Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Archive for April 18, 2011

Film Review – Hanna

This one is a little late but I feel like I should review it anyway. I’m sure most people who thought it was worth seeing have already done so but I have a tremendous ego and therefore I’m going to give my opinion whether they want to hear it or not. I’m sure that even a few people who have seen the movie want to know what I thought about it because I think that highly of myself. I know, it’s not an endearing trait, but I started a blog. The conceit is that you have to believe someone wants to read it, and considering we’ve had more hits this month than we have in our history I’m going to assume that people are actually reading the articles. I may be wrong but I hope I’m not.

The film is good. It’s not any more than that and it’s certainly not any less. It’s a good movie. I think it plays more like a European thriller than most American audiences are willing to deal with and so I don’t expect it to get much love until it gets discovered on home video by a younger generation getting into movies that never got the love they deserved. I get the feeling this will be the Leon for a new generation. The truth is that it’s a movie that feels like Gunslinger Girl meshed with Taken and that the majority of the film is just too quietly contemplative for most action junkies to appreciate and it’s too raw in places for people who enjoy the beauty of nuanced European cinema to embrace it completely. Hanna is a child of two worlds, in the sense of the film and the character. Saiorisesaorisie Ronieanon (because I don’t want to google the proper spelling) is at the same time the sociopath and the innocent. The film is both a thriller and a skillful photograph. The two collide at points and it makes for interesting viewing but I’m just not sure if it works on a whole.

Joe Wright is a tremendous talent, as evident with his previous works and the bits that actually do work in this film. I don’t doubt that he has an eventual Oscar win hidden somewhere in his soul but he needs to find the balance that Hanna never manages to. He knows how to assemble the pieces into something worthwhile but at the same time the pieces fit only loosely and the overall quality of the film suffers as a result. I think had the film taken a more firm focus in either direction it could have been a true perennial favorite of mine, as it stands it’s just a good movie that didn’t really move me in any direction.

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The Great Comics Con Queso Star Wars Expanded Universe Reading Experiment – Entry # 16 : The Courtship of Princess Leia

I was afraid that my interest in this project was beginning to wane as I started reading the first few chapters of this book. It wasn’t hooking me in at all. The prose felt stilted and lifeless in areas and the story seemed tedious. The rest of the book redeems itself once the main characters find themselves off of Coruscant but the time it takes to get there and the characterization of the leads is a sluggish slog that takes a great amount of willpower to overcome. The book reads like a first draft, with the language and narration feeling like it was never refined to the point of general readability. And the conceit that Han Solo is Corellian royalty just smacks of bad fan-fiction, though the concept is redeemed in the closing moments of the book when the outcome is played for laughs.

The novel gets better as the narrative progresses, with the action on Dathomir being engaging and outside the usual realm of what one associates with the Star Wars canon. The melding of iron age fantasy style elements with Lucas’ sci-fi brings out something that hasn’t been seen in any of the other books I’ve read thus far in the pantheon, the closest being perhaps Rogue Planet with the agricultural ship-building conceit being similar to the image presented of the Hapan castle-ship. But the general idea of the force being identified as magic and a whole sub-culture of force sensitives building their own mythology around it separate from the jedi is an interesting one, although the abrupt and out of place nature of the concept takes a while to get used to. Honestly, the whole exploration of the cultures felt a lot more like an episode of Star Trek than anything in Lucas’ wheelbox. Author Dave Wolverton isn’t afraid to mix genres and create something interesting, he just didn’t do it in a way that left the book feeling as polished as the X-Wing series. If anything it feels more like Shadows of the Empire, and if I had to guess I’d say that the tone of the novel is something linked to the time period it was written in. The X-Wing books and something like Death Star feel very different from Shadows or Courtship, and I believe it is because this book is one of the earliest in the expanded universe and they were only beginning to get comfortable with establishing their own universe.

Definitely my least favorite of the books I’ve read thus far, but its not a total disaster either.