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Penguin Classics Nun
Penguin Classics Nun
by Denis Diderot
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.55
47 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars THE CRYING NUN, July 19 2004
This review is from: Penguin Classics Nun (Paperback)
Strangely enough, The Nun started out as a practical joke in 1760. A particularly pious and kind friend of Diderot's, named the Marquis de Croismare, had retired from Parisian life to his country estate and his friends really started to miss his presence. So they hatched a plot to force him to come back to the city. Two years previously, the Marquis had become involved with the case of a real-life nun who wished to renounce her vows and get out of her convent. The Marquis was one among many enlightened patrons who tried to help her, but in the end the nun never got out of the convent.
Diderot, hoping to play on this previous incident, made up an imaginary nun named Suzanne Simonin who wished to renounce her vows after being forced to take vows by her parents. Through forged letters sent through an intermediary, Diderot played this woman's tragedy up in an effort to get the Marquis to come back to Paris. It did not succeed and Diderot was forced to kill off the fake nun through his correspondance to end the joke. It turns out that the idea of the suffering Suzanne had taken such hold of Diderot that he decided to write an entire novel about her life.
The Nun by Denis Diderot purports to be the memoirs of one Suzanne Simonin, a young and beautiful former nun who is writing to the Marquis de Croismare in order to obtain financial aid and employment. Suzanne was forced to become a nun by her parents, particulary her mother. The reason is that Suzanne was born of an affair that her mother had on the side, not by her husband. While the husband hasn't said anything outright about it, you can tell that he's almost 100% sure that Suzanne isn't his child. Suzanne's sisters are more than happy for Suzanne to go because it means they won't have to split their parent's estate even further when they die. Suzanne's mother even tells her daughter that Suzanne's becoming a nun will make up for her sins and allow her mother to go to Heaven. If she refuses, she will probably suffer damnation.
After trying to get out of her promise Suzanne ends up at a convent run by a very kind nun, and is able to tolerate the days as they go by. After the Superior dies, Sister Sainte-Christine takes over and Suzanne's fortunes become bleaker. You see, things like religion run very well, until someone starts rocking the boat. Everyone knows that Suzanne doesn't want to be there and when she becomes rebellious, she becomes the convent pariah and suffers tremendous mental tortures as the Superior tries to make her conform to her idea of purity.
The theme of the book is that you don't have to be particularly religious to be a good person. I mean, these people in the book spend all their time trying to make Suzanne a pious nun but she is ALREADY a good person. When her Superior tries to bust a move on her in the bed, she has no idea that she is being seduced. It's almost like she is a child even though she's 20 years old.
Diderot is complaining about this notion that young women and men have been forced into the religious life, regardless of their own wishes. There's nothing wrong with choosing that path, if you are suited to it. As you can tell from the recent Catholic Church scandal in America, some people join the clergy for the wrong, even sinister, reasons. Witness the third Superior that Suzanne is almost seduced by, who preys on the young nuns of her convent, taking them to her bed and dropping them after her lust wears off. Diderot thinks that immoral acts will occur when humans are put in situations that deny their natural desires, whether it be for freedom or sex.

