Rogue One

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Plus Points +: The overall change of tone as compared to the other films. Very well choreographed scenes and well done CGI for some older characters.
Negative Points –: The darker feeling of the film might not be liked by new or young fans.

Rogue One is set some time after Revenge of the Sith and immediately before A New Hope. The movie tells a story of a group of ragtag rebels trying to steal the plans of the Death Star and explaining the backstory of the Death Star as well. With a good cast, some well inserted humor and emotional scenes, the movie was really good overall.

There will be spoilers from now on, if you have not watched Rogue One, go watch it. 

The early part of the film shows Jyn Erso’s ( Felicity Jones) life when she was a child, where her father Galen Erso ( Mads Mikkelsen) was taken by Director Orson Krennic ( Ben Medesohn) and her mother Lyra Erso ( Valene Kane) was killed.

After the flashbacks, Jyn was recused by Captain Cassian Andor ( Diego Luna) and was brought to Yavin 4 for an questioning by Mon Motha ( Genevieve O’Reilly ) and the other members of the Rebel Council. Afterwards Cassian, Jyn and K-2SO ( Alan Tudyk) was sent to Jedha to kill Saw Gerrera ( Forest Whitaker). While on Jedha, they met Bodhi Rook ( Riz Ahmed), Chirrut Îmwe ( Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus ( Wen Jiang).

After being captured and shown the footage of Galen exposing the Death Star’s flaw, Director Krennic ordered the Death Star to fire at Jedha, destroying the city that was targeted and killed Saw in the process. After Jedha, the Rogue One crew went to Eadu to assassinate Galen. In the end Jyn and Galen were reunited but he dies in her arms due to a Rebel bombing attack.

After reporting back at Yavin 4, the Rebels were thinking of running, surrendering and other ideas after they learnt about the Death Star. The Rogue One crew  and other rebel soldiers decides to go rogue and go to Scarif to steal the plans themselves. After Jyn, Cassian and K-2S0 infiltrated the main building, the rebel started to attack the planet. Director Orson commanded the garrison to eliminate the threat. Around the same time, the Rebel fleet engaged the Imperial Fleet above Scarif. The dogfight that ensued was shows the Rebel fleet being decimated and the Imperial fleeting being rammed by their own ships.

After Jyn and Cassian reached the data vaults, the Rebel forces are starting to dwindle. As the duo start to search for the plans, the main cast gets killed off one by one. Chirrut and Baze being blown up in a firefight, Bohdi’s ship being blown up by Stormtroopers and K-2SO dying trying to hold off the data vaults. Director Krennic, later confronted Jyn and Cassian in the vaults, injuring Cassian in a fire fight.

Just before Jyn transmitted the plans to the Rebel fleet above, Director Krennic made a last stand, but was wounded by Cassian. After the transmission, the Death Star fired at Scarif, killing the the three of them. With Jyn and Cassian embracing each other on a beach. Before they Rebels can warp away, Darth Vader ( Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous as body and James Earl Jones as voice) and his person flagship warped in, destroying the remnants of the Rebels and capturing their flagship.

In the final scene, Darth Vader puts the epic back into the Star Wars, igniting his lightsabre in pitch black darkness and killing the rebels in a brutal but well-choreographed scene. After a corvette escaped the captured flagship Princess Leia saying the that Death Star plans will bring hope the the Rebellion.

Personal Opinion 

Rogue One tries to be different as compared to the other 7 movies. Instead of the good guys always surviving, it depicts the darker, more inhumane things the Rebels do to overthrow the Empire.

The bold move was somewhat refreshing and ties up the huge gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope thanks to Star Wars : Rebels and Rogue One.

Photo Courtesy : http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ0S5JQhVplHbw7O6nt7Q0r23Bssl9UNzC-z3zy1r45_eLUB43l

 

Avegant Glyph

Starting off as a Kickstarter project, the Avegant Glyph’s concept is simple. It brings the movie screen to you. Now don’t be fooled by the way it looks almost identical to a earpiece, there are actually two eye holes inside the head band. The sound does function like a regular earphone though, so you would look like you’re oddly staring at the headband.

The image is projected to the eye hole using a relatively complex micromirror technology by containing chips which contains lots of these tiny mirrors and projecting the image with a precise colour. A resolution of up to 720p is supported.

However, it only works as an external HDMI source so you would need to connect it to another device. This would then mean that you wouldn’t be able to view if you did not have a phone or other external device. But fret not, the Glyph does has a few features to boast about.

