I’m not one of most who’s been wrong about where the Death Star trench was

GenDodonnaBriefing

Quite surprised that most Star Wars fans and those who have seen the films have believed that the infamous trench on the Death Star that Luke Skywalker and his fellow Rebel pilots flew in to get to the tiny exhaust port and blow up the dreaded battle station was its equatorial trench. You know, the most visible feature on the Death Star aside from the dish of the super laser.

io9 has a good post that breaks down why most fans thought it was the equatorial trench based on visual effects artist Todd Vaziri’s story on his blog, FXRants.

I never bothered with this notion because I assumed, as it was quite clear from the scene in A New Hope where General Jan Dodonna’s briefing to the Rebel pilots have clearly shown that based on the Death Star plans, the trench that leads to the exhaust port is perpendicular to the equator. In other words, it is longitudinal or runs north to south on the Death Star’s surface.

Another fact: the equatorial trench was clearly much wider than the trench as the scenes of the trench run have clearly shown that only 3 small starfighters could barely fly through it.

Probably because unlike most of who have seen A New Hope, I paid attention to, in particular the computer animation of the Death Star plans indicating where the trench was, during General Dodonna’s briefing.

Do check out Todd Vaziri’s post as it has lots of good stuff about the final trench run and more Star Wars.

Image credit: io9

Jack Doyle: Why ‘The Hobbit’ Doesn’t Cut It

Even in a fantasy world, millennials could journey with the Lord of the Rings characters. Aragorn struggles to accept his true identity. Eowyn battles prejudice and unrequited love. Frodo is the smallest and most unlikely hero — and even with powerful friends, he’s not guaranteed to win. I’ve heard more than one friend claim (and who can blame them) that their sexual awakening happened around when the exhausted, sweaty Aragorn opened the doors of Edoras in slow motion. Many young people, myself included, started writing our own fantasy stories inspired by the movies. And our throats still close up at the first stirrings of the theme music.

The Hobbit films are a great nostalgia trip, so why can’t we just shut up and enjoy our second round of Middle-earth? The truth is, there’s little in the Hobbit films to put our faith in. The three-part stretch of the Hobbit trilogy is obvious box-office bait, and it compromises the films’ characters and integrity. By the time the Hobbit films were underway, millennials had already put away childish things. We’d already learned from Frodo that long journeys leave permanent scars, and had turned our energies to taking the words of Samwise Gamgee to heart: “There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Don’t get me wrong, ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy have been worth seeing on the big screen. However, there’s something about the films that doesn’t register just like how the ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy did. Jack Doyle’s piece on OZY nails it.

We all have a secret life like Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
A few days ago, I finally got to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. One of the best films of 2013 or of movie history if you ask me. It portrayed how LIFE magazine transitioned from the printed version to the online version through the eyes of its negative assets manager Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller) who was often lost in his day dreams of fantasy and alternate realities, aptly called “zoned out”.

How many times do you day dream in a day? How often does the people around you catch you blankly staring into the distance as your mind wonders off with some wild or crazy vision of an alternate world that you have created?
Continue reading “We all have a secret life like Walter Mitty”

The key to writing

No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is… to write, not to think!

-William Forrester, Finding Forrester

If it’s not Matt Damon, it’s not Jason Bourne

So there’s a new Jason Bourne movie in the works – The Bourne Legacy. But it’s uncertain whether Matt Damon would be reprising his role as the bad-ass former CIA agent suffering from a terrible case of amnesia.

Seriously, should I do the 4th Bourne movie?

Seriously, no Matt Damon? Then it’s not Jason Bourne. And a different director? Not everyone is a fan of Paul Greengrass’ hand-held, shaky-cam style but how will this Jason Bourne movie turn out without those two essential people?

Sure Matt Damon may have aged but heck, Liam Neeson was able to kick ass in Taken so it shouldn’t be an issue with Matt right? Then again what else is there to tell about Jason Bourne? Wasn’t the fact that he was able to get vengeance on the folks behind the whole operations and figure out how it all started enough of a closure on his tale?

Edward Norton has been listed in the cast but it would just not feel right if he’s going to play Jason Bourne.

Until we get more information about the supposedly new movie then I’m hesitant to get excited nor warm about it. We just have to wait and see for now.

