Wonder Woman

I remember I was about 7 or so and in the hospital for the umpteen time, my parents bought me a DC World encyclopaedia which started my affection for Wonder Woman. I loved it and over my childhood years, I read and re-read it from cover to cover. Probably explains why I’m more a Justice League fan than X-Men or the Avengers. The TV series in the 70s and 80s, cemented my admiration for her so needless to say I may be a little bias but most of the reviews have been positive so I’m not alone here.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Patty Jenkins and Allan Heinberg made sure there were enough old school references as well as modern reboot elements to keep it nostalgic for the fans who grew up with the character and interesting for those encountering her for the first time in the 21st century. And well, Gal Godot … what can I say? She was made for the role and I reckon everything happens for a reason and why it took this long for a Wonder Woman movie. I’m so glad it wasn’t Angelina Jolie, Mischa Barton or Megan Fox or the rest of the famous actresses that were considered for the role. Also, love love love the fact that Gadot was part of the Israeli Arm Forces. Makes her legit, you know what I mean?

Casting? Check.

The origin story where we get to see little Wonder Woman for the first time ever was a treat for me. And as a story, it worked. A coming of age journey of a demigod, in a time where hope is needed.

Story? Check.

If I had to pick on anything, it would be the visual effects, not sure if it’s because I’m in the business and I was expecting more but the effects didn’t work for me. Each time there was an effects shot, it bothered me. It didn’t seem to bother my cousin who isn’t into superhero movies or CG heavy ones though. She enjoyed it and wasn’t expecting to.

So no spoilers here but if you like Wonder Woman a lot (like me) or barely but love the idea of a feminine superhero (like my cousin), this is the summer blockbuster for you.

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One more thing, Wonder Woman may have been the reason why I have an obsession with ice cream too.

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Plenty of Bunnies who are Jerks too

The other day, I was talking to a friend about Zootopia. He didn’t like it. I was like WHAT?!?!? In fact, he said it was a story that has been told time and time again and it was boring. BORING?!?! The proverbial tale that we’re all different yet the same, that there’s always more than meets the eye and change starts with me – the individual.

Ok, I do agree with that. It isn’t a new story and you do have to be careful of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Except in Zootopia it’s the harmless cute sheep you have to keep an eye on. Yet it is a tale as achingly relevant in our 21st century as it was a hundred years, heck a thousand years ago. Kinda like how To Kill a Mockingbird can’t go out of style.

In a Trump Presidency world where fear led by ignorance creeps into every facet of our lives, I take heart that in a seemingly children’s tale like Zootopia we needed the effervescent bunny, Judy Hopps to remind us that someone can be ” a jerk who happened to be a fox. I know plenty of bunnies who are jerks.” In my last 42 years of my life, I’ve learnt that no one race, religion, gender, sexuality or age has dips on being a douche. Everyone can be a douche and if you take the time to have an open dialogue, get to know the person, you or at least I’ve come to realise that they can be as big a douchebag as I can be and in the greater scheme of things, they are capable of being kind, honest and supportive as I try to be everyday.

So I remind myself as much as I don’t like having to share this world with rude self-serving douchebags, the rest of us decent functional beings have to make the best of what we’ve got. The alternative reminds me of a sad tribe in the last season of The Walking Dead – hiding, pretending that we don’t exist as the douchebags try and take over the world. We just can’t have that and with more meaningful words of Judy Hopps,

“Real life is a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker. Real life is messy. We all have limitations. We all make mistakes. Which means―hey, glass half full!―we all have a lot in common. And the more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each of us will be. But we have to try. So no matter what type of animal you are, from the biggest elephant to our first fox, I implore you: Try. Try to make the world a better place. Look inside yourself and recognize that change starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with all of us.”

That’s my theme for this week – how can I make it start with me?

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Kong: Skull Island

Alright there will be spoilers so if you haven’t seen Kong – Skull Island and don’t want to know anything except that it is a really fun ride, please stop reading now.

