How Bangladesh is adopting the Halloween culture

On the 31st of October Halloween was celebrated throughout the world. Even until 10 years ago, it was something we only got to see in movies, cartoons or TV shows. The costumes, stories of trick or treating and everything in between fascinated us. Our generation fed on things like ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Halloween Town’ and much more. It didn’t come as much of a surprise when we grew up people started embracing and celebrating the culture.

What is Halloween anyway?

This tradition has somehow managed to influence us although it has pagan origins. The tradition goes back to a two thousand years old ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.  People wore costumes to avert ghosts and spirits. After the Romans took over, most of the Celtic regions and some of their traditions got mixed in with this old tradition. Later American people started following their own version of the rituals. Gradually, other cultures around the world mixed, matched and adapted versions of Halloween into their merrymaking. In the same way, Halloween is now celebrated in Bangladesh.

What does Dhaka have to offer

There are tons of things to do in the city of Dhaka. If you are into movies, Cineplex presents the latest horror movies. You can reminisce your childhood by dressing up as your favorite characters. Attend cosplay competitions. Go to the various private Halloween parties that are held throughout the city. Even five years ago these events weren’t as prevalent into our mainstream city culture in such a scale. Almost every well-known hotel has different arrangements for Halloween.

How Bangladesh is adopting the Halloween culture

A recurring event is the Haunted House at Four Seasons. They trap participants into a resort for a horrifying experience. This year the Haunted House will be spooking their guests till the 3rd of November. Some say its like living through a horror movie.  Also, hotels like Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Regency, and Six Season all hosted special events such as Halloween Party 2018, Halloween carnival, Halloween Haul 2018, Halloween Expo etc. In these people participated in cosplays, watched magic shows, storytelling and much more.

Happy Halloween!

Let your inner Morticia Addams come out. Once a year revisit or enact the inner child, bring back your best Scooby Doo, X-File, Pikachu and all. Dhaka’s Halloween craze is something that we millennial and young adult have been craving for a significant while. So we wish you an eerie, spooky, hair-raising, spell-binding Halloween and may you have a bag full of candy, bones, bats and amazing memories.

Here are the key 21 episodes you need to watch before Game of Thrones season 8 premieres this Sunday

Winter is finally here. Ironic, because so is Boishakh with its heat waves and stormy mood swings. But let none of these bother you as you prepare your body for the final and 8th season of Game of Thrones!

Over the span of seven seasons, Game of Thrones has built a massive world with countless characters in conflict with one another. It can be quite a task to keep track of every character ark and storylines that have been set in motion since season one. Of course, you can watch one of the billion quick recap videos out there in YouTube to cram all that in. But we’re guessing being a true Game of Thrones nerd, you’d want the full flavour while being short on time for your Boishakh preparations and other engagements.

Fret not, Game of Thrones writer and co-executive producer Bryan Crogman has compiled a list for Entertainment Weekly of the key 21 episodes to watch before the season 8 premiere. Now, he’s the only writer who’s been associated with the show since season 1 so it’s safe to say that he’s as wise as the three eyed raven.

Here’s the list, for the watch: (Geddit, no? okay)

Season 1

Episode 1: “Winter Is Coming”

Episode 2: “The Kingsroad”

Episode 9: “Baelor”

Episode 10: “Fire and Blood”

Season 2

Episode 3: “What Is Dead May Never Die”

Episode 6: “The Old Gods and the New”

Episode 9: “Blackwater”

Season 3

Episode 3: “Walk of Punishment”

Episode 4: “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

Episode 5: “Kissed by Fire”

Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere”

Season 4

Episode 6: “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Episode 8: “The Mountain and the Viper”

Episode 10: “The Children”

Season 5

Episode 8: “Hardhome”

Season 6

Episode 5: “The Door”

Episode 9: “Battle of the Bastards”

Episode 10: “The Winds of Winter”

Season 7

Episode 3: “The Queen’s Justice”

Episode 4: “The Spoils of War”

Episode 7: “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Valar Morghulis!

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

Only a few works can be compared to the new release of Netflix titled as Love, Death, and Robots. It was expected that a series produced by David Fincher and created by Tim Miller would be pretty good. But no one expected that it would be this amazing.

This anthology series has crossed boundaries among genres like Comedy, Animation, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction etc.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

If you are still wondering whether to try out this gift or not, then here is your spoiler-free review.

Different people seek different things in a series. Some, care for the story while some carefully scrutinize the animation. We’ll cover it from different angles.

