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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Not Disappointing!, 15 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For those that didn't know, this very impressive Animated Film of Tintin is an adaptation of 3 of the comics; Secret of the Unicorn, Crab with Golden Claws, Red Rackham's Treasure. Being a fan of Herge's comics about this Belgian reporter, even more so than Asterix, I was unquestionably satisfied with the entertaining cartoon adaptations thanks to wonderful voice-acting and music, true-to-comic stories with small but necessary changes, and the loyal art style. The only other Tintin film I can think of is 'Lake of Sharks' which I would really rather not talk about. Soon however, this came along. Directed by Spielberg, and produced by him and Peter Jackson, followed by a sharp script by Steven Moffat, Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright, you have a film which is not without a few flaws but is more than enough to satisfy a thirst for adventure for fans/newcomers alike.

(May contain spoilers) As this is a cross between the three comics, the stories have been cut down and melded into one. First time I heard this, I was very concerned whether this was a wise choice even despite the experienced film-makers participating, but I must say it worked really well. SOTU is the most concentrated one, beginning with Tintin visiting a market and buying a ship called 'The Unicorn'. A man called Sakharine wants it for himself but Tintin refuses to sell it to him. His dog, Snowy, accidentally damages the ship after a cat chase, triggering the emergence of a tiny hidden scroll in the ship. It appears that this is one of three scrolls (out of three Unicorns) used to decipher a code leading to the location of the actual historical ship's sunken treasure. The Unicorn was a ship of the 1600's which was commandeered by Sir Francis Haddock, only to be attacked and taken over by pirates led by 'Red Rackham' who is interested in its treasure. Sir Francis being the final survivor among his crew, eventually escaped clutches, and blew up the Unicorn sending its treasure and its Pirate inhabitants into the sea. Sakharine, to Tintin's present, turns out to be a descendant of Rackham and wants the treasure and his revenge by taking control of the drunkard, Captain Archibald Haddock's own Merchant Ship (the descendant of Sir Francis). Tintin is only to learn all this of course as Sakharine is after him for the scroll he holds, and helps Haddock escape from his own prison of a ship.

If you have read the comics, it's no doubt that a lot of these new points (my apologies for any spoilers) will leave you scratching your head. For example, Sakharine was never a villain in the actual comic, just a collector who was also interested upon discovering the Unicorn scrolls. There were 'other' antagonists at work. He wasn't a descendant of Red Rackham either although he did look slightly similar which I believe gave the idea for the writers here. Also, Tintin had already known Haddock and was meant to buy the ship as a present for his alcoholic sailing friend. They had actually met in CWGC which dealt with the crew smuggling opium, nothing to do with the Unicorn itself.

However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. I must take this time to point out that I have seen how fans (or rather fanboys) were overly critical that the story lines have been tailored around. In case that wasn't recognisable, this is a Tintin MOVIE; not one episode. We already have an excellent and faithful cartoon series in which all episodes are based off the comics individually. Would I really want another adaptation in which the only difference being that the animation isn't hand-drawn? Herge definitely deserves the top credit for writing the original story lines in the first place, but I hardly see how you could fit a single Tintin story (as deep as many of them were) into a 2-hour film, especially when the animated series have episodes ranging from 40 minutes down to even 20 minutes! And they are particularly faithful. Sure, there is some differences that are questionable like Haddock being more over-the-top, followed by Tintin giving up for the first time, but 2-Dimensional characters should only be where they belong; a 2D picture/film. Honestly, I liked the more 3-Dimensional design of the characters here, otherwise it would have been a waste of the realistic visuals.

Going down to the performances and music; well, it's a feature film so they deserve praise/criticism on their own merits. John Williams score is ambitious and deep, but kind of 'lacks heart' in comparison with the score of the animated series where the music felt like it perfectly fitted Tintin. While he does a great job as always I feel he could have done just a little bit better. The voices however, have little fault. Jamie Bell is good as Tintin, and Andy Serkis is brilliant! A very versatile actor; although still known as a real monkey-man in his performances of Kong, and Caesar of 'Planet of the Apes' prequel, as well as the highly memorable Gollum, he does wonders with Haddock. I still prefer the original cartoon's voice of the Captain, but Serkis still does a splendid job in his role. Daniel Craig is wonderful in his voicing of Sakharine, and Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are Hilarious as the Thompsons – these guys know how to make good chemistry together.

Speaking as a fan (not a fanboy) of the Tintin books, I can tell you that the animated episodes are still better, besides the terrible Lake of Sharks. But as a CGI film, there is more than just phenomenal visuals to satisfy those that like a film to remain faithful to a wonderous series while still bringing up its own unique flairs. I haven't watched many films during the year of its release, but I can definitely say it's an impressive one and I wish it well in the Golden Globes!