Azumanga Daioh: V.3 Rivals! (ep.10-14)
Azumanga Daioh: V.3 Rivals! (ep.10-14)
Price: CDN$ 30.19
5 used & new from CDN$ 14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars THE GIRLS ARE ALLRIGHT, July 19 2004
After a sub-par volume 2, Azumanga Daioh returns to its masterpiece of comedy form in the 5 episodes of Volume 3:Rivals.
The first two episodes are really about the arrival of a new student in the girls homeroom. Her name is Kagura (she was introduced in an earlier episode competing against Miss Yukari's homeroom). Supposedly, she is the best all around athlete at the school and Miss Yukari has transferred her into class just to beat her friend Miss Kurosawa in the coming athletic contest. Unfortunately, the tall, beautiful, and shy Sakaki also has a reputation for being above average in sports. Kagura instantly sees any interaction with Sakaki as a contest that she must try to win. For example, when Kagura and her sit down to eat lunch, Kagura bets she eat faster than Sakaki, then she vows to beat her in softball, etc. She also gets some insight into Sakaki's victimization by cats and tries to help out. When Sakaki learns about a street on TV which happens to be the home of hundreds of cats, she can't hold back and has to travel there on her bike. She might not make it out alive.
Episode 12 is called "Chiyo-Chan's Day" and it is exactly that. The entire episode is seen from her viewpoint, which is a somewhat strange position. Most of the school besides her friends see her as a cute curiosity and don't realize that she is one of the smartest students at the high school. When she runs into some of her former elementary school friends, we realize that maybe she misses being a kid and playing games or simple things like jumping rope. The episode ends with her in a very nice moment nostalgically jumping a rope with Sakaki and her beloved dog. Well, that is, until Tomo shows up!
Episode 13 is about the desperate situation that Kagura, Tomo, and the ever lost Osaka find themselves in. As final exams are coming up, they ask Yomi to help them out. When she refuses, they band together, calling themselves the 3 knuckleheads, and vow to pass the tests without her help. The problem is they are all dumb! Well, I don't know about dumb. Kagura is. Tomo is just to hyper to pay attention, and Osaka's brain is out in space somewhere, telling her to get it together or sleeping.
The last episode deals with the girl's summer vacation. Once again Chiyo-Chan has invited the girls to spend it with her at her beach house. Once again, Miss Yukari and Kurosawa invite themselves along too, even though Yukari left Chiyo-Chan psychologically scarred with her life-threatening driving abilities. This time Chiyo rents a van and doesn't let her drive. In preperation for the trip, Osaka and Chiyo go shopping and there is a funny skit where Osaka gets confused by the difference between escalators and elevators.
Azumanga Daioh is probably one of my favorite animes. It just makes you feel good watching it. The characters are so vibrant and funny, they seem like people you wish you had known. Friendship is the most important thing to these girls. It's not just a girl anime. To me, it speaks to universal jokes and truths that go beyond gender. It also has little absurd surreal twists which never become predictable. I guess the closest American equivalent to me would be if Charles Schulz had set the Peanuts characters in high school. I highly recommend this awesome series that will make a dark day bright for anyone.
The dvd includes a reversible cover and a 12-page booklet with translator notes, Japanese staff comments, and artwork of Sakaki in different clothes. It also comes with a cloisonne pin of Neco Coneco, Sakaki's favorite cat and kitten doll. The dvd itself has production sketches, clean open/close.
This anime was based on a manga by Kiyohiko Azuma which is just as funny as the anime. There are 4 volumes currently available in English.

Comic Party: V.4 The Final Page (ep.10-13)
Comic Party: V.4 The Final Page (ep.10-13)
Price: CDN$ 30.34
8 used & new from CDN$ 24.93

