Once Upon A Time

once upon a time

Once Upon a Time… a classic opening to many stories that continue to capture the hearts of children with exciting fairy tales such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty. However, this clever opening quote is also the name of a brilliant television show. Filled with excitement, romance, adventure and more, Once Upon a Time has also captured the hearts of people of all ages, including myself.

Once Upon a Time is a very popular American fantasy show. It was created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, the creators of another television show called “Lost”. The show premiered on October 23, 2011 and has been showing ever since, with its 7th season returning this October. It starts in the city of Boston, where a bail bondsperson by the name of Emma Swan is visited by her son, Henry, whom she gave up 10 years ago. He brings her back to the town of Storybrooke. He is convinced that everyone in the town are real-life fairy tale characters from his book that have been cursed for 28 years, with no memory of their real identity.

As the story progresses, we find out that Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming and she was abandoned by her parents in hopes that one day she may break the curse. You may be wondering and yes, I mean Snow White and Prince Charming from the classic animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Along the way, new characters are revealed, friendships are formed and romance blossoms.
During the release of its first season, the show was generally well received by critics. One review from IGN Movies states:

“It’s undeniable that fairy tales have universal appeal; we never tire of reading or watching them… it’s not easy to strike the right note between the real and the storybook; Once Upon a Time finds it though.                 ~Amy Ratcliffe, IGN

In my opinion, Once Upon a Time is the perfect show for me. Although it may seem long-winded at times, the complex characters and storylines keep me on edge. Sometimes, the fast-paced adventures keep me glued to my television screen.

As I watch more and more of the show, I connect with the characters. I find this show very different than others because not only is it medieval-like, in a way, it is also very modern. Although these are fairy tale characters whose lives are much different than ours, the situations they are in help me to identify with them more and help me understand the show even better.

I also enjoy the use of fairy tale characters. I would have never expected to be watching a show which placed Snow White, The Evil Queen and Captain Hook in one room. However, for some adults, it reminds them of the stories they read when they were young and for children, it continues to show them the magic of fairy tales and bedtime stories.

The main message of the show is hope. One quote that I take away from the show is “…the most important thing anyone can have. Hope. Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.” It reminds me that I should never give up hope and that no matter how bad things are, I should always hope for a happy ending.
I recommend this show to anyone who is a fan of fantasy books, Disney classics or just anyone who is lost and wants to find that hope in their lives. Although Once Upon a Time is at its 7th season, it is still the show that holds a special place in my still childish, imaginative and hopeful heart.

Link: http://www.ign.com/articles/2011/10/21/once-upon-a-time-pilot-review

Rachel Lie

1 Purity


A Silent Voice that speaks louder than words

a silwnt voice

If you are wondering, ‘Is this another Japanese movie?’, indeed, it is. Recently, there has been a spark in the anime — also known as Japanese animation — industry. More of these films are starting to play on the big screen, especially in Singapore! One of them was the touching and heartfelt movie — Koe no Katachi (the English title being “A Silent Voice”.)

Ishida Shouya — a young boy with an outgoing personality — meets Nishimiya Shouko, a deaf girl. Nishimiya transferred to Shouya elementary school in her final year, meaning there was a need to make new friends. Her classmates were really fascinated about her situation, having never been friends with a ‘deaf girl’. Nishimiya uses a notebook to communicate with her classmates and they help her through writing notes in class. However soon enough, due to frustration and troubles communicating, Nishimiya is isolated and bullied. Shouya takes part in this too, being an impressionable and mischievous juvenile. When Nishimiya’s mother realises that her daughter is being bullied, Shouya is turned into a scapegoat. The class turns against him, giving him the blame and turning him from ‘bully’ to ‘bullied’. Shouya is now a teenager and is finding his way through life. He decides to try to repay his ‘debts’ from the incident in elementary school in a final effort to make sense of purpose and living. Not before encountering Nishimiya again. Will he be able to make amends?

