Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Eng Seng's Dear Tua Ee by Chiang Siew Lee

Title: Eng Seng's Dear Tua Ee
Author: Chiang Siew Lee
Year: 2011
ISBN: 978-983-99056-0-1

Eng Seng's Dear Tua Ee was written by Chiang Siew Lee about her first born child, Eng Seng. It was a series of letters written from Eng Seng's perspective to his aunt Tua Ee Siew Hong (the author's elder sister) who is residing in Brazil with her family. This series of letters was actually a regular feature column in The New Sunday Times newspaper's Style section in 1992.

This series of letters were written soon after Eng Seng was born, as his parents became the first-time parents, facing the ultimate challenges of parenthood. It covered the first two years of Eng Seng's life and these letters were written by the author as a catharsis to cope with the stress of experiencing parenthood for the very first time.

Eng Seng told all of his adventures being the first born in the family and the experience of being the centre of attention where the gathering of relatives and outings were concerned. They were told in a simple but mostly in a baby-talk manner. These letters were amusing to read as they virtually take the readers inside a baby's mind and how it really works, in reaction to the adults' actions in entertaining and trying to get the attention of the baby, in this case was Eng Seng.

Not only that, these letters were also able to give an excellent insight as to how Eng Seng had to cope with his daily life as a baby and toddler of two years being extremely structured by his parents and his paediatrician. And Eng Seng managed to face the experience of baby- and toddler-hood in his stride, and at the same time amuse and frustrate the adults around him, especially his parents.

I find this book very enjoyable read because it reminded me of the time when back then it was featured as a regular column in The New Sunday Times' Style section. These letters constantly kept me spellbound, eager to find out what would be Eng Seng's next adventure every week when the said newspaper was published. Honestly, I'm glad that the letters now are immortalised into a book, where I could read them in one continuous flow, also over and over again if I wish to do so.

I highly recommend this book to readers who especially are facing parenthood for the very first time and even to readers who are already seasoned parents. Not only that, this book also include an epilogue as to where Eng Seng is in the present day, not to mention his younger sister, born two years after him, as well as Tua Ee Siew Hong, whom Eng Seng has "written" to when he was a baby and a toddler of two years.

I give a double thumbs-up for Eng Seng's Dear Tua Ee! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

What do you call this? An irony or an oxymoron or both?

Last week I had to attend to some personal matters in a particular government department. I had arrived very early and had to use the ladies' toilet meant for the public, and this is what I found:

The notice behind the door of cubicle no. 2 - Translation: You are prohibited from disposing of sanitary napkins and toilet paper into the toilet bowl.

But there is NO sanitary bin and/or dustbin for the purpose stated on the note found behind  the door!

A few hours of later after I had finished attending to my personal matters and I had to use the toilet before I leave the place. I went to the same toilet but I used a different cubicle this time, and you can guess what I had found:

The same notice behind the door of cubicle no. 1 - Translation: You are prohibited from disposing of sanitary napkins and toilet paper into the toilet bowl.
Again, there is NO sanitary bin and/or dustbin for the purpose stated on the note found behind  the door!
So, what would do if you come across this situation? How would you dispose of the used sanitary napkins and/or used toilet paper? For your information, there is ONLY ONE standard-sized pedal dustbin and NO sanitary bins located in the wash basin area. 

Not mention, hundreds of members of the public would come to this particular government department for various reasons every working day during the week, throughout the year. You can imagine what condition this toilet would be at the end of the working day, although the cleaners DO provide reasonable standard of cleaning services at the start of each working day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Common Cuckoo Bird

I was doing my regular swimming in an outdoor pool I often frequent yesterday. While taking a short rest in between doing repetitive laps in the pool, I observed one pair of  the common cuckoo birds playing around the poolside. Their playfulness attracted my attention, although rapid development is happening in an area very near the pool I was swimming in, there are still some trees and grass at the poolside area, which seemed to have become a haven for different species of birds to come and play with their mates and even to bathe in the heavily chlorinated pools.

