Tommy Ingram's Eclectic Variety Show

How these curiosities would be quite forgot, did not such idle fellows as I am put them down.

Category: God-awful

Review: Lord Foul’s Bane

But look at this seventies cover:

This should have been one of the greatest works of fantasy fiction ever written. It has an original thought-provoking premise that should be hard to screw up, and it came out in 1977, when fantasy was in a bad place. In the aftermath of the success of The Lord of the Rings, “fantasy” had come to mean reselling Tolkien in watered-down form. The Sword of Shannara would come out the same year. Lord Foul’s Bane was in the perfect position to be a meaningful and important contribution to the genre. Unfortunately, Stephen R. Donaldson screwed it up, and we wouldn’t get the book he should have written until six years later, with The Colour of Magic.

The premise is simple: Thomas Covenant, a novelist and incidentally a leper (yes, there are still lepers), gets hit by a car and finds himself transported to a fantasy land called, conveniently enough, the Land. He questions the Land’s existence, and we are given good reasons to do the same: its history parallels his own, its conflicts mirror his psychic turmoil, and some things in the land—names, snatches of tunes, etc.—are obviously drawn from our world. Covenant appears to the people in the Land as a hero spoken of in prophecy, and quickly finds himself with a quest to carry out. Whether or not it is a dream, the Land obstinately refuses to go away, and he is forced into a kind of provisional acceptance of it so he can keep his sanity and complete the quest.

It plays with some interesting ideas and must have been novel at the time, when we had yet to see the worst that high fantasy had to offer. Donaldson’s fault wasn’t in the conception. It was in the execution, which is so flawed that the book is hardly worth talking about except as a cautionary tale. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: Clash of the Titans

I didn’t have any great burning desire to see Clash of the Titans. The trailer for the film showed some pretty impressive CGI, but I wasn’t expecting it to be a terribly good movie. But I had a free evening, and after a stressful week a movie seemed like a good way to relax.

A bit of background on Clash: the original movie was released in the eighties, and made with stop-motion animation. One of the stars was Laurence Olivier as Zeus (this was during his “money, dear boy” period). It was standard cheesy B-movie fare, nothing mind-blowing but still respectable. It loosely followed the Greek myth of Perseus, liberally injecting giant squids and robot owls where it was convenient. The new movie is a remake of the old one, unfortunately lacking in Shakespearean actors.

So, is Clash of the Titans as bad as you think it is? Read the rest of this entry »

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Have you ever watched a movie in theatres where the gravity of a scene was ruined by some guy in the audience laughing? Probably you have. Have you ever been that guy? That’s how I felt watching X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Read the rest of this entry »