Movie review: Fantastic Four

Movie reviews

Hello!

So, the time has come to review the last comic book movie of this summer and probably the most disappointing one. Let’s go meet the not so fantastic Fantastic Four.

To begin with, Fantastic Four is actually the first comic book that I have ever read. I also loved the animated series when I was a kid. Even though comic books were not popular in Eastern Europe when I was little, everybody seemed to know who the Fantastic Four were. Lastly, back then I even thought that the 2005 and 2007 movie editions were not that bad. Of course, I changed my mind when I re-watched them only recently. Because of that,  I had really high hopes for the reboot. I was hoping that they would get it right this time or that I at least would like it with only a singular watch. Let’s be real – a lot of movie crumble on a closer inspection. But this one doesn’t even need a closer look to come across as really really bad. Let’s get on with my angry rant.

IMDb summary: Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

To begin with, this movie is based on the Ultimate version of the Fantastic Four, so the origin story is a bit different. Also, the movie tries to make the story as realistic as possible by relying on scientific explanations. I was really excited that they decided to adapt the Ultimate version because I always enjoy seeing something fresh and unique. Moreover, science fiction has been one of my favorite genre of films since childhood, so I was down for some extraordinary science mambo-jumbo. The thing I wasn’t down for – the Fox studios getting my hopes up after the X-Men Days of Future Past (review) and then crushing my trust in them completely once more. Deadpool please be good. I am begging you.

Directing and Writing

The film is directed by Josh Trank and written by Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg and Trank himself. Although, it seems like Fox executives were also involved in the production a lot and their fingerprints are defintely showing. And when the money-driven studio gets in a way of the actual creators, nothing good ever happens.

The movie had tremendous potential and it wasted all of it. The story was okay during the first half, but the ending was terrible. The time jumps made zero sense. The dialogue was cheese and uninspiring as well as full of cliches. The only scene with some interesting dialogue was the one right before they decided to travel to the other dimension and were all drinking in the circle. The Neil Armstrong argument was the best line in the whole film. Sadly, it was short and lasted for just a minute. After that, you had to sit through 100 minutes of awfulness.

In addition, all the character were undeveloped, they never picked a clear main protagonist and tried to develop all of them, but just failed completely. It felt like the movie was missing half the scenes, which probably contained the backstory. Plus, the villain was the most awful of all the characters. They completely ruined Doctor Doom. Also, they didn’t include Sue Storm in the actual experiment that gave them powers but she still got hers anyway. You have one female character, only ONE, and you mess her story up? How is that even possible??

Moving on to the action scenes – there was only like 2 of them. One of them is okay, the other makes no sense. And the CGI…oh God. With the movie that cost this much money and is being made in 2015, you would expect at least the computer effect to look great, but they don’t. It looked like this film was made in the late 90s or early 2000s by some kid in a garage. Basically, it was a cheap looking animation. The only effects that looked quite good were the actual powers of the Fantastic Four. The Thing’s design was okay, but Johnny’s flaming body was the coolest one for me. However, Reed’s stretching abilities were enhanced by allowing him to change his appearance and that scene looked awful. Furthermore, when Sue Storm was flying in her force field bubble, you could clearly spot the places where the cables were attached to her back.

Acting

This movie had an extremely talented cast, who kinda lost their talent while filming. I’m guessing the terrible script made them loose all inspiration to perform.

