Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Review: The Mausoleum Murder

Review: #43
Title: The Mausoleum Murder
Series: The Seven Fabulous Wonders
Author: Katherine Roberts
Read Before: yes
My Comments: This is one of the less interesting story in the series (it’s a series although they’re each independent stories), the plot isn’t as absorbing. Nevertheless it is still a good read, but even when you’re around 100 pages into the book you’re not absorbed by the storyline yet, and the whole thing just feels… uninteresting and very detached, like there’s not actually sympathy and not much is really revealed or done. As the story progresses, the suspense becomes more, and answers are started to be revealed, and some interesting answers at that. We get to know how the magic works for the main character Alexis, and it’s quite fascinating. As you near the end, you really want to know how it would all work out, as it seems either they would lose or win (the war), and what it would do to the losers, but the way it’s resolved is quite nice. The book has a nice ending and overall it’s a great book.
Rating: 6.5/10
Rereadability Factor: 5/10

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Princess and the Frog

I watched The Princess and the Frog today, the one by Disney, and although it's not that bad, I dont think it's as great a story as Tangled. The story isnt as captivating and capturing as Tangled, and the typical gradual shift of the two leads into lovers isnt as sweet and touching, it seems just like that one moment they are neutral and not caring and the other, it suddenly dawns on them that they like the other person. The eventual moment where they both realise they like each other isnt that great either, it doesnt have that heart warming/wrenching feeling.

On the musical side of things, the songs arent very, how shall I say it, doesnt seem to fit that well with the movie, it feels a bit forced (I mean, for Tangled it was a bit forced, but at least it was 'relevant' to the current scene and story, and the lyrics are way more literal and having more meaning).

It does make a nice change to watch a movie that is traditinally animated (2D) rather than the CGI that a lot of kids movie are in these days, it's weird to think that 2D had been phased out for a while in the movies, when it feels like a classic way for an animated movie to be in.

The story was nothing what I had expected, I thought it would be about a princess in a more medieval setting and meeting the frog and eventually building up a relationship so she can kiss him (kinda like Beauty and the Beast) but instead, the girl is an everyday normal person and gets turned into a frog herself (she spends most of her screentime as a frog). Interesting, but... not my taste, as such, this movie hasnt really touched me, and doesnt live up to my expectations from what I had seen of it's reviews (84% in rottentomatoes).

Many parts of the movie I do feel is a bit... too scary for kids, and somehow it's rated G, wah?! I felt Tangled was less scary (although it did have more violence in terms of fighting) and that had a PG rating, ah well, I would never understand the ratings. The Princess and the Frog has evil demon type shadows and freaky scenes, and even some slightly offensive language (for a younger audience that is), which is very very surprising. I like the ending, how because the female lead is married to the prince(they were still both frogs), she turned into a princess and hence when they kissed they turned back to human, a very nice touch. Recommended to watch if you like the classic Disney movies back then, but have to be aware that it's nowhere near as good as those nor the Pixar movies.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

The Pride and Prejudice 2005 movie… I reckon it’s a really great adaptation of the book, I enjoyed the movie when I watched it but of course, still felt it lacking, especially compared to the book. I mean, for a movie that’s based off a book, it’s very very well done and stays true for 90% of the content, that’s a really good effort. Since a movie is more visual, it lacks the emotional attachment created for the reader/viewer that was so good in the book. Matthew Macfadyen’s portrayal of the character Mr Darcy was superb, he had both the looks and expressive features I imagined while reading the book. Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet on the other hand, was a bit… weird, I didn't think she suited that role, but it’s nothing major. The pacing of the movie is a lot faster (naturally) and it skips a lot of emotional reflections, sometimes missing a point for the reader to understand. It’s not as good as I originally thought it was going to be from the reviews online (85% on rottentomatoes), as I felt I was bored by a couple of bits, but I still think it is a good movie.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tangled Original Soundtrack (Part 5)

Now, the fifth and final part of my thoughts for the Tangled Original Soundtrack, continued on from Part 4.

17) Realization and Escape – Alan Menken (05:50 mins)
As the scores on this soundtrack goes, this one is bearable and doesn't bore you to pieces. It does get substantially a lot better and more exciting as the track goes on (I think the biggest hindrance this track has against itself is how long it is, for someone like me who’s not really interested, a long track isn’t really going to change my mind), but it just doesn't capture the feeling it’s trying so hard to get through. It does get a bit weird at 04:21 where it is just like completely out of sync and feels like it doesn't belong. The best part in my opinion would be from 05:07 onwards for the rest of the track, it feels much more fast pace and much much better, 6/10.

18) The Tear Heals – Alan Menken and Mandy Moore (07:37 mins) [lyrics]
The lyrics that are ‘sung’ is just half of the lyrics from track 8 (Healing Incantation) for like twenty seconds of the score. I find myself torn in this score, on the one hand I really like bits of it, on the other not so much. This score fluctuates alternatively between fast and loud and slow and sparse, so I tend to find myself enjoying the faster bits while wanting to skip the slower, more boring areas, as they are really just a bit too slow (they were to accommodate the sad scenes going on at the time so it seems appropriate, but when you’re just listening, it’s boring). The long length (longest track in the soundtrack) doesn't seem to be a burden, as the faster more exciting bits are worth the wait, and the whole track just seems to fly through, 7/10, for some people, the slower bits may just be a bit too much.

