Who cares if Death Note is rated R?

According to this article about the upcoming Death Note film adaptation (which hasn’t, the article points out, actually been greenlit yet):

When asked about the target audience for the film, [producer Roy Lee] replied, “It’s definitely for adults. It is zero chance it will be below an R-rating,” and went on to say that the tone of the film “will be one of the first manga adaptations that feels very grounded but still has fantastical elements.” That sounds like something [director Adam Wingard] could definitely nail.

Oh, whoopee-doo. I’m not sure this, in and of itself, is anything to be excited about. The strengths of the anime, at least in my opinion, have nothing to do with how “adult” it is; for example, how the violence is portrayed is a stylistic decision. It can be intense and gory, or more comic-book like, à la Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Either could work, as long as the style’s consistent, so who cares? The fun of the anime, in my opinion, is the story itself; the chess-like cat-and-mouse game between two brilliant un-average thinkers, and their differing philosophies in defining “justice” that serve as the foundations for their opposition. I hope whoever writes the film doesn’t just take all that for granted because some animated sequences were fun to watch, thinking he can just trim the story that’s already there down to something film-length and have it still work with maybe just some editing for the sake of exposition and pacing. Because then we’ll wind up with crap for story. Or worse, something like The Guest, in which there hardly even is a story at all, just a guessing game that ends up going nowhere, so you had better enjoy the action sequences for the sake of themselves, because they serve no greater substance beyond themselves… Because in Death Note, they do, gosh darn it, so don’t butcher it too much!

(For the record, I have nothing against what the producer said; he was just answering a question. I just think the question itself is irrelevant, unless perhaps someone feared a PG rating? And being pleased with the answer just means you’re a fan of the franchise for very different reasons than I.)

And, of course, I’m crossing my fingers that the filmmakers aren’t fans of the nonsense over-acting from the English dub:

Unity and games and stuff

Learning Unity!

This week, at the expense of working on my next novel*, I’ve been getting back to studying Unity, the game development platform. My new computer handles it beautifully, nice and fast. And I found some great introductory tutorials to start with from a “gamesplusjames” from Ireland, land of me forefathers:

It’s still a lot to take in; I don’t know if it’s just my aging brain or that I haven’t been programming regularly for a long time now, but I’m definitely slower at learning this sort of stuff than I used to be. Anyway, Unity makes a lot of stuff pretty easy; wish something like this was out when I was in high school.

(* On a side note, my writing blog is down for the moment. It was getting inundated with bots, and just pointing the domain back to the registrar was my lazy way to try to get them to go away. It’ll be back at some point.)

Let’s Plays!

With my powerful new computer, I’ve been able to record some “Let’s Plays” on my new YouTube gaming channel, SirDragonWizardMasterLord, the dorkiest name I could come up with.

Probably won’t make them regularly, but it was fun to try, and I was very impressed with how well my computer could handle them; capturing video didn’t slow the games down at all, even with the games’ graphics settings at their highest. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 970 is just awesome.

Inside Out’s blatant plagiarism!

I saw Pixar’s latest, Inside Out, earlier this week. It was a great film, but as I mentioned on Twitter:

Love Never Dies

I watched Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies on blu-ray over the weekend, his sequel to his famous Phantom of the Opera. Being a fan of the original, I was curious to see the sequel, though I didn’t really have high hopes. I actually bought the cast recording when it came out, but couldn’t really get into it for whatever reason. And the plot involves the Phantom working at Coney Island, which sounds laughably ridiculous. Finally, the title, Love Never Dies, seems rather a bit melodramatic.

Love Never Dies

But I actually really enjoyed Love Never Dies a lot. It features some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s better melodies, and the dark mysterious atmosphere they give Coney Island and the other sets complement the dark mysterious atmosphere of the original Phantom.

That said, I think one still has to approach this musical as sort of its own self-contained thing, merely based on the original, rather than a “definitive” continuation. (Especially as the original Phantom ends quite fine on its own, thank you very much; it doesn’t really leave anything to be said.) Though the main characters are back and musical references to the original are all over the place, Love Never Dies still feels a bit like fan-fiction. It has a different “spirit” to it. It’s not nearly as large in scope; rather, it’s a drama among a few characters. Gone is the mysterious and murderous Phantom lurking in the shadows, willing to kill to get what he wants. Now he’s the main character, trying to get back a piece of the love he knows he lost, without resorting to violence. Gone is the romantic and dependable Raoul willing to do anything for Christine; he now likes to drink and is a pretty much a jerk. And now there’s a child, Christine’s son, whom the Phantom quickly comes to realize has more in common with himself than his supposed father, Raoul. Could it be the Phantom has a son? If so, what does it mean for everyone?

