March 17, 2010

《书剑恩仇录》(2009)

Posted in Drama, Entertainment at 8:19 pm by ryushin

乔振宇 饰 陈家洛 / 福康安
郑少秋 饰 乾隆
刘德凯 饰 于万亭
周丽淇 饰 「翠羽黄衫」 霍青桐
颖儿 饰 「香香公主」 喀丝丽
梁家仁 饰 「天池怪侠」 袁士霄
黄一飞 饰 「秃鹫」 陈正德
元秋 饰 「雪雕」 关明梅
董志华 饰 「绵里针」 陆菲青
李冬霖 饰 「火手判官」 张召重
任伟 饰 和珅
杨一帆 饰 「金爪铁钩」 白振
游雅惠 饰 布倩佳
贺生伟 饰 「追魂夺命剑」 无尘道长
张平 饰 「千臂如来」 赵半山
刘乃艺 饰 「奔雷手」 文泰来
谭建昌 饰 「黑无常」 常赫志
钟亮 饰 「白无常」 常伯志
李源 饰 「武诸葛」 徐天宏
王岗 饰 周仲英
李呈媛 饰 周绮
徐小明 饰 「铁塔」 杨成协
吴元俊 饰 「九命锦豹子」 卫春华
卢誉文 饰 「石敢当」 章进
齐芳 饰 「鸳鸯刀」 骆冰
赵冬柏 饰 「鬼见愁」 石双英
张凯 饰 「铜头鳄鱼」 蒋四根
吴浩康 饰 「金笛秀才」 余鱼同
路晨 饰 李沅芷

Wootz, the cast list is already very long, but already excludes a number of semi-important people. This adaptation is based on Jinyong’s novel. Interestingly, it was Jinyong’s first novel, which happens to be the latest in terms of historical timeline. For those of us who subscribe to the martial arts deterioration theory, we do see that the martial arts in this era are not the flashy mega-powered feats of energy blasts etc, but on the other hand we do get to see some slick movements and techniques in the conventional sword bouts (or other weapons) kind of way.

One thought I had was how come this novel seems to be less appreciated/popular amongst Jinyong’s novels because the overall feel is great. It is a multi-sided conflict with factions, and hidden factions within factions, vying for their own agenda. With the sheer number of super smart people around, it provides for a nice story progress where people try to outwit others, and manipulate situations to their advantage, whether in the light or hidden in the shadows.

Plot wise, I guess I cannot reveal too much, since probably enough people who have no idea might wanna watch some adaptations of this story. (Please note that there are criticisms that this version differs the most from the novel amongst all the adaptations. Haha originally I had wanted to watch the Vincent Chiu version but I missed it again when my local tv station broadcast it.) But the underlying plot is the mission of the Red Flower Society, an organization of pugilists, in an attempt to overthrow the Manchurian government. The surface confrontation between the 2 factions, as well as the hidden confrontation beneath the secret of both, is further complicated by an alliance of 7 Islamic tribes. I dunno if it seems like little factions to you, but when you know the intricate weaving between all the characters, you will marvel at the grandiosity of it.

There are two other particular things of note here. Surprisingly, there are quite many happy endings for loving couples in this story, unlike many martial arts novels where 有情人终不能成眷属. But ultimately the final ultimate mission is a failure, for we know that the Qing dynasty continued in power until Yuan Shikai and Sun Yat Sen came into the picture. The second thing is the absence of an explicit indication of which person is the finest martial artist in the story. But from observations, I think that a particular person should be the strongest. I’ll leave that to your own discretion. In any case, it didn’t matter as well because fists don’t win you the holy grail in an elaborate plot, for we know Qian Long is the ultimate victor. But is Qian Long truly happy? I doubt so, at least not in the context of this story.

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March 11, 2010

Bad Omens

Posted in General, University at 4:06 pm by ryushin

Well, for some reason, many bad things seem to come together for me at the moment. It is definitely not welcoming to be in this state at a critical junction of the semester.

