Archive for May, 2008

Prince Caspian
 

So I finally dragged my arse to see “Prince Caspian” today. Having just refreshed myself with the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Leaving the theater I wasn’t sure what to think! If you haven’t read the book and enjoyed the first movie, you’ll enjoy this one for sure. If you read the book, but it’s been years, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you are like me, just having went back to read it before seeing the movie, you might end up not knowing what to think.

If you plan on seeing the movie and haven’t yet, I’d stop reading here. What follows are my thoughts on the movie as well as the major changes made from the book. If you’ve read the book and remember it well enough, this will only spoil the changes made in the movie really. If you’ve seen the movie but not read the book, you might find it interesting to learn what was changed.

Honestly one of the biggest challenges I’m sure they faced in making this movie is the fact that the book material itself is not the most compelling of the books. When the BBC made movie/TV versions of the first four books, “Caspian” was basically a 30 minute preface to “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and it’s easy to understand why the BBC did it that way if you’ve read the book. The fact of the matter is, it’s more like reading someone telling you a story for most of the book. A good third of the book involves Trumpkin explaining to the foursome what has been going on in Narnia since they’ve been gone.

Let’s tackle the biggest problem, the fact that the book really has a boring villain in King Miraz. He’s a usurper to the throne and a coward. He’s not magical or fantastical in any way like the White Witch was. In the book he doesn’t even have that big of a role to be honest, he’s talked about more than he’s present, and clearly they had to change that for the movie.

The second major problem is the book was filled with chapters which were, well boring. At least to make them into a movie would have been boring. Thankfully these were omitted from the movie. I mean there is no need to watch 10-20 minutes of the kids playing on the beach, fishing, and discussing how and what in fact they should do for food. The same goes for the chapter in which Edmund realizes thousands of years have passed in Narnia and explains it all to the others. Likewise there is no need for 10-20 minutes of Badger, Trumpkin and Nickerbrack dragging Caspian all over the woods and introducing him to the bears, the squirrels, the centaurs and every bloody Narnian who was hiding out in the woods in order to recruit them into the arm. All that stuff from the book is gone gone gone.

Of course this leads to problem three, they cut out probably half of the book, so naturally they had to add in. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with some of these changes, and I wasn’t thrilled with a few things actually omitted or glossed over from the book.

The biggest change was with Miraz, who does not start off as King as in the book but as one of the many lords controlling the kingdom while Caspian comes of age. Through the movie he basically frames Caspian as a Narnian co-conspirator and eventually appoints himself King. In the book he was already King in place of Caspian, until he came of age, and he most certainly didn’t believe in Narnians or any magical creatures. This wasn’t a complete 180 with his character, but it worked and served to make him more of a villain than he was in the book.

The second biggest character change was in Peter, and this was NOT welcomed. They made Peter into a jerk in this movie with a huge chip on his shoulder. He was sour that it took so long to go back to Narnia. He was sour that he was considered a boy by all when in fact he had been a man. He didn’t want to listen to anyone, he was the High King and he saw himself better (or more experienced) than Caspian, who he had a lot of conflict with. This was a huge deviation from the book, where Peter from the start knew and assured Caspian that they were here to help him take the throne and put Narnia back to right, not to take over the kingdom again. Ironically Susan is likable in this movie, in the books she’s the frump and the sourpuss.

Aslan is not a large part of this movie at all. While he wasn’t a large part of the book either, he returned in the book so much earlier than he did in the movie, which is basically near the very end.

The way Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy were brought into Narnia was also changed time wise, but this was probably done to facilitate the story and I can see why. In the book Capsian blew the horn during the midst of the first battle with Miraz’ men during which they got walloped. In the movie he blew it when he first saw Nickerbrack, Trumpkin and badger. Again the reason being the book jumped around a lot with chapters going back and forth in time. It wouldn’t have worked in the movie to have all the jumping about and scenes like “meanwhile as this was happening . . . over here . . . ”

Trumpkin’s character was changed a bit and this was another big disappointment for me. He actually met and spent time with Caspian in the book (along with Nickerbrack and Badger) before he was captured by Miraz’ men and then rescued by the foursome. He fled during the first big battle where the horn was blown, being sent to try and find help for Caspian. Through all this we learn that Trumpkin doesn’t believe in the old stories or in Aslan. This is shown as a blurb at the end of the movie when Aslan insists on meeting the DLF, and Trumpkin seems ashamed to be in front of Aslan. It didn’t come off in the movie the way it was explained in the book. Additionally in the movie Trumpkin almost immediately accepts the kids for who they are, instead of being extremely skeptical as in the book. Of course by biggest issue was with the DLF (Dear Little Friend) bit. The kids name him this and continuously call him it over and over in the book, while in the movie it’s said all but twice I believe and they just sort of name him it in one scene with no explanation as to why.

