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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Hanging with Bob: Chess and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 
11th-Dec-2005 03:24 am
I See You!
Well, I'm dropping off after a brutal chess game with Bob. He came in from the library at midnight to find me still sitting on the same spot on the couch, grading the same stack of papers that he left me with this afternoon. I thought it was only about 10pm, so I was amazed when he mentioned the time. We just simply caught up for awhile before starting to play, and chatted intermittently as we sat before the window, listening to sounds of freshman running around doing their thing outside of McCormick Hall, and laughing at the bizarre irony when I commented at how much the drunken bellowing of someone stepping out of Caffrey's Pub sounded like a Muslim call to prayer. Our chess match looked rather drunken, too, with both of us being pretty evenly matched. Meaning we're both pretty bad. I gave away about half my pieces before the sheer Darwinian weight of the process made me focus and start fighting back. We called a break--if not quite a draw--as things got even and it became clear that we were well past Bob's bedtime. He may head home to Michigan tomorrow, or it's possible he may stick around for a bit more work.

We caught The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last night, with his fellow Biblical student Jim Carlson, who also pastors a Baptist church in the western suburbs. I never see Jim anymore so that was a cool chance to catch up for me. The film itself was fine, most of the effects pretty good. I wasn't sold on Liam Neeson for Aslan's voice, although I concede that that would be an awfully difficult casting job. Certainly I was pleased to see such details as cavalry using lances. (These were inexplicably absent for most of the Riders of Rohan in Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, who then, along with such absurdities as Faramir's cavalry charge of the walls of Osgiliath, allowed a book to be published on the "strategy and tactics" of the movie. I would rule that world.) I thought the woman who played the White Witch--Tilda Swinton, of whom I'd never heard, although now that I look her up on imdb I now remember her from Constantine as Gabriel, where she looked disconcertingly like my college girlfriend Angie Brunner--did a very satisfying job, being both coldly regal and outright feral at appropriate moments. Mostly though, Bob and I ended up talking about just the limitations inherent to adapting a children's book to the screen. It was a good adaptation, as faithful as I could hope, I think, although I confess I didn't re-read the book before seeing the film, as I'd hoped. But being a faithful adaptation of what it was, it's at a much more basic level in terms of character than I'd normally hope for. More than anything else, with literature the art is in the language, and so much of the language is lost in a film. To adapt the story is not the same as to adapt the text. That, I am sure, is impossible, and maybe something as simple as a children's story is more likely to lose in being adapted to the screen.
Comments 
11th-Dec-2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
i was much impressed by tilda swinton in Orlando and am sure she can play the heck out of the witch. (the BBC version, with that screeching brunette, set the standard for how not to play the witch.) you're right about losing the words in a film. i hadn't thought of it quite like that, but that's so true. even in something like American Psycho, they had to have Patrick do voice-overs to convey the meaning of what was going on. not everything can be shown!
12th-Dec-2005 12:34 am (UTC)
I still haven't seen Orlando, although I think I remember hearing some interesting things about it. But that was a good decade ago, wasn't it? I was surprised to see that she had been around for awhile and that she hadn't registered on me. I spent most of the movie thinking that she was Alice Krige, so that I was seeing Qui-Gon versus the Borg Queen. When I mentioned that to him, Bob said that that revealed my utter geekiness.
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