Thursday, 15 December 2011

Adventures of Captain Alatriste by Pérez-Reverte

For a few years now, I've enjoyed Pérez-Reverte's Alatriste novels at a suitable pace so as not to catch up with his writing speed too quickly. Unfortunately, the author has been writing the latest additions to the series with three year gaps, and my hunger for the period is too great for me to delay that long.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Novelisation of the Conan the Barbarian (2011) movie

After seeing the movie - a clear flop as a Conan movie, but a decent action flick in its own right - I wished to read the novelisation. I was perhaps driven to the novel by morbid curiosity, but I also wanted to see if it would fix at least some plot holes and failed characterisation that we saw in the movie. Stackpole was familiar to me from his previous Star Wars novels, so I hoped for more than I would have from a completely unknown name. The following may contain some spoilers to those who have not seen the movie yet.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Three Musketeers in an Alternate Universe

The Three Musketeers (2011) is a film that really should not be viewed as historical fiction. Rather, it is an example of historical fantasy, where realistic historical aspects are mixed with fantastical creations in the style of airships and biker leather jackets. In short, if you go in the theatre with an open mind, not expecting the movie to have much to do with Alexandre Dumas' classic story or actual history, you might well expect to be entertained. Unfortunately, the movie has other shortcomings that detract from the experience even when one's expectations are as low as that.

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Sword of Gustavus Adolphus

(Updated in 2014 with a photo, in 2017 with information about The Girl King film)

In my previous entry, I took a look at the rapier of Gustavus Vasa, who was the king of Sweden in the 16th century. The topic of this short info piece is the sword of Gustavus Adolphus (or Gustav II Adolf), who ruled Sweden in the early 17th century and modernised the country from a backwards state into one of the greatest powers of the era, rivalling those of France, Spain, England and The Holy Roman Empire.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Sword of Gustavus Vasa

Because of my interest in swords in general and in the early 17th century specifically, I've always had a certain fondness for rapiers. The title image of this blog entry depicts one of the rapiers of Gustavus Vasa, who was the king of Sweden in the 16th century and pretty much created Sweden by uniting the country under his rule and ridding it of Danish influence.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Unnecessary changes, or Pierre, the Lost Musketeer

As I said in a recent post, the 1970's version of the Three Musketeers was the only good filmatisation that we've seen of Alexandre Dumas' legendary novel. Some of the others have been decent tries, such as the Disney remake in early 1990s, but it failed by making Milady much too likable and one expected Athos to ride away with her at the end.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Drawn to The Pillars of the Earth

It is a rare thing to bump into a TV series that really hooks you and makes you care for the characters in the way that the mini series The Pillars of the Earth does. Each new tragedy that befalls one of the "good guys" hurts you almost personally and you hope that the bad guys will get what they deserve, even when you know that that's not always what happens.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Pevear's translation of The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas

I've been reading the delightful new translation of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas over the past couple of weeks. The translation was made by Richard Pevear in 2006, who writes in his introduction that the earlier translations can be seen as "textbook examples of bad translation practices" that "give their readers an extremely distorted notion of Dumas' writing". As an example, the earlier English translations left out huge chunks of text where the translators thought that the original text was too raunchy. Things like sexual innuendo were the first victims of these translators.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Review of Conan the Barbarian 2011

Conan the Barbarian (2011) bears the same name as the 1982 film, but rather than being a remake, the producers aimed to go back to the roots of the character and restart the franchise. Their hopes were high when the opening weekend approached, although most Conan fans were worried about what they had seen on the trailers and many of them feared the worst. The opening weekend was rather underwhelming and some even called the movie a flop. This naturally rid me of my remaining hopes and expectations for the movie and I went to the theatre expecting the worst. Not quite Uwe Boll worst, but close.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Conan the Cimmerian vs Conan the Barbarian

I have here an original quote from Robert E. Howard's story and its interpretation on the big screen in the latest Conan the Barbarian film. What I aim to point out is that the screenwriters sometimes miss a lot of the roots of the character when they just pick the coolest bit of a bigger whole.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Passions of man

I just picked a new title image for this blog which is repeated above in this post. These are some of my life's passions, but not all of them (say Hi to my wife and daughter!). The passions in the picture above are: