you, does not care what you think and only cares about how she feels… But I’m pretty sure a lot of us can see a part of us in her.

Which was one of the reason why I really loved this movie, I could relate to her, I actually do care for her, despite all her flaws and the fact I’ll probably still hate her if I met her in real life, I forgave her for all that she’s doing, because I know she’s only human.

The portrayal of family problems is by far the best I’ve seen in recent blockbusters, it did not entirely paint a bad picture for anyone in the family, instead it simply showed the struggles they were going through and bad decisions being made, it looked at these problems through the eye of the child, and how it still clings on to the child even after she grew up.

Which was the key thing that made this movie very personal to a lot of people who had experienced similar things in their childhood.

I was surprised that the movie was actually pretty fair to Mrs Travars, considering they seem to all hated her and till the day she died she still never forgave them for what they’ve done to Mary Poppins.

The representation of Walt Disney was also fair enough, but you could still feel the utmost love and admiration the people who were involved in this movie had towards him.

I have to say I was slightly disappointed that they chose to not mention Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, instead simply went with Mickey when talking about the topic of rights of a character being taken away. However I could guess it’s because they don’t want any feud with Universal, and not everyone knows about Oswald.

I like the parallel storyline of Mrs Travars and her childhood, and how they link together, it’s a very interesting method of storytelling.

Another thing I really like about this movie is the characters, you can’t outrightly hate anyone in this movie, at the same time you don’t immediately love them either, it’s very grey when you look at it.

Now let’s get onto the topic of the reality of this movie.

This movie pretty much have a smooth ride since it’s based on one of the most classic in film history, a lot of people would come to watch it simply because they could relive the wonders of Mary Poppins.

However, as much as we hate to admit it, this movie is once again Disney fluffing up a story that they’re adapting.

This movie, albeit for all that it’s talking about, is doing exactly the same thing as what it’s main character is defending against.

Is that is not real irony I don’t know what is.

However my opinion on this issue is conflicted because in one of my scriptwriting lecture, one very important thing taught to us about adapting from a source material, is that we have to think for the final picture, instead of being thoughtful for everyone stuffing in content that’s not going to help the film.

Or the fact that when adapting from another source, it’s perfectly acceptable to change things here and there to enhance it.

Which was exactly what Walt Disney and the production team of this movie did.

This movie is about the struggles of working in the creative industry, having conflict with people who sees a different picture, and the money, contract, legal rights issue behind the scene.

I think you can add this movie to the whole list of ‘good movies about making movies’, because despite several parts of it being fictionalised, looking at the irony of it or the actual content of the movie, gives you the insight to what happens behind the screen.

Especially since many times, those movies about the struggles of making a movies, tend to focus more heavily on the actual production, while the pre-production stage can actually be just as much of a battlefield as that.

Overall, looking at the movie itself, it’s not the best as it could have been, but knowing the limitations, it’s already the best it could have been.

PS: We all know what will happen if Disney doesn’t actually acquire the rights to make a movie, just look at Lion King.

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[Movie Review] Frozen December 26, 2013


IMDB – 8.1

Rotten Tomatoes – 89% [Certified Fresh]

Metacritic – 43%

My Rating – 7/10

I’m gonna be honest with you guys… I didn’t love it.

I liked it, it’s a fun Christmas/Thanksgiving/winter season movie, but I gotta say, I expected a lot more than what they had given me.

You see, sometimes expectations play a big role in how much you end up actually liking a movie.

I walked into the theatre with the expectation of Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, two of Disney’s latest successful 3D animated movie.

However the movie lacked the depth I was looking for, and thus I couldn’t bring myself to love it.

But I’m still gonna be fair and look at it as a movie itself, rather than as a Disney package.

First of all, the animation is gorgeous.

They knew they had the potential to make this movie visually stunning, and they made full use of it.

I particularly liked the design of Elsa’s ice castle, and how the color scheme inside the castle changed along with her mood, it’s subtle, but I appreciate the effort.

The characters in this movie… I’ll be frank, I didn’t like Anna during the first one third of this movie, I found her really annoying.

I’m thinking it might be done on purpose, that they wanted to portray her as the annoying younger sister who you both love and hate, if that’s the case, it’s actually done well.

