Film Review: The Mummy 3 – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Sequels are fantastic things because they offer something more about something you already like. However trying to use, or recreate the same ‘magic’ that made you like the original is trickier creating something widely liked from scratch.

The first Mummy film was fantastic. The Mummy Returns felt to me like another adventure in the series and was about as good as the first. This third film, whilst it was goods in it own right, does not do the other ones justice. I however would like a forth film, (the hot Coyote Ugly owner) Maria Bello, stated in an interview that “absolutely” another Mummy film will be made so I look forward to having 2 sets of Mummy films in my collection as that is really how I see them, 2 distinctly different series both of equal rating to the other.

Continue reading Film Review: The Mummy 3 – Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Film Review: The Dark Knight

Film quality is getting better and better. The bar, the standard, has been pushed so high that its very expensive to beat the expectation the last film leaves you for the next. The Dark Knight, the second in the new Batman franchise left me in awe. Having recently seen Iron Man I expected practically seamless transactions between actors, digital dummies, and effects what I didn’t expect was the entire package; sound, mood, storyline, growth, depth. Everything came together beautifully, each frame felt like it had been hand crafted rather than one in a among hundreds or thousands, in a particular scene.

There are 3 aspects that warrant attention, and all for positive reasons; The Joker, was magnificently portrayed by Heath Ledger, at the Première there was at least one mention of it being an Oscars worthy performance, this I whole heartedly agree with, whether it will actually happen is another story altogether (Best Picture 1977?).

Highlight number two, the score, a beautiful classically based musical accompaniment. It didn’t feel like pulp culture music, I felt it was an everlasting classic, something that won’t feel dated over time.

And finally the story, gripping, I never knew what was going to happen next and I couldn’t wait to find out.

No criticism from me here, I really would like to try but I can’t, it was a film I thoroughly enjoyed and will sing praises loudly about. Not something I often do so enjoy it while it lasts, hopefully I’m not the only one to feel this way and no-one will throw any right hooks and my view.

Rating: 97.8%

-0.2% because cinema ticket prices are so damn expensive when wanting to see it again.

Swansea “Under the Sea” SSAGO Rally

I’ve been looking forward to this rally ever since I learnt that we would be going to the beach, there was the opportunity to go to during the first Welsh Rally back in 2005 but my club and I overslept missing the coach and being left stranded on camp site with few others around. It was fun though, and we made the best of it was we could. Anyway this rally Continue reading Swansea “Under the Sea” SSAGO Rally

Scout Network Gathering 2008

For the Milton Keynes Scout Network, the Network:MK, this is the one time of the year we can expect to see all our members. Whether it be University, work or disinterest that stops a member coming to the weekly meetings they are almost sure to turn-up for the Long Easter weekend in West Lancashire. It’s hard not to understand why; drinking, food, adventure, fun, friends and tents what more could you not possibly want from a weekend?

As such there is usually a major effort to co-ordinate transport, this year 8 cars full of people, equipment or both made the expedition. My chariot, the Aluminium Falcon, would be transporting the cheerful Faye, the cherubic Lisa and the tempestuous Kat. Originally I would’ve had Matt as well but a reshuffle meant I didn’t so there was more room for everyone else.

With my trusty Sat Nav I set off for Great Tower Campsite, however that is not where it was taking me! Luckily I corrected this problem mid journey however the arrival time I had told the passengers was much earlier so I had to bare the brunt of their dissatisfaction. I probably would’ve been able to get away without a sully to my character if I hadn’t lost faith from passenger doubt on the last leg; I turned the car around and asked for directions! Yes, I know, a bloke asking directions, but if I had just kept going for 100m I would’ve made it and no-one would’ve thought the less of me.

Most of the first day we just spent catching up with each other, you know how it is when you’ve not seen your closest ‘old skool’ friends in months. We kept to our own little site on the first evening, with beer flowing, good music and old friends why would you need much more? Although we weren’t on our usual site with our own private ‘lake’, admittedly we couldn’t fit on it anymore but it really was a nice site, the new tenants certainly seemed to be enjoying it.

Saturday, Day Two

The second days tends to be a lazy one, I was originally going to do Wii games in the morning just because it would be nice to play against some similarly aged Scout that most likely play a lot more than me, I figure even if I get my butt whooped at least I might pick up some tips. In the end I opted against this for a lay in instead, Saturday night always has the big band that you stay up for.

My afternoon activity was Horse riding, I can’t remember ever doing it before so this would be something new. I was expecting a quick introduction course, a trot journey seeing the local countryside then perhaps a little cantering or galloping back at their pasture. With a quick get to know you we went for a trot around the local village and we were done. It was a pleasant experience, I was riding a 15 hand tall Stallion called Father Ted (there was a Dougal in the herd too). He was well behaved and I enjoyed several conversations with him during our time together.

During the wind-down before dinner, we gathered wood and relaxed around the campfire waiting for our hiking team to return. There was a slight unease in the camp as the whether can gotten colder than expected on the hilltops and winds were picking up. They made it home safely and with a few picture of them hiking on snow laden footpaths. To distract ourselves there was some larking about, particularly with my camera, which is why I’ve got some awfully bad artistic shots, but you have to take some bad shots to learn what your doing wrong!

