Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Kick-Ass (volume one graphic novel)

Here at It reads me...
Quite simply, we just can't get enough Kick-Ass.  Short of buying our own green and yellow wetsuits, Wrangler boots, and thick yellow industrial gloves, plus batons, we decided to indulge our mitts with a copy of the graphic novel version of Kick-Ass.  Bringing together all the comics, (originally published by Marvel's imprint Icon), that the film Kick-Ass (currently on cinematic release in the UK) was adapted from, the graphic is a chunky piece of value-for-money.

What's the story?
A punk-ass teen wonders about why no one has never taken up the role of a super hero before to fight the world's ills.  Before he realises what he's doing, he's ordered the wetsuit and gone out and gotten himself into far more trouble than he ever realised possible.

Please note that the film's story does deviate at numerous points and details from the original comics.

How does the graphic and the film compare?
The film's creators took the comics and changed the story in parts, and details of characters, in ways that actually allow the concept to be more believable and sophisticated.  Essentially, even though Mark Millar is an excellent writer, when you read the graphic and then watch the film, or the other way round, you will notice that Matt Vaughn has taken Kick-Ass that extra bit further.

Though there are parts from the comics that I wished they'd put in the film, such as Dave's dad's search for love, or sex.  Also, people say the film is violent, well actually the original comics are a heck of a lot more violent: electrical testicular torture, and a Hit-Girl who uses swords far more often.  Definitely a read for those past the age of fifteen.

John Romita Jr.'s artwork is fricken' awesome, with distinct character designs.  As with pretty much all comic book movies that are adapted from a specific work, it is worth reading what the film is based on.  Even though Vaughn made changes to the comics' story, Millar's original still makes a fine read, with some more intriguing nuisances with particular characters and their back story.

The graphic novel is out now at all good UK booksellers (online and offline).  With an RRP of £9.99 for the regular version.  If you want to collect the original comics, then check out your local comic book store.

Related links
Wiki entry on the comics
Our Kick-Ass film review

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Doctor will see you now...

New series of Doctor Who has begun!
If you haven't already caught it (and are a UK resident) go check it out on BBC iplayer now.  Otherwise, read on as I detail the delights of the new Doctor and his companion (so yes, there may be spoilers)...

Starting out...
Other than the brief yet dramatic transformation scene that occurred during the end of Tennant's final episode of the two-parter The End of Time, which was aired on New Year's Day this year, Saturday's new episode was Matt Smith's proper first outing as the eleventh doctor.  And what an outing it was.

What happened with The Eleventh Hour?
I don't want to go into too much spoiler filled detail, however I really enjoyed what new lead writer, Steven Moffat, did to introduce us to the new characters and a new mystery or two that will obviously plague the Doctor during the rest of the series.  It's Bad Wolf all over again, but potentially even worse news for the universe.

Watching Saturday's episode reassured me that having Moffat take over from Davies was a good idea.  The man that bought us such terrors as The Empty Child in the first series of the reboot of Doctor Who, has cleverly introduced yet another Runaway Bride as the companion of the Doctor, and this is a woman who has an even more interesting background than previous companions.  Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan, is a lady to watch.

Matt Smith as the new Doctor
David Tennant had built up a rather large fan base during the previous series, but Smith, though maybe not the cup of tea of die-hard Tennant fans, has made the role this own.  The youngest actor to play the Doctor yet, Smith bought an energy to the role that younger viewers were certainly able to identify with.  I do believe that I genuinely enjoyed watching him in the role, but I won't say outright that he is amazing until I have seen a few more episodes.

Only criticism...
At times, it was difficult to believe what the Doctor was getting up to whilst trying to save the world.  Moffat's uses of technology were perhaps, at times, stretching the realms of disbelief just a little too much.  Hopefully this won't be something that happens with every episode. 

The next episode of Doctor Who - The Best Below can be caught on BBC1 Saturday 10th April at 6:15pm.

Related links
Official BBC Doctor Who website
Wiki entry on Doctor Who

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Kick-Ass is kick ass

(And candy is dandy)
Just an hour back from the cinema and I can't believe the awesomeness that has been unleashed upon British cinema screens before our friends over the pond are able to get their mitts on it.  Based on Mark Millar's comics of the same name (illustrated by John Romita Jr.), comes Kick-Ass directed by British director Matthew Vaughn.

We've got hot British actor Aaron Johnson (previously played as John Lennon in last year's Nowhere Boy) as the title hero and comic book geek Kick-Ass, and upcoming young star (and comedy film favourite) Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Role Models and Superbad) as a "rich boy" and "hero" Red Mist.  Then there's a spunky performance from young actress Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl (previously starred as Kiki George in Dirty Sexy Money), and Nicholas Cage manages to gain forgiveness for involvement in both National Treasure films by becoming Big Daddy.

So Johnson's character Dave Lizewski, a typical American teenager, one day contemplates becoming a super hero.  Now these thoughts kind of stick heavily with him until one day he finally caves in and becomes the phenomenon known as Kick-Ass: New York's "first" super hero.  Of course things are not all dandy and just a simple case of dealing with the odd mugger, as Dave/Kick Ass quickly learns, muggers are not all that's out in the world as there's a lot of organised crime in the Big Apple too.  As Kick-Ass struggles to realise who his true allies are, and Dave falls in love with a girl from school, New York does not know just quite what is about to kick its ass.

What did you like?
There's a lot in this film to like.  Due to the nature of its source material, there are tonnes of comic book and comic book film references, and Matthew Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman quickly show just how to make fans of the genre squeal and laugh, with both often happening at the same time.

The film is well-edited, well-acted and stylised in just the right way, producing a humour filled and action packed text that is just bursting at the seams with cinematic goodness.  Admittedly I have yet to read the original comics/graphics that the film is adapted from, so I can't tell you how they compare, but this is definitely the best film of the first quarter of this year (at least if you like plenty of action and super heroes).

Who should watch this?
Quite frankly, anyone aged 15 and over who isn't, as Matthew Vaughn put it on a recent appearance on BBC 1's The One Show, a Daily Mail reader because, quite frankly, Dail Mail readers are just too sad to be capable of handling this awesomeness (and as Vaughn actually said, "this film wasn't made for them.").  Seriously, with the levels of violence in the film, any parents who let their under-age kid watch this film is irresponsible, it has a 15 BBFC handed out certificate for a reason.

By the way...
This film has one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a film for a while, and is definitely worth picking up.  There's a healthy dose of Prodigy and some sweet old tunes that will make you smile when you watch the scenes where they're used.

Kick-Ass is out in UK cinemas now.

Related links
Official website
IMDB entry
Wiki entry on the Mark Millar created comic book series