Book vs. 2018 BBC John Malkovich vs. David Suchet. Winner: Suchet, followed by book, then Malkovich. Unlike the Suchet adaption, the BBC's attempt isBook vs. 2018 BBC John Malkovich vs. David Suchet. Winner: Suchet, followed by book, then Malkovich. Unlike the Suchet adaption, the BBC's attempt is nothing like the book. Malkovich is a terrible Poirot. Other than Andrew Buchanan's superb performance in the last ten minutes of the dreary, drawn out 180-minute saga, the 2018 sexed up adaption is not worth watching. There's no Hastings, no Japp and no humour. Don't waste your time.
Read in anticipation of the BBC adaptation of John Malkovich as Poirot, I can't really see how the BBC can do any worse than Christie. The ABC Murders is deadly boring, pun intended.
Murder on the Orient Express was my first Poirot novel, and although I enjoyed the story, I despised the arrogant Poirot. ABC's synopsis sounded like an exhilarating game of Cat and Mouse: A 'catch me if you can' serial killer calling himself A.B.C. taunts Poirot in letters sent to him providing advance warning of the time and place of the murder with the victim names and towns always starting with the same letter, and following in alphabetical order A to Z. ABC railway guides are left at every murder scene as the killer's calling card.
Now doesn't that sound exciting?
I have to admit before embarking on this read I hoped the killer would make it to 'P' and hunt Poirot down. Oddly, Poirot's likability increased with the introduction of Hastings, the Watson to Poirot's Sherlock Holmes. Hastings has a humanizing effect on the pompous know-it-all, helping to reveal human weakness - Poirot's vanity in using hair dye and his apparent OCD, for example.
As for the plot, it's all talk and little 'action'. About 44% in, three murders have been committed, all crime scenes have been attended and all persons involved in the victims' lives have been interviewed. The 'D' murder in Doncaster, the last killing, doesn't occur until 71%. Mostly meaningless chit-chat occurs in-between, slowing the pace to a snail's speed. Skimming was the only way to finish this one because I no longer cared about unmasking the murderer or uncovering their motive, finishing ABC before the BBC show aired was all that mattered. However, upon discovering the culprit, I understood why the chit-chat was necessary, I just wish it had been more interesting.
Although the pacing was off, the characters are well drawn. Each individual has a distinct personality and detailed backstory. They're all very different people with their own sets of character flaws.
It's a shame there were no more murders after 'D', as I shared Dr. Thompson's curiosity: "Interesting to know how he'd have dealt with the letter X."
Overall, The ABC Murders wasn't the best read. A cracker of a concept, fully fledged characters with wobbly pacing, in need of a tighter second half, to deliver, perhaps, a shorter story. I look forward to John Malkovich's take on Poirot. Anything is better than Kenneth Branagh.
Intriguing quotes: "It's like all those quiet people, when they do lose their tempers they lose them with a vengeance."
Hastings: "If you could order a crime as one orders a dinner, what would you choose? Poirot: "Supposing that four people sit down to play bridge and one, the odd man out, sits in a chair by the fire. At the end of the evening the man by the fire is found dead. One of the four, while he is dummy, has gone over and killed him, and intent on the play of the hand, the other three have not noticed. Ah, there would be a crime for you! Which of the four was it?"...more
(1) The picture painted of Rachel Argyll's character, our murder victim, was an interestinBook vs. 2018 BBC Adaptation = Adaptation wins.
(1) The picture painted of Rachel Argyll's character, our murder victim, was an interesting one. She becomes a collector of orphaned and unwanted children in order to fill a hole in her life that can't be filled, and while she looks after their every physical need, she's as guilty of neglect as the parents of those unwanted children in her care. She's unable to love. She shows no affection for her husband or her adopted children. They are things to be manipulated and controlled with money - a side effect of being rich, perhaps.
(2) Plot Hole Central, which means the ending doesn't make sense. (view spoiler)[If Jack knew who the killer was, why didn't he sing like a canary when he was imprisoned for his mother's murder? Granted, he coerced Kirsten into it so he could still have headed for the slammer, but it would be worth a shot. (hide spoiler)]
(3) The killer is someone so obvious that I dismissed them as a red herring. I was disappointed when I found out.
Conclusion: This is definitely not Christie's best work, far from it.
2018 BBC Adaption Review
Three hours in total. The first 2 hours were utter tedium - my attention drifted so often I had to rewind bits to check I hadn't missed anything. Nope, nothing much happens, apart from some swearing and crass sexual insults for shock value.
