Avatar is not the game changer that is hyped up to be

Avatar is the first movie I've watched in 3D. The hype is that it is made to be watched in 3D, and the 3D is not some afterthought tacked onto the movie like some other 3D movies. But being this is my first 3D experience, I'm unable compare Avatar's 3D to other movie's 3D, but from what I've seen, it gives a different experience, but not really essential. I have to admit that 3D does add something to the experience of watching the movie, but what it adds just isn't enough for it to be something that will change how people go watch a movie altogether.

Apart from adding something, 3D also takes something away. If you're not used to wearing glasses, then wearing those 3D glasses while watching the movie isn't really "comfortable". You never really forget that you're wearing glasses. The feel of it on your face, and the glass itself gives you a feeling like you're watching a movie through a window. And wearing glasses also makes the movie darker than normal. Some dark scenes become just too dark to see what's happening.

But the CG in Avatar really does push the boundaries of what has been done before. What they've really nailed is the facial expressions on virtual characters. That, they got it almost perfect. But as for the human/humanoid body movement, they've got most of it right, but some if it just isn't that good. But one GC element that they made "their's" bio-luminescence. Nobody has done it, and if they have it was never as good as what is seen here. The CG of mechanical things like vehicles isn't the best of what we've seen. Transformers 2 did a way better job of it than Avatar. And the vehicle and mech designs in the movie seems as if James Cameron is stuck in the 90s. They seem dated.

In the end, what makes a movie isn't the CG, it's the story. And the story in Avatar isn't a very original story. It is about humans trying to exploit the riches of a foreign planet at the expense of the aliens living there. Sure James Cameron did a great job of fleshing out the environment of Pandora, the alien planet, but as to what takes place on the planet, he could've done better. The dialog is very simplistic, but it's not as Star Wars prequel bad. There's nothing "edgy" to the story. It's very straight forward ,feels like it's a story made for a kids movie. There isn't any plot twists that turn things upside down.

So it has beautiful CG, but has a mediocre story. It still can be enjoyable if it has great action. But I'm sad to say that the action does not redeem the movie to enter the "enjoyably fun" category. The final battle is a big one, but I never really got into it. Maybe it's the 3D glasses, maybe it's just the direction, but it didn't work for me. What makes an action scene work is choreography and damage. As for the choreography, there isn't really much opportunity to implement cool choreography in the action scenes as most of the action is organism vs. machine. It's organism vs. orgasm is where choreography can shine. And as for damage, in their effort to keep the movie PG, there is very minimal blood splatter, and the vehicular damage wasn't very dramatic.

So there it is. Avatar. A movie that wanted to change things, and change may very well come if enough studios jump on the bandwagon, but if seen as what it is, a movie, it's just mediocre.

Transformers 2 Is Way Better Than The First One

I hated the first Transformers movie. The reason I hated it was because I had very high expectations for the movie. Being a fan of the cartoon series, I expected it to have a serious tone and a coherent story. The movie could have been so much better in the right hands. I couldn't understand at that time why anyone would enjoy the shitty juvenile excuse of a movie. After experiencing the first movie, naturally I decided not to spend money to see the sequel and waited the for dvdrip to be released. The first movie also lowered my expectations for the sequel, and the all round bad reviews that the second movie got when it was released in theaters didn't help either.

Yesterday, the dvdrip was released and after watching it, I am surprised to say that I enjoyed the movie a lot. The silly jokes somehow worked for me this time, and the nonsensical story actually made sense to me. Now it's the opposite, I can't understand why people hate this movie so passionately. It's not the greatest movie of all time, but it's a summer action movie that delivers what it advertises.

If you are going to watch this movie, make sure you watch it in HD. One regret I had while watching the movie was not waiting for the HD version of it to be available. I did watch the 3 cd version of the dvdrip, but it just wasn't comparable to the 720p version I saw from the sample I downloaded. This movie is made to be watched in HD. The action and and special effects are what I enjoyed most about the movie and it needs to be seen in all their HD glory. They have toned down the use of the "shaky cam" technique compared to the first movie and as a result, the action was more discernable this time. You actually know who's fighting whom most of the time and which limb they are using to beat each other up. Plus, the use of slow motion for "cool" action set pieces helped too.

