Transformers: The Last Knight

TransformersTheLastKnight-covThis story literally puts Earth against Cybertron. It’s Megatron versus Unicron. The Transformers have been here since the night of time. They fought with King Arthur, they fought in World War One, and even against Hitler. But we didn’t know about it because their existence has been occulted by a secret society started by Merlin himself, as he was entrusted with a power staff to control them all (or at least the three-headed dragon made of the bot-knights of the round table!). And Stonehenge is a weapon (more or less; maybe more a socket for a weapon…)!

Under the influence of Quintessa, Optimus has become Nemesis Prime! However, Yeager’s Autobot partner, Bumblebee, turns him around and, with the help of the bot-knights, they fight back against Quintessa and Megatron’s plan to destroy Earth. But it is far from over as the fight will continue with yet another movie (no, please, make them stop!)…

This movie offers a few good ideas (transformers in the past, steampunk influences, introduction of interesting new characters like Viviane or Izabella), but they are unfortunately slapped together in a messy way. The editing is horrendous, the dialogues terrible and don’t even get me started with the bad humour! At 2h34, the movie is way too long and the action is going too fast — transformations are just a blur and it feels like you’re watching a movie in fast-forward! Definitely entertaining but also rather annoying (particularly Cogman, the Bot-ler). I guess it is mostly for the hard-core fans.

The movie made plenty of money but it was disliked by viewers (with a mere 15% critic rating and 44% audience score at Rotten Tomatoes and 5.2 on IMDb — strangely the next film, standalone prequel Bumblebee, did very well with a Rotten Tomatoes critic rating of 94%). Maybe it’s time to pause and rethink the franchise… stars-2-0

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Happy Holidays to all !

Gratin assaisonné à tous

🌲☃️ 

Season’s greetings to all

Happy Holidays!

 🎁   🙏  🍀

A défaut de vous souhaitez la paix dans le monde (soyons réaliste!), je vous offre à tous, amis et lecteurs, mes voeux de quiétude et d’ordre, de bonheur et de joie, de santé et de prospérité tant pour ce solstice qui clôt un autre cycle solaire que pour la nouvelle année qui s’amorce et que nous espérons meilleures (Pour nos amis américains, je souhaite également une destitution sans peine et un prompt rétablissement 🤪). Peu importe ce que vous célébrez (Noël, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Saturnales, etc.) je vous souhaite tous de joyeuses fêtes!

For want of peace in the world (let’s be realistic!), I offer you all, friends and readers, my wishes for quietude and order, happiness and joy, health and prosperity for this solstice which closes another solar cycle as well as for the new year that is beginning and that we hope better (For our American friends, I also wish a painless impeachment and a speedy recovery 🤪). No matter what you celebrate (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Saturnalia, etc.) I wish you all happy holidays!

🏛    ⛪️    🕌    🕍    🕋    ⛩

عطلات سعيدة للجميع

祝大家節日快樂

Feliĉaj Ferioj al ĉiuj

Frohe Feiertage für alle

Ευχάριστες διακοπές σε όλους

Happy Holidays nan tout

חג שמח לכולם

सभी के लिए खुश छुट्टियाँ

Buone Feste a tutti

すべてにハッピーホリデー

Beatus festis in omnes

Счастливые праздники для всех

Felices fiestas a todos

Chúc mừng ngày lễ cho tất cả

 

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Mars S02

Mars-TV-posterI just finished watching the second season (and the end) of Mars, a National Geographic docudrama about what the colonisation of the red planet could look like. It’s based on a book by Stephen Petranek, How We’ll Live on Mars Amazon / Biblio ]The series has 13 episodes (two seasons of six episodes, plus a prequel).

It offers a fictitious story intertwined with interviews of real scientists and personalities (such has Elon Musk, Susan Wise Bauer, Andy Weir, Antonia Juhasz, Neil deGrass Tyson, Adam Frank, Stephen Petranek, Bill Nye, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Zubrin, Ann Druyan, etc.) to discuss the feasibility and necessity of exploring and colonizing Mars. It shows not only the scientific aspects of such endeavour, but also its human side. It is filmed in a very realistic way and the acting is good (although there’s no known actors in this international cast). A companion book was created to go along the TV series: Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet [ Amazon / Biblio ].

It is really interesting, particularly if you like hard science-fiction (series like The Expanse), but I would rather see a TV series adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson Mars trilogy… I am disappointed that it lasted only two seasons as it could have been so much more. The constant interruption of the storytelling with interviews can be annoying sometimes, but it gives the story more realism and makes the series not only entertaining but also educative. However, considering how slow space exploration is going right now, I think that starting the story in 2033 is a bit too optimistic. It was relatively well received by viewers and critics (ratings of 61% / 66% on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.5 on IMDb) and it is worth watching if you like space exploration. stars-3-5

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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! 

PrinceLao-01-p03

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

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