The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – I say it’s good

Another good action movie by the almighty Jerry Bruckheimer and the reliable Nicolas Cage. He’s one of the few actors in Hollywood that have the Midas touch that can savage the movie and the producer’s bottom line as well. He is charismatic, lovely, manly and emotional. His facial expressions are perfect, and even with very little room for emotion in between heavy actions, he still manages to show his soft side. That’s why we still flock to the cinema to watch his movies.

Having said that, this movie is not bad at all. It’s quite rightly paced, with enough actions to keep the audience entertained till the end. The ancient story of Merlin and magic and the good vs evil battle was brought to the modern time, and intertwined with the new story of teen love and modern physics, creating a new, interesting twist that is quite exciting. The unexpected pairing of the thousand year old Balthazar and the teenager Dave requires lots of patience on the former, luckily the master was quite understanding and forgiving of the later’s signature teenager’s unpredictability, lack of focus and annoyance, so they made up a good team and achieved what Balthazar has been living all these years for.

Dave is played by an upcoming young actor, who is quite little known, despite having starred in the recent “She’s out of my league”. In this movie, what he has to do is to act his age and be himself, and he has done quite well indeed. His childish behavior and reactions made me feel quite frustrated at times, but he was acting his age, he was cute and he was natural, so that made it acceptable. He portrays the image and emotions of a young teenager, with easy change of mind, high passion, full of love and a sense of responsibility that is often covered by laziness or annoyance, but still comes out in times of need. He has enough energy, and who knows, in a few years, he will be the next Shia Lebeouf 🙂

The pair are joined by an ensemble cast of villains and supports, including the talented Monica Bellucci as Veronica and the scheming Molina as Maxim. The teen’s love interest is also played by a little known charming actress, Teresa Palmer, from Down Under. She has appeared in a few movies before, with dismal impression. Hopefully, this will create a momentum for her to progress faster in her acting career.

As usual, for your movie experience, I will not drill into the plot, and try posting as many photos as I can find 🙂

There were a lot of Kamezoko-style lightning bolt throwing stunts, which look quite fun and impressive. It really reminded me of the Dragon Ball comic (I mean the original comic, not the spin off movie, which was really a disaster). The sorcerers did not use wands, but they still needed some objects, such as rings or a baton, to transmit energy. And I love the reason why sorcerers always wear ugly looking pointed shoes 😛

Veronica, the only reason why Balthazar has been trying in vain for more than 1000 years.

The deadly spell to summon the dead. The same spell was also found in Ghost Rider, and Lord Voldemort could easily do it to build his own army.

An Eastern style villain. Quite a show, but not much effect after all.

The dragon rings, which can recognize the Prime Merlinian. It will only take a while for it to appear on teens’ fingers, I believe.


A big flop called Eclipse

Well, for those of you who have watched the movie, I bet many of you may more or less agree with me. For those who have not watched it yet, and don’t intend to watch it, my advice is, don’t bother. It’s  not worth 2 hours of your life, although the movie may help you see for yourself how long 2 hours feel like, and appreciate the flow of time much much more, which is good, as we are always told that every moment is precious and time is very precious. If you intend to watch it, well, you are welcome, but please do not hold your expectation too high (it should be set as high as that for New Moon, if not lower :P) or you will be really disappointed.

Eclipse continues the story about Bella, the girl who craves to become immortal, and Edward, the immortal who despises his nature. This one has more action than the second movie, and follows the book more closely, but it is also more cheesy and draggy it made me lose patient with every passing minute. There were a lot of kisses, vampire kiss, werewolf kiss, etc etc, but not enough actions. Worse still, the intensity of the doom situation the Cullens were placed into was missing in the movie. The actors moved so slowly and talked so slowly and showed so calm faces that I could hardly see the urgency and the danger lurking around them. It seems that the army of newborns was no big deal, just a small thing to attend to with ease.

The most frustrating thing about this movie is the cast’s acting skills. They seem to be struggling a lot just to show emotions on their faces. Jacob almost has no emotion at all, even in the moments of deepest pains of the one who discovered the bitter truth that he was the loser. Bella, as usual, showed very little on her face and her eyes, and had permanent issues with controlling her limb movements. Edward was a bit better, but like the previous 2 movies, he still had constant jaw pain that makes his jaw movements very unnatural especially whenever he speaks. The rest does not fare much better, but with less screen time, it’s easier to tolerate their performance 😐

Next in the frustration list is the special effects. Compared to New Moon, the improvement was that there was fewer slow motions, which I hated the most in the second movie. However, the fighting scenes were not much better, due to awful special effects that make those torn newborns look waxy and unreal. Hollywood can do better than that, as proven by other vampire movies, so I don’t know why this one resorts to that kind of crude props and effects. Budget issues, perhaps.

