Archive for the ‘review’ Category

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Pirates of Dark Water (A Review)

May 12, 2008

Pirates of Dark Water
Noi-jii-tat!!*
I just watched all 21 episodes of Pirates of Dark Water (PODW). The series was released on 1991 but despite running until 1993 it was never finished. Budget constraints and the crew’s inability to meet air dates eventually led to its cancellation. Its cancellation, however, raised up a generation of disappointed viewers: myself included.
Despite the typical theme of a prince completing his father’s unfinished quest, PODW was true to entailing a sense of adventure and danger typical of its timeline. Those themes are a far cry from the sissy shows children are exposed today. I wonder what kind of adults children who love Dora the Explorer and Blue’s Clues would become in a few decades from now. Personally, I think it’s a good thing anime shows are in the air. They, at least, kept the same flame of heroism that was brought by shows such as G.I. Joe, Silverhawk, Thundercats, and their like.
PODW had aspects that were more modern compared to its peers. Its artwork featured grotesque images that can even give nightmares to children born in the 2000s. Dark water, a malevolent and almost sentient liquid swallows beings, ships, and even islands. The Maelstrom, a giant ship made of giant bones, swallows the innocent and the guilty alike. Monster, and I do mean monster-looking villains chase our heroes across the seas. Weird technology that could have only developed in a land-poor world are displayed in all its glory.
Yet for all its modern characteristics, PODW would still not fit in this age of political correctness. I can imagine liberal soccer moms shout in horror as they hear the words, “I will kill you, and feed you to the Constricus piece by piece,” instead of the more modern, “I will destroy you.” What’s more, I can imagine them faint at women being called “wenches” here. It would take a major dialect shift should the missing episodes be created in this age.
Unlike my counterparts who still clamor for the release of the missing episodes, I have accepted that they will never be released anytime in the near future. Its original producer, the Hana-Barbera company, has been completely absorbed by the Warner Bros. Animation, and I don’t think Warner Bros. Animation would want to patch up the loose ends of this “classic” cartoon. Yet, this doesn’t mean that I have renounced my devotion to the PODW. That show still beats in my heart even as I repeat the Pirates of Dark Water motto:
ALWAYS THE QUEST!

*A swear word derived from the show. It has an uncertain meaning.

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Wanted: Delfin Justiniano “DJ” Montano

April 10, 2008

If you see him, please tell him Brian Gorrel wants his money back.
Brian, btw, is DJ’s ex. He is accusing DJ of stealing his $70,000. In fact, his blog is dedicated to that end.
That said blog has also garnered 2,000,000 views in just about a month of being put in operation, and it’s not because of his writing style. You would have to go the site for you to know what I mean. Writing about Delfin, IMO, is the main reason for his success. It’s a typical lover-gets-swindled-story that wouldn’t elicit more than a second of pity if it hadn’t had a more tangible flavor to it.
What’s different about his case is that some members of Philippine high society get to be included in the fray. They are portrayed as hedonistic, power hungry, apathetic lowlifes among whom are those who are not even rich (Delfin included in this category), but who all leach the benefits that all Filipinos should get. He even accuses some of them of murder and assassinations. Apparently, they are not amused. Brian is accusing them of instigating media, the Philippine legal process, and even Google to get him to shut up. Btw, he also claims that Google may close his site down because of this.
He, however, has made it clear that he will close his blog if Delfin pays him back. So you better check out his site soon. Either, Google pushes him down or Delfin gets a change of heart and finances and decide to pay him back, and his blog is closed down; and you wouldn’t have a first hand look at what the fuss is all about.

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Fitna (A Review)

March 30, 2008

While watching Fitna, my first thought was, “I could make such a film.” It was so simple. I would use Movie Maker, Ulead Video Editor, Photoshop, a sound editor, and some Youtube clips; and I could even make a better one.
Nevertheless, after watching it, I thought, “I could never make such a film.” I do not want to lose all freedom in the name of protection and be under the same maximum security as Geert Wilders, author of this controversial film, is under! I also would have to watch clips of actual beheadings, suicide bombings, honor killings, and executions. I don’t have the stomach for such violence. In fact, I think it is easier for the world to forget 9/11, the London train bombings, and the violence that was sparked by the Norwegian cartoons of Mohammad, than to do something about it. Geert Wilders, author of this controversial movie, is one brave man in airing what he believes to be a solution to the crisis brought about by radical Islam.
Although I do not agree with Geert’s proposition to ban the Koran as a prescription to end terrorism, I still support his decision in airing his beliefs. I believe that one’s freedom of speech is a basic human right, and its practice should not capitulate to opinions opposed to it. Those who support the Koran and those who do not support it have the same rights, and none should kill the other for not agreeing with another.
And so I appeal to everyone who has watched, will watch, is watching, and who is never watching the movie, to take the movie with a grain of salt.
To those who agree with it: please do not further incite violence. Innocent lives are at stake.
To those are offended by it: please do not commit violence. Prove that you follow the way of peace as you claim. By doing exactly what Geert is accusing you of, proves to the world that he is right in his opinion of you.

