Saturday, November 16

Purple Fizz

I'm at home, letting Disc 3 of the LOTR Extended DVD Set run. I am watching the first feature, which is all about JRR Tolkien and the monumental task of adapting the epic to a movie. I bought a couple of cans of Welch Sparkling Grape Sodaand decided to open one now. Listen to me go 'aaah...' as I see the carbonated grape juice. Purple Fizz. Weird. I had wanted to take home a bottle of Pepsi Blue, but failed to find any in the stores we passed. I wonder if that would have Blue Fizz?

Friday, November 15

A Bleak Weekend...

Sigh. Haven't been able to post much this week since I've been busy on a pitch at the office. Furthermore, the TV shoot that got rained out last week is pushing through tomorrow, Saturday. Plus we're gonna be working on the pitch on Sunday. AAAAARRRGHHHH! There goes my weekend. I'll try to have a break on Monday after all this hell is over. Graggle-snaggle...
Dennis Rodman to star in Dead or Alive game!

"Dennis Rodman's gonna be here?! Swoon..."

Yes, we've all thought that the Worm looks cartoony and unreal... now we know that it is so! The controversial basketball star and Jean-Claude Van Damme's co-star in the classic action movie Double Team (Eew) is set to do the english voiceovers for the character Zack in the much-anticipated sports fantasy videogame, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Zack is the only male character in the game and owner of the island where the sexy, bikini-clad DOA girls will be spending time in. The casting is dead-on perfect, at least for the simple fact that Dennis Rodman IS Zack, at least in appearance (the character was apparently modelled after the sports star). Players will be able to switch between Rodman's dialogue and the original Japanese actor (Bin Shimada) during the game's CG cinematics at the start and end of the game. It's still a bit before this Xbox exclusive game becomes available (the date's been set sometime in January 2003), and every little snippet I get makes me want this game even more. AAAAaaahhhh... I hate waiting...

Wednesday, November 13

Top 10 scenes that were NOT included in the Extended Version DVDs of LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring

10. Frodo smoking a joint before meeting Gandalf

9. The baking of Bilbo's birthday cake

8. The SECOND cave troll.

7. Boromir putting on a band-aid on his cut finger

6. Orc and Goblin sex (Eeeeww...)

5. An Arwen shower scene

4. Elrond jumping up and down in a tantrum after Isildur leaves with the ring

3. A flashback scene showing Saruman and Gandalf in college. With afros.

2. Gandalf buying a new staff at the Rivendell convenience store.

1. A Legolas shower scene.
The Fellowship of the Ring Extended DVD Set Review: Disc One

Ah. Bliss. Before I get into the contents of the first disc, let me first describe the whole package. The Fellowship XDVD set comes in a really nice box packaging that mimics the look of a thick old, leather-bound book. The fold-out interior package contains the 4 discs, and comes with a 12-page booklet with the contents guide of the dvds (which is organized like a family tree as if illustrated by Bilbo Baggins himself). It just reeks coolness, which I can't say too often enough. Heh.
Anyway, I was able to get into the first disc so here goes. Disc One of the set contains the first half of the new extended version of Fellowship; all the new and extended scenes have been edited into the movie, with new scores so the watch is seamless. Early on as you watch the movie, if you've seen the original theatrical release, you will see how different the new edit is. Generally it is more leisurely as the film begins, and a lot more detailed. The new scenes are fabulous, and I am really astounded and thankful that this version exists just for the chance to see these scenes. They really are juicy and meaningful, and not just extraneous bits.

The extra sequences range from short new edits to actual previously-unseen footage, such as Isildur's flight and death, lots of hobbit life sights, the passing of elves and extended scenes for Aragorn. I have to say it's a treat to see a scene play out and then realizing that you're seeing something new. A bit like opening a birthday gift or biting into a Bavarian donut after just having mouthfuls of dry bread for a while... hmmm... you get the picture.

As for special features, the only other features on the disc are the audio commentaries, of which there are four: Director/writers/producers (which includes Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh), The Production and Post Production teams, and the Cast (of which most of the major characters except for Viggo Mortensen are present).
I listened to the cast commentary, and I found it quite entertaining; the banter of the four hobbits is particularly nice to listen to, with lots of humorous bits and pieces to pick up. Listening to them, you can really feel that they bonded during the months of filming. It's pretty funny to hear them talking about stuff like quirky people on the set, little bits about the other actors, various bloopers, Elijah Wood's eyes (ARE they digitally-altered?) and the various tricks used by the production to create the wonders we see onscreen.
My only gripe is that the cast wasn't recorded all at the same time; it would have been awesome to hear them all reacting to one anothers' comments. That aside though, the various comments they relate to you are interesting and in-depth. Great stuff.

I haven't listened to all the commentaries yet; I plan to over the course of the next few weeks. But this early I have to say that this dvd set is a must-buy for fans of the LOTR films. Damn great stuff. And I've only barely scratched the surface of the mammoth amount of content in the package.
A great buffer as The Two Towers is still months away... Aaaaarrrrhhh....
A Funny Coincidence

I was watching some parts of the LOTR Extended Version a while ago. I haven't yet committed to watching the whole thing, but I am really impressed by how it works from the beginning. I've watched the theatrical cut so many times, it's like seeing it all for the first time with the new scenes. I feel it all works so well, but at about three and a half hours, it may be a bit too long for some people. Good thing most of the people I travel with aren't that kind of people.
Anyway, from watching a movie with Sir Ian McKellen on DVD, I turned on to HBO and suddenly found myself watching the old Alec Baldwin comic book starrer, The Shadow (1994). And guess who's playing the befuddled professor Reinhardt Lane? Ian McKellen! Heh. I would NEVER have thought then that he'd eventually play pivotal roles in some of my favorite new movies (X-Men, LOTR). Pretty cool, actually.
Anyway, on The Shadow, it wasn't a big hit when it came out, and has sort of a TV movie feel. The action is pretty subdued but I think that John Lone's Shiwan Khan is a marvelous villain with a lot of great dialogue and scenes (and the stuff with the telekinesis I feel was just ahead of its time then). Lamont Cranston is a cool hero, and Baldwin nails him. I wonder how great an updated Shadow movie would do today? Whatever...

