Friday, June 13, 2008

Deranged penguins

My father and I had a very successful excursion in May that involved lunch here and a viewing of Iron Man at the multiplex a few blocks further up Broadway; it was a day of torrential downpours, we cabbed it across the park in an attempt to see this but the museum was so crowded that we recoiled in horror and beat a retreat on foot through a wet and deserted Central Park...

We laid a similar plan for this week, with Prince Caspian seeming the best bet out of what was available; but in a late-stage development, following the obtaining of a lunch reservation and two Narnian tickets, this review of Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World burst onto the horizon and necessitated a modest change of plan.

(It's playing at Film Forum through June 24 only, and if there is any way for you to get yourself in there and see it, please do so, it's really something quite out of the usual way--it will be shown on the Discovery Channel, I think, but it's well worth seeing on the big screen. Most astonishing and ravishing visual stuff, especially the diving sequences beneath the ice--extraordinary science-fictional sea creatures!--and some delightful interviews with scientists also. Seals; insane penguins; lava lakes! Fairly amazing...)

The Caspian tickets were non-refundable but the showtimes were somewhat incompatible, so we watched the first two-thirds of the movie and then left the theatre and took the subway downtown! I did not see the first Narnia movie; this one was enjoyable but nothing spectacular, though there was one very charming scene of the mice tying up a cat during the castle invasion. I was such a passionate devotee of those books when I was a kid, it is strange to see film adaptations--it's basically impossible for them to have the richness and complexity of the books. The opening chapters of this particular novel include the most vivid descriptions of the children's trek through the forest, including an account of cutting up a bear's carcass for meat that is surely one of the most graphic and memorable scenes in all of Lewis's fiction--not so much of that here, nor of the intense feeling of disagreement and dissatisfaction that arises in a party that has lost its way in the woods. And there is something insufficiently graceful about the way they do the animals, they are slightly grotesque...

(I do like seeing commercial movies, though. This trailer beforehand made me laugh so much, the tears were actually running down my face...)

Partial viewing--hmmm, not bad, it is a way of countering my sense that movies move a bit too slowly because of the way they are committed to a fixed pace as opposed to reading's user-determined ones... Last week, come to think of it, I saw the later two-thirds of an A. R. Gurney play that I cannot on the whole recommend--we had mistaken the curtain time for 8, it was seven, I got the phone call from my theatre-going companion around 7:05 and leaped into a cab. We were both in our seats by 7:25 or so, and it was hard to feel one had missed much--that is a slight and undistinguished comedy, though some of the acting was quite good (especially the actress playing the part of the mother). I am not a foodie, though it is nice when things are delicious I eat for sustenance and to a lesser extent companionship rather than primarily for interest and artistic enjoyment, but it was definitely one of those nights when dinner was better than the play.

1 comment:

  1. I watched that trailer with a mix of absolute delight and some unease that I might have to see a movie called "Beverly Hills Chihuahua!