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Review Round-Up AND Link Love: 4/4/2011

Some mini-reviews of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and Source Code as well as  a bit of link love to kick off the week. Enjoy!

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SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA *SPOILERZ*

Remember back when I wrote a rather hateful entry on Spartacus: Blood and Sand only to later retract it because the show is so stupid/good (ala Sucker Punch) that I couldn’t REALLY stop watching. Well, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, the prequel released earlier this year (still available on Netflix Instant Watch BTW) and it held true to that same philosophy. In fact, it tied in rather nicely to the first season but I suppose it will do that, when you have all of that original story to build on.

While some of it fell together obviously, Lucretia’s storyline took a rather dramatic turn I had not anticipated and I found myself actually having some sympathy with Batiatus, much to my dismay. I kinda love to hate him, but giving him a twisted father/son relationship made that tough. Boo to that.

It was nice to spend a little more time in the house of Batiatus, given the final events of Blood and Sand. The Crixus origin story was equally watchable, and the evolution of the relationship with Lucretia made for a nice diversion amid all the ruckus of new characters. Cause we all know how that played out.

The real meat of the show was the love triangle with Oenomaus, Melitta and champion Gannicus. Sadly their trials and tribulations had none of the epicness of Spartacus, but let’s face it, what does? Wasn’t too happy about killing off Melitta, but I suppose it wrapped up the tortured romances pretty cleanly and from the first season you knew she had to die at some point. It was a shocker when Gannicus didn’t expire in glorious battle and I was pleased to see there’s a possibility he’ll return in the second…er…third? Who knows – in the next season.

BTW – Andy Whitfield’s cancer has returned, and he has officially resigned from Spartacus. He gave his blessings to the actor who is taking over in his stead, Liam McIntyre. Check out an interview with McIntyre here. Looking forward to its release, but have a feeling it won’t be until 2012. That’s a long wait…with no buff dudes in diapers to tide me over. *sigh*

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SOURCE CODE

This didn’t feel as much like a movie to me, as it did a television pilot or the first six issues of a comic book series. It tried to jam a lot of complicated scientific theories into 90 minutes of action, character development, and mysterious intrigue. That’s asking a lot of any movie…but by the end I was thinking…well, I’d like to watch the next episode now.

I’ll just go ahead and blame that on the unsatisfying ending. I was fine – fine! with what I considered to be the first ending. Up until that point I was just going to write it off as an  interesting meditation on death and how inevitably we will all leave the world with things undone and gee isn’t Jake Gyllenhaal sexy with that 5 o’ clock shadow? Until the last 10 minutes. WTF movie?

The thing you have to worry about with this flick is whether or not you understand or buy into the theory of multiple universes. Or time travel. And for some reason, I was really hoping to avoid a lot of critical science thinking with this one. That’s probably the result of watching too much Fringe in the last week.

Or maybe it’s just my tendency to shy away from thinking heavily about the time/space continuum. Unless of course I’m inebriated, and even then it’s difficult to articulate.

The plot itself, aside from all of that, was fairly easy to grasp. There were a lot of visual clues and pieces of dialogue to do most of the heavy lifting so the over-arching twist didn’t come so much as a surprise. It was really only the last bit that started to spin off into infinite possibilities and infinite lives…and that’s just much too much for my little old brain to handle.

On a somewhat related note: Jake Gyllenhaal has a thing for acting as the central character in movies about time travel. Weird.

In Other News: This really is the space in the year where they dump all the movies that are just like “ho-hum, nothing special.” Have been to the theatre at least once a week in the past month and not a damn thing has lived up to the hype. Does it ever though?

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A GAME OF THRONES

I don’t dabble much in the fantasy world – that’s usually where my nerd interests start to dwindle in a hurry. The costumes are pretty, but when it comes right down to it: life 600 years ago for teh ladies was pretty shite. And most fantasy revolves around dialing the clock back to an era where raping and pillaging tavern wenches is good sport. The only women that matter are of nobility and their roles are relegated to wives and daughters.

There’s not much for a feminist-leaning mind to rejoice in. But for some reason I find myself intrigued by the recommendations of friends for the above mentioned fantasy series…in a time where I had no other handy reading material and a 6 hour plane flight to consider. Oh, and I do believe there was mention of bastards. Books with bastards? Yes please!

For the most part – I’m glad I took those folks up on their suggestions. I’ve made my way through 1.5 books out of the series (unfortunately named A Song of Ice and Fire…yegh) and there are apparently three more to slog through. I say slog because they’re each 700+ pages, and what with all the raping and pillaging…it can be tough to progress from one book to another and still keep inspired and motivated to read. I’m on a break at the moment.

Another complaint: the narrative switches between several characters, with no discernible rhythm or pattern, so often times it feels like torture if you don’t give a crap about (or maybe even loathe) that particular character. But you have to pay attention, because everyone is so deliciously tied together.

Despite myself and these misgivings, this is a series that I plan on sticking it out with. I lasted through War and Peace, the entire Dark Tower series and all of the works of Jane Austen – I have literary balls you wouldn’t even believe! This fantasy series will not drag me down.

OK – enough rambling.

What I meant to do here is drop some knowledge about the upcoming HBO series adapted from these novels. HBO is a perfect studio to tackle this rather harsh and unforgiving material. The show is premiering Sunday, April 17th 2011. You can come over to my house and watch with me if you want to. 😉

To get some idea of the plot (it would take far too long to explain here) and check out the frakin awesome cast (Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey) watch this extended trailer:

Hope you’re good and convinced now.

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That’s all the news that’s fit to print here. Look forward to event recaps this week as we’re hitting up a Matt Fraction panel on Wednesday and a Michael Allred signing on Thursday. ALSO – will be unveiling the first stage of my secret comic-book related project on Wednesday.

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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

4 responses to “Review Round-Up AND Link Love: 4/4/2011”

  1. Jen says :

    What IS it about Spartacus that is so compelling? I found myself getting just as sucked in! It will be interesting to see if the show will be as good without Andy when it comes back.

    I am one of those obsessed with Game of Thrones! Though I do agree that it can be a real drag when you’re stuck in a chapter of a character you don’t like much. I have my favorites and would constantly be looking forward to when I’d get back to them, only to be disheartened that it would take another 100 pages. The problem now is that I don’t remember all the details of what has happened, and the next book finally comes out this year!

    • tinyheroes says :

      Re: Spartacus – I’m not sure either. It’s so terrible what with the violence, gratuitious sex and filthy language…but so much fun to watch. It’s hard to imagine someone replacing Andy, he was the emotional core of the series. But I’m willing to give this new guy a chance!

      Whoa – you are really far in the series! I feel like it might be hard to get back into the second book after having taken so long a break…but I’m working on it.

      The same thing happened with the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series” I petered out mid-second novel and am trying to get back into it. Hmph.

  2. Harvey says :

    Awesome write, stylish blog design, stick to the good work

  3. Spartan says :

    Such a cool series to watch. I only saw 1 episode but it already caught my attention. I tried to find a downloading site to download everything about Spartacus. Instead I found this link http://games.meegoh.com/spartacusgods-of-the-arena/ which leads me to a game review about Spartacus. Funny because I never thought that the Spartacus series has a game dedicated to it. 🙂

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