Wednesday, March 31, 2010

SSC Dress Up Game

I stumbled upon a new Strawberry Shortcake game, courtesy of Playskool Kids (through Hasbro), just the other day, and I gotta say, it's pretty cute. It's a little dress up game, where you can pick various pieces of clothing (and you have to pick one of each, otherwise the game won't let you finish) for the character of your choice to wear before being treated to a photo session and a spin on the fashion runway.

Sadly, you have to sit through Mr. Potato Head giving a spiel before you can get to the game, and the music that plays during the game loops very badly and far too often. But overall, it's a cute game, though for me, the best part is how cute they all look with their hair up in the dressing room.
Closing the game brings up the official SSC page for Playskool Kids, though the only other new content it has is an easy hide and seek game that suffers from the same repetitive music.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Planet Blanket & Granny Squares

Since March is National Crochet Month, I've been turning my efforts toward making granny squares for Planet Blanket. Planet Blanket is the brainchild of a woman in England who is aiming to make the world's largest blanket, with squares from people all over the world. Below are five of the squares I've made so far, and that I'll be sending at the end of the month.

The first square is modified from a pattern I got from Michael's, called Granny Motif Mania Wrap, but the rest are all from Granny Crochet Favorites. The top two are regular granny squares, but the bottom two are a puff granny square and a log cabin square. I like the last one best, it has a nice stained glass effect.
In case you're wondering why I've only gotten five squares made after supposedly working on this all month, just chalk that up to the trial and error process. You see, the squares for the Planet Blanket need to be 5x5, and as I learned, not all granny motifs have the same gauge. So I have a number of squares lying around here that are too big (never too small orz), including some of the wagon wheel square, which I've yet to make within the size specifications using this particular yarn (Red Heart Super Saver in black and artist print). I'm hoping to get a couple done (the book includes three versions) using Vanna's Choice, but we'll see how that goes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ponyo Theme Song in English

This one is short and sweet (I guess). Unlike most of their Studio Ghibli releases, Disney dubbed the end theme of Ponyo, most likely because the voices of the main characters were provided by the younger siblings of Disney Pop Stars. However, they only did half of it, leaving the other half as a remixed version. A full version of the remix was also released, which annoyed fans of the original song, mostly because the original song is a huge earworm, but also because the remix is full of autotuning. I find it kind of interesting, though, that the remix version is slightly more true to the original's Japanese lyrics than the English lyrics written for the first half. Yes, it's true, "Munch and munch, kiss and hug" is from the original ("Paaku paku chuugyu"), though not exactly how it's sung in the remix. Of course, there's plenty in the remix that's not remotely like the original ("You can clap your hands, clap your fins," comes to mind).
Also, how lame is it that even on the DVD, Disney doesn't provide subtitles for the opening song? I mean, I understand not doing that for the theatrical release, but on the DVD? C'mon, people!

Update: I've been thinking about it, and I feel like going into the translation of the movie credits version vs. the remix version. Now, make no bones about it, the credits version does a good job of translating the first verse in the spirit of the song, but after that, what's being sung has little to do with what original Japanese. Take the chorus. In Japanese, it's
ponyo ponyo ponyo sakana no ko
aoi umi kara yatte kita
ponyo ponyo ponyo fukuranda
manmaru onaka no onna no ko
Roughly translated, that's "Ponyo (x3), a little fish, came from the blue ocean. Ponyo (x3) got bigger, a girl with a perfectly round stomach."
The credits version gets about half of that, making it "Ponyo (x3), fishy in the sea, tiny little fishy, who could you really be? Ponyo (x3), magic sets you free. Oh, she's a little girl with a round tummy." (And in the second time around, the last line is "Oh pretty little miss, will you swim back to me?") While the remix version has "Ponyo (x3), tiny little fish, she's a little fish from the deep blue sea. Ponyo (x3), she's a little girl. She's a little girl with a round tummy." Not so bad, perhaps, but the bridge of the song (which IMO is the most earwormy) goes:
ano ko to haneru to kokoro mo odoru yo
Paaku paku CHUGGYU! paaku paku CHUGGYU!
ano ko ga daisuki makkakka no
Which roughly translates to "When I skip with that girl, my heart also dances. (*sound of eating* *sound of kiss and hug* x2) I love that girl, so bright red." The credits version starts out okay with "My feet are skipping, my heart, too. Happy, happy are we all," but then throws out the rest: "Maybe I might love you, maybe I might love you. So hold on tight and hold me close. You're my hero!" The remix version, meanwhile, goes "And when I'm skipping with her, my heart does a dance. Munch and munch, kiss and hug, munch and munch kiss and hug! Oh, he's my favorite little boy. Rosy rosy, red red!" which is much closer to the actual lyrics.
So there you have it. Although the remix loses points for the bridge being nearly unrecognizable musically (as in, I didn't realize that was the bridge until I put together the "munch and munch" with "paaku paku." Once I knew what to listen for, I could hear it). And, as I mentioned before, it does throw in some parts that have nothing to do with the original song at all, so I'm not saying that the remix should replace the original, just that people shouldn't give it such a hard time, y'know?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake - The Berryfest Princess Movie

