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Why did we include THAT?

“I wasn’t going to cut corners. I wasn’t going to miss something obvious. Somewhere along the way, I started to go overboard. I may, in fact, have started to go a little insane.” -Ready Player One, page 62

So I really should have written this a lot earlier…but you know. I’m still learning about how all this works and what the project should really be. Coming up on 9 months of working on the blog I’m finally getting into a rhythm with actually getting things done and reviewed (movies and music are pretty easy, tv isn’t so bad but literature is tough to get through even with the rate at which I read…)

And I’m only one person.  While my brother watches a lot of things with me and is trying to help me work up to playing video games live on twitch, which I am not good at keeping up with, he doesn’t write for the blog.  And I have a small circle of friends that will help me with things like finding books or letting me borrow them…or to let me come over and mooch off their streaming services for a tv show I need to watch, they are really just there for moral support.

So, consuming and writing about all of this is a LOT…it’s a full-time job. And I work and have a house on top of it.

Then why have you included all of the things you have (even if they weren’t exclusively mentioned in the book)?

I get asked this a lot.  And it was a hard decision to make as I developed this project over the years. Here is what I decided and why…

The book Ready Player One takes place in the year 2045.  Halliday grew up during the 1980s. 1990s, and was in his formidable adult years during the early 2000s into the 2020s…. but the book was published in 2011.

Which leaves a lot of time between the publication of the novel and when the actual story takes place.

I could have made the decision to just deal with any media that came before 2011. But it didn’t seem right.

Then there was the route of just going off the references that are directly named within the book.  And boy are there a LOT of those.  Yet again…this just didn’t feel like the right way to go.

So what was left?

In my opinion it was this:

If Wade was doing his research from around 2040-2045 which are the dates from Halliday’s death to when the first key was found by Wade himself then it would make sense that during that 5-year period he would have delved into all the references in Anorak’s Almanac.  

Since we don’t have direct access to the actual Almanac (I’m working on a version of it to post in the blog in case anyone wants to try this for themselves) I am left to guess about what all it contained.  Many of the references and things that would have been in the Almanac are quite apparent.  Throughout Ready Player One they are listed plainly: The Muppet Show, PAC-MAN, Firefly…

But the issue is with references that were vague…or that had more of the universe than what was mentioned directly.  Or even references that were expanded after the novel was published.

Using some general guess work and some logical reasoning the Almanac would have contained many additional items from pop culture that WOULD have existed in 2040 when Halliday died.

For example: Star Wars.  Directly in the text Wade talks of the “Holy Trinity’s” which included The Original Trilogy and The Prequel Trilogy.  There were several other films out in the series when Ready Player One came out that I do believe Halliday would have watched such at The Star Wars Holiday Special, The Ewok Adventure…etc., as well as a few tv shows, that came out before the book was released. Then after 2011 there was an expansion to the Star Wars Universe. Another trilogy, two more stories set in the Star Wars world…and don’t get me started on the insane number of comics, novels and other media that has existed throughout the years.

And I do believe that Halliday would have been interested in the extended universe of a world that he considered important enough, that he revered enough, to call “holy”.

So that is what I have done. I’ve included some things that wouldn’t have been considered part of the world in 2011 but would have existed in 2040, when Halliday died. Extended universes, more novels, new TV shows…and other things that maybe just weren’t directly messaged.

I’ve done this for a few reasons.

  1. I think that Halliday would have had these in his Almanac.
  2. Halliday shows Neurodivergent tendencies (I am also ND and show many of the same traits) that include hyper focus, obsession and an inability to connect with the people around him…which can often be seen in extensive research, over recording and obsession of a specific topic and other coping mechanisms seen throughout the book (and subsequently the film).
  3. Because it just felt right.

So here you go.  My reasons that you will see things like Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Trek: Picard, newer novels from Stephen King, obscure pieces of media from long dead authors, new music from the bands he loved (and maybe some that aren’t in the book just because it was something I thought he would have listened to because he liked They Might Be Giants), AND references from Ready Player Two… because Kira and her likes were much closer to my heart than Halliday’s.

And remember…I’m only one person who doesn’t have “12 hours a day, 7 days a week” to devote to this as much as I would love to.  So I’ll get to reviews as quickly as I can.

