Sunday, March 31, 2013

Transformers: Prime (Season 2: Episodes 21, 22, 23)

Alpha/Omega
It’s… kinda weird how Megatron can just replace an arm and he can trick the hammer of Solus Prime into thinking he is a Prime and can use it.  It wasn’t as if Megatron had the spark of a Prime, I just thought that the hammer’s safeguards would be better and more sophisticated.  It would seem that Soundwave is decoding the coordinates of the relics at roughly same rate as Optimus (maybe a bit slowly).  That’s not too bad considering the fact that they said they needed Optimus to decode it for them when he was Orion Pax, those events feel pointless now that Soundwave is doing a good job and didn’t need Orion anyway.  The fate of the Star Saber was a surprise, and what a bust.  I can’t believe Megatron’s weapon was stronger.  During Megatron and Optimus’ battle, the energy attacks both participates were making was kind of lame, but once they clashed blades, it was pretty cool.  What does suck is that you know that the next three (or so) episodes will be about getting to the Omega Keys (*sigh*).

Hard Knocks
I’m glad I was wrong when I predicted that the remaining three relics would take three more episodes, as they were all covered in this one!  It still feels arbitrary that Soundwave could decode the coordinates that fast (even faster than Optimus at times).  Smokescreen is the star of this episode, and he doesn’t fit into the team too well thanks to his desire to break through and fulfil his destiny of becoming a hero.  Anyway, in typical fashion, turns out Smokescreen was important and coincidentally (rolling eyes here), he’s angry and had gone out of the Autobot base.  Honestly, if you think about the plan made by Alpha Trion, entrusting Smokescreen, he could have died in more than a dozen ways now in his fights against the Decepticons and the relic would be destroyed.  I guess they could always explain it that Alpha Trion saw it in the covenant that he would be okay but still… there are too many coincidences to feel natural.

Inside Job
Smokescreen redeems himself by getting back the two keys from the Decepticons.  Sadly, by the end of the episode, the winner is Starscream.  It’s pretty stupid in the fact that in the past when Ratchet went to Starscream’s medical requests, they would close the groundbridge immediately.  Of course, since the plot required it, it did not this time and Starscream got his chance.  It would be interesting to see how it goes now that Megatron is in possession of all the keys.  Knockout’s predicament is funny and sad at the same time; he seems to get a lot of blame.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: Garden of the Purple Dragon


Review:  #324
Title:  Garden of the Purple Dragon
Series:  Dragonkeeper - 1st book
Author:  Carole Wilkinson
Read Before:  no
My Comments:  Ultimately, Garden of the Purple Dragon is an interesting and good book.  The beginning could be said as being a bit boring, but I like to think of it as passively telling the story.  I liked following Ping’s (the main character) day to day life, living secluded from everything, caring for a baby dragon.  It made the change to her imperial position more striking.  In the first two-thirds of the book, you feel like that there is no antagonist, and that the book is really just chronicling Ping’s life.  However, after this first section (in which, I’m afraid, many people would have given up reading it long before reaching that stage), the plot gets more intricate and sucks you in until the end.  It presents questions in which you want to know the answer to.  There was a part where you feel such deep sympathy for Ping.  If you hadn’t journeyed with Ping for that long, you wouldn’t have felt the same pain and injustice, the author had done a wonderful job there.  A criticism would be that I was somewhat against the author using the Chinese pinyin terms of length since it made it more confusing.  I also didn't like her saying numbers in forms like “ten and hundred” or “twice times ten”, just say “110” or “twenty”.  Don’t make it complicated; it broke the flow of the story.  While there were some annoying characters (Kai, I’m looking at you), it's a worthwhile book to read, purely for the emotional impact.
Rating:  6.5/10

