Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Framing Devices


I recently read a book (The Keep by Jennifer Egan, in case you're interested) which claimed to be about two cousins renovating a castle. It is a lot more interesting than it sounds, I'm deliberately over-simplifying it. And on the back cover, it goes into a little more detail about that, and throws in a mention of "a story within a story."

Except it turns out that this story, the one I think I'm buying, is the story within the story (by the way, this is not a spoiler, it's all made very clear in the first chapter and not a surprise then to anyone who bothered to read the blurb). The stuff about the cousins and the castle - which made me cry like a baby - was not the main body of the story at all. It was, for lack of a better word, filler. Now, that's going a bit far, I suppose, it was included for a reason, but the vast majority of the story is the other bit. To avoid a spoiler, I'll call it the writer's story. So we have the castle story and the writer's story.

My problem with this book? The castle story, the small part, was so much more interesting than the writer's story. I couldn't care less about that part of the story, I was only interested in the castle story. And that was a problem because I thought that was the book I was buying. I didn't realise that the story within the story was the one described in the blurb.

Have you ever been duped into buying a book thinking it was about one thing and discovering that it was actually about something completely different? Were you disappointed? Annoyed? Pleasantly surprised?



Monday, 27 August 2012

CITY OF BONES

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

One night at an all-ages club, Clary Fray sees three teenagers murder a fourth. That's bad enough, but then the body disappears into thin air. The fact that she saw any of it is a serious problem - the murdered teenager is a demon, his killers Shadowhunters, and Clary is drawn into their world.

I'm a little late to the party with this book, there are at least two sequels, a series of prequels and a movie currently in production. It has a big and devoted fan-base, and the guy in Waterstone's couldn't recommend it enough.

I thought it was okay. The writing's nice, pretty but not so fancy that it's annoying and distracting. There are some interesting characters and Clare has an interesting take on some of the more familiar paranormal creatures. However, Clary is being introduced to a world she didn't know existed, one with a long and complicated and rather drab history. A history that is told in excruciating detail. There is way too much backstory, and a lot of it is unnecessary. Unlike other books that are the first in the series, there's also a story, but at times it takes a backseat to the backstory. I would've much rather had more story.

And the name Clary Fray...it might actually be worse than Wendy-bloody-Everly. Seriously, I found it hard to say and irritating. The character's not great either. She's clearly meant to be an ass-kicking anti-Bella-Swan, but she's so out of her depth that she just comes across as a bit childish. Running headlong into a dangerous situation isn't brave when you don't understand what you're running into. Bravery would be running into the situation with the full understanding of just what you're getting yourself into, and still doing it anyway. I don't know, maybe this will improve with the next book as Clary starts to better understand the world she's been pulled into.

Speaking of names, actually, the villain's name bugged me, too. Valentine. For a few days, I kept thinking I was sure that was the name of a vampire in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. When I finally looked it up, it was, and that kind of ruined Clare's Valentine for me. I couldn't picture him, I was picturing Hamilton's version and the two didn't really line up. I suppose this isn't Clare's fault, though, there are only so many creepy names to use for villains. Although I suppose she could have done a better job of building his character so that Hamilton's didn't have a gap to sneak in through...

All in all, I'll be buying the sequel, so it's not a bad book. I did enjoy parts of it, quite a few parts, I just thought it was a real shame that the story was sidelined for unnecessary backstory. Drip-feed that stuff as necessary, don't make it the core of your novel.



Sunday, 26 August 2012

PURE

Pure by Julianna Baggott

After the Detonations, the human race has been divided. The Pures, who live a charmed, safe life inside the Dome, and the Wretches, who didn't get inside. They live on the Outside, a wasteland, and have often disturbing afflictions. One day, the Pures will come to rescue the Wretches, they promised. But then a Pure leaves the Dome and both sides see how the others really live.

