{ thinking out loud about the things i care about }

Archive for May, 2007

Excited about Cowboys and Disappointed about Pirates

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

My sister called me last night in a fit of squee and for several terrifying moments I wondered who this high-pitched squealing voice on the other end of the phone was and what I had done to deserve such ear-piercing savagery. After I figured out who it was (which is no small feat with my sister, because when you ask her she just keeps saying “it’s me, it’s me” over and over again like that’s her name or something) she breathlessly informed me that she had found The Magnificent Seven Seasons One and Two available for sale on Amazon.

Seasons One and Two!

Holy how much did I adore that show. That show that gave me oodles of tough, manly adorable cowboy-men with tortured and tangled pasts and a penchant for shooting things that made them mad. That show with Ezra and Chris and Vin and most of all Ezra. And Ezra’s mother. *hugs Amazon.com receipt* And it’s on its way to me as we speak. Sometime in the next week and a half it will arrive and I will finally get to see episodes that I never got to see in the second season because I was ranch-bound. My sister and I will huddle together on the floor (still couchless) and gaze up in rapture as the show plays out for us and we re-live the obsession.

I am shamelessly excited about this. My sister and I gabbled in high-pitched tones as I ordered them online right away. Best sixty dollars I have spent in a long time.

So. Can I just say that I’m more than a little disappointed in the latest inception of Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m getting royally tired of big-budget movies spending all their time and energy on post production and fancy-shmancy CGI and glossing over the whole writing and story-boarding process which is, arguably, the most important part of the whole ordeal. This movie was confusing. The plot was like a tangled mass of knots, many of which were abandoned haphazardly mid-way. The battle and fight sequences were by and large boring and uninspired and hampered by excessive CG effects that weren’t necessary. The scope of the battles were too large and too wide and too focused on The Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman instead of the characters we have invested all this frustrating time following. They presented us with two impressive armadas, then only used three ships in the actual epic battle, which makes the whole thing much less epic and more skirmishy. The rest of them just waved flags and growled a lot from the sidelines.

Jack Sparrow’s existential journey in The Locker was uninspired and more awkwardly odd than either amusing or insightful. Calipso’s entire storyline apparently only served to give the final battle a helluva CG storm that did nothing but make it even harder to follow the action as a viewer. Davey Jones, who in Dead Man’s Chest was at least an interesting character study, is reduced to some kind of hapless henchman and his death is meaningless and completely anti-climatic. His character is completely static in this movie, like a passing villain on an episode of The Disney Afternoon. What was the point of putting him and Calipso on an intercept course if they weren’t going to do anything with it? With either of them. Why was Calipso imprisoned in the first place by a bunch of crazy pirates? Why was she then released? What purpose did she actually serve in the plot other than to be walking, talking exposition and a bit of moody rain?

Why wasn’t Jack’s piece of nine his hat? I mean, come on obvious. He’s been chasing that hat around since the beginning of the first movie… what better way to tie in this constant need to make sure he has his hat with an actual point? It should have been his hat, just like it was whats-his-name’s eye. For God sakes, could Disney get nothing right?

And why the hell did Jack’s versions of himself follow him out of Davey Jones’ locker? I get they thought it would be funny. It was… not. It was strange and confusing and made Jack less of the character he was. The original Jack Sparrow was eccentric. This movie made him an animated caricature. Roger Rabbit in a pirate costume.

The writing and pre-conception of this movie was pitiful. I left the theatre completely unfulfilled and feeling like I’d been cheated out of eleven dollars. I don’t understand how Hollywood can constantly believe that people won’t notice poor writing if they put enough special effects in. People don’t go to these kinds of movies just to be impressed by wacky monsters and ships circling each other in a whirlpool, they go for a good story. You’ve got to give them that at least or all you’ve got is the window dressing sitting in a heap in the middle of the room.

Spiderman and Pirates. What a disappointing beginning for this summer’s lineup.

 

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Oliver!

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

So, Oliver wasn’t so bad. Certainly better than Peter Pan last year. The kids didn’t annoy me so much that I felt I might march up on stage and start telling them off for being irritating. The show was less about the boy Oliver than I expected. And, once again I have discovered another very popular Barbershop song started out as a musical theatre piece. Barbershoppers have edited it heavily – they only left in the upbeat happy parts – but that’s Barbershop for you. You’re not allowed to be depressed unless it’s about a girl who done broke your heart or a man that died in a war somewhere. Otherwise, you must be chipper at all times.

The female lead had a hell of a voice, though. Blew the top of the Shocter a couple of times. And it was neat to see Tim again. He was the kid we got to play young Guido in Nine last year, and he played the Artful Dodger well. I had heard they were getting all the kids to move around those set pieces and at first I was pretty skeptical, remembering what it was like getting kids to reliably and quickly move props and set pieces in Beauty and the Beast, but they did pretty well with a lot of complicated moves. It was still a little slow in some parts, but there were a lot of pieces moving on and off and round and round, so they did quite well considering the complexity of the moves.

Neat break-apart set, though, with each chunk of the stairway an independent piece. It allowed them to create some pretty amazing sets with what amounted to stair-shaped building blocks. Well thought out and mostly well executed.

Who knew Oliver was such a tragedy… I certainly didn’t. I mean, Oliver gets his happy ending, but he’s about the only one.

Does anyone else agree with me that the seats in the Shocter are about the most uncomfortable things to sit on in the entire world? No padding on the backs. I had trouble making it through the first act. My back is killing me today. Next time I’m stashing a pillow in my purse.

To all of you who are camping this weekend: bring your rain-boots and some thick jackets! In true May Long Weekend fashion, it’s going to be cold and rainy. Have fun in tents being cold. Suckers.

 

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