Half-Life (1998) (VG)
It's nearly 2010 now, and it is still amazing!!, 16 November 2009

OK, if you are incredibly used to gameplay in most games nowadays, you may find it hard to be awed by this game. Same goes for graphics, but there is no way that the opinion of the story or the level design can ever change. That's also to say that for the time the graphics and gameplay truly amazed.

Valve has become one of my favourite developers (if not my favourite) thanks to this game and their more recent ones. Half Life is their first game so it is difficult to imagine such innovation, especially due to the fact that it is also quite old. The game never shifts from your perspective and your character, Gordon Freeman does not talk. There is also never any time skipping (except during one part when you are unconscious) and the game is very long. Single player has never been done better.

But it is perhaps the gameplay that is the most impressive thing. The first level and the second one(anomolous materials) are my favourites because in the first, you feel tension and an amazing feeling from the intro. The second is great because you have a highly interactive environment. Play with the microwave in the eating room and it will make sense what Magnusson says to you in HL2 Episode 2 before you fight the striders. Turn the lights off in a room where scientists are drawing on the board, they will be annoyed. Or play with the security switch beneath Security guard Barney's desk at the beginning of the mission and see what happens. You have an environment in this game that you can easily interact with.

The gunfights are enjoyable too. They are not easy sometimes, but they are plain fun. There is a range of weaponry you get in the game and some like throwing a dangerous but cute insect which inflicts damage on enemies and screams like crazy, are awesome features. The game features well thought-out puzzles which are not always simple, but never overly difficult. This is an old game and is quite often linear, but it is not just the design and non-repetitiveness that is amazing, but also the replay value. You will replay missions not just for sheer fun, but also to find hidden locations and how to treat allies. There is no limits to who you shoot so you could always decide how to treat a security guard or scientist. You could ask them to come along, leave them where they are, or just send them to the light. Also the game features two different endings. The amount of choice for a '98 game here is incredible.

The visuals bring an amazing, sometimes frightening atmosphere. The physics are also totally amazing as half the objects you encounter are destructible. There is no ragdoll (which is to be expected), but you can make a body explode to pieces with the crowbar or grenade if you want. Also, they never disappear so corpses aren't just sleeping ghosts that fade away eventually. The sound is also pretty good. There are some neat sound effects for weapons, explosions (and some of the gore). The music is good too. Some of it is basic in style, but fit their moments really well.

This may not be THE BEST game ever for me, but it sure is one of the best. It is exactly the thing that made modern FPS's what they are today. The AI is decent, the zombies are disturbing. It is difficult to find a flaw in this game. The sequel is also revolutionary, but it is a bit more restricted than this game and a lot different in many parts of design. Regardless, go get both of them now.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A very good movie, but people appear to be judging the holocaust just by one perspective., 26 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film tells the true story about Oskar Schindler's attempt to save Jews from extermination. It is a very good film with a well-written script, artistic directing, effective musical score and wonderful acting by the cast (especially Ralph Fiennes). I watched it in my English class and even though it was an enjoyable film, I think it is very, very overrated.

Starting with the positive side, Spielberg's directing is as good as always. The script is well done with some clever dialogue and memorable quotes. Characters are pretty good and Liam Neeson proves to be very versatile, and Ralph gives a disturbingly well done performance as the truly evil Amon Goeth. Ben Kingsley, like he usually does, brings his character to life as Itzhak Stern, Schindler's assistant. John Williams received a well-deserved Oscar for his score and the soundtrack is filled with the great music like the theme at the end of the film with the piano. The final few minutes were perfect, seeing the real life people and an obvious figure whose face you do not need to see to know who he is, standing at Schindler's grave. Spielberg has used clever artistic symbols by keeping only a couple of things in colour to help you pay attention to those things in the film. Surely, there were few flaws with most of these things.

Those are the positives, but I want to encourage you to read the ENTIRE comment so you can also see what is bad about the film. I fear the negative side I will talk about for longer. This film has several problems as well: too biased, too long, not fully accurate, and has pretty boring moments at times. I was surprised when I saw that it is among the 100 greatest films of all time, because it has flaws that I cannot overlook.

