Daily Archives: December 18, 2007

Book #28 – Renfield: Slave of Dracula by Barbara Hambly

This was an impulse buy at the library book sale.  I’m occasionally interested in what other people can do with the Dracula mythos, but this book really didn’t do much.  Refield isn’t very compelling and the entirely of the story lacked any tension.  To put it in terms of ‘craft,’ this is what I don’t want to do with my writing.

Link of the morning: Korea’s Dark Half

Ended up watching two movies yesterday.  (‘Tis the season for Eric and Katherine to goof-off.)

The first was The Golden Compass. I haven’t read the book(s), and I know very little about them other than they are the supposed anti-Lewis of allegorical children’s literature. Honestly, we ventured out on a rare movie theater trip to throw some support its way after a pretty low return weekend. It isn’t everyday that a big fantasy movie comes out, and I’ve never liked the attitude of avoiding something, like a movie, that might actually challenge the ‘norms’ of belief. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t a good movie.

The effects were spectacular. The world looked great with it’s sort of steam-punk sensibility. (Sort of steam-punk because they obviously have some sort of strange technology involving spinning ring-things, but still with a Victorian/Edwardian flare.) The daemon and snow bears were pretty well done as well. I shouldn’t expect less, really, in this day and age. The acting was also solid, though I wish there had been a more Daniel Craig. These things make for great eye candy, but not necessarily a good movie.

Plot-wise, it was thin. There’s a lot of “go here, meet the king, now we’re going to go there to meet the king…” The peoples of this world felt completely separate from each other, instead of forming a whole world. Maybe the book is just too big for a two hour movie, but if that’s the case it needed defter writing. How do the Lord of the Rings movies handle the huge scope of their source material? They leave things out *cough*TomBombadil*cough* and concentrate of more important aspects of the story. That seemed to be lacking here. Let’s face it, LotR isn’t the most ambitious plot ever either, but Wlash/Boyens/Jackson made it work.

And finally, the controversy! *drama, drama* Is the movie anti-Catholic? Not that I could see. Not that Eric could see, him being the Catholic in the household. Is the movie anti-religious in a broad sense?  Yeah, a bit.  It’s also generally anti-authority.  From reading the Wikipedia entry, it does sound like they toned things down for the movie.  Is it harmful to your children?  *drama, drama*  Well, I guess that’s for a parent to decide, and I’d hope they’d make an informed decision rather than being irrational about it. From a personal perspective, I’ll relate the following: When I was a kid, I saw an animated version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on TV around Christmas time. “Huh, that was kind of cool,” I thought to myself, “and I like lions. And, it’s based on a book! I’ll read it! I like lions.” Obviously, I couldn’t have been too old, but old enough not to be daunted by the book. It wasn’t until I was in college that someone mentioned that it’s a Christian allegory. I never knew! I just thought that Aslan was the shit because he was lion. As a grown-up, I watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and thought, “Yeah, there’s Christianity all over that story. Funny I didn’t see it before. And Mr. Tumnus is totally hot…”

Second movie: Seraphim Falls.  Not nearly as good as I’d hoped.  It ranged from boring to surreal.  In a kind of linear, not surreal enough, manner.  The best part of the movie was, after the protagonist met up with some unconnected bank robbers, Eric commenting, “That was what you call a ran-dom encounter.”  Yeah, I guess you have to be a certain kind of geek to actually get that joke…