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Adam Gardiner "adg211288" (England)

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The Omen Machine
The Omen Machine
by Terry Goodkind
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Unxpected Sword of Truth Continuation, 13 Feb. 2012
This review is from: The Omen Machine (Hardcover)
(Review may contain spoilers, but I will attempt to keep them small)

The Omen Machine is effectively the twelfth novel in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, which previous I was under the impression has come to a close with Confessor. Indeed the novel is not actually branded as a Sword of Truth novel but rather as a Richard and Kahlan novel, but it begins pretty much straight after Confessor ended, so new branding or not, this is effectively book twelve of eleven. I enjoyed the original series a lot, but in a way I was glad when it ended, because eleven books is a lot, and quite often I've felt that fantasy series just need to end sometime otherwise they become stale. I was glad that Sword of Truth ended, having invested eleven books of reading time in it. When you read about characters for that long, even though you know they're only fictional, you can't help but want them to get the ending they deserve. I think Sword of Truth had a happy ending for its lead characters Richard and Kahlan, after Goodkind put them through hell in the last few books. It was really time to end.

2011 and The Omen Machine. The characters happy ending is cut extremely short and we're thrown into what promises to be a whole new plot featuring the same world and characters. I'm not sure how many more books Goodkind has up his sleeve about Richard and Kahlan, but if the ending of this one is anything to go by, there's another one on the way, since this definitely isn't a book that has any sort of an end to it. It fact it feels very much half done and that partly the problem why upon finishing reading The Omen Machine I have very mixed feelings about it. The main issue I have with the story though is that not a lot really happens in it. I won't go into details because of spoilers, but much of the plot feels like it's on a loop repeating the same ideas, occasionally broken up with chapters from points of view of other characters, giving the reader some small insight into the new enemies plans, and then finally near the end it comes to a head and Richard saves the day, naturally almost losing Kahlan along the way.

It was an easy read for certain. I did enjoy it to some extent but ultimately I read it because suddenly Confessor wasn't the end to one of my favourite fantasy series anymore. The Omen Machine for me was a showcase that sometimes authors just need to let go of characters and worlds they've created and made popular and try something new. Many fantasy authors can't seem to do this. Goodkind so far is proving to be one of them. Even prior novel The Law of Nines, originally slated as a mainstream thriller, turned out to be a Sword of Truth related novel. I enjoyed that one more than I did The Omen Machine however, because it at least was only a related novel, not the unexpected continuation that The Omen Machine is.

Now I've read it I'll read whatever Goodkind does next with these characters because as I said, the novel feels half done and although The Omen Machine disappointed me, I want to know what happens next. At the same time of course I kind of wish I'd just ignored this novel and pretended that Richard and Kahlan's story still ended with Confessor as originally slated.

I have to go with a 3 star rating. To be fair it's more like a 2.5 but since Amazon doesn't allow half star ratings I'll have to make it 3. I didn't totally hate the novel but neither did it do anything that justified continuing a story that had already finished. Since it feels very half baked I'm sure that much of this material could have been cut and included at the start of another novel which told the whole story. But it was not to be, so for now I wait to see what happens next, hoping that Goodkind pulls a surprise out of the hat or realises he's running his series into the ground and ends it for real this time.

Altered Reflections
Altered Reflections
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £26.67

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best album I've heard in ages, 15 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Altered Reflections (Audio CD)
Altered Reflections is the debut album from Darkology, a progressive metal act featuring many established names from the metal scene, such as band mastermind Michael Harris (Arch Rival, Thought Chamber et all) and features the vocals of Kelly `Sundown' Carpenter, previously heard singing with Beyond Twilight and Outworld. Brian Harris (brother of Michael) and Mike Neal completely the line-up.

After a short intro track (I make no secret of hating intro tracks and to be honest this is no exception, but for this album I'll make an exception and let that pass based on just how awesome the actual songs are, and also it is one of the better intro's I've heard), Violent Vertigo begins with an insanely awesome riff, which sets the standard for the rest of the album. While many prog bands (rock and metal) with employ the use of keyboards, Darkology's music is also about the heaviness of the guitars and the complexity of the riffs. Sundown's vocals fit into the mix really well, giving them that sort of epic sound associated with power metal, so it would be fair to brand them as progressive power metal but it's my personally opinion that the vocals is as far as the power metal part of Darkology goes, the music is prog all over.