Ratings

There are people who think the series quality is solely tied to its ratings. If you’re one of those people, then here are some of the fresh ratings for you.

IMDB: 9.1/10 –

There is a high chance that you might not take this rating seriously. This much distrust is legit I believe. So, let’s move onto the next rating.

Rotten Tomatoes: Average Tomatometer: 75% –

Although it is a bit early to rely on the Rotten Tomatoes ratings still 75% on the average Tomatometer is pretty decent. Moreover, 94% of the users have rated it over 3.5 out of 5.

Metacritic: 8.6/10 –

Based on 61 ratings Metacritic gave it an 8.6 out of 10. Only two critic reviews have landed till now. Of these two one is positive, and one is mixed.

Heaven of Horror: 4/5 –

Heaven of horror covers horror, thriller and sci-fi movies & TV shows. They are more like an expert in reviewing the creations of these genres. So, when they give it a 4/5, you should consider watching it.

Animation is outstanding

Each of the 18 shorts from this series has its signature animation style. While watching the first episode you will discover yourself watching gameplay. On the episode titled as Beyond the Aquila Rift it is easy to get confused. In fact, the super realistic animation of this episode will easily bewilder you.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

In one subreddit post, one animator cleared out the mystery behind this hyper-realistic animation. Everything on this episode is motion captured. All the body and facial motions were first captured form the actors and then transformed into CGI. In fact, the performers had to wear helmets and other gears that could capture their motions.

Besides this episode, there are other notable animations in other episodes. On the third episode, the animation is more like comics strips. Remember the animation from Into the Spiderverse? Well, here you will see something close to that. In other words, frame rates are manipulated to show speed in this episode.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

Like me, many people have agreed on the fact that the best animation of this season was on the episode ‘The Secret War’.

Moreover, there will be times when you won’t be able to differentiate between motion captured animation and VFX. Even the hand-drawn episodes are pretty stunning. In truth, no matter which episode you start watching, it is inevitable that you’ll be in for a surprise.

Story quality varies a bit

The creators have rounded up some great flash fictions. These stories have explored the sci-fi as well as supernatural genre. In some episodes, characters are well built in spite of the short duration. Even though the stories are sci-fi, you will be able to relate to the characters.

John Scalzi, Joe Lansdale, Ken Liu, Claudine Griggs, and Alastair Reynolds. These names belong to some of the most prominent writers all around the world. These writers were the source of some of the best episodes of this series.

John Scalzi is the former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Joe R. Lansdale has won the British Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, and several other awards. Ken Liu has won in the World Fantasy Awards. Alastair Reynolds is a former space scientist who has now published over sixty short Sci-fi stories.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

The adapted screenplays from the flash fictions of these writers have generated something really ‘Cool’. Furthermore, many episodes have given tribute to other great movies and tv shows. With one episode you will find the resemblance of 127 Hours. Similarly, In one episode you’ll find easter eggs from Dr. Manhattan. Also, the name of Rear Window (1954) has come up in the discussions. Many have reviewed that this season is a mini version of Black Mirror, but we think this goes more with The Animatrix

In fact, the episodes are well organized throughout the season. If one episode gives you dread, the next one will lighten up the mood with absurd humor.

Ranking the best episodes

Just like any other Tv shows this too had great and average episodes. Here are our ratings for 5 of the best episodes out of 18 shorts.

  • Beyond the Aquila Rift – 9.7/10
  • Good Hunting – 9.4/10
  • The Witness – 9.3/10
  • The Secret War – 9.1/10
  • When the Yogurt Took Over – 9/10

Verdict

In short ‘Love, Death, and Robots’ is an out of the world experience, thanks to its awesome storyline and animation.

David Fincher and Tim Miller’s latest masterpiece easily gets 4/5 from us.

If you are still confused about watching it, please don’t be. Take a leap of faith and experience what both modern technology and creative mind have accomplished by working together.

We have got to talk about SEX EDUCATION, the hit Netflix show

We have all been there: endlessly scrolling away on Netflix to find the next show to binge watch. “Sex Education” may be listed under comedy, but the series holds so much more than that. The show is centred around an awkward teenager Otis (Asa Butterfield), the series shows his journey with Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) the ‘bad girl’ and a social outcast and his gay best friend, Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa).

No spoilers but we have got to talk about it!

We have got to talk about SEX EDUCATION, the hit Netflix show. 1
Credit: Netflix

The teenagers’ journey is one of solving sexual and personal problems related to high school students’ bodies and sexuality. Being an ‘underground’ sex therapist comes naturally for Otis because his mother, Dr. Jean F Milburn (Gillian Anderson), is a well-known published sex therapist.