For a first, the image quality is relatively decent and a definition of 720p isn’t all that bad either. The device also gives you a really immersive experience, as if you really were watching right from the screen. The fit of the device could be improved however as it does gets uncomfortable after a period of time.

Below the eye holes, there are magnetic nose pads. There is also a cover so that your hair wont be interfering your viewing experience. The Glyph is also sturdy and not that flexible but only to give you a tight and comfortable. This also contributes in removing external sounds but does not have proper noise cancellation features. Nonetheless, it still does its job of giving you that immersive and personal experience.

Setting up the device was not much of a problem as the main focus is only getting the optics right. There would be sliders to aim the image into your eyes and conveniently, you can also tweak the settings if you are vision – impaired, so you wouldn’t have to wear your glasses inside the device.

The result you get is really cinema – like. The areas out of the image are black except below the headband. With the immersive sound kicking in, it certainly does give you a cinematic feeling.

The device also supports 3D viewing if the video source has the feature. This results in a really cool and unique experience as it feels really private and from a first person view it is an amazing experience, as if you were viewing everything again right through your own eyes.

Though being a really creative device, it still feels as if there is still much room for improvement. The device is impressive and unique but it definitely has not reached its top potential yet. That being said, with all its feature, it does come at a overwhelming price of about S$970. Worth it? I guess not. Personally, I would not consider purchasing the Glyph just yet. Waiting for a little more development and stability would probably do no harm at all. That said, this still remains a really exciting product to keep track of.

Photo Courtesy of:http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/4/7491191/vr-company-avegant-shows-off-headphone-inspired-glyph-headset-ces-2015

Immedia Blink

Though it may not look like it, this is in fact a security camera. Simple and compact, this camera alone costs less than a S$100. Though lacking features that puts it up on a different level compared to other security cameras, I feel that this is forgiveable considering that it falls into the category of a low-budget camera

The device is cordless and battery operated. Despite its relatively low price, the Blink definitely does not neglect performance for its price. It had a solid connection with Wi – Fi and did not have interruptions. Though, the application for the camera was not flawless and gets frequent lags due to its system being busy.

Being in the shape of an exact square, the Blink measures approximately 7cm on each side. Along with the camera, two AA lithium batteries, a stand and mounting hardware will also come along with it. Made to be placed indoors, the Blink isn’t exceptionally durable largely due to the fact that the device is made from plastic. The lens has a 110 degree field of vision and has image quality worth 720p. It is also equipped with a motion sensor, infrared LED made for night vision and a micro-USB slot.

Together with the Blink, customers would also get a Sync Module, a white square accessory which includes a power adapter and performs various rather unique functions. For example, it would communicate with the Blink servers to prevent extensive draining of battery. Whenever the uses wishes to stream live videos, the Sync Module will change the performance mode of the Blink in order to maximize its performance via a radio channel. Furthermore, the Sync Module also has a USB port which can be used to install updates and setup the Blink application on the user’s phone. The application is relatively simple to set up. All you need to do is connect the Sync Module to any device and with Wi-Fi, the setting up should only take a moment. The Sync Module does help with connection and ease the camera of having a USB port but at the same time, this is at the cost of carrying the two devices around. In my personal opinion, I feel that the camera would do just fine without the Sync Module and it would actually be much simpler if everything was done on the Blink itself.

Though it has a pretty eye-catching price tag, its features aren’t really that much to brag about as it just lacks more unique functions to put itself in a league above the rest. There is also minor flaws in the motion sensor as it is unable to differentiate between a person, a pet or any other moving object. Compared to its rivals in its price range, there really isn’t much that sets the Blink apart from the rest but do expect more from the camera in future as Immedia has stated that more features and functions would be added to the Blink. However, as it is right now, the Blink does not stand out. Therefore, if you’re looking for a budget security camera, don’t take the Blink out of your consideration but taking a look at others would not be an unwise decision. With that said, I honestly would not put the Blink at the top of the list of budget security cameras.

Photo courtesy of : http://prefundia.com/uploads/home/ecd66c05fb1696eecdbb07ea03cff832.jpg

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Plus Points +: John William’s beautiful music scores. The scenes fit the music so well that its jaw-dropping.
Negative Points –: Feels a lot like A New Hope. Story so far does not connect to Return of the Jedi. Captain Phasma, who is supposed to be this enigmatic person.

The Force Awakens is the latest entry to the Star Wars franchise.It is a beautiful continuation since Revenge of the Sith and it feels good the hear that iconic tune of Star Wars from the big screen. Even though there were some plot holes, it is still the best movie of 2015 without doubt. There were some hilarious jokes throughout the movie, even in emotional scenes.

