About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

21 December 2013


DW-11-13 was rated by Eat Out as the best restaurant in Gauteng; and P and I have been meaning to go there for quite a while. With P moving back to the Western Cape, we finally went round to going to DW-11-13 for lunch. While the food is expensive, it was not significantly more than some of the other good restaurants I have been to in Johannesburg; and food was substantially better and is well deserving of its accolades. In particular, the desserts are amazing - and in fact, it is worth going to DW-11-13 just for the desserts.

Movie: Ender's Game

Visually, Ender's Game is magnificent; from the zero gravity fights in the Battle Room to the final space battles; it is a visual feast. Unfortunately, the soul of the book is pretty much taken out - the main story arc is neutered with shortcuts, that doesn't even show the growth of Ender to become the commander - and the side story arcs (especially Peter and Valentine's transformation to Locke and Demosthenes) are almost completely absent. Ender's Game is the type of story that deserves to have the Hobbit treatment - the story needs to be told holistically using all the source material. As a 2 hour popcorn movie; it works - as a visual transcription of an amazing fictional universe; it doesn't.

17 December 2013

Movie: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Peter Jackson's epic retelling of JRR Tolkien's children's story continue - with even more inspiration from other sources in the Middle-Earth universe, to tie the Hobbit closer to the Lord of the Rings. Now, Gandalf's frequent periods away from the troupe of dwarves and their hobbit burglar is explained by his side trips to investigate the rise of Sauron. 

IMO, most of the embellishments are welcome - the universe is rich and detailed, and the overall story itself is richer and more compelling through the embellishments (most of which are from actual source material). However, some are just overly distracting - Azog's continual chase of the dwarven party and the inter-species love-triangle - being the main ones for me. 

The other main  gripe for me - is the sudden, inexplicable changes in geography - almost like a Bollywood song & dance routine. One minute they are on a mountain top being chased by wargs, next minute they are running through a field of flowers; still chased by wargs. 

The approach taken in the Hobbit does raise an interesting question - should the entire Middle-Earth universe not be better served with a wider, chronologically perfect, movie/TV series. Tolkien's world is rich with tales, and an epic series would put Game of Thrones to shame. Yes, Smaug in the massive cave with golden treasure is amazing on the big screen - but even a small screen rendition of the entire universe would be worthwhile.