31 Days of Post Day 27: Three Reviews; John Carter, Mockingbird Lane, and The Rhetorics of Fantasy

Instead of wasting my time, and yours, on doing three negative reviews over the course of three posts, I’ve decided for a three in one today. Besides that, I really don’t want to review any single one of them for that long. Let’s begin, shall we?

John Carter

Think Conan the Barbarian (2011) when it comes to this film. Only somewhat worse. I honestly struggled to sit through this movie. Indeed, I had to take frequent walk breaks to endure it.

Now, the visuals are beautiful. The world of Barsoom is just wonderfully done. From the landscapes to the urban settings, excellent usage of computer graphics and set design.

But visuals alone do not make a great movie. Or even an enjoyable one.

The plot is just really bad. Now remember, I had intended on actually reading A Princess of Mars before I got tired of it. So the fact that John Carter’s plot is less than engaging is no surprise for me.

The acting is also an issue. Why is it that so often science fiction and fantasy movies have to have fairly atrocious acting? Of course, it could be the writing. .

Mind you, the leads are nice to look at. But a good movies does not equate to solely drooling over the lead of your choice (though I do love Taylor Kitsch’s costume).

Mockingbird Lane

I really wanted to like this Halloween special. I really did. While I like The Addams Family considerably more than The Munsters, I hoped that Mockingbird Lane would be more successful than the most recent attempt to bring back The Addams Family to television.

Boy am I wrong. Mockingbird Lane, though at times funny and entertaining, is seriously hampered by really bad acting. I mean seriously bad acting.

Where do I begin? Cheyenne Jackson thankfully only had a oneshot guest star spot. And as his character is dead, never to return. But my word, his acting was pitiful.

Not that the others did a much better job. No wonder this show did not get picked up.

There went an hour of my life I’m never getting back.

The Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlsohn

Moving on from film and television to academic literature, I am seriously disappointed in this book.

Now, I decided to ILL this book after my post on crossover fantasy (from now on, I’ll call them portal quest fantasy) when it was recommended to me.

Where do I begin? Well let us start with some easy to spot factual errors. What is the first Harry Potter novel? Is it Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s Stone)? That’s correct. It is not Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. That’s the second book.

That is the most obvious factual error in the book. But I think I caught a few more that I’ve since forgotten. Seriously, where was the editor (or a fact checker)?

Another issue with the book is that it tends to repeat itself. Each chapter is roughly sixty pages in length (save the final chapter). Now, I’m sure the same arguments could have been made in less pages.

Now, do I agree with her arguments? I don’t know. Since she is pretty much the only scholar to have written this extensively on fantasy so far, her word goes until another challenges her conclusions.

Perhaps my issue with The Rhetorics of Fantasy lie in a similar issue I have with The Implied Spider. Neither work is as rigorous as I like my academic work to be. And I’m not loving how Mendlsohn approached her selection. No LeGuin, no Martin, etc. Though I am happy she did do a fair amount of analysis on Mieville’s work.

Still, I’m disappointed in this first stab at theorizing fantasy.

And I wonder, as a writer, do I really need to have the criticism/ theory of the genre haunting me?

And This is the End

For today. I don’t know quite what I have for tomorrow. We’ll see.

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Posted on October 27, 2012, in Books, Movies, T.V. and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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