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Archive for the tag “Star Wars”

Book Review: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride
S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure
By William Goldman

You’ve seen the movie, oh, about a thousand times, so reading the book seems pointless. Do it anyway.

The Premise

This is like trying to write the premise of Star Wars. True love, Buttercup and Westley, Prince Humperdink, the Cliffs of Insanity, the man in black, Fezzik the Giant, Inigo Montoya, “Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” “As you wish!”, Rodents of Unusual Size, the Fire Swamp, Miracle Max, the six-fingered man, the Dread Pirate Roberts, and happily ever after. Imagine watching the movie, but getting more of it, because the experience of reading the book is just like watching the movie—complete with asides by the author, who claims to have first heard the story as a little boy.

The Pain

I wouldn’t go so far as saying the book is better than the movie. There are some jokes that work much better as visuals, but where those fall flat, Goldman has plenty more zingers that just never made the cut to the screen. You could say the pace is not as tight because the author takes the time to go back and give Fezzik’s story, and Inigo’s story, as well as more details behind the other characters. Anyone who wants to be a novelist or a screenwriter should read this book because you can clearly see what parts Goldman cut (he adapted it for the screenplay as well) and why, and how it was tightened, and how they made some scenes work when they had to cut lots of expository information to fit it all into the movie. Both the book and the movie work brilliantly, so this, my friends, is how it’s done.

The Payoff

I used to scoff at the idea of having a favorite book—there are so many I love!—but after reading The Princess Bride, this is officially my favorite book. There’s more of Westley and Buttercup’s romance in the book than there was in the movie (not a lot more, but a little!). I read slowly, savoring every turn of phrase because I was having too much fun experiencing it for the first time. The adventure is both old and new. It has everything, and it’s told in such a delightfully satiric and warm-hearted vein that I know I’ll want to read it again. And again. And probably read it to my children one day.

Rating:

5 out of 5 arrows

Friday Frivolity: Blood Drive Threats?

My workplace does regular blood drives here in the building, which is great because I can take an hour out of the workday to open my veins and do something good for someone. Yeah, I faint every time, but oh well, it’s only about a half hours’ discomfort (and embarrassment!) and there are so many people out there who need the blood more than I do.

Anyway, apart from encouraging people to give blood, I’m bringing this up because the posters in our building make me chuckle.

MARCH IS RED CROSS MONTH.
JOIN US . . .

I’m sure no one else will find this as funny as I do—UNLESS you’ve seen Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves the approximately thirty times I have.

If you have seen it that many times, then your mind just might complete that poster the same way mine does.

MARCH IS RED CROSS MONTH.
JOIN US . . . JOIN US, OR DIE.

Now for any Star Wars fans wishing to claim this as Vader’s line, he’s speaking to the emperor about the problem of Luke Skywalker (“he will join us or die”). Alan Rickman’s brilliant Sheriff of Nottingham fits the poster much better, drawling “join us” (complete with ellipsis) and then finishing “join us, or die.” See for yourself:

Now, who wants to give blood?

TV Show Review: Farscape (1999-2004)

Farscape
TV Show (4 seasons, plus a 3 hour miniseries to wrap it all up)
Starring Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Virginia Hey, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley, Wayne Pygram, and the Jim Henson Creature Shop)

For anyone who looks back to the days of the original Star Wars with longing–swashbuckling adventure, quotable dialogue, and a crackling romance among the stars–please do yourself a favor and check out Farscape. There’s a wonderful inventiveness about this series that takes all our jaded ideas about space stories and throws them out the air lock. Science fiction need not be relentlessly depressing to be compelling (hear that Battlestar Galactica?). Bring on Harvey!

The Premise

American astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) gets sucked through a wormhole and shot into really, really deep space. A shipful of escaped convicts captures him, but before long, they decide he won’t be much help in their mission to clear their names. As intelligent, funny, and attractive as Crichton might be to the rest of us, his shipmates decide humans must be a hopelessly substandard species. No one shares that opinion more than Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), the hard-as-nails warrior chick from a genetically engineered species. She’s their enemy until her own people brand her as irreversibly contaminated by contact with the convicts. With Crichton grappling with the unimagined wonders around him, and Aeryn despising him and everyone else on board Moya (think giant, space-going whale-like creature with convenient accommodations for passengers), the adventure begins.

The Pain

Although the entire series benefits from its overarching storyline, there are a few random episodes that do nothing to forward the story, and are even a little boring. Also, bear with the antagonist in the first few episodes–a far, far better villain shows up at the end of season one. Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) is on par with Darth Vader–and actually, he’s better.


The Payoff

Chemistry: John and Aeryn has it. Their roller-coaster romance takes a nice long time developing (thanks to Aeryn’s genetic programming to avoid love at all costs), suffers some soap-operaish melodrama halfway through Season 3 and early in Season 4, but gets back on track in plenty of time to finish strong. Cheer, laugh, skip a heartbeat...it’s all fair game for this fearless series.

Rating:

5 out of 5 arrows

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