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Super Ex-Girlfriend


I don't know if it's deliberate or not but the film's special effects are so cheesy and dodgy.  This does add to the movie's charm in that it's way more funnier this way than have realistic superhero moves.  In the end though, the movie tries not to take itself too seriously, but it fails somewhat when jokes fall flat.  You can second guess the plot.  I did liked how you get to see the whole progress of the main character, Luke, meeting and then developing a relationship with the superhero G-Girl, otherwise known as Jenny, before breaking up and the trouble starts.  It makes you feel like you've experienced and suffered with Luke, so you feel his pain as well.  Being a comedy film, the jokes and gags are very important, and most of them works out okay.  They won't give you any huge guffaws, but is enough for a chuckle or smile here and then.  The biggest flaw would just be the predictability of the film.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Transformers: Prime (Season 2: Episodes 18, 19, 20)

New Recruit
The Autobots get a much needed addition to their team, Smokescreen.  However, I don’t know why he needs to be so rash and don’t really listen to others.  The other thing is Bulkhead’s sulking and how he thinks he’s not part of the team anymore thanks to his injuries.  He has been in the team for years, working seamlessly, how can he even entertain the idea that he’s useless and not fit to be in the team?  Of course, the plot requires it so there doesn’t have to be a rational reason.  Anyway, the episode is okay, learning about Smokescreen keeps your interest.  Starscream should really stop working alone and get some subordinates coz he’s failing miserably.

The Human Factor
Up until this point, I didn't want to believe Breakdown was truly gone (he was such a cool bot), but there’s no going back for him.  Hinted in a previous episode, Silas has been built into Breakdown’s body (which is weird and fascinating at the same time) and he’s going to join Megatron’s army?!  I wouldn't have believed it of him, and he’ll surely try something to topple Megatron.  Most of the episode lies in the Autobots disabling a satellite weapon and of course, since it has to do with computers and hacking, we can’t be without Raf’s marvellous and unparalleled skills, *sigh*.  Bulkhead’s hurt and insecurities heal (thankfully), and makes up with Smokescreen.

Legacy
It’s another race towards an uncovered artefact in this episode (it’s getting too much now…), but it’s something that’s well known (if you have watched the Armada series).  It’s… the Star Saber!  We have to sit through another lesson of life for Smokescreen.  His attitude and personality causes him to disregard/bend some rules that make it hard for him to blend in.  The Star Saber residing in the rock in a sword-in-the-stone kind of way was cheesy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review: The Cleopatra Curse


Review:  #323
Title:  The Cleopatra Curse
Series:  The Seven Fabulous Wonders - 7th and final book
Author:  Katherine Roberts
Read Before:  yes
My Comments:   While it has an interesting plot, the execution left some to be desired. It seemed that the plot didn't move forward at a fast enough pace, leaving you to wonder when the good stuff is going to happen. Zeuxis is a likable character but none of the characters really stand out. The addition of the supernatural (a.k.a. demons, curses and magic) is the main draw. The actions of the demon that was summoned was disappointing, as it did very little, and what it did do was all off screen, with barely a mention. I liked the ending though, in which it solved something in another way which was better than you would have expected. I thought that there was no way around the fact that some of the other characters were going to die but the author did.
Rating:  6/10

Sunday, March 24, 2013

War of the Worlds


This is a great alien invasion film, in that it depicts the horror and despair of such an invasion.  These aliens are highly technologically advanced and they just completely wipe out human's best weapons.  Once the ball got rolling (which is, about after around twenty mins when the first "Tripod" arises), it never stops.  The movie sucks you in all the way to the finish, I couldn't tear my eyes away.  You wanted to see more, see how things are going to develop and especially how it's going to end considering how disadvantaged our protagonists are.  The suspense and tense moments in the main character's desperate attempt to run away was done very well.  As mentioned earlier, there are some shocking events that happen.  While these may not be too different to other attempts, the devastation and images that they leave really burns the image into your eyes.  Those scenes were quite memorable, such as the blood red devastation shown late into the movie.  There were some annoying characters, Robbie primarily being the one.  The main character, Ray, plays the divorced father who doesn't understand his kids (and vice versa, with an added bit of hate).  Even though Ray was clearly doing the logical thing, Robbie would go against him.  I was surprised when he ended up surviving as he did, and managing to arrive all the way to Boston without many injuries to boot.  That was disappointing.  The weakest part of the film has to be the ending, after the great build up throughout the film, we got such a short and abrupt ending, with a pitiful excuse for an explanation on why the aliens suddenly fail, and you feel somewhat cheated.  The aliens' motives were never explained too (other than that they wanted human blood?).  A great film and I kinda wished it was longer so the ending could be fleshed out more.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Transformers: Prime (Season 2: Episodes 15, 16, 17)

