I can’t spew too much vitriol over this, as this is clearly not made for someone like me who appreciates plot and characters. T2:APCiS is one of those art thingies, style over substance and a big canvas for hidden meanings. There’s something of a semi-coherent story about a cat going into space (Tamala, the apathetic main character) to go to her birthplace, Orion. Instead she gets sidetracked and crashes on planet X and other strange stuff happens. It might be more interesting and entertaining if you’re stoned or otherwise mentally impaired, but to the rest of humanity it’s just plain boring. Also the animation looks cheap (some might call it stylish, I don’t) and the sound is annoying.
This is nearly a flawless collection of short stories by an author I’ve never read before. The writing is excellent and couldn’t be much better, but not all of the stories were equally of interest to me. The two Vietnam inspired stories that close the collection, the alternate history about the aging musician and some of the others just didn’t capture me.
And sometimes the endings felt too simplistic and convenient, for example the otherwise brilliant Suicidal Tendencies had a solution that just felt emotional unrealistic, the sudden revelation of the daughter not quite believable. The high point of the collection was IMHO Fearless, mixing virtual reality and karate in an interesting way. It somehow reminded me of the movie Best of the Best, because like it, instead of emphasizing the action aspect, it showed karate as a force of personal growth. For this story alone it was worth reading this collection.
Another highpoint of the collection are the extensive introductions to each story, I’d like to see other authors follow Smeds’s example. Overall, well worth reading.
The latest part of the Taltos series sees the titular hero procrastinating for two thirds of the novel, until he finds a way to resolve the current problem of his ex-wife.
After the adventure with the Jenoine in the last book, this part feels very low key in comparison, with Vlad back to the territory of the earliest books in the series. But, since Vlad has changed, the reader and he himself realizes that you can’t go back and seeing Vlad trying to do his old stick doesn’t work that well anymore.
Even when not much is happening and the story flounders around aimlessly, it never becomes boring. Brust’s excellent writing makes even the most mundane activity seem fun, but even that doesn’t stop this from feeling like a filler episode until the really interesting things start to happen again.
created by Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom & Paul Workman
One of the few SciFi Channel series that managed to be not only watchable but also to be quite good. It’s a fantasy series about a motel room that somehow has left conventional space and has become endowed with extraordinary powers (and every item in it as well). There’s a whole secret history of different groups trying to collect those items and fighting each other with them. The main story is about a cop who has lost his daughter to the room (with a key the room can be used as a doorway to every existing door, but if something or someone gets lost in the room without the key, they disappear). He’s trying to get her back and has to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding the room to do that.
The fun thing about the items is that they seem to make users more or less crazy, which means that Joe Miller (the cop) has to deal with some lunatics, which provides some fun scenes. If there’s one disappointment about the series, it’s that we never find out what actually happened to the room (the mini was intended as a trial to jump start a longer series, but this never happened). But since it’s mostly self-contained when it comes to Miller’s story arc and there are some excellent twists, it’s worth the watch.
written by Ben Avery and Mike S. Miller, Art by Hector Sevilla
Lullaby: Wisdom Seeker collects Lullaby 1-4 (first series)
Lullaby: Power Grabber collects Lullaby 1-4 (second series)
This reads like the emo version of Fables, another series that tells new stories with known characters (albeit in re-imaginated form) from various fictional sources. Instead of taking place in the real world (like most of Fables did), this takes place in some fantasy world that is made up of different fantasy worlds from fiction (the world of Alice in Wonderland, the magic Land of Oz, etc.). Just to mention it, I dislike Fables as well, but what annoys me about Lullaby is quite different from what annoys me about Fables. The overall plot moves at glacial speed, if you can tell it a plot at all. Each mini series has a mini plot that gets finished, but when you look at both series, you’ll feel like you’ve just read the preliminaries.
