Reviews and random thoughts brought about by various movies, series, music, books, travels, social behavior and what not...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Robo Tandang"

My son and I made a short clip inspired by the Cartoon Network series "Robot Chicken", we call it "Robo Tandang" (robo rooster).

This goes to show that this happens when everyone is bored, you can't play outside because of the typhoon, and the dvd player is not working.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Real Robot Series: Mobility and Maneuverability

I have been a fan of robot movies and robot series since my early childhood. And my interest grew even more with the rise of the 'real robot' or 'mecha' genre during my highschool days. 'Real Robot' mechas are within the space of reality, taking into account existing and practical theoretical technology, with a amped up twist.

The pioneer which led this is new era the Gundam franchise. And with this special blog series, I intend to study the 'real' in the 'real robots' series.

Case 1: Mobility and Maneuverability

Mechs come in a variety of form and shapes. Usually borrowing from the designs of nature to tackle issues of mobility, agility and practical construction.

Way back there were MECHAS, mechanized units shaped like lizards, tigers, spiders, etc. This was popularized with Zoids and Multi-MAC back in the late 80's and early 90's. Gundam goes further by embracing the humanoid form from the 'giant robot' series.

You might wonder; "why take the humanoid form as a weapons platform?".

For this case I point out the advantage of propulsion, agility and maneuverability.

Current weapon platforms are based on the same chasis: the axle for land based platforms, the wing for air platforms, and the propeller for water based platforms. These same chasis are also the basis for their propulsion. The humanoid shape, like any other living beings, can use its own body as a means of propulsion, among other things. The appendages are also used for various actions; for utility, movement, etc., while other weapons platform would require a seperate unit, powersource and operator to accomplish the same job.

Vehicular weapon platforms needs a certain space, be limited to a certain speed, to allow then to turn, This aspect of maneuverability is sometimes referred to as 'turning radius' or 'turning speed'. Too much or too little of both can spell disaster, causing the vehicle to stall or topple over. With a humanoid form, maneuverability is aided with the 4 appendages (2arms, 2 legs) and the torso. These parts control or play with weight and momentum to make a body turn on a spot, or turn while it is being hurled into another direction. Its like falling down in a freefall and you turn, just by twisting your hips and throwing the weight of your upper body, you have just changed your orientation without disturbing the direction of your momentum.

The humanoid mecha will combine the agility and the dexterity of the human body with the strength and power of a machine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wicked Night at Araneta with KORN!!!!

At long last, the heroes of Nu Metal showed that they still have what it takes with their live concert last night (Aug.10, 2011) at Araneta Center. Every metal head (and posers, hahaha ang dami nila) at the event were headbanging to their heart's content, screaming out as they sang along with Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis.

Being 'out of the loop' in Nu Metal for a while, I thought I was not going to recognize the songs that the planned to play. To my delight, and much of the others, they opened the night with 'Blind', which got almost everyone in the bleachers to jump and smash into each other, oblivious to the danger of falling the 20+ meters down. Then played their other earlier hits like "Freak on a Leash", "Got the Life", Thoughtless", "Here to Stay", "Falling Away From Me"and "Shoots and Ladders", among others. With the number of songs and medleys they performed, the night was a very tiring but fun event.

After the concert, I did go and look for the new stuff that I heard for the first time at the concert but loved it. I later found out that song was entitled "Twisted Transistor". If my group were in the lower level, we could have slammed until our bodies can't slam no more.

But the night did not go without faults. For one, the sound mix for Slapshock was bad. It sounded like a radio playing their song with a towel covered over it. Even when it was Korn's turn to rock, all we heard were muffled bass sounds lacking in gain and crunch. Maybe its partly due to the fact that, with the size of the venue, we were located at the uppermost bleachers, which is the spot that I could afford. High ticket prices also led to the empty spaces at the lower boxes and reserved area, but our area in the General Admission was filled to the brim.

The concert was not the only entertainment that night. The usual fare of rock fanatics and bollocks livened up the place even before event started. While Araneta employees were busy selling pizzas, hotdog sandwiches and overpriced sodas, a lot of chants, heckles and cat calls were going about.

There were sports fans shouting "GINEBRA!! GINEBRA!!" (a famous basketball team in the PBA), and "DEFENSE!!! DEFENSE!!", like I was in a basketball game than a concert.

Then there were threats directed at the security group; "DI MO KAILANGAN MASAKTAN PARA SA P350 LANG" ("you don't have to get hurt for 350 pesos" which I think was their salary. Usually in the Philippines, concert goers at the upper levels rush the fences to get better seats). I was laughing at all of them.