*WARNING* From this point onwards, there WILL be spoilers. If you have not seen The Force Awakens, I advice you to not read the following.*WARNING*

It starts off abruptly at Jakku, where an enormous battle between the Rebels and the remnants of the Empire clashed with a Rebel victory, explaining the Imperial wreckage. It firsts show a hooded figure giving Poe (Oscar Issac) the final piece of the map to find Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Shorty after the exchange the First Order stuck the village.The scene shows Finn (John Boyega) having morality overcome him when a wounded trooper put his bloodied hand on Finn’s helmet. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was then introduced and managed to use the Force to stop a laser fired by Poe which raised the hype – level for those in the theater. The First Order were massacred the villagers.

Finn later helped Poe to escape the Star Destroyer and into Jakku where they got split up. That is also when Finn met Rey (Daisy Ridley) where they escaped in the Millennium Falcon and got recaptured by Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). After an attack, they all escaped to a planet with Han’s old friend, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) who talked some sense about the Force to Rey and handed her Anakin’s original Lightsaber.

At the same time, Kylo Ren ordered the destruction of the Republic system and fleet and fired their superweapon, which is basically Death Star version 3. But instead of a space station, it is an entire planet made into a weapon. The destruction of the system is visible from the planet where the heroes are on. Not long after both Resistance and First Order spy informed their respective factions, the First Order came first and wreck havoc to the little bar that Maz owns. That is also when the riot Stormtrooper appeared and dueled Finn. Not long after the defeat of the heroes, the Resistance X-Wing fighters came in with the awesome scene:

Gif courtesy:http://i.perezhilton.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/star-wars-rogue-one-spinoff.gif

It was a beautiful scene with dogfights with jaw-dropping camera angles. After the brief confrontation, Rey was captured while the General Leia (Carrie Fisher) evacuate the remaining heroes of the planet and to the Resistance base on D’Qar. Rey was taken to the Superweapon base and was getting her mind read by Ren. Rey however resisted Kylo’s force abilities. Due to his nature, Kylo threw a tantrum and pretty much destroyed the entire cell that was holding Rey captive. After the departure of Kylo, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) wanted to see Rey face-to-face. However Rey escaped by using a Jedi mind trick to escape. At the same time, the Resistance learnt about the foreshadowing attack from the First Order and started planning how to destroy the superweapon. After the planning, Han, Finn and Chewbacca manged to infiltrate Starkiller’s defenses. As Han questions Finn about the layout of the base, Finn confessed to Han that he worked at the Starkiller as a sanitary worker, which is one of the humorous scenes of the movie. Not long after, the trio went in and jumped the lonely Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and ordered her to be dumped into a trash chute. Afterwards, they shut down most of the defenses, which allowed the Resistance to strike the base. At the same time, the trio found Rey who was escaping to base, but she did not see them and reached the surface. The trio went into a part of the base which is very vital to the superweapon the First Order has and the destruction of it. As Han and Chewbacca went in to place charges to destroy a big part of it, but were confronted by Kylo.

*This is going to be the biggest spoiler in the movie so far, brace yourself*

Han approaches Kylo and shouted his real name which is Ben, that triggered the most emotional scenes of the entire movie. As father and son talked about returning to the light, Kylo killed Han while he was so immersed. Chewbacca shot Kylo and blew up the facility. They both escaped to the surface and Finn attacked Kylo with a lightsaber. While that happens, the Resistance fighters have taken too  much of a toll, and Finn lost the battle to Kylo. Rey picks up his lightsaber and dueled with Kylo. Even without training, she managed to hurt Kylo quite a bit. At the same time, Poe has managed to destroy the facility, which started the destruction of the base. As Rey and Kylo fought, they both lost their lightsaber but Rey manage to get her lightsaber and defeat Kylo. She left Kylo after that. Rey, Finn and Chewbacca escaped with the Millennium Falcon. The Resistance celebrated the victory, but the surviving protagonist wept for Han’s demise. R2D2 also awakens which led Rey to Luke.

After finding Luke, Rey hands him his lightsaber and the credits rolls.

This is a movie that one should not miss especially if you’re a Star Wars fan or is looking for a really cool movie for enjoyment. Though it is not the best movie of the Star Wars series in my opinion, it leagues better than Star Wars Rebels. With that said, the DVD or Blu-ray versions have not been sold yet.

