Book Review: The Discworld Graphic Novels by Terry Pratchett

Author: Terry Pratchett
Title: The Discworld Graphic Novels: The Colour of Magic & The Light Fantastic
Publication Info: New York : Harper, c2008.
The Colour of Magic

  • Originally published: Innovative, 1991
  • Illustrated by Steven Ross
  • Adapted by Scott Rockwell
  • Lettered by Vickie Williams
  • Edited by David Campiti

The Light Fantastic

  • Originally published: Innovative, 1992
  • Adapted by Scott Rockwell
  • Illustrated by Steven Ross
  • Painted by Mira Fairchild
  • Lettered by Michelle Beck

Other Books Read by the Same Author:


In this graphic novel introduces Terry Pratchett’s Discworld through an adaptation of the first two novels in the series.  The central character is the hapless wizard Rincewind who is charged with being the guide for Twoflower, the first tourist ever on Discworld.  The pair, along with Twoflower’s Luggage (a sentient chest that moves on tiny legs), have a series of adventures that play on the tropes of high fantasy and sword and sorcery stories.  Meanwhile the gods themselves and a powerful book of magic called Octavo have plans for them.

The adventures are ludicrous and fun and wonderfully illustrated. If there’s a flaw is that the story seems to skip around a bit making me wonder how much of the original novel’s story was abridged for space. Nevertheless, it’s serves as a delightful introduction to Discworld.

Rating: ****

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Title: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Release Date: May 5, 2023
Director: James Gunn
Production Company: Marvel Studios

The Guardians of the Galaxy movies have always stood out from the MCU because they are largely untethered from Earth settings allowing them to full embrace the imaginative and weird.  The third (and final?) entry in the series is no exception.  This movie explores the backstory of Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and how he was genetically engineered by the mad scientist the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji).  When Rocket is injured his friends can’t heal him because of a kill switch implanted by the High Evolutionary’s corporation Orgocorp.  Rocket’s friends go on a quest to find the code to override the kill switch and in the process uncover the full enormity of the High Evolutionary’s eugenic plots.

The movie does a great job of balancing action/adventure, weird and wild settings (especially Orgocorp’s biological headquarters), and a central message of love and friendship among found family.  All the main characters get some good moments and story arcs while newer characters in the Guardians universe are blended in (I particularly like Cosmo the Spacedog as voiced by Maria Bakalova).  And Drax (Dave Bautista) gets to be a dad again.  Like the other Guardians’ movies, popular music is significant and this movie features a lot of great needle drops expanding the playlist into the 1990s and 2000s.

Rating: ***1/2




Book Review: Boom! by Mark Haddon

Author: Mark Haddon 
Title: Boom!
Narrator: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Publication Info: Listening Library (2010)
Other Books Read by the Same Author:


Recommended books:


90 Movies in 90 Days: Boy and the World (2013)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, most of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Boy and the World
Release Date: September 20, 2013
Director: Alê Abreu
Production Company: Filme de Papel

In this vividly-animated film from Brazil that sometimes resembles the artwork of Eric Carle, a small boy named Cuca discovers the harsh realities of the world. Life is idyllic for Cuca in his rural home until his father has to leave home to work in the city.  Cuca decides to look for his father and ends up on an adventure that takes him from farms to futuristic cities to industrial hellscapes.  The movie carries a strong message about the exploitation of labor, repressive government, and environmental degradation wrapped in visually-stunning animation. It wows you with awe and it makes you cry.

Rating: ****1/2

90 Movies in 90 Days: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, most of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Release Date: December 21, 2022
Director: Joel Crawford
Production Company: DreamWorks Animation

I was surprised by the popular acclaim of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish since it came out, because sequels of spinoffs of animated franchises generally aren’t all that good. I only became aware of the character Puss in Boots recently when I watched Shrek 2 for the first time.  My linear mind felt I would need to watch the rest of the Shrek sequels and the original Puss in Boots first, but I overcame that inclination.

And I was just fine, because Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is an excellent standalone feature and if referenced anything in earlier movies I didn’t feel like I was missing out.  Oh, and the hype is real.  This is a funny, creative, visually-imaginative, and heartfelt film which has something for the whole family (except maybe the youngest children).

The adventurer Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) has lost 8 of his 9 lives and begins to fear his mortality with Death, in the form of a Wolf (Wagner Moura), literally tailing him.  He learns of a map that leads to a magical wishing star and determines to steal the map and use the wish to gain more lives.  His companions on the journey are fellow adventurer (and on-again/off-again romantic interest) Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault) and Perrito (Harvey Guillén), a kindhearted but dim Chihuahua.  They are chased by the crime family of Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears (Olivia Coleman, Ray Winstone, and Samson Kayo) who are in turn pursued by the psychotic pastry chef “Big” Jack Horner (John Mulaney).

A simple summary of the movies plot would be “the real treasure is the friends we made along the way” but that would undervalue the high quality of the characterization and storytelling.  The movie is very funny and I particularly like how Puss can code switch between being a Spanish adventurer and the behavior of real life cats.  Similarly, all of the characters have moments that reference their fairy tale/nursery rhyme origins in clever ways. The animation style is stunning and changes to enhance action and fantasy sequences.  It feels like a bold choice for the filmmakers to break from just using the same style they’ve used throughout the Shrek franchise.

So, this movie probably has no right to be as good as it is.  But it is good, and I tip my hat to everyone involved for putting their best into it.