4.0 out of 5 stars DREAMS DO COME TRUE, July 15 2004
Well, here we are at the end of Comic Party. Yes, this is the last volume. Unlike the other dvds, this one contains 4 episodes plus a concluding mini-episode. It's almost sad that we won't get to watch these characters anymore.
As the dvd begins, Kazuki still refuses to draw doujinshi and spends most of his time in a dazed stupor looking out the window or into space. Sensing that Kazuki needs something to get him back into the rhythm of things, Mizuki volunteers him to be in charge of planning out the activities of his class for the culture fest. Will it bring him out his depression and will he be able to use the same organizational skills and strategic planning that he uses to draw his comics?
In the second episode, everyone seems to be making their plans for what they'll be doing after graduation. Kazuki is not too concerned. His high school feeds into a particular college, giving guaranteed acceptance with graduation. Mizuki, on the other hand, has no idea what to do with herself. She gets more and more stressed when her other friends seem to know exactly what they want to do. After an encounter with a young fan, Kazuki at last realizes what he is destined for.
In the third episode, Kazuki decides to make a comic to sell at the fast approaching Comic Party but it's too late to register. Luckily, Taishi foresaw this and went ahead and registered him. The problem is that the paperwork was placed in a comic he sold to a used comic store. If they don't find it, Kazuki won't be able to attend. Meanwhile, Mizuki is feeling alienated by Kazuki's renewed interest in comics. After speaking with Yuu, she might just have a change of heart about Mizuki's interests.
In the last episode, all of Kazuki's friends have to pitch in when he finds out that the printer has too much backlog to print his comic. So the gang has to hunt down copiers all over town to make copies and then they have to put it all together before the next day's Comic Party. Kazuki and Mizuki do make some progress in beginning a more profound relationship. Don't expect a cut and dried ending. The last episode ends right before Kazuki enters the Comic Party so we don't find out what happens. I believe that he was a success. That's just me.
Unfortunately, this is the last dvd of Comic Party, but really I don't see what else they could do after this volume. The characters aren't really that compelling or deep so I don't see how they could develop much more. Don't get me wrong, they are good comic characters. There are moments of sentimentality in this volume that made me wince a little and there were a couple of cliched moments when Mizuki was going to open her heart to Kazuki and, just at that moment, another character comes rushing in yelling and the moment is lost. The overseriousness of those two characters is balanced by the ever expounding Taishi and the constantly bickering and hilarious Yuu vs. Eimi rivalry with the ever-present "hot spring panda" insult used to its full effect.
Also on the dvd is the concluding mini-episode, in which the Comic Party cast encounters a super computer and learns how human life began with doujinshi being the catalyst instead of the monolith in 2001:A Space Odyssey.
Unlike the funny interviews with the Japanese voice actors/actresses on the other volumes, the bonuses on this disk are pretty skimpy:
Art Gallery
3 Character bios
Translator notes
Original US trailer
Clean Openings/Closings
Reversible cover
If you liked the anime, I guess you might check out the manga, but don't expect it to be the same as the anime. For example, Mizuki carries around a baseball bat with nails stuck in it to violently hit people in the head and there's fan service and all of the characters are already graduated. The anime was better and more innocent.

Magical Play: The Complete Collection
Magical Play: The Complete Collection
Price: CDN$ 29.89
9 used & new from CDN$ 19.85

5.0 out of 5 stars MARX BROTHERS ANIME, July 14 2004
I have to admit that I passed by this dvd many times and just looking at the cover I was not attracted to it at all. It looked like some stupid magical girl anime along the lines of Sailor Moon. It was only after I read a review of it in a magazine that I said to myself that the series sounded really funny.
The world of Magical Play is so bizarre that at first it's like trying to see in a dark room, your eyes and mind have to get adjusted to the humor that makes Excel Saga seem laid back. As the first episode opens we see this giant roc-like bird with what looks a human sized fish with legs in its talons. Then the giant bird drops the fish from what looks like a mile up. Meanwhile, on the ground below, Pipin Lacippe is having a magic duel and has won it, that is until the fish lands on her and knocks her out. That's when we find out that the fish is a living garment named Uokichi, worn by aspiring magical girl Padudu.
You see, on the world of Sweetland, girls with magical powers have to fight each other. Whoever wins recieves a stamp, called a hanamaru in a pocketbook. When they get enough, they become a magical girl, which basically means they can travel to Earth and become a superhero with their own comics, manga, and other merchandise. Pipin wants her hanamaru back and so begins a lifetime rivalry between her and Padudu.
We are also introduced to some other characters in Magical Play. Myumyu is a beautiful blond whose only clothing is two magical cats that cover up her assets. She might look good but inside she is a treacherous and backstabbing person. She acts like she's Padudu's friend but she really only sees her as a tool she can use to get what she wants. For example, she tells Padudu to walk across a rickety old bridge, pleading exhaustion. Padudu proceeds to cross and falls down into the gorge with a plank breaks. Nonononn (I hope I got all the n's) is a powerful warrior who refuses to use any magic and spends her time destroying cities. She becomes Padudu's friend in part because she pities her quest. She too wanted to be a magical girl until her best friend, Queen Purilun, the ruler of the world, betrayed her. She's a fugitive from the law, and the two top police officers, Mustard and Ketchup are always on the lookout to catch her. Queen Purilun, like Myumyu, hides her true self behind a mask of virtue and kindness. In reality she rules with an iron hand and wants to eliminate any rivals. Last, but not least with have Zucchini Cacchocari, the ineffectual henchman of Purilun who is too obsessed with Myumyu's body parts to destroy Padudu and her friends.
This dvd was great. It was just completely over the top and wacky but not in a naughty way. It did remind me of the Marx Brothers. One skit evolves into the next and the laughs just get bigger and bigger. This anime loves to pull the magical girl genre inside out and the rivalry between the girls just increases the humor. For example, in one episode, they come upon what looks like a Christmas tree hung with stars upon its branches. When you throw the stars they become shooting stars that people on Earth can see and wish upon. So they make a bet that whoever makes the most people on Earth happy through wishes will gain a hanamaru. In the heat of their competition they throw so many stars that they unknowlingly destroy much of the Earth. Funnily enough, they can't figure out why the people of the Earth aren't happier after they've unleashed the equivalent of a nuclear holocaust.
This was a great dvd. Really funny, really inventive. You can tell its parody is cushioned with affection for the genre of magical girl animes. The animation is gorgeous and the voice acting is first rate. The first disc contains four 33 minute episodes, character gallery, and an English voice actor commentary.
A surprise awaits you on the second disk. There is a fifth episode of Magical Play on it. The thing that makes it unique is that is a 3D CG episode. It sorta reimagines the first episode of the series in a darker mood. In this episode Padudu is fished from a river and arrested and thrown in prison and slated to be executed. Her cellmate happens to be Nonononn. Unless they want to die they will have to find a way to escape their executions. Strangely, in this episode, there was a lot of violence and blood and death, unlike the 1st disk. Go figure. It still had humor though.
I highly recommend this dvd. Very funny. Lots of depth. Complex comic characters.

