Friday, 12 July 2013

Reading & Seeing 11

Man of Steel
The highly anticipated re-launch of the Superman saga. They'd been teasing us for weeks with awesome looking trailers and I can happily say that the film was grand! To be honest, Superman, of all the super heroes, never really appealed to me - I never watched more than a couple of episodes of Smallville (I got bored) and I didn't watch the film that came out in 2006, I thought the TV series from the 90s (you know, the one with Terri Hatcher) was laughable and I didn't get into the comics. I think the only superman related thing I've embraced before Monday was the old Christopher Reeve movie. But that has changed. Man of Steel completely flipped my opinion of the guy, mostly thanks to the first 20 mins set on Krypton, with a fatherly Russell Crowe kicking some ass as Jor-El. The story creeps along at a tantalising pace - the audience getting glimpses into Clarke's past and present - before a seriously explosive conclusion. Henry Cavil is a dream as the troubled alien hero and the supporting cast is on form including krypton general gone bad, Michael Shannon. I think I'm right in saying that there might be a second instalment in the pipeline...the last few minutes are mighty pleasing and certainly suggest it. Fingers crossed!

War Horse at The New London Theatre
Back in December 2011 I promised Mitch that we would see this stage production - it took me a year and a half to make good on it but better late than never. We both resisted seeing the Speilberg movie version and remained in the dark about the ending which I imagine is the best way to see it. Our avoidance tactics were well rewarded - it was brilliant! I am constantly amazed at how stage productions work around the fact that there is only a stage upon which to tell epic stories - epic stories that are often made into movies with special effects, stunning locations and hundreds of extras at the director's disposal. The team behind War Horse - that's the set designers, puppeteers and cast - should be congratulated for their skills and imagination. I completely forgot I was sitting in a theatre looking at horse-sized and shaped, machanical puppet controlled by three men - it was a horse, a real horse, in my mind. It's a fantastic story and incredibly emotional (a lot of this has to do with the WWI setting which is just devastating) - I cried about 5 times, particularly at the end. I highly reccomend seeing it on the stage - nothing can really compare to a live performance, it draws you in more than something on a small screen can ever do.

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde (2001)
Set in an alternative 1985 where a specialist law enforcement agency has been created to police the rising crimes against literature (forgeries and the like), the crimean war has been ploughing on for 130 years, people keep dodos as pets and the end of Jane Eyre concludes with the heroine going off to India with her cousin. The story follows Literary Detective, Thursday Next, as she sets out to catch one of the world's most wanted men for crimes against literature, Acheron Hades and rescue the story (and characters) of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. It is as bonkers as it sounds but absolutely brilliant! Part detective story, part sci-fi (time travel is an everyday occurrence and worm holes are dealt with in a v.matter of fact way), part fantasy (blurring the lines between fiction and 'real life') and a little bit of horror (the Hades character does some pretty horrendous stuff plus there's a few werewolf and vampire references thrown in for good measure). There are so many twists and turns that you're always kept guessing as to what will happen next. It's been a while since I read a good adventure story and I definitely need to get my hands on the next book in the series.

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (2008)
I was skepitcal about this book when it came out and again so when they released the film - Battle Royale for kids anyone? But then I watched it. And loved it. So, I figured I should try and read them before the next film comes out and the first in the trilogy seemed like the prefect holiday read. It's not the best written book but the concept is a winner and Katniss is a v.likeable character who you can easily root for. What was interesting about the book, compared to the film, was that you get a lot more insight into her thoughts, particularly concerning her feelings towards Peeta. I'm not gonna lie, I got a bit of a laugh from people when they saw what I was reading but whatever, it's a page turner and I liked it (also, I pretty sure that this is the main reason why people use kindles). I kinda gave up with Harry Potter and there was absolutely nothing which appealed to me about the Twilight series so The Hunger Games is my little guilty pleasure and I shall definitely be reading the sequels.

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