Completely thrown into the movie, nowhere to be found in the book, is a major attack scene on Miraz’ castle. This seemed to take the place of the first battle between Caspian and Miraz’ men at Aslan’s How (the big mountain built over the stone table, also not really explained in the movie). This made up battle also serves to facilitate the tension between Peter and Caspian for the movie, as well as some faux and not entirely developed love story between Susan and Caspian. Again, they cut so much out of the book that they had to add some stuff in!

Another over-site is the explanation of the Telemarines and just who the heck they actually are. In the book we are told they are not native to Narnia, but came from a distant country known as TelMar. They invaded Narnia and took over, with Caspian the X being descended from the original Caspian who was the Telemarine conquerer. They were a race of apparent humans, not native to Narnia, and seemed to be more at peace on the water and were petrified of the woods. Tales were told among them that the woods were haunted and the trees were alive, thus they feared them. This back story was omitted from the movie, you just have to accept that for some reason the Telemarine soldiers were afraid of the woods and never told why really. Fortunately they do keep Aslan’s explanation at the end of the movie as to where they really came from and how they arrived in Narnia.

Also left out was the fact that many of the old Narnians had interbred with the Telemarines and were in hiding throughout the land as humans, but welcomed Aslan back at the end. Many others had completely forgotten that Narnia was in fact a magical land full of talking creatures and what not. In the movie it was just as if everyone in the kingdom suddenly accepted Aslan and all these “monsters” who came out of nowhere! They give you a slight hint of this in the movie with Caspian’s professor explaining he was a half-dwarf and had waited a long time for Caspian to arrive and return Narnia to what it should have been (which is correct from the book, but the professor also had a much larger role in the book).

In the end, it was a good movie, but like any book to movie, it’s hard not to fault it for the translation. In the case of “Caspian” the book wasn’t the best material from which to turn into a movie, so I understand why they deviated so much as they did in this one. I do wonder how they will tackle the rest of the movies?

Also sadly, there are murmurings that Disney is planning to make the next book/movie the last one. I’m not sure I want to even know how they will pull that one off! The only reason I see them cutting it off there is the next book is the last one for Lucy and Edmund. Their annoying cousin Eustace takes over from there.

Blah Blah Blah, Yada Yada Yada
 

Sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile, it’s been a dozy of a few days. From the blog server troubles to issues with the internet connection here and our way to over connected wireless router, I’ve had my hands full. I’m one of those people if something stops working the way it should, I get fixated on fixing it otherwise it will eat away at my soul.

I still haven’t made it to see “Prince Caspian” and tomorrow “Sex and the City” comes out. Grrrrr! I’m going to do my best to get to the movies to see something tomorrow.

I’ve been working in my spare time to finally update my very very very old and outdated “About Me” page that is over in the side-bar. The layout and graphics, what few I made, are done. The text isn’t as I’m trying to figure out what all to put in there. I also want to try and get some new photos of the animals and stuff for it as well. I hope to have it finished and up sometime this weekend, hopefully.

Changing Servers Soon!
 

First up, my apologies if you’ve had trouble connecting to the site, or it’s been abysmally slow. My server has been progressively going downhill the past few months. Within the past week I’ve been unable to connect several times and that was the last straw for me.

I’m currently narrowing down the search for new servers to move this and some of my other pages to. I hope to open a new account on one by the end of the week and begin moving all my sites this weekend. This should improve the speed of the site as well as eliminate downtime. I’ll make another post before I’m moving, as when you switch hosts there is always a lag between the switchover. Plus other issues often show up, such as broken images and what not. I’m hoping to fix most of those behind the scenes before initiating the final server switch.

-Dustin

PS Thanks to server issues, the blog comments forms all got broken. This should be fixed now! (Just another reason why I need to switch servers!)

I
 

I had gotten a hair cut this weekend, and of course the back and sides were my old dirty brown/grey mix while the top was the reddish-brown I had previously used to dye my hair. I decided it was time to dye it again, but wanted to do something different. I had considered doing a bleach blonde kit, but last time I tried to do that it ended horrifically with my hair an orange color (I just tried to use a regular blonde kit, big mistake!). Instead I opted for something a little darker . . . . I went blue-black! Here are some photos of me on my porch with the new hair.