  • Miles Teller as Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic. I am a huge Miles Teller fan. I praised him in a separate blog post. But here, he was not that great. He definitely portrayed the nerdy aspect of the character perfectly as well as was a great half-of-a-friendship with Ben, but he was awful as a team leader. His inspiring monologue was so corny and so bad.
  • Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm / Human Torch. I have no idea why the fans got angry when they changed the race of Johnny Storm. It looks like we are still living in the 19th century with all the racism and discrimination that is going on. I never look at a skin color of the character or an actor. I look at their work and the way they present themselves. I really loved Michael B. Jordan in That Awkward Moment and enjoyed his performance here. He was probably my favorite character and, to my mind, did the best job out of all of the cast.
  • Kate Mara as Susan “Sue” Storm / Invisible Woman. I have already complained about the creators decision to not include Sue in the actual experiment. Also, once again they made her into an unlikable and not fun mommy type character. It’s not the 1940s!! If you are changing the backstory and the personality of the character, change it for the better and not for worse.
  • Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm / Thing was quite good. He definitely portrayed the sadness and inner anger of the character well. However, he lacked developed and closure to his story like the others.
  • Toby Kebbell as Victor von Doom / Doctor Doom……Don’t even want to talk about him. This was not Doctor Doom. He looked weird, his power were weirder and his intentions and actions – weirdest of it all.
  • Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Franklin Storm. Fox tried to turn the daddy Storm into Professor Xavier of the X-Men or Nick Furry of the MCU. Not surprisingly, Fox failed. Moreover, the supposedly inspiring monologues were terrible.
  • Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Harvey Allen. He was as suppose to be the unlikable antagonist of the Fantastic Four. However, since you didn’t really care for the heroes, you didn’t hate the anti-hero either. The government story-line and the militaristic ideas, introduced through this character, were interesting, but the movie never followed up on them.

References

This move didn’t even had a Stan Lee cameo. Seeing Stan always makes the movie better for me, but Fantastic Four didn’t even have that. The only reference which I’ve enjoyed was the Star Trek’s ‘Beam me up, Scotty‘, when the kid Reed Richards was talking about teleportation in the class. That, I though, was clever.

To sum up, the Fantastic Four film took itself way too seriously, it never found a clear direction or a tone. It was way to uneven and a few good performances and interesting lines only reminded us, how good the movie could have been but wasn’t. I don’t believe it will get a sequel. I’m hoping it won’t.

Rate: 2.5/5

Trailer: Fantastic Four trailer

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Kaunas Marathon 2015

Sports

Hello!

A few weeks ago, I’ve participated in the last ‘big’ running event – Kaunas Marathon 2015. This was the 3rd annual marathon of my city and I had run in all of them. Blog post about the 2014 marathon here.

The weather was terrible for running. The sun was shining from the early morning and the temperature was around 27 to 30 degrees Celsius (80 to 86 Fahrenheit). There was also some wind and, for the love of God, that wind was warm. I have never run in such a terrible conditions. I really do prefer running in the cold air or even in the rain.

The route chosen for the competition wasn’t great as well. The athletes had to run the majority of the distance in the Old Town of Kaunas where the streets are made from stones. The track also had way too many sharp corners.

I’ve chosen the 5 km distance and surprisingly – still managed to reach the finish line faster than ever before this season. However, I felt really poorly afterwards – my stomach was done with running in a dessert like environment.

Despite the awful weather, uncomfortable route and the overall terrible state of health, I still had a good time. The start and finish of the race was in the main squire of Kaunas. The old buildings and crowds of runners made for weird but simultaneously awesome mash-up.

This was also the biggest Kaunas Marathon ever with around 5000 people participating. There was, of course, marathon and half marathon distances to choose from as well as 5 km and 10 km shorter routes. Families could participate in 1.4 km family run while there was also 0.7 km charity run to raise money for premature babies.

My next sport post is going to be about a swimming marathon, since I am done with running for the summer. Have a great day! Bye.

Official site of the run: Kaunas Marathon

Photos form the event taken by me as well as a picture of the commemorative T-Shirt and the medal I’ve received + my runner’s number:


Olympic day 2015

Sports

Hello!

Some of you might know that I am a sports fan. I have been swimming for 10 years and have been participating in running and cycling competitions these past 3 years. I also really enjoy being in a spectators position: I will literally watch anything from basketball to chess.

Olympic day is an annual international celebration. The festive event is always held in a different city of a country during the month of June. This happens all over the world.

This celebration tries to educate people about different types of sports and advertises healthy lifestyle. This year, the Olympic Day in Lithuania took place in my city – Kaunas. The event started like the real Olympics start: with the passing of a torch and the symbolic fire lighting. In addition, posters with Olympic rings were hanging everywhere, so that they were visible at all times.

There was a wide variety of activities to choose from: attendees could try their hand at archery, basketball, volleyball, football, could exercise at Cross-fit booth, learn about fencing or wrestling. They could compete in a cycling, climbing or running competition.

