The Greatest Book You’ve Never Read. Sea of Glass (1986) Review

I’m a slow reader hence I haven’t read a ton of books in my life, but out of the ones I have read Sea of Glass (written by Barry Longyear) is probably the most intelligent, moving and resonating.

Its so great I’m baffled that almost no one has heard of it.

Thomas Windom has been confined to his house since birth, but on his seventh birthday he opens a window and sees the outside world.

The world is ruled by MAC III, a computer that has implemented a brutal population control policy to preserve humanity’s future.

Thomas is caught by the authorities. His parents are executed and he is taken to what is essentially a death camp for illegal children.

As he grows up in this dystopian world, he tries to rebel against MAC III and forge a somewhat normal, happy life.

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DAYUM.

Longyear presents the story from Thomas’ point of view and records his thoughts, feelings and memories in great detail.

At the beginning a lot of time is spent showing Thomas with his parents, establishing their chemistry and relationship. So when they get caught its devastating as well as terrifying.

This use of perspective makes Sea of Glass a much more emotional experience than 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

Unlike Guy Montag and Winston Smith who start out in secure positions in their dystopian societies, Thomas begins in a normal, loving family environment, one we can all understand.

When he goes outside, we’re not just introduced to the story’s world buts it’s antagonism.

From vicious prison guards to a concise police force, the world’s horror is shown first hand and at some points in rather gruesome detail.

Sea of Glass is probably one of the greatest dystopian novels out there and deserves a whole lot more recognition. It truly is an undiscovered gem.

I give Sea of Glass an outstanding 10 out of 10.

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80S OVERDOSE!!!! Turbo Kid (2015) Review

I don’t think I have ever smiled so many times when watching a film than I did watching Turbo Kid. It’s an adorable collage of 80s Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror and Action motifs.

Set in the post-apocalyptic world of 1997, a teen adopts the persona of his favorite comic-book hero to fight a ruthless overlord and save the girl of his dreams.

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This will make you feel good.

When I review something, whether it’s a film, book or graphic novel, I usually focus on the piece’s substance rather than its style.

So when reviewing a film I tend to talk about the plot, dialogue and characters rather than the cinematography, acting or score.

Using this approach for Turbo Kid wouldn’t be fair because in case you haven’t gathered from the premise, the film is based on the timeless ‘Hero’s Journey’ story.

This archetypal plot can be found in Captain America, Harry Potter, The Matrix, Star Wars and many other stories so most people are familiar with it.

However, this does not make Turbo Kid cliché or unoriginal.

The film’s visual style clearly implies an homage to the genres that the Hero’s Journey flourished in.

This is what made Turbo Kid such a joy to watch, there were so many things I recognized from other films.

Take the desolate landscapes of the Mad Max Trilogy, the violence of the Evil Dead and Re-Animator films, the action of Robocop and the heart of Star Wars and The Neverending Story, put them together and you get Turbo Kid.

The substance may not offer anything new but the style makes it possibly one of the most charming films that has come out in the last decade.

I give Turbo Kid a loving 8 out of 10.

It Made Me Smile…At Least. Special Correspondents (2016) Review

Special Correspondents is an admirable comedy in terms of concept but not necessarily in terms of presentation.

This original film from Netflix is about a radio journalist (Eric Bana) and his sound engineer (Ricky Gervais) who, after failing to get into Ecuador, fake a war report from a café.

As their reports get more popular the pair expand their story, going as far as pretending to be held hostage by terrorists.

With the U.S. government involved the two realize they’ve bitten off more than they could chew.

Special Correspondents pic

The concept is brilliant and to Gervais’ credit he does take advantage of its potential, especially in terms of plot.

There are many twists and turns which I didn’t expect.

For example, there’s one scene where Bana and Gervais are walking around in the city and are suddenly called by the station and are put on air.

They panic. They make tank and plane noises, trying to make this New York street sound like a war-zone.

The situation gets worse and worse which forces the characters to take more drastic measures. This results in some amusing scenes.

Unfortunately this is as far as the film goes with the concept’s potential.

In the first act the characters’ weaknesses and desires are literally stated in the dialogue.

Lines like “I haven’t done anything extraordinary” and “I’m destined for bigger things” immediately make the characters feel artificial.

Despite the occasional good joke most of the film’s comedy consists of awkward exchanges, pop culture references and toilet humor.

Special Correspondents isn’t a spectacular comedy but if you’re a Ricky Gervais fan and don’t mind a few giggles, I’d check it out. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it.

I give Special Correspondents 5 out of 10.