The Garden Filled With Weeds

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

[Movie Review] Pacific Rim – It Served It’s Purpose Well August 21, 2013

Filed under: Movies — Zakito @ 5:07 AM
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Imagine the wide-spread horror among Tokusatsu fans when this movie was announce, Hollywood is tapping into another classic media entertainment category of Japan, how are they going to ruin it this time?

To most fans’ relief, this movie was not as bad as it could have been.

Let me tell a joke before I begin my review.

In the sequel the Kaijus are gonna come from the sky this time… and the movie will be called Skyrim! 8D

Okay I’m sorry, moving on.

Overall, the movie served it’s purpose well, it’s a movie about giant robots piloted by humans fighting against giant alien monsters, there really isn’t much you could expect from this movie except a lot of epic fight scenes.

And so yes, this movie is exactly about that, there’s nothing exceptionally or surprisingly good about this movie, also nothing bad enough to make people cringe.

It’s exactly what it promised to be, and it gave you what you expected, that’s all.

However, as someone who’s been going to movies pretty frequently, I sort of wanted more.

You see, Pacific Rim had potential to become a classic, one that defines a category, instead it chose to be just another Transformers, except with giant lizards.

Personally, I enjoyed the movie, a lot, but I just knew it could have been something more than what it is.

I also felt that some characters needed more screen time, such as the Russian duo, or the Chinese triplets.

It felt that their entire purpose in the movie, was being an iconic interesting character, which weren’t explored enough.

They were just there to make the audience feel interested, but the movie’s not gonna show you enough of them and will just kill them off very quickly.

Even though they told you how amazing these pilots were, how they had went through so many battles without fail, they still didn’t last as long as someone who had not piloted a Jaeger for 5 years, along with someone who’s never even piloted one before.

Yeah I’m pretty sore about that, and knowing their death is confirmed, we’ll probably never get to see these amazingly interesting characters again, ever.

Another problem I had with the movie is that most of the fighting sequence between the Jaeger and the Kaijus, happens during the night.

One very significant thing about these Kaiju films in Japan, is that they often happen during the day.

This is because Japanese usually don’t fake their fighting and would prefer if the audience can see every bit of detail the actors and production team is putting into it.

While this movie, like every other Hollywood action movie, is not particularly proud of their fighting sequences.

I can understand, it makes sense if you’re talking about logic such as Kaijus will most likely attack during the night, they’re lizards, night works better for them…

But throughout the movie, the best fighting scene that happened, was the one shown on the television.

It was during the day, we see every move of the Kaiju and Jaeger very clearly, and there weren’t much camera movements trying to blur the screen.

I strongly believe that, that is how you do a movie like this, and I hope they improve on it.

Another concern of mine was that, I don’t feel particularly involved in this, the opening sequence did make me feel this sense of justice, and as a world we unite, but as the movie goes on, when they go undercover, I start to disconnect with the movie, and it no longer gives me this sense of belonging to the world, and why I should protect it.

Perhaps it might have been a better decision to not make the Jaeger program a rebel against the government, and stop portraying politicians as stupid people(cause most of them are pretty darn smart), it might become a lot more cheesier and less of a movie about the underdogs, but it will definitely make the audience a lot more pumped.

News about the sequel has already been spreading around, I do want to see a sequel, but it’s not the kind that’s making me super excited.

The movie ended on a pretty positive note, I can already imagine what sort of problem the world will face in the next movie, so there’s really not much they can do to surprise the audience.

One negative thing about such movie is that, they’re pretty predictable, there’s nothing much you can do about it.

However, not many are completely against predictable plots, after all it’s going to be a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters, and that element itself, will bring the money in.

I kind of hope they develop the story more, turn this into one of those classic franchises that have a lot of areas to explore, new things to look forward to, or just a few key element that bring the audience back to the theatre.

It definitely has the potential, but I just don’t see it being fully explored yet, and if they’re going to make a sequel, it better do it this time because box office hasn’t been very kind to it.

 

[Movie Review] Despicable Me 2 – The Adorable Family Flick July 26, 2013


7.8 – IMDb
75% – Rotten Tomatoes

My rating: 7.5
Today on the bus I’ve found the perfect way to describe Despicable Me 2.

Imagine if someone presented you with a plate of dish, which has all the best ingredients in the world and has all your favorite food in it, but the problem is, none of it was cooked well.

That’s exactly how I felt about Despicable Me 2.

It’s fun, it’s cute, it’s adorable, it’s heart warming, it’s exciting, it’s hilarious…

But none of these elements were extremely well executed that I could call this movie a classic.

In this sequel to the original Despicable Me, Illumination Entertainment learnt from past experiences, and realised that the audiences loved the minions way more than they had expected them to.

