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July 22, 2010
Shrek Forever After
Director: Mike Mitchell
Running time: 93 minutes
Stars: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz,
Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas
Rating:ONCE the kids have out-played
their Playstation 3, down-
loaded all the latest iPhone
apps, started bickering with
each other and insist they are bored, it's
handy to know a few family friendly
flicks will achieve smirks of approval.
What is meant to be the 'final chap-
ter' of the successful Shrek franchise
--Shrek Forever After -- will certainly win
laughs, and not just from the kids.
Once again the Shrek team has pro-
duced a film that is just as enjoyable for
adults as it is for children.
Shrek (Mike Myers) has everything
he could possibly want in life -- happily
married to Fiona (Cameron Diaz) with
three little ogres who adore their daddy.
But Shrek is struggling with the daily
grind of family life and as he realises
he has no time for himself any more, he
wishes he could turn back time to when
life was simpler and "things made sense".
As Shrek searches for a way to
become more like the ogre he used to
be, he is duped into signing a dodgy
contract with the notorious trickster
Rumplestiltskin's 'ogre for a day'
contract tricks Shrek into trading a day
from his past, and Rumplestiltskin robs
Shrek of the day he was born.
In the magical alternate uni-
v erse where Shrek doesn't exist,
Rumplestiltskin rules the kingdom of Far
Far Away and Shrek's wife Fiona is the
warrior leader of the ogre resistance.
The only way Shrek can break
the contract and get his real life back
is to kiss his true love, which proves
difficult as Fiona doesn't know him in
Rumplestiltskin's altered world.
Just like the previous Shrek films,
Shrek Forever After is a fun adventure
full of fairytale characters that are clev-
erly woven into the storyline. Puss in
Boots (Antonio Banderas), Donkey
(Eddie Murphy) and Gingy return with
more hilarious and adorable antics, and
the animation is incredibly realistic.
Overall it's a shame this is the 'final
chapter' because this film just leaves you
Toy Story 3
Director: Lee Unkrich
Running Time: 108 minutes
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan
Cusack and Don Rickles
Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz
(Tim Allen), Jessie and the
gang are back in Toy Story 3.
It has been years since we last saw the
Toy Story gang and they have had to
adapt to some big changes.
Over the years their beloved Andy
has grown up and abandoned his toys for
his video games and mobile phone.
This movie explores how Woody and
the other toys adjust to the reality Andy
is leaving home for college and won't be
taking them with him.
Andy can't bear to throw out his life-
long friends and intends to store the toys
in the attic. However, in a tragic mix-
up, the toys end up being donated to a
nearby kindergarten called Sunnyside.
(Sunnyside is a school filled with tod-
dlers that play rough and toy bullies.)
Toy Story 3 is about the toys' struggle
to escape Sunnyside, so they can return
to their owner Andy.
This film is colourful, fun, brilliantly
animated and full of the characters we
know and love. If you were a fan of the
previous films, you will absolutely love
Disney's latest effort.
-- ABCIS Melanie Schinkel
The carnage of
metal and men
By Antony Underwood
IT'S clear that Sydney-based jour-
nalist and media personality Mike
Carlton has laboured long and lov-
ingly over Cruiser, the most recent
history of the first HMAS Perth.
Sub-titled The life and loss of
HMAS Perth and her crew, it's a
story that really defines all that's
good and what we would hope for
from members of the RAN.
With the clarity of an interval
of nearly 70 years since the ship
was sunk and considerable research,
Carlton has managed to draw
together the strategic and tactical
threads into a coherent narrative
accessible to all -- even laymen in
the broad church of naval history
With the security wrappers off
most of the World War II policy
material and an abundance of mem-
oirs and other descriptions of ration-
ale behind strategic progress of the
conflict, Carlton manages to soar
with an omniscient eye.
He describes prevailing inter-
national relationships and how
Perth moved from acquisition in
Portsmouth through the honeymoon
period with visits to New York and
the Caribbean and Tahiti to home-
port Sydney, to operational duties in
the Mediterranean and Aegean, and
the South West Pacific and Java Sea.
At the same time, he examines
command of the ship through four
COs -- CAPTs Harold Farncomb
and Sir Philip Bowyer-Smyth,
RN, CMDR Charles Reid (briefly)
and CAPT Hector Waller. Carlton
expresses opinions about them
acquired through reports, publica-
tions and chiefly through the filter
of members of the ship's company.
From the outset, it's clear that at
least two COs -- Bowyer-Smith and
Waller ('Hard Over Hec') -- were
consummate ship handlers under
fire. And the ship also possessed a
considerable degree of luck under
conditions that sank many other
The progress of the war, from
action in the Mediterranean and
the tragedies of sea and shore
action in Greece, Crete and the
Aegean, moves through strained
US-Japanese relations, the attack
on Pearl Harbor and the fall of
Singapore to work with the US
and Dutch navies in a vain bid to
prevent the invasion of the (then)
Netherlands East Indies.
The fears and exigencies of
wartime are brought home via
the words of prime ministers and
presidents of the time -- Curtin and
Menzies, Churchill and Roosevelt.
There are competing priorities,
personality conflicts and blunders
which cost many thousands of lives.
Abstractly, it charts Australia's
course away from British Empire
and towards the American alliance.
But it is the characters of the
ship -- the personal stories of ordi-
nary people -- that really make
Cruiser an engrossing read. This is
a story about sailors at war and their
loved ones at home in Australia --
life, conflict, death and all the
pathos that entails.
The description of battle is gritty.
It's gained from a number of sourc-
es such as long-serving crew mem-
ber Ray Parkin's Wartime Trilogy,
diaries of others in the ship's com-
pany, earlier publications about
Perth and it's clear Carlton made
a best effort to seek out primary
sources and interview the very few
remaining members of Perth's crew
in his research.
Carlton's flair for entertainment
makes Cruiser a more approachable
read than some other tomes on the
topic. Descriptions of prevailing
weather conditions (but there are
no 'dark and stormy nights'), the
fatigue of crewmen closed up under
fire or threat of it for days on end,
and acts of mateship and extreme
bravery under the most diabolical
situations, paint part of the picture.
This is an excellent book well
worth the $55 admission charge
(I think you may be able to buy
it cheaper if you carry out a web
search). It should be on the read-
ing list for every person joining the
RAN and would make an ideal pre-
sent for a Perth aficionado.
Cruiser: The life and loss of
HMAS Perth and her crew
Random House Australia
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