Category Archives: Movies

Battle of Surabaya: So Good Yet So Bland

Okay. I’ve waited for more than four months. Battle of Surabaya DID NOT make it to Bali’s cinemas. Luckily, fate works in mysterious ways. Just today, on my flight from Jakarta – Bali, it turned out that Garuda Indonesia had Battle of Surabaya in the in-flight entertainment system. The bad news is, a pilot is gonna fucking die because I did not get to see the last 10 minutes of the movie.


Continue reading Battle of Surabaya: So Good Yet So Bland

Stand By Piracy, Doraemon?

This is gonna be just a short post. I promise. Besides, I have better things to do.

So during this week, a number of links appeared on my Facebook news feed. They linked to download sites offering pirated (some say “leaked”) Stand by Me, Doraemon HD Rips. As of current, I am unaware if the links have been terminated. There was also, which hosted streaming and download links of the pirated copy, but administrators have now deleted the content from their website.

I am not surprised. And I won’t be blaming any of the fans.

The thing about watching Japanese cartoon movie adaptations in Indonesia is that it is monopolized by Blitz Megaplex. Blitz is, by far, the only major theater with the license to show a majority of Japanese movies, from the Rurouni Kenshin live action trilogy to the newest Stand by Me, Doraemon. Their monopoly, however, is not supported by their reach. Blitz still operates primarily in Java,. Other islands either have XXI Cineplex or other local cinemas. Thus, people outside of Java do not have the luxury of visiting Blitz and watching the theatrical end to the Doraemon franchise. I mean, you wouldn’t be wanting to spend over a million IDR, 70 percent of which is only transportation money, just to watch a 90-minute feature, right? From these situations, I wouldn’t blame the fans outside Java  for resorting to pirated copies just to watch a Japanese cartoon.

But on the other hand, piracy is wrong and is not something someone should be proud of. Just to make things clear, I am not a saint as well. While I do enjoy getting free stuff, I try to limit myself and find ways to legally obtain whatever I want. If I can’t get it, then it must have little meaning for me anyway. I mean, guys, come on. Doraemon has been there for us since we were still in our diapers. It would be proper, for us, for fans with access that is, to give him a proper send-off by actually going to the theater and paying for 90 minutes of final screen time to support Fujiko F. Fujio’s (who has been dead for almost a decade now) masterpiece.

But there I go again with all my appeals to a sense of righteousness that is fading in an increasingly egotistical and pragmatic society.

P.S. I could say, Indonesians make the worst pirates. When you get something illegal, don’t share it everywhere like a dog pissing on any pole or car it finds. Have at least some common sense: let the movie finish its run in theaters, THEN start distributing HD (not shitty CAM Rips) pirated copies. Seriously.

Stand By Me, Doraemon: A Successful Attempt at Constructing the Core Timeline


Yesterday, I finally had the chance to watch what was peddled to me as a “compilation of the best Doraemon episodes”. And let me tell, it was worth every penny.

The movie came out in theaters (for public viewing; there was a limited premiere show on the 3rd of December) eight days ago, but the power of the Doraemon franchise attracted a fucking crapload of people to the theaters. Heck, on the first day of its release, the Blitz Megaplex at Central Park, Jakarta was flooded by people, with lines stretching all the way to the entrance. I thought I’d catch it on a work day, because I thought there would be less people. Boy was I wrong. It was a Wednesday, and it seemed people skipped work just to watch Doraemon. That’s either clever marketing, or the Doraemon brand is just that powerful. Anyway, I managed to get a ticket for the 5.30pm show after half an hour of queuing (all thanks to my Blitz member card). I wished I strolled past the people who were in the normal queue, just to lift my middle finger and say, “Haha, sucks to be you, bitches!”

Oh right, the movie. Okay, I’ll get to that.


Do I even need to summarize the film? It’s already summarized in the trailer. It is, in fact, a compilation of the best Doraemon episodes. And by “best episodes”, they actually mean the core episodes that create the entire Doraemon plot, which, if you think about it, only revolves around the love story of Nobita, a fucking loser, and Shizuka, the Hermione of the series, and how they come to pork each other at the end.

