Monday, July 25, 2011

Source Code was a Breath of Fresh Air

Hey all,

Often times, movies are boring, and shallow with no real thematic elements.  However, every once in awhile, something different comes about to change how we view life and humanity.  Source Code is this rare occasion.

Before going into the specific elements which make this movie astounding, we should probably cover the not-so-goods.  The movie lacks a literal plot.  It is clear what the story is about but it is rather unclear how everything works.  This actually makes the entertainment value of the movie fairly disappointing.  The ending doesn't really make sense.  Watch the movie, and you'll know what I mean.  Nevertheless, plot points aside, the themes suggested in this film more than make up for its loss in plot.

  1. We should first go over Sean.  Sean is, in every sense of the word, a foil for the Captain.  It's unclear who the real Sean was, seeing as Christina never went into detail.  However, it is certain that Sean is a different person than the Captain.  The Captain is rational, and curious; Sean is spontaneous and reckless, living in the moment.
  2. One of the major themes is living life to the fullest.  That is, living every moment as if it's the last.  The ironic twist in the movie is that, Sean literally has 8 minutes to live every time he relives the train crash.  However, this movie presents a greater sense of the beauty of life.  At the end of the movie, Sean encourages everyone to laugh and have fun; enjoy life.
  3. Another theme is that of fate.  The movie seems to suggest that fate is in our own hands if we try hard enough to succeed.  The Captain relived and died the same scene multiple times, but was finally successful in changing his fate.
  4. The phone call to his father was one of the most touching moments in cinematic my opinion. The actual storyline was 'meh' but the theme behind it was pretty moving.  In the literal sense of the movie, the Captain can no longer be who he was in the real life.  He must be Sean, now.  However, thematically, when the Captain calls his father, it shows a change in the hero's quest, but also shows failure.  He is finally able to contact his father, only to do it in second person, saying he (the Captain) is sorry, rather than he himself is sorry.  This shows that Sean has distanced himself with his past, a bittersweet moment.
  5. One of the final things I noticed was the end scene with 'The Bean' in Chicago really framed the movie nicely.  In the beginning of the movie, Sean looked into a flat mirror and saw someone else's reflection - the real Sean's.  However, in 'The Bean' Sean sees himself, in a distorted manner.   It suggests how life will be different now, a false, distorted reality from the one the Captain was used to.  Mirrors are associated with reality, and the Captain constantly struggled with his own identity, a major side plot in the movie.  As the frames pan and zoom, the view does flatten, showing stability.
Overall, this movie was beautifully directed, and it's lack of closure is made up for by it's strong artistry.  If you want a movie worth thinking about for hours afterwards, give Source Code a go.

Final Rating: A

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

YouTube, Stop Changing the Aesthetics!

Hey all,

I was trying to watch a video today, when I got distracted by this monstrosity:

Normally, I wouldn't be too bothered with something like this, since it generally looks nice.  The grudge I have is that it just isn't YouTube!  I'm not saying change is bad, but there are certain things that make YouTube what it is.  The decked out black video player just isn't the same.  It actually reminds me of Google's change in thematic colors as well.  In fact...they're very similar.

Anyway, I just had to point that out.  YouTube should leave the player as it is.  There are certain functions that could be improved upon, but the color scheme should remain.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, July 8, 2011

The World of Cubing is Like that of Pokémon

Hey all,

So recently, I have been watching a lot of Pokémon episodes for nostalgia.  It has been my background noise for cubing for the past few months.  All of a sudden, it seems like I now see a connection between cubing and Pokémon.  Hear me out.

  1. Cubers are like trainers and coordinators.  Anyone who speedsolves for the sake of getting better times is like a Pokémon trainer.  Those who are collectors or modders are like Pokémon coordinators. - they attempt to show off their cubes as much as possible.
  2. Cubes are like Pokémon.  Each cube has a different feel just like how Pokémon all have different personalities.  It is the job of the trainer to find that feel and get in sync with the cube.  More on this later.
  3. Pokémon evolve, so do cubes.  Have you ever sanded a cube?  Created a hybrid?  Any sort of light modding is the same thing as evolving the cube.  When I added screws to my GuHong, the weight increased significantly, sort of like how Turtwig evolved into Grotle.  When a cube changes, the trainer needs to change as well.
  4. The connection between cube and cuber is the same as Pokémon and trainer.  Ash Ketcham likes to battle a certain way, but not all Pokémon like his style.  Buisel enjoys a different style, and Ash needs to adapt.  Cubes can morph a tad (AKA breaking in), but the plastic can only be changed so much.  The rest of the bond needs to come from the cuber.  Cubers should be able to learn how the cube responds.
  5. Trainers are strongest when they are in sync with their Pokémon.  Frankly, it's the same with cubing.  Ever had a bad day?  It's not because of cold or clammy hands.  It's actually because you're out of sync with your cube.  I sometimes find myself seeing one thing and turning another.  This causes lock-ups and pops and generally increases your times.  On good days, I am in perfect sync with my cube and can get good times.
The list goes on, but for now, this is enough to think about.  In Pokémon, it is never only the Pokémon's fault for a bad battle, more than half of it is the trainer's fault.  To be able to do well, a bond between cube and cuber needs to be formed.

Thanks for reading,