The idea of a killer doll isn’t actually something that’s a new concept. Even before Chucky and Annabelle came along, dolls have been used in horror stories. There’s a reason why the friends I used to have over for sleepovers got a little bit freaked out by the china dolls I had in the living room.
So, all that to say that the idea of M3gan isn’t a unique one. I did find the movie interesting to watch, but it was rather predictable. The jump scares were ones I saw coming a mile off, so I didn’t really get scared by them. And the killer doll trope is, as I said earlier, one that’s been used a lot.
One thing I did feel that M3gan did well was to show the reliance of people on technology. From the first scene of Cady in the car with her parents, who’d given her the iPad to keep her distracted, through to the whole idea of M3gan being almost a replacement parent, it was a concept that had its roots in our current world…and something that could quite easily become a future. Not to say that everyone would go that route, but given a lot of people do rely on screens to keep their children entertained? I could see a similar, non-murderous version of M3gan being used by plenty of parents.
Another thing that I felt this movie handled well was the trauma of Cady losing her parents. Of course, that was as much down to the skills of the actress playing the character as the writing itself, but either way, it was one of the strongest parts of the movie. Later on, there were some parts that seemed really disjointed and almost wooden, but I think that was more due to the writing. And I was really glad to see that Cady had a therapist, although it really felt that Gemma wasn’t worried about her niece’s therapy at all.
That leads me to the worst character of the movie, in my opinion: Gemma. (Though, to be honest, David missed out on that title by a very small margin). I honestly couldn’t understand why Gemma wanted to take in Cady at all. She was completely neglectful and knowingly put her niece into dangerous situations with a careless attitude that made me lose any empathy for the character at all. I liked M3gan more than Gemma. Yes, M3gan killed people, but she was clearly following her primary objective, which was to protect Cady. Really, all of the bad events that happened in this movie could primarily be laid at Gemma’s feet.
Overall, this movie was at least entertaining to watch, but it added very little that was new to the genre. And there was no real bond to speak of between Gemma and Cady, which was a huge disappointment. It was at least interesting to see the makings of the robot and there were some good elements of foreshadowing. I did also really like the visuals of M3gan herself. I just didn’t think the good parts were enough to carry the movie.
So, Blink was the first book I read by Ted Dekker. And I loved it. It was one of my favourites and one that I re-read multiple times. When I realised it had been re-released, with changes made, I was immediately interested in reading it. And thanks to one of my brothers, who got it for me for Christmas, I was able to read it.
What would you do if you could see something a moment before it happens? That’s the dilemma university student Seth Border faces when he sees a bird fly into a window…a few seconds before the same thing occurs in reality. A surfer with an IQ that’s higher than Einstein’s, Seth doesn’t really feel like he fits in. He sees things in a different way to those of his fellow students and even his professors. It becomes a point of contention between him and one professor, who he can’t resist needling and engaging in a battle of wills with.
As intriguing as it is to read about a genius who develops abilities that he has to figure out how to navigate, Seth isn’t in fact the main character in this book, although he does play a pivotal role. The role of main character belongs to Miriam, a princess from Saudi Arabia who’s on the run from a political marriage that she doesn’t want. Due to a series of events, she falls in with Seth, whose newfound ability seems to grow stronger when he’s in her presence. Ultimately, his gift expands to the point that he can see every potential future, every possible outcome, three hours from the present. And that ends up being as exhausting as it sounds, which is good. Seth’s ability is huge, but he has very human limitations that do lead him to make mistakes and errors in judgement. These serve to make him a more ‘human’ character.
There were a lot of changes in this book from the original and I’m not sure all of them were for the better. Miriam’s new thoughts and ideals in this new edition were at odds with her actions and behaviour. There was no clear reason for the change; they weren’t worked seamlessly into her motivations and I was left wondering why this version of Miriam was running away when she was actively coming across as being happy and contented with a lot of her life. Seth remained the same as I remembered, though there was a missing scene in which he gets into a theological argument with a pastor that I felt would have added so much more to the book. In fact, I felt like a lot of the Christian elements of the book were removed…which was a major shame, as I feel it’s more detrimental to the feel of the original. My understanding is that this book is going to be made into a movie…and I feel like a lot of unnecessary changes were made to sell/cater to that audience. Like Miriam likening Seth to a Greek god. Repeatedly. She’d always come across as someone attracted more to the mind/personality than looks, so I can’t help thinking this is linked to the movie deal.