So, if you’re an avid reader/watcher of the manga or anime series, you should know what you’re expecting. But for the newcomers…

Basically, Doraemon tells us the story of Nobita Nobi, a fourth-grader who is, bluntly put, a pathetic loser. He sucks at sports, can’t study shit, gets bullied all the time, a crybaby, and isn’t popular. He has a crush on Shizuka Minamoto, a girl who is superior to him in all aspects, just like Hermione from Harry Potter. But, in the future, his life turns into shit. His great-great grandson, Sewashi, takes pity on him and sends Doraemon, a cat-like robot from the future, back in time to help Nobita repair his pathetic life. Nobita’s life takes a turn for the best, as Doraemon helps him out with his problems, from getting bullied to stealing Shizuka’s heart, using a multitude of nifty gadgets. However, as Nobita’s life improves, Doraemon, by his programming, has to return to the future. Nobita then vows to become a better man and finally, let Doraemon go.

That’s the entire Doraemon series, and the movie, summarized in one paragraph, without major spoilers, however. Of course, if you actually took the time to read the comics, then the entire movie has already been spoiled.

Now, on to the review!

Story (5/5)

Of course I’d give the story a full score. It stays true to the original, making this movie one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen. Basically, what happens in the comics (well, in the core episodes, that is) is reproduced as-is in the movie. Only, in the movie, the events are arranged to create a well-paced, dramatic story that was never present in the original. If it was a stand-alone film, the plot is intriguing while being hilarious.

Let me explain.

In the comics, the core events were spread out in several volumes, making it quite hard to draw a coherent timeline of the entire Doraemon series. Unless you collected every volume from 1 till end. The movie eases this hard work by presenting the events in such a way that it basically creates a new, canon timeline that is as good, or even better.

Doraemon comes into Nobita's life.
Doraemon comes into Nobita’s life.

We start with Doraemon coming from the 22nd century to Nobita’s time. Then, Nobita’s life suddenly starts improving for the better due to Doraemon’s help, shown in a sweet, short montage that covers quite a LOT of episodes from the comics. Then, Dekisugi appears as his love rival. There was an episode titled “Imprinting Egg” in the comics that made quite little sense. But the movie made the episode a lot more significant by using it to build tension and advance the plot (it was fucking hilarious one, I tell you) to Nobita attempting suicide by taking drugs (the episode was “Goodbye, Shizuka”). Then at the pinnacle of the plot were the episodes “Romance on a Snowy Mountain” followed by the most iconic episode in the Doraemon series, “The Night Before Nobita’s Wedding”. The connection between these two episodes were quite vague in the original, but the movie made it clear that the two were tightly intertwined. They also made it dramatic as fuck, which was good. And finally, after the future was secure, we return to the part where Doraemon leaves. You see, the original comics were incoherent with the timeline thing; they put the ending in the early volumes. The movie made it clear that the ending was canon by putting it AFTER “The Night Before Nobita’s Wedding”, which left a strong impression on me. And I won’t spoil the rest.

So, since the movie did an awesome job in structuring the Doraemon core episodes into one heck of a heartwarming drama and coherent timeline, I give it a fucking full score. But if you’re a motherfucker with a cold heart like me, you wouldn’t be crying after the movie. Leave that to the others.

Characters (4.5/5)

Fujiko F. Fujio’s characters are memorable, full stop. Nobita, while being a pathetic loser, is fairly lovable. Shizuka is the perfect “girl next door”. She’s smart, a great cook, and compassionate. All the qualities of an ideal housewife. Giant is that antagonistic bully, and Suneo the opportunist. Doraemon himself is a rather rational partner and a loving caretaker. Dekisugi is what Nobita would be if he was born in a different universe. Truly a perfect mix of characters and personalities.

Adult Nobita's turning point.
Adult Nobita’s turning point.

However, the movie kinda ruined it a bit.

Maybe it’s just me, but I felt the characters in the movie to become quite annoying at some point. It was okay reading Nobita whining in the comics and listening to him cry in the anime series, but the movie kinda overdid it to the point it became extremely annoying (but it was funny, nonetheless). Suneo and Giant still retain their antagonist traits, but most of the time, they are there for comic relief. Shizuka is by far the best character in the cast because she stays true to her original character in the movie. And is it just me, or is Doraemon’s voice irritating?