And so, the second installment in the 2009 revamp of Strawberry Shortcake has arrived, promising to make good on Everything's Better With Princesses. Now, according to various episode guides that are already available online, the movie presented on this DVD is actually three episodes of the upcoming Berry Bitty Adventures TV series, and I'm inclined to believe this is the truth, since the DVD opens (after a trailer for Sky's the Limit!) with the theme song set to clips from this movie, the first movie, and other scenes not yet seen. Also, the third act isn't as connected to the rest of the story as the first two, making it pretty plain that this is a two-parter plus one.

Berry Best Berryfest Princess
The movie begins with the girls counting down as a snowman melts, the last remnant of winter. Now, normally Princess Berrykin would plant the first flower of spring, but, as Strawberry so expositionally tells us, she's been called away to Berry Big City (any relation to Big Apple City?) and so the task falls to an elderly berrykin, Berrykin Bloom. And up it grows in a flash, taking Bloom with it. With spring officially here, it's time for the Berryfest Spring Festival! The girls run off to get started on the preparations, but Blueberry Muffin stops them. Thanks to her prized first edition of Berry Bitty City's history, she's learned that there has to be a Berryfest Princess to run the festival, and that's usually been Princess Berrykin. She starts to list off the Princess' duties, but the berrykins take over, knowing it best. The many responsibilities are of no interest to newcomers Sadie and Katie, two ladybug sisters, until they hear the Princess gets to ride at the front of the parade in a beautiful carriage.
The girls suggest ways to chose a princess, but Postmaster Bee announces that they'll have an election, something that's never occurred in Berry Bitty City before. So what, does Princess Berrykin rule the city, or is it just autonomous? At any rate, there are too many candidates for Princess, so Postmaster Bee decides to narrow down the field, and Mr. Longface Caterpillar (who thankfully does not do too much in this movie) latches onto that idea and puts the girls (and ladybugs) to the test. The first test: identify flowers purely by scent. Only Sadie and Raspberry Torte miss their flowers, though technically Sadie was disqualified for eating the flower instead of smelling it, and Raspberry's allergy, usually so strong as to make her start sneezing from sniffing a fabric flower, doesn't come into play here.
The second test is a bit of an obstacle course, as the girls must climb a strawberry plant, pick a berry, climb back down, dig a hole, plant the berry and then water it in order to win. Longface announces that the first two to do it will be the candidates, but why not just make it so that the winner is the Princess? To make the episode longer, I suppose. As the race to the berries begins, Lemon Meringue gets bogged down trying to decide which plant to climb, and Blueberry can't possibly get picking without consulting her books. Strawberry and Orange Blossom take the time to compliment each others' climbing skills, and the disqualified Sadie sneaks her sister a saw. Plum is first to the top, but she can't quite get the strawberry off its vine. Meanwhile, Lemon decides to dig her hole first and then climb up, though she didn't anticipate Katie falling into it, strawberry and all (the downside of cheating). Strawberry and Orange finish at exactly the same time, and share a high five. Longface declares the two girls the official candidates, and everyone cheers, completely oblivious to Plum falling off her vine in the background. Though neither came close to winning, both Katie and Sadie have plans to ride in the carriage, no matter what.
Later on, as Strawberry works on her election posters, Lemon Meringue and Sadie Bug both arrive to tell her their intentions to be her campaign manager. Needing all the help she can get, Strawberry declares they can both be her managers, and gets them started on helping with her posters. Over at Orange Blossom's shop, Katie interrupts Orange handing out Vote For Orange buttons to berrykins, declares herself Orange's campaign manager, and swaps out the little buttons with BIG Vote For Orange buttons instead. Orange isn't sold on Katie's techniques, and so sends her off to get a speechwriter instead. Back with Strawberry, Sadie's attempts to get some posters up with her own picture are kiboshed by Strawberry, who sends her to get Blueberry to write a speech for her. With the ladybug out of the way, Lemon expresses her misgivings about working with Sadie, though Strawberry is having misgivings about the campaign in general.
Both ladybugs arrive at Blueberry's house at the same time and demand a speech from the blue-haired girl. Blueberry points out that she shouldn't really write both speeches, and she hasn't decided who to vote for yet. Sadie and Katie try to entice her by promising to let her ride in the carriage at the parade, but Blueberry doesn't make any promises. Instead, she runs over to Strawberry and lets loose her confusion. She can't decide which one of them she'll write a speech for because she doesn't want to hurt either of their feelings. She declares her indecision the worst thing that's ever happened to her and then runs off again, leaving Strawberry to wonder if anyone else feels the same way about the election. Sure enough, Raspberry Torte and Plum Pudding both show up in quick succession with similar woes over voting, leaving Strawberry more worried than before.
Over by the stream, Postmaster Bee comes across Strawberry hard at work writing a speech, but is surprised to learn she's planning to resign from the election. He tries to convince her not to resign (apparently not liking the idea of Orange Blossom as Berryfest Princess?), but Strawberry tells him that she can't take how the election is tearing her friends apart. While vaguely patriotic music plays in the background, Postmaster Bee explains to her that an election is not a popularity contest, even if it seems that way, and that giving people a choice proves that even those who disagree can still get along, which makes Strawberry think of her campaign managers. That night, she returns to the cafe to find that Lemon and Sadie have finally ironed out their differences, which inspires Strawberry to write her election speech.
The next day, the two girls offer their speeches. Orange's main promise is more action, less planning, which is well received. Strawberry's speech gets more screentime, as she basically regurgitates what Postmaster Bee told her at the stream, plus, she's for more planning before doing. Immediately after the speeches, the vote is held, right out in the open, so everyone can see who is voting for who (-_-). Longface presides over the voting and the counting, while Postmaster Bee tallies. In the end, the votes are tied, which shouldn't be possible, according to Longface, who has the sheet of registered voters. Turns out that Orange Blossom forgot to vote in all the excitement. And so, with everyone watching, she goes to make her vote. And thus, to everyone's amazement, Strawberry is voted Berryfest Princess. No one is more amazed than Strawberry, but Orange explains that she feels Strawberry would do a better job at being Princess, and the two share a hug. Sadie gloats to Katie that she'll get to ride in the carriage, but Strawberry just tells her that she and Orange already decided that they would let both sisters ride for being so quote-unquote "good" campaign managers. This doesn't keep the ladybugs from arguing over who gets the front seat, though.

