Tv blabs, movie blabs, book blabs. Lots of blab, but no flab.

Friday, September 30

And The Band Played On

Another in the endless list of Serenity reviews. This Associated Press review is well written, and positive, if a little too spoilery.

Thursday, September 29

Much Better

Rotten Tomatoes, the site I love to hate, has Serenity at 73% fresh, which is excellent! Much better than it was last night (a barely fresh 63%). The reviews are varied and most are actually a good read, even to get the blood boiling. Victoria Alexander's review is by far the worst. I can accept that she hated the film, but she has the eloquence of week-old road-kill, and... I'll stop before I say something truly mean.

In The Spirit

...of sharing, an email from Joss:
Well boys and girls and boys dressed as girls and girls dressed as Kaylee, the time is almost upon us. This Friday we take that old rust-bucket out of the shipyard and see if she can breach atmo. It's been a long (to paraphrase a band I like) strange trip, and it'll be nice finally to show everybody what it is we've been tinkering with all this time. You already know you have my thanks, from the hardcore fans to the softcore... fans.... let me try that again. From the people manning the booths, buying DVD sets for their friends, getting banners seen everywhere on Australian TV, raffling artwork for ticketholders (Adam Hughes, take a bow), to the most casual fan who just wants to see the flick and won't ever even read this. You guys are the fuel in the engine, the Fire in the Fly, the weird green stuff coming out of Serenity's butt. (Hmmm. Forget that last one. I'm a little bit out of control here.)

Everyone needs something to keep them going. Mal has his ship. Zoe has her integrity. Jayne has Vera. And I've got you guys.

So what now? There have been so many posts about seeing it, seeing it again, the first weekend, the second weekend, being enthusiastic without being obnoxious (and yes, it IS hard to see over the pom-pom of a Jayne hat), buying tickets in advance, making a noise... I honestly wouldn't know what to add. I can tell you this: the movie will play in about 2200 hundred theaters, which is a good number. Too many, and you get empty theaters with no energy -- not enough, and you get, well, not enough. It may be hard to find in some areas but it'll be out there. Leave no multiplex unturned! This is going to be a ground war, peeps -- we have to hold the valley for a long while. However it opens, it needs to HOLD. Instead of the Alliance we'll be fighting viewer apathy, fear of something new, the urge to wait for DVD, and Jessica Alba in a bikini. (Although I have it on good authority that she spends 90% of the film in a huge wooly parka. Make sure that gets out.)

The day this puppy opens, I'll be seeing it with my family (don't worry, there's a lot of them, and they're all paying) and then I'm off to Europe to learn the word 'Browncoats' in nine different languages -- 'cause like I said, it's all about holding. I'll never be far from a computer, though, so I can check in with y'all. Thanks for every damn thing.

And remember, amidst all the urgency to make this an event, all the work and the worry, to take two hours and just enjoy yourself. That is, after all, what all this fighting's about.


I'm spreading the word, how 'bout you?

Movie Maybe, But Can't Cartoon

TV Guide's Ask Ausiello has an interview with the "Man of the Moment", Joss Whedon about possible Buffy projects:
Question: Buffy, Angel, Spike — anything?!? — Tammy

Ausiello: How 'bout all of the above, and then some? I just hung up with Sir Joss Whedon, and the chatty Cathy dished on all of your favourite things in the galaxy, from the Buffyverse to Veronica Mars (his new obsession) and back. Ready for takeoff? Read on for some highlights from our Q&A session (that's quips and anecdotes for you newbies).

Serenity is opening in two days. How does it feel?
It feels good. I like the movie. It's a good time.

Did Universal tell you how much this one needs to gross for there to be a sequel?
More than it cost. I don't think [we'll know] right away whether or not there'll be a second one because, obviously, DVD is the new box office. And I also think of this as a slow-growth movie. It's not about shock and awe first weekend; it's about word of mouth. It's about whether the film has legs.

How'd your Veronica Mars cameo go?
Well, I don't want to say [I'm] the new Brando, but I do want to say I'm the new Franklin Pangborn…. It was nice, because I had it with Kristen Bell, who's really good and helped me get through my inability to act on film. Apart from that, it was somewhat unremarkable to anybody who wasn't me.

