{ thinking out loud about the things i care about }

Archive for May, 2008

Crushing All Over Narnia

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

True to my word, I did see Prince Caspian last night.

Now before I get my ramble on, I thought it might be good to let y’all know that I’ve never actually read this book, or any other book in the Narnia series besides The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, so I can’t compare it to the original source material.  Why haven’t I read it?  No good reason, really… just never got around to it, and I’ll admit that the Narnia universe never quite captured my imagination as a kid to the same extent other things did.

The Spoil-Me-Not version is that I thought it was smashing, and in a lot of ways I liked it even more than The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

Firstly, from the point of view of a movie-goer whose previous knowledge of this franchise consists of more or less everything that was in the first movie, there was exactly the right amount of exposition and back-story given pretty much at exactly the right time.  I had my guard up during those first scenes in the Telmarine stronghold, wondering if I was going to shortly be hopelessly lost and confused.  It did take me a few minutes to get on board with their accents enough to follow some of the dialogue, but the writers teased me along the Prince Caspian story arc with just enough to keep me engaged, while flipping back often enough to the Pevensies to keep me grounded in the tale I already knew.  Considering how much information needed to be dispensed to get me up to speed, it all felt very organic, natural, and not at all Hermione-Quotes-From-A-Book-She-Read-Once-ish.  So props to the script writers.

I thought all four of the children played their roles well — props especially to Skander Keynes and Georgie Henley as Edmond and Lucy, who did an impressive job portraying adult-ish minds in children’s bodies.  The transformation of Edmond in particular from his first-film self was notable and entirely believable — seeing him resignedly help headstrong Peter when he needs it most knowing their history speaks to the maturity of this boy who became comfortable in his role under Peter and a king in his own right.  The character of Edmond has become the most fascinating to me, and I can already sense plot-bunnies in our future.

It was fantastic to see these kids kick some serious ass in the battle sequences (again, Edmond’s ability in the short fight scene with Trumpkin on the beach delighted and enthralled me, and bad-ass Susan was a treat every time she made an appearance), especially looking back on their blatant awkward newbiness in Wardrobe.  My only complaint is that I’d like to have seen Lucy given a little more equal treatment in this regard.  Certainly back in Wardrobe it was hinted that she was ace with her snazzy dagger, and it would have been nice to see her sniper it once or twice to reinforce that she’s more than just the girl who runs to Aslan for help all the time.  I’m not saying she should have changed the tide of battle or anything, but it might have been nice to see that she could take care of herself well enough.  Ah well.  

The eye candy in this movie is definitely drool-worthy.  Everyone’s talking about sexy Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian (as well they should be because he is the hot), but I’d like to put forth that William Moseley and Skander Keynes should not be overlooked.  Peter might have been a bit of a aggressive snot here and there, but he was blond-haired beautiful and kingly-arrogant while he was doing it, which earns him my fangirlish attention.  As for Keynes, I’ve already mentioned my character-crush on him, and the fact that he looks more like a young man than a boy in this flick certainly doesn’t hurt.

But my biggest lust-crush of this entire film?  Not to Ben Barnes (sorry to disappoint) does this honour go, but rather to shockingly beautiful Anna Popplewell.  I mean, she was pretty enough in the last movie as a girl, but as a young woman in this movie the only thing I can say is wow!  Something about those eyes with that complexion and that hair combined with the shape of her face just captured me.  And then she’d go and be all completely awesome in the fight sequences, and my legs would get uncontrollably wobbly.  That bit where she takes out the half-dozen Telmarines on horseback by herself?  And then that panning shot in the final battle where she’s kicking ass and taking names?  *fans self*  There are just too damn many options for my Mary Sue to choose from in this one.  *angsts à la Twilight*

The only thing that didn’t really work in this movie for me was the whole thread with the other two Telmarine lords, Sopespian and Glozelle.  Eh…?  It seemed like they were getting set up to be the ol’ reliable bad-guys-that-turn-good-in-the-nick-of-time, but it turns out not so much.  They spend the entire movie being queasy with Miraz’s tactics, and then Sopespian whips out a plot device and starts the whole epic battle, I guess just because he felt like it.  Then he got eaten by a river.  *snerk*  

Trumpkin the sarcastic dwarf and Reepicheep the swashbuckling mouse did their duties as comic relief in a way that was entertaining without being irritating.  Trumpkin’s brand of deadpan humour was particularly well-placed, and his awkward friendship with Lucy in which he never once breaks character is in dozens of ways far more interesting and entertaining than her sugary-sweet relationship with Mr. Tumnus.  Reepicheep remained largely undeveloped, but was clever enough to be remembered.

I’ll probably buy this one, if for no other reason than to pacify my love of Edmond and Susan (the individuals, not the ship), and as straight-up eye-candy goes, Caspian can rule my kingdom any day.  *rowr*  That I’ll shell out the thirty bucks for this one should say something about how much I enjoyed it, especially considering I don’t even own Wardrobe.

