Yet Another Review

>> Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2
Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence.

It was utterly hilarious. And when it wasn't  hilarious, it was just simply splendid. Po was still fun, lovable and awesome all at once as he raced to save Kung Fu and discover his past.
It was more of an emotional journey than anything. When Po wasn't cracking side-splitting jokes he was questioning who he was and where he came from. While watching the first movie, I had always wondered why Po was the only panda in the film. The second movie explains that, and in a very clever and satisfying way, too.
Also, when I first learned that the villain was going to be a peacock of all things, I was skeptical. But Lord Shen has to be one of the most creepiest animated villains out there.
My favorite parts of the movie included the flashbacks with Po as a baby. While I'm not much for cute, I seriously had to desist from squealing aloud at the sight.
The heart of the story was Po having to find inner peace in himself, which made up for a very cool scene. And the moral was excellent: "Your past doesn't make who you are. You make who you are."

Granted, the plot was a little shaky in some areas, but that was it.
Was it as good as the first movie?
But was it a good sequel?
I'd recommend seeing this one as soon as possible.

Favorite Line:
Po: I just found out that my dad isn't really my dad.
Tigress: The goose...Well, that must have come as quite a shock to you.

Verdict: Go see it!
Grey Travel Rating: 4/5
Animation: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Acting: 4/5
Objectionable Content: None.


The Two Towers Quotes II

>> Monday, May 30, 2011

Picture by Alan Lee
'I say, Theoden King: shall we have peace and friendship, you and I? It is ours to command.'
'We will have peace,' said Theoden at last thickly and with an effort. Several of the Riders cried out gladly. Théoden held up his hand. ‘Yes, we will have peace,’ he said, now in a clear voice, ‘we will have peace, when you and all your works have perished – and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men’s hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! Even if your war on me was just – as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired – even so, what will you say of your torches in the Westfold and the children that lie dead there? And they hewed Háma’s body before the gates of the Hornburg, after he was dead. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc.'

At last the wizard passed into a song of which the hobbit caught the words: a few lines became clear to his ears through the rushing of the wind: Tall ships and tall kings/Three times three/What brought they from the foundered land/Over the flowing sea?/Seven stars and seven stones/And one white tree.

So sleek, so fair!/What a joy to meet!/We only wish/to catch a fish,/so juicy-sweet!

All hobbits, of course, can cook, for they begin to learn the art before their letters (which many never reach); but Sam was a good cook, even by hobbit reckoning, and he had done a good deal of the camp-cooking on their travels, when there was a chance.

'Nay! Not Elves,' said the fourth, the tallest, and as it appeared the chief among them. 'Elves do not walk in Ithilien in these days. And Elves are wondrous fair to look upon, or so 'tis said.'
'Meaning we're not, I take you,' said Sam.

Kings made tombs more splendid than houses of the living, and counted old names in the rolls of their descent dearer than the names of sons.

'Hold up, Mr. Frodo!' muttered Sam in Frodo's ear. 'Come back! Not that way. Gollum says not, and for once I agree with him.'

'Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We're in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring! " And they'll say: "Yes, that's one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave. wasn't he, dad?" "Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that's saying a lot."'

'Sneaking, sneaking!' he hissed. 'Hobbits always so polite, yes. O nice Hobbits! Sméagol brings them up secret ways that nobody else could find. Tired he is, thirsty he is, yes thirsty; and he guides them and he searches for paths, and they say sneak, sneak. Very nice friends, O yes my precious, very nice.'
Sam felt a bit remorseful, though not more trustful. 'Sorry.' he said. 'I'm sorry, but you startled me out of my sleep. And I shouldn't have been sleeping, and that made me a bit sharp. But Mr. Frodo. he's that tired, I asked him to have a wink; and well, that's how it is. Sorry. But where have you been to? '
`Sneaking,' said Gollum, and the green glint did not leave his eyes.
'Frodo, Mr. Frodo!' he called. 'Don't leave me here alone! It's your Sam calling. Don't go where I can't follow! Wake up, Mr. Frodo!'



>> Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I was lucky enough to be the first person to check out The Rogue Crew from my local library. I read it all day with hardly a pause. It was a worthy end to the Redwall series. I just wish it wasn't the end.

Every time Mr. Jacques explained what "Dibbuns", "Guosim", and  "Dab" meant, I felt myself tearing up. Because I've known what they are for years, ever since I discovered the series. And it was the last time he'd explain it to me. Call me emotional, but it felt like losing a friend.
But despite the sorrow associated with it, The Rogue Crew was a wonderful read, with every ingredient that made Redwall great. And there were nods to other books in the series as well.
I don't know, but it almost seemed as if Brian Jacques knew this would be the last book.

The poems were catchier than ever, the food as mouthwatering, the characters as memorable. The end battle was as amazing as all the others, but instead of going out without a bang it mostly just left me quietly satisfied.
I hesitated to read the final page. Redwall had been in my life for so long. But I finally read it, turned the page, and closed the book.

All in all, a pretty bittersweet ending.

"Is the tale finished? Oh, rats! I wanted it to go on an' on an' jolly well on f'rever..."
-Outcast of Redwall, Brian Jacques


Jack is Back

>> Friday, May 20, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo.