And a hearty "Word Up" to the DJ who performed and the Lightintg Director, who we referred to as Mr. Lighting Guy, for all his slammin' moves while manning the boards.

Hell to the Yeah, the night was a real doozy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

I'm not much of a Captain America fan, to tell the truth, I was only forced to watch this because my son wanted to.

But I must say that the film was well done and good, with a solid plot, direction and development. Well, there is a solid story behind it all to begin with. Its just something to give a background story for the upcoming Avengers movie. Still, they did a bang up job.

As a fan of the Marvel Universe, I do know a lot about Captain America to let me follow the story as it goes, explaining to my son additional bits and pieces why some events came to be, or how it was on the comics.

The thing I admire about the movie is that it follows the story of Steve Rogers according to Marvel, without much jazzing it up to fit the modern times. The development of his costume, from the classic WWII era uniform and shield, to the more modern conception (which is cooler than the blue and white scale armor in the comics) was nicely woven into the story. And the infusion of the idea that Capt. America is not just a fanatical, flag-waving, right-wing something, but just a good and honest person that wants to do the right thing.

The teasers after the ending credits was a really built up the anticipation for the coming Avengers movie.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sucker Punch

I didn't know anything about this movie. I only got to know about it when my buddy and I went out to buy some DVDs, and there was this intense fight scene being shown on a big ass LED TV in the shop. I was like, staring, ogling, just plain hypnotized by the fight sequence and the pretty girls that were lashing it out with hordes of robot gunners.That was my introduction into Sucker Punch, the 2011 action-fantasy movie by Zack Snyder and Steve Shibuya.

Its the story of a girl, referred in the movie as 'Babydoll', trying to escape from the asylum , after a bunch of horrible events perpetrated by her stepfather, who was also the one who interred her in the institution. Unbeknownst to her, her stepfather made a deal on the inside that would silence her if further investigation is held about the before mentioned horrible event.

Seems like a simple plot, and it is really, but the twist to the storytelling is that Babydoll moves in and out of her fantasies to help her cope with the events that are unfolding. These fantasies are also metaphors for the missions or tasks Babydoll and her friends had to got through to accomplish their goal of escaping.

Within these fantasies is where the intense fighting sequences takes place. You'll see them face off with enemies and scenarios which is made with an eclectic mix of World War 1 , Medieval Japan, Knights and Orcs, Mecha and Zombie soldiers. All inter layered seamlessly, amidst all that modern firepower, intense melee-type fight scenes, hand to hand combat, and flying around like kungfu masters. Which, by the way, are sooooo awesome!! I never stared in awe at action sequences like this since the first Matrix film.

Its like a fanboy's (or otaku's) fantasy movie where petite-katana-wielding-double-pistol-waving-school girl like uniform wearing vixen faces off not in a girly manner but in a battle that rivals sequences from anime's like 'Basilisk', 'Gundam' and 'Fists of the North Star'.

For me, I could get enough of all the fight sequence, but the story is too depressing. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Babydoll, for all the things she had gone through and will be going through.

But unfortunately, that's all there is to it. A story which could be told differently, or shorter, spiced up with tons of effects and fight scenes. I alone enjoyed parts of the movie while the people I saw it with was lost and appalled with the movie, trying to make sense of it all.

At the end of the movie, my son suddenly cried out, 'What the hell was that? its like an in-flight movie for crazy people....'

I had to pop in a DVD of Disney's 'Cars' just to calm him down.

(my son was surprised to see High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens in a revealing outfit, blasting caps and fighting with axes. I told him, they all had to grow up some time...)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

I watched the latest installment of the Transformers movie franchise last month, entitled "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon". And according to the tallies after, it was one of the highest grossing films opening that time.

But I must say, the character development and the dialogues are a bit thin, leaving me bewildered for at least a month. They do have a solid main plot, with the conspiracies and story continuity, giant robot battles spiced up with intense special effects, but the way the characters are shown makes one feel indifferent after leaving the cinema.

First of all, the script seems to be a dive into anger, sarcasm and the art of being assholes. Shia's character seems to me like a take on Ben Stiller with a pinch of Woody Allen, only more pissed off. So does his parents, co-workers and others. Its like being all cooped up with all this anger and nothing to vent it on.

The relationship between Optimus and Sentinel Prime is conveyed in a weak manner that its like two guys raising each others to speak, and it was weird. The character of Sentinel Prime is also transparent that you know instantly from the start that there is something wrong with him, which made the twist past the middle of the movie not that surprising.

Like I said to my wife there and then, this movie is really for kids, that don't look that much into the story or character development, but just wants to see some big robots kick each other.

(transformers poster from wikipedia)