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Literary Film Review: The Terminator

This month’s classic film review analyses the inaugural film in the ‘tech noir’ genre, James Cameron’s 1984 powerhouse The Terminator

‘But The Terminator wasn’t based on a novel, surely?’ I hear you protest. You’re right, it wasn’t, so what’s The Terminator doing being featured in this monthly literary film review? Well, for one, because there are notable literary precedents for James Cameron’s 1984 science-fiction thriller, even if these are not direct influences per se.

One such precedent is Vernor Vinge, whose fiction often makes reference to an event Vinge (pronounced ‘Vin-jay’) calls the ‘Singularity’, when the machines ‘become smart’ and attain a level of intelligence far in excess of the humans who made them. (Vinge’s 1981 novel True Names, published three years before William Gibson’s far better-known Neuromancer, has been called the first novel to explore the idea of Read the rest of this entry

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Literary Film Review: The Running Man

This week’s classic film review analyses The Running Man, the 1980s dystopian action movie based, and yet also not based, on a Stephen King novel

In J. W. Eagan’s sage words, ‘Never judge a book by its movie.’ The following is part of this new monthly ‘literary film review’ segment on this blog, and as such it’s a review of the film of The Running Man (dir. Paul Michael Glaser – yes, Starsky from Starsky and Hutch – 1987), but it’s important to go back to the – very different – source material for The Running Man: that is, the novel called The Running Man, by Richard Bachman, aka Stephen King.

The 1982 novel The Running Man – which was published under King’s pseudonymous creation Richard Bachman partly to appease his publishers, who were worried about glutting the market with too many new Stephen King titles at once – is a tense, gripping thriller set in a futuristic dystopian city, known as Co-Op City, in the year 2025. Read the rest of this entry

Literary Film Review: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

This week’s classic film review analyses the enduring power of Kevin Coster’s Robin Hood

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) was one of two popular screen retellings of the Robin Hood legend in the early 1990s. The other was Tony Robinson’s gloriously anachronistic and funny children’s sitcom Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, which even featured several humorous nods to the big-screen Kevin Costner version. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is often seen as a failure, a mess, a let-down in numerous ways whether it’s Kevin Costner’s decidedly American accent in the film, the fact that the film doesn’t appear to know quite what it wants to be (a family film or a grittier take on the medieval tale of robbers and tyrannical rule), or the fact that, as Read the rest of this entry