Grrl Power!
Grrl Power!
DVD ~ Akitaroh Daichi
Price: CDN$ 22.99
16 used & new from CDN$ 2.82

4.0 out of 5 stars WE'LL DO WHAT YOU NEED FOR A FEE, July 14 2004
This review is from: Grrl Power! (DVD)
Grrl Power is the story of 3 elementary school dropouts who open a handyman, actually, a handygirl shop. That means they do tasks that others don't have the time or the inclination to do. For example, delivering a fisherman's lunch from his wife via jet ski, or making a girl break up with her boyfriend. Yes, they do charge a fee, but it's for a good cause. They want to buy an island where they can create their own nation away from the boring everyday lives of grownups.
Of the three girls, Sora is the loudest and seems to be the leader. Umi is the glamorous beauty who uses her looks to get what she wants. The last girl, Ao, is deaf and uses sign language and facial movements to communicate. She might just be the wisest of the three.
In this first and only volume so far, one of their classmates shows up trying to convince the 3 girls to come back to school. Strangely, we never hear about the girl's parents. They seem to live alone with no adult supervision. Of course, this is a comic world. They refuse to go back to school because they don't believe they learn anything there. Just then, a crying lady shows up at their door, begging for their assistance. Ironically, the woman asks the 3 girls to convince HER computer addicted son to go to school. It seems that, like them, he sees no use for public education. Well, suffice it to say, the girls just might have taken on their hardest case yet.
Director Akitaro Daichi self-produced this anime with the help of his friends. While it is based on a manga, Daichi originally conceived of it as an anime, but couldn't find backing for it, so he did a manga, figuring if that was successful, he would be able to carry out his original anime idea. The result is a very entertaining, if brief, one shot dvd.
Especially noteworthy is the character of Ao, probably the first anime character to communicate through sign language. She's not treated in the usual Hollywood style of sentimentality and parody. Ao operates as an equal and actually steals the show. The show never swims in cuteness, it's just plain funny.
My only complaint is that it's only one episode of 25 minutes. I understand that the director did it himself without the help of a production company so even doing one episode was probably a stressful experience. I guess if this dvd is successful, there will be more episodes. By the way, this was one of the first dvds to be simultaneously released in the US and Japan at the same time.
There's lots of extras on the dvd. There's a 45 minute interview with the director, which is really too much. I found myself looking out the window of the room in which he was being interviewed, because the guy just kept going and going. I didn't quite make it through. There's also a feature at an anime festival where Grrl Power was premiered. You get to see the Japanese voice actresses and even get a sign language lesson. The dvd also includes a commentary and interviews with the English voice actresses. Production sketches, Question and Answers with Japanese Voice Actresses in print form.
Highly recommended. Hopefully, someday there will be more Grrl Power!