On the other hand, Elsa was presented as the mature older sister, who is always given the responsibility to take care of the younger sibling, becoming selfless.

This aspect is actually pretty clever, I don’t have a sibling, but I feel that people with siblings, and have this silent rivalry or role positioning casted by their parents, would relate really well to the two sisters in the movie.

But my favorite has to be Olaf, I don’t care how people kept thinking he’s an annoying comic relief character, I love him, I really do.

He is the best comic relief character I’ve seen for a really long time, he has all the best lines in this movie, he is caring, you can kick him around and he won’t get angry.

I actually felt the most protective of him because I was worried they’d let him melt away, because of what they did to the comic relief character in Princess and the Frog.

As for the two male characters, they’re pretty lacking in terms of depth, however it’s pretty understandable considering that the focus of this movie is still mainly on the two sisters.

But they definitely could’ve been given more characteristics that make them more memorable, the evidence of that is the fact that I can’t even remember their names at this point of time.

The musical aspect of it felt amateur, I only remember half of the songs, and only 2-3 of them really clicked with me.

One being the opening sequence, the song that perfectly set the mood and background.

Another is ‘Let It Go’, but I’d give credits to Idina Menzel, she’s one of the main reason why I was so eager to step into the theatre to see this movie.

The other one is Olaf’s song, it wasn’t particularly memorable, but I just really liked it, it’s one of the few songs in this movie I didn’t cringe at the awkward timing or childish lyrics.

I have heard people mentioning that the sound track includes several other songs that were cut from the movie, and actually presents more depth, like Elsa and Anna confronting each other having conflict because Anna ask Elsa to put back the gloves, and Anna singing about feeling like she’s less important because her sister is the queen.

I haven’t heard them, but I’d definitely hear it one day, because those two scene might have actually made me love this movie.

The pacing of this movie feels a little bit rushed, that this huge conflict between the sisters that had existed and grew for more than 10 years, is suddenly resolved in just one day.

Part of me really wanted to see Elsa being wild with her powers for a longer time, the misunderstanding towards her would have been more serious and harder to deal with, she would have to do something even more epic to redeem herself.

In conclusion, this movie had the potential to be a classic, but they chose the family-friendly route instead.

It is a pretty decent film for the entire family to enjoy, but not exactly something I’d die to make my kids watch in the future.

For those of you who really loved the film, don’t get angry at me, you know what, I’m envious of you.

I was really really excited to see this movie, you have no idea how much I was looking forward to it.

It’s not fun to not love a movie you’ve been this excited to see, I really wish I did love it, I wish I saw the magic you see in it, I really really want to love it.

But there’s just something that is missing, something I was hoping it’s there, but it’s not, and I’m disappointed, and so I start to see the flaw in it.

I actually do hope they make a sequel, and introduce new threats to this world they had build, maybe a villain with fire power?

 

Apparently, My Handwriting Sucks May 25, 2013


Growing up there’s always those few things people kept telling you about yourself, things they thought you don’t know and don’t realise, and they need to take up the role of the hero to remind you about it.

For me, those things were:

1.My height

2.My hair length

3.My pale skin tone

4.My handwriting

The first three was pretty much fixed on me, so whenever someone mentions it, I’ll just smile and agrees, yes I am pretty tall, has really long hair, and I am indeed pretty white for an Asian… But when it comes to my handwriting, sometimes I had to disagree.

The story goes like this.

I came to Singapore at the age of 8, my English level was as low as you could possibly imagine, and it’s hard to pick up writing and speaking a new language in a whole new environment that you’re unfamiliar with.

From primary 1 to primary 5, I could still agree with others that my handwriting is indeed pretty terrible, and I always tried my best to improve.

Then during primary 6, when my form teacher, who I still highly respects even till today, mentioned to the entire class that I have terrible handwriting in a pretty harsh tone, it sort of damaged my confidence.

The fact that some bullies in class picked it up and rubbed it in me whenever they wish to bully me didn’t help the situation.

(Long story short about the bullies, I ran to the toilet and cried, then when I got out of the toilet, the situation was reversed and I fought back to them, throwing their papers all over the place and made a mess in the class with all their worksheets, from then on they never dared to bully me again.)

