Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman Spoiler

The best way to watch this is to come to the movie house without any extra baggage --say, an 'I bet he can't top Tobey Maguire!' attitude.

But, that's easier said than done.  Spiderman has always been Tobey Maguire just as Harry Potter has always been Daniel Radcliffe.  It just feels weird seeing someone else filling that unitard, ya know.  Oops, was I fangirling?  Forgive me.

I'm not saying Andrew Garfield sucked.  He's a good actor.  But he just didn't quite get the awkwardness and dorkiness the original Peter Parker had.  Perhaps he was just way too good-looking.  Seriously, when someone smiles and kisses that often on screen, you tend to think it's not the Peter Parker you bullied and grew up with.

When he donned the Spidey suit, it was odd, too.  His legs are way too long (hence, the spider with the longer legs on the movie poster, I assume.  Haha!) so that you don't get that much-loved sprawled, flying Spider in the air imagery.

Now, the story.  I think it should've been called The Different Story.  I came in thinking this would be a prelude to the film sequels we've known, but it wasn't.  It changed the story... a lot.  From how Uncle Ben died, how Spiderman got his powers, how he even thought of his costume. 
I thought this was going to detail the secrets of his parents.  But it did only a fraction of that.  The rest was rewriting the whole history.
So I guess when they said this was a Reboot, they meant a real restart.

Onto scenes I'm a little off with.  When Doctor Connors/The Lizard kept hearing voices, just like Osbourne/Green Goblin.  Is this going to be a thing with bad guys?  When construction workers got together to provide cranes for Spidey to swing to from one building to another.  What are the odds of construction happening in every building, eh?  And the punchline in the end about finally telling the secrets of Peter's parents in part 2.

There are positives, too, of course.  I'm not a total whiner.
I did like how Andrew projected a teenager's mean streak.  The rebellious depth was dark and real and almost scary.

I thought the Chief of Police was a better character to hate on Spiderman than Jonah Jameson.  Good choice there.  Spiderman was doing HIS job.  Doing better at it, too.  I'd be pissed.

The stunts, choreography, and effects are way over bar none!  This time around, Spiderman moved as quickly as a real spider.  That part where he wrapped the lizard villain in web --spectacular!

The fight scenes put you right in the middle of the action with its crazy camera angling.  And the choreography for every stunt sequence was superb.

What really got me was the great creativity poured into web usage for this film.  The web shoots out like bullets. turns into a slingshot, a bandage, and a lasso to twirl a girl in for a kiss.

So, yeah, if you're watching The Amazing Spiderman (and honestly, you should), do so with an open mind.  Take it in as a brand new movie.  Because it is.  And you'll love it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Geeking out at The Robot Zoo

We just had to be the first ones at the Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center's latest exhibit.  That's how geeky we are.
The Robot Zoo hails from Nickelodeon.  That's the come-on.  Well, that and the fact that... duh, robots are cool, man!

The Robo Melman welcoming committee.  This guy greets you at the door, then directs you to the gears and gyros table.
It's the ultimate collision of animal biology and mechanical technology.  We were floored by huge (and I mean, HUGE!) robot beasts teeming the entire second floor.  They all moved, made animal noises, spread information on animal anatomy and automated engineering.  And, of course, Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center --being an excellent champion of interactive science-- made sure the whole trip was educationally, impressively hands-on.

The Rhino Robot.  This section allows you to assemble the rhino's parts via a control pad.  Data podiums littered the place so you know how the machines actually approximate the real deal.  Oh and the trivia cards on the wall --pure brilliance!
Big platypus!  He's got lit-up intestines and internal organs that blinked and whirred.  This area comes with a Make-your-own-platypus-mutation table, too.
The Robot Squid, although beautiful, didn't move as much as we would've wanted.  But the games here were fun.  Try out the Jet Propelled Squid Race --you just gotta!
By far, the biggest fly we've ever seen since Jeff Goldblum!  This MechaFly was incredibly animated.  So were the activities that came with it.  Swat-a-Fly was a total crowd pleaser.
What my boys liked about this Grasshopper was that it hid its enormous self in grass and then poked its head out to greet you.  The smaller version shares info on real grasshopper living habits.
My favorite.  The ginormous bat hung upside down, turned its head and ears, opened its mouth to expose fangs, and then wiggled its wings.  Cute and creepy in one!  The games that let you see and do things like a bat were amazing.
Definitely the star of the show!  The giant MechanaChameleon has color-changing computer screens for a back.  It's bundled with loads of experiential goodies including control pads that put the kids in command of moving its body parts.  Pure wowza!
If you've got a thing for technology and animals and maybe control issues (LOL!), The Robot Zoo is for you.  The only downside is that you'd want more.  Miro suggested a Robot Tiger --to demonstrate the strength of actual tiger teeth when gnashing through flesh.  Kenji suggested a Robot Shark --to demonstrate the strength of actual shark teeth when gnashing through flesh.
*Sigh*  Boys.