19) Kingdom Celebration – Alan Menken (01:50 mins)
A score that really does convey that it is a celebration song, where everyone is happy, it does that very nicely. It feels a bit on the same like as “I’ve Got a Dream” (track 5) in terms of the style, but loses the jolly-ness, it has that classic feel to it, and I think it’s appropriately named, the final bit of the track is the best part in my opinion, 7/10.

20) Something That I Want – Grace Potter (02:43 mins) [lyrics]
This track is the original song “Something That I Want” rewritten with some new lyrics (so it’s more relevant to the movie and Rapuznel, this song was played in the ending credits) sung by Grace Potter (also the original artist of the song). Personally I don't really like this song, mainly because it feels completely different to the other songs in the soundtrack and used in the movie, it just doesn't belong and you can really feel that its not composed by the same composer. Ignoring that, it is a catchy song but nothing spectacular, 5/10.

Overall, I’m loving this soundtrack, but only mainly for the first eight tracks, and of those, only a few that I truly love. I do feel that the songs are too short but that cannot be helped, since it was firstly and foremost adapted and created purely for the movie. Hence these tracks really rely on the person listening having already seen the movie or actually watching it right now at the appropriate time to get the full feeling. Either way I have already found myself unknowingly humming the tunes to “I’ve Got a Dream”, “I See the Light”, “When Will My Life Begin” and “Healing Incantation” and memorizing the lyrics already, I give this soundtrack a 7/10 if you have seen the movie but don't bother if you haven’t, as without the movie to back it up, it’s quickly lost within all the other talent out there.


Thanks for reading this! And for your reference, the other four parts of my thoughts for the tracks:
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tangled Original Soundtrack (Part 4)

Part 4 on my thoughts for the Tangled Original Soundtrack, which contains the songs and scores used in the Disney movie "Tangled".

13) Campfire – Alan Menken (03:21 mins)
This is a bit of a sorrowful one, but the length really does work against such a slow moving score, but then again, it wouldn't have the full effect of the sadness if it wasn't in a slower pace. It is actually quite a nice and beautiful one, if you manage to pay attention and focus on it, but if you’re having it as background music, it’s not really having that much effect at all, I like the part between 01:19 and 02:23 the best, and the beginning is pretty good either, while the part at 02:35 is a bit freaky, this one is only average at best, 5/10.

14) Kingdom Dance – Alan Menken (02:20 mins)
One of the scores that I had taken an instant liking to, and one that I remember most from movie (it’s actually in the scene where Rapunzel dances when she just gets into the city). This score has a very folk feel to it (apparently the music is an attempt to blend medieval music with 1960s folk rock), and it’s a soothing yet lively tune, feels a bit country-ish too, and some people will not like it. I think this is because of the flute in the background. I especially like the last part, around 01:40 onwards where it starts to get faster and faster until it ends, it’s at it’s best right there, 7.5/10.

15) Waiting for the Lights – Alan Menken (02:47 mins)
The score that plays at the start of the “Lantern” scene (one of the most memorable scenes in the movie), and the music that plays before “I See the Light” (track 7), the score pales in comparison to that. The scene is must better than the music, this score feels really boring and slow without anything else to distract you. It is only average, and gets quite a bit better (but not worth waiting that long) from 02:10, but by then it’s a bit too late, I only remember this part of the score from the movie as it was quite effective with the visual showing at the time, 5/10.

16) Return to Mother – Alan Menken (02:06 mins)
A more sad score than a dark and sinister one (which I had expected and what it suggests with the title and at the start of the track), it doesn't really add much to the soundtrack, as its very average in nature. I feel bored throughout the whole track and it doesn't get to any sort of worthwhile climax, 3/10.


My thoughts on the next four tracks will be continued in the fifth and final part.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tangled Original Soundtrack (Part 3)

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2, my thoughts on the Tangled Original Soundtrack, music from the Disney movie "Tangled".

9) Flynn Wanted – Alan Menken (02:51 mins)
Now onto the scores, I just want to get one thing out, and it’s that I’m not really a big fan of just listening to scores themselves, as they lose a lot of their meaning, moreso than the musicals sung in the movie. Unless it’s really good, I would always recommend the songs over scores (so you should only ever compare the ratings with other scores, and not the songs). “Flynn Wanted” is a pretty fast paced and exciting score, with some slower elements blended in as well, and makes an interesting listen, I do feel it’s a bit dragged out and you lose interest about halfway into it, but there are worse in the soundtrack, this is one of the better ones too, 6/10.

10) Prologue – Donna Murphy, Delaney Stein (02:02 mins) [lyrics]
This is more of a score than really a song with much singing, this score is actually one of my more favourite ones. The lyrics is just a repeat of Healing Incantation, but with better background music, and the whole score builds up to two ‘grander’ points, and it’s just pretty nice. It feels dark and evil, suspenseful and sweet, it’s smooth flowing, and is one of the tracks that you don't really need to have seen the movie to enjoy, 7/10.