Well, whether he made up for his wrongdoings is left for you to find out and decide! This curiosity was one of the factors pushing me to catch the movie when it came out in Singapore. There are many other factors too. This movie touches on very heavy subjects like disabilities, bullying and ending one’s life. However, it does so in a touching, heartfelt manner that is sure to give you emotions ranging from laughs to tears. Shouya is a very complex character. You may detest him at first but then when you see him develop, you start pitying him. Sometimes I even questioned, who was the bigger victim because of the incident? He matures very quickly and you can’t help but notice the paralleling qualities between him and Nishimiya Shouko. Nishimiya may be deaf, but she isn’t weak. She stands up for herself and is a sweet, kind and caring girl. She’s a character you’ll love instantly. Nishimiya can be stubborn and strong-willed. However, there are moments when you can experience her loneliness and sadness first-hand which really takes her character to another level. Both characters share similarities ranging from experiences to metaphorical disabilities — some that you can only spot if you see the movie for yourself!

The most outstanding thing for me was the use of ‘voice’. As Nishimiya is deaf, she speaks through sign language instead of talking. Even though she tries her best, others couldn’t connect with her in elementary school as the bridge of communication was lost. Shouya, after being isolated himself, grows to block out what other people say. He, being tired of hearing insults and gossip,chooses to be in a way, ‘deaf’ himself. Both Nishimiya and Shouya helped each other get past the traumatic experience in a twist of events. Their troubles from friendship to family problems are all relatable and heart-wrenching, making me shed tears more than a couple of times. The symbolism was really a great factor in telling the story in one of the best ways possible.

On the whole, I enjoyed this movie so much that I could probably watch it a billion times! The animation was great in terms of quality, the plot and storyline was so real and touching and the character development was spectacular. The relatability of this film is one of its most outstanding features, one that sets it above the rest. It may no longer be in the cinemas, but do catch it when it comes out on DVD or blu ray. This catch is definitely worth a shot!





Jaime Ng

2 Loyalty

Movie Review


Although this is not the typical hour-plus movie, this review will be on a short movie, also popularly known as 微电影 in China and Taiwan, produced by our local Singaporean stars – JJ Lin.  Besides producing his music video for one of his hit songs – Practice Love, he decided to produce this short animation movie as an extension of the music  video and as a dedication to his friend who passed away in SilkAir M185 plane crash in 1997, who also became his inspiration to write the above-mentioned song.

This 11-minute long movie tells a really touching and heartbreaking story of what he and his friend went through together before she passed away. JJ Lin takes plays a computer programmer whose girlfriend, a botanist, dies in a meteor storm while on a routine space mission. Overcome with grief, he develops a programme which converts memories into images, so that people can see those whom they miss the most. The entire concept shows an obvious similarity between the plane crash and the meteor storm in the plot. The sad part of the plot was towards the end when it was known to the world that the programme he developed needed to be taken down and banned because people were too caught up with the past and the illusion of reuniting with people who have already left them have resulted in everyone forgetting to live in the moment and moving on from the past. This gave off a really strong impact as it tries to convey JJ’s message that “some memories cannot be wiped away, and some relationships, once gone, can never come back.”.

As an avid listener of JJ’s songs, I really enjoyed how he integrated the concept of futuristic into the movie to illustrate his relationship with his friend together with the song. It made the movie and the plot to be much less cliché and alienating from the typical Romeo and Juliet story but instead made it so much more touching and surprising in the sense that suspense played a big role in the movie without much words being spoken throughout the movie. I personally felt that this element made the movie much more open-ended and alongside with the fact that this movie was released even before JJ shared the story with the public, so it allowed the audience to freely interpret with their own thoughts and feelings about what’s going on in the movie.

Thus, I really encourage you to check out this short movie that really takes your emotion on a toll!


Rachael Fong


Wreck-it Ralph (2012)

wreck“I’m gonna wreck it!”

The movie follows the trials and tribulations of video game villain Wreck-it Ralph, who was tired of being overshadowed by Fix-it Felix, the “good guy” star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing and seeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decided he’s tired of playing the role of a bad guy. He took matters into his own massive hands and set off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero. During his quest, he met the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty. But it’s the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world was threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashed a deadly enemy that threatened the entire arcade. Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it’s too late?

The premise is similar to Toy Story. Once the lights go out, the characters are off-duty and have a life of their own. It turns out that acting out these video games is their day job, and there is a transportation terminal that takes them to and from their games at the arcade. Once again Disney has created an immersive world that’s rich with detail, populated by characters who have problems humans can identify with and characteristics that make even bad guys likeable.

