Prince Lao

PrinceLao-01-covDans la haute montagne, Lao passe ses journées à courir après les animaux. Il ne sait pas encore que ces derniers vont devenir ses meilleurs amis après qu’une avalanche ait enseveli son village et sa famille. Recueilli par Chabala, un immense yéti blanc, Lao découvre alors qu’il peut parler le langage des animaux. Un nouveau monde s’offre à lui : de nouveaux amis, des paysages où nul de ses semblables n’a jamais posé le pied… mais aussi une lutte incessante contre la cupidité et la cruauté des humains ! 

Un magnifique conte initiatique en haut des cimes himalayennes.

ATTENTION: Peut contenir des traces de “divulgâcheur” [spoilers]! Les personnes allergiques à toutes discussions d’une intrigue avant d’en avoir eux-même pris connaissance sont vivement conseillées de prendre les précautions nécessaires pour leur sécurité et devraient éviter de lire plus loin! 

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T. 1, page 3

Entre Convoi et Koralovski, Philippe Gauckler a produit une bande-dessinée d’aventure pour enfants. Prince Lao est le récit des aventures d’un jeune garçon de sept ou huit ans, fils de bergers nomades qui vivent dans les pâturages himalayens de ce qui apparait être le Tibet. Lorsqu’une avalanche détruit leur campement, Lao se retrouve seul en plein blizzard. Il est recueillit par un gentil yéti blanc nommé Chabala. Ils retournent tous deux sur les lieux du campement ensevelit mais ne trouvent traces de personnes, seulement le coller de jade de Mamidahy, sa grand-mère. Lorsque les amis de Chabala, le léopard des neiges Sheyen et le gypaète géant Mirro, sont capturé par des chasseurs (vraisemblablement chinois car, selon Sheyen, ils “font de plus en plus d’incursions sur notre territoire”), Chabala et Lao partent à leur recherche, se lançant ainsi dans un long périple initiatique qui ultimement permettra à Lao de se découvrir. 

La présence de Chabala confère à Lao une partie de ses pouvoirs et il peut ainsi parler aux animaux. Avec l’aide de plusieurs compagnons d’infortune (les chats siamois Yin et Yan, le panda Zazen, la belette Shépa, la petite humaine Amala et le dompteur Pok), ils retrouvent finalement leurs amis dans le repère des chasseurs, l’île aux Loups. Après quelques péripéties et un combat contre le loup-ours Himal, ils rendent leur liberté à tous les animaux capturés par l’infâme colonel Kayen.

Gauckler nous offre ici un beau conte sous la forme d’une BD dans un format plus traditionnel que Convoi. Le trait est simple et les couleurs à plat sont plus claires et sobres. C’est très agréable à l’oeil. Le récit est fluide et assez dynamique, alors que chaque page se termine sur une sorte de suspense qui nous appel à poursuivre la lecture.  Cela en fait une excellente BD pour enfants (et aussi pour grands).

Prince Lao T. 1: L’Île aux Loups, par Philippe Gauckler. Bruxelles: Éditions Le Lombard, juin 2006. 48 pages, 22.5 x 29.7 cm, 10.60 € / C$17.95. ISBN 9782803621682. Pour lectorat jeune (3+). stars-4-0

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Travelers S03

Travelers-s03This week-end I binge-watched the third season of the Canadian-American sci-fi TV series Travelers that was just released on Netflix (December 14th). 

A little similar to the older TV series Continuum (2012), this is a time-travel story where people from the future travel back in time to try preventing a dystopian future and possible civilization-ending events. Although, this time, the people themselves don’t travel in time, but it is rather their consciousness that “overwrites” the mind of present-day people who were about to die and of whom they assume the identity. Those well-trained travelers follow a strict set of rules (or protocols) and are executing missions that are given to them by the Director, an artificial intelligence that rules the future and monitors the timelines. 

The concept is quite interesting and it is cleverly written. Of course such stories are a basketful of paradoxes that are often confusing and not always credible so it is generally better not to scrutinize them too much. However, it is compelling and very entertaining. Despite all common sense telling me it should be bad, I liked it a lot.

The first season (12 episodes), which aired in late 2016 on Showcase and Netflix, introduced the characters and the setting of the story as the travelers main mission is to prevent an asteroid from destroying the northeastern seaboard. Each episode bring a minor mission and develops further the relationships between the travelers and their entourage. One of them, Marcy, has trouble with her host’s body. They all must battle a rebel group of travelers called the Faction, which want to save humanity from the control of the artificial intelligence.