I chose the running. The organizers offered  3 distances: 5 km or 10 km and the Olympic Mile Run. I picked the last one and ran the symbolic distance of 1,928 meters. The weather was really hot and dry, so these few kilometers were hard work.

I also appreciated the fact that the Paralympic sports were also included and represented in an equal manner.

I really enjoyed this celebratory event which was held mainly in Azuolynas (Oak Tree) park by the statue of Darius and Girėnas (they introduced Lithuanians to a lot of different types of sports during the Inter-War period, despite being famous pilots. Fun random fact: I attend high school which is named after them in honor of their achievements).

The organization was great and the mood was really happy and upbeat. Everybody were so energetic and optimistic. This event really brighten up my city and its citizens. All the participants received commemorative T-Shirts, so all of us looked like a giant team: united, happy and full of life. If only for one day.

Have a productive week! I have my last exam on Monday and then the summer will officially start for me too. Bye!


Lithuania’s Independence Day Run 2015

Sports

Hello my dear readers!

Today, I officially opened my running season of 2015 with a first running competition. The marathon was held in order to celebrate my country’s Restoration of Independence Day. We have 2 independence days in Lithuania: in 1918, on the 16th of February we announced our Independence but during the 2nd World War my country was occupied by the Soviet Union and we only restored our independent state 25 years ago: in 1990, in 11th of March.

The running marathon is held every year in Jonava and it is also dedicated to one of the pioneers of the Reformation movement in Lithuania – Abraomas Kulvietis. There are a few statues of him in Jonava (you can see one of them in the 3rd photo).

Around 550 athletes participated in the run. They could choose from 2 distances: 3.4 km and 15 km and were divided into age groups accordingly. I chose the shorter distance because,lately, I hadn’t been training much.

It took me a decent amount of time to finish the distance: my result isn’t great if you look at the results of others but it is okay for me, especially at the start of the season.

Bellow you will find a couple of photos from the event: the first one shows the start line, the second – a finish line. The third one is statue of A. Kulvietis , which I have already mentioned, and the fourth one is my number and the commemorative medal.

My next marathon will probably be Kaunas Half-Marathon at the end of April. Last year’s post about that run – click here.

Have a nice day/evening/morning!

Movie review: Jupiter Ascending 

Movie reviews

Hi!

So, I’ve recently watched Jupiter Ascending –  a new movie by The Wachowskis siblings and this is going to be my review.

IMDb summary: In a bright and colorful future, a young destitute caretaker gets targeted by the ruthless son of a powerful family, who lives on a planet in need of a new heir, so she travels with a genetically engineered warrior to the planet in order to stop his tyrant reign.

First of all, I am the fan of The Wachowskis. To my mind, The Matrix is a masterpiece but, more importantly, their another movie – Cloud Atlas – is my favorite film ever. There hasn’t been another movie which made me think that hard and analyze every little detail. It’s actually the motion picture that got me interested in movie reviewing in the first place. Having said that, I didn’t particularly like this movie and I desperately wanted to like it just because it was getting such bad reviews…Mine isn’t going to be better..

To begin with, let’s start with the things I liked: setting, visuals and acting.

Setting

The setting and the whole world of the movie reminded me of one of the worlds from the Cloud Atlas (Cloud Atlas is set in 6 different time periods). Jupiter Ascending resembled the futuristic Neo Seoul, 2144 world from that film. Although, it had a more of a cosmic vibe.

Visuals

The Wachowskis always had astonishing visuals and this movie was no exception. The landscapes were breathing and the action sequences exciting and fun even if they were a little bit unbelievable and too long in some parts.

Acting

I believe that all of the actors did a great job. Mila Kunis was great: I love her as an actress both in comedy (Friends with Benefits) and drama (Black Swan). 

Channing Tatum was also good in his role as a human/wolf/angel..However, I had no idea why he got those wings in the end…

Douglas Booth and Tuppence Middleton were also functional in their roles. I have never heard anything about this actress but I know a lot about Douglas and have practically watched all of his movies.

Sean Bean as another human/wolf/angel was also good. Though, as a GoT fan and someone who spends a lot of time on the Internet, I couldn’t stop thinking if he was going to die at some point. 