So it’s a very different kind of story than the original Phantom of the Opera. But I think if you view it as “story variations on a group of characters” rather than a definitive sequel, it works very well. I enjoyed seeing the a-bit-too-romantic-Raoul turned into a jerk, I enjoyed seeing Christine still caring about the Phantom (though I suppose we must forget that he is a murderer who got away with even burning down an entire opera house), and I enjoyed seeing the Phantom facing the realization that he might be a father. After all, he’s been alone and rejected almost all his life; being able to pass on his interests in music and … dark brooding atmospheres? … seems a salvation. (And having just written a book called Son of a Dark Wizard, I suppose that dynamic appeals to me.)

Perhaps because I’ve been listening to quite a bit of symphonic metal lately, the song Beauty Underneath got stuck in my head the most. It’s a parallel to the title song of the original, only this time instead of leading his love interest to his lair under an opera house, he’s showing his lost-love’s son … a bunch of freaks trapped in glass or something. Anyway, it’s here that he’s realizing the child may share his interests because he shares his blood. Also, I think the singers on the blu-ray do a better job with the song than the cast on the album:

“Let It Go” is a song of evil

By which I mean, the popular song from Disney’s Frozen is not an anthem for an attitude that would be at all healthy to have in the real world.  Embracing indifference is not exactly something to celebrate.

After all, let’s not forget what the song is about: a sad, scared, angry queen embracing indifference toward the world.  The philosophy she is deciding on is evil.

Let’s look at some lyrics that reflect the evil Elsa’s embracing:

  • Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know – Hints out how she was dealing with her problem wrongly from the beginning.
  • Let it go, let it go, Turn away and slam the door – She’d rather evade her problems than face them.
  • Let the storm rage on – She has no consideration for who that storm may be hurting.
  • The fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all – She’s replacing them with all new fears, particularly the fear of facing others with her uncontrollable powers, or letting others, like her sister, try to help her at all.
  • No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free – Oh dear!  The most obviously evil lyrics here.  No right or wrong?!  Yikes.
  • You’ll never see me cry – She’s embracing indifference.  Not good.
  • I’m never going back, the past is in the past – It’s one thing to forgive yourself and move on, it’s another thing to stop caring completely, which is clearly what she’s doing.
  • The cold never bothered me anyway – Again, she’s embracing indifference.  And she’s lying.  Her powers have always bothered her and they’re still bothering her.

So, it’s a song about embracing indifference toward the world and her self-image.  Though cathartic, it’s clearly not the right solution to her problem.

And the storytellers know this, of course.  The song isn’t her climactic solution to her problems after which she lives happily ever after.  The song portrays her creation of even bigger problems, both in her own heart and the outside world that she’s cutting herself off from and plunging into eternal winter.  Her living alone in an ice castle out in the mountain boonies is never portrayed as a good thing.  In “letting go” of her concern for control of her powers and her self-image (an effort which initially came from a genuinely good place, even if she was dealing with it wrong from the very beginning, after being traumatized by injuring her little sister), she still holds on to the fear that keeps her away from her kingdom.  If she was truly “letting go” of what she needed to let go of (her self-image fear, her over-self-consciousness), she wouldn’t feel any need to stay away from her kingdom and those she loves, particularly her sister.

Story-wise, the song serves the same purpose as Sweeney Todd’s “Epiphany” (though Todd’s pledge is much more sinister – to murder innocent victims until he can get revenge) and as Elphaba’s “Defying Gravity.”  In Sweeney Todd and Wicked, such goal-changing decisions eventually lead to tragedy in one form or another.  Fortunately in Frozen, Elsa realizes her mistake and changes by the story’s end, thanks to her sister.  Still, her song is about a character who’s been struggling with something and is deciding to embrace a clearly wrong answer.

But of course that’s also what gives the song it’s power, in the dramatic sense; we can relate to Elsa’s emotions completely, even if we know she’s choosing the wrong thing.

