I already watched the shitty DVD-rip quality a week before, but I decided to hold my review until the premiere in Singapore, which was today. The student discount also made it possible for me to watch it without straining my wallet too much. Mind you, Singapore’s capitalism makes everything expensive, including drinks.
Ahem, anyway… Kimi no na wa or Your name. is indeed one of Shinkai’s best works if I do say so myself. I think of it as a spiritual successor to Shinkai’s first hit, Byousoku 5 cm, but this time, Shinkai adds some spice to what would have been a drawn-out melodrama. For the edgy, cool kids who would berate someone who actually cried during the movie, yes, the movie is indeed melodramatic at some points, but I feel that amount of melodrama is justified, as it results in a memorable story of love that crosses dimensions and parallel timelines.
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.
I just watched Gen Urobutcher’s movie, Rakuen Tsuiho: Expelled from Paradise. And let me tell you, there’s A LOT of philosophical themes present in the movie.
But first, let’s get the mundane details out of the way. Graphics: awesome (5/5). Music and soundtrack: surprisingly great (4.5/5). Angela is a twin-tailed loli in a mecha suit; +100 points. There, now with that gone, let’s move into the real shit.
In the future, due to a vague, unexplained macro-disaster, the entire planet Earth now resembles a fusion of the Middle East and Fallout. Those who managed to survive on Earth remain in small pockets of post-apocalyptic civilization, while the more privileged have evolved to become digital humans living in orbit above the Earth in a system known as Deva. These digital humans, living as binary code, have forsaken their meat shells in favor of increased mental acuity and the ability to stretch their mental faculties as far as possible.
The entire story of Rakuen Tsuiho is centered on two protagonists. Angela Balzac, a hot-headed Security agent for Deva, is sent to Earth to investigate Frontier Setter, a mysterious hacker that has disrupted the peace of Deva multiple times. On Earth, she meets Dingo, a cool-headed and chill mercenary. The two then embark on a journey to uncover the mystery of Frontier Setter, a journey that causes Angela to question her existence and unravels the true nature of Deva.
Like most of the stuff Urobutcher makes, Rakuen Tsuiho is not exempt from having multiple philosophical themes stuffed in it. Here, I’ll discuss three of which I’ve found to stand out: the Experience Machine, Plato’s Cave, and meritocracy.
Or also known as the “Pleasure Machine“. It is a thought experiment conceived by philosopher Robert Nozick to test the limits of hedonism. The thought experiment requires you to answer a simple question:
Suppose there is a machine that offers you all the pleasure that you can have and discards all the unpleasures that you might currently have or will experience. Would you go inside it?
See, the basic idea of hedonism is maximizing pleasure, while minimizing unpleasure. Should there be a machine that eliminates all kinds of unpleasure, from physical to spiritual, surely a true hedonist would choose to live within the machine and forsake reality. Why am I bringing this up? Deva, or the platform where digital humans live, is nothing but a simulation of reality. It is not reality in itself, but rather a projection of the ideal environment made up by human desires; in short, it is man-made.
In Rakuen Tsuiho, we see Angela telling Dingo how life is within Deva. She tells Dingo that she has visited a galaxy 10 billion light-years away and has touched subatomic particles. The question is: Did she actually do that stuff, or was it just the experience of her doing it? Perhaps what she thought she had accomplished was merely an experience simulated by Deva’s massive computing powers.
The discrepancy between actually doing something compared to merely experiencing is further shown in Angela’s incapability to adapt to life on Earth. As soon as she arrives in town, she is confronted by three street thugs. Though earlier we see Angela capable of marvelous hand-to-hand combat, she quickly falls victim to sickness because she disregards her corporeal body’s needs of rest and nutrition. Also, though she claims to have experienced degrees of satisfaction in Deva that is unattainable by the human body on Earth, she still relishes in the satisfaction of eating hot porridge while sick.
It’s rather complicated when you think about it, though, but next, we’ll be discussing one of the most profound allegories in Western philosophy.
Ah the most famous allegory in Western philosophy. The entire movie reeks of it. If you’re not familiar with Plato’s allegory…
Suppose that there are several prisoners chained to a wall of a cave. They are not able to move their heads at all and cannot break free of the chains. Their eyes can only see the wall in front of them. Behind them is a light source and a small path where other people carry puppets. The prisoners can only see shadows of the puppets moving around on the wall. They believe the shadows as their “reality”.
