Weirdest Dream lately :
I dreamed I was on the "other side" when my Dad was passing. I spoke to him and made sure he was okay. Then I woke, and knew he was gone. 30 minutes later, we got the call from the hospital saying that his blood pressure had crashed in the last 30 minutes.
Currently working on :
A BTVS related story called "Long Goodbye" which deals with a member of the Watchers Council being vamped as part of an experiment.
Also completing my nanowrimo effort.
A blog for that outspoken and aggressive member of the Buffy Bulletin Board.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
The Return of the King
Christopher who? Lee? Never heard of him. Tell him I'm in a meeting.
It will probably come as no surprise to those who know me that I was in to see the final part of the Lord of the Rings today. Thankfully, I enjoyed it a lot more than that terrible "Two Towers" which left a sour taste.
RotK is an amazingly good film, but like Two Towers before it, it has faults. Mis-steps along the way which would jar in an ordinary movie, but in a work of such near perfection, these missteps cause painful wincing in the viewer.
There are 6 or 7 things (some bigger than others) I feel edge this movie away from perfection. What's annoying is that they are simple mistakes. Peter Jackson could have avoided making them. But he didn't. Artistic interpretation and all that shit. Still, this is my blog, not his, so my opinions are what counts here. But I defy anyone to tell me that some of these changes wouldn't have improved the movie.
1)"What does your heart tell you?" That stealing dialog from George Lucas is an astonishingly bad idea. When I heard that exchange between Aragorn and Gandalf early on in the movie, I actually groaned out loud. And somewhere deep inside, I knew there would be more of this later on.
Sure enough, we got a rendition of "I am going to save you[father]" "You already have [Luke]"
Star Wars dialog is generally shit on the best day of its life. There is no excuse for abandoning the words and dialog of Tolkien to include this crap.
2)The End. The End. The End. The End. The End. No seriously, this time.. the End. Let me tell you what it was like in the cinema. "I'm glad you're with me, here at the end of all things." FADE TO BLACK. Audience starts to applaud. FADE IN ON THE EXACT SAME SCENE Audience stops applauding "Oh, it's not over yet."
With the second fake ending, another smattering of applause started and died. With the third fake ending, only one or two started applauding. Then the GROANING started.
Result? When the words "The End" finally appeared, there was a sense of "About fucking time!" when there should have been RAPTUROUS applause.
Scene switching is not a problem. Having a drawn out ending is not a problem. Playing stupid fake-out games with your audience IS a problem.
3)Who's that guy dressed as Gandalf? I know Sir Ian had a double for a lot of the movie, particularly in the horseriding sequences. But there were times in this movie where I actually did a double-take and wondered who the hell that guy was dressed in white. He looked NOTHING like Sir Ian.
One scene in particular had Gandalf on horseback doing NOTHING, not involved in the scene, and yet still it was CLEARLY (facially) his double they used. Lazy and unnecessary.
4)What the hell is going on? Directing the battles. I kind of knew this going in from The Two Towers, but Peter can't really direct battles very well. At least not the close up action stuff. His camera is all over the place, and it's impossible to tell what's going on at times. You can argue that it's a choice of style, but I feel from my own experience in battle re-enactment that if you can't tell what's going on around you, you're fucked. The camera should represent someone's point of view for the audience. Move it, sure, but this quick snap MTV shit makes it look like you're trying to get away with shoddy stunt work and bad choreography.
5) Your kids are not actors. And we know what they look like. I'm sure Peter loves his kids and that's why he felt it necessary to put them into Lord of the Rings more than once. But the fact is they're just so adorably cute that you recognise them as "that cute Hobbit kid from the first movie" when you see them. Totally draws you out of the movie. They should only have been used once, cute and all as they are.
6) Annie Lennox? Totally wrong for the end of the movie.
Not wrong in the way that Hugo Weaving was wrong for the choice of Elrond. (Oh, how cool would it have been if David Bowie had not said no to the role? He doesn't look quite human anyway, he's pretty ageless. And pretty at that.)
Don't get me wrong, I love Annie Lennox as an artist. I have quite a few of her albums, going back as far as the Eurythmics, but she was utterly wrong for the final song of this trilogy. Now maybe Enya doesn't float your boat (god knows she doesn't float mine) but that's the sort of music you should have on an epic like this.
7)Smeagol and Deagol. It's a pet peeve of mine that when you film someone who is supposed to be strangling someone then his hands shouldn't appear relaxed. I know it's acting and all that, and safety standards probably have to be applied, but seriously, if you've been in a fight and started strangling someone, then you KNOW what I mean. Your hands should be taut and quite visibly applying pressure.
8)Open the movie the same as the other two. A minor quibble now, as I'm running out of things to complain about. (Which is a good thing, and shows how much I loved the movie, really.) After the first two movies started the same, with the same music and intro over "Lord of the Rings", the Return of the King had a slightly different opening. I didn't care for the inconsistancy.
Okay, so I love the movie. I absolutely adore it. I'll see it at least a dozen times in the cinema and buy all the DVDs. Why am I complaining? Well, aside from the fact that I'm a contrary bastard by nature, the above items really jarred me out of the movie. It's like, you're getting the best blow job of your life, when WHAM someone bites your nutsack.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the hummer, it's great, best of my life, but please don't bite me in the nutsack. It's unpleasant. It's unnecessary. And it kind of detracts from the otherwise perfect blowjob.
One of my long time careers, kind of fell by the wayside last year for a number of reasons. I wanted to spend more time with my parents, in particular because of my Dad's cancer. I had also become very stressed and wound up with the job, and some of the people I was working with. I felt like I had to take a break from it, and do something different, something laudable with my life. Something that was creative, or at least a positive contribution to the world around me. Before it was too late. And for a while at least, I was able to do that. I worked it in with less stressful work, more enjoyable work, more rewarding work. And for a time at least, I was able to feel good about it all again.
Then recently, a long time acquaintance that I had not heard from in a while, got back in touch with me. He needed help. My particular expertise in a field I had thought I had turned my back on. I didn't want to say 'no' out of hand, so I flew to Belgium (while he drove since he's continental) to hear him out.
It's funny how the ties of friendship can pull you in directions against your better sense. Maybe it was inevitable that I would go back.
So I met with a few people. And in the heel of the hunt, they made a very convincing case. Now we have a handshake agreement, and I'm back in the game. The long hours, high stakes, type of game. It takes a certain kind of mentality to deal in situations with millions riding on the outcome.
So now it's time for another life change. Time to change country, change citzenship, change my look. Pity, as I had gotten used to having a goatee. I don't think I have had one as long as Mike, so I don't think it's going to be "sensitive" or anything. But it will be hard getting used to speaking another language again.
Though English is not the language of my native country, I have a certain affection for it. The language of Shakespeare and all that. But for this particular line of work, and the people I will be working with,English is singularly inappropriate. posted by Manchild at 10:56 AM