Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

Heavy Weights

This movie, with Ben Stiller, is one of my guilty pleasures.  I love watching Ben Stiller, as the psychotic fitness entrepreneur, versus the misfit kids at Camp Hope Fat Camp.

Christopher Moore

With this author, nothing is sacred, even angels. I have read most of his books, from Practical Demonkeeping to Sacre Bleu with enjoyment, but also a little embarrassment, because wouldn't want to read any of these books aloud in front of nuns. I especially enjoyed the latest, Sacre Bleu, which will show you some of the great painters like Toulouse Lautrec in an entirely new (blue) light.

Second Life

My entry on Second Life has been moved over to "Warty Bliggens"

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

This is a Japanese manga translated by Toshifumi Yoshida and published in America by Dark Horse comics. The manga is about young students at a Buddhist university whose skills - channeling, dowsing, ESP, etc...are not in great demand among the living, so they make a living carrying out the wishes of the dead.  Not for the squeamish, but not just a blood-and-guts bash, either. Volume 13, for example, includes translations from the poet Rimbaud, and information about ancient fertility goddesses, and about the Japanese jury system. Great endnotes with information that makes the manga more accessible to western readers.

downloaded from online manga site

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Review of the New Hobbit Movie (Spoiler Alert)

We saw the new "Hobbit" movie yesterday, and I wanted to make some comments. I haven't read any other reviews yet, and I suggest that you see the movie before you read my review so as not to be prejudiced in any way.

(Scroll down to read review)

My one word review would be "Bloated".  I had wondered how they could make a one-volume book into three movies. Now I know. Perhaps they listened to the people who complained "They left out Tom Bombadil" in the first Lord of the Rings movie and decided nothing should be left out. Then they added dialogue and actions and whole new sub-plots until what could have been a nice hour-long movie became over two-hours long and was not necessarily better. In fact, I predict that at some future point someone will edit this and the next two movies so that they become one movie and it will be much more entertaining.

I especially disliked all the added violence and the "should have been fatal" collisions and falls and near-escapes that kept happening until I came to the conclusion that the dwarves and Gandalf must have been made of titanium. My Mom's one comment after seeing the movie was "I thought The Hobbit was a children's book".

And did they need to change the plot? My husband says that Steven Colbert explained that this was the way Tolkien would have changed it after he wrote the LOTR trilogy. Hogwash.  The book The Hobbit is the story of Bilbo, his adventures, and how he got the ring. If there are contradictions in Middle Earth as depicted in the book The Hobbit and the books The Lord of the Rings, so be it. We are humans, we are very good at having contradictory opinions.

Perhaps the producers/writers/directors/financiers (I wasn't sure who to blame) thought that they could improve on Tolkien? If so, why not make an entirely new movie, perhaps "Further Tales of Middle Earth" to include the scenes with Saruman and Radagast and the high elves?

I also noticed at least one scene where the dialog didn't seem to synch to the actors' lips. Were these scenes left over from the LOTR movies that were repurposed by adding voice-overs?

I do not know why the original book was expanded into three long movies. My husband's guess is that the financiers realized there would be greater profit in putting out three movies, rather than one. I am thinking that perhaps someone kept saying "Wouldn't this scene look great in 3-D!" I also suspect there is a component of "I am too great a genius to be edited" involved.

Random thoughts: Gollum has the greatest range of emotion of all the characters. The dwarf king is much too young.  The orcs and the goblins could use a good dermatologist.

And who am I to curmudgeon about what has the core of a great movie? No one - just a Tolkien fan who is hoping that some day they make a movie of the book The Hobbit.