Visuals (5/5)


I was amazed by the visuals. Usually, CGI breaks the quality by showing awkward characters moving around in weird fashion. But Doraemon does way better than that. The CG animation blends childishness, cuteness, and awesomeness perfectly. The characters move fluidly, their expressions are vividly portrayed to the point of being really fucking funny at some points, and they interact with each other and the environment naturally. Truly magnificent.

Doraemon’s gadgets were also displayed quite nicely. The Takecopter, for instance. And the Anywhere Door. But, gadgets aside, I really loved how they made futuristic Tokyo.

Music (5/5)

I was never one to appreciate music, but Doraemon’s soundtrack perfectly matches the nuance of the movie. From when Nobita falls in love on first sight with Shizuka, to when Doraemon finally leaves forever. It’s… wonderful.

Verdict (5/5)

A must-watch movie of the year, challenged only by the animation of Big Hero 6. However, if you’re watching this at Blitz, the movie is marred by minor technical errors, especially translation. For the women out there, prepare your tissues, as you have a high chance of crying when listening to Shizuka’s dad talking on marriage. And for the men, seize the opportunity goddammit. Anyway, if you’ve been following the series, you wouldn’t be surprised at the story per se, but remember, this is the movie that finally ends everything. Let that sink in and go watch it already.



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ANIME THEORY: A Dark Decoding of 5cm Per Second

Episode 1 Cherry Blossom [Oukashou]

Hey there people, welcome back to ANIME THEORY! After a long absence (you can blame my thesis for that), I’m finally back to interpreting anime, if only for a while. I still have a lot of stuff to do in college. To celebrate Ahotaku39’s second birthday, I’ve decided to re-watch a certain anime that brought me to tears every time I watch it. Yes, this time, I’m going to try to decode the anime sob-fest that is Makoto Shinkai’s 5cm Per Second.

But first of all, thanks to my good friend, Achilles, who told me his interpretation of the anime, which inspired me to do this.

The major issue with this anime movie is that it is an unfinished piece of work. Paradoxically, it being unfinished is what makes this anime so good. Why is it unfinished? Because it is. There is no ending. The anime is an almost perfect reiteration of life and its struggles, mostly love. Its realism is what gives it beauty.

It takes more than just once to truly understand this anime. I’ve watched it like five times (and have been left emotionally destroyed five times too) and I still don’t get a lot of the allegory the anime has to offer, like the rocket ship and that fucking train at the end. But, a sixth rerun (and another emotional breakdown because this movie’s fucking sad and relatable) and it hit me.

You ready?

Akari is dead. Both figuratively and literally.

She died, in Takaki’s point of view, just as they first third of the movie ended with that kiss under the sakura tree on a winter’s night. If you were to go to extremes, she started dying as soon as she moved and they got involved in a long-distance relationship. The second and third part of the anime shows us Sakaki’s healing process over the years as he comes to terms with the fact that Akari is fucking dead.

In the second part, Takaki is still in denial that he won’t ever meet Akari ever again. He gazes off into the distance all the time, sends emails to nobody, and has dreams about Akari. The obvious is that he misses Akari and is desperately trying to get over her.

In the third part, Akari’s spectre continues to haunt him, leading him to depression in his adult life. Then, we get a couple of shots showing Akari with another man, being happy. Akari has long ditched the idea of ever being together with Takaki and is now happy with someone else. At the end, we get to that — goddammit stop crying, man — that fucking train scene. Takaki swears that he saw Akari, but that train, that goddamn train, lingers around just long enough for her to get away. Knowing that Akari is still safe and sound, Takaki feels relieved and has the strength to finally move on and give up on Akari. To strengthen this, in the manga version, a loli version of Akari shows up and bids farewell to Takaki. That loli Akari is a symbol of Sakaki’s past and it bidding goodbye signals that Takaki had moved on from Akari.


Now, what if I told you a darker interpretation?

Akari was already dead in the second part. The dreams Takaki sees are just figments of his imagination, or if you would, Akari haunting him. Same goes with him staring off into the distance and sending emails to nobody. At this time, Takaki still thinks that Akari is alive somewhere, but too busy to indulge him.

