In various reviews and editorials over the last couple years I have mentioned how much I am a G.I.Joe fan, going back like seventeen years or so now. I used to love playing with the action figures, and watching the cartoons, and they were a huge part of my childhood. When I first heard of an actual live-action G.I.Joe movie, I was pretty excited, because I really, really wanted to see all those characters come alive on the big screen. But after seeing the movie, I could not have been more disappointed. It was a terrible movie that was barely any good at all.
And then last year we had the sequel, which had already been delayed for several months. I was cautious about it, hoping against hope that it would turn out to be a better movie than its predecessor. The trailers certainly looked halfway decent. But once again, the reality went completely south of my expectations. If you ask me which was the worst movie of the year, it was definitely G.I.Joe: Retaliation.
Note: This review contains spoilers for both G.I.Joe movies.
When the movie Battleship was announced, I had a hard time believing that it was true. Battleship is a tabletop game where two players never get to see each other’s playing field, and its all a matter of guesswork. There is far more to it of course, but I was left wondering how the gameplay would translate into a movie. I wondered if it could even be pulled off, and competently too. When I saw the movie, I found that particular aspect to be interesting. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so perhaps that made me more congenial to the approach used.
All the same though, Battleship is quite a decent movie. It was never going to win any awards, given that it just didn’t have all that much star power (or in a prominent role at that), but that was never my concern. I went in expecting a decent movie, and got it. Repeated viewings have only made it more palatable to me. Because sometimes you need a movie that is just about the big, loud action. And that’s what Battleship is. I’m totally fine with that.
Last year, DC relaunched their He-Man and The Masters of The Universe line with a six-issue mini-series and a few digital issues that tied into that story. Originally written by James Robinson, Keith Giffen was brought on from just the second issue because of the lukewarm response that the former’s first issue had received. And DC did seem committed to the project, so thankfully the mini-series was put out on time, for the most part, and the digital tie-ins followed suit as well. Soon as the mini-series finished, DC then announced that Giffen and artist Pop Mhan would be staying on to helm a new ongoing that would use the mini-series as a launching point.
I was reading the issues as they were released, but lost track of things in the middle. It mostly had to do with how slow the story was moving and so I resolved to get back to it once all the issues of the first arc had been released, and I could read them back to back. Now that that’s happened, and the series has seen a major creative change with writer Dan Abnett and artist Rafael Kayanan being brought in, I finally read the first six issues back to back last night, and they do make for a better experience when read as such. While the story isn’t all that exciting, is kind of a redo of the 1985 animated movie He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of The Sword, and some of the character designs are a bit weak, its kind of fun still. I’m a sucker for anything He-Man, so I’m sure I’m more forgiving than most.
Note: The actual graphic novel has not been released and I’m assuming that when it is, the first six issues are going to be in it, and not anything else.
In an action-oriented anime like Arpeggio of Blue Steel or any of the Gundam series, it is always vital that the anime deliver on that promise and that the action scenes always be tense affairs with a fair sprinkling of tactics and strategy. This lends an air of realism to the anime and enhances the viewing experience, at least for me. In its pilot episode, Arpeggio delivered on that promise quite handsomely, more so for the fact that it featured extensive naval combat, which isn’t something that’s all that common really. And it did a fair job of introducing all the characters and the premise itself, so I was definitely interested in sticking with the anime for a while.
I saw the second episode last night and while it was a bit thin on character progression and even on story progression, it did satisfy some of my urges and held my interest from start to finish. The very fact that the anime features so much naval combat, on the same level as Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED: Destiny means that I’m liking it for the most part despite some of its flaws in the animation department. The anime looks visually appealing, quite a bit, but there are times the CGI fails to impress despite all the great little quirks.
I’ve been a fan of anime since my college days, when a friend got me hooked on stuff like Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Rurouni Kenshin. In all my time watching anime, the mecha anime genre has really drawn my interest, the one genre that has really drawn me in. In recent years, I’ve attempted to branch out of that and watch some other styles of anime, like Death Note and Samurai Champloo. New anime on the block, Arpeggio of Blue Steel, bridges both interests. It is military SF with a strong naval combat twist to it.
I heard about Arpeggio of Blue Steel last week through an article on Kotaku that talked about the top 5 anime series to watch out for this fall. The description really intrigued me and so I decided to get it. I saw the first episode this weekend and I have to say that it is off to an interesting start. The first episode reminds me of the opening episodes for both Gundam 00 and Gundam SEED. They started off slow and picked up in later episodes. I just had to stick with it all.
So this is the third such post I have done for the blog. I took a 2-month break in between posts so that I could have some more material to showcase here, and it certainly has helped. There were a lot more books I wanted to cover, but I chose to stick withe magic number 17, the number of books I’ve covered previously.
A lot of the books on this list are next year’s releases, and just as before, they all sound great, even some of the ones that are second or third (or else) in their respective series. I’m not sure if I can put aside the time to catch up to them any time soon but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get around to some of them at least. We’ll see how that works out.
In the meantime, enjoy all these great covers and these books! Hope you liked the previous posts and that you’ll like this one as well.
As part of my “Top 25 Series To Read In 2013” reading challenge, I’ve read a fair amount of books this year that can be considered to be classics of science fiction and fantasy, in all their different forms. There is a certain charm to all these novels that has persisted long after they were first published. Whether we talk about Frank Herbert’s space operatic political intrigue epic Dune or Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s true-to-style epic fantasy Dragons of Autumn Twilight, I’ve had a lot of fun with these novels.
And that is my question: are they re-readable? I’ve read Dune and Dragons of Autumn Twilight several times since when I first read them in 2001. I think they are rereadable, but I’m not completely sure. Is the question answerable in part with regard to whether the book is good or not? We shall see.
About a week or so ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite female authors in SFF, past and present (that is, some of the women on the list are now sadly deceased). For the follow-up, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite female characters in SFF, irrespective of genre. Until March last year, I didn’t really have such a list in my mind. Even though I had read a few books by then that had female protagonists or supporting characters, I’d never really considered if any of them were my “favourites”. But that changed around quickly when I read Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar, and all of a sudden, I realised that there were so many female characters I’d read of over the years that I would put on a list of favourites.
It was a really interesting revelation, and it led to me paying much more attention to such characters in the books I was reading, or had read, or would read. One thing that I noticed while compiling this list was that for the most part my favourite female characters fall into the role of the “warrior”, which is another subconscious thing I never really paid attention to.
Really weird how these things work out.
Once again, as caveat for this list, this is by no means comprehensive, just a small selection of a much wider range. And in this list, I’m not limiting myself to just novels and the like, I’m extending it to comics and movies as well, given that I am much more familiar with these media in terms of the content, rather than with the creators. Feel free to check out my reviews (books and comics) of the various novels I’ve read in the last two years for a bigger interest list.