Month: September 2013

Remembering Allan Dent (6th Dec 1926 – 9th Sept 2013)

2013-09-28 11.46.31

On Friday, on a clear, sunny and warm day in Scunthorpe, I and the rest of my family laid to rest my Grandfather. Allan Dent passed away on 9th September, at the ripe old age of eighty-six.

I wanted to write something about him before this, but I didn’t know where to start. I still don’t. For the past five years Grandad suffered from an increasingly-worsening dementia which left him unable to recognise me, or other family members. It’s been a truly heartbreaking experience, like an open wound festering at the back of my mind. Watching parts of him washed away by an unstoppable tide, its something I wouldn’t wish on anybody.

But that, as horrific as it was, is not how I will remember my Grandad.

Read on…


Heresy of the Week: Disney saved Star Wars

disney darth vader

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

Far from ruining a cherished geek property, Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars (and Lucasarts) represents a bold new chapter which could reinvigorate the franchise, and restore it to its pre-1999 glory.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: Batman should be left to die

here lies batman

Having just emerged from an epic, gritty trilogy (courtesy of Christopher Nolan) the Dark Knight’s cowl should not be passed on the next the line of chisel-jawed actors, but rather the (film) franchise should be stowed away in some dusty Warner Brothers/DC Comics archive, and permitted to lie fallow for a while.

Ah, Batman. You’ve been on the big screen eight times, by my count, played by five different actors. Your franchise has been taken in all directions, from the camped-up gothic of Tim Burton’s films, to the gritty “realism” of Christopher Nolan’s rebooted trilogy, to…well, let’s not dwell on Batman and Robin.

And now Ben Affleck is going to get a go. Most of the internet seems to be up in arms over this, despite that it’s not really the end of the world. I’m not terribly bothered about Affleck per se, though the whole Batman vs Superman business seems a little questionable. (It does seems a somewhat odd casting decision, since Affleck was the lead in one of the worst not-Batman and Robin superhero films of recent times: Daredevil)

No, my contention is a little more controversial than Mr Affleck. Frankly, I’m not sure there should be any more Batman films with anyone wearing the cowl.

Read on…



Recall, for a moment, the Matrix trilogy. The Matrix: the surprise sensation, edgy, punchy and full of exciting ideas. Then, The Matrix Reloaded; weary, cumbersome, overloaded with exposition and half-explained mythology. Finally, The Matrix Revolutions; better than Reloaded, not as good as The Matrix, but by which point everybody had stopped caring.

And if that seems an odd way to start a review of Riddick, consider the path the series has taken so far. Pitch Black (subsequently retitled The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black); a low-budget, character-driven bruiser of a science-fiction/horror, with a gloriously rendered antihero. The Chronicles of Riddick; a camped-up sequel, buckling under the weight of its own laboured mythology.

It’s not quite as dire as The Matrix‘s fall from grace, but still. Whilst it had its good moments (and let’s not forget, so did The Matrix Revolutions) CoR was not a good film.

Fortunately, director David Twohy seems to have realised where CoR went wrong, and has offered up Riddick (The Chronicles of Riddick: Riddick?) as a more back-to-basics move.

Read on…

Heresy of the Week: Star Trek Into Darkness wasn’t Wrath of Khan

star trek into darkness trailer hands

Far from being a copy (in reverse) of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek Into Darkness was the natural successor to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot, in story, tone and character.

Ah, Star Trek Into Darkness. You aren’t the most hated of films, in fact by many (myself included) you were rather enjoyed. But there were also those who complained that, by riffing heavily off arguably the franchise’s most successful Trek onto the big screen (see what I did there) it showed an unforgivable lack of originality.

Says io9’s Rob Bricken:

That’s my biggest problem with the new Star Trek — that after a requisite origin story that needlessly pulled in Leonard Nimoy, they were content to give a retread of Wrath of Khan instead of giving us anything new or unexpected…they started a whole new Trek universe, and could have done practically anything. Instead, we got a mercenary remake of the most widely known Trek story out there.

With respect to Rob, whilst he’s right about how much Abrams ignored the opportunity to really explore the alternate timeline, he’s wrong about it being a straight Wrath of Khan do-over. And here is why.

Read on…