However, Otis himself is unable to meet his own sexual desires because he cannot masturbate no matter how much he tries. This irony adds complexity to the character and his actions, keeping the audience interested. What is more riveting is a pact between Otis and Maeve where they start counselling as a sort of ‘business strategy’. They decide that Otis will be the therapist and Maeve will the a ‘manager’ of sorts. The other characters hold an equally important part in the series as they slowly develop and reveal answers to the questions you might have.

Why you should 10/10 binge on this

We have got to talk about SEX EDUCATION, the hit Netflix show. 2

Laurie Nunn successfully portrayed different angels of sexuality and ideologies in a light-hearted but emotional manner. This was a highlight for the show. The art of portraying such heavy issues and taboo topics in such a way can be tough game but “Sex Education” definitely succeeded and won our hearts.

The unfortunate reality is that most rom-coms or comedy-dramas feel repetitive or similar with cliched plotlines. However, “Sex Education” is one of the most trending series of the year for Netflix, because it tries the genre in a fresh way. The characters, the message and the whole episodes have new twists and turns. Most importantly, the stories are relatable for teenagers navigating their sexuality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7-mYIlBxXo

We recommend the show, not only for its storytelling but also because it is important to talk about sex and sexuality and all its messiness.

The show takes a risk by broaching the topic and that pays off.  The stale genre of romantic comedies and the content hungry teenage viewers both benefit from shows which explore social topics, in an accessible way.

We all have our ups and downs with our sexuality and it is never easy to talk about it openly. “Sex Education” might just be the ‘push’ we need to break free of sex being a taboo subject. If you have not watched it already, then do it soon because season two will be released soon, delivering the same ‘wow’ as the first.

Let us know if you agree!

Want to become a beatboxer? Moktadir Dewan, co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh shares valuable advice

We spoke to the Co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh, Moktadir Dewan. He shares an overview of the scene, their future plans and gives valuable advice to anyone new to beatboxing or someone wanting to get better.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is the most common style that is being explored by local artists?

The common styles would be trap, dubstep, techno, and house. But the core styles are old school beats. Depending on the beatboxer’s knowledge he/she can fuse multiple genres. There are over a 1000 beatboxers of different calibres in Bangladesh (as opposed to maybe a handful or less just 8 years ago).

How many shows has Beatbox Bangladesh had since their inception in 2014?

Since then, Beatbox Bangladesh has organized several events and workshops in Dhaka and Chittagong. The two main events are the national beatbox championships that took place in December 2017 and November 2018. We plan to hold various beatbox meets, friendly battles and other events.

When you are searching for beatboxers for the competition, what is the biggest challenge in finding talent?

The biggest challenge is to find beatboxers with a clean flow. One common habit that sadly exists in all genres and communities in Bangladesh (and perhaps in many countries), is that individuals believe that they can skip to advanced techniques, without mastering the basics. Beatboxers need to remember the importance of having a proper sense of rhythm and composition.

Fortunately, we found over 40 beatboxers who knew that, for each competition. 16 competed at each battle. We are hoping as the community grows and with each year, the talent will be more formidable. Beatboxers from previous events are also trying to help others grow and support each other. Some are learning through more research.  We also hold workshops and live video tutorials along in addition to the tutorials on our youtube channel.

How does the local community support you?

Locally, we received help from LMG Beats, Glitch, Ujjiban, ABC Radio, The Mothership, Jadughor, ShopHobe, BeatsBangla, Desi Hip Hop and many others. Tilok Adnan and Shafiq Alam of The Pod helped us build the Beatbox Bangladesh logo and the brand identity of “Battle Box BD”. The brand identity was even nominated at the Spikes Asia 2018

Battlebox BD also got international support. What kind of support was that and how was that?

It was overwhelming. We received support from two major hubs of the beatboxing community: Swissbeatbox and Humanbeatbox.com. Both Pepouni and Kazu from the respective communities have been supportive. They announced our work on their social media platforms and websites. Human beatbox followed both the battles; the breakdown was highlighted on their website. 

Other communities and crews have helped as well, namely Beatbox Australia, Beatbox France, Portuguese Beatbox and The Beatbox House. Professional beatboxers Napom (USA), Gene (USA), Amit (USA), Kenny Urban (USA), Chris Celiz (USA), Ibarra (Netherlands), Ettoman (Japan), D-koy (USA) and Tioneb (France), gave shout-outs or video messages on our Facebook page and Youtube page.