That incident grew into me, and till now, I still can’t forget how damaging it was to my self confidence.

Reason being, I didn’t think my handwriting was THAT bad at that point of time.

My teacher also often praised this classmate of mine, who writes like a robot.

I could never understand how is her tiny boxy handwriting nice, perhaps it was neat, but personally it was an absolute pain to read them.

Many people always mentioned about one thing, ‘You can tell a person’s personality from their handwriting’.

This logic always makes me wonder, exactly what sort of handwriting represents a positive personality?

Is it wrong to write with your own style? Expressing yourself? Or should we all write like robots, with accurate measurement of every letter fitting perfectly onto the paper?

I get extremely defensive of my handwriting as I grew older, whenever teachers mention to me about my handwriting, I just smile and nod, but never actually took in the advice.

Now that I think about it, if they really wanted writing assignments that’s perfectly legible, why not just request for us to type it out and print it?

You know, after reading so much, why not I just show you guys my handwriting, and let you be the judge?

Forgive my lousy phone camera

Yes, I know, some of you are gonna cringe and tell me, ‘your handwriting is pretty bad’.

But you know what, I’m proud of it, I call it cursive, how many people nowadays still writes in cursive?

It’s a personal identity, even if it’s messy to some people, I personally love it.

Just like how we compare Merida and Rapunzel, Merida has hair that looks like she’s having bad hair day all day all night, while Rapunzel looks like she’s got hair that never ever tangles.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore them both.

Most of you probably cringe at Merida’s hair and pray for Rapunzel’s hair, but when you take away Merida’s crazy curls… She’s no longer the same Merida we know.

She will lose a very distinct trait about herself, we’ll no longer see her the same way as before.

We all have that one or few things that no one else appreciates, but we ourselves is absolutely in love with it.

Be it the length of your lashes, the way your hair curls, how you stand… the little things that only you notice.

We all need those things, to feel more like… ourselves.

People always tries to define what is better than the other, what is perfect, such as logic like big eyes are good and small eyes are bad, sharp chin, V-shaped face…

As a result we see beauty pageant contestants looking exactly like each other.

This is why I always hate it when people tell me that I look like or act like someone, even if it doesn’t offends me, but it takes away my exclusive personal identity.

It’s the same with what they’re doing to my handwriting, telling me I should follow a ‘good example’, and become just like them, taking away my form of expression to fit into their definition of good.

So no matter how many times people tell me that my handwriting sucks and I should improve, I’m never gonna change it, even if I ever change it, I’ll let it happen naturally, it flows and goes, nothing forced upon my right hand.

And you, my friend, should also find that few things you’re absolutely stubbornly in love with yourself.

 

[Movie Review] Oz the Great and Powerful – Painfully Cheesy March 10, 2013


NOTE: SPOILERS

IMDB: 7.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 60% fresh

Disney had been known for two things, fairy tales and a good ending no matter what.

It’s no surprise Disney would touch on Oz, after all what’s better to attract the audience other than the nostalgia of our childhood.

Unfortunately when Hollywood attempts that, they often fail.

This movie shares several similarity with the 1939 classic Wizard of Oz, especially from the way they started the movie in sepia/black and white, then transit to color when Oz entered the world of Oz.

However it failed it’s attempt to be a valid prequel, instead it felt more like a stand-alone new franchise.(since they’re already making a sequel)

No doubt this movie is a visual extravaganza, burst of colors, beautiful costumes, amazing effects, I almost regretted not watching this in 3D.

They presented the world of Oz well enough to live up to it’s name, the costumes were good, the citizens of Oz were adorable pleasant people.

If I were to describe the movie in just one word, I know just the perfect word: cheesy.

You know there’s got to be something wrong with this movie when the actors and actresses themselves looked awkward on camera, I’m not even talking about Kristen Stewart sort of awkward, I’m talking about actually being awkward about what they’re told to do.

Rachel Weisz, an Oscar, Golden Globe award winner, looked awkward on camera. Perhaps she’s just not that great of an action star, but whenever the two wicked witches were supposed to summon their powers from their hands, it doesn’t feel very natural, especially so for Evanora since her powers are green colored electricity.

