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December 20, 2008


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What you said, exactly. I took my husband to see a touring production for his birthday in September (thankfully at a discount through a library association colleague who is also involved in theatre).

Other than the fake playbill, the best part of the show we saw was a technical glitch that shut down the production for a few minutes, thus causing some improvisation. The biggest laugh of the night came during the reboot when the Windows start-up showed on the screen.

The obligatory female role had some decent moments, but I felt it dragged on longer than it should have just so that they could have a somewhat major part for a woman.

My other comment would be that, at least for this version, they appeared to cast roles based more on how much they looked like the original actors rather than their competence: not that they were bad actors/singers/dancers, just not very impressive. It was very distracting to see someone who bore some resemblance to one of the Pythons (or Tim Curry) and thinking how much better the latter were.

Bah. My advice to a friend was to watch the movie again rather than see the show.

I can't decide whether I should now make an effort to see the movie again to remind myself that I really did like it, or whether I should avoid it because it will now summon memories of the stage production.

Like you, I've never seen a movie (okay, I tried one and had to stop 15 minutes in), but I know all the bits because they're in my culture. This sounds even worse.

(I don't see these two comments in the 10-comment list so I have probably once again lost comments.)

Carol and I have both seen the movie.

Also, Marilee, I am going to spend part of my holiday recess testing Wordpress to whether it handles commenting better than Typepad does. If so, I will investigate moving my blogs there. This is a nontrivial task, unfortunately, since I don't want to lose all the previous posts and comments, and moving them all with links intact will be challenging. I will almost certainly need help, possibly professional help, and I'm not quite sure where to find it.

When I first heard of the whole thing, I wasn't too keen on it. When I saw excerpts on TV, I wasn't too keen. I've read your review and I'm not too keen. In other words, I'm not interested, and I loved and still love the movie's lunacy. The recent trend of recycling movies into stage musicals strikes me as dismal and a sign of how modern musicals pale in comparison of he glory days of Rodgers & Hammerstein. That reminds me of the one scene I liked in the recent remake of The Time Machine: the Time Traveller appears in a futuristic museum, where he asks an interactive hologram what is known about the Time Machine, and it launches into a song from a made-up Andrew Lloyd Webber version of it. Luckily for me, the Traveller turns it off very quickly.

I agree in general about recent musicals. The Disneyfication of Broadway is especially sad (who ever thought it would be a good idea to turn The Little Mermaid into a musical???) The only movie-to-musicals I can think of at the moment that really work are Hairspray and The Producers. Interestingly, neither works the other direction either; the movie versions of the musicals (as opposed to the original movies) are not particularly good.

Following up myself: there's a musical version of White Christmas on Broadway right now that got extremely mediocre reviews. I don't plan to waste my money.

And the ALW in the new Time Machine sounds hilarious. Spamalot took a couple of jabs at ALW too.

Oh, I must have misread about not seeing the movies. As to help with moving the blog, if you like Wordpad, you could hire AJ's husband's company. That's the professional help that comes to mind.

LOL! Chris (my husband) isn't very good with blogs. Maybe one of the other guys is, but Chris doesn't use any of them, just reads a few.

Wordpad = Wordpress?

The challenge with this is that it's hard to know how well a platform will work until it's been used extensively, with intensive commenting and such. I'll have a better idea now of what to test for as far as that goes than I did when I tested Typepad, though the major problem here is that Typepad's decision to do the page-breaking sent their comment linking all hooey.

Susan... the ALW in the new Time Machine sounds hilarious

It is, but it is all too brief, and is probably the only good thing in the whole movie. I had hoped the whole dreadful affair would show the novel's image of a far future Earth where a bloated red sun hangs above a sluggish sea from which crabs are emerging. Alas, no. I'll stick with George Pal's movie.

Brace yourself!

Here it comes!

Are you ready?

I've seen the George Pal film!


Shall wonders never cease?

I thought you might have seen Pal's movie. Yes, it is very low-budget, and its special effects are pitiful, when compared to what people can do today. And yet, and yet... It has more of a sense of wonder than the remake did. Come to think of it, one doesn't find much of a sense of wonder in modern movies. One exception is Contact, and that came out in 1997.

Sunshine comes closest to a sense of wonder for films I've seen this year; it's very heavily influenced by 2001: A Space Odessy. I seem to have reviewed it here.

My parents saw Spamalot in London and semed to have a good time. As for adolescent humour, that was always a part of the Python repertoire, but would tend to be deployed when you didn't expect it.

Susan, Wordpress + Typepad = Wordpad. Right?

Hmm, I seem to have totally missed Sunshine. Not that this is unusual for me; I also missed Contact. But I have seen 2001!

I'm not sure I can manage enough suspension of disbelief to deal with the idea of the sun going out in the near future; isn't that supposed to happen after it burns all the life off the earth and then expands into a red giant and swallows it up, in a time frame measured in billions of years?

