Wednesday, July 25

Movie: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix during its opening weekend. I thought I’d immediately write somewhat a review of the movie, but I just got buried by an avalanche of work. So that idea was scrapped. Now, almost two weeks later, I finally have some time to breathe. Thinking of writing a review is somehow not that appealing as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is stale news already (to me anyway).

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth in the ever popular Potter series. Directed by David Yates, the movie continues with Harry trying to convince everyone that Lord Voldemort is back and that it is up to the Harry and his friends to stop him, seeing that the Ministry is not only refusing to stop Voldemort, they are in denial and are refusing to even acknowledge his reappearance.

The movie runs for about two hours (138 mins) and ironically is the shortest Potter film which comes from the longest Potter book in the series (at 800+ pages). This was one of the reasons many have complained that the movie was ‘jumpy’ and did not include many things from the book.

On the other hand, I thought Yates did an amazing job directing and putting together everything neatly into a package where we know enough to get the story and to move the plot. Sure, we just don’t get the full wham of the book. This is understandable, as in almost all cases of book-turned-movie; the book will always be far superior to the movie. It’s incomparable.

I really enjoyed this movie, and my husband (a non-Potter reader) seems to enjoy it as much as I did. I liked the fireworks scene with Fred and George Weasley, and the duelling scene at the end between the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters. The wand duelling was almost a great big dance, with ultra cool moves and stances. I like!

Harry, well what can be said for Harry. Harry is a bit more matured (especially his voice - no more squeaky talking). I feel his pain, anguish, frustration, but I’m at times missing the scar. Perhaps the director thought it wise not to make it too obvious on his forehead. Sure it’s there, it just happens to be a bit inconspicuous.

As for Ron and Hermione, I love them both. The voice of reason, Hermione has grown into a beautiful young woman who takes control and is one of Harry’s biggest advocates. Ron is also comfortable in his role as best friend and provides comic relief.

There is one scene that is still on my mind. This was where the three were discussing Harry’s kiss with Cho which took place earlier. Harry, Hermione and Ron ended their conversation with a great hearty laugh. There’s something about that laugh that made me love them all the more. And after some snooping around, I found out that that laugh was a real laugh from Daniel, Emma and Rupert after they’d said their lines. It was a great laugh that the director kept the film rolling to capture it.

This movie also introduces some new characters, which I truly enjoyed watching. Luna Lovegood couldn’t have been more perfect. The faraway look on her face and her at-times wistful voice is exactly the way I thought she should be. Luna was among my favourites. Bellatrix Lestrange was her crazy self, but perhaps not as crazy as I had imagined. Perhaps there’s more to her in the next movie. And Umbridge, with her pink clothes, and her kittens, and her throat clearing “hmm hmm” was really so annoying and mean that I felt like asking her to write lines! A great portrayal indeed. Other characters had too little screen presence to make an impact (like Tonks).

One thing that I thought was glaring was the incident with the Thestrals. Among the six students from Dumbledore’s Army who went to the Ministry, only Harry and Luna were supposed to be able to see the Thestrals. So how did his friends ride the Thestrals if they couldn’t see them? This was explained in the book, but in the movie, no one seems to have noticed that the kids are all flying on the Thestrals. Hmmm….

The movie was great for me. I think it was dark enough to be the successor of the Goblet of Fire. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was worth the wait. I can’t wait for next year’s Half Blood Prince!

A must watch for Potter fans. And to non-Potter readers and non-fans, give it a go, you never know…. You might enjoy it yet.

Monday, July 23

Shame on you!

Much has been said about the Harry Potter price wars. Many have spoken and conveyed their views. My two cents:

To the bookstores who refuse to sell (MPH, Times, Harris and Popular), good for you for making your stand. I may not agree fully with your action, but I understand where you guys are coming from. Fight!

To the hypermarkets (whom I shall not even name, coz I hate their guts - it’s my blog and I can say what I like), what’s the matter with you? Suddenly being goody-goody and offering such a ‘dignified’ service to sell cheaper books to people?

You are not practising good business conduct. Surely you’re out to make money, with cheap publicity stunts like that, it’s without a doubt that you will cover your losses through the sale of other items.

It blatantly shows that you don’t honour the unwritten rule of appropriate business etiquette, and you have no sense of fair play whatsoever. Shame on you!

Wednesday, July 11

Nice? Who're you calling nice?

Recently I went to a seminar on Systems Thinking and how it can help solve most of our complex problems. It was a great seminar and I think it would be beneficial to everyone. During the seminar, I found out that my main problem at work was caused by a negative archetype called the Attractiveness Principle.

And what is the Attractiveness Principle you ask? Trying to please everyone, because saying no is too hard to do. The mental model here is: We must please everybody all of the time.

How do you like that? Never in a million years would I have that of myself…. Being too nice and accommodating? But after thinking about it, I realised that it was somewhat true. So now I have to work on its positive archetype, which is to Be My Best. The mental model here is: We make choices about what we can and cannot do, knowing that it may not please everybody all of the time.

Now that is surely something that I need to practise and believe in. No more being the doormat and saying yes to everyone at work. There are times when I just need to say no.

Tuesday, July 10

Movie: Transformers

Last Sunday I watched Transformers for the second time. Yes, the first was during its opening weekend at Cineleisure. What a blast! I’m still contemplating writing a review of it, seeing that it’s old news already. Ah, what the heck….

We all know the Transformers story. Most of us kids who grew up in the eighties would be very familiar with the cartoon. I’m not a fanatic, mind you, but I did watch episodes together with my brother when we were younger. He even had a Transformers lunchbox. It was red and depicted a battle scene between the Autobots and the Decepticons (hey bro, remember this?).

So basically what we have is the Autobots who are trying to protect mankind from destruction by the Decepticons, who are in search of something called the Allspark. The Allspark (the Cube) is a vital piece which holds power to create life. It was lost in space and landed on Earth a long long time ago. A map to its whereabouts was imprinted into the glasses of Capt Archibald Witwicky, the grandfather of Sam Witwicky. Unbeknownst to Sam, he holds the map to the Allspark, and while the Decepticons are trying to find it, the Autobots come to his rescue. Okay, any more telling and I’ll spoil the movie experience.

So it being Michael Bay, you can expect to see lots of action and crashes and explosions. In this, Bay does not disappoint. However, the ending was a bit too abrupt to me. Sure, you have the prerequisite battle scenes between the Autobots and the Decepticons, and they are heart-thumping awe inducing scenes, but the end of it all….


I felt that it was a bit to easy the way Megatron died. I mean, Sam pushes the Allspark into his chest? That’s it? The evil devious Megatron was defeated just like that? Just doesn’t cut it….

All in all, I must say that I did enjoy the movie. It was fantastic. And I watched it twice. What does that say? It contained enough inside ‘jokes’ for fans, like the yellow Volkswagen next to Bumblebee who’s now a Camaro, and a bumblebee hanging from the rear view mirror of the Camaro.

So if you haven’t already, go watch it. It will not disappoint.

Monday, July 2

More D'Rimba photos

I was at D'Rimba again on Saturday, and these are more photos of the place. They've got the nameplate thingy up already....

And they've completed the path from the clubhouse to the gazebo near the pool....

There's even this foot reflexology path thingy.... (i really need to brush up my vocab!)....

Can't wait....