11) Horse with No Rider – Alan Menken (01:57 mins)
A score that start’s off pretty slow and boring, then at around 00:30 mark it starts to pick up pace, getting faster and faster until it gets to it’s climax at around 01:00 where it then starts to die down again. So really, that’s the only good part of it, and it does feel average in the beginning, but it isn’t that bad, although there’s no sense of chase and adrenaline like in the movie or what its name suggests, 5.5/10.

12) Escape Route – Alan Menken (01:57 mins)
Wow, this one is like the opposite of “Horse with No Rider”, starting off fairly promising, but gradually dwindles down to some quiet playing. Although I do like this one just a bit better, it’s not a great one, and nothing in here that really grabs at you, actually, it feels a bit boring at the end and you just want it to end, 6/10.


My thoughts on the next four songs will be continued in Part 4...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tangled Original Soundtrack (Part 2)

Part 2 of my thoughts on the Tangled Original Soundtrack (i.e. the music from the Disney movie "Tangled"), continued from Part 1.

5) I’ve Got a Dream – Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Tambor, Mandy Moore, Zachery Levi, Company (03:11 mins) [lyrics]
A really catchy and lively tune, yet somehow familiar at the same time, that really lets you get into it straight away, you’ll like it straight away the first time you’ve heard it. It’s not one of those songs that you’d play to your friends, since it’s not ‘serious’ enough, more like one to cheer you up. It gets even better when it’s performed in the movie, as it makes it really really funny (especially when Flynn, or his voice actor, Zachery Levi, sings his part), and is apparently the best song scene in the movie (I personally like “I See the Light” better), so this one is a definitely recommend, 8/10. Although this gets a higher rating, I tend to listen to “When Will My Life Begin” more and like that more.

6) Mother Knows Best (Reprise) – Donna Murphy (01:38 mins) [lyrics]
A reprise of track 3, “Mother Knows Best”, and just like the original, this one really needs the visuals for you to understand the lyrics (now that I come to think of it, most of them you need to see the visuals! I guess that’s the downside of a musical movie soundtrack). The ‘thing’ that Mother Gothel (who’s the one singing the song) says Rapunzel should give is the Princess Crown (cannot deduce this from just the lyrics alone), I was surprised to hear her tell Rapunzel is demented (it is a kids movie, and hence soundtrack), but in a pleasant way. The expression in the voice is really good, you can really hear the feeling in the voice. Much bettered performed than as just an audio, 5.5/10, the reprise is better.

7) I See the Light – Mandy Moore and Zachery Levi (03:44 mins) [lyrics]
Finally we come to the song that I love most, it is practically without all the flaws that are inherent to most of the songs in this soundtrack. Firstly, it sounds good, second, the lyrics are well written and meaningful, thirdly, it can be a standalone song and none would be the wiser, and fourthly, it’s beautiful. On it’s own, it’s a really sweet and romantic song, with very meaningful lyrics, just beautiful and flows very well. I feel so at peace, sad, and happy at the same time listening to this. The pacing is good, it’s not too fast, yet not too slow either, and there’s not talk breaking up the tempo. While the lyrics are simple and similar with the male and female parts, they are different enough to not make the song repetitive. Now if you’re watching the scene where this happens, man, you might even not be able to resist the urge to cry, the scene is just heart wrenching (in a good, warm and fuzzy way), and this song is perfect for that moment. The whole movie’s climax in that scene, where the characters realize everything and Rapunzel fulfills her dream, this song really complements, and the lyrics take on a whole different meaning (whereas before you can take the lyrics as more metaphorically, with the visuals it’s more literal and relevant to the story). I’m seriously sad, and angry that this song didn't win the 68th Golden Globe Awards’ “Best Song” category, I think it deserves it. Both Mandy and Zachery make an outstanding performance (and who knew Zachery could sing?). If there’s one song that I recommend from the whole soundtrack, my answer would be, every single time, “I See the Light”, 9/10 if you hadn’t seen the movie and 10/10 if you have.

8) Healing Incantation – Mandy Moore (00:54 mins) [lyrics]
Not a song really, it’s just the magical incantation to activate Rapunzel’s magical hair in the movie, but it’s nice they included it, and it’s the ‘best’ version too. It’s hauntingly sweet, and I do wish it was a bit longer, with the visuals it’s really captures that moment, actually one of my favourite scenes, and one of the more memorable ones, deep in the forest at night, 6/10.