A short digression before moving on. Now, according to that blackboard, there were 150 votes before Orange voted. Minus the rest of the core six, Sadie, Katie, Postmaster Bee, Longface Caterpillar, and that other ladybug I'm assuming is Katie and Sadie's mom, that leaves 139 votes from the berrykins. Which means that when Princess Berrykin is around, there are 140 berrykins total. I'm not sure if there's any significance to that, but there it is.

Strawberry's Berry Big Parade
A short time later, or maybe the next day, Strawberry is greeted by a myriad of berrykins outside her door, hailing her as the new Berryfest Princess. Strawberry thanks them, but admits she's not sure what her duties are. The berrykins begin to reel off various things she'll need to do, such as judge the flower show and twirl a baton at the parade, but they come too fast and furious for Strawberry to keep up. So one of the berrykins pulls out Princess Berrykin's book of Berryfest tips, and reads the official description: "The Princess shall preside over the festivities of the Berryfest. Especially the parade must be the berry best." With that cleared up, the berrykins start to leave, but Strawberry calls them back, since that didn't really explain how she's supposed to run the Berryfest. Luckily, Princess Berrykin included a list of all the duties in the book, which the berrykin hands to her. At first it appears to be an index card, but as soon as Strawberry declares the list do-able, it expands like an accordian, leaving her speechless.
Now, if Princess Berrykin had the forethought to write a book on being Berryfest Princess in the event that she would miss the festival, wouldn't she have thought to pick out her successor when she was called away on her business trip? Well, anyway, Strawberry muses on what to do about all her tasks while Custard plays around in the cafe, and decides to delegate some of the tasks to her friends, since they already told her they wanted to help. So she pulls out her cellphone and gets busy. A little later, she goes to check on things with Orange, who is supposed to be making a garland for the parade route. But when Strawberry gets to the store, she finds Orange not working on the garland at all, but sorting out her mixed nuts (as in, actual nuts got mixed in with metal nuts). Strawberry tries to guide her to working on the nuts after making the garland, but it turns out Orange still has to pick up the petals for it, and she asks Strawberry to mind the store (and sort the nuts if she gets bored). Not too long after Orange leaves, Plum shows up, which saves Strawberry a trip, though she's disappointed to learn that Plum hasn't finished choreographing the dance the berrykins will perform after the parade and is actually there to work on a bunny-hop dance for her and Orange to do during the parade. With Orange gone, she implores Strawberry to help her work it out, though Strawberry points out she's busy sorting Orange's nuts. But at Plum's suggestion, she hop-dances and sorts nuts at the same time.
Which is right when Blueberry shows up. "Do I wanna know?" she asks. After a quick explanation, Strawberry asks Blueberry how the parade route she asked her to draw up is coming. Blueberry complains that she couldn't find her special pen because Plum Pudding borrowed it, so she had to make due with a pencil, and unfurls the route right there and then. Strawberry tries to get her to show her when she's not doing two things at once, but Blueberry is sure it'll only take a sec. So Strawberry takes the route map, still hopping and sorting nuts, which is exactly when Orange returns, also asking "Do I wanna know?" With all the activity, Strawberry trips on the bottom of the map, knocks over the boxes of nuts, slips and just barely catches Plum's boombox as it falls. Realizing just how ridiculous that whole thing had become, Strawberry beats a hasty retreat to check on her other friends, though not before imploring the girls to help each other out, with minimal success.