James Franco also felt painfully awkward on screen, it’s worst because he was supposed to be awkward, but he made it extra awkward with how awkward his awkwardness is.(it makes sense, trust me)

Every character felt one-dimensional, especially Mila Kunis’ Theodora.

She’s naive, she’s kind, she fell in love, she’s heart broken, she became wicked, and swore revenge…

The heart break and the process of her becoming wicked really didn’t felt like such a big deal.

Then right after she turns into the Wicked Witch of the West, she started screaming and screeching, becoming a completely different person, with little to no connections to her original self.

That was very hard for me to bear through because I love Mila Kunis, and I love Wicked Witch of the West because of the musical Wicked, instead this movie just ruined both of them for me.

They also gave a very weak reason to why the wicked witches were wicked. In fact they only showed Theodora becoming wicked, they never explained why Evanora was wicked, instead they simply told us, ‘yes she is wicked, she’s evil, she deserved all this’.

I was expecting a prequel of Oz would explain more than just how Oz gets to the land of Oz, at least touch a bit on Evanora’s history, and not make Rachel Weisz look like a one-dimensional villain.

Oz and Glinda the Good got together at the end, proving Theodora that everything her sister said became true.

The love between Oz and Glinda felt forced, I swear even Snow White falling in love with the prince made more sense than this.

It’s a shame that James Franco wasn’t that much of the cowardly Oz I was hoping for, the entire time he was this playboy caught up in a giant cat fight between the three witches.

I must also mention how much I didn’t like the wizard, right after finding out Glinda was the ‘wicked witch’, he immediately sides with Glinda without a single doubt, just because she looked like Annie she must have been the good witch?

Despite being the main cause Theodora became wicked, Oz barely felt sorry for it, if this was the original with Dorothy as the main character, I forgive that, but Oz is the main character, and main characters are supposed to do more than that to earn our respect.

It could also have served as a good lesson for kids, ‘when you do something wrong, apologize, and never lie to others when you know it’ll hurt them’.

The two side kicks are cute, but I believe they could have put a little more effort in making the flying monkey cuter.

I love monkeys, I could stare at them all day long, because of how beautifully innocent their eyes look, but this movie did not manage to capture that.(on this part Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters did better)

The china doll was adorable, but I would give more credit to the visual effects team who made her so realistic, from the way light reflects on her body, to the lines that shows every pieces of her.

That is pure art.

Even though the visual effects was beautiful, this movie didn’t felt as magical as the original.

This is another very common thing about prequel/sequel/remakes of a classical movies, no matter how much the visual effects had improved, the modern version just doesn’t feel as magical as the original.

Another example is Tim Burton’s modern Alice in Wonderland.

The very well done part of the movie has to the connection between Kansas and Oz, in which the flying monkey is a counterpart to Oz’s partner, the china doll being the little girl who wished Oz could let her walk, and of course Annie and Glinda.

That was really well done, and I would applaud the script writers for that, unfortunately the rest of the story was falling in pieces, the writing hardly made me feel enthusiastic or overwhelmed with any feelings.

To be very honest, this movie was a huge disappointment to those who grew up with the original.

I understand that there was a lot of hurdles Disney faced with touching on a classic that currently belongs to Warner Brothers, thus the lack of ruby slippers, actual terrifying flying monkeys, or even the slightest hint that Dorothy might appear in the future sequels of this new franchise.

I don’t have any idea what the sequel is gonna be about, perhaps the witches? Or even another prequel to what happened before Oz appeared?

We’ll only find out when the next Disney Oz movie comes out, meanwhile, perhaps we could pick up the original books by L. Frank Baum and immerse ourselves in the actual magical world of Oz.

Overall, 6.5/10.

Worth it for the effects, the storyline needs a lot more work, if you’re a loyal fan of the original, this won’t be what you’re expecting.

Also, was it just me, or did the witches all had to have their boobs and cleavage shown? Not like I’m complaining but that was definitely done on purpose right?

One more thing, my boyfriend was shaking when this movie kept referring Thomas Edison as the man who invented many things… but truth is, people who worked for him invented those things, not him.

Now I’ll post up the ticket stub if I watched a movie in the cinema~

 

 
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