Once again it’s time for me to review another load of things I’ve watched or read recently. I’ve been zooming through the books lately so there’s quite a few of them today as well as a few other things. As always, let me know your opinions on any of the things here in the comments.
The Walking Dead (Season Two)
In my review of part one I complained that not a lot had really happened. Fortunately things did liven up in the second half with a death in most of the episodes and all sorts of crazy things happening. I’m still not sure I like the way that the series has drifted quite considerably from the comics. The odd extra bit, like the CDC, adds something but killing off characters that survive much longer in the comics is weird. I like how it keeps us guessing but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the comics and so the storyline should be kept pretty much to the source material. Whilst this was at times a thrilling series and really developed the characters, it was quite dull in places. Apart from the first episode, the majority of the series was set on the farm. I think they dragged this out far too much and anymore than six episodes would have been enough. The farm is not a very exciting location and for the most part not a lot happens there. I have hope that next season will be better with the survivors finding the prison and fighting the governor as well as having the awesome character that is Michonne join the group. Not a bad series but could have been better. ★★★☆☆
Yep, more zombies. I’m going through a bit of a zombie faze at the moment. We join the action here as our shy student hero (basically me without the hero bit) has survived a zombie apocalypse, using thirty rules such as “beware of bathrooms”. He gradually joins up with a gun-toting tough guy who craves Twinkies (whatever they actually are) and two sisters. Inevitably our hero falls for the elder sister and eventually saves her from the zombies. It’s actually a comedy and there are some hilarious moments, though I wouldn’t say it’s a patch on Shaun of the Dead. My favourite part involves a brilliant cameo from Bill Murray who just makes the whole film. The trouble was is that there never seemed to be much real danger, even towards the finale when we knew it would all end ok. Plus it’s not that funny, the laughs are great but there’s just not that many of them. Still, it’s a light-hearted take on a zombie apocalypse which leaves you with a warm feeling inside afterwards. ★★★★☆
This was on TV so I decided to watch it, having fallen asleep half-way through the last time I saw it. The humans have left Earth and left it covered in rubbish. Wall.e is the last cleaning robot left and continues to clean up as best he can. That is until another robot, Eve, arrives, looking to see if there is any greenery on the planet. Wall.e ends up on the humans space-ship, as they sit in hovering chairs, never exercising and getting fatter and fatter. The captain decides they should return to Earth but the computer refuses. It’s up to Wall.e and Eve to get the ship back to Earth. It’s a wonderful warning about what humanity could become though much of the enjoyment comes from Wall.e himself. Considering he’s a robot with very few words, Pixar really managed to show the emotions on him, which is brilliant. However, whilst children might hapily sit through a film with next to no dialogue, I found it a bit harder to concentrate on. A bit more talking and I’d love this movie. ★★★★☆
The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
After a terrible shipwreck a man called Pendrick arrives on the island of Dr. Moreau where some odd experiments are going on. Saying anymore than that will spoil the story, which is really very good. Considering the time it was written, the events of this book still seem possible today. It raises all sorts of questions about what makes us human and really makes you think.
Much to my surprise it's quite easy to read. Wells' was a fantastic writer and also quite humorous. Amongst the dark story are some very witty lines. Though containing some elements of sci-fi, I would say this is more of an adventure novel. It's thrilling and at times scary and doesn't over-complicate things. A gem of a book that has made me thirsty for more of Wells' work.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Jointly written by two authors I love, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, this book was bound to be enjoyable. And angel and a demon discover that the antichrist is going to start Armageddon soon and they are not very happy about it. It features the four horsemen of the apocalypse riding motorcycle, witch-finders and a group of youths discussing all sorts of random things. It manages to be a light take on a dark subject whilst still raising all sorts of philosophical questions. It's absolutely hilarious too!
My one quibble is that the humour and enjoyment sort of died out in the middle. I think too long is spent dwindling on the group of youths led by the antichrist when by that point we want the apocalypse to get going. Crowley and Azirapahle are fantastic central characters who bounce of each other brilliantly. Everyone of their scenes is fantastic.
All in all, it's pretty damn good. Fans of either author would no doubt enjoy it and it has something of a The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy about it too. Well worth reading. ★★★★☆
Hollow Earth by John and Carole E. Barrowman
John Barrowman is good at pretty much everything and I doubted he could write a decent children's novel, even with his sister's help. Apparently he can. The story is about twins Em and Matt who are “animare” and have the power to animate things they draw in real life. They're not the only ones though and there's lots of secret plots and you're not really sure who's good and who's bad.
It's a great universe they've created and the characters are hugely likeable. Occasionally the language is a little awkward and the kids say things that very few kids would ever say. But they are minor quibbles in a book which is otherwise very well written and very gripping. Pleasantly surprised by this one and can easily see a sequel coming at some point in the future. ★★★★☆
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Firstly I have to say it was a very odd read. Coraline is virtually ignored by her family and the other adults around her. Then she goes through the a door and into a world which at first glance seems nearly perfect. In it is her Other Mother, who has buttons for eyes. It doesn't take long before Coraline feels uneasy there and realises all is not as it first appears.
It really was a very disturbing book in places, largely because of the way it captures the innocence of childhood incredibly well. Reading it you feel like you are Coraline, going through all the terrible things she does. Despite how dark it is, there is still moments of Gaimon's usual wit and humour tucked in there, many courtesy of the sarcastic cat.
I could imagine doing a long study looking at this book in depth and what it all represents. Maybe it doesn't represent anything at all and is just quite weird. I don't know really. Still, I enjoyed it although I still feel a little creeped out by the whole thing. ★★★★☆
Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts!