Puss In Boots – Review (DVD)

Miss it once, catch it second time around

Dreamworks Animation is known for many things. One is its ever popular Shrek series. When I heard the character, Puss In Boots, was getting his own movie, I rolled my eyes like everyone else not expecting much. But the reviews were generally positive and I thought I would try it out.

I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

The story goes like this: Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas, who else?) is seeking after the fabled golden eggs. In the chase, he runs into an old friend, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) who manages, with the help of Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) to convince him to team up again to find the eggs. But first they must get the beans from the bandits Jack and Jill. (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris, respectively) Can they gain the beans and the eggs?

Now, I came in with a little bit of skepticism. Could the fan-favorite cat that stole everyone’s heart really stand on his own two boots? (See what I did there. Ohohoho) But this movie has a lot of charm. The humor is kept from the Shrek but it’s not the focus. Instead, we have a question of honor and brotherhood and doing the right thing that keeps the story rooted. The cast is sparkling, with the only oddball being Galifianakis but even he has a good time, and the visual effects are great. I’d recommend a rent and if you find yourself enjoying it go ahead and buy it.

Oh and uh…have a laugh:

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Cars 2 vs Kung Fu Panda 2

So, everyone knows what season it is right now? Many people are confused now days with the weather and all but right now, we are in an important season.

Awards season!

Yes this is when our critically acclaimed movies/tv shows/music get credit where credit is due.  And while the debates range on about the necessity about these awards shows, I noticed one thing…

No Pixar in the Animated Film awards.

WHAT?! The company that gave us Toy Story and Wall*E isn’t on the list?! Why?

And then to my surprise, I found that BOTH of DreamWorks Animation films for the year, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots were both nominated in both the Academy Awards and the Oscars. Then I also remembered what Pixar’s movie was for the year.

Cars 2. The critically reviled sequel to Cars.

But while it has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 39%, Kung Fu Panda 2 however gets a rating of 80%. Why is this? Having not seen ether movies in theaters, I decided to rent both and see for myself.

Cars 2: The plot is this. A World Grand Prix is being hosted by a car that has developed a clean alternate fuel source. Lightning McQueen joins after getting support from Mater and takes him along. Hilarity Ensues and Mater is mistaken as a deep undercover American spy by an the Britian spies (an old vet and the techy newbie). Can Mater stop a diabolical plot crafted by the “lemons” of the world?

Kung Fu Panda 2: The plot is this. An evil peacock is stealing metal for a nefarious purpose. That purpose is revealed to be that he’s making cannons in order to take overChina by killing all those who would oppose him, namely kung fu warriors. And he seems to have ties to our lovable Dragon Warrior. CanPo stop him in time?

What’s similar between the two: Both are MUCH darker than their predecessors. Both have off screen deaths featured. (Cars 2 even begins with a car crushed into a cube! And it’s somehow still rated G.) And both have an obivious Ink Suit Actor, ie animated character based off of the actor playing it, as a protagonist. This is Cars 2’s determent, as Larry the Cable Guy just rubs people outside of the kids and the rednecks the wrong way. Kung Fu Panda 2’s Po however, while based off of Jack Black, still seems like he’s his own character and there were only two moments where Jack Black’s…Jack-Blackiness comes off as awkward. Also both are world builders. Cars 2 creates a world of vehicles for us to explore. Kung Fu Panda 2 introduces us to new masters and new cities.

Why one works and the other doesn’t: Kung Fu Panda 2 actually tied up lose ends from the previous movie and still left the groundwork ready for another movie. (And indeed, DreamWorks is planning on SIX movies for this franchise.) Cars was very self-contained though and it sequel didn’t prove well in this movie. I think part of that has to work with the “Be Yourself” message, which was done a lot better in (ironically) Kung Fu Panda. Basically, Mater shouldn’t change at all but it comes off horrible in the fact that he had no knowledge of other cultures. Isn’t that one of the things we Americans are accused of? And at the end of the movie, there is no change in the Status Quo. Spoilers! Mater could have used his skills of identifying parts and makes and models of cars to good use as an intelligence informant to the spies but noooo. He has to stay at home, where his hillbilly antics are welcome. Kung Fu Panda 2 has better moral that what happened to you before doesn’t make you who you are now. Instead it is what you choose to be now, that makes the difference. Not to mention a noticeable change inPo and Spoiler! the reveal that there are more pandas.