Toxicity
Not sure why they didn’t have to drill for a relic in this episode (it’s just… lying on the ground).  I do love the whole simultaneous thing going on in these last four episodes, it adds in an extra layer of complexity when you get to see what’s happening at headquarters and you know what they’re dealing with currently.  One of the insecticons gets named (vehicons are officially out of fashion), and it’s only Bulkhead against them all.  This is an anticipated episode since Bulkhead gets through the groundbridge hurt during the ending of the last episode.  There’s a whole emotion thing going on between Bulkhead and Miko which would have worked much better if Miko wasn't such an annoying character, still, it does touch your heart a little bit.  The poisonous energon as the relic doesn’t really work though.

Hurt
Want more Miko and her rashness?  Well, this episode is chock full of it.  For some reason, Miko thinks that she could have prevented Bulkhead’s fatal injuries (as if, she’ll just get in the way) and so it’s her fault (irrational, and personally, I think Bulkhead brought it onto himself when he carried that poison around, just blow it up like the piece he left behind).  Wheeljack entertains Miko and they go to get revenge on Hardshell.  What comes is a great fight scene between Wheeljack and Hardshell (sadly, Wheeljack loses).  The part where Wheeljack reveals more grenades was pretty funny, as was the scene in which Knockout was buffering himself.

Out of the Past
The characters in this episode was unexpected, not only does it star Cliffjumper, but introduces Shockwave!  Albeit it’s Arcee retelling a story from the part (it concerns how she met Cliffjumper and how she ended up joining Optimus on Earth).  I don’t know why, but something feels lacking in this episode, it’s just not as exciting or interesting.  I think it might be the tone; it’s more serious and darker.  Cliffjumper is shown to be quite the chatterbox.  It should be noted that Shockwave may make a later appearance since he was in the spacebridge when it imploded, which would be pretty cool (but seriously, the Decepticons don’t need any more joining their ranks).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Agent 21: Reloaded


Review:  #322
Title:  Agent 21:  Reloaded
Series:  Agent 21 - 2nd book
Author:  Chris Ryan
Read Before:  no
My Comments:  It’s not a bad book, but it just feels very plain and doesn't stand out amongst the author’s other works (such as the Code Red Adventures). While the plot did escalate, the feeling of urgency and despair did not, probably because you know that the protagonist is going to get out of it. Furthermore, it’s because he has the skills and training to get out, so it never seems to be am immensely despairing situation. The climax doesn't bring much out of the plot (which is a bit thin) and you’re left wishing things could go quicker. Especially the ending where I believe it went for too long, I would have rather it to end quicker instead of spending all that time describing how Zak escaped. The subplot of Ellie was surprisingly short, and I thought it would have been more significant (there was a high potential in creating a complex subplot in which Ellie and the guardians to outsmart the killer). It’s an interesting book but it tries to be too smart when the ideas were not exceptionally great.
Rating:  6/10

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective


One of the funnier films that I have watched.  The movie has a great opening, and it was quite humorous.  The story starts off simple with the titular Ace being hired to find out who stole the missing dolphin.  You would have just thought that the plot would be thin to make way for all the gags littered throughout the film.  This feels true for the first half of the film, but it took a surprising turn when the case started getting more serious and more complicated.  It's never going to be taken seriously though it gave the film a bigger sense of aim.  There were also a lot of stupid moments and things happening when you don't know why it is happening.  The big revelation about the kidnapper was surprising, although the ending where the identity was revealed was weird.  This is one of Jim Carrey's better films, and he portrays the character of Ace as a strange and eccentric person nicely.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Transformers: Prime (Season 2: Episodes 12, 13, 14)

Tunnel Vision
“One down, three to go”, so even the characters are warning us that the next few episodes will be similar in that the Autobots will be fighting against the Decepticons for relics (speaking of which, it isn’t really buried that deep considering it was put there hundreds, if not millions, of years ago).  Poor Knockout gets his paintjob scratched again and the Insecticon is super powerful in this episode (guess Vehicons are out, they’re still super weak).  The new human in this episode wasn’t too great, could have done without him.  Miko gets a little bit more annoying here (after being okay in season 2 up until now) and she shows that she’s jealous of Jack.  The power of this specific artefact isn’t that original.  I was surprised that the Autobots managed to retrieve it, seems like they’re having a 100% success rate so far, let’s see how long that lasts.