Photo Courtesy:http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/4/49/Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150504052358

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)

Plus Points +: Action packed, thrilling to watch, jokes, twists in the story, well-paced, amazing stunts, different environments
Negative Points -: Love story is similar to that of James Bond, some of the characters’ personalities are very shallow

IMDB: 7.5/10

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

This new installment of the Mission Impossible franchise does not and will not disappoint fans who have been waiting for this movie since the release of Ghost Protocol (2011). Mission Impossible is famous for its James Bond-esque action scenes and hair raising moments that keep the audience at the edge of their seats and this is what you will expect from this film. The thing that differentiates this movie and other action movies is the added minor comedy sequences that makes the movie much more engaging and entertaining. The story of this film does not lose out to it’s predecessors, instead it actually outdoes them. This time Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is on a mission to defeat the Syndicate, a counter organization opposing the IMF. However, due to the IMF’s controversial methods, the IMF is therefore disbanded, forcing Ethan and his former teammates such as Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) to face the terror organization without government support.

*SPOILER ALERT* (Do not read on if you do not want to know too much about the story) Some details are left out in the description below, please watch the movie to experience the full story

The story starts with Ethan Hunt successfully intercepting nerve gas from a terrorist organization also known as the Syndicate. As the Syndicate is still relatively unknown, Ethan Hunt is relatively determined to prove the existence of the organization to the world. In the midst of a Senate committee, the existence of the IMF is hanging by a thread as the committee does not condone their methods and at the end of the committee, the IMF is disbanded and Ethan Hunt is branded as a traitor as the director of the CIA thinks that he went rogue. Whilst the committee was still going on, Ethan Hunt reports to a IMF station disguised as a record shop in the UK.  However, he unknowingly walks into a trap set up by the Syndicate and is trapped in a room. As he was slowly consumed by gas, he watched Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) kill his contact. Ethan woke up to find himself inside a torture room with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and a couple of henchmen. Before Ilsa Faust was able to start the interrogation, she was interrupted by the Bonedoctor (Jens Hulten) who wanted to use his arsenal of tools to torture Ethan. Surprising, Ilsa Faust suddenly attacks everyone else and frees Ethan. Ethan offers Ilsa Faust a chance to escape but she declines. Being a wanted man by the CIA, Ethan goes into hiding for 6 months before taking his next course of action. The Syndicate in the meantime,  He, together with Benji, goes to a Vienna Opera house to prevent the Austrian chancellor from being assassinated by the Syndicate. Unfortunately, the chancellor eventually gets killed outside after the Syndicate bombs the car he was in. The ex-members of the IMF gathers back together unofficially to combat the rising threat. Following a clue left by Ilsa, the IMF finds her and recruits her into their mission team. Together they infiltrate an underwater server inside a power station to retrieve a ledger containing data of the Syndicate. They are successful with Ethan almost drowning in the mission. However, Ilsa betrays them by stealing the ledger and escaping. Luckily Benji was able to make a copy of the data inside the ledger. Ilsa, now revealed as a MI6 agent, returns to London and passes the ledger to the Director of MI6, Atlee. The Director deletes all of the data and sends Ilsa back to the Syndicate, which she had no choice but to agree due to the fact that Atlee had the upperhand. Ethan and the members go and face Ilsa but to their suprise, the Syndicate sprung a trap on them and captured Benji. As a wanted fugitive, Ethan Hunt was believed to strike the Prime Minister, hence Brandt and Hunley brings him and Atlee, who was also invited to the auction, to a safe room. This is when Atlee reveals himself to be Ethan Hunt in disguise and he has the Prime Minister recognize the existence of the Syndicate officially. When the real Atlee arrives, Ethan subdues him and learns that the Syndicate was actually a MI6 organization that went rogue and that he have been trying to over up the existence of them ever since. The former IMF agents finds out that the red box inside the ledger contains codes that give access to millions of dollars. To prevent he and Benji from being killed, he memorizes all the codes so that Lane cannot to kill him. Ethan then frees Benji and finally captures Solomon Lane. After everything, Ilsa drives away telling Ethan that he would know where to find her if he would ever want to find her in the first place. At the ending of the movie, the IMF is reformed with the help of Hunley, who is revealed to be the Secretary despite being the CIA director.

A movie not to be missed despite the fierce competition, the action scenes and the jokes would definitely keep one awake throughout the movie. The best of the MI series, this is a movie not to be missed. It is now out on DVD and Blu-ray for viewers to watch it at home.

