Basically some sightseeing around Queenstown and some between trip housekeeping. Oh and I saw Watchmen.
The first day was occupied with laundry and obtaining a replacement set of cleats for the sandals. I did ride the gondola though which spaetlese will be happy to know. I also saw Watchmen which I think is a good adaptation but I'm not sure if it makes a good (or even rewatchable) movie.
Today I did a halfday 4WD safari around Queenstown with a vague Lord of the Rings flavour. The guide pointed out several areas that had, with some CGI alterations, been used as locations for various scenes. It appears that most of the mountain ranges in the movies were various versions of the Remarkables. Most locations were adjusted to some extent or another - this river was shallow enough for horses to handle but that river had the right surroundings, etc, etc. Highly amusing to hear.
Back to Wanaka tomorrow and I am not riding back up the Crown Ranges again. 5Km past Arrowtown and I'm catching the elevator.
( Comments with some spoilers... )
On the way home I discovered that Canberra has been invaded by thousands of kids for the Pacific School Games. On the approach to Dickson I pulled up to a set of lights as some Japanese girls were crossing the road and I collected a "Sugoi!" from one of them when she saw the trike. :)
The New York Times review is one of the funniest things I've read in a long while if only for the rating notice at the end:
"Expelled” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). It has smoking guns and drunken logic."
If this thing should ever get released here, I'm tempted to review it as a comedy. Of errors if nothing else. :)
Musical junkie that I am I really wanted to enjoy this but I found it to be more impressive than enjoyable.
Certainly the staging, the costuming, the lighting were superb in that inimitable and undefinable Tim Burton style. I enjoyed the performances of the cast, the songs were appropriate if not particularly memorable.
But...something didn't quite work for me. I don't know if it was the subject matter or something else but I don't particularly want to see this again. Nor, unlike Rent, am I particularly interested in seeing a live performance.
None. Zero. Nada. Zip.
I just bought the complete box which contains a double disc of extras, a printed script of the pilot and a little episode guide booklet so you can look up the synopsis of an episode without removing the first or last disc of a season from its case. If I'd bought the individual seasons and then discovered this...
Oh, and I just saw a poster for a live action Disney movie (Enchanted I think) featuring a CGI furry mascot who no doubt will wisecrack all through the movie just like the ones in the animated movies. My immediate reaction? At last the real reason for Disney buying Pixar is revealed!
To get started the plot for 28 Days Later depends on a group of animal rights activists who are, frankly, evidence of evolution in action.
This irritated me at the time that I saw 28 Days Later, but I got over it and enjoyed the rest of the film.
But it is a plot device that, for me at least, only works once. Unfortunately Black Sheep uses it too so I walked out about half an hour in - it completely shattered the suspension of disbelief for me.
To be fair this is at least partly due to some technical issues with the print I saw - panning shots were incredibly jerky, enough so to completely ruin the beauty of the backgrounds and often the suspension of disbelief.
However there was also something else that was missing. Some sense of heart or soul to the film that I just didn't connect to.
In terms of the adaptation from the novels it was mostly drawn from The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, and in many of the essential aspects of the world building was closer to the novels than I'd hoped for. The story... less so.
Its a pretty enough to watch (when its not jerking all over the place), and I'd like to see a smoother copy, but overall no better than average.
As you may have guessed from the title I saw Transformers this evening.
As a colleague at work noted this is a movie aimed at 11 year old boys. Judging by some of the costumes they had the female lead (almost) wearing I'd move the target more towards 13 year olds.
It is also a blatant recruiting film for the US military (although I note with some amusement that the product placement adviser beat out the military advisor in the credits. Just).
But having said that, there are some refreshing elements to this movie. The female lead Mikaela Barnes (played by Megan Fox) is skilled, intelligent, loyal, and courageous (a word I chose very carefully, she has her moment of fear but faces it and conquers it).
Given the target audience, I think that this is at least slightly subversive scripting and I thoroughly approve.
As for the male lead Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LaBeouf) ? Well to quote the friend I saw it with, he achieves acceptable levels of mediocrity by the end and does get a few things right.
Bad, but watchably so on an $8 ticket. I wouldn't have paid more.
I'm still undecided as to whether this will eventually qualify for the ranks of the gloriously bad.
This is a spoiler free review. Its more about impressions than the storyline.
And the 1st impression is one of tight, disciplined editing. There is nothing extraneous in the storyline; all shotguns on the mantlepiece are used and don't usually get much time to gather dust whilst they're waiting to be fired.
The 2nd impression is that the tight editing vastly improves the character development, and enhances the general "War on Terror" atmosphere of the story.
All in all, a very impressive piece of work.
EDIT: A couple of amusing items in the end credits (alas no easter eggs, sys admins, or business analysts):
a) Drapesmasters. What the...?
b) Wand Combat Choreographers
(Note the plural in both cases)