Without a doubt, this is my favourite movie in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. I thoroughly enjoyed the intricate plot mechanics and found the concept of sentient game characters leaving their arcade games when the arcade closes and interacting with each other extremely fascinating. The movie featured many game characters that many would have heard of including Pac-Man and Sonic the Hedgehog. I was originally skeptical but soon realised that one need not be a gamer to enjoy Wreck-it Ralph.

The beginning of the movie introduced the idea that a whole other universe could exist in games, plugs and cables drawing me in and keeping my eyes glued to the screen. Towards the end, an unexpected plot-twist was revealed, keeping me on the edge of my seat and along with everyone else in the theatre, I heaved a sigh of relief when the problem was resolved.

For me, the highlight of the film was the friendship development between the two main characters, Ralph and Vanellope, as it was extremely heart-warming and brought tears to my eyes multiple times. Vanellope started out vexing Ralph with her energy, enthusiasm and wide-eyed naivety but Ralph ends up protecting Vanellope, coming close to giving up his life for her. Wreck-it Ralph is definitely a must watch, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the sequel, Wreck-it Ralph 2, which will be released in 2018.




Jocelyn Lim (3 Justice)



Jurassic World


Released on June 12 last year, Jurassic World is a brilliant film that is reminiscent of the previous series of the 1990s Steven Spielberg Jurassic Park films. Set a little over 20 years after the events of Jurassic Park, Jurassic World takes place on the fictional island of Isla Nublar, off the coast of Costa Rica, where a theme park of genetically modified dinosaurs plunges into chaos when the most dangerous and most intelligent hybrid dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, breaks loose. Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), a Navy veteran and the ‘commander’ of a pack of Velociraptors; and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the operations manager, must race against time to save the lives of the terrified tourists, including Claire’s two young nephews, Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson).

One is brought on an exhilarating ride through a prehistoric dinosaur chase. Throughout the movie, I was on the edge of my seat, watching with bated breath as I feared for the lives of the poor tourists. The film cleverly combines the themes of adventure, action and family into one amazing masterpiece. Aside from the heart-stopping action, the theme of family and growing up is intelligently woven into the film. At the beginning, Zach is portrayed as a moody teenager who could not care less what happens to his younger brother. However, as the film progresses, Zach’s cold exterior slowly melts away and one can clearly see how much he loves Gray. The movie also brings up the importance of being resourceful in times of danger, through subtle links to the Jurassic Park movie.

Fans will be excited to know that plans for Jurassic World 2, set to release in 2018, have been made, with production set to begin any time soon. The movie will be filming under the alias Ancient Futures, which already gives a huge hint on what is to come in the following sequel. The plot thickens in Jurassic World 2, where rumour has it that geneticist Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) will work with former head of the park’s security operations Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) to create an army of military dinosaurs – and they will be successful. Furthermore, dinosaurs in the Jurassic World park will no longer be locked up in high-security enclosures, but instead be roaming freely. Also, some breeds of dinosaurs would be domesticated as pets to live with loving families. Therefore, I am sure that Jurassic World 2 would certainly be a much more intense film than Jurassic World, and that fans would be delighted to know that three of the original actors would be returning for the sequel.




Chua Wei Ting (2T)

Movie Review – The Intern


No matter how old you are, there is always something to share and pass on, and something to learn. Already in his 70s, Ben Whittaker has retired, lived a healthy lifestyle and a contented life, and yet, applied to get back to work again at one of the most successful fashion companies, when no one else would at his age. He impresses the employees with his good attitude during the interview and is assigned to be mentored by Jules Ostin, the founder of the fashion company. However, Jules was doubtful of Ben’s abilities but Ben never lost his enthusiasm. As the movie progresses, Ben does his work to the best of his ability and always helps Jules out whenever he can as Jules starts to face more challenges between home and work. As Ben continually (and never fails) to help Jules during the most challenging point of her life, their intern-boss relationship is drawn closer and Jules learns many valuable lessons from Ben as he gradually becomes her best intern, and her best friend.

Although it is not an action-packed and adrenaline-filled movie, its essence is filled with zest and sometimes humour that will definitely entertain you throughout the 2 hours of the movie. Not only so, it is poignant and meaningful as there are valuable life lessons you will be able to take away from a simple, light-hearted movie like The Intern. No matter how successful you are, sometimes it would not hurt to listen to someone’s advice or seek his or her help when you need it, even those who have a lower status than you as they might have the wealth of experience and knowledge that will definitely give you the encouragement and support you need to get you through when life throws you lemons. I believe you can also learn to adopt the all smiles, positive outlook of life from Ben and take away the most important lesson throughout the movie – learning to let go.

I definitely enjoyed this funny movie that has melted my heart with the wise words said and I believe when you step into the world of The Intern, you will enjoy and feel the energetic vibes from it that continues to tingle and leave you to reflect even at the end of the movie. Released quite recently and effectively presenting the very most important lesson of life that applies to all ages through a modern touch, this movie definitely closes the generation gap between the elderly and the young adults in a humorous and touching way. Reflecting reality at the same time, it gives you the opportunity to laugh and release some endorphins as you watch and learn together with the characters in the movie. I strongly recommend everyone to grab your popcorns and give it a go at being an intern!

Renee Ong

2 Justice


Movie Review : Kung Fu Panda 3


Recently, the long awaited sequel to “Kung Fu Panda 2” finally came out in Singapore cinemas. This time, the movie revolved around Po taking Master Shifu’s place as a teacher, Po meeting his biological father, Li Shan, for the first time, and Po becoming a true ‘Chi’ master.

The movie starts off with Kai, a yak who used to be friends with Master Oogway, fighting with Master Oogway in the spirit realm. Oogway gives in and Kai steals his ‘chi’, helping Kai escape the spirit realm to the mortal world. Meanwhile, Master Shifu announces his retirement and passes on the role of teacher to Po, resulting in the Furious 5 getting injured. Po starts to doubt himself as the Dragon Warrior. Later on, he meets his biological father, Li Shan, before Kai’s minion jade statues start attacking. Hearing from Master Shifu that the only way to defeat Kai was to learn the true ways of channeling ‘chi’, Li Shan promises to teach Po the ways of ‘chi’ if Po returned to the secret panda village with him. Therefore, Li Shan, Po, and Po’s adoptive father Ping set off to the panda village, and the adventure begins.

This movie is a good sequel to ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’, and the answers to the questions in the previous movie. The new characters introduced are interesting and some people have already started writing ‘fanfictions’ on their origins. This movie is fun for all ages and is family friendly. If you are thirsting for a movie that will make you laugh, why not try watch ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’? Personally, I feel that this movie is a must see and is a choice that you will never regret as this movie will give you a laugh and will help you to relax after 1 tiring term of school.

Rachel Goh






http://kungfupanda.wikia.com/wiki/Kung_Fu_Panda_3 (Image)

Movie Review: Zootopia

Zootopia, Disney’s 55th animated feature, was an instant outstanding hit once it was released into theatres. Why? From an animation perspective, all the animals in Zootopia are stunningly crafted, bubbling with diverse personalities and looks that draw out their distinct features, captivating the hearts of the audience. However, on deeper hindsight, Zootopia provides a parable with invaluable lessons that casts a striking reflection on the image of present-day society. The story plot capitalises on the stereotypical sly fox, dumb bunny dynamic to capture the attention of the audience, before twisting their primitively prey-predator relationship to that of close friends who stick by each other in times of need, regardless of their differences.

On another dimension, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), the bunny whose ambition is to become a cop, demonstrates courage in pursuing her dreams and breaking predetermined boundaries set for each species based on their stereotypes. Judy aspires to be a police officer, and remains determined in overcoming numerous obstacles, eventually graduating as valedictorian of her class, proving that effort pays off. However, she is greeted with even more challenges that cause her to doubt her own ability, and struggles to be given recognition as an official police officer as Chief Bogo delegates her to be a meter maid, a demeaning job for any police officer. Nonetheless, her decision to take on the case of a missing otter and knack for tracking down evidence leads her to Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a sly fox whom she ends up partnering with to solve the case.

