Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code

need to catch up on my book reviews so...



Review: #46
Title: Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code
Series: Artemis Fowl - 3rd book
Author: Eoin Colfer
Read Before: yes
My Comments: An excellent book, one of my favourite in the series, it’s really funny and interesting, and very engrossing. The story and plot is very good, and I love the plans that Artemis has created, and the way how it executes perfectly, and how he adapts quickly to each complication, or thinks up of most, if not all, possibilities. The only bit a bit boring, if it can be called that, is reviving Butler, it’s just the slower pace when you read it the second time, and a sad event, with Butler getting much older. Once the story sets everything up and it really starts to get the ball rolling, it is unstoppable, you cannot put down the book as you’re wondering what is going to happen next, and because it is just so good. There is also a lot of new gadgets that has amazing abilities, and you’re always impressed by them. This is one of those books that just has those little bits that makes it so enjoyable and surprises the reader.
Rating: 8/10
Rereadability Factor: 7/10

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: The Eye of the Viking God



Review: #45
Title: The Eye of the Viking God
Series: Terry Deary's Viking Tales
Author: Terry Deary
Read Before: no
My Comments: An interesting and quick read, although very intended to be directed at way younger audiences, the facts that are incorporated into the story is actually quite nice and interesting. Of course, the story is too contrived and predictable, but that doesn't mean that this isn’t a fun read. This is something that's good if you don't want to think much and wanted something you can finish quickly (took me around ten mins), there is practically no plot though, nor suspense nor excitement, pretty much nothing.
Rating: 6/10
Rereadability Factor: 1/10 (not interesting enough to read over once)

Sidenote: wow, this is my 201st post, two hundred posts already... that is surprising

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Iron Man 2


When compared to the first movie, Ironman 2 is not as great (74% at rottentomatoes.com), but I guess that’s to be expected as the majority of sequels don't really live up to their originals. Nevertheless, Iron Man 2 was quite an enjoyable movie and it is still pretty good compared to its contemporaries. The movie is a bit boring, but the plot is decent enough for you to get interested, just that I think there wasn't much action and there wasn't really much of a build up into the climax of the film. It does have some good one liners and some good humor, I’ve never read the comics so I wouldn't know if this was an accurate portrayal of Iron Man but I like this movie. At two hours I think there’s a bit of an overabundance of speaking scenes where it doesn't add much to the story, which they could have cut out. Part of the movie feels a bit overused, especially with the whole “the hero gives up but eventually finds the power and motive to be a hero again”, but at least it’s not that bad. A bit of a disappointment really, the first movie was just tons better, it took me a while to get into the movie as the beginning was so dragging, still, great to finally see this movie.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse


The movie Eclipse (based on the novel of the same name) is a lot better (50% at rottentomatoes.com) than the previous two series in the Twilight Saga, Twilight and New Moon (New Moon was particularly bad). A lot of the themes are done better, especially the supernatural powers of the vampires, before, they way they had shown their super speed (blurring effects) were really lame and gets you thinking, “are you serious, you’ve got to be kidding me, this looks really stupid!”. There are still room for a lot of improvements and so hopefully the changes in the final two movies will make as a great a leap as Eclipse did with it predecessors. Story wise, it’s really faithful to the book, to the point where I am surprised, only major thing they changed was how Bella sacrificed herself (not in the conventional sense) in the final battle, which she never did in the book, and was the whole point of a lot of self reflecting in the book too. The movie skipped a lot of the reflection so viewers don't understand the significance or even link it up to an earlier scene (which puts the idea into Bella’s head), and changes the character a bit. I mean, I guess the writer did that to create a more interesting fight at the end, but that really bugged me. Eclipse was one of the better books in the series and so translating it into the big screen, the movie wasn't so bad, but it’s still fairly boring, I got distracted quite easily through a few screens, I just wished they pushed the pace a little bit faster or cut out some stuff as it is too long with not enough things to keep your attention at 2 hours long. I still don't like the whole love triangle thing as it feels really contrived to me, but that’s more the fault of the source material than the movie. Only worth watching if you’re a fan of the books, otherwise you won’t know why vampire romance suddenly is like the most popular thing ever.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid


I watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid with expectations of something I would not enjoy (I hadn’t read the books before) and the rating of 53% at rottentomatoes.com didn't exactly help. Nevertheless while I was watching it, and ultimately when I finished it, I quite thoroughly enjoyed the movie, probably because it was so… ‘normal’. No special powers, no unique character with some supernatural characteristic, just something plain for once, and no fancy gimmick for the movie. Although there is no plot, just one event after another, I was looking forward to what would happen next, and quite a few scenes were amusing and funny. I admit it probably could have been done a lot better but at least I understand everything without ever reading the book, and the actors I thought had done a decent job.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Transformers: Cybertron

