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Reviews Written by
Mr. D. J. Read (Alnwick, Northumberland United Kingdom)

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The Moonstone (Penguin Popular Classics)
The Moonstone (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Wilkie Collins
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 Dec. 2006
People seem intent on castigating Collins for this novel. There is a reason it is a classic, and that is the fact that it is the first ever detective novel. The writing is very victorian, but he was deeply influenced by his good friend Charles Dickens, so we cannot blame him for that.

The characters are eminently fleshed out and each are appropriate for their roles. The plot could possibly have been condensed, but this book was very much experimental in that sense. The conclusion is actually quite a surprise (although looking back I probably should have spotted the culprit), and the setting and landscape are told with every degree of vivid colour that truly bring it to life.

In my opinion it is significantly better than 'The Woman In White', but I'm with the Agatha Christie school of crime writing. If you enjoy her novels you will enjoy this.

Madagascar and Penguin Christmas Caper (Two disc set) [DVD]
Madagascar and Penguin Christmas Caper (Two disc set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Eric Darnell
Price: £2.91

1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst in this genre., 17 Dec. 2006
If you do have the misfortune of watching this, I defy you to prevent your mind drifting. This is the whole problem, the story is so shallow and empty. You feel no sympathy for the characters, played by rather dismal american 'comedians' who fail to even raise a smile at any point in the duration. The characters are just so....bad. The plot is not involving and there is no empathy, so the audience does not feel involved at all.

There are so many better films out there it is hard to see why anybody would want this anymore. Even if it's in a sale, even if someone pays you to have it, don't do it! If you give this as a gift expect only disappointment.

Pirates Of The Caribbean - The Curse Of The Black Pearl - 1 disc [DVD]
Pirates Of The Caribbean - The Curse Of The Black Pearl - 1 disc [DVD]
Dvd ~ Johnny Depp
Price: £1.14

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depends what you want from a film, 17 Dec. 2006
This film is a ripping yarn that flies along at a ferocious pace. Depp is eminently watchable as the foppish Jack Sparrow, even if some of his cohorts (Knightly and Bloom) are both wooden and mediocre.

Most of you will be aware of the plot I would assume. The wicked Captain Barbossa and his undead crew wreak havoc along the Caribbean, especially port royal. Captain Sparrow breaks out of jail and acquires a ship with bloom, resulting in them seeking the cursed treasure of the Isle de Muerte and the Black pearl itself. Miss Swan(Knightly), daughter of the governor of this port, is captured by the crew, and this of course, is what Turner (Bloom)is seeking himself.

It should perhaps be borne in mind that the level of success was not anticipated and the budget was not as big as you might imagine, certainly not as big as the sequel (which is even better). This is a blockbuster to satisfy those suffering the post Lord of the rings blues.

It is easy to watch and perfect christmas viewing, or indeed at any time. Buy without delay.

Morrowind Elder Scrolls 3: Game of the Year Edition (PC)
Morrowind Elder Scrolls 3: Game of the Year Edition (PC)
Offered by Click For Games UK
Price: £6.84

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome game, 8 Dec. 2006
When I first bought this game, a few years ago, my PC was not up to scratch and I had to endure poor frame rates and all sorts of problems. But today, with modern PCs this comes into its own.

The true genius of the game is the ability to freely wander anywhere, interacting with anybody, joining guild,s rising within them to become the masters of them. The character development is clever, with a number of attributes that are 'levelled up' by repeated use of that attribute. This does cause problems with things like the armourer ability, where you in essence have to get yourself beaten up so that you can repair the armour and therefore level up.

The graphics have obviously been surpassed now, but they are still very good. It is fantastic just sneaking around, pucking locks, pickpocketing, but there are a few weak points, and I will try to encompass the 'add ons' in this.

The main plot, though it took me many months to start because the rest of the game is so good, was weak. If you go straight into it you will not get the most from this game, it feels very cobbled together, and almost an afterthought.

The next problem I experienced was in the tribunal add on. There is a part where you have to place a bomb in a wall, obviously to destroy the obstruction. A cheeky bug (I'm not sure if anyone else has experienced it) has manifested itself whereby I get the countdown, but there is no explosion and I cannot get past this obstacle. You can imagine how angry I was. But Bloodmoon was brilliant to be fair to it and redeemed the series.

Eragon (PC DVD)
Eragon (PC DVD)
Offered by BLUESHINE
Price: £3.70

4 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Looks can be deceiving, 8 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Eragon (PC DVD) (Video Game)
The game is obviously a cash in on the film, and the abyssmal book on which it is based. Initially I woul agree with the former reviewer, the graphics are pleasant, even if they are a bit buggy. Small bugs are just the developers rushing this through to tie in with the film and always occur on film licenses, and are a symptom of being rushed through without the proper debugging process.

The feeling of being rushed comes through in the gameplay. The plot is obviously from the book, and is therefore cliched and dull. The gameplay has fiddly controls and all gets pretty repetitive, and is designed for the younger and more naive market. My advice is to keep the receipt if you are older than eight, because you will be making use of it in the not too distant future.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2010 12:58 PM GMT

Pirates Of The Caribbean Original Soundtrack
Pirates Of The Caribbean Original Soundtrack
Price: £5.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a tune, 8 Dec. 2006
The score to this film is truly stunning. The music is so catchy, and, more than that, has long term appeal, I'm still listening on and off since buying it over a year ago. I'm sure you know the tune if you're looking at this review.