Triangulation
The relic of the episode is the Apex Armour.  Surprisingly, neither the Autobots nor the Decepticons take control of it (someone else does).  Dreadwing and Optimus are the stars of this episode, and they brawl it out throughout most of it.  Megatron, with his far superior numbers, should really send in more (named) guys.  It’s understandable that the Autobots send in only one or two but Megatron has no excuse (thus he deserves the loss he’s experiencing now).  Also, Starscream is an idiot, he should have went and fixed his t-cog before getting into the scheme of things, not having a vehicular mode, as he has all too much experience about, is a severe disadvantage.

Triage
Yeah, Raf shows his genius again and knack for computer stuff that a technologically advanced Cybertronian who has lived for million of years, cannot do.  Yeah.  Now that I’ve gotten that out (it always irks me), this episode is cool in that Soundwave gets to be the star.  We never truly see much of him and his prowess as a warrior.  He’s one tough dude and probably one of the strongest Decepticons (not that you could see from just his looks), defeating Wheeljack quite easily (although he did cheat a little bit by using the relic).  There’s the expected bonding and respect that’s gained at the end by Ratchet and Wheeljack.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Book Review: Vortex


Review:  #321
Title:  Vortex
Series:  The Code Red Adventures - 4th book
Author:  Chris Ryan
Read Before:  yes
My Comments:  Vortex puts Ben into an addictive, but improbable, situation. It makes for a great read and exciting most of the way through. It was confusing when various other side characters’ views were included. It left you wondering how they are connected to the overall plot, and one in particular, disappeared without readers ever knowing what the consequence of his treason was. This book feels different in that the Code Red situation is not a natural disaster, and while you still feel the urgency, it doesn't feel as destructive as we never saw the weapon of mass destruction in effect. I would have preferred if more background story elements were discussed, as the conspiracies were very interesting.
Rating:  6.5/10

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Inception


An interesting and thoughtful film, that actually requires the viewer to think and try to make sense of what the film is trying to say.  The concept is simple, you enter another person's dreams (or subconscious?) to try and steal their secrets.  While the film started off a bit slow and confusing, it was built up quite well.  They took the time to explain what they were doing and present the process of getting out of that state.  Sure, some of it probably went over you head (particularly since you're not given much time to ponder over it), but it ended up all making sense at the end.  I was surprised that the movie got intense from around halfway, when the team enters Fischer's mind.  The music suits what's happening onscreen perfectly, dramatizing the scene and elevating it.  I liked how pieces slowly fitted into places as the movie went along, as they revealed important information, making what they were talking about, and what was happening, more sense and easier to understand.  I had heard from people who had watched the film that the ending was ambiguous, and I can see where they come from.  Although if they hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have really taken notice.  One of the better films I have seen recently, as least it provides food for thought and feels more fresh.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Transformers: Prime (Season 2: Episodes 9, 10, 11)

Grill
The scenario Fowler finds himself in provides an excuse for a recap episode.  Usually they’re boring, and it is here.  Highlights from previous episodes are shown amongst new animation which is just basically Fowler talking to a superior.  The situation is okay and some of the bickering can be funny.  At least the highlights they show aren’t *too* bad, and it provides a refresher for viewers who haven’t seen the past episodes recently.  That said, Optimus’ dialogue at the end was pretty funny, but you wished that Fowler could have called him from the start.  Skip this episode unless you really wanna watch old clips being shown.