Image by Siebbi By Attribution

The Time Traveller’s Wife – a film review

The Time Traveller's WifeIt was probably a mistake that I watched the film version before finishing the book, which I was about to do in a couple of days. But last night was ideal for a Saturday movie night so the girlfriend and I decided to watch The Time Traveller’s Wife. Yes, it’s the movie adaptation of that best-selling novel of the same title by Audrey Niffenegger. A couple of weeks ago, I used my PowerBooks gift card to get myself a new copy of the book. Until last night I had finished reading 3/4 of the book.

I was surprised that Eric Bana was casted to play the role of Henry DeTamble, the protagonist who has a very peculiar genetic abnormality. He time travels. Without his control. Reading the book, I had completely no idea about the film’s actors, director etc. So I had a completely different mental picture and impression of who Henry was until I saw Eric Bana’s portrayal of him. It was a bit difficult to reconcile the two but after the first twenty minutes I got the hang of it and was enjoying Bana’s performance.

Starring opposite him was Rachelle McAdams whose portrayal of the lovable Clare Abshire made up for the fact that about 50%, or more, of the book was never seen on the film adaptation. Many parts of the book and the characters central to those parts which in turn were crucial in laying the foundation for Henry and Clare’s time-torn relationship were left out.

Not shown were the part when Henry was invited over to Clare’s apartment, meeting for the first time Gomez and Charrise, who would become their closest friends. Also cut was the Christmas dinner Henry had with Clare’s family. And the ever-reliable Mrs Kim and again, the dinner she hosted for Henry, Clare and his father after the two got engaged.

The book was published in 2004 and the movie premiered 2009. In that span of time, millions have already read the book and still do today, so after seeing the film, I was left kind of lost and really wanting for more. Judging by the reviews I’ve read on the web, I’m not alone on this one.

I know there’s a lot to put into a two-hour movie, so the logical approach, as is common with book-to-film projects these days, is have it in installment. What were the producers thinking? Come on Brad Pitt ((Brad Pitt is the movie’s executive producer)).

Despite the huge shortcomings of the film, I enjoyed seeing the novel visualized. Having a few parts of the novel portrayed differently is forgivable, after all we were left to see a distilled version of the film; the struggle Henry and Clare went through because of the former’s chrono-impairment. A love story that literally endured time.

Another consolation was knowing that the movie’s ending is different from the novel’s, so I’m actually more excited now to finish reading the book because the film never really spoiled it.

Sorry, No 3D Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 1

Excited about the upcoming Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows movie? Planning on watching it on 3D? Well, you better adjust your expectations now because Warner Bros has just cancelled the conversion of The Deathly Hallows part 1 into 3D. This was done so that the November 19 US and UK release will still push through.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows poster
So we need put up a new posters now. It's just in 2D.

Potter fans will surely be annoyed with this but it’s either a 3D version of part 1 or the whole world will have to wait for its release a little while longer. But why do keep on saying “No 3D of Part 1”? It’s because Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows will be released on both 3D and 2D versions in July 15, 2011.

Personally, I don’t mind not seeing the 3D version of a film as long as the story is great. As for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1, the 2D version will do just fine for me and my girlfriend.

The previous movie was well, dark, short and quite bland. And to make up for it, Warner Bros is releasing the last installment of the Harry Potter series in two parts, so as to prolong our agony and milk us further for cash.

So Harry Potter fans? What say you of a not seeing a 3D version of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 1? Isn’t strange to have the first part in 2D while the second part in 3D?

Dissecting the Anti-Camcording Law

The Inquirer reports that last week, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law the Anti-Camcording Act of 2009, which has intensified the government’s anti-piracy efforts in the country.

Under the Anti-Camcording Law, any person who is caught using or attempting to use an audiovisual recording device to transmit or make a copy of any part of a performance in an exhibition facility of any cinematographic film or other audiovisual work will be fined from P50,000 to P750, 000 face imprisonment of a minimum six months and one day to six years and one day.

While it is just right that making camcording illegal and handing out a stiff penalty for its commission, I find troubling the other provisions of the said law. Allow me to illustrate.

First, consider its definition of what is an “audiovisual recording device

a digital or analog photographic or video camera, or any other technology or device capable of enabling the recoding or transmission of a cinematographic film or other audiovisual work, or any part thereof, regardless of whether audiovisual recording is the sole or primarily purpose of the device.

