Friday, December 26, 2003
Well. It's been a bit, and for this I apologize. But, you know, I've just been so busy doing absolutely nothing that I haven't been able to summon the necessary energy/insanity to blog. I also take this moment to wonder why it is that my home computer can load every website on the Internet except for my own blog. One of the more obscure mysteries in life.
I am now sitting here in my pajamas, quite unshowered, because my brother got the shower first. Of course, it's also about 2:30 in the afternoon, so logic would say that I should have been up and showered long before this. But hey, it's winter break, and mornings ain't got nothin' on me.
I started my piece for the Envelopes exhibit, which will be taking place in Detroit at some as yet undetermined time in February. It looks like crud right now. The hope is that it will look better when everything is filled in, but having done as much of it as I have (not much, but a goodly amount), that hope is looking pretty slim. Alas, alas, alas. I think part of the problem is that I got so used to the 80º dorm room that I'm always cold here, and it's hard to do intricate penwork when your hands are freezing stiff.
In glorious news, coming straight to you from the pages of Wolverine Access, one of the best things to ever be created by the unversity technological powers that be. I passed chemistry! Yes, it was in doubt for some time. But I didn't just pass it, I cold passed it, with a lovely solid C-. And while that is only cause for mild celebration, I got an A or an A+ (!!!) in every other class I took. Take that, college! I own you!
My family has been eating so much chinese food lately that my dad has begun almost continually cracking bad jokes about living in Beijing. On Wednesday we went to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. The show Splat Boom Pow was there. Some of it was quite good, some was pretty bad, and there was one piece that was profoundly disturbing. It featured a lot of little kids with crudely drawn genitals. It was done by a guy who was a recluse all his life and was extremely creepy. You got the feeling that if he hadn't been a recluse there would have been quite a lot of molested children out there.
Anyways, the point is that we had chinese food at PF Chang's. It was good. The next night was Christmas day, so we had to have chinese food, as nothing else was open. We went to Suchang's, which was very crowded, and where the words 'Happy Chanukah' were shouted loudly and often. We've also been having leftover chinese food for lunch for a couple of days now.
Christmas Day we went to the movies, as tradition dictates. The theater was actually much more crowded than we had thought it was going to be. My mother and I went to see Lord of the Rings, and our theater was filled to capacity. And it was one of those big, 500-seat theaters. Insanity. Those goyim, they just ain't what they used to be with religion and all.
So now that my mother has seen LOTR, I am allowed to write the highly anticipated Feline Anarchist movie review of it. Hold onto your seats kids, the insanity knows no bounds. As usual, there's a strong possibility of spoilers so, um, beware of that. But if you're a good fan, you've already read the books several hundred times each, so nothing comes as much of a surprise to you.
I liked it. I did. Really. Not quite as much as I liked the first two. But that might have something to do with the fact that the third book was my favorite one, so I was expecting something... unreasonable for this movie. Unreasonably whatever. I mean, this was a damn good movie. Battles were epic, characters were developed, scenery was sweeping, effects were impressive, dialog wasn't too stilted if you already knew what they were talking about, the hobbits collectively had more sexual tension among themselves than a middle school dance.
But... I don't know. I suppose I just got seriously overexcited for what was a good movie, a great movie, even. But it wasn't The Movie To End All Movies, So That I Could Never Watch Another Movie Again in Peace. I suppose that's why I had that mild sense of disappointment, and that's more or less what I meant by 'unreasonable'.
The movie was decidedly better upon second viewing. The first time around, as with the first two movies, I got extremely pissed off about everything they changed from the book. Saruman? Just cut out that entire section of the story, why don't you? Let us completely remove characters such as Prince Imrahil. And the ending? Yes, let us ignore the fact that the hobbits come home and the Shire is in tatters in the book. Immediate happy ending! Immediate happy ending! Hrmph. Although I guess (grumble mutter mutter) that that they did it that way because otherwise it would've been too long.
Éowyn is in love with Aragorn (the big-eyed blond chick likes the kingly guy with the scruffy beard, for those of you who never could get the names straight). At the end, Aragorn is getting married. Where's Éowyn? Off slitting her wrists or weeping into the cobblestones? Nope, there she is, standing in the crowd looking happy with... who's that guy? That's not Faramir, is it? It is? When did that happen? What? What?
In the book, see, Éowyn and Faramir both got injured in the battle (happened in the movie, too). So they both go the Minas Tirith version of a hospital, and they meet each other, and Éowyn gets over herself and Aragorn and falls in love with Faramir so that everyone can live happily ever after and we don't have anyone angsting over the title character at the end. In the movie, we are given absolutely no reason to believe that they had ever even met each other, yet at the coronation/wedding there they are, happily appearing to be in love. What the dickens, people?
Anyways, other stuff was good. Minas Morgul I liked, despite my irresistible first thought, which was 'Damn, it's the Emerald City'. Still, that's about the description it gave in the book, and I think they did a good job with it. When the big ol' spike of energy or what have you came out the top of it, that was quite nifty.
Theoden (king of the horsey folk) I liked. Éomer, his second in command and nephew, I did not like. He looked... weird. Denethor (the steward of Minas Tirith) I also liked, not because he was good, but because they made him deliciously evil. I mean, come on, he was gross and you adored it. He was slimy and creepy and plainly did something along the lines of molestation to Pippin when the cameras weren't rolling.
i am no man... oh sorry, that was éowyn's line.
Speaking of that scene with Pippin and Denethor. When Pippin sang. And I giggled. Well, it was kind of funny. But I like the fact that the actor who plays Pippin is Irish and has an Irish accent, so they made the song he was singing a little bit of an Irish ballad-sounding deal.