Alice Cullen was the rare bright spot in the second movie. This time, it is Jasper Hale. He has more screen time, and he looks really cool in this movie. His voice has charisma and his face shows the pride of the one who is in charge, and the utmost determination to make good of his responsibility, to do a good job and redeem himself for the mistakes he made. Moreover, he is much more handsome this time, with better makeup and less messy hairdo. Good job, Jasper. You are the hero here.

Cool Jasper

Uncool Edward

Is this supposed to be a subtle Apple ad?

Alice has always been the most dazzling of all. Whatever eye color.

Such a charming smile

One can never get enough of her. Vampire or no vampire.

Freaky Bella

Even more freaky. This seems to be her look after the transformation.

My most favorite Twilight movie so far. Too bad they changed the cast for Victoria. I really prefer the previous girl though. She looks fiercer, more calculating and much more lethal.

Well, for those of you who have watched the movie, I bet many of you may more or less agree with me. For those who have not watched it yet, and don’t intend to watch it, my advice is, don’t bother. It’s  not worth 2 hours of your life, although the movie may help you see for yourself how long 2 hours feel like, and appreciate the flow of time much much more, which is good, as we are always told that every moment is precious and time is very precious. If you intend to watch it, well, you are welcome, but please do not hold your expectation too high (it should be set as high as that for New Moon, if not lower :P) or you will be really disappointed.

Eclipse continues the story about Bella, the girl who craves to become immortal, and Edward, the immortal who despises his nature. This one has more action than the second movie, and follows the book more closely, but it is also more cheesy and draggy it made me lose patient with every passing minute. There were a lot of kisses, vampire kiss, werewolf kiss, etc etc, but not enough actions. Worse still, the intensity of the doom situation the Cullens were placed into was missing in the movie. The actors moved so slowly and talked so slowly and showed so calm faces that I could hardly see the urgency and the danger lurking around them. It seems that the army of newborns was no big deal, just a small thing to attend to with ease.

Sex and the City 2

So, Sexy and the City is back. Another sequel, built upon the huge success of the first movie, and the never ending love for fashion of audience. It has been 2 years since the first movie based on the series, and that means Carrie and her friends are 2 years older. They are still hot and sexy as ever, but the signs of age have shown clearly on their faces, even that of Charlotte, the youngest looking among them.

The movie runs at 2.5 hours, which I personally believe is a bit too long. That kind of length is only suitable for movies with very complex plots and lots of twists and turns, or those that feature epic battles. This one is a drama, and dramas should be 2 hours or less. That’s why there were not enough details to fill in the whole movie, and there were moments of meaningless stretches and sleepiness.

This time, there was a nice little twist. Instead of sticking to the scenes of New York City, the movie took place in a city far away, in Abu Dhabi, the city of mystery and a totally different culture. Of course, there were lots of high fashion clothes, beautiful rooms, a nice hotel and high class lifestyle, but the way they were projected made me think that the whole movie might be sponsored by the rulers of Abu Dhabi to advertise their country as the destination of choice for high rollers. The level of luxury was a little bit too much, and a lot of emphasis was put on the personal services that catered to each and every subtle need of the customers in that luxurious hotel.

Don’t get me wrong, I did not mean that the movie was not good or the scenes were not amazing. The scenes were indeed very marvelous, and the beautiful hotel made me understand more clearly why Abu Dhabi was neck deep in debts and had  to ask for bailouts. They simply tried too hard to become the new face of the Middle East, overtaking Qatar, and the built too many high class hotels too fast. How many people can afford that level of luxury? I don’t think many people can, especially during tough times.

Ok, enough of economics, let’s get back to the movie. The most important lesson that I gain from this movie is that, it’s really dangerous to be married without children. There is simply too much time, and too much less important thing to spend that time on, so things can easily go haywire due to the lack of business. Both partners in this case will have to work extra hard to find useful ways to spend their time together in a fruitful manner, thinking of new ways to refresh their relationship and making each day after work a joyful experience. Otherwise, the whole marriage can collapse, especially given the fact that there is not much shared responsibility.

The second lesson I have learned is delegation and trust. You cannot do everything yourself. You have only 24 hours a day, and it is sometimes impossible to give enough time to everything you want to do. Therefore, you have to prioritize and delegate, or you will burn out and go crazy soon. Once you have delegated, you have to trust, or you will also go mad and have no peaceful second. If you still have doubts, then you should either change the arrangement to clear those doubts and regain peace, or you should learn to live with it if it’s the only way that works. By the way, things sometimes are much different from what they look like, so it’s better to come and ask for the answer, instead of keeping silent and guessing the answer yourself. If Charlotte had confronted her sexy nanny, she would have known the truth and not have been on the edge all the time in Abu Dhabi.

Overall, the movie was just ok to me. It was a bit too lengthy, and less concentrated than the first one. Moreover, there was not much sex, the essence of the series, probably because of the Arabian context. There were some dirty jokes, but they were quite tame, too.

Once of the funniest moments in the movie may be the cameo scene of Miley Sirus. It’s very short, but it vastly reflects the fact that time never stops and youth will go away and it’s almost pointless to try in vain to turn back time or in this case, trick yourself into believing that you are still teenage when in fact you are not. That kind of vanity will do more harm than good, so it would be wiser to accept the truth and make it work for you. Mature women can still be as beautiful and sexy as ever 🙂

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

After the bitter experience with Clash of the Titans, I could not help having some doubts before walking into the cinema to watch Prince of Persia: Sands of  Time. Luckily, the experience did not repeat once again, and I felt much better leaving the cinema after the movie even though the ending was relatively equally cheesy 🙂

Prince of Persia is a pure action movie. It’s full of actions and fighting scenes, from the beginning to the end. You cannot find a still moment in which the actors don’t run around or wield a sword. The actions were endless, and now to think of it, I am kind of lost and have to try to recall the plot the has been buried behind all those sword fights.

So, true to its name, Prince of Persia is the story of a prince, a special prince, not by blood, but by chance and spirit. I quite appreciated the beginning part when the director introduced the origin of the prince. It helped those who are not familiar with the game, like me, get hold of the story. It’s short and sweet, and impressive. A kind of “Once upon a time …” in the movie language.

Then the actions begin. So are the plots, the treacheries, the lies, and the schemes that turns the plot as fast as the speed of Dastan’s, the prince from the slum, feet. It was relaxing to watch, and I love the fact that the story had room for surprises and wrong prediction. That’s the arts of storytelling. If the story is too predictable, the movie experience will become much less exciting.

Another surprise is seeing Jake act the hero part. I have never thought of seeing him in the form of a hero. He looks to gentle, too fragile, too intricate for a role that needs physique and brute strength. However, after watching Dastan, I know he can do it. His physical form is right for the part, and in his eyes, there is fire. It will be no surprise if we see him in another action movie very soon 🙂

Standing beside the hero is a damsel in distress. That’s the try and true version of Hollywood movies. However, this time, the damsel is not in much distress, but in action. Lots of actions. And she is none other than Gemma Arteton, the beautiful princess in Clash of the Titans.

This time, she takes on a more major role, with more screen time and more fighting scenes. Unlike the powerless princess who got strapped on the pole as a meal for the freaky monster, this time she takes her fate into her own hands and does everything to execute her plan, including turning against the poor clueless runaway prince. She is smart, she is hot, and she is very appealing. From Bond Girl, to Andromeda, to Tamina, she has progressed a lot, and if she continues progressing like this, she will soon become one of the new princesses of Tinseltown.

Again, I repeat that the ending is cheesy. But that’s enough cheese to bear with, especially after all the muscles and blood and sweat and tears shed throughout the previous 2 hours. Moreover, it’s the kind of “Happily ever after …” ending of the fairy tales, so I am content with that.

The CG and special effects are quite impressive. Disney seems to have the ropes on how to make a visually good looking super hero movies. I have read somewhere that they will no longer make normal movies anymore, to focus on franchises, superheroes and animations, and I have no complaint about that.

The movie also features Sir Ben Kingsley. His role is not as major as Dastan and Tamina, but he makes good of each and every moment on screen to portray the image of a true villain with a cold heart and a cold head full of schemes and plans and dark plots to achieve his goal. That’s the quality of an experienced actor.

World Cup 2010 – A funny view

Torres is well on the way towards taming all those fierce looking bulls

Will Messi bring home Argentina’s 3rd cup?

