Summer blockbuster tally, part 4

I liked the original Get Smart, I like Steve Carell, and I like Anne Hathaway (she brings honor to our name!). Combine them and what’s not to love, right? Alas, this logic is wrong.

I did not like the movie Get Smart. I think probably the main problem is that the original TV series was so iconic that it was impossible to not compare the two (and find the movie lacking). The things that were funny were all things that were directly inspired by the series (i.e., the cone of silence will never NOT be funny), although I think I laughed the hardest at a short gag (literally) involving Max in a fighter jet which is not usually my sort of humor. And I know it’s unfair to expect Carell to do a Don Adams impression, but everytime he said ‘Missed it by that much’ or ‘Would you believe…’ it just wasn’t the same without Adams’ distinctive voice.

And, I don’t know why, but they completely changed the characterizations of the characters! I remember most of the humor coming from the fact that Max is pretty much a bumbling idiot who only succeeds due to the cleverness of those around him (usually 99), but he doesn’t know he’s a bumbling idiot (and those around him don’t think any less of him for being one). Also, 99, while being able to totally kick ass which was cool, was fairly unlikable for most of the movie – it probably doesn’t help that I don’t think Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell have very good romantic chemistry – the vibe I get from them is more favorite uncle-favorite niece, so it was pretty creepy to have them get together. And it sort of seemed like they were both playing the role of the straight man which doesn’t really work in a comedy. And I think the movie couldn’t decide if they were making a comedy (which doesn’t have to make sense) or a clever spy-thriller (which does) and ended up splitting the difference.

Dwayne Johnson is cute as agent 23 and I thought Alan Arkin made a good, beleaguered chief. Masi Oka and…the other guy were were cute as the tech guys. I was disappointed in Terence Stamp’s Siegfried (the original actor cameos and he looks so good that they should have gotten him to reprise his role – no cameo from Barbara Feldon, though, and I’m fairly sure she’s still alive…) – mostly because in the series, the bad guys are just as inept as Max, but here, while not really threatening, they were mostly just bland.

So disappointing as a whole, I’d say, although it has made me want to watch the original series (even though I’m kind of worried that it wouldn’t be as funny as I remember).

Summer blockbuster tally = 2-1-1

ETA: In other news, I think Next-Door Neighbor is having a cocktail party. In the 1960s.

DOCTOR!

I am BESIDE myself with the awesome that is Doctor Who!!!!!! Why, oh, why do none of you watch it so that we can talk in high-pitched squeals about it?!?!?!?!?!?!

IS IT NEXT WEEK YET?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

IR Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire by Derek Landy

Let me start off by saying that this review may be a bit biased because I love Skulduggery Pleasant. Seriously, right now, he and Sherlock Holmes are mud-wrestling in my head for the number 1 spot on my literary crush list.

Yeah. It’s hot.

Anyway, if you haven’t read the first one, none of this one will make any sense, but let me say that Skulduggery and Valkyrie (nee Stephanie) are back in fine form here. There is world-threatening danger, lots of action, lots of creatures (vampires and spiders and a Grotesquery, oh my!), and lots and lots of the trademark Skulduggery wit. I’m not sure I would recommend this to the younger set very readily because the aforementioned creatures (especially the vampires – the sparkly Cullen clan, they are not) are fairly scary and Landy doesn’t hold back in the fight scenes – people are hurt and people die.

Valkyrie really comes into her own in this book – last time I complained that when the action shifts its focus from Skulduggery Pleasant, I found myself skimming ahead to the next time he appeared. But now, not only are Skulduggery’s lessons in elemental magic and Tanith’s lessons in fighting rubbing off on Valkyrie, she’s also picking up Skulduggery’s brand of wit. She’s still not quite as cool as he is, but she’s getting there.

And fortunately for us, it looks as though Skulduggery and co. haven’t completely averted the end of the world, only postponed it for a bit, so I’m expecting there to be a sequel – yay! Although, I must say, for a book that got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly last time, there was not a lot of press for this one – I only thought to check when my eye caught on my copy of the first one and I thought ‘Shouldn’t it be about time for the second one?’ Turns out it was released in May, but I didn’t hear anything about it and when I went to B&N to pick it up, they didn’t have any copies of it and Borders only had one! I’m hoping for Skulduggery’s sake that there was a run on them moments before I entered the shop because otherwise, that’s disgraceful behavior on the part of the bookshops!

Also. I’m not crazy about the more cartoonish cover of this one. The UK version is much better:

Much more stylish and cool, which I think suits the book better.

My rating: A