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For the rest of you, it’s Monsters on an Island and Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t win but the creature work is breath taking. It’s a good monster movie with enough eye candy to keep everyone happy. Geeks because there’s so many so many monsters and monsters going full on at it with each other. Well animated monsters with out of this world abilities. Happy happy  happy. Girls too, will be happy, there’s Tom Hiddleston ‘nuff said and the boys have Brie and Jing who managed to keep their hair in place the whole movie. Even when they were running from monsters, out of this world type of monsters.

Story wise, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting so I think that’s why I was sufficiently satiated. Like I said, it’s a monster movie so keeping it real is a good way to go. I was expecting out of this world creature work though and I wasn’t disappointed. My fascination with creatures started when I was about 7 and saw the Kraken come alive in Clash of the Titans. The next time I was 18 and after watching Jurassic Park, I walked out of Lido believing that dinosaurs were well and alive. ILM definitely did not disappoint again and it was extra warm and fuzzy because ILM Singapore had a big hand in this movie too. Kong was awesome as the beast with amazingly believable eyes. The eyes  always give bad computer graphics away and that’s why I wasn’t disappointed. The director Jordan Vogt-Roberts sets up the scenes with the eyes really well too where the close ups of the human’s eyes and Kong’s eyes were shot in the same way. Now I am really excited about Kong vs Godzilla now! Something to look forward to in 2020.

Till then, I did fall in love with Kong and somewhere in my heart, I do long to be the girl in the middle of his palm and then I start to wonder what would he smell like?

The Little Mermaid

I remember being 14 and loving this movie.  Little did I know, I’d actually build a career around animation.

My slightly more than 2 and a half year old godson, Christian recently saw it for the first time and Under the Sea is what he’s got the beat for nowadays.  So during our date yesterday, he and I watched it together.  Despite being 27 years old, The Little Mermaid doesn’t feel dated at all.  Still made me do a little jig, root for Ariel and wish I could be a mermaid.

In 2037, I hope when people watch the reruns of Insectibles, they’ll feel the same way 🙂

 

Ilo Ilo

If you’re looking for something to watch this weekend, I’d say check out the latest Singapore film, Ilo Ilo.  I didn’t get a chance to watch The Girl in Pinafore, which I heard was lovely too but I did catch Ilo Ilo.  I’m happy to say that I did enjoy Anthony Chen’s first feature film.  I know how immensely difficult it is to direct, much less a feature film so in spite of the fact that there were a couple of rough first time directional calls, the film was strongly held together by a genuine heart and that’s consistent in all of Anthony’s other projects.

It was a simple story that all Singaporeans can relate to, actually it’s pretty universal, it’s about relationships.  How we build them, take them for granted, destroy them and try to rebuild them again.  The acting was very strong, even from Jia Ler, the lead boy who is making his acting debut with Ilo Ilo.  The art direction was impeccable.  I couldn’t tell that the film was shot in 21st century Singapore and I left the cinema hoping that Anthony keeps at his craft.  This doesn’t happen often with me where I root for a director’s next film before I’ve even finished contmplating his current one.  Anthony even managed to make me ponder about my own scripts.  That doesn’t ever happen when I watch big Hollywood studio films :p  For that alone, I’m grateful I made the time to catch this film.

Ilo Ilo may have won the Camera d’Or award at Cannes and has been shortlisted for Singapore’s submission to the Oscars but I don’t think we’ve seen Anthony Chen’s best work yet.  At only 29, I’m hoping the harsh media environment in Singapore doesn’t kill his spirit and there will be more of where Ilo Ilo came from.

Pacific Rim

I caught Pacific Rim twice in a week.  The first on IMAX 3D and the second in Gold Class to celebrate Jenna’s birthday.  I loved it both times and am all ready to catch it a third time in Canada with my husband.