Gun Crazy: A Woman From Nowhere
Gun Crazy: A Woman From Nowhere
DVD ~ Atsushi Muroga
Price: CDN$ 28.98
16 used & new from CDN$ 9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A FISTFUL OF YEN, July 12 2004
Japan has always been fascinated by American Westerns and vice versa, the Western has been influenced by the Samurai movies of Kurosawa. The lone gunman or the lone samurai, what's the difference? Gun Crazy: A Woman From Nowhere is almost a direct homage to the films of Sergio Leone, in particular the Clint Eastwood trilogy which in turn were homages to Kurosawa.
The movie begins with two Japanese cops on the verge of being torn in half by wires connecting their arms and legs to two trucks. That's when we're introduced to Tojo, the crime boss that runs the town of Tsuson. Fast forward 15 years as a mysterious bounty hunter named Saki, played by the luscious, maybe too luscious, Ryoko Yonekura in her action film debut. She arrives on her motorcycle just in time to see two American soldiers execute a man for disappointing their boss Tojo. They shoot Saki's motorcycle as a warning. She makes friends with a mechanic to fix her bike and learns from him that the entire town and the bordering Amercian military base are controlled by Tojo. Saki has been hired to kill him. The only allies she has is the mechanic and the last policeman left in town, who just happens to be a drunk. When she learns Tojo is going to hijack a shipment of laundered money, to the tune of 2 million dollars, from the US forces, Saki decides to lay a trap.
Yes, Gun Crazy is a B-movie. You can tell they didn't have a lot of money to work with. Most of the fight scenes show close-ups of guns shooting or of facial expressions. The only shots they linger on are bullet impacts. Well, at least this way they didn't have to hire fight choreographers. In one scene it almost looks like someone else's leg comes off the screen and kicks for Yonekura. Saki seems to move more like a model, she has kind of a sloppy walk like she's gonna trip at any moment. There's some element of charm in the movie even in its shortcomings. You can tell the director is really sincere in his storytelling, even though he doesn't have the budget. There are nice iconic moments in the film. Overall, the film is very well-acted, especially the police chief and the mechanic. Ryoko has some good moments, and shines best in moments of subtlety.
There is a sequel which will be released on August 24, 2004. It is rated 17+ for some language and gore. It has Japanese 2.0 sound and 5.1 English which has a pretty good dub. This dvd also features an interview with Ryoko Yonekura.
I would also recommend the film Princess Blade, The Man Without a Name Trilogy of Sergio Leone, Yojimbo and Sanjuro by Kurosawa, Kill Bill, and the anime series Noir if you liked this film.

Kino's Journey: V.2 Emerging Lanes (ep.5-7)
Kino's Journey: V.2 Emerging Lanes (ep.5-7)
Price: CDN$ 30.96
15 used & new from CDN$ 23.05

3.0 out of 5 stars A LITTLE LACKING IN PACE AND IDEAS, July 11 2004
The second volume of Kino's Journey doesn't seem to be up to the quality of the 1st volume. Actually, since the 3rd episode, the storytelling has taken a plunge. The first episode on this volume is entitled "3 Men Along the Rails". Afraid of getting lost in a forest, Kino and Hermes decide to follow an abandoned rail line that seems like it hasn't been used for years. To their surprise they come upon a guy polishing and refurbishing the line. He says he's been doing it for 50 years. The old man asks Kino to tell him a story from one of his travels and so he tells him the story about a country where nobody works. What follows as they go along the line and through stories Kino tells is the pointlessness of work, or rather, how people occupy their lives with some sort of action, whether they like it or not to make life worth living.
"Coliseum" is a two part episode in which Kino comes to a country which is segregated into two classes. First class citizens live on the surface and have all the luxuries of life while those that are not citizens are little more than slaves to them and must live underground in horrible slums. People who are new to the land must fight in gladiatorial battles or face slavery. Whoever wins the contest becomes a citizen and is allowed to add one law of their choosing to the country. Kino decides to fight.
The first episode seemed very disjointed because it did not focus on the main story enough. It told a number of shorter tales within its 22 minute timeframe at the expense of focus. The Coliseum episodes were better and had some good action scenes but suffered because the whole gladiator thing has been done to death so many times. This dvd was still a lot better than most of the anime out there though. Kino is a great character. Also, the theme song is a beauty. Hopefully, Volume 3 will have more episodes with a single storyline, instead of mini-episodes within episodes.
Some production sketches, Clean Openings/Closings. Not much in the way of extras.

