Saturday, June 22, 2019

My Thought's On. . .

The Illearth War

Following on from Lord Foul’s Bane, the Illearth War finds our unwilling hero summoned back to the Land for a second time. But forty years have passed in the Land, and things have rapidly gone from bad to worse. Covenant must not only face the consequences of some of his previous actions, but he’s now expected to help the Lords fight Lord Foul’s army, a horde so vast, so powerful, that it will crush everything in existence. The only way to avoid utter ruination lies along a course beset with extreme peril. But who will be willing to pay the ultimate price? 

Yet again, Covenant refuses to rise to the occasion as others would want.

The Illearth War. Another outstanding example of how to write fantasy.

Avengers: Endgame

Those of you who follow my blog will remember how impressed I was by Avengers – Infinity War, a film of stupendous scale, special effects and a mind-blowing climax that added a wealth of credibility to what was once a fading pedigree.

While – in my opinion – Endgame isn’t quite as good, it maintained sufficient momentum to hang on in there . . . just!

Endgame lets us see how the remaining Avengers are coping in the aftermath of a cosmic-sized ass kicking: Tony Stark is stuck on a failing spacecraft waiting to die; Steve Rogers is doing his best to help Black Widow and other members of the team come to terms with their loss; Thor is drowning his sorrows in New Asgard; Bruce Banner seems to have transitioned well enough, now co-existing with his alter ego and doing what he can to get by.
They’re itching for payback. But how can they do that against a seemingly omnipotent Thanos who – true to his word – is now sitting back and living the easy life after reducing the population of the galaxy by one half.

The answer to that question starts to unravel with the arrival of Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) who has taken an age to answer Nick Fury’s summons because of the vast distance she’s had to travel. But now she’s here?
Let’s just say, her presence was handled rather astutely – and wisely so. After all, when you include the presence of the ultimate superhero, bad guys/girls, even ones as powerful as Thanos, don’t get to last very long. And once Captain Marvel did her job and helped a motley crew of survivors get their revenge, of sorts, she leaves on another mission, thereby making way for a credible twist...
...and that’s where thing could have gone drastically wrong!

I won’t say what that twist is here in case you’ve not seen the film yet. Needless to say, the impact of Infinity Wars was heightened because of the Avengers defeat and subsequent carnage. And if they’d managed to undo all the damage inflicted upon them by the first film, then, shame on Marvel.
So they reached a compromise; one that just about squeezes through as passable, despite the sugar rush poignancy of final farewells in the nick of time.

Again, I apologize for not going into detail. I never like my reviews to spoil it for those who haven’t seen the film yet.

Overall, it was an extravagant, entertaining, and visually stunning film that didn’t live up to the benchmark set by its predecessor. And while it was fun to watch, I felt it a great shame we didn’t get to see more of Captain Marvel. But if we had, it would have been a very different and much shorter adventure.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Review Time

Lord Foul’s Bane

As engaging now as it was when I first read it forty – YES, 40 years ago – Lord Foul’s Bane set the benchmark for high fantasy.

Thomas Covenant is a man who had everything a man could wish for: a loving wife; a delightful son; fame and fortune . . . and loses it all when he falls victim to a terrible infection. Abandoned to a life of seclusion and strict discipline, Covenant becomes a pariah in his hometown, only to find himself suddenly snatched away to a world that can’t possibly exist; a place where the very air brings healing, miraculously curing his disease.

But such things cannot be. They are a delusion and a deadly temptation to someone who can’t afford to relax. Ever! And when the people of this magical land place all their hopes on his presence among them, he rebels, refusing to become their savior.

Thus begins the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, one of the most complex, involved fantasy epics you will ever read. Even better, it’ll be the start of a love-hate relationship, for Thomas Covenant is an anti-hero you’ll willingly slap into the middle of next week.

Try it – you’ll soon see what I mean.

Alita – Battle Angel
Based on an iconic manga Battle Angel series, Alita tells the story of a distant future – about five hundred years from now – where the Earth is still recovering from an interplanetary war known as “The Fall”. A disembodied teenage-looking cyborg is found in a giant scrapheap. Through an amazing set of high intensity action sequences, she sets out to discover more about the world about her; who she is; fall in love; and as the plot line develops, fight for justice.
But it’s not all plain sailing. Alita has a knack for finding trouble. And when she does, her instinctive combat skills are frightening to behold. But there’s a reason for that. As events unfold, others who hope to exploit her talents are drawn like moths to a flame.
I’d love to delve into certain aspects of the story, but doing so might give the game away for those who might not have seen it yet. It’s an ambitious, visually spectacular and enthralling production that enraptures you from the start and makes you believe what you see could actually be real.
While many have complained that it lacks the original depth of the manga series, that’s understandable. A lot has been crammed into a single film, and in my humble opinion, they did it rather well. I never read the comics, so I've not been influenced by comparisons. So, regarding the film itself . . . I loved it from the very beginning and think it’s one of Robert Rodriguez’s best films for years.