4th year anniversary:

On this day April 7th, 4 years ago, I created this blog, PersonalMusings 2017 during a break from college. My content covers movie reviews, tv shows, life, books, animation, etc. I’m proud of it’s growth and progress through these past few years. It took several tries and a few experiments however, I found my “groove” with producing blog posts.  Thank you to all my followers old and new for their support, encouragement, and continued enthusiasm toward my blog,  I couldn’t have gotten this far without you!

Once the spring semester is over in June,  I maybe stepping back from my blog to work on a personal project. I’m unsure when I’ll return to the blog but I will return. Rest assured, dear readers, I’ll keep you updated with plans for this summer. The blog isn’t going anywhere just another extended hiatus.

Stay tuned and keep following PersonalMusings2017!

Blog Update: 1/18

Hello, my fellow readers! I return to online classes next week. The blog will be put on hiatus until summer break starting in June. To my new readers, Welcome to PersonalMusings2017and Thank you for enjoying my blog posts. Feel free to check out my back catalog during hiatus.

My thoughts on Soul (2020) turned out quite well. Thanks for your interest!

As always, thank you all for your continued support and encouragement!

Keep following PersonalMusings2017!

Soul (2020)Thoughts

  • I found it cool that the highlights of a person’s life was presented like museum exhibits in the movie.
  • My mind keeps forgetting how the movie explains the concept of a “soul”.
  • Despite the movie’s music being jazz, I was reminded of Sonny’s Blues’ by James Baldwin. In both stories, music is a big plot point since it talks about the character’s passion to become a musician.
  • Seeing 22 experience life in Joe’s body is precious; That first taste of pizza and getting a haircut.
  • Joe’s soul moving into a cat’s body with all the wacky hi-jinks was unnecessary.
  • Joe forgot to appreciate the little things in life because he pinned his hopes on the jazz performance to change his life. Afterwards, he felt disappointed and empty.
  • Your spark serves an inspiration or guide to help you find happiness. There are various ways to find happiness/purpose.
  • In 22’s new life, I see them becoming either a motivational speaker, life coach, or guidance counselor.

Top 10 Animated Fairytale Films (Non-Disney).

With the release of “Charming” on Netflix, I’ll count down the top 10 animated fairytales outside of Disney.

10. The Princess and the Pea (2003) Available on Youtube

9. The Princess and the Goblin (1994) Available on Youtube

8. Thumbelina (1994) Available on Disney Plus and DVD

7. Hoodwinked! (2005) Available for rent on Amazon, buy DVD

6. The Snow Queen (2012) Available on Tubi TV (free), buy DVD on Amazon

5. Red Shoes and the seven dwarves (2019) Available for rent on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Buy on DVD from Target

4. The Stolen Princess (2018), Available on Amazon Prime, rent or buy on Google Play

3. Legend of White Snake (2019) Available for Rent on Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, Youtube

2. Swan Lake (1981) Available on Youtube, Retro Crush, and Tubi Tv, Buy on Amazon Prime

  1. Han Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid (1975), Available on Youtube or Japantown Video.

Honorable Mentions: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2014), Song of the Sea (2014), The Sea Prince and Fire Child (1981), The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina (2002), Big Fish and Begonia (2018), The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut, The Last Unicorn (1982),

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

Wonder Woman (1984) Movie Review

The much anticipated Wonder Woman sequel has mixed reviews. Most people outright dislike while others like it okay.

I’d compare it to Spider-Man 3 by Sam Raimi. Both films have their good parts and bad parts. The main flaws would be in the script and overstuffing the film with too many villians. Both films would’ve benefit from a main villian and better scripts. There’s a good film underneath.

With that sentiment, I’ll start the review. Spoilers ahead!

Wonder Woman 1984 had potential to be a good sequel however it falters in execution.

Cons

  1. I enjoyed seeing Chris Pine as Steve Trevor again. However, his reappearance is questionable and unclear. The most information, the audience gets is that he wakes up suddenly in a hospital and takes possession of Diana’s nameless next-door neighbor. I understand that Diana is blinded by her desire to reunite with Steve. This is the reason why Diana sees Steve in her neighbor’s body. Steve’s possession of her neighbor’s body makes you wonder what happens to him during the film. Does he disappear or just lay dormant? These questions are waved away going unanswered.