Hmm. This book had promise, I thought, but I didn't really enjoy it that much. It jumps around between viewpoints, something which I don't usually like anyway, but sticks mainly with Partridge (Pure) and Pressia (Wretch.) Unfortunately, I didn't really like either of them. I found the minor characters such as Lyda and El Capitan much more interesting, and wish we'd spent more time in their heads.

To say this book is a slow-starter is one hell of an understatement. Seriously, you could've chopped out the first hundred pages and made very little difference to the actual story. The blurb of this book (which is actually on the back of the book and about the right length - exciting, huh?) states: When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Now, to me, this says that the turning point of the novel - the inciting incident, the part where things might actually become interesting - is when the two characters meet. The problem is, this doesn't happen for over a hundred pages. Seriously. Partridge first sees Pressia on page 118. She sees him a couple of pages before that, but it doesn't count as a meeting. And even after that, it takes a long time to get going.

I didn't like the ending either, but that's becoming the norm for me. Maybe it's me rather than the endings.

Also, that little fireball referencing the Hunger Games on the cover? Yeah, that's not a sticker. That's actually part of the cover. Not impressed.



Saturday, 25 August 2012

THE ABBEY

The Abbey by Chris Culver

This book was a bit of a departure for me. I don't often read crime novels, or anything that's in any way based in the real world. Something with vampires or demons or aliens is much more my speed. Fortunately, this one turned out to be about vampires. There's no mention of them on the cover, I had no idea that it featured vampires, and yet I was inexplicably drawn to it. I think we've discovered my superpower.

So, yeah, a girl turns up dead and it's ruled a suicide, except her uncle, who just happens to be a detective, is convinced something more is going on. You'll never guess what, he turns out to be right and she was murdered.

It's okay, I guess. The writing's a bit juvenile, but I managed to ignore that, which suggests that the story was good enough to distract me. The main character is a muslim, and though characters having a religion isn't a problem for me, Culver felt the need to beat us over the head with this fact every couple of pages. He also has a drinking problem, and it was important for Culver to remind me every time the detective had a drink that muslims aren't allowed to drink. After the first couple of mentions, this started to get really irritating.

My other major problem with this book was that it made some huge assumptions regarding the plot (there's an incident involving a stuffed lion toy which obviously means that the bad guys have been in his house and haven't simply seen his daughter carrying this toy outside the house) which I found to just be lazy. I'm planning to do a whole blog entry about this topic soon, so I won't say anymore here, but it's just something to be aware of.

I don't know if I would recommend this book. I didn't really enjoy it, but I didn't hate it either. I think because I don't normally read the genre, I'm not the right person to judge this book. I'm going to make my mother read it (since she reads crime novels almost exclusively) and I'll get back to you with a decision.



Friday, 24 August 2012

Flashfiction Friday #03: Camping

The bass shakes the mud beneath your feet. Your wellies are long gone, lost in a tangle of tents and beer cans. You bounce up and down with the surges of the crowd, the mud splashing up your bare legs. The hair of the woman in front keeps hitting your face, you can barely see the big screens, let alone the band. The words of the song are lost, but the music keeps pounding. The cold night air makes your sweaty skin prickle but you hardly notice. You're hemmed in so tightly you can't quite catch your breath. At first you fought against it, trying to keep your position, trying to keep your space. Now you let yourself go, throw yourself into the crowd, so excited to be part of things. Finally, after so long, you belong.



Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Summertime Sadness

You know what my favourite thing to do during the summer is? Go to the cinema. (I don't really like holidays because they usually involve heat, other people, travel, and sharing a bedroom/bathroom with far too many other people for my liking). There are few things better than going and sitting in a dark, air-conditioned room for a few hours and forgetting that you don't have a job or any prospects in life. It's blissful.