Sita’s drowning was as harrowing as I remembered it being; and Omar is as awful. I also liked the political aspects that many of the characters, from those native to Saudi Arabia through to those in the USA, had to deal with. There was a very moral dilemma on what value could be placed on a human life and I thought that came across very well. I also enjoyed seeing Clive and Seth interacting with each other. That was a relationship I would have liked to see more of.
I’m really disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the original. I know why some of the changes were made, but I think they really detracted from the story I’d so much loved in the original. The character changes shouldn’t have felt as jarring as they did. Miriam was such a strong presence in the original book and I felt she really lost some of that in this one.
I do want to watch the movie when it comes out, as I hope it won’t stray too far from the world and the characters that I loved so much. I can’t say that I plan to read this version of the book again in the near future, though. It definitely didn’t keep me turning the pages in an effort to find out what was going to happen next. In reality, I kept turning the pages because I wanted to reach the end as fast as possible so that I could move onto something I enjoyed more.
So, I’ve got really into the interactive experiences. I went to the Doctor Who: Time Fracture experience twice, and then to the Guardians of the Galaxy one. Only the once, but I want to go again. And this time, I went to Saint Jude.
The concept of Saint Jude was immediately intriguing. The basic premise is that the ticket holder is a Guidestar volunteer; someone who uses newly created technology to talk to people in comas. This is done with a system that translates their brain patterns into speech able to be heard through the headphones. And there is also a microphone that the Guidestar can use to speak to the patient.
The setup prior to the interactive experience worked very well. It was required to go upstairs, but the experience is also easily accessible to wheelchair users, as there is a lift. Actually, a lot about the event seemed like it would be suitable for people with sight and hearing problems. The majority of the experience requires you to speak and listen, but there’s also a way of having the text on the screen to read, along with the Guidestar actually being able to type out what they want to say. I thought that was really good.
While the majority of the experience did take place through the system, known as EchoSump, there were also some live actors involved. These people acted as helpers and guides, but they were also part of the overall storyline, so their presence felt very seamless.
At first glance, the setting of Saint Jude did have the feel of a hospital, which made sense, as the goal of the Guidestar is to help the coma patient, also known as a sleeper, under their care. For me, at least, my interactions with my sleeper took a rather sinister turn.
I’ve only been to Saint Jude the once, at least for now, but I really liked the individual feel of the experience. When I first realised there was quite a large group of people attending, I was a bit worried about how it would work. Would multiple people be trying to direct one storyline? I needn’t have worried, as every person had their own workstation to interact with their own particular speaker.
Since my sleeper was in a coma, and therefore dreaming, there was a really intriguing mix of memory and fantasy that I needed to sort through by talking and trying to guide them through what they were seeing. At various points, a memory morphed into a dream, or vice versa, and I was kind of floundering, with a confusion of, ‘What do I do next?’ I don’t think I deliberately guided the story in the path it took, but since I’ve only experienced it the one time, I can’t say how similar events would unfold if I was assigned to a different sleeper.
The experience makes use of AI technolgy, which was a little awkward at times, as like with all computers, there are some misunderstandings. For instance, for some reason, my name became Matt during the course of the conversation. Since my name is Sarah, I don’t know quite how that got picked up. There were other minor misunderstandings, too, so a few kinks that probably need to be ironed out. The voices didn’t sound computer simulated, though, which was a massive point in the experience’s favour. I’m not sure I would have been as thoroughly engaged as I was if I’d been able to hear I was speaking with actual AI. It definitely wouldn’t have helped my suspension of disbelief.
The experience was extremely engaging and I was able to be drawn into the storyline and my conversations with the sleeper. I could also really easily picture what my sleeper was seeing in their mind, due to the descriptions given. I did hit a snag where I was completely lost over what to do and came close to having to call for help. However, the system was able to provide enough prompts that I didn’t need to ‘break character’ and admit I was stuck.
All in all, I really enjoyed the experience. It was tense and engaging and I’m happy with how it turned out. I did receive a printout of my ‘personality assessment’ before I left, which I won’t share here; partly because it got really creased when I put it in my bag, but it also contains really major spoilers.
