Relic

This week’s fun read was Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I had initially watched the movie The Relic back when it was released in 1997. Yes, I know, I am dating myself a little here. I did enjoy the film and as I read the book, I realized that events were very similar. I will say that I think the book was by far better than the movie but that is due to all the detail the book was allowed to give that the film simply could not. So, to refresh my memory of how the movie was done, I dragged my son along to watch it again to me. He says it won’t scare him, but we will see.
There were so many moving parts to this story that you had to pay attention. I enjoy stories that are constructed this way. They keep you guessing so that you go along for the ride with the characters. Of course, I tried to figure out what is going on before the writers revealed it to us, we all do.
They built up the suspense in this novel. Almost every chapter left you hanging off the edge off the edge of a cliff. I felt like I wanted to rush through to the next chapter just to connect the dots from the previous section. Unfortunately, if you do this, you miss out on another vital clue. That was something else I liked about this book. They sprinkled the clues and wove them around the story.
The story had a lot of scientific detail that was vital to the story, and I think the authors did an excellent job of using it but not letting it slow down the story. So many times I have read books that are so heavy with the scientific data that I find myself skipping over it. For me, the scientific information was intriguing, and I wanted to know more about what the characters were discovering.
I enjoyed the different personalities of the characters involved. I think my favorite guys were Prendergast and Augusta. Pendergast was the embodiment of a southern gentleman. Even his name Aloysius X.L. Pendergast gave him that southern quality. Throughout the whole story not much seemed to ruffle his feathers. In stark contrast, you had D’Agosta who was as crash and rough around the edges. They played off each other rather well, and when others turned against them, they were able to come together to help each other.
Generally, for me, I like a strong female character from the beginning, but I found myself liking Margo. She started off as someone who I would view as quiet and reserved. As the story progressed, we were able to see that she was strong and brave. Her knowledge and ability think quickly on her feet was a great asset to the other characters involved. She was a neat character to follow because you were able to watch her grow.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting me to turn the pages even though I had seen the movie. In my opinion, the book was much better than the movie. If you want something that will keep you guessing and combines science, then this is the book for you.

The Blob

This week’s adventure was The Blob. I will say I usually do not watch the older horror movies because I don’t like the special effects. I know they were the best at the time the film was made, but I am perhaps a tad spoiled with today’s movies. With that being said it still held my interest.
The movie starts out with a group of teenagers who run in the same circles and some who do not. It gives you the feel of a typical high school movie. There is your standard “bad boy,” jock, and homecoming queen set in a small town. Nothing exciting there. The video gives you a little backstory on these characters. I felt the movie was a slow start, but it did have to provide you with a setup to the story.
Once the meteor hit’s then the story starts to get interesting. I found myself sitting there yelling at the crazy old man not to touch the bubbling mass inside the meteor. Of course, we all know he will because if he doesn’t, and nothing else ever touches it, then we would have no movie to watch. The story was very predictable with the old man running from the bad boy, Brian Flag to him running into Meg and Paul out on their date.
I liked Meg Penny. They didn’t portray her as a weak person needing someone’s help all the time. She showed intelligence and took the initiative when she needed to. It always drives me nuts in movies and books when they have that one character that comes off so stupid that you want to reach through the screen and shake some sense into them. In most horror movies they will most likely be one of the first to die unless they are there for comic relief. I laughed so hard when she got up on the tanks for the snow truck and went all Rambo on the monster.
To me, this movie was more comedic than horror. There were some parts where I found myself holding my breath or cringing. When Meg sneaks off to find her brother and save him from the blob, I couldn’t help but hold my breath. I held my breath when they were in the sewer, and she was trying to save both boys. I don’t know if that was because at that moment I felt Meg was acting more like a mother than a big sister to her little brother.
There were plenty of parts where I laughed at this movie. The scene where the guy and girl where on a hill looking down over the hospital was funny. If you were going to take someone one to make out why would you take them to look out over a hospital? It sets the perfect spot for the blob to find it’s next victim. The way the young man dies is funny. He thinks his girl has passed out but instead the blob has already killed her and jumps out at him after he puts his hand down her shirt. Might make some have second thoughts about doing that.

Overall the movie wasn’t bad. It was entertaining enough that I didn’t want to turn off the movie and walk away. Is it something I will watch again? Probably. My son might get a kick out of this one.