Image source: http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/wp-content/uploads/Mission-Impossible-Rogue-Nation-Cruise-on-motorcycle-poster.jpg

Jurassic World (2015)

 

Plus Points +: Action packed, thrilling to watch, adventure-based, very suitable for families to watch, slightly different story to offer, visually stunning
Negative Points -: Cliche romance story, might be boring for people who watched the first three installments of Jurassic Park

IMDB 7.1/10

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

Jurassic World, the latest entry to the star-studded Jurassic Park franchise, is the first movie since the debut of Jurassic Park III back in 2003. Jurassic Park films are known for moments that keep their audience on the edge of their seats due to its heart stopping moments and intense action scenes. This time, the film features Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, the protagonist of this film, who is undoubtedly the character who is vital to the plot. However, the movie does not introduce Owen to you right at the start, instead it introduces to you Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), the brothers who are also apparently pivotal to the plot. The story will revolve around these brothers from the start of the film to somewhere until the middle, which is where Owen comes in.

 

*SPOILER ALERT* (Do not read on if you do not want to know too much about the story) Some details are left out in the description below, please watch the movie to experience the full story.

The story starts with Zach and Gray being sent to Isla Nublar to visit their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works in Jurassic World. As Aunt Claire is busy preparing for Jurassic World’s latest attraction, the Indominus Rex, the hybrid of many different dinosaurs, she sends the brothers to explore the theme park with her assistant. Owen, a velociraptor specialist, is then approached by Claire to help evaluate the Indominus’ enclosure before the attraction is ready for the public’s eye. While analyzing the enclosure, they realise that the Indominus was nowhere to be seen, with the thermal scanners unable to track the Indominus’ heat trail. The group then enters the attraction unknowing of the Indominus’ presence in the enclosure, due to the dinosaur’s camouflaging abilities. The next moment, the dinosaur ambushes them and escapes into the island. While the brothers were enjoying an attraction in the park, the Indominus attacks them and they are forced to run away. The situation eventually gets out of hand and the park is forced to evacuate the visitors, while Claire and Owen searches the theme park for the seemingly missing brothers. The Indominus Rex manages to wreak havoc in the park, causing more dinosaurs to escape from their enclosures, injuring and killing many of the visitors and the park’s staff in the process. Claire and Owen eventually finds the brothers safe and sound, while chaos ensues the entire park. When everything else seemed lost, the velociraptors were sent in the help track the Indominus which unfortunately backfired on them as the dinosaurs teamed up to attack the humans. As a last resort, Claire released the Tyrannosaurus Rex to battle the Indominus Rex to end this threat once in for all. Only with the combined efforts of the Tyrannosaurus and Blue, the human-defected velociraptor, they managed to push the Indominus Rex to the corner of the lake where the park’s Mosasaurus dragged it into the depths of the water forever. The brothers were eventually reunited with their family safe and sound and Claire and Owen starts a romantic relationship with each other.

This might not be the best movie of the summer, especially with movies such as Tomorrowland and Avengers: Age of Ultron coming out, but there is enough thrill and excitement in Jurassic World to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The story isn’t too bad as well, so this is a must-watch for dinosaur fans. For the best experience, watch Jurassic World in IMAX 3D or 3D. It is also available on DVD or Blu-ray as of now.

Photo courtesy of : http://screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/Jurassic-World-Poster-Official.jpg

 

Dji Inspire 1

Dji Inspire 1 is the most advanced Dji drone yet. It comes with everything you need to fly. It includes:

  • Aircraft Body x1
  • Remote Controller x1
  • Camera with Gimbal x1
  • Propellers (Pair) x4
  • Intelligent Flight Battery (TB47) x1
  • Battery Charger x1
  • SD Card (16GB) x1
  • ND Filter x1
  • Manuals
  • Power Cable x1
  • Micro-USB Cables x2
  • Remote Controller Charging Cable x1
  • Harness x1
  • Camera with Gimbal Box x1
  • Carrying Case x1

It has 4K HD video recording and 12 megapixel for phototaking. In flight, you can turn on the GPS position hold mode which means if you let go the control on the controller, it will hover itself and it will also auto return to home when you turn off the controller. It also includes a camera gimbal, this will help you to get a stable shot and reduce most of the vibrations from the drone. The Inspire 1 have strong carbon fiber arms that can lift up out sight, this means you can have a unrestricted 360⁰ view.  It is easier to fly indoors with the Vision Positioning technology as this provides accurate position holding even when the GPS is not available. The sensors will determine your Inspire 1’s location and altitude and will lower the legs automatically when landing. Dji has re-engineered and re-built Propulsion System which give the drone more power and reliability. I think it is quite worth it for professional photographers to purchase it because it is very easy to control and has a great camera for aerial photography.

Photo courtesy of: http://m.wsj.net/video/20141112/111214inspire/111214inspire_1280x720.jpg