As my sister Wen could attest, I became a major Anglophile somewhere in middle school.
Thanks to North Texas public television springing its acquisition budget on British comedies and dramas, I embraced major Anglophile geekdom, watching Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Monty Python, Ripping Yarns, Fawlty Towers, Black Adder, Butterflies, As Time Goes By, All Things Great and Small, Jeremy Brett’s rendition of Sherlock Holmes (which I LOVED LOVED LOVED), Good Neighbors (originally called The Good Life in Great Britain), and even — egads — Blake’s 7.
I was so obsessed that I even threw a thirteen-year-old temper tantrum because my parents wanted me to stop watching the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1980 production of Dickens’ The Life and Adventures ofNicholas Nickleby because it was dinner-time.
I was still so obsessed eight years later that, on the very-early morning ferry ride from France to Great Britain, I started to shake the now-estranged-Hubby’s (then not-quite-boyfriend’s) shoulders, screeching like an apoplectic owl, “It’s the cliffs of Dover! It’s the cliffs of Dover!”
So, it comes as no surprise that, after a long summer period of teaching and home chores and even longer fall semester of teaching teaching teaching, I welcomed the end of the semester with actually watching in a movie theater — I almost spelled that “theatre” — three films I was looking forward to watching.
I. The first was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I. There’s nothing new I could say that hasn’t been said before: very dark, very cliff-hanger-y (since it’s the first half of the book), and, since Book 7 was divided into two films, very faithful to the book.
Watching HP7 Part I was part of my sister’s birthday gift to her, in addition to treating her out to sushi, and we had re-watched all of the previous HP movies in preparation for this one. The one thing I had to be careful was not to spoil the ending for her, for she hadn’t read the book yet. And, given her work and class schedules and her personal temperament, she likely will not have read the book by the time HP 7 Part II comes out in summer 2011. So, if you see my sister and have read the HP books — SHUSH. 🙂
II. The second movie was The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. To use a Briticism, it was a “ripping yarn” — good continuous thematic plot that held all the disparate search of the seven Narnian lords together. Considering that the Dawn Treader is the most esoteric and least organically fluid — in my humble opinion — of the Narnia books, it was a good attempt to make a good adventure story out of a book that essentially is about fighting one’s internal personal demons in order to prepare to meet one’s maker (as in Reepicheep) or to mature into the virtuous life (as in Lucy, Edmund, Caspian, and even Eustace).
My one main quibble — Caspian on screen was much nobler, much more mature, than the Caspian in the book. The Caspian in the book could easily be a whiny putz at times — he’s a teenager, after all. My other quibble is Eustace: Eustace’s journey towards being a virtuous human being, instead of a vice-filled dragon, was ultimately a lonely, internal battle between despair and hope, not — SPOILER ALERT — some kickass dragon battling a sea serpent.
No, I won’t see it again, but, oddly enough, I would like to see how various screenwriters and directors adapt the other Chronicles of Narnia books: The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and even The Last Battle.
The Chronicles of Narnia has been a part of my life since I was ten years old, when I read an excerpt of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in an issue of Cricket.
I had just discovered that I was adopted not too long ago, and — in an unfortunate turn of events — my non-biological parents and siblings had to leave me in Guam as my papers got sorted out. I would join them in the Philippines in three days. Those were long LONG three days, and a designated guardian whom I didn’t know accompanied me on the what felt like the long LONG plane ride in a PanAm jet. Feeling very lonely, my ten-year old self read the on-flight magazines, and one of them was Cricket.
That was when I was first introduced to Lucy and Mr. Tumnus. And the rest, as they say, is history.
III. The third movie I just saw this afternoon: The King’s Speech. I had heard about it a few weeks ago on NPR’s “All Things Considered“, and I made a mental note to see it. Then the end-of-semester stuff happened and preparing for Christmas happened, and here it was, four days before Christmas.
I was driving home from campus, after a brief meeting, when I heard the last bit of The Diane Rehm Show’s segment about The King’s Speech. Taking that as a sign, I decided to turn north — towards downtown Dallas — instead of west — towards home. I hadn’t had lunch yet (it was just before 11am), but I figured I’d grab something to eat while waiting for the movie to begin (I bought the ticket for the 11:40am show and noshed on a strawberry cupcake while sipping a small latte).
Once the movie — no, FILM — began, well — let’s just say, there’s a reason why it’s been nominated for seven Golden Globe awards. Brilliant. Brilliant and beautiful. If you haven’t seen it, my dear readers, GO SEE IT. It’s one of those movies that feeds the soul.
On an irreverent note, it was cool to see Michael Gambon play someone who wasn’t Dumbledore (King George V), Helena Bonham Carter who wasn’t Bellatrix Lestrange (Queen Elizabeth), and Timothy Spall who wasn’t Wormtongue (Winston Churchill!). 🙂
Ahhhh ::breathes in:: It’s nice to breathe that Anglophile air again.