I am a full anti-nazi, but I am aware (apparently unlike some people) that not all believed in the nazi policies. Just because a film is about the holocaust, it does not mean it is a good film. The thing that angered me so is how stereotypically portrayed the Nazis and Jews were. My own country (not New Zealand, where I am) had people being sent to concentration camps yet I don't act anti-German as Spielberg sadly makes the film. Steven Spielberg of all people, should be making realistic war films which don't feature stereotypes. I know he is Jewish himself and I have no doubt about the terrible things these Jews did not need to suffer, but that is no excuse to make them look like the most innocent people in the world and German soldiers to be the most inhumane. I think Spielberg is a great man, but he clearly did not put much thought to making realistic characters in this film. Nazis may have committed awful acts, but they were not emotionless aliens.

MAJOR SPOILERS: The only part I did like was when near the end of the film, Schindler gives the soldiers the option to carry out their orders of exterminating any Jew there is before the allies arrive, or to go home as ordinary people. They choose the second idea. However, even then, the film has a very biased tone. I thought it was bad enough that the German soldiers were made to look indescribably evil, but when I watched the scene with Schindler bursts out weeping for not saving enough Jews because he did not have the money, I really thought that it was overdone. That event NEVER even happened. These whole points does not only offer a Hollywood-style look, but also glorifies Jews in a way. I mean, Jews were not the only people who suffered. Is it true that every Holocaust movie excludes other victims that were in the camps for different reasons or were from different nation, and they tell about 'Jews only' instead? This film is among the 100 greatest of all time, but there is no way it truly deserves it thanks to these reasons especially.

Plus, the film was interesting, but not interesting enough until it actually got to the violent parts and Amon Goeth. Its not that I am an action film fanatic. Spielberg is a very clever man and one of the most intelligent in making entertainment in scenes filled with nothing but dialogue. He should have been able to make dialogue sequences interesting, but some of those parts were hard for me to get into. That, and such a long movie doesn't make it as enjoyable as it should be unfortunately.

I sound like I hate this film, but I don't really. However, I cannot help but feel annoyed by the fact that there are other films which are interesting from start to finish, have just as powerful moments and message and are more realistic and not stereotypical, yet they don't get the praise that Schindler's List gets. I mean, when I heard its praise, I thought it would be a very realistic and honest film about the human mind without featuring stereotypes and favouring one culture/religion over the other. I got no such thing here. This film is good to watch if you want to learn about Schindler and a bit about the holocaust. Just don't take this film too seriously, because some stuff you will see is not accurate.

Gears of War 2 (2008) (VG)
This is a fair sequel, 4 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think you can see that judging by my rating that I don't share as much enthusiasm as for Gears of War 1, but that's not to say that Gears of War 2 is a bad game. It is actually really good and a great action game which is loads of fun to play. Nevertheless, there are some flaws that Epic Games should have looked into.

I have played some missions in the campaign, just enough to get the story. Clearly, the characters and dialogue have improved and the story itself has more depth and twists. You get to have a small sub-plot about Dom in this game. The cutscenes have improved and have a lot of depth. When Dom finds his wife, it was one of the most well-directed video game cutscenes I have ever seen. Seeing both their faces made me think that all this is real. Obviously, the story was a big improvement over the original game (and the originals story was not bad either) both emotionally and in structure.

Gameplay is very good. It has a few improvements to the first game like a chainsaw duel, execution moves, surviving while wounded by crawling, new weapons (like flamethrower) etc. Even though the improvements are there, I do not think there are as many as I hoped there would be for a sequel. It seemed more like an expansion to me. The campaign's story was good, but I don't think that most of the mission design was as good as it should have been. In co-operative duel, there has these features (chainsaw duel, execution moves) plus the environment is not safe either since in some maps, strong hailing rain will occasionally appear and if you stay outside too long you will ...well, die!! The gore has increased as well so the game is more fun (but makes it less suitable for a younger age). The most note-worthy improvement in co-operate versus mode is that you can add bots to the field so if you are a loner, you do just that to have all the fun.

The graphics have improved from the first game. This shows the capabilities of an Xbox 360 video game. The rendering and detail has made a great improvement. The blood is more colourful as in the first game, the blood was always dark, dark red. They are quite close to challenging Call of Duty 4 or Crysis graphics in terms of realistic-looking.

The music overall, is not much of an improvement over the previous game's intense songs, but the main menu theme for this game is better than for the first. All in all, Gears of War 2 is a very good game which fans of the first one will enjoy. I am just a little bit disappointed, because after playing Half Life 2, I thought that as a sequel, this would have more improvement then it does. Nevertheless, it is a great game and should still be bought even if you have the first game on an Xbox 360, just don't get it at full price.