It all comes together in the final act. Takaki must have, at some time, knew of Akari’s death. For the sake of drama, let’s just say she killed herself because she couldn’t be with Takaki. Her suicide caused him to fall into depression. Remember that he continues to work and work to get his minds off things. Oh, all of those scenes depicting Akari with another man? All figments of his imagination. He wanted to believe Akari was still alive out there. The real kicker is that goddamn train. All he saw was a random woman who happened to look like Akari. As the train passed, the woman was gone. I’ll assume that that was Akari in spirit form, saying her final goodbye to Takaki. Takaki, being the unlucky bastard he is, missed that all because of a motherfucking train.

If you still don’t believe me, try reading the lyrics to the song “One More Time, One More Chance”, or as I like to call it, “the Itsudemo song”. I’ll paste one verse here, if you’re that lazy (source):

itsudemo sagashiteiruyo dokka ni kimi no sugata wo
mukai no HOOMU rojiura no mado
konna toko ni iru hazu mo nai noni
negai wa moshimo kanau nara imasugu kimi no moto e
dekinai koto wa mou nani mo nai
subete kakete dakishimete miseru yo


I am always searching somewhere for you
Opposite of the house, the other side of the alley’s window
Even though I know you won’t be here
If my wish is to be granted, please bring me to you right now
Betting and embracing everything
To show you there’s nothing else I can do

Notice that the line “itsudemo sagashiteiru yo” is repeated six times throughout the entire song. The song basically tells us the plot of the story in a nutshell: the boy searches far and wide for something that he can’t get. So, Takaki is basically searching for something that he can’t get or meet, that is, Akari. Even though he looks through every nook and cranny, he can’t ever find Akari. Why? Because she is fucking dead.

And so this ends my interpretation of Makoto Shinkai’s sob-fest that is 5cm Per Second. But, it’s just a theory, though. An ANIME THEORY! Hope you enjoyed this post and hopefully when I’m done with this crapload of work, I’ll be back to writing more serious ANIME THEORIES like the philosophy of Tokyo Ghoul or Psycho-Pass. Until then, I’ll be retreating into my dark hole. Bye!


Comic 8 [2013]: Indonesian Comedy Comeback

I don’t usually watch Indonesian cinema, but the trailer for the newest Indonesian comedy movie, Comic 8, was so hilarious, the librarian (yeah, I use campus Wi-Fi) had to shoo me from the library because I was laughing so hard. So, I did what I had to do. I went to the movies and bought a ticket (surprisingly only 5 bucks including large popcorn and a large soda) and sat a full 2 hours to laugh my guts out.

Comic 8 is a new Indonesian comedy film, just released in January 2014. Unlike most Indonesian comedy that relies on crude insulting humor and the occasional sexual humor, Comic 8 is one of the rarer comedy movies that use a brand of witty humor found in stand-up comedy acts. That’s given, since almost the entire cast are from the Indonesian stand-up community.

The story of this pseudo-action movie is really fucked up. There are two major plot twists which make it really good. So, we have three parties: the wannabe gangsters, the real gangsters, and the lunatics. And they all rob a bank. And by bizarre coincidence, they end up robbing the same bank on the same day. The wannabe gangsters are nice idiots who want a taste of luxury. The real gangsters are… well real gangsters. And the lunatics… they’re plain lunatics. A lot of chaos and funny mayhem occurs between the three parties as they hold the people and the bank employees hostage before they finally team up and successfully escape. Plot twist? Nah, you gotta watch it, I’m not gonna spoil the fun.

What I Enjoyed

  • Finally, some really witty humor! Indonesian comedy isn’t my thing because it’s sexist, racist, and plain crude. But, Comic 8 restored my faith in Indonesian comedy. The actors play out their roles quite convincingly and the one-liners, slapstick, and irony jokes are spot-on and are actually funny. Of course, a foreigner would need to understand some cultural background first to put the jokes into context.
  • The plot twists were annoyingly awesome. You don’t usually see a movie having more than one plot twist. Comic 8, however, keeps you glued to your seat with a series of plot twists you can’t even see coming. That’s the beauty of it.
  • For a locally produced movie, they didn’t skimp the action parts. The equipment, the bank, even the real-life police and SWAT they pulled onto the set showed that they were generous with the budget. Finally, an Indonesian movie that takes things seriously.’
  • They keep you watching EVEN AFTER the credits! When the credits roll, there’s a bunch of clips featuring selected stand-up jokes from the main cast. They’re funny as hell!
  • BOOBIES! Nikita Mirzani is a well-known Indonesian actress and she’s the fans service for this movie. But that doesn’t mean I watched this movie JUST BECAUSE she was in it.

