It’s time for another edition of the Friday Review where I briefly review and rate various things I’ve watched, read and played recently. As always if you have opinions on anything I’ve talked about please, please share them as a comment!
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I must begin my confessing I haven't read the book or seen the original Swedish film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so I can’t say how this compares to them. But I thought this was a brilliant adaptation. A disgraced journalist, played by Daniel Craig, who investigates the missing niece of a wealthy patriarch from forty years before. He’s aided by the pierced, tattooed, punk computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander, played by newcomer Rooney Mara. It’s quite shocking and the storyline is brilliant. I love the character of Salander who proves that she is one tough cookie and can bounce back from anything. I’m trying to be particularly spoiler-free but if you know the story you’ll understand what I mean. David Fincher gives us a great adaptation of the book, apart from a slight change. My mother explained to me what the change was and actually consider it to be quite a good one change for once, ensuring the movie didn’t go on forever. Fantastic story, fantastic characters and fantastic acting. Watch it. ★★★★★
Nintendo 3DS Games
Mario Kart 7
Apart from having a really unimaginative name, Mario Kart 7 is wonderful. At a basic level it takes the graphics of the Wii edition with controls of the DS edition to create the best Mario Kart ever. There are two new elements to driving. One is the diving underwater which works well but isn’t really very different from driving normally. The other is gliding which feels quite a lot like Pilotwings Resort. You can also now customise karts by choosing a chassis, wheels and glider that you want to have. In terms of tracks there are some brilliant classics and some great new ones. Melody Motorway is brilliant and this is also the first Mario Kart game where I like the Rainbow Road track. It strays from the traditional three laps, as do two other tracks, and instead is a straight start to finish race with three very different sections. I have to say though there is the occasional dull track with Koopa City being the an example of this. Sixteen tracks, eight of them being retro ones, does feel like a bit of a let-down. I want more! One day I hope they’ll release all the Mario Kart tracks there have ever been on the same cartridge. I doubt it will ever happen though. Online racing makes up for the lack of tracks though and is fantastic, even better than on the Wii. Quite simply this is the best Mario Kart game ever and therefore one of the best games ever. ★★★★★
Super Mario 3D Land
Another stupid title but that can’t be helped. This title is sort of a combination of New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy. It sounds like it shouldn’t work but it does. Some levels are classic platformers, some play very much like Galaxy (there’s a level very much like the Flipswitch galaxy) and others are something entirely different. The graphics are sublime but this is the first game for the 3DS where 3D is more than a bonus. The 3D effect becomes part of the gameplay in many levels. Switch it off and you struggle to land on the right platform or enemy. It’s hard to describe and I guess you’ll only understand if you play it. The biggest issue is the difficulty. I am rather rubbish at games, as much as I love them, but even I found this one really easy. Fortunately there are some additions to combat this. Instead of just progressing to the next level, sometimes you need to go back and find the star coins hidden in other levels. There’s also a lot of levels. You complete the main game after just eight worlds but in fact there are then another new set of eight worlds to combat and it does get harder here. It’s a very different type of Mario game but is executed wonderfully. Oh and the tanooki suit which allows you to bat away enemies with your tail and perform a flutter jump is awesome. ★★★★☆
S.T.O.R.M.: The Death Web by E.L. Young
My rating: ★★★★☆
The final book featuring the S.T.O.R.M team sees them head to L.A. in the hope of finding out what happened to Will's father. As always in the series there's lots of gadgets and technology which make it all seem more real. An American equivalent of S.T.O.R.M was a nice idea but overall I would say this book is not as engaging as it's predecessors. The end result is really predictable and the ongoing plotline of Gaia and Will having a crush on each other dragged a bit.
Still a great book but disappointing compared to the rest of the series.
The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams
My rating: ★★★☆☆
The cover suggests this is mostly the unfinished third novel featuring Dirk Gently but actually it's mostly a collection of various articles written by Adams for various magazines and newspapers. Whilst some are of interest, many are outdated now and of little interest to most.
However, there are also several short stories, one of which being "The Private Life of Genghis Khan" which is very funny. The ten chapters of the unfinished Dirk Gently novel are brilliant and I would argue better than the openings of the two finished novels starring the holistic detective. Dirk starts to receive $5000 deposits to his bank account and decided to follow a complete stranger in the hope that this might somehow help. His horoscope also predicts he will meet a rhinoceros called Desmond.
It is only a shame there is not more for I think it would have been the best Dirk Gently novel which is really saying something. Overall this book is great for people who have read all of Adams book's and want more but would probably not appeal to most others.
These reviews are taken from my Goodreads profile. On it I shall review every book I read, including some that won’t make it onto this blog. View all my reviews
And that’s it for this week but another edition of the Friday Review will be coming soon!