Armada
To quote Megatron, “it is a busy day for assassins”.  Megatron has is unlucky what with Airachnid sending in her army of Insecticons (that the found in a previous episode), Starscream’s clones attack AND Bulkhead accidentally getting into the Decepticon airship and grounding said airship.  I’m surprised that the writers didn’t got the Animated route and have Starscream’s clones take on different colours and the separate personalities, which would neatly introduce the Seekers.  The episode was a bit busy with the amount of things happening simultaneously.  I’m surprised Airachnid got subdued; although there’s no doubt that she’ll get out (and hopefully won’t compromise the Autobot base in the process).

Flying Mind
Megatron’s addictiveness to dark energon finally bites him back.  I’ve always imagined how cool it would be if the Decepticon airship was a huge Transformer, well, it’s not that, but in this episode, it’s the next best thing.  It’s fully sentient!  Anyway, the Autobot team is neutralized fairly easily as the plot required, and it’s up to the humans to save the day (which they do).  That’s not to say it wasn’t bad, the episode was good, and quite intense once the humans got onto the airship.  Sadly, four more coordinates for artefact sites show up which means more episodes is going to be dedicated about the Transformers effects to acquire them (seems like a really common plot device in Season 2).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Limbo


A unique puzzler that I had some fun with.  It's not the astounding piece of art I was expecting, but it did give me a whole different experience, and it gives me kinda the same feeling Ico did (probably the puzzle part).  For those of you who don't know, Limbo is a downloadable puzzle game.  I think the most striking aspect of the game would be how it is presented.  It's completely in black and white, which is very rare these days.  The visuals gives of a shadow puppet feel, which suits the black and white.  These simple visuals let you focus on the puzzles themselves and appreciate them all the more.  These puzzles start of very simple, and getting progressively harder.  For the bulk of the game, it never gets to the point where it gets too hard.  The earlier ones you will breeze through, while the latter ones will need multiple attempts.  You will die... a lot in this game.  Most of the deaths aren't annoying.  The ones that are usually have the puzzle involve some kind of precision or timed controls.  They don't necessarily feel cheap, but it can get annoying when you know what you have to do, yet you are failing because the margin of error is small.

The last couple of puzzles really stumped me, as they can be finicky.  I would recommend that you go through the game blind first, as it's much more fun and satisfying (that's the nature of puzzle games I guess).  There are around forty chapters in total, each chapter corresponding to a major puzzle.  Don't be fooled though, as it's a fairly short game.  If you're good, you can probably be through in around four to six hours the first time (it will dramatically decrease in your second or third run).  You will fly through the first half of the game and only slow down as it comes to an end.  The PS3 exclusive level was very annoying.  It seemed harder than the rest of the game purely because most of it was in the dark where you can't see anything.  I guess you can rely on sound but some parts I got through by sheer luck as it was slowing me down too much for me to do it properly.  It was a very long level too, taking around ten minutes on a perfect run (which means it'll take you more the first time through).  I don't think I want to go back in there again, the rest of the game is much better though.

There's no music that is playing in the background, but the silence adds to the atmosphere.  The only things you'll hear is yourself running, levers operating or seeing other living beings (the world seems desolate and destroyed, like it's abandoned).  In terms of story, apparently it's about the boy (the main character you're controlling) trying to find his sister (which, along the way, he'll have to solve puzzles to get over the obstacles).  If I didn't read that beforehand, I wouldn't have known.  You're thrust right into the game at the start, with no cutscene or anything.  You just know you have to go right and begin you're journey.  The ending was a bit weird and even then, it didn't answer any questions, just bought along more (which, I guess, was the point of the game).  What's impressive is that the main character only has two actions, jump and interact.  I like this basic scheme and some of the puzzles are quite clever and fun.  It only seems too short because you enjoy it so much (subconsciously finishing one puzzle after another) that you fly through the game.