Or it could just be that, sometimes, I like shallow fangirling.  Whatever.

 

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Indiana Jones and the Anvils of Unusual Size

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

I realized yesterday during one of many epic conference calls at work that I’ve started to adopt corporate culture phrases, like “level set” and “hill climb”.  I’ve started speaking the language, and while there are some benefits to be had of the fitting-in variety, the word I really want to use to describe this development is “ugh”.

It seems most of y’all think my handwriting is nifty-looking.  o_O  It is a bit unique, I’ll give it that.

I’m still eye-rolling through Twilight — mockery is a fun way to spend my breaks, and offers some relief from the never-ending nightmare that is my life on speaker-phone this week; the gratuitous narration and love-angst practically oozes off my screen.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate how much I hate speaker-phones.  Really, really hate.  The sort of hate that tightens in on itself and pressurizes until it implodes and creates a black-hole of loathing that sucks in other unsuspecting things as they innocently wander by.  I hold a similarly compounded spite for celery.  

In other news, I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this weekend, and my non-spoilery opinion of it is that it scores 4 stars for being completely consumable and entertaining action, which I feel is 96% the point of an Indiana Jones movie.

As for my spoilery opinion, I feel this movie suffers from some of the same sort of anvilicious problems that Twilight does, meaning simply that there are points (plot related or otherwise) that are so over-pounded into the headsof the audience that they become extremely irritating.  If you hadn’t already deduced this the newest Dr. Jones episode was all about aliens by the time they found the skull, then you’re the sort of dumb usually reserved for inanimate objects.  To top off the anvil-metre, they’re even cliche-looking aliens in a stereotypically spinning, round space ship.  I think the art-design budget got missed in all that action-design and stunt coordinating, and the only art direction they had was old B-roll from the Twilight Zone.

The action is pretty much all completely unbelievable, but it’s supposed to be so it’s perfectly acceptable; high on the list of contenders for Most Ridiculous Thing In An Action Movie goes that bit where Indy tucks himself into a lead-lined refrigerator to survive an atomic bomb.  As for the rest of it, I give it all the big thumbs up except for that section with the killer ants.  *shivers*  I have no idea what actually happened in that section, because as soon as they started spilling out of the ant hill I closed my eyes and plugged my ears until someone elbowed me, indicating it was all over and safe to come out from behind my hands.  I suspect, however, that several people were eaten by bloodthirsty ants, which is a too-horrible way for anyone to kick it in my opinion.  I heard Cate Blanchett squished one with her knees, which was apparently squelchy.

Cate Blanchett was in tip-top awesome form insofar as I’m concerned, even despite the train-wreck Russian accent (which may or may not have been on purpose).  She commited to the outrageousness of the role she’d been given full-throttle, which is the only choice when faced with such ridiculousness as a Russian KGB paranormal specialist in an Indiana Jones/alien movie.  She got her action on just as well (in some places better) than the boys did while never fogetting to punctuate with the funny.

I liked Shia LeBeouf in Transformers, and my opinion of him didn’t really change.  This particular role didn’t give him as much comedic material to sink his teeth into, but heck, he got to sword-fight on the trunk of a jeep driving at breakneck speed through the jungle, so what’s to complain about?  The Villiage People hat upstaged him more than perhaps the wardrobe department thought it would, and after Transformers something about the idea of Shia as a rough’n’tumble ’50s greaser never quite connected as believable, but overall I’d say Hollywood’s probably found another action star.  I’m not sure we need a Mutt Williams franchise (though the hints that we might get one if this latest in the Jones series is successful was another heaping spoonful of anvil) but probably Shia’s gonna find himself shortlisted on up and coming action-packed adventures.  

It had waterfalls, car chases, quicksand, horrible man-eating insects, terrible accents, sword fights, (nuclear) explosions, Harrison Ford wincing, double-crosses, triple-crosses, Indy’s man-purse, a crazy old man wearing a poncho clutching a cheap-looking prop, plenty of tombs and secret chambers and wacky underground tunnels, villianous villians, and stereotypical natives**.  What more do you want from an Indiana Jones movie, really?

** Some people have expressed concern that once again Hollywood has embraced the cliche characterisation of tribal “savage” people, and they probably have a broader point that’s fair, but I would just like to point out that the natives aren’t by a longshot the only people made fun of in this movie.  Consider the ways professors, greasers, Soviets, FBI agents, and aliens (to name a few) are portrayed in this film, and I think it’s fair to say that the way the tribal people are represented fits with the general parody-rich theme of the overall movie.

I think we’re seeing Prince Caspian tonight and Sex in the City on Friday.  At some point I might ramble a bit about Ironman, which I saw a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed, when I’m in the mood.  In the meantime, this post is quite long enough already…

 

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