Weezer
 

I’ve never been a huge fan of Weezer, unlike my brother who loves them. However their new video is hysterical. It pulls in a bunch of “stars” who basically got famous thanks to YouTube. I know you all will at least recognize the Britney Guy Chris Crocker. Even Kelly from “Shoes” is in there. Special prop to the imfamous Zero Wing “All your bases belong to us” shows up in the video too!

Lovely Day In Philly
 

I’ve been in a piss poor mood lately for a lot of reasons I won’t go into here. Let’s just say any little thing can and has set me off lately.

Anyway, today I went to Philly to see my friend Jen, who I haven’t seen in months. We kept trying to plan something, but it never happened. Plus she had a baby back in December, so obviously that made things a tad more difficult. We finally made firm plans and met today.

We went out to lunch in the city. It’s been awhile since I have bothered to go into Philly (what with all the shooting and crime rate lately who wants to!). Several new restaurants have opened up, as well as shops, so it was nice to see some neighborhoods doing there best to present a good front.

Later we went back to her place and hung out. She had the Mario Kart game for Wii so that’s what we played. I have two of the previous versions, but hadn’t got the new one yet. It was on my list to get eventually. It was so much fun, especially the online options. You can play from people all over the world. Very cool.

Anyway, we are invited to her “Fifth of July Party” as that is when the riverfront in Philly is doing the fireworks. Given her vantage point to them in the city, she’s throwing a little party on her rooftop deck. So we’ll be going to that for sure. We also realized we have to be better about hanging out more often. She expressed interest in going out one night, so maybe we’ll make plans for a dancing night. That could be fun, though honestly neither of us knows where to go in Philly anymore! It’s probably been over a year since I’ve gone dancing in Philly.

All Your Singing Dreams Are Dead
 

This was a big week in videogame releases. Not only did the Wii Fit come out, but so did Singstar for the PS3. Now I have never played these games, but I was always curious. There are 4 of them on the PS2, and they are basically karaoke games. They are also huge hits.

However for the PS3, thanks to the hard drive, they really up’d the ante from what I’ve read. You can save all your performances, and if you have the webcam for the system then you can save the videos and photos of your performances. It doesn’t end there, you have an online section of the game where you can upload your performances and photos and whatever to your own Singstar Profile (think Myspace, Facebook, etc). Oh and it gets even better, there is an online store to purchase new songs as they are released. Given Sony has a huge music division, this should lead to tons of songs to expand the game . . . forever? Alas, right now there is no Madonna! I hope they’ll work something out to add her as she’s on an opposing label, along with Alanis dammit!

Well I decided to take the plunge and get this game. I know I can’t sing, but I like to sing in the comfort and privacy of my own home. Let me tell you it is the most fun I’ve had in a long time! It’s really not so much a game, but a karaoke machine and online social network. If you fancy yourself a singer, get this game! If you know you can’t sing, do it anyway and don’t care, get it! Seriously, this game is fun fun fun. Alone it is fun, I cannot yet imagine how much fun it would be to play with friends!

As of yet I have not uploaded anything to my profile, I’m not brave enough yet! If you get the game, leave a contact or contact me about adding each others as friends.

Indiana Jones: So Hot It Burnt Up!
 

I just got back from seeing “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.” The movie was so hot it burnt up, literally! The movie ended up melting and they had to splice the film back together. We got free passes, which I intend to use tomorrow for “Narnia” most likely. I’m actually shocked that they still use film in this day and age, but I guess DVDs or anything of the like are too easily pirated.

So anyway, onto the film. I love the “Indiana Jones” movies, probably because I grew up in the 80s so everyone loved them back then. It’s just part of our movie culture along with “Star Wars.” I was excited about the new one, but honestly hadn’t really bothered to find out what the whole plot behind this one was. All I knew was that instead of fighting the Nazis, this time it was the Soviets. Oh and that his kid was going to be in this one, and his dad (Shawn Connery) was dead (because the actor wouldn’t come out of retirement). Therefor I don’t know how much about the story has been released, so I’ll try hard not to spoil it, or will at least give some warnings.

The movie takes place in 1957 and has Indiana embroiled in the Communist Red Scare at the university he teaches at. Some things happen at the beginning of the movie with the Communists, who force him to help them get an “artifact,” and therefore he becomes a suspect to the FBI. Then Shia Labeouf’s character shows up to get Indy to help him rescue an old college friend of Indy’s and his mom, both of whom have been kidnapped because of what the friend found. At first they don’t know they are father in son, that’s revealed later on by Marian, who returns for the film. So off they are on an adventure to find the Crystal Skull and El Dorado, the fabled City of Gold where the skull was stolen from, according to the legend. Of course like in most of the other films, the bad guys want their hands on it too. Why? Because it’s an ultimate source of power to be used as a weapon. Duh!

