It's been an interesting weekend last weekend. Shannon came down to spend some time with me. We didn't do a whole lot all weekend other than go to the grocery store and to a movie Sunday evening. She's the introvert daughter, and she has a ferocious imagination, so she's a great one for just hanging around with even when you're not doing anything in particular. I did a little more cleaning and organizing, but I really didn't throw myself into it. I had a rather ornery eyeball headache on Sunday, which was part of the reason I was feeling a bit unmotivated. Gah, I hate those. Fortunately, they don't last long.
Well, we went to the movies Sunday evening. Shannon wanted to catch "Home on the Range". Of course, I didn't take much convincing to go. I've been a movie nut all my life. My brother and I and our two friends used to be the first ones in line for many movies in our younger years. We would show up sometimes more than half an hour early on opening day for quite a few of them. We practically had seats with our names on them -- dead center of the row, six rows or so from the front. Since we have grown up, one of those friends has actually gone on to work in Hollywood. He's a special effects makeup artist. His name's Will Huff and he's worked on quite a few big pictures now. Heh heh, he wants me to run off and join him in making a movie of his own. He is quite convinced that from our years of playing Dungeons and Dragons together, that I can write and tell a story. He wants me to tell the story, and he will make it happen on the screen. I can't say how many times the idea has percolated in my skull and piqued my curiosity. I just can't get past the idea though, that it would be like running off to join the circus -- it just doesn't seem possible. It's a fantasy, but one by which I am sorely tempted.
So, Shannon and I went to see "Home on the Range" Sunday night. Now, I've sat through quite a few kid flicks in my time, and some of them have been quite entertaining. The best children's entertainment is one where the story and the story telling are so good that it is entertaining to adults as well as the children in the audience. The last one to which I went was "Finding Nemo", and I liked it. It was hilarious. "Home on the Range" though, just did not impress me at any time during its one hour and sixteen minutes. It was totally uninspired and the plot was insipid. The theme was a tired old bromide which was not even attacked in a novel way. I just want to ask Disney, who thought of this thing? How did they get this thing all the way to celluloid without everyone who worked on it falling asleep and getting bored with the project? The best thing about this movie was the company (my daughter) and the previews, which were indeed excellent.
The first preview was for the next Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban". Perhaps I should tease ingenuemuse about getting the chance to see the preview on the big screen before she did, but knowing her, she's probably already watched it 209875 (yes, exactly that many) times herself on her PC. Heh heh, it's still better on the big screen! I don't know, but each installment of this series just keeps getting cooler and cooler with the special effects, and I am glad that the story has been able to carry them. Even so, I thought cinema photographer’s take on the dementors was a tad uninspired -- although they may be saving the "oh wow!" effects for the feature itself. I hope so. This one looks like a couple of hours of high adventure. Yup, I like these movies, the books too, and I definitely plan to see it.
The second preview was for the movie version of "Garfield: The Movie". Yeah, it looks like a bad idea walking right into a brick wall, doesn't it. Actually though, this thing looks as if it might just fly. Bill Murray is doing the voice for the title role. The parts I saw were somewhat funny! It certainly shows more promise than the cartoon. I could go see this one or wait for the video. It's very iffy. I don't know if they can maintain the humor and plot for the duration of a full-length feature.
The third preview was for a movie called "Raising Helen". All I can say for this one is that it looks interesting. I don't know what niche this one fits into, other than comedy but I think it makes some inroads on issues surrounding the deeper values of life. It's a very interesting premise. It's the story of a young woman play-girl who suddenly ends up with three children to take care of, when her sister and her sister's husband die in an accident, and finds out what family demands of you and what kind of toll it takes on your single-life dreams. Obviously, the plot revolves around the question of whether or not that toll is worth paying for the protagonist. It might be good.
By far, the best preview of the evening was for yet another remake of Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days", starring Jackie Chan as Passepartout! Okay, this version really went at pleasing me in the exact wrong way, I must admit. The take on this classic this time is a bit more fantastic than the original, which was a straight-forward, down to earth, tribute to the ingenuity and intrepidity of the human spirit and to reason successfully applied to the challenges of the world. The point was, it was a fantastic enough story without jazzing it all up with tricked-out special effects and fantastic gizmos and improbable inventions. Verne actually calculated the eighty day plot based upon the theoretical limits of the technology of the time. That's one of the strong points of the story -- it was near-term very plausible science fiction about to break upon the world as actual reality, and that story was quite an exciting enough adventure on its own merits. This movie's take on the story really does undermine that premise by introducing the fantastic where it is not really needed. That said, the way that the movie's creators are going at the story, the approach works, surprisingly. The movie is envisioned as a campy fantastic adventure comedy and buddy picture, and it looks like it's going to work! Jackie Chan has some great scenes where he can demonstrate his remarkable talents with physical feats and martial arts. I think I'm going to catch this one.
Other movies were not previewed in "Home on the Range" but I saw their posters on the wall on the way in.
- Shrek II Here's another kid-movie whose predecessor I thought was fantastic. Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz are all back for this one. I thought the first plot wrapped up nicely, so I don't know where they can go with this one, but at least they got all the talent back, and then some! Voices include: John Cleese, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, and Larry King.
- Troy Holy Ray Harryhausen, Batman, can you say Great Adventure Epic? Oh yes. I am so there for this one. This looks like it could be bigger than Gladiator if the cast and writers can pull it off. They look pretty good in the cast department: Brad Pitt -- as Achilles, Orlando Bloom -- as Hector, Sean Bean -- as Odysseus (inspired), and Peter O'Toole as Priam. I think I'll be catching this one on the big screen for sure! The trailer at imdb looks awesome.
- Van Helsing My friend Will worked on this one, but he's not listed on the IMDb page yet because he hasn't updated his stats there in awhile. Yes, Will informs me that you have to toot your own horn there and put in your own credit in the database. He's got some of his older projects there and he's promising me that he'll update it soon.
- The Day After Tomorrow I don't know about this one. It looks like a good sci-fi adventure movie. On the other hand, it also looks like a two hour advertisement for the Greenpeace eco-fanatics and global-warming zealots. The trailer looks interesting. Perhaps I'll wait for the video. I'm still undecided.