The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Yep, you read the title right! The author, Rick Riordan, promoted it himself on his social media accounts (despite him not seeing it himself) so I checked it out.

Heyyyy. Percy’s looking real gorgeous, ain’t he? *swoon* Well check him out singing. Lovely voice. The lyrics capture exactly what Percy’s life is all about in the beginning. I am curious how the rest of his life will play out though. Hmm.

I’m pretty much soaking up everything in the Rick Riordan-related fandom (except for Magnus Chase because for some unexplainable reason, I’m still having a hard time reading it). I’ll be supporting every adaptation that is made, and my musically-inclined self is pretty excited about this off-Broadway. Come to think of it, this could draw younger crowd to musical theater again. I saw Matilda on Broadway and the demography was composed of who you would see on a field trip, but it was fun.

For all of you in the U.S., it’s gonna start screening on March 23.

 

Emma Watson Sings!

You didn’t think the cast of the live movie adaptation would sing, would you?

 

Here’s a sample of Emma Watson’s take on “Something More”:

 

She doesn’t sound like a professional singer, but her sweet voice rings a lot of sincerity in it. Belle’s songs have been sung countless of times before, but could anyone ever replace Angela Lansbury’s “Beauty and the Beast”? Let’s wait and see.

 

Sometimes Guardians are Monsters

When I saw the trailer a few weeks back, I made a mental note that this film was a must watch. My two girl friends and I went to the cinema to watch it on the last day before the film switch for the week, and the movie did not disappoint. It also made us weep quite a lot!

Thoughts on the Film

The visual effects were spectacular. It was a delight that the three tales had its own kind of animation. Liam Neeson’s voice fits the low, gravelly sound of Papa Groot (sorry, can’t help it), and while there was a lot of authority and command, he/it sounded gentle and consoling enough for the troubled boy.

Its emotional appeal and tug at the heartstrings were beautifully executed in the narrative. It just had the right kind of nostalgia for Conor’s confusion with his attachment and detachment to his mother and her terminal illness. Felicity Jones had the perfect kind of tenderness for a (dying) mom. Despite little or limited screen exposure, she was very effective.

Somehow, when thinking of guardians of children facing life issues, I am reminded of The BFG and My Neighbor Totoro. But since we’re dealing with illness and death, the Hayao Miyazaki classic has similar elements here for the protagonist to survive difficult emotions.

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While Totoro and the sisters had secret adventures, Conor’s realizations were challenged by stories. These stories mostly dealt with themes of justice, prejudice, belief, and choices. In the end, he had to tell his own story: the truth.

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It was a nice closure for Conor to discover his mother’s artwork…and how, it seems, that the monster was the guardian that she had designated for him.

Thoughts on the Book

The title was out of stock in all branches of National Bookstore, so I went to Fully Booked to search for it. I was excited to read again about the three tales, and the book had a more menacing monster yet still fantastic illustration.

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The only major difference of the book from the movie adaptation was that there was no mention of Conor’s mom as an artist. Because the author, Patrick Ness, also wrote the film screenplay, I think it was a good move that the last few scenes had contextualized what was missing from the original text.

A minor omission from the book came in the form of Lily, Conor’s sort of female best friend. She fiercely protected him, and he was more vulnerable in that sense. It worked in the screenplay, though, that book character Lily was absent so that the focus would be on Conor’s solitude.

For a YA novel, the book on its own could be heavy material for anyone. My friend, who read the book first before watching the film, had to process herself after finishing the sad but inevitable end. Therefore, my recommendation would be to watch the visual form first before reading it.

This is definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2016.

The BFG film review

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I’m a big Roald Dahl fan so I was super excited to see this film. The BFG wasn’t my favorite book, though. I needed to see this movie for me to fall in love with it. And fall in love I did.

The critics were kinda harsh on Steven Spielberg’s storytelling so I wanted to see it myself. I didn’t find it tough to follow, and I immediately got swept away into fantasy land, like Sophie. The moment Sophie started complaining and arguing with the big friendly giant, I thought, “There it is.” Ruby Barnhill, who played the heroine, had the perfect cuteness with the spunk of British little girls.

She was “kidnapped” and brought to Giant Country where the slimy snozzcumbers were featured and are typical Dahl level of grossness. As the BFG and Sophie got comfortable with each other, so did I in their adventures.

My favorite scenes, which happens to also be the most magical parts, are related to the colorful bottled dreams and best of all, the tree where it all came from.

