March 2010

Greetings and Salutations, True Believers.

Having dubbed myself the Hatter, I found it only too appropriate that my first real review for this blog would be Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Now, I’ll preface this with the fact that I went into this movie with very, very low expectations. A favorite reviewer of mine had warned that it really wasn’t that great, so I wasn’t expecting much. What I actually got was, well, surprising.  But first, a little mood music, shall we?

Ah. Now to business. If you are a speed reader and really just want me to get to the meat of the issue, here’s your golden ticket: Alice in Wonderland was good. VERY good, in fact. For those of you who want tangible reasons why it was good, read on with this warning: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS! TURN BACK ALL YE WHO DON’T WANT THY MINDS SULLIED WITH DETAILED INFORMATION OF THE MOVIES PLOT!

Still here? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The movie starts in a way that pulled me in, by way of examining the personal life of the child Alice Kingsley. We see a shot of Alice’s father, a true trading visionary, trying to convince investors to help him establish across the ocean trading posts. In the midst of his speech, young Alice comes in, having woken from a troubled sleep. Exhibiting parenting skills not often found in business geniuses, Mr. Kingsley calls for a pause in the meeting to attend to his daughter. They share a touching moment, in which he gives a quote that will be used memorably more than once, something to the tune of”Yes, I’m afraid your mad. Absolutely bonkers, in fact. However, I’ll let you in on a secret: Almost everyone worthwhile is.”

Not only does this serve as a powerful device for us to be drawn into the characters, but it also sets the stage for several larger plot points, the biggest being that Alice believes her adventures in Wonderland to be all a dream. That comes up alot, later.

While were on the subject of plot, I’ll address one of the big arguments against the movie, namely that it doesn’t follow the plot of Alice in Wonderland. I beg the differ. To me, the movie is the natural continuation of the original plot. After all, it’s established quite well that the longer you stay in Wonderland, the madder you become. It only holds that what happens according to Burton would be a logical conclusion: The Red Queen goes bat-crap crazy and burns down her sister’s kingdom. Her paranoia becomes unstoppable, and her complexes about her beauty, her control, and her kingdom become more and more pronounced. Likewise, the Mad Hatter, seeing everything he loves slowly destroyed, develops a split personality between the silly hatter, and the insane warrior.

I must say that the technical work of this movie is nothing to scoff at, either. The Jabberwocky(the Red Queen’s trump card in every fight, essentially a Giant lightning-breathing dragon) is easily in my top 10 movie monsters, if only because I love the original poem it is drawn from so much. The story ties together seamlessly, and never seemed hard to follow for me. I know it may seem odd, but I really have NOTHING bad to say about this movie, other than I wish they had developed a couple of the side characters more. I really wanted to see more done with the March Hare, and the White Rabbit, since the feature so prominently in the book, and was a bit sad that the cook and the Duchess were nowhere to be seen. The only real travesty of the movie was that the Mock-turtle wasn’t there, though I held out hope after hope that he would show up. Ever since Gene Wilder played him the Mock-Turtle has been one of my favorite Alice in Wonderland characters, and it just seems like such a shame that he and the gryphon got the shaft from Burton.

However, other than the minor gripes listed above, the movie was perfect. The casting was well done, the score was beautiful, and the plot was well written. I especially enjoyed The Execution of the Mad Hatter, and the final battle(You thought this would end without a battle?) 9/10 teacups, easily.

The Mad Hatter gets a broadsword. Why are you still here? Go see the movie, if only for this image.
Greetings and Salutations, my impeccable friends.

I recently ended up in an “argument”(You know, the sort of one that isn’t really an argument and can only be called such in  tongue-in-cheek fashion?) about Taylor Swift. It start something like this:

“Eva became a fan of Taylor Swift.”

Me: Et tu, Eva? Et tu?

Now, of course, I was merely joking, but it is my nature to take jests farther than they need go, and I reserve particular ire for Taylor Swift as an artist. However, I wasn’t planning to say more, until the following comment came back.

“Eva: ONLY Taylor, Wes. She doesn’t sing about country things – she’s all love songs. ”

“Mary: Yuck.”