Continued in Part 3...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tangled Original Soundtrack (Part 1)

Since I m so consumed by the movie Tangled right now (I cannot get over the movie, it is just too good, this past week I have been looking up the trailers, pictures and clips on the internet, and I must say, some of the clips, which are original and contains stuff not in the movie, like fake ads, are very well done), I got the Tangled soundtrack, yup, now I’m addicted to the songs as well, and I must admit, they are pretty good (or good enough anyway). I must say though, that to fully appreciate the songs you must have seen the movie first, this will also help you understand the importance of the lyrics (although there are some exceptions). I have seen a lot of professional reviewers don't really like composer Alan Menken, but for me, I think he’s done a great job for the soundtrack for this movie. I do find myself mainly listening to the songs with lyrics, that were sung in the movie, rather than the scores, coz with scores, you really need the visual to get into the feeling and mood that’s intended. I'm splitting this into five parts, four songs in each part since it'll be too long otherwise. Well, without further ado, here’s what I think of each song:

1) When Will My Life Begin – Mandy Moore (02:32 mins) [lyrics]
A pop song that won’t be to everyone’s tastes, even I cringed when I heard it the first time, while it was performed during the movie. Although now that I have listened to it a couple more times I quite like it, I like the overall melody of the song. I’m not an expert in music but that said, I feel that some of the lyrics sounds very forced when sung, but I guess that’s some of the price you pay for having to cater for both the song and the movie while writing the lyrics. It’s not bad, mind you, and the lyrics are written ok, it could be better, but within the context it’s good. I especially love a few lines in the chorus like “when will my life begin”, “brush and brush and brush and brush my hair” and a few others, but I really like the last part of the song, where it sounds really sad and longing. The whole songs does convey a girl that’s bored and want something interesting to happen. One of the better, more natural ‘standalone’ songs in the soundtrack (my second favourite actually), 7.5/10

2) When Will My Life Begin (Reprise 1) – Mandy Moore (01:03 mins) [lyrics]
A bit short, but this the first reprise of the first track (obviously, you can tell from the name), depending if you didn't like “When Will My Life Begin”, you might prefer this one. For me, I think this is the worse reprise, although it’s still not bad. This reprise takes on a slower tempo and a sadder tone, the lyrics takes on quite a bit of meaning, and I do think the lyrics for this one is written better, it just fits better and feels a lot more natural. The shortness of this track does work against it, but it’s a nice quick track, 6.5/10.

3) Mother Knows Best – Donna Murphy (03:10 mins) [lyrics]
This is one of the songs that is really best watched and not listened, if you just listen to it, it feels a little weird and doesn't make sense. It wouldn't even pass off as a ‘real’ song, it really is a lot better when you are seeing what she is singing. The emotion is actually quite well expressed, but this one does sound a bit too ‘kiddy’, and so I wouldn't suggest to listen to this one on it’s own, it breaks up too much with conversation (you don't notice it while watching the movie, but it’s really obvious just listening it on the soundtrack), 5/10. The low rating isn’t because it’s bad, it sounds nice and is a bit catchy, but the lyrics are very dedicated to what’s happening on screen, although I love the bit where it says “skip the drama, stay with mama”, I just LOL’ed at that very much.

4) When Will My Life Begin (Reprise 2) – Mandy Moore (02:06 mins) [lyrics]
The second (and final) reprise of “When Will My Life Begin”, and this is the better reprise out of the two, although it’s another one that is plagued by the lyrics not making as much sense if it’s not accompanied by the visuals. This one talks about how Rapunzel feels when she gets out of her tower for the first time, and I like this one, it has a grander feel to it. This track also feels more like a proper song than some of the others, the original is still better but this one is also great, 7/10.


To be continued in Part 2...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: The Maze of the Beast

Review: #42
Title: The Maze of the Beast
Series: Deltora Quest - 6th book
Author: Emily Rodda
Read Before: yes
My Comments: Another great addition to the Deltora Quest series, this one is quite interesting, although it might not top The Shifting Sands or The Forest of Silence in terms of interesting monsters and facts about the world, it is still beautifully written. Looking back, it seems there really wasn't that much happening, but yet while you are reading it, you feel compelled to keep reading it to the finish and not stop. The story was really interesting, it feels like there should be a big ‘boss’ fight at the end, like it’s building up to it, since that’s where the main characters get the gem, but the way it’s resolved in most books (no fight) is still very satisfying. You don't get to know new characters that much (until either later in the series or most likely in one of the sequel series) since there is not enough pages for you to do that, it’s more like you meet them, you know who they are, ok, they’re leaving now, you only get to know the three main characters, but they’re interesting enough. A great book in a solid series, one that I would go out of my way to try and find it to read.
Rating: 7/10
Rereadability Factor: 6/10

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Watched The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (aka Mummy 3), and it’s not as painful as I expected. This is the second time I had watched it, the first time I was cringing a lot, and this time I had expected what was going to happen and it wasn't as bad. The whole plot, the mummy in this movie isn’t even a mummy, the closest thing to describe it would be a zombie, and this guy somehow has all these supernatural magic powers than can practically do anything. The movie really really deviates from reality, way way more than the first two Mummy movies (which were great by the way), and it has gone too far. Particularly when they are in the snow capped mountains and the yeti comes to help them, seriously, yeti?!?!? WTF, that is just the most random, rubbish idea that I have seen in a movie, the writer of the script should be fired for even handing in such nonsense, let alone produce it. Jet Li only gets like a few lines spoken in English and it’s like a third of the movie is spoken in Mandarin with English subtitles, which is questionable at best. This movie is a big disappointment and does not live up to the franchise, I would avoid this movie, there aren't really any redeeming features, the actors’ performance is very weak, and the story is rubbish. The only part of this movie I like is the movie poster, :P.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Toy Review: Transformers Universe Starscream

Review: #6
Name: Starscream
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Decepticon
Line: Universe (2008)
Year of Release: 2008
Size Class: Deluxe (Wave 4)
Mold Status: minor repaint of Classics Starscream


Starscream transforms into a jet that is based off the F-15 Eagle like the original toy and cartoon model. This version is a minor repaint of the original Classics toy, in colour scheme that is more accurate to the cartoon model.