Except this year, there is nothing on. Seriously. Not a damn thing. People go on about the big summer blockbusters, but what have we actually had this summer? The Dark Knight Rises doesn't count because it came out too early (ie before the UK got really, really hot). Let's take a look at the releases purely in August:

- Ted
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
- Offender
- Step Up 4: Miami Heat
- Brave
- The Bourne Legacy
- The Expendables II
-The Wedding Video
- The Three Stooges
- Keith Lemon: The Film
- Shadow Dancer
- The Watch
- Total Recall
- A Few Best Men
- The Possession

(List taken from 'Time Out,' though I have removed any that I've either not heard anything about ever, or are not available to see at any of my local cinemas.)

Overlooking the fact that there are two different wedding movies, this really only leaves us with three films that could be called blockbusters: The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables II and Total Recall. Now, since Bourne wasn't very good, The Expendables is the freaking Expendables and Total Recall isn't being released until September (practically), that means there hasn't really been a big movie this month. Which is a problem for me. Because it's been hot. No amount of air-conditioning could make me sit through The Three Stooges or a film involving a wedding.

My biggest problem with this list, however, is Brave. I like Pixar films. I'd say I love them, but I either adore the films or really dislike them, so let's just say that overall I like their work. But it's the summer holidays, okay? I can't be in a cinema with small children. I struggle to be in a cinema with other adults (this is my problem not the cinema, I know) but nobody should be forced to watch a film with children unless those children are their own. For something like Brave, which I know for a fact appeals to adults as well as children (and recent university graduates), I can't understand why none of the cinemas in my area are doing Over-18s Only showings. Toy Story 3 got several screenings in this category. The cinemas are missing a trick and I'm going to have to get the damned DVD.

Any films you've wanted to see this summer but have been put off by the potential hordes of children? Any films you've flat-out wanted to see this summer? The pickings have indeed been slim in my opinion. Roll on September - Anna Karenina, Lawless and Looper. I can feel the air-con already.



Friday, 17 August 2012

Flashfiction Friday #02: Ugly Duckling

The nursery has always given her the creeps. She remembers looking around the house for the first time, Andrew and the estate agent admiring the intricate brickwork outside, the sweeping staircase in the hallway, the French windows leading from the dining room to the gardens, a riot of colour even in early April. There was an air of abandonment to the whole place, the rooms were mostly bare and the remaining furniture was covered by white sheets. The estate agent was vague about the previous owners. She claimed it was a summer house that finances had forced the family to give up. Quinn didn't believe her. She wandered alone up to the attic rooms, while her husband asked questions about the gardens. He hated gardening but was determined to have a beautiful garden all the same.

The top of the house felt almost claustrophobic. The huge open chambers from the lower floors gave way to narrow corridors and locked doors. She frowned as she turned the handles, wondering what was being hidden up here. The rational part of her mind said damp. Mould. Structural problems. The less rational part said ghosts. It was silly, she didn't even believe in ghosts, but there was something about this house. The huge, castle-like mansion that sat on the edge of the lock, just metres away from falling into its black depths. It felt like the first ten minutes of a horror movie.

The door at the end of the corridor was unlocked, but it stuck as she tried to open it. The wood had warped into the frame. She pushed at it, throwing her shoulder in for good measure, and the door popped open. She stepped into a small, warm room. The lemon-waxed floorboards creeked underfoot as she walked towards the crib under the window, the bars of which were splintered and crooked. Quinn felt a shiver unfurl down her spine. The walls were painted a soft yellow and decorated with little ducklings in a row around the centre of the room. Quinn smiled, but then leant forward to get a better look. The ducklings looked angry, their little faces painted with harsh black lines.

Quinn hurried out of the room and back down the stairs to find her husband. There was just something about those ducklings that set fear gnawing at the pit of her stomach. She found Andrew and the estate agent standing in the hallway.

"Oh, there you are, dear," the estate agent said. "We were just wondering where you'd gotten to." She smiled warmly at Quinn and then turned back to Andrew. He'd already viewed the house twice, even though this was Quinn's first time seeing it. "Here are the keys," she said, handing them over. "I'll just get you the paperwork."

