15 Jul 2014

Reading & Seeing 19

How to Train Your Dragon 2
I know, it's for kids, but I'm a child too, especially when it comes to dragons, especially one dragon in particular...Toothless! I bloody loved the first film and this sequel did not disappoint in the slightest. All your favourite characters are back, fives years older and sporting facial hair/more grown up hairstyles, we're introduced to yet more dragons (never a bad thing) and the story is awesome - no dreary re-hash-of-the-original-just-to-make-mega-bucks here. There's plenty of laughs, quite a few tears, the animation is excellent and Toothless is as adorable as ever. I wish he was my dragon. Overall it's pretty light-hearted, v.colourful and lots of fun - perfect escapism for a sunday evening.

The Raid 2
Another sequel but an altogether different affair - martial arts fighting, gang wars, corrupt systems, mass amounts of bloodshed. I v.much enjoyed the first film which had an incredibly simple premise - a police squad were to break into a crumbling tower block and arrest the crime boss who occupied it. The simple set up, of course, meant that the film was essentially a vehicle for some seriously awesome fight sequences, all backed by an ace soundtrack. The sequel however is hampered by a rather lumpy, convoluted, and at times confusing, plot. There's some great fight scenes but I kind've lost track of who was who and what side they were on. It also felt like this film went on forever, nowhere near as gripping or suspense-filled as the first.

Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Another SF classic which I'd never read before. The concept is pretty excellent and rather thought-provoking: a dystopian future where Firemen no longer put out fires but start them, and what are they burning? Books, works of fiction, anything that's a 'lie'. Messed up huh? As books have become controband, technology has advanced and people no longer have TVs but TV rooms where whole walls project shows (kinda like soaps) which you can join in with. It's an incredibly bleak future but one v.few people in the book seem to oppose, apart from our fireman protagonist of course, who suddenly starts to question the way society is run. Like The Slaughterhouse Five, it's one of those great SF novels that somehow escaped me, glad I finally got around to it though.

The Blind Assassin (2000)
This is actually a re-read and one of my all-time favourite novels. It tells the story of sisters Iris and Laura Chase. Although they were close when they were young growing up between the world wars, they become distanced thanks to Iris', to an extent, arranged marriage to successful businessman Richard Griffen. Their lives are being recalled from the present (1999) by Iris, now in her 80s and so the narrative flits between her life now, her childhood and the novel: The Blind Assassin which in turn tells the story of a young woman engaged in an affair with a man wanted by the authorities. In their meetings (seedy restaurants, grotty hotel rooms, wherever they can without being caught) he tells his lover stories, SF stories which he writes to make a bit of cash: stories about lizard men, women only planets, fantasy kingdoms and the story of The Blind Assassin itself. Yep that's right, it's a story within a story within a story within a story. So many layers - god I love Margaret Atwood. It's a pretty long book (about 600 pages) which might be off-puting for some but it's awesome and definitely worth persevering with. Who could dismiss this for an opening line: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." I'm already looking for my next Atwood fix - possibly Maddaddam as I need to complete the trilogy or maybe Alias Grace as I've heard that's a goody.

What are you reading at the moment? I can always do with suggestions :)

1 comment:

  1. Hoping to see the Raid 2 on Netflix soon. The Raid was sooo awesome that I couldn't actually enjoy the Judge Dredd reboot with Karl Urban because the plots were so similar.


Ta v.much :)

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