Part of the reason for the boredom was the portrayal of the characters. Unlike the book, all of them were horrible people. There was no trace of subtlety, ambiguity, nuance and naivety which made these characters flawed yet relatable.
I was also annoyed that historical elements had been whitewashed, such as the source of Philip's paralysis. In the book, it's polio. In the BBC adaption, it's a car crash.
Everything seemed exaggerated and sensationalized and that was rubbing me up the wrong way, especially Gwenda's absurd, cheap-looking wig. Seriously, you're the BBC, buy a better wig.
That third hour, though - that's where the action was, the juicy motives came thick and fast. Hester's was the most abhorrent. (view spoiler)[She had run off and eloped and was three months pregnant when Mummy Dearest turned up to pay the husband £500 (a fortune back then) to leave and never return, drugged Hester, had her examined and then ordered the doctor to perform an abortion. (hide spoiler)] If anyone had done that to me, they'd suffer a slow and very torturous death. To be violated like that, I can think of nothing worse. This doesn't happen in the book.
Other differences include the killer. Three murders are committed in the BBC version instead of two, though it is the same characters who die. The new killer,(view spoiler)[Leo Argyll, played by Bill Nighy, wasn't a surprise, however, his quiet and unassuming demeanour became rather sinister as he matter-of-factly kills his wife to stop her from divorcing his adulterous (and statutory rapist) arse and leaving him poor, has Jack murdered to prevent him from causing a scandal in his trial, and calls in the medics to drug and drag Dr. Calgary back to the psych ward to silence him. (hide spoiler)]
What's most notable in this change of killer is the amending of Jack's relationships. (view spoiler)[Instead of seducing Kirsten, he is, in fact, Kirsten's son, conceived when she was 15 by a predatory Leo Argyll. (hide spoiler)] After Jack's vilification throughout, this revelation humanizes him. He sees his outrageous behaviour in a new light. It fits Christie's narrative.
The above alterations made sense, along with the change to Dr. Calgary's "amnesia". The reason he doesn't come forward sooner isn't that he went on an expedition - he was supposed to be heading there, but he ended up in a psychiatric hospital instead. Schizophrenia seemed to be his issue. He travels to the Argyll's as soon as he's released. His fragile mental state and vulnerability is well played by Luke Treadaway.
So much happened in that third and last hour to rectify the damage done in the first two. Action-wise, it made the first two hours look like a recording of tumbleweed blowing in the wind. I wouldn't blame anyone for giving up before getting to that non-stop brilliant ending.
Book vs. 2018 BBC Adaptation = Adaptation wins.
Finished with minutes to go before the BBC adaptation is aired tonight. Book & Adaption review to come....more
I don't know why I bothered. The illustrations may be a little better but the disjointed and confusing short story and its implications definitely werI don't know why I bothered. The illustrations may be a little better but the disjointed and confusing short story and its implications definitely weren't for me.
Serenity's crew suddenly become filthy rich. For a while, anyway. And their 'what I'd do if I were rich' dreams were the only good thing about Better Days.
Engineer Kaylee's dream was obvious - sleeping with Simon and her own ship workshop. Doctor Simon would return to his homeworld with sister River so they can work together in a hospital. Jayne wishes to be a distinguished military captain of a ship, plus some x-rated stuff - no surprise there. Spiritual man Shepherd Book shocks the crew by saying he'd spend his riches on prostitutes, cigars and card games, but he was only kidding. And Wash dreams of a luxury cruiser to pilot and a baby with wife Zoe. I was hoping to find out Zoe's fantasy as she's a closed book but disappointingly it was never revealed and neither was Inara's .
It's implied by Inara that Mal arranged to have the millions delivered into their hands stolen from them so that his crew would remain together, because that is his dream.
A horny and impatient Jayne trying to learn from Simon how to woo a high class courtesan so he can get laid was funny and classic Jayne. And apparently Inara and Simon slept together. Awkward.
Has anyone noticed that Zoe appears to have been decapitated on the cover? Her eyes being vacant and bloodshot adds to the effect. Very odd.
Better Days isn't much better than series debut Those Left Behind. Disjointed and incoherent storytelling, no character growth and little depth make this series pointless as it adds nothing to the Firefly canon.
I seriously doubt I'll read any more of these graphic novels. It's too painful to see these wonderful characters in this disrespectful form. So much more could've been made of these comics if only Joss Whedon put in as much effort as he did with his TV and movie work. One wonders if Brett Matthews is doing all the writing and Joss is just signing off, similar to the James Patterson arrangement....more
Earl is a permanent patient at a hospital since he was injured in the attack which saw Earl's wife raped and killed. His injury has caused permanent brain damage meaning he's unable to convert short-term into long-term memories. Earl remembers everything before the damage, but nothing after, so his memory is only ten minutes long.
