Tag Archive for 'the princess bride'

Recent Excursions In Print and Film

I just finished reading the last of the Little House books a couple of minutes ago, and it’s hard to express how much I enjoyed re-reading that series. It’s been so many years since I last read them; I thought going into it that maybe I’d just enjoy the nostalgia of reading them, but I don’t think that covers it. I also thought that, since I remembered liking the earlier ones more than the later ones when I was younger, that it might be that way this time, too. But, somehow, in getting older, I loved them all just as much or more than I did when I read them as a little girl. Certainly the earlier ones had a similar effect on me as they did when I was little–I was always fascinated of the descriptions of how their day-to-day tasks were done and what sorts of things they ate and such. The books made me every bit as hungry as before. (I still desperately want to taste the candy they made by pouring fresh, hot maple syrup over clean, cold snow.) But I think, being older, that I found more to relate to and appreciate in the later books than I did when I was younger. And, oh, I did so love reading about Almanzo courting her. He could practically give Mr. Darcy a run for his money, but Almanzo Wilder’s got the definite advantage of having been real on his side.

Ahem.

I also finished reading The Princess Bride just yesterday after an aborted attempt to read it a few years ago. The book was certainly enjoyable, but I do think I quite like many of the changes Goldman made when adapting it for the screen. Not that, you know, my love for the movie has any biasing effect on me. Oh, no.

Speaking of films and biases, I also watched the remake of The Lion in Winter last night. Now, I’m quite sure that my adoration of love for the original blinds me somewhat to the good points in the newer version, but it’s difficult to have Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close uttering the exact lines Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn gave such fire to and not be at least a little disappointed. The newer version, of course, has much more impressive sets and costumes and background shots, but, for the most part, I felt like the actors’ deliveries lacked the dangerous edge of the original. Somehow it just doesn’t work when King Henry tells King Phillip, “Use all your voices. When I bellow, bellow back,” in a congenial, smiling manner. I mean, hello. You have to bellow in the first place, Henry.

Although the two leads seemed a lot softer and affectionate than in the original film, there were some aspects of the newer one I appreciated. I felt like the portrayal of Geoffrey, the middle son, was more believable in this film, even if he doesn’t quite come across as the thing of wheels and gears that his father accuses him of being. I felt that the interpretation of Richard was okay–not great but not bad either, just different. And I thought that, as King Phillip, Jonathan Rhys Meyers handled the Richard/Phillip scene with Henry better than Dalton had, but that may be my appreciation for JRM and his, um, ability to do scary-crazy sneaking in somewhere. The John in this version was, well, John but with the addition of crying. No, sobbing. Seriously. There was one whole scene where he was just sobbing so heavily in the background that it distracted from Henry’s speech. Strangeness, really.

I’d had high hopes at the beginning, when they showed a sequence entirely unlike the original, in which Eleanor was shown (in armor!) alongside Richard and Geoffrey as they fought a civil war against Henry. They showed Henry ordering her capture, letting the boys go, and then the initial imprisonment of Eleanor. I was getting excited. …And then we picked up the word-for-word execution of the original screenplay but, for the most part, without the verve and barbs that made me so love the 1968 version. Ah, well. It’s what happens. 😉

Following The Rules

The more I read and the more I write, the more that I notice how stories are all fundamentally the same. This is hardly a unique thought. The Greeks understood it well enough to define every aspect of their theater around it. And, in many ways, the thousands of years between us and them have only added a couple new formulas and hundreds of thousands of embellishments.

What’s the point of writing (or reading) if every story is just the same thing in new packaging? Well, personally, I tend to like shiny new packages, but, that weakness aside, people continue reading and telling the same basic stories because they work. Now, I never went in for the idea that there’s a universal Oedipal complex or anything like that, but there is a reason that a basic storyline works. Normal person stumbles into extraordinary situation; overcoming obstacles turns person into a hero; hero’s life can never be normal again. Doesn’t sound like much, but, hey, it worked for Neverwhere and Star Wars, didn’t it? Or maybe Ender’s Game? Or The Lord of the Rings?
Continue reading ‘Following The Rules’

Friends and Movies, Movies and Friends

It’s odd, but things are winding relatively slowly into the Thanksgiving holiday this year. Aside from a test on Friday, most of last week’s obstacles came on Tuesday. I can’t go to most of my classes Wednesday if I’m to make my flights to North Carolina, and my Tuesday classes, by an odd twist of fate, were all cancelled. I’m left with a one-day work week, which is virtually unthinkable but will hopefully provide me with some time to catch up on grad applications (or, even, God willing, allow me some time to work on restyling around here).

The weekend’s been great fun, so far, leading off, unsurprisingly with a trip to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As someone who hasn’t read the books, I can’t comment on this, that, or the other thing that were left out for time reasons, but I will say that I enjoyed the film. The end did leave me somewhat in the lurch because too many implications remained completely untouched, but I was pleased overall. I don’t know that they could have found anyone more perfect for Voldemort than Ralph Fiennes. I’d say a few words more, but that would get me into the realm of spoilers, so I won’t. Perhaps I’ll write an entry later dedicated to discussing the movie in greater detail.

I acted like a real college student after the movie; we stayed up talking and laughing and being generally silly until 4 a.m. It was fun, and my sleep schedule is now thoroughly messed up. Alas.

It’s become something of a tradition for some of our friends to get together the weekend before Thanksgiving and cook our own Thanksgiving meal to share, and we did that Saturday night. My only real contribution was the mashed potatoes, though I did clean part of the kitchen and carry the pumpkin pies to Kathy and Ben’s. Dinner itself was great; the conversations were even better. It was relaxing, and that was a nice way to get into the holiday season. We followed dinner with a viewing of the original film version of The Producers, which is nowhere near as good as the musical but still has its moments. “Springtime for Hitler” had us howling with laughter, but I find that’s a general effect of that song.

The best way to top off the night was to head down to Film Society, where they were showing The Princess BrideThe Empire Strikes Back as they’d intended. The copy of the film they had was an original, which makes the film itself 18 years old and not in the greatest condition. Splicing meant that there were little jumps in picture and dialogue, which quite possibly made the film funnier. One of my favorites occurred at the beginning when the Grandfather announced, “Westley did not have money for marriage [skip] so it was an emotional time for Buttercup.” Another amusing one took place in the Pit of Despair: “So it’s to be torture [skip] torture” [Albino shakes his head] “You don’t believe me?” There was only one instance when it was disappointing, and that was when Inigo was in the middle of killing Count Rugen. The price we pay, I suppose.

The audience, being Case nerds, could probably have acted out the entire film word-for-word, but we did restrain ourselves, primarily to a chorus every time Inigo started in on his you-killed-my-father mantra. I’d been hoping for three-and-a-half years to see that film here at Case, and I wasn’t let down by the experience in any way.