This is how life in Deva is. As a supercomputer, the images projected in Deva are just that: images of reality and not reality in itself. No matter how realistic the world of Deva is, it is merely a computer program. Angela, a citizen of Deva from birth, believes that the world she sees in Deva is reality and we see her dumbfounded or “blinded” when landing on Earth and witnessing a new reality she is not accustomed to. She, who would never get sick on Deva, contracted a fever when she landed. She, who did not require sleep, felt the toll of sleep deprivation.
Her expulsion from Deva represents the first steps that every person must take to exit the Cave and learn about reality. As she spends more time with Dingo and Frontier Setter and sees more of Earth, she becomes convinced that the reality inside of Deva is not actually “reality”, rather just a projection of reality. She then becomes enlightened, and tries to come back into the Cave to let her fellow people know. But, she was met with opposition from the High Council and sentenced to imprisonment because the High Council found her to be a lunatic. Later, after being formally expelled from Deva, she chooses to live on Earth with Dingo. She had accepted that Earth was her new reality and has given up on Deva.
Critique of a Hierarchical Society
This theme makes its presence after the halfway mark of the movie. Basically, life in Deva is not as bliss as we were told to believe. The laws of economics still apply to Deva, and Deva is basically a giant supercomputer that, despite its vastness, has limited memory. It is stated that 98 percent of humans are living in Deva in digital form, meaning that the system needs to effectively manage resources.
How does it do that? Simple, allocate the resources based on one’s worth. How is one’s worth determined? By the central processing unit, or “government”.
Simply put, living in Deva is living in a hierarchical society. The upper class, or “elites”, are provided with more memory because they are deemed to be worth more than the middle- and lower-class. This is subtly obvious during the early parts of Rakuen Tsuiho, when Angela is approached by a man who offers to take her to a “private” and “hi-res” map. This implies that there are restricted maps, or territories, that are only accessible for those with enough resources, or “worth”. These restricted maps offer better amenities, security, or “resolution” (whatever that means) as opposed to the open-access maps.
Since there is limited memory to go around, the system cannot stand inefficiencies. Those who do not contribute to society are subject to deletion or archival incarceration. Those who do not work are demoted from their rank and allotted less memory. To achieve upward social mobility in Deva, one must work and work and work their way to the top. As summarized eloquently by Dingo:
What you can get and what you can accomplish, that’s all determined by the whims of society. Unless you’re constantly currying favors, hunting for compliments, and ingratiating yourself, you can’t make a decent living. Where’s the freedom in a life like that? – Dingo
I personally believe that this is a critique to our current conception of meritocracy, which believes that if a person is at the bottom of society, it is their fault for not trying hard enough. A person’s worth in society is judged solely by their ranks and possession, not by their innate character. Besides, why live in so-called Heaven if you still need to work your ass off? I thought Heaven was all about jacking off all day and not needing to worry about a single thing.
Those are the three major philosophical themes which I have found to stand out in Rakuen Tsuiho. In sum, I totally recommend this movie. Rakuen Tsuiho is a great movie that not only shows a decent mix of action and cool visuals, it also challenges the viewer by presenting philosophical questions that we tend to avoid in our daily discussion. Now, I know there might be a lot more; I would appreciate if you readers were to share your opinion about Rakuen Tsuiho and its themes.
To end this review, let me just quote Dingo one more time because he is hands-down the best character in the movie.
Maybe you really have been set free from the shackles of physical bodies, but aren’t you locked in a prison that’s much more insidious? In the cage of a manufactured reality.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for my next anime review!
Hey, what’s up Internet? I know that I’ve fucking vanished for the last couple of months because I now have a full-time job which doesn’t allow me a lot of leisure time to come up with sensationalist crap anymore. I’ve sort out my priorities and decided that instant coverage and rants on specific dramas are not important anymore. I still have time to watch anime, and am currently enjoying GATE, Charlotte, and as my guilty pleasure, Himouto. I don’t fucking care about watching more anime than anyone else because I don’t fucking have time for it anymore. 3 series are enough.
Okay, now on to the actual rant. Consider this a special, because the issue irked me so bad, I had to find time during work to fucking write this. I wasn’t even interested at first, but thanks to my favorite angry Canadian on YouTube, Buckley, I got interested in ranting again. And I’m gonna curse a lot, because (a) I’ve had an extremely bad day and (b) I can fucking do that.
