20 Mar 2005
(updated 9 May 2005 at 17:40 UTC) »
When I was in school a good friend of mine by the name of Paul Brady showed me some doodles, drawings of fantastical machines made up of cogs and levels, pulleys and wheels and all sorts of primative bits and pieces strung together to form something useful but massively over engineered. These contraptions are like the inventions you see in a Wallace and Gromit
cartoon or the music video for Honest Mistake by the Bravery
or the award winning adverstiment for Honda called Cog with the sequence of parts falling like a Dominos. Well if you like that sort of thing there are some visual treats and in Robots
, the transport system of Robot City is much like a Pinball machine (which you may already have seen in the trailer) and there is even a scene with actual dominos.
The basic story is about a poor boy robot who goes off to the city to follow his dreams and make it as an inventor.
Things don't go smoothly and our hero faces challanges, a big Evil Corporation is out to make money and cares nothing about screwing over its customers. Weird things is how this film is from Twentieth Century Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch not exactly a corporation known for generosity. This is very much a childrens film and if you expect much depth from it you will be disspointed but there are some jokes thrown in there for the adults and you might even find yourself laughing at the obvious jokes for the children. Some jokes even the crude and obvious ones will always be funny no matter what age of child you are. Given the recent suggestions that somehow Spongebob Squarepants
was homosexual I took additional amusement from the idea that a extremist Christian group somewhere would be offended by the innuendos and cross-dressing antics of the manic robot Fender voiced by the manic actor Robin Williams.
Adults might also appreciate the cameo of Terry Wogan
as the father of the villian Ratchet. Not surprisingsly this change is only in the UK version as the reference to Terry Wogan
would be wasted elsewhere. The man is a legend and made a name for himself BBC
on TV and Radio. He continues to provide commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest despite people getting annoyed at him for pointing out how awful the whole contest it really is.
Thank goodness Robots
is not as awful as Sharks Tale
is from the makers of Ice Age
but manages to be more substantial than that previous effort. It doesn't however manage to be as as brilliant as the Incredibles, which managed to make something very original out of lots of old ideas. I'd still give it 4 out 5.
Adapted from the comic book Hellblazer, this was a film I had been looking forward to seeing. Not that I had read Hellblazer just that I'm usually happy to watch any comic book adaptation. From what I've heard though it is probably a good thing, fans of the comic book were disappointed by the casting of Keanu Reeves as a character that was orignally written as a cynical cockney with dyed blonde hair. What I found more strange was the casting of British actress Rachel Weisz only to have her pretend to be American. Similarly pointless was the casting of Scotsman Ewan Mc Gregor in Robots as the voice of the archetypal American small town boy. However I did think it was interesting to cast Gavin Rosdale (Mr Gwen Stefani and lead singer of the band Bush) as Balthazar, influence peddler and agent of the Devil.
This story of Angles and Demons battling it out on earth was neither dark enough nor spectacular enough for my liking. Not really worth the effort, I'd give it 2 or maybe 3 out of 5. I haven't seen the Machinist yet - and I'll need to be in a certain frame of mind to enjoy it, if it is as grim as it looks - but it would seem like a better bet.
There are some upcoming films I'm looking forward to seeing.
Sin City looks like it will be doing something new as it is being a comic book adaptation that retains the look of the orignal comic book. It doesn't hurt that Jessica Alba is in it too though I'm not holding much hope for the Fantastic Four another comic book adapation in which she stars.
Although my friends have reservations about what Tim Burton might do Willy Wonka I think he is just the person to bring the right amount of creepiness to Roald Dahls story and Johnny Depp looks suitably insane as the eponymous Mr Wonka and I'm optimistic that this will eclipse the Gene Wilder version.
I was looking forward to seeing Harold and Kumar get the Munchies but it seems it was only shown for a week and I've missed it and will have to wait for it on video.
Although I wouldn't say I was particularly looking forwad to it, the trailers for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith have gotten me interested enough that I will definately go and see it, but who am I kidding I probably would have gone to see all three of the Star Wars films no matter how bad they were.
Until today I had never played Mahjongg before. It was a shame that I was forced to read the user manual to figure out how to get started but I relented and eventually found the instructions I needed in the second chapter (I wish Gnome had a searchable help system). I'm still a little baffled by how in rare cases tiles that look different are somehow considered to be match each other. Mahjongg is an interesting enough game but I think it might be a lot more fun if it were not playing it as as a single player game.