Monthly Archives: September 2005

I’ve said my piece

I think you’ll find is the actual phrase Ness, but I like your spelling better.

So I thought I was having the final word, but apparently I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love commenters, and especially dissenting views – which is precisely why I put my opinions up here. I find it a very lonely world when I don’t share my thoughts with others, and an even lonlier one when people don’t argue back. Occasionally someone agrees with me when I don’t expect it and that’s great too.

So I’ll just continue shouting out into this cave, and wait for the echoes to come back…ack…ack…ack

The last word

So before I start on the festival reviews I’ve decided that on the Charlie thing that it’s my blog so I get the last word.

I did find it slightly amusing that there were no comments on the book review. I will presume that’s because I’m right on, and you all agree so much you feel there is nothing to add :P

We’ll have to agree to disagree on the rest. Ness I’m not sure whether “I’ve said my peace” was a typo or not, but I liked it.

You know, Maggi Dawn never gets any of this.

Heeere’s Johnny…

I was going to leave the Charlie review as it was, but I’ve been goaded into further analysis. I will take each point turn by turn:

Nessa:
well, you *know* my views about the ooompa loompas in both the book and original movie(imperialistic hoo ha).

I’m not sure I did get that impression from you Ness. I will agree that these days they can be seen as imperialistic, but Dahl, especially in the earlier books was a writer of the old school. Little people are a fantastic plot device used by Tolkien, Rowling, Lewis, Blyton… in fact they are such a staple of the children’s and fantasy genres that many books that don’t use them seem a little flat.

Wood:
I particularly loved the new Oompa Loompas – they avoid the problem of imperialism (and little people, too).
This will need more explaining from you I’m afraid Wood, I don’t see how a parade of identical top-knotted little people is less imperialistic than orange men with green hair and white eyebrows capable of proper harmonies. Plus in the new film you can’t make out more than every other word of Danny Elfman’s over-over-over dubbed lyrics. They did mostly use Dahl’s text for the songs but the production meant they were far less effective when compared to the first films re-written lyrics.

Nessa:
although i’m not sure if i’ve expressed how unfortunate i thought the original music was.
This is a point of view you have expressed before, I’m afraid, and I know I’ve mentioned several times on this very blog that I love it. It’s my blog, and my opinion. Deal with it ;)

Nessa:
however i will give credit where credit was due, gene wilder was fantastic.
Wood:
Gene Wilder was a better Willy Wonka.

Mark this day down in history – a point agreed by all three of us :D

Nessa:
i haven’t seen the new one yet, but i can’t imagine that johnny depp was anything but wonderful.
Wood:
Johnny Depp was pretty good – and he tries to get across how complex the feelings of a man dedicated to making sweets for children must be… but he has this Michael Jackson impression thing happening, and it’s not *quite* right.

Johnny wasn’t all bad, but I found the Michael Jackson thing rather spooky – letting selected children into his dreamland, his empire, they leave damaged for the most part, apart from the one who really understands him. Everything is blamed on his father. It’s not a comparison I would have made naturally and I rather resent Depp and Burton for planting that rather sordid thought into my childhood memories.

And is it just me that’s getting really bored of Tim Burton’s casting? There are thousands of actors out there that would have made fantastic Willy Wonkas, Johnny was the dull no brainer choice. Kiefer Sutherland however… that would have been a fantastic film.

Wood:
In all other respects (except for the Christopher Lee subplot, and even that was rescued by the thing with the disappearing house), the Burton film was better.

Nah the Christopher Lee subplot sucked badly, and it spoiled the ending, the film looked too deeply. Dahl characters never need a background history, they just are and what’s more the kids don’t care why Wonka is the way he is, Dahl understood this. Once you overlay the Burton template onto the story however there has to be a resolution. Wonka is not evil enough to be a baddy and need his comeuppance, so he needs a redemption. Actually, Tim, he doesn’t. That is why the subplot sucked.

Nessa:
(i still keep my eyes open for a movie we might agree on. i believe it can happen. i mean, we’ll always have bridget jones…)

And Dead Poets Society, Truly Madly Deeply, The Princess Bride, Harry Potters 1-3 (and probably the rest when they’re released)…

Reviewing the summer in bits

It’s been so long since I’ve been writing properly and the post before last did a good job of listing some of the reasons why. Lists however are a little uninteresting. I’m off to another festival tomorrow, so I’ll tell you about all of those when I’m back, what I will review today will be the book that has consumed most of my summer – The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a fantastic book detailing the lives of the wife and four daugthers of an unhinged Baptist missionary in 1960’s Congo. Anyone wanting to take their family on mission should read this book, but it offers the rest of us a wonderful perspective on a world seen through the eyes of mother Orleanna trying to both serve her husband and protect her daughters whose narratives make up the bulk of the book. Kingsolver’s gift for language in so many forms means that you are able to fully believe that there are five different authors making up the text, I don’t normally gush about books, but The Poisonwood Bible stirs up so many emotions that it’s impossible not to pass on the enthusiasm it generates.

I’m sure you’ve made up your mind by now whether or not you’re going to take my advice and read this book, so I’ll get on with my day and let you get on with yours – hopefully back soon with some festival reviews, and perhaps the story of the passport photo…

Slightly more than a couple of hours later…

… Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was good, but not great. I was going to do an exciting comparative table detailing where it does better than ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’, but my technical support is busy at work having taken an extended lunch break to help me get my passport sorted (gah).

Here instead are the points where ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ wins:
– Charlie himself
– Sticking to the book better (although minus points for the tangential plot involving Christoper Lee which meant it finished awkwardly)
– The town and general scenery outside of the factory, very bleak, Burton on good form.
– Grandma Georgina
– The special effects (even taking into account the 30 year gap between the 2 films)

‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ however remains the better film, partly for these reasons:

– Willy Wonka himself
– The music (minus points for ‘Cheer up Charlie’ though)
– The Oompa Loompas
– Grandpa Joe
– The other children apart from Charlie

So there you have it. I was very pleased to recieve a special edition region 1 dvd of ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ for my wedding anniversary. It is the definitive version on film.

The book still wins hands down of course, preferably with illustrations by Faith Jaques rather than Quentin Blake, but that’s a different story…