Did you ever think your endorsement of a TV show would carry as much weight as your rave review of Mars did?
I really didn't. I just got on the Internet because I was feelin' it. I was just feelin' it. I loved that show. I was like, "I gotta get on the Internet and tell peeps about this." [Executive producer] Joel Silver called me and said, "Why didn't you tell us you were going to do that?!" I said, "Here's the point: I didn't know I was going to do that." After the last six episodes [from Season 1], which we watched in a day, I was just on fire. I haven't been a fanboy like that since the days of old.

Any chance you might write or direct an episode?
To direct would be fun, if I had time. To write, quite frankly, I'd be intimidated. Their stuff is tight. I would be nervous as hell, and it would take me a really long time. I would love to do one, but I don't have time and [Rob Thomas] doesn't need me so, ultimately, I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon.

You spoke to Tim Minear about writing and directing the Spike movie. Where do things stand?
Things stand that all of the art guys — the people who would be involved artistically — have been trading phone calls going, "Wouldn't this be cool? Wouldn't this be cool?" We don't have a paradigm set up yet. We don't have anything solid to announce. I'm just making sure that the creative people I need are in place before I set up a whole deal and then James Marsters goes, "Gosh, you know? That's kind of behind me now." Or [if] I don't have a writer I can trust, because I don't have time to do it all myself; I need one of my peeps. And there's no greater peep for something like this than Mr. Minear. I'm optimistic that I will actually have something to say in the near future, but at this point it's still me and my buddies going, "Wouldn't it be cool?"

Have you spoken to David Janollari at WB yet?
I'm not going to go into the deal-making stuff at all.

Can you tell us if you've spoken to anyone aside from James about appearing in the movie?
Yes, I have.

Amy Acker?
Yes, I have. Well, you know, I see Amy a lot, I see Alyson [Hannigan] a lot and Alexis [Denisof]. I've spoken to a couple of people just because we're making conversation, and they don't hate the idea. The worst thing that could happen is that somebody would be too busy because, as we know, all of my alumni are taking over the world.

Do you see Alyson/Willow being a part of it?
You know, if I get a chance to use Alyson, I'll use Alyson. That's a given. There's no maybe about that. The maybe is, does she have time? And if she does have time, shouldn't she be busy doing Veronica Mars, where we need to know more about her character?

Have you finished writing Wonder Woman?
No. No. God, no.

What stage are you in? Have you started?
The writing stage is just one big stage, and I'm in it. Yes I have [started], but I'm still putting the pieces in place.

Is there a production start date?
No. That was one of the stipulations, that we would let the thing happen organically. Because, ultimately, a lot of work needs to be done. It has to be just right or it's going to be bad, and I'm not looking for that.

Have you given any more thought to casting?
No, I sure haven't.

One last thing: Should I assume the Buffy animated series is dead?
That's a good word for it. I think dead and possibly buried. Or even cremated.

Veronica Mars is still yet to surface here in Oz, and I'm hoping it will appear over the Summer.

I am sad that the animated Buffy is dead and buried, I think it would have been an interesting retrospective.

It seems that some sort of movie is likely, and that Spike will be central. I still think Spike and Andrew's Excellent Adventure sounds like a hit.

Although, with this news (also from TV Guide):
GOING, GOING, GONER: Buffyverse ruler Joss Whedon — whose Firefly flick Serenity hits theatres one week from today — has inked a seven-figure deal with Universal to write and direct the fantasy thriller Goner. "It's the story of a young woman's journey that involves a great deal of horror and some heroics," he tells Variety. "It's certainly darker than Serenity, and there are a lot of left turns along the way. It is something I had in mind for a while, and it just poured out of me when I finished my film." Of course, Goner will have to wait until Whedon finishes Warner Bros.' big-screen Wonder Woman flick and (hopefully) gets the ball rolling on that long-rumoured Spike TV movie (hint hint, nudge nudge, slap slap).
It may be even longer before something Buffy related gets off the ground. Although, I wouldn't be unhappy if Joss handed the reins over to Tim Minear so that he could still be making movies.