New Cutey Honey (Cutie Honey) (Essential Anime)
New Cutey Honey (Cutie Honey) (Essential Anime)
2 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars EVEN EXPOSURE GETS BORING, July 11 2004
You know, I keep hearing that Go Nagai is this manga/anime legend. After viewing Cutey Honey and looking at the character designs and reading reviews of his other works, I'm not impressed. To me, it would be like saying Tiny Tim was a pioneer of rock music. It just doesn't add up. The first volume of this collection was fair, but the second disk became unwatchable fast.
The world of Cutey Honey is a strange place, looking like something from Hell basically. Cosplay City, where the action takes place is a gloomy, sunless, place where you would expect to find Lucifer. We do find his equivalent in the uni-brow demon crime lord Dolmek. The city is overrun with crime, even the parents of the preadolescent Chokkei, are involved in the crime wave. The new mayor is trying to change things but even he can't rid the city of crime alone. That's where Cutey Honey comes in.
Cutey Honey is a well-endowed female android whose powers allow her to shapeshift to defeat the evil person of the week. She also has an attraction to Chokkei which borders on the illegal.
In the end she always transforms into a beautiful red-headed warrior with a sword, but before she does that she catalogs all of her guises she used in the episode before she kills her enemy. To transform she has to yell "Honey Flash!" This is a good pun because all her clothes dissolve off her body and she is stark naked as she changes. Her enemies are usually human in appearance until she begins to fight them and then they shoot up something from a syringe and they transform into a demon.
The first disk ends in a confrontation with Dolmek in which the ship she is fighting him on blows up as Chokkei looks on helplessly. Is Cutey Honey dead? Did she win? Did she escape?
Who knows?
When you put in volume 2, unexplainably you are on a different world. The characters are basically the same, except Chokkei looks about 17 or so now and Cutey Honey is asking him about sex. The city has the same name and mayor but it has transformed into a modern looking city with skyscrapers and such. Without any explanation, we have dimensionally shifted to a world completely different than the first volume. This is where my attention span dropped off. It was too disorienting to me. I mean, 2001: A Space Odyssey made more sense to me.
The series was interesting at first but the battles all ended the same way. It followed an unalterable formula. The abrupt change with no explanation on the second disk destroyed any enjoyment. I didn't even finish watching after the 2nd episode on Volume 2.
There are tons of extras if you're a Honey fan. Especially amusing were the sections showing these 3 Japanese actresses portraying characters from the series at press conferences and anime festivals. At one point, they are singing the theme song, and they are the most horribly choreographed 3 people I have ever seen. They can hardly even keep a beat, and their moves are so slow, you can tell they didn't get much rehearsal time. when they act out a fight scene from the show, it looks like William Shatner and Dolemite had a hand in the stunts. There are interviews, trailers, phone messages, and a recording session of the theme song. If you really like Cutey Honey, you'll love this collection. If you're not a fan, I would recommend you not waste your money on these dvds.
For better fan serviced action that actually is of good quality, I would recommend Najica Blitz Tactics on Dvd.