So all of you fucking Indonesians must know about Battle of Surabaya. Of course, when I say “Indonesia”, it almost always means the fucking island of fucking Java. Fuck you, central government. And fuck you, monopolist movie theater business for not showing it in Bali. It’s a movie, an animated feature-length film, that has been stuffed under the rug for two years until it was finally released a week ago for public consumption. Of course, I’ve been a staunch supporter of the movie (I bought a fucking t-shirt for 13 bucks) when I first met the team at Hellofest, and was very disappointed that those assholes in the theater business decided not to show the movie in Bali. It tells the story of Musa, a young boy who delivers letters, and his role in a pivotal battle in Indonesian history that took place in Surabaya. That’s the gist of it.
Now, what’s wrong with the movie? Can’t tell, I haven’t seen it yet. Heard it was pretty good, based on reviews. And you fucking spoil anything, I’ll come to cut your fucking dick off and jam it in your fucking mouth and then force you to swallow it before I fucking strangle you.
The problem arises when an admin (yes, an official admin on the official FB page) tries to sell a product using subtly coercive techniques. See the screenshot below. BTW, I stole the image from AndrianVidano. Tell the guy I sent you.
What I’m trying to point out here is how their PR guy’s trying to pull a Deutschland uber alles campaign on social media. Basically, they’re trying to sell the movie using blind nationalism. The screenshot can be roughly translated to:
“Oh, you didn’t watch this movie and/or give it a good rate on IMDb? You must fucking hate Indonesia, you atheistic communist piece of shit. GTFO this country. No wonder we’re losing to fucking ‘Murica,”
I’m proud that a team of Indonesian animators were willing to go at lengths to make the movie. That’s an effort I respect. Not everyone can make a full-length animated feature and sell it. But forcing me to give a good review, regardless of quality, just because it was made by Indonesians? Fuck you.
I don’t need an admin telling me to watch a movie just because it was made by Indonesians.Nor do I need someone using the appeal to nationalism to try to force me. If I think it’s a good movie, I’ll go fucking see it anyway. If it turned out to be bad, you can’t blame me for shitting all over it like what I did in my Tiap Detik review. I don’t care if an Indonesian or a Puerto Rican or an Arab made it. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s bad, then it’s worth to be called a piece of shit. That’s how it should be. Honest feedback and criticism, devoid of cognitive biases especially appeal to nationalism, should be given to show both support and give a kick in the balls so these guys can improve and make better stuff in the future.
In the end, all of this makes me think that our self-esteem, as a nation, is really fucking low. So low, that we suddenly feel proud of anything that was made by an Indonesian, no matter how good or bad it is. It’s just like insisting on using a shitty laptop just because it was produced in Indonesia.
Now I hope the movie comes soon to Bali. Otherwise, I’m gonna kill a bitch.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I watched Monsters Inc. back in 2000, when it first hit the big screen. I was a wee lad back then and I was fascinated by almost every Pixar movie I ever watched. When I knew that Monsters University was coming out, I felt a little part of my childhood rekindle. So, I just had to see this no matter what.
We start at the very beginnings of Mike Wazowski’s life, when he was back in school. Mike is just a small monster, he wasn’t scary. On a field trip to Monsters Inc., he met with a scarer that inspired him to pursue the arts of scaring. Thus, he studied and studied his ass off so he can finally enroll in Monsters University, the most prestigious school in the Monster universe. Here, he meets Sullivan (or just Sulley), who we all know is the same Sullivan from Monsters Inc. They start off as roommates, and they progress to becoming best buddies. They are both enrolled in the Scare Program.
Mike isn’t cut out for the Scare Program, but he insists that he is in fact scary. In front of the Dean, he vows to win in the Scare Games to prove his worth. If he and his team cannot win, they will be expelled from Monsters University. Now, it’s up to Sulley and Mike and their group of ragtag monsters to prove themselves in a series of scaring events.
What I Say
I’ll be very brief and say that nothing blew with this movie! Pixar never fails to deliver, even to me as a 20-year-old now! I really felt my childhood come back to me when I saw Mike, Sulley and Randall on the screen.
Obviously every single part of the movie is awesome.
I watched Monsters Inc. after watching this movie and I can finally relate to the characters after 12 years. I now know why Mike and Sulley are great friends, why Randall is a sourpuss, and how the two started working at Monsters Inc.
Here’s a fun fact: The original Monsters Inc. was released in 2001. Monsters University is showed in 2013, 12 years after. Most of the people who watched the original movie are now in college, which is why Pixar decided to focus on the university life of Mike and Sulley so that old viewers can feel a connection.
The movie describes all of the hoots of going to college. The frats, the professors, and the image of college as a prestigious place to be.
This is a must-watch for anyone who has watched Monsters Inc. when they were kids. There’s always a moral message in Pixar movies, and hey, it’s Pixar. You know how good these people are already.