The good: It was an enjoyable action movie. There was a lot of suspenseful “Indy” situations, a lot of special effects, fighting, etc. Lots of creepy crawly gross bug moments. Oh the “Temple of Doom” grossness factor was brought back for this one, but no bloody hearts being ripped out this time. The humor was there too, most of it pretty good and not the “Jar Jar Binks” crapola that Lucas has done lately. The acting all around was superb. Harrison Ford clearly isn’t too old to be Indy, he’s just not as sexy anymore ;) I could even tolerate Shia, who normally annoys me to no end. Seeing Karen Allen again as Marian is awesome. Cate Blanchet does a great job as the villian.

This actually is the most archaeological of all the movies, which also is going into the bad section in a bit. They actually throw a lot of real facts at you, old languages, real archaeological issues at one point involving “bodies” and even some archaeological theory is thrown in! The story, the story is also good and bad. As long as you take it for what it is, it’s a fun story and well thought out. Just don’t expect any realism at all. Yeah I know, Indy isn’t know for “keepin it real,” but this one pushes it even for Indy.

The bad: Basically the story is also the weak point. As I mentioned, this is the most archaeological of the movies, which is actually saying a lot if you think about it. They did some serious research this time around, but then they threw all of what we know archaeologically out the window for the big “twist” of the story. This probably will bother scholars and geeks more than the average movie goer than anyone really. A certain movie going segmant of the population will in fact love it. However I felt a bit let down. I am well aware that all the Indy movies deal with the impossible situations or the supernatural in a way, but this one I think pushed it a little too far. At this point I’ll place a marker in the page for those who want to keep on reading about what annoyed me. Only slight slight spoilers are given, nothing that ruins the fun of the movie. Honestly, it can hardly be considered ruining the “twist” when the movie itself does that in the first ten minutes basically. Again, this “twist” may have been spilled in a lot of reviews or stories on the movie as is for all I know.

(more…)

Wii Fit and that Indiana Guy
 

So today was the day, the Wii Fit came out! I headed out this morning to pick mine up, brought the sucker home and got on it. Not only did it tell me I’m fat, but I’m old! My Wii Fit age is way older than me! This s based on your weight, BMI as well as your sense of balance. All of mine suck, therefore I am old.

I found myself a tad shocked at how hard some of the exercises are! Now granted I had gone to the gym this morning and done some cardio, so I could have been a little pooped. But nevertheless, the exercises aren’t all a piece of cake so it will give you a workout. The balance games that come with it are cute and a tad tough as well.

One thing I can recommend is that you are getting or planning to get this, and you have hardwood floors, spend the money to get the exercise mat or any non-slip yoga mat from an exercise store. My feet are sore as is!

Switching gears, tomorrow is the day that “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” comes out. I’m so excited! I bought my ticket for the 11am show tomorrow. I actually for a split second considered going tonight at midnight, but figured it might be insane. They are showing it on 5 screens, so clearly they are expecting people!

After the movie gets out tomorrow I’m considering going to see “Prince Caspian right” after. I am not sure, it will depend if the weather is crummy or not. Otherwise I plan to do Caspian on Friday I hope. There is a big holiday weekend coming up, so I don’t want to try and even go to the movies then!

Damn You Best Buy!
 

So today was the day, the Wii Fit came out! I was so looking forward to this. I put a 5 dollar down payment on it at Best Buy to reserve it, and they gave me a little flier to explain when and how to pick it up. In big letters on the flier it says “Available May 19th!” That’s today of course. I must admit at first I found this odd, because videogames normally ship on Tuesdays and come out on Wednesdays. But Best Buy did spend money printing all these reserve card flier things so they can’t be wrong right? WRONG! I get there today and am told “Yeah they don’t actually come out till Wednesday. I don’t know when these cards were printed or why the date was wrong, sorry.”

Uhg, it was like having Christmas ruined! Okay not that bad, but I wasn’t happy. I had such a crummy weekend. I was in a bad mood the whole weekend and spent too much time cleaning the house (which seems to have helped my allergies on the up side). Princess not only felt bad, she had explosive diarrhea, which i woke up to all over the floor this morning! So all I really wanted was to play Wii Fit, and I’ve been denied!

On the upside, since finally taking getting into shape and losing weight seriously about 2-3 weeks ago, I’ve been finally seeing results. I saw a number on the scale today I haven’t seen in about 2 years, and I’m hoping tomorrow it will be even lower. I also noticed today my face actually was looking a little thinner than usual. Woohoo! For my cruise next year I intend to finally be in the shape I’ve wanted to for years :) Now if only my Wii Fit would get here!