Friday, March 5, 2010


This week I watched the movie Coraline by Henry Selick. I had never even remotely heard of the story before, only that it was highly recommended to go and watch the movie from my little sister, so I did. What I was really surprised by was that the whole movie really had a Tim Burton feel to it, which I really connected to because I love his other films such as The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I wasn't surprised in a bad way though, going into see the movie I had little to no expectations of what it would be like. Besides the stunning visuals when watching the movie the whole way through, the story line that unraveled felt really advanced to me. Advanced in the term that though I should this would be a cute animated movie the horror of realizing that this movie was actually kind of scary, and how the younger audience whom I thought this movie was geared towards would be frightened senseless, or at least I know I would have been at a young age.

The other mother and other father world world was a genius idea to play towards, especially for children. Everyone dreams of another, better, word that they could explore and "rule" over, which was clearly shown how Coraline's other parents catered to her and actually paid attention to her. I really connected with the beginning of the film with how Coraline was feeling in that sense that she wanted to explore and find something better than this new, yet old and broken down house because I had found myself in a very similar situation when I was about her age. The part where, after Coraline's first introduction to her 'other' parents, after they put her to bed, Coraline talks to her friends in the photograph. At that scene I almost wanted to cry, because that is exactly what I dreamed of when I was in her position, in a new home and far away from her best friends.

I stopped questioning all of the 'other' characters and why they had button eyes at all after their first introduction. But when the creepyness started happening in the ‘other’ world and Colraline was trapped, I couldn’t help but question the directors choise only because it WAS really scary, or I imagin it would be for children.

The movie overall held a lot of personal parallels for me so I really connected to it. I LOVED the visuals and development of the plot, and of course I loved how Coraline out smarted the ‘other mother’.

Overall movie wise 8/10 for really nice visuals and story.

The Golden Compass

This was kind of a weird scenario for me. I had watched the movie previously so thus was comparing everything I read to the original movie. For me, I definitely prefer the book to most movies. Now, in this case, possibly because I had watched the movie and knew what was going to happen, the book really didn't seem that interesting. I found myself really disliking Lyra and her immature ways. I know that she is supposed to be young and curious but I found myself thinking too much about her as doing things just to be annoying (like switching the coins to the skulls in the cellars of the Jordan Collage.) and less about her as a heroic main character. In contrast though I absolutely love the world that they live in. I love the idea of Daemons and how they live outside of your body in a representational animal. Pan is actually one of the favorite characters, because he is like Lyra's continence and he knows what should be done and the rules that should be followed. This annoys me even more with Lyra when she swats him out of the way most times in favor of doing things for her own gain.

The story-line mind you was also interesting. I really liked the idea of dust and alternate universes, such as the one we live in. The alethiomer that was also used in the book. I can't wait to see how she uses it in the second the third book to solve the mysteries of her universe actually.

The similarities throughout the book and the movie was really significant. Aside from the appearance of Ms. Coulter and how she goes about luring children away from their homes or care takers, it pretty much was bang on similar, or at least close enough. I really did like the movie don't get me wrong, but I found because I knew what was going to happen when it was a breeze to get through but also dragged on in certain parts. The characters I visualized were all the ones from the movie and how they interacted (such as the party Ms. Coulter put on) were pretty much the same.

I really did like the movie better, and I hope people don't hold that against me. I have talked to a few people already who had read the book first and by FAR like the book better. Though I find it interesting that they have the same view I do as to the dislike they have for the annoying, mischievous Lyra. The book itself wasn't a bad read, but I can't wait to get into book two and even three to find out what happens, and from the books point of view, not the movie. =)

I give this book a 6/10 only because I really really love the idea, but I think when they made the movie they cut a lot of stuff out and that WORKS for the book because the stuff they cut out really wasn't necessary. The movie held my attention better than the book, though I really liked them both.

The Heroic Journey!!


This week was by far my favorite read! I loved all of the books listed in their own way. I chose to read the Hobbit because it is a personal favorite of mine and i hadn't read it in a long time. I didn't get a chance to read the illustrated version which I have seen before but haven't ever had a chance to take any real time for. To be honest I would have liked to read the Lord of the Rings series of which I have book two and three at my house, but have never had a chance to read them because I never got around to buying the first book. I have heard though that there is a lot of needless detail in them so some parts can be rather laborious to try and read.

When re reading the Hobbit I had to much fun not only re living the tale but to have my friends read it at the same time and be able to talk about it at lunch and so on was really fun. I love Middle Earth especially the elves and their beautiful city. My favorite part of the book was nearing the end when Bilbo had to sneak through Smaug's lair. I really liked how the room was described and the beauty you can just imagine little Bilbo tip-toeing around this HUGE room with his giant red dragon and piles of gold and jewels. As a game designer it was really fun to imagine that scene and how it would be rendered.

In fact I have the game The Hobbit for Playstation 2. It was really silly but also really fun to play, though had little resemblance to the book besides the major key points. It was really fun to play originally and I loved the same scene, of Bilbo in Smaug's lair. You had to tip-toe around the piles of gold without stepping on them to get to Smaug. It was actually really entertaining. The game was made for a younger audience I think so I breezed through it. Someday I hope to also play the Lord of the Rings games, though as far as I know they are online games and you have to pay to play so maybe scratch that idea...

