Thursday, 14 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

I've just got home from the midnight premiere of the final Harry Potter and it was absolutely brilliant, but don't worry you can carry on reading (even if you haven't read the books) as this'll be my usual "spoiler free" review. Also sorry if it's a bit jumbled, but it has gone 4am so please forgive me for that! :)

First of all let's get the bad part out of the way: The 3D, or rather, the lack of 3D. It's been known for ages now that Harry Potter was going to be a post-production conversion to 3D and everyone knows that such things are rubbish (Clash of the Titans anyone?) and as such I was fully intending to see this film in 2D, except I didn't have a choice as the midnight showing were 3D only. They actually later added additional showings including a 2D one, but I'd already booked the tickets so it was too late for that! I did however get to wear some rather funky 3D glasses though:

How cool are they? Harry Potter shaped glasses!!! And what made it even cooler (to me) was that they're Cineworld exclusive glasses which I picked up a few weeks ago and we were in a Vue cinema and as such I WAS THE ONLY PERSON WEARING THEM. Epic. :) If only there had been some 3D to actually appreciate... so yeh, post-production 3D conversion = rubbish, it just doesn't work and it's rubbish. Do NOT pay the extra to watch it in 3D although if you do it won't ruin the film at all, but you're actually just wasting your money! Still a few bits were done rather well and the scenes with the dragon springs to mind here (yes there's a dragon in the film so sorry if you find that to be a spoiler!). If anything these 3D conversion films are actually ruining the 3D market because people think that's as good as 3D can be and it's really not. Transformers 3 was a brilliant example of 3D that really worked, because they didn't try to throw it in your face (well for 99% of the film anyway!) and it was just there as a bonus, not a requirement.

But anyway, enough about the rubbish 3D and back to the actual film! It carries straight on from where the first one left off and although the first 5 minutes felt a bit slow, it soon sped up and within *20 minutes* we've already been to Gringotts and we're back at Hogwarts! Please don't misunderstand though, although in the book that's a heck of a lot of pages and in ways Gringotts does feel a little rushed, what needed to be done was done and it gave more time to Hogwarts which is where most of this film is set.

Like all the previous films it was pretty faithful to the books with only a few minor changes, but the most surprising one in this something Neville says/does, but in no way is it a bad surprise, it was just unexpected! I can't say anymore, but you'll see what I mean :)

Right so, basically I've said pretty much nothing about the film, yet I've managed to write 5 paragraphs already, that's not bad going :) Everything that needed to be done, was done and as such I'm very happy with this film and it ended the series perfectly. If you've seen part 1 then it's definetly worth seeing this at the cinema (in 2D!), but I know I'll happily be buying the boxset as soon as it gets released! :D

Monday, 11 July 2011

Balls of steel

Back at Xmas 2009 my parents bought me a gold coloured NeoCube for one of my presents and I've had many fun hours since then playing with it and making things out of it. If you're unfamiliar with it, they're simply 216 magnetic spheres that originally form a cube (6x6x6), but you can shape into loads of things as they're incredibly magnetic. So much so that you have to actually be really careful not to get it too close to anything electronical incase you fry it!

Last week I joined Google+ (It's weird isn't it? I don't think I'll be ditching Facebook anytime soon though...) and my friend Tyrel posted some pictures on his account of things he'd done with two of these cubes. I've long since wished I had more so I could make bigger items and as you can imagine I was a bit jealous. Lately I've noticed that less and less people sell the gold coloured one I have (in the same size) and since I'd want matching ones I decided that I should proably buy another set now because I might not be able to in the future. So I bought 3 more sets! :)

You can see my original cube in the top-right corner, it's slightly discoloured after 18 months of heavy use, but they're all mixed together now and you can't really tell them apart. Four cubes is 864 spheres and it's actually pretty heavy! I've got the smaller "classic" size so each sphere is 4.76mm big so whilst the picture might look quite big, the actual thing really isn't. In fact, unless you're looking at this on a mobile device, the picture is going to be at least twice the size of the real thing!

They're fiddly little things and the slightest knock and they'll stick to the wrong ones, but that's half the fun! I made a 9x9x10 tower and then a mini tower on top to use up all the balls and then I made a few more shapes, but the best one I made tonight was probably the hollow cube:

I can't take any credit for the design as it's nothing new and it took me 3 attempts to get it right. The secret is to use some sort of thin plastic (in my case I was using my old swipe card from work!) so line the spheres up with the plastic in between them (it'll easily attach through the plastic) and then remove the card to complete that section. Doing it without plastic is quite frankly suicidal and unless you have the steadiest hands in the words, you can expect to have to do it multiple times otherwise :)

Oh and regarding the title, they're not steel, they're neodymium, but as you've realised, "Balls of neodymium" really isn't as funny :)