It was all about the jaegers for me.  Huge giant robots piloted by humans.  What is there not to like, seriously?  Made me want to watch Gundam again but honestly, it was a metal porn ride for me.  Action scenes to die for.  I really couldn’t ask for more, giant robots pitted against giant monsters *shivers down my spine* ‘Nuff said.

There may be a couple of loopholes in the script but it’s as original as it gets in today’s moviemaking world.  Totally believe-able premise and wonderfully executed by Del Toro.  I loved it even more that the heart of the story took place in a futuristic Hong Kong and not LA or Chicago or New York or San Francisco.

Although it bombed out in the US, I’m pretty sure the worldwide box office for the film would be reason enough to warrant a sequel.  At least that’s what I’m hoping for.  Even my sister who has no sympathy for mechanics, enjoyed the show.  That is enough for me to know that everyone should give it a chance and watch it.  For nothing else, it is a fun show with awesome action sequences that you can see and understand 🙂

Man of Steel

It’s opened around the world for a couple of weeks now but in Australia, where I am right now, it’s just opened and I was there with my Daddy and Mummy 🙂  My Dad enjoyed it but Mum thought it could be shorter.

My take – I did like it.  Then again I also liked Lee Ang’s interpretation of The Hulk.  I’m also a tad more in team DC than I am in team Marvel.  Yes, honestly  Robert Downey Junior made Ironman before that, Ironman was a lamer version of Batman.  And who can forget Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.  That’s why I’m still rooting for a Justice League movie.  With The Dark Knight and Man of Steel, hopefully we’re seeing the building the great franchise.

Meanwhile, I could watch Man of Steel again.  It is different from all other Superman movies and Henry Cavill is a very decent Superman and I have a soft spot for Amy Adams.  There’s a cuteness about her that just makes me smile.  Wasn’t sure about the Christian references though?  Likening Superman to Jesus Christ seems a little out of place but I did ask myself this, if Superman really existed would there be room for Jesus?  So I guess, the technic worked to provoke me to think about something I normally wouldn’t and that to me is usually a successful film 🙂

A tad of a spoiler so if you haven’t seen it, stop now.

I do like this tormented Superman, not that he wasn’t before.  He always was but this time, the internal struggle of having been the chosen one versus having no real choice of his own came across more genuine … … and in some way reminded me of what Jesus may have had to go through – having the responsibility of being the chosen one bestowed on him.  So maybe that’s why Zack Synder had the Christian references to begin with 🙂  More than that, I’ve always been drawn to men who struggled with the hard choices.  Now I know why superheros and talking robots are my thing.

The Great Gatsby

Before watching the movie, I heard that it was good and I also heard that it was bad, very bad.  Bad enough for one of my friend to fall asleep 20 minutes into the movie.  I didn’t quite fall asleep but I do think that Baz Lurhmann may want to consider retirement.  I loved his work from Strictly Ballroom to Australia.  I remember watching Romeo + Juliet in Perth and wanting to direct.  The Great Gatsby isn’t like any of his earlier films.  In fact, if anything The Great Gatsby shows that he has yet to grow as a director.

I did like the book when I read it.  In fact, it’s my favourite Fitzgerald.  So when they changed some of the lines in the book and didn’t quote them verbatim, I felt a little cheated.  Simply because the change took away the gravity of the lines as I read them in the book.  The movie also didn’t do justice to the complex characters and relationships.  However, most film adaptations don’t do justice to the book so Mr Lurhmann isn’t alone in this.  I’ve said this before, if I notice directorial calls that I would have done differently, the film is a little flawed by me.  It happened more than a couple of time with this movie.  I even had time to ponder what if Leonardo played Nick and Tobey played Gatsby instead?

Overall, it was a little disappointing but I had to watch it for so many reasons.  The director, the cast, the story and the soundtrack, which I really liked.  Everyone now knows what is my next iTunes purchase 🙂  Unless you’re a big Leonardo fan, go read the book, the story is so much better there and your imagination can be wilder than Baz Lurhmann’s.

