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Thu, 19 May 2005
The end of an era

Last night I went to the midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith, along with some friends. It's been years since I waited in line for a movie, or went to a midnight show. We were in line for about two hours, which wasn't too bad because the company was good.

As for the movie itself, it's hard to say. Both the beginning and end were predetermined, so there was a limit to what could be done. Certainly there was plenty of action, and most of that was pretty good. The dialog was pretty bad, as expected. It certainly wasn't as bad as Episodes I or II, but I'm having trouble deciding whether it was good enough to edge out Return of the Jedi. Regardless, after 28 years, Star Wars is done.

[23:47] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 05 Mar 2005
Laughter is good medicine

March is shaping up to be a hugely busy (and stressful month). Boing Boing made me laugh out loud today:

Boing Boing: Two Towers translated into leet gamerspeak:

Two Towers translated into leet gamerspeak
A reader writes, "The author of F3ll0wsh1p of teh R1ng has now written a follow up, also in l33t 'Teh Tw0 T0werz'"
[Somewhere, under the mountains]
Gandalf [Glamdring] Balrog
Gandalf [Glamdring] Balrog
Gandalf [Glamdring] Balrog
Gandalf [Glamdring] Balrog
Gandalf [Glamdring] Balrog
Gandalf [Glamdring] Balrog
Gandalf: "U. R. PWNED!"

[a leetspeek guide if you need one ]

[02:25] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 26 Dec 2003
The Return of the King
Thanks to Julie's mom, we were able to go out and see "The Return of the King" this afternoon. Getting babysitting time to go see a 3.5 hour movie is a no mean feat, and I was very grateful to get the chance to go. It's also true that sitting through a 3.5 hour movie in a theater is no mean feat either.

On the whole, I was very pleased with the movie. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the only movie trilogy that I can think of where every movie was good. After the disappointment of the Matrix trilogy (yes, I was disappointed in the end), I appreciated the quality of The Return of the King, even more. In the end, I was pleased with the movies. I feel that Jackson was able to capture the essence of the story while making the necessary accommodations for the viewing audience. The only way that I can see substantial improvements being made would require several additional hours of film, which I think is impractical.

There was one small disappointment for me in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. It has to do with the arrival of the black ships, at a moment when the odds have turned against the foes of Sauron. In the movie, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas jump out of the ships, and the only army that you see is the army of the dead. here's how Tolkien described it.

And lo! even as he (Eomer) laughed at despair he looked out again on the black ships, and he lifted up his sword to defy them

And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up into the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; ut Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold

Thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elessar, Isildur's heir, out of the Paths of the Dead, borne upon a wind from the Sea to the kingdom of Gondor; and the mirth of the Rohrrim was a torrent of laughter and a flashing of swords, and the joy and wonder of the City was a music of trumpets and a ringing of bells.

This is one of my favorite moments in the books, the moment when Aragorn's identity and return are announced to all of Middle Earth. It's a shame they felt it needed to be omitted. After all, the title of the movie is "The Return of the King" -- a theme I've been thinking about since the story of Christmas also foretells the return of a King.

I was very pleased with the handling of another of my favorite scenes: Eowyn and Merry's role in felling the Lord of the Nazgul. For the most part I'm happy with the way that Jackson expanded Eowyn's role in the story.

This brings us to the end of 2003's festival of trilogy endings. Maybe now we can use those precious babysitting hours on something besides movies.

[23:59] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 05 Nov 2003
Matrix Revolutions (no spoilers)
This is the last week before I start at OSAF, so Julie and I took advantage of that (and a favor from Grandma) to catch The Matrix Revolutions on opening day. I'm a Matrix fan, but not crazy enough to go to a movie at 6AM...

I'm not going to post any specifics here, so it's safe for you to read without getting spoiled. It often takes me a while to decide whether I like a movie or not, especially something like Reloaded or Revolutions. I've been noodling around on this, trying to think of something to write. Revolutions isn't a terrible movie, but it isn't what it could have been either. After Reloaded, I was walking around saying "but it's only half a movie". I don't have that excuse any more. I don't want to pan the movie -- as a strictly action movie it was great - visual effects, battles, etc. But the story and character development didn't work for me. I found the resolution to be plausible and explainable, but unsatisfying. Maybe I'll post some more in a few days after more folks have had a chance to see it.

[22:21] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 17 Aug 2003
UK Matrix Revolutions Trailer
I found this trailer today. IF you don't have an MPEG codec, you can use the VLC media player to play it.
[17:55] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 20 May 2003
The Matrix Reloaded
A friend graciously offered to watch our kids after they went to bed last night, so we snuck out to catch The Matrix Reloaded. Reloaded doesn't seem to be as approachable as The Matrix. At the end of The Matrix, I felt a powerful connection with some of the themes in the movie -- most notably the questioning of whether what we see around is real. I didn't have that feeling about Reloaded. There are a host of questions about what happened and what meant what. I feel that I've seen half of a movie, which probably means that I won't really form my full opinion until Revolutions comes out in November. Maybe I'll come back to this in a few weeks when I've had chance to think about it some more (and more people have seen it)
[16:06] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 19 May 2003
I'm not alone...
Sam Gentile confesses that he hasn't seen the Matrix Reloaded yet. Neither have I. I missed seeing The Matrix in the theatre, but it's probably my favorite movie (those of you who know that I watch very few movies will not be surprised). Not only that, my wife really enjoyed it, and SF Action movies are not her thing. So what's stopping us?
  1. Three small children, including one nursing baby
  2. A fear that Reloaded just can't live up to either the original or the hype.
We'll be getting to it, but for now it's nice to have company. Maybe Sam and I should form a support group...
[00:22] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 14 Jan 2003
The Two Towers...
Ok, so I know that this has probably been pounded to death in blog space, but too bad. I only saw the movie last night, so here goes.

As a movie, I think that it was great. The battle scenes were awesome. Gollum was amazing, especially when you realize that he was totally CGI generated.

As a fan of the books, I had a harder time with this one as opposed to the Fellowship of the Ring. In Fellowship, there were a few minor things that bothered me. In The Two Towers, there were some things that I really had a hard time with.

Example 1: I really didn't like how Gimli was portrayed. I couldn't see any reason why it was done this way except perhaps to inject some kind of comedy. For me, the comedy came off poorly, and there was lost much more than was gained. In the books, the relationship between Elves and Dwarves is strained, at best. Both races have deep ties to the land. The whole Legolas / Gimli subplot is about two individuals overcoming their prejudices towards each other and becoming friends/comrades whatever. By dumbing Gimli down, this aspect is lost -- and for no reason as far as I can see.

Example 2: Faramir is portrayed as cut from the same cloth as his brother, when he is definitely not. Given how his character grows in the Return of the King, I was disappointed by the way he came out.

There were some additions that were done well. I felt that the way that Eowyn's role was fleshed out was good.

It's an enormous task to reduce 1500 pages of prose to 9 hours of movies -- changes have to be made. Even though I don't like some of the changes in the Two Towers, I definitely enjoyed the movie. Who knows, perhaps Jackson will find some way to correct some of this in the Return of the King. I don't really think it's fair to judge the individual films until the whole is released. What a year 2003 is for movies: the 2 Matrix films, and the Return of the King. Time to go find more babysitters...

[17:38] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

twl JPG


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