And Anorak’s Almanac is forthcoming…

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SPOILERS ABOUND….you have been warned.

With the release and subsequent reading of Ready Player Two I believe a warning should be posted… this wasn’t really a spoiler free blog in the first place but as Ready Player One is a few years old I didn’t feel the need to make a big deal of the fact that every single post here could possibly be a spoiler for that book.

HOWEVER

As we continue to move forward with both books this is NOT A SPOILER FREE BLOG.

Spoilers can happen in all sorts of places in this blog from the tags, the pages, the titles of articles….and especially in the content of those articles.

You have been warned.

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, based on the world created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Not long after the events of the Jurassic World theme park incident a group of mercenaries arrive on the island tasked with getting a sample of DNA from the Indominus Rex remains that are at the bottom of the park’s lagoon.  As the team evades various attacks, they accidently release the Mosasaurus from the lagoon into the ocean.

Three years later while the U.S. Senate debates whether the dinosaurs should be saved from a sudden but inevitable eruption from Isla Nublar’s volcano John Hammond’s former partner, Ben Lockwood, sets up a team with aid from Claire to relocate as many of the dinosaurs as they can to the California estate that Lockwood owns.  Claire speaks to Owen Grady to get his help…particularly to assist with getting his beta Velociraptor, Blue, off the island.

Unbeknownst to Claire, Eli Mills (Ben Lockwood’s aide) is planning to only acquire Blue to use in his experimentations to develop a new dinosaur to be used exclusively for war and combat…. And that Claire and her team are just collateral damage.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action-Adventure

-Creator: based on the world created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 128 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of smoking and alcohol, moderate intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, BD Wong, Jeff Goldblum

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

Ooof.  I just don’t really know what to truly say about this film.  Its better than The Lost World? That isn’t saying much though. 

I actually enjoyed the film overall but was really upset about the fact that we once again seemed to get a lot more of the “real” world and not as much of the island.  It’s a really fascinating study about the stupidity and greed of man…but that isn’t exactly what I wanted to watch when I chose to go and watch a Jurassic Park film.  I expect the morality discussions of bringing back and modifying long extinct animals…but the morality of man is something I wasn’t expecting from this film.

Generally good and I’m interested to see where the third film in Jurassic World is going, but I’m not sure when we are going to see this film come out.

And why waste such a treasure as Jeff Goldblum by sticking him behind a table….its just…sad.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic World, based on the world created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Back on Isla Nublar, Jurassic World has been in business for many years.  It is a vastly popular attraction for families to come and explore, watching resurrected dinosaurs live in custom-built habitats. There are educational programs to attend, and even rides that take you out into some of the enclosures.

Zach and Gray Mitchell are sent to visit their aunt, Claire, who is the operations manager of the park. But when they arrive, she is far too busy with the latest attraction that will be opening in a matter of days: a new breed of genetically altered dinosaur named the Indominus Rex, developed by Jurassic Park geneticist Dr. Henry Wu.

Meanwhile on the island, Owen Grady (a US Navy veteran and ethologist) is training a small group of Velociraptors to see if their pack mentality can be utilized in other ways while researching their intelligence.  He has a group of four, that he has raised since birth, with Blue as his beta.  The research that he is doing seems to stem from the theories of Dr. Grant.

As Claire shows off the Indominus Rex to the owner of Jurassic World they discover that the enclosure may not be enough to keep everyone safe.  So, they task Owen with determining it’s security.  But during the course of the briefing, they discover that there may be more to the Indominus Rex than meets the untrained (and uninformed) eye… she seems to have disappeared, yet the enclosure is intact.  When a small group including Owen enter the enclosure to observe where she may have gotten to and fully assess the security Indominus shows just how clever and devious she truly is, using their desire to escape her jaws as way to become loose on the property.

With one of the most dangerous dinosaurs ever created on the loose, her nephews missing, and millions of dollars (as well as park full of guests) at risk, Claire needs to think fast, and act even faster if she is going to prevent a major tragedy from occurring.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on the world created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 124 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes, large monster action sequences)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Irrfan Khan

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I really enjoyed this film.  The feeling of the first Jurassic Park movie is felt all throughout the film and it is a really great call back when the boys end up in the old facility.  There is the great unknown moments and yet the whole movie has the feeling that everyone really should have known better and had better security protocols in place…especially since the park had been open for quite a large amount of time.

The boys are smart and use every opportunity they find to get out of the situation they end up in.  The big bad is actually a set of horrible humans and not just an accident or a moment of happenstance.  And we get an appearance by the ORIGINAL T-Rex from the first film!

Character interactions and writing are well done. And the effects truly look spectacular.  They took a page out of the book of the original trilogy using both CGI and animatronics to create a large number of the dinosaurs in the park.  Its things like this that cause the movie to hold up well over the years.

The velociraptors being an asset is new and I like that they seem to be building on the research of Dr. Grant from the first trilogy.  They have moved onto the fact that not only are the raptors social creatures but that their intelligence can be curbed for more productive actions and not just the instinctual actions of an animal.  It brings another level into the film.

What I didn’t like was that a few of the deaths and some of the action sequences felt unnecessary or brutal in ways that weren’t needed (like that of Zara, Claire’s assistant who is trying to look after and then find the boys when they dodge her)…

In the end I really did enjoy the film and since I haven’t seen the second I hope I like it as much as I liked this one.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic Park III, based on characters created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In the waters surrounding Isla Sorna (now deemed a restricted access territory) Ben Hildebrand and the twelve-year old son of a good friend, Eric, have gone parasailing.  When the boat they are attached to is attacked and heads on a crash course for a rock formation the pair release the rope and crash land on the island.

Weeks later Dr. Alan Grant is working with a team that is making new discoveries about Velociraptors: that they were socially sophisticated.  And if they had not gone extinct maybe they would have continued to evolve, eventually becoming the Earth’s dominant species.  He and his assistant are approached during a conference by a wealthy couple to hire them for an ariel tour of Isla Sorna.  He reluctantly agrees to the trip after receiving funding for his research.

When they are in the air, Grant is knocked unconscious when he learns they are planning on landing on the island. When he finally wakes up and realizes they have landed, the group is attacked by a Spinosaurus which wrecks the airplane they came in on.

As he truly learns about what is going on with the couple and the actual purpose of the trip – to find the couple’s son, Eric, who was last seen parasailing near the island – Grant tells them his experience was on Isla Nublar…not Isla Sorna.  He is just as lost as they are.

As the group tries to find their way through the island and hopefully save Eric in the process they are chased by several different predators…who will make it out alive?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on characters created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 92 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Sam Neill, Willam H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Watching this right after Jurassic Park II is actually fascinating because, while there is just as much action as there was in the second film, the action here feels more productive to the story.  It either is caused or causes character development or push the plot forward.

This isn’t to say that everything is good in the film.  Honestly, there are huge parts of it that aren’t as good as the original film. But I do like this one a lot better than The Lost World.

My favorite is that the raptors talk to each other… like birds or other flock/pack animals.  Their little interactions are absolutely lovely.  And the Spinosaurus isn’t half bad as the “big bad” for this film.  It’s a really interesting dinosaur and after seeing the T-Rex in the last two films a new dinosaur is kind of a welcome relief.

I liked the overall story here better than the last film and really enjoyed the fact that the kid was actually super smart in this one like the boy was in the first film.  It was a great little call back and really impressive that he managed to survive out in the wilderness, with dinosaurs, for EIGHT weeks.  With no supplies with him when he crashed into the island.  Not a lot of kids could do that. Even without the added danger.

The injuries, deaths and survivals fell more in line with the story line instead of some of the ones that feel out of place in both the film before and the film following this one.

I enjoyed this film and most of it seems to really stand the test of time.  Its all pretty solid from CGI to storyline.  A great way to end the original trilogy.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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REPOST: The Lost World: Jurassic Park, based on the book The Lost World by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Four years after Isla Nublar is abandoned by Hammond and his team due to the incidents of Jurassic Park, an upper-class British family has docked their yacht at Isla Sorna, located in the same grouping of islands.  While getting ready for lunch their young daughter is attacked by a group of Compsognathus, small pack-like dinosaurs who are looking for food.

