The Lego Movie

Lego MovieThe Lego Movie

(Three stars out of five)

One of the dubious benefits of economy transcontinental air travel is the opportunity to watch “free” movies. I spent so much time with my knees in my face that I viewed several I wanted to see and a couple I tried (and quit) out of boredom.

I liked The Lego Movie. While the characters and setting are of the famous children’s building toy, this is not just a movie for children. There are life lessons for all of us. (Spoiler: I especially liked that both Lord Business and “the Man Upstairs”, both played by Will Ferrell, were turned rather than defeated in the end.)

Good critical reviews and a box office success.

Soon to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray. Good watching for parents and kids.

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The Book Thief (movie)

The Book Thief

(Five stars out of five)

One of the dubious benefits of economy transcontinental air travel is the opportunity to watch “free” movies. I spent so much time with my knees in my face that I viewed several I wanted to see and a couple I tried (and quit) out of boredom.

The Book Thief was the best of the lot. Based on the book by the same name (which I also rated five stars). The movie evokes the same childlike—not to be confused with childish—innocence as the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust develop around Leisel, the “book thief.” The movie follows the book closely enough, but what sets it apart is the cinematography and the performances by Sophie Nélisse and Geoffrey Rush. Nélisse performs the magic of aging half a dozen adolescent years. Rush, as usual, steals every scene he’s in. The man is chameleon and a wonder.

Recently released on DVD and Blu-Ray, it’s worth watching.

Iron Scepter by Andrew M. Seddon

iron scepterIron Scepter by Andrew M. Seddon

(Four stars out of five)

Warning: spoilers follow.

We have met the evil empire, and they are us. While the human Hegemony unravels and humans make first contact with sentient aliens in the background, on stage our protagonist—a minion of said evil empire—has a crisis of faith in the Hegemony, his leaders, and himself when he’s supposed to be subduing a rediscovered human world and starting a galactic war. He’s helped over the edge by an irritatingly wholesome local, who expects better from him than does he.

The story is great; the storytelling is just a bit “on the nose.” Even though told in a first person point of view, the tale need not explain everything to the reader.

Few of the scientific gaffs which so often mar contemporary science fiction.

Quibble: if the locals plan to ambush the Hegemony space fleet by surprise, why alert them to continued resistance by attacking them on the ground? I know, they had to make the attack for the alien ambassador to accidentally fall into their hands, but it comes across as contrived.

Lots of soul searching. Think: Hamlet in the Twenty-sixth century.

A good read.

(I think it’s out of print. I obtained a copy directly from the author.)