Friday, September 30, 2011

On Photoshoppery and Money

     Filipinos are a creative and innovative bunch. Consider our photography and visual manipulation skills as an example. Just this week, Filipino photoshoppers, err, graphic designers are spotlighted on two different occasions-- one on a positive and one on a negative light.

     The first one that gathered a lot of bad rap is the DPWH Photoshop fiasco. A photograph was posted on the DPWH facebook account where some DPWH officials seem to be having a deep, thoughtful conversation while standing in the Manila Bay rubbles on the aftermath of typhoon Pedring. A blogger saw the photo for what it really is and cried " 'shopped! ". Sometime later, the photo was taken down with an apology from an official.

     The blogger (site here) really has valid points. As he pointed out, the guy in the red-jacket is obviously floating while the guy in the center has one leg shorter than the other. See for yourself on the picture below. I indicated it with red circle and a red arrow if you can't see it. Those are some awful photoshop skillz.

See the complete report here:

     The other one is more uplifting. Remember the newly redesigned Peso notes that were previously reviled by majority of the internet public? Well, they actually impressed an international body for their amazing and unique features. The new generation currency (NGC) notes are shortlisted as one of three nominees for the best currency award.

The complete report is here:

     These news reports just show that we have an immense creative pool of talents in our country. How high we can rise if we only do our best and how low we can sink if we just settle for less, it's all up to us.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reminiscing the Dark Knight

I love The Dark Knight movie. In fact I believe it's the best superhero movie ever made and it's on my list of the best movies ever. For me, it is a cerebral ride of awesomeness that will leave you breathless and amazed in every scene you watch.

The one thing it is lacking or had difficulty with, in my opinion, is the emotional connection. You never really felt the pain and anguish of the heroes. When then Lt. Gordon "died", I was shocked but I never felt bad. When Rachel Dawes died, I never felt bad. When Harvey Dent died I never felt bad. You might experience the heavy moral dilemma (like in the ferry scene) but it has no emotional weight, it just seemed like a philosophical exercise. The dominant emotion is that of fear every time the Joker is in the scene, courtesy of Heath Ledger's masterful work.

It's the one thing other movies have better. In Ironman, I felt sad when the doctor who helped Tony Stark died. I felt Stark's anguish. In Captain America, I felt bad when Bucky died (I might feel the weight of the death of any of the Howling Commandos if that would happen). Thor also delivered many emotionally captivating scenes, especially with Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of Loki.

There is none of that in The Dark Knight. Maybe there is, but it didn't leave a lasting dent (no pun intended). One might say, "It's a goddamn Batman movie", "There is no place for emotions". But no, In Batman Begins, you will feel Bruce's pain as a child when his parent's died. You would almost feel Gordon's sympathy as he console Bruce. And you will feel Alfred's grief as well. In the comics, there were many stories that poured a lot of emotional scenes. Grant Morrison has made many.

In Batman #701, when Batman returned after his encounter with Dr. Hurt, Alfred welcomes him in his extreme butlering mode and the following dialogue took place;

Alfred: Master Bruce? Oh my goodness gracious!
Bruce: How's the "Extreme Butlering" thing working out for you, Alfred? Tell me you didn't use up all the band-aids.
Alfred: I believe the correct term is "Butling", sir.
Bruce: Good to see you, old friend.
Alfred: Likewise, Master Bruce. A tense few days, but I know you'd work it all out in the end. I prepared Mulligatawny Soup, your favorite.

That short interchange, with Alfred giving that terse smile, and with all those bruises on his face, is very heartfelt. In Batman: The Return, Alfred delivered yet another emotional dialogue;

In The Dark Knight, I feel like every emotion is actually just a battle of morals and ethics.

The Superman movies have it better. Every time Superman carries Lois while flying, or save her from danger, the scene is so memorable. When we look back into those scenes now, we would have a feeling of nostalgia for the movies, even if they are not that great to begin with.

10 years from now, if we see a scene from The Dark Knight, like when he saves Rachel from falling, I doubt if we will feel nostalgic and reminisce the times past.

I think that's what may be needed in the next movie. A heart-wrenching scene. An uplifting moment. I have no doubt that the trilogy will end with a big and spectacular bang. I believe it may well be one of the greatest trilogies ever. I'm just not sure  if it will leave a deep enough mark in my heart that I will carry even as I get older, the way the Superman movies did.

What could it do to leave that mark?

Include a good soundtrack perhaps. Or evoke the nostalgic feeling of Winnie the Pooh in the trailers. Or both.

Or maybe not.

That's just my two cents. I think 'The Dark Knight Rises' will be an amazing finale nonetheless. As they say on many forums, "I believe in Christopher Nolan."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Amazing Sci Fi Fashion Apparels

Nike just announced the release of "Back to the Future" shoes (a.k.a Air Mag) for a limited stock only. These shoes will be put up on auction in eBay and the proceeds will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to find the cure for Parkinson's Disease. All I can say is the shoes are absolutely marvelous!

I've always loved the Back to the Future movies and I always watch the BTTF DVD trilogy if I feel like it. The entertainment factor never diminishes. I think I'm one of the many fans who wishes to get one of those limited edition shoes into our hands, er, feet.

When I last checked the auction site,  the prices of each pair were already at $4,000 with still 17 hours left for bidding. That is around 200,000 Pesos. (200,000 Pesos?! Imagine Doc Emmett saying, "1.21 jigawatts!"). That's already the price of a second-hand car. So that only means goodbye Air Mag.

I wonder if that design is patented? Because if not, maybe our local Marikina shoemakers can make them here. I would really want to have a pair if only for the aesthetic and nostalgic factors (I won't really wear them at work). If they are patented, however, then that's just unfortunate. We dont want them to make japeyk copies of the original, right? (wink. wink.)

Anyways, with Nike's announcement of the shoes, I've thought of other clothing apparels from Sci-Fi movies that were already made in real life and are actually wearable not just during cosplays but in daily life (at least on some occasions and settings). I compiled them into the list below.

1. Tron hoodie (Threadless)

This is not really an actual costume that was worn by characters in the movie, just a design based on it. Nevertheless, these are pretty amazing.

2. The Matrix trenchcoat (

This is not something that can be worn in a hot country like mine. But one would look badass just wearing these. Wear dark sunglasses for an added cool factor.

3. Superhero jackets from Universal Designs (

If you are a motorcycle rider, then you'll find these replicas of jackets from movies like Wolverine, Captain America, The Dark Knight and Xmen pretty rad.

4. Star Trek T-shirts (Nerdyshirts)

I'm not really a Trekkie but these t-shirts from Nerdyshirts boasting the Star Trek logo on a plain colored background are just great.

5. Star Wars Hoodie (Star Wars)

Lastly, these hoodies of Star Wars characters such as a Storm Trooper, Darth Maul and Boba Fett are beautiful. To see the full effect you have to close the hoodie's front zipper all way to the top. Best thing to do when you feel like disappearing instantly like during a boss' lecture etc.

So that's it, a round of amazing apparels based on sci fi movies. I'm adding all  of these (along with the Air Mag) into my wishlist for Christmas.



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