Miro had one thought-provoking, heart-wrenching question when the tour was over though:
"Does this mean in the future, we won't have animals anymore and our zoos will just have robots?"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Afroed

Circus!  Afro!
Circus!  Afro!
Polkadot, polkadot, polkadot...AFRO!!!

If my little boy, Kenji, sings this one more time, I swear I'll snap.

That little ditty --sung in the distinct melody of generic Circus fanfare-- is the Last Song Syndrome that comes with watching Dreamworks' Madagascar 3.  No child has ever come out of the movie house without at least humming it or full blown singing it for the next couple of days.

Other than that epidemic, the movie was plain superb!  Our adventurous New Yorker animal quartet takes on another road trip to get back home, by way of Europe.  Simple plot with a totally unexpected twist.  They become circus animals along the way.  WHO WOULDA THUNK THAT?!!

There are unforgettable key moments.  And I'm hoping I'm not spoiling it for anyone as I lay them down.

Alex the Lion gets a semi-love interest in a jaguar named Jia.  They do a trapeze romance.  Uh-huh.

There was a lesson in 'I get knocked down... but I get up again' in Vitali the hoop-jumping tiger.

There was a rather creepy first ever humbling experience for narcissistic lemur, King Julien, when he fell in love with the Ducati-riding Sonya the performing bear.

The mainstays the penguins, the chimps, Melman the giraffe, and Gloria the hippo didn't get much depth time.  But they did contribute largely to the ...

GUH-LO-RIOUS circus performance to the tune of Katy Perry's Firework!  Now THIS is CG choreography production number at its finest.  Beauty and the Beast's Lumier of Be My Guest fame will be proud!  Now I can't sing Firework without seeing animals jumping and twirling in neon in my head.  Whoa.  Trippy.

The clincher was when the quartet finally gets home to the zoo!  Yes!  They're finally home!  And at that fateful moment, all they wanted was to go back to the circus upon realizing that they do love freedom more than being locked up after all.  Defining...

Lastly, Madagascar 3 has absolutely nothing to do with Madagascar.  Except for the ending where the antagonist Dubois gets boxed and shipped to --you got it-- Madagascar.  It's a token shot.  You might just miss it.

Uh, Marty the zebra is still annoying.  Please refer to the first paragraph.  But at least he found an annoying soulmate in Stefano, a flying-from-a-canon sea lion.  As if one wasn't enough.

All in all, Madagascar 3 is an entertaining ride of a movie.  Perfect follow up to the blockbuster series.  Kids will love it!
Specially... the song...

Circus!  Afro!
Circus!  Afro!
Polkadot, polkadot, polkadot...AFRO!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Secretly yours, Cala Perdida

OMIGOSH!  I am so ridiculously awesome at planning family outings, I can just hug myself.  Lol!

Introducing a new player sitting comfortably at the top of my Family Adventures file folder --the ultra-amazing Cala Perdida in Calatagan, Batangas!  *fanfare*

Our front yard
Our backyard
Uh, never heard of it?  Of course, you haven't!  THAT is where my brilliant family outing planning prowess comes into play.  I had wanted a no-technology, nature trip for the tail end of summer and so I googled 'Swanky secluded private beach house in Calatagan'.  And voila!  Cala Perdida appeared.

Our house
Ok, ok, Googling isn't really impressive.  But Cala Perdida is.  It's a finely-chiseled diamond nestled in the bosom of the pristine beach and the wild forest, with the nearest neighbor located far, far away.  It's your own nature enclave.  The authentic 'your home away from home, get away from it all' reality.

Our very own private beach
Our garden
We spent the weekend here and the experience was just beyond beautiful.  It's teeming with multi-colored birds diving into the pool every few minutes.  Interesting-looking bugs fluttering about in the foliage.  Fish flying alongside of us in the ocean.  And don't get me started on the surrealistic beauty of the rest of the marine life.  The colors in this place are just severely amped, you wouldn't believe it.

Our very own mountain
Cala at night is equally mesmerizing with the sounds of nature --whistling winds, soothing waves, interspersed with wild calls from the woods.  Having no TV and no internet gave our weekend a completely adventurous spin.  And discovery!  Like when we found 2 to 3-foot long salamanders living down the beach, and a bird's nest right in our porch.  My boys have learned so much about animals, rock formations, and the ecosystem in just a span of 2 days!