Sunday, September 25

For Future Reference

The worst possible spoonerism to say in public comes from these two words:

Car Stunts.

Another Day

Another Serenity poster.

It's Gorram Cheap!

Thanks to the wonderful Kirsten for letting me know that JB Hifi have Firefly DVDs in stock! And what makes this news even better is they are only $36.98 at the moment. A steal!

Am wondering whether I need a second set...

Saturday, September 24

Looking Way Ahead

TV Guide reports that Mr Whedon (some refer to him as God) has signed up for another write/direct combo with Universal. Here's what they say:

GOING, GOING, GONER: Buffyverse ruler Joss Whedon — whose Firefly flick Serenity hits theaters one week from today — has inked a seven-figure deal with Universal to write and direct the fantasy thriller Goner. "It's the story of a young woman's journey that involves a great deal of horror and some heroics," he tells Variety. "It's certainly darker than Serenity, and there are a lot of left turns along the way. It is something I had in mind for a while, and it just poured out of me when I finished my film." Of course, Goner will have to wait until Whedon finishes Warner Bros.' big-screen Wonder Woman flick and (hopefully) gets the ball rolling on that long-rumored Spike TV movie (hint hint, nudge nudge, slap slap).
Would I like to see another Buffy related production? Of course! Do I particularly want to see one based around Spike? Not as much.

I read in an interview (at the moment I can't remember with whom) a while ago that said that Spike is at his best when he is working off someone else as an annoyance or outsider. It's why he worked so well on Angel. Being the antithesis of Angel created many memorable moments in the show's final season. The same works with his time on Buffy: firstly it was Spike and Dru, then Spike and Xander, then Spike and Giles, then Spike and Harmony, then Spike and Buffy (you guess which of those combos were sexual...). So for a Spike centric story to have the best potential to succeed he would have to be paired with someone who provides the greatest conflict. As both Gellar and Boreanaz have both expressed no interest in revisiting the roles there are fewer interesting combinations. Dru would be the next obvious choice, but taking into account the status of the characters at the end of Angel season five I would imagine that would lead to a historical story, or perhaps one well entrenched with flashbacks.

Spike and Andrew Ride Again perhaps?

Monday, September 19

Big Damn Post

I'd not been to the Serenity Oz forums for a couple of days, so missed out on a few interesting things, but after browsing and lurking will give you all the juicy stuff.

Three D World give Serenity five bigguns in an excellent review.

The Benchwarmers, two outrageous guys on selected radio networks around Australia at 4pm weekdays, are running a Serenity competition. Win a trip to Universal Studios in LA and five nights accom. Shiny!

Men's mag FHM are also running a Serenity Comp. Choose a name for the spaceship you would have and win a Serenity pack.

Titan Magazines, the folks who brings us the Buffy and Angel mags, are releasing a Serenity Movie Magazine. It'll be a one off and will hopefully appear here before the film opens, rather than three months down the track like every other UK mag.

Joss talked to TV Week while he was here and this question was posed:
Australia’s education minister, Brendan Nelson, recently had a go at universities because there are more students studying Buffy than Milton. How do you feel about people studying Buffy at university?

I think they should be. There’s two reasons. One, because there’s not an episode of that show which we didn’t have a very specific intent for. There’s no episode that was just there to spin a yarn. They all were trying to capture something, even if it was just like a certain experience. There was always philosophical and political discussion about what it was we were trying to say. But even if none of that was the case, even if it was just a show that people took to, the fact that it’s made such an inroad into popular culture means that it should be studied for whatever it is popular culture seems to have needed that made it grasp onto it. Do I think it’s as good as Milton’s poems? Well, I’m not, like, a big Milton-head. I don’t think it’s as good as Emily Dickinson’s poems. Do I think it’s the greatest literature ever? I don’t think it is. Do I think it’s topical and thoughtful and deals with issues of human morality and personal responsibility and a lot of things that need to be talked about both academically and casually, yes. So I’m all for it.
Joss is also in an article and poster in this month's FilmInk magazine.