So…do I hope Kung Fu Panda 2 does well in the Oscars? Yes. Do I hope Pixar’s next film Brave makes up for Cars 2? Yes. Now if you’ll excuse me…I have a movie to re-watch!

Beauty and the Beast IN 3D! Review

Everyone has a soft spot in their hearts for Disney. Most of us were raised on the diet of Mickey and Pixar. Beauty and the Beast is not one of my personal favorites, even though Belle is probably the Princess I most resemble in personality. However, given the opportunity to watch a classic in the theater and give my thoughts on it before anyone else…kinda lured me in.

The 3D, as always, does take some time getting used to. especially a movie like this, where it isn’t made with 3D in mind. So for a while, I was focusing on what was at the foreground. Eventually, my eyes adjusted and allowed myself to observe what needed to be observed. I still caught a lot don’t normally catch, such as the director cameo and the skull-in-Gaston’s-eyes part. The story’s still the same though now, I actually managed to ponder a bit about the plot.

The original story had the Beast still be polite and gentle to the girl. The only grounds in which she refused to love him was because of his ugliness. Well, in this adaptation, the Beast is trapped in a more animal like body. Underneath the rage and hatred lies despair at his coming fate. He is the one most changed by this story and he is changed by love. While this may not always work like that in real life, it does show how simply caring for another can change a person. Ah, the morals that you don’t realize you’re getting when you’re a kid.

So yes, I enjoyed myself. Suddenly, I feel the urge to perform the reprise of Belle.

RIP Howard Ashman, the other half of the musician duo that worked on this film and whom the the movie is dedicated to.

Oh what fun it is to have family over! 12/24

7:20 am: Did I metion I’m sensative to noises? Woken up by step-nieces and nephews playing loudly.

7:21 am: Stays in bed.

8:30 am: Needs to use restroom but is taken.

8:35 am: They said it would be a huge breakfast. Instead breakfast is a bagel with strawberry cream cheese spread.

8:40 pm: Mom brought in the mail from the post office so time to pick up the book review and run into my room! Interesting articles: a recently deceased writer’s anti-Christmas thoughts and a review on a new Sherlock Homes knock-off. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is still ontop of the hardcover fiction list. *sigh*

9:15 am: Realizes hasn’t taken shower. IT’S taken. Oh, and the nieces and nephews are playing with the Wii.

9:30 am: Takes shower.

9:45 am: Mom complains of hair being wet.

10:00 am: …again…

10: 05 am: Begins to write down post for yesterday’s blog.

12:10 pm: Wonders when we are leaving for the extended family gathering at Grandma’s.

12:15 pm: Also wonders why the nieces and nephews don’t like her since she’d watch Toy Story 3 with them.

12:17 pm: One nephew hates my Santa hat since “only nice people can wear it”. Another defends me. *sniff*

12:28 pm: So too the nice nephew goes me recording myself reading a book! (He’s a missonary’s kid)

12:45 pm: Finally going to Grandma’s, just after I get a lecture on how argumentive I’m getting.

12:50 pm: Looks like the football game’s on.

1:00 pm: Nieces are wondering what I’m doing. (Writing down stuff timeline. Yesterday’s was horrible trying to remember it)

1:10 pm: Begin the pictures. I am so grateful that I have no kids of my own to deal with!

1:25 pm: FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!

1:40 pm: Not much that I care for though.

2:05 pm: If it wern’t for the fact that I’m trying to keep a seat, I probably find some place to hide. Otherwise, I’m in the middle of the room zoning out.

2:15 pm: “Is it time to open presents yet?”

2:25 pm: Somethimes I wonder if I’ve been on the internet for far too long.

2:35 pm: Bored now

2:45 pm: Me too! (Mom. Should have seen this coming with writing in a notebook and all.)

3:05 pm: Huh. The Chefs are doing semi-well.

3:12 pm: Never mind.

3:15 pm: Great-Grandkid presents!

3:35 pm: $20. Second time I recive that amount of money from my grandparent.

3:45 pm: Guy gift exchange. This is one of those, pick-a-random-gift-from-the-center-and-snatch-and-steal. Much more entertaining.

