Posts Tagged ‘Review’

This week saw a rare event, and one that gives me the opportunity to flex my reviewing muscles.   I have children, 2 small boys that require a great deal of time.  We don’t have babysitters, mostly because family are too far away and we just have not found a suitable sitter.  So, we rarely go out.  My boys, this week, had a little holiday and went to stay with their grandparents.  We had a whole day and night off.  And we were not going top waste the opportunity!

A busy day was planned.  Our first port of call was to the Medieval cathedral town of Salisbury.  Driving up the A-338 north towards the town you drive through some stunning and inspiring country.  Rolling hills, green fields and suddenly, coming over the crest of the hill you see the spire of the cathedral.  As your elevation increases as does the stunning scene of the monumental cathedral as it is revealed to you.   It is magnificent and a wonder to behold, it dominates the skyline and is simply breathtaking.  But, that is not why we were there.   We were there to follow the Barons Charter trail. 

This might not mean a lot to you.  It is a charitable ordination that has created 25 statues that have been uniquely decorated.  The Barons Charter was a group of landed gentry who were intent on enforcing the laws of King John, including the Magna Carta. It is the anniversary of the Magna Carta this year, 800 years since it was signed, and this is part of the commemoration.   It seems to be a strange thing to try to visit, and something that may not hold much interest, except for one statue.  Decorated by Paul Kidby, Discworld Illustrator, he created a baron that memorialized and represented the life and work of Sir Terry Pratchett.  As many of you know he is one of my favourite authors, and I felt obliged to visit this as a memorial to the prolific and comedic author.  

To learn more of the barons visit the website here:

Part 2 of our day off was to leave Salisbury and head to Bournemouth.  I love Bournemouth, I have lived there and it is a wonderful place.   We walked on the beach, had a paddle.  It is something I have to do.  I love the sea.  I love the smell of the briny ocean, I love the feel of the sand between my toes.   I cannot express how much the beach and the sea means to me.  I have an attachment to it.  Although, oddly i prefer to be in it than on it.  I don’t get seasick I just don’t like boats particularly.  Much rather be in or under the sea.   It was a nice sunny afternoon, the sun was hot, the water cool.  Lovely!

But the evening was a departure from our routine, we went to the cinema.  We have not been to the cinema since before the boys were born and I was so excited to see Jurassic World.  Here is my review:

Jurassic World is exactly what you would expect.  The Park has grown into a successful and profitable attraction and from that respect is amazing.  It is great to see what it could have been following the first film.  Expectedly the dinosaurs escape and eat people.  This is all it needed to be.  There are subtle undertones of corporate greed, military interference and conspiracy and also the risks of genetic manipulation.  It has all the themes that Michael Crichton warned of in his original novel.  unfortunately it was all there in short supply during the film. 

What was missing was characterisation.  It was effect heavy and unfortunately the characters were wooden and predictable.  Which is not to say it wasnt a good film, it is what it is.  It was enjoyable and vast in its scope.  The 3-D was some of the best I have seen.  Not a bad effort, but it has very little relation to Crichton’s superb original work. 

My review in a word:  Passable.

Which is not to say that it was not an enjoyable film. it has many subtleties to the plot.  It just felt that some of the characters did not come across well and is just a cash cow for the studio.  A shame as there could have been so much more to it, perhaps the next one will have more substance.

And to Top things off an update on the writing front.  I have been working hard on submissions for the Hodderscape open submission window and also a few short stories which I think are working well.  But I am having a bit of a rethink.  It has been often said to me that my historical fiction is better than my Sci-Fi, I have a style akin to Ken Follett.  I studied History at university and have an in-depth and working knowledge.  I was always criticised in my essays at uni for being too literary in my writing.  Perhaps this is a way to go? 

I have an idea that utilises my knowledge and passion for the subject.   I have been criticised that I am not finishing projects, I get stuck and move on to the next one.  This is disheartening for me.  I lose the thread and the impetus and lose the momentum because I feel that it is not working.  It is a curse I have.  Frustration takes over.  Very annoying for me.  I know have new ideas pinging around my head and it detracts from the ideas I was running with.  My time is very limited I work a lot of hours in a week and my writing time is short .  I try to write when I can but do struggle when I am tired.  so, I need to sit and finish a project, them start a new one.  Arrgghh it is so very frustrating and I spiral into lack of production as a result .  im sure it is an affliction that affects all writers.  I hold out hope that other great and prolific writers took years to produce work, to find their own style and voice.  Time, that is what I need, Time!



A pleasant surprise!!!!!

Posted: July 22, 2014 in Geek
Tags: , , ,

For months I have resisted the urge to watch Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, not because I dislike him as a director, not that I dislike his films, quite the opposite! I think Watchmen was a faithful and visual wonder, I know it has been slammed, but it really is good! And Sucker Punch, wow! An incredibly complex layered story, takes some thinking about but after a second watch, once you get the story and untangle the levels of reality then it is an amazing exploration of the human psyche! (And the scantily clad girls help!). No, the reason I had avoided Man of Steel was out of trepidation. I got very excited about Superman Returns! The teaser trailers using the John Williams score, slightly altered, peaked my attention and then, like so many others, massive disappointment! Then came Indiana Jones 4, Wanted, and others that got me salivating with excitement only to be let down. Hollywood had systematically destroyed my faith! So, I waited, didn’t bother with it at the cinema, didn’t buy it on DVD, I waited!

I went to the library, saw Man of Steel for rental and thought, I at least have to see it, just to see how bad it was. And oh my was I wrong!!!! In Snyder’s hands the mythology of our Kryptonian survivor has been born anew. My trepidation beforehand, over some of the casting, was unwarranted! Russell Crowe as Jor El was spot on! He uses his Maximus tone to be a commanding dominant figure! Kevin Costner (I really don’t like him) was fantastic as Jonathan Kent and his death, a pivotal event in the young Clark Kent’s Life was moving, emotionally charged and perfectly filmed! I shed a tear….superb!!!

The story line has some changes to it, altering some of the basic principles of the canon, but you know what? I like he changes, it worked! The style of storytelling, the use of flashback moved the story along brilliantly. The non linear storytelling mode, showing relevant histories when required to support the present day scene was fantastic!

Well, you can tell I liked it, I did not think I would, I felt I would be let down once again by the money grabbers at Hollywood, but every now and then a surprise, Inception, Kick Ass, Dark Knight and now Man of Steel! I now I am asking for a big hurt by saying that I am excited for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but you know what, If any director can do it Justice (pun intended) then it is Snyder! Bravo good sir, bravo!

As always if you agree disagree, then I invite you to comment!