Rabbit Proof Fence

Movie poster of Rabbit Proof Fence

Release Date: 21 February 2002
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writer(s): Christine Olsen and Doris Pilkington (novel)
Budget: $ 6 Million
U. S. Gross Revenue: $ 6,165,429

Sunday I watched the 2002 Australian film Rabbit Proof Fence, a dramatic true story about three “half-cast” Aboriginal girls who refused to conform to the oppressive demands of the British. The film, originally a novel written by Doris Pilkington Garimara, was directed by Phillip Noyce. The film received a score of 87% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an 80 out of 100 on Metacritic.

Personally, I thought the story was very profound, yet difficult to adapt to the big screen. Seeing as it was a film about three young girls trekking through the deserts of Australia, primarily against a rabbit-proof fence, many of the scenes seemed to drag on. And if I had been told prior that it was a film about three girls walking 1500 miles in the desert, I could have pretty accurately predicted the events that unfolded. So regardless of the wonderful production quality, spot-on performances, and telling story, the film lacked the element of excitement and was too predictable. However, because of the film, I have been brought to light about this old issue surrounding native Australians, and was excited to hear about these ladies and their stories. More than anything, I enjoyed this film as a sort of creative reenactment of a true and educational story.

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Film Review Blog

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This blog has officially transitioned from a study abroad experience in Japan, to a movie/film rant and review. I’m pretty simple minded and I generally gravitate toward films that are creative/imaginative yet strive to portray real human interaction; in essence, true people in extraordinary situations. I’ll often make comments during films to the effect of, “Nobody says that” or “No person who doesn’t know the certainty of their future would make those actions.” I want films to make me think, but I need to be able to relate/connect to the characters in order to truly enjoy the story. That being said, I love comedies, satires, spoofs, thrillers, and horror films for quite the opposite reason–I don’t want to think, I don’t want to connect with the characters, and I don’t require a good plot necessarily. There’s something about expendable characters, destined for doom or tragedy, given an animated, unique personality that’s difficult to relate to, expressing themselves in naive or overly clever manners that I just can’t get enough of. Regardless of my taste in movies, I will be reviewing every different sort of film imaginable, especially since one of my best friends enjoys the complete opposite types of movies I enjoy.

Any suggestions on what rating format I should use? I’m most comfortable with the 5 star system, but if I utilize that format, I will probably include half stars, since whole stars only is not enough flexibility for me.

Tech Review – Battle Stadium D.O.N.

With the success of Nintendo and Sony in the technological and densely populated country of Japan, there are many games that are made completely exclusive to the country. One game in particular I became envious of its Japan-only playability was Battle Stadium D.O.N. The abbreviated characters stand for three very popular animes, Dragon Ball Z, Once Piece, and Naruto. These animes are popular in America as well, which is why I am perplexed as to why Japan isn’t sharing its title. I learned about the game during a company visit to Q-Entertainment, which happens to be one of the two developers of the game, along with 8ing. The game was released July 20, 2006 for Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2, and received a game rating of 28/40 from Weekly Famitsu.

Front cover of the game.

Battle Stadium D.O.N. is primarily a multiplayer game, but it also has single player components as well. The multiplayer gameplay of Battle Stadium D.O.N. is very similar to the concept of Super Smash Bros.–a series of games in which popular Nintendo characters duke it out with combat styles mimicking their characters’ abilities in their host game. Each character in Battle Stadium D.O.N. has special abilities specific to that character, including the ability to morph a character into a new form, or transforming for a short period of time. The main difference between the two games though is the health gauge in Battle Stadium D.O.N. Unlike health gauges in traditional combat games where the opponents health must be reduced to zero to win, this game has a combined health meter, which means in order to win, the player must make the health of their character take up the entire gauge. In this way, the players can gain health back by reducing the health of the other players. This type of gameplay has the ability to create matches that never end, which is why time limits are an available setting. The multiplayer mode can have from two to four players during gameplay.

Single player mode is not much different from multiplayer mode. The player fights against a computer, only this time, the player has missions to complete during combat, beside just defeating the opponent. The number of missions given depends on the difficulty chosen. The reward for completing the missions is a quantity of coins. The coins are then used in a slot machine which has the ability to unlock certain aspects of the game.

The game appeals to me because it is so similar to Super Smash Bros. Melee, which was an immensely popular game when the GameCube was first released. It even utilizes the many of the same battle animations and combat items. It is as if they took the exact same game, replaced the Nintendo characters with anime characters, and added a couple new concepts, such as the health gauge. Another aspect of Battle Stadium D.O.N. I enjoy is how much more animated the gameplay is. It’s very colorful, fast-paced, and has silly voices that sound like the characters. Certain moments can be very intense, unlike Super Smash Bros. Melee, when characters perform super moves which halt the battle action momentarily to focus on a specific character’s intense moment of potential energy about to surge from their inner being, unleashing an attack that just about consumes all other battle animation for a short period on the screen. Animes tend to be extremely expressive hand-drawn cartoons, and the video game does a good job of mimicking that overall atmosphere and behavior of the characters.