56 out of 63 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly better than the first Ben 10, 12 June 2009

My little brother watches Ben 10 and Ben 10 Alien Force. I took a look at them myself and both are really good, but Alien Force has made a lot of improvement, I have to admit. Almost everything about Alien Force is better than Ben 10. Let me talk about it.

The characters have matured and that is actually a good thing. I often felt that the character relationship between Ben and Gwen in the original series was pretty over-done seeing how they treat each other. In this Ben 10 series, they are quite close and it actually works well. Kevin Levin was an evil brute who used his powers only for his satisfaction in the old Ben 10. Now, he is encouraged to work with them as they learn that Max Tennyson went missing on a plumber's case and they try to find him. The characters are a lot better than in the first and have far better design. The voices in this series is better than the previous as it makes the characters more unique and likable.

The stories in the episodes are much better as well. The episode's stories themselves prove that Alien Force is for older kids. The reason is that the plots may be a lot more difficult to understand and are a bit more complex. Nevertheless, just as the series and Ben himself have grown up, the targeting audience from Ben 10 has grown up as well. It is a bit less violent, but has a much darker feel due to the improvement in animation and tension and is more confusing for little kids.

This series also has better music than the original Ben 10 and more detailed fight scenes and even more unique and detailed alien designs. In Alien Force, Ben changes into totally different E.T.s when he is about to fight. Ones like Swampfire, Humoungosaur and Brainstorm all feel very original and more interesting types of aliens.

Though I was originally a fan of the first Ben 10, I have changed my mind for Ben 10 Alien Force. Ben 10 is good for kids to start off with then, and Alien Force is good for them to view when they have grown out of the original Ben 10. I will definitely say that Ben 10 Alien Force is better than the first due to its improvements.

11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A flawless adaptation of the comic books, 15 May 2009

I used to love watching this when I was young. I noticed that with some children/family shows, I hated them when I view them now because I sometimes see them as rip-offs or a way of making kids dumb (some of the playhouse Disney shows for example, and even some of the Asterix films). However, in this case, watching it again after a long time made me like it even more.

Tintin and the Lake of Sharks was a total screw-up!!! An absolute disgrace to the comics. The voices (Captain Haddock sounding like Popeye), the ridiculous music (especially when there is one part when the two kids sing an annoying song, making it a musical), the cheap animation and a number of Tintin-related factual errors like Calculus hearing badly and hearing well most of the time, the inaccurate characters ...all of it made it horrible a movie. The series has none of these flaws.

The visuals remain true to Herge's fantastic drawing style and the animation fits really well with it. The music in the series is perfect for Tintin. The humour remains the same(just as good), with a couple of clever add-ons for the Thompsons. The characters remain the same as in the comic books. The voice-cast is perfect and the voice-acting by everybody makes the characters portrayed exactly like they were in the books. The Thompsons are really hilarious and their voices were a joy to listen to, making the two detectives in the comics really come to life. My congrats to them, the voices of Tintin and Captain Haddock and the rest of the cast.

The stories remain true to the books even though any fans of the books will easily spot a few differences. I am pleased to say that they actually fit really well with the episodes, because picturing some of the edited parts being identical to these parts in the book instead of being altered, just wouldn't work. And hearing me say that the stories are reasonably true to the books clearly means that they are fantastic, matching the clever imaginations and twists that Herge came up with in his books.

A flawless adaptation is perhaps the best way to describe the series. Forget about that movie which rips off the books. If you want an enjoyable, loyal series, then pick this one as soon as you can.

Juno (2007)
4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
I think it was ridiculous., 31 January 2009

When I listen to critics commenting on how good the screenplay is, it is obvious that they were bribed. After watching this, I could not believe all the good reviews it got, especially for the screenplay. I do think Ellen Page is cute and displayed a fine performance. However, after I saw the hilarious 'Superbad' (which even had a better story), I started to like Michael Cera for his acting. In this film, he is basically portraying the same person as in the other film, so now I no longer am interested in his other movies.

Juno does feature some humour and I did laugh during some of the stuff Juno's father said, but otherwise, this is pure drama. It is not even 10% comedy. I mean, what is all the fuss if all the hanky-panky happened on a chair. The start of the movie makes it seem like this is more significant than Barak Obama becoming president. And of course, the love scene could happen anywhere else, like the couch or the bed or the table etc. Diablo Cody's script is one of the most overrated I have ever seen. Plot is okay, but the story is too predictable with some boring dialogue to deserve ANY award nomination, let alone a win. This makes Randall Wallace's Pearl harbour screenplay look Oscar-worthy. Little Miss sunshine may not have deserved its Oscar as much as Letters From iwo Jima, but it was definitely a great story unlike this.