Although the soundtrack is dominated by the said tune, there are many variations of it, and other great tunes in there. I still find track 15 the best, it is truly wonderful. And of course the price is now very reasonable, you have no excuse for not buying this.

Pirates Of The Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest (Two-Disc Special Edition)[DVD] [2006]
Pirates Of The Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest (Two-Disc Special Edition)[DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Johnny Depp
Price: £2.49

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning film, 8 Dec. 2006
I loved the first, and this is a perfect sequel. The basic plot is that Jack Sparrow has done a bunk, leaving Miss Swan and Mr Turner in the lurch and languishing in jail. In order to avoid the noose they must track him down and retrieve the compass. All the while Jack is being hunted by Davy Jones who wants his soul for services rendered (i.e raising the black pearl), and he has the use of the Kraken.

In order to get everybody out of a rather sticky situation they must track down the heart of Davy Jones, each for a different purpose, including the ex commodore Norrington.

The film is visually stunning, the stunts are fantastic, and the overall plot is fascinating and moves along at a cracking pace. As you would expect with what is essentially an adventure yarn, lots of swordplay, naval battles (with 'said beastie'), unscrupulous villains (not just Davy Jones) and of course Depp is brilliant as the foppish Captain Sparrow.

If I did have a complaint it comes in the acting. Sparrow is brilliantly played, and very funny throughout, but the rest are not so good. Knightly is a rather forgettable actress and her character seems to have changed completely from the first installment. Bloom is rather wooden as Turner. However, I'm not sure who plays Davey Jones, but he is superb as well, as are 'that guy from The Office' and his comrade.

Best film of the year, must have for christmas, and can be enjoyed by the whole family. This really is a must have film. If you liked the first, this is even better, in every way.

Mossflower (Redwall)
Mossflower (Redwall)
by Gary Chalk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Same old, same old, 8 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Mossflower (Redwall) (Paperback)
This essentially tells the first tale of the renowned Martin the Warrior as he helps the 'woodlanders' of Mossflower rise up against the evil Tsarmina and her minions in the fortress of Kotir. To do this Martin must venture to Salamandastron to return Boar the fighter to help with their uprising. Meanwhile the woodlandes employ a spy, and a master of disguise in order to break out their prisoners, while the stoats etc launch reprisal attacks etc.

If you have ever read a Brian Jaques book before, this is exactly the same, and I mean EXACTLY. Every book seems to have the band of evil creatures holed up, trying to rule the innocent hedgehogs, squirrels etc. There are a few skirmishes, a quest, numerous plans and strategies on both sides, and a thoroughly nasty evildoer.

If you have read one, you have read them all. I have also read 'Martin the Warrior' and 'Marlfox' which stick to exactly the same pattern. The bad guys make stupid plans, those on the side of good are annoying, and in order to enforce some element of characterisation all he has done is make each race have a peculiarity with their speech (e.g the bats repeat the last few words that they speak).

Perhaps children may like this, and I would certainly encourage them to read rather than waste their lives in front of television, but there are so many better books out there than this. I would certainly not recommend reading more than one of this series, unless you want to read a virtually identical book with different named characters.

The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain)
The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain)
by Lloyd Alexander
Edition: Paperback

6 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Immensely Overrated, 15 Nov. 2006
I purchased this on the strength of consecutive 5 star reviews, my was i disappointed. It tells the tale of Taran, who gives chase for some kind of psychic pig called 'Hen Wen'. This in turn brings him into contact with Gydion, a prince who has come to consult this very pig.

Their adventures take them to the castle of Archen, incarceration and subsequent escape. From here they progress through the idyllic Medwyns valley and into the realm of the fair folk via the black lake, in a quest to warn a city of the coming of the Horned king, the Captain of Arawn (who is the lord of the dead or something).

I found the characters all very weak, and all very predictable. The bard with his lyre that breaks everytime he speaks an untruth, Eilonwy with her immature patronising, Gurgi thinking ever of his stomach. They ventrue through some fairly cliched settings, bumping into characters that I sensed were supposed to be funny, and maybe they were if you are a ten year old.

It's high fantasy, but it just feels empty, devoid of any empathy with the characters. This sort of thing has been done before, and so much better by Tolkien as to render this superfluous. The whole Celtic theme feels imposed, and rather detracts from the story.

I would avoid this series if I were over ten years old. Perhaps it would appeal to those younger than this, with its simplistic themes, its cardboard characters, its feeble settings and empty plot. There is nothing to hold the attention for an adult here.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2016 8:48 AM BST

Dirty Dancing [DVD]
Dirty Dancing [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Grey
Price: £3.16

17 of 64 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull dancing, 9 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Dirty Dancing [DVD] (DVD)
Dubious film about some dodgy old bloke trying to pull a 17 year old girl (and the legal age of consent in the U.S is 18) who had a rather large nose. They dance on a tree, in some water and in a seedy club.

And that's about it. Women, for some bizarre reason like this film, but guys, beware, this is utter garbage.

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