Saturday, March 13, 2010

lunch and a movie

Maybe I have enjoyed all of the cultural stimulation just a bit too much this week.

Fireworks.  Carnival.  Circus.  It is almost like watching Congress.

But, on Friday, I took it all a step further.

My upstairs neighbors were returning to Canada, and I volunteered to drive them to the airport.  I have thoroughly enjoyed talking with them, and extending my time with them was well worth the price of a few drops of gasoline.

The first conversation we had ranged from fiscal policy to Ayn Rand to Philip Glass to Stephen Harper to Aristotle to John Locke.  Good times like that are not to be easily forsaken.

The airport is almost half way between my place and Manzanillo.  On a whim, I decided to head on to Manzanillo after I dropped them at the airport, and drive the 30 miles south.

I had just been to Manzanillo earlier in the week to pick up my mail and to buy a few exotic supplies.  That made this trip a real extravagance because I had no real reason to go.

Expect one.

I had recently talked with a friend in Salem who had seen the new Alice in Wonderland.  He was very pleased with it -- especially Danny Elfman's score.

Manzanillo is no entertainment backwater.  It has a very nice multiplex that seems to receive first run movies about the same time they open in The States.  But I had never seen a movie there.

I had no way of knowing whether Alice would be there.  But, it topped the marquee when I pulled into the parking lot.

And my luck held up.  It was in the big theater.  With a great sound system.  In 3D.  In English with subtitles.

I had never watched a 3D movie with Spanish subtitles.  It is a bit disconcerting for the Spanish words to lunge off the screen about chin level. 

Not surprisingly, I did not get to read much of the Spanish text -- though I found some very interesting translations.

I doubt I would have read much, any way.  Tim Burton packs his films with enough action and interesting dialogue that reading anything can be rather difficult.

And this film was a tour de force.

Someone made the decision to play this Alice as a 19-year old liberated woman.  That was a clever way to avoid all of Lewis Carroll's pedophile subtext.

The wisdom of that decision was apparent with flashbacks to a child Alice.  Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter leer worked well with the older Alice.  With the 8-year old Alice, the skin crawls.

The choice also gave the film team the opportunity to skew adult society as up-tight, repressed, hypocritical, greedy, adulterous, and just plain weird.  And Burton took each of those opportunities.

In that sense, his 19-year old point of view gets the advantage of both worlds -- a child's vision and an adult's protection.

I saw Avatar in 3D on one of my trips to Oregon.  The technology amazed me.  It convinced me I was on another planet.

Burton used a slightly different system.  For his purpose (building a dream world) it worked just as well -- if not better.

But I fully agree with my friend in Oregon.  Danny Elfman's score is one of the stars of the film.  From the pieces I have listened to on line, it stands alone quite well as a very good piece of music.

This trip to Manzanillo taught me that there are all sorts of resources nearby.  One hour is not too far to travel for a movie -- even when I have to drive home in the dark.

Something else to go on my list when I return next November -- or so.


Anonymous said...

You've just helped me plan my rainy weekend...Tim Burton's latest extravaganza it is!!! Thanks for the "thumbs up!" Mary

Anonymous said...

i had no interest in seeing that movie but lately i've heard some very good things about it from friends. your post just convinced me that i should go for it.

glad you decided to go to manzanillo, on a whim, as you called it. heck, we have to make the most of every day. we might as well follow those "whims" and have a good time.

hope you have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

Locke, Ayn Rand, and pedophilia all in the same blog?!

Are you working on your vocabulary again?


Joe S. said...

I too had no desire to see "Alice" until your review. Now its on the list. So whats with the Nonmember rather than November in your last line??? Madhatterism?

Steve Cotton said...

Mary -- I wil warn you that it is a dark ride. But very original.

Teresa -- I need more whims in my days.

ANM -- And without all that Reader's Digest hassle.

Joe -- Who knows where that came from? Your theory is the best. Thanks.