"You bought the house?" Quinn asked, stunned. She knew Andrew loved the house, but she couldn't believe he'd buy it without at least asking her first.

"Don't you like it?" he asked. "Can't you just imagine raising little Leonard here?" he added, placing his hand gently on her stomach.

Quinn didn't say anything, but she could feel the baby kicking in protest.



Wednesday, 15 August 2012

THE BOURNE LEGACY

It's hard to say whether I was looking forward to this film or not. I really liked the original Bourne trilogy and so I knew I'd go and see it, but I'm not a big Jeremy Renner fan and I couldn't really see a Bourne film without Jason Bourne actually working. So I didn't have high expectations going in, but the film failed to meet even then.

The whole thing is a set-up for a new trilogy/franchise, that much is very obvious. The whole two hours should have been condensed into the first twenty minutes of another film, one with an actual story. The first half of the film is catching you up on the original films and informing you, in case you hadn't figured it out, that the CIA is bad and full of bad people who shouldn't be in charge of feeding themselves, let alone anything else. The second half of the film is a mix of ridiculously long action sequences (there are only so many car-chase elements you can use before you have to start repeating them) and boring chatter linking them together.

Then there's the footage from The Bourne Ultimatum (the third one), which I didn't see the point of including. Sure, it meant they could use the clips in a trailer without people then complaining that Matt Damon didn't make a single appearance, but it all seemed a bit pointless to me. Which is another key issue with the film, the lack of Matt Damon. Now, I'm not a huge fan of his either, but I think the film did miss him. Jeremy Renner's fine, a bit bland but I guess it's probably best that super secret spies are bland. He just didn't really seem to have much to do. There's no development of his character, he doesn't have any need to portray emotions. A mannequin with a tape recorder inside of it could have done the same job, though I don't think that's Renner's fault. I think the role wasn't written very well. Even Edward Norton (who I do like) seemed wasted, and Rachel Weisz's character...well, the less said about her the better, I think.

Overall, I was severely unimpressed. If it gets a sequel, which it probably will, that might be a good film. This was just too concerned with setting up a new story that it forgot to include the story part. I think it's safe to say that The Bourne Ultimatum remains my favourite of the series, and this one sits comfortably in last place.



Monday, 13 August 2012

Film Titles that Don't Stick

Okay, so I've been to the cinema quite a bit recently, and I've noticed something. We've not been using the full names of the films. Even in conversation (actual human-to-human conversation rather than something like Facebook chat). Here are a few examples:

The Dark Knight Rises - which I and many others have been referring to as simply The Dark Knight. This tended to become a little confusing when comparing it to the actual The Dark Knight.

Snow White and the Huntsman - Snow White, obviously. The actual title was just too long and unwieldy. Funnily enough, though, the Huntsman was the part of the film we were most interested in.

Marvel Avengers Assemble - which we all referred to by its original title, The Avengers. I am prepared to bet that not one person (other than my mother) confused it with the TV show.

The Amazing Spider-Man - a bit like The Dark Knight Rises, this has been commonly referred to as the new Spiderman movie. Except in my house, where a certain person kept referring to it as Spiderman 4. She hasn't even seen Spiderman 3.



Sunday, 12 August 2012

ARTEMIS FOWL: THE LAST GUARDIAN

Artemis Fowl:The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

First of all, kudos to Eoin Colfer for typing "Artemis" about a thousand times now, I seem to be unable to type it correctly on the first go, so if there are typos...

Anyway, this is the eighth Artemis Fowl novel, and if you haven't read the first seven, go do it now. Don't let the fairies put you off, I hate fairies and I love these books.

The Last Guardian picks up...some time after the last book (I'm sorry, it's been a while, I'm hoping to re-read the whole series at some point soon), Artemis is recovering from his Atlantis Complex and enjoying spending time with his twin little brothers. Then of course, Opal Koboi engineers another plot to escape prison/destroy the world. And only Artemis can stop her.