4:05 pm: Ladies exhcange! I’m #8 out of 15. Not too bad.

4:25 pm: Hope for luck that the soft plush blanket and chocolate gift I have will be MINE!

4:30 pm: …damn it. Here’s to jewery.

4:32 pm: Never mind. Got the blanket back and it is now mine for sure! (Three steals and I stole it once, someone stole it from me, some one stole it again and I stole it back!) MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

4:40 pm: I shall now immortalize, “I think it’s a gift card.” Make it a meme please!

4:55 pm: The end of the party.

5:18 pm: A minor clean up at my house.

6:00 pm: The hills are alive, with the sound of music.

8:00 pm: Update yestday’s blog.

8:16 pm: Rewatches Persona 3 and Persona 4’s christmas parts. (YuxRise and MinakoxKen FTW!)

9:05 pm: Church service.

10:20 pm: Return. Takes shower.

11:00 pm: No late night Doctor Who episodes tonight so off to bed!

Today? Well, today was just a church service and me watching choral productions on PBS. (And updating this blog!) So there you have it! A handheldgamer’s Christmas!

Oh what fun it is to have family over! 12/23

Ah Christmas, where I can belt out certain songs off the top of my lungs and…well…maybe get looked oddly at, where the Japanese worry about who’s dating who, and family come to visit! I have been dealing with my relatives since…Thanksgiving it seems like. However, I will only bore you with the events of the 23rd (intermediate family X-mas) and 24th (Extended family X-mas)

8:00 am: Stirring

8:15 am: Hears kids eating breakfast. Stays in bed to avoid them.

8:30 am: Breakfast is cereal. The company is step-brothers, brother and a slow step-nephew.

9:00 am: Breakfast dishes are finished. (Though dishes are not to bad with family around. One of the perks) Getting ready for a shower.

9:15 am: Done with shower. Everyone’s gone expect for Mom who promptly complains of the wet hair…

9:30 am: …again…

9:40 am: …and again…

10:00 am: Decides to hang out in room.

10:50 am: …expect to get mail.

11:13 am: Mail arrives. Wall Street Journal, Christmas Cards and text books for me and my brother.

11:35 am: When reading the Review section, family returns. Retreats to room with text-book.

12:40 pm: Lunch is served. Chili. After waiting for step-necies and nephews, takes a bowl.

12:55 pm: The only dish I have to wash is my own and the chili pot. YAY!

1:00 pm: Retreats to room to finish reading book.

1:40 pm: Decides to daydream.

2:30 pm: Very grateful no one goes into my room for anything.

3:30 pm: Hears necies and nephews starting up the Wii. Since I’m the game master around this household, I decide to help set things up.

3:35 pm: But is forced to watch.

4: 30 pm: Realizes if I acted like “yancey”, I would be kicked off.

4:35 pm: “carter” loses so I play as him. (With “yancey” ignoring my wish to change Mii’s)

4:40 pm: The real Carter is now very happy that I, the most experienced gamer, is playing as him.

5:00 pm: “Don’t pick ‘carter’! You”ll lose against her!” True. NO QUARTER TO CHILDREN WHO DARE TO FACE ME!

5:15 pm: “Jazzibell” (who faced and lost against me) goes onto win the game!

5:16 pm: Grandma’s over so Wii time’s over but food is just around the corner…

5:40 pm: Three plates. Beginning, middle and desert!

5:50 pm: Exchange time! My first gift is…a shirt. -_-

6:05 pm: Gift from Mom. The Book of Confidence. Genuinely is touched, since I’ve had a bad year.

6:30 pm: Gift card from step-sister. Presumes it’s for the car radio she asked for. (But I’m now making other plans for it)

6:50 pm: Bored now. Necies and nephews getting presents is getting old.

7:20 pm: …so much that the humorous incident of a nephew getting the same gift twice isn’t funny.

7:35 pm: Worse off, I gave my present, a gift card with a sound greeting card, myself.

7:50 pm: The last gift gets fanfare, a 3D target wolf.

8:00 pm: Retreats to bed.

To be continued…

The Half-Year in Books Jul-Dec 2011

What does a person do when she’s trapped at home and kept away from her one true passion? Read books! So in honor of the almost end of the year, here is my list of books from the latter half of the year of 2011.