First of all, I have my lowest ever midterm result for modules in my home faculty, even though it is supposed to be a difficult paper that is highly likely to have been moderated upwards. That is so unforgivable. I do feel that I should have done alot better. Maybe I am just pathetic with tight time constraints. Boo… I’m not sure where my marks stand relative to the class, but to me the absolute value of it is convincingly low. I have the feeling that if it was moderated so that most or all people pass (looks nicer and not so depressing), then I wasn’t that much better, which is just so wrong. (If the tone contains a tint of superiority complex, it is because it does.) I’m really really passionate about a central aspect of the module, an idea that takes up a relatively big bulk of my life, so I must strive to hopefully improve on that kind of performance. Can’t let myself down now.

The second thing is an unhappy discovery of the level of commitments of certain group members in certain modules. It just have to happen every semester doesn’t it. It further serves to diminish the drive I have for school with the endless pile of workload when teammates are lacking in the contribution department. At times in the days of forgotten past, I had gritted my teeth and pulled the teams by the scruff of the neck past the finishing lines. But at what cost?… for some people that I will never meet again for the rest of my life. The spirit is waning, I don’t always have the fortitude to resist the rigours of perpetual late nights. To that note, I do extend appreciations to the few people around me who rose up in times of need when I require a retreat into my sanctuary. But at the moment, life is not pretty.

Finally, I am truly upset that my best “companion” died on me. With no warning whatsoever. I can’t diagnose the problem, neither can my friend at the moment. In this modern age of technology, the importance of certain gadgets possibly far outweighs how much we value them while we have them with us working fine. But now its a throwback to sorry days of despair once again while my desktop sits in eternal hibernation until someone can revive it. And yes, this is the biggest upset, far more impact than the other 2 points… boo… Thankfully I don’t have a habit of losing handphones, which must be high on the list of another modern critical gadget.

March 7, 2010

Avatar (2009)

Posted in Entertainment, Movie at 2:38 am by ryushin

The film with one of the largest budget to date, and planning/production time. I suppose given the record smashing gross, many people will have watched this already without me advocating, not like there isn’t already enough positive buzz on the net. But whatever, I just wanna say 3D looks impressive, or maybe the visuals in the film itself is already impressive even in 2D.

This is just a visual treat, at the awesome backgrounds, floating mountains, luminous plant life and a vibrant throbbing fantasy planet in itself, complete with realistic looking and primitive savages as well as a relatively intelligent lifeform. Blue feline humanoid ftw.

Ok I’ll do away with the superlatives since you probably already watched it. Now just to highlight some things that I felt could be improved, or maybe I am just slow and didn’t catch it. When the space shuttle first arrived in Pandora, the place where they landed, was it supposed to be inside some kind of special boundary or what? How come they are apparently not subjected to the harmful atmosphere of Pandora down there? I’m also amazed at how fast Jake got used to the Avatar body, which structure is somewhat different from a typical human in terms of dimensions. Being a marine used to technology assisted highly dangerous training, is still vastly different from a primitive way of life where you depend on only your limbs for acrobatic travels. But I must admit those maneuvers are very cool to look at. One thing I hope to see in the show would be how Jake managed to tame the giant crimson Toruk. He just leapt on it and screen fades… Well they could afford to offer much longer screen time for the taming of the much more common Banshee, hahaha. Speaking of taming, it wasn’t clear why the panther like looking beast submit to Neytiri in the final showdown. It was supposed to be the most fearsome land predator to the best knowledge of the scientists. A pity it met with eventual demise.

Oh yea I think its uber cool for the natural world to outfight capitalism and their giant machines. Also, the blurring of consciousness of Jake between his real life who lost the use of his legs, and his dreamworld inside the physical body of an avatar, probably played a relatively major role in Jake’s eventual decision. When you lose something important, it is worth all the more when you get it back, and more.

Anyway, I am so looking forward to the 2 more sequels that are now very probable 🙂