And so they decided to give the minions more screen time, and even went to the extend of making them a big part of the crisis Gru had to face.

They were trying to achieve too much in too little time, and throwing in every good idea that was mentioned in the development period of the script.

One of such example is the minion who starts having a crush on Lucy after seeing her.

It was a fun idea, but that only lasted for a few minutes on-screen, and then it was never mentioned again.

Talking about Lucy, I have to comment on how likable this character is, it’s actually very rare for the audience to immediately like a character the instant they see them(not attracted, just like), especially not a female sidekick.

We know how female sidekick usually turns out to be, sexy and hot, their only purpose is for guys to fantasize.

However Despicable Me turns that entirely around, and gives us a female sidekick, who will be liked by both male and female audience, not overly sexualized, not overly annoying, has the shyness of a female yet the goofiness that doesn’t make her just a beautiful flower vase.

I also really liked the sassy villain El Macho, however he was a pretty shallow villain, and was defeated in a really short time, in a pretty lame way.

Everything is so rushed in the movie, and I could hardly feel the connection between the characters, it’s like being given an apple, and before you could take a bite, someone switch it with an orange, and before you could peel the orange, someone switch it to a strawberry.

However, despite that, the movie does what it promise to do.

It brings you laughter, the minions are really cute, even the kids became more likable than before.

There were several moments where I literally burst out in laughter, and not many movies could get me to do that.

Most of the audience, would definitely enjoy this movie greatly, especially children.

It’s better to look at this movie from a mindless point of view, just absorb in and buy whatever that’s presented to you, and I promise you, you will have a good time.

This movie does have it’s flaws, but it’s not bad enough to make you feel like they’re not even trying, in fact they’re trying very hard.

I guess we shouldn’t be so harsh on a company who is still trying to find it’s place in an animated industry dominated by Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks.(maybe Bluesky too)

It is the perfect example of a fun movie, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, it gives you what you’re possibly looking forward to.

Not just that, the tone and pace of the movie stays constant throughout, which is also pretty commendable, a lot of movies today just drifts away when the script writer has a writer’s block but has to rush for deadlines.

There’s not a single moment where you feel that this movie isn’t entertaining you, it just keeps showing you new things that amuses you, maybe it’s bad in the aspect of underdevelopment, but in terms of entertainment, it’s perfect.

The romance aspect in this movie is also really well done, especially how they showcased young love which does not last; The romance that blossomed between Gru and Lucy is really natural, it’s not cheesy or forced, I’m actually convinced that these two characters really do love each other and I feel happy for them.

I would recommend everyone to go see this movie, or maybe just a friday night when you snuggle in your bed and trying to find entertainment, this is the perfect fit.

If you have a child, or a sibling who is still young, let them watch this movie, they’ll have the time of their life.

Maybe not in a Disney movie way that’s like, when they grow up and re-watch it, they’ll discover many new things they hasn’t when they’re young.

But for this movie, it’s exactly what parents are constantly looking for to show their kids.

I still hope they had developed the story and the character interaction a little more, but even without that, I still enjoyed the movie nonetheless, and that itself, already proves that this movie is a success.

At the end of the day, aren’t we all just hoping to be entertained?

 

[Movie Review] Man of Steel – The New Age of DC July 21, 2013


IMDB: 7.7

Rotten Tomatoes: 56%

My rating: 8/10

When Marvel/Disney got big with Avengers, DC/Warner Brothers got anxious.

They needed to catch up with this golden age of superheroes(aka perfect money-grabbing opportunity), but the situation wasn’t so good for them since they were already done with Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

They tried what they can with Green Lantern, which got a huge amount of hate from both critics and viewers.

Then they decided to team up with Legendary Pictures again, got the director of the considerably successful Watchmen, and try again with the world’s most famous hero of all – Superman.

Why Superman? Because no one, not anyone can ever possibly fail with Superman, it a guaranteed box office success no matter how bad the movie is.

Okay enough with the introduction, I’ll start with the actual review.

I’ve always admired Zack Snyder’s visual style, his movies usually have a color tone given to the entire film, that makes you feel more immersed in it.

Because the color tone is different from reality, you feel like half of you is in a comic book, the other half in the movie.

It also enhances the visual effect, making them blend in much easier than other movies.

He chose a very gloomy dark-blueish color tone for Superman, which is a good choice because Superman’s costume is blue, and it brings an entire serious atmosphere around it.

Throughout the years, one very big problem about Superman, is that no one takes him seriously anymore.

People always ridiculed Superman’s costume, saying that he wears his underwear outside and stuff like that.

This movie made the choice to give Henry Cavill the new costume in the comics, which loses the underwear.

Man of Steel also chose to take itself very seriously, with almost no lightened moment throughout the entire movie.