He features landing gear of sorts, which are comprised of two molded front wheels that fold out and two minor lumps molded at the back. He has two null ray cannons that attach to the underside of his wings, they double up as spring loaded missile launchers, with the buttons in easy access.

The jet mode looks good from the top but there are some decently sized undercarriage kibble. That's not to mention the empty gap required for transformation under his fuselage, it's an unsightly gap and ruins the look of the plane.

Starscream is pretty much the set standard for any kind of Deluxe figure.  Above is a comparison against Generations Sky Shadow.

You can just make out the seat inside the transparent cockpit. At the time that this figure was released, this was a pretty good jet mode.  The only major flaw would be the gappy underside.


Starscream has a very simple and easy transformation, you can hardly get it wrong, it's just flip wings up, fold out arms, fold in chest and extend legs. Compared to more recent toys, this is like a beginner's toy. This does make him more fun to go between the modes, but watch out for tight joints, particularly in the tailfins. The wing hinges are also a worry, as they get loose very easily over time, and feels like it might snap accidentally when you apply pressure the wrong way.


Starscream has a cartoon accurate robot mode, and even if you're not familiar with that medium, he looks great as a standalone robot.

Starscream's effectively kibbleless which is quite impressive.  Naturally, the wings form one of his iconic elements.

The face is painted this time around and it brings out the details much better. The white plastic is very white, creating a cleaner look. Perhaps the most annoying thing is the jet nose stuck on the back of his head, giving him somewhat like half a head.

Starscream is a little bit shorter than some Deluxes since most of the length of the jet mode is folded into his torso.

The nullrays peg onto the outside of his shoulders and form his only weapons. They are a tad bit oversized but it makes him a lot more formidable.  Compared to the Classics version, he's missing quite a bit of paint, noticeably on his shoulders and knees.

Articulation is lacking by today's standards but decent at the time. The biggest hurt is the lack of elbow swivels.  His knees are ratchets but there's only three clicks (straight, 45 degrees and 90 degrees) so they're not terribly useful.

The nullrays can be detached and held in his hands as guns, which is a nice option. It's a shame that the panels the shoulders are attached onto are held only by friction, makes posing just that bit more annoying.

This is a strong and fantastic looking robot mode that's a great update to the character.  However, the reduction in painted details does hurt.


A great little toy that pretty much every fan should own at least some sort of variation of this mold (which is more than likely since this is the most repainted figure ever). This figure is a really nice and simple rendition of G1 Starscream.


If you're interested, check out other toys reviews in the 'My Transformers' page which you can access at the top of the blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Review: Ghosthunters and the Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost!

Review: #41
Title: Ghosthunters and the Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost!Series: Ghosthunters - 2nd in series
Author: Cornelia Funke
Read Before: no
My Comments: A thin and small book, so I cannot expect much of a deep or interesting plot here. Although I do tend to find this series to be quite an enjoyable read, perfect if you’re looking for something quick. The latter books (I have already read the 3rd and 4th books in the series) are more interesting, but this one isn’t bad either. I like how the author had represented the ghosts in this way, and it’s a really fun way to see them. This book is not scary, and even though it’s supposed to be comedy, there isn’t too much that made me laugh. Story is good enough, just the typical “got a call about a ghost, turns out it’s really powerful, now we gotta catch it” style (I know I'm not in the intended audience, but I am amused by this so it’s a great job on part of the author). Only reason it got such a lot mark is because I’m starting to tighten my standards of giving the ratings, by no means a bad book, only read if you like simple stories.
Rating: 5.5/10
Rereadability Factor: 3/10 (pretty much no point rereading it)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Transformers: Armada

Finally finished watching the last seven of the 52 episodes of the Transformers: Armada cartoon. Took me around two weeks to do it, what with work and a lot of other distractions around me. The series is so so, but very anime like, you can really see the Japanese influence (well, it is drawn, animated and scripted by Japanese writers first, and then it was translated for broadcasting in US).

This series is notorious for many animation errors and glitches, especially the names of characters, which makes it confusing to follow if you don't have a background. It's quite rare for one of the lesser characters to be called the proper name, which is extremely annoying. Some errors are more noticeable than others, which does kill the enjoyment a bit. The stories sometimes have continuity errors, but this series has my favourite incarnation of Starscream yet.