Greater Union - Birch, Carroll & Coyle are running a competition for Serenity prize-packs. Due to their terms and conditions I can't link to their site. Which is stupid! I'm advertising them. Get over yourself GU! Anyhoo... go enter the comp at Greater Union dot com dot au.

The Firefly DVDs are currently in 9th place in the Amazon DVD sales rank. Pretty bloody shiny!

Here in Oz, you'd be hard pressed to find a copy of Firefly anywhere. Search DVD Plaza for Firefly and you can only backorder.

Joss will be on the Triple J morning show tomorrow morning, so I'd better get to bed so I'll be awake for it!

Sunday, September 18

The Little Post That Could

I found an interesting blog via a post from Kirsten. Draic was inspired to write about it, and as yet hasn't. As I think this is an excellent blog and art project I wanted to mention it here. If Draic does post about it, I'm sure fair better observations will be made.

Post Secret is "ongoing community art project where people mail-in their secrets anonymously on one side of a home-made postcard."

So you basically anonymously spill the beans to the world via a postcard that you make with your secret as the main message.

My advice is let the whole blog load first and read away.

Some secrets are touching, some very funny, others a little disturbing, a couple downright scary.

I hope those who send postcards are able to use this project as a way of getting past the reason for keeping these secrets in.

I'm trying to think if I have some secret that would be worthy of a postcard.

"I have a blog"

Nope, people already know that...

Friday, September 16

Average Reviews

I've been reading quite a few reviews of Serenity and the word is mostly positive. Sadly though, one of the reviews from here is in Empire Magazine. I have to say that it's possibly the most wishy-washy review I've read in that mag for quite a long time. It compares Serenity to other sci-fi films and talks about the B-grade cast, but does very litle commenting on the actual film.

A very well written review can be found at Your Movies, an Australian movie site. Sign up for the weekly newsletter and on Wednesday, September 21, you will be able to see the Serenity review, trailer, synopsis and an interview with Joss Whedon.


Thursday, September 15

Mind Your Nuts

Tim Burton is developing a taste for remakes. Planet of the Apes was received with mixed reviews, and I admit to some trepidation about how he would treat Dahl’s text. I am a fan of the beloved original adaptation with its wacky songs and Gene Wilder’s memorable performance. The original film departed from Dahl’s text and the result is far more, pardon the pun, sugar coated.

Burton’s Chocolate Factory isn’t strictly a remake. It is not a re-treatment of the original film, instead it returns to the text as its source of inspiration. It would be like calling Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings a remake of the 1978 animated film; an unlikely comparison.

So with an open mind I went to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Admittedly, I couldn’t help but carry the baggage of the original with me. Watching it on TV a few days before probably didn’t help...

The first thing you’ll notice is Burton’s unique visual style and Danny Elfman’s fantastic score. This pairing is so complimentary that it would be disturbing to have one without the other.

Burton creates a cold lifeless village surround the Wonka’s towering brobdingnagian factory which invokes the feeling of a Russian town rather than of an English one. Charlie Bucket (that’s “Boo-kay”) lives with his parents and all four grandparents in a tiny dilapidated shack in the middle of a recently demolished block of houses.

Charlie’s parents are played by Noah Talor and Helena Bonham Carter (another Burton regular and Fiance, who wore bad teeth to match Taylor’s naturally bad set). Rather thankless roles for both, but gives Charlie someone to want to come home to.

Never leaving a bed in the living area are the four grandparents in some sort of weird seniors pyjama party. Grandpa Joe (David Kelly) is the liveliest of the bunch, sharing late-night stories with Charlie about his time working in the factory before Wonka shut everyone out.

Freddie Highmore presents a wide-eyed and innocent Charlie whose love of his family is his strongest emotion. At all times he is the selfless and reserved, the archetypal perfect little boy. This works well, but I think I would have liked to see him have some basic human vice. Once we meet the other Golden Ticket winners, Charlie’s purity stands out even more.