Over at Raspberry Torte's, Strawberry catches her at work on a butterfly wing for a float, but she promises to make Strawberry a gown for the parade just as soon as she's done. Strawberry is relieved that something is on track at least. While she's there, Lemon shows up to talk to her about the music for the parade, but gets distracted by the wings for the float, which she'll be standing on with Raspberry, and the two dance around with the wings for a bit, to Strawberry's dismay. And then Lemon gets the great idea to add rhinestones to her wing, and runs off even as Raspberry insists that the wings have to look the same. But once the girl is gone, Raspberry runs with the idea of making the wings sparklier, though Strawberry tries to keep her from getting off track. Raspberry reasons that working on the wings is for the parade, so Strawberry tries to get her to go to Lemon so the two can work together and "speed things up." But Raspberry just asks Strawberry to help her instead, if she's so concerned about speeding things up. Strawberry still has work to do, though, and declines.
Later that day, Strawberry wonders why her leader skills aren't working, as nothing has gotten done. She pulls out her list again, swamped by all the things she has to do. Custard plays with the bottom of the list, so Strawberry checks out the very last task, which is "Make the parade fun." This must be what her problem is, she muses, she assigned too many tasks to her friends so they weren't having fun, and thus she resolves to do more herself. Cut to the berrykins working on setting up for the parade while "Pick 'Til the Work is Done" from the first movie plays. Strawberry checks off a few tasks while working on her baton-twirling. She assures Orange Blossom that whatever garland she's finished is fine, though she's secretly a little disappointed that there isn't more. Blueberry arrives with a new route for the parade, but since the posts for the garlands are already up, it's too late to change it. Strawberry promises to see if the posts can be moved, just to make Blueberry happy, though she keeps hanging up the garland as Plum arrives to show off her improvements to the bunny-hop and Raspberry and Lemon ask which of their wings is better. Strawberry reminds them it's not a competition, but Lemon just takes this to mean that her one looks best. As the two girls walk off, Strawberry topples off her ladder and ends up with her skirt caught on the hook, though her pleas for help go unnoticed as the other girls argue over whose task is more important, and Plum hops all over everything, before declaring the whole thing no fun at all. The five girls leave in a huff, which Strawberry blames on herself for giving them too much work. Lemon returns, but not to help Strawberry down, but to hand her the wing and demand it be beaded in ten minutes before leaving again. A stray gust of wind picks up the wing and Strawberry with it, leaving her stranded at the top of a cherry tree.
As the parade floats sit ready and waiting to begin, everyone is in a frenzy trying to find the girl of the hour. With Strawberry nowhere to be found, Plum wonders if Strawberry quit and ran off. Thinking about that, the girls realize how wrapped up in themselves they've been, even though Strawberry only asked them to do one or two little things, really. Fully convinced that Strawberry took off on them, they cry and list off their faults and Strawberry's strengths, which only leads to even more crying. Finally, Strawberry makes her voice heard from the top of the tree, and the girls realize what actually happened. With the truth known, everyone heads out to rescue Strawberry, with Raspberry grabbing the other butterfly wing, the berrykins taking the garland, and Blueberry leading the way. Also, for some reason they do the bunny-hop across a stream. Once they reach the tree, the girls tie the garland around Raspberry's waist, and she uses the butterfly wing to sail up to Strawberry, with Blueberry and Plum in tow. Strawberry laughs when she sees this, though she won't tell Raspberry why until they reach the bottom. Everyone else pulls them down with ease, and Strawberry reveals that up in the tree, the girls and berrykins marching to her rescue looked like a parade that was an awful lot of fun. The others concede that it was fun, since they were working together for a change. But Blueberry takes the time to give Strawberry her due, since she couldn't hear them learning their lesson earlier.
And so the parade gets going, set to the sing-along from the first movie DVD, "We're All Stars." Blueberry rides her scooter, leading a few berrykins in cars, Orange pogos while Plum bunny-hops, and yes, Sadie and Katie both ride in the front seat of the carriage. A strong wind grabs the butterfly from Lemon and Raspberry's float, but Raspberry grabs the butterfly and nearly gets taken along with it, but for Lemon grabbing the rope it was attached to, thus leaving Raspberry in the air to finish off the parade.

