Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Heavier Lighter

This definitely makes it into my crazy crap list.  
This monstrous abnormality does turn heads at the smoking room, but fails miserably at usage.  Even with highly functional opposable thumbs, it's pretty fiddly to handle.  The body is just way too bulky.  The huge spring mechanism is just way too difficult to press.  And  honey, I don't see this thing fitting in my purse.
Yes, the Chinese thought of this breakthrough.  I'm sure it's darn right amusing and the Chinese would've thought they were geniuses when they cooked this up.  But will it survive the smoking public?  Quite honestly, I think this lighter will die out even earlier than my left lung.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thomas the Trainsformer: Stranger than Fiction

Christmas season is also the season of knock-offs.  It's the perfect time for fakers to crawl out of the woodwork and sell their plagiarizing wares to unsuspecting bargain hunters.  Some of these fakers, however, push the envelope and get ultimately creative in their fakery.  Take for example this awful find I got from a traveling toy cart --The Thomas Trainsformer.  Seriously, it's 3 cheap plastic trains (obviously nabbed from the famous Thomas and Friends series) that you can attach together to form a...wait for it...a Thomas the Tank Engine Super Robot!!! You guessed it, it's Japan-made.  In fact, the set also comes with a VCD of 8 Thomas and Friends episodes, all dubbed in Japanese --with no freaking subtitle option!
The toy breaks easily (at P20, why am I not surprised).  Ours did as soon as Kenji tore off the plastic casing.  But that's hardly the manufacturer's fault.  It's the consumer's fault for being cheap and uncaring of quality and decency.  *kicks herself on the noggin*

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eating Up the VeggieTales

One afternoon, my husband came home from his weekly movie run.  The kids were thrilled!  Nothing beats weekends with a fresh flick and a fresh tub of buttered popcorn.

So can you imagine their dismay when they found out the movie Dada bought was... VeggieTales???

What the dickens was VeggieTales?!  It's not made by Pixar, not by Dreamworks --so it might as well be junk.

Well, my boys are eating their words now.  VeggieTales, a series of movies featuring cutely drawn vegetables talking about good values and God, actually caught our boys' fancy on the get-go.  I thought it would be like one of those boring biblical cartoons.  But VeggieTales had the edge and the wit.  It retold the bible stories in a new, engaging manner each time.

From Meshach, Shadrach, Abednego and the Golden Calf, VeggieTales offered Rack, Shack, Benny and the Chocolate Bunny.

From the classic David and Goliath, VeggieTales brought forth the spunky Dave and the Giant Pickle.

From the daunting Moses and the 10 Plagues, VeggieTales gave the hilarious Moe and the Big Exit.

It's the same basic story flow.  But the difference is in the funnier role players, the wackier scenarios, and the side-splitting script.
Purists would go and bash these deviations from the originals.  Some would say it's a violation of the sacred word.  But, seriously, as long as kids learn the very same moral lessons from both stories, then it would cause more good than bad.

Values are further pushed through another VeggieTales sequence called Larry Boy --a clumsy yet valiant superhero cucumber out to save kids from telling lies and spreading rumors and disrespecting their parents.  Miro and Kenji absolutely love this gourd!

And to cap the sweet deal, the movie series brim with great songs as sung by the zany duo, Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato.  You guessed it --the songs still instill all that is good no matter how silly they're sung.

I'm giving VeggieTales a thumbs up for being such a win-win movie choice for many weekends now.  And two thumbs up with the sweetest hug to my husband for bringing it home.

Friday, December 11, 2009

We give '9' a 10

Sadly, this movie didn't enjoy much fanfare here.

Simply because it's a computer-animated release presumably made for kids, but with a storyline that has nothing to do with kids.  It started gloomy and ended gloomy.  And I'm not talking about The Corpse Bride-gloomy.  There is absolutely nothing --and I mean, nothing!-- funny about '9'.

Set in the apocalyptic era after the war of man and machine, this 'cartoon' had no slapstick character who served as the running joke or the comic relief.  The characters were all eerie-looking rag dolls with souls, feelings, guilt, and a hunger for survival.

And your connection with them is borne out of fear, mystery, and empathy.
The whole plot feels real in its surrealism.  The story --a veritable, beautiful goldmine of knowledge and awakening.

I guess that's why my boys loved the movie so much.  Apart from having a yen for the Dark (well, you can blame me for that), it gave them a chance to think.  Miro even said, "I'll be more careful when I invent robots in the future, Mimi.  I don't want them destroying humans.".  And Kenji mused, "Even little things can fight big things." --referring to the part when the numbered dolls finally defeated the Machine Overlord.

There are lessons learned.  And I don't mean a peashooter lesson like Play Nice With Your Toys or Ogres Have Layers.  This is way beyond that.  There's Strength In Numbers (pun unabashedly intended) being one of them.

'9' is a must-watch for children and adults who feel like seeing an animated flick to be able to think and feel, rather than just laugh.   Luckily, it's available on DVD.  We have 3 copies. :)

'9'.  Directed by Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton.
Tim Burton... why are you not surprised?