Imperial Command of the Raccoon General

Thoughts and Memoirs of a Ring-tailed and Masked Dominator of the World

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General of the mighty Raccoon Army

Monday, May 23, 2005

Order 66 (Episode 3 Spoiler Alert)

I watched Star Wars Episode 3. I'm going to write about it. So if you are one of those "don't spoil it for me" people, BUZZ OFF!!! Doon't blame me if you fail to enjoy the thrills or the surprise or fail to reach orgasm while watching the movie or something. Again, this is a SPOILER ALERT! So Buzz off unless you've watched or don't mind knowing the tidbits before going to watch yourself.

The start of Revenge of the Sith or Episode III is by far the most intense. And most sudden as well. We begin with an already heavy battle, ship upon ship, turbo laser by turbo laser, it'sone hell of a war. In the history of Starwars, this is the most intense of beginnings. It was good, damn good, with the only flaw being that count Dooku was killed quite early and quickly, but nevertheless the way he was killed was good, juicy.

The story was good, in fact I am glad that in the prequel trilogy, this one tops. We know episode 1 was a big dissapointment, and Episode 2 was saved only by the great battle of Geonosis. Fortunately, Episode 3 is filled with action, thrills, humor and awe. Being a George Lucas thing, I'm sure everyone can already guess the extreme levels of its Visual Effects, nothing short of stunning, but in this one George Lucas has outdone himself.

Another thing I liked was the fact that since the time of Episode 4, the first Star Wars movie, we have always viewd the white armored soldier, the troopers, as the dumbest living being alive. Well, episode 3 can change that view with a vengeance. Not only do we see the heroics, the stunts and the daredevilness of some of the troopers, as we have seen perhaps in Episode 2 and the Clone Wars miniseries, but the way they handled Order 66, the extermination of the Jedi, the cool way they react to it, Clone troopers are damned vicious and cold, no remorse in killing the very people who have led then, been their comrade as well as general. Utterly ruthless.

Of course the flaws were present in ROTS, being notably the personality of Anakin Skywalker. I don't know Hayden Chritensen, so I don't know how he acts in other movies, but as always in the prequel trilogy, Anakin is the bratty kid whom you wished you could just scream in face "QUIT WHINING YOU LITTLE BRAT!". Of course while his transition to the dark side wasn't as expected nor that inspiring or great, or the fact that being dark side made him any less of a whiner, it was wasn't as weak in plot as I feared. Nor as strong as I hoped. And while the Emperor/Palpatine himself was insidious and downright cunningly ruthless, I had also hoped he would kick Yoda's green ass so hard that the little guy would finally start talking forward. Not that I have anything against Yoda, but that would leave people in awe of the power of Palpatine, no? But I guess a draw was nice enough.

But the coolest thing was of course, the birth of Darth Vader, one of the coolest villains ever. And I'm not talking about the time Anakin turned to the darkside. No, for while Palpatine bestowed the name Vader to him then, he was still in fact whiny Anakin. But after he lost to Obi Wan, burnt completely, with arms and legs severed, then saved by the building of that suit of his and placed that trademarked black helmet, did Darth Vader came to be. Even his voice changed. And that was when a great villain was born! One of the best moments in Star Wars Episode 3.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Vom Kriege (On War)

What is war? For years it has been a subject approached with mixed feelings, and with different ideas and perceptions. And for years I have read on the conduct of war in the years passed, the tales of horror and heroism like that of some classic fairy tale. General Karl Von Clausewitz of Prussia in the early 1800s once wrote that war is the extension of politics by other means. He was right, because the warrior is by no means a pawn in the whole scale of the war. Be it in ancient times or in modern age, the act of aggression is usually driven by reasons of nationalism, expansionism, or ideology.

The warrior, be it Greek Hoplite, Roman Legionary, Knights, Samurai, Musketmen, GIs, Snipers, Tank Commanders, Airforce pilots or Ship captains, are by no means mere tools in a grand design drawn up by the heads of any state, the political leaders who directs the nation. Indeed, the existence of war is not solely because of the aggressive nature of humans but also because of the assurance of the gains through force of arms. In most cases, though not all, diplomacy is a process that has to be treaded lightly where as in war, it is either victory or defeat, in which the former almost assuredly guarantees the obtaining whatever motives were behind the act of war itself. But given the context, war is in fact a means of achieving something, and there are times when victory in battle was not as necessary for one to prevail in their cause, because in the end, the center and the primary object of war is the politics and not the battlefield. Fail in that arena and you might as well forget everything else, just as the North Vietnamese had achieved their victory over the United States, which the latter had won almost every battle in the war but nevertheless, lost the war.

Politics for me is a downright dirty playfield. And as much as I see the importance, I wish not indulge on it because there are two many faces, too many aspects, and too many lines between lines that we must be wary of. The play of words can be more insidious than any assassin or stealth bomber.