You know, I'm glad that Strawberry's friends acknowledged that Strawberry really only gave them each one thing to do, 'cause she kept going on and on about how she gave them "too much to do." So yeah.

Berry Best Choice
Another part of the Berryfest (along with things we never got to see, like the flower show and the Berrykin's after-parade dance) is the search for the Wanderberry, so named because it always grows in a different location. It's the traditional dessert for the Berryfest Feast, and that's just one day away. The girls and the berrykins have been searching, but with no luck so far. Blueberry points out that technically the Berryfest Princess is in charge of the hunt, and charges Strawberry with telling them where to look. Strawberry obliges, though as soon as she points out where she wants to look, the others take off in completely different directions for various reasons. Strawberry, however, must follow her heart, and goes off with Pupcake and Custard.
What makes the Wanderberry so hard to find is that only one plant grows at a time, and each time the berry is picked, it grows back in a completely different place. But, being as Strawberry is the main character, her hunch was right and she soon finds the Wanderberry. Luckily enough, Berrykin Bloom shows up at much the same time with the wagon. As he gushes over the Wanderberry, the other girls hear him and rush to their location to gush along with him. Tradition states that the Berryfest Princess plucks the berry, but considering how much trouble Strawberry has picking it, one wonders how Princess Berrykin managed it. With the berry gone, the rest of the plant vanishes into thin air, set to spring up at some unknown location. It's going to take everyone working hard to get the berry back to Berry Bitty City, but Strawberry is distracted by a birdsong that only she and Bloom can hear.
On the way back, the wagon's wheels suddenly break, leaving the girls with no choice but to carry it themselves, despite the weight. By the time they get to the outskirts of BBC, it's already dark out, and all the girls are exhausted, so they set the wagon down by the gazebo for a short break. With the wagon off their shoulders, the others start to wonder if they shouldn't just leave the Wanderberry where it is, though Strawberry is loathe to just leave it. Traditionally, the berry is stored at the BerryWorks, but Bloom points out that since Strawberry is the Princess, it's her call. Orange reasons that they'll be having the Feast at the gazebo anyway, so they'd just have to carry it all the way back again the next day. Strawberry still has misgivings, but she gives in and lets the others leave it tucked into the gazebo.
The next morning, Strawberry is greeted by the birdsong she heard the day before, only it's slightly different. Strawberry starts to go off in the direction of the song, worried that something is wrong, but is stopped by a hysterical Orange Blossom and Plum Pudding. They lead her to the gazebo, where the Wanderberry is no more, (supposedly) eaten by bunnies. Coulda told ya that was gonna happen, seriously. Strawberry does not, however, say "I told you so," but instead points out that there's a new Wanderberry out there somewhere. But once again she's distracted by birdsong, until her friends point out that there's still a lot to do for the Berryfest, most of which needs to be done by her. So Strawberry delegates some of the tasks to her friends and sends a few spare berrykins to go find the new Wanderberry.
With everything set but the Feast, Strawberry and her friends work on getting the food ready. Just as Strawberry declares that nothing can stop them, the berrykins she sent out earlier return, but with no luck finding a Wanderberry. With a number of things still needing to be done, the other girls ask Strawberry what she's going to do, over and over, until Strawberry finally cracks and tells them she doesn't know, and goes off to think. Outside, she hears the birdsong and wants to go help, but her friends are waiting. She moans about how hard it is to make a decision, and Berrykin Bloom shows up out of nowhere to give her some advice. Basically, he tells her to follow her heart and not worry about what the others might think. While he goes to buy her some time with the others, Strawberry finally goes after the bird she keeps hearing.