Sumo

Sumo, although it is a very simple sport, was surprisingly interesting to learn about and watch. Sumo has always been a part of Japanese history, dating back around 1500 years!

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The history, including rituals and ceremonies, surrounding sumo is more complicated than the sport itself! The way sumo wrestling is played is quite simple: once contact has taken place, the first wrestler to touch the ground with anything besides the feet or step out of the boundaries of the circle loses the match. Sumo is single elimination, so each game is won by only one match. Before the match begins, however, each wrestler must mentally prepare to face their opponent. This is done by doing a few things. First, the wrestlers will meet at the center of the circle, behind the thick wooden line, to crouch and stare at one another. Then they will step back to their corners, perhaps wash their faces or take a drink of water, and then face their opponent again. They will most likely step back again, possibly stomp their feet on the ground ritually, slap their belly, and/or throw salt into the arena. Then they will crouch and stare again. This can go on for up to four minutes before they are required to start the match. Each action has a meaning behind it. Rinsing the mouth with water is meant to cleanse mind and body, throwing salt into the arena is meant to purify it and rid them of injury, and stomping is meant to show higher ranking.

Most of all though, I just enjoyed watching them throw each other around with great force!

Shibuya

Shibuya was the city that I traveled to the most often on my trip in Japan. Shibuya offered a very exciting nightlife, as well as a short travel distance from our hotel. It was here that I saw the famous Shibuya scramble crossing!

This picture doesn’t even compare to what it’s like at night! An average of 3000 people cross this intersection when vehicle traffic stops, which is amazing to watch from the Starbucks built into the media store across the street. My first experience with Azuki was in Shibuya, which is a sweet bean. The azuki I tried was inside a fish-shaped waffle!

Man who served me my fish-waffle!

While wandering around Shibuya, I walked by some strange attractions that triggered my curiosity. It wasn’t until I went to Shibuya with Jared Wilk’s brother that I gained a better understanding of Japanese prostitution and love hotels. I’m not about to describe them on my blog, so if they make you curious as well, click on the links to read on!

It was also in Shibuya that I had my first Japanese karaoke experience! Unlike karaoke in America, where you sing at a restaurant or bar, embarrassing yourself in front of every person in the joint, Japanese karaoke requires you rent a room with a group of friends, and sing in the privacy and comfort of people who already know how terrible your voice is.

Shibuya is the city to go to for just about any weekend entertainment, and I will always love it for that reason!

Compact Lifestyle of Cityfolk

The living conditions in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka were very compact! As I mentioned before, walkways were often so compact that pedestrians or bikers would just venture onto the street to move more quickly and efficiently. But compact lifestyle in the city goes beyond just that. Vehicles were generally tiny, even if they were vans or trucks! At one point when our group was looking for a place to eat, we happened upon a fire truck, and it was the cutest fire truck I had ever seen!

Many of the stores and restaurants were compact as well. Japanese cities utilized multiples levels of a building to house many businesses. Signs on the wall would indicate what business was on which level of the building. Some stores would be very tiny in depth, but operate on multiple levels. I loved how the tiny stair cases would make me dizzy!

Parking structures amazed me. They worked like car elevators, lifting the car into a designated stop and storing it. Later, when you came to pick up your car, it would be brought back down via the same machinery, backed out onto a rotating platform, and then rotated to face the road!

Even the residential houses were compact!

But if you REALLY want to see compact, check out this video!

Strange Foods in Japan

Food in Japan was an adventure for me everyday. I worked toward finding new and unusual foods I could try, but I was not brave enough to try them all! The first night of our stay, Dr. C took us out to a restaurant and ordered us many unusual dishes. I managed to try the octopus ball, which was fried octopus mixed with a tasty sauce. I quite enjoyed it! Later on our trip we went to a festival, and many of the concession stands had some interesting snacks. One I liked had pieces of fruit that they stuck on a stick and then placed on a block of ice to freeze over.

One I didn’t appeal to me so much a mini octopi on a stick, like a kabob!

When our group visited Mt. Shosha, the set for the movie The Last Samurai, I tried a delicious dough ball filled with beef.

But the strange cultural concoction I enjoyed the most was Okonomiyaki. This Japanese pancake is topped with lettuce, noodles, meat/seafood, eggs, and sauce! Such a strange combination of items, yet incredibly delicious!

Chefs cooking Okonomiyaki.