The local beatboxers get personal advice from beatboxers abroad. Amit (from the USA) was a judge at our first Battle Box BD in 2017. He also facilitated a workshop at the EMK Center in Dhanmondi. Soulrock from Germany is one of the first beatboxers to personally come and teach the local community.

Want to become a beatboxer? Moktadir Dewan, co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh shares valuable advice
Scenes from Battle Box BD 2017

Any advice for someone who is interested in starting beatboxing?

Well, he or she has to be extremely patient. Initially, it might seem tough to make the distinctive sounds with your mouth. But, when it is done properly it becomes easy and quite fun. Beatboxers need to practice daily with a metronome no matter how good they may think they already are. We encourage the beatboxers to abstain from smoking or doing drugs. They must have good stamina and healthy lungs.

Any beatboxer needs to do research on the background of beatboxing and the origin of the sounds. She needs to learn about the instruments we mimic and try new sounds. Youtube and the internet exists, which means there is absolutely no excuses and plenty of resources to learn from.

Gather knowledge, stay humble. Teach what you know and learn what you don’t know. Bangladesh isn’t a place where one can chase fame just by beatboxing. But, things can and will happen if a beatboxer builds himself or herself, beat by beat, from the ground up.

What is next for Ronesh Biswas and Moktadir Dewan Shanto?

We will be busy with doing activities to help spread and build the beatboxing community around the country. We have found beatboxers in Bogura, Sylhet, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Cox’s Bazaar and are hoping to meet more in Barishal, Khulna, Rajshahi, and other places.

We will be uploading original compositions and shout-outs from participants of the battle, to our youtube channel. We hope to organize more beatboxer meet-ups, a 7toSmoke battle, friendly battles, open mic showcases, crew/tag-team performance, etc. 

Not just a clone: the Imagine Radio Story

It has been more than a full decade since Spotify revolutionized the music streaming industry, through their responsive app and it’s intuitive and intelligent A.I. Ever since, there have been no shortages of attempted replication of their success. Most of these have failed for one reason or another. We’ve had a couple of that right here in Bangladesh with Grameenphone and Robi attempting to launch their own music streaming apps. It’s safe to say they didn’t exactly catch the imagination of the intended audience as much as they had hoped.  So, the first impression of the average person of Imagine Radio is probably”Oh, another Spotify copycat.” But is it actually?

How Imagine Radio works

Firstly, the average Bangladeshi listener isn’t really familiar with the concept of Royalty fees or purchasing songs. Therefore the artists don’t receive the returns they deserve on the effort put into each song. In addition, it’s difficult for new bands to arrange record deals. Imagine Radio aims to give the artists a platform to distribute their songs directly to the audience. They boast a large selection, more than 10 million tracks of both local and international music, and plan to expand on the collection in the near future. Local artists will be paid a royalty fee for their songs on the app, which will be somewhat popularity oriented. The more popular a song is on the app, the larger the amount of royalty paid.

It will have unique features for musicians like per stream royalty, dedicated dashboards, audience analytics and marketing services. All of these services will be free. For the customers, Imagine radio will have custom made playlists targeted at specific moods, time periods and even the weather. It will also have a live aspect to it, as a selection of music will be played throughout the day on the app, sort of like a radio show. Many prominent musicians and bands like Nemesis, Feedback, Bappa Mozumder and Elita Karim have endorsed the app. And the general audience waits with bated breath for the app to reach the high potential it promises.

Does the model work in Bangladesh?

The point might be made that Mobile operators of our country tried a similar thing with GP Music and Robi/Airtel Yonder. And those weren’t the biggest hits. So is there really a demand for such an app in Bangladesh? If so, how can Imagine Radio hope to fill that demand where many others couldn’t?

There is certainly a demand for such a service in Bangladesh, as Spotify isn’t available here unless you own a premium account you made in another country. Music lovers clamor for an all-in-one music service like Spotify, and it is difficult to access it here. I spoke to an executive in Imagine Radio’s creative team, and he was of the belief that Grameenphone and Robi targeted too average a market to target their product at. They tried to generalize the market, which made for fewer opportunities for personal profiling. Imagine Radio targets a niche, urban social market. They mainly target the behavioral segment of the urban youth. In addition, they aim to have highly customizable profiles for each individual. No two people will have the exact same experience with the app, as it is oriented to make your experience as suited for you as possible. It is also to be mentioned that GP Music and Yonder tried to make the music platform very contained and partitioned. You needed a Grameenphone SIM to have access to GP Music and its contents, the same for Robi. The people at Imagine Radio hold the belief that music should be free. They want to spread music universally, without constraints. These things set them apart from their predecessors.

