Monthly Archives: May 2009

Geronimo!

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Taken during last year’s 50mm challenge, touring Kg. Ayer. An upcoming competition will be on soon at BruneiForever forum. Join up, take part, win fantabulous prizes.

KL Trippin’ New Years

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I’ve just realized I haven’t posted quite a lot of Trippin’ photos lately, as I have not been out of the country with the camera lately. So in an effort to bolster my Trippin’ collection on this site, I’ll have to regurgitate some photos I’ve taken from my New Year’s trip to KL.

As I was waiting for everyone to return from their shopping, initially I tried to sleep off the afternoon to lessen the effect of the previous boat/plane/bus/LRT ride, but how can you when KL is beckoning just downstairs? So with camera in hand, I set out to explore a bit of Jalan P. Ramlee, and what it has to offer.

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Instantly as I set out of the apartments, this was waiting for me at the shoulder of the intersection. Composing it against the background of blaring lights and music, sets off a tone of normalcy against the hectic city life. Great area we stayed in actually, stalls just down the road, a small grocery shop (important!) and a great Indian eatery just a bit of walk away down a small road, where I get my breakfast everyday while everyone’s still out of it on their beds.

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I find that I’m a bit reluctant to shoot on the streets of KL. While the other lads are more than happy to hang around and shoot their hearts content along Jalan Bukit Bintang, I still feel a bit concerned about whipping the darn thing out in public. My lenses aren’t actually tiny, save for the 50mm and the 105mm, but I tricked myself that I’d be more inclined to shoot in public only if I have the 50mm with me. I’d have done so too, if we weren’t too busy shopping and eating! Yeah, show me to the nearest Adidas boutique or sports apparel shop, I guarantee you you’d find a shopaholic in there (me!).

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Oh I wanted to try the steamboat after a long night of partying, but at 3AM, it was already gone. Darn.

Star Trek (2009) Movie Review

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Imagine a world where space travel is common place, where there are crafts travelling faster than light speed warping through space and time, where transporting humans across distances can be achieved with teleportation, where ingenuity, courage, determination and loyalty are character traits to be expected. Now imagine experiencing all that during your formative years watching Star Trek: The Original Series. While we’ve all become jaded over the years, and special effects have come a long way since the 70’s, sometimes we all need a movie to come along to bring back the fond memories of watching the possibilities of the human species advancing beyond our time.

While a new gloss of paint is slathered over this reboot of the franchise, the underlying Trekkiness is all there. The characters and their mannerisms, the epic space battles, the Trek universe science, the ingenious problem solving, the sense of duty to the Federation; it’s all there, hitting the right notes, echoing the spirit of The Original Series. While not an exact carbon copy of exacting standards, merely an artist sketch and rendering of a source material that is fondly loved by most, and alien to some. In other hands, I don’t think this reboot would work, but in the hands of master artist J.J. Abrams, the final artwork manages to rekindle memories of past for die hard Trekkies, I mean Trekkers, and introduce the average moviegoer to what is arguably the best representation of Star Trek: T.O.S. for this decade.

While the story is essentially a genesis story of how the legendary crew of U.S.S. Enterprise came together, the star of the show was definitely Chris Pine’s portrayal of James Tiberius Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock. Mind you, fitting in the shoes left by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy is a herculean task considering the intellectual property and the millions of die hard Trek fans out there; they’ve taken these beloved characters’ essence and made it their own. While Heroes fans might have a hard time to dissociate Quinto from Sylar, by the end of the movie, Quinto is unmistakably Spock, no nonsense, and logical antithesis to Kirk, brash, devil may care attitude with a wicked sense of gut instincts that proves to be useful to the Federation. The interplay between the duo’s distinctly different approaches are woefully brief however, as there needed to be screen time to develop the other characters as well, but it’s nothing a sequel can’t rectify.

All the other beloved characters are present and accounted for, with John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Chekov, Karl Urban as the inimitable DeForest Kelley, I mean Dr. McCoy, Zoe Saldana as the love interest Uhura, and Simon Pegg as the beloved Scotty. While a sequel is still up in the air, there is room for the actors and actresses to grow into the characters and make it their own. While Karl Urban is undeniably DeForest Kelley reborn, Simon Pegg has redefined Scotty to be a very excitable Simon Pegg. Even the Enterprise has that certain T.O.S. retro charm to it, with the consoles and control panels looking like the updated versions of the T.O.S. ones, there is that feeling of adherence to the original cast, Enterprise included, while updating it for a fresher look to attract the new fans.

While the story’s plotlines are not what you’d expect from previous Star Trek movies, but in the world of J.J. Abrams, it fits right in. All the important plot points are plausible in the Star Trek universe, with a number of movies in the Star Trek saga having had established precedents. But if you somehow by now managed not to know the storyline, then you will be pleasantly surprised. While it might seem too complex to the average moviegoer at first, but during the viewing, the suspension of disbelief is carried forward ever so gently by the pacing and the avoidance of total sci-fi geekery by not bombarding technical jargon at the audience. By the time of the movie’s revelation scene, the audience will be so emotionally invested in the characters and their predicaments; they will be much more receptive of the ideas introduced in the movie.

Special mention has to go to the cinematography and the special effects. The sweeping angles, the dramatic, and poetic, slow motion sequences, the believable presence of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the most realistic CG sequences ever put on screen, even the controversial overuse of lens flare; it all adds up to a unique viewing experience not matched since Iron Man. Considering the movie was directed by the man who brought to us the unique Cloverfield, and the best sci-fi show since the X-Files, Fringe, there was no doubt from the start that Star Trek will be a unique movie experience. While die hard Trekkers would bemoan this very fact alone, but the net effect of boosting the popularity and accessibility of the Star Trek franchise cannot be ignored. This is the one movie to catch this summer blockbuster season. Bar none.

9 Red Shirt Ensigns out of 10.

Fishing at Damuan

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