Star Trek Into the Darkness

I’m finally catching up on my movie watching and saw Star Trek Into the Darkness.  Real quickly, it’s great if you aren’t a Trekkie but if you are, you’d probably feel a little insulted once the credits roll.  That’s if you weren’t too insulted with the first one as it is.

I wouldn’t say I’m a trekkie.  I’ve watched the series and most of the films.  Enjoyed them all because I have a fascination with aliens from outer space but I’m by no means a trekkie.  All that just means, I did enjoy the film.  Also helps that I do like J.J Abrams, I may not agree with all his directorial calls but I do enjoy his treatments.  On the whole, the movie was a fun ride with a different take and reminded me of why the Vulcans intrigued me.  And maybe just maybe why I chose to be vegetarian 🙂  Beyond that there’s something to be had about leaning on logic and reason.  A harsh lesson I learnt when I was 11 and found out a classmate I barely knew hated me.  Yes, the word used was hated.  Children can be that mean.

Anyway, I was hurt and confused.  Why would someone hate harmless ‘ole me?  Especially if we’ve barely even said hello to each other.  I did say before I have a big ego :p but really I didn’t know why someone would not like me.  The whole incident truly threw me for a loop.  I even confronted her about it and she simply just said, “I just hate you.”  At the same time I watched an episode of Star Trek and for the first time realise that Spock has it right, feelings does seem to be a waste of time and just clouds decision making.

Needless to say I’ve grown since then and that 11 year old smiled at the scenes where her favourite Vulcan struggled with feelings and logic because 38 year old me totally relates despite knowing better 🙂  Not quite as dramatic as saving a race from a volcano but yes, I still prefer making choices erring to the side of logic, which makes me realise why I have a thing for TV fictional characters that have this mind-over-matter approach starting with Spock then Scully, House and Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes is played by Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Khan in the movie.  He’s a hoot to watch in both roles and does such a great job giving both characters enough depth for the audience to root for them.  Like I said, I had fun with the movie and now am inspired to start rewatching Star Trek from the beginning.

Wonder how much I can cover this Vesak Day weekend?

Pitch Perfect

Doesn’t everyone love surprises?  I know I do.

Note to self: the unexpected is key to engaging storytelling.

I think sometimes the world we live in where information is abundant and the marketing of any product leaves nothing to the imagination, I don’t get surprised that much anymore.  Most movies are rehash of stories we only know too well. Even if we knew the ending, it’s how you tell the story that can be unexpected.  The other thing is knowing and understanding the medium you’re working in.  Such are the scriptwriting takeaways from my Singapore to Hong Kong plane ride.

Here’s the lesson plan.  On a plane while you’re putting the final touches to a strategy plan for the new year, Pitch Perfect is pretty much the right movie.  To which I’m happy to report surprised me and managed to get me to bounce along with the somewhat contrive coming of age story.  Also, maybe because they referenced one of my favourite coming of age movies, The Breakfast Club and music from Simple Minds.  ‘Nuff said.  I think so too 🙂

Since the final touches of my strategy plan is done, here’s a little more than my 2 cents of Pitch Perfect.  Maybe it’s just me but singing always make for fun movies.  I’m always up for movies that make me ponder, explore my inner motivation as a human being and exquisite craftsmanship but I’m also the kind that go to the movies for a fun time.  Pitch Perfect was just that.  Enough of Glee and Smash or yet another Step Up movie, Pitch Perfect is somewhere in between all of that.  The story was very predictable but the covers were fun and when Simple Minds is used, it was the perfect plane movie to be playing in the background.  I really wouldn’t mind watching it again at home during a new year holiday too.  Hello Mediacorp Ch 5, yes, instead of Rush Hour. kthxbyeee 🙂

From me in Hong Kong, with my iPhone playing Simple Minds and getting ready to leave my hotel for my dinner meeting, hope you’re having a happy Tuesday too.

P/S: I’m pretty sure there’s a scene for my next script in there somewhere.