But that’s also why it’s a bit funny to see videos of young children belting out the song proudly.  They’re singing about becoming evil.  Yes, I know it may be over some of their heads, but I still find it funny.  The music is great, but its beauty and power are misleading, as is Elsa being all smiley and happy about it; the philosophy she’s embracing is ugly and tragic.  After all, I don’t think we want children to actually let go of things like worrying about right and wrong.

The right answer to Elsa’s problem: love (as Elsa learns by the film’s end).  The wrong answer: cold indifference (as Elsa embraces with “Let It Go”).

So when you sing “Let It Go” while taking your evil shower (Sims joke), let’s hope you’re not singing the lyrics with actual conviction.  Because that would be, you know, evil.

The Sins of Jurassic Park?

Found on YouTube:

Firstly, Jurassic Park has many more continuity errors than are featured in this video. The film has a ton. It’s discontinuity heaven.

However, I don’t think some of this video’s critiques are valid, namely the ones about Hammond having to be present for all the Mr. DNA intros, about the cars visiting the T-Rex paddock second, or the cars reversing their directions on the track. Any astute viewer should recognize that the tour these visitors are taking is not representative of the tour intended for actual future guests. The point of these people visiting the island is to “sign off” on the island, endorsing it for the sake of potential investors. The park is still unfinished. As Dr. Arnold notes, “Vehicle headlights are on and they’re not responding. Those shouldn’t be running off the car batteries. Item 151 on today’s glitch list. We have all the problems of a major theme park and a major zoo, and the computers aren’t even on their feet yet.” And as Muldoon later notes, “We need locking mechanisms on the vehicle doors!” They still have things to work on, things to finish. Even the visitor’s center is full of builders and painters working on the place. Think they’ll have that on the tour?

Also, as silly as the “Unix system” looks, it was a real system:

Of course, one must keep in mind that Jurassic Park’s computer systems and programs that ran the park were very flawed, as their development was apparently headed by Dennis Nedry, who, as far as we can tell, cared more about money than the integrity of his work. In fact, his computer programs were designed to let him sabotage Hammond, not keep everyone safe. Of course, though Nedry is sleazy, part of this is Hammond’s fault; his greedy ambition to be the first one to create something like his park blinded him to its many faults, not least of all its dependence on an apparently giant (two-million-lines-of-code is a lot) highly-non-modular highly-automated computer infrastructure to control its systems, an obvious recipe for disaster even if the lead programmer had the best of intentions and was simply naive. Which, of course, Nedry was not. After all, even Nedry knew better than to mess with the raptor fences!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 trailer

Forgot to include this on my list of interesting films for 2013 (and I’m sure I forgot plenty of others), but the trailer for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 was recently released by Sony Pictures Animation, and it looks interesting:

I wasn’t impressed by the trailer for the first one, but was pleasantly surprised by how hilarious it was when we bought it on blu-ray.  However, it looks like this sequel is written and directed by a different creative team, so we’ll see how well they can carry on the original’s unique brand of humor.

The Cabin in the Woods ending made no sense


Since I talk about the ending of the film here, this post contains SPOILERS. It probably won’t make any sense to someone who hasn’t seen the movie anyway.

The Cabin in the Woods was funny, clever, and quite innovative. But, overall, it did not hold up for me because I didn’t understand the ending. As the end approached, it seemed as if the main characters were getting deeper into the heart of horror stories, even if metaphorically. They were discovering why horror stories were told, why the tropes were upheld. I thought the film was going to give us some sort of interesting insight. But I think the writers got it wrong. They either ignore the themes of horror stories, or simply refuse to accept them.

“They didn’t just want us to die,” a character says near the film’s end, as they discover their horror story experience was all part of some elaborate scheme much bigger and more important than themselves. “They wanted us to be punished.”

“Punish us for what?”

“For being young,” another character says.

So, we want young people to be punished in horror stories because of their youth?

Not in the real world. Youth has nothing to do with it; horror stories work with characters of any age. Youth just makes it easier for a character to be believably immature.

The horrible punishments horror story victims receive is actually for being hedonists. For being somehow morally flawed. Just like the Willy Wonka victims. It’s for believing in and pursuing empty pleasures. Horror story monsters are the embodiment of the spiritual emptiness of the characters’ pursuits or world views, whether it be lust, anger, pride, etc., or something more subtle.

In the film, these youthful deaths are rituals made to placate mysterious ancient gods in the underworld.

