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Reboots Explored

Posted on by marvazon

 Reboots: Are they the way forward? It happens in all forms of entertainment from music to films, and is fast becoming acceptable. I’ve actually lost count of the number of times I have watched a film, only to then visit the internet to discover that an original version was released a few years back. Or mentioned a beautiful song I recently heard, only for my friend to ask me: “You do know who sang the original, right?”

For the last few years, I refused to credit any forms of reboots until a stark realisation crept up on me. We are now at an age where many new, original ideas are criticised for rehashing many things that have come before. Artists have come under criticism in the past for copying other, less known people in their field. Could it just be a case of coincidences? Of course it could.

Putting everything into perspective, we all watch, listen and read the same media out there. With thousands of new films, books and records coming out each year, it is an absolute possibility that our ideas can occasionally overlap.

These facts can sometimes justify the need for reboots; after all, you can’t be accused of copying someone else’s work when you have gained authorization from them to reproduce it. And with the quality of some reboots now exceeding those of their predecessors—Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is a great example—perhaps it is time to accept them as a form of entertainment that will only get better and better.

I do think reboots are a way of the future, but what do you think???

 

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Game of Thrones: Best Program on Television?

Posted on by marvazon

The thought of fantasy being so popular amongst TV audiences is something not so inconceivable. The fantasy population does stretch far and wide, and they, like all other keen fans embrace powerful stories. The only difference with Game of Thrones, however, is that a multitude of people are watching it. And I mean some who are quick to dismiss fantasy as a genre.

In an era where we are accepting of light mannered programs without much substance—Reality TV, anyone—Game of Thrones seems like a labyrinth of complexity in comparison. Yet at the heart of the tale are a group of characters not too unlike all of us, each sharing our common insecurities, and survival instincts. That the scheming in Game of Thrones might be slightly over the top does not make it any less captivating to watch.

As with all great stories, the source material plays a big part, and the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, is featured at the top of many top fifty fantasy lists. Its author, George RR Martin, is considered a master of his craft, many comparing him to the magnificent JRR Tolkien, the unofficial Godfather of fantasy.

Many ardent readers of Martin’s book series are happy with HBO’s adaptation, many praising the unflinching violence and graphic sexual scenes. Although noted for not containing strong magical content at the beginning, Game of Thrones is slowly embracing its fantasy roots, with dragons, and un-dead men gracing our screens. This, however, enhances the show, with a gradual—rather than forced—shift to a full fantasy world.

The part of the show that has caught most people unawares, however, is Martin’s ability to kill main characters at will, moving swiftly on after, almost telling the audience to get over it. I will admit to moments where I just could not believe some of the things I was seeing, but the general unpredictability is keeping my interest alive.

The world of Television is still producing deeply engrossing programmes, each bringing their own unique messages. Game of Thrones, however, is setting the bar so high with its acting, and immensely complex—but absorbing—plots. As the second season comes to an end, people will be desperate to know what happens next, prompting many to plough through the books.

Although working with a prose of the highest quality, the producers have not been afraid to change things around, leaving readers of the novel in a strange place. Although witnessing events play out differently to what they know, most are embracing the changes, curious to see where it will lead in the grander scheme of things.

Whether you are a fan of the book or the TV show, Game of Thrones provides a rich and rewarding experience. I have no doubt in my mind that the HBO series most certainly holds a claim for being the best program on our screens.

 

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Inception—Movie Review

Posted on by marvazon

Every other year, we are treated to a Christopher Nolan film and anticipation is typically high. I first saw his majestic work with the tricky Memento, before tackling his re-imagination of super heroes with the Batman films. This review however is not about Nolan, but rather, his latest—and most complex—masterpiece, Inception.

As with all highly anticipated films, I couldn’t contain my excitement on the way to the cinema. Taking my seat, I realised that the audience—like me—were not distracted by anything like eating popcorn, talking to their partners, or even looking at the time. They tried their utmost to catch every line and event taking place in the movie. Following all the pre-Inception reviews, they knew they were in for a treat as long as they paid attention.

The film itself throws you straight into the deep end, with thought-provoking occurrences. You do know, however, that in the mould of all great films, the story will come together. The cast in this movie  is exceptional, but from the very start, you always expect them to take second stage to the story and execution.

I will talk about the cast, however, as they are all much respected actors in their own right, their professionalism ultimately helping the movie realise its true potential.

