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I don't believe in one line summaries...
12 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
So let me try to explain my feelings about this movie.

(Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.)

The Good: With regards to the tangible changes to the movie (the new geography of Hogwarts, the costumes, and the special effects) this movie receives excellent marks. I heartily agree with the assumption that since Harry, Ron, and Hermione are growing up, then so must their movies. The new clock tower to the campus is spooky, and will most certainly help in future films. The costumes are not as drastic as I had thought, and I must say that both the Dementors and Buckbeak the Hippogriff looked very good on screen, and are pretty much what I had envisioned from the books. While some have complained about the Dementors' "soul-sucking" effect, I found it a very good visual representation from the books. It was also nice to finally see the Marauder's Map on screen, and it was close to what I had envisioned from the books.

The Bad: Sadly, it is with the deletions of material from the book to the movie that I must give failing marks. While the film focuses mainly on the issue of Harry's maturity into adolescence, I felt that at some points, perhaps TOO MUCH focus was on Harry. Also, some much needed exposition was necessary to answer various questions. For example: Black, Lupin, Pettigrew, Harry's parents (James and Lily) and Snape all knew each other because they were classmates at Hogwarts. The problem is that only those who had read the books beforehand would know that, and truly appreciate the scene in the Shrieking Shack, where Pettigrew is revealed. Another problem for changing something mid-way: Since these movies are supposed to complement each other, then the changes made here will have to be carried on in future films. And with regards to the argument about eliminating the back story of the Marauder's map, with the intent of revealing that information in future movies... Well, what if it isn't?

A personal comment: I must say that the "Lord of the Rings" movies did a much better job of explaining character relationships for fans and non-fans of the books they were based on.

Overall: Despite its inherent flaws, I must say that I found this movie entertaining. This film was made with fans of the books in mind, and it would be remiss of me not to stress that you should read the book beforehand to appreciate what you will see on screen.
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Great game, but...
10 June 2004
...this game is a bit like Everquest, in that you see the same races (elf, human, dwarf, dark elf). Also, the main focus of the game is Player vs. Player, which may make some users give this title a wide berth, but truth be told: In the past month I've played this game, I have only been attacked a handful of times, and mostly in my first few hours of play. Of course, the rule of "strength in numbers" does apply, and I have seen groups of players clash over castles and territory for bragging rights.

The graphics in this game are slightly on par with Star Wars: Galaxies and the original Everquest, but the character creation engine leaves much to be desired, with a limited selection of faces and costumes, which does make it hard to find originality. Perhaps something to be looked at for a future update?

All in all, a mixed bag, but something to kill time with.

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Gainax does it again!
17 November 2003
*Warning: Spoilers Within*

When I first read about, "His and Her Circumstances" in an issue of the Honolulu Star Bulletin, I was intrigued that this product came from Gainax, the creators of another of my favorite anime series, "Neon Genesis Evangelion". In addition, I had heard that it was also directed by none other than Hideaki Anno, whose work on "Evangelion" I had also respected.

At the same time, I began to wonder: What would happen when Gainax/Anno teamed up to stage a romantic comedy? Having already created a massive following of both supporters and detractors from "Evangelion", what fiendish mayhem would this duo come up with?

Thankfully, upon viewing 21 episodes of this series on DVD (I am still waiting to purchase the last DVD), I can say with a great deal of confidence that Gainax did not disappoint. While some say that they only stayed true to the core elements of Romantic Comedy, the great strength of this series in in the character development. After the first six episodes, I began to care for the lead couple, and hoped that in the end (which I still haven't seen), their relationship will prevail. Also, I noticed that in retrospect, the story contains rarely any filler episodes (despite an episode summarizing the events of the series up to that point). The small switches in focus (the Tsubasa storyline, for example) are justified, and only add to the overall enjoyment of the series.

My only pet peeve is the extreme amount of on screen text, with does seem distracting if you're not used to it. But you should be relieved to note that the text either explains certain aspects of the characters or accentuates what it seen on screen. In essence, it's like reading a moving comic book (which is what Anime is, to some extent.)

I encourage everyone with a love for Anime to go out and try out this series. You won't be disappointed!
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The New Guy (2002)
Harmless, pointless fun
8 November 2003
I bought my sister the DVD version of the movie while cruising through Border's one weekend afternoon,and I remember having second-thoughts immediately after.

I refused to be in the same room while the movie was playing. After a few days though, I decided to see the movie for myself. After all, my mom saw the movie and said it was funny. It can't be all that bad if my own mom says so, right?

As always, the old adage holds: "Mother knows best." This movie, while full of moments I've seen from many, many teen movies over the years, does come up with its share of funny moments.

I'll say this: Eddie Griffin saves this movie. His scenes are undeniably funny. I remember seeing, "Undercover Brother" and remember being thoroughly entertained (although the hot chicks did help). This movie has its hot chick as well: The undeniably sexy Eliza Dushku, and her two friends (whose names escape me at the moment.)

My heading says it all. Enjoy for what it is!
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Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003–2005)
Impressive. Most impressive.
7 November 2003
"Like fire across the galaxy, The Clone Wars spread." - Yoda

Based on what I saw in the first installment, this series has promise after all.

Ever since I heard earlier this year that this series was in production, I was worried. When I heard that this series would be broken up and released in 3-minute installments, I was even more worried. As a Star Wars fan, and slightly disappointed by Episode II, I did not have the faith that this series would deliver. Fallen to the dark side did I. Wrong was I proven.

This series looks beautiful to watch. Tartakovsky and Co. did an excellent job of portraying the rich tapestry of the Star Wars universe in animated form. Of all aspects of this production, I was most impressed by both the voice talent and character design.

I look forward to seeing the rest of this "micro-series" unfold. Perhaps, in the future, Lucasfilm should consider making this into a full-length animated series. I know I want to see it.

**** out of ****

Long live Star Wars!
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The Wire (2002–2008)
A great series!
1 July 2003
I first got hooked on, "The Wire" midway through the first season, and have been following it faithfully ever since. This series, in my opinion, puts "Six Feet Under", "The Sopranos", and "Sex And The City" to shame. With a great story, intriguing characters, and some of THE BEST DIALOGUE that I have heard on T.V. yet, this series will keep me entertained in the many weeks to come!

However, some of you may believe that this series is too slow. A word form the wiser: What do you think REAL police work in a REAL city is like? Don't expect the case to be solved in one hour's time, like so many other T.V. shows tend to do. This show is for an INTELLIGENT audience, and you must pay attention. Set in Baltimore, the series analyzes the ins and outs of both the police and the criminals in realistic form. It also comments on the massive bureaucracy and political forces involved in putting together an investigation, and also the attempts of a few individuals who are torn between the whole truth and the public truth. See it now!
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