You can't have a normal life anymore. You must know that. How can you have a girlfriend if you can't remember her name? Can't have kids, not unless you want them to grow up with a dad who doesn't recognize them. Sure as hell can't hold down a job. Not too many professions out there that value forgetfulness. Prostitution, maybe. Politics, of course.
No. Your life is over. You're a dead man. The only thing the doctors are hoping to do is teach you to be less of a burden to the orderlies. And they'll probably never let you go home, wherever that would be.
So the question is not "to be or not to be," because you aren't. The question is whether you want to do something about it. Whether revenge matters to you.
It does to most people. For a few weeks, they plot, they scheme, they take measures to get even. But the passage of time is all it takes to erode that initial impulse. Time is theft, isn't that what they say? And time eventually convinces most of us that forgiveness is a virtue. Conveniently, cowardice and forgiveness look identical at a certain distance. Time steals your nerve.
No doubt Memento Mori is interesting and insightful. A man with no memory has nothing to lose. Punishment for taking revenge on his wife's killer is going to be meaningless to him, although I'm not sure it's realistic for Earl to actually achieve this goal with a ten-minute memory even with the notes tattooed on his body to remind him of what he needs to do.
Jonathan Nolan's narration of Memento Mori is also available for free on YouTube....more
Be warned, Gaiman doesn't really rework Hansel andHaving liked The Sleeper and the Spindle, I assumed I'd enjoy another reworked fairy tale by him.
Be warned, Gaiman doesn't really rework Hansel and Gretel like he did with Sleeping Beauty, he just enlarges on it, adding minor changes along the way. Oddly I enjoyed this story more than any other by Gaiman, which probably tells you more about how much I like, or dislike, his work than anything else.
Lorenzo Mattotti's illustrations feel inappropriate for a children's book, in my opinion. They're 95% black brushstrokes with tiny bits of white. Since the cover of The Sleeper and the Spindlefeatured gold on the cover in addition to black and white, which were all present in the illustrations within, I assumed the green on Hansel & Gretel's cover would feature in the illustrations here as well. I was wrong. These are just black and white. Perhaps the illustrator was aiming for gothic, but when I can't even tell what a couple of them are supposed to be representing, there's a problem.
However, there's a random illustration which doesn't match the narrative. Only after reading the last two pages, which detail the source of the Grimm tale and a few paragraphs describing the original work, did I realise what had happened. Apparently a duck helped the duo cross the river in the original version and this is depicted in one of the illustrations. But Gaiman doesn't include the duck in his retelling. Did Hansel & Gretel even go through an editing stage?
Grimms' Hansel and Gretel was published in 1812. Twelve year old Dorothea Wild, known as Dortchen, was the source of the tale. She later became Mrs Wilhelm Grimm in 1825.
A hundred years before the Brothers Grimm, French author and fairy-tale collector Charles Perrault recorded "Le Petit Poucet," or "Hop-o'-My-Thumb." Hop-o'-My-Thumb, the smallest and cleverest of seven brothers, is also born to woodcutters who put the children out due to famine. Like Hansel, he uses trails of pebbles then breadcrumbs to find his way. The brothers stumble upon the house of an ogre who vows to kill and eat them, but Hop-o'-My-Thumb tricks him into slitting his daughters' throats instead (by swapping their caps). By the end of the story, "Hop-o'-My-Thumb." ends up with the ogre's money.
An Italian tale, "Nennillo and Nennella" is also similar. Then there's Russia's Baba Yaga who promises no to eat the children if they can complete impossible tasks. Kindness to the animals sees them help the children in completing the tasks in order to escape. Baba Yaga may have been inspired by in part by Cupid and Psyche's story in The Golden Ass written almost 2,000 years ago.
I want to award Gaiman's retelling a high rating, but it's not Gaiman's story. He hasn't made it his own like he did by adding a feminist twist to Sleeping Beauty. Sure, it's been reworded, and feels smoother and more eloquent for it, but there isn't any one thing I can definitively point to that sets it apart from the original. For me, the sometimes inarticulate illustrations detracted from the reading experience, as I sat there trying to figure out what exactly I was looking at. I felt they were incongruous and would've been better placed in art book or a gallery wall where I could've appreciated them more.
