October 28, 2011

Revisiting Eragon in the Wait for Inheritance

It goes without saying to anyone who has read the Inheritance Cycle, books 1 to 3, that what makes this dragon story stand out from all of the others is the character of Saphira. In fact, we are told early and often that dragons in Paolini's world are as self-aware, strong-willed and intelligent as humans are, but what we are not spoon-fed is the realisation of what a powerful character she is. We are told that dragons are more powerful, wise and majestic than humans, and Eragon feels she is a little bit alien to him in her nature. It's somewhat obvious that a dragon should have a very different character, personality and nature to a human but I'm not sure if anyone has really succeeded at it like Paolini. I mean, how does a human write a non-human character?

October 26, 2011

Donnie Darko and More Time Travel [Review Time]

If the sky were to suddenly open up, there would be no law, there would be no rule. There would only be you and your memories.
You know how I love cult movies. Donnie Darko was a low budget film at 4.5 million, and didn't even manage to make that much back at the box office. It only started to have mass appeal as it spread as a cult phenomenon. Take a look at the 2001 trailer, and I think you'll see why this film didn't attract a widespread audience. It's difficult to really tell what this movie is about, what to expect, and that doesn't exactly change upon watching it. This is definitely a very complex movie with many undercurrents that are difficult to grapple with. A lot goes unsaid.

October 24, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [review by starlight]

In the evening he went to the cinema to see The Lord of the Rings, which he had never before had time to see. He thought that orcs, unlike human beings, were simple and uncomplicated creatures.
There's nothing like an impending movie release from a great director like Fincher to motivate a reading race in this reviewer. Of course I couldn't not notice this bestseller and its sequels gracing the bookshelves over the past few years, nor could I resist the urge to pick up something popular this decade after years within the scholarly bubble. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo turned out to be the perfect modern period piece, with issues on many levels - from personal, to corporate, to international intrigue.

October 18, 2011

Source Code and Alternate Histories [review by starlight]

"It's the same train, but it's different..." "Deep! I hope it's different."
Ok, I know we can't stand Jake Gyllenhaal's face anymore, and no matter how excellent a performance he pulled off in Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain we will never forgive him for even considering doing Prince of Persia, but Source Code ain't bad. We even get to see a little bit of his earlier talent seep through. Colter Stevens is a pretty cool character. Kind of like if Jack Bower was given 8 minutes to stop a terrorist instead of 24 hours. But it's fitting because it's in the future, where everything moves faster.

October 5, 2011

New Spring, a Prequel by Robert Jordan [review time]

For a novel expected to deliver on that idyllic moment when Lan agrees to be Moiraine's warder, New Spring is largely ineffectual. It certainly didn't contain what I expected from the prequel. I mean, I expected Jordan to have a hard time being concise and moving the plot at a decent pace, but I also expected that he would be able to reign himself in and make sure he accomplished everything he could with the novel set at the time of Rand's birth. Like perhaps actually spanning the 20 years between when Rand was born and when Moiraine found him in Emond's Field. Surely I can't be the only person who actually expected Jordan to cover all that material. But of course, our Creator isn't known for spanning decades with leaps and bounds in a mere 360 pages. He's better known for covering a few months in 900.