We bought and put up our tree today. It seemed to have a few thick branches and a lot of thin ones, which made distributing the ornaments a challenge, but it looks nice. Chad's talking about doing another "science on the tree" series, so watch this space. Or his, I suppose.
Last night, we went to see The Golden Compass. Short version: I agree with most reviewers who say that the look of the film and the actress playing Lyra are great, but the pace is too fast. (As various people have said, this is a big-budget movie based on a fantasy novel coming out from New Line in December. It's allowed to be more than two hours.) I will add that the shortened pace leads to some anvilicious exposition, which I haven't seen any reviewers say, but they're probably not allowed to say "anvilicious" in print reviews. Enjoyable, but kind of exhausting.
In no particular order:
- The most obvious pace problem was the revelation of Mrs. Coulter's involvement in the kidnappings, where Lyra sees the words "General Oblation Board" and immediately jumps to the conclusion that they are the Gobblers, without even seeing the list of children's names further down the page. Yeah, right.
- The intercision reveal wasn't scary enough.
- The CGI was generally good. Something was off about Pan as a cat, and I've yet to see a closeup of raptors' wings that looked right to me, but mostly it was seamless.
- I found it too distracting to have Ian McKellen as the voice of Iorek, though Chad mostly didn't mind.
- I understand why the movie stopped short of the book's ending, and moved the panserbjørne confrontation before the big rescue—when the studio hasn't committed to filming the rest of the trilogy, it's not fair to end on a cliffhanger like that, and so making the rescue the climax makes sense. The result, though, is almost more dramatic irony that I could stand. (And does lead to a plot hole, of why Iorek went alone to the experimental station.)
We got a mostly dire batch of trailers, though The Spiderwick Chronicles continues to look promising, and Inkheart might be good—Andy Serkis in a main role. (I haven't read the book yet. Either of the books, actually, though Spiderwick isn't high on my list.)
And now, a selection of links, starting with two about His Dark Materials, then more entertainment, politics, and seasonal stuff (holidays and otherwise).
- Movie Review: The Golden Compass (2007): Bless the Beasts and Children :: Best line in a Golden Compass review: "It is, I discovered, hard to keep your mind off the concession stand when you are waiting for Iorek to offer Lyra a Coke."
- The Exquisite Barometer :: "You can come home and teach an old woman how wonderful this world really is." // "Oh," said Will, bursting with his new knowledge. "It's a marvel. It's -- " He breathed, Kirjava wordless beside his ear, and could not think of how to say it all.
- Munden's Bar #2 - ComicMix :: Dream of the Endless has insomnia, as drawn by Marc Hempel. Very silly.
- Peter Dickinson: Murder in the Manor :: "That is why the ideal setting for the mystery novel is the imaginary world of the country house. There, supposed balance and harmony is broken by the act of violence, just as in the real world it had been broken by [WWI]."
- The Art Department: The Hobbit That Might Have Been :: "It seems that Maurice Sendak did a few sketches for The Hobbit. Unfortunately the project was canceled after Sendak suffered a heart attack."
- Angels and Demons :: CERN's FAQ about its portrayal in Dan Brown's book. Includes lengthy patient explanations of why antimatter bombs are not possible. Plus: "Does [CERN] consist of red brick buildings with white-frocked scientists running around carrying files?"
- Drugs, race and hard time -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY :: "Blacks in Albany County are 58 times more likely to be imprisoned than whites for drug offenses . . . . counties [with] higher poverty rates, large black populations and large police or judicial budgets imprison people for drug offenses at higher rates."
- Masculinism 101 « Tiny Cat Pants :: A different story men could tell each other about what it means to be men, to counter rape myths. Don't read the comments unless you want to play bingo.
- Do Immigrants Make U.S. Safer? | Newsweek Voices - Christopher Dickey | Newsweek.com :: In a word: yes.
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Rhymes with Orange :: "One fateful day at the Hundred Acre Woods . . . "
- YouTube - Fairytale of New York :: Music video for the best Christmas song ever. Lookit all that cigarette smoke . . .
- Flash » The Llama Song :: "Llama llama duck." Wonderfully weird but you can only stop it looping by closing the page.
- Cheap Toy Round-Up 2007 | The A.V. Club :: Best names: "Chef Mario's Dining Disasters: Stretchghetti & Critters" and "Pirates Accessory Of Kit", but many of the descriptions are better (and too long to go here).
- Homemade Window De-Icer