Weekend Roundup

Posted by Labyrinthian in , ,

Well I saw Voyage of the Dawn Treader and thought I'd warn you all to do the wiser thing and wait for video.  I wanted to like the movie, and thought that I would.  The trailer looked solid and I had no problem with the major change (adding an overall plot to diminish the episodic nature of the story), but I gotta tell ya... this one is a disappointment. 

It's hard to put my finger on exactly what made the movie so inferior to the ones the preceded it.  One theory is that they spend a great deal of time in the series building up this magical land, developing it's visual style and getting you to love it, but in Voyage of the Dawn Treader you never see it.  Now this wasn't a problem in the book, so I'm inclined to think this isn't really the problem in the movie. 

My second theory, and the one I'm more inclined to believe, is that this movie is just spastic.  It jumps all over the place, never focusing on any one character or event for more than a minute or two.  The movie seems to want to have five main characters: Lucy, Edmund, Caspian, Eustace, and Reepicheep.  Lucy is probably the closest the story has to a protagonist, but she get's only slightly more focus than the other four.  Having so many characters to focus on really split each character's time for focus and development down so low that they all end up being pretty two dimensional.  Each character has a vice, Lucy's vanity and Edmund's pride for example, that they must battle during the course of the voyage.  This would be great except that there are so many would-be protagonists that each character's screen time to work against their weakness is next to nothing. 

Now I'm not saying that this movie is Last Airbender kind of bad, but like I said wait for video.

I had a far more pleasant surprise waiting for me when I got him from the movie and started watching the Starz miniseries Pillars of the Earth.  Based on the historical fiction novel by Ken Follett, Pillars of the Earth is about a community that works together over decades to build a cathedral against great opposition.  It has some great actors (including Ian McShane of Deadwood fame), excellent characters, and a complex plot filled with political intrigue. 

Being a historical fiction one shouldn't take a history lesson from PotE, but it does use an interesting time of political upheaval in England (a period known as the Anarchy) and uses it as the backdrop for its story.  The Cathedral and indeed the town, along with all of the main characters from the story, are all fictional.  It takes some liberties with history to advance the story, but none of it is done in a way that made me cringe.

Unfortunately PotE was a miniseries so it only lasted eight episodes, but better a short run of quality than a longer one of mediocrity.  I highly recommend you check it out as there is some great inspiration for GMs and players alike to be found within.  Bishop Waleran in particular would make an excellent adversary.  A man who ranks high in the church and is a clever and experienced political player would make a truly formidable opponent indeed. 

This entry was posted on Monday, December 13, 2010 at Monday, December 13, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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