Two movies...two books...

I finally had the pleasure of watching both The Last Legion and Stardust. Both movies were charming – exactly as I had expected. I gushed over Max Pirkis Jr. aka Little Princeps Jr aka Thomas Sangster as Romulus Augustus. He really is so cute. Almost makes me wish I had a son. ALMOST. Basically, any liberties taken in regards to the “last legion” were fine by me. I wouldn’t know the difference as all my Roman history knowledge stops well short of the Fall of the Empire (it’s not my fault!!!! Damned curriculums!!! Not enough time!!!*shakes fist*). Of course it was a somewhat predictable tale – they went to Britain, there was a Merlin-ish philosopher, Romulus finds Ex-caliber…you get the picture. Colin Firth did a surprisingly admirable job as a Roman soldier. More fun was watching Kevin McKidd shed his former role of pious and staunchly loyal Roman citizen Lucius Vorenus to portray a more ruthless and sinister barbarian and enemy of Rome. Although I’m not sure if this movie would appeal to the general masses, for me it was certainly entertaining - I enjoyed it and I guess that’s all one can hope for.

As for Stardust – it was adorable. Like The Princess Bride meets a Terry Gilliam movie. Everything about it was so fantastical. It transported me to another land, another time, away from the chaos of the day. Those are the type of movies I love most. It had some humour, some romance, a fair share of adventure and drama. Nothing overwhelming though. I swooned over Charlie Cox (just like I did when I watched Casanova) – and the fact that his character’s name was Tristan was certainly not lost on me. (Tristan = Bothwell = *gush*).

I also finished up two more novels – The Last Cato and Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud. The Last Cato was arguably one of if not my favourite book of the year. I didn’t expect to be writing that in my summary when I first started reading the novel. Up to the end it honestly wasn’t that amazing but that finale was legendary. Kind of reminded me of the climax of The Historian, when the hero arrives at the end of the journey and is so aptly rewarded. Once again, a book has made me feel the need to further educate myself. *sigh* …there is just so much knowledge out there and I barely have scratched the surface. Will I ever be lucky enough, or rather, learned enough to reach that Shangri-la ending??? Maybe someday…*wishes* As for the book, if one can stomach all the scholastic and pedagogical lore and brave the journey to the climax and ending, it is all worthwhile.

I was supposed to read The Dante Club next but had so much time before Christmas I started and completed ,Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud in the interim as I had managed to scoop up a copy at the used bookstore. The first third of the novel was intriguing – not anything memorable – some squee-worthy appearances by Jesus, Judas, Pilate, the Magdalene (the usual suspects). It read like your typical time shift biblio-historical-mystery. The second third of the novel sucked. In fact, I was so disappointed in the direction it was taking that I stopped reading it for a whole day. Fortunately I picked it up again and finished it. For lo and behold, the magic words showed up…KNIGHTS TEMPLAR. The final third of the novel was a lot more tolerable and even enjoyable at times. Granted the Templars (well at least the modern day Templars) weren’t portrayed in an admirable light but still, the ending and the ‘big reveal’ was satisfying. I really shouldn’t spoil the ending but let me just say this…Templars + Scotland *purrs* And to top it off, there was a character named Mary Stuart (and her husband James). *hugs book* The Shroud theory ultimately presented in this work of fiction is somewhat plausible although I much prefer the theory that it is Jacques de Molay’s shroud. The historical portions/flashbacks were delightful but the modern plot (and especially the characters therein) were dreadful. It was not as good a read as The Last Cato…certainly not nearly as erudite. The storyline was not nearly as captivating as The Alexandria Link. The Templar lore was not as thorough as Knights of the Black and White (errrggh, it still makes me cringe thinking I have to wait about four years before Jack Whyte’s trilogy to be completed with the grand finale focusing, no doubt, on the de Molay Grandmaster years *headdesk*) Still, Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud was not a disappointment – it was definitely worth reading. And of course it naturally makes we want to delve into the realm of the Scottish Templars *daydreams*...
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