Posts Tagged ‘Roald Dahl’

Media Update 9/7/2017

September 7, 2017


Kong: Skull Island

I have seen every version of King Kong to date (including vs. Godzilla). I remember the last one in 2005 and I remember liking it because the characters felt more fleshed out. This one was even better. This is yet another reboot of King Kong but this time it is set at the tail end of the Vietnam War. John Goodman plays an explorer looking for access to vast caves full of giant monsters. He and his group are accompanied on an expedition to Skull Island by a photojournalist, a mercenary tracker, and a group of soldiers fresh from Vietnam. This version plays out more like Heart of Darkness with giant monsters which was a really refreshing take on things. Spoiler: There are no scenes set in New York City and there are no scenes where a wide-eyed female character entrances King Kong. Instead, we just watch the characters try to survive in an environment twenty times more dangerous than the jungles of Vietnam (during the war). They brought out some excellent actors which especially includes John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, and John C. Reilly. The movie is tense but interrupted with good moments of comedy. I definitely recommend it.


Shin Godzilla

The last Godzilla movie I watched was the awfully boring 2014 American version which I could not even finish watching. I have fond memories of watching Godzilla movies but mostly for the Godzilla action. My favorite is actually Godzilla vs. Biollante which is a good movie where Godzilla is still a threat to Japan but he takes on a giant plant monster. When I heard that there was going to be a new Japanese reboot and that it was critically acclaimed, I decided I should check it out. When I was a kid I was bored by all the parts in between the actual Godzilla parts but that is not true anymore. This movie was definitely inspired by the recent tsunami that hit Japan and the resulting nuclear fallout from the Fukushima and how the problem was approached. A lot of the movie focusing on the frustrating bureaucracy as Japan tries to figure out how to best approach the Godzilla problem. Another huge theme is how the government fails to listen to the scientists until the last minute. The Godzilla parts are probably the best I have seen, a great blend of practical and computer generated effects. The acting in between is really believable, well-paced, and interesting which was a huge contrast with the 2014 version. I definitely recommend it.


The B. F. G.

I have talked about how I read the entire works of Roald Dahl at a very young age. The BFG did not make as much of an impact on me as the other books so I could not remember a lot of the story. The movie is about an orphan girl trying to navigate the world of giants with the help of the only friendly one. The movie is absolutely anchored by Mark Rylance who breathed depth into the Big Friendly Giant and his odd way of speaking. He is joined by Ruby Barnhill who is very cute and did a great job playing off of Rylance. The movie’s plot takes more than half the running time to actually kick in. It wanders and meanders for a long time as they set up bits of exposition and allow their main characters to bond. The actual plot really starts in the third act. It annoyed me at first but the movie is so charming that I eventually forgave it. It is a touching Disney adaptation of the dark yet endearing Roald Dahl. It is directed by Steven Spielberg and who does endearing better than him? I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
K.Flay – Blood In The Cut

Jason Charles Miller – You Get What You Pay For

The Sisters Of Mercy – This Corrosion

Summer Camp – Pink Summer

Roxanne Shante – Have a Nice Day

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Giants Attack”
– This morning I will be going in to get some of my wisdom teeth taken out
– I finished White Collar Season 5
– I watched more Riverdale Season 1
– i watched more Supergirl Season 2
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 6
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I am so very much into Critical Role and Dice, Camera, Action now

Fantastic Mr. Fox

April 7, 2017

I have always loved a good story. When I was little, there are two sets of stories that I remember best. The first was reading from a Disney storybook with my mom and once I knew how to read, I read for my brothers with my mom’s supervision. Undoubtedly, that is when and where I became a Disney nerd. The other stories were the ones my uncle made up when I was staying with him and my cousin. That was probably one of the many events that incited my passion for writing. When I was a little older, I discovered Roald Dahl. By the end of third grade, I had read every single Roald Dahl book. This had a bit of a different effect on me.

Roald Dahl sold books on the Brothers Grimm model of storytelling. He was not afraid to go dark because his childhood was dark. Just go and read his autobiographies and that is clear. He lived through World War I era England but that is not all. He also pretty much encountered all of the nasty characters from his books and short stories suffering through the British school system. His childhood was brutish and a struggle but he made it through to write about it happening to other people. The mix of that darkness and adventure made me less afraid of the lesser obstacles in my childhood. It also allowed me to embrace that darkness and contributed to me loving Halloween as much as I do.

I have said it before and I am sure many people would agree that Wes Anderson movies are strange. I think Wes Anderson delights in being weird and that is kind of one of the points of this movie. The animation is kind of difficult to adjust to. Anderson purposely had it filmed at a lower frame rate in order to clearly point out that it is stop-motion animation. It makes some of the movements a little jerky. He also used real fur for the animal puppets which makes the fur sort of squirms around especially on the faces. But, much like Team America: World Police, the characters inhabit those awkward puppets through the magic of both puppetry and animation. It helps that Anderson has always known how to frame his storytelling. Every shot is beautiful.

The story is kind of in two parts that are blended together really well. The original story was about a fox trying to feed his family but the farmers he steals from try to hunt him down. They go to outrageous lengths to try to kill the fox and his family and the community suffers. The foxes eventually outsmart the farmers and learn to survive. It was a tale about a father (who Dahl identified with) trying to protect his family and getting through the hard times as a result. That story is still there in this movie. In addition, there is another half of the story which is very Wes Anderson. It is about a dysfunctional family and community and learning to live not only with other people but yourself too. It is delightfully weird and quirky. It is helped along by brilliant voice acting from a lot of great people but especially George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman and Eric Anderson.

Overall, this was a really great movie. I was not sure how it would be considering some Roald Dahl adaptations are not very good. This one ended up more like Matilda and Willy Wonka than James and the Giant Peach or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I really should not have doubted it as Wes Anderson is a great artist and he had a good backbone of a story to work with in the first place. Also, the animation was done by Henry Selick who directed Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas which are two of my favorite animated films of all time. I definitely recommend this. It takes a bit of effort to get past the weirdness but what lies beyond is both touching and funny.


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