Unless you're a huge fan of Matt Smith as Doctor Who you won't enjoy The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who, but then even if you are a fan I doubt this wouldUnless you're a huge fan of Matt Smith as Doctor Who you won't enjoy The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who, but then even if you are a fan I doubt this would be a guaranteed 5-star wonder. And although Matt Smith looks like Matt Smith I didn't particularly like the illustrations.
I'll admit I've never been able to get into Doctor Who, I found it too cheesy for me and this fan made graphic novel didn't challenge my perceptions. It's reminiscent of a few episodes of TV show Supernatural as the characters come to terms with their lives serialized in books and a TV show, but Cornell's version isn't nearly as sophisticated as I'd expect it to be as a Hugo Awards finalist.
*2014 Hugo Award finalist for Best Graphic Novel read for free via the Hugo Voter Pack....more
Gifted to me for Christmas 1994 by the Sunday School I temporarily attended - according to the bookplate - af*Cross-posted on BookLikes and Wordpress.
Gifted to me for Christmas 1994 by the Sunday School I temporarily attended - according to the bookplate - after I'd watched the 80s film adaptation at school, I remember the ungrateful disdain I felt for the novel; feeling I'd already read the book having watched the film. How ignorant I was. Granted, I only 8 years old, but we all know that adaptions are usually inferior to the original.
Unsure if I'd ever read this in my childhood during a desperately bored moment, I decided to seize upon the opportunity when this C.S. Lewis classic was selected for The Dead Writers Society's 2014 Series Project.
Immediately I was struck by the quaint simplicity of the language used 60 years ago and the innate kindness and naïveté expressed by the children of that era. Tedium and disjointed fantasist logic, though, soon irritated like mosquito bites; every few pages something caused an eye-twitch.
But in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that's going to be human and isn't yet, or used to be human once and isn't now, or ought to be human and isn't, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet. - Mr. Beaver
Anyone spot the irony? That's right, Mr. Beaver isn't human. There are no humans in Narnia, that's the reason for the children's importance. He's just warned them that every creature they encounter in his world is a physical danger to them, including himself. Ugh.
Edmund's betrayal abruptly dismissed and forgiven was one of the worst irritants as his implicit pride, arrogance and greed left him open to the White Witch's charms, and although it's hinted he punishes himself, no one berates him for betraying his siblings for the archetypal stranger offering chocolate in the windowless van.
Sheldon: Hold on. Just because the nice man is offering you candy, doesn’t mean you should jump into his windowless van. What’s the occasion? Seibert: Just a little fund-raiser for the university. Sheldon: Aha! The tear-stained air mattress in the back of the van. ~ The Big Bang Theory
While it's true that shame and self-punishment can sting more than anything anyone else could say, it still grates. Edmund's apparent hurried redemption off-stage - rewarded with a battlefield knighthood - and later becoming a 'graver and quieter man' earning the name 'Edmund the Just' feels like a cop out. However, he's the only character to be generally cautious, skeptical and untrusting as we witness him pointing out the unwise act of instantly trusting the word of a stranger, which is contradictory to his earlier aforementioned behaviour evident before he eats the tainted Turkish Delight. I suppose his complexity makes him the most interesting and well-developed character of the novel.
Edmund and the White Witch in her sleigh a.k.a. her windowless van
Crowning these sons of Adam and daughters of Eve for just showing up one day, also appalls me. Hardly meritocratic, and yet the 2005 movie changes this aspect. All four children earn their crowns by bravely fighting the good fight using the weapons bestowed upon them. Due to the time period in which this was written, Lewis only allows the Sons to wage war as Father Christmas claims "...battles are ugly when women fight" when gifting the girls with a bow and arrows (for Susan) and a dagger (for Lucy). Despite this, the boys do very little in the way of violence or strategy. Again, I can put this down to the age-appropriate and historical tolerance for violence in the media during the late 1940s.
Susan actually uses her bow
And now I'm reminded why I shouldn't read pre-teen fiction; it's never quite realistic enough for me to enjoy. However, I do wonder if this classic would make it past editors in this condition in the present day. Instinct tells me the manuscript's syntax would be tinkered with and more contractions added for a smoother reading experience, at the very least. Its current form left me eager to abandon it to the never-to-be-read-again shelves, if it hadn't been for the DWS Series Project, I would have, although I won't be reading the rest of the series....more
Dickens bores us readers to death by describing everything down to the smallest detail, leading me to DNF amid the third chapter at which point disturDickens bores us readers to death by describing everything down to the smallest detail, leading me to DNF amid the third chapter at which point disturbingly little had had taken place....more