Monday, June 27, 2005

review

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is a good book. It is the only book I've read since moving to New York that has made me miss my subway stop. The author starts a lot of sentences with "and," which elementary school teachers would have you believe is a bad thing, but apparently it makes for rather compelling reading. It's part murder mystery, part family drama, and part adventure. The fact that it's told from the perspective of an autistic kid only makes it more fascinating.

I'm also reading Ender's Shadow, which is a pretty good book. Though, it rehashes a little bit too much of Ender's Game, and is slightly less believable, which for a sci-fi book might normally be considered a good thing, but I'm talking about contextual verisimilitude here. Even within the construct of the narrative, it's hard to believe a 4- year-old has the capability to reason at the level that Bean, the main character, does. Of course, other characters in the story also have a hard time believing it. Whatever. It's still a fun read.

The 3rd thing I'm reading now is Flight, vol. 2 which is an anthology put out by Image Comics. It's the most impressive collection of short comics stories I've come across. There's no denying the quality is uneven--which will happen when you have 20-30 different creators working in one volume--but even the less impressive work is still pretty top notch alternative (by which I mean not superhero) comics. And it looks like it will be published regularly. So, bonus!

Last on my list of reviews is Batman Begins. I've seen it twice now and had some time to think on it. My initial reaction of it being just as good as the first Tim Burton Batman still stands. Christopher Nolan managed to hold the same dark tone as the Burton movies with none of the cartoonishness. I appreciate his respect for the original material as well. The cast put in solid performances all around (yes, even the much talked about and maligned Katie Holmes, who did about as much as I thought she could given her character).

I do have a number of bones to pick with the film though. The way that the fight scenes were filmed I felt was too confusing--the edits were too quick and the shots were too close up--which made it frustrating to watch, as it was difficult to follow the action. Bruce Wayne's dad was too perfect a person. He was depicted as having no flaws. He was a caring father, a loving husband, a doctor, who continued to work despite his billion dollar plus worth, and a philanthropist. And that's it. And he road the subway amongst the plebes with his family to the opera, despite his immense wealth. He had no vices. What a bastard. They also crammed in too many villains (though their connection was well orchestrated), and as a result wasted potentially good characters in Falcone, the mob boss, and in the Scarecrow who both ended up as just pawns.

Of course, the movie also had the coolest scene of all the Batman films, when Batman takes out a bunch of hired guns at the shipyards. It almost all happens off-camera and it is spectacular. I give it a B+... ***1/2... 8.5/10... yet, still, both thumbs up...

3 comments:

Adrian said...

scarecrow was scary.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

Truly frightening, yes--a good adaptation of the character to the screen.

Also, I read this morning that Bean may be a genetically altered human, which would make his accelerated intelligence more plausible...

Ben said...

Curious Incident was pretty good, but only because of seeing through the character's eyes. Other than that, it's a rather basic affair, which I found a bit disappointing. And as for the Ender's Game series, the wheels really come off in the later books. You ain't seen nothing yet.