Friday, November 23, 2012

Wreck it Once More!

NB. Special thanks to Pulkit Anand. Both for inspiration and the prerogative.
NB2. If you have not seen this already, I insist that you rush to the nearest theatre.

Its been a while since I have watched a really satisfying animation movie. The year so far brought Brave, and then Hotel Transylvania. Both were good, don't get me wrong. But when you come out of the theatre, it has a small time constant of decaying out of memory. Something was missing. Something kept it from being special.

And now, Dreamworks has overcome that hurdle and given me the animation movie of the year (there are a couple more to come around Christmas though).

I have one major complaint about Wreck it Ralph. It is perhaps the most under advertised, and maybe even misadversitised animation movie in quite some time. The name itself lacks the 'ting' factor (unlike Monsters Inc or UP). Plus, if you have caught the posters along the sidewalk… well well, lets say that most of the posters I saw had characters who had nothing more than a cameo role in the movie. And the one which did have the key characters.. umm.. said kind of nothing.

Nothing about how awesome the movie really is. Which brings us to the good part.

First and foremost, five stars for imagination. To conceive of arcade game characters as behind-the-screen employees, and to show a world of their own - I might have expected that off Pixar, but Dreamworks just blew my mind away on this one. The way visuals (especially the track of the car race - ooh racing through an ice cream field!!) brought this alive was beyond any expectations.

The second, and perhaps most awesome part, is the story itself. I won't spoil it for you here. But suffice it to say, (other than the cameo guys) every person you see on the screen has a purpose, and everything is beautifully knit into one perfect story. 

When it comes to the emotional fuzzy part, Dreamworks has usually been way behind Pixar for years. You kind of feel it here too, but parts of it are amazing. As a complete side story, the romance between (if you were expecting Ralph and the kiddo, slap yourself perv) Fix-it Felix and Sergeant Calhoun is the most unlikely-yet-touching piece of the puzzle. Especially I loved the scene where Felix happily volunteers to be sucker punched and face wrecked by the Sergeant (thanks to his fixing hammer). And oh my is Calhoun hot!

I could go on and on, and give away the whole story, but I wont. This is one of those movies you deserve to treat yourself (and your family) to. So please, go and watch it. You will not regret it for even a second.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

If money did not matter

This is what I am writing about:

To summarize, my wife is very excited about the prospect of a world where money is not important. The video preaches graduating students to pick a career they really like, and stick with it, regardless of the money. It goes on to support this point by saying how useless it would be to live your life doing something you don't like just for the sake of money, and how we are teaching our kids all the wrong things. 

My wife is a little angel. She believes in and represents all that is good in the world, especially to me, day in and day out. She sees the best in things, hopes for the best, and goes out of her way to bring out the best in me. God bless her little soul.

While the video is very noble in spirit, I have my concerns regarding it. I would illustrate this under two cases.

First, let us consider I want to be educated, be successful and become a big shot. Well, that does not seem to the the target audience of the video per se, so I might be going amiss here. It is queer that all noble videos seem to be directed at people who are unsure of what they want to do, and definitely not ambitious. If this applies to a fraction of people of the world, it cannot be a general principle at the outset. But leave that aside.

So I want to be educated. How much education is good enough? Well, a bachelor degree today gets you barely anywhere (yes, other than becoming a painter or a poet for sure, but thats not what I intend). So I need a masters. Or a doctorate. Maybe add a postdoc to that. Or maybe a medical degree. Add an MBA for good measure. Which of these courses come without a hefty fee? (Well you don't technically pay in a PhD, but then somebody is paying for you, so you can't say money is not important. Trying doing a PhD out of your pocket, including those who 'really like to do a PhD'). But then my parents were noble people who did whatever they liked with no regard for money. Guess what - I have nothing to pay for my education. End of story. I don't get to do what I really really like.

Ok now lets imagine I don't want to be a big shot. I am the ideal non-ambitious fellow. I am happy sitting in a meadow painting sunflowers. Question - will I earn enough? Well, I don't care for money, so thats that. Fair enough. What about my family? What about my aging parents, my wife, my kids? Who pays for their hospital, school and nuances? These statement are easy to make when you are born in America and raised in the land of individualism. Sadly it does not work that way for many of us. Or then you might conclude that you should neither care about money nor your family. Let them fend for themselves. In that case, I drop all allegations right away.

So neither being ambitious nor being mellow helps me get away without caring about money.

Whats the point then? Yes, money matters. If it did not, millions of people would not get up and run every morning. People would be happily singing in fields, riding horses, making merry. In short, people would not be productive.

Its a different question as to whether you enjoy your job. Many people are stuck doing a job that they don't wholly like to earn something. If not for themselves, then for the ones they care about. If this process is taking up ALL of your time and energy, then yes its probably a bad job to do, and you should look elsewhere. But its luxury and fantasy to think everybody has the means, access, resources and opportunity to anything they like. Such people are called irresponsible in my books.