After following the sound of the bird for a while, Strawberry doesn't find it, but Custard finds the new Wanderberry. This one is small enough for Strawberry to pick with ease. Shortly after she finds it, Raspberry Torte and Lemon Meringue, who were worried about her, run up to her and express their delight at the berry. They take it from her and they all start to head back, but Strawberry hears the birdsong again and goes after it with the others following after her. This time she finally finds the bird, its leg tangled in a vine. Strawberry frees it, but it doesn't fly away, and Strawberry won't leave until she knows why. Raspberry suggests bringing a doctor to it, and Lemon thinks they should make a stretcher and take the bird with them, but Strawberry notices the bird eyeing the Wanderberry. She offers it a bit of the berry, despite Lemon's gentle reminder that they need it for the Feast. The berry seems to be helping the bird recover, which Berrykin Bloom (appearing out of nowhere again) attributes to the Wanderberry's fabled nutritional properties. Lemon again tries to remind Strawberry that everyone is expecting a traditional Wanderberry dessert at the Feast, but Strawberry has made up her mind to feed the entire thing to the bird because it's the right thing to do. But more than that, it's her decision and she's sticking to it. Raspberry and Lemon have to admit that the bird, restored to full health, is awfully beautiful, and commend Strawberry for making the right choice.
Back in BBC, Strawberry, Raspberry, and Lemon find that the new Wanderberry has conveniently sprung up right outside of Strawberry's cafe, meaning that the Feast is on! Skipping straight to dessert, before the Wanderberry is served, Berrykin Bloom makes everyone give Strawberry a round of applause, and as Strawberry starts to give a speech, she is once again distracted by the same birdsong, but this time everyone can hear it. Bloom points out that the song is a little different this time, a variation meant just for Strawberry Shortcake. With that all set, the serving of the Wanderberry gets underway, set to a song about friendship that closes out the movie.

So, all in all, a cute set of intermingled stories. As I said before, Longface didn't have too much to do with the story this time around, which suited me fine. As for the new characters introduced here, I wasn't too keen on Sadie and Katie the first time through, but on the second viewing, they kind of grew on me, though their back-and-forth bickering got old real fast. I liked Postmaster Bee (being voiced by Scott McNeil helped, of course), and Berrykin Bloom was all right as a mentor figure, but his character just makes me wonder about the aging process of berrykins. What's the average lifespan of a berrykin, if so many of them are young and only Bloom is old? And where does Princess Berrykin fall in the age spectrum? Blueberry mentions that Princess Berrykin has been Berryfest Princess since the beginning of Berry Bitty City's history, but that could just be because she came up with the festival herself. Maybe she even founded the town. If so, where did Strawberry and her friends come from? It seems this movie has just raised more questions than it bothered to answer.
Another tell-tale sign that the movie's segments are actually episodes from the upcoming TV series is that the animation is not nearly as good as the previous outings (the pilot and the first movie). It's hard for me to put my finger on it, but the animation just kept bugging me the whole way through. The biggest thing I noticed was that the expressions of the characters didn't vary all that much, leading to some scenes where Strawberry is upset, but her face is still smiling. And while I'm not one hundred percent sure, I think the girls' eyes are smaller here than in "Sky's the Limit!"
The only extra on the DVD, besides printable coloring pages, is a sing-along of the song at the end of the movie. The next movie, coming this fall, is called "Glimmerberry Ball," and it looks like it'll be another set of episodes put together. While I'm aware that this is economical, especially since there doesn't seem to be any plans to show the series in the US as of yet, it's a little annoying just the same. And I'd just like to point out that the cover of the DVD (and even more so the unofficial one on the boxes for the dolls) made it seem like all the girls were going to get to wear fancy dresses, and only Strawberry did! I'm hoping that "Glimmerberry Ball" will make good on that promise, what with it being a fancy ball (as per episode descriptions I've found), but I won't be surprised (though I will be disappointed) if that doesn't happen.