To be honest, I had wanted to be selfish and make Cala Perdida our little secret.  But, to my dismay, a secret this astounding just can't be contained.
Spend your next summer here.  It's all yours.  Just as someday, it will be all ours again.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Adventure Time has come!

My boys are geeking out on a new Cartoon Network baby.  It's called Adventure Time.  And I was lukewarm to it on day one.

It stars a heroic boy named Finn and a magical, loose-mouthed dog named Jake.  They live in a world where weird characters need daily saving.  We're talking about talking stalagmites, rainbow unicorns, and lumpy space people.

The bad dude is the Ice King who breathes for princess abductions.  I found that part a little demeaning (being a warrior princess myself... eherm) and kinda shallow.

The damsel in distress is made out of bubble gum.  Seriously.  Princess Bubblegum rules the land of loyal candies for subjects.  She, of course, is Finn's love interest.  And she, of course, came from Super Mario's Princess Peach template.

Aside from that hodge podge of craziness, I found the whole plot kinda weak.  But there were regular sword fights, fist brawls, and random monsters so I guess that's what got my kids going for the show.

And then ...out came Marceline.  Marceline is a teenage vampire queen.  She's a loose canon.  She does what she wants and Princess Bubblegum hates her guts.  She's Finn's bad influence as well as his on and off love interest.  She's unpredictable, creepy, and her dad's the devil.  She floats.  She has amazing hair.  She has a bass guitar that's fashioned into a frakkin' axe and you can tell I'm totally geeking out on her. 

Ok, now, Adventure Time's got my attention!  Give me a vampire and I'm there!

There were song bytes weaved into the show, and Marceline's numbers were always the best.  They got me watching the show and ... whoa, Adventure Time wasn't so bad after all.  In fact, it was actually hell funny.  The lines got sharper upon close inspection.  Jake the dog got cooler.  Eh, Finn's dorkiness still didn't do it for me, but at least I got two characters that I like now.  And yes, I can finally sit through the Ice King attempting to abduct Princes Bubblegum for the nth time without mumbling, "Is that you, Bowser?!"

I like the Lumpy Space Princess, too.  For sheer laughs.  She has that lilting, suburbanite, popular high school girl persona delivered in a low man's voice. 
Now if THAT isn't something to look forward to, I don't know what is!

Watch Adventure Time.  It's probably the coolest thing for tweens and teens alike right now.
Don't worry, it'll grow on you.  Start with the cool music and then work your way up to the donut witches and lame-brained cinnamon buns.  Oh, yeah, it's gonna be an adventure.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Banak House. Almost.

There's a lot of reasons why I had chosen Banak House to be our summer's last hoorah.

It's a secluded structure in the sandy/rocky stretch of Calatagan.

When you book here, you have the place, garden, and beach all to yourself.

It is fabulously architectured and interior designed.  It was built by artists from old galleon wood.

It is quaint, cozy.

It has absolutely nil technology.

I think it's the last part that totally got me sold.  Lord knows we need a break from the wii, the wi-fi, the mac, the Telpad, the PSPs, the cellphones.  Even for just a little bit, we need to sever ties with technology, embrace nature, and bond.  Like, seriously bond.

When I pitched this idea to the family, you can actually smell the fear that thickly filled the air.  I can understand that.  I mean, a day without Facebook might just cause major chest pains, but this was something I was pretty sure we had to do.

My boys, although reluctant, finally agreed to a No-Technology Weekend.  After all, Banak House looks like a place that would never bore us.  It doesn't have the usual jetski amenities and such, but it had ambiance, relaxation, discovery.  The time-stood-still factor it offered was just invigorating.

So I called up Banak House, got a warm reception, set a date, and got confirmation.  We were giddy with utter glee!
But as you would have it, when I called up the next day for the property's bank details, I was suddenly told that someone else was going to use Banak House on the exact date I had the place reserved for us.  Sure, we haven't paid yet, but we had email confirmation just the day before.  You can imagine how that got me riled up.  There were no apologies either.  Just a crisp, "Someone else is going to use it this weekend.  It's next availability is the weekend after that."  It was quite a turn off.

Lots of reasons to stay, but I needed only one to look the other way.
Not that I'm totally deleting Banak House from my list of Awesome Places To Go To Before I Kick The Bucket.  We will definitely come here one day.  When I've cooled down --which shouldn't take too long.  I'm all for second chances.

In the meantime, I'll resume the hunt for a beach before school starts.
Oh, and welcome back, technology!