For all of you worrying about whether or not On Stranger Tides is a worthy sequel, don't.
Pirates 4 is awesome.

It's got a different feel to it than the other movies, but it's still pure Pirates. The plot twists were incredible and Jack Sparrow was as witty as ever. The beginning was a little choppy, however, but once the characters got to sea it was smooth sailing from then on out. (Haha, get it? Smooth sailing? Oh, er, never mind.)
My favorite part of the movie was surprisingly not Jack, but Philip. It was nice to see a character with morals and courage admidst the rest of the roguish scoundrels the cast had to offer. I fact, I'd say he was one of the best parts of the movie. And besides, for most of the movie Jack was hanging out with Penelope Cruz, who irked me. And the good thing is Barbossa became his old self as the story progressed.
And Blackbeard! He was such a ruthless, despicable villain, as villains should be.

I really enjoyed the new takes on old sailor legends and trinkets, such as the ships in bottles and the mermaids, who were extremely well-done. I still don't get the voodoo doll, though.
The special effects were trippier than usual (that's a good thing) and did I mention the plot twists? Also, the end battle was thrilling.
All in all, a ripping good adventure on the high seas. I simply can't wait to see it again. But mostly that's because of Philip and the action scenes.

Favorite Line: "If you had a sister and a dog, I'd choose the dog."

Verdict: Go see it!
Grey Travel Rating: 4/5
Special Effects: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Acting: 4/5
Objectionable Content: Quite a few references. The mermaids are unclothed but nothing is shown. Uses of the h-word, d-word, and ba-word.


Escape from Luxury

>> Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Audi Super Bowl ad was so deep. In fact, it was almost symbolic. And that's not something you can say about most commercials.
Not to mention, it's absolutely hilarious.


The Two Towers Quotes Part 1

>> Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Picture by Alan Lee
'We may get news from them.'
'Or spears,' said Gimli.

Éomer's eyes blazed, and the Men of Rohan murmured angrily, and closed in, advancing their spears. 'I would cut off your head, beard and all, Master Dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground,' said Éomer.
'He stands not alone,' said Legolas, bending his bow and fitting an arrow with hands that moved quicker than sight. 'You would die before your stroke fell.'

'I don't think you will find it that way,' he whispered. 'It isn't easy to find.'
'Find it?' said Grishnákh: his fingers stopped crawling and gripped Pippin's shoulder. 'Find what? What are you talking about, little one?' For a moment Pippin was silent. Then suddenly in the darkness he made a noise in his throat: gollum, gollum. 'Nothing, my precious,' he added.

'You'll wish there was more you could tell to satisfy the Questioner, indeed you will: quite soon. We shan't hurry the inquiry.'

To Isengard! Though Isengard be ringed and barred with doors of stone;/Though Isengard be stong and hard, as cold as stone and bare as bone,/We go, we go, we go to war, to hew the stone and break the door;/For bole and bough are burning now, the furnace roars - we go to war!/To land of gloom with tramp of doom, with roll of drum, we come, we come;/To Isengard with doom we come!/With doom we come, with doom we come!

'He resolved to go to Mordor alone, and he set out: that is all that I can say.'
'Not alone,' said Legolas. 'We think that Sam went with him.'
'Did he!' said Gandalf, and there was a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face. 'Did he indeed? It is news to me, yet does not surprise me. Good! Very good!'

'I thought Fangorn was dangerous.
'Dangerous!' cried Gandalf. 'And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Glóin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion.'

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?/Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?/Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?/Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?/They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;/The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.

'Truly,' said Aragorn. 'And I would do as the master of the house bade me, were this only a woodman's cot, if I bore any sword but Andúril.'
'Whatever its name may be,' said Háma, 'here you shall lay it, if you would not fight alone against all the men in Edoras.'
'Not alone!' said Gimli, fingering the blade of his axe, and looking darkly up at the guard, as if he were a young tree that Gimli had a mean to fell. 'Not alone!'

The guard still hesitated. 'Your staff,' he said to Gandalf. 'Forgive me, but that too must be left at the doors.'
'Foolishness!' said Gandalf. 'Prudence is one thing, but discourtesy is another. I am old. If I may not lean on my stick as I go, then I will sit out here, until it pleases Théoden to hobble out himself to speak with me.'
Aragorn laughed.


Ravens and Writing Desks

>> Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

According to history, Lewis Carrol's answer was "they are nevar turned the wrong way front". A writing desk is never used backwards, and "nevar" is "raven" backwards. But his brilliant editors thought it was a typo and changed it to "never", thus ruining the riddle.

But readers have posed their own answers:
"Because you can not ride either like a bicycle."
"Because they both come with inky quills."
"Because there is a B in both and an N in neither."

But my favorite, and by far the best answer is
"Because Edgar Allan Poe wrote on both."

And that is why a raven is like a writing desk.


I Am An Otter

You're an otter, mate! Another good friend of Redwall, you are a natural swimmer and a deadly fighter especially with a long bow or javellin. Camp Willow is your home, just as Redwall is your second home. You have a good heart and a strong sense of loyalty. You absolutely love Shrimp and Hotroot soup, living by the motto "Ain't nothing 'otter for an Otter!".

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