How is Imagine Radio any different?

It becomes important to separate your product from the one yours is often compared with. The fact remains that some people in Bangladesh still do use Spotify, with some form of workaround in play. Imagine Radio attempts to differentiate itself from Spotify in two key ways. Spotify doesn’t really evaluate Bangladesh as a potential market, hence it not being available here. Imagine Radio wants to make Bangladesh its primary target, with the added goals of distributing local music over the world and bringing international music here. In addition, opposed to Spotify’s AI generated playlist creation, the people at Imagine Radio believe something as subjective and emotional as music needs a human touch. As such, most of their available playlists are custom made by music enthusiasts and experts, adding a more personal touch to the product they offer. This also adds opportunites for targeting very specific and nuanced needs.

For example, they have a custom-made playlist for when one is stuck in traffic, as we tend to do that quite a lot. This is not to say that Imagine Radio execs do not acknowledge the need for an AI and a functional algorithm. In fact, they plan to implement an AI which will have twice as many information points as Spotify’s 6-8 to target specific moods, times, weather and other nuances. This also adds layers of content curation to their live aspect. The bottom line is Imagine Radio offers an intensely personal experience through their app, where you can listen to music curated to fit your every mood; be it uplifting music on the weekends or sad on a Sunday morning.

The ultimate goal

As stated by a representative, Imagine Radio is intended to be a cause driven project with two specific goals in mind in order to help Bangladeshi music. They want to spread Bangla music universally, and they want to create a platform for music and for musicians. It’s safe to assume a person from a foreign country won’t exactly go looking for Bangla music, so Imagine Radio brings the music to them. As mentioned before, they have adopted a very fair and rewarding royalty model for local artists. This serves to encourage the production of good music in Bangladesh greatly, as it is a convenient way to distribute music legally. Artists may choose to release new singles or albums through Imagine Radio as well. For International music, they use a third party distributor to stream quality music legally.

Imagine Radio adopts a Freemium model, according to the International standard unit. The free version has all the features of the app, while a premium version is set to be released over the next three quarters which will be free of ads and will contain other premium features. As of right now, their primary source of income is ad revenue.

Sounds promising!

In addition to the many music features and personalized experiences, Imagine Radio has a formidable line-up of podcasts and specials lined up; 14-15 of them in fact. They have held a Freddie Mercury special, hosting the late great Queen front’s best performances, his inspirations and parts of his story. They have a similar program called Legacy of Rock coming soon. It will be a 90-minute program with a host, with 10 minutes of the host explaining the story and background of the track to be played and music to fill the rest of the time slot. They look to adopt a “song and the story behind it” formula for some of these specials, which sounds very interesting to me. In conclusion, Imagine Radio holds an inconceivable amount of promise. And we look forward to it reaching the great heights it strives for.

What sets Brooklyn Nine-Nine apart from contemporary sitcoms

After nearly getting cancelled by Fox following their (incredible) fifth season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is making a comeback tonight for season 6, thanks to NBC! The show has evolved so much in the past five seasons that the description on Netflix almost feels terribly inadequate. It is no longer a show about “brilliant but immature detective Jake Peralta learning to follow rules”, but rather about a precinct full of people who are all individually quirky and complex, and together, a wholesome family. So in celebration of getting some more Nine-Nne in our lives, let’s take a look at all the things about this show that we love so much.

The diversity

While there exists many shows of the same kind – Parks and Recreations, New Girl, etc – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one that shows off one of the most diverse casts. Of all the seven main characters (not counting Hitchcock and Scully), only two of them are white males. Two are black males – both of them in roles that are superior in rank to the white males – and two thirds of the females are women of color. This certainly makes the series all the more appealing to a wider range of audience, and is a major win for women and people of color everywhere!

The wholesomeness

There are shows where characters do horrible things to their loved one and are genuinely terrible people sometimes. In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, however, there is nothing of the sort. Each character is unique and yet all of them are essentially good people. While characters do hurt each other occasionally, and there are ups and downs in their relationships, it is usually minor things and they do their best to correct their bads. In summary, this is one of the most wholesome shows, where all the characters are genuinely loving in their own ways and trying their very best to be good people and to be good to each other.