 

Harry Potter series: In prep for the final movie, I re-read all of the books. It was certainly interesting. Most of the older books seem odd when compared to the older and at times, it seems a bit formulaic. But still a good read for kids and teens.

 

Romance Novels: Oh my goodness. A guilty pleasure if there ever was one. Basically, this taught me that you can get away with a lot more on paper than you can on film or a video game. The big one was a romance novel author shared a body with Cleopatra. So yeah.

 

John Grisham Novels: And now for something completely different. Occasionally, the Author Tracts get heavy but I admire that he’s allowing to explore everything he can with his legal novels and then some. My favorite still remains to be The Partner, which is about a guy who decides to leave his firm that was about to fire him and for good measure, take a large sum of money with him and manages to come up with a plan that leaves him (spoiler) scott-free. Maybe it’s the “running away” part I like.

 

The Best Of Me: I should put this up with Romance Novels but that reading was in the summer.  So…teen guy gives up teen girl, who are One True Loves and life ensued and meet again at a funeral for an old friend who is Shipper On Deck.  Will they get back together? (Spoiler) No. Otherwise, we’d have a lot of complaints about the logic. Though, leave it to a romance author to come up with an awww (or gluh) worthy ending.

 

Inheritance: Well, the fantasy comes to a close. Not really one of my biggest fan faves but enjoyable. Angela and Nasuada still remain my favorite characters. And a nicely done final battle.

 

Short eh? Next half-year is going to be shorter thanks to college starting again!

Viva la Vita?

I “love” the fact that the Wall Street Journal requires subscriber access for certain articles. So the article that caught my eye will just have to come from another website.

The success of the Vita is going to have to come from serious hard-core gamers that are willing to shell out to the max $300 dollars to get a portable hardcore game. Me personally, I’m willing! I’m willing to buy ports of games I haven’t tried, such as Persona 4: The Golden, (especially that one, considering I have, and LOVE, Persona 3 Portable) and Final Fantasy X, because I haven’t been able to play them before. That’s the mostly reason I bought the 3DS, which was for The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. My problem is what I dub “small-town selection”. Even now, the only game that I can find for the PSP in Fort Scott’s Wal-Mart is Madden ’11. The nearest gaming store is in Nevada, which is out of my way.

Also, backwards compatibility. That is a BIG thing for me as I tend to amass a library that I don’t want to give up. The fact that I have to re-buy my games again, doesn’t appeal much to me. Now, if Sony can pull something up like the 3DS’ virtual library, I would be very pleased, as I don’t tend to trust $1 games. (Which is why games on cellphones or tablets probably won’t matter much to me.)

Unfortunately, the system will probably go the same way as the Playstation Portable. Bomb everywhere expect Japan. Lets just see if things will be better for us gamers.

Keepon…I want one

So, during the day I usually browse my Dad’s Wall Street Journal in hopes of something interesting. Something interesting today ended up being an article about how interactive kids toys are getting. Now back say…ten to fifteen years ago, I would describe myself as someone who liked plushes (still do) kinda-sorta for Barbie’s (because of that ginormous dollhouse that now, the nieces enjoy) and board games. But now, in this day and age, I know exactly what I want.

Two yellow balls stuck together with eyes and a nose that can dance better than I can.

I…don’t know why. I mean, that’s the $30,000 and the $40 dollar one is definitely not supposed to be as good. It doesn’t look as if it’ll fit in my car, where it would stay, so Dad wouldn’t have to complain about the chirping robot. But…it…it…

IT’S SO CUTE!!

And the fact that it can dance to music and be a good little buddy on the road, who won’t complain about the fry smell and why I’m not taking the fastest route home.

GAH! WhymustitbesoldonlyinToysRUswheretheclosestoneisinJoplin/KansasCity. *headdesk*

The Intro!

Hiya! The name’s handheldgamergirl! Pleased to meet everyone on the net. Call me Handel.

*ahem* This is going to be a blog updated at least twice a week for just random thoughts about my life. Be it my experence as a Handheld Gamer, (Offical title) or my new adjustments to life in general. So sit back and relax and enjoy hearing my opinions.