AVP: Alien vs. Predator
AVP: Alien vs. Predator
by Marc Cerasini
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars LET ME BORE YOU TO DEATH, July 11 2004
Ok, I wasn't expecting that much from this book, after all it was a novelization based on a screenplay based on a story based on the Alien characters based on the Predator characters or some other Biblical lineage list which is now a major motion picture. I thought instead of waiting for the movie, I could just get the book. If the movie is anything like the book, it is going to be a boring bomb!!! It takes about 150 pages before the main characters even encounter the Aliens or the Predators!! Almost half the book!!
After establishing that the Predators and Aliens have been fighting each other for about 4000 years, by showing a battle in 2000BC Cambodia and that they also hunted them at the South Pole in 1904, we flash forward to the present day. The billionaire owner of Weyland Industries has discovered what looks like a pyramid complex underneath the ice at the South Pole. Like the billionaire in Jurassic Park, Weyland begins to assemble a team of archaeologists, scientists, and adventurers to go to the site to find out what the truth is. Now, supposedly, these people are experts.
Take, for example, Sebastian De Rosa, an archaeologist, whose claim to fame is that the Great Pyramids in Egypt were not built by the Egyptians. He theorizes that they were built by an even older civilization, even though in real life, we can carbon date such things and know that his theory is hogwash. Also, lets take Alexa Woods, a supposed mountain climber, who, as we are introduced to her climbing up the side of the most perilous face of Mount Everest, stops to answer her cell phone and have a conversation as she's hanging on for her life. It gets worse. There's 24 people on the team that goes to investigate the pyramid. Most of them aren't even given names, just referred to as "scientist" or "engineer" so we know most of them are going to die. I mean, that's really what all this is leading up to. I mean, why invest in the movie's characters or plot if you know all it's leading up to is that these people are going to be trapped in the pyramid and killed off in an extraterrestrial version of Scream?
So anyway, the Predators, who are in cryogenic hibernation on their ship on the dark side of the moon are awoken by their ship as the research team nears the pyramid complex. I mean, what do they do, just sleep for a hundred years until somebody comes near their pyramid? That's kinda an inefficent way of doing things.
Oh well, when you finally do get to page 200 or so (if you make it that far), and finally see the battle between an Alien and a Predator, it reminds one of WWE wrestling more than anything else. The Alien shows emotion and it goes something like "Alien jumps Predator, punches him with tail, bites, and stuff, throws him, etc." (paraphrased). The predators come off as real dummies. For all their hardware, they seemed to be picked off just as easily as the humans.
This book was awful. To me, the thing that made the first Alien movie good was the very fact that the Alien was ALIEN! Its actions were primal and it didn't really have any goals other than killing. It was a true horror movie. The subsequent movies and this book has demystified the Alien concept and made him/it into a commercial commodity for cheap scares much like Freddy Krueger or Jason who have lost any capacity to cause true horror. Even the Predator had some credibility as an enigmatic mostrosity until he hooked up with Danny Glover. In fact sadly, this book devolves into a Lethal Weapon premise at the end. I know this movie is being hyped a lot but I predict based on the book that it might have a big opening weekend and then it will bomb.

Full Metal Panic: Mission 7 (ep.22-24)
Full Metal Panic: Mission 7 (ep.22-24)
DVD ~ Satsuki Yukino
Offered by vidco
Price: CDN$ 12.93
7 used & new from CDN$ 12.77

4.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE END....OR IS IT?, July 11 2004
Well, here we are with the last volume in the entertaining series Full Metal Panic. Gauron has obtained a computer program which allows him to take control of the de Danaan, along with the help of a few Mithril traitors. Not only that, he has Tessa and Kaname at his mercy. After calling a false fire alarm, he seals all of the crew up in a hangar, inundating it with high levels of oxygen, which he supposes will distract them from the real situation. Only Sousuke and Kurz refuse to believe the drill, suspecting something is up. They know it has something to do with Gauron. They'll have to get to the bridge without any weapons and no help. Meanwhile, a U.S. Navy sub has been tracking the de Danaan and hopes to destroy her at the same time as this is happening.
While volume 7 had its moments, especially the final duel between Sosouke and Gauron (doesn't he ever die?), the last dvd left me unsatisfied. Sosouke and Kaname, while coming close to revealing their true feelings for each other, never get romantic. They tell each other they need each other but that's about it, I guess setting up the sequel series that will be coming out in the future, in which they are constantly bickering. I would have liked to have seen their relationship evolve a little. They're pretty much in the same place as they started. In fact, I don't feel as if ANY of the characters evolved over the course of the series. That's disappointing. Also, we didn't get anymore really relevant information on what the "Whispered" truly are or what their function is. Hopefully, the sequel series will not be just more of the same. Still, Full Metal Panic is a great entertainment. Just don't expect any surprises or deep insights.

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