On Spamalot: the three people I went with all liked it just fine. And I didn't have a bad time. I'm just a tough audience for theater, I think.

Having now borrowed a DVD of the film and watched a few scenes, I can confirm that the it still works for me, and is the funnier for, sayl, having Brave Sir Robin simply run away rather than (as in the musical) lose control of his bowels, state this loudly (with a vulgarity), and then run away. Especially since this fear-reaction happens often enough - onstage - for King Arthur to comment on it. It wasn't especially necessary the first time, and only mildly funny. It certainly wasn't funny enough for a running gag. And having the French Taunter yell that he farts in Arthur's general direction is funnier as a throwaway insult than as a literal description of what happens next. About twenty times. Including a whole row of French guards with trumpets in position to amplify the effect.

Sunshine fails to explain what's going on, but apparently in their drafts/cut scenes/background "something"* has fallen into the sun. There's a lot of these kind of problems in the film, but I studied Physics at university - there isn't a science fiction film in existence I don't have to disengage parts of my brain for. The important thing is that it looks amazing; so much cinema doesn't even try to get the full 1000 words from the pictures, but here they're really using the medium.

* Black Hole? Strangelet? Cosmic String? Something like that.

Neil... Sunshine was interesting, although a bit dissatisfying because it never showed the disaster's effects on Earth. I usually approach movies knowing that the science will be all wrong, or at least mildly so. I usually am willing to put up with Bad Science, or with Weird Science (but not the movie "Weird Science" ) if it has stuff in it that makes up for it. Thus, I very much enjoyed Core. Its science was ridiculous, but its story very much resonated.

It's funny, but I can totally suspend my disbelief for some things (people landing on an asteroid to blow it up before it hits Earth), but others just don't work for me (flash-freezing the Earth). But I'll consider Sunshine, given that recommendation.

By the way, I am not confusing it with the other two movies you named, but it summons up pleasing memories of Robin McKinley's amazing vampire novel, Sunshine, which may be the best of that genre I've read in the last decade. I can't recommend that Sunshine highly enough.

And speaking of the need to disengage one's brain, I caught Barbara Hambly in yet another dance error. Sigh. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Cathy says she asked me if I wanted to go see the show -- this was before it had opened -- and that I blew it off. Now I kick myself. I wish I had gone. I wish they'd make a good movie of the original cast doing it. I've enjoyed the sound track a good deal. I should buy it.

Re: The Time Machine, I try to catch it when I realize that it's on. As a result, I've seen lots of middle parts, and maybe even the beginning one time. It's very engaging in its use of time-lapse effects, and Alan Young gives the movie a sweetness that stays behind. (His scots accent probably got him the part of Uncle Scrooge's voice later on.) My favorite moment, actually, was in an unrelated Classics Illustrated version of the novel, well illustrated by Lou Cameron. As The Time Traveler moves forward in time, he's thinking to himself, "What wonderful advances Mankind must be making!" The graphic shows a couple of futuristic soldiers fighting it out.

Kip W... Alan Young gives the movie a sweetness that stays behind.


Oh, and here is a clip of the end of Time After Time. It's been many years since I've watched it. I should buy the DVD.

Watching the end of the clip from the original movie of The Time Machine, I wonder:

Given that one has a time machine, and can therefore choose when to return to one's time, if one wished to do so, after an extended stay elsewhere in time, would you choose to simply return to exactly when you'd left, even though you'd come back older, and take up your life from where it had left off, or come back after an amount of time proportionate to the amount you'd lived in the past? Was there a rule about this in the movie, or did they just ignore it? (It's been so long since I've seen it that I don't remember.) 'Cause it seems to me that there's no reason for anyone to actually notice that a time traveler has been gone at all!

Susan... There was no rule that'd explain why the Traveller comes back after he left instead of before. It has been some time since I read the Wells story, but I've seen Pal's movie quite often, and it's actually fairly faithful to the original (aside for the cause in the split of future humanity). I don't knw if Wells consciously decided to avoid the problems of time paradoxes, or if he didn't even think of them.

Not before he left, but why not come back five minutes after and have no one even notice? (The better to keep one's Sekrit Time Machine secret.)

Susan... Oh, right. I was tired and coffee-less when I wrote that. Still, I wonder if his coming back so 'soon' after he left would have been as weird as arriving before he left, to his readers and maybe even to Wells. In the movie, and I think in the book too, the Traveller sends invitations for his friends to meet him one week after his departure. So, when he does comes back, that's when he aims to reappear. Now, the question is why Wells had the Traveller choose a one-week gap that sort of corresponds to how long he stays in the year 802701.

By the way, I get a kick out of the movie's future plants, one of which has a long stalk with a white feathery top. I do because I have that very plant imn my backyard.

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