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Book report; movie report; TV report

Since it seems like practically everyone else in the world is reading these books, I finally decided that I ought to give The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo a try. Short answer: thumbs up; despite loads of exposition and a few POV jumps that jarred, it was compulsively readable and I got sucked into both the mysteries and the characters. I recommended it, with one caveat: the story includes many descriptions of sadistic violence (rape, murder, torture, animal harm...), so if you are sensitive to that sort of thing, you might want to read with caution. One thing I appreciated about this book was how the violent scenes were handled. It's not torture porn -- the sadism was designed to be repulsive, not attractive; you hate the characters who perpetrate it and feel the horror of the consequences. It's not romanticized at all. And there is a really awesome point where the protagonists, Blomkvist and Salander, are talking about the crimes of Gottfried and Martin Vanger, father-and-son serial killers; Blomkvist speculates about the abuse these two men suffered in their own lives, looking for a reason that they might have turned that abuse on others, and Salander has a simple reply: "Bullshit.... [I]t's pathetic that creeps always have to have someone else to blame." It's a small but fascinating moment that raises all kinds of questions about victimhood and personal responsibility and the cycle of violence, and I found it a little disappointing that the book then dropped the theme and never returned to it. Maybe it comes back in the later books.

Although I didn't get all the details right, my first theory about what actually happened to Harriet Vanger -- she ran away to live in hiding, and she is the one sending the flowers to her great-uncle -- turned out to be correct in a broad sense; it is to the book's credit that I decided I was wrong, based both on the evidence and on Blomkvist's reactions to it, and then didn't feel cheated when I was right after all. Blomkvist is a great character, as is Salander, and I enjoy the non-traditional love triangle that happens with them and Erika Berger. I don't know that I've ever seen a better portrayal of an open relationship than the one between Blomkvist and Berger. I wish we had seen more of Berger -- she's really a side character, but she seems sharp, and interesting. Again, I hope she becomes more central in the next book, which I do plan to read eventually.

Next up is Havemercy; between this, Dragon Tattoo, and the new Temeraire book coming out next week, this is shaping up to be a sort of dragon theme month. I should see if I have any other dragon-related titles on my to-read shelf...

And now, for something completely different: we saw Toy Story 3 last night. Short review: cute, sweet, funny, a fitting end to the series. If you liked the other Toy Story movies, you will like this one. Bring the tissues. Actually, I didn't cry at the end myself, but it was a near thing. Andy getting one last moment with his toys was sweet and sad at the same time. I loved Bonnie and was really happy for the toys, that they get many more years with a new kid, even though I wondered whether they aren't just buying another 10 years or so. What happens when Bonnie grows up and heads off to college? Also, when they were headed for their doom in the incinerator, I actually had a moment where I thought they might kill the gang -- it is their last movie, after all, and the thought of them going down together was so dramatic and touching

Maybe it's just me, but is this one of the better Pixar films for interesting and well-done female characters? Bonnie of course -- I particularly loved that there was no "but this is a boy toy" weirdness when Andy was showing off Buzz -- and Jessie is up in the action just as much as the boys, but my favorite was probably Barbie's key role in saving the day. I'm still looking forward to the day when we get a female lead who is not a princess (apparently they are working on a film with a princess protagonist, which is at least a start), but I was pretty pleased on the whole, with the girls at least. (We will save the issue of the Ken doll jokes for another time.)

Finally, Mr. Tortilla Face might be one of the funniest things I have ever seen in a movie. I'm giggling right now, just thinking about it.

As for the TV part, thanks to a surf around DW (yay for Latest Things and Follow Friday), I discovered that Babylon 5 is available, streaming, in its entirety, on the WB website, and I am in the midst of falling in love with it all over again. I've only watched the pilot and the first regular broadcast episode so far, but I have a feeling I may be drawn into a rewatch of the entire thing. (Well, maybe not Season 5.)

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/479890.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
wounded_melody
Jul. 11th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
For Toy Story 3, I was just really really devastated that Bo Peep had been sold ><;;;;
owlmoose
Jul. 11th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
I agree, that was sad, especially the look on Woody's face when he mentioned her as among the lost.
luciab
Jul. 11th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
Babylon 5--- ah, yes. I think that's the best of any of the space shows, ever. Star Trek is so vanilla and bland in comparison, I haven't been able to watch it at all since I got hooked on B5. The episode with G'Kar and Mollari stuck in the elevator is some of the best drama ever on TV, in my book. Not that I'm opinionated or anything.
owlmoose
Jul. 11th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
Ah, well, Deep Space Nine remains my favorite television show of all time, so I can't say I concur, exactly. ;) But I agree that B5 has a darkness that most of the Trek shows never quite touched. (It's probably telling of something that my two favorite sci-fi shows are set in space stations, although I'm not sure of what.)

But I do agree about the awesomeness of that elevator scene, and really anything between Londo and G'Kar. "Can anybody hear me?" "I can hear you."
luciab
Jul. 11th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
I just can't believe that any space ship could ever stay that pristine and perfect and unmarred for years and years. Things get dinged up and dirty. It's just life. That's what seems so unreal to me, and so much more realistic about B5. On Star Trek, even when they have to crawl through heating ducts or shafts for something, the spaces are always spotless and dust free. I'm sorry I've gotten to to be so cynical, but I just don't see that happening.

And it really is a change that happened to me-- when Wil Wheaton was on, (TNG??) I liked his character! Just doesn't get much sweeter or more unrealistic than that, huh?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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