Okay, I know I've already said I love these books, but I feel compelled to say it again - I love these books - because honestly, I was disappointed with this instalment. I think the main problem is Opal Koboi. I think she's been a really good villain in the past, but I'm tired of her now. It's all the same. I think this instalment needed a fresh, new villain, and falling back on Opal Koboi felt a bit halfhearted to me.

That aside, I also had troubling picturing what was going on. I've always had a fairly clear idea of what the fairies, trolls, dwarfs and pixies all look like, and the Mud People just look like regular humans, but this time I really struggled. See, the Guardians are ghostly fairy creatures which rise up an inhabit the closest bodies. Sadly for them, on the Fowl Estate, the closest bodies are rabbits and ferrets and a couple of four year old boys. I couldn't envisage small animals and toddlers giving orders and racing into battle. It didn't matter that I knew they were being inhabited by ghost-y things, I couldn't see it at all.

And the ending...I don't know what to say about the ending without spoiling it for anyone, but I wasn't happy with it. I've since discussed it with someone who didn't have a problem with it and discovered that it's just me being picky, but the ending didn't work for me at all. And since it looks like this is the last we're going to see of Artemis, I think our criminal mastermind deserved a better send-off.



STARTERS

Starters by Lissa Price

Callie has no money and a brother to feed. Her parents are dead and she's desperate. So she decides to rent out her young teenage body to an elderly person for a short period of time, so that the renter can experience youth again. Except Callie discovers that the renter intends to use her body to murder and leave Callie to take the blame.

Hmm...I'm still not sure about this one. I read it a couple of weeks ago and haven't quite made up my mind about it. The concept was what attracted me to it, I'm starting to get a little bit sick of YA dystopian and this one had an idea I hadn't seen before.

It's a slow starter. For those of you who have read The Hunger Games, you remember how long it took to dress Katniss up and get her ready to be revealed to the public? This book takes that to a whole other level. It may be that I am not the average teenage girl (okay, I'm 21, but you know what I mean) but I really don't care whether Callie is pretty or not. I don't care if her hair looks better straight or curly. I simply do not care.

Contrary to this, the ending feels really rushed, especially given the fact that it will have a sequel. In fact, I really didn't like the very end part at all, it kind of made me not want to read the sequel. Ignoring the start and the end, though, I did quite enjoy this book. I stayed up late reading it a few nights in a row, constantly thinking "just one more chapter before bed."

I probably wouldn't recommend this book - if you're after a really good YA dystopian novel, I'd still direct you to Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series before anything else - but I have a feeling I'll be buying the sequel just to see how things turn out.



SORRY

Sorry by Zoran Drvenkar

Four young people set up an agency that apologises to people. All is going well, until they're sent to an apartment where they find a body and a set of instructions.

I'll admit, I had utterly no idea what this book was about when I bought it. I'll admit, I was drawn to it simply because of the nifty cover.

It was excellent.

I can't say much about the plot without spoiling it, but there are multiple points of view and things happening in different time-frames. It's not something you can skim, but I promise it's worth the extra effort. It's one of those rare books that have a gripping plot and are beautifully written.

If I had one complaint, it's that some of the characters are better defined than the others. For example, it features brothers Wolf and Kris. If their dialogue wasn't clearly tagged, I had no idea which of them was speaking. I had a similar issue with Frauke and Tamara, but a lot of the time it didn't really matter which of them was speaking. I really am just digging for a criticism.

This book is definitely worth a read (and it has black-edged pages, so you need a copy even if you never bother to read it), but in the interests of a fair warning - this is not a book for the easily disturbed. Seriously. I was unsettled by it, and it takes a lot to unsettle me. I can't tell you what the problem is without spoiling the entire book, but take my word for it. If you're looking for a happy read, this is not it.



