Year 50 Day 294

Me looking bored on our living room couch.

Day 294: Day four of this head cold, and very over it…but it’s obviously not over me just yet. Watching two Marvel movies in one day maybe was a bit much inanity, but it was also right about the level of braining I could manage. Apparently other people at work have been hit with this bug, and it’s nothing more than a doozy of a cold, possibly exacerbated because it’s the first cold I’ve had in around four or five years at this point.

🎥 The Marvels

The Marvels (2023): ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mostly suffers from the same problem that just about all of Marvel’s recent efforts are suffering from: too much required backstory. There’s simply no way to really understand everything if you haven’t already devoted hours upon hours to watching all the various series and movies that lay the groundwork for whatever is happening here (or even if you have, but don’t have an encyclopedic memory for it all and perfect recall).

The movie is at its best when it’s just the three primary women interacting with each other, whether the strained relationship between Danvers and Rambeau, or Khan fangirling over meeting Captain Marvel, or the three of them experimenting with their entangled powers. Iman Vellani in particular continues to be a delight as Kamala Khan. And the space station evacuation scene was an unexpected bit of hilarity.

But the action scenes are overly frenetic and difficult to follow, there’s yet another generic and barely fleshed out villain, and a whole lot of flashy effects that are pretty, but not much more than that.

On the whole, not as bad as some have said, but not as good as either the Ms. Marvel series or the Captain Marvel film.

Year 50 Day 293

Me standing in front of a bookcase full of science fiction books.

Day 293: Still sick; another day of doing as little as possible. Read a bunch of my current book (Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars), finished season four of For All Mankind (very good), and watched The Last Voyage of the Demeter (not very good). At this point, unless a miracle occurs overnight, I think tomorrow’s going to be a sick day instead of heading back to work.

🎥 The Last Voyage of the Demeter

The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023): ⭐️⭐️

A clever concept that’s poorly executed. Not creepy, not scary, no real suspense because we know the end result, really needed about half an hour edited out (it dragged rather than being suspenseful), and then a ridiculous ending that seems like they’re trying to set up a sequel, which makes no sense. Very glad we didn’t spring for this one in the theater.

🎥 Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021): ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This one took long enough to hit reasonable rental prices that we’d lost track of what the reviews said, so we weren’t sure what to expect, and after other recent attempts to resurrect old franchises that didn’t work out so well, weren’t terribly optimistic. Happily, we enjoyed this more than we expected to. It was amusing, the kids weren’t annoying, the effects nicely called back to the originals, and we appreciated that the plot picked up on a lot of the original film (for us, it wasn’t “too much fan service”, it was continuing the story). Glad we finally got around to giving it a shot.

(That said, I will continue to be annoyed that the whiny, racist, sexist, childish backlash against the 2016 film means we don’t get to continue that storyline. That I enjoyed this one and am now looking forward to the next one doesn’t mean I wouldn’t happily swap them out for a timeline where the 2016 film got continued instead.)

📚 Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

17/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

More of the same, and so far, my overall opinion remains unchanged. Entertaining enough adventures, just not anything particularly amazing. On the one hand, friends have told me this is where the series really starts to pick up steam; on the other hand, when after three books I’m still just saying, “well, it’s okay…”, this may be the last of these I dive into for now. Maybe curiosity will bring me back later on? We’ll see.

Me holding Grave Peril on my iPad

Year 50 Day 291

Me sitting against a pile of pillows in bed.

Day 291: Woke up this morning with a bit of a scratchy throat and cough. While it was minor, we didn’t want it to become anything major, and since we didn’t have any real plans for the day, we just decided to “not”. Stayed in bed, read books (I got through most of a Dresden Files novel), watched TV (just one episode of the latest season of For All Mankind to go), napped, and let my body do what it needed to to, hopefully, not develop into anything worse. At the end of the day, I’m still kinda horky and mildly gross, but I’m not any worse, so we’ll just see how tomorrow goes.

📚 Cadet Kirk by Diane Carey

16/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The final and best of this YA series. The main trio finally end up all adventuring together, as a simple shuttle hop gets sidetracked by mercenaries. Overall, while all of the books have a certain amount of overly-convenient happenstance to get the characters together, they’re a quick entertaining read as one “what if?” version of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy’s Academy days.

A note on the illustrations: Oddly, it kind of felt like the illustrator just skimmed the plot, if that, particularly with this book. Much of the action takes place aboard a shuttle, clearly described as an early version of the TOS “box on two cylinders” shuttlecraft, but the cover and one of the interior illustrations shows a more angular, TMP-style shuttle with warp sled (but the sled is outfitted with the cylindrical TOS nacelles rather than the flatter TMP style). And towards the end, a character described in the text as human (at least in appearance) is drawn as a TOS-style Klingon, complete with gold sash. Odd mistakes to make (and while the target audience for these books might not notice these things, they do stand out to me).

Me holding Cadet Kirk