Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Terminator Salvation

I suppose they needed a change of lead actor...
Some one has already commented to me that it seems ridiculous that the actor playing John Connor keeps changing. I pointed out that they could not use the same actor from the second film, because Edward Furlong hasn't exactly matured into a action film kind of actor, Thomas Dekker of Sarah Connor Chronicles (now cancelled) fame isn't all grown up yet (too much baby face), the third film's... well did anyone believe he could ever really be John Connor? He just wasn't rough looking enough.

Of course all of this personal opinion and, quite honestly, I just think the studio wanted to get a bigger name behind the role.

Let's face it, Bale sells.

Anyway, back to the film

I saw this
at my local cinema a few weeks ago. At first I was really excited to see it, the trailers had been pretty eye catching.

What's the film about?

Well unlike the previous films it's set in the future, 2018, after Skynet succeeded in bringing humanity to its knees. John Connor is not as important in the resistance as the end of the third film had us believe.

Anyway, and here be a spoiler...
The resistance is about to the put into action a major assault against Skynet, but a dead man could bring it all toppling down.

Would I recommend it?
The film has issues conveying who is the main protagonist. Most of the time it feels as if there are two, which doesn't really work (hence why most films have one protagonist). John Connor is not even the most likeable out of the two.

The effects are stunning, as expected, but perhaps the continued onslaught of action sequences, rather than the suspense of the first two films, did not serve it well. Again, the effects were awesome.

In all, if you've watched the other three films you might as well go and see this if it's still on at your local cinema. If you haven't watched the others... just watch the first two films. Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day are still the best films in the franchise.

Related links
Official website
Wiki entry on the film
IMDB entry

Monday, 29 June 2009

I needed a dose of decent SF

Not very often, but...
I will get a cravings for a specific genre. Until after I read this collection of stories, it was science fiction.

PEACE AND WAR, The Omnibus Edition, by Joe Haldeman

Has been my bedtime read of choice for the last few weeks. This collection of stories that are novel length, each, stick to these three themes: war, freedom, peace. The stories have existed in various forms for over thirty years, but in this edition they're all brought together in versions that the author believes are definitive.

William Mandella: The Forever War, and Forever Free
The first two stories in the collection centre around William Mandella, a man thrust into the Forever War from its beginning, and who is there at its end, over a thousand years later. Mandella is forced to fight in a war where Earth does not even know the enemy its fighting when it begins its assault.

The second book takes place after the war, as Mandella tries to find his place in a universe he no longer has a stake in. This is a future that Mandella cannot endure.

Julian Class: Forever Peace
The final story is set in a different universe, on Earth. An Earth where not everyone is equal.

Julian Class fights for the Alliance in the Ngumi War, because he is 100 percent American. Julian is a mechanic, he does not go on the battle field, his Soilderboy does, controlled from thousands of miles away using a brain jack. However, Julian is also a physicist and when his girlfriend asks for his help in trying to figure out whether the end of the universe is about to begin, killing innocents on the battlefield seems the least of Julian's worries.

Not light hearted reading
The war scenes that are described in these stories are brutal and nightmarish. Joe Haldeman admits to drawing on his experiences when he served in the Vietnam War, and it shows.

Recommend it?
If you're looking for some serious science fiction to read this summer, hunt down this collection published by Gollancz Science Fiction, 2006, ISBN: 0-575-07919-3, RRP: £8.99.

Related links
Wiki entry on Joe Haldeman

Saturday, 27 June 2009

When dramatic pacing goes wrong, horribly wrong

Seen it already?
Of course I have. Yes, I am talking about none other than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This review is the start of several that will drift your way over the summer as we handle the wave of summer blockbuster films, (thank Jaws).

My senses have been abused
When I saw this film on Wednesday, several things went wrong for me. My eyes felt like they had been opened up with a sword and my ear holes felt like they had been raped. Seriously people, this film is not kind to your body (or mind).

Dramatic pacing?
Normally when you write a film, you make sure that the audience has a chance to recover from dramatic/action moments. The audience has no chance of doing this at all whilst watching this film. It's all action, action, action, and more action, with some short awkward bits of human interaction in-between.

No real plot, character, or story development really happens... and what the hell is with that voice over by Optimus Prime at the beginning, explaining all that has happened since the last film? It's tacky as f***k! Seriously lazy story telling.

No real story or plot
The film lacks development of what you normally find in a film that isn't from the realms of experimental film. The lack of this is so extreme that I began to wonder whether the Earth should be destroyed at the end of the film, just to save the fictional world from another version of the director Michael Bay.

Did I mention that it's quite a lengthy film as well? Oh and I did like the first film of the franchise.

Related links
Official movie site
IMDB entry
Wiki entry on the film
Explanation of Experimental Film at Wikipedia
I'm not the only one who believes this film is bad

Mark Kermode didn't have much luck with the film either

Robot Chicken explains 'Baysplosions!"

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Finally finished...

It took me forever, but I have finished reading BREAKING DAWN
Yes, the long read is over! Long may my sanity rest in peace.

What was it like?

If, like me, you had put in the effort to read the other three Twilight series novels, then you felt kind of obliged to get through the last one as well.

To read Breaking Dawn was actually a tortuous experience. There are over 200 pages that could be culled from this novel without ruining it. So much unnecessary description. I found that due to the way Meyer wrote this final instalment, the stakes just did not seem high enough-


- the ending was obviously going to come out all right from an early stage in the novel. Also, Bella's abilities were far too overpowering, the precedent for them had not been set up enough.


I did not enjoy the final novel in the series as much as I had the previous ones. Even once Bella had had her physical desires satisfied, it seemed almost pointless Meyer going to the effort of describing them.

Read this final novel in the series if you've read the rest, but it's not much fun.

Related links
Official Breaking Dawn page
Wiki entry