My advice for anybody that's going to watch Transformers 2 is to turn off your brain, get in mood to see lots of explosions and huge robots fighting each other with some juvenile jokes sprinkled in between. You'll be rewarded with two and a half hours of pure unadulterated fun.

District 9 Is The Best Movie Of 2009 So Far

Saying this movie is good would be an understatement. The movie has it all, a very intriguing deep plot, good acting and great action. If I was to find a flaw in this movie, it would be the shaky cam technique employed at the beginning part of the movie and also at the very end. The shaky parts are supposedly documentary clips telling the story of Wikus, the protagonist. But rather than add to the feel of it, the shakiness is just nauseating. They just over did it. But after a while into the movie, they got out of the documentary mode and things couldn't be any better. And the special effects in his movie will have you believing that these aliens are real.

It's better that you go into this movie not knowing the deeper plot as a big part of the movie's entertainment value for me is the parts when things look hopeless and you really feel the despair and hopelessness of the characters. The only thing you need to know going in is that there are aliens stranded on earth and they are put in slums.

This is one of those movies that teases you that it's nearing its end, but inside, you go "No, I want more. It can't end like this", and the movie hears you and gives you more. And it's primed for a great sequel. The potential that this franchise has is just enormous. The way they can expand the story is just limitless and all of them can add to it's lore. This is a classic franchise in the making.

Ovrebo, not Iniesta who stopped Chelsea from reaching Champions League final

Tom Ovrebo

Don't be fooled. It wasn't Iniesta who prevented Chelsea from winning the match against Barcelona. It was Tom Ovrebo, the *&#@* referee. Personally, before the match I thought Barcelona was going to win it. I believed the hype that newspapers were spreading that Barcelano were playing football from the gods. I started watching the match as a neutral. I didn't actually mind who won. But as the game progressed, I was impressed how Chelsea held back Barca and actually had the better chances of the match. And they would have been at least 2 goals up if not for Ovrebo. Ovrebo's lack of courage to award Chelsea the penalty(s?) cost Chelsea the match when Iniesta scored in added time. I went into the game as a neutral, but by the end of the game, I felt the rage Chelsea fans would've felt towards the referee for denying Chelsea the match. This Tom Ovrebo guy should stick to being a psychologist and never referee a football match ever again.

SRWare Iron - Chrome Without The Google Updater Crap

I installed Google Chrome once way back when it was brand new back in September 2008. It was impressively fast, and the thing I liked best about it was the address bar. Once you start typing in the the address bar, the browser searches your bookmarks and history for what you're looking for and almost every time, the browser gets it right. Then you just hit "Enter", and off you go to where you want. Though Firefox 3 has a similar feature, but with Firefox 3, you can't just hit "Enter" after the search because the results are shown below the address bar in a dropdown menu. So you have to either hit the down arrow key or the "Tab" key once before hitting "Enter" to go to the first result of the search. With Chrome, the first result of the search is shown inside the address bar itself, that's why you can just hit "Enter" right away.

But Chrome's primary weakness was it's lack of extensions. As a power user, you need extensions to make the browser you're using and the page you're visiting to work for you the way you want to. So after using it for a few days, I went back to Firefox. From my short experience with Chrome, the one thing I hated most about it was the fact that it installed Google Updater on my computer and they made it very hard to get rid of it. It's designed to always run in the background and check for updates for any of Google desktop applications you have on your machine. I don't like softwares that loads on startup and check for updates without my explicit permission. And this reason alone have made me stay away from Chrome, that is, until recently.

I was browsing through reddit and saw a story that says google has made the Google Updater open source. I thought if this is the case, then there might be a way to install Chrome without intsalling Google Updater. So I put forth the question in the comments section and got a reply linking me to a Lifehacker story on how to do just that, but only it didn't. The story shows where to get the standalone version of Chrome that installs Chrome directly. You see, if you download Chrome from its official site, you are actually downloading Google Updater, and then the Google Updater downloads Chrome and installs it. However, the Lifehacker story fails to mention that even if you install the standalone version, googleupdater.exe still gets installed on your system as it comes as part of Chrome itself. The purpose of the Lifehacker story is more about helping users with non-existent or slow internet connection get Chrome installed on their machine. The standalone version can be installed on any machine without requiring an internet connection whereas if you downloaded it from the official site, you're actually downloading Google Updater and if you run that thing you downloaded an a machine that has no internet connection, then you won't be able to get Chrome installed.