2. As much I enjoyed Steve Trevor, his reappearance in this film was unnecessary. Throughout the film, Diana is in grief and closes herself off from the world. Instead of wishing for Steve’s return, Her friendship with Barbara Minerva could’ve been further developed. She could’ve helped Diana through her grief over Steve. In this way, Barbara’s change into Cheetah would’ve had more impact on the audience. With this direction, the story’s stakes would’ve been raised.

3. Barbara’s character was too predictable. I didn’t realize this trope until it was pointed out to me. Having the nerdy character wish to become someone more confident and powerful has been overdone in other movies. I wish her character had a distinct personality and was fleshed out more with proper development.

4. Pedro Pascual does a fantastic job as Max Lord. Max Lord is a sympathetic character. His desire is for his son to be proud of him. A father he can look up to. His backstory should’ve been placed earlier in the movie rather than near the end. It lessened the impact for me. The movie needed more scenes with him and his son Alistair to build their close relationship.

5. The wishing stone makes no sense. On the statue, it states that people can only make one wish and in return, they give up what’s most important to them. How come when Max Lord became a wish-granting genie, there wasn’t a limit on wishes? Barbara was able to gain a second wish: become as strong and powerful as Diana. Why didn’t the screen writers add rules in? Does this mean that Max can give out multiple wishes at once for everyone?

Also what happens after the wishes are revoked/returned, are people’s memories just magically erased and the wishes forgotten?

If Alistair would’ve wished for Max to quit working and spend more quality time with him, How would that affect Max and Alistair? Would Max been taken away for his crimes?

6. The costumes for Cheetah and Wonder Woman were underutilized. For Cheetah, I was thinking a full-on costume complete with whiskers and makeup. As for Wonder Woman’s Golden Eagle costume, It was only used once. I hope that costume returns in a future sequel.

7. The director should’ve stuck with one villian Cheetah or Max Lord.

Pros

Despite the movie’s flaws, I did find a few scenes fun and enjoyable.

  1. The opening scene with Diana and the Amazons training for the Olympics was amazing. It’s one of my favorites scenes. I’d want a miniseries based in Paradise Island on Diana’s childhood and upbringing before adulthood.

2. I like the friendship between Diana and Barbara. Their friendship should’ve been the movie’s focus instead of the inconsistent wishing stone.

3. Diana’s and Steve are still my favorite couple. Their chemistry together is natural. Their final farewell before Diana revokes her wish made me tear up.

4. Lynda Carter’s cameo as Asteria was an unexpected delight.

Conclusion:

Wonder Woman 1984 is a flawed mess. There’s a good movie underneath however, the movie’s script and plot holes prevent the film from becoming a top-tier sequel. Hopefully with a third Wonder Woman film in development, Wonder Woman can have a worthy follow-up to the 2016 film.

My review of Trese on Goodreads

Murder on Balete Drive by Budjette Tan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Trese by Budjete Tan is the first Filipino comic I’ve read that’s been translated into English. Living in America specifically California, it’s rare to find Filipino comics more so those translated in English. The only other comic I found was Mythology Class by Arnold Arre. This comic has been difficult to purchase outside of the Philippines.
If I were to describe to someone, I’d say it’s similar to Fables by Bill Willingham where fairytale creatures and humans live together in present-day New York. It’s the same concept except with mythological creatures from Filipino myths/folktales and set in Manila.
Here’s the basic set up for this comic, It starts with a myth like the White Lady on Balete Drive. After a short introduction, the main character Trese is brought in to investigate the case. During the investigation, she contacts various creatures from different myths as the aswang. At the end, a journal entry pops up written by her father Anton. He was a paranormal investigator before his death. The entry gives further background and possible whereabouts of the creature.
The art style gives off a crime noir style because the comic is done in black and white style. In addition, the characters are drawn with realistic proportions. This style makes Trese stand out in contrast to manga and Western comic books.
The integration of Filipino phrases along with English words adds to Trese’ worldbuilding.
As a first volume, this comic is fun and serves a good introduction to Filipino myths.
I look forward to reading future volumes. 5 stars.




View all my reviews

Thoughts on the Notebook (1996) novel

Happy New Year 2021 everyone! A few days ago, I finished reading the Notebook (1996) novel. Here are my thoughts on the book.

The book is better than the 2004 film.

The main couple’s relationship has further development across a wider span of time. The reader gets to see the ups and downs of their relationship throughout their lives from adolescence to old-age.

