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YoungVagabond Sep 12, 2012 5:50 AM
"I agree. It wouldn’t be good enough for a mathematician. That’s where the ratings has its limitations and are best when accompanied to reviews where you can explain your goal when reading, your background, mindset at the moment, etc."

Indeed. This was a major consideration when I rated chess books on Goodreads.

"Some books just aren't made to be turned into movies."

Very true. I can think of many examples, too.

"So far the only movie I watched that I enjoyed more than the book version was The Lord of the Rings which still has a million issues with it, but I found the book to be so boring and dragging out the action, that it was good having the story summarized into movies."

I enjoyed the books far more. I only watched "The Fellowship of the Ring", and although I liked it, I had no desire to watch any of the sequels afterwards.

While the description in some parts of the book trilogy is slow, the trick is to read through it quickly. You will eventually be glad you did; the pay-off at the end is worth it.

Also, I would recommend checking out Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. While largely inspired by "The Lord of the Rings", it's more exciting, intelligent, and amazing than Tolkien's masterpiece ever was. My favorite series of books ever.

"I find that this is what happens in real like and always feel a book somehow lacks depth when the character you end up with is the same as when you started."

It really depends. In some instances, it makes sense for a character to change over the course of bitter life events and/or years of life experience.

But during a short period of time, with nothing to sway a character's internal motivations, there is little reason for them to change.

"A book that does that for example is Romeo and Juliet. Although I enjoy the book (my rant might contradict that) and I find the movie (the Franco Zeffirelli one) is a great work, when I logically analyse this work of the so praised Shakespeare I can only conclude it has no depth. It is supposed to be “one of the most wonderful love stories of all times”, but the amount of tragedies that could be avoided, the weakness and the cowardice of the characters, the feeling sorry for themselves instead of actually trying to solve the issue, the killing themselves. To me is more of an obsession story than a love story. But wait a minute, I actually like this story (or do I? Doubting myself now…), and because of that I will not proceed to compare certain parts of this work with what it has to be one of the worse story ever told, and by that of course I’m talking about Twilight."

I'm a lot more neutral towards Romeo and Juliet. It's an okay book, but nothing I consider a masterpiece. It's just too simple and straightforward for that.

That's hardly a criticism of Shakespeare, though; thinking back to the early 1600s, what literature was around back then?

Well, there were the Greco-Roman classics, Orlando Furioso, lots of epic/love poems, Canterbury Tales, the Decameron, the Divine Comedy...and that's about it!

I can't criticize his characters on some perceived flaws in their thinking, either; the standards for behavior in Renaissance Italy were probably a touch different than those today.

"Well point being, great books need great characters, with depth. That’s why Gone with the Wind is such a great work. That’s why the Kite Runner is a good book. That’s why Dune is a great book. "

Yes, "Gone with the Wind" is a wonderful book, and Scarlett is an outstanding character. I haven't read "The Kite Runner".

Nevertheless, the best love stories I have read are by far the ones written by Haruki Murakami, like "Norwegian Wood" or "Dance Dance Dance".

Book 4 of the Dark Tower series ("Wizard and Glass") and "Master and Margarita" are also fantastic, though.

"In fact, one of the only characters that I feel doesn’t grow, learn or change much as the story progresses in Dune, is the Baron Harkonnen. For that reason and other happenings along the way, I doubt that you will actually be rooting for House Harkonnen. But then again, I don’t know you that well and when you’ve watched movies and played games before reading the book, you already have a few opinions formed about a thing or two…"

Haha, I wonder if House Harkonnen has "Devastator" tanks in the books!

"Yes, I just saw it. I hadn’t seen your review when I wrote that. I just love the Genie of Aladdin, he’s so funny."

The genie is played by annoying, pandering "comedian" and notorious joke-thief Robin Williams. I never considered him particularly funny, even as a kid, but he wasn't as annoying in "Aladdin" as in many of his live-action roles.

"This is also my fiancée’s favourite Disney movies. He, like you, is also not a big fan of Disney movies, although he’s not that much of a critic either."

Well, I'm not surprised. Normally, "big fans" of Disney animation tend to be women. I don't know why, but that's what I have observed.

Most guys really don't care that much.

"Yes, Simba is selfish. Yes, characters aren’t very smart, etc… Yet I still like The Lion King (I think… I’m actually a little scared of re-watching and finding that I don’t like it anymore), I will probably still feel sad when Mufasa dies, and will probably still sing along to “Hakuna Matata” no matter how horrible the message of the song actually is."

I remember a few years back, I decided to re-watch a lot of films that I loved as a kid.

My number one reaction was

"How the fuck did I ever like this shit when I was a kid?! Was I insane?!"

Only in a precious few cases did I still find something appealing in the work as an adult. So yeah, re-watching a Disney classic you loved and finding you despise it is a very real possibility.

"Another plus I have to give Disney movies is that they animation is quite good in my opinion. Although I am very critical about movies in general (I think I was the only one of my group of friends complaining about everything in the Batman – The knight rises movie), I don’t think I’ve ever watched Disney movies with a critical eye before. Reviews are totally ruining the relaxing, heart-warming, not thinking about much watching Disney movies experience for me! Haha"

Well, my reasons for disliking The Lion King at the age of 9 were a lot less critical than those of Confused Matthew, too!