I would normally separate a few highlights from an album to talk about right about now, but that is very difficult to do with Darkology's Altered Reflections, simply because, intro track aside, this album does not have a single flaw. Every song is as addictive as the last and each has its own identity, which considering that the band do not fall into the `hey let's start hopping between genres' prog metal; always applying the same winning formula to the writing, just goes to show how well they've put this together. I seriously have not been able to go a day without listening to at least a few tracks from it, and I usually play it all in one hit. I already have 99 plays of them on my account in about a week since getting the CD, and you know what? This is going to be an album that I will continue to listen to for a long time. I hope these guys stick around, because as great as Altered Reflections is it is so tantalisingly good that I need more. So please, as a personal plea, check them out and go buy their album if you like it.

Highlights: Everything

On This Perfect Day
On This Perfect Day
Price: £17.66

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arjen's new project's a winner., 9 Jan. 2010
This review is from: On This Perfect Day (Audio CD)
I'm bored so here's my first proper review for the forum. Going to start off with On This Perfect Day by Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine.

What started as a light album with no metal supposed to appear has turned into a full blown progressive metal materpiece. The premise is that Arjen wants to focused on side projects instead of Ayreon for the foreseeable future. This time he wanted to work with just one singer and the task goes to Jasper Steverlink from alt rock band Arid. Worried? You needn't be, the guy does the job extremely well. As Arjen himself says in the interview on the bonus DVD, he needed a guy who could so vocals for soft and heavy and this guys does just that. Can't say I'm keen on Arid but Arjen made an really good choice for this album.

Lyrically it differs from Ayreon (as much as I hate to compare the two it's always going to happen when someone is most known for one particular project). There is no sci-fi concept through and in fact the albums does what the band name as good as says, it's about guilt. It's a way for Arjen to deal with his depression, a way to conquer it and I must say, if the guy can turn something like depression into such awesome music, there's not much he can't do. Saying that he wrote no lyrics of the album, leaving them all to lead guitarist Lori Linstruth.

Music wise the album varies from soft to heavy sections. As mentioned it wasn't supposed to be metal at all (apprantly metal queen Lori is to blame), but like a lot of his Ayreon work and indeed other prog bands, rock or metal, the sections go together well. Personally I think the sound is epic, esspecially some of the chorus sections, like Green and Cream and Perfection?

Said two songs are easily my favourites, with Twisted Coil coming in 3rd. Weakest moment (though by no means bad!) is probably Over, which is the most commercial sounding on the album.

My main problem with the main album is that there are only six tracks though its definitely quality over quanity. Trouble is knowning the way Arjen Lucassen's side projects go there may never be another album, though there is hope since in the bonus interview he does mentioned a 2nd Star One album being a possible future project, so fingers crossed for Guilt Machine II.

Bonus DVD time. Bit put out by it actually. What the hell is the point of putting audio bonus tracks on a DVD? This happens on the last Opeth album as well, its a disgrace! That aside they are good, though three of them are just radio edits of songs from the main album, so there's not a huge point in listening to them. Perfection with guide vocals was okay, but you might as well listen to the proper track. Two covers songs were the best feature of this section.

Video content was so-so. You can view the trailer online for free anyway and the making of is really a one time watch sort of thing. The main thing here is the interview I referenced earlier but unless like me you're a die-hard Arjen fan, it might not really be of much interest to you. So anyone who just wants the album might as well buy a regular edition. You at least might get clear artwork, since the digipack got really messed up and pixelated. Whoever was responsible for that needs the sack. I was not amused given that I like my album artwork. Only reason I don't just use download sites.

In summary its an exceptional album, very worthy of Arjen's name. Is it his best album ever? No, in my opinion that title still goes to Ayreon's Into the Electric Castle. Is it an album which will get a 10/10? Not quite, it gets a 9 though so still very good, (and in Amazon's scoring system that's still going to be a 5 star) is it an album you should own? Hell yes!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 3, 2011 2:57 PM BST

As Shadows Burn
As Shadows Burn
Price: £18.19

5.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Improvement on an already great debut., 9 Jan. 2010
This review is from: As Shadows Burn (Audio CD)
Echoes of Eternity (EoE) first appeared on the metal scene a couple of years back when they released their debut album, The Forgotten Goddess, with was a solid enough album for a first attempt, though it had its faults. Now in 2009 they're back with their second offering As Shadows Burn, and I'm pleased to report that what faults appeared on the debut have been addressed and as such, As Shadows Burn is all the better for it.

Branded as gothic/progressive metal, EoE began as more of the former, but with this album they sound much less Lacuna Coil without the male vocalist. As such, the prog in their sound has come to the fore with As Shadows Burn. It's still not as prog as your typical Dream Theater track, but its much more so than the Forgotten Goddess.

Well let's address those faults that were in the previous album shall we? Well the first was the guitars. What was being played was always good but the tone wasn't overly great for the style that they were playing. Here however it suits much better. The album has a generally heavier feel than its predecessor and I personally think they've found their sound in this department.

Next was the vocals. Francine Boucher has always been a good singer for them but there were times on the first album that it sounded as if she were just singing the same note all the time. While the vocals here and still distinctly her, the tone of her voice is much more varied and works with the music more, especially since most female fronted metal bands employ the use of keyboards, EoE do not. Their sound is the traditional voice/guitars/bass/drums set-up. Except unlike the classic heavy metal bands who employed such as set-up, they removed the bloke at the front and replaced him with a woman, and hey, it bloody well works!

The third issue with the debut was the tags in was given by the media. Gothic/Progressive Metal. Well it was somewhat both, yet not really enough to be either at the same time. No, it was a Heavy Metal album. This is still a Heavy Metal album, but at least it is more worthy of the prog tag. Not a major issue but one that needs mentioning in any case.

All issues that I had with their already good debut have all been worked on and improved greatly. The end result is a really great semi-progressive heavy metal album, with with its heavy guitar riffs and superb female vocals, can be very hypnotic at times. Definitely a highlight of the year.

Now, most recommended songs;

A Veiled Horizon
Memories Of Blood And Gold
The Scarlet Embrace
Letalis Deus

Price: £15.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Girls Made of Heavy Metal? Yes Please., 9 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Metalwar (Audio CD)
Hysterica are a Swedish all-girl heavy metal act and they sound really wild about their metal. With track titles such as Girls Made of Heavy Metal, Metalwar and Heavy Metal Man, its no wonder that they get labelled Womanowar is it?

But are they any good? Hell yes! The vocals are particularly awesome. Anni de Vil comes across as in between ye typical symphonic singer and Angela Gossow type, clear, yet definitely not gentle and always full of passion for the music and never lacking energy. It is quite simply an album that metalheads can party to, and its definitely not one just aimed at the ladies, although you probably have to be female to really appreciate Heavy Metal Man, despite it being a great track it really is one for the girls. Never mind eh guys? We're entitled to the odd guilty pleasure are we not?

Unfortunately the album is not without its faults, all the members are clearly talented but there are a couple of moments where I wish they'd vary a riff a bit or included a guitar solo. Otherwise the album is great, especially for a debut effort. The instruments are well played all round though so no complaints in that department. My favourite tracks are We Are the Undertakers, Halloween, Girls Made of Heavy Metal and Got the Devil in Me.

Final score is 4.5, but I can't put that down as a score and I taught to always round up in Maths, so its a 5/5 and I am looking forward to hearing what they can do for album number 2.

Whirlwind (Standard Version)
Whirlwind (Standard Version)
Price: £10.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Prog rock at its finest, 9 Jan. 2010
This prog supergroup broke up ages ago so that keyboardist/vocalist Neal Morse could focus on his solo career, but now they're back with their 3rd album The Whirlwind and guess what? They're not just back, they're back with their best album to date.

The Whirlwind sits nicely between the sounds of their previous offerings SMTE:e and Bridge Across Forever. The former was definitely a progressive rock album, not metal. The latter introduced some more metal influence into the mix. The Whirlwind comes across more like prog rock than prog metal, but it has its moments where head banging is achievable. So what I'm basically saying if you're reading expecting something really heavy, then its time for you to leave. If not read on...

Transatlantic's musicians are mostly from the prog rock scene, with Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy the only distinct metal musician present. It was his being in this group that first made me get my backside in gear and check them out. I was a little apprehensive, although I've always liked Neal Morse's voice I have never been a fan of Spock's Beard or his solo career, and I'd never heard any music by the other two guys involved (Roine Stolt and Pete Trewavas). But I wasn't disappointed. The Whirlwind was the first track I heard from them, all 77 minutes 54 seconds of it. Yes you read that right. The title track takes up the whole of the main album (although each of its movements has its own track on the CD, instead of just 1).

The main album (song) is fantastic. Despites its incredible length it never gets boring and manages to please and surprise the listener even as it draws into its final phases. The alternating vocals of Morse and Stolt are both top notch, and they both have distinct voices, making the dual vocalists valid. Instrumentation is excellent from a prog perspective, although this is unlikely to appeal to a more easy-going listener, or a metalhead.

Still reading? Good, because if the main album wasn't enough, you can get a 2CD version which includes 8 more songs, 4 originals and 4 covers. My personal favourites from this disc are Spinning and Lenny Johnson, both Transatlantic originals, and the cover of Procal Harum's A Salty Dog isn't bad either. Portnoy takes lead vocal on this one, and he's not got a bad voice himself. His taking lead vocals isn't that unexpected, given his increased vocal activity with Dream Theater, although he sings in a much cleaner style here than he has done with DT thus far. Not a duff track on the bonus disc at all though.

One of the albums of 2009 without a doubt.

Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition]
Black Clouds & Silver Linings [Special Edition]
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £18.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best since Metropolis pt. 2, 9 Jan. 2010
The premise;

Dream Theater. One of the biggest names of the progressive metal genre.

Black Clouds and Silver Linings: The next in a long string of awesome albums and the best since Metropolis part 2 "Scene From a Memory".

Seriously this is one band that just keeps getting better and better. There's a lyric on here;

All the finest wines improve with age

it seems so do Dream Theater!

The trouble is its an album that is so good I find it hard to find the words to describe it.

It startings with the epic 16 odd minute opus A Nightmare to Remember, a true story about a car accident which Jorn Petrucci had as a kid. It's one of my personal favourites from the album. It is also noteworthy for more extensive use of Mike Portnoys more gutteral vocals as well as James LaBrie.

Next is lead single A Rite of Pasage. Not my personal favourite from the album but as very good song all the same and it fits in well.

Wither is next. It's the most commercial song on the album and the lighest but it is also very good and like A Rite of Passage fits in very well with the rest of the release. Though over 5 minutes long its the shorted song the album has to offer.

The Shatterned Fortress is another favourite of mine and is the final part of Mike Portnoys's Alcohol's Anonymous saga. It is like parts taken from the previous 4 songs The Glass Prison, This Dying Soul, The Root of all Evil and Repentance all put together and then some new stuff thrown in for good measure. It's damn good and a great way to end the saga which, although split up over 5 albums, is essential one big song. Well worth a listen to every part one after the other.

The Best of Times is a tribute to Mike's late father. A solid song, but not a favourite of mine.

The count of Tuscany is my 3rd favourite and it is nearly 20 minutes in length. The main album's last track, it does a good job of ending the album.

In summary the main album can only get a 5 stars from me. Although I said 3 songs weren't favourites of mine that by no means makes them bad. In fact I honestly don't know how the band will top this album.

Covers disc that comes in some editions isn't bad either. My personal favourite of the covers is Iron Maiden's To Tame a Land, a song Dream Theater felt needed reviving in some way since Maiden don't play it live, a sentiment I agree with.

Can't say I bother with the instrumental disc, I like the vocals too much, but its there is anyone is that way inclined, since the music alone is awesome too.

Legend of the Seeker: Complete First Season [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Legend of the Seeker: Complete First Season [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Craig Parker
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £14.51

26 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How to murder a good book., 21 Nov. 2009
Warning, this review contains spoilers.

As a fan of Terry Goodkind's books for several years now, and having recently finished reading The Sword of Truth series with the release of the eleventh book, Confessor, I was looking forwards to this TV adaption of the first book, Wizard's First Rule.

The first two episodes were fairly true to the book, what changes they did make mostly worked with what was already established as canon in Sword of Truth lore, with the exception of lead female Kahlan having a sister whom was still alive. After these two episodes (Prophecy and Destiny) I felt certain that the production team behind the series would do well with the rest of it. How very wrong I was.

Episode 3, titled Bounty, was a standalone episode in its own right and had next to nothing to do with the source material. This was continued into the next episode, Brennidon, which include some plots points from the source material, but none of it in a true way, in the case of lead character Richard's mother, completely contradicting the source material (a trend the series continued to do throughout), and spoiling another plot point far too early in the series.

Episodes 5, Listener, and 6, Elixir, continued the trend of episodes which had barely anything to do with the source material. Lisenter introduced a faction, The Sisters of Light too early and out of context. Kahlan's back story was also changed. Elixir was like Bounty, nothing to do with the source.

Episode 7, Identity, made a lot of references to the source material, such as Richard being made to look like someone else so his friends would not recognise him, which did happen in the book but not in the context that is shown in the episode. Episode 8, Denna, returned the series to form slightly with a plot taken from the book though it the tradition of the series, introduced in far too early. It did however ruin the established Sword of Truth lore concerning Confessors (more on this in a bit).