Even without Ballack, Germany is still strong

Kaka is holding the key to Brazil’s success in this World Cup

Will the flying Dutchmen be flying high this time?

Everyone is waiting for Ronaldo’s magic tricks.

The Italians are very determined to keep the cup for 4 more years.

Will they be able to make their American dream come true?

Uruguay is no longer on top, but they will do their best prove themselves.

Is there more about Switzerland other than luxury watches and tasty chocolates?

The South Africans are expected to create some surprises as they are the home team.

A lifetime of war has ended, now Serbia can hope for better things to come.

Shrek Forever After – Much better than Shrek The Third

Shrek is back, and with a vengeance. Shrek The Third was a disaster itself, so disastrous that after watching it I did not think Dreamworks would both coming up with another installment, leaving the franchise to end with that sour note (The same situation has happened to many Hollywood movies, so that was nothing surprising indeed). However, they have been braver than I thought. They collected the pieces, sat back and took time to brainstorm the idea really hard, and finally came up with what I will call a worthy ending and a redemption for the lovely green monster.

The story continued with Shrek and Fiona and their three children, which look really cute and very much the same. Once again, it dig deep into the life of the ogre couple, their conflicts and their quarrels, but unlike the third movie, this time the conflicts lead us to an exciting direction, and introduce new characters, which was really a boost that makes the story new and fresh and less predictable.

This time, Shrek had to face a quick witted, smart and cheeky villain who knew how to hit his opponents right on their weakest points. Disguised himself as a good dealer who offered bargained deals that brought happiness to his clients, he silently arranged things and lined up chess pieces to get his desired formation and to open the door to his ultimate goal: Becoming ruler of Far Far Away. I have to admit that I enjoyed watching him execute his plan, his schemes and they way he achieves his goal. He was cunning and a schemer, but nobody can deny that he is smart, and it will take more than brute force to kick him out of his throne.

Another exciting thing about this forth movie is the creative minds of its creators. Thanks to their creativity, we had the chance to see the familiar characters differently: A big fat cat, a strong and heroic Fiona, and a lost Shrek who was determined to find the way back to happiness, the happiness that he only realized when it was almost too late and things seem to have fallen from his hands.

The fat puss is very cute 🙂

Although not the main character, Donkey is really irreplaceable in this movie and he helps to add fun, excitement and surprises to the whole move experience.

Shrek is finally meeting his worthy opponent, and it takes more than dumb luck for him to make everything the same again.

The lazy puss. I could not stop laughing when seeing him with pink bow tie and sharing the milk with a mouse. So hilarious.

Poor Shrek. One crazy moment and he was lost, not knowing what had happened and desperately trying to set things right again.

His annoying but happy family was on the verge of a total collapse and he had very little time to fix his mistake.

You can see the shock in his eyes when he realized that everything had changed more than what he asked for.

Fortunately, just like other fairy tales through the ages, everything ended well and the ogre family lived happily ever after 🙂

The voices that blow life into the characters

Robin Hood (2010)

We watched Robin Hood last weekend, and it was better than I had expected. I had not expected too much, since the story had been told too many times, and therefore might not have any originality at all. However, it took me quite surprise, and pleasant as well. The film was good. It was not too outstanding, but it was still original, and exciting. Moreover, it was somewhat cool. Ridley and Russel have made it, once again.

If you have watched other versions, you will notice that the story was changed a bit, to make it less predictable, and more engaging, and it works. It was exciting to have a different view about the legacy of Richard the Lion Heart, and his impact on England. It was also exciting to hear a different story about the life of Robin, maybe from a different myth or folklore, and I like the way Russel handled the character. Although he always looked sad, he was still cool and charming, and his sharp shooting and weapon handling made the fighting scenes become fun to watch. It has been quite long since Gladiator, but the guy still seemed at ease with horses and old style weapons.

Moreover, I love seeing Robin raised into a real hero, not just a small time thief turned hero, and I especially love the tag line: “Rise and rise again. Until lamb becomes lion”. The philosophy behind it is never old and always appropriate: If we keep trying our best, one day we will reach our moments of glory.

The fights are quite large scale, and will remind you the kind of Gladiator, Troy and King Arthur, so they alone are worth the money already.