Nick himself also has a childhood story to tell, which confined him to the stereotypical characteristics of a fox – shifty and untrustworthy. He carries these traits into adulthood after being shunned for trying to step out of the norm as an adolescent when he was rejected by Junior Ranger Scouts. He becomes a popsicle hustler who resorts to trickery and deception in order to gain maximum profit. It is no surprise that he has associations with all sorts of shady characters, clubs and organisations. However, it certainly tugs on heartstrings as we see how he was forced to conform to society’s stereotypes, and the devastating impact it had on his future. Only through Judy does he realise that not all people judge him based on stereotypes, and regains enough courage to be himself, step out of the boundaries defined by stereotypes and become a police officer.

Whilst Zootopia promises an adventure punctuated with moments that are brimming with tension and suspense, it offers deep insights into our flawed society today, reflected by the stereotypes, discrimination and other issues that are deeply rooted in our society. The parallels to today’s society mean that these issues which has been shone upon by Zootopia are opened for reflection and discussion amongst global citizens. It has certainly hit a chord with audiences from all walks of life through its poignant storyline and strikingly accurate references to issues in our society that has yet to be entirely solved. Suitable for audiences of all ages, Zootopia is definitely not a movie to be missed.


Chloe Kho (2P)

Movie Review: Now You See Me 2


Following the success of the debut movie Now You See Me in 2013, a second movie known as Now You See Me 2 was released on June 9 this year. Directed by Jon M. Chu, the two-hour film follows infamous illusionists known as the Four Horsemen (Dave Franco, Jesse Eisenberg, Lizzy Caplan, and Woody Harrelson) as they flee an invaded stage show and end up in Macau, China, by mistake. They meet a genius tech wizard Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), who commands them to steal a powerful computer chip that can control all of the world’s computers. The Horsemen agree and do as he demands, but soon find out that Mabry may not be who they think he is. As the saying goes ‘identity is an illusion’, anyone can be someone else, especially in a country where the Horsemen do not speak the language. With the most unexpected help, the Horsemen hatch a plan to make Mabry trip over himself in the process of trying to deceive them. To Mabry’s delight, his scheme goes as planned – or so he thinks. In retrospect, the Horsemen hope to expose Mabry and his sly father (Michael Caine) by performing on New Year’s Eve through a series of stunts, but fate has other things in store for them. Meanwhile, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) plots his own revenge on prison inmate Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), who he believes is the catalyst of his magician father’s death.

Now You See Me 2, although unable to surpass the first movie in box office sales, was a dazzling film, with the characters’ clever magic tricks and agile moves, and of course, the cunningly intelligent plot. Although the ‘magic’ on the big screen is obviously an entire variety of illusions, it is still exciting to see the deftly executed illusions that create worlds inside a viewer’s mind. The film combines the themes of magic, science and technology, and power into one incredible product. Although one may be initially confused at the beginning if they had not caught the first film, it is no problem as the film soon blankets the audience in a make-believe fog of illusions. Despite critics who may say that part of the film’s success could have been due to the appearance of Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe as a generally pathetic villain, the film is definitely a must-watch this year.

Chua Wei Ting (2T)




Anastasia is a movie that was released in 1997. It is an awesome animated musical film that tells a story about a girl called Anastasia. I wouldn’t want to give too much away, so these are just some of the details that you can know just to get a glimpse of this fascinating film.

An evil man who hated the royal family cursed them such that they will be killed. As a part of the royal family, Anastasia had to run for her life but unfortunately, she couldn’t get onto a train with her grandmother that was setting off to Paris. A couple of years later, Anastasia had grown up. She had been raise in an orphanage and because she lost her memories, she did not know of her royal heritage. A young man and his partner “befriend” her with the intention of finding her true family in Paris as she said that the only clue she had of her family was a necklace saying “Together in Paris”. Thus they set off to Paris with many obstacles to overcome…

I absolutely adored this movie! It was one of my favourite childhood movies. I loved the music that was so melodious and wonderful. I also liked the plot of a princess finding her true self. Anastasia isn’t just a ditsy princess. She’s strong-headed, smart and brave. It was one of the few animated movies that weren’t produced by the big names, like Disney or Pixar. It also stood out in the sense that the female and male leads had chemistry, not the “Love at first sight” cliché.  Overall, I would recommend that you give it a try! You’re never too old to enjoy a good animated movie, aren’t I right?

Jaime Ng 1 Loyalty