As has been mentioned but various other sources on the internet, the first half of the series is quite boring and repetitive, each episode having the same basic storyline of "detected a minicon, Autobots and Decepticons try to get it first, episode over". Although the second part isn't that great either, builds up quite a bit of suspense, but doesn't deliver during the revelations. Unicron is surprisingly demoted to more of a grunt and doesn't have the same intelligence as his G1 incarnation in the movie (although he wasn't that smart there either, at least he was more of himself and not really using another robot instead).

The final battle is boring and dragged out for too long (dragged out for like four episodes), but I do like how the Autobots and Decepticons formed an allegiance, and I do think the deaths of Starscream and Megatron/Galvatron was quite noble in this series, makes them more likeable. Depending on how good Energon and Cybertron is, and if you need background from this series, I'm not sure I can recommend it, as it's not really worth wasting all that time to watch, it's generally very boring and it's like a chore to get through.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Transformers Cyber Missions Webisodes

I had a watch of the Transformers Cyber Missions Webisodes, it was in a VCD I think, that came packaged free with some stuff I got in the mail. I had watched a few episodes online before since I was curious and so I wasn't expecting much. Still, it’s pretty bad, not much of a storyline or plot, and the animation (low level CGI) is pretty basic and static, so not that much fun to watch, actually the background and colour was killing my eyes. Luckily it only runs for around 45 mins, and what I found annoying was that almost every episode started with Optimus Prime (in a very weird voice) speaking the same phrase. One nice thing I do like was seeing the animation models of toys, it brings otherwise just toy-characters to life, and I really like how I can see them move and not just in my imagination. The early episodes are pretty bad, and some of the latter ones as well, but the final one was a bit better and was actually a good enough end, too bad about the limited cast, they had so many toys to choose from, but I guess for budget reasons they could only do a few, anyway, for something that’s free it’s something to watch, but I wouldn't hunt it down or even go onto the internet and waste my downloads watching the whole thing. I probably will leave the VCD somewhere with my other DVD’s, and never touch it again, leaving it to collect dust, as I have no interest in watching it a second time (bad enough the first time!).

The Pacifier

Watched The Pacifier and I really like the movie, even though it didn't get great reviews when it had come out (20% ‘rotten’ at Rotten Tomatoes), I still think it’s worth watching and was quite funny. I mean, it is a typical movie with a typical plot, but it’s a family movie, not much to expect there. I do like how the characters’ relationships grow stronger as the film progresses, and it’s the journey that is most fun to watch. The action sequences (where they fight) isn’t too bad, and I’ve seen it four times now (since 2007 when I first watched it I think), and it’s still not that boring to me, I still enjoy it a lot.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Toy Review: Transformers PCC Smolder w/ Chopster

Review: #5
Name: Smolder w/ Chopster
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Decepticon
Line: PowerCore Combiners (Wave 1)
Year of Release: 2010
Size Class: Scout with Minicon
Variations: Stakeout is a repaint of Smolder, while Razorbeam is a repaint of Chopster


Smolder is a fire department truck with the back half of the truck being a boxy affair. It's very attractive and quite realistic, although it's not based on any real life vehicle. There's a transparent yellow strobe light and a flaming Decepticon insignia near the back. A Decepticon as a fire truck, there's some irony there, and I like it. Chopster can plug on top in his gun mode, although it does ruin the realism, but without him Smolder seems to be lacking, as there would be a Minicon port sticking out.

The back is Smolder's downfall, its an open gap, and really disappointing, all it would take is some panels and he would be fine. As such, it ruins all realism, I have turned his head around because it conceals it better, but you can clearly see the bright blue combiner pegs, hands, and that gap is just hideous.

Still it's a nice little vehicle (keep in mind he is Scout sized, so he's small), he just really appeals to me. I guess if you really let your imagination run wild, you can flip back the combiner pegs to act at some sort of rocket boosters (and also can rearrange Chopster into some sort of wing pack).


He's really simple to transform, so he's really fun to play with and going between the two modes. It gives a nice break from the complexity of the recent Movie toys. The simple transformation does create liabilities for the vehicle mode, particularly the open back and the obvious hinges on the side.


A very nice robot mode, some people might be bothered with the huge shoulder pads, but in real life, he does look a lot better (remember, he is a small size, so naturally they look worse in pictures). Here he is holding Chopster in axe mode, and it's an ok axe, there are a few gaps but it does its job. The front of the truck that forms his legs is very natural and looks good there, and the two Decepticon logos on either side of his shoulders is a great place to put them.

The bright blue pegs really stand out against the black and red and ruins the colour scheme, but you would get used to it. His knee joints are set lower than normal and looks weird when you bend them too much (they're mainly set that low for transformation to work and also for the torso mode to work).

The head is a bit simplistic and lacking in good detail, while it's also a bit small, it tends to be overwhelmed by the huge shoulder pads.

He has good poseability, with a lot of joints everywhere. The hinge coupled with the balljoint for his elbow is really useful, legs might be a bit limited. I think the robot mode could be a bit better, it's mainly lacking paint on some of his sculpted details.