Eddie Redmayne was the only questionable character in the story. Why did he speak like that? His voice only detracted my attention from the film. BTW, I was really happy when he won an Oscar because I loved him in The Theory of Everything and I even believe that he should have been nominated in 2012 for Les Miserables. But he won now, so there is no reason to be sad about past snubs.

One last note: the movie had a lot of other small characters because The Wachowskis love to have a lot of character (just watch Cloud Atlas). I was happy to see James D’Arcy, who started in Cloud Atlas and recently been in Agent Carter, in the movie too – he made make a short  cameo.

Now, let’s move on to the bad stuff…

Story

The story of the movie was interesting, don’t get me wrong, but it was just way too complicated. The mythology was so rich  and they went into details so much but they never fully explained anything. As a result, you could hardly follow the plot and you weren’t interested in the movie or the faith of the characters. They also did a crap job of setting up a loving relationship between Mila’s character’s family and Mila’s character – I had no idea why she wanted to save them because they have been complete a****les to her.

In addition, that love story was a complete push… They have know each other for 2 days and they have fallen completely in love? I do not believe that at all. But, that’s a movie love, I guess?

Jokes were also kinda mehh: “I love dogs” and that period pad…Really? Only She’s a man with Amanda Bynes knows how to make period jokes.

Themes

Though the story was difficult to comprehend and follow, I have found a couple of themes between the lines, which interested me. First one is time: I loved the quote “Time is the single most precious commodity in the universe“. This saying is so true and so relevant to our modern society. Other themes were capitalism and never stopping consumerism – also great reminders of the contemporary world. The last idea, which sparked my interested, was that our genes have our souls inside them…I love when movies explain religious facts as science facts. Maybe because my favorite movie genre is sci-fi, followed closely by comic book/superhero movies…

All in all, the movie was watchable but not remember-able. I would only recommend it to hard core sci-fi fans and the niche fans of The Wachowskis. 

Trailer: Jupiter Ascending trailer

Rate: 3/5

lkl1ydfPhotos: trailer screenshots

Movie review: Unbroken

Movie reviews

Hi!
On Monday, I went to the cinema to watch Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. I have seen several films depicting World War II events from different angles (Schindler’s list, Fury, Inglorious Basterds, Pearl Harbor, Forest of Gods and The Imitation Game) and now Unbroken joins this list.

In short I would describe the film as a mixture of Life of Pi and Fury with a pinch of Forest of Gods and topped of with Edge of Tomorrow.

Unbroken isn’t Angelina’s directorial debut – it’s her 2nd time being behind the camera. The film tells a story of Louis Zamperini – an Olympic athlete who spent the 2nd World War in a prisoner of war camp in Japan after surviving 47 days of a raft in the middle of the ocean. It’s based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand as well as real life events. Sadly, the real Louis Zamperini died in spring of 2014 and didn’t get to see his life on the big screen.

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Acting

Louis Zamperini is portrayed by Jack O’Connell – a British actor who is best known for his work on the TV show Skins. I liked his performance, it was so-so at the beginning of the movie but in the end, when Jack really got into the character, it was just amazing. The emotional dual between him and the Bird truly showed his talent and made me enjoy the scene which was actually horrible and heartbreaking but inspiring at the same time. I would love to see more of his work.

Speaking about the Bird – a Japanese general who tortured Louis both mentally and physically – he was played by a Japanese singer Miyavi. The character seemed a bit cartoon-y to me – almost like a stupid school bully. Nonetheless, I hated the character almost as much as Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa in the Inglorious Basterds, so Miyavi did a great job as a villain.

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Other cast members included : Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, Jordan Patrick Smith and many others. As you can already tell, this is an all male cast type of movie. I don’t have any problems with that because there were no women at war. However, I do have a problem with the fact that I can’t remember anything about the characters that these actors played with the exceptions of Jack O’Connel and Miyavi. They didn’t develop them well enough and didn’t make me care about them or even remember them at all.

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Visuals and Directing

The movie is beautifully shot and I really liked Angelina’s work as a director. The scenes in the water were cool but sometimes cheesy while prisoner of war camp was portrayed realistically.