-----------------------------

Other game reviews can be found on this page.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review: Deltora Quest Volume 9


Review:  #320
Title:  Deltora Quest Volume 9
Series:  Deltora Quest - 9th volume
Author:  Story by Emily Rodda; Illustrator:  Makoto Niwano
Read Before:  no
My Comments:  One of the better volumes. This volume focuses upon the Dread Gnome section of Deltora Quest, in which the protagonists defeat Gellick. The way it happened was changed slightly here, to provide more action; however, this took away the suspense. For once, I thought the design for the guardian was fitting; Gellick was nicely portrayed as that evil giant toad.
Rating:  6/10

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Liar Liar


I liked the idea of this plot, in which a lawyer is forced to tell the truth for one day.  While the movie generally is entertaining, I feel that Jim Carey overplayed his part.  He spent most of the time just pulling his faces and overreacting that it can eventually get tiring, especially when the situation does not call for it and he does it just coz he can.  Other than that, I thought the movie would be funnier, it does shine for a few moments, but in general, it felt somewhat bland.  The importance of the lawyer case wasn't pulled off as elegantly as you would want.  I thought Fletcher (the main character) would manage to use a more elegant argument in order to win since that was what I was looking forward to.  You have to feel sorry for Jerry though, since he wasn't a bad guy yet he got the short end of the stick.  The ending was disappointing and way over the top.  Fletcher wouldn't have gotten that far into the airport without being captured by security, let alone actually getting out on the runway.  I liked the part where Fletcher had to tell the truth to everyone at his workplace.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Transformers: Prime (Season 2: Episodes 6, 7, 8)

Loose Cannons
Finally!  Some new Transformers take the scene, I’m sure everyone was starting to get sick of the same Autobots or the same Decepticons taking the spotlight.  While we’ve seen Wheeljack before, it was for a short period so he’s still refreshing.  Dreadwing’s explanation on why he is a recolour of Skyquake works well enough and is plausible.  The episode’s plot is one we’ve seen before and come to known.  You can expect (and it does happen) that Wheeljack’s attitude towards Optimus will change by the end of the episode.  It can get a bit confusing when they say that they haven’t taken on an Earth mode yet when they clearly have their Earth mode vehicle kibble (no Cybertronian model probably to save on costs).  An average episode, it feels more serious.

Crossfire
It’s so sad, even when the Autobots are outnumbered many to one by Vehicons, the Vehicons lose (and Autobots get by without a scratch).  Yet when they encounter one of the named Decepticons, they are in dire need.  Anyway, you knew as soon as Bulkhead said “at least Megatron took care of the bug problem”, you knew that Airachnid was going to find a whole cavern of Insecticons.  At least Starscream did an honourable thing at the end of the episode by allowing Arcee to live.  Those Mech guys have some serious intel, able to locate things even before the Autobots, that’s another future episode dedicated to those guys right there.

Nemesis Prime
Okay, so it turns out the Autobot just suck at fighting.  Bumblebee, Arcee AND Bulkhead gets thrashed by a knockoff Optimus Prime (which got given the titular name Nemesis Prime by Miko) which is controlled remotely by Silas.  Yeah... that’s pathetic.  Seriously, how did Mech managed to get the metal that’s has about the same or better resilience as the Cybertronian metal?  It’s questionable to say the least (it would have been better if they had built Breakdown instead since they got his body pieces but that’s probably a later episode after seeing the ending of this episode).  If you ignore all that, this is a decent episode.  It’s fairly intense and keeps you absorbed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Toy Review: Transformers DOTM Air Raid


Review:  #131
Name:  Air Raid
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Autobot
Line:  Dark of the Moon
Year of Release:  2011
Size Class:  Deluxe (Wave 5)
Variations:  none as of date

JET MODE:


Air Raid transforms into a plane that bears a resemblance to a Boeing E-767.  This is a really well formed alternate mode and looks realistic.


Air Raid has the best MechTech weapon integration in vehicle, period.  There is no contest, in case you don't know, his MechTech weapon is the radar dish.


There are some minor flaws, the most notable one would be his left robot fist at the back of the plane.  The designer just left it there, in full view, slightly disappointing.


Air Raid features three-point landing gear, all are retractable.  The wheels are molded, thus he doesn't roll.  The radar dish is attached via clip joints.  There MechTech ports (well, they're just standard 5mm peg holes) underneath each wing and just behind the cockpit.


Since he's fairly realistically proportioned, the fuselage is thin, making him feel a bit small.  Never fear, since he still feels your money's worth.


While the sculpting is great (and having some nice details such as transparent cockpit windows), there's a lot of transformation panel lines (in the case of the wings, it breaks it somewhat).