Now onto Chopster, he's a nice little Minicon, actually my favourite out of the Wave 1 (and in general, the whole PowerCore Combiner line) figures. He supposedly have four modes: a vehicle weapon (gun), robot weapon (axe), robot and chest armor. As such, he's lacking a real defined alt mode like the original Minicons of Armada. He is a good proportioned robot, with guns for hands, and knees joints too.

In my opinion, he has one of the better chest armour modes, looks quite... regal. If you're really desperate, you can always point his arms and central cannon forward to create a three barrelled gun. You can attach Chopster like this via a flip out Minicon port in Smolder's chest. As with all chest armour, he sticks out somewhat from the figure's chest, so it doesn't really look like armour from the side. I like to point the combiner pegs up so he looks a bit different and more powered up.

A good robot mode, with good articulation and aesthetics. He has a lot of playability owing to his Minicon Chopster.


Being a PowerCore Combiner, he has a third mode, being the torso of a combined form. He can combine with any arm or leg drones in the line, here I have combined him with the Combaticons. He's actually quite attractive in combined mode, although not the best, very wide shoulders though, and head is set lower, so he looks like a hunch back.

He is a bit hard to stand, and on my Smolder at least, it seems that his left leg's port is a bit too big, causing the Jeep drone to keep being pushed out, annoying to say the least. What I found was elegant was that his arms do plug into slots dedicated for this mode, making his arms more stable.

I don't really like his head, looks more like a dog's to me, with the prominent nose, his head is supposed to look like he's wearing a gas mask. It is light piped yellow, but it really needs more paint, some silver detailing would do wonders.

He's got all the standard articulation, only lacking elbows since the arm drone's automatic transformation don't really allow for that. You can cheat a bit and move the shoulders so Smolder does have two distinct parts for his arms.

A nice combined mode, but it's not terribly stable, he's really hard to stand, and so all the articulation is somewhat wasted as he can only really stand properly in a neutral pose. Still, this makes a nice display piece and adds another dimension to his funness.


I love this toy, and I still find myself to this day fiddling with him from time to time, going between the three modes. He really is a fun toy to play with, I can see the dislike from some people because of all the gimmicks they tried to pack into the one small Scout sized toy, but he is really well designed. Only liability is the lack of proper elbows and hands in combined mode, but that's more to do with the drones than Smolder himself.


If you need any more pictures, check out Seibertron's gallery here.

Credits: linked a few pages in this review if you wanted more info on the respective links

Check out other toys reviews in the 'My Transformers' page which you can access at the top of the blog.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Catch Me If You Can

Finally bothered to watch Catch Me If You Can, I have delayed watching this for ages, and it is an older movie, so I deliberated. Apparently it is a great review, but after watching it, I do not think it's like amazing, like the universal reviews praising it. Sure it was entertaining and funny at times, it was also interesting to see what other things the main character is going to do, but I didnt think it was such a masterpiece. It's a long movie too, and you could feel it, yet it wasn't boring as such, and I think it is worth watching, I had too high expectations from the reviews.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monsters, Inc.

Watched this today on tv, I think I watched it just not too long ago so it was a bit boring for me, as I knew what was going to happen, I remembered with such clarity. Anyway I loved this movie, it's so funny, and very original, I mean, how do they even come up with these awesome ideas?! Even though this movie is ten years old (I know, where does the time go...) it doesnt even feel a tiny bit old, nor outdated, Boo is actually pretty cute (once you get used to her), and quite funny, while the two monsters Mike and Sully is really awesome as well. I love the ending, it's very well done and sad and happy at the same time, with Sully opening the door and then a happy and hopeful expression fills his face, classic.

Just learnt that there will also be a sequel planned for end 2012, awesome!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I watched Disney's Tangled today, and it is simply an AWESOME MOVIE. I loved it, I had seen on the internet that it had really good reviews (88% at Rotten Tomatoes) and so I was all hyped up on it, and was really looking forward to watching it (only got released in my country on January 6th), just before it started and I was sitting down in the cinema, I had a strike of doubt, thinking would it live up to the expecations I had created for myself from the hype. Sure it did! It is sooooooo good, one that I had even liked more than Wall.E.

The humor was really well done, funny in a lot of places, it was a musical as well but it didnt take up too much of the movie, around five songs and it was done perfectly, the songs werent that bad. Tangled had superb animation and although the ending of the story is a little predictable, the rest of it is really good. Each character had their charms and actually quite easy to like, I was totally absorbed into the movie, just forgetting I was in the cinema at times. Of course, always love the whole "bad guy turned good and helping the protagonist" thing, just perfect, the antagonist, evil stepmother wasn't too bad, and I thought I would cringe at the whole typical “bad guy turned good protagonist, who really loved the girl having to betray her and evil stepmother saying I told you so” thing, but no, it was done a little bit differently and I loved it! It is such a good movie that I'm even considering to buy it on dvd when it comes out! It’s just perfect!

In my list, its really high on the list along with the Disney Pixar movies (the last Disney movie I watched was 2008's Bolt, and that wasnt too good). I guess not really knowing the full story of Rapunzel may have helped, coz all I know about her is her long hair, the tower, and “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down you hair”, but yeah, man it was just really funny and good, a lot of action too, I guess the kids will really like it too.