So, for those who want to install Chrome without having googleupdater.exe installed with it, the Lifehacker story was completely useless, or so it seems. This is where Web2.0 comes and saves the day. Browsing through the comments for the Lifehacker story, a reader commented that there's this thing called SRWare Iron. As it turns out, SRWare Iron is exactly what I've been looking for-a stripped down version of Chrome without any of the Google Updater crap.

I tried it out and it works as advertised. I'm not really going to use it as my primary browser. I'm working on a new project right now and I need to see the whether the web-based project works on the WebKit engine. My choices were either Safari or Chrome, but instead I found something better - Iron.

Slumdog Millionaire Is A Masterpiece

The latest product from Danny Boyle, the guy the brought us Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Sunshine but Slumdog Millionaire must be his best work yet.

It's not one of those movies that gets critical acclaim for it's great acting, or eyeball exploding special effects, or any of those award show categories. It is great because it does what movies do, and does it in an almost perfect way. It takes the everyday Joe's fantasy, put it in film form, and make anybody who watches it live the fantasy, even if just for 2 hours.

This movie is for the everyday Joe, what Twilight is for unpopular school girls, and Danny Boyle does it without the involvement of sparkling vampires.

Right from the get go the movie pulls you in. It's not one of those slow burning movies. The movie tells about this kid from the slums of India, who goes on the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire gameshow and reaches the final question. They ran out of time before the final question is asked so they have to continue the next day. The police find it hard to believe a slum kid can answer all those questions so they interrogate him and he tells how he got to know the answers. In telling it, he practically tells his life story. And he has been through a lot. However, it is rather convenient that in the movie, the events that lead to him knowing the answers to each question in the gameshow is in the same chronological order to the chronology of the questions that are asked on the gameshow. But hey, it's a movie and I'm not complaining. So it shows how he knows the answer to the first question from events from he was a kid, up to the answer to the penultimate question from events just moments before being asked the question.

One of the things that sets this movie apart is how it shows India. This ain't your Bollywood India. It's the slums and how people go about their lives living there. Some scenes are harsh but at the same time, this is not one of those dark and gritty movies either. It actually is a feel good movie. Sure there are some hard reality shown in the movie but overall the movie is overwhelmingly feel good. It's so feel good that you can consider it to be Bollywood in a way. And that's why this movie is almost perfect. Everything was going perfectly in the movie, but how they wrapped it all up in the end seemed too Bollywood for me. Sure it's feel good, and I admit I did feel good, but I prefer my feel good endings have a bit more believability.

But why am I arguing about believability when I'm an everyday Joe and I had an excellent 2 hours. Plus, the music is great too. A.R. Rahman.'Nuff said.

The Love Guru Is Surprisingly Funny

Even before the movie was released, this movie had bad reviews. I myself thought this was going to be a shitty movie. From the trailer, it looks as if Mike Myers is recycling his old jokes for this movie. The last fairly good movie of his was the first Austin Powers, and every movie after that was terrible. The first Mike Myers movie i saw was Wayne's World 2, and loved it.

So after The Love Guru was released, the critics ripped the movie apart, saying Mike Myers is a "has been" and has lost his magical touch. It currently has a 3.2 rating on IMDB. They complained that he keeps doing the some jokes over and over again in his movies, and they have a point there.

Then yesterday, a screener of the movie appeared on the internets, and being that there has not been any good movies released on the net lately, I figured I'd give this one a shot. So after watching it, I was surprised at how funny I found it. Sure he rehashes some of his old jokes, but the rehashes worked well in the movie. These jokes worked better in this movie than in his Austin Powers movies. In his Austin Powers movies, he kinds of over-do it with his jokes, it's like "yeah, I get the joke already", but he keeps banging the joke on your head until it loses its funniness. It seems that he's learned from his mistakes and the jokes are done very well in this movie. He has learned when to stop.

Plus, compared to his previous movies, this movie is heavier on word-play jokes than physical jokes. And I like it like that.