Episode 9, Puppeteer brought the number of what I call valid episodes up to 4, featuring a plot to do with the book, but again twisted. Episode 10, Sacrifice destroyed the already damaged lore of Confessors, when they make Kahlan meet the Mother Confessor. There's just one probably with this, Kahlan IS The Mother Confessor, in fact she's the only Confessor therefore this episode is a completely disgrace to Goodkind's work. The plot is irrelevant after that. It also writes out Demmin Nass far too early and explors future plot points in a different context, ruining the chance of a decent production of the later books.

Episode 11, Confession, through to episode 15, Conversion, continued with the trend, mostly doing their own thing while every so often breaking established lore and throwing in the odd plot point at exactly the wrong place, with particular note on the Con Dar being introduced far too early (I hope you're seeing a trend here).

Episode 16, Bloodline ruined several plot points and destroyed book 7, The Pillars of Creation in the space of 40 minutes. After that the episode can have no redeeming qualities.

Episode 17, Deception through episode 20, Sanctuary continued with the usual trend discussed above, though episode 18, Mirror was portrayed more as a comedy and as such was slightly more entertaining than others.

So then we finally came to the final 2 episodes, the first of which was Fever, which began the last contradiction of the series about where the final confrontation would take place. But again, had little to do with the book.

So you'd think the finale would have something to do with the book. Well it did, in the final confrontation but its telling of it was completely different. It introduced Cara, one of the Mord-Sith too early, and touched on plot points not even explored (but hinted at) in the novels but in the entirely wrong light. In the end though Darken Rahl was defeated (though the show made it look too easy), though the revelation that Rahl is Richard's Father was left out (Rahl however said he was Richard's brother in the previous episode) and although Richard did kiss Kahlan once at the end, they did not actually get together as in the book, even though they must have realised that Kahlan's Confessor magic had had no affect on Richard, which had been the only thing keeping them apart. This in itself has potential to break further plot points. Zedd, the wizard also stated that the magic of Orden was no more in this episode having apparently been destroyed with Rahl, thus destroyed the plot points of books as early as the fifth.

So discounting episodes that were partially based on the source material like the last one, that gave the episode count which had any validity in the whole series of 22 episodes a total of 4. Not very good odds in my opinion. In fact when I reflect on this series for this review I cringe. The books are really good but this was disgraceful. It just about managed to be entertaining in its own right, but the final score can be no more than 4, one point for every episode where the production remember what they were supposed to be doing.

Review updates (April 2011)

So here we are, some way down the line from when I originally wrote this review. Legend of the Seeker ran for a second season which I only saw bits of and has since been cancelled. I'm not going to talk about that. What I want to talk about in this update to my old review is some points that need addressing based on feedback given on this review's original posting on the website.

First off, let's address the term 'based on' shall we? I have been repeatedly told that this series was only 'based on' Terry Goodkind's books. This is something that is actually true of anything that is adapted from a book. Changes are made for TV or film. No one, especially me, expected otherwise. However there is a difference to odd changes in the adaptation and even new material added, to being what Legend of the Seeker ultimately was - a completely different story which seemed to go out of its way to break established canon. That's not what 'based on' means in my opinion. I call that murdering a good book, as I referenced in this review's original title.

Secondly, building on from that, I have got the impression that the term 'based on' is being used as a reason to make the show immune from criticism from people like myself, who wanted Goodkind's novels done justice on screen. Let me tell you all now, it doesn't. Nothing makes any show immune from criticism, just as all you show fans are free to criticise the books in turn as you seem to be wont to do. However at the end of the day I can sit back comfortably and say that I'll still have these books if the show didn't exist, while if the book's didn't exist you'd have a completely different show, if you had one at all. I'd also like to mention a certain quote about people like myself needing to get a life. Things like this make me get sarcastic for an obvious reason, and that is that it is the point of a review to pass your opinion on the review's subject. A quote like that invites a world where everything released, be it book, album, film or TV shows, always gets a 5* rating by default. That's not how the world works. I'm sorry people, but just because you liked the show you can't expect everyone to share that opinion. I never expected everyone to share my view and I'm not sure why you fans of the show are suddenly the victims in all this. You act like the opinion of fans of the book is irrelevant and worthless. I'm sorry but I don't see where you got the claim to the moral high ground.