A CONFUSION OF PRINCES

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

Khemri is a prince of the realm, one of ten thousand princes. Unfortunately, they all want each other dead. Only one can become the Emperor, and killing the others improves your odds. Khemri has been singled out by the Imperial Mind, a great honour. But then he starts to realise that the world he lives in is not what he thought it was.

This book reminded me of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Wolf Hall is a brick-sized, doorstop of a book which I utterly loathed. It's also a portrait of Thomas Cromwell and is highly critically acclaimed. I believe it won the Man Booker Prize. None of these are things it has in common with A Confusion of Princes, a YA sci-fi novel. What they do share is a feeling of unmet potential. Throughout Wolf Hall, there were dozens of points where I was sure we were on the cusp of something interesting happening. Unfortunately, these interesting things either didn't happen or happened "off-screen." The same thing happened with A Confusion of Princes. I wanted to like it, and I kept thinking that it was about to get interesting, but it never did.

Prince Khemri's main character trait is his ignorance, and after a while his surprise at finding out the world is not like he thought it was is simply exhausting. The passages expressing these realisations and reactions to them feel identical (I can't say whether or not they actually are because I couldn't bring myself to revisit any of them).

It's my own fault, I suppose. I hated, utterly loathed Sabriel, which is probably Nix's most well-known work. I couldn't bear it, I had to drag myself through it. And yet, I adored The Ragwitch. I hoped this book would be more likely the latter. Sadly, it wasn't.



Friday, 10 August 2012

Flashfiction Friday #01: In the Beginning

So, a couple of months ago I organised and participated in Flash 31, in which I and a few others wrote a flashfiction every day for 31 days. Now, I've decided I'm going to run my own similar challenge on this blog, called Flashfiction Friday. As you might have guessed from its name, every Friday I'll write a new flashfiction and post it here for you all to read. (Some may not get posted until Saturday, but I'll definitely write them on Friday, so it totally counts.)

The plan is to use a prompt, and, because I'm a complete idiot/glutton for punishment, I'm letting people submit their prompts. You just need to leave your suggestion in the comments below. I'll put them all in the hat, regardless of what I think of them. Because I really am an idiot.

If you're doing something similar, I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a link to your blog (with a quick message explaining why you've left said link otherwise I'll get confused) in a comment on one of the posts.

All this information is also on the Flashfiction Friday page, which you'll find near the top of the right-hand column. And without further ado, here's the first flashfiction...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the beginning there was a man and a woman, because, let’s face it, there always is. The man, of course, spent his days trying to impress the woman, because we all know that men only think about one thing. Marriage. What did you think I meant? Men are as pre-occupied with living happily ever after as women are, they’re just a damn-sight better at hiding it. Anyway, the man spent his days trying to impress the woman, while the woman spent her time doing things she enjoyed – reading, painting, sculpting, gardening, ignoring the man because he was so funny when he was annoyed. Then one day, the man decided he’d had enough of all this nonsense. It was time to think big. He needed a big gesture, one that she couldn’t ignore. And so he climbed the tallest tree in her garden, despite her warning that if he damaged so much as one leaf she’d castrate him while he slept. He hollered and waved at her from the top, and she flicked him a scornful glance. He leapt from the tree, beginning to profess his undying love for the woman. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to finish what he’d planned to say, because the tree was a lot taller than he’d thought. He hit the ground and broke every bone in his body. The idiot. He died and the woman was all alone. And finally, she had her happy ending.



Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Problem with Blurbs

You have no doubt heard the phrase "you can't judge a book by it's cover." You may also think it's complete nonsense because, let's face it, how the hell else are you supposed to judge a book? A nice front cover (or spine) catches my eye, and then I look at the blurb to decide if I want to read the book. And where is that blurb located? Ah, yes, on the cover. (Unless it's not on the cover, more on that a little further on).

But I have issues. You may have noticed this, but today I specifically mean issues with blurbs. There are, as there so often is, three distinct types.