Due to this problem John Hammond’s company has been taken over by his nephew, Pteter Ludlow, who wants to end the project Hammond is currently working on- a new interactive park that is built for conservation of the existing dinosaurs that have bred from those left behind during a new experiment on Isla Sorna- and instead, exploit the dinosaurs to save the company from bankruptcy.

Hammond contacts paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding to document the dinosaurs and how they are living on the island.  As Dr. Harding takes off, her boyfriend Ian comes to see Hammond.  When he finds out what is going on at Isla Sorna he loses it and storms off to find Sarah on the island and keep her from a similar incident that he suffered on Isla Nublar.

Things seem to be going alright on the island when suddenly a large group of game hunters, clad in Hammond’s company logo show up on the island…and things start to go south very quickly.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on the book The Lost World by Michael Crichton

-Length: 129 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild use of alcohol, severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

So, I honestly don’t remember a lot of this movie.  I know I watched it when I was younger because it was part of the Jurassic Park series…but other than that I really don’t remember much of what happened.

I find a few of the scenes to make little sense.  The T-Rex attack doesn’t seem to have a place (maybe a little when their baby has been taken, but coming back doesn’t feel right for animal behavior).  It seems borne of the desire for action and a big explosion verses actually progressing the story. And then the explanation feels forced for the scene to make sense.

The velociraptor scene is hard for me because I love the idea of the homage to Jaws with people getting pulled randomly down into the grass by the dinosaurs but again it doesn’t feel so much as a driving force to the story so much as another action/slightly horror element to keep things off kilter.  But I have to admit watching the raptors come in to the group in the tall grass is a really cool effect.

Besides that, the story feels sound. Its nice that some of the same actors were brought back even just for small cameo appearances. And I do love some of the other dinosaurs that they introduce in the film like the tiny, pack hunting Compsognathus. So cute. So vicious. So deadly…

 So not necessarily my favorite of the Jurassic Park films but pretty decent.  You do have to suspend a bit more of reality to make this one feel real in the reality of the Jurassic Park.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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The Lost World, by Michael Crichton: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Four years have passed since Ian was able to escape Isla Nublar with near critical injuries…so critical in fact that he was reported as dead and a memorial service was even held in his honor.  His fellow escapees Alan, Ellie, Tim and Lex have all gone their separate ways.  Ian has taken up a teaching position and has recently, albeit reluctantly, teamed up with paleontologist Richard Levine.

Their goal is to search for The Lost World, a concept hatched in both biology and chaos theory, where all the presumed extinct animals are actually just hiding in plain sight.  This concept of The Lost World being true was prompted by the fact that several strange animal corpses have been washing up on the shores of Costa Rica.

After two years of searching and funding a large amount of very advanced equipment Levine mysteriously disappears.  His young students, R.B. and Kelly, as well as one of his collegues Doc Thorne are extremely concerned about what has happened to him.  After contacting Ian, he and Doc decide that they need to figure out just where Richard has gotten to.

When all signs point to the fact that he has made a rash decision to visit Site B…a second island off the coast of Costa Rica near Isla Nublar…without any other assistance than a local guide.  As the adults make their way to the island, contacting Dr. Sarah Harding, an animal behaviorist colleague to meet them there the children are left to worry about their beloved teacher.

As the group arrives on the island with Harding to meet them the next day things seem to go from bad to worse when they discover the site where Levine seems to have been attacked.  After they get back to their camp the unexpected appearance of R.B. and Kelly, a group of strangers attacking the dinosaurs, and an incredibly stormy night…things are about to get really rough on Isla Sorna.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Techno-Thriller, Horror

-Author: Michael Crichton

-Number of Pages: 393

-Main Characters: Ian Malcolm, Richard Levine, Jack “Doc” Thorne, Eddie Carr, R. B. “Arby” Benton, Kelly Curtis, Dr. Sarah Harding, Lewis Dodgson, Howard King, George Baselton

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I was not expecting this book to be just as good as the first.  Afterall the second film isn’t anywhere near as good as the first.  But I was pleasantly surprised.

Crichton manages to keep the same voice as the first book.  No condescension when talking about the technology, obscure language of animal behavior and chaos theory, the genetic diversity of the dinosaurs and genetic project that was going on with InGen….all of it comes together smoothly and without irritation to the reader.