After enduring the pain that was Armada (although this wasn't too bad) and Energon (now, this was a really bad series), I wasn't holding much hope for Transformers: Cybertron, especially since it wasn't like super well received by fans or anything. As it turned out, I really enjoyed this series, and it could be quite possibly my most favourite Transformers series ever. I don't know why, but something about the show just really appeals to me, I even love the stock footage. The music of the show is great and together with the scene, it moves you, they appropriately chose the right type of music to whichever scene needs it. I think it’s because the series is really Japanese anime-y, it’s got all the typical stuff there, but it’s don't correctly this time, and really enhances the show, it’s funny in a lot of places and the animation is just leaps and bounds better than Energon. It’s much easier to the eyes, and looks great, the only thing I find weird is that explosions are coloured purple, I would have expected red but yeah… I love the designs of the toys and they are really show accurate, and I can even look past the whole gimmick of the toyline that the series is trying to promote, the Cyber Key Power gimmicks, sometimes it works, sometime is doesn't, luckily for the viewer, most of the time it works.

Although the series isn’t without it’s flaws, there are some errors and lame moments in the story, it’s generally fast paced enough but there are just a few episodes that are really boring and dull, and you think, why did the stretch this for so long? The various combinations for Optimus Prime isn’t as cool as they were in Armada, and I would say the Energon Optimus Prime combinations were more interesting, but they are done better in Cybertron. There isn’t terribly many references in the story for you to immediately know that it’s a continuation of Armada and Energon. I get the impression that the English dub is overall a better and more funny version compared to the original Japanese version, and so I’m glad I watched it here, the translators who adapted the script for English has done a great job this time, although it’s still easy to miss a few things here and there, and there’s no abundance of visual errors unlike Armada. I haven’t mentioned the theme song though, it is the most addicting Transformers theme song I have ever listened, and I loved it, this is the only series where I keep watching the opening and closing sequences coz I just love the theme song so much (I usually skip them on the dvd). The ending is great, and provides a very nice wrap up, it does get a bit sad at one point, enough to have an emotional moment and maybe some tears, but the very very last moment in the ending creates a few questions, kinda like an open ending, so if a sequel is done (unlikely) it won't feel weird or unnecessary. It was a bit random when the very last episode, the 52nd was chronologically the second episode (they didn't dub that one initially so at the end they had 51 episodes and they needed to fill the last spot, so they ended up dubbing it and chucking it at the end), completely different feel and everything.

I hated the personality of this incarnation of Starscream and Megatron, initially in Armada they both had characteristics that were likeable, particularly Starscream (Armada Starscream is my favourite Starscream out of all the series). In this series they were too brutal, and violent, with not enough cunning for my liking, and Primus, he doesn't have a great role, I wished he had a bigger role, so he can do more in robot mode (for most of the episodes he was in, he only stood/floated there, would be cooler if they could show more of his toy gimmicks in the show as he had a few impressive ones). Overall, I a great series, and I’m surprised by how much I love this series, Cybertron has succeeded in it’s mission as watching it made me want to buy the toys, it’s definitely worth watching. And you know what the best thing is? You don't even have to go through the pain of Armada and Energon (although again, Armada wasn't that bad) to fully appreciate Cybertron even though those three form the "Unicron Trilogy", as its basically a standalone, I’d definitely recommend this series.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Twilight



Review: #44
Title: Twilight
Series: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Read Before: yes
My Comments: Reading it for the second time, it seems that it’s easier to accept what has happened (the first time I was just like wtf in a lot of moments), particularly the whole “I know you’re a vampire” part (basically it’s “you’re a vampire?” “yup”). That being said, the relationship and how it develops doesn't seem as ‘sweet’ as the first time (probably since you know what is going to happen anyway, so the suspense is over), it’s also not as addicting. It gets a bit repetitive with the feelings of Edward and Bella, always like, oh I don't want to harm you, oh I want to protect you, oh I’m not good enough, man, that gets annoying as well, and I’m sick of that happening (it happens a lot more in latter books as well), and that just pads out the book by a lot, and something I feel that is unnecessary. The way vampires are portrayed in this novel is really interesting, and the extra powers that they have, something that I really like. There’s pretty much no action in this book, but in the end the suspense builds up and it gets really exciting, and the ending is perfect and really sweet. That being said, I felt a bit dragged down and dull with many of the moments, I think it’s the best if you read it the first time but with each subsequent reading later, it’s not as good. This series is one of four series that had ‘touched’ me, that kept me thinking about it long after I’ve finished reading them, the other three are Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus and Deltora Quest 3.
Rating: 8.5/10
Rereadability Factor: 5/10