The side characters such as Allies’ parents, Lon, Noah’s dad and many more are fleshed out as individual characters. There’s more character development for Allie’s mom and Lon.

The carnival scene where Noah is dangling from the Ferris Wheel is movie exclusive and isn’t in the book.

The descriptions at times could get repetitive and unnecessary.

I liked the inclusion of various poems from different poets throughout the story. It felt natural since Noah enjoys reading poetry.

Noah and Allie have their own lives outside of each other.

The scene with the swans is one of my favorite scenes in the book. It isn’t played up to be this grand romantic gesture. In the book, It’s a surprise that Noah shows to Allie since she might enjoy it.

I teared up a bit during their second farewell to each other.

The book captured the feeling of “nostalgia” quite well.

The ending was unexpected.

Trese Book Reviews

Thank you for the information and the links!-Jo

Br. Allen

I bought the 4 volumes of Trese. I highly recommend this local comic series. I know I’m not good in writing book reviews so I’ll just put here a link log of different book reviews about Trese. I picked five good book reviews and it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll like it or not.

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My Thoughts About Trese Comic Book Volume #1 (Murder on Balete Drive) (Book Review #13)

BONGBONGBOOKS

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And I finally decided to start reading comic books and what better way to start than on Filipino comic books. 🙂

Trese is a horror/crime comic book by Filipino writer Budjette Tan and Filipibo artist Kajo Baldisimo.

I have reservations before in buying comic books because I am not really into reading that type of material aside from it being so expensive sometimes and you only got to read so little out of it. And I don’t know what got into me when I walked into a bookstore one day I passed the comic book section and I saw the Trese series that I have been seeing everytime I pass that section. I also am hearing alot of buzz about this series especially from my friends so I said to myself why not give it a try.

I browse through a couple of pages which is about a white lady…

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Animation is a medium for Everyone!

Animation is for everyone video from Mother’s Basement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb3cvohPsRY

The West needs to appreciate animation more as a medium than a genre. Animation can be both serious/mature and silly/light-hearted. They can coexist together. There’s no need for live-action adaptations of animated shows to go grim dark and edgy to appeal to older audiences. Shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, H20 Just Add Water, and many others could be goofy and comedic however, people of all ages could enjoy these shows. I consider The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as an exception since it’s a different continuity from the original 90’s series. Animation doesn’t need validation from live-action tv to be successful; it already does that on its own.

This quote from C.S, Lewis sums up this sentiment. “Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
C.S Lewis.

Mulan (2020) Review

Disclaimers: I’ll be writing this review from my perspective. For a Chinese person’s viewpoint, check out this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3QKq24e0HM by Xiran Jay Zhao, a Chinese historian.

I’ll only mention criticisms I found within the film itself. I won’t mention the various controversies this film’s production has.

On with the review!

In all honesty, I was cautiously optimistic when I heard this film was being made. The animated film is one of my favorite Disney films up there with the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and various others. The thought of film adaptation closer to the original folk tale was intriguing to me. The final product turned out to be lackluster.

Pros

Before diving into the film’s flaws, Credit should be given for the good parts of the film.

This film isn’t a musical like the animated one. Instead, instrumentals for Reflection, Bring honor to us all can be heard. I also enjoyed the inclusion of a lyric from “A Man like you” during a training scene. Here’s the lyric, “Tranquil as a forest but of fire within”.

In addition, Christina Aguilera was brought back to re-record a new cover of Reflection. Comparing the original version from 1998 to the new version, you can hear how much her voice has matured and evolved. Her vocal range remains to be a “powerhouse”.

The Mandarin version of Reflection by Liu Yufei sounds beautiful. It’s just as good as the original by Christina. The actress there shows more emotion in that video than the entire movie.

The martial arts sequences with Mulan were great. While watching the movie, I stood there in awe. The action sequences are definitely a highlight.

My favorite side character would have to be the shape-shifter witch. Her desire was to be accepted instead of vilified because of her powers. Seen as a “warrior” not a “witch”.

I had sympathy for her character.

It was good seeing the actress Rosalind Chao in another movie. I liked her performance as the Chinese restaurant owner (Pei Pei) in Freaky Friday (2003).

In the start of the film, there was a reference to the original poem, where a male and female rabbit were running side by side as Mulan rode her horse.