In reality, the rituals (in other words: horror stories) are for us humans, to serve to remind us of these lessons, of what is morally right and wrong. Casting our consciences into a pit of giant ancient evil gods makes very little sense. (Unless you are a moral relativist, I guess?)

The tropes of horror films become “tropes” not because they are actually devoid of merit or spiritual meaning, but because they become so recognizable and guessable that, together, they lose their ability to remind us of their meaning. This doesn’t mean the tropes were always actually empty silly nonsense, or that we should discard them.

Movies watched in October 2012

I’m three months behind on this, so I’ll split it up into three posts.  So here are the movies I watched for the first time in October 2012:



This 2001 corporate thriller stars Ryan Phillippe (remember when he used to be in movies?) as a young way-to-cool-to-be-an-actual-nerd genius programmer and Tim Robbins as an evil Bill Gates-type of boss.  Ryan is hired by Tim to work on a secret project, but it becomes clear that Tim and his secret thugs are stealing code!  Some very clear anti-Microsoft sentiments here.  But all the action comes off as unbelievable and laughable.  The film features characters briefly looking over a screen’s worth of code and saying “Wow, this is really incredible!”  Those must be some mighty fine algorithms!  I suppose the filmmakers were depending on viewer ignorance, because I can’t imagine any real coder being impressed with someone else’s work after studying only one little chunk of it, especially without even knowing what the whole program does.  Anyway, Ryan must figure out how to stop his boss from using the secret project to take over the world or something similarly sinister.  Overall, the film is just too ridiculous.  Maybe one of those movies to have on in the background while you eat a midnight snack.


The Sword of Doom

This 1966 Japanese film directed by Kihachi Okamoto and starring good old Tatsuya Nakadai tells the story of an apparently amoral samurai who . . . does a bunch of things.  It’s rather all over the place.  He kills people, joins some kind of justice group, kills more people.  It all seemed a bit too random for me to follow very closely.  It seems they were hoping to make sequels, which they never did.  The film ends with a sort of cliffhanger, leaving storylines unresolved.  How annoying.


E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

This classic Steven Spielberg film from 1982 tells the story of young Elliott who, while trying to cope with his parents’ recent divorce, befriends a little ugly lost alien.  My siblings and I used to watch this film back in the early 90’s on VHS (the tape with the green top!), but I had forgotten much of it, including what exactly the overall story was about.  The film played at the local theater for one night (through “Fathom Events”), so I went to see it.  Unfortunately it looked like they were projecting it with a DVD’s resolution; for some reason the image looked terrible.  However, the movie was great, and I was finally able to piece together the story that I didn’t quite understand when I was seven or whatever.  Great film.


The Searchers

This 1956 Western directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne tells the story of a man who goes searching for his niece, who was kidnapped by Indians.  It’s considered a classic and was supposedly quite influential for a lot of filmmakers.  It left me rather unimpressed, dare I say, after having been spoiled with the fast-paced action film’s of today.


The Avengers

This 2012 action film directed by Joss Whedon tells the story of all the Marvel comic books superheroes (Iron Man, Hulk, Guy With Crossbow, etc.) getting together to defeat the villain Loki.  While the writing was refreshing for a superhero movie (though Nolan’s Batman films still stand supreme), the overall story seemed a bit ridiculous to me.  The overall tone seemed a bit muddled among the wide variety of characters; there was something imbalanced about the character dynamics.  Maybe I just don’t like Iron Man’s character enough; it’s like he tries too hard to be hip and cool and rogue-ish, and it doesn’t seem genuine.  Fun movie, but when it comes to superhero movies, I prefer Nolan’s Batman, and when it comes to Whedon’s work, I prefer Firefly.


21 Jump Street

This 2012 film stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.  Its based on the TV show of the same name from the 1980’s and tells the story of two bumbling police officers who, because they are just so incapable, are put undercover as high school students to investigate a dangerous drug ring.  Whoever in my family rented this probably didn’t realize how raunchy it was.  Funny film, but really stupid.


J. Edgar

This 2011 film from director Clint Eastwood stars Leo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover and tells the story of Mr. Hoover forming the FBI.  I don’t know much about the real Hoover, but the film turns him into a somewhat paranoid power-hungry control-freak who can’t figure out his love life.  The problem with most biographical films is that turning someone’s entire life into a story always has to grossly oversimplify a person’s personality and life events, and make guesses at his motivations, desires, and insecurities.  Sometimes they can pull it off with elegance, as in Gandhi.  Sometimes it seems like a hodge-podge with little actual story, as with this film.



