Monday, 19 June 2017

Cartoon Capers: Dennis the Menace

So, in the last post - technically a cross-post of my Goodreads review but it counts - I mentioned that I had re-watched the Dennis the Menace cartoon that had been aired during the 1990s. Most of this is available on DVD now, but trying to find it can be a right pest. Not the point. The point is this: I thought I would look back and try to document (in my own way) the various television adaptations that the King of Menaces has had. Right? Here we go then.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Review: The Diary of Dennis the Menace

The Diary of Dennis the Menace The Diary of Dennis the Menace by Steven Butler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Beano is a long running British children's comic, and still personally one of my favourites to read, with Dennis the Menace being one of my favourite ficitional characters since childhood. I've seen these books - written by Steven Butler - for sale for a while, but never really thought to read them. Until I got a bit bored, and re-watched the cartoon from the 90s on youtube. It made me a little curious as to how Dennis was portrayed in these books and how the anti-hero of my childhood was being put to a new generation of young comic readers.

Honestly? I ended up laughing at this book a lot more than I thought I would.

First of all, the concept of it makes me laugh because there is no way that Dennis the Menace would keep a diary. But he does, and credit to Butler, the writing rings true to the anarchic character I remember well. He toes the line of bully, though always in a way that you can't help but root for him. It's still hard to explain, even now. The books are written to fit in with the cartoon that came in 2009, or possibly more 2013, for the anniversary of Dennis and... Actually, I'm finding difficulty explaining it beyond "a lot funnier than I thought it would be."

If you're looking at these books - because this is just the first of a series - it's probably because you know the character. In which case, you already know if you want to read it or not. The humour fits with the best of The Beano, and it's a fun fast read for a lazy day. Definitely more enjoyable than I thought it would be, and worth picking up if you can find it for a couple of pounds. Oh, and as a bonus? It skips the trend of most Dennis spin-off media. Other Beano characters are featured - Minnie the Minx is mentioned as pretty much being the only one who can beat Dennis in the daily race to be King/Queen of the Playground.

Honestly, I want to read the others now, just to see who else will pop up...

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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Review: Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization

Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization by Nancy Holder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonder Woman , the novelization by Nancy Holder, is a fantastic re-telling of the movie's story. Could that be my fondness for the movie getting in the way and making me praise higher than I should? It's entirely possible, but it's also entirely justified. The movie is amazing, and the novelization adds to that level of enjoyment, by fleshing out the thoughts of the characters in each scene, and even confirming a few little thoughts you may have had during your watch.

Holder has a talent for writing these types of things and her writing is at it's usual strength here. The narration falls into an easy pace, which id not difficult to keep up with and rather relaxing to read. The book falls into a three part structure and the moments chosen well fit.

Honestly, there's not a lot I can say here. If you've seen the movie, you'll know whether or not you'll enjoy this book. I think it's a delightful read, and am very glad I did so.

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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Seeing Wonder Woman Tomorrow!

Just really excited to go and see this movie. Encouraging everyone to go and see it as soon as they can - let's give this one of the biggest box office openings for any superhero movie, ever! (Yes, that means it has to beat Deadpool. It's okay, Wade understands the importance of this)

Hopefully I'll have a review up tomorrow! I'll do my best to keep it as non-spoilery as possible!

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Worst Witch

Today (29th May, 2017) the complete first series of the brand new series of The Worst Witch is available in the UK. By 'brand new series', I think 'reboot' could also fit. This series is also due to be made available for worldwide streaming on Netflix at some point this year, but sadly I don't know the exact date for that. The best advice I can give is for people to keep checking because honestly? This series is utterly adorable and really deserves to be watched by as many people as possible.

Complete Series One DVD. Taken from Amazon UK.
Just above, I said this series could be classed as a reboot. That's because, well, this story has actually been adapted to television (or television movie) at least twice before. This just happens to be the newest version, and because it came out today on DVD I felt like making a post about it. Truth be told, I'm actually writing this post two weeks in advance (it's the 15th on the day of writing) but The Worst Witch is one of those series that I have all the love for, starting from the books that were one of the first multi-books series I ever got into.

The first adaptation was the 1986 television movie that starred Diana Rigg as Miss Hardbroom, and Fairuza Balk as titular 'worst witch', Mildred Hubble. I'll be completely honest? This... is not a version that I am particularly fond of. It's not that it's bad (except that it actually is quite a bad movie, I am not even kidding here, it's one of those so bad it's good except I tend to get a bit horrified at some bits) It's just that it's really not what comes to my mind at all when I picture Mildred, HB, Cackles Academy... but then again, I'm a 90s child, who was spoiled when it came to this show.

(To the left is the 2015 DVD release of the show. To the right is the 2007 release. The 2015 is region 2, with German and English audio tracks, and in four volumes to complete the set. The 2007 is region 0, and in two volumes to complete the set. As you might have guessed, the '07 releases are a bit harder to find at the moment.)

In 1998, CiTV and Granada Productions teamed up to make a 3 series (4 if you count Weirdsister College, which most DVD sets do) version of The Worst Witch, starring Georgiana Sherrington as Mildred Hubble. This version not only adapted all the books that were out at that point, but it also came up with new stuff to add to the world. The characters all became incredibly fleshed out, including the teachers - who actually ended up stealing most episodes because of how well the adult cast played off of each other. 