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Theme Hospital (A Review)

March 29, 2008

You think you have what it takes to become a hospital administrator?
Then try your skills with Theme Hospital, Bullfrog’s best game ever. Deal with cocky doctors, docile nurses, and the not-so-handy-handymen. They could get tired, and this obviously would hassle you and your patients. Build diagnostic rooms, treatment rooms, and rooms for more personal use. Finally, don’t forget to manage your finances. Bankruptcy is the sure way to losing!
Patients with all kinds of complaints are your main source of income so take good care of them. They could die from lousy treatment, or leave your hospital in disgust at your method of running. So make sure you get a Slicer to hack away the extra tongue growth from speaking too much about soap operas. Employ at least two surgeons to repair Broken Hearts, and remove Kidney Beans and Spare Ribs. Hire a nurse and she’ll give them medicines to cure the Uncommon Cold, Gastric Ejections, and other ailments.
Do you think you’re still up to it? Then strap yourself to the computer chair and play. You won’t notice time pass by, but it will help if you have a dose of non-pharmaceutic grade caffeine from coffee to get you through your all nighters. Just make sure you don’t do this very often or you’ll get admitted to a real hospital.

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Day of the Tentacle (A Review)

March 10, 2008

It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played. It’s just one whacked up comedy that’ll leave you wasting hours playing it. If you like wit, sarcasm, and a little bit of dark humor; then you’d definitely love Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle.
Travel into the Past, the Present, and the Future of the United States of America, and change history. Prevent a mutated Tentacle, who grew arms and developed a thirst for world domination from actually dominating the world. All it takes is a sharp and a wee bit twisted mind . A knowledge of American history, by the way, is also a great plus.
Not to brag, but my brother and I finished this game a long time ago. Studying at a school that had a curriculum literally plucked out from the USA certainly helped.* Having sharp and creative minds definitely helped. A walkthrough that we consulted only near the end part, in a way also somehow helped.**
That game is timeless! A dozen modern games would not weigh enough to rank with this classic.

*No. I’m not talking about the Philippine public school system even though it was initially based on the American system. My school taught us American history, American money, and American values. I knew about George Washington before I knew about Jose Rizal. I was more proficient in counting dimes, nickels, and pennies before I could count in centavos and pesos. I didn’t believe in utang na loob. And even though I only studied 6 years in that school, and have assimilated mostly into mainstream Filipino culture, there are still times when mainstream Filipino culture actually shock me. That topic, however, is for another blog entry…

** That game was hard!!

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All Things are Lights (A Review)

January 24, 2008

Lights

Set against the backdrop of two crusades, Roland struggles with two loves. Diane, who must refuse him for to sin after receiving the ultimate sacrament of the Cathar meant eternal damnation; and Nicolette, wife of Amalric his sworn enemy and chief instigator for the Crusade against the Cathar faith…

So that was what the love story part in the novel was about, and I must say that I didn’t pick the book because of it. I read it for the background setting, and I almost dropped it when the first few pages revealed that Love was the primary theme.
Yet author Robert Shea weaved this book magnificently. It was totally gripping, and the backdrop naturally enfolded the plot. Truth be told, I had only one cheesy moment even though page after page of it was screaming romance. The intricacies of religious clashes held my full attention. It had been so long since such writing affected me.
Four religions clash in the book. Catholicism, which teaches love in the bonds of marriage and clerical celibacy but whose followers and priests disobey. Catharism, which teaches spiritual love but considers the body and the material world as evil. Islam; which tolerates harems and polygamy while at the same time advocating restraint, for the forbidden would be allowable pleasures in Paradise. L’amour courtois, the Religion of Love, which ignores all rules for Love’s sake.
Continuing with the tradition of romance novels, Love triumphs in this book. Yet it is hard won and bought with innumerable deaths for the sake of religion. Cathars are burnt by Catholic inquisitors. Captured crusaders are given the choice to convert or die by Muslim captors. Innocents die as pawns, fit only for sacrifice.
It is a harsh book, but it is one worth reading.

PS After reading the book, I would never look at a priest blessing with the sign of the cross the same way again. People saw it is the sign of oppression and treachery, and by it millions were killed. In a way, I sympathize with the Cathars not because my Protestant predecessors suffered under the same damned Inquisition, but because I believe that freedom of religion and conscience must be honored by every state.

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The Last Unicorn (A Review)

January 8, 2008

Now this movie is so classic for me that I had remembered only scenes and no dialog from the last time I watched it. To have even watched it is quite a feat considering that I live in the Philippines, where most people wouldn’t have even heard of this movie! I owe this to my mother who, way back in time, indiscriminately rented cartoons for our viewing pleasure.
After watching it again, the best phrase I could come up with to describe it would be “I now understand”. I now understand why she even bothered looking for the other unicorns. I now understand why the other unicorns disappeared. And more importantly, I now understand the story.
The story was straightforward. Twists and turns were notably lacking. Mysteries were unceremoniously laid bare and explained. Everything in the plot proceeded in a no-nonsense manner to the final conclusion.
Overall, watching the movie was a nice trip down memory lane. The experience, however, was not enough to warrant it a second go. In fact, it was another demystifying experience. Why do classic cartoons seem so much better remembered than watched again?