Bonus Screenshots:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Late Night Video - Ikea

Stumbled onto this one thanks to a forum, but I enjoyed it, so I'm sharing it with you guys. It's a parody of that Fireflies song, about Ikea:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

2010 Oscars

  • Watching the red carpet, I've just learned that ten movies were nominated back in 1944, too.
  • Sorry, that was in 1943. Anyway, point is, my husband said he wouldn't miss anything if he didn't watch the red carpet, so ha.
  • Trotting out the Best Actor and Best Actress noms first thing, eh? Wouldn't it be funny if they all get paired up and had to dance?
  • ...and the music just died with a sputter, like in a movie or something.
  • Why, NPH, what are you doing there? (Oh, he just said that XD)
  • Not loving this musical number, I will admit
  • I wonder who requested all the showgirls?
  • Okay, I loled at the Dame joke.
  • And at Steve Martin freaking out at the CGI sprites (not so much the 'kill it with bug spray' part, though)
  • But other than that, the opening dialogue just wasn't very funny.
  • So sad that Cloudy didn't get nominated ;_;
  • But this whole interview with the animated noms is cool
  • That's what I thought, UP won.
  • So, wait, are they not actually performing the Best Song noms? Weak.
  • While a song from PatF will win, I just want to say that the song from Paris 36 made me tear up when I heard it.
  • Maaaaan....
  • My husband is shocked that Voice Actors don't get nominated for anything (he was trying to console me from PatF's not winning)
  • And frankly, it is a shame, come to think of it. Voice acting can be a lot harder than acting on camera, they should get recognition.
  • What's with those glasses, RDJ?
  • I had a feeling The Hurt Locker would get Best Original Screenplay, though I personally don't care about it.
  • Either that or Inglourious Basterds.
  • Ah, John Hughes tribute. If Mom were here, she would have already said, "He's dead."
  • Even though UP probably won't win Best Picture (I mean, it already got Best Animated), it's nice to see it get a featurette.
  • What is with that plumey dress? (and who's wearing it? I don't know her)
  • That Logorama looks cool. I'll have to check it out.
  • My husband is not amused by Ben Stiller in Avatar-make up. I contend he that he has the nose for it at least.
  • Well, good for Star Trek, getting Best Make Up
  • I totally didn't realize that little guy was Deep Roy until I saw the clip of him getting made up.
  • That's one of the weirder adaptations, a character from a TV show (I'm assuming)
  • Husband voted District 9, I voted Up in the Air, and it was Precious, which we both had completely forgotten about.
  • Ah, Queen Latifah.
  • People were saying Monique was gonna get it, and she did.
  • I was hoping that Robin Williams would actually be funny, unlike any other presenters, but that's not what he was there to do, I guess.
  • Lovely Sigourney Weaver as usual
  • No comment on the Art Direction win.
  • (Should have been The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus)
  • Lots of good costume noms this year. Any of them could have won, really.
  • Oh, Marc Shaiman. I didn't know he did the music.
  • Paranormal activity? With the John Hughes tribute earlier, I thought it was going to be a parody of that scene in Trains, Planes, and Automobiles
  • So, what was up with the non-horror movies in the Horror Movie Tribute, hm? (I'm looking at you, Twilight and Silence of the Lambs)
  • The winner for Sound Mixing? The one with the most explosions, of course (The Hurt Locker)
  • Sound Editing, too. (I can never tell the difference between those.)
  • Why is E.T. playing for Elizabeth Banks? Oh, it's the category.
  • It's weird watching the montage of who died last year, since Mom usually points out who's dead while we're watching, but my husband didn't realize most of these people had died. It's like the inverse of my usual experience.
  • Wait, so they're performing the Original Scores, but not the Best Songs? What is up with that? (Sherlock Holmes score is cool, though)
  • This whole 'mechanical doll' thing is not representing UP very well, IMO.
  • Kinda surprised UP got Best Or iginal Score, considering that both Avatar and The Hurt Locker were also nominated.
  • But it does have a nice theme that wends its way throughout, so there you go.
  • Husband was hoping Star Trek would get Best Visual Effects, but I told him it would be Avatar because it's Avatar, and I was right.
  • Every year there's one or two movies that win everything because everyone says it's going to win everything.
  • Was amused by the commercial for...that TV show (I forgot already) with movie charades, but mostly because of the CWaCoM references (Update: it was The Middle)
  • Meanwhile, the husband wonders why most documentaries are about government conspiracies.
  • Is having Kathy Bates introduce Avatar some kind of Take That?
  • Completely ignored all the talking about the Best Actor noms because the husband wanted to know what other stuff Jeff Bridges has been in, which lead to squeeing over all the voices in The Last Unicorn (which he never heard of before *facefault*)
  • Never mind, didn't miss all of them. Just caught the last one.
  • (Should have listened to what they said about Colin Firth OTL)
  • Yay, Jeff Bridges!
  • Once again distracted from all this talking by the husband's quest for info (this time on whether Michael Sheen is related to anyone)
  • But considering he's British, there's no chance he's related to either Charlie Sheen or Martin Sheen.
  • The husband was affronted by Oprah saying "our movie," though I figured (and was correct) that she was a producer.
  • Well good on Kathryn Bigelow for getting Best Director.
  • The husband made me recount the wins for Hurt Locker, since he d idn't believe the announcer. But yes, with Best Picture, it's 6.
  • Sheesh, this got boring by the end of it. Seriously.
  • And aside from a few laughs, most of the presenters that tried for comedy failed at it. *sigh*
  • And with Dave Barry as one of the writers? (Guess that's where the few laughs came from)

