Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Yesterday I went to see the new Bond, James Bond, movie. As is clear to anyone by now, this one is different, a new start as it were, and the first time this production company has done Casino Royale, the first of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels. (It was done as a tongue in cheek comedy about the same time as the Broccoli team did Dr NO.)

I was not thrilled. In hindsight, I think this was more a matter of expectations than the script. If one is expecting a typical Bond movie, a story of adventure and good triumphing over bad, a martini finish with a beautiful girl, even if from a less melodramatic lens, then it is slow, poorly told, and drags.

The movie is well acted, well photographed, and there are certain segments that are simply awe inspiring for instance, the opening chase- a new and original take on a now very old movie cliché. No cars, just two men running- and climbing and jumping and creating a few gasp-worthy moments for the viewer. But this is also the first scene that exposes the problem- for all the time it took; it had little to do with advancing the story line. That seemed secondary throughout the movie- unless one considers that maybe the point of this movie is not to tell the story, but to newly introduce and develop the character. In that case, certain seemingly irrelevant scenes become of interest. I am thinking that I would like to see it again with this understanding, but on first viewing, this led to a bit of dragging, and a few scenes that seemed simply superfluous.
The production values were good, the acting good, the photography was good, and overall an entertaining movie- and the final scene was great! Made up for any shortcomings in the rest of the movie. I recommend it, but with the understanding that it is not the best story of the Bond movies, but maybe the best Bond.
Today I went to see Happy Feet! Like the early previews of several months ago, and the more recent previews, my opinion changed considerably during the later parts of the movie. If I had been pulled out halfway through, or even ten minutes or so before the end, I would have had nothing but praise for it- my entire review might have been "Wow!". The opening is strong, unique, refreshing, original, new, exciting... and it carries. It is unique and original and new and exciting. The music is wonderful and just keeps on going, beautifully integrated into the experience and adding to it. The pacing is excellent, the animation flawless, and the drawing beautiful! The story is good, though not exceptionally well executed, but quite passable, and with everything else, it still ranks a WOW, if only they had ended it ten minutes earlier...

Remember all those Stephen Segal movies- he makes a good exciting action packed movie, and then he ends with a five-minute sermon?
Not quite as blatant as that, but that is where they went. Not that the point isn't nice and good, but it is the job of the artist to make his point within his work, not by suddenly changing it all and inserting a message. If you have a message, it is your job to get it across without suddenly leaving your medium and lecturing, even if it is still a pictorial lecture.
They do try to tie it into the story, but it is roughly done, forced, distracting, as if some executive had walked in and issued orders to go this way without regard to the rest of the movie, such as was done to so many Disney Animations near the end (but for far less noble reasons).
I can still readily recommend this movie, but it fell far from what it was for most of its delightful presentation, and I doubt I will be buying the DVD.
Just leave when Mumbles makes his big dive- Ya! That is a good ending point!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I have just added another little bit to the Bee Invasion story below- seems this one has generated a lot of interest and feedback. New picture too!

Speaking of pictures, a bit of a review of what is available for your visual perusal on my photo album site,

Lake Mirror Classic Car Show, report and photos coming soon!

Wendy and Annette at DLP, The first photos of "Wendy of the UK", and Annette of the Good Ol' USA at DisneyLand Paris are now up and ready for your viewing! Both ladies are sending me CD's of all the shots (over 600) for later sorting, editing, and sharing, but here is a start!

MNSSHP, my own visit to the halloween party at Magic Kingdom, lots of parade shots and the new Pirates of the Carrabean attraction;

WDW AK & EE, my day with a wonderful family at Animal Kingdom and my first ride on the new Expedition Everest featuring a couple of good shots on that ride;

The WENDY Meet!, this was the last time Wendy was here at WDW and features lots of "people shots" of attending internet fan group members, and then over to Animal Kingdom Lodge, shots of animals and and a magic moment during dinner at Boma;

WDW Castle, various shots of note of the Castle at WDW;

Suess Trolley II: The Opening, the passholder preview of the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride at Islands of Adventure;

Mythos and Seuss Trolley, dinner at the #1 theme park restaurant in the world 5 years running, and preview shots of the new ride at IOA;

Shamu and Soarin, featuring the stunning new Shamu Show at SeaWorld and of Soarin' at Epcot, including a very nice shot of Germany;

AFV Taping at WDW, the filming of the TV special at MK including a shot of Main Street under special lighting;

Mardi Gras, NFFC and UNI IOA, the party at Universal, a fan club meet at the town of Celebration, FL, meeting Tony West, Disney animator! and general stuff at UNI IOA;

Two Days in Orlando, mainly SW and UNI;

Day at WDW, a fan group meet at DownTown Disney and features some very unique and striking shots of MK;

Give Kids the World, a tour of the special village by several fan group members last year;

Gaylord's Ice Show 2005, a cold place... but some remarkable ice sculpture from this annual event at the Gaylord's resort.

Reports on most of these adventures are further down in this blog and some of these adventures are also now available in a 6" x 10" color magazine, The Continuing Adventures of Jud



Thursday, November 16, 2006

This afternoon, *despite* it starring Will Ferret, I went and saw Stranger Than Fiction.
What a wonderful unique movie! The casting is very strange and has nothing to do with the movie, so forget any preconceptions about that (except Emma Thompson who is so talented!) and forget the impression of the previews and ads, and go see this one- it is special! And I doubt it is going to be in the theaters long cause it is not at all what it appears to be, it is so much more!!! Definitely a MUST SEE!!!


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