I’d like to experience Saint Jude again and see if there are different paths available for me to take, though I’m not sure I could make another trip to London for that alone. If I went again, I think it would have to be on a day I was already planning to do something in London. But I definitely think it was a worthwhile experience the first time. I would highly recommend attending this event.
Hi guys! Remember me? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t, since it’s been…eight months since my last post? More than that, probably, if I’m honest. Sorry about that. I hope to be more active with my blog in 2023. In fact, it’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions.
2022 was a pretty tough year for me. Things were fine up until the end of March. Then I fell down two steps (literally) and broke my right leg in two places (tibia and fibula, if anyone’s interested). And, no, I wasn’t drunk.
Anyway, after the breakage, I went to hospital, where I stayed overnight and had to have a surgery in the morning. So now, I have a metal bar in my right leg. So I guess I’ll be setting off alarms at airport security from now on? Anyway, I was in hospital from the Wednesday until the Monday, which is when I was discharged and my dad came to take me to Nottingham, so I could stay with my parents and hopefully recuperate from the breaking of my leg. I had crutches and was managing pretty well…or so I thought.
Turns out it was a very good thing I was staying with family, because five days after getting out of hospital the first time? I was back in there. After having barely any appetite and noticing a painful spot under my left arm, I rapidly went downhill on the Friday and was admitted into hospital Saturday. I woke up on Monday morning in the ICU, having been brought in with DKA and sepsis. In other words, I very nearly died. (This isn’t an exaggeration. The doctors told my parents they would resuscitate me if it was necessary). Anyway, when I woke up, I had a brand new diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and was receiving insulin.
I did get out of hospital, but it took a little while to reach a point of full recovery. I also ended up having to move house at the same time as getting used to all of these medical issues, so I’m not kidding when I say there was a lot going on. Believe me when I say I haven’t just neglected this blog…I’ve also neglected my writing as well. That is going to change.
So here are my New Year’s Resolutions:
Return to writing reviews of movies, television shows, books and games here. Also try and write an update post every month or so.
Finish the projects I actually start. To help with that, I have a group on Facebook to share actual updates on my original fiction. If you’re interested in following along with my journey, you can find the group here.
So let’s go onto the review.
Alice in Borderland
This is the first thing I watched in 2023. Well, it’s the first thing I finished watching in 2023. I watched the first episode on New Year’s Eve, prior to starting work, and then watched the rest of it after work. It’s now after 1am on 2nd January in the UK and I’ve not long finished the series.
I’d say that this series has a very similar feel to Squid Game and Hunger Games. It is violent; it’s graphically violent, but not to the level of an 18 certificate movie or series in the UK.
The basic premise of this series is that three friends in Tokyo, Japan suddenly find themselves in a Tokyo that’s entirely devoid of human life. After some confusion and searching for other people, they find themselves needing to play various violent games in order to extend their ‘visas’. Once a visa runs out, the player dies. If they fail to win or ‘clear’ the game, they die. And if they try to leave the game before it’s over, they die.
The first episode spends a bit of time introducing the characters and their lives prior to entering ‘Borderland’, so when they leave a toilet stall and abruptly find themselves in a deserted, normally bustling city, it feels all the more eerie to see the stark contrast to what came before.
The world that Arisu and his friends find themselves in is both familiar and strange. In the first episode, they spend time running to familiar locations and trying to find other people. Somehow, there’s no working technology, apart from what’s used by the Game Masters. As seen in the second picture above, there is some electricity, but it’s not available to the players.
An interesting thing that’s learned through the series as it progresses is that, not only are there other players involved, but some of them have been there for only a day or so, while others have been there for months. And Tokyo has been overrun by nature. Plants are growing unchecked at various points in the city. And in season two, there’s one very beautiful scene where some huge elephants are bathing in a hot spring. And other wild animals make an appearance, such as a panther and a tiger. The rest of the world isn’t shown, only Tokyo, but it’s likely that the rest of Earth is in the same kind of condition.
As mentioned above, the players who enter the Borderland need to play games in order to survive and continue living through this new, savage world. With one exception, though, the players have the choice of whether to enter the game arena or not. But once they do enter it, they have to win the game in order to be able to leave.
