Friday, October 14, 2011

One Boy, Seven Keys and a Whole Lot of Nothing (The Keys to the Kingdom)


Okay, so today I'm doing a book review on the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. There are 7 books in total (one for each day of the week and each of the seven sins) and they are;

1. Mister Monday (Sloth)
2. Grim Tuesday (Greed)
3. Drowned Wednesday (Gluttony)
4. Sir Thursday (Wrath)
5. Lady Friday (Lust)
6. Superior Saturday (Envy)
7. Lord Sunday (Pride)

Now I'm going to review the series as a whole, as opposed to each individual book, just because I think this method works better for series. I mean, if you read one book in the series and really like it, it can be annoying to find out that the others are awful.

First Paragraph: (From Mister Monday)

"They had tried to destroy the Will, but that proved to be beyond their power. So they broke it, in two ways. It was broken physically, torn apart, with the fragments of heavy parchment scattered across both space and time. It was broken in spirit because not one clause of it had been fulfilled."

Anyway, I started this series I think when it first came out in 2000. I was a pre-teen and probably just a little young for the demographic, but I loved it. I found it at a school book fair and went back every year to get the next one. I recently went back to my bookshelf and decided to re-read the series, as I had never actually finished it. The last book came out in 2009 and I only bought it about a month or so ago, just because I hate having an unfinished series on my bookshelf.

Okay, the plot. Basically, the story revolves around our protagonist- Arthur. In the start of the first book we are told that he has pretty serious asthma and (due to an overexerting gym teacher- isn't it always) he nearly dies. But he is saved by some mysterious characters who pop out of thin air. Now he's been chosen, whether he likes it or not- which he doesn't. So the series follows Arthur and his Piper's child friend Suzy, as they try to defeat their enemies and typical other hero stuff. Along the way, they (of course) make friends, are betrayed and have genuinely terrifying obstacles to overcome.
Garth Nix has always, and will always, be one of my favourite writers. This series was part of my pre-teen childhood, The Old Kingdom series was part of my young teen years and I still love them to this day, along with his many non-series books.

Now, this series is aimed for young teens (I'd say from about maybe 11 or 12 till about 15 or 16ish) but if you're a fan of GN's books, then you'll probably love this. At times, I feel like it can be a little slow, but each book is about 400 pages or so, and I think can be read in a day if you're part of the older audience. You could probably even read 2 a day if you skim read- but I really hate doing that. So, one week out of your life to read this series isn't so bad, is it?

I think my favourite book of the series is maybe Mister Monday, because that's when it all starts, everything is introduced and we really feel like we're learning about the world as Arthur does. I might also say Lord Sunday was my favourite as well, depending on my mood, just because it's the end, everything gets wrapped up, but also, there is a slightly darker note to this (and I'd say the last 3 or 4) book, as we see arthur struggling to keep his humanity precedent over the power of the keys.

All in all, I'd give this series a 4 out of 5. It's a classic of my childhood, that has followed me into adulthood and I find the characters charming and pretty well thought out with enough background info to keep us happy. I also really liked the way that each of the 7 "Trustees" were denoted a Deadly Sin. And it really shows. Each one is different from the next and have their own story and reasons behind what they do. Arthur as the unwilling protagonist has to deal with being forced into situations that he would rather no nothing about. And the little touches that Garth Nix adds to the story, such as paper wings, everyone loving tea and diseases being a highly coveted product, that can easily be removed as easily as a hat, make this a very enjoyable read. There is also plenty of magic, though it's not described as that. Which definitely makes this a fantasy, adventure story. There is also the constant threat of Nothing in the book, which is used in some dark ways by some of the characters, as well as some creepy contraptions.

In conclusion, I would say that this series is a very good story about a boy who nearly dies and this leads him into a world that he's forced to save, whilst just wanting to go home and be a normal boy. In the last 2 books, I think Garth Nix adds a very good discussion that our protagonist has with himself about no holding back anymore, as he realizes that if he hadn't been pulled into this world, he would have died and that would have been it. So instead, he focuses all his energy and power into saving the people he cares about and trying to do what is right. For a 12- year old boy, I think he becomes very grown-up and we are shown the aging process. The things that make it no longer the boy he was, and that is a journey I'm sure many people will enjoy in years to come.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cruel Jaws Has an Apt Name (Review)


Okay, so basically this film is about:

"A tiger shark bred by the Navy as a killing machine is wrecking havoc in the sleepy tourist town of Hampton Bay! In the meantime, the mafia is involved with sleazy real estate investments, and send their thugs to keep a lid on the fact the residents are destined for clam chowder... Sea World owner, Dag, and his dolphins come to the rescue to save Hampton Bay from both the mob and military covert operatives!" - Humberto Amador

The plot summary courtesy of IMDb. Okay, so basically this film was made in 1995 by Italian director Bruno Mattei. It was a TV movie and came out at 93 minutes. You can watch the trailer below:


