Film Review: The Last Jedi

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I’ll say it straight up now, I loved this film. I’ve heard a lot of negativity about it, but by goodness I loved it. I found the plot engaging and I started to see the characters of Rey and Finn become more rounded as individuals, which was a fantastic thing to see, as it was one of my main criticisms of The Force Awakens was that Rey was a pretty one dimensional character, so I’m glad this was rectified during this film.

Luke skywalker comes across as a bit of a little bitch, but that was to be expected, the whole thing adds a whole extra layer to the Star Wars universe and I was left rather satisfied, with a few questions, but that’s the beauty of knowing that there’ll be a sequel.

Overall 4.5 out of 5.

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Book Review: The Time Machine

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I love time travel stories. This is the main reason Doctor Who is my favourite TV series. And H G Wells’ 1895 novella was one of the original works to come up with the idea. Whilst it doesn’t really look at the sort of paradoxical and ethical concerns of time travel it does look at the ideas of utopia and dystopia that have since become commonplace in fiction, but wells was one of the first to do it.

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Wells is often heralded as the father of modern science fiction with classics under his belt such as The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, and The First Men In The Moon. Its clear to see that Wells was a man who was blessed with both understanding of science and the workings of academia, as well as being equally blessed with a fantastic imagination. What must it of been like for a victorian to come up with the idea of time travel? To imagine what mankind would be like 800,000 years in the future? You can still smell the victorian ideals printed all over the page, both a spirit of exploration and of repression all rolled into one neat little package, tied up with a big helping of steampunkish industry to finish off the equation and make a fun little foray into the future.

What I would have liked about the book, and this is my only real criticism, is that I would have liked to see a more in depth look into the world of the future, without giving spoilers, I would like to have known how the human race had evolved from victorian values to the state of fearful tyranny between the Eloi and the Morlocks. Other than that the book was well written and the chapters weren’t all that long so it made for good bed time reading, and I’m glad to be able to say that I’ve read it.

 

Book Review: A Princess Of Mars

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A little while ago I came up with a list of books that I wanted to read before the time I become ancient (30) first on the list was A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a prolific American writer most well know as the creator of Tarzan. A princess of Mars is the first novel to feature his second most well known creation John Carter of Mars.

The novel itself is fairly short and is a prime example of the general pulp science fiction that was popularised in early twentieth century America and without giving away the plot does stick rather closely to the formula for pulp, of man from Earth winds up on alien planet, fights and then joins with the natives, rescues a princess and then saves the day. As an early example of the sort of pulp (originally serialised in 1912) that was floating about the market place in those days you can forgive it for seeming a little done to death over 100 years later, because you realise it was one of the first to do it.

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The writing style feels a little disjointed as it is written in the form of memoir, so Edgar Rice Burroughs has written it in the manner of memoir penned by Captain John Carter, who has a tendency to go off on tangents mid explanation, which does spoil the narrative, however I feel this may have been a conscious choice by Burroughs, as it lends a certain verisimilitude to the work, and it shows that only a really great writer would be able to write from the point of view of an amateur, that is to say terrible, writer.

My only main criticism is that whilst the world of Barsoom is a rich and vibrant world the secondary characters ring a little flat, and whilst the protagonist and his circle are explored the villains of the piece such as Tal Hajus and Sarkoja are lacking in any real depth and seem to be there mainly as plot accelerators more than as real characters.

Overall it was an enjoyable distraction I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 and pick up some the other books that make up the Barsoom series to find out the fates of Deja Thoris and John Carter of Mars.

Look out for more reviews coming soon. 

30 Before Thirty (Comics & Graphic Novels)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the Comics and Graphic Novels that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days

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Camelot 3000

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Miracle Man: A Dream Of Flying

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All Star Superman 

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Preacher: Gone To Texas

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The Crow

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Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes

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Alan Moore’s: Saga of The Swamp Thing

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Marvel 1602

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Saga: Volume 1

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 The Order: Die Mensch Machine

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The Complete Scarlet Traces 

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Button Man

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Ronin 

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Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow 

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The Infinity Gauntlet 

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Amazing Spider-man: Kravens Last Hunt

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Promethea Book 1 

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Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus 

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Multiversity 

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Son Of Superman 

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Hellblazer: Original Sins 

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The Authority: Relentless 

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Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction 

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Doctor Who: Emperor Of The Daleks

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Death: The High Cost Of Living  

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JSA The Liberty Files 

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Alice In Sunderland 

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Daredevil Yellow

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The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Films)

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I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the films that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

How Green Was My Valley 

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Gentleman’s Agreement

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From Here to Eternity

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Gone With The Wind

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Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

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West Side Story

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Lawrence of Arabia

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

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Funny Girl

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Fiddler On The Roof

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All The Presidents Men

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Milk

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Kramer Vs Kramer

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Terms of Endearment 

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The Cider House Rules

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An Education

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The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Guardians of the Galaxy 2

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Moonrise Kingdom

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Saving Private Ryan

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Going In Style 

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Wall Street

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King Ralph

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Planes Trains and Automobiles

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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The Monuments Men

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Good Will Hunting

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Good Morning Vietnam 

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This Is Spinal Tap

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How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

The Formula For Pulp

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I’ve been reading/ watching a lot of pulp sci-fi lately (which isn’t a new thing), but there is one thing that I’m noticing, and that is that the plots for all of the pulp sci-fi classics are all exactly the same.