Another good thing in this movie is the romantic moments, when time seems to stop flowing and everything only revolves around the involved characters: The kiss before the fight, the final battle, the defining moment, the arrow that could not miss…

Cate Blanchet was great. She did not have much screen time, but she made full use of it to deliver the zest of her character: A grieving woman who has to shoulder great responsibilities, yet depraving for love and affection and a soldier with strong will and fighting spirit who was ready to do whatever possible to defend what she holds dear to her heart and to get back her life and her love and her happiness. Given her time, the time when men were dominant, her strong will really made a difference and her character did shine. Much better than the one in previous version.

After watching the movie, I checked out Kevin Costner’s version, and I have to admit that, even though Russel seems a bit too old and haggard and humble for the role, he did play it well and the movie was cooler than the previous version. (The actress in the old version was more beautiful than Cate, but less interesting and more minor as well).

European leagues are coming to a close (2)

Serie A: Inter Milan.

So, finally, Inter Milan has won the title for the 5th consecutive years. If they win the Champion’s League this weekend, they will have a miraculous season, comparable to Barcelona last year. It will not be easier, yet not out of reach, and they have enough reasons to find with whatever they have as they are stepping on the stairway to heaven.

This Serie A title is not an easy. They have had great moments when they stood alone at the top, far from the second in the standing. However, after some slippage, they lost their footholds, and even lost the top post to Milan, and then Roma, for a brief period, before getting it back and sailing through to the end with very tight margin. They have endured the stress and triumphed over it. It’s a hard earned victory, but a deserving one. Now they can focus on their ultimate goal, and not let the worries about the future, the changes, the arrivals and departures, and whatever else interfere and steal their  attention away. It has been a long time since they last won the Champion’s League, and they cannot afford to wait any longer.

Nobody can deny that Mourinho is a talent, with a Midas touch that turns everything into goal. The question is, whether he will continue staying in Inter, especially after he is already covered with “gold” there, or will he go somewhere to make new gold again. Well, the answer is still hanging in the air, and Inter Milan should not think too much about it now. They will have plenty of time to think after this weekend’s crucial match.

Diego Milito is the reason why Inter fans have not missed Ibrahimovic too much. Since coming to Inter, he has never stopped scoring and sending fans wild with happiness and excitement. If he keeps scoring in the coming World Cup, together with Lionel Messi, then Argentina will have a very high chance for the title.

Zanetti will miss this World Cup, his last World Cup as a player. That is confirmed and set in stone. That will not change and he will have to live with that bitter truth. But his bitterness will cease at least a bit with the third victory this weekend, so I am sure he will do his best, for the title that he has never won in his long and glorious career.

La Liga: Barcelona

So, finally, Barcelona has managed to defend their title. They could not recreate the miracle of last season, yet they were not empty handed. More important was the way they won the title: By earning 99 points (a record), with only 1 lost game, and a lot of crushing victories with many goals. Their striker, Lionel Messi, won La Liga’s and European League’s Golden Boot titles, and their goalkeeper, Victor Valdes, is the best league’s best goalkeeper. They have set quite a few new records, some of them not easily broken and may be there to stay for a long time. Therefore, even if they don’t have the Champion’s League, they have the right to be happy and proud of themselves, and with some high quality arrivals this summer and no major departure, they will be all set to rival Real Madrid and fly high for more title again in the next season.

Valdes, the league’s best goalkeeper, is set to shine in the Spanish squad this summer in South Africa

Guardiola is the main reason behind their success. He is young, and talented, and with time he will still go very far.

Messi is a huge star. That is the truth. And we are all looking forward to seeing him shine this summer in a bid to bring glory to his country. If he is in top form, he can create miracles.

Ibrahimovic is a great addition to the team and he has shown his quality. But he is capable to do more and win more titles with Barca, which is hardly the case with his home team Sweden.

Finally, FA Cup: Chelsea, again.

A wonderful end of the season for Chelsea and for Ance. Such a quick achievement in the first season here. Now he can focus on doing whatever necessary to prepare for the ultimate goal: Champion’s League title. And I believe his boss will not be very patient, and with the economic recovery going on, he will do more to make his dream come true as early as possible.

Book review – Snakes and Earrings

Snakes and Earrings is a freaky book about the lives of Japanese youths. Everything described in it is very extreme to the point of surreal, yet still so real you can imagine it happening right in front of your eyes. It’s also a sad book about those teenagers who are lost about the future and about the present, unsure what they should do, what they really want and who they really are. Being so lost, they try out measures to find themselves again, to gain back feelings, to carve out their identities, their uniqueness, their characters, so desperately that they go to the extremes of manipulating their own bodies. From tattoos, to body piercing, and finally tongue splitting, those modifications described in the book made my skin crawl and gave me goosebumps. I wonder whether those poor kids have found anything besides the pain and the blood and the holes on their bodies.