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Sport

Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner and for me as an athlete, the part which told us about his athletic career was the most interesting. I also loved the fact that they didn’t diminish the importance of sport in Louis Zamperini’s life. If he hadn’t been an athlete and hadn’t trained as hard as he did, he probably wouldn’t have survived the war. I loved the clip of the real Louis running with the Olympic torch in 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan.

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Religion

Louis Zamperini also was a religious person, who found God when he needed him the most. Religion’s theme was mentioned in the film but didn’t explored deeply enough. The end of the film was really touching and made me tear up. It showed the importance of forgiveness – sometimes it’s better to turn the other cheek than to raise a fist.

Criticisms

Unbroken received mixed reviews from the critics and was shut down from the award’s season. Overall, I liked the film, though, a few scenes were really unbelievable and took me out of the movie. For example, their fight with a shark – you can’t catch a shark with your bare hands. The pacing had a few problems, but I would still recommend to watch this movie if you are a sport’s fan and interested in history.

Rate 4/5

Trailer: Unbroken trailer

Photos: Screenshots form the trailer.

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Kylie Minogue: Kiss Me Once Tour 2014 in Lithuania, Kaunas

Music

Hi!

How is your weekend? Did you celebrate Halloween? Who did you dress up as? In my country, Halloween isn’t a popular celebration, however, some people do celebrate it. The reason, why this celebration isn’t wide spread in my country is because on November 1st (next day after Halloween) we have a serious event – National Memorial day (in English it’s called All Saint’s day in the Christian part of the world and November 2nd is All Soul’s Day). It would be kinda strange to run around dressed up in a weird costume one night and the next morning go visit your relative’s graves, light a candle or visit a church. If my nation had more happy ways to remember the dead (like Mexicans do), we would probably celebrate Halloween too.

Anyway, this post is not about that. It’s about the fact that on October 31st, I attended Kylie Minogue’s concert! Kylie is an Australian singer whose career started over 20 years ago and she is still mega popular today. In 2011, she visited my country with her Aphrodite tour but I wasn’t able to see her concert then. But now, 3 years later, she is back in Lithuania with her new album Kiss Me Once.

After a brief opening from DJ duo Third Party from London (nobody listened to them), Kylie took the stage being just an hour late because of technical difficulties. She rose to the stage on a sofa shaped like lips and started singing Les Sex. Then came In My Arms – a timeless hit. She changed costumes 7 times and with the help of her band, 2 back-up singers and 8 dancers gave the audience an amazing showed filled with both new song form Kiss Me Once album and singles form the past like: All the Lovers, In you Eyes, Locomotion, Spinning Around, Can’t Get You Out of My Head, On A Night Like This, Time-bomb, I Believe In You. She actually invited one fan to dance to Locomotion with her and other pair of fans to take a selfie.

Lights, lasers and smoke effects were awesome and white sprinkles and sparkles falling form the ceiling when All the Lovers song was playing turned the event into a magical wonderland. She closed the concert with Into the Blue and left the audience wanting for more.

I enjoyed the concert very much, I was standing in the fan zone, in the first row, so I saw Kylie from 5 meters distance. She is so beautiful, you couldn’t even tell that she is 46 years old! As much as I had problems with over-sexualization in this years VMAs, Kylie’s sexual performance didn’t bother me that much because it wasn’t as vulgar as, for example, Miley’s.

After the event, I bought a poster as I always do (see my whole collection of posters). Bellow you will find photos and videos form the concert. On Monday, I am going to Vilnius, to the One Republic concert, so now I am super excited for that. See you next week!

More info about the tour: Kylie

Les Sex on my Youtube channel  Sexercise on my Youtube channel 

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Multi-sports: Lampetronas 2014

Sports

Hello!

Remember when a few post ago, I said that that was the last time this summer when I was writing about a sports event? Well, I unintentionally lied because yesterday I participated in multi-sport event by accident.