There wasnt a large cast of characters which makes it less confusing, and I love the non speaking roles of the pet Charmeleon, Rapunzel, soo cute and funny, haha. The horse, Maximus is also pretty funny and awesome (originally against the protagonist Flint, but changed sides after Rapunzel treated him well), but man, it is just amazing, I cannot get this through enough. The lantern scene really touched me, and I thought that was really well done as well, just the whole build up to the climax was very well done.

Just overall, a superb movie with a great blend of humor, action, and stunning visuals, a definite must see movie, one that I wholeheartedly recommend, seriously one to not miss. When a movie gets this good to make me want to buy the DVD, it's really worth watching.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Toy Review: Transformers ROTF Sideswipe

Review: #4
Name: Sideswipe
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Autobot
Line: Revenge of the Fallen
Year of Release: 2009
Size Class: Deluxe (Wave 1)
Variations: Repainted later as ROTF Strike Mission Sideswipe, also retooled into ROTF Swerve


Sideswipe transforms into a fully licensed 2009 Corvette Stingray concept car. Sadly, I do not think this would ever be made into production, but this car looks very sleek and fast. Too bad on the toy he has too many transformation seams to pull off the fast look, maybe if the sides weren't so choppy it would be better. Still it's a very nice vehicle mode, and all the proper details are there, even better, he's doused in silver paint.

He has side mirrors that are made of bendable plastic, and the plastic colour is a very good match. He has tail lights, and four grey exhaust pipes, molded details include a rear license plate, indicators and the Corvette badge on his hood. His wheels roll (to be expected) with silver hubcaps, and clear headlights, seriously, you'll be hard pressed to find something that could be painted better, and overall, pulls off the look of the sports car really nicely.

The underside is another matter, you can clearly see the robot folded up, with very obvious legs. I find that the front half of the car is mostly empty space, leading you think that most of the car is a shell (and you'll be right). He has a low clearance for rolling, he would only roll on smooth surfaces, carpet won't work (he'll get stuck). A great vehicle mode, but the seams might be a bit too much, ruining the aesthetic.


Transformation is not too ingenious, basically you pull the hood halves apart and fold out the legs and arms, with four major panels that you'll have to manipulate. Getting the wings right the first time might be a bit confusing with the twisting, and clipping the chest may seem a bit impossible too, but it does work.


A good robot mode, if you can get past all the kibble on his back, but he does look very awesome. The rear of the vehicle mode acting as his chest looks very natural, and the blades on his arms look plausible, at least it doesn't look as ridiculous as it sounds (the blades are actually the side panels of his car). Too bad most of the robot mode is now unpainted grey plastic, which somewhat ruins the look, especially after the vehicle mode.

Less said about the back, the better, although not as ugly with kibble as BT Tracks, he's still not beautiful.

Please note that there are a few ways to position his 'wings' (which is the vehicle mode's hood halves), as there are many joints in them due to transformation. The picture above show the official transformation, I do not like it, that's why I have followed another configuration I have seen on the internet, as the official way makes the hood halves jut out too much off the back.

As seen in the picture about, the wings really do jut out the back, which really doesn't look good.

Head sculpt is great, but could use a bit more silver, although his eyes are lightpiped blue, they don't work very well. His head is on a balljoint, which is rested on a spring (as his head springs up during transformation), it's quite restricted, if you turn his head it will tilt down. He also has a stamped Autobot symbol to the right of his head.

His swords actually look better head on rather than the side, from the side, if I didnt know better, I wouldn't know what they are. The front wheel placement on his forearms, on the other hand, looks very good there.

His legs are attached to some rubber pieces, which is sculpted like pistons, and seems like it's what's keeping the legs attached. However, there are actually balljoints, casted in transparent plastic, so it's 'hidden' from view, a nice touch. His also has a Mech Alive gimmick which is if you bend his knees, the blue panels extend out, not the best gimmick, yet not the worse, at least it doesn't impede his engineering.

His feet, by the way, isn't your traditional affair, just like in the movie, he has wheels for feet (which means he goes FAST), it's succeeded to a certain degree here, but you still have silver pieces at the front ruining the look, and it makes him hard to stand.

He has ok articulation, I'll mention what he doesn't have since it's easier that way, the only things that he's missing would be elbow swivels, a waist swivel (although this is no biggie) and some knee swivels (but this might actually be a bit hard to include). Still he has a wide range of poses... provided you can get him to stand, as his feet really makes him unstable.


I think Sideswipe is a very worthy toy to own, he does have quite a few flaws in both modes (seams in vehicle, feet and kibble in robot), which stops him from being perfect. He has a lot of elements that indicate he is a shellformer, but still good looking in both modes. I would recommend him only if you can get him cheap, as I dont think he's worth the full price.


Check out Seibertron's gallery here for more pictures.

Credits: review and pictures are mine, I've linked a few and Wikipedia in the review for your reference.

Remember, you can always go to the My Transformers page for my other Transformers reviews.
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