Monday, May 19, 2008

Movie Monday!

I have a feeling this is shaping up to be a really lazy Monday. If I weren't in desperate need of milk and dark chocolate M&Ms, I wouldn't leave the house. I might even rationalize going without milk for another day, but the M&Ms are crucial to my creative process, so I can't skip them. I did get on a writing roll on Sunday, finally. I've discovered that the easiest way to completely rewrite an existing scene is to start a new document and write it there (maybe pasting in the occasional bit from the original), and then by the time it's done, it's so much better than what was there that I don't feel so bad about deleting the old scene and pasting in the new. That has a different psychological impact than deleting the existing scene from the start or trying to rewrite what's already there. Now I hope, after errands, I can stay awake and focused enough to finish this section.

I did make it to the movies on Friday, but I realized that the A&W was farther away than I thought, and going there would have added a mile to my walk. Maybe someday when I have plenty of time I'll do that. I really did like Prince Caspian. These books are ideal for film adaptations because they're short and don't contain a lot of detail, which gives the filmmakers plenty of room to play. Seeing the movie is like getting bonus material instead of having things cut, as so often happens in book-to-film adaptations. There were some pretty major things added to the movie that weren't in the book, but for the most part, I think they fit the spirit of the book and helped illuminate some themes that were in the book.

One thing I really liked was the way the movie dealt with the emotional consequences of the first Narnia adventure. These kids spent years in this other world as kings and queens and even grew up to be adults, then came back through the wardrobe and were suddenly kids again. That's going to have an impact, and the book didn't address that much at all, just a bit of "remember when we were kings and queens?" wistfulness. The way it's addressed in this movie makes total sense and adds a layer to everything else.

Another thing I like is that the kids really do look and act like they're related, especially the three younger ones. The family dynamics work so that it feels like they're brothers and sisters rather than a group of kids thrown together. I also love the costuming, the armor and the way Reepicheep and the mice really do move like mice. The sword fight that serves as one of the big action moments in the book more than lived up to my expectations.

What I didn't like was the use of modern pop music for the closing credits -- and starting that music over the closing few minutes of the movie. The use of modern pop music with any kind of period film or quasi-period fantasy film just drives me nuts because it breaks the spell. Even the "modern" part of this story is set in World War II. 2008 pop music doesn't belong in any way, shape or form. Maybe some quasi-Celtic Enya type stuff that draws on traditional music -- something timeless -- but please, not modern pop that is going to badly date what should be a fairly timeless movie. It was even reasonably bland pop music, so nothing that's going to be Best Original Song Oscar nominee bait (though that could be because I am old and don't know current pop music -- I wouldn't change the radio station if this stuff came on, but I also don't remember enough of it to find myself desperately looking for a soundtrack).

I also got sucked into the Sci Fi Channel's Indiana Jones marathon. Raiders of the Lost Ark remains one of the very best action movies ever made. It's perfectly paced, with each sequence building to the next and only relenting to give us a breather when we can't take it any more, and then we're right back to the action again. I couldn't make it through the second one (and it's hard to imagine that Steven Spielberg married Kate Capshaw after seeing her in this movie. We can only hope that it was a brilliant acting job and she's not nearly that annoying in real life), and I don't think the third one has held up all that well, though at least it's still watchable.

And the finale of Cranford left me a weeping, sobbing mess, but in a good way.

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