Monthly Archives: November 2012

Lord of Chaos

So, these are certainly getting harder. I mean, yes, Lord of Chaos is a hard book. “Let the Lord of Chaos rule” indeed. Not only is it the book where the first real convolutions of Aes Sedai plot mystery and basically every other type of political mire that you can imagine begin to rear their heads, but it’s also hard to watch such a trainwreck. I don’t mean that in the plotting sense, of course, just in the “Shit just got real” sense.

But it’s damn hard to review. I would claim that this is because of my self-imposed spoiler moratorium from here on out, but that’s not it really. Anything that I would put behind a spoiler cut[1] has already been discussed in every conceivable iteration when I was still young enough to read all of it in all its glory and even participate now and then. (Google Groups may even still have most of it.) And any theme I would try to tease out is right there in the title.

So, I will instead report on the two things that really stood out to me on the reread, although they’re not new either. One is what a huge fan of Min I am. The other is what a huge non-fan of the endless summer I am. Because of how evocative it became, which is certainly praise for Jordan’s talents, but I suppose of the backhanded variety. But not really. Good writing about uncomfortable things should make the reader uncomfortable. Right? (But for so long? Sure, like six months in Randland, but more like six years out here. Hell, even at the pace I’m reading, it is lasting less than regular summer, but I still feel it worse in the book.)

That said, it does raise a discussion point I don’t remember seeing crop up back in the day. Non-specific magic weather, or stopped-the-earth-in-its-orbit magic weather? I’m sure the latter has more physics consequences than I could shake a pointed quark at, but it’s kind of cool to consider nonetheless.

[1] Taim. I paused several moments to consider, and that’s the size of it. It doesn’t properly capture the scope of the discussions I would rehash, of course. Man, that guy is a compelling character, and one of the best examples of the cyclic nature of the Wheel of Time. All the moreso if he had never knowingly spoken to a Darkfriend when he first met Rand.


So, no tension here: I really liked Skyfall. I mean, yes, James Bond movie, cars, girls, guns, explosions. But I especially liked it, because of what a personal story it told. Mostly Bond is the opposite of personal, right? And Daniel Craig’s Bond moreso than most, nevermind how tragic that one Vesper Lynd scene might have been. If anything, it sealed his “no personal stuff”, er, persona.

Anyway, it seems some years have passed since the first pair of movies. Bond is a seasoned agent and M is nearing retirement in the wake of a pair of pretty large disasters. But when MI6 blows up, everything is suddenly much closer to home. And to put in perspective what I mean about it being a close, personal movie: blowing up MI6 is about the smallest of the personal things that happens, and it’s not even the first one in the movie.

What Skyfall reminded me the most of was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. And no, Bond does not get married. This is a tone issue, and I was grateful to see it, because Lazenby was the most underrated by history of the Bonds thusfar, and it’s nice to see someone finally pull off that degree of empathy for a character who is usually a sociopathic, albeit cool, cipher; even nicer to see it done by a Bond already ajudged to be a success.

Otherwise, there’s little I can say other than pure spoilers, but I must add what a delight it was to watch Javier Bardem chew the scenery. It’s been a while since there was a really solid Bond villain, you guys. I am, as usual, relieved that James Bond will return. Pretty weird that he turned 50 this year, though. (I mean, the cinematic version of him did. The book version is, of course, older.)

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

Okay, look. Yes, the next movie I saw was also a horror movie based on a video game franchise, and yes the previous entry in that series was objectively worse than any of the Resident Evil movies. That is no excuse to just skip to the next review. Thbbt, I say.

I actually do have at least a handful of things to say about Silent Hill: Revelation. The first is that it was shockingly coherent, with plot turns that could be predicted, characters that (mostly, at least[1]) had explicable motivations, and a by-the-book cultist storyline that was definitely a viable sequel to the earlier work. The second is that it used up a lot of that goodwill by giving none of its non-cultist characters agency after the first third of the film. The third and most mysterious is that the girl you undoubtedly saw walking around in a red Marty McFly vest in the previews is actually not Michelle Williams, a possibility that never entered my mind until her name wasn’t in the closing credits. (Sean Bean is still her father, though.)

The last thing is that the various nods to videogame iconography thrown around have made me itchier than ever to play Silent Hill 3, which it turns out is directly what this movie was based upon. Who knew? I thought all of those games were standalone, but I guess not.

[1] I mean, I guess you accept that cults want to raise some god or demon, or bind one, because some awesome thing will happen if they do, but as the awesome thing is never quite explained in such a way as to illuminate the uninitiated and never particularly comes to pass either, one must settle for accepting (or not).

Resident Evil: Retribution

I haven’t reviewed anything in like a month, which would be embarrassing enough in any event, but is possibly more embarrassing because of all the movies I’ve seen over that period. So, I guess it’s time to catch up?

The first thing I saw was in the dollar theater, since (for some inexplicable reason) the fifth Resident Evil movie did not stay in theaters for even a month. It’s almost like people think that series is trashy and has no staying power? I don’t buy that for a second, of course. Any movie that takes zombie ass-kicker Milla Jovovich and puts her in a clone-filled series of cityscapes in a secret base under the Arctic ice shelf[1] and makes her fight her way through zombies from half a dozen ethnicities, not to mention a skinless, brain-exposed[2] saber-toothed cat-looking thing and Michelle Rodriguez, can be described as a lot of things, none of them trashy nor lacking in rewatchability.

And now that all of you are (incorrectly!) backing away from your screens, shaking your heads in mute disbelief, I’ll go ahead and cut short the review, since it’s not like I’ll be able to add anything else convincing. But I should mention there are strong hints that the next sequel will also be the last[3]. I should also mention, in fairness to equal time, that the series has a hard time deciding how doomed humanity is at any given moment in the sequence of events. I mention this latter because it’s really the only major plot hole in an otherwise tightly plotted- …oh come on! Fine, I’m done.


[1] I mean, maybe it was the Antarctic? But as I saw no giant flying zombie penguins… no, wait, those are in the Arctic circle, aren’t they? I’m so confused.
[2] Or maybe those are radar pods?
[3] To be fair, the film was in the can long before Star wars Episode VII was announced, so they may change their minds.