An amazing plane mode.  What I like about Air Raid more than other jet Transformers is the fact that he isn't a fighter jet, and while he's not a passenger aircraft, at least he's shaped more like one.

TRANSFORMATION:

Quite interesting, and he doesn't transform in the way you'd expect.  Detaching the radar dish takes more force than I would like, especially considering that it's only connected via clip joints (so it should have been real easy).  It can be quite complicated going back robot to plane if you don't remember where everything goes.  I thought forming the legs from the fuselage was a nice touch, but that they could have done more for the arms.  The only thing that's disappointing here is how they dealt with the wings, pretty much everything manipulates around the middle of the plane, which forms his torso.

ROBOT MODE:


The first thing you'll notice about Air Raid is his right arm... he has no right fist.  This reminds me back in the days of Beast Wars where the robots had no arms and had some sort of kibble instead.  In this case, it's the tailfin.


The forearms are hollow (which isn't ideal) and he has some really long shins.  I like how the thrusters aim downwards so that you can easily imagine that he'll have flight capabilities in robot mode with no problem.


The head is not pretty but it's far from the worst.  He has a huge gold crest, and clear lightpiping which doesn't work very well.  The head is only on a swivel allowing him to view side to side.


In addition to the wings as kibble, he features the whole front of the plane.  While the panels do move around for clearance in transformation (and not just having the whole front of the plane left untouched), it feels a tad bit lazy just leaving it on his back.


Sadly, the elbows are a problem.  The pictures above is as far as the elbow goes... yes, it does not bend forward very much.  Ironically, the backwards range is way better...


Now let's have a look at his MechTech weapon.  It's painted silver in the middle.


Pushing it in front flips out a tiny gun.  It doesn't look that great as a weapon as it's too round and circular.  It's look way better as a shield instead.


You may store the weapon on his back.


What I like to do is to set it so that it's against his forearm as a shield.  Sure, his fist looks weird, but better that than... (look below)


Better that than... this, since you can't make it stay in gun form thanks to the springs.


Now a size comparison, Air Raid doesn't do too bad.  Only that his torso is quite bulky while his limbs are thin.  I wish they could have bulk up the limbs more.


I can't help but notice how much paint this guy has, it's awesome.  There's the silver stripes on the side of the plane, and the big slab of gold for his torso (not to mention the other silver paint applications on his shield, tailfin and engine turbines).


Articulation is good, as mentioned, the elbows are limited.  The knee joints are situated fairly low.  The tailfin are jointed in a few places.


Not a bad robot mode, although there's a lot to hate and a lot to love.

OVERALL:

For some reason, the lack of a hand in robot mode doesn't urk me, on the contrary, I thought it's a pretty cool flail weapon.  The jet mode is great, and I love the fact that it's not a fighter jet.  The robot mode is good but there are some odd design elements such as the long shins, no right hand and thin spindly limbs.  I think this is a solid toy, Hasbro didn't skimp much on this one (which is surprising), and it's a good mold.

--------------------------

................more Transformers reviews here!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: Master of the Books


Review:  #319
Title:  Master of the Books
Series:  The Book of Lies - 2nd book
Author:  James Moloney
Read Before:  no
My Comments:  A good follow up to The Book of Lies (to be honest, I was surprised that a sequel was written). The plot follows Fergus’s path of revenge against Damon. The best parts are the ones where secrets were revealed and twists were created. They felt so natural and fitting, some even spanning from the first book (it must have been planned from the early stages) that they feel elegant. While the first few sections were interesting enough to get you absorbed in the chase, it got much more exciting when the party arrives at Tamerlane. The resulting battle and finally, Marcel letting loose his magic (there’s a moral in here somewhere), was done very well.
Rating:   6.5/10