This 1969 British film from director Ken Loach is based on the British novel A Kestrel for a Knave.  It tells the story of a young man who just don’t get no respect at home or at school.  He copes with the loneliness by adopting a kestrel and learning how to train it.  The film is very observational, with the filmmaker not trying to dictate your emotions as much as in modern Hollywood’s films.  This does risk alienating some audiences, as do the characters’ accents.  They speak English, but with such thick accents and some weird slang that I had to turn captions on to understand them.  Any of the film’s political messages are lost on me, but, perhaps because the the filmmaker’s more observational approach to the filming, the actors and conversations did seem much more realistic, and when that happens you may find yourself more emotionally involved than when you’re subconsciously always viewing everything as part of a movie.  For example, if you ever watch the news and see violence caught on a surveillance camera, you may notice that you have a much more visceral response to the images because you know that they’re real.  Movies like this (which are usually foreign) can have the same effect, but the trade-off is that you cannot put yourself in the characters’ shoes as comfortably.  I don’t know; it’s something I’ll have to think about.  Anyway, good film, even though any of its “cultural significance” is lost on me.


Hotel Transylvania

This 2012 computer animated feature from Sony Pictures Animation was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, known for his cartoon Dexter’s Laboratory (of which the second season still isn’t out on DVD – come on, Cartoon Network).  The film tells the story of Dracula, who runs a hotel for monsters, and his relationship with his daughter, who is eager to explore the world beyond the hotel.  But Dracula is a humanist (if putting “ist” on the end of something implies prejudice against it).  He blames humans for the death of his wife, and therefore wants his daughter to have nothing to do with them.  To complicate matters, a human stumbles into the hotel and Dracula’s daughter falls in love with him.  I thought the film was surprisingly charming, summoning the good old feelings of watching Saturday morning cartoons without trying to be all trendy and sophisticated.  Of the three Halloween-themed animated features this year (the other two being ParaNorman and Frankenweenie), this one was my favorite.  Fun movie.  I’d love to see Genndy direct more animated features if he gets the chance, especially this sort of cartoony stuff.


The Road

This 2009 film, based on the book of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, tells the story of a father and son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  There wasn’t much in the way of story.  It was just a bunch of random incidents exploring what issues people might deal with when society crumbled.  Rather boring.


Infernal Affairs

This crime thriller from 2002 from Hong Kong was remade in the USA as the Oscar-winning The Departed.  The story tells of a cop who goes undercover to work for a crime boss in an effort to take him down.  But his progress is complicated by an undercover criminal who is working for the police.  So begins the two-way cat-and-mouse game.  This original version does less character development, so the ending is, in my opinion, a bit weaker than the American version, but it makes up for it in just about every other way, from the cinematography to the music to the writing.  Even though I could guess what would happen after seeing The Departed, the film had me on the edge of my seat.  Overall, I thought it was better than its remake.  Great film.



In my effort to watch all Guillermo del Toro’s films, I watched this 1997 horror film directed by him.  It tells the story of scientists fighting against giant human-eating cockroaches who have mutated some weird anatomy that allows them to mimic the human form, thus making it easier for them to catch their human prey.  Overall, quite ridiculous.


Reservoir Dogs

This 1992 bloody crime thriller from Quentin Tarantino tells the story of a diverse set of criminals trying to figure out how their diamond heist somehow went wrong.  It features Tarantino’s usual flare for mesmerizing dialogue, some great acting, and great twists and turns throughout, despite its vulgar language and violence.  Great film.


Grave of the Fireflies

This 1988 animated film from Japan, written and directed by Isao Takahata, tells the story of how two children, a young man and his little sister, die of malnutrition during the firebombing of Japan during World War II.  This is perhaps the most tragic film I’ve ever seen.  Very powerful.  It doesn’t try to manipulate you into empathizing with the characters.  If anything, it makes it very clear that the main character is making bad choices that you know will result in starvation.  And it doesn’t try to portray the little sister as all innocent and cutesy, as filmmakers often try to do.  Still, you can feel the love and trust between the siblings, which makes the descent into tragedy just devastating to watch.  Great film.  Not great in the sense that you walk away feeling very good, but in that it’s quite a powerful film.



