Wednesday, January 21, 2015

reviews and previews

I had three reviews in the pipeline. This is unusual. One of them has finally made it out: Symphony Silicon Valley, doing Ravel and Gershwin. I'd never been a fan of these works, except for Boléro, though my appreciation of Rhapsody in Blue went way up after I saw the simply brilliant animation for it in Fantasia 2000. But the concert was OK.

The bit about Grofé's first name was added by the editor. I have no idea why it was considered worth mentioning.

Movies not seen:

1. Via File 770, The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime. So Amazon is making movies now. According to the description, "the production is highly atmospheric, smeary, hazy and dingy as if fogged by doubts about its own reality." This is as it should be, and could make the movie more true to the book than the book is.

As I wrote in the comments, though, I'm a little disturbed by the use of "Edelweiss" as the theme song. It's widely believed – I've heard more than one person state it as a fact – that this was Hitler's favorite song.

That would have been difficult to arrange for, as the song was in fact not written until nearly 15 years after Hitler's death, but its use here in a representation of the Nazi conquest – even if it turns out in the show to be wholly ironic – is only likely to spread the error.

2. Via Andrew Ducker, a fan edit cutting The Hobbit trilogy to 4'21". I haven't watched it because that's still at least four hours too long for me. It wouldn't be possible to create an edit which reproduced the story from the book, because large parts of the book never made it into the movie, notably the escape from the Wood-Elves' castle by barrels, which was removed from the movie and replaced with a thrill-park ride.

Comments reveal some deeply clueless defenses of the movie's changes (all quotes sic), such as "It even fixed to of the biggest flaws in the book version, actually giving and reason why Gandalf left and giving Bard a lot more development." 1) Gandalf coming and going mysteriously is part of his character; 2) The reason is eventually given in the book (chapter 19); 3) Bard should remain in the background: this is not his story, but Bilbo's. Or, "NO person who calls themselves a Tolkien fan is going to excise the Dol Guldur scenes, or references through those scenes to the first dark lord Morgoth, Ungoliant, or Goldolin ect." This is only true if your goal in life as a Tolkien fan is to see everything depicted on screen. Some of us who call ourselves Tolkien fans prefer to read the books.

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