Oscars Preview

(Click for full-sized Lio)

This, right here, is the downside of Sunday comics needing to be made in advance (I think it varies from comic to comic, but it's usually a couple of months). I mean, who would have guessed The Secret of Kells would steal Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs slot, hm? Not me, and not Mark Tatulli. The rest are spot on, though.
I'll be tweeting the Oscars as I watch, which you can check out here. I'll also be posting those tweets here later.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What I Watch - The Invention of Lying

I took advantage of Redbox's "Free Rental on the First Monday of the Month" program and rented The Invention of Lying yesterday, although I didn't actually watch it until today. The conceit of the film is that it's set in a world where no one can lie and therefore always tells the truth, although it plays out more like a world where no one has an inner monologue, since to get the point across in as few minutes as possible, we see everyone just spouting out random sentiments to strangers and co-workers alike. It's also a world where, since there is no lying, there's also no fiction, although we don't really see this play out as much as we could. It's only mentioned in relation to movies, with only brief mentions of TV (though we do see a commercial for Coke), and no word about books.
The actual plot of the movie is all right, though it follows a pretty predictable path (right down to using "Mr. Blue Sky" in a Good Times Montage) of a loser (Mark) suddenly finding fame and fortune with very little effort, and thus also finding that it isn't all he thought it would be, especially when the girl he loves has no qualms about telling him the only thing keeping her from marrying him is that she wants her children to have better genetic material. It all works out in the end, of course, though not before Mark "creates" the idea of Heaven and God.
What I found interesting about the film was less the plot and more the idea of the world itself. Or rather, I was more amused imagining the kind of world it must be, how certain things must have happened, without any lying. For example, Mark works for a film company that creates lectures about various historical events, but since he works on events from the 1300s, he has very little to go on, and is, in fact, fired at the start of the film because, as his boss tells him, "Nothing new is going to be found out about the 1300s." Once Mark figures out how to lie, however, he writes a screenplay set in the 1300s and reads it to the entire office, and one bit that we get to hear involves ninjas teaming up with space aliens. Later, I was thinking about it, and I realized that while the space aliens bit could have been accepted by everyone listening simply because everyone takes Mark's word as truth (which is where most of the humor derives from), but it could also very well mean that in this world, aliens exist. And just little things like that.
It took a bit to get into the movie (the first fifteen minutes are kind of annoying), and I probably wouldn't watch it again, but for a free rental, it wasn't too bad.