Based on his original 1984 short film, this stop-motion animated feature from 2012 from director Tim Burton tells the story young Victor Frankenstein who brings his dead dog back to life with the use of lightning.  (I haven’t seen the original short, but I’d love to get my hands on it sometime.)  While the film started out funny and interesting, it seemed like about halfway through they ran out of material.  The second act was a chaotic uninspired nonsensical mess.


The Next Three Days

This 2010 thriller from director Paul Haggis and starring Russell Crowe tells the story of a man who firmly believes his wife, convicted of murder, has been wrongly imprisoned.  When he can’t solve the problem in courts, he sets out to free his wife from prison with a prison break and a dash out of the country.  Fun movie.

Interesting movies for 2013

Here are the movies I’ll be interested in checking out in the upcoming year:


Oz: The Great and Powerful

March 8, 2013.  Mixed feelings about this.  While I think the overall idea could be a ton of fun, I’m worried it will turn out generic and uninspired.  But I’ll give it a chance.


The Croods

March 22, 2013.  This is the film one of my animation mentors from DreamWorks was working on while I studied animation.  The trailers were funny, but I still don’t know what the overall story is about.


The Host

March 29, 2013.  Yes, it’s based on a book by the author of the Twilight, but this one doesn’t look like romance, so hopefully I’ll be safe from such girlish daydreams.  The main reason I’m interested in this film is director Andrew Niccol, in whose work I have yet to be disappointed.


Jurassic Park 3D

April 5, 2013.  This is one of my favorite films of all time.  I can’t wait to see it in 3D.  Roar.
Man of Steel

June 14, 2013.  I normally have no interest in Superman, and have yet to see any film or TV show featuring this silly flying alien man in tights.  However, the trailers were intriguing, and with a screen story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, a screenplay by David S. Goyer, and the awesome eye for fantastic visuals of director Zack Snyder, I’ll check it out.


Monsters University

June 21, 2013.  While Pixar slips away from the glory it once was, and continues to descend into the depths of series-dom, we are given a prequel to Monsters, Inc.  Honestly, this looks rather uninspired, but I’ll give it a chance just because they are Pixar.


Despicable Me 2

July 5, 2013.  OK, even though I just said that series-dom was a depth to be descended to, some films have obvious sequel potential.  I still have no idea what this sequel will be about, but the first one was funny enough that I think I will enjoy seeing these characters return.


Pacific Rim

July 12, 2013.  From director Guillermo del Toro.  I guess it’s about giant robots fighting mystical monsters near the coast of the Pacific.  The trailer looked awesome; definitely a huge special effects film.



July 16, 2013.  This animated feature from DreamWorks has something to do with a snail who dreams of being a racer.  But, wait.  Snails are slow!  Whatever will happen?  Don’t know much about this film yet, but I’ll keep an eye on it.


The Seventh Son

October 18, 2013.  I know nothing about this, but I like the look and feel of the production photographs that have been released, and the storyline from IMDb sounds interesting enough for me: “John Gregory, a seventh son of a seventh son and the local Spook, has protected the country from witches, boggarts, ghouls, and all manner of things that go bump in the night.  However, John is not young anymore and has been seeking out an apprentice to carry on his trade.  Most have failed to survive.  The last hope to the county a young farmer’s son named Thomas Ward…”  OK, let’s go.


Ender’s Game

November 1, 2013.  My favorite sci-fi novel turned into a movie?  Impossible.  While it’s based on the book, the spirit of the book is very internal, very thought-driven, making it un-filmable.  So the success of this film will depend on director Gavin Hood’s interpretation; what he adds to it as much as what he’s forced to take out.  I look forward to watching it, but I can’t imagine it living up to the book.  But if it helps steer some audiences towards the book, that’s not a bad thing.  And it’s got Harrison Ford, who is perfect for his role.



November 29, 2013.  From Disney Animation comes an animated interpretation of my favorite Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale: The Snow Queen.  It looks like they’re changing around a lot of the story, though, as Disney tends to do.  We’ll see.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

December 13, 2013.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was fantastic.  So of course I’m looking forward to the second chapter.


Saving Mr. Banks

December 20, 2013.  This Disney live-action drama, starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books, tells the behind-the-scenes (but surely embellished, because Uncle Walt never did evil) story of creating Disney’s classic film, Mary Poppins.

And that’s it for now.  Lots to look forward to.