Genre for the Holidays – A Little Bit of Mystery

December 23, 2012 at 2:51 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Today I’m going to talk about a genre of a different nature. I’m not a big mystery fan, normally. I don’t see myself writing mystery (although I did put together a little fantasy murder mystery party called “Who Killed Dodger Nabbit?”) I am, however, very much inclined to the modernized versions of Sherlock Holmes (I enjoyed Mr. Downey Jr. as Holmes on the big screen, although I prefer him as Iron Man). I was fortunate enough today to get to see Episode 1 of Season 2 of the latest British Sherlock TV series which was a holiday episode encompassing Christmas celebrations and New Year’s Day. It also was a risqué episode involving a dominatrix known as “The Woman” who managed to actually capture Sherlock’s interest. The series is brilliant, and this episode is captivating. While other versions of Sherlock Holmes are entertaining, the acting in this is impeccable, the plots are interesting and there is amazing depth to the characterization (I adore both Holmes and Watson in this version.)

Comparing the latest American version, Elementary, is a little unfair. The British version wins hands down, in my opinion, but Elementary is still worth watching. I wasn’t planning on following it – I figured with a female Watson (Lucy Liu,) and Hollywoodization, it would be kitschy, but it sucked me in despite my intentions to avoid it. So far, I’ve found it quite interesting, and there’s good chemistry between Watson and Holmes, although it fades in the shadow of the chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. I also can’t help but look at them with fan-girl awe, when you consider Freeman played Arthur Dent and Bilbo Baggins and Benedict Cumberbatch joined Freeman in The Hobbit (in the later segments of the story) and is playing the big baddie in the next Star Trek movie.

And I miss another American Sherlock series that I didn’t recognize for what it was until it was ending. Of course, there was a slight attempt to disguise it. Rather than Holmes, the name used was House, his best friend Doctor Wilson instead of Doctor Watson, and the detective was a medical one, but Gregory shared many of the characteristics typical to Sherlock including drug abuse, an acerbic personality and the love of catching people in lies. I just didn’t clue in to all the similarities until the end.

Word has it that despite new fandom success for its co-stars, there will be more episodes of Sherlock. If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend it.

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Genre for the Holidays – Holidays Are Preciousssss

December 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm (fantasy, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

I hope you can all forgive me for my blog hiatus yesterday. I used the time I normally work on my blog to seize the opportunity to see what may be my only movie theatre viewing of a movie for several months. We had someone to watch my son, so we bundled up my 11 year old daughter and my husband and I trundled off with her to the cinema.

The holiday season is a great time to take in a movie, especially an epic genre blockbuster like the first of three parts of The Hobbit. Even the previews, Pacific Rim, the next Star Trek movie and Beautiful Creatures, were worth seeing.

Before I say anything else, I have to say I really enjoyed the movie. The special effects were incredible (hordes of orcs and worgs), the casting was brilliant (returning cast from LotR aside, Bilbo was perfect and Thorin had amazing presence) and there wasn’t a dull moment. I kept thinking how nice it would have been if Tolkien could have seen his work come to life like this, and how much I hope something I’ve written could end up, well-done, on the big screen. There’s nothing like seeing a beloved story played out before your eyes. I actually went to see a theatrical version of The Hobbit once, and that was pretty incredible too.

Now I can’t say the movie was 100% perfect. Unlike some critics, I loved the fact that Peter Jackson stayed mostly true to the book (like the dwarven songs and their dish juggling at the start of the movie), but there were some changes, some good and some unnecessary. I loved the addition of the dwarves’ escape from the orc/troll/goblin lair with Gandalf’s help, covered in the book only by a brief remark that they had to fight all the way out, and the Radagast scenes were a very cool addition. On the other hand, I didn’t like the fact that they changed the troll encounter for no reason and the riddles in the dark section was also fiddled with (no fish L). These were minor peeves, however, and the movie as a whole was great entertainment.

The one thing my husband and I disagreed with was some changes to Bilbo’s personality. He shows more fear in some instances and more bravado in others, which my hubby didn’t like. I, on the other hand, am a sucker for the reluctant hero who suddenly finds his mettle when his companions are in danger. Even though it was out of character compared to the more docile version of Bilbo in the book, I loved it.

So a big three thumbs up from my family for this movie, although my daughter was somewhat upset that she has to wait for the next installment. I have no doubt it will be just as good as this one.

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