The big debate in the fandom, and yes there is one, is what series is the best? Many of the older member have so many fond memories of the '98 series that during the airing on the newest one there was quite a big to-do regarding the new first name of Miss Hardbroom that will not be discussed here. Personally? I actually really like all of them. Well, except the tv movie but that's personal opinion. The 98 series will always be my version, so to speak, and the one that comes to mind the most when I think of the series but this newest one is adorable and there's space enough for it to exist in the fandom as well.

I mean, come on, we got 20 years on Potter, people. Mildred Hubble isn't going to disappear any time soon.

(Though HB would have totally beat Voldemort before the first book.)

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Review: Black Butler, Vol. 1

Black Butler, Vol. 1 Black Butler, Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Black Butler is one of those anime and manga that did completely sweep the 'scene' during its release and that everyone seemed to incredibly fond of and have nothing but good things to say about it. I... somehow managed to miss all of this at the time, despite going to an Anime Club at my university and actually having friends who were very into it. Yeah, I'm not entirely sure how that happened. Fast forwarding to this year, I decided that since I like the live action movie - which is really an Elseworlds tale when compared to the rest of the franchise - it might be worth my while to actually check out the manga. Thanks to a good deal from Amazon's new-and-used section, I got the first two volume relatively cheap and gave it a read.

It's... okay.

Okay, so that's not really fair because it doesn't explain anything but to be fair the first volume doesn't explain anything in terms of the actual story. It's all just set up and repeated jokes that are kind of funny the first time, but the humor does not hold up for a second time, let alone a third. It's not that the pacing of this volume is bad; for what little conflict story there is, it proceeds well. It's just more that I found myself finishing it and going "...well I still don't really know what's actually going on here."

Is this a bad thing? Well, that really depends on your point of view. Personally? It's not something I'm fond of. At the end of the first volume of a manga, I at least want to have a rough idea of the overall plot, or at least be able to say the story is about x or y. In regards to Black Butler all I could say is it's about a rich brat who has a butler who is supernaturally good at his job. Said butler may also be of the supernatural, but I couldn't be certain. Of course, I do actually know what the story is about because it's been out for 7 years, I had friends who were really into it, it was everywhere at the beginning and I do really like the live-action movie. That's not the point.

I do want to say positives though despite how I sound above? I do actually like this manga, or at least, I was entertained by it enough that I am willing to wait for the plot to unfold, even though I am really glad I got it cheap. If I had to pay full price, I'd probably be a little less forgiving. ANYWAY. The art? Is amazing. It is one of those manga where the exterior and interior art are of equal quality, and you never feel like the cover has tricked you into picking up something by being too pretty.

The titular 'black butler' Sebastian is also a character I really like, thanks to his deadpan nature and rather done attitude with everything. He sort of reminds me of Blackadder the Third, though to be fair, Sebastian has a lot of powers on his side. Blackadder was working on his on intelligence and wit. They should meet though, that would be cool.

Long story short? The first volume is probably not the best one to check out of you want to know the story of these characters. It feels more like a deliberately set slice of life piece, than the action-adventure I know it to be. That being said? It's still quite fun, and on the merit of the art alone I would be recommending this to people, and I am still glad to have read it. I'm hoping more of the story comes up in the next few volumes. Worth a read, but try to get it cheap if you can, or borrow it.

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Hot Toys: Ridiculously Want-able

If you've been around the action figure community or the doll collecting community at any point in the past few years, it's more than likely that you've heard of Hot Toys. This is a range of primarily 1/6 scale action figures that are based on popular media properties and often portray characters from these properties, modeled after the actors who portray them. They're often highly realistic figures, and have a high price tag to properly reflect the work that has gone into creating these items.

Now, when I say 'high', I am doing so from the point of view of someone who has admittedly not laid out the money for a resin BJD. I've heard that in comparison, Hot Toys can seem relatively inexpensive, but from my point of view... Yeah, they're kind of the pricey side. Looking at pictures is often a case of extreme want and then the price reminds me very much why I do not already have one of these figures

And yet... And yet the want does not leave. I don't actually know if there's a proper name to assign to this, but we all have it for something. That dream holiday, that designer clothing piece, there's just always that thing out of our price range that we want despite it all. For me, it tends to fall in Hot Toys. I mean, yes there's the dream holiday and stuff like that but I'm focusing on the frivolous here. For the past couple of years at the very least, I keep going back to look at this one

Well... between that one and this one:

Basically I keep going to look at the Loki Hot Toys and I really don't seem to know why. Will I ever be able to afford one? Eh, probably not. The first one is really marked up on the secondary market, and the same is true of the second. With the new movie coming out, it's entirely possible that I might be able to get one but again those prices (and they've went up since those two came out so... yeah.)

What's the point of this post? Basically an excuse to post the pictures. Maybe I'll get lucky enough in my life to be able to own at Hot Toys at some point. I'm generally always saving to hopefully put towards one, and always looking out for some amazing deal online. (Aren't we all for anything, really?) I just don't know if it'll ever happen.

Who knows, eh?