The plot of the film is probably known around the world over, due to the sheer fascination with its concept. I will therefore not go into that with this review. A great critical debate was always inevitable, however, given the feat being undertaken here. The movie itself is like a labyrinth, one which demands exceptional concentration, with multiple potential ways it could go, but at no time in the movie do you feel the director has lost control.

Everyone must know by now that the concept of the movie is the world of dreams and just how important dreams are for the protagonists to achieve their goals. The film does do more than that, however. It shows the necessity of dreams in maintaining our way of life when all hope is lost. It portrays the desperation of people trying to escape to a world quite unlike theirs, where they can be whoever they want to be. This kind of message creeps out of the film and just makes you appreciate the general message the director is trying to send to all of us.

For those of us thinking the film will be too complex, I urge you to go there with an open mind, and observe how it all comes together. I remember having to keep reminding myself just which layer of dreaming I was watching sometimes, but that is just testament to the great story and fabulous execution.

The action set pieces are fantastic without being overdone. The crumbling buildings seen on the trailers are just a tip of the iceberg. Everything about this film will be nothing as you might expect, as it is one of those rare films that simply have to be experienced. Regardless of whether we see a sequel or not, Inception will always be hailed as one of those great films that dared to be an exception to the norm. Once again, I thank Mr Nolan for challenging our thought process, whilst giving us great cinema. Roll on Batman 3

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The Departed—Movie Review

Posted on by marvazon

I saw this film for the first time yesterday after reading both good and bad comments. I assumed the negative reviews generally came from those who had watched Infernal Affairs—the movie this is based on—people not entirely satisfied with Scorsese’s take on the Hong Kong original.

I would like to begin by stating that I saw the original Infernal Affairs a week ago, making it fresh in my memory. That film was a complex thriller, one which got straight to the point. The Departed on the other hand focuses on storytelling, and whilst staying faithful to the original, becomes its own film.

Scorsese has taken a great film and turned it into a masterpiece with breath-taking violence and superb character development. If fans were expecting a shot-for-shot remake, they obviously don’t understand why Scorsese is regarded as one of the best directors of all time.

The acting of all the leads was magnificent. They all looked extremely comfortable in their roles. I truly believe this was the film that won over all Leonardo DiCaprio detractors. He delivered an astounding performance, showing a gritty side to his character. I actually felt in parts that he was every bit as good as Mr Nicholson. Accolade also has to be heaped on Damon. He came into his own as the sneaky but smooth rouge cop. Add Sheen, Whalberg, Baldwin and Winstone to the mix and you easily have the best cast of 2006.

Of course no movie is perfect—although this stakes a strong claim—but the only disappointing aspect of the film will be from the perspective of those who have seen the original. I am ultimately referring to the ending. Whilst anyone seeing this film for the first time will most probably embrace the climax, those who have seen the original will know what I mean.

That aside, this movie has marked its place alongside such classics as Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Scarface.

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The Eye of the World—Book Review

Posted on by marvazon

I first heard about The Wheel of Time series of books a year ago, but after gleaning the word count of the first few novels, I shied away. Seeing it on a great many lists of “must-read” fantasy novels, however, started to sway me. I eventually purchased an e-Book version of the first story, The Eye of the World.

To call this book epic is an understatement. From the very beginning, the author, Robert Jordan, plants the seed for a staggering storyline, or so it seemed. The first thing I noticed within the first few pages was the depth of description for absolutely everything, sometimes stretching scenes out unnecessarily. I didn’t completely mind this, I must add, as I sometimes enjoyed visualising every last detail.

Following the brief, but effective prologue, it didn’t take me long to figure out the formula of the story, an unknowing group of young, reluctant heroes, who must go on a long quest to thwart a rising dark lord. I immediately thought to myself, Tolkien, but more importantly, I wondered, “hasn’t this been done so many times?”

The difference I found with this book, however, was the execution and depth of the civilisation Jordan created. The result is a world rich with life, age-old traditions, vast magic, and normal human emotions.

To write an epic fantasy novel, and not wield comparisons to Tolkien is almost unheard of. The man was practically the creator of high fantasy. Although similar in its initial concept, The Eye of the World is a completely different entity. For one, it relies more heavily on magic. I also felt that the characters had a more playful edge about them.

Ultimately, this story boils down to age-old tales of good and evil, a formula that existed long before Tolkien, and one embraced by most aspects of story telling, whether crime, romance or fantasy novels.

