Butter Battle

The_Hobbit_-_The_Battle_of_the_Five_Armies“Butter Battle” – not a reference to Dr Seuss’s little known, but excellent Cold War allegory, but my two word review of Peter Jackson’s third movie in The Hobbit saga, “The Battle of the Five Armies”.

Firstly, “Battle” – because that just about sums up the movie – not much else happens. The actual battle of five armies in Tolkien’s book takes up only 5 pages, but Peter Jackson somehow spins it out to encompass most of the 2hrs and 20mins of the movie. The scenes between the battle scenes, seem cursory, superfluous to the plot, with many of them additions not in the original story, added merely to give the viewer some respite before plunging into yet another predictable battle scene, with many of these also additions to the original story.

Secondly “Butter” – because to borrow words from a rather erudite author, adapting  just 50 pages of original story into a 2.5hr movie “feels all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.”

Disappointed by

Currently disappointed by …

Peter Jackson’s first installment of “The Hobbit” movies. In summary: indulgent, over-long and over-the-top.

The whole plot line and pacing seems to have built on the premise that every 15 minutes there needs to be some epic battle/action sequence regardless of whether it exists in the book. This formulaic repetition is not helped by frequent use of tired Hollywood cliches like “the hero dangling over a precipice hanging by the fingertips” or “the heroes falling hundreds of metres down a chasm amongst crashing wooden structures and then getting up with apparently no injuries at all”.

There are many other disappointments with this film, but the one that confirmed in my mind its sub par rating is Rivendell. In the novel Rivendell is a place of joy, peace, healing and friendship from which the dwarves leave “amid songs of farewell and good speed” – the movie portrays Rivendell as a place of suspicion, fear, doubts, and enmity from which the dwarves have to sneak out in secrecy.

I’ll still see parts 2 and 3 when they come out, but sadly I won’t be looking forward to it in the same way I was looking forward to this first movie.

[This content was originally posted to Google+]

Windows 8

From what I had read, and the few screenshots I had seen of Windows 8, my initial impressions were that it is ugly and confusing. I decided on the weekend to put my preconceptions aside, download the community preview of Windows 8 and give it a try. My conclusion? Windows 8 is ugly and confusing.

Update 7 Feb 2015: Three years on, and my thoughts on Windows 8 are unchanged – ugly and confusing.

[This content was originally posted to Google+]

Google + or –

Had a look at Google+. I’m giving it a Google- and I’m deleting my Google+ profile.

It was all too much like going into one of those fancy department stores. I wandered around, lost and confused, didn’t see anything that interested me, then found it hard to find the exit.

Update 20 Feb 2015: Its interesting that my initial negative impression of Google Buzz got turned around and I ended up quite liking it, but my initial negative impression of Google+ never changed much.

[This content was originally posted to Google Buzz, #176]

Transperth website report card

C – for “Could do better”

  1. They advertise the timetables for your iPod, but you can’t get them on to your iPod/iPhone without using a computer. Um, I left my computer at home 4000km away.
  2. From their full website they advertise their 136213.mobi mobile site, and then give instructions on how to enter the website address into your mobiles browser! Haven’t they heard of hyperlinks?
  3. I finally decided to download the PDF versions of the timetable into iBooks. This worked fine except that instead of meaningful filenames like “Fremantle line” the PDF has a gibberish alphanumeric name which means that if you download more than one timetable you can’t tell which is which without opening the file.

On reflection the score is more of a D- for “Did not bother doing it right”

[This content was originally posted to Google Buzz, #172]

Coffee underpass

Kent St Bakery at Busselton, you’re now officially off the hook for WA’s worst cappuccino, having been resoundingly surpassed (underpassed?) by Janice’s Cafe Pot in Mandurah, with a copious concoction of hellishly hot bland brown fluid with the flimsiest film of foam with the far fetched price of $4.50 !!!

In a disturbing and unexpected trend on this trip the quality of coffee is in inverse proportion to the price. Is this other people’s experience?

[This content was originally posted to Google Buzz, #170]