This multi-sport event I am talking about is 2nd annual Lampetronas 2014 event. Visit the website of the event

Lampetronas is held near Lampedziai Lake in Kaunas and in the forest that surrounds the lake. The competition consists of 5 contests: 1.2km of swimming, 17km of skating, 8km of rowing a kayak, 19km of cycling and 9 km of running. It’s like a spin-off of triathlon .This competition is definitely not for the weak and it is also sort of challenge for yourself. You can participate individually or, if you are not strong enough, you can participate with a team.

I was supposed to volunteer at the event but one of the teams was missing a swimmer and one of my friends bragged that I am a swimmer and they begged me to help them and I agreed because I had a swimsuit in my bag. So, I was responsible for the first event – swimming. After the start, I was swimming in the 3rd place but by the end a man bypassed me because I couldn’t find a finish line in the lake. I was really happy with my result and I definitely gave all of my energy to it.

After that, I had some time to relax and when went back to my voluntary work. I and my friend were standing in the middle of nowhere, in the cycling/running track, watching if all the athletes were abiding the rules. We were standing there for 3 hours and at least one hour of these 3 hours was spent in the rain.

When we finally got back to the camp, we watched an award ceremony and I was pleasantly surprised that my team got 5th place. We were all really happy but really tired as well.

I would like to participate in this competition next year. But maybe with a bit more preparation.

I am afraid to say if this is my last sport blog post or not because I am kinda planning to cycle in another bicycle marathon on August 31st but I still don’t t know if I am up for 40 km of cycling. I guess you will find out in a couple weeks’ time. If you want to learn more about my activities follow me on twitter @LunaTheia

Swimming marathon: Sudeikiai 2014

Sports

Hello!

Last weekend (on August 9th) I participated in the last swimming marathon in Lithuania this summer – 6th Annual Sudeikiai Swimming Marathon. Sudeikiai is a little town in eastern part of Lithuania near the city of Utena. You can learn more about it here: http://utenainfo.lt/en

(The location of the town is the red dot on the map as always with these type of posts:)

lh-map

We were swimming in Alaušas Lake which has super clean water – you can see the bottom of the lake almost all the time even if the lake is 10 meters deep or even deeper. There were two distances to choose from: 2,5 km and 5 km. 5 km is the official open water distance approved by FINA.

Since I have not trained at all and I wasn’t preparing for the marathon at all I chose the smaller distance and the swim was still very hard for me. The water was warm, the wind – calm and the weather always changeable: the sun was shinning one moment and the clouds would cover it up the next moment. Nonetheless, it was warm enough.

This marathon was also the finish of Grand Prix competition: it was a relay of three marathons. The competition was between teams of 4 people and the winner was determined by counting FINA points which consist of points gained for the time, points for the age (older means more points) and points for place you’ve won in your age group.

This was my 4th time swimming all the marathons in Lithuania and I am planning to do it next year. Next sport post will probably be about a running marathon in the capital of Lithuania. I am planning to attend it. Have a good week! Bye.

Swimming marathon: Platelee-2014, Lithuania

Sports

Hello!

Last week. I participated in the 33rd annual swimming marathon PLATELEE-2014 which was held in little town in western part of Lithuania. This swimming marathon is the longest running outdoor swimming event in my country and this year it has attracted the biggest number of participants yet. 161 swimmers chose the distance of 1.8 km and around 30 athletes swam 3.2 km.

The weather was super hot and the water warm as well. I was happy with my result mainly because I managed to outrun (out-swim) my couch.

All of the participants got a commemorative t-shirts and diplomas. There were also smaller distances for kids and disabled athletes and fun attractions like tug of war in the water for viewers. However, the funniest contest for viewers and participants alike is competition of swimming with unsuited measures, for example swimming in a pot, in a coffin or on a ladder.

This was my 10th year going to this marathon. Plateliai town has a rich history and Plateliai lake has many legends surrounding it. The biggest catfish in Lithuania is rumored to live in it, it weights around 400kg. More info: Plateliai town Plateliai lake

The red dot on the map shows the location of the lake, it is a part of Zemaitija national park.

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This photo shows the distances we were swimming in the lake.

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Next swimming marathon will be held on 9th of August in the eastern part of Lithuania. Have a great last month of summer!

You will find more photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.695621537160336.1073741913.188180954571066&type=1 (Photos belong to A.Ališauskas).