Yeah, i know.....Okay, now onto the review. I can honestly say with absolute confidence, regardless of whatever I may see in the future, that this is the WORST film I have EVER seen. EVER. A little background info on it. First, there was Jaws, and it was amazing. Sure, there were flaws (as there are in everything), but it was an all round really great film and happens to be on my all time favourites list. Next, there was a huge amount of shark b-movies that (maybe) included "The Last Shark". Now, to me, this may have been a c-movie, but anyway, The Last Shark was pretty much a rip-off of Jaws, with the script following the EXACT plot of Jaws. It became known as "Italian Jaws" in fact. Oh, and it was so much the rip-off that Universal Pictures actually filed a law suit against them, and won.
So then there's Cruel Jaws. Now this film rips-off the rip-off. I'm not even kidding. They do pretty much the same thing, with even less structure, acting and clear plot, and actually take EXACT scenes from The Last Shark and re-use them in a slightly different, very incoherent way. I actually watched Cruel Jaws before The Last Shark and literally yelled out loud at my computer when I saw the duplicate scenes , outraged that anyone would steal scenes from something that was awful to begin with!
Okay, okay. Just to put into perspective just how awful this film is, there is a line in the film where an actor yells, "We're gonna need a bigger helicopter". I mean, come ON!! WTH?!
Overall, I give this film less than half a star. I mean it's really god awful and not even in an amusing, you can laugh at how terrible it is way. Thinking you could watch this film with friends and mock it- WRONG. Seriously, take it from me. I love to mock films with friends, just as much as I love finding a hidden gem, but watching the film makes you want to kill someone and just yell at the next person you see. Looking back on it, I really just want to tell people how bad it really is. I actually want it to come up in conversation so that I can put it down. And I don't say that often. It was a waste of 93 minutes of my life, but at least I can stop others from ever making the same mistake. Good luck to you.
Oh, and I try never to give spoilers, because I know how annoying that is. So, if you want reviews on the endings of anything I've done or haven't done, then just let me know and I'll create an add-on kinda thing.

Here are a my Top 20 Thoughts when watching this sorry excuse of a film:

1. Why must everyone keep INSISTING that it's a tiger shark, when the only footage they show us is of a great white?

2. Can nobody show ANY emotion in this film?! also, why does the "hero's" (and how loosely i use that 
word) girlfriend not care that if this guy doesn't do his job, people will DIE?!

3. oh GOD!!! i may have to find and KILL whoever wrote the script for this film! I mean "daddy, why do sharks kill people. because they're hungry. they're always hungry." WHAT THE HELL IS THIS CRAP?!

4. They've sunk to a new low, i didn't think it was possible, but when you hear "bob, let's run away together" you know it's only going to get worse.

5. I know the film was originally in Italian, but why is there a random 5 second segment in Italian?

6. Ooh, a shot of a mako shark! Hmm, is that closer to a tiger than a great white?

7. And now there's child abuse. What WAS this man thinking?!

8. *Shark on the ground in front of the actors* (Very obviously a great white) Man: " Well, it's a tiger shark alright." WHERE DID HE LEARN SUCH CRAP?! YOU DON'T NEED TO BE A SHARK EXPERT TO KNOW THAT A GREAT WHITE IS NOT A TIGER SHARK!!!

9. "Don't talk rubbish boy. This is not the place or the time." Oh, I'm sorry. When IS a good time to discuss whether this is actually the rogue shark that's killing people?

10. *A buoy pops up that we know is attached to the shark, and then slowly moves in between some racing windsurfers. A guy picks up some binoculars and (after a few seconds) spots the moving buoy* MASSIVE OVERREACTION TIME. "OH MY GOD!!!!! GET THEM OUT OF THE WATER!!!"
Ha, really film, really?

11. NARM!!! NAAAAARRRRRRMMMMMM!!! This film is nothing but awful, awful NARM!!

(for info on NARM, please follow the link :

12. BWAHAHAHA! *Lots and lots of people, repeatedly screaming, "GET OUT! GET OUT OF THE WATER! GET OUUUUUTTTT! GET OUT OF THE WATER!!"about 50 times. Massive panic follows. Many people get eaten or trampled. Then another, "GET OUUUTTT!!" Silence and a pause, then, "Stay calm" is said ridiculously quietly.* If you wanted people to stay calm, you shouldn't have started screaming in such a loud and panicked way, should you?!

13. Wow. Standing still making over the top arm movements, while screaming the name of a loved one, about to die, repeatedly, throwing in a NOOOOOO for good measure. We all know how effective THAT is.

14. Ah, finally! A reasonably good message (for this film anyway). *Little girl (after the attacks) is in the hospital.* "Daddy, sharks are really bad." *Father looks over at the man who INSISTED the beaches stay open * (JAAAAAWWWWWWWWSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!) " There are far worse animals out there." Yay, a slightly redeeming feature!

15. And now it's terrible again. Sigh. 1995, you will forever be tainted with the fact that this movie was made in the same year as you.

16. Oh look. A map conveniently marked "It's Here" in big letters for the bad guys to find. 

17. Woman: "Be careful." *Starts to cry* Man: "Whatever happens, remember I love you." All said in monotone voices with NO emotion. And I mean less than ROBERT PATTINSON AS FREAKING EDWARD!! urge to kill RISING!!

18. And now there's star wars music. But I've come to expect this obvious ripping-off and complete randomness of this film.

19. Hmm, he says light the fuses. How do you light dynamite fuses underwater? And there is NO way in hell they would be able to get out of the water in time to not be killed. Unless they were fuses that reached Cuba. At least, I think that would be far enough. I'm not exactly sure where this is filmed. I mean they're all Italian, but Italy isn't once mentioned. Nor is any other place for that matter.

20. All I can say now is, thank GOD that's over. 

Very First Post

Yes I too have succumbed to the "new" trend of writing a blog. And, as unoriginal as it is, I decided to go with a book and movie review blog. Well, that's what I say, but if I have any strong feelings about something else ( no matter how unrelated it may seem) it will no doubt make an appearance.
If you want to ask me to review anything, be it book, movie, tv show, audiobook or some other category that deals with words or pictures, let me know. It can even be a simple comic book or manga.
Ah, I'm so excited I think I'm going to do a review right now!