Ian is even more of his insane and crazy self, though I do wish he hadn’t gotten hurt in this one too.  The other characters are well developed and the adults are often times excellent role models for the kids. 

The dinosaurs as always are not seen as evil or good. They are merely animals and I love that Crichton shows the family structures of different groups.  The research for dinosaurs has changed over the years and its fascinating that in these two books he embraced the new information that was coming out on their family structures.

The details are robust and the setting is beautifully described.  Both of these books make me want to visit Costa Rica….it sounds stunning.

Overall, the writing is solid. The plot is believable but just outside of the realm of what I think is possible which is perfect for a science-fiction novel.  The characters are robust.  Its just a really great book.  And one I will read again!

Review:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic Park, created by based on character from the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Isla Nublar, just off the coast of Costa Rica, is being developed into a new theme park by entrepreneur, John Hammond.  He’s developed a new idea for a unique zoo/theme park hybrid featuring genetically cloned dinosaurs…but when a handler is killed by one of the velociraptors his investors begin to threaten to pull their funding.

He goes out to find a few reputable people to endorse the park to appease the investors.  He invited paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant and paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler as well as chaos-theorist Ian Malcom to come to the park before they open to see what is being offered.

The visitor center and a subsequent tour of the island in the fleet of electrical vehicles doesn’t necessarily go as planned…especially when one of the programmers is in cahoots with a rival group trying to jeopardize the entire project.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on character from the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

-Length: 128 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild language, smoking and mild use of alcohol, moderate intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, BD Wong, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

It has been a really long time since I have seen this series and I forgot how good it was.  The graphics and animatronics are killer good and hold up nearly 30 years later.  The writing is fantastic. The actors do a spectacular job and of course Spielberg is a incredible director.

There are so many little moments that I love in this film.  Moments where the kids do a great job acting terrified of the T-Rex or do stunts that would make adults freak out.  The drama of the velociraptors (which in my research I learned aren’t as tall or heavy as they are in film…which is crazy because I picture them the way they are in the movie) …and the scenes with the T-Rex are so impressive.  They are big and dramatic and drive the film forward.  But aren’t over the top and superfluous like they could be.

The science may not be as sound as it could be. Yet it isn’t completely unbelievable.

Generally, a great idea and wonderful execution.  I’d be interested to read the book and see how the final screenplay and characters differ from how they were written.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

There have been a series of mysterious animal attacks in Costa Rica.  No one can figure out just what is causing them.  Including the attack that left a worker on a nearby construction project dying and another that left a young girl at the edge of death from a severe allergic reaction. 

Meanwhile, paleontologist Alan Grant and paleobotanist Ellie Sattler are contacted by another scientist about the attacks.  They hope the pair may be able to confirm or deny that one of the attacks was made by a Procompsognathus, a long extinct chicken like dinosaur that walked and attacked on two hind legs often in large packs.  Before they are able to work on the identification, they are whisked off by billionaire John Hammond to visit his latest project- a unique biologic nature preserve that will be full of animals that no one has ever seen before.

Located on an island…off the coast of Costa Rica.

When the pair, Hammond, his company lawyer, and a chaos theorist Ian Malcom, arrive at the preserve and are joined by Hammond’s grandchildren, they are presented with what is actually going on at Isla Nublar.  The Park is extremely unique.  So unique in fact the animals have been extinct for millions of years.  The name of this zoo, preserve, biological project and theme park?

Jurassic Park.

Featuring a variety of sweet as well as highly dangerous genetically recreated dinosaurs, the concept seems incredible and awe inspiring….that is until a storm blows in and the entire island is thrown into the dark.  What happens to the island when all the electricity is out?  What will the dinosaurs do?  And will they all make it out alive?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Author: Michael Crichton

-Number of Pages: 448

-Main Characters: Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Donald Gennaro, Tim and Alexis ‘Lex’ Murphy, John Arnold, Henry Wu, Robert Muldoon, Ed Regis, Gerry Harding, Dennis Nedry, Lewis Dodgson

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I am so glad I finally read this book!  I was so scared of reading it.  I have had a lot of issues in the past with both adult literature and straight science-fiction stories but this one was absolutely stunning.

