31 Jul 2014


When I first heard that Dwayne Johnson  was Hercules I made a “Urrrrrrrrrh”  noise, weary that Hollywood was making a terrible sequel to Clash of the Titans. But then I saw the trailer and saw him fight the Hydra, the Neamean Lion and the Erymanthian boar and I thought “Urrreaurh!” in excitement, as it looked like that the film was the actual 12 labours of Hercules.  Then my beloved WIFE ( that’s right baby, my Wife!) told me that the film was based on a graphic novel not the Greek legend and I made an “Awwwww.” noise.

However, I decided to see the movie anyway.

Hercules is a mercenary who, with a band of heroes, travels Ancient Greece fighting pirates and bandits.  Iolaus, Hercules’s nephew, is a story teller who tells stories of Hercules' great feats to spread fear amongst their enemies.  Hercules is approached by Princess Ergenia of Thrace to save her kingdom from an invading army of monsters and magic.  Hercules agrees and embarks on his final battle.

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I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the story of Hercules, it was a lot better than I thought it would be. Keven Sorbo was nowhere to be seen, and the blurring of myth and legend was good. The films version of the legend of Hercules was very entertaining rather than offensive.  There were a couple of moments that were more harvati cheese than Shakespeare, but then this is Brett Ratner doing Hercules, not Orson Wells.

Mr Johnson was a very good Hercules, and while he was possibly pushed to the limits of his ability, there were a couple of very nice moments in the film where he showed that he is more than muscle.  

The rest of the cast were also good; Ian McShane  and Rufus Sewell gave solid performances as Hercules' companions, and Joseph Fiennes and John Hurt got to ham it up as King Eurystheus and King Cotys respectively.

Over all it was a fun movie and one that fans of fantasy and action will enjoy.

However, there is some controversy surrounding the film. The script is based on Steve Moore's comics series.  Now it appears that Radical Comics who published Moore’s work may have treated the artist pretty horribly. He does not appear to be part of the film nor did he endorse it. It appears that he was grateful not to have his name associated with the work.  Moore died in march this this year a respected writer

Following his death the studio appears to have associated Moore with the movie. Moore's friend and colleague Alan Moore (no relation) has called for a boycott of Hercules. As far as I can tell there is no evidence to show that the studio was aware of the issues between Moore and Radical comics. The studio optioned the story in good faith and would want to credit the original work.  But who knows? 

I liked it and it gets six and a half heroic Monkeys from me. 

13 Jul 2014

Success in the towing industry and simulating Goats.

The last few months have been all over the show.  Organising a wedding which we are paying for limits the amount of films we can go and see. This limits the type and variety of movies I review, and at time it limits posts

But I still plug on and give it a go. 

And luckily I still get a great deal of feed back. In fact every day I get several email alerts about comments on the blog. Although strangely they do not seem to appear anywhere except  but my email? 

I thought I would post some of these comments here so we can all enjoy them:

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Hi anonymous. I am really glad that you thought my post on this TV show was so useful? However I hope that the facts your are interested are media related and not how to wear latex and murder people. 

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Hi anonymous, I am sorry you lost your post. Umm I am still pretty new at this. But just get out there and start writing. I can't wait to see your blog and how towing relates to urban legends!

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Wow that is really flattering. I guess I should post more then.  You must really like the blog as you are reading about 3 posts a day, and I only post once a week? I ma glad my blog is so popular with towing companies.

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Thank you for your comment. I am glad I could be of assistance, and good luck with your goat simulator?

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Hi anonymous. I am glad that the films of Wes Anderson  is close to your heart. I am afraid I do not have any contact details on the blog, and I am not sure my fiance would like me providing them to 'boom beach cheats'.  But thank you for your interest. 

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 Hi anonymous. That is a kind thing to say. While I am slightly confused how this post contributes to building web blogs, but I am not about to argue with someone from your weblog.

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 Hi anonymous. I think you have the wrong blog as I do not review games. Please try "To Game or Not to Game?" - Said no one, Ever! It is a very good blog, and more up your ally. 

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8 Jul 2014

The Madness of Hallen

A few posts ago I was at Armageddon, New Zealand's pop culture/geek fest. There I meet Russell Meek who was promoting his new book,  The Madness of Hallen. He was a very nice man and I enjoyed talking to him about his novel.
Russell Meek a very nice man!

I also wanted to read it and review it, in the hope of spreading the news about an exciting new novel and author. I finally got hold of a copy and sat down to enjoy it. 

Some spoilers follow. 

In my opinion a trap that some writers can fall into is over exposition, the mistaken idea that their world needs to be mapped out all at once for the reader to be invested in it.  Obviously the scene needs to be set but the story can reveal the world as it unfolds.

In the Hallen story I found the opposite was true.  It seemed that Meek was going to such great lengths to avoid this he went too far the other way.  I initially found elements of the world to have no context, and this was distracting.

The other thing that was becoming evident was the grand destiny of  the main character Orhl. The author has some pretty serious intentions regarding Orhl's future, and the novel is definitely very high fantasy.  Well Orhl's deep seated rage that some how bends weaker minds to his will and makes him the greatest swordsman of a generation says high fantasy to me. 

Unfortunately this leaves me a little cold.   Special powers, epic destiny, save the world, it is a bit much, and a bit too soon for m tastes.  I much prefer low fantasy over high; the characters are more identifiable and interesting to me.  I do not think there is anything wrong in high fantasy; I broke my teeth on Tolkien after all. But it is not something I usually enjoy.  But even in high fantasy you can have simpler characters that are swept up in major events, and even if they are  the best at what they do, to make these characters identifiable to the reader they need flaws, they need to be human.

To be fair Meek tries this. There is emotional conflict and personal issues to flesh out  the characters. Orhl is portrayed as a young boy on the verge of adult hood who has a conflict with his father over the lack of communication between them. His father holding back the full truth as he is uncertain as to how his younger son will deal with the burden of responsibility, and Orhl's sense of betrayal over his father's apparent lack of trust. And I liked that what appeared to be an obvious love interest broke up due to the fickle nature of the girl. 

This is good, the protagonist comes across and a bit annoying and the dad as over protective, which is great because that is how people are. But the author loses this when the boy is so understanding over being dumped so publically and the revelation of how shallow his girl is.  I know 30 somethings that aren’t this rational over a break up, it just didn’t gel with me.

I didn’t enjoy this. I really wanted to, but I didn’t.  And it pains me to say I didn’t even finish the book.  But I think my lack of enjoyment is purely subjective, and while this is true in every review I am particularly conscious of in this case. 

Depending on your tastes you may enjoy it more than I did; it is obvious that many people love this book.  If you love high fantasy and want a new and interesting world to explore then give it a try. If you are looking for something a little grittier then this may not be for you.

4 monkeys