When the search for the Golden Tickets commences the film picks up some pace. Burton expertly introduces the four horrible children, and doesn’t hold back in the disgust that we should feel for them. The other disgusting children are Augustus Gloop, Mike Teavee, Violet Beauregarde and Verruca Salt, who will drive you to your end by the time she meets hers. Burton doesn’t hold back in telling us how disgusting the kids are, to the extent of having multiple characters repeating how repellent they are.

We know that Charlie has to find a ticket, otherwise what’s the point? But still we hope and hope that he finds one. The inevitable happens and Charlie is off to the Factory. G’pa Joe accompanies Charlie, and this is explained because he used to work at the factory. A rather flimsy excuse, and Charlie’s parents were certainly a little disappointed to not go with him. I think perhaps that these poor people are a little to positive. For example, a little more bitterness would have been appropriate when Mr. Bucket (“Boo-kay”) loses his job to a machine.

When Willy Wonka makes his grand entrance to the tunes of Disneyland-eske puppetry that goes horribly wrong, ending in fire, is when the film takes it’s distinct turn for the weird.

Depp is a rather enigmatic actor. Most of his best work seems to be about dealing with an inner child of some sort. Edward Scissorhands, Finding Neverland, Pirates of the Caribbean, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Benny and Joon, and even his detective characters in Sleepy Hollow and From Hell. His take on Wonka is possibly the most extreme. The bobbed wig, very pale face, perfectly aligned pearly white teeth and icy-blue eyes allow Depp to delve into the eccentricities of this odd individual. The way he takes on effeminate body poses and a higher pitched voice adds a layer of ambiguity that takes Depp’s Wonka to another level of oddity.

When Wonka first appears on screen, his extreme anti-social behaviour first shows itself and rather than being welcomed to the factory, you have the distinct feeling he doesn’t really want you there. It’s this conflict, of being invited yet unwanted, that rides along under the main action. Continuing that odd feeling.

The children are perfectly disgusting little beasts and Augustus is destined for a fudgey ending. Then we lose each of the horrid children one by one. Each of these episodes stands alone as great segments, but I don’t think Burton was successful in welding them together. The pace during the middle act is jarringly random.

Burton’s liberal use of a slight soft focus gives all of Wonka’s world a slightly ethereal and fantasyland look. I loved the Chocolate Room, The Sorting Room and the Wonkavision studio; the homage to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was brilliantly executed. I was disappointed with the Inventing Room. It seemed too shiny and preconceived. A place of invention should be random and chaotic, where anything and everything is a possibility.

The flashback scenes were an interesting journey through Wonka’s subconscious, but I’m a little baffled as to why Burton chose to follow this path. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is clearly marketed towards kids, being based on a kids book and all, making the choice off delving into the childhood traumas of Wonka a bizarre choice. The average 12 year old or younger wouldn’t care that because Wonka was unloved as a child he’s grown up to be a family-abhorring recluse with a penchant for orange little men. If this is some of Burton’s own demons bleeding into his work, then another film would have been a better place.

The paradox of both cinematic adaptations of Dahl’s book is that the both are cross titled. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is in fact Charlie’s journey of self discovery, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is all about Wonka.

On the whole I had an enjoyable time watching this film. Wonka’s factory is a world of wonder and wacky, and Deep Roy’s Oompa Loompas are fantastic. Sadly the sound wasn’t terribly clear in the songs, so some of the words were unintelligible.

Younger audiences will find most of the factory scenes entertaining, will lose interest during the flashbacks, and possibly want to leave once Charlie leaves the factory. I am glad that the movie continued beyond the Glass Elevator breaking through the roof, and happy how it wasn’t a simple rounding out of the story. As an adult I found this satisfying, but I don’t think Burton found the right mix of plot and subplot to appease both types of audience.

Saturday, September 10

See What Happens...

When you put anything Joss related in an online poll at MSN Movies. Rabid fans tell all their friends about the poll!

The poll is surveying the most anticipated 'fall' movie. Serenity went from 10% to 38% very quickly once the poll was mentioned on the Fireflyfans webboards.