After dinner and a quick change into our fancy dress, between us we had a Traffic Warden, a Jedi Knight, Pirates, Optimus Prime, a 90s Scout, a Pilot and a whole lotta in between. The costume seemed to get us a lot of attention at the Bield, were the band was playing. The band are rather awesome, I particularly look forward to their With or Without You and I’m a Believer each year.

Sunday, Day Three

Every year we make our own little trip offsite, we did consider going further a field than Ambleside Park but considering how late it was when we finally got our arses into gear the journey time just didn’t leave us with long enough there to be worthwhile. We had a lot of fun in the snow, making snowmen, chillin’ our drinks, climbing the mound and in the children’s adventure playground (naughty us!)

I pretty much handed over my camera to Abby that afternoon, she wanted to get some practise in taking shot with an dSLR camera before she starts her course in the autumn. Her shots weren’t half bad, she tries as hard as me to get some artistic ones, I think she does a little better, not sure if that’s luck or me being over critical. I don’t think I’m a natural for that sort of thing, I’m naturally oriented to take photos with purpose not creativity so go for her and her raw talent.

With the full moon this weekend I was hoping to get some lovely campsite landscape photos, particularly from the top of Tower rock, but I didn’t want to go all that way on my own just for some photos and nobody made a point of going up all that way so I didn’t. I did get this cracking shot from our site, I’ve embellished it a little with photoshop but its a nice one nonetheless.

Monday, Day Four

We wanted to make a quick getaway with a meetup at the M6 services, I wasn’t too keen on this as I’m not one for driving fast which meant I was likely to be getting some stick for everyone seeing my car occupants walking in rather than us watch everyone else.

We did alright for time on the journey home, taking a scenic route around the first part of the M6 out of Lancaster, a longer route but with a higher constant pace. I’d rather be driving slowly for longer than crawling for shorter. Overall the return journey was the same as the full voyage time home.

This was another fantastic Gathering weekend, unfortunately I pushed it this year being ever so slightly too old to attend but luckily the organisers didn’t mind so much seeing it was my farewell to Network event. I’ve got the option to go next year as staff but I’ll make my mind up on that one closer to the time.

Sheffield SSAGO Ball 2008

There aren’t many occasions for a Scout to wear a posh suit, shirt and tie without getting mud over them so when the opportunity arises I’m more than happy to spend a little bit more for a demure evening than I would on an exuberant weekend camp.

This particular SSAGO Ball has special significance to me, it will be my Birthday this weekend. I’m not particularly fond of Birthdays, and certainly not this one. To add to my melancholy I’m also going to be handing over my position as Publicity Officer. I’ve enjoyed the challenges this role has presented to me and the situations it raised, I’m going to miss them.

I suppose I should be happy about who I am handing over to, she was one of the first members I met in SSAGO and to boot her Brother had the role only a few years ago and his advice has been a positive sounding board from what has been to what will be.

Regardless, the handover went smoothly and expediently facilitating a few hours to take a autonomous tour of the city centre. Originally the plan was to catch a movie but we couldn’t find a suitably recent flick to accommodate our timetable.

We made it back to the hotel for a quick ‘makeover’ for the dinner and evening entertainment hosted by the Sheffield Hilton and accommodation, The crowd planned to set off from the Inn’s lobby, into the rain, around 7pm.

Dinner was more enjoyable than last year, I actually had a bond with my fellow table mates and none of them felt the urge to spill red wine over the entire table!

After dinner and the disco some local girls invited James and I to their Union, having a piss poor Union I’m keen to see other Student establishments so I graciously accepted. We were all a little over dressed but we were merry enough that we didn’t care, besides at a hundred miles from home why care?

A near vacuous continental breakfast, a few thank you’s, good byes and I was away the next day. I look forward to next years.

Liverpool “Crystal Maze” SSAGO Rally

Last year I was a student living on “less than thirty Altairan Dollars a day” and up for an elected ‘job’, this year I’m going to see my replacement elected just as I’ve started a career. It’s kinda ironic I guess, I’ve been a little uneasy about the whole process as I’ve done a lot for the SSAGO Publicity role and I don’t want it ending up in ruin. I thought the only truly happy outcome would be someone to fill in the voids I purposely didn’t address as it wouldn’t so much be a replacement of my work but a continuing in the direction I left it heading in. Luckily a charming lady got elected, the wonderful Heather Coupe, the sister of a previous PO. I look forward to seeing her exploits over the coming year, hopefully the rest of the exec won’t be a roller-coaster ride.

As for the rest of the rally, if the Crystal Maze has been set in fields and woods with a low low budget I imagine it would be very similar to this, the activities were varied and numerous with a strong focus on teamwork. The costumes in the evening were spectacular, so many home brew Crystal Domes and a plethora of Golden and Silver Tickets everywhere! I think what certainly made the Rally a lot more enjoyable is having more in your pocket than lint, it was a real pleasure to buy a round for the friends I’ve made whilst in SSAGO at the Ceilidh bar.

Additionally this was originally going to have a new Rally Booking system, the intention being to add the booking system onto the blog I hacked onto the SSAGO message board but unfortunately due to a communication error my work was in vain. It was a pleasant learning experience nonetheless and I learnt a few things about the admin area functions of WordPress. Shame though, would be nice to have all the login details in the same place with the ability to create an archive of who did what and when over the years.

So here truly endith my life as a student, all loose threads coming to an end, only thing really left is to handover to my successor. I doubt this will be my last Rally though, I’ve known people to hang on for a few but I don’t think I’ll be doing this too many more times. Thanks.