Michael Crichton is able to explain complex science concepts without being condescending while simultaneously mixing it with character and world development.  The result is a complex and witty narrative that is nonetheless accessible to most readers.

I fell in love with this book.  It is multi-layered and diverse with relationships that have more depth and compassion than what we got to see in the film adaptation.  The characters are funny, witty, snappy, sarcastic, narcissistic, and often full of themselves, sometimes with good reason.

And the world.

The step-by-step walk through of how the park was built, how the dinosaurs were created, their genetic defects and a variety of other details would have been clunky and difficult to read in another author’s hands but Crichton handles all of it with a grace that gives even the most under educated reader the chance to not only understand but to also enjoy.  I am not into biology but have a decent head for chemistry but the ideas behind genetic manipulation are far beyond me.  Crichton made it not only accessible but also make sense without the reader feeling inadequate or stupid.

The habitats, the animals, the rides…the theme park…they are all described with an incredible awe as if you were actually there not reading about an imaginary land that doesn’t exist.

Its just a beautifully written novel and one that I can highly recommend.  I literally picked the second novel right up after finishing the first and was honestly disappointed that there wasn’t a third novel in the series.

I’m even thinking of reading more of Crichton’s works like Congo.  This one was just that good.

Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, based off the book by Douglas Adams: a Film Review

Synopsis:

On a dreary normal Thursday morning Arthur Dent is going about his day when he realizes that this is the day that his house is meant to be torn down to make way for a bypass…something he only just found out about even though the plans have been on file for over a year.  As he lays in front of the bulldozers his friend Ford Prefect shows up.

Dragging Arthur away from the scene he tells Arthur everything over a few pints of beer.  Nothing matters, not his house or looking like a drunk for having three pints of beer at lunchtime…because the Earth will be destroyed in 12 minutes.

When Ford hitches a ride off planet in the moments before Earth is rendered nonexistent, he brings Arthur along for the ride.

Between killer aliens, an improbable spaceship, a depressed robot and a maniacal president of the unverse will Arthur and Ford be able to take the advice from the most popular book in the universe, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and remember: DON’T PANIC!

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: based off the book by Douglas Adams

-Length: 109 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild violence, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Anna Chancellor, John Malkovich

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

You can’t really go too wrong when the author of the book WRITES THE SCREENPLAY!

I know that this movie got a lot of flack for the fact that it is just a silly and ridiculous, over the top kind of comedy.  That it wasn’t accurate to the book its based on.  That it isn’t good because the writing wasn’t good.

That is all wrong in my opinion but it is something I hear a lot when it comes to turning novels into film…and its not the last time I’ll write about it in a review.

I don’t think you can argue that a movie “isn’t good because that’s not how it was written” when the author of the book is the one who writes the screenplay… the things they changed were their choice…and that is ok.  Because sometimes screen and novel don’t translate well together.  Different media is different.

However, this I just brilliant.  It captured all the wonderful snark from the book.  The characters fit so well.  The actors did such a great job with the characters.

The costumes and sets are over the top in the kind of way that fits in with the book.  I mean…how can you go wrong with a character that is dressed to the nines, another that wears a bathrobe the whole time and another that carries around a towel and uses it like a security blanket…

And Alan Rickman as the depressed robot.  Just perfection.

I really do love watching this film.  Its funny and lighthearted while still pondering the great questions.  And it captured the feel of the book in a tremendous way.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Arthur Dent is having a very bad day.  His home in West Country, England is set to be bulldozed to make way for a bypass…which will run right through his home. As he lays in front of the bulldozer his friend, Ford Prefect, shows up and drags him away to the pub.

He explains that Arthur’s house being torn down is the least of his worries as the entire Earth will be destroyed in about 12 minutes.  When a group of aliens show up in Earth’s atmosphere they announce that Earth is to be destroyed to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace expressway…or…a bypass.

As the Earth is destroyed Ford hitches a ride on one of the ships bringing Arthur along for the ride giving him a copy of The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy to help him handle the strange new world he has been thrown into.

