Summer Movie Review (Numero Uno)

Just a few general updates here: life is good, I had cinnamon rolls this morning, and not I’m in the library reading The Sandman.

Amidst the fun of the week, I’m mostly waiting for friday. Why Friday, you ask? Why, that’s when Stardust comes out. Stardust is based on a Neil Gaiman novel, and, from what the reviews said, is a wonderful fairy tale, and an all round excellent movie. From what I’ve read of Gaiman so far, I’d believe it. I just finished his novel, Neverwhere, which features a bizarre world that exists underneath London, and a man who accidentally falls between the cracks of London above into the dark universe of London Below. It was excellent—it had an oddly beautiful feel about it, but was at the same time dark and terrifying. Fantastic book.

One of the greatest praises I’ve heard for Stardust is that it forms a fantasy movie triptych with The Princess Bride, and Pan’s Labyrinth. Given that The Princess Bride, on of my favorite films, was nice and innocent, and Pan’s Labyrinth was frighteningly dark, I’m looking forward to see what happens here. I’m going to make an effort to have the book read before friday—it doesn’t look terribly long, so that shouldn’t be difficult.

Also coming out soon is Beowulf, screenplay also written by Neil Gaiman. Now, those of you who know me personally and have also seen the adds for this movie would wonder, David? Beowulf? Huh? This is likely because (speaking of fantasy triptychs) the adds feature a bare-chested, muscular, incredibly attractive Beowulf, a hulking monster which I assume to be Grendel, and—of course!—a woman. This woman is, for all intents and purposes naked, save an odd sort of slime which covers her, skin-tight, to the shoulders. She is, if there was any doubt in your mind, slender, dark of hair and eye, and standing in such a profile that seductively outlines one of her breasts. Those that know me would assume that I would be mortally irritated by such blatant advertising, and, I’ll be honest, when I first saw it, I was.

Then, I saw the name Neil down by the bottom edge, right near the crouching Grendel, and I began to have a little faith. So I studied the poster a bit more. (Studied, not ‘ogled.’ The only difference I can actively tell was that my jaw was clenched contemplatively, instead of hanging open.) I noticed a few things about the woman, though. Her hair, for instance, is in a long braid, and hangs down to her waist. But it changes as it goes, and by the end it has a distinctly smooth, almost scaly look. I noticed that her eyes were slitted. Her hands disappear into darkness, but if you manage to pull your eyes from the focal point of the picture, you can see, clearly, the outline of claws, not fingers.

I was suddenly very interested, because the picture that I originally assumed was blatantly for advertising purposes (and still is, of course) had caught my imagination. Ahh, I thought, maybe Grendel isn’t the hulking one in the middle.

And that is the story of how I got interested in the movie. I admit the possibility that it could turn out to be trash (Neil isn’t actually directing, after all, and screen play writers seldom have control beyond the point of, well, writing), but at least I know it has a good story behind it. That gives me faith. I’m very much looking forward to it.

As a last little note, I’ve also seen the Pixar-film-about-the-rat-that-I-never-can-spell, which was excellent, Harry Potter, which did a good job of doing what it was supposed to do, and Transformers, which was abysmal.

I was especially dissapointed with Transformers, since I was such a fan of the old series—it failed to give me any sense of nostalgia, and as a movie in it’s own right, it was terrible as well. I’d rather what Transformers the Movie. That’s right, the old animated one. At least it treats the transformers as more than bit players.

*grumble grumble*

In any case, go see Stardust. It looks good. You should see it. This friday. If you’re in Grand Rapids, you could even go see it with me!

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