Thursday, December 06, 2007

Look What I Made

Just to keep my eye in, I'm hopefully going to be doing the occasional review for Daily Information, a primarily listings-and-classifieds website based here in Oxford. My review of We Own the Night (out in the UK on December 14th) has just gone live there. Please go and have a look.

They're going to be far shorter reviews than you'd be used to from film ick, but hopefully still well worth reading. Well, I say they're. I haven't been called upon to do another yet.

Talking of Oxford, I saw The Golden Compass and, frankly, can't quite work out where the fuss about it being castrated is coming from. As far as I could tell, all of Pullman's subtext was intact - so, yah boo sucks, Donahue. It was at least as clear as in, say The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - and that couldn't have been any more plain without putting the lion in sandals and giving him stigmata.

The subtext remaining, and readably so, was not what I expected, I have to admit - I thought this was going to be an utterly gutless, bloodless film without any kind of point of view or meaningful set of values - but it was definitely a pleasant surprise. Now, if only they'd made the onscreen version of the plotting a little cleaner and clearer and managed to relate Lyra's inner life more successfully. And tidied up some of the FX. And didn't end on a dull, drawn out pseudo-happy conclusion that rankled fans looking for the last few scenes and still failed to really create and closure for anybody else.

Gassner's production design was truly superb, though. And the blocking of the de-jawing shot was really rather clever. All in all, a six out of ten for Weitz' film, which is about four more than I anticipated it would rate. And a fairly respectable score for any film, I think.

[EDIT: A,N Wilson and Mark Lawson on the BBC's Front Row have agreed with me that, frankly, you'd have to be a bit dim to miss the subtext. Not a popular opinion - has everybody been so dim that in fact, they have missed it themselves?]

Oh, and quickly - before I vanish again for lord knows how long - a quick plug for the 5-Disc Blade Runner DVD set. I've spent hours and hours and hours with it and, frankly, it has proven to be the single best DVD set I have ever, ever encountered and not least because it includes The Final Cut, which is, ultimately, the best film of 2007. Here in the UK the price has been set at around the £22 mark, with several online deals undercutting that nicely. Come December 18th, US citizens will be shelling out a fat lot more, however, but all the same, it will be worth every last cent. Kudos to Charles de Lauzirika, Paul Prischman and the rest of the DVD team for all of the truly exemplary, engaging and entertaining supporting materials. These bonuses are a sweet heaven for movie lovers, even those as yet unswayed by Blade Runner itself.

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