Monday, November 29, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; Movie 7 Part I Better than the Book

             From the first moment the movie sucks you into another world and makes you believe the imaginary one is real. You feel like you’re living the adventure.  Watch out, it’s a dangerous one! Top marks, for the acting, animation, special effects.  Splitting the story into two parts was the only possible way to do it properly, the same should have been done for movies 4 through 6.  Parts of the movie were definitely horror, so it’s not for everyone.  There were also funny and touching parts to lighten the mood.  The Deathly Hallows novel was to my mind the weakest and most predictable of the series, and while the movie of course shared the same story, it was the first time I felt the movie was an improvement over the novel.
             I wasn’t pleased with the direction the novel took Harry.  Instead of learning to work with the government or facing up to Snape and partnering with him effectively but not lovingly, he wandered around aimlessly for a long time, making hit and miss discoveries.  This could have been a great story!  The Deathly Hallows was full of missed potential -- a purposeful Harry taking auror training, planning, interacting with authority figures as in earlier stories, but with more maturity, and taking on a leadership role by the end.  I was disappointed with the lack of character growth or learning for the characters. 
             The film version, however was a definite improvement over the novel, which actually dragged in places for the first time ever.  One part that was especially special was the beautifully animated short we got for the Beatle the Bard story vs. the novel only able to present it as a story to read within a story.  The long camping sequence didn’t seem to drag in the movie as it did in written form due to the wonderful acting and touching moments instead of the dreary descriptions.  Seeing Dobby come alive on-screen was a treat (until he died, but it was a reasonable story element).
             The part one ended on a wonderfully dramatic note, with Voldemort stabbing the powerful wand skyward.  There was a sense of completion, a mission accomplished, but not the mission we want to be  completed in the end!  Thus we’re able to leave satisfied but eagerly awaiting part two.

Friday, November 26, 2010

InSight, a Science Fiction News Show

            This is a fun way for Science Fiction and Fantasy fans to get the latest genre news.  In this weekly on-line genre-specific news show, Industry updates are interspersed with chatty breaks giving opinions and a bit of laughter, or the occasional mild tirade.   The two current hosts, Dave Andrews and Scott Brody, are the heads of the Network that airs the show.  They’re looking to replace themselves as soon as practical, as they move on to running everything going on with the network and production, since in their own words  the audience would rather look at younger better looking hosts.  I don’t find them hard to watch at all though, with their cheery expressions and senses of humour.
The content is relevant and timely.  It’s obvious the writers/producers (Scott and Dave mostly for now) are true sci-fi fans, and know what fans need.  What’s just been released at theatres, how it’s doing, what’s coming, book and comic coverage.  An intriguing real science segment, “On the Edge,” that often seems like it should be science fiction, and a segment on cool stuff Nasa is doing.  A worthwhile 20-30 min spent I’d say.  You can see the show at:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who Am I? Show in the works

  A young athlete, Adam Kensoi and his friends wonder what makes Adam so very different. A mysterious government agency spying on Adam’s every move knows more about Adam's deceased father and his puzzling origins than he does.
   Incredible feats of athleticism mixed with episodes of memory loss, mood swings and unconsciousness have Adam's mother and friends wondering if he suffers from a head injury or is just going crazy. Strange anomalies in Adam's blood have even more people convinced that Adam is not the same as everyone else.
   Unusual things become impossible to deny when Adam realizes the color-changing crystal shard that hangs from his neck is much more than a childhood gift from his father. Warned of impending danger but driven to solve the mystery, Adam and his best friends set out to answer the question, "Who Am I?"

A start-up network/studio, Syzygy, has a fund-raising drive for this sci-fi mystery, Who Am I?

Update:  The pilot has been funded, thanks to the generous genre fans who contributed on Kickstarter's website.  Casting notice is now up.

Update Feb 2011:  The pilot is mostly shot, here's the first trailer:

Avatar (2009 movie)

   Spectacular graphics, inventive creatures, aliens, and plants were the strong points of this movie. The alien environment reminded me of Earth's deep ocean, beautiful and exotic.
The plot, however, if you take away a basic SF set-up and setting, is a well-used western. Cowboys taking over Indian (native American) territory. They even used Indian whoops, bows and arrows! I personally got bored with the second half of the movie, which was a huge, non-stop battle. Old-fashioned machismo, “we he men, will fight off enemy with bare hands!" Plus the bad guys, "white man" who were totally bad and wouldn't listen to reason nor have any morals. So over-all I wasn't that impressed. It was a bit depressing, what with the huge amounts of destruction of beautiful nature, and deaths of the gathered native force. There was no great plan, just savage cries of "we can't let them do this to us, we'll all band together and let many die to fight them off." Not very smart, wasteful of precious life. The movie almost glorified the savagery of battles.

   The native culture was fairly predictable, closely copying mostly native Americans, with a bit of African thrown in. They even broke bucking broncos, dominated them and gained possession. "You're mine now." Were the hair-braids natural, or did the natives/aliens develop hair-braiding s a method of gathering the hair together to concentrate the ends which could be used to bond with creatures?

   The movie was enjoyable in it's own way, my kids were much more enthusiastic (11 and 13). My husband gave it a 5/6 for first viewing, repeat was 6/10. It had it's points, but not enough of the originality was put into the plot and character interactions, which were predictable and cliched. Man comes to native group to do mission, falls in love, turns around...I think I've seen this one a few times!

Star Trek The Movie

   A roaring adventure that spans multiple dimensions of sensory input.  You are moved to cry, to laugh, to tingle with excitement beyond the level of the expected norm for a sci-fi thriller.  A thriller it was, but the fast-paced action was interspersed with just the right amount of poignant character drama that was at the same time nostalgic, and fresh, and ranged from extremely  touching to hilariously  funny.  The real genius was in re-booting the franchise, yet keeping the original history, stories, and characters in tact.  The actors put on stellar performances, overcoming the huge challenges involved in not only bringing the emotional content of the script to life, but superbly emulating the style of the original actors.  A double challenge that surely was not easy, with the performers mindful that their every eyelash movement would be analyzed to death by millions of fans devoted to the original incarnation.
    That’s not to say that if you go mining, you can’t dig up some holes, or fall into some traps.  The cliches were there, too - but it didn’t seem to matter because of the emotional ride and just plain fun.

About Me

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I studied microbiology/genetics, then shifted to the more purely creative fields of writing and painting. I’m passionate about my work, currently an ambitious Science Fiction drama, as well as reading, karate, horses, cats, gardening, creative cooking, and my family.