There are four types of games, each correlating to a suit in a deck of cards. Clubs are games that require teamwork; spades require strength, dexterity…basically physical ability like strength and endurance; diamons are games of logic and rational thinking; and hearts are games that are more psychological in nature-they ‘play with your hearts’. The difficulty of the game is shown by the number on the card. A two of clubs would be a fairly easy game, while a ten would be very difficult. And the face cards are the worst of all.
Throughout the series, there are a number of different games that the players have to take part in. In a similar manner to Squid Game, some of the games are ones that started out as a children’s games; such as hide and seek, or tag, or even chess. Unlike Squid Game, however, there are some games that no one has to die…however, the actions of the characters are sometimes enough to ensure the deaths of some players.
I’m going to start with my two favourite characters here: Kuina (on the left) and Chishiya (on the right). Their first appearance, they don’t seem that different to the rest of the characters. Chishiya is the mysterious, intelligent, charismatic guy you’re not entirely sure is good or bad or somewhere in between. Kuina proves herself to be a total badass as the series goes on and I had various moments when I was literally cheering her on. She truly had some of the most epic moments throughout the series.
Chishiya isn’t really a fighter or a warrior, but his intellect more than makes up for his more limited physical strength. As is mentioned by some of the other characters, I’d hate for him to be my enemy. And in keeping with his more mysterious personality, his past prior to entering Borderland isn’t revealed until much later into season two.
Arisu and Usagi are the two characters who you’re meant to spend the series rooting for…and I did. They might not have been my favourites, but they were definitely a close second contender. Arisu definitely went through the most character development through the whole series, going from a slacker who played video games all day to a hero willing to risk his life for everyone around him. The most interesting thing about his character is his ability to use his experience playing video games to think like the game masters and notice the pattern in games.
Usagi is a fairly typical tough woman, but she’s definitely really good at it. Her past as a mountain climber with her dad gives her a huge amount of dexterity and there are some truly amazing scenes where she’s climbing, or swinging, either away from a threat or towards one. But also, she and Arisu working together make for some truly amazing scenes, like one in season two that I had to watch three times over because the plan and its execution and follow through was just so awesome.
I probably can’t really mention my favourite characters without talking about my least favourite, or most hated, character.
Niragi is a villain with no redeeming qualities. It’s a huge shame, because the rest of the antagonists in the series had, if not redeeming qualities, at least moments that made them seem more human. A good villain is always one that doesn’t truly believe they’re evil and who has moments of humanity that show through. I think the show did try to make him less of a hugely evil guy, but unfortunately, a tragic past just doesn’t excuse his actions in the series.
I’m not going to go into any details about the ending, but I will say that it fit extremely well with the rest of the series and it was good to see an actual end that didn’t really have a cliffhanger, even though it took until season two for that to happen. Fortunately, the two seasons in their entirety are on Netflix, at least in the UK, so there’s no reason to wait between seasons.
So. I very rarely binge-watch series now, as I struggle with paying attention throughout. But when I was looking for something to watch and saw this advertised, I was immediately intrigued. And the first episode grabbed my attention. The second onwards held my focus and just didn’t let go.
The series is violent and there’s a lot of death in it, but the characters are seriously engaging and easy to care about. I’d quite happily rewatch this series in the future…and if a new season comes out, I might even be watching the first episode on launch date.
I’ve been a fan of board games since I was a child and I do love roleplaying games, too. So seeing a board game that’s played using an app. The whole idea and the finished board game prototype looks pretty good.
The campaign is only running for six more days and is in the final stretch before prices go up. I would recommend taking a look, as the gameplay and storyline, along with the miniatures, look awesome.
(I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review).
I was immediately intrigued by the blurb of this book and when I received the copy, I immediately found it a really easy read. I really found Claire an interesting, engaging character and it was great to get an insight into her history and past with her younger sister.
There were a lot of really tense moments in this book right from the start. I felt bad for Claire when reading about her strained relationship with her mother and I have to say, the more I saw of Tina, the less I liked her. Not that she deserved what happened, but I felt very little sympathy for her throughout the flashbacks that revealed more of Tina and Claire’s relationships.