Type 1 - The blurbs that tells you too much
I need a blurb to give me a flavour of the book, to get me interested and wanting to know more, without leaving me able to guess exactly what's going to happen. In the blurb for Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, it is stated that Edward is a vampire. Except we're not supposed to know that for two hundred pages, meaning that every time Bella wonders why Edward acts so strangely, the reader wants to hurl the book across the room. There are other things about the Twilight books that might make you want to hurl them across the room, but this is a particular problem for me. The blurb shouldn't tell me everything that's going to happen in the novel, that's akin to someone telling you the ending of a movie and you thanking them and carrying on watching it anyway.

Type 2 - The blurb that doesn't tell you anything
The other extreme is the blurb that doesn't tell you enough. You'd be surprised how often this happens. I recently bought a book called Starters by Lissa Price. It's blurb reads: "First, Callie lost her parents. Then she lost her home. And, finally, she lost her body. But she will stop at nothing to get it back." Now, the fact that this isn't what happens in the book aside, it's not really enough to convince me to read a book. Sure, it piqued my interest, but there wasn't enough there to convince me I wanted to read the book. All it really told me is that it's a young adult novel and it's presumably set in the future. Given the current huge popularity of YA Dystopian novels, I need more to make me choose this one over another. Luckily for me, this book also fits the profile for...

Type 3 - The blurb that isn't where it's supposed to be
How often have you picked up a book, flipped it over to find out what's it about, and instead of a blurb, been met with a bunch of uninteresting quotes from people who liked the book? Have these quotes ever convinced someone to actually read a book? I rarely bother to read them, they have no bearing on whether I will like a particular book, so why bother? It actively annoys me when I have to open the book up and look for the blurb. It makes me not want to buy it. In the case of Starters, I did actually buy the book, but it does bother me. The trusty internet defines a blurb as: A short description of a book...written for promotional purposes and appearing on the cover of a book. On the cover. So please, for the sake of my sanity, stop hiding the blurbs inside your books. I'm on the verge of creating a new personal rule about not buying books unless the blurb is on the back cover. Yes, I really would do that.



Wednesday, 1 August 2012

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Last night, I finally went to see The Amazing Spider-Man, the ridiculous reboot of Sam Raimi's films. I was against this film in principle, because I appear to be one of the few people who actually liked the other films and couldn't see the point of rebooting the franchise so soon. Also, I can't stand Andrew Garfield. Despite this, I knew I was going to go and see it, even if just to say "I knew it was stupid to reboot the franchise."

And I stand by that. I think this new film might actually be better than the ones starring Tobey Maguire (I can't stand him either, by the way, so the actors don't come into it. Although I am a little bit in love with Emma Stone, but let's face it, who isn't?) but the fact that it has come out so shortly after them, (the first in the trilogy was released in 2002 and the last part in 2007), was quite a major issue for me.

There's a section of this new film which bored me. Actually bored me. It got off to a great start, it was different enough to be interesting. All the science-y stuff that went a bit over my head was different and interesting. Some nonsense about cross-species...something. It was great. And then Peter Parker became Spiderman and, as I was sitting in the cinema, I realised that I'd already seen it. There's a good twenty minutes which are pretty much a carbon copy of the first Raimi film as I remember it. Sure, it's been a good few years since I watched the film and I could be mistaken/exaggerating, but still, I was bored. I'd seen it before.

It picked up again after a while, like I said it was really only about twenty minutes in the middle that bothered me, but it was enough to taint what was otherwise a very good film. Sure, it won't win any Oscars, but it was enteraining, and that's what a film should be. I hate to say it, but I think I might have enjoyed this more than The Dark Knight Rises (which I haven't reviewed because I didn't really enjoy it but for specific reasons that probably aren't worth writing about). I'm sure thousands of people would happily step up and tell me I'm wrong, but this was a good film. And I enjoyed it. Mostly.