Dec 192013

Peter Jackson’s sequel to An Unexpected Journey premiered last Friday, just about a year after the opening gambit of The Hobbit saga.  Aberdeen Voice’s Andrew Watson shares his thoughts on The Desolation of Smaug.

vuepicsqVue on Shiprow was tightly packed considering it was early weekday afternoon, albeit a Friday.

Though for the most part enthralling, it didn’t quite reach the same heights of its predecessor.  Perhaps the novelty of the audience meeting the Dwarf, Elf and Troll communities for the first time on An Unexpected Journey cannot be matched against the burgeoning storylines of characters that they’re already accustomed to.

The Desolation of Smaug, however, initially cuts to the chase a lot quicker than the previous, wandering film. 

The scene is set immediately with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) recruiting Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to reclaim LonelyMountain for the dwarves from Smaug, the dragon.

Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman, struggles with the intoxicating power of The Ring much like his adopted heir, Frodo, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  He reprises his role to join the dwarves in their quest to reclaim their home.

There are some exciting visuals throughout, some probably lending themselves better to 3D effects; particularly when Bilbo scans the treetops of Mirkwood.  The giant spiders serve as a salivating precursor to seeing Smaug the dragon flap his wings within the enclosed gold pit of LonelyMountain.

The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger, perhaps more so than Jackson’s previous outing.  It certainly serves its purpose and makes you want to see the finale of the trilogy, however unresolved the film is left.

As I say, I genuinely look forward to part three in the series.  I suppose it helps that I haven’t read the book, because I genuinely don’t know what to expect next!

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Nov 252013

Enchanted Castle Fantasia 177With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Organisers of the third Enchanted Castle, which ended its five day run on Sunday at Crathes Castle, have voted the event a huge success with more than 8,500 visitors attending.

Gerry Muldoon of GM Events said:

“The public reaction has been absolutely fantastic with each of the three weekend days selling out completely and increased numbers of visitors on the opening two days, including the ‘Adults Only’ evening on Wednesday.

“We’ve had a number of people up from outside the local area, including Stevenage, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow, specifically to visit the Enchanted Castle and feedback from local businesses has been that the event has been a significant boost to the local economy. We’ve had a number of people asking about the 2014 event and we will be announcing the dates for that in due course.”

The ‘Wonderful, Weird and Magical’ themed Enchanted Castle, in association with Petrofac, is being supported with the help of Event Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Aberdeenshire Council.

Nov 052013

Enchanted Castle Fantasia 177With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Tickets have now sold out for Saturday 23rd November at this month’s Enchanted Castle which takes place at Crathes Castle, the theme for which is
‘Wonderful, Weird and Magical’, organised by GM Events, in association with Petrofac.

The Enchanted Castle will take place between 5 pm and 9.30 pm on the evening of Wednesday 20th November through to Sunday November 24th with the opening night being an ‘adults only’ evening. 

Tickets for the remaining nights are on sale at Aberdeen Box Office, Union Street, 01224 641122 and also from the Woodend Barn in Banchory.

Adult tickets are £11 with concessions £9 and Under 16’s £5 (except on the Wednesday and must be accompanied by an adult). Entry is free for Under 5’s.

Feb 022013

A book launch with a twist is set to be hosted by local Dark Fantasy author, Carmilla Voiez.

In celebration of the release of Psychonaut, the second book in Carmilla’s Starblood Series, a special evening for fans will be held on Friday 8th February, at Cellar 35, Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen, from 8.30p.m. to 1.00a.m.
This event will allow readers to meet the author, hear readings from both of her novels and taking part in a question and answer session.

Entertainment specifically detailed around the worlds of Starblood and Psychonaut – including acts by spooky-magician extraordinaire Dean Spruce and an intriguing and beautiful burlesque performance by Magenta Lust – will also be provided throughout the evening which will end in party style with music by Aberdeen DJ, Jimsin.

A Goth for over 20 years, Carmilla sold her Gothic Clothing business last year since when she has been writing top selling books which are inspired by the Gothic subculture, magic and dark desires and explore sexual obsession and violence in often hard-hitting ways.

Carmilla finds inspiration in local beauty, stately homes, the Moray Firth and woodlands around the Scottish town where she has lived the past 10 years with Starblood, the first book in the series, being set partly in the beautiful Cairngorm mountains and partly in the city in South West England where she grew up.  She currently lives with her husband, daughters and numerous cats in Banff, where she is writing the final book in the series.

Carmilla’s literary interests also extend to the Aberdeen Writers’ Club which she co-founded in 2011 as a forum where local writers gather to discuss ideas and writing techniques.

Psychonaut has already been warmly received by fellow authors:

“Carmilla Voiez is more of a singer than a writer. She tells her compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life.” — Graham Masterton

“Psychonaut is a book of mad impulses, inner vision, sadism, escape and belief.  You feel uncomfortable reading it, like Alex strapped to the chair in Clockwork Orange being taught to feel sick at atrocity.  Rather than leave us crippled by response though, Psychonaut bears you through the hurt towards the only paradise we can be assured of … a love past fault.” — Jef Withonef, Houston Press

While there will be no dress code at the launch on 8th February, it will be full of amazing Gothic and Fantasy inspired costumes and will be set off by local jewellery and masquerade-wear businesses who will be on hand offering their unique designs.

Entrance this event is £3.00, which will be redeemable against the purchase price of one of Carmilla Voiez’s critically acclaimed novels, published by Vamptasy worldwide.

Note:  This is strictly an over 18’s event and proof of age will be required for admittance.

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