Friday, March 8, 2013

TMNT


The animation used for this movie was top notched, but when it came to story, it left quite a bit lacking.  I hated the whole brothers fighting amongst themselves, wasting time to get it sorted.  The movie never really picked up, since it felt flat and bland during the whole time.  There was a lack of humor which I would have come to expect from these turtles, and Raphael has to play the bad guy here with his bickering, which in turn, just becomes extremely annoying.  The antagonist/s were disappointing, as they lacked the fear and evil acts that usually comes with villains.  As said, the animation was great and the characters are fluid.  I'm impressed with what they had done.  Generally, most of the movie takes it place at night time while I would have preferred more lighting.  I guess the biggest flaw here is that you don't really side with anyone, you don't feel the pain or irony or injustice, so you never invest any emotion in it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Transformers: Prime (Season 2: Episodes 4, 5)

Operation Bumblebee, Part 1
If you haven’t already, after this episode, you’re going to hate the fact that Bumblebee speaks only in beeps.  It gets really annoying here since the focus is on Bumblebee... and he beeps... a lot.  I guess with his name in the title should have been fair warning instead.  Anyway, they really should stop having the plot being centred around one of the Autobots (or Decepticons, take your pick) being handicapped in whatever way, coz it’s getting old, fast.  Anyway, it was still a pretty good episode that wasn’t boring.  It keeps your attention and the humour dotted here and there was good.  The final scene in which Bumblebee chases Knockout was great (and Knockout does have a pretty cool and shiny deco).  For some reason, I keep noticing the amount of detail on the character models.  Starscream is turning out to be quite the pathetic character, now siding up with Mech, you end up thinking he’s quite useless and relies too much on making short term deals.

Operation Bumblebee, Part 2
A lot of funny moments here, loved the part when Ratchet and Bumblebee undergo surgery and Miko just yells out that Ratchet is flat-lining.  Anyway, as you can tell from the title, it’s a continuation from the previous episode in which Bumblebee tries to get back his t-cog so he can transform again (and regaining control of his weapons).  I can’t believe that Starscream didn’t see his fate coming; that would have been one of the most obvious things.  I mean, Silas is notorious for his desire to dissect Transformers, Starscream deserved it.  I don’t know why Starscream is so scared of Silas, I’d say as much as Megatron scares him.  Anyway, the ending was good, and you can’t help but be glad that Bumblebee is okay again (what else would you expect?).  Also, why are there so many Transformers artefacts on Earth?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Toy Review: Transformers DOTM Flak


Review:  #130
Name:  Flak
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Autobot
Line:  Dark of the Moon
Year of Release:  2011
Size Class:  Legion (Wave 3)
Variations:  none as of date

VEHICLE MODE:


Flak transforms into an APC with camouflage.  He features a cannon on the top, and while it can swivel, the swivel is not located in the center of the cannon, thus it's useless here.


There is a lot of nice sculpting and the four wheels roll (that's it for play value here).  The back is a tiny let down due to the gap but it's nothing major.


The size is good, but he still feels very small and light.


There are some minor panel lines here and there.


This is an impressive APC.  Too bad most of the paint used here is for the camouflage.

TRANSFORMATION:

It's simple, as you'd expect.  The legs can be a pain to detach purely because they peg in so well.  There is one surprise here, and that's the cannon.  It rotates and the barrel flips over to form a shoulder cannon, a neat touch (instead of just going the lazy route and leaving it to point up in the sky ala G1 Brawl).  It's a bit too simple for my taste.

ROBOT MODE:


The robot mode is fantastic and is one of the best Legion sized robots I've seen.  He looks ready to pound whoever stands in his way.


Flak carries a huge panel of plastic on his back, which is basically most of the vehicle's top.


The head sculpt is messy and looks more like a Decepticon's rather than an Autobot's.


Shorter than previous Legends sized toys but he's fairly bulky.


Due to how Flak's legs are the back of the vehicle split in half, they're chunky and restricts articulation more than you want to.  Also the elbows don't fold down fully (there's plastic intentionally blocking the way) so it can look awkward.


He has a 3mm slot in his right hand to hold other Cyberverse weapons.  A good robot mode, but lacking poseability.

OVERALL:

Probably the best Legions in the Dark of the Moon line, he has two great modes, hampered by some small flaws.  His elbows are the most annoying feature in that they don't completely straighten.  Nevertheless, Flak is definitely a good toy and if you like Cyberverse figures, then go for it.

--------------------------

Other Transformers reviews are only a click away!

Blogger Widget