I found myself excited while reading this book, constantly wanting to know what happened next. I enjoyed scenes with a character named Morraine—a woman who belonged to a sisterhood known as Aes Sedai—the main wielder of magic in the story.

Her role in the novel bore some similarities to Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, I thought. One of her primary objectives was to seek out young men and women from a small town, informing them of the part they needed to play in thwarting the Dark Lord.

Her sternness, extreme knowledge and potent use of magic intrigued me, constantly leaving me to ponder on her true motives. I noticed this as something Jordan played on, where most of the series protagonist continually doubted her true allegiances, thinking of her sisterhood as possibly evil too.

Instances such as these littered the book, the heroes on their quest with Morraine, hunting the Dark Lord, but also facing others who do not believe them to be without evil in their hearts.

Also firmly against the shadow are those known as The Children of The Light—a society holding strict beliefs dedicated to the defeat of the Dark One—who distrust all Aes Sedai, believing them to be associated with the very evil that taints the world.

This element of the story helps in blurring the line of the traditional good versus evil I mentioned before, with the perspective of multiple characters in the book considered.

In regards to the story’s length, I initially didn’t find it a problem ploughing through each chapter. I soon started feeling, however, that Jordan was simply rehashing the same scenes over different locations, with nothing new or unexpected happening. Had he not done this, I believe the novel’s length could have been trimmed considerably. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the many conflicts. I actually foundJordan’s description of action scenes rather vivid, and didn’t mind seeing many enjoyable—if repetitive—battles. 

Upon reaching the end of the story, I found myself satisfied with the climax, leaving me wondering why the series needed fourteen more books to reach its conclusion. That aside, however, taking this book as an isolated read, I found it hugely enjoyable at times, and would recommend it to the more patient readers. Four out of five stars.

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The End of an Era: Pep Guardiola

Posted on by marvazon

I love football, and as with most around Europe, I too felt as if it had lost a unicorn of the sport following Pep Guardiola’s abrupt resignation. At the helm of Barcelona, Pep epitomised grace, not only at times of winning, but even in defeat. To call him the greatest manager who ever lived is a debate that could rage on for days—maybe even weeks.

What I can say, however, is that he is a fabulous ambassador for football. He maintained a philosophy that was beautiful to behold. He brought the best out of his players, but most importantly, he truly reminded us why we call football the beautiful game.

Pep Guardiola, a true footballing great. I sincerely wish him the best in his future roles.

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Hello world!

Posted on by marvazon

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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The Necessity of Dreams

Posted on by marvazon

It is typically believed that we reap what we sew. Put simply, our actions play a significant part in our lives. From decisions like buying our child their first pet to booking that luxury trip we’ve always desired, we are faced with many options and encounter different threads in our daily lives. We are not all aware of these threads when they first happen, but I want to discuss a particular scenario.

I once returned a dropped cell phone to its owner because it was the right thing to do. By doing that, I inadvertently brought about a future connection that may never have happened. It turned out that the owner of the phone had been on the way to a first date with a woman he met over the internet.

He had planned to call her once he arrived at the agreed location, but never got around to memorising her number. Following my handing of the phone back to him, he successfully met up with her. Their romance then blossomed to marriage and two healthy, young children. That simple act of running after him and handing his phone back, wove a thread that will continue to grow.

Everything we do have consequences. Dropping litter on the ground might seem harmless. We might assume a garbage man will pick it up, but what if someone trips on it? What if the damage inflicted causes cascading grief within his or her immediate family? No action whatsoever is without consequence.

A simple dream can also have a similar impact, evoking different reactions from people. Many of us see dreams as a form of escapism, one born from our minds, but bearing no significance. Some of us consider and even discuss it, highlighting any kind of possible messages.

Others proceed to divulge hidden meanings, contrasting with those who simply phase it out of their thought process over time. It is a well-known fact, however, that dreams have led many people on life-changing journeys resulting in great wealth or self-discovery.

The classification of dreams, however, is inaccurate in the minds of many. Some believe that dreams only occur when asleep, but in actual fact, every internal thought we have is a form of dreaming, one with our eyes open, the message every bit as potent.

Due to the misinterpretation of both forms, people act more on those with their eyes open, making them more likely to come to pass. The world we live in today was born from ideas and dreams, but with the good, comes the bad, and we all dream in equal measures.

I would like to share with you all, a quote by a truly great man:

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

T.E Lawrence—Lawrence of Arabia

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