What Sucked

  • The movie is a half-action movie because 60% of the time, people are shooting at each other and shit gets blown up. There’s even a dude with an embedded RPG in a guitar case! Which is good, because I like guns. However, the shooting is just too much and way unrealistic. I mean, the police know there are hostages inside but they open fire BEFORE negotiating with the robbers. I don’t know where they picked up that fucked-up logic.
  • And the slow-motion during the shooting. It’s cool if used sparingly, but the movie uses it in almost every shooting scene and it gets really annoying.


If you enjoy stand-up comedy, especially Indonesian, go watch this. Support the community and local filmmakers. But, seriously, if you want a good movie to laugh to and you haven’t lost hope in Indonesian cinema, by all means watch this. I guarantee you laugh your guts out.

3 Idiots [2009]: Find the Idiot In You!


It’s the holidays and I’ve been digging up and watching old movies hidden in my hard disk drive. I’ve had this particular movie for quite a while now; I think it’s been 3 years ago since I copied it from my friend’s computer. Now, I don’t watch that many Hindi films; they’re not my thing. But, this film, 3 Idiots, is one film I can watch repeatedly without getting bored. Heck, I’ve watched it over ten times over the past 3 years and still I’m not bored!

The story of 3 Idiots is about three men: Farhan, Raju, and Rancho. They’re enrolled in the Imperial College of Engineering in India and hope to pursue a career in engineering. This college is a strict one. We have the Rector, Viru Sastrabuddhi (a.k.a VIRUS), who is an overly competitive son-of-a-bitch. He’s like a machine; he can write with two hands simultaneously, his commitment to order his life resembles that of Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory), and he’s a dick.

The three unlikely friends share different backgrounds. Farhan, from his birth, was decreed to become an engineer by his father who looks a lot like Hitler. Raju, the overly religious guy, wants to be an engineer to help his family’s financial situation. And our main star, Rancho, is an engineering freak who attends college just for the fun of it.

In a nutshell, this film is a story of how three friends manage to go through engineering college hell and find that success is not always determined by your scores on the test. Now, a quick elaboration of what I enjoyed and didn’t from this film.

What I Enjoyed

I keep this film with me because of its values. I’ve always had a passion for teaching and I hope one day to become a professor in International Relations.

I like how this film shows the education system as just one big assembly line aimed at creating a bunch of people who know stuff, but don’t dare ask why they do what they do. It relates to me because ever since high school, I’ve always felt that students are just raw materials forced to accept what our supervisors (teachers) want us to know so that we could pass quality control (exams) and then be distributed to whoever needs us in society (consumers). One scene which represents this was when Rancho challenged the professor during a lecture on machines and when Rancho confronted the Rector after Joy Lobo’s suicide. For me, the film really captures the grim essence of today’s education, especially in Asian countries.

I also enjoyed the character of Rancho. He’s an inspiration because he shows that when you have a passion for something, you can take that passion and enjoy yourself to limits unimaginable. He’s also a rebel in a good way. The way he confronted the Rector countless times just to protest against his system is just awesome. He understands that education should be about knowledge, not just getting top scores. He’s one of those rare people who go to college just to learn, not just get a degree.

There’s a lot of other things I enjoyed too, here’s just a small list:

1. If you live the lives of others, you shall never know true happiness. Rancho took up Engineering because he loved machines. Farhan, on the other hand, took up Engineering because his father told him to. Rancho was happy to be in school, while Farhan was miserable. Near the end, Farhan finally found his calling, wildlife photography, and he couldn’t be a happier person.

2. Success is not measured by how expensive your car, house, and clothes are. Chathur, the main dick in the story next to VIRUS, is one of those people who think they’re successful because they make a lot of money. But, in the end, Rancho kicked his ass. No spoilers here!

