Monday, October 31, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin - movie review

Tintin is another comic book that I read a lot as a child.  I learned to read with Tintin and Asterix books.  As an adult I guess that I enjoy the Asterix books a bit more.  Some of the early Tintin books were a bit racist which made them less readable. 

Despite these misgivings I was keen to see the film.  It has a great pedigree, directed by Steven Speilberg with a script by modern British writers such as Edgar Wright, Steven Moffat and Joe Cornish.  The voice talent was impressive too with strong turns from Jamie Bell as Tintin and Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock.

The look of the film is consistent with the comics.  The CGI motion capture is unobtrusive and not too much like a computer game.  The characters look like their comic book ancestors while moving like people.

The story is OK, mixing elements from several of the Tintin books.  It works for the most part.  I was slightly annoyed by some deviations from the original stories but on the whole I enjoyed it.  I might even go and see this again in the cinema.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser

Flashman is a 1969 novel written by George MacDonald Fraser.  The eponymous antihero of the book, Harry Flashman, is based on a charcter from the novel Tom Brown's Schooldays.  In this book, the first of a series of 13, we are introduced to Flashman who is a complete arsehole. 

He is a coward, a bully, a rapist and a racist.  He does several very unpleasant things during the story.  As he is the first person narrator of the story you are drawn in by him a bit but generally he is a difficult character to like.  The historical detail in the novel is good.  This book is based on historical events during the British occupation of Afghanisthan between 1839-1842 and there are certain resonances with current events.

This book can be enjoyed despite the flaws of Flashman.  I will probably read some of the other books in the series in due course.

Soylent Green - DVD review

I first saw Soylent Green on BBC2 a long long time ago.  It was shown as part of a series of cult movies.  I can't remember who presented the series but I greatly enjoyed the film.  It's frequently referenced in popular culture (the Simpsons) and while it looks a bit dated it's still good fun.

Soylent Green is based in the dystopian future of New York in 2022 (not long now).  The world is vastly overpopulated and running out of food.  People survive on protein pills made from SOYa and LENTils.  The protein pills come in different colours (red, blue, green).  Charlton Heston stars as a police detective investigating the death of an executive who works for the Soylent company.

The dystopia is well realised.  People litter the streets, living in stairwells.  Strawberries cost 150 dollars for a jar. The main character has never seen beef.  Rich men live with concubines called 'furniture'.  The film immerses you in this world.

Heston investigates the murder and finds out some shocking secrets.  The film is crying out for a remake but I don't know if it would works as well.  Worth tracking down.