While I felt that Claire, Rob and her partner were really well-written characters, I did find it a bit hard to picture some of the secondary characters, particularly the other officers in the police precinct. I could understand why they weren’t as developed, considering everything else going on in the book, but I would have liked to see more of the other officers involved.
I had a lot of theories throughout the book about what was really going to happen, or who was really responsible for what was going on. There were a few moments where I did struggle to suspend my disbelief, but on the whole, most of the book felt quite real and gritty. It was also interesting to see the forensic psychologist and her profile of the killer, given the evidence she had to work with.
I liked the relationship between Claire and Rob. I liked that they had that history together and that they were both really competent in their own fields. And it was really great to see Claire make the decisions to share her history when it was appropriate, rather than hide her own personal history.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy, engaging read with a main character I could really root for and a relationship that made a lot of sense and really worked for the characters. I would definitely seek out the next book in this series.
Okay, so Dune…this came out two years before I was born, but I became pretty obsessed with the movie when I was younger and in school, due to being obsessed first with the video game. I played that as often as I could. So when I had the opportunity to watch this movie at the cinema, I jumped at the chance immediately.
Despite the fact that this movie is older than me, it still remains one of my favourite movies. Though I feel that there was a lot of rather gross stuff portrayed. The scene with Rabban stuffing his face and talking was cringeworthy. And the Baron was just awful.
I thought that, despite the fact the actor was much older than Paul should have been, Kyle MacLachlan was particularly good at portraying him. I thought the same about the actors playing Leto and Jessica. I was given some glimpses into their relationships and I really cared about the characters.
One thing I really didn’t like with this movie was the use of voiceover when it came to the characters thinking. A lot of the time, I felt that what those thoughts could have been spoken out loud. Or shown through the actions of the characters. The main one that springs to mind is when Thufir Hawat thinks about how he’s failed Leto; that could have easily been shown through actions or even conversations with other characters.
I did think that the worldbuilding was done particularly effectively, especially when it came to Paul learning about Arrakis and the spice and worms. There were a lot of characters that weren’t fully developed; and there was a lot from the book I would have liked to see included.
Considering the age of the movie, I did think that the special effects were really good for the time period, even if watching the movie now makes it clear just how dated those are. What was particularly effective was the way the voice, perhaps the strongest weapon of some characters, was shown and heard. It was very clearly something that was out of the ordinary and still sends some shivers down my spine even now.
Despite the fact that this movie has been one of my favourites, I can’t really see it as a true adaption of the book. There was a lot that was left out that would have really added to the atmosphere of this movie. The use of the shields, especially, looked so clunky and awkward. I honestly couldn’t see how it was possible to fight like that.
This movie was entertaining to watch for the time period and the main characters were interesting and engaging enough to keep me watching. But there were things that could have been done better. I really hope that the newest adaption of Dune will live up to my expectations.
Okay, so Facebook adverts have led me to quite a lot of things that have been really enjoyable to experience. And a few not so good, but we won’t discuss those.
Isklander was one of those. I’ve lost count of how many times I ended up clicking on the advert and thinking how good it looked. So when I had the opportunity to do so, I paid for the event; and actually paid for all three games, because I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied until I’d seen the ending in its entirety.
The first game, Plymouth Point, started out as a fairly simple missing person’s case. While there wasn’t a real reason/background for me, as a player, to be involved in all of this, I can’t deny that the game was extremely engaging. Some of the puzzles were more difficult than others. For instance, I took far too long trying to solve the first puzzle in the final game that I think the ‘character’ I was interacting with took pity on me and eventually gave me the answer.
I loved the fact that there were so many different elements involved in this game. From using the video, to making use of actual websites, to areas clearly created just for this game…there was clearly a lot of work and effort that went into this game. And the storyline was thoroughly engaging. It contained enough twists and turns to keep me guessing about what was really going on.
There was a lot of detail that went into the characters themselves. Each one I saw and interacted with, I thoroughly cared about. During the second game, ‘The Mermaid’s Tongue,’ there was a huge amount that was going on. I was a bit disappointed that the text messages didn’t really seem to go anywhere, though. They added a bit more of an urgent element to what was going on, but there were a couple of instances where my attention was drawn from one thing to another and I ended up missing a couple of details.