I was and am still very awed at the beauty and simpleness of this little scene playing in front of my very own eyes. Unfortunately for me as I was wet from head to toe I was unable to capture an image of this beautiful scene with my camera. But it is already in my mind's eye as being an extremely observant person, I rarely forget beautiful scenes or happenings like the one I have just described.

Initially I had mistaken the common cuckoo bird for a baby pigeon but after being explained to by Mom and upon closer look, they ARE indeed very different from baby pigeons. Although the common cuckoo bird's feathers were far from colourful and attractive like some other birds I have seen in my house garden, I have come to appreciate the fact these birds are REALLY a wonder and a sight to behold, although I'm no bird expert.

I observed they that always come in pairs, not alone or in a flock, but in a pair of two birds like they are made for each other, i.e. soul mates. These common cuckoo birds also frequent the garden in my house and thus, after the initial enlightenment from Mom I have come to REALLY appreciate their presence because they simply reminded me of life's simple pleasures and the wonderment and beauty of God's creatures.      

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: D is for Dahl - A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl

Title: D is for Dahl - A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl
Compiled by: Wendy Cooling, Illustrations by Quentin Blake
Year: 2005
ISBN: 0-141-31272-6

D is for Dahl: A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl is a compilation of every thing a fan of Roald Dahl would want to know more about his books and this most celebrated children' author of all time. This book reminds me a little of the normal and ubiquitous alphabet books but with a unique twist. 

This book is not all about Roald Dahl and his books, but it also contained some interesting general knowledge I did not know about in the first place but now I do. Although this book is primarily targeted for children, young adult and adult readers would find this book to be worth digging into, especially if they are growing up or have grown up reading Roald Dahl's books.

Personally, I like this book for the fact where its contents have been arranged in an alphabetical order in which made it very easy to read. Not only that, there were also random facts about Roald Dahl and his books, not to mention general knowledge that could be found practically almost every page throughout the book, and they were presented in a simple but interesting manner.

Although the contents of the book is not presented in full colour, the funny illustrations drawn by Quentin Blake throughout it made it a very interesting read. Not to mention the style of writing of this book somewhat mimicked that of Roald Dahl's. I think readers would enjoy reading this book, the young and young-at-heart alike.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 - Is it REALLY a special day?

Today is Friday, 11.11.11... a date in which would only happen once in a hundred years in a century. I am really wondering if this date is really that special as been highlighted with so much hype in the media, especially the print media. This day would have been special to people who have their birthdays and/or wedding day/anniversary. And that is if they have the privillege to witness it happening. Other than this, I think it is just like any other day that is passing by unless anyone choose to make it special and/or significant for themselves and/or their loved ones.

But for some one I know who is a writer friend and syndicated columnist in major newspapers and magazines around the globe, it is a special day for her and especially to her feline companions. Ellen Whyte, has published the 789th blog post about her kitty companions today. I personally feel that this is a REAL feat not many people would have achieved, especially when you are a writer and/or a person pursuing a career in the creative industry. I am GENUINELY happy for Ellen to have achieved this unique feat. I also hope, if it is even possible at all, Ellen would come out with the 800th blog post when 20.11.2011 comes around, which in reality it is only nine days away.

Personally, I feel that dates like today 11.11.11 and the upcoming 20.11.2011 is nothing special really. They are just like any other dates and days in the calendar, the only major difference would be how the dates are uniquely collated following the Gregorian calendar humankind has been using for a very long time now.  However, I'm not so sure about the views of the scholars of the different major cultures in Malaysia would have, i.e. Malays, Chinese and Indians.

Nevertheless, I wish all my family and friends to savour and enjoy today as it only comes once in a century. I think it depends on how you look at it and to decide if you want to make it a special day to remember. Last but not least, happy 11.11.11!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson

Title: Tuesdays with Morrie
Author: Mitch Albom
Year: 1997
ISBN: 978-0-385-49649-0

Tuesdays with Morrie written by Mitch Albom is an inspiring real-life story about the author's university professor who was diagnosed Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I bought this book to better understand the story as I had watched the movie on a local terrestrial TV channel not too long ago.

This book is actually a tribute of the author to his university professor, Morris S. Schwartz who had taught him Sociology modules at Brandeis University. Albom is already an accomplished sports journalist and commentator when he came across an episode on Nightline featuring an interview with this professor who was already diagnosed and dying from Lou Gehrig's disease in 1994.

The author was living on an extremely hectic life as a sport journalist and commentator where he was constantly in the thick of things and had been on high demand to cover many sports tournaments and sports-related events. Although Albom enjoyed his career, however, he was not achieving the fulfillment that should have came with his career. He was just moving with flow of things, where he would try to fulfill all the demands his career requires of him, not to mention having to be contented a domineering boss. Not only that, as a result of a total commitment to his career, his relationship with his wife, Janine also deteriorated.

When Albom finally decided to visit his dying professor, little did he know that the visits would become life's enduring lessons, changing the way he would view life forever. Those visits became full-blown, classroom lessons, albeit in an informal manner. Lengthy discussions were held but virtually no notes were taken and assignments done, instead Albom were encouraged to ponder on the different issues about life at the end of each lesson, and to give an indication he has fully understood each lesson his professor was trying to impart to him whenever they meet for subsequent lessons.

Finally when his professor passed away, the valuable lessons that Albom had learned were turned into a "thesis", in the form of this very book yours truly is reviewing. This book is an exceptionally inspiring story, written in a simple but profound manner. Tears came to eyes as I read the story and it made me also ponder the many different aspects of my own life.

I highly recommend this book to all readers who are partial to reading real life and inspiring stories. A string of rave reviews and selling more than 11 million copies worldwide, Tuesdays with Morrie is a real gem to have in every book lover's shelf.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

YBhg. Dato' Dr. Jennifer Low & YBhg. Dato' Ar. Michael Ong - A Tribute

Dateline - October 15, 2011. It was not a significant day for me. It was just another day passing me by. However, but for someone whom I got to know personally when I was in my teens, it had been a day of honour and recognition for all the hard work and effort she has been putting into her career as an interior designer and entrepreneur. The person I'm referring to is YBhg. Dato' Dr. Jennifer Low, J.P.; co-founder and Group Managing Director of Quill Group of Companies, a multi-disciplinary design led, integrated property development, construction, interior design and architectural services company.

YBhg. Dato' Dr. Jennifer was conferred the Property Woman of the Year during the recent FIABCI Malaysia Property Award 2011, held in One World Hotel, Petaling Jaya. Adding another icing to her already illustrious career cake, Quill Group of Companies also bagged the Office Category 2011 with the opening of Quill 6, the latest property project the company has recently built and leased out to one of its major clients, HSBC Malaysia. This Office Category award was also won by Quill Group of Companies in the 2010's edition of FIABCI Malaysia Property Award.

I don't remember the exact year that I first I got to know Dato' Dr. Jennifer and her business partner YBhg. Dato' Ar. Michael Ong. All I could remember that I was about 15 years old. We had met at one dinner function where both of them invited the whole family to attend, my brother and I included. It was a meeting that left a profound impression on me. Both Dato' Dr. Jennifer and Dato' Ar. Michael were already on a steady rise in their respective career paths in building Quill to be the company it is today.

I had quite a few meetings with both Dato' Dr. Jennifer and Dato' Ar. Michael throughout my teen years and early 20s. During this time, they did a lot of small but extremely meaningful things for me and my family. Not to mention some of the most memorable experiences I have ever had in my life. I am extremely grateful to the both of them for allowing me to experience such unforgettable times in my life.

Dato' Dr. Jennifer was the first person who realised that I have an excellence flair in the English Language. Not only that, she also encourage me to explore this talent of mine and develop it to its fullest potential. This was the main reason I had gone back to school to obtain a Master degree in English Language. And yes, I did excelled in my studies and enjoyed doing it very much.