This is the last positive comment.

The commander’s message to Mulan in disguise was memorable to me.

“Don’t allow your father’s legacy to hold you back. Cultivate your gift.”

He’s told Mulan that she shouldn’t hold herself back to appease her family. Instead, she should work hard to cultivate her gift. Regardless of the message’s circumstance, it’s applicable to anyone and everyone. People should work on whatever gifts or talents they have. They shouldn’t be forced or obligated to follow their parents’ footsteps if it’s not what they’re interested in.

Cons

This movie has a bunch of flaws.

From the very beginning, Mulan is already set up to be perfect. She’s been a martial arts prodigy since childhood . Her skills are unmatched. Also, she barely emotes in the film. Her facial expressions are blank. It’s impractical for Mulan to fight with long hair. It needs to be tied up and out of the way so it won’t be a distraction. Having her long hair visible makes her an easy target for the enemy. With one yank of her hair.

The father-daughter relationship is weaker compared to the animated version. The father was alright just not memorable.

The concept of chi sounds confusing and sexist. According to this film, only men can possess strong “chi” and become “warriors” whereas women are forced to hide their “chi”. If they embrace it, they’re labeled as “witches”. This thinking makes no sense. Also, a clear explanation of “chi” as a concept followed by a demonstration would’ve been helpful.

The reveal scene was rushed and lacked the emotional impact of the original. The action of having Mulan willingly disclose her identity in front of the army takes away the stakes and the tension of the situation.

In the end credits of this film, The credits read that it was filmed at CPC Xinijiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. This location is a concentration camp in China for the detainment of Muslims. I bet Disney is kicking themselves for leaving this evidence in the film’s end credits. I would be ignorant of this fact had it not been prominently mentioned by other people.

I don’t support this!

As it’s own film, Mulan (2020) is good for its action sequences and instrumental music.

However as a remake, The film is sub-par. You’re better off reading the original poem and watching the animated film (1998).

If you’re looking for a good live-action retelling, I’ve heard that Mulan: Legend of A Warrior (2009) is a better film despite its flaws.

Top Favorite Rankin Bass Specials

Ahhh! Good Old’ Rankin Bass. The holiday season would be incomplete without the yearly airing of their tv specials. This list will be about my favorite Rankin Bass Specials. Don’t see your favorite on the list, Comment below to add your suggestion(s)!

10. The Little Drummer Boy

9. Nestor the Long- Eared Donkey

8. Frosty the Snowman

7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

6. Jack Frost

5. Frosty’s Winter Wonderland

4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

3. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus 1985/2000 version

2. A Year Without A Santa Claus

  1. Rudolph’ s Shiny New Year

Honorable Mention: Twas the Night Before Christmas 

Christmas Specials of my Childhood

To celebrate the Christmas season, I’ll be making two lists. One is Christmas Specials from my Childhood while the other is My favorite Rankin Bass specials .  

Growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I watched a ton of tv especially around Christmas.  The major tv networks such as Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon each had their own holiday block with a  showcase of  holiday-themed episodes of their shows. Including ABC family’s (Now freeform) 25 Days of Christmas. Those were such fun memorable times.

Here’s the list in no particular order. There will probably be a couple versions of A Christmas Carol mentioned. 

Olive the Other Reindeer (1999) 

Eloise at Christmastime (2003) 

Bah Humduck A Looney Tunes Christmas Carol (2006) 

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) 

The Legend of Frosty the Snowman (2005)

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas (1999) 

Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas  (2004) 

A Wonderful Life (1946)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas-  animated (1966)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas-live-action (2000)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Movie (1998)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys (2001)

Frosty Returns (1992) 

Beauty and the Beast 2:Belle’s Enchanted Christmas (1997)

Elf (2003)

Madeline’s Christmas (1990) 

The Nightmare before Christmas (1992)

The Santa Clause trilogy 

Miracle on 34th St. (1994) 

Disney Sing Along Songs: Very Merry Christmas (1988), found on Youtube 

Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too! (1991) 

Winnie the Pooh :The Seasons of Giving (1999)

The Polar Express (2005) 

Barbie as the Nutcracker (1999) R.I.P. Kirby Morrow. =(

A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Movie Review

My apologies for the late movie review. I meant to post this up earlier but I got busy.

