Personal: Walk the Talk

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I am often not willing to actively support feminism on the internet because of the onslaught of radicals who live in 1st world countries, ranting about how everything is “oppressing” them and will continue to victimise themselves without taking action. However, I do support feminism (or any other movement) as long as they seek something good and actually gets off their bum to work hard for their cause.

Today I followed my mother to an event held by Soroptimist International called “Walk the Talk”. It was a short walk from Taman Jaya to Universiti Malaya, escorted by vintage cars and even a marching band! The purpose of this event was to show that men were on board on the fight against violence against women; to create awareness of violence against women.

It was a great experience to do something positive. Although domestic violence does occur to men, it occurs more frequently to women in lesser developed countries like Malaysia (although the opposite is true in more economically developed countries). Therefore, I believe that education is extremely important in our country as courts are still skewed towards men, protecting them despite their sins. Our justice system needs to be impartial, we need to be brave, we need to be strong. If things happen, we need to speak out.

It is a local mentality to hide away when things are bad; all to not upset the social norm. However, we need to stand stall and stand strong to fight against the injustices, the atrocities, the crimes committed, the people hurt, the weak oppressed.

If you notice bad things happening to you or the people around you, stay strong, work hard, speak out. If you need help, go look for it. Do not just complain about it, do not just post a facebook status or a hashtag, fight for what is right. Peace.

Personal: Visiting Kolej Tuanku Jaafar

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Today I have visited Kolej Tuanku Jaafar, my potential pre-university educational facility, with my mother.

The place is very far away from where I stay as it was around 50 minutes drive with no traffic. It was located away from most of civilisation as the closest things there were villages and housing areas. This exclusion from civilisation definitely does the school good as it allows for the campus to seem more like a small community rather than just a school.

We were first greeted by the extremely friendly staff. Then, we started our little tour. In this tour, we visited various classrooms, the auditorium, the sports hall and even a boarding house.

The classrooms were rather small but I am sure it is to allow constant interaction between students and teachers. The classrooms were equipped with “Smart White Boards” that would allow for any writing to be saved digitally and reproduced in the same fashion.

The Sports hall was filled to the brim with a wide array of sports equipment. There were treadmills, nordic skiiers, squash courts, indoor basketball and even a rock-climbing wall. The auditorium’s lobby, along with many sections of the school, exhibited student artworks and I have to say that I was rather impressed with how artistic the students can be in this school.

The boarding house we visited made it seem to me that the students were all extremely independent yet they cared and supported each other. They were like a family. It was rather impressive.

In conclusion, I really hope that I am successful in my application to this school as it seems like a great place. Greener pastures always do exist and we must strive for them.

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

 

Apes with machine guns, need I say more?

Today, I watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (I will call it Dawn from now on as the title is 3 syllables too long). It was really, really good. The film allows the viewers to explore this world where apes reigned supreme rather intelligently and did not spoonfeed us that much. I was thoroughly impressed.

The plot follows Caesar, the ape from the first film, as the leader of the apes that escaped to the forest (as shown by the first film). The film is set 10 years after the events of its predecessor. While walking through the forest, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and Rocket’s son Ash encounter a human. The human, Carver, panics and shoots Ash, killing him. Carver calls for the rest of his small party of survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes. Caesar orders the humans to leave. The remaining humans in San Francisco, genetically immune to the virus, are living in a guarded tower within the ruined city. Prompted by Koba (from the first film), Caesar brings the apes to the city where he orders the humans to never enter ape territory again. Malcolm convinces his fellow leader Dreyfus, played by Gary Oldman (a.k.a Commissioner Gordon) to give him three days to reconcile with the apes to gain access to a hydroelectric dam in their territory, which could provide long-term power to the city. Dreyfus, distrustful of the apes, arms survivors using an abandoned armory. Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the dam’s generator, provided they surrender their guns. As Malcolm, his partner Ellie, and son Alexander work, they bond with the apes. Mutual distrust of both sides gradually subsides but trust momentarily comes to a standstill when Carver threatens Caesar’s newborn with a concealed weapon. The sides reconcile as Ellie is allowed to treat Caesar’s ill wife Cornelia with antibiotics. Meanwhile, Koba discovers the armory and confronts Caesar, questioning his allegiance. In response, Caesar heavily beats Koba, but refuses to kill him and forgives him. Koba returns to the armory and, after murdering two human guards, steals an assault rifle. He then kills Carver, stealing his lighter. The dam is eventually repaired, restoring power to the city. During the celebration, Koba, unnoticed, has the apes’ home set ablaze. Unseen by anyone else, Koba and Caesar lock eyes as Koba shoots Caesar in the chest, causing him to presumably fall to his death. In the panic of the loss of the Alpha and the fire, Koba takes charge, placing the blame on Malcolm’s group and orders the apes to war against the humans. Malcolm’s group hides as Koba leads the apes into San Francisco. They plunder the armory and charge the tower’s gates. Despite heavy casualties, the apes overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and jails all apes loyal to Caesar. Malcolm’s group find Caesar barely alive and transport him to his former home in San Francisco. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that all apes were better than humans was naive. As he enters the city to find medical supplies so Ellie can operate on Caesar, Malcolm encounters Blue Eyes and reunites the two. Caesar grows nostalgic examining mementos from his childhood home as Malcolm learns of Caesar’s past. Blue Eyes then frees the caged humans and the apes loyal to Caesar. The freed apes join Caesar and confront Koba at the summit of the tower. After leading the apes to the tower unseen, Malcolm encounters Dreyfus, who informs him that his men have made radio contact with more survivors, located at a military base up north, on their way to help fight the apes. While Caesar and Koba battle, Malcolm fails to prevent Dreyfus from detonating C-4 explosives underneath the tower. The resulting explosion kills Dreyfus and collapses part of the tower. Caesar overpowers Koba and, while lifting Koba from a ledge, refuses to save him, claiming he is no longer a true ape, and lets him fall to his death. Malcolm informs Caesar of the impending arrival of human reinforcements. Both lament the lost opportunity for peace. Caesar tells Malcolm the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and tells him to leave with his family for safety. As Malcolm slips away into the shadows, Caesar stands before a kneeling mass of apes with his family.