If I describe the plot to you see if you can guess the film, book, comic or tv show.

  1. A human male is somehow transported to an alien world
  2. said human male will meet a local tribe, and will be captured and or fight, before gaining said tribes trust/respect and then learns that the planet is made up of lots of warring peoples all ruled by one tyrant.
  3. Human male will then meet a princess who is part of the resistance against said tyrant, will fall in love and then join the resistance.
  4. Human male will suffer self doubt before uniting all tribes on the planet against the tyrant.
  5. Final battle
  6. Human Male either marries princess and rules or is sent back to Earth to pine for princess and scheme to get back.

This formula actually applies to pretty much all stalwarts of the genre across all media, It accurately sums up the novel Princess of Mars, which gave us the John Carter film, it sums up Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. It is an accurate summation of the Flash Gordon serials, comics and film and is a true synopsis for DC Comic’s Adam Strange A Man Of Two Worlds.

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So if you ever feel like writing a pulp sci-fi masterpiece, you now know the winning formula, it worked for some pretty big names in cinema.

Doctor Who? The Fifth Doctor

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At the end of the eighteenth series of the show, Tom Baker submitted the role of the Doctor to the young actor Peter Davison. Davison ditched the 4 meter scarf and battered fedora for a traditional English cricket attire, adorned with a stick of celery, yes that’s right, a stick of celery, pinned right there. On his lapel.

The Fifth Doctor

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The Fifth Doctor

This Doctor continued travelling with companions Nyssa and Adric, all while unsuccessfully trying to return Tegan to her proper place and time as an air stewardess bound for Heathrow Airport, travelling together until Adric’s death at the hands of the Cybermen the Doctor and friends might alien invaders and a snake deity, before coming face to face with the Master once more.

Still reeling from Adric’s death, the Doctor once again battles the Legendary Time Lord Omega, the snake god the Mara, before meeting up with the Doctor’s old friend The Brigadier and new companion Vislor Turlough, a young alien stranded on Earth as a political exile, tasked with murdering the Doctor by the villainous Black Guardian.

After the departure of Nyssa and Turlough’s betrayal of the Black Guardian the Tardis crew land in medieval England on the eve of the Magna Carta, where the Master is attempting to manipulate time for his own ends, this time using the Robot Kamelion, a shape changing robot.

The Doctor is then embroiled in a plot which sees his past selves being taken from time, where they must unite to stop Cybermen, Daleks, Yeti’s, The Master and Other Time Lords from stealing the Time Lord’s ultimate weapon, immortality. After once again being dragooned into taking the presidency of the Time Lords, the doctor absconds with his Tardis once more.

After tangling with old foes such as the Silurians, the Sea Devils and the Daleks, Tegan leaves the Tardis returning to earth, whilst the Doctor continues to travel with Turlough, and new companion Peri, Turlough soon returns to his home world, after the trio are betrayed by Kamelion, still controlled by the Master. The Doctor, on the planet Androzani Minor, succumbs to some form of poisoning before traumatically regenerating once more.

Peter Davison stared in 20 serials (69 episodes) from January 1982 until the penultimate serial of the 21st Series in March of 1984, before being replaced by Colin Baker. Davison, was the youngest man to play the Doctor at this point in the shows history, and made the role his own, seeing in the show’s 20th year and battling a whole slew of villains both old and new, whilst his tenure was no shorter than most to this point Davison is one of the classics and to my mind will be remembered most fondly.

Stand Out Serials

  1. The Five Doctors: This single, feature length episode, features all past incarnations of the Doctor, who are taken from time, to join the game of Rassilon, where the winner will find immortality.
  2. The Kings Demons: Set on the eve of the Magna Carta, this introduces the robotic companion Kamelion and sees the return of the Master, this time using an Iron Maiden as a tardis and affecting a questionable french accent.
  3. Earthshock: This episode sees the revival of the cybermen, in a new form (which would last until the series’ revival in 2005) in an effort to destroy the earth the Cybermen actually bring about the death of a companion, the third time in the shows history (both Katarina and Sara Kingdom die in the first Doctor serial the Daleks Masterplan), the credits role silently, and it is something that has a lasting effect across the series, especiall as the companion in question, Adric, was meant to be one of the youngest of the Doctors Travelling Companions.

Dishonourable Mention

  1. Celery: I want to know who thought that it would be a good idea to put the Doctor in cricket whites for everyday wear, and then accessorise it (or should that be garnish?) with a decorative vegetable? I know it was explained away at the end of Davisons run, but we went almost three whole series with no comment about the fact that a grown man is wearing a vegetable pinned to his lapel as if it were the worlds worst boutonniere. I mean seriously who pins a but of salad to the jacket and thinks hey this looks good? I mean its almost as bad as the radish earrings worn by Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter, but at least she is mocked, and rightly so, for it. Now you can see why it gets the dishonourable mention of this particular post. Celery, I mena come on, Celery.

 

 

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is part of a series of posts relating to the BBC’s longest running show: Doctor Who.