H.P Lovecraft stories

I know some may not like me for my thoughts on this one, but I have to say I do not like H.P. Lovecraft. I feel the man wants to prattle on just to hear himself use big words and sound important. I also did not like how everything that seemed to go wrong or was terrible was directed at people with dark skin, mixed heritage, or were African Americans.
He acts as though everything that he and the White-Anglo Saxons has done is of the highest quality and none of them are in the wrong. There is a massive chip on his shoulder, and I wanted to knock him down a few pegs. I could barely stand to read The Call of Cthulhu. It was not fun trying to get past the constant racist accusation and belittling he slung around like you would a scarf over your shoulders.
This section of work only became interesting to me when one of the prisoners started talking about the lore behind Cthulhu. In all honesty, he could have skipped the part about the dreams and shortened finding the box with the strange markings down to a page or two and then went into the interview with the man who had been arrested.
Moving on to The Outsider, this one was slightly better. There was some really good use of words to describe what came across to me as someone on an LSD trip. I like part of the opening paragraph because it seemed to set the stage and tone of for this passage. I was not impressed as time went on with this one. Lovecraft seems to get bogged down by describing what feels like mundane things. His narrator talks about never having spoken a word and yet he could read it all and have never been urged to learn. After he started on that, I became bored with this one as well. He began to prattle on in this one as well, and I was left wanting something different. I am not sure exactly what I wanted, but it was not there. Too many times I had to stop myself and go back and re-read a passage because I got bored.
Finally, The Pickman was just plain weird. It was hard to follow who was talking and about what. I swear the narrator was neurotic or something. The story didn’t do it for me. It was hard to get inside his head, and then he would stop mid-story and talk about something else. The story felt very disjointed, and I got the impression we were more inside someone’s mind like their actual scattered thoughts than actually listening to the tell a story. I felt like it was more a dream or a world they had created inside their head and nothing inside your head is ever linear.
Overall, I don’t think I will ever touch Lovecraft unless I have too. The condescending tone he took towards those of other races angered me. His stories were hard to follow, and I just could not get into it. I can not see why people like his writing. I had hope for The Outsider in the beginning, but then it let me down. I tried to have hope for The Pickman, but the sudden interjections of things completely off topic did not help to follow the story.

Godzilla (2014) -A movie review

This week we watch the 2014 movie version of Godzilla. I have seen this movie many times over the past few years, and it’s a pretty good action-packed film. There are a lot of moving parts to this story from the human side of the story to how that impacts the monsters.
Godzilla is the byproduct of nuclear testing and spends fifteen years hiding under water after he hatches. Now for me, that doesn’t make any sense. If he has grown as tall as some skyscrapers how did he go undetected all those years? I am sure that a submarine’s sonar would have found it. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that these monster(s) buried themselves deep close to the Earth’s core to absorb radiation. If something this large and massive did this and then rises back up to the surface wouldn’t that cause massive waves but the only wave we get is the one that hits Hawaii, but this is Hollywood, so we have to give them some leeway.
Overall it is neat concept because we have seen what happens after a nuclear reactor has a meltdown. Chernobyl is a prime example of what can happen. I don’t think they have ever been able to get close to the reactor. I wonder if they could not have gone further with this. Why are these the only super predators that are left? Did they kill off all the others? I know there was not much time to go into this, but it does make me wonder.
What I found interesting is that Godzilla is portrayed more as a “hero” than a scary, destructive, killing machine. Now he does do his share of damage when he heads to Hawaii to go after the other monster that humanity caused to hatch. I don’t know if I see Godzilla as a real hero. Here’s why. First of all, there seems to be no reasoning or understand going on with Godzilla. He views the other monster as a threat to himself and possibly his food source. Now compare him to Kong in the move Kong: Skull Island. Kong can reason and tell right from wrong. It showed on his face and that I think makes him more relatable, a hero to root for. Kong even recognizes that some of the humans are there to help. Godzilla in this movie acted more on his primal survival instincts. He doesn’t even seem to register the humans around him.
A question that needs to be answered is what makes a hero? We all have our idea of what a hero is. Some may think a hero is someone who always does the right thing and puts others before his/herself. Others may think it’s someone who does what’s right in the end. What do we do when the “hero” is a monster than barely even notices us? Its whole mission is to survive. It acts on instinct. Does this make it any less of a hero? I am not sure if I can answer that question right now. But what do you think?
Overall, if you are looking for a good action-packed movie with lots of destruction, then this one is for you. It keeps the action rolling from beginning to the very end. I enjoyed this movie and watching the epic monster battles.