Vulcan’s Peak

Christmas and movies

December 22, 2005 12:59 pm

Not a great deal of news here, folks. Christmas is happening, with all usual activities. Tree is up, outside lights are up, cookies are baked, presents are wrapped. I took the boys shopping the other day, which was almost not as much of an ordeal as last year. When they know what sort of thing they’re looking for – they were better on this than last year – that’s half the battle. The other half is finding this stuff. Last year we managed it all at the mall, I think…this year took us from Books-a-Million to the mall to Circuit City to WalMart.

Oh – and I managed to go to the post office at Christmas time without crushing my finger. *bows* So my grad school applications are all mailed off.

Came home last week and got my nose buried into three books, as usual. I came home reading Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, something I’ve wanted to find since I saw the musical based upon it when I was in London a year ago. Mmm, London. Mmm, Christmas lights in London.

I also picked up my German version of the first Harry Potter book in an effort to pull my Deutsch back again – I have a German lit course next term. Harry is, I find, a nice way to wade back in. I know the English well enough that it helps me out. Oh yeah, is that what merkwurdige means? Riiiight…

The third is a massive tome that my parents gave my brother for his birthday last spring. It falls in the “What to read after Harry Potter” advertising category, but between its size and his general busy-ness, he hadn’t started it yet. So I did. The first page or so is very clever, but then the 80 pages that follow are fairly slow. By pg. 80, though, I was hooked, and by 200 it hums right along quite nicely. The title is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and it’s set in the early 1800’s, as England is at war with Napoleon. Much magic and fairies and high society. Reminiscent of Patricia C. Wrede’s Mairelon books, but I have several hundred pages to destroy that illusion.

This Christmas has brought an unusually large number of movies I want to see! Since when does that happen, anyway? The Producers is out, as is Peter Jackson’s King Kong. There’s a new Pride and Prejudice, and I’m intrigued by the premise of Memiors of a Geisha (only sufficiently intrigued to rent it later, probably). This isn’t even counting the two (two!!) I saw last week, Rent and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Rent is a musical I hadn’t known anything about except that a lot of people really like it – I have one friend in particualr who is a big fan. When Pug and I went to see it at the mall, they were having some sound problems – way way way too much bass in some of the big numbers, so much so that you couldn’t hear the words…and the words were important. That whole setting up the plot and introducing the characters thing? Yeah. They evened out as the movie went on, and I really liked the show itself.

Narnia I enjoyed too. Pug, Tae, Elf, and I went out to dinner and saw the Narnia movie a week ago. Though I think the White Witch looked all wrong, there was a lot more that looked just right. The creatures were great (not the only way in which this production improves on the old BBC version with people in animal suits, but a major factor!), and the children were well cast. At first, I was a bit bothered by how much they seemed to be bickering, but when I looked back at the book later that night, I realized that they’d made a change for the realistic. No kids talk like they do in C.S. Lewis, not even British kids.

Personally, I’d been a little down on Narnia in recent years. Somehow, the more clearly I saw the Christian symbolism, the more I dismissed the tales. (Sad truth: I’m not as open-minded/tolerant/accepting as I like to think.) Seeing it all again reminded me that it is a good story all on its own. Christ figures don’t mean much to me, but dear old not-a-tame-lion Aslan does. That’s where the story is powerful to me. So I guess that’s what I liked best about it.

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