Rating: ****

90 Movies in 90 Days: Son of the White Mare (1981)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Son of the White Mare
Release Date: 22 October 1981
Director: Marcell Jankovics
Production Company: PannóniaFilm

Son of the White Mare is a visually-stunning animated adaptation of ancient Hungarian folklore.  The White Mare actually has three sons, all humanoid with super powers.  The youngest and strongest is Treeshaker who teams up with his brothers Stonecrumbler and Irontemperer to find the entrance to the Underworld where three princesses have been kidnapped by three dragons.  The film is episodic, typically with the older brothers failing a quest, and then Treeshaker succeeding, and battles against new and bigger villains that anticipates video game structure.

What sets this movie apart is the bold colors and symmetrical design of the animation that feels like Mary Blair and Lisa Frank went to an acid test.  For viewers interested in literary symbolism, Treeshaker and his brothers represent masculine archetypes in a world that seems to be filled with representations of women’s genitatlia. This feels like the type of movie that was screened at midnight movies for generations of college students on hallucinogens, along with Fantastic Planet and Heavy Metal.  Turns out that it was only released in the US in 2020.  Even at 86 minutes, it feels like it goes on too long, but it’s definitely worth a watch.

Rating: ***1/2

50 Years, 50 Movies (1994): The Secret of Roan Inish

I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to watch and review one movie from each year of my life.  The only qualification is that it has to be a movie I’ve not reviewed previously.



Top Grossing Movies of 1994:

  1. The Lion King
  2. Forrest Gump
  3. True Lies
  4. The Mask
  5. Speed

Best Picture Oscar Nominees and Winners of 1994:

Other Movies I’ve Reviewed from 1994:

Title: The Secret of Roan Inish
Release Date: September 12, 1994
Director: John Sayles
Production Company:  Jones Entertainment Group | Skerry Productions

In the late 1940s, 10-year-old Fiona (Jeni Courtney) is sent from the city where her father and brother work in factories, to live with her grandparents (Eileen Colgan and Mick Lally) and cousin Eamon (Richard Sheridan) in a village on the coast of Donegal.  When Fiona was younger her whole family lived on the offshore island of Roan Inish until they were forced to leave during World War II.  During the evacuation, Fiona’s infant brother Jamie was lost, floating to see in a boat-shaped cradle, a family heirloom.  Fiona hears stories of her family including the legend that an ancestor married a selkie, a magical being that can transform from seal to human.  She begins to believe that Jamie is still alive and cared for by the seals around Roan Inish.

This gentle coming-of-age family film is a beautiful story of storytelling and how stories hold us together.  It’s also beautifully filmed, capturing the natural beauty of Ireland.  Courtney is solid as the curious and confident Fiona, although she only has a couple of other acting credits.  I also feel like John Sayles should get discussed more among the directors who came of age in the 80s and 90s, because he’s made some excellent films.  I feel bad for sleeping on this movie for almost 30 years, but now I can say it’s among my all-time favorites. This movie would pair well with another one of my favorites, Song of the Sea.

Rating: ****1/2

90 Movies in 90 Days: Shrek 2 (2004)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Shrek 2
Release Date: May 19, 2004
Director:Andrew Adamson | Kelly Asbury | Conrad Vernon
Production Company: DreamWorks Animation | PDI/DreamWorks

Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) have their marital bliss interrupted by a call to visit Fiona’s parents King Harold (John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews!) in the kingdom of Far Far Away.  It’s basically “Meet the Parents” Shrek-style with the central premise of Shrek wondering if on ogre is good enough for a princess. They are joined on the journey by Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and meet a new ally along the way in the form of the hilarious Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas).  Meanwhile, Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders) tries to sabotage Shrek and Fiona’s marriage on behalf of her son Prince Charming (Rupert Everett).

The movie is full of references to famous film moments, parodies of fairy tale conventions, and needle drops that somehow almost always work. I kind of feel like the movie rehashes a lot of the ground covered in the original, but it doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

Rating: ***1/2

90 Movies in 90 Days: Ernest & Celestine

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Ernest & Celestine
Release Date: 12 December 2012
Director: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar,  & Benjamin Renner
Production Company: La Parti Productions | Les Armateurs | Melusine Productions

This charming animated movie is set in a universe populated by anthropomorphic mice and anthropomorphic bears, and where the two species hate one another.  Celestine (Mackenzie Foy) is a young mouse training for dentistry but who really wants to be an artist.  Ernest (Forest Whitaker) is a down on his luck bear who fails to make a living as a street musician.  The pair end up meeting and helping one another out of their respective jams (which burglary).  They bond and form a friendship while hiding out at Ernest’s rural house.

The movie does a good job of showing how misfits in their own communities coming together to form a found family.  It also shows the importance of artists in societies built on striving.  And of course it’s a story of overcoming prejudice against people different from oneself.  The movie is never heavy handed about any of these themes up until the simultaneous courtroom scenes at the climax of the movie that didn’t work too well for me.  The same team that created A Town Called Panic were involved in this movie, but it can’t be any more different stylistically in the hand-drawn animation that resembles watercolors and is gentle where the earlier film is chaotic.

The English voice cast also includes Lauren Bacall in one of the final roles before her death.

Rating: ***1/2

90 Movies in 90 Days: Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Kirikou and the Sorceress
Release Date: 9 December 1998
Director: Michel Ocelot
Production Company: France 3 Cinéma | Les Armateurs | Monipoly Productions | Odec Kid Cartoons | Rija Studio | Studio O | Trans Europe Film

In a series of animated adventures drawn from West African folk tales that are vividly imaginative, darkly humorous, and downright strange, a hero named Kirikou (Theodore Sibusiso Sibeko) defends his village against an evil sorceress, Karaba (Antoinette Kellermann).  It should be noted that Kirikou is a very tiny and very naked newborn baby who nonetheless can talk, run fast, and burrow underground.  This is not your typical superhero! The story is charming and sweet, and ultimately about redemption rather than revenge.  The soundtrack by Youssou N’Dour is also excellent.

Rating ***1/2

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