While it's true that I was bothered by what an entitled brat Simba was (I was raised by Russian parents and I couldn't imagine acting so insolently towards them), my number one problem was how empty and boring the film was.

It's literally 30 minutes of cliched content stretched out to 90 minutes of length! It's probably the least eventful Disney film I have ever seen. The other hour is filled up with inane exposition desperately trying (and failing) to be funny and music numbers that I didn't like then and certainly not now.

That being said, there were a lot of animated films I loved as a kid.

For instance..."Heavy Metal" from 1981, haha. I think I watched it when I was 5, and it made a pretty big impression on me.
YoungVagabond Sep 10, 2012 11:16 PM
"Yes, I'm pretty sure you had some math books in it, maybe I'm mistaken about the politics. About Stewart's Calculus book I actually quite like it. Maybe the errors were fixed in later editions? Maybe not... It's been way too long since I've used it so I can't really remember. When I moved to Australia I had to quickly learn calculus in order to get into university (we don't do it in high school back in Brazil), I thought it was an easy to follow, well structured book and that was quite useful since my English back then wasn't good at all. In fact compared to the books my teachers used (I'm working towards my engineering degree) it is way better."

It's a perfectly fine book for an engineer learning calculus. For an actual mathematician? Not so much.

"You should give it a go one day. I'm a bit biased towards it since is my favorite, but it's a really smart sci-fi full of interesting characters and action. I've never played the games. I watched the movies and I was very disappointed..."

I know the complete plot to the book, heh. It's considered the first "modern sci-fi book", so I will certainly give it a read at one point or another.

I watched a couple of the films too (including David Lynch's) and wasn't very impressed, either.

I would probably be rooting for House Harkonnen since they were by far my favorite to play in the games, though!

"Haha I guess a lot of people would have the same reaction. I get her, I'm still coming to terms with this new knowledge thinking "not even Aladdin? Not even The Lion King?". I'll just refrain from reading any Disney films reviews from now on... Any other films (no matter how much I liked it) I'm ok with the bad reviews."

Huh? I gave "Aladdin" a very good review and high score. It's probably my favorite Disney film ever, in fact. I wish more childrens' were as action-packed, exciting, and featured such a unique, exotic setting.

"The Lion King", on the other hand? Even if it wasn't a shameless piece of plagiarism, it's just a lousy film. This review goes into more detail than what I wrote on Criticker;

http://www.confusedmatthew.com/The-Lion-King.php
YoungVagabond Aug 31, 2012 4:21 AM
"Interesting variety of books on your Goodreads account - action, romance, classics, chess, math, politics, crime... you're doing quite well!"

Math and politics books? On my account? While I have read a lot of math books (I have an undergrad degree in the subject), I don't believe I added any to Goodreads, did I? Can't really think of any political works, either.

Amusingly though, Stewart's Calculus (which you added) is what we used to study calculus when I took it in high school a full decade ago. I remember it being a pretty lousy textbook, filled with errors...but maybe better than the standard text used in undergrad. (Thankfully, I didn't have to take those classes!)

Also, I have actually never read Dune...even though I spent countless hours as a child playing the early DOS computer games!

"About your criticker ratings and reviews I've gotta say though, you're a tough critic to please. While reading some of your harsh reviews made me laugh and think "that's so true" or "I haven't thought about that before", some of them (specially the sweet Disney movies - my girlie side speaking) just made me defensive wanting to start an argument, I mean "Really... Who doesn't like Disney movies???". Apparently a lot of people."

Haha, that's exactly the way my ex-girlfriend reacted when I first showed her my Criticker rankings! She just couldn't believe that Disney films, her Holy of Holies, didn't appeal to me, even when I was a kid!

I don't consider myself difficult to please, though; as long as a film merely manages to entertain me, that's fine, no matter how contrived, cliched, and brainless it is.

Really, there are two different types of films; pure entertainment and serious "art". The vast majority of what I have seen and liked is the former. However, my favorites are the movies which are art.
YoungVagabond Aug 29, 2012 3:56 AM
Oh, no worries. Real life takes precedence.

Practice makes perfect with writing reviews (as with anything else), and the trick to doing it quickly is to write down your initial thoughts as quickly as possible in a stream of consciousness, and then edit it after the fact.

Again, thanks for the kind words about my reviews.

I have something like 1600 mini-reviews (and a few longer reviews linked from those) on my Criticker account;

http://www.criticker.com/profile/ShogunRua/

I only have a few book reviews on my Goodreads account, but I happen to think they're good ones;

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6212215-vlad

It's hard to describe every book and movie that I like succinctly, but hopefully, you get some idea from browsing those two profiles and my favorites there.
YoungVagabond Apr 21, 2012 3:20 AM
Thanks for the kind words.

Honestly, I haven't checked my review feedback in many months. Not only is the system a fundamentally flawed one, not only is it easily abused, not only is it a popularity contest/echo chamber, but it's ALSO bugged, with certain "helpful" votes counting as "not helpful" and vice versa. (Blame the site's lack of coding/maintenance there)

I don't care about that, though; I mainly write reviews for myself, to better articulate what I thought of a work. However, an important secondary goal is to provide an informative, amusing review for others. Hopefully, I've managed that.

These days, I mainly write hundreds upon hundreds of (live action) movie mini-reviews, and the occasional book review.

You should try writing some reviews of your own!