I am really humbled by the phenomenal success of both Dato' Dr. Jennifer and  Dato' Ar. Michael. The success they are enjoying today is mainly due to their own hard work with some luck and right timing, also getting to know the right people to enable to them to flourish in their respective career paths. Most of all, they remain very modest of the successful endeavours in their respective careers.

I will always remember how lucky and privilleged I am to have come to know  Dato' Dr. Jennifer and  Dato' Ar. Michael personally. And that their presence in my life has a very profound impact on me in a very positive way. Not to mention their humble and down-to-earth personality, making them very approachable and easy to talk to. This is in spite of their tremendous wealth and status in the business and corporate world.

This blog post is my tribute to these two very special people. To Dato' Dr. Jennifer and Dato' Ar. Michael - many thanks to the both of you for allowing me to get to know you personally and most of all, giving me the unforgettable experiences of my life where no amount of money can buy. I genuinely pray and hope the both of you are able to continue this phenomenal success in your respective careers to contribute to the nation building of Malaysia.

Last but not least, I take my hats off to both To Dato' Dr. Jennifer and Dato' Ar. Michael for being an inspiring and shining example not only to entrepreneurs everywhere but also to the normal person on the street.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Steve Jobs: February 24 1955 - October 5 2011 - Part 2

Apart from being the CEO and co-founder of Apple Inc., the late Steve Jobs also acquired the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd. from George Lucas for USD 10 million, renaming it Pixar Animation Studios in 1986. Pixar Animation Studios is the Hollywood studio that created a string of successful animated feature films:
  • Toy Story (1995)
  • A Bug's Life (1998)
  • Toy Story 2 (1999)
  • Monsters Inc. (2001)
  • Finding Nemo (2003)
  • The Incredibles (2004)
  • Cars (2006)
  • Ratatouille (2007)
  • WALL-E (2008)
  • Up (2009)
  • Toy Story 3 (2010)
  • Cars 2 (2011)
Although I have somewhat gave up the idea of using Apple products, little did I know that Jobs would continue to reach out to me through animated feature films that Pixar Animation Studios would create within the span of last 16 years. 12 animated feature films - I had only managed to watch five of them - Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and Cars 2.

Out of the five films, my favourites would be Finding Nemo and Cars 2, thus far. The reasons are simple - Finding Nemo has the most wonderful animated undersea sceneries that blew my mind away, and the story plot of Cars 2 is akin to that of the James Bond movies, not to mention the cars featured have real sex appeal (figuratively speaking) just like the real life makes of those cars.

I will definitely be looking forward to more animated feature films to be released by Pixar Animation Studios in the near future as I have confidence it will do a great job in creating animated feature films that are appealing across a wide range of audience.

The unfortunate passing of Steve Jobs - it has made me realised that Jobs was indeed a GREAT man, ahead of his time and his competitors in the IT industry. If Jobs never took the risks to do what he had done, the IT industry would never experience an evolution as we are experiencing now. We would have never been spoiled for choices when it comes to choosing IT gadgets, from desktops to laptops/notebooks to tablet computers to smart phones.

Honestly, I'm seriously considering of getting a smart phone now, preferably an iPhone to experience what the late Steve Jobs' genius creativity was like. His demise has made me realise I should give Apple products the benefit of the doubt as they are selling extremely well; a far cry from all those years ago when I had used the Macintosh computer that was of poor quality during Jobs' absence from the organisation.

I salute the late Steve Jobs - he was one of those very rare people who dared to venture into the unknown territory, taking huge risks and succeed in the end, creating a phenomenon that will last for a very long time. As Bronislava Nijinska, a famed early 20th century classical ballerina was quoted as saying, "We are born originals, we die copies".

This quote would be aptly true to many people in this world but in the case of the late Steve Jobs, he was born an original and he died as an original. There hardly can ever be another man quite remarkable as the late Steve Jobs, impacting and changing the world beyond anyone's imagination.

To the late Steve Jobs, this is what I have to say - Sir, although I have never been an Apple product fan, you still reach out to me in a profound way, i.e. through the animated feature films created by Pixar Animation Studios and for that I'm grateful to be a tiny part of it. I hope to be able to own one gadget your great creative genius mind had invented, and if I'm lucky enough, the whole line of the Apple products too. Many sincere thanks for reaching out to me in ways I could never have imagined would happen.