The award winning book is very short—it can easily be read in one sitting, and it is the story of a Japanese youth subculture. Lui meets Ama one night and although she’s not sure if she’s attracted to him, she moves in with him straight away and begins an odd sort of romance with him. Ama has a forked tongue, and although Lui is into body modification as well, she is new to such extremes. She decides she wants a forked tongue as well though so she goes about the process of piercing her tongue and enlarging the hole.

At the same time, Lui goes to Ama’s friend Shiba to have her back tattooed with a large dragon. Shiba agrees to do so and in return, receives sex as opposed to monetary payment. As with the piercings, the sexual encounters in the book are very explicit. In fact, the entire book is basically gritty, disturbing look at a strange aspect of youth.

Lui’s character intrigued me because she was so fickle, which really isn’t an odd characteristic for someone in their teenage years, but she took it to the extreme. She felt a strong love for Ama but she also knew nothing about him. When something happens to him at the end of the book, she is able to get over it so quickly.

This book gave me a different picture of Japan and its people. Japan with the dark patches, the  dark sides that we don’t normally see.

A movie has been made from this book. I will definitely try finding it and checking it out, for a change.

Other reviews:


Book Haven

The Reading Life

More photos from the movie:


Lui & Ama

The Tattoo

Forked Tongue



Lui, Ama & friend

Lui & friend

European leagues are coming to a close (1)

So, the European leagues are coming to a close. It has been quite a while since the last we had to wait for so long to see the champions surface. Most of the time, the winners were quite confirmed before the last round. Not this year. The playing fields have become much more level, and the competition has been much more tense, which is good for viewers, but not good for players, as they cannot simply sit back, relax and wait for the next big games. This will be a torturous summer for many of them, as the World Cup is coming very soon, so they have no rest and at high risk of injuries.

Anyway, let’s get back to the confirmed champions.

Premier League: Chelsea

After three years, the cup has returned to London. And they deserve it. They have won it by a tight margin of 1 point only, but also with style and substance, scoring 103 goals and beating all their rivals. They have attacked vigorously, and controlled the games many times. That is Carlo’s style. Even when he was still in Milan, he was forced by his boss to play good looking football, and he has done the same for Chelsea. Of course, that is also what his current boss, Abramovic, wants. Moreover, they have a Golden Boot winner for his main striker, Drogba, and they are on track to win a double this weekend. They cannot win a trio, but two is still a good achievement, especially for a newcomer. So, good job, Ance.

Ance always seems to be at his best during the first season, and goes downhill then, due to his lack of change and varieties in strategy. The longer he is around, the more his opponents learn how to defeat him. Hopefully that will not be the case here, and this will not be his last Premier League win with Chelsea.

Chelsea is at the top now, but like Milan, they are ageing. So, in order to continue the winning streak, they really need some investments for next year, or those old soles will not be able to bear the stress much longer.

Drogba is at his prime, but he will soon need a good substitute so that he can rest and reload his lethal weapons.

Next task for Ance will be Champions League. He has won that title twice with an ageing Milan, so there’s no reason why he cannot do that again, and become a legend. Let’s wait and see.

Bundesliga: Bayern Munchen

I don’t follow this league very closely, but I have watched them play in Champion’s League, and they are really good. They have a good team, balanced and deep, strong defence and creative attacking. With this victory, now they can focus on their upcoming Champion’s League final, which they will be advantageous, as Inter Milan will have one less week to relax and prepare.

The arrival of Arjen Robben has really made a difference in the way they play and attack. With Robben, they have a player that can score when nobody else can, with magical moments and game changing actions. He has always been talented, but never the heart of a team before. He has had wonderful moments, but those were marred by his long periods of injuries. All that seems to have changed since he joined Bayern, and now he is the heart of the team, inheriting the place that Ballack and Jurgen used to hold, and bringing the team to victories. Hopefully he will shine again in Madrid, and we will have a wonderful game to watch and marvel.

The challenge for them now is to keep the squad intact, so that they can repeat those great moments in the future. An exodus will make this team unstable and unbalanced again, and it will be another long wait for them to come back and roar a loud, fierce roar again.

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