3. Life is not a race. The VIRUS lives by his code that life is a race. You need to struggle to stay in the front and use any means to maintain your position. As the Rector, he takes the sentence “Life is a race” to the maximum extreme. Rancho points out numerous times during the film that life doesn’t need to be a race. Everyone has their own pace.

4. College is about learning, not just getting grades. Those who go to college often do it just for a piece of paper certifying that they are quality material for work. Rancho takes that logic and throws out the friggin’ window. He’s a true student; thirsty for knowledge, always wanting to improve for the sake of his own views. He gives a rat’s ass about his test scores and really enjoys the thrill of learning.

5. You don’t need money to go to school. Just steal a uniform and blend in. This is a funny yet deep piece of advice from Rancho.

6. Knowledge, when applied, achieves great results. This is perhaps the most important message the film tries to tell us. During the hazing period, Rancho was confronted by a senior. He took refuge in his room but the senior was banging on his door and threatening to pee on it. Rancho then takes a spoon and wires it to the main electricity circuit and puts it under the door. The result? Pee-nis electrocution! We all know that salt water is a great conductor. Rancho’s ingenuity saved him from the hazing and earned him respect. Knowing is different from understanding.

7. AAL IZZ WELL! The ultimate mantra of the film. It’s very powerful. You can strengthen your resolve with it. You can make yourself calm. You can even make a newborn baby cry with it! It’s the most powerful mantra in the world!

There’s a lot more, but I’m afraid the list will get too long.

What Sucked

Though there are good parts, there are also not so good parts. First, the film runs for 3 friggin’ hours! That’s 1 and a half episode of Star Wars! And then, since this is a Hindi movie, expect a lot of singing and dancing. I’m not a fan of a whole bathroom breaking into song and dance when they’re defecating. That’s why I don’t watch Bollywood.


A must-watch film for those who feel that college is taking its toll on them. Provides inspiration and can be refreshing too. Just prepare lots of snacks and drinks because it’s a long sit.

Elysium [2013]: Another Masterpiece from the Director of District 9


I’m the one doing this particular movie review because I’m the one who actually had the money to pay for an overpriced movie ticket in Bali. And also because I’ve seen District 9 and loved it. I also loved this piece of art, although District 9 was a bit better.

TL;DR: A great sci-fi movie that lacks in story, but still better than your average sci-fi movie.


In the year 2154, Earth has fallen into rubble. Society is divided into 2 classes: the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor. The wealthy live in a space station orbiting Earth, called Elysium. Go look up “Elysium” in a dictionary and you’ll know why the space station is called Elysium. Meanwhile, those who cannot afford to live on Elysium stay on Earth living like rats. Max (Matt Damon) is your everyday Earth thug, who has had a dream since boyhood to travel to Elysium. After being exposed to a deadly amount of radiation, he embarks on a perilous journey to Elysium. On his way, he uncovers secrets that could shake the balance of society, both Earth and Elysium.

Basically speaking, its about a dying thug who tries to get medication on Elysium. On Elysium, people can never get sick because of the advanced med bays that can cure any disease known to man (including cancer!)

The Yays

As a sci-fi fan, I adored the stunning visuals of the movie. Since I like gore, I laughed like a homicidal maniac when I saw body parts get blown up and torn to pieces, like when Kruger took a grenade to the face. They really showed the disparity between Elysium and Earth. Elysium was your perfect living place, kinda like those celebrity homes you see on the cover of magazines, while Earth was literally hell. Polluted, disease-ridden, and just downright dirty.

Besides the visuals, the action was quite good. The exoskeletons were a nice touch and the fighting was just great.  But during chases, there’s the annoying shaky cam, which just kinda ruins the action.

The Nays

The movie clearly lacked in the storytelling department. The story had no big impact on me whatsoever, especially the ending, which was overly simplistic and predictable. The story itself had little complexity. And did I mention that some flashbacks were really unnecessary? Unlike District 9‘s protagonist, Max doesn’t actually learn something new or experiences a paradigm shift as he progresses, and neither does the other characters, which clearly lessens that “post-great-movie impact” you have after watching this.


Overall, Elysium is a terrific movie. There’s action and a lot of science fiction fun for the geeks. Though the story and characters are simple, only a really smart person can grasp the essence behind the movie. Oh, and there are some disturbing scenes in the movie, just a friendly warning.