Tuesday, November 12

The Object of my Quest

The end came suddenly, and unexpectedly. I was wandering aimlessly around Glorietta, with my mind set on something else. I scoured the two shops selling videogames, but went away disappointed. As I decided to call it quites, I passed by Spectra AV Center at Park Square. I actually already passed it by, but for some reason I backtracked and entered the store. I gave a cursory glance at the rows and rows of VCDs. My gaze went from them to the racks of DVDs. Hmmm. Well now.
I made my way to the counter, where they kept a lot of good stuff. I knew they also had original US anime DVDs, but I really wasn't interested in them. I looked at the woman behind the counter and gave a half-hearted question.
"Miss, Do you have the Extended Version DVD Set of Lord of the Rings?" I said.
The woman replied, "Yes."
Te-na-neeeeen! (Expression of surprise sound effect)
I bought it on the spot. Well, actually I had to do a quick pass (actually more of a fevered brisk walk) to the nearest ATM. I HAD it. Didn't expect it today, but it was mine all the same.
Anyway, I am once again pleased immensely. I'll try to give an expansive review (perhaps on my forum at my site instead of here though) as soon as I am able.
Darn... How am I going to fit this in with my writing and art requirements, Suikoden III and all the ofther stuff on my plate??? Ah, exquisite torment. Gotta love that. Heh.

Monday, November 11

My precious... My precious...

Given that my much-awaited Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the Xbox is delayed until early next year, my obsessive desire at the moment is the Lord of the the Rings Extended DVD Set. This monster of a video contains 30 minutes of new footage/extended scenes (making it necessary for the film to be split between two DVDs), 4 different commentaries (director and writers, production crews, special effects and the cast) and well over 6 hours worth of added material (features, documentaries and other goodies). It's a LOTR completist's wet dream, and I have been salivating over it ever since I saw the teaser for it in the Theatrical Cut DVD.
Sadly though, it's not yet clear when the local video shops will have it in stock. I may have to be forced to rely on friends or relatives overseas to get it for me... But rest assured, it will be mine. It WILL be mine... Ha ha ha...

Sunday, November 10

A Working Weekend

Yesterday, instead of having my free time and being able to rest and recharge, I had to work and attend the shoot of a new commercial. I guess I HAD to be there, seeing as I was the writer of the ad. Anyway, I got up early and was picked up by the production house's service. The shoot was on location at a college campus. When I arrived, I was reminded of how much goes into a TV shoot. The production crew was there in force, with cameras, lights, generators, cables and equipment aplenty. Several tents were set up to accommodate the Agency (me and my officemates), the lead cast and the extras. The good thing about TV shoots is that there is ALWAYS a ton of food around for the asking. Traditionally, production houses always provide more than enough to keep us happy, which is cool and makes me feel like a VIP.
Of course, I can't lounge around forever, so it was that when the talents were prepped and the camera angles set, the work began. Actually, all I had to do was make sure they got good takes... in other words, just watch. Which was not hard considering that the lead talent we had was a GORGEOUS 17-year old woman who I could just stare at for hours on end. Darn.
Unfortunately, while she had the look, it took work and lots of takes to get adequate takes during the more 'acting' heavy sequences. Still, all would have gone well if it weren't for the one thing that wasn't possible to control; The Weather.
First of all, since it was a 'ber' month, daylight hours are shorter than the usual; by three o' clock, daylight was already waning, making artificial lights to simulate a sunny day necessary. Even worse though, clouds began gathering and heralding a coming drizzle.
By five, rain has begun falling. You'd never have thought it would rain that day seeing as how the sky was all blue and cloudless in the morning. Soon, a light drizzle developed into heavier droplets. I worriedly observed how pools of water began gathering over the various cables and electrical devices of the production crew. Luckily, the men didn't seem worried. However, it soon became clear that the rain would not be stopping anytime soon. Despite this, the director still felt the need to wait, and perhaps even shoot some sequences even though it was now totally dark and still raining hard.
We eventually decided to pack up. We got onto the service vehicle which would take us to where we needed to go, whether it be home or somewhere else. Despite being tired beyond belief, I opted to go to the mall and meet friends for some dinner. Thankfully, the day wasn't all lost, so me, Mike, Carl and Jason still managed to have a good dinner at Lola's Cafe and Restaurant at Timog where the guys finally were able to taste the highly-recommended (by me) Black Pepper Spaghetti.
When I finally got home after, I didn't even have the energy to play even just a minute of Suikoden III. Sigh. It's good that shoots and other special events don't happen this often. Saturdays are sacred.
Totally Anime

I just managed to catch the last few minutes of an episode of Totally Spies on the Disney Channel. It's about a trio of high school girls who also double as secret agents. Anyway, after only watching it for a short time, I could easily see the anime influence in the way the girls move and act, particularly SD expressions. I also noticed that it's pretty close to the other Disney anime/manga-influenced WITCH.