This, I had to contend. Taylor Swift writes the sort of “love songs” that make me content to never, ever, EVER fall in love. I honestly have no patience for them. So, I typed up my typically sarcastic reply.

“Me: Yeah, it’s just…if you find one of Taylor Swift’s songs you like, I’d bet good money that another artist has already done the same thing, and ten times better. I haven’t been proven wrong yet on that point, though not for folks lack of trying :P”

And here I was content to let it die. Of course, I was just be a smug, artistic punk. Yes, I was being petty. I don’t apologize for that, it’s fun. But I wasn’t going to escalate it beyond that comment, which has only been heard from my mouth a few thousand times by this point. However, as fate would have it, this little game would continue.

“Eva: You know what? You’re ridiculous. 😛 If you comment one more time, I’m deleting them all.

Mary:Awwwwwwwww shucks Eva. Don’t count this as a comment please. I’m enjoying Wesley’s comments to much

Me: Drat, and I had a lovely little rant worked up about the concept of a “love song”, too. Very well, I can see my satirical genius is not appreciated here. Don’t worry, Mary, this’ll turn into a blog post in a week or two, just as soon as I run out of books and movies to review. ”

And that is where we stand now, ladies and gentlemen.

So, if you caught the post before this one, you would know that I’m re-appropriating this blog space as a review haven for my musings. Books, Movies, Games, whatever catches my fancy. I didn’t intend to actually use the above material for some time, but today, I decided this was too good to pass up. I’m going to run a comprehensive review to prove my previous statement: Taylor Swift can’t write a single song that hasn’t been done better. We’ll start with the one everybody on the planet knows about: You belong with me.

Cute, right? Unrequited love, happy endings, etc.  Totally original, right?

Enter: Shinedown. It’s a song called “If you Only Knew”. Same basic principle, but with alot more meaning. This one speaks volumes on it’s own, not just of pointless teenage drama, but something more. Something lost. Something that may never return again.

Great song, great band. But I digress.  “If You Only Knew” is “You Belong with Me”, but with feeling, and a whole lot less superficiality. No digression about how “she wears short skirts and I wear t-shirts”, none of this silliness that glorifies the inane idea that physical appearance should be a cornerstone of a relationship. You even get the feel-good ending of everyone ending up happily ever after that everyone seems to love about “You Belong With Me” ‘s video. But let’s move on.

How about “Fifteen”, that lovely song about high-school and growing up? Everyone can relate to that, right?

Drivel, compared to what I’ve got for you now:  “100 years”, by Five for Fighting.

Same theme, except it spans all years, starting from Fifteen and ending at 99. A truly beautiful song, and one I will always treasure.

But we’ve still got some ground to cover. Let’s go with a sadder song: “White Horse”, a song about a boyfriend who can’t stay faithful, and getting all emo over it.

There are quite a few songs I can throw out here, but I’ll go with one that really, really proves my point: “Angeleyes” by ABBA.

Not convinced? We’ll go a bit more modern. This one’s called “Last to Know”, by Three Days Grace.

While ABBA proves this is an old theme that just can’t seem to die, Three Days Grace puts meaning to it. It expands upon that theme, and shows a guy(shocker! It turns out girls aren’t the only ones who get hurt in relationships. Who woulda thunk?) who is betrayed by someone close to him, either a close friend(possibly a best friend) or even a brother, who steals his girlfriend, news that isn’t news to the rest of the world. It goes from shock, to sorrow, to acceptance, to an accurate promise, noting that people who cheat on others aren’t known for their faithfulness, and that his betrayer may soon find himself as the betrayed in the near future.

So there you have it. That’s why I don’t like Taylor Swift. In trying to keep with the new pardigram for this blog, I’m awarding her a dismal 3/10 teacups.

Poor Showing, Ms. Swift

Greetings and Salutations, Ladies and Gentleman.

So, I haven’t written anything on this blog in about a month. My bad. First on my to-do list now that I’m back is to announce a shift in focus: After the next post, this blog will be devoted mostly to doing reviews. Movie, book, game, whatever suits my fancy at the time. There will be the occasional rant still inserted, but this will allow me to do more with the blog and produce more to be read.

With Love and Duplicity,

The Hatter.