May you rest in peace, and may God Bless you and your family eternally.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Steve Jobs: February 24 1955 - October 5 2011 - Part 1

I am not an Apple products fan. My first encounter with a Macintosh PC was when I was in university back 1997 or 1998. I remembered one study module that required me to use the Macintosh PC for one whole semester; I think the study module was Marketing Research. This first encounter did not bode well with my initial impression of using an Apple product. I did try my very best to adapt to using the Macintosh PC but it was all in vain. I became and still am a hard core to the boot Windows OS PC user. I also did tell myself that I won't use an Apple product for the rest of my life.

During the time when I had to use the Macintosh computer, the late Steve Jobs then was at the start of his return phase to the Apple organisation. I guess Apple was not doing well financially as well as unable to introduce technological breakthroughs to the IT industry in Jobs' absence for that particular decade (1985 - 1996). Thus, the Macintosh PC I had used then in my personal opinion was of poor quality and lacked the finesse of Jobs' genius touch he had when creating products for Apple. My lousy experience using the Macintosh left a negative impression on me and reinforced my belief that the Windows OS PCs were the way to go where computer technology is concerned.

Fast forward to the present day when the news of Jobs' death reached me this past Thursday morning when I went online early in the morning. Apple Inc. has managed to do well in the last decade with the introduction of iPod, a digital music player in 2001. However, I was unaware of Jobs' maiden creative breakthrough since he returned to Apple Inc. to help revive the organisation's position in the IT industry. I supposed Apple products were not a big hit in Malaysia then, not to mention it was expensive to own an Apple product.

The launch of the first generation of iPhone in 2007 seemed to have cemented Apple Inc.'s reputation to be a stiff competitor to many, if not all mobile phone manufacturers. Not to mention other computing brands whose core business is selling the ubiquitous Microsoft OS PCs and laptops/notebooks are also facing increasingly stiff competition from Apple's iMac and Macbook. These computing manufacturers also jumped on the bandwagon in creating smart phones to compete with Apple's iPhone.

Apple products seemed to go from strength to strength after the iPod was released in 2001. Not to mention the very much improved line of iMac and Macbook computers. I guess the pinnacle of Apple Inc.'s runaway success would be the introduction of iPhone and iPad, changing the landscape of computer and mobile phone technologies for many years to come.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: The Smurfs

The Smurfs is a spin-off from the comic strip created by the Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford (25 June 1928 – 24 December 1992) better known as Peyo and it was first released in 1958. It was then released as a cartoon series in 1981 by the celebrated cartoon creators Hanna and Barbera, and its popularity reached its peak in the 1980s. I remembered clearly growing up in the 1980s and hardly missing an episode of the Smurfs cartoon series when it was shown on the TV then.

Naturally, when The Smurfs is released as a movie this year, my curiosity peaked and got better of me; I just had to go and watch it to find out if Hollywood made justice to this well-loved and well-known three-apple high blue comic strip creatures. It seemed that The Smurfs made quite a storm in the Malaysian cinemas. Many people I know who have watched it gave favourable recommendation to this movie.  

The Smurfs started its story in the Smurf Village, where all the Smurfs are busy preparing a party to celebrate the Blue Moon Festival. Many of them were involved in performing for the festival. However, one Smurf named Clumsy (voiced by Anton Yelchin) is barred from joining the festival as the other Smurfs feel that he will ruin their preparations in more ways than one.

One day when Clumsy is once again barred from joining a stage rehearsal, he went into the forest to help Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters) gather some smurfberries, he accidentally bumped into an evil sorcerer named Gargamel (played by Hank Azaria) and his psychic cat Azrael (voiced by Frank Welker). Clumsy was pursued by Gargamel and and Azrael, and in the process he managed to lead them to the protective barrier to the Smurf Village.

