Monday, June 29, 2009
Let's Go To The Movies
Actually, with the fast growing pace directors are taking with the cranking out of books into movies, I am probably the last person you want to be taking to the movies. Book movies annoy the hell out of me. They truly do.
It all goes back to one of the first movies I ever watched in the theater, "The Black Stallion." Fortunately, I went in opposite directions and saw the movie before I actually read the book. The movie was fantastic. Heat, sand, beaches, islands, lagoons, and of course, The Black, met every expectation a true horse lover could have. I was riveted. And when Alex Ramsey rode The Black, injury and all, down the final stretch, I was in my seat, grabbing the reins, and riding down that stretch with him. Only sheer will power kept me from leaping from my seats as The Black made one last tremendous leap that carried him over the finish line. And as fast as a leapin lizard, I carried myself to the local library and checked out "The Black Stallion" (yes, I know books should be underlined, but I haven't yet mastered the talent of underlining in blog posts...rest easy...I am working on it). Needless to say, the movie which had won over my heart in the opening credits, now paled in comparison.
Flash Forward a few decades.
Like the chicken and the egg, I can't remember which came first: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, or Lord of the Rings. And yes, I know I can do a quick search and find the dates, but I'm lazy, and am writing this late in the morning as opposed to early in the morning. My time is limited. I first read Mr. Potter's story in 1999, so when the movie soared to the big screen, I scooped up my children, bought popcorn and snickers (best combination in the WORLD), and lined up with the crowds. Movie crowds don't bother me, it's part of the ambiance that theater going is supposed to have. I once watched Batman (part one) while sitting on the stairs of the movie aisle. Anyway, I digress. The movie, while filled with sparklies, troll snot, and unlimited boogeys, fell short of the thrill behind the book, however, I did enjoy it. It could have been due to the length of time between the reading and the viewing, but I did enjoy it. HOWEVER, parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 cannot share the same fate. While the effects, and Richard Harris's excellent rendition of Dumbledore, were pleasing to the viewer's eye, the book purist in me demanded accuracy! Persephone actually moved to a different seat for The Prisoner of Azkaban after enduring only thirty minutes of elbowing, underbreath muttering, and exclamations of "Hey, that wasn't in the book!" Unfortunately, I am addicted, and the July release of Mr. Potter's sixth year will have me lined up in the theater, towing my unwilling victims...er..daughters with me.
Let's get this straight. For some reason Hollywood cannot do fantasy right. They've had a few accidents such as The Labyrinth (sheer brilliance), The goonies (applause), and Excalibur (a moment of silence). Okay, perhaps a few more, but I am talking about REAL fantasy...you know...like dungeons and dragons (and the nerd in me rears its ugly head again...back nellie, back!). Hollywood (sorry Jeremy Irons) has not been able to do a decent dungeons and dragons type movie ever. And while I am in NO WAY comparing dungeons and dragons to Lord of the Rings (blasphamy), I had my doubts and misconceptions when I discovered LotR was coming to the big screen. Did I let those doubts get in the way? NO FREAKIN WAY! I was giddier than a school girl sitting next to her first high school crush on the school bus...all trembly and shaky inside. How could I could seriously maintain my "school teacher persona in the public eye" control? Oh My Lanta! It was amazingly wonderful. Beautiful. Lovely. Aragorn (actually, I'm more of a Strider kinda girl than Aragorn, if you know what I mean). It was truly outstanding. Immediately after wards, being that I hadn't read the books since high school, I re read the series. And with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, I grudgingly admitted that Hollywood had done a perty good job with their first attempt. Oh, and when the extended version came out on DVD...shudder...shake...drool...quake. Someone once said that the theater releases of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was just a trailer for the DVD extended versions. Oh, yes, they were right. While being a bit disappointed with Merry and Pippin's luncheon with the tree ents, along with a few other exclusions (adaptations), Peter Jackson did a helluva job. I envy those who watched the movies with absolutely no knowledge of the book for they definitely were treated to a fantastic movie.
Did Lord of the Rings cure me? Hell no. Just last year I took my daughters to see Twilight. And yes, my daughter would nudge and pinch when I began my mutterings...she wasn't in his room, she was in the car...oh..that didn't happen. Did that happen in the book? I don't remember that part. But I was pleasantly pleased. They did a good job. Personally, I think Bella kinda overdid the teenage angst head nudge awkwardness a bit, but overall, not a bad film rendition. HOWEVER, I did happen to see the trailer for "New Moon," and already I am chomping at the bit. Jacob did NOT phase in front of Bella when Laurent tried to kill her. Enough said! Well, not really. I do plan on seeing this one when it is released as well!
I'm a glutton for punishment. What can I say?