The directing was good, but nothing genius. Despite Ellen's good performance, I found her character more annoying than listening to the overrated reviews for Juno. She is always unnecessarily sarcastic and dislikable. Her personality portrayed her as such an immature teenager that you'd think someone like her would rather have an abortion the first day she got pregnant than to adopt the baby. The film does not even have likable characters to make it better.

This film wasted a whole evening for me that I could have spent, watching something better and funnier. therefore, I strongly recommend you avoid this movie.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Most definitely the worst out of both trilogies, 28 November 2008

I saw Star Wars Episode 1 before this a long time ago. Even though it was not quite as good as the first trilogy, I did believe it received waaay too much criticism. Since a friend of mine who believes Episode 2 is the best, recommended to me this film. I then decided to give it a chance. When I first watched it that long ago, I thought it was . . . OK. Nothing, but OK. Now, when I recently saw it again, I thought it was terrible!! Now that I always give films a closer look as I have a great interest in film-making, I just began to hate it more than I might have otherwise.

Episode 3 is probably the best, but this certainly isn't. Ewan McGregor does a decent job at portraying Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is not as good as Alec Guiness, but I give him some credit as he manages to get Alec Guiness' character reasonably accurate. I was disappointed in Natalie Portman and Sam Jackson for wasting their time on this pointless sequel. Hayden Christensen . . . I don't want to mention in him in relation to Star Wars, ever again. I would be surprised if he did not win his razzie award. There are one or two scenes when he shows some decency as Anakin, but other times, it makes my eyes bleed to watch his character. Characters have personalities, you know. He obviously does not know what the word "personality" means. I wish George Lucas chose a person who did.

The screenplay is ridiculous. Add little action, boring sequences, simple story and awful dialogue. There is not a worse mixture of elements to a story. George Lucas may be the brainiac who created Star Wars, but he obviously does not think about how a character's dialogue should sound like. A character! We do not want robots that have same sort of speeches.

Special effects and music, I can praise. John Williams has never disappointed me and he will never be forgotten (I mean, look at his list of Oscar nominations!!). The music at the ending was perfect for Star Wars. The special effects were good, but what can you expect from CGI nowadays. It is just films like Transformers, Iron Man etc, that impress me even with computer generating.

The scenes were not well-visualised (in other words, the directing was poor). I was sad with George Lucas that his camera angles were not that well-conceived. Nothing was spectacular to watch. even the fight sequences were not that interesting. You can say I would rather watch my plants grow then view the action sequences.

All in all, the film was awful. I would not recommend it to any Star Wars fan. Maybe not recommend it to anyone at all! I would rather call this "Star Wars, Episode 2: Attack of the Groans!" (as it was called on the razzie awards in IMDb).

Littleman (2006)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
What a waste of time!, 8 October 2008

This is exactly the reason why many people remain homeless . . . because stupid producers pay their money to make awful films like this instead of donating if they can bother!

This film is even worse than white chicks! Little Man has a lame excuse for posing a character midget as a baby. Story is awful considering it was written by six people. The idea still wouldn't be too bad though, if it was original and not a rip-off of a cartoon episode. it has funny moments but some of them are way over-done and some are just stupid. The acting was very, very bad. So was the directing. Anyone involved in this film should be ashamed of themselves. it is racist and very offensive to midgets. I mean, instead of showing sympathy to them, the film-makers make fun of them! It really disgusts me how they do it. They see midgets being just like babies. And for a character who is a midget, pretending to be an abandoned baby just to get a diamond from a certain family. That is its lame excuse for showing something like that. It just was not worth it. Don't watch this film. It is a huge waste of time and money.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Another rip-off! Will they stop making sequels?!, 8 October 2008

This film is as awful as Little Mermaid 2. Maybe it is not so much like a remake, but the songs in this one are nothing like the first one's. The story in this one is bad too. So what if there are a few funny moments? Can that forgive the film. Hell, the animation in this one is even worse than in the original. The characters have little detail to their illustrations. I am very, very disappointed in Haley Joel Osment and John Goodman for working with this film. Two of the new characters, Shanti and Rajaan who are Mowgli's friends are very annoying. Shanti starts out at the end of the first as this beautiful girl whom Mowgli will share the rest of his life with. Then she becomes so annoying that you actually hate her! The voice acting is "okay". I expected more from the people though. A very insulting thing abut this sequel is that even though they sing the bare necessities. Haley Osment and John Goodman clearly have a gift in music, but as Mowgil and Baloo, they sing off tune in this song.

This sad sequel is just another rip-off of a great film based on a well-known novel. This film should just be ignored.

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