Gargamel and Azrael then choose the time when the Smurfs are celebrating the Blue Moon Festival to try to capture all the Smurfs to extract the Smurf essence and use it in the bid to become the most powerful sorcerer in the land. Clumsy being the clumsy Smurf he is was running and tripping all over the Smurf Village with Gargamel and Azrael hot on his heels. The chase went on to a forbidden cave in an uncharted area of the forest.

As it is a full blue moon evening, by a twist of fate, a giant vortex leading to the present day New York City is revealed. Papa Smurf, Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry), Brainy Smurf (voiced by Fred Armisen), Gutsy Smurf (voiced by Alan Cumming), Grouchy Smurf (voiced by George Lopez and Clumsy Smurf, together with Gargamel and Azrael are all sucked through the vortex and landed themselves in New York City.

The Smurfs befriended a married couple Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace (Jayma Mays) Winslow who are expecting their first baby. Patrick is a struggling sales executive at a cosmetics company, Anjelou Cosmetics. His boss, Odile Anjelou (Sofia Vergara) is pressuring him to come up with a new marketing/sales strategy to promote the company's line of cosmetics and skin care products. The ultimatum is that Patrick would be fired from his job if he fails to produce a new advertisement good enough to keep and guarantee a promotion in his job.

Meanwhile, Papa Smurf with the help of Patrick and Grace is trying to determine next full blue moon so that he could conjure the appropriate spell to open the giant vortex to return to the Smurf Village. Patrick at the same time is trying to come out with a great advertising campaign for Anjelou Cosmetics but is severely distracted by the antics of the Smurfs putting up in his home.

Gargamel together with Azrael embarked on a wild goose chase around New York City to capture all the six Smurfs that were transported together with them. However, in the process of trying to capture the Smurfs, Gargamel managed to acquire a powerful dragon wand to help him extract the Smurf essence from all the Smurfs. The chase became a full-scale war where the Smurfs battled it out with Gargamel with the help of Patrick to prevent him from capturing the Smurfs and extract the Smurf essence, rendering him to be the most powerful sorcerer ever lived.

The Smurfs is a thoroughly entertaining movie with plenty of laughs to go around, and it is a feel good family movie. For people who have grown up watching the Smurfs cartoon in the 1980s like yours truly, this movie would bring back the sweet memories of the weekly ritual of watching the cartoon. However, the Smurf theme song in this movie can get quite annoying after listening to it to many a times.

Having said that Columbia Pictures, Sony Animation Pictures and Kerner Entertainment Company did quite a good job in combining CGI animation with normal movie elements, creating what Hollywood termed as hybrid movie for the first time in the silver screen history. The Smurfs both available in both the 3D and 2D versions, but personally I prefer the 2D version as I still think that the 3D technology has not reach the quality I have come to expect, having to wear those cumbersome glasses.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Happy Feet

Happy Feet (Full Screen Edition)

Happy Feet was released in 2006. It tells the story of Mumble (voiced by Elizabeth Daily as Baby Mumble and Elijah Wood as adult Mumble), an Emperor Penguin who is supposed to be born with an innate instinct where it is commonly known as Heartsong in the colony. This Heartsong is vital to all Emperor Penguins, they must be able to learn how to express their love and emotions as it would be essential for them to use it to find their soul mates when they become adults.

However, through an unexpected twist of fate, Memphis (voiced by Hugh Jackman) who is Mumble's father dropped the egg containing Mumble when the colony was migrating to a better location in search of ample supply of food. It is a taboo among Emperor Penguins that the fathers looking after the eggs containing their unborn offspring should not allow any negative influence to happen to the eggs being looked after by them.  

When Memphis finally meet Mumble's mother Norma Jean (voiced by Nicole Kidman) with the egg with Mumble in it, he told her he had dropped the egg while crossing the blizzard-battered land to reach their meeting point. Norma Jean was aghast to find out that Memphis had dropped the egg when travelling to meet her.

When the time came for Mumble to hatch from the egg, Memphis and Norma Jean waited anxiously, wanting to find out if there is something wrong with Mumble. Mumble hatched from his egg a little late, and he looked not much different from the other chicks who had hatched about the same time. However, Mumble was indeed different from his peers.