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I wanted to cry happy tears as I witnessed a beautiful friendship blossom enhanced by beautiful visuals. It was magical. I haven’t felt that wonderful magical feeling in quite a while. Since it was the legendary John Williams who provided the music, you’re in for a wonderful ride.

Mark Rylance’s CGI face as the BFG is very expressive, and his voice makes such a delightful play on Dahl’s invented words that’s confusing at first but believe me, you’ll manage to catch up.

The supporting cast is also good, and I was happy to see some funny moments when Sophie and the BFG managed to get an appointment with the Queen. I recognized the actress who played the Queen because she also played a strong female leader in Doctor Who! Penelope Wilton, the Queen in this film, played Harriet Jones in my fave British sci-fi TV series so it was fun.

On a more serious note, the film was able to perfectly capture the sad reality of bullying because the BFG had to deal with bigger, uglier, and nastier giants. It champions the bond of friendship, for even as the two led separate lives in the end, each person cherishes and remembers fondly the love that transcends two worlds.

It’s a family film. Go see it!

Photo source: Facebook | The BFG Movie

 

Doctor Who: The Celestial Toymaker

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I stumbled upon this novel of my fave fantasy TV series in a pop-up stall of an online bookstore in Eastwood, but the name of the bookstore escapes me at the moment. I think I got this for only 100 pesos because it’s yellow and old but I didn’t care because it’s a rare find. At first, I thought since I have not seen any classic Who episodes that I’d be having a bit of difficulty reading this thin novella, but it turned out to be a fun and a rather quick read!

According to the Tardis.wikia.com, this 1986 novelization is based on the (1966) 6th episode of the first Doctor with his companions, Dodo and Steven. Here’s the publisher’s summary of the story:

Somewhere outside space and time there waits the Celestial Toymaker, an enigmatic being who ensnares unwary travellers in his domain to play out his dark and deadly games.

Separated from the security of the TARDIS, the First Doctor is forced to play the complex trilogic game with the evil magician. Meanwhile, Dodo and Steven must enter into a series of tests with, among others, the schoolboy Cyril and theKing and Queen of Hearts.

If they lose, they are condemned to become the Toymaker’s playthings for all eternity. For in the malevolent wonderland that is the Celestial Toyroom, nothing is just for fun…

From the book cover and the synopsis, the publisher might as well have labeled this book in the horror section because of the creepy clowns and its stuck-in-a-dollhouse slash carnival horror house theme that made the reading experience quite chilling. The Doctor and his companions all had to play the games or get stuck in this universe forever. The catch though is they have to end and win AT THE SAME TIME. How crazy is that, right? The Doctor and the Toymaker are in a separate room for a numerical pyramid computation thingymajig with a one-way mirror where they both could monitor Dodo and Steven doing obstacle courses and Amazing Race-ish mental challenges against clowns and mannequins that came to life and the King and Queen of Hearts. Yes, they won against the Toymaker (there won’t be 12 more Doctors if he didn’t), but it definitely wasn’t an easy journey!

YouTube has audio episodes and still images of this, so if you’d like to look and listen, here it is:

 

 

For other Doctor Who related posts, here’s a list of links to the DW 50th anniversary books I’ve read and made reviews of:

https://tabbedbooks.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/doctor-who-50th-anniv-books/

https://tabbedbooks.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/ten-little-aliens-by-stephen-cole/

https://tabbedbooks.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/the-silent-stars-gone-by/

https://tabbedbooks.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/only-human-by-gareth-roberts/

https://tabbedbooks.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/earthworld-by-jacqueline-rayner/

 

The Best Plot Twist in Fiction So Far

One seemingly insignificant character for six seasons turns out to be the hero of the millennia. The geniuses behind this idea (Weiss, Benioff, & Martin) clearly deserve a medal, a trophy or a lifetime achievement probably for making HODOR already a pop culture icon. That really escalated things quickly. I dunno how long the Hodor puns will survive but am sure it will live on for quite a while, for even non-GoT fans will be compelled to know what’s behind all the smirks, maybe sad faces every time someone has to “hold the door.”

It’s just bloody brilliant. Never has death been so memorable in the world of fantasy and fiction until now. Well, yeah, Dumbledore died, but he didn’t live on to have a cultural significance in everyday lives. I don’t recall anything as impactful as this, as him. He’s coming to Manila soon and I’ll try to catch him at the Toy Con! I’m sure there’s going to be a stampede in a rush to hug this big fella.

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