At the Movies
: Right off the bat, I want to say that the 3D was not worth it, not at all. 3D makes everything look murkier and darker; the effects weren't made more or less spectacular; and it actually gave me a bit of a headache, especially towards the end. We ended up seeing that show because it was the *only* time we could get to the movies, and that was that. Frankly, after this 3D experience, I don't think we're going to be seeing any movies in 3D again, unless it's a film made specifically for 3D and one that gets universally great reviews regarding that aspect of the production.
But, anyway: Thor! We quite enjoyed the whole production, which managed to be fairly engaging despite taking place across 1,000 years and 3 separate dimensions. Instead of being convoluted and dull, the pacing was fairly good, and the plot maintained its urgency, even towards the final three-quarters of the story, where things normally begin to flag. I was also highly impressed that Natalie Portman's character was a true astrophysicist, in that she had made most of her equipment by hand.* Asgard was... pretty. I mean, when we first see it, it was shining and golden and pretty, and I wanted to spend a lot more time there. (I was also very curious what the people there who weren't Gods spent their time doing. There appeared to be a lot of people walking around, and what were their jobs? Palace staff? Writers, artists, poets? Scientists? Warriors-in-training? They also had some very interesting and out-there fashion choices, and again, I really wanted to find out what they were doing when not attending demi-God's banquets.) There was some gorgeous prop design, which was regrettably gone in flashes of too-fast editing.
The acting was good as well. Chris Hemsworth is certainly easy on the eyes (*cough* More shirtless Thor time was needed *cough*) and he played Thor with a much more gentlemanly flourish than I was expecting. (The only Thor I've read until now is Neil Gaiman's version in Sandman
, and his Thor is more of a frat boy/football player/all around drunken lout.) Tom Hiddleston was excellent as Loki, who lurked like Iago around the edges of the story, waiting for his day in the sun (er, maybe "day on the ice" is more appropriate?). And Idris Elba was fantastic as Heimdall. He had this amazing, otherworldly presence that the character was meant to have, and all the scenes with him were just fascinating.
I had only a few, spoiler-rific questions ( here: )
Anyway, it was great fun, all things considered. A nice way to start the summer movie season.
* Having grown up with astrophysicists, I'm always on the lookout for certain character traits and for the most part, although she was a little too well made up, Portman embodied the character very well. My only quibble was that her lab/workspace was far, far too neat to belong to any scientist.
Trailer Park: I realized I have almost no interest in seeing the new Pirates of the Carribean
, mostly because the trailer was exhausting. X-Men: First Class
, on the other hand, continues to be appear to be made of awesome and win, even if we do have to sit through the Hellfire Club, who are the lamest villains in almost all comic book canon, IMHO. There appears to be a very depressing, violent film with Zoe Saldana on the horizon about one woman's vendetta against the drug cartel members who slaughtered her parents. And Super 8
appears to have been pitched along the lines of "E.T., but darker, and with a movie camera."In Books
, by Joshua Ferris: This book took me about six months to finish, which is not my normal track record. I started to wonder, around Christmas, why I still bothering, since I had so little energy, and there were other books clamoring for my attention. I think that this story and its characters had gotten their hooks into me, and in the best of all possible ways. I felt committed to finding out what happened these people, no matter what the consequences. (The last book I felt this way about was the excellent The Terror
, by Dan Simmons, last blogged about here
.) This plot was certainly different than a historical horror novel's, and while there were certainly some similar aspects between the two (a nameless dreaded problem constantly on the characters' horizons), The Unnamed
is not a horror novel, but an extended allegory about compulsion, desire, and love. Ferris' prose is never overdone or dense for the sake of sounding good; it's a pleasure to read a story in simple terms. There are some dark patches in this story, and the ending's a little sad, but it's well worth the time and energy to read. Even if it takes 6 months. :)