When Mumble started formal education, he found out that he is completely tone deaf, unable to sing the basic notes to the Heartsong, much to the horror of his teacher and classmates. However, he  has excellent sense of rhythm that he is able to move to any imaginable rhythm with his feet. Unfortunately, Mumble's talent for being able to dance was scorned upon by the other penguins, especially the elders who are the leaders in the colony. The elders of the colony of Emperor Penguins are not able to accept Mumble's special innate talent of dancing as tradition has dictated for many generations that Emperor Penguins are to have the innate ability to sing the Heartsong.

Mumble has had an extremely difficult time growing up and fitting into in the colony. Being so different from the penguins in the colony, Mumble set out to venture away from his parents and the colony to try to find his real identity and to determine if he actually fit into the colony of those Emperor Penguins. During the time Mumble spent venturing away from his colony, he met five penguins of a different species and thus, an adventure of a lifetime began for him. There is also a food shortage in the colony at the same time, thus, the elders blamed Mumble for it because they thought his different ability to dance instead of to sing the Heartsong had brought about the shortage of food. Mumble was also wondering if Gloria (voiced by the late Brittany Murphy), his childhood sweetheart is also his soul mate.

This movie highlighted the fact that being different from the norm is not a bad thing to experience in life. The ultimate challenge of being very different is to fit into the norm and at the same time trying to convince other people to accept the unique person one is born and destined to be. Not only that, Happy Feet also focuses on keeping strong family ties and loving one another unconditionally.

I would give Happy Feet double thumbs-up for a great story and voice-overs from a stellar cast. Not to mention the beautiful scenes created for the story. I am actually looking forward to the sequel Happy Feet 2 to be released in November this year. I think the sequel will be as good as the first, if not better. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Garfield: The Movie

Garfield: The Movie was released in 2004 starring Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Jon's love interest, Liz and Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield, Jon's orange pet cat. Garfield has been a pet to Jon for a long time and is being lavished with all the love, care and attention being showered upon him by Jon for a long time.

However, things started to change when Liz who is a vet told Jon there was a puppy named Odie is being put up for adoption, and she encouraged him to adopt Odie. Jon then went ahead to adopt Odie, overlooking the fact that Garfield might be jealous of the puppy.

Garfield went all out to make Odie's life miserable as he tried to get Jon's attention. However, his plans backfired when Odie ran away after Garfield locked him out of the house. Odie was then found by an old lady named Mrs. Baker played by Eve Brent. She then put up a notice informing the public a puppy has been found and it attracted the attention of a crook working for a TV station, looking for a new animal act for his show.

Happy Chapman played by Stephen Tobolowsky originally has a cat on his TV show. Unfortunately, the TV show was experiencing a decline in audience rating in which prompted Chapman to try to look for a new act. Also, he is allergic to cats. Thus, when Chapman went to see Mrs. Baker who is temporarily keeping Odie, he claimed himself to be the rightful owner to the puppy.

Meanwhile when Jon and Liz found out Odie had gone missing, it has made Garfield guilty conscious about the incident as he was the one who locked Odie out in the first place causing him to run away. Thus, Garfield with the help of some of his friends living on the streets went to track down Odie, where Chapman had held him captive and planned to take him to New York City to feature in a new TV show. It was an adventure of a lifetime for Garfield who for the first time in his life ventured out far from home to rescue Odie, although he very much resented the fact that Odie is getting more attention and love from Jon.

This movie is really funny to the core and I highly recommend it as a family movie because it showed that it does not pay to abuse animals, especially when they are being adopted as pets or being portrayed in the show business. Not to mention having more than one pet means there should be equal fairness where care, affection and attention are concerned.

Although the character of Garfield was created using CGI technology, the movie producer did a great job in ensuring him to be as life-like as possible. This movie might not have won any awards and/or nominations; however, it is still worth a mention as I found it to be a feel-good movie with plenty of comical scenes and laughs to go around for pure family fun and enjoyment.