“Guardians of the Galaxy”: A Movie Review

Hello all,

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Went to an advanced screening of Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday! Everyone was really excited, and I was told it was one of the most sought after movie screenings of the year! Luckily, my friends and I still managed to snag great seats!

Guardians revolves around a kid called Peter Quill, who had been separated from his family on Earth when he was young. He got abducted to another planet. He becomes a ravager (think space pirate), but amongst one of his missions to steal a mysterious metal sphere, he decides to sell it off to make a profit instead. Turns out there’s a lot more to the sphere than we all though. In order to save the universe from destruction, a group of unlikely heroes work together and form the Guardians of the Galaxy.

I had hopes for not crying in this film. Judging from the trailer and what I’ve heard about it, I expected it to be all laughs, but there were quite a few moments where it was (very) touching. In regards to this movie as opposed to the other recent ones set in the Marvel universe, be prepared to not have our own planet earth to ground yourself to the story. Very little of this movie happens on Terra, but instead we get introduced to different planets and zoom around space for a good part of it.

I thought this movie was quite good– looked really expensive to make! (Just googled out of curiosity. The budget was $170M.) Currently it has a 91% on Rottentomatoes and a 9/10 on IMDB. It opens tomorrow! A kid friendly movie, but also enjoyable for older audiences too 🙂

– Karen

Japan was as hot as heck.

Once upon a time, I said I’d document my Japan trip. But during the trip, it was just days and days of not getting enough sleep due to us having joined a tour. That required us to wake up early each morning (despite sleeping late each night), so that we would have enough time for the activities they had lined up for us.

So I guess here’s the whole trip blurted out in one blog post! I’ll try to keep it short!

Firstly, it was really really really hot during our visit to Japan. When we went to the hot springs, it was 40 degrees Celsius in our part of the country. If you’re going to Japan anytime soon, don’t worry—it’s not always like that. We just happened to visit while a typhoon was passing by, so the air was very stagnant. Anyway, the Japanese have air conditioning, but the national law limits the maximum at which they can set their air con to 27.5 degrees. Which sounds like a typical summer day in Vancouver. What annoyed me most was that it wasn’t as if they didn’t have the proper technology, it’s just that they couldn’t turn the air condition any lower. But I guess Japan is a very environmentally friendly country. As tourist, we also had a hard time sorting our garbage into the appropriate garbage bins as they sorted their trash quite precisely. Props to them for being so advanced in their thinking…kinda sucks for us because we weren’t used to it!

I obviously didn’t read the pamphlet outlining our tour very well, because I wasn’t aware that we were going to a traditional hot springs until the day before leaving for Japan. And by traditional, they basically mean everyone’s in their birthday suits when soaking in the springs. Of course, they separated the males and females, but it was very awkward. And it didn’t help that this one random lady decided to sit in the changing rooms as you stripped down. Anyway, my mom and I chose to go down to the springs at around 11pm since it is less likely to be crowded at that time. Smart move on our part because we only had to see three other naked ladies.

Mount Fuji was okay. I mean, it looked like any other mountain.

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But public transit on the other hand…

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Now that’s something to marvel at. It seemed as if there was no limit as to how many people they could squeeze into the subway. Reminded me of that Youtube video showing people in Japan getting squished into trains—they even had professional train squishers. The different railway lines were also very difficult to get a grasp on. If you don’t believe me, just try Googling Tokyo’s subway map.

One of the things I looked forward to most on this trip was Tokyo Disneyland! Despite the heat, we still spent the whole day running around the park, trying to get on as many rides as possible. Many of the queues were okay in length, ranging from around 25-45 minutes per ride. We would go on all the rides with short queues, and then decide if we really wanted to wait for the longer ones. The Monster Inc. Ride and Go Seek ride took an hour and a half to queue for, but that was the last ride we went on, and was the only ride that took us more than an hour to get into. We also go Fast Passes for several rides along the day.

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It was Tokyo Disneyland’s 30th anniversary while we were visiting, so Cinderella’s castle was decorated accordingly! I must say that the night parade—Dreamlights—was very beautiful! They turned off many of the lights in the park (or at least the lights in the streets where the parade would pass through), and the floats looked amazing!

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During my stay, I ate lots of great food! We had sashimi (I fell in love with shrimp sashimi! The huge ones that is.), abalone, premium beef, and FRUITS! They were amazing. Japanese peaches are heaven itself. You actually have to use a bowl when eating their peaches because it’s super juicy. Our tour guide told us that Japanese people remove the skin of the peach first (it’s actually really easy because the peaches are quite soft) before eating them. I just ate them whole.

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Since we lived in downtown Tokyo, I couldn’t ignore the bright, dazzling arcades that lined the streets. I spent a lot of coins on those games where you try to clamp a plush doll or toys. I was trying to get this fat cat for ages, and then gave up after spending a few hundred yen. But then this one guy comes along and gets it on the first try. I was very disappointed, and decided to just throw in my last 100 yen and randomly clamp at the new cat they put in, and for some strange reason, I manage to get a hold of it! Trouble is, if I bring it back with me to Canada, it can make for quite an annoying luggage.

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I’m missing quite a few bits and pieces in this post, but sitting here, these are the highlights that I remembered most. I had a lot of fun, but was exhausted. The heat didn’t help. On the last day of the trip, I actually said “I can’t wait to go back to Hong Kong to cool off.” That was a line I never thought anyone would say.

I’m currently working between Hong Kong and China. It’s tiring travelling back and forth, and I’m learning lots! Hopefully, I’ll be able to make a post soon about my adventures in Hong Kong!