Then there’s the annoying tendency of the writers to clatter every page with thought boxes, that detail the musings of nearly every main character. Neither are they really interesting nor do much for the story nor do they give the characters much depth, all you feel is that nearly every character is emo or slightly stupid and all seem to talk with the same voice in their mind. It also makes me feel like what the writers really wanted to do is write prose fiction instead of making a comic, but that’s how they stuck and so the reader has to suffer through their overblown word balloons of heated air.
The original source from which the animated movie of the same name draws. In comparison both, movie and book, are very close, but the minimal differences make each stand on their own. Since I saw the movie first and read the original book only afterwards, the book felt like a rough draft and the movie the refined version. In the movie there are only four kids, not eight, three boys and a girl, instead of just boys. The movie, due to its visual nature, made the kids much more distinct, in the book, apart from Tom, no one has more than just a name and a costume. And I liked that they made Pip steal his own pumpkin in the movie, making him more like the proactive character that the story tells us he is, which is something that doesn’t surface in the book.
But, what the book has and the movie can’t match is the excellent prose by Bradbury. His writing is just superb, sometimes, with just a few words, he captures some profounds truths while also telling a fine story. While both, movie and book, are truly a lecture about Halloween and its origins, the book goes even further, showing us the role that the cycle of life and death has played in our culture and how it has changed in time. Like I said at the begin, both are worth reading and watching for their own sake, both versions bring something to the table the other doesn’t.
The perfect Halloween movie, a guided tour through the ages, a mysterious man showing four kids the origins of their Halloween costumes and the true meaning of the holiday they’re celebrating, while searching for one of their friends. There are some excellent scenes, the passage from time period to time period or the building of Notre Dame.
But what really makes this movie shine is how it captures the spirit of Halloween, much more than most live action movies I’ve seen. Sure, in some ways it’s more a lecture than really a plot driven movie, but it’s such a neat package and so much fun, and the characters of the kids really come alive, that you’ll easily forget the educational aspect of the movie.
Be careful what you wish for could be the tagline of this movie, which sees all of the adults in town stolen by aliens, including Jimmy Neutron’s parents. Which, at first seems like a dream come true, but after some time all the kids realize their error. But thanks to Jimmy’s genius they follow the aliens into space via modified theme park rides and bring them back.
The movie has some very nice touches, including an allusion to Matheson’s The Incredible Shrinking Man. The modification of the theme park rides makes for some mindboggling scenes, hilariously original and extremely funny. The writing is smart, the characters feel like real kids and there’s a neat mix of action and slow scenes. What better way to infect kids with the SF meme than this.
This has generic plot number #379, where your main character, a youthful no-good, learns the lesson that there is more to life than fun, takes on responsibility and becomes a valued citizen. The first part of the movie emphasizes the fun-aspect, the second contains the more serious aspects of the story, which includes a done by the number revelation-scene by the main character about his life and his role in the community. Still, it’s not too annoying and offensive to really grate on your nerves.
Short interlude. This is another animated movie featuring cows as the main characters. They look even more ludicrous in CGI than old-style animation (see Home on the Range). Maybe some executive person thought all the other animals have been done to death in animation and they needed something fresh. But cows?
Final verdict. Cows as heroes makes for mildly entertaining, mostly harmless movies. I wonder what comes next? Bloodsuckers – The Mosquito Movie?
This has generic plot number #566, where your main characters have to raise enough money before their home/land/range/whatever gets sold. That said, even generic plots can be fun if they are done well. Normally I would now plunge into a discussion of how well plot number #566 is executed, but in this case I can’t. There is something much more important that has to be mentioned.
Whoever thought it was a good idea to make cows the main characters? When I think cows, I think food. I think docile, boring creatures. Yes, I know, I’m pretty biased and very likely wrong about the true nature of cows, but hell. Cows?
Back to the movie. It’s nicely animated. It also nicely passes the time and is occasionally fun. It’s a fluffy movie that’s easy to watch. And it has cows as heroes.