Thursday, 17 December 2009

Avatar - a review!

Three years ago I got whiff of a new movie about to grace our screens. The story was set in a fantasy world on a planet far away. Always a sucker for fantasy movies I got excited but soon forgot all about James Cameron’s latest project. Until a few months ago, when the first theatrical trailer was released. Catching a glimpse of Pandora and it’s blue skinned inhabitants I nearly wet myself with excitement. Ever since that moment I had been waiting for the day it was to hit the big screen.

Last night I finally saw Avatar – sadly not at an IMAX screen like I had wanted but still on a big enough screen to make it justice. And of course; in 3D.

The film opens with Jake Sully, (Sam Worthington) a wheelchair bound soldier, waking up from a six year long sleep. He is about to ‘inhabit’ his late brothers ‘avatar’ – a sort of hybrid body of the indigenous Na’vi tribe of Pandora. This distant planet houses thousands of tribes of these humanoid creatures that live in peace and have a very strong spiritual bond to the nature that surrounds them – until mankind, led by Parker Selfridge (Giviani Ribisi) arrives to mine for precious metals buried underneath Na’vis dwelling.

Under Professor Grace Augustine’s (Sigourney Weaver) guidance Jake as his ‘avatar’ begins to learn about the people of Pandora and their way of life. His initial goal is to infiltrate the Na’vi, become a trusted member of the tribe and then negotiate for them to relocate so that humans can access their precious mines. As ‘princess’ Neytiri (Zoe Seldana) teaches Jake everything there is to know about their way of life Jake inevitably falls in love with her as well as the Na’vis beliefs.

As time runs out the humans move in to bulldoze their habitat and Jake is faced with a difficult choice – follow the orders of his human commander (Stephen Lang) or help the tribe he has come to call his own.

This movie is a cinematic masterpiece. I cannot fault a single second of it and in all honesty I cannot wait to see it again. As with all movies you always miss great details the first time round and I believe this magnificent piece of art deserves not just a second but a third and a fourth viewing – if you can sit through an epic such as this that many times. Majority of the film is set in a CG animated world although it is hard to tell as every aspect and attention to detail is so microscopically perfect it’s on the verge of sickening.

Considering the movie has been in the making since 1995, James Cameron decided to stall the scrip until technology has caught up in order to correctly portray his vision. I am glad he did as the result is magnificent. The film touches on a lot of current issues and affairs and you can easily see similarities to Columbus discovering the Americas, colonies settling in Africa, the George W. Bush administration and also subtle references to the 9/11 attack. In a way it’s also an eye opener to how the human race is used to devour anything in it’s path – regardless of the outcome and consequence.

I am thrilled to say that there are two sequels planned for the future. Cameron jokes that if they see the day of light depends on the profit Avatar makes. Judging by all the sold out dates til January I am certain production has already started. At least I hope and pray that they have..


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A Hugo & Cat Christmas...

A Hugo & Cat Christmas...

'Twas two weeks before Christmas and I must confess
So much planning and organising caused a big stress.

Everyone was working, busy with deadlines,
Immersed in projects, as if they were gold-mines.
Rachael and Johannes wouldn’t argue with that,
Cos each was a goldmine for Hugo & Cat.

The teams have been busy with lots of new sites,
And all of this work has caused somewhat of a fright

Fearing the worst Simon is losing his hair,
Even though NAT’s success was incredibly fair

Nokia’s project was filmed in conditions below zero
that’s how Karolina and Yannick became their new ‘Heroes’

Sony are hoping a scoop of the gifts
Yet all we really want is just a new lift!

Adding to the work the office move is underway,
With wires and cables shortly here to stay

Gareth was mourning the server that died
The internet went bust and the circuits were fried.

So he’s been expecting new servers from Dell
Finally they arrived, the wait had been hell.

There are servers and backup and storage to boot,
for Takeo, Caroline and Murray to fill with their loot.

Some guys came to install the new fingerprint alarm
Glad it’s not laser as eyes could have been harmed.

The last bit of code Joanna finished with care,
lighting her face with the monitors glare.

The teams have been busy with lots of websites
All the computing and tech stuff built up appetites

Suddenly outside there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk chair to see what’s the matter.

Above the scaffolding something appeared
in a tiny red sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer,

and a little red driver so lively and quick.
Mahen knew in a flash; It must be St. Nick

Those granddad pants look familiar, Rich Kivell said
But they are not mine, they’re Santa’s instead.

Federico and Davide, with Italian speciale
exclaimed in unison; Buon Natale

The corners of his mouth were turned up in a grin
and a fluffy white beard hung down from his chin.

A bottle of Isklar in his left hand was held
and a Sony Reader was strapped to his belt.

He was chubby and plump, a right silly old elf
Made Bastian laugh despite of himself.

Santa looked up, opened his mouth to speak
But nothing came out, his voice was too weak.

De La Cruz giggled like a little school girl
And Mumford joined in, spinning in twirls.

Kristof declared he knew what the problem was
Some rum was missing for poor Santa Claus.

After his tipple Saint Nick tried anew
This time success as his voice grew;
“Now it is Christmas, it is time for a break,
Sleep and relaxation and presents to make
Take some time off and some time to rejoice
Holiday season for all the girls and the boys.

“Hang on a minute, is this the right place?”
said Santa and turned red in the face.
“Rob has been naughty and Lee was a new dad,
sounds to me that too much fun has been had!”

“Ever since Ian found his girlfriend
Hardly any free time with work he’d spend.

When everyone gathers on Fridays for drinks
He’s gone like a flash before the eye blinks.”

Hmmm, who else is missing, let’s have a look
Josh is not here, he’s not playing by the book.

And where did Ulysses go, I can’t help but wonder
A long holiday taken to escape all the thunder.

He’s gone to see family very very far
I hope he brings me a Cuban cigar.

This is disaster Santa Claus said
I knew I shouldn’t have stepped out of bed
The journey was a long all the way to Bluebird
And look I even stepped in a reindeer turd.

Shaking his head, profanities he muttered
While all of the group just sat there gutted.

Drunk and disorderly Santa stopped his attack
He left with his reindeer and didn’t look back.

Afraid I must stop , because just as I knew;
spent too much time rhyming while I've got so much to do.

As I very well know, you care not of my plight,
so I say Merry Christmas and to all a good night.


Dan K