To be fair, Goodkind himself likes and supports the show, stating that there is room for both. I respect him for that, because if I had authored the books I'd have been very put out by this show. Goodkind said that it stays true to the strength and nobility of his characters. This is one point that I can say is a positive for the series, because it's true. The portrayal of the characters and the relationships between them is the show's strongest point. Unfortunately there's more to a story than its characters, it's called plot lines and for the most part this is a show that had its own plot lines and would have been a much more enjoyable affair if it didn't have any association with Goodkind's work, because it feels as iff it was just using his work to gain attention.

Let's also clear up one thing. Legend of the Seeker is not a bad program. In fact, as I have said to people before, it was probably the best fantasy show on television, but it's just not Sword of truth, not by a long shot. For what the show runner's wanted to do they would have had a lot more credibility to create their own characters and main plot line completely unrelated to Goodkind's work, because when I watch this show I almost feel as if that is what it is already, then I remind myself that it is supposed to be based on Sword of Truth, and that's the point which I have to stop watching. I loved that series of books. I rate it as one of the best fantasy series of all time. The trouble is when I watch Legend of the Seeker it makes me sick that every time a point comes up that was related to the books, the exact opposite is done in the show. That's why I don't rate the show very highly. It is good in its own right, but I penalise it for pretending to be something it's not.

Goodkind's books are pretty dark in terms of content. I can completely understand the need to tone the content down when transferring it to screen. The producers want the show to reach a wider audience. They want to make money out of it. I like making money to, and I totally get the reasoning to make Legend of the Seeker a family show, a direct adaptation from the book's would have warranted an 18+ age rating on it. However they could have easily given the program more of a relationship to the source material while still toning down any adult content.

In short all Legend of the Seeker succeeded in doing was proving that a) it's very difficult to make a good fantasy adaptation, and b) you can't take an adult book and turn it into a family show without messing up.
Comment Comments (17) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2013 2:22 PM BST

The Shining [DVD] [1980]
The Shining [DVD] [1980]
Dvd ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Shining - but only just, 1 July 2009
This review is from: The Shining [DVD] [1980] (DVD)
I sometimes think that this film version of Stephen King's the Shining should come with a warning that is only very very loosely based on the book. The majority of King's names and present (although I refuse to say characters for reasons that will be explained shortly) and a few of the major plot points such as Jack Torrance's alcohol problems and Danny Torrance's visions but otherwise this film is not The Shining, it's something completely different. It's almost as if Stanley Kubrick had a similar idea that he couldn't have got away with making on his own because of a few too many similarities with King's book and so had to get adaption rights to mold his own story around King's setting. Now that's a rather bold accusation but the point is even if I just imagine for a moment that my little theory there was true, the end result wouldn't be that much different from what the film actually is.

A few of the major problems I have with it are as follows;

Where is Tony, the man in Danny's visions?
Why does Ullman seem to be concerned for Jack?
Why does Jack not, deep down, care about his family?
Why does Jack kill Dick?
Why does he not get his final redemption?
Why does the film not give off much of a supernatural feel?

The list could go on and on, yet despite all it's obvious faults and unfaithfulness The Shinning manages to be a decent film in it's own right, it's just not, to me, The Shining. I like Jack Nicholson as an actor and he's very good here but unfortunately for him he has a script to follow and a fail to relate the Jack Torrance here to the one from the novel all that much. Essentially this is a horror film for those who do not read Stephen King or are a fan of Kubrick's work. King fans should avoid and get the TV series adaption instead.

Saw (Uncut, Theatrical Version) [DVD]
Saw (Uncut, Theatrical Version) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Leigh Whannell
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £1.24

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite horror films, 1 July 2009
Saw and it's many sequels do something that a great deal of horror films fail to - have a sense of reality. There is nothing in them that has a supernatural sense such as ghosts, grotesque mutants, over sized insects and the like. Everything contained within, though at time seemingly just a bit too far fetched could happen (God forbid it) in the real world. It's more about the story and the gore. You've really got to be able to take the sheer amount of gore to be interested in this film.

Saw also manages to not be predictable like a number of other films. It tries to make out that the character of Zep Hindle (Michael Emerson) is the antagonist, though in my opinion didn't do a good job of it because I was never convinced at that front but still I didn't see the true end coming and that I find is a rarity in a film.

Saw is the first of five (soon to be six) films and in my opinion the first remains the best. A horror classic to be sure. The acting is perhaps not the best around but is good enough to do the film justice. What really gets me about it though is that it's almost like a crime thriller type film at the same time and good use of flashback scenes keep the viewer guessing about what's really going on when most of the present setting of the films takes place in a single room. Once I started watching I was hooked and could not take my eyes off the screen. 5 stars and well deserved.

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