Until next time!

– Karen

This Came Across My Attention…

And I usually do not get too huffy over stuff like this, because society is changing, albeit slowly. I cannot possibly comment on everything that seems sexist on the internet.

But because the Avengers is something I am really into and love…

Here’s some T-shirts that can be found in the Disney Store online

For boys

For boys

For girls

For girls

Another one for girls

Another one for girls

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I went on the site myself to see if people were being selective in what they chose to display to other people– just to get them riled up. Turns out they were not. I went through all the Avengers merchandise selection and saw that this was truly the only tees for women there.

So while little boys get to be heroes, little girls are told that they need a hero. I think we need a little bit of Black Widow spicing things up in here. Excuse me while I go find a hero to kiss because I cannot possibly do any ass kicking on my own.

-Karen

*Edit: This is the petition that came with the post I read http://www.change.org/sexismavengers

Marketing Post #5: Perfecting Your Dreams– Now Fit For The 21st Century

A while back, I made a post on the Disney Princesses’ new look. I want to revisit that topic and delve into why Disney is recreating the figures that have always been a timeless part of many of our childhood.

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For a period of time, it seemed that Disney took a break from its franchise of princesses. The world was stuck associating six princesses with the whole line of Disney products; namely: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle and Jasmine. And then it seemed that Disney decided to reawaken every little girl’s dreams of being a princess by adding sequels to the original movies, as well as introducing new ones such as Tianna, Rapunzel, and our latest princess, Merida. They also opened up the criteria for who they considered a princess, allowing Mulan and Pocahontas to join their ranks.

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With the latest change, it was not only an introduction of new characters, but also a rework of their old princesses. They seemed to have opted to shower the new princesses with tons of sparkles. So why the rework? Why did they go through all this effort to change the classic images of the princesses dedicated fans have come to love? Marketing.

Disney Princesses sell. That is a known fact. The target market has always been little girls, but sadly, these girls grow up. A lot of us still retain our fondness towards the iconic characters, but of course, Disney recognizes that who is currently in their market is constantly changing. The late 20th to 21st Century also brought with it the attractiveness of teen pop sensations and celebrities. The old princesses’ hair styles and comparatively dull dresses seemed lacklustre compared to Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez plastered on magazines. Disney needed to change.

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By improving aspects of the princesses, what Disney did was re-brand their franchise. Their marketing mix remains essentially the same, still producing the same range of merchandise, at the regular price, promoting them as they always did. However, stamping the new princesses onto their items help appeal to the modern little girl’s interest in fantasy and fairytales, and helps them to remain relevant in the market. They also integrated their princesses into new shows, such as Sophia the First, in order to reintroduce these princesses to the current rotation of girls in their market.

Although I was uncomfortable at first with the changes, I still stand by what I said in my last post in that I like the way the new princesses look (maybe because Cinderella’s original hairstyle has always bothered me), and I am interested to see where Disney will take their princesses in the future!

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Disney Princess And Villains – A New Look!

Hey you guys!

I hope everyone’s Christmas/Holiday celebrations went well! I feel several pounds heavier, but it has been an enjoyable one! I was out Boxing Day shopping yesterday (and honestly, that could have been made into another blog post because there are so many comments that I have on the crazy consumerism that we see taking place on the 26th of December every year), and when I went to the Disney store, I noticed that they had beautiful Disney Villains stuff on sale! 

We all remember the evil stepmothers, the witches, and the scary old men that appear in Disney movies. In fact, they may not even have been human! Nothing comes to mind when I mention Disney’s villains? How about all the antagonists in each Disney Princess movie? Captain Hook? Scar from Lion King? Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians? Stromboli from Pinocchio? Hades from Hercules? The list goes on forever and you end up realizing that although you hated them for most of your childhood, they have been a big part of it as well. That is why I was delighted when I saw that Disney now has a Disney Villains branch of merchandise! 

They revamped a lot of the villains, such as giving Rapunzel’s stepmother a new dress– she now looks like an elegant lady. Ursula from the Little Mermaid also got a dress that reminisces her signature tentacles. I bought a leather notebook of Mother Gothel (Rapunzel’s stepmother) because I just could not resist! They were so pretty! And I could also justify buying a notebook…whereas walking out with one of the princess costumes? Not so much.

 Obviously, the Villain line is going to be making Disney some sweet money. The new designs and the idea of the fact that another aspect of our childhood is coming back to life will send Disney fans hurrying to get their hands on some of the merchandise. Plus, they have pretty much over exhausted the Disney Princesses, slapping their faces onto every pink item that they have. 

However, something interesting caught my eye as we were lining up to pay. I saw that not only did they make a new look for their villains, the original Disney Princesses have been revamped as well! We all remember Cinderella and her classic up-do for the ball, but she now has modern bangs falling from her bun. We also see Belle’s hairstyle getting a change, as she now has fuller looking hair that is done half up, half down. Ariel’s hair is more tame, and Aurora’s is also getting a perm or something. They have fixed her outdated front bangs, and gave them  more of a 21st century look! 

This is a lot more attractive to girls growing up in the modern day, and I guess they decided it was about time that the princesses got an updated look to match the changing times. At first, I was a bit offended that the classic princesses that I grew up with now look different, but I must say that I really like Cinderella and Aurora’s new look. I now see that they were definitely a bit behind on the times appearance wise, and hey, there is no rule saying that cartoon characters cannot change their looks! God knows how many times I have done the same trying to find my style! 

So I hope this made for an interesting read! See you guys soon!

-Karen