By this definition, mobile phones with built-in cameras, which are so common nowadays, are included in the purview of the law. Being able to send and receive messages including MMS which contains video or audio clips it falls squarely as a device capable of recording and transmission of a audiovisual work.

Now, using an audiovisual recording device to record or at least attempting to do so is not the only act being punished by the new Anti-Camcording law. It now includes possession of such device inside the exhibition facility of such cinematographic film, like a movie house, a possible offense under the law.

Does this mean that any device capable of making audiovisual recordings, including the now ubiquitous camera-phones, will be banned inside cinemas even if owners don’t have the intention of pirating the movie they’re going to see?

Apparently so, as Section 7 of the law requires the posting of notices or signages warning against the bringing of audiovisual recording devices in movie houses or wherever movies are being shown. Not only that, it also reserves for the management/operator of the movie house the authority to take into preventive and temporary custody such audiovisual recording device/s, meaning our mobile phones, until the film/movie theater patron, that’s us moviegoers, leave the movie house.

Now that movie theaters can temporarily hold on to customers’ camera phones, I have the following questions:

  • How sure are we that our camera phones and point-and-shoots, would be safe while in the preventive custody of the movie house management?
  • In the unfortunate event that our devices do get damaged or stolen while in the management’s preventive custody, would we be able to hold them liable for the loss or damage?

To these main questions, I can’t help come up with follow-ups;

Would movie houses charge for more because now they have to set up an audiovisual recording device counter and hire additional staff to handle it?

If ever the movie theater management is indeed liable for lost or damaged devices while in their temporary custody, would this mean more charges for us patrons because now they have to get insured in case they really do have to replace or repair a damaged gadget?

It seems that the new Anti-Camcording Law has indeed made things tougher for movie pirates, but on the other hand, it has opened a can of worms with regards to property and privacy issues.

But this is not all of it. I also have concerns regarding the additional powers and authorities given to law enforcement agencies by this law. But that is for another post for another time.

Robin Hood as retold by Ridley Scott

For our special movie date yesterday (and to escape the brutal summer heat), my girlfriend and I went to see Robin Hood which starred Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride aka Robin Hood and Kate Blanchet as Lady Marion Loxley.

This film shows the history of Robin Hood, a look back at the origins of this legendary character whose only memory I have are from cartoons shown in my elementary school days. Wherein he and his merry men would “rob from the rich and give to the poor.”

Then again, I had little idea of why they were doing this to begin with. I didn’t even bother to Google ‘Robin Hood’ to know the full story. Thanks to Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, the movie is suppose to be the answer to those questions.

And from where I sat, I think the movie did a good job at just that. It explored the world in which Robin Longstride lived in; 12th century England which is just one big sh*t hole of a country to live in. All thanks to a government led by a King blinded by wrong religious views and self-serving motives.

It was a refreshing experience to see King Richard the Lionheart being aged by war, questioning if everything he has done so far would merit the approval of God or not. To see King Philip of France make dealings on a riverbank and cutting himself while eating sea shells is a new perspective on the royalty of that time. Though not historically accurate, this aspect of the film certainly lights up the history nerd in one’s self.

All of these told in a dark and heavier mood as compared to earlier Robin Hood films. A more human and organic storytelling from its director and portrayal from Russell Crowe. Ms Connie Veneracion is right, it’s irrelevant if Crowe is too old for their roles, being the film on the characters’ history and origins, it can lay down the foundations for these characters’ makeup and identity.

It showed that Robin Hood is a noble man, a man who inherits the dignity, values and aspirations of a generation from the times when good men ruled the nobility in contrast to and struggle against the corrupt, vile and morally-bankrupt rule of King John. (Who’s a certified a-hole btw) Something we are all too-familiar with in our present times.

I’m not really a Russell Crowe fan, but I’m an admirer of his work, and this Robin Hood film now merits a space on my DVD rack once it is released. With this, I’m glad we went to see Robin Hood instead of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse trailer

Fans the world over are already raving with anticipation for the next installment of the Twilight: Eclipse, which would premiere this coming June 30, 2010. Check out the trailer below:

Harry Potter is so over, I may not be a die-hard Twilight fan, but as long as I see wolves the size of SUVs, I’m going to watch this movie with my girlfriend, who’s really the fan of the series. Perhaps it’s time to get a copy of the book and see how well it was translated into film.