The complex and well-developed characters

Nine-Nine is one show that definitely does not care about gender stereotypes. Of the two male characters, Charles Boyle is explicitly feminine at times and incredibly emotional and caring – something we rarely see in male characters. Jake Peralta is constantly trying to better himself and take accountability for his own actions. One of the black male characters is openly gay and in a loving marriage with a white man, and yet the show does not exploit his sexuality for humor or storylines.

The other black male character is a loving father who proudly bonds with his daughters and spends time with them without making that seem like a big deal. Rosa Diaz is a bisexual woman of color. Her parents reject her sexuality at first. Amy Santiago is a badass woman on her own and in one of the Halloween Heists openly challenges the idea that she is “Just Jake’s girlfriend”. When it comes to creating characters who challenge all kinds of stereotypes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done an incredible job!

The contemporary relevance

Why we love Brooklyn Nine Nine 1

Even as a comedy TV show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done a lot to highlight contemporary issues. In recent times of racial profiling and police shootings, the show had Terry go through a horrible experience of a similar incident. The show didn’t even try to sugarcoat that reporting these things – as Terry did – can actually harm the survivor’s own career prospects at times. Captain Holt being an openly gay black man is very open about both the administrative and personal hurdles he had to face for it. In one episode, Holt actually refers to a recent incidence of an overachieving minority student who had made a clock which was thought to be a bomb. So Brooklyn Nine-Nine not only outdid it in terms of humor, but it has been incredible in terms of starting conversations about contemporary issues across the U.S. – where the show is based.

The cold opens

The biggest debate across the Nine-Nine fanbase – after “Is Kelly Scully’s wife or dog?”, which cold open is the best? Is it the one where Jake does the full bullpen? Is it where Scully drinks his own goldfish? What about where Charles gets a “Diane Wiest” infection? Or – my personal favorite – the one where all the perps sing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys? Brooklyn Nine-Nine has given us some of the best cold opens, and there are plenty of compilation videos of them on YouTube to prove it.

It feels like fans have been waiting forever for season six, and the day is finally here! So tonight, we are staying in, we are popping some corn and putting on our pajamas for the long awaited sixth season. I’m so excited to see more development on these characters, and I hope the nups are getting even more toit this season.

The Good, The Bad, The Mowgli?

Mowgli: The Legend of the Jungle by Netflix is another retelling of a childhood classic The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. The Jungle book is a story about an Indian boy. Who grew up in the forest with wolves, learning the ways of the jungle from a black panther and a bear. The main antagonist in this premise is the tiger known as Shere Khan.

Now, the movie and the original book has a few similarities. Yet the movie failed to deliver. Let us have a look at why the movie did not live up to the expectations.

Spoiler Warning!

Beyond this point lies extensive amount of spoilers. Turn back now if you plan on watching the movie and don’t want it spoiled.

Too Many Elements

The good, the bad, the mowgli?

Firstly, this movie has too many elements and too less time. This movie tried to show many of the elements of the original book. This is not a bad thing. But, when you have eight major characters to portray, you should balance out their screen time. This should have been a Mowgli focused movie. Instead, this was a mess.

Shere Khan Needed Screen Time

The good, the bad, the mowgli?

Now when you see Benedict Cumberbatch play a role, you would want to see more of him than fifteen minutes! Especially, when he plays the main antagonist character animal (what?). Well, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH played Shere Khan in this movie and he was good. We loved him as Shere Khan. But, unfortunately, Shere Khan’s screen time was very little. So little that it felt like he was guest starring. In a movie where he is supposed to be leading antagonist. Emphasis on “leading”.

Where did the hunter come from?

The good, the bad, the mowgli?

Like seriously where did the hunter come from? Looking back at the source, the cartoons. Yes! even in the cartoons. There was no hunter. Basically, the Hunter, in this case, is the human mentor of Mowgli. He was an added character who was there to help with the dark elements of the movie. As if there weren’t enough characters who lacked screen time. They had to add an extra.

Where are Mowgli’s adoptive human Parents?

The good, the bad, the mowgli?

Mowgli after leaving the forest gets adopted by a human female. She thinks it’s her child who was snatched by the tiger Shere Khan. But, in the movie, a woman does take care of Mowgli. This is pretty much it. The woman bathes Mowgli, plays holi, and says only four dialogues throughout the whole movie.  Even the wolf mother “Nisha” (name changed from Raksha) should have gotten more priority. She raised him for Pete’s sake.

Finally, this movie lacked proper execution. There were proper elements. Good acting. Even making this a bit darker was a good idea. But this felt rushed and packed. This should have a movie from Mowgli’s point of view. Tell us what you think about this movie and mention if you have any friends named Nisha in our Facebook comment section.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: A movie worth the wait

6 years ago, Disney gave us a movie that appealed to audiences of all ages. For kids, it was just another exciting animated world to dive into. For adults, the movie was a nostalgic trip to arcade games. The real charm, however, was the immense amount of imagination and creativity in the movie.  They were able to truly immerse its audience in the bizarre setting of the movie – gaming arcades. With its sequel Ralph Breaks The Internet, Disney has done the same thing again. But this time, with the internet.

A movie more for adults than for kids

Ralph breaks the internet-Is it worth the wait

Ralph Breaks the Internet is full of pop culture references. The name itself is a reference to Kim Kardashian’s viral Instagram caption “#BreakTheInternet” in 2014. From references to Bob Ross paintings (which you may recognize from the memes) to stormtroopers to Jasmine straight up asking Vanellope if she has daddy issues, the movie is jam-packed with pop culture references that kids will probably not fully understand. There was even a pop-up advert that crowds Ralph when he arrives at eBay, saying “desperate housewives in your area are dying to meet you”. Clearly, Disney understands perfectly well that a movie which explores the Internet as its own world would appeal way more to young adults. So, it’s really no wonder that the movie caters so well to young adults. Not just with non-kid-friendly jokes here and there, but with cameos too – from Eeyore to C3PO to Stan Lee.

Girls can drive – and be the best at it!

Ralph breaks the internet-Is it worth the wait

Ralph Breaks the Internet breaks many stereotypes through its characters. The most revolutionary one is Shank. She is the most badass racer in the most dangerous online racing game. While Vanellope was also a female racer since the first movie, Shank being female was even more groundbreaking. The game she is in is much more aggressive and masculine compared to Sugar Crush- a comparatively childish and feminine game. On top of this, Yesss, who is the head algorithm of one of the biggest video sharing sites online, is also female. A Disney animated motion picture featuring such strong characters who are at the top of the ladder in their respective fields is sure to change the perception of women in the boys who watch this movie. Moreover, since racing is a particularly male-dominated field, this is sure to be a kick in the face for anyone who still thinks along the lines of “girls can’t drive/race”.

Princesses, redefined

Ralph breaks the internet-Is it worth the wait

Another way that Disney addresses gender roles is through the inclusion of Disney princesses. Disney has a terrible reputation of portraying their princesses as damsels in distress. The scene where Vanellope meets the princesses addresses exactly that. It shows that Disney is self-aware that they have been imposing traditional gender roles in their works. More importantly, it spells out what is wrong with the trope. What’s even better is that Disney takes this self-awareness one step further by actualizing how strong and independent its princesses really are. While this itself is certainly not enough to make up for the “damsel in distress” trope that Disney itself has put out for so long, it certainly makes a stand for the characters who we perceive to be weak and dependent on males just for their feminine traits.

The verdict

Ralph breaks the internet-Is it worth the wait

For the first hour, the movie is certainly interesting in the way it presents the world of the internet to us. The movie manages to engross its audience in its imagination as well as it did in with the setting of the first movie. It certainly portrays the internet as realistically as possible. In terms of entertainment, the movie excels. But unlike the first instalment, it let us down in terms of emotions. We ended up with a somewhat predictable movie with the character arcs falling flat and feeling a little forced. But other than this, the movie was definitely enjoyable and had a fascinatingly intricate setting. If you’re looking for something light to entertain you for two hours, head over to STAR Cineplex to watch the movie and Ralph Breaks the Internet will not disappoint you. 

Get your tickets here.

Avengers: Endgame trailer breakdown

Marvelites are having a pretty great week. A great Captain Marvel trailer dropped on Monday. Let me tell you, she looked mighty fine. Nintendo announced the return of the long-dormant Ultimate Alliance game franchise at The Game Awards on Thursday. A new Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer is supposed to arrive very soon. And as if to slap a whole cake on top of a cherry, the Russo brothers practically shadow dropped the new Avengers: Endgame trailer on Friday. The trailer reveals very little. But when has that stopped us from going through these a dozen times and look for clues? Let’s jump in.

Here’s the trailer, just in case you do indeed live under a rock.

Tony Stark is stranded in space

Marvel MVP Tony Stark isn’t off to a good start here. He is marooned aboard the Benatar, the Guardians ship. With food and Oxygen rapidly running out, earth’s greatest defender is desolate and helpless. We see him turning his helmet on to record a farewell message to Pepper Potts. The lighting is somber because who can bid a sad goodbye in harsh fluorescence? Him mentioning the end being part of the journey is sure to tug some heartstrings. He is also wearing a similar shirt from the first Iron Man when he was imprisoned by the Ten Rings. A great visual callback to his initial plight in a no-win scenario.