The spider, whom everyone has been discussing. It's been called the most realistic CGI spider ever to be made, and that's accurate. It's even more realistic than a lot of real spiders, if that makes any sense. It's freaking huge, it's completely disgusting, and it looks 120% real. The most frightening thing about it was the way it moved. They must have had people studying the way spiders move for months to get it down so perfectly.
Gollum, yeah, his novelty wore off a little after the second movie. He has another argument with himself, whoop de doo, we saw that last time. But Jason pointed out, and this is neat, his pupils are different sizes depending on which aspect of himself he is at a given time. As the 'good' Sméagol, his pupils are big. As the 'evil' Gollum, his pupils are small. Cool.
Gandalf was much the same as he has been, except for that scene at the end where he was laughing. What was that? It looked freaky. Oh, and I somehow thought his beard was longer. It looked oddly short in this movie, although perhaps that's just my brain playing silly buggers with me.
Gimli was no longer the joke dwarf that he was in the second movie. He still provided some moments of comic relief, but at least none of them involved dwarf tossing this time around.
As Corey rightly pointed out, Legolas in this movie was sort of reduced to the role of Storm in the second XMen movie, that being to stand around wide-eyed and pretty-looking and explain the plot for those in the audience who didn't get it (Aragorn: So we'll all go to Mordor and fight some orcs and buy Frodo some time. Legolas: A diversion! Audience: Ohhhhhhh). And sometimes do cool, overly intricate things that looked good but weren't really all that powerful. Case in point, that entire sequence with the elephant (or mumak, if you're going to get pedantic and dorky on me). Yes, we get to see Orlando Bloom swinging about and generally being lithe and agile and elven, and at the end of it he does a jaunty little dismount off the trunk of the elephant. Very nice, I'm sure, but more show than anything else. The theater during my second viewing apparently liked it though, because at that point they all started applauding.
The battle scenes were appropriately large, but after Helm's Deep in the second movie they all sort of looked alike. Men in fortress versus orcs trying to invade fortress. Everyone has swords and maces and things, and there are probably some trolls involved who scare the crap out of the men because they're just so darned big. You think they'd be used to the fact that the trolls are gonna be there, they're gonna be big, and you're just going to have to shoot them down or something. No need to act surprised and shocked everytime a troll shows up.
Minas Tirith (city of the king... that big white place with all the different levels) I liked. They made it look like it was described in the book, and they made it look good. Despite the unavoidable wedding cake resemblance, it looked quite appropriately like what it was supposed to be.
Faramir (son of Denethor, brother of Boromir, guy who gets beaten around a lot and cries because his daddy doesn't love him) I guess was OK in the movie. I'm still disappointed that they didn't make him as great as he was in the book. But my mother thought he was cute, and he kind of is. So there's a silver lining to every cloud.
The hobbits... the hobbits. Merry and Pippin needed to get married at the end of that movie. "I knew you'd find me. Are you going to leave me?" "No, I'm going to stay here. I'm going to take care of you." And numerous other such scenes. And then at the end, when they're saying goodbye to the folks getting on the boat, one of them (I think it was Pippin) was wearing what looked for all the world like a plaid schoolgirl's uniform and a paisley scarf. I'm not even kidding. And then he turns around and has his arm around Merry and they walk away. The movie would have been so much better if they made those two into a love story.
Sam and Frodo practically were a love story anyways. All those scenes of Sam cuddling Mr. Frodo and comforting Mr. Frodo and pawing at Mr. Frodo and getting jealous because Mr. Frodo is spending too much time with Gollum and not paying attention to the dinner that Sam spent all night slaving over and making just right. There were at least 10 moments in the third movie alone where they could have kissed and it would have seemed entirely appropriate to the plot. Come on! It was meant to be! Suck it up Peter Jackson and bow to the inevitable!
And then of course they toss in that bit with the lady hobbit to all of a sudden make Sam say, "I'm not gay! Really! I'm not!", instead of giving the audience what they really want, which is the gay hobbit action they've been promised all throughout the series. And I mean that in a completely unperverted sort of way, no matter what it sounds like. They were the ones who went and set up this movie so these hobbits looked like they were in love with one another, and then they wimp out of it. Hrmph. Cowards. *shakes fist vengefully at Hollywood*
Oh, I liked the start, how they did the whole Gollum-back-when-he-was-Sméagol-the-hobbit-like-creature bit, and his subsequent transformation into the lovable CGI Gollum that we know today. A rather disgusting transformation, I might add, but rather satisfyingly well done for all that.
Also at the beginning, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and Gandalf come across Merry and Pippin hanging out at Isengard (former home of evil wizard Saruman, now the Land of the Talking Trees). Merry and Pippin are smoking. And giggling. And rolling around. And generally acting vaguely inappropriately. The question on everyone's mind, I think, is: what the heck are they smoking? Is it that infernal maryjawanna business? Kids these days...
Right, sorry, this is looking a little long. Sorry. Got a bit out of hand. Anyways, I know it looks like I ripped it to bits, but it was actually a really good movie that was only a wee bit disappointing because I'm a rabid, unrelenting fan of the books with a really good memory of exactly what was and was not in them. Oh well. So The Return of the King gets Four Paws Up, minus a paltry couple of cat hairs. Because, see, there was that wee bit of disappointment. If you liked the first two, go see it. In fact, why haven't you already seen it? And if you have, go see it again. If you didn't like or didn't see the first two, don't be an ass and go see this one just so you can complain about it and piss off real fans. You jerks.
If you haven't been playing iSketch online, what the heck have you been doing on the Internet? Nothing good, I should think.