With the second season (12 episodes), in 2017, the story concentrate around the fight against the Faction and their leader in present-day, known as Traveler 001. The third season (10 episodes), which was released only on Netflix, continues the Faction story arc. The travelers a battered and their cover story is blown — but their existence is known only to the top levels of governments. They are forced to work under the oversight of the actual FBI. As none of their missions seems to improve the future and as the Faction is gaining ground, the prospects are quite bleak for the travelers… 

No fourth season has been announced yet and the third season’s ending could very well also be considered the end of the series. However, it also leaves an opening for a sequel…

All in all, Travelers is a very good science-fiction TV series, well worth watching. stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ GoogleIMDbNetflixRotten TomatoesShowcase  Wikipedia ]

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Outlaw King

OutlawKingPosterOutlaw King is a movie about the other hero of the 14th-century War of Scottish Independence. As Braveheart told us about William Wallace, this story is about Robert the Bruce. When the Scottish monarch died without a descendent, the lords called upon Edward I of England to chose a successor, a process known as the Great Cause. Instead he invaded Scotland and seized power. The Scottish lords rebelled but the superior English army prevails and the lords finally submitted. Only Wallace continues to fight. However, when he is captured and killed, the civil unrest convinces Robert the Bruce to take arms again. He is crowned king of the Scots in 1306 and, despite being outnumbered and a series of early defeats (like the battle of Methven), he succeeds, through guerrilla warfare, to push back the invader and finally defeat Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. He remains King of the Scots until his death in 1329 and is succeeded by his son, David. Ultimately, through his daughter Marjorie, one of his descendants (James VI/I, son of Mary, Queen of Scots) will reign over both Scotland and England (1603-1625). He is still today revered as a national hero.

This is a beautiful and enthralling historical movie about honour, power, courage and strength. Unfortunately, like most movies, it favours drama over historical accuracy. I particularly like the gritty and realistic depiction of the period, which feels just like Outlander (the first season is similarly about the Jacobite rising of 1745 culminating with the defeat at the Battle of Culloden) or Game of Thrones (some actors of this series appear in the movie: James Cosmo, Stephen Dillane and Clive Russell), but without the fantasy elements. 

Outlaw King, starring Chris Pine (Star Trek), Florence Pugh and Aaron Taylor Johnson, premiered at TIFF in September and was released on Netflix (and select theaters) on November 9th. It is rated R because of some full frontal nudity and graphic violence. The movie was liked but without too much enthusiasm (rating of 63% / 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, 7.0 on IMDb). It is very interesting if you are a fan of Scottish historical action movies, but remains quite entertaining nevertheless. stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ GoogleIMDbNetflixRotten TomatoesWikipedia ]

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo-covThe latest Star Wars movie offers us quite an interesting (but simple) story with the usual (improved?) special effects. It’s the story of someone who gets out of the slums, with audacity and a bit of courage, doing what’s need to be done. A story of love and betrayal. It has a moral (hey, it’s Disney after all), lots of action and great humour. It also has a bunch of very interesting characters (and excellent acting to go with it). It’s sort of a growing-up story, about how a slum kid become… well… a kind of accidental hero. For the Star Wars fans it also offers lots of back story: how Han got his name, how he met Chewbacca and, later, Lando, how he got the Millenium Falcon and what makes it such a special ship, and, finally, how the rebellion started. 

It might not have the depth of the original movies (although that fame might be due in part to the legend, greater music and fantasized childhood memory) but it is, in itself, a good movie. It might not be THE Star Wars movie but, as the title says, it is A Star Wars movie. However, it is a fact that it didn’t performed well at the box-office, barely breaking-even, and was less appreciated by the fans than the critics with an audience score of 64% versus a critical rating of 70% on Rotten Tomatoes.  It’s a little blend, yes, but it’s still quite entertaining and well worth watching. stars-3-0

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBAnQBiblio MtlGoogleIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

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Calder

Alexander Calder : un inventeur radicalMercredi nous avons profité d’un rendez-vous en ville pour aller visiter l’exposition Alexander Calder : un inventeur radical au Musée des Beaux-arts de Montréal. Cette retrospective des oeuvres de l’artiste Américain, qui se tient au MBAM du 21 septembre 2018 au 24 février 2019, offre 150 œuvres et documents qui représentent bien les différentes périodes de cet artiste multidisciplinaire. Comme d’habitude, je vous offre ici quelques memento de ma visite…

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