The cinematic elements of this were really engaging and brought a lot more to the story. Really, this whole experience was completely unique and I’ve never played anything quite like it before.
As it says on the website, the three games are standalone and you don’t have to know the existing storylines to enjoy each one, but I personally feel that it’s a much better experience if you play all three games. Also, while it does say to play as teams, I actually did play it alone…and found it just as engaging. So if you can’t get a team together, then it’s still playable just by yourself.
There is a time limit to each of the three games, but for the first two, it wasn’t an issue. The third one, it was a bit harder to do everything and I did get right to the deadline, but still managed to achieve the end goal.
You can find the game here and I think it’s definitely worth playing. For all of the detail and work that’s gone into it, it’s a really engaging, involving storyline with a lot of different elements involved. Try it out!
I did see the original movie, but it was quite a long time ago and I don’t have a lot of memories of it.
I did enjoy this movie, I have to say. It was a nice setup scene at the beginning, with LeBron James as a child wanting to play video games and having it taken away from him.
Seeing LeBron with his children was, I thought, handled particularly well. There are lots of families where at least one parent has different expectations for their children than what the child was and I thought that was very realistic in this movie.
I did really like seeing the different worlds of the Warner Brothers and how the Looney Tunes characters had fit in with each of them. Daffy Duck in the world of DC was particularly amusing. And so was the world that Granny ended up in, although I didn’t really recognise what it was.
While I don’t really remember much of the original Space Jam movie and how it handled the cartoon logic, I did like that it was included here. Especially when they were originally training and LeBron was getting irritated about the fact they weren’t playing to the rules.
I did think there were some really good moments of foreshadowing in this movie and I liked the use of Dom’s video game and the characters he created. Plus, the fact that the father and son were supposed to be playing against each other added a whole conflict to the story; and it was really good to see things from Dom’s point of view as well.
I also particularly enjoyed seeing Dom’s excitement about what was going on, even though he didn’t know the real game that was occurring. I do have to say, though, the stakes didn’t feel truly real in the movie. Even towards the end, with all of the real-world audience having been brought into the setting.
It was good to see the distinctive personality and characters of the Looney Tunes, but I was questioning about just why they were so eager to join the team. After all, it wasn’t clear about how they went from all leaving the world to being scattered in all of the different worlds.
All in all, I did think that this movie was entertaining to watch, though I don’t really have a burning desire to watch it again. It was fun and had some nice family elements, but doesn’t really match up to my faint memories of the original.
It’s really no secret that Loki is my favourite Marvel character. As my nibling pointed out, for me, it goes: Loki, Thor, Captain America. My top three, in order of preference.
I was obviously very unhappy about what happened in Infinity War, so for Loki to get his own series made me really happy.
To be honest, this series really wasn’t what I was expecting. The TVA was intriguing, but the storyline running through the episodes wasn’t really all that gripping. Tom Hiddleston as Loki was definitely the strongest part of the series, in my opinion. And I really liked Mobius and the relationship he formed with Loki.
While I thought the idea of the Variants was really interesting, the fact that some of those were so vastly different was really confusing. Considering there was only supposed to be one sacred timeline, some of the Variants really shouldn’t have existed. Like where did the alligator come from?
Miss Minutes was a…strange character, to say the least. At first, I assumed that she was just an AI. But as the series progressed, I grew to dislike her even more.
I had some very mixed feelings about Sylvie. She was an intriguing character, the more I learned about her, but I couldn’t really see her as being a true Variant of Loki. They were very different. And I don’t just mean genderwise. Equally, I really wish there hadn’t been the romance sideplot. I think more focus on the world around them, what was going on at the TVA and Loki’s relationships with the agents, should have been explored more than a romance.
I did like seeing Loki’s progression through the series and how he sort of became a voice of reason towards the end. I would have liked to see more details about all the Variants, not just Loki’s. Basically, more worldbuilding would have made the series better.
As for the ending of season one, I felt there was a lot of buildup for very little payoff. The reveal was somewhat disappointing. And while the final scene did catch my attention and set it up well for season two, it was a bit disappointing.
Still, Loki, Sylvie and Mobius were fairly strong characters who I’d like to see more of. So even though I didn’t find the first season as good as I was hoping, I’m still planning to watch season two.