Avengers: Endgame trailer breakdown

Tony’s rescue is a hotly contested topic. We can only but speculate. Does Pepper Potts don the Rescue armor from the comics herself and go after her man? Will Captain Marvel pick him up during her return journey to earth following Fury’s SOS? Does Thor open a Bifrost with his Stormbreaker weapon and save him? Alas, we might have to wait till April for the answer. Or at least until the next trailer.

But what is Nebula’s story?

We also see Nebula hanging about the ship reminiscing and being all sad. There’s another very curious frame in the trailer where she gently caresses someone’s shoulder sitting in the ship. That is very out of character for her. Is she saying goodbye to Tony before leaving the Benatar? Or that is a completely different character at another point in the movie? Marvel has been really deceptive about these in the past. So rule nothing out.

Point Break is pissed

Thor Odinson proved last April that he is the mightiest of the Avengers. Maybe that is why it pains him the most that he could not stop the Decimation. Yes, that is what the head honchos at MCU decided to call the Thanos Snap. This revelation arrives thanks to Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume Two: Aftermath by Brandon T. Snider. Man, the name of this book needed a Snap as well to cut it down to half.

Anyways, back to Thor. Just look at him. This man right here is ready to get out on that stage and shred Thanos in a rap battle.

The Thanos-crow

The only character who is happily content in the trailer is Thanos. And why wouldn’t he be? He brought balance to the universe, in his own twisted way. Moreiver, as a great comic throwback, we see his armor strung like a scarecrow. He doesn’t need that anymore, because his job is done. In the comics though, Thanos is retreating in disgrace more than gloating over a hard-won victory. But a nice touch nonetheless.

Is Shuri alive?

This is a very important question. The fate of another character hangs in the balance because of her. Last time we saw Shuri, she managed to salvage most of Vision’s data before getting knocked unconscious. If she survived the Decimation, she could be paramount to bring at least one of the Avengers back. Interestingly though, the trailer reveals a scene where she is put under the “missing” tag along with some of the dusted heroes.

That could mean she was slain along with her brother. Or she might be alive but not working with the remaining Avengers yet. I mean, it was them who brought war and death to her home. Does she have her own agenda now? Time will tell.

Hawkeye…or Ronin?

We finally get a glimpse of Clint Barton after his absence in Infinity War in this trailer. Only…he isn’t Hawkeye anymore. He is in the shoes of another comic book character called Ronin. There are some other characters like Echo who operated under this cover identity. But Clint’s stint was more prominent in the comics.

The reason he wasn’t active during Infinity War because of his plea deal with the government. He had a family to protect and care for. Something tells me in his thousand yards long stare here that they might not have survived. Hence, his blatant disregard to government contract.

For reference, here’s the comic book version of Ronin.

Ant-Man is out of the Quantum Realm

This might be the biggest revelation of the trailer. Last time we saw Scott Lang, he was journeying into the Quantum Realm with the help of the Pym family. In a tragic sequence of events, Scott got stuck there after the Pym collective turned to ash. How he got out may end up being the single saving grace for the Avengers family, and the world.

Now Scott was using his trusted friend Luis’ van for the Quantum Realm incident. It might be possible that Luis survived the Snap and came back to rescue Scott through the radio. Or Scott could have gained powers due to excess exposure to the Quantum Realm ala Janet Van Dyne. But that’s unlikely because it didn’t help Janet herself.

Time travel is a safe money bet. Right as he’s venturing into the Quantum Realm, Scott is told by Janet van Dyne: “Don’t get sucked into a time vortex.” That seems to be a pretty on-the-nose warning but also one clear enough for a dope like Scott to eventually realize might be the key to him escaping his predicament. We’ll see.

Speaking of time travel

As the leaked set photos suggested earlier, time travel is definitely playing a big role in Avengers: Endgame. We see a hint of that in the trailer as well when we see Captain America in his winter soldier suit.

Avengers endgame trailer breakdown

We don’t know what’s cooking, but Cap certainly isn’t donning this particular old suit for no reason.

So, that’s it, folks. There is a long five-month wait before we close out on the first decade of MCU. It’s actually a good thing the trailer left out crucial plot points. This lets us converse and speculate about our heroes’ struggle to save a universe torn apart. After all, as the name reveal tells us, it’s about undoing the tragedy that has left them…disassembled.