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Lion King


Disney’s The Lion King was released during what people now call the Disney Renaissance era, so one would expect it to be a good, if not a great movie (92% at rottentomatoes.com). They would be right, I think it is a fantastic movie and one that I hold nostalgia to, I had vague memories of watching it as a kid and it was great to finally watch it again. The overall plotline is actually a bit more complex than your average kids film, surprisingly, and it does build an amount of emotional attachment to the characters. Even at 17 years old, the animation does not even look old (well, I got the two-disc special edition DVD so it was digitally remastered) and is a great as ever. The songs were really really catchy and great, and is just so much better than the ones in The Princess and the Frog and Tangled (although there were a few gems in those movies too). I admit I was a little bit disappointed after the movie ended, as I was hoping for something better, I had a bit higher than normal expectation (and you know the saying, the higher your expectation, the easier it is you’ll be disappointed). The movie does have a bit of slow start as well, but at 84 mins long, it is a nice nice break from the plethora of movies that seem to be at least (or near) two hours long.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief


Watching Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief today, it is not as bad as I had feared (50% at rottentomatoes). I had originally expected much much worse but it's fairly enjoyable, yet another movie that you have to read the book (by Rick Riordan) to fully understand everything, if you just watched it without prior knowledge, you'd be hard pressed to know who is who and what is happening. Like many books turned movie, the plot is severely cut and changed, but it seems really noticeable to The Lightning Thief, they completely changed the whole plot into a quest for three pearls, wah? I dont mind if they skipped some stuff but they just changed it so much it's nearly unrecognizable, and they even added a major scene that wasn't in the book. Overall, just disappointing, but not too disappointing, the whole movie is bearable even if it is touching 2 hours long, but there are a few parts that just made me cringe, the fight scenes are really contrived and it seems like the actors weren't trying hard enough.

The special effects were done overboard and looks all too fake, as usual with movies, just the visual representation without verbal explanation makes it hard to understand sometimes what is going on. That sad, there were quite a few scenes that I found quite funny and chuckled at, but nothing major. The actors portraying the characters aren't nearly as bad as I imagined and I got used to them, just that Grover and Chiron is really weird with those actors. With the gods, the way that they had shown them, in human form, did not convey enough their power and importance, just seems like they were normal people or something. I really hope that they brush up int he second movie, and I am curious to see how they will link up the five movies together for the overarching plot, coz they've changed a lot in this movie and a lot of important plot points were lost. An actually worthwhile movie to watch and I'm not saying that just coz I'm a Percy Jackson fan.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole


Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole isn’t a bad movie as such (50% at rottentomatoes.com), it’s just a bit boring and feels a bit dragged out. There is not enough excitement and mystery in the story to keep you wanting more, after seventeen mins of it, I was thinking, it feels like I have watched this for ages already. It does have enough going for it to make it worthwhile, and it does get better once it gets to the middle, but just overall, I think it is a bit tedious. It’s very forgettable, once you’ve finished it you’re thinking, hmm now what did I just watch, there is nothing that stands out and you think, it’s not bad… yet it’s not good, you feel pretty much indifferent. The fight scenes are boring, and not elegant enough, conclusion is very predictable, actually it gets predictable from the start and you can guess what happens, although the visuals are nice enough, but really not my tastes. It just feels weird having owls as the only major species in the movie. It doesn’t feel epic and you’re not having an adventure by watching the movie, you feel detached and don't really care for much of the characters at all. There are many bits that teases at something, so I might think there might be a possible sequel (since this is based on a book series and there are more than the ones this movie has used to base upon). You’re not losing nor gaining anything by watching this movie, but I guess you don't feel that you’ve wasted 90 mins by watching it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shrek Forever After


I’m pretty sure a lot of people agree with me, but Shrek Forever After is not a good movie, and like the previous two movies in the series, cannot compare to the first one (58% at rottentomatoes.com). It had gradually gotten worse, but it is better than Shrek the Third (that one was just really really stupid and lame). I think the main thing that’s dragging the movie down is the poor quality storyline, there’s nothing going for it, nothing to add to the characters, and is just not captivating enough. It’s been done a thousand times, which wouldn't be a problem if it was done correctly but Shrek Forever After doesn't. What made the first movie so great was the good action, and jokes that actually work. The ones in this movie is lame, and just plain not funny, there are a few laughs here and there, but very short laughs and very forgettable. I’m glad that they are not making any more Shrek movies, because, simply put, they are bad, and not even worth the price of admission. It actually got me annoyed at the characters, because they were just portrayed so badly and did stuff that didn't seem right, hard for me to sympathize them. The end is supposed to be all mushy and you’re supposed to feel sorry for them, or touched, but frankly, I didn't feel anything coz there was nothing that built it up, just one annoying event after another. It may not be as bad as I’m describing it, but seriously it’s not a good movie.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs


I really like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, I think the main ‘gimmick’ is really original (the weather being food items) and unique. This movie is very well done with lots of great moments, and a lot of great jokes (most of them is non-verbal, but there are a few golden one liners), that got me smiling and laughing throughout the whole movie. The relationship between the main character and his dad can be a bit depressing and dragging at times (just something that’s been overdone in movies), but all the good things more than make up for it. The film moves at a respectable pace, with the climax of the film being around fifty mins into the movie, and so you have around forty mins of ‘action’ resolving the plot lines. I really like the imagination of the types of food for each weather phenomenon (my favourite is the spaghetti and meatball twister), and this deserves the great ratings from reviewers (86% at rottentomatoes.com). The score of the movie is splendid and captures the feel of the scenes really nicely; I may even give the official soundtrack a listen. A good movie that deserves a watch, the animation is quite funny too, at how the people run and their facial expressions, I find it quite unique and cute, something I haven’t really seen before.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Despicable Me


Despite respectable reviews and ratings (82% on rottentomatoes.com) I found Despicable Me to be boring and very dull, it’s nothing compared to some other animated cartoons (Toy Story 3 and Tangled comes to mind). It doesn't have enough storyline for the full 95 mins, and it tries to be all sentimental and stuff, but it doesn't build enough emotion with the audience or to the characters for it to work, so it just feels very lame and overdone. There’s no “journey” to the emotional attachment and lesson, it’s just from “I don't care” to “I realize I do care very care” in a matter of mins, very disappointing. There are numerous places where it caused me to chuckle, but nothing that is laugh out loud funny, I don't know why this movie earned so much money ($500+ million worldwide) when it’s just so blatantly disappointing (but I guess not as much as other movies such as Ice Age 2 and Shrek 3). It’s like, what is it about this movie that people love so much?! There's nothing original, it actually steals quite a lot of tricks and stunts from other places, slapping it together with a very very basic storyline, at least with Tangled, there are a few other factors into the mix that makes it much more complex. All in all, a pretty mediocre movie that is worth it to watch, but is not great masterpiece.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Transformers: Energon

I just finished the second part of the Unicron Trilogy, Transformers: Energon, and might I add, what a chore this series had been, I was practically forcing myself to watch the episodes, and try and watch at least eight episodes each time just so I can get myself done with it (I watched the last twelve episodes in one go today, man, did it give me a headache, and it dulled my senses). It is one of the worse cartoons I had ever watched (although there are still plenty that are worse than it), and one of the worst Transformers cartoon ever (complete stark contrast to Beast Wars, and even Armada got better in the end), with Ironhide and Kicker seriously annoying me (two of my most hated characters from any Transformers series of all time).

I swear whoever wrote this bad quality stuff to think again, and especially the translator who wrote the script for the english version as there is just so many mistakes. The story is really really boring and dragged out, especially the last ten episodes or so, where it was just pure rubbish and time killing stuff. That's not to mention the animation, which is really really bad, they shouldnt have gone with the cel shaded animation crossed with computer animation, as it's bad quality stuff, with really stiff movements and non-existent facial expressions. Then there's the stock footage, which gets really really really really tiring after the fifth episode or so and there's at least a couple in each episode, painful, to say the least.

Generally it's just very boring and pointless, even the action is stock standard and doesnt even capture my interest, I cannot believe how bad this series was, makes Beast Wars look like an absolute divine series. I'm just very glad that I've gotten this over and done with, Transformers cartoons in generally just have been very bad in terms of storyline, I know a lot of other cartoons/anime that captures my interest much more (seriously, if this wasnt Transformers I wouldnt even bother following it to the end), really one to avoid, it's a killer to your brain, and senses.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Toy Story 3


I watched this movie today seeing as I had finished work early and had some time. I was really looking forward to this movie, as it has really really really high ratings (99% at rottentomatoes.com). I had too high expectations from the hype that I built around me, so I didnt enjoy as much as I could have. I think the story is a bit weaker than the previous two movies and it's not as good, it's still a good movie just not as great as I thought it would be.

It is funny... in parts, it's just the story, the first thirty mins was kinda boring me, but I love the new characters, particularly Totoro, I just have a special attachment to that guy, and I loved it when he did his famous smile in the end credits. I do like the first and second film a lot lot more than this one, but this movie has a few emotional moments, and is quite sad, in that aspect I think they did really well. The visuals is stunning, I do think that because it's produced by Disney Pixar, everyone automatically thinks it's good and that it must get high ratings and people just give it to them, I honestly think Tangled is a better movie, but who am I to judge?

Blogger Widget