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Non-Review Review: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters demonstrates just how lucky the Harry Potter films were when it came to casting teenage performers. As a movie series centred around the off-spring of Greek deities, the movie relies on the charisma of its leads to sell the premise. Unfortunately, they aren’t quite up to the task. While none of the performers are terrible or wooden, the film drags to a hault when the teenage actors are asked to carry a scene. As a result, a quiet boat ride in the middle of the film seems interminable, and a heart-to-heart before the climax feels overlong.

None of the cast are assisted by a script from Marc Guggenheim. Guggenheim is capable of a well-placed zinger, and the movie offers its fair share of wit, but everything about the movie feels pandering and simplistic, as if Guggenheim doesn’t trust his audience to pick up on the plot points if they aren’t painstakingly catalogued and repeatedly spelt out with cringe-worthy dialogue. Indeed, Guggenheim’s desire to slow everything down so he can repeatedly explain what’s going on only adds to the pacing issues caused by the weak leads.

It’s a shame, because the adult cast seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves, and there’s something quite charming about the idea of “demi-googling” as a means of retrieving information.

Another stab at a Percy Jackson film...

Another stab at a Percy Jackson film…

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Non-Review Review: Wonder Woman

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. This is one of the animated feature films involving the characters from the creators of the original animated shows.

Did you… did you stop Ares?

No. I didn’t. I couldn’t.

What? Why not?

I had to save you.

(slap!)

Ow!

– Diana clarifies to Steve that she isn’t a damsel in distress

I have to confess, I’ve never been grabbed by Wonder Woman as a concept. Is she a feminist? A socially conscious superhero? A female superman? A superhero who is willing to take a life if it’s necessary? A diplomat? She’s been all these things and many more, which is perhaps why it’s hard to get a handle on her – which is perhaps why it’s difficult to care for her. Her origins cannot be summed up in a single sentence like Batman (an orphaned “rich kid with issues… lots of issues”) or Superman (who Grant Morrison managed to sum up in eight words) – her origin will likely eat up at least a paragraph of this review. As such, you can understand my surprise that Wonder Woman is perhaps the best DC comics animated adaptation they have produced to date.

Taking a swing at the character...

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Firefly

Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction.

We live in a spaceship, dear.

So?

– Wash and Zoe, Objects in Space

Joss Whedon writing a science fiction show – a science fiction western, to be precise. Doesn’t that excite you? Just a bit? Well, it should, because they’re just so… very… pretty. Huh? Look at that chiselled jaw!

And yes, I am already quoting it. It’s going to be a fun review.

Male bonding... Or bondage, I'm not sure...

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Holy Interactive Lost Character Map!

I rarely take the opportunity to get in on some solid internet meme action right here, so please indulge me. With the sixth and final (‘thank god,’ says most of the audience) season of Lost hitting the airwaves on this side of the Atlantic soon, it seems some fan has thought of a nifty and interactive way of charting the various connections between the castaways, whose lives interact in ridiculously unlikely ways before they end up the island. Anyway, it’s an application where you highlight a main character’s name and it’ll connect them to others through numerous smaller secondary characters. Give it a go here, or click the image below.

Not to mention there’s a little Nathan Fillon love going on there, which I think we can all get behind.

Non-Review Review: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Who would have thought that the writers’ strike last year would have been a blessing in disguise? Not only did the condensing down of seasons of House and Lost give the series a tighter narrative flow, but we also got the highest-profile “web original” series ever written. It may have been somewhat disingenous of Time to name this little musical masterpiece “one of the best inventions of 2008” – as there have been web-based series before – but what is astounding is how well this little drama stands on its own. Produced with a shoestring budget using favours called in from all over the industry as a means of artistic expression circumventing the studio system (which was being boycotted by the strike), Joss Whedon continues to demonstrate his cult credentials with another sure-fire geek hit.

The doctor will see you now...

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