Afterall, it has great advice written right on the cover in big friendly letters: Don’t Panic.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Comedy

-Author: Douglas Adams

-Number of Pages:

-Main Characters: Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphd Beeblebrox, Patricia “Trillian” McMillian, Marvin

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

So maybe I just need comedy with my science-fiction…because this book is so much fun and so easy to get through.  Douglas Adams doesn’t even try to explain the science behind anything. Not really.  Its just assumed that it exists.

Because in a world where a book with the words “Don’t Panic” on it in big friendly letters outselling every other book in the UNIVERSE….honestly, anything is possible.

The world is wonderfully diverse and detailed without anything actually being described in excessive detail.  Adams has a way of getting the picture of things across in the action and how the characters see the world.  We don’t get long winded descriptions of how the world or ships they are on look unless it has some sort of humorous reasoning.  What we do get are conversations that brand new whales have before they hit the ground and are no more.  Or what the dolphins did before they left earth.

Or the fact that the Earth was created as a computer program to find the question to the answer of the life, the universe, and everything…which is 42.

The characters are snarky and egotistical, irritating and absolutely human.  Guide is one of those books where even if you don’t love a character (like Zaphod and his idiotic ego) you still WANT to know what is going to happen to them.  That is really hard to do for an author.  Its hard to write characters that are neither villain nor hero yet still are interesting and full of depth and that the reader wants to keep hearing about.

Adams achieves this in every single page.

I’m so glad I revisited this story when I was older (more around the age of Arthur and Trillian).  I don’t think I found the books as enlightening and hilarious as I do now when I was a teenager.  There is just a level of life experience that you need to have to really appreciate these books.

I’m so excited to read the rest of the series again!

Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Universe, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Icarus Base is located on a remote planet as part of the SGC.  The current team run by Dr. Nicholas Rush believe that they could extend the range of the Stargate by utilizing the naqudria located in the core of the planet that is currently powering the Stargate.

To date only 7 chevrons have been used with regularity on any Stargate allowing travelers to pass through to other planets within their galaxy.  Adding an 8th chevron allows for travel to another galaxy but takes on a huge amount of power usually from something like a ZPM (a very powerful battery).  To fathom a 9th chevron is seen as boarding on insanity.

When Dr. Rush creates a video game to try and find the most brilliant minds across Earth to help him solve and test his theory he is presented with Eli Wallace, a mathematics genius.  Rush is joined by Wallace as well as Chloe Armstrong (the daughter of the Senator funding the Icarus Project) and several of the military members on the base in order to solve what the Ancients have laid out as a possibility.

As the group tries to figure out how to achieve the connection of a 9th chevron, they get devastating news.  The core of the planet is rendered unstable after an attack from an alien race known as the Lucian Alliance.  Attempting to contact earth Rush realizes that the impending explosion of the planet will just follow them through the wormhole and takes the chance at dialing a 9th chevron.  As it locks the survivors make it through the gate and end up aboard an old starship.

Destiny has its own abilities and mission, only dropping out of hyperspace in order to connect its Stargate to others in the network.  No one can control the ship.  The survivors are at the mercy of the ship itself as it drops in and out of hyperspace for limited amounts of time.

What are the survivors to do when they have no control over the ship they are stranded on?  Will they ever get back to Earth?  And just what problem is Destiny supposed to be solving…

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Military

-Creator: created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 2 Seasons, 40 Episodes (43 minutes each), with an additional 34 Webisodes

-Rating: currently unrated- most likely TV-14 based on other country codes (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol and other substances, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Carlyle, Lousi Ferreira, brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue, Alaina Huffman, Jamil Walker Smith, Ming-Na Wen

-Page of Reference in RP1:

Review (contains spoilers):

I’m only 3 episodes into this series at them moment.  Who ever had the genius idea to make the first five episodes of this show a 3-part episode and a 2-part episode was seriously overestimating the fact that people can or will want pay attention to brand new characters for that long…  it was a bad move on the part of Wright and Cooper in this case. 

Even with SG-1 and Atlantis the first few episodes did introduce new characters but they were amidst characters we were already familiar with from either the film or the previous series.

There just isn’t a lot to say at this point…I really think going with the set up they did with the first season was not only detrimental to the composition of the show but is also difficult for long time fans. Especially on the heels of a BRILLIANT series in the Stargate world with Atlantis.

Season 1:

Season 2:

Rating: