Saturday, July 30, 2011

Avatar: The Last Airbender

I just watched the film The Last Airbender on TV. I think the film came out in 2010. It was badly reviewed everywhere so I wasn't expecting much. Which is just as well, it wasn't very good.

It's a pity. The film was based on Avatar: The Last Airbender which was a really great cartoon, one of my favourites. I watched it on Nickelodeon, all three seasons, something like 60 episodes.

I remember the first time I saw it. I was just flicking through TV stations and the cartoon immediately caught my attention. As it turned out, I'd stumbled onto an all-day Avatar marathon on Nickelodeon so I abandoned all other plans for the day and watched every episode they showed, rushing into the kitchen during the adverts to make tea and biscuits.

After that I followed the show relentlessly, catching up with the episodes I'd missed and watching all the new ones. There were many times, when watching Avatar: The Last Airbender that I'd find myself amazed at something that had just happened, and I'd think 'This is such a good cartoon.'

It was like a mixture of an Anime and an American cartoon and, it was full of good characters, all using their elemental powers for fighting, and traveling between adventures on a flying-bison. I was sad when it all came to an end at the end of the third season, and still sort of hope they might make some more.

So the film was a big disappointment. The cartoon was set in a fictional world that was mostly Asian, and the characters were basically Asian. Avatar Aang was like a young Chinese monk. However in the film, all the main young characters were played by white actors. It was very strange. This caused a lot of adverse comment when the film came out, I can see why. Plenty of people loved these characters as they were, and for the film studio to suddenly make them not Asian but white, seemed weird, and maybe racist as well.

I watched the film thinking 'Who the hell are these characters meant to be? I want to see them like they were in the cartoon' (There was one Asian actor as a main character. Unfortunately, he didn't seem right for his part either.)

This was only one of many problems. There were great characters in the cartoon but they didn't come across as great in the film. The dialogue was hopeless. And it was all so rushed. The film covered the first series of the cartoon, which was twenty episodes, but they crammed it all into 90 minutes. It was all a great disappointment. (I notice the film got awarded some Golden Raspberry awards for being the worst film of the year. To be fair, I'm not sure it was quite that bad. It was bad, but there were some reasonable action sequences and parts of it looked good.)

I saw it on TV so I don't know how the 3-D was. But I'm not interested in 3-D, and hope I never have to watch it.

There were another two series in the cartoon, so I suppose if the film had been a success there would have been two more films, but it doesn't seem like they will happen now. In a way this is a shame, because the film, being based on the first series of the cartoon, didn't even have some of the best characters, who arrive later. Toph, for instance, a young earth-bender. And Princess Azula, who is a really great villain. And is also one of the many cartoon females I fined myself strangely attracted to.

Well, I still recommend the cartoon anyway, it was great. I don't know if its still shown anywhere but if you come across it you should definitely watch it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Japan World Cup / Intruder Alert

I very much enjoyed watching the women's world cup final between Japan and the USA. It was a really good game, played at a high standard. I didn't mind who won, as both teams were good. It was exciting right to the end, when Japan were the victors in a penalty shoot-out.

I toasted Japan's victory with some warm sake. Well, I was going to drink that anyway. But I pretended it was a toast. I've been able to buy sake more easily recently, as my local supermarket has started stocking it, so I don't have to shop online anymore, and wait for it to be delivered.

About 10.45 pm, not long after the game finished, I had an extremely alarming experience. Someone put a key in my front door and tried to open it! Actually, alarming doesn't quite cover it. I headed towards the front door, shouting loudly and attempting to sound fierce. This had no effect, and the unknown intruder kept trying to open my front door with a key

So I threw open the door, ready to fight for my life. OK, that's not quite accurate. I opened the door with the burglar chain still in place. But if the intruder had broken through that, I was definitely ready to fight for my life.

The intruder turned out to be a young man I recognised, from the next section of this block, so hopelessly drunk that he'd wandered into the wrong entrance. He was fumbling to open what he thought was his own front door. He looked at me quite cheerfully and smiled when I told him he had the wrong flat. Then he shook my hand before stumbling off.

So that was alarming. But for a drunk person, it was quite an easy mistake. There are various entrances to all the flats in this long block, and they all look exactly the same. I have on one occasion found myself wandering into the wrong entrance, though I did realise my mistake before I tried to open someone else's front door.

Afterwards I drank more sake and returned to watching The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, one of many anime I'm watching at the moment.

Friday, July 08, 2011

World Record for Ruining T-shirt

My new Claymore t-shirt arrived from the USA. I ripped open the package, put it on, and went to look in the mirror.

'Hmm' I thought. 'That's strange. Why is it blood-stained?'

I realised I'd cut myself shaving. I hadn't even noticed before. Only a small nick, but enough to get blood on the t-shirt when I put it on. Sigh. I took it off and put it in the washing machine, thinking that, while I am clumsy and never take care of anything properly, I can usually keep something for more than five seconds before destroying it.

T-shirt currently in washing machine, getting blood rinsed out, I hope.

I seem to have developed an obsession with buying manga t-shirts. Possibly some sort of mid-life crisis effect. While other men are buying sports cars, I'm buying manga t-shirts. Hmm. Well, I am a big fan of Claymore anyway. I'll be pleased with the t-shirt when it's stain-free.


Here is an interview with me, and a good review of Lonely Werewolf Girl, on Jalisa Blackman's blog.