The plot is very well done as it moves rather smoothly allowing for some intimate scenes and some action sequences. On one hand, some action sequences were a bit forced. On the other, there was a need for some action to liven up the emotional bits. 

In relation to its predecessor, this film allows the audience to learn what happened to both the apes and the humans and how they view each other. It was extremely clever in its cinematography to show how contrasting the varying environment appear to the differing view points. When Malcolm goes into ape territory, he sees skulls and dead wood, making the apes seem savage or scary and when the apes enter into human territory, they see chaos. Whereas when both factions are in their own territory, the audience can see the comfort they experience. 

Most of the times when a sequel does not make much reference to the previous movie, I would find it hard to consider it a sequel. However, this film has been able to work well as a standalone movie and it did not have to rely on it being a sequel. Hence, they never really shown much about the past. Heck, they even killed off the main human cast of the previous film. 

Speaking of human cast, I believe that the humans were rather meh except for Dreyfus. There was this one scene which I felt was a bit out of character but was still clever nevertheless. When Dreyfus finds photo’s of his children, he starts tearing up as they most probably have died from the Simian flu. This establishes that he is not just the human antagonist but he is doing what he thinks is right, not just what is correct. This justifies him attempting to destroy all the apes with C4 even at the cost of his life. However, Dreyfus killing himself was a bit dumb by my opinion as he could have just listened as he seemed to be smarter than that.

Malcolm’s character was a bit too bland for my tastes. There was little to no development for him, he was just established as a character and we were supposed to assume it to be so. His son, however, had some development albeit forced. 

I hated Carver. I am beginning to feel that anyone with the name Carver is an arse (I watched some playthroughs of the Walking Dead video game). He was not just an unlikable character but a really stupid one. I should be proud with the film for making a character I despise but with him, I just hate him so much. Normally, when a film creates an unlikable character, they would put at least have some redeeming factors in the film. He was an asshole from the start to the finish.

Onto the apes. The cast of apes are pretty much most of the apes from the first film. I loved the apes. Their characters were simple and nice, until they started talking. I know it is just a sign of evolution due to the Simian Flu but I just felt that by allowing some of them to talk, it detracted from the raw emotion that they were portraying through acting and emoting. 

Koba’s character was rather well done as he was an established character from the first film. He is supposed to be loyal but his hatred for mankind for what they did to him overran his loyalty for Caesar. They didn’t make him unlikable as he had his reasons and I liked that.

In the end, the film was amazing and it is a must watch. The plot was good, the emotions were there. The characters could have been a bit better but the ape characters were great. Watch it now! 

Plot: 9/10

Characters: 9/10

General enjoyability: 9.5/10

 

Movie Review: Noah

Ah.. a bible movie.. sounds like a plan

I just watched Noah, a recent film that stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins and Hermione Granger, I mean Emma Watson. It is very hard to see Emma Watson out of her role as Hermione from the Harry Potter Series. 

The movie follows the plot of story from the Bible. Being a Buddhist, I never read the source material so I will only judge this movie based on its own merits.

This movie is boring. There is so much padding throughout this film, I think I could use some of that padding to shield the bomb that this movie was. 

However, this movie does have a redeeming factor, it is very beautiful. There was one sequence that I especially liked as it merged creationism and evolution together. Many people choose to believe in one and not the other but this film chooses to go the extra mile and merge both concepts into one sequence. I must applaud them for doing so. 

The film also shows how blind faith can distort your views. Crowe’s character nearly kills his granddaughters as he believed that God deemed it to be so. He was hellbent on making his family commit a cult-like suicide. This shows the audience how blind faith can lead to one’s downfall. Noah realises that his love was too strong to kill his own kin. What happened next was also interesting as he felt that he had failed everyone by saving his kin and became a drunk, only to be saved by Emma Watson’s character, his daughter-in-law. 

The acting in the movie was rather good, except for Russell Crowe as I have the constant notion that he doesn’t give a damn when he acts. However, it may actually work here as Russell Crowe does give the vibe to me that he has a lot of internal conflict. 

In conclusion, this movie was rather enjoyable but it was still boring due it just dragging on and on. 

Plot: 6/10

Characters: 7/10

General Enjoyability: 6.5/10