Sunday, August 23, 2009

Into District 9


I recently watched the movie District 9 and loved it. I went in only knowing that it was about aliens that are stuck on Earth for some reason or another, and loved every last bit of it.

Some friends I've talked to about it have a some problems with the movie, so instead of telling them all my opinions one by one, I decided to write one of my 'reviews' on it.

You know the drill, click below the cut, spoilers included, aaaaand enjoy!

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First of all, I'm glad for District 9.
In a sea of half-baked sci-fi movies, this one came out extremely well done, with just enough science, fiction, reality, fantasy, thrills, and action to make a good and balanced film.

Plot
With how little I knew about the movie, the plot was intense and surprised me quite a bit. I totally didn't expect Wikus to become infected, but from then on, it was fairly predictable: he sought refuge amongst the "Prawns" in District 9 and was helped by another Prawn—the same one he was threatening just a day before. They end up working and rebelling together, and then good ol' Christopher goes free!

Of course, to the expense of Wikus' humanity.

Which leaves me wondering: is Christopher really going to come back for him? For the rest of the Prawns? I assume he meant three years meaning, it'd take 1.5 years to get to his home planet and back.

Like I said, there were a lot of things I loved about this movie. For one, I love how it didn't fit into the cookie-cutter alien movie genre. There was no invasion, no "take me to your leader," none of that crap. They didn't spend any time explaining how the Prawns functioned or why they were there, no time was shown dissecting them and whatnot. I just assumed that they got through all that within the past 20 years they'd been there. Some people I know didn't like the lack of explanations, but I was just glad that the focus of the story wasn't on that, but rather their current situation. I loved the way they interacted with the humans, it seemed so real and integrated, like that's what would really happen. The gangsters dealing with Prawns was a nice little touch.

I'll admit, there were a few plot holes though. For example, if the fuel was a part of their own technology, why did they have to scrounge so much for it? They had their technology! I also distinctly remember some black fluid being poured out of the robot Wikus used at the end, was that their fuel? Because that was a lot of fuel.

They also never mentioned why the prawns were there in the first place. Then again, I just kind of accepted that it was an emergency landing of some sort. After all, the humans did find them in terrible conditions.


Characters
Oh my goodness, I loved Christopher Johnson. I loved how he has the most average-joe English human name. Did the other Prawns have it? I'm sure they did or something. He showed a lot more humanity than most of the humans in the movie did. I loved his little son, too. He was smart, and made the mothership WORK.

I kind of liked how passive a lot of the Prawns were. For example, a lot of my friends questioned why the Prawns didn't just bust down the gang hut and take their weapons and shoot up the place. Well, I guess they weren't aggressive enough. Say you were stranded on an alien planet, and an alien gang took all your weapons. Would you try? I guess they could've also bought it, but they were busy buying cat food cans. Man, that was hilarious, I mean, cat food? This is totally the alien apartheid. I also liked how not all the aliens were the same, like they had different personalities. My friends and I were talking about how Christopher must be a leader or an engineer, or just some kind of nerd in their group, to be able to plan out an escape like that.

I also have to praise Sharlto Copely, the actor for Wikus van de Merwe, aka The Guy Who Got Infected. I loved how dopey he was in the beginning, and I especially loved the way he emoted everything his character demanded: the despair of becoming a Prawn, the pain of firing Prawn weapons (such a sad, SAD scene), becoming addicted to cat food, everything. He was wonderful, and I hope he is nominated for Best Actor at some movie awards show like the Golden Globes or the Oscars.

Oh, and that one military guy was such a dick.
I'm glad he got ripped apart.
GLAD.

Graphics
For a low-budget film, District 9 had brilliant graphics. The Prawns were great, I especially loved Wikus' transformation, especially that eye. And that robot at the end? It could beat the shit out of all of Michael Bay's Transformers.

I didn't actually mind the blood splattering here. It made my sister and my friend laugh every time it happened. Alien technology was so cool. My favorite part was when the robot was activated, and gathered all the bullets from the gangsters into a little ball, then FIRED IT IN ALL DIRECTIONS. That was amazing. Also, PIG CANNON! Did he really just launch a pig? Greatness, all.



Conclusion?
District 9 is thrilling and action-packed, and shot realistically while still honoring the fantastic fiction part of its sci-fi genre. I highly recommend it :D

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One of those nights

It all started with me flipping through my oldest high school yearbook (freshman) so I can see my freshman class, so I know what freshmen look like because I have to draw a freshman for a comic project. I kept either making him look too old or too young. I think I've got it now. Whatever, these are just sketches, God knows that anything I've worked on for longer than about 2 minutes is a damn breakthrough nowadays.

Anyway.
I started reading what people wrote in my yearbook. Is it weird that I don't even remember who some of these people are? My memory sucks. Then again, it was like, one or two people only. I started flipping through more and more of my yearbooks, reading what people wrote, looking for my picture and my friends' pictures and José's pictures. Then I started reading old blogs. My blogs, your blogs, mostly yours though, because I find you so interesting all day, err'day.

Then I started to think about this blog again. You and I used our old blogs essentially as online journals, and for a while I endeavoured to have this blog, this very blog, reach top ranks of internet popularity. Why? Because I am an insufferable attention whore. It started out as a sketch blog and evolved (devolved?) to just being another one of my online journals. I journal so damn much. To be one of those bloggers all these random people visit, you have to keep some sort of pattern, be it a topic you write about, a comic you update, a voice that people find humorous, or your art. Your art. My art. And I wanted this to be just that, and I wasn't damn determined enough to keep up with it. And I'm not obsessed or knowledgeable about anything enough to make an entire blog about it, nor am I some sort of super unique writer that spews magic and metaphors every paragraph.

I get most of my comments via facebook.
Maybe I'll take the feed off facebook, when I start talking about more personal things like these ramblings.
And then who will read it?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Five Truths

Anyone that's heard me ramble about philosophy knows that the idea of truth-being-perception (or, the lack of absolute/universal truth) is rather close to my heart. One event that's good for me could be bad for you, and this also goes for people, ideas, things, etc. While surfing around the good ol' net I came across a book called Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find By Embracing Them by David Richio.

I'm not planning on getting the book, but the summary does list these five things:
1. Everything changes and ends
2. Things do not always go as planned
3. Life is not always fair
4. Pain is a part of life
5. People are not loyal and loving all the time

Unfortunately, the summary did not list the Happiness We Find By Embracing Them.
Fortunately, that leaves us more room to speculate upon it and come up with our own ideas.

So if you'd like to see my thoughts on each of these Five Things, simply click below the cut and read on!

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1. Everything changes and ends
This is probably the very first everybody will have to accept. Knowing this helps us through our hard times and humbles us through our good times by reminding us that things will get better when you're down, but they can also fall apart when you're up. The latter may be more depressing than the former, but like I said, it humbles us. If we're not aware of risks and consequences, how ever will we learn how to bounce back from them?
I think it also teaches us to live in the moment, but plan for the future. You don't have to be super anal about everything you do from now on, but you would have to remember that not everything is permanent. Not your job, your interests, your relationships, even your ideals. So live it up, every day, because while we're all changing, it's good to at least make the moment memorable.

2. Things do not always go as planned
I feel like this one was written just for me :P I tend to get really flustered when things don't exactly go my way, and lately I've been working on staying flexible when it happens. Because if they don't go your way, what're you gonna do about it? You can either sit and sulk, or go with the flow and make the best of it. And since you can't do anything about the past, might as well put your energies into what you CAN change: the present.

3. Life is not always fair
"Life isn't fair—it's how you deal with it that counts."
I will never forget these words so famously (well, to me) uttered in my 8th grade history class by my teacher, Mr. Rosenthal. Up to that point I was busy being an angsty teenager whose life was, like, so totally unfair and stuff. This phrase opened my eyes, and has a lot to do with what I mentioned in point #2. Things which you have no control over can and will happen (remember point #1!), but the one thing you can control is how you handle it—and how you handle it will shape your entire personality, character, and life.

4. Pain is a part of life
This is probably the one we all wish weren't true, but know it is. However you decide to look at it—you caused the pain, someone else caused it, your god is testing you, the world is against you—pain is a part of life, and when we accept that, we stop making all the excuses I just rattled off. And once we accept that, we can get over it and get focused on dealing with it. I'm really big on dealing with it.

5. People are not loyal and loving all the time
This one is the hardest to swallow, at least for me, and I guess it still relates to point #1 about things changing and whatnot. Humans are naturally selfish, and everybody's lookin' out for Number One. So when it comes down to it, your friends, teachers, relatives, brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers aren't always going to be your pillars of support. That isn't to say that you should lose trust in them completely, but rather you should not expect the world from them, because they cannot give the world to you—after all, they're trying to do that for themselves, too.


The basic gist of it all boils down to one important lesson: learn how to be self-sufficient. Learn to recognize problems and deal with them on your own. Learn not to use others as crutches. And most of all, learn. I don't care if you're 15 or 25 or 65, you do not know everything there is to know. Take a word from Jolls: everybody has a lot of learning to do, so you best keep your mind and senses open!


Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these Five Truths! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I never thought I'd want an XBOX

But I sure do now.



I never really wanted one before because I never considered myself a "hardcore gamer," and only the hardcore gamers owned XBoxes. Or just played games on their PC's. The reason why I want one now is because I'm becoming increasingly interested in games that are really only for the XBox, PC, or PS3 (like hell I'm getting a PS3, pfft). And I don't currently own a PC, so PC games are pretty much out. I can play Portal and Half-Life 2 on the Windows partition of my Mac, but it's pretttty slow-goin'. I've also always always always preferred console gaming to computer gaming.

Thing is, is it gonna be worth it? I find that I go through little gaming stages in which I'll play games a lot, for many hours, more than I'll spend online. This'll go on for a few months, and then suddenly I'll stop. As of right now, I've stopped. See, once you have the console, you have to buy more games. I kind of don't like spending $50 a pop on games, because I am cheap. Maybe one day I'll get over this frugality. One day.

I also really want to play Team Fortress 2, and it will not play on my Windows partition because the Mac simply cannot handle it. Sorry, Mac.


Jolls out, like a light. Just like a light.
Other things I want: a new tablet, a recycled-paper (or just tan/brown paper) sketchbook, the scanner right on my desk where I can reach it easier, inspiration.