Pros

The cast is full of good actors such as Chris Pine, Mindy Kahling and Reese Witherspoon. I’m glad to see that Deric McCabe. a fellow Filipino  was cast as Charles Wallace.

The dynamic between Mr. and Mrs. Murray was solid. I bought their relationship as husband and wife. 

Throughout the film, Mrs Who speaks in famous quotes from movies in place of literary quotes to mimic the character. The attempt was alright. I just wish better quotes were chosen. 

The planet Uriel was a green valley filled with talking flowers and green meadows. The colors were so vibrant. 

Before leaving, Meg is “her faults” and Mrs. Who’s glasses similar to the book. 

In Camazotz, there’s a  neighborhood where all the kids are bouncing their balls in perfect rhythm. The scene is exactly how I imagined it in the book. Down to the lack of individuality. Complete with the mothers calling them inside for dinner. When one kid drops his ball, that mistake causes a break in the pattern. He’s sent to Central Central Intelligence for “reprogramming”.  The scene is exactly how I imagined it in the book.

  • the Man with the Red Eyes- In the film, he’s referred to as “Red”. He’s a charismatic character who feigns knowledge about their father. “Red” is the personification of “temptation”, he entices people to sit back and relax. They forget about their cares or worries. It’s similar to Pleasure Island from Pinocchio.  The actor behind is this character is a highlight of the film.  Saying the multiplication times table in rhythm is one way to break from his hypnotic stare. 

Although this movie missed the book’s message, I do like this film’s message. To defeat the “darkness”, We must bring the “best of  [ourselves] to the world as a beacon of hope. “Become a light to the world”. 

I was reminded of Yoda’s monologue about the “Dark side”.  ” Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” 

Cons

The  high school  bully Veronica played Rowan Blanchard was an unnecessary addition to the film; she was just a typical mean girl.

“Be a warrior theme”

There’s a line in the film where Mrs Which (played by Oprah) tells Meg (Storm Reid) to be a warrior. Meg says that “I’ll try”.  This theme of being a warrior bothered me. In the book, Meg was reluctant and unsure to save Charles Wallace from IT. Despite her reservations, Meg was the best candidate to go.  She was the only person able to get through to Charles Wallace. It wasn’t about being a warrior, it was about saving her little brother through her love. The scene was more compelling in the book compared to the movie.

  • No build-up between scenes (rushed)
  • Less interactions between Meg and her father

More scenes between Meg and her father before his disappearance would’ve fleshed out their relationship more. 

  • Scene trying to save Charles Wallace
  • Meg has an underdeveloped character arc. 
  • Calvin has no personality.  He’s a blank slate just following Meg and Charles Wallace out of boredom. 

Tessering scenes were a huge disappointment.

The special effects for the Tessering scenes look horrible. The sequences show a blank screen with the Earth folding up and covered with a black blanket. These scenes would’ve been better in animation. If only this was an animated film instead of live-action. 

Mrs. Whatsit is turned from a majestic flying centaur in the book to a flying piece of lettuce. The animal should’ve been a bird or a bat instead of “flying lettuce”. 

Instead of “IT” being a disembodied brain, “IT” is the personification of darkness or pain. I see the potential behind this idea however, the execution was sloppy. 

The Happy Medium was changed from a woman to a man. I have no problem with this alteration, however, it was unnecessary for him to be the ex-boyfriend of Mrs. Who. 

Overall, Disney’s second adaption of A Wrinkle in Time is worse than the first one in 2003. At least that version had Aunt Beast and Meg’s brothers Sandy and Dennys from the book.

You’re better off skipping this movie and watching either the 2003 version or reading the original book by Madeleine L’Engle.

Quote of the Day

My mom has told me the same thing about watching cartoons and anime.

Patricia's Corner

Today has made me think of a quote from author Mary Jo Putney: “What one loves in childhood stays in the heart forever”. My apartment complex had just received a new fresh coat of paint including my room. I had to take down my posters, pictures, and other trinkets I’ve had over the years from my visits in anime conventions as well as gifts from the people I’ve interviewed on my podcasts. I was told from my parents that maybe it was time to put away my posters, pictures, and trinkets because it was time that I had my room reflect my age. He told me “kids at some point stop playing with toys and decorate their rooms with stuffed animals and pictures of children’s cartoons”. Next month I’ll be turning 35 years old and I still have a love and passion for animated shows and movies. Just because I’ve…

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