I absolutely LOVE the Hobbit and give it a 10/10 for being a childhood favorite and overall masterpiece of fiction.

Japanese Horror

This week I chose to read several of the short stories from the Kwaidan short stories. These stories reminded me of when I was little, I liked to collect ghost story books. My family and I would travel around on our boat during the summers, so we would visit a lot of interesting ports. I would read a lot of different ghost stories, but in all of the stories I had read none of them had this "Japanese" feel. It was really fun to read something new that had that same "ghost story" feel yet with a new traditional twist.

Mind you there stories were weird. Because they were so different from anything I was previously used to. The first story in the book of Kwaidan was the most peculiar thing I had read in a long time. I really like the idea of humans interacting with spirits or the spirit world though. In man of the Ghost stories I had previously read it was how the ghostly world was vengeful or trying to break free, oh human interactions with this unknown, menacing force. In these stories the spirits or ghosts have a mind of their own, and do things that "Traditional" ghosts would not do. I always got the impression that ghosts had a one track mind, kind of like an invisible zombie, where it had one goal (no other thoughts of feelings) and that was it. Where as the Japanese stories, though the spirits might be vengeful, they have their own agenda and have a mind of their own. Ghosts can be curious as well as helpful, also they don't have to represent past dead people, they can represent spirits as well.

I really like the Japanese stories actually, thought they are really silly, I guess for their young audience (which typical ghost stories are told too) would find them scary. And they instill life lessons just like American ghost stories do. Though because the cultures are so different I find myself being a little judgmental and skeptical of some of these lessons. Take the story of the blind man who had his ears ripped off. I presume the story is trying to tell young folks not to wonder off with ghosts? But for the majority of people they have eyes and can see, thus you would notice if the person who approaches you is ghostly fire being, or a strange person none the less. I guess it would lean more towards don't wonder off with strange people. Though having eyes to help guild you and such would be a major benefactor in this situation.

I give there Kwaidan Stories a 5/10 because for what they are intended I find them rather silly.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interview with a Vampire

Previously I had seen the movie Interview with a Vampire which I absolutely loved, so it was really fun to get to read the book as well. I found the movie to be very true to the book in a lot of ways, especially the trauma that Louis went through.

With all of the vampire hype about with Twilight I was glad that we got to read a "tride and true" vampire book as opposed to the sparkly "lion fell in love with the lamb" version. Though it's not outright published as a romance nobel, I think every vampire novel has some semblance of sexuality portrayed in it. When Lestat punctures Louis' neck starting the process of him becoming a vampire, that whole scene is very sexual. Though pushing that aspect a side I really loved the parts of the book where Lestat teaches Louis how to "hunt" in essence. I have read a great many vampire books, including the Vampire Encyclopedia which was a great read. It's more of a dictionary of sorts about vampires. It tells about their customs an habits, which in Anne Rices' Interview with a Vampire a lot of those similarities can be seen.

When Claudia joins Lestat and Louis the three travel Europe in search of other Vampires. My favorite part of the book, and also one of the saddest was when Claudia has her freak out about not being able to age. I loved her passion and really to think about the position she was in, and if I was in that same limbo how I would feel. I concluded that I probably would have reached the same freak out that she had. To not be able to age, stuck in a child's body yet having the mind of an adult, would be horrible. My second favorite part of the book what when Claudia and Madeleine are trapped in the stone whole by Armand and wait till midday when the sun shines over them, turning them to ash. That scene really made me cry because Claudia really wasn't a bad person, and Madeleine had nothing to do with it and had just been turned into a vampire.

Overall I would give this book a 7/10 for really creative story and interest, though it's not my favorite, it had many good parts to it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies...need I say more? It was great to finally read the book, though I guess I expected a lot more out of it than I got. Jane Austin's original Pride and Prejudice was a glimpse into the realm of gentry ladies and how this one family worked in relation to having three daughters. Other than that, it was really rather boring. I read through it all just waiting for it to get better but it never happened! Besides Jane Austin's original work there were the occasional slap of zombies in there by Seth Grahame-Smith it was still the same book.

Granted I had never read Jane Austin's original work before so in contrast it was good from an educational point of view to read it. I am much more of a fantasy type of person so reading this "historical" type of book of "back in the day..." type scenarios was a little too fruitless for me. Especially of the interaction between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. THAT was just silly. It boggled my mind the horrible interactions between the two of their horrible people skills. It reminded me of a poorly written Romeo and Juliet. Having the zmbie parts slapped in their only made the book all the more outrageous. I don't mean funny ha ha outrageous I mean I really want to stop reading because this is shameful to zombies AND love stories everywhere.

They never really refereed to zombies as zombies until the very end which I kind of appreciated. It was never explained what happened to them or how they got that way, or even how zombification spread. Having that kind of open endedness to the story actually didn't leave as many loopholes as I thought it would.

Overall I really didn't like this book. I detest how the zombie parts were just thrown in there with a lot of blood and gore. There was no sympathy for people who got eaten by the zombies really either, or prevention of zombies from just entering a home. I mean really who stands by a large glass window when there are zombies outside wanting to eat you? Easy target? I think so. The whole martial arts aspect just made my jaw drop. Split between laughter and annoyance I'm still not sure how I feel. The dreary love story, zombies, martial arts....2/10 I just am not a big fan of this book what so ever.