Sunday, 24 November 2013

Great Movie Expectations

I've been thinking whether I should blog about movies in addition to books, theatre and music. Well, obviously I've reviewed a couple of movie musicals already, but that's because they're, you know, musicals. So far, I've decided that I might at least talk about movies that are based on books! I won't change the sub-heading to "my thoughts on music, theatre, literature & films" though – that would look a bit clumsy, don't you think?

Today, however, I'm going to talk about some trailers instead of actual films. There's two films coming up that I can't wait to see!

More trailers of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug have come up after this first teaser, but it's still my favourite from all of them. I think the main reason for this is King Thranduil, played by Lee Pace! When he appeared in the trailer, I stopped breathing for a while. I promise you I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say that Thranduil in the film looks exactly as I've always imagined him – the presence, the voice, every little detail in his face, and that crown, which is pure awesomeness. Seeing Thranduil like he was picked straight out of my mind has seriously made me wonder if any of my grandmother's ancestors who were burned as witches in the Middle Ages passed some of that witch blood (and the gift of foresight) to me...

King Thranduil, brought to material reality by Lee Pace, first imagined by Mizzie-Me

Besides Thranduil, Elf-King of Amazingness, it looks like this middle part of the trilogy will include all of my favourite parts from the book: Beorn, Bilbo kicking some giant spider butt, the Silvan Elves, and Lake Town. It would also seem that we get to see Smaug already, and oh my, what a dragon voice! I think they did a seriously good job with that – it's clearly inhuman, but not overdone.

However, one thing which probably will be as overdone in this film as was in the last, is the fight/action sequences. I was always okay with all the battle stuff in the Lord of the Rings films, but frankly, I got bored when in the first Hobbit film, the escape from the goblins under the mountain went on and on and on. And there are some not-in-the-book fight scenes coming up in the new film, which isn't entirely bad – I know I'm going to like all the Gandalf bits that were never shown in the book. However, I'm very suspicious about the scene where he elves are stalking Bilbo and the dwarves who float in open barrels for all the world to see, for goodness' sake! In the book, Bilbo came up with a genius plan that a) got the dwarves out of the dungeons without anyone ever seeing them, and b) made sure nobody would drown in the process. In the film, they don't seem to think any of this matters.

Speaking of changes and additions to the book, I'm actually very open-minded about the Legolas/Tauriel subplot, whatever it's going to be. I don't have a problem at all with Legolas being present since there's no reason to doubt he actually was there (he's Thranduil's son after all), and I'm really liking Evangeline Lilly as an elf. I'm really interested to see what these two characters will be up to. Luckily, the movie will premiere in Finland on December 11th already and not months after the official premiere (which sadly happens here to every movie that isn't expected to be a huge box office seller). I can't wait, there's so much to see!

What about this next new film, who's going to see it?

I'm really interested in this film because of its setting. I'm obviously a fan of the film Mary Poppins, and Saving Mr Banks is about the making of that film – the main focus being, it seems, on how Walt Disney managed to get the film-making rights from P.L. Travers (the author of the Mary Poppins books). I think both Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson will be superb in their roles as Mr Disney and Ms Travers, but the film is in a rather tricky position to tell the story it intends to tell. It is widely known that the working relationship between Disney and Travers was incredibly strained, and Travers was very displeased with the film Mary Poppins. So how is Saving Mr Banks, produced by Walt Disney Pictures (yes, really), featuring the father/hero/god figure behind that very same enterprise, going to handle a story where, in real life, someone (Travers) very vocally expressed how they disapproved of something Walt Disney did? Something tells me the film is not going to show P.L. Travers' negative reaction to Mary Poppins, and I think even people who don't have Medieval witch genes can agree with me. So there are a couple of other options.

1) Portray P.L. Travers as an unreasonably critical kill-joy and Walt Disney as the good guy who makes people's dreams come true. This way, the film can justify the fact that Ms Travers hated the Mary Poppins film by "well, she was just a cranky British lady who couldn't be pleased no matter what you tried to do."


2) Just take some artistic liberties and make it so that in the end P.L. Travers loves the outcome of Mary Poppins and Walt Disney gets to be the hero who convinced the cranky British lady.

So yes, I'm a bit skeptical about the accuracy of Saving Mr Banks, but I'm sure it will be fun to watch otherwise. It's got two leading actors that I respect very much, the music in the soundtrack is great, and the bits with the Sherman brothers (the two guys behind the piano who made the songs for Mary Poppins) are very funny. The film is officially released in December, but it looks like the Finnish premiere will be near the end of February (see what I told you about Finnish movie release dates?)

1 comment:

  1. I'm still not sure if the decision to split The Hobbit into three films can really work but I loved the last film and I'm hugely excited about the Desolation of Smaug. The scenes that I'm most looking forward are the ones that will feature Bilbo-Smaug and Thorin-Thranduil : ) And as long as Tauriel is a well-written and well-acted character I have no issues whatsoever with them adding a female into the story. Some fans are even speculating that Tauriel might be the Captain of the Guards from the book (whose gender was never mentioned). Also it might please you to know that you're actually going to get to see this film before me! The film doesn't come out until the 13th of December in the UK. The other film that I'm really looking forward to in the run up till Christmas is Disney's Frozen. I love Tangled and this film looks very similar to it.