Some of the choices the movie made, in term of plot, had mixed reception from fans and critics alike.

[Spoilers alert.]

One of it being making Superman kill Zod.

Many are starting to lose faith in Zack Snyder because he was the one who came up with the idea, Christopher Nolan objected the idea initially, and many felt that he should have persisted with his opinion.

In my personal opinion, I think it’s a good choice they made.

Throughout the years, one of Superman’s legacy is to never kill.

However, until today, I have never understood why.

Was it just the teaching of Ma and Pa Kent? Being a good natured person?

Man of Steel chose to give an even stronger reason to why Superman chose to never kill, again.

After he had snapped Zod’s neck, he appeared traumatized by what he had done, and it would be reasonable to think that he would never kill again, because he had killed someone before, he know how it is, and so he won’t do it again.

I believe Warner Brothers are not going to make Superman an ultimate killing machine, I’d really want to tell all the fans to calm down with this one.

[Spoiler end]

The other decision they made that annoyed fans, was their decision to separate itself entirely from the original series.

We did not hear even the slightest hint of the iconic Superman theme, and Zack Snyder also mentioned that he wants this to be a whole new different thing from the series in the past.

Because of this, many felt disconnected with this movie.

A large portion of the fan base are strongly connected with the original Superman movies, and it’s understandable that they would feel a little abandoned when Warner Brothers chose to redo the movie in a completely unconnected manner from the past Superman films.

However, on the other hand, I felt that they needed to do this.

I have a friend, who would cringe whenever she hears of Superman’s name.

It’s heartbreaking, especially when she ridiculed him and tell me why she thinks that Superman sucks.

Like I had mentioned before, Superman is no longer taken seriously.

Most of the people would treat Captain America more seriously than Superman, even though Captain America’s costume in Avengers looked ridiculous as hell.(Really I loved the army costume in First Avenger a lot more)

Man of Steel needed to create a whole new image for Superman, to be taken seriously once again, as the most iconic hero in the entire world.

No longer just the goody two-shoe boy scout, but a hero who everyone can look up to.

The third thing that angered the fans, was how much damage was done to the entire city.

On this one, perhaps I agree with the fans a little bit more.

The movie chose to show very few scenes of Superman actually saving people, instead they show more scenes of him fighting with the villains.

That is not an absolutely wrong choice, but one of the things you can’t take away from Superman, is his strong will of wanting to save people.

If Zod doesn’t want to harm the humans on Earth at all, and simply wanted Kal El to hand him the codex, and would leave immediately afterwards, I bet Superman would gladly hand him the codex and wave goodbye to them all.

But Superman chose to fight against Zod because Zod is going to harm the humans.

This is a point I would really wish to see being improved on in the future sequels.

I must also mention that I absolutely love Lois Lane in this one.

Ever since at the age of 6, when I bought my first Superman cartoon box set DVD, I’ve hated Lois Lane, all the way until this movie, where I finally begin to love her, a lot.

One of the many things that made Lois Lane annoying, was how she’s supposed to be a great journalist, but can’t see through a pair of glasses and a single strand of hair.

She was supposed to be based on Nellie Bly, one of the greatest female journalist of all time, someone who pretended she was crazy, just so she could investigate a mental institute from within.

And in this movie, I finally see that part being portrayed out of Lois Lane, I finally see that fearless journalist, who sometimes may need Superman to save her, but in the most dire times, would aid Superman to save humanity.

I also really like the idea of not making Superman a hero that everyone trust(yet), one of my favorite comics of Superman and Batman, was the Public Enemies story, which touches on the aspect of people’s trust in these heroes.

It has a lot of potential, we get to see Superman earning that trust from everyone, instead of being told that everyone just loved Superman, because he is told to be a hero.

In conclusion, I believe this is a great Superman film, this was what the DC movie-verse needed, and would hang onto for a very long time in a box office fight against Marvel.

I can’t wait to see what DC has to offer next, would it be a whole new Batman franchise? Or will they work on other Justice League members like Flash or Wonder Woman?

On another note, I sort of feel like they should have pushed the release date of this movie a bit later, so that they can have a bigger show than what they have during San Diego Comic Con.

Marvel is sweeping the SDCC like it was entirely dedicated for them, and I’ve actually not heard much news from DC.

Frankly, it’s a bit worrying, whether can DC put up a fight on the cinematic stage with Marvel.

(Especially after the news that they’re splitting with Legendary Pictures)

EDIT:

Right after publishing this review, it’s been announced during SDCC that a Batman Superman film is to be made for 2015 release.

I can’t possibly tell you guys how excited I am for this.

Even though it’s going head to head with Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, I now believe they really can put up this fight with Marvel.

Come on, it’s Superman and Batman team up, how many of us had wanted this for decades?

 

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.

 

 
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