Friday, September 9

The Joss Is Coming

Serenity Oz have announced that they finally have confirmed information on the media outlets that Joss will be talking to during his stay here in Australia next week. For those of us not going to Sydney or Melbourne, this will be our only opportunity to see him while he's down here.


Rove Live - Network Ten - live-to-air on Tuesday, September 13
Sunrise - Network Seven - live-to-air on Tuesday, September 13
The Movie Show (SBS-TV)
Showtime (Foxtel/Austar)
Music Max - with Chit Chat


Radio National, Breakfast with Fran Kelly - Monday, September 12
Radio Triple J, Jay and the Doctor (breakfast show)
ABC 702 with Sarah McDonald - to air on Monday, September 12
Radio 774 with Richard Stubbs
Radio 3RRR with Rob Jan
Radio 92.9FM, Perth with Bernie, Luke & Sal (breakfast)
Radio Adelaide
Fresh-FM, Adelaide
Radio 4ZZZ Movie Show
Fbi 94.5FM
Radio 2SER-FM


The Australian
Metro, Sydney Morning Herald
Daily Telegraph, Sydney
Australian Associated Press
Herald Sun, Melbourne
Sunday Age, Melbourne
Brisbane Courier Mail
Scene Magazine, Brisbane
Rave Magazine
Time Off, Brisbane
Queensland Times
Q News, Brisbane
Adelaide Sunday Mail
West Australian, Perth
X.Press Magazine, Perth
Woroni, ANU
Union Recorder, Sydney University
Blitz – UNSW
3D World
Rip it Up
db Magazine
On Dit
Empire (uni mag)
Entropy (uni mag)
War Cry


Fairfax Digital
News on-line
Greater Union website

All I can say is I'm going to have to be up early a few mornings next week!

Wednesday, September 7

Sick Of It Yet?

I was afraid that this blog was going to turn out to be a Serenity gusher as the release date got closer. Ah well!

An Australian poster has been released for Serenity, and it is very cool! My only concern is that it sends mixed messages. Kinda looks like a martial arts movie with River, sword and all.

I'm also trying to design a cool blog-title/ad so I can enter the LA comp, but haven't managed to get it to not make my blog implode. I think I may need to start from scratch. Scary.

Monday, September 5

Geeking Out! (Warning: Excessive '!' Ahead)

I was perusing Bloglines last night and saw that my old blog-pal Muzekez had posted. Such was the shock, that I was barely able to comprehend what I saw when her blog loaded.

Not only had she posted, but managed to show me something that I was, frankly, surprised I hadn't stumbled across already.

Serenity has an Australian website!

Not only that, but a kickarse site to boot! has the same standard info and downloads as the pre-updated US site, but a localised advance screenings page, plus the option to register and join the forum!

But that's not the reason to go.

They are holding a competition to win $5000!

Just for watching the trailer. It's only just over 3mb and well worth the short time to download and watch it.

For those who want more: if you register, head into the News Updates thread of the forum and find out about how to win a trip to the LA Premiere of Serenity where the cast, and of course, Joss will be!

All you have to do is promote the Serenity Oz site in some way that will get people to go to it.

This is the kind of marketing that I can appreciate. Get the people who are already going to see the movie to do all the work for you, and offer them incentives.

In other Serenity news...

Joss is coming to Australia!

I quote from the email I just received:
To celebrate Joss Whedon's impending visit to Australia, we have arranged a special event: Browncoats, We are thrilled to announce that Joss will be taking time out from his busy schedule here in oz to answer all your burning questions about Serenity and the Whedonverse. As special screening of Serenity followed by a Q&A with Joss has been scheduled! Screening will take place at Hoyts Fox Entertainment Quarter (formerly Hoyts Fox Studios) on Monday September 12 Film commences at 6pm Q&A with Joss Whedon to follow at 8pm Tickets are $30 each. Available over the counter at the cinema now Available online from 5pm today.
Go to
Melbourne Browncoats - stay tuned for details on a similar Melbourne event.
I can only assume that the tickets have already sold out, and won't get myself excited about trying to get down there.

As if that wasn't enough Serenity for one post, I have more!