War is a subject of curiosity and interest for me and at many times a subject of inspiration. I do not wish to be those who are glorified at conflicts because they have never seen the horrors of it, because I acknowledge the grim truth behind every heroic deed and every remarkable triumph. But I also note the achievements in war and what had driven those accomplishments. War for me is merely another aspect of human life. A violent projection of it maybe but no more so different in essense than the other things we do in life. War happens because of a conflict of interest, much like many disagreements we have with others in life, and we will fight for our cause as they will with theirs. And in the end, the victor is those who played his cards right, who employed the right resources, the right strategy at the right areas and the right time. And for that fact, much like everyday life war is also a realm of chance and risks, in which the right conditions can be most rewarding or most suffering. In work or love, there are these elements, because in both fields, just like in armed conflict, its no simple matter of numbers, or better equipment, but a whole lot of other aspects to consider; morale, location, timing, reactions and a whole of other unseen factors.

Now consider the Roman army at Cannae, in which they outnumber Hannibal's but was beaten and had been inflicted one of the most staggering amount of losses for any European army. Consider even Alexander's army at Gaugamela, outnumbered 5 to 1 but won because he saw a chance and at the right time seized that chance. Or consider Vietnam where the world's most advanced military technology was countered by simple and often low tech means.

But what fascinates me the most of war is about how the inferior can triumph over the superior. That perhaps may not be a correct way to term it, considering the smaller army may not be the inferior ones if they were better prepared and equipped. But the point is that anyone has the potential in them for something great, to be able to achieve something, but often we can never be tested in times of peace or calm. It is when dire times come that we can see who will shine through. The finest moments of life is usually after our darkest hours. It is usually in do or die situations, or in situations where one can see the choices of life simple enough, like life and death, is when we make the decisions that matters most.

We demand peace. We champion peace. We will go great lengths to preserve peace. But I fear that in the end there will always be war. There will always be war so long as there is a conflict of interests, and so long as people think differently in their own way (freedom of thought?) there will be conflicting interest. And while I firmly state that we should not condone acts of aggression, I understand that there are values from it which we can learn and obtain from.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

What came from the Kingdom of Heaven?

The recent release of Kingdom of Heaven brought along with it two most heated argument, especially considering the issues of our time. Aside from the fact, of course, that there are those who think the movie sucked and those who thought it was great (though from what I've seen and read, the latter seemed to number more than the former).

The first heated debate regarded the age old issue of Islam vs. Christianity vs. Judaism. I apologizise of course if by my use of the "vs" thing seemed quite harsh, but the fact is it is no more harsh than the people who voice out their (sometimes ignorant) views on the matter. I am amazed however that it is the 'non muslim champions' that are actually preaching the 'hate' lectures while thus far the majority of the muslim ones seem to preach tolerence instead. Not all non muslims gives such harsh views though and for that is thankful enough, but the fact that these 'hate mongers' consider Islam (they refer it to the Islam in those times, 11th Century or so, though I don't dare to imagine what they think of Islam now) as barbaric and the fact that Muslims who supposedly gain so much advances in science was due to the absorbtion of the people and cultures gained through the tip of the sword, or even that one said that while the existence of Jesus was undeniable, the existence of our Prophet Muhammad was questionable or even that the Prophet's motives were of personal gain only, seemed downright rude, idiotic and plain ignorant. I cannot but feel bad that at times that when we say over and over again the word 'peace' these days, there are still many of us who do things that provoke otherwise.

The second matter is the fact that 'pretty boy' Orlando Bloom had the lead role. Equally divided, some say he performed good, while others say he sucked. But the main issue that seemed to stem from this is the 'Hate them because they're pretty" thing. It is supposedly said that people (mostly men) hate Orlando Bloom and his types because he is good looking and the haters themselves are ugly or jealous or have low self esteem. Now how silly is that? I dare say that most guys don't like the whole pretty feminine-ish looks for those of our kind, but we dare say that we know some male actors who are good looking and all, (an opinion both male and female share) but still have good acting talent. Look at Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp for example, these are people who have had scores of female following but we (the guys) do not bash on them because we respect the fact they have talent. I am not saying Orlando Bloom sucks, but the fact that while in Kingdom of Heaven he did okay by me, overall he's not the best of actors. Perhaps in time he will earn his experience and shape up his skills, but for the moment he is roughly average, and given that fact, I think there are a number of other actors that could've filled his role better. Seriously though, I noticed it is the girls who are quick to go "you're just jealous" when we criticize such actors.

But overall the movie was cool. And I like the concept of how they want us to think all about this whole religious fanaticism thing. To think that any blind plan can work simply because the notion of "God wills it" is idiotic and funny to behold. There's a saying that even some of the people in this country have heard but failed to grasp still. "God helps those who help themselves".

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The 42nd Raccoon Reconnaisance Unit opens an outpost

A blogger site! Whoop-dee-doo! So exciting!

... Not.

Frankly, the difference between blogger sites as this and online community sites like friendster and its ilk are getting minimal at best. And I still maintain a primary blog siteat though for reasons I am unsure myself, my logs there have gotten more personal and I fear in due time I would feel comfortable making that known to those closest to me only.

So comes this outpost.

The rare moment that I don't feel like being personal and want a rather public viewing, I'll write something here, though by most means this would be on things like warfare, gaming, movies and other stuff happening in the world. When I want to talk about personal life, personal works, private stuff or chicks, then it'd be at myspace. Meaning to say that there'd be more posts there (it's getting packed there anyways) though what I post here hopefully can be more easily discussed by people. Hopefully. Because that depends on the desire of YOU people as well.