After heading out to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today, I wandered past the leaflet panel of the cinema and was stopped mid-step. There in all it's shiny-ness was the Serenity logo on the front of a brochure. With trembling hands I pulled one out. It opened up to three A4 pages of Joss info. For good measure I grabbed two, and will probably go back for more, surely ebay will be worth visiting in a few years time...

So pop down to your local cinema and see if they have these wonders of printing.

AND finally.

Last but not least.

The end of this long post.

Empire Magazine will be doing a Serenity special in the October edition. "Apart from a special interview with Joss Whedon, the next issue of Empire will feature a special DVD featuring an episode of Firefly, two trailers for SERENITY, 20 great stills from the movie, a special look at the STARFURY convention including Q+A footage of the entire cast, and trailers for the boxed sets of Buffy and Angel."

If all that doesn't get you geeked up, then I don't know what will!

That's all folks!

Friday, September 2

'Ave A Look Around has been updated! Again!

It's all shiny and very cool!

Flash animation and all the usual bells and whistles.

Monsters and Critics gives it quite a positive review.

Only in a Whedon film would you find a main character wearing these...

Ever Wanted To Fly?

The teaser poster has been released...

First Reviews - Narnia

Ain't It Cool News has received some feedback from two people who attended a test screening of the forthcoming Disney epic The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

The first is from a fan of the books who seemed quite pleased overall. The second review is from someone not familiar with the books, and is a little harder on the film.

In a recent interview the film's director, Andrew Adamson, has pledged to keep as true to the books as is possible.

As I'm still unfamiliar I'll head along with an open mind hoping to be amazed.

(Image from Monsters & Critics)

Not Gollum's Eye!

The Golem's Eye. Spelling is very important!

Jonathan Stroud creates such a vivid world, it is hard not to get caught up in the possibilities of a world of magicians and demons. A longer volume than the original, Golem’s Eye continues on nearly three years after the final events of The Amulet of Samarkand. Nathaniel is now fourteen and, due to his natural talent, has taken the position of assistant to the Internal Affairs Minister, Julius Tallow. Bartimaeus is quite happy recuperating in the ‘Other Plane’ from the ordeal Nathaniel put him though the last time he was summoned.

The most obvious change in Golem’s Eye is the addition of another main character. In Amulet Kitty was a confusing hindrance who stole Nathaniel’s scrying disk. Now, her story-line is intrinsically linked with that of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. I found it jarring at first to have to have all of Kitty’s back-story dealt out when I really wanted to know what was happening with the others instead. It is a hard task to bring in a character that we know virtually nothing about and spend the time introducing her so by the end of the book we really care. It slows the plot right down, even if the back-story itself is interesting. Thankfully, once I was through the first third of the book events started to pick up and I began to enjoy her arc.

Nathaniel has started to show signs of becoming a stock-standard, self-involved magician. And when he finds it necessary to summon Bartimaeus again, the change is even more noticeable. No longer the innocent youth trying prove that he’s more than his master can imagine; he’s foppish and, although still showing huge potential, likely to be stifled by senior ministers who simply want to use him for their own advancement. Far less likeable than the first novel, I had little sympathy for most of what happened to Nathaniel.

Bartimaeus is the perfect counterpoint. Oozing wit and wry humour, the demon takes every opportunity to poke holes in Nathaniel’s plans or simply jab him about his choice of clothes. There is no doubt that we are meant to be on the demon’s side in this book, and as the one who is consistently entertaining and manages to evoke frequent laughs.

The use of footnotes for Bartimaeus to add many asides is far more refined now and every one is worth the extra trip to the bottom of the page for. My favourite would have to be “Tall and bone thin, her limbs were like long, dry sticks. I was surprised she didn’t catch fire when she crossed her legs.”

Golem’s Eye is clearly the middle book. Continuing the story with an intriguing series of events, paying off some things set up in the first volume, while clearly setting up many of the events to come in the next and final chapter of the trilogy. I already have my suspicions as to who is the overall mastermind. I eagerly await the third, but hopefully not final chapter, of The Bartimaeus Trilogy.

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