My Most Anticipated Movies of July 2009: Ice Age 3, Harry Potter 6, G-Force

This month, I’ll be seeing Transformers 2 a few more times. But in between visits with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and the gang, I’ll be seeing Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Harry Potter 6 (Half-Blood Prince), and G-Force. Based on the other movies this month, Transformers will be getting a lot of business… at least from me.
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The Book Isn’t Always Better – Part 1: Big Fish

This is probably the first in a series of articles on the times that a movie has either been as good as the book, acted as a great complement to the book, or bested the book. This is the result of being tired of hearing the misconception that “the book is always better.” The truth is, it’s not. Sometimes the movie far exceeds the book in execution of the same story.

It could be that the filmmaker had a better vision for the story. It could be that the filmmaker is simply a better storyteller. It could be that the book just lends itself to also be great on film.

When I do my comparative analysis, I’m going to let you know whether I’ve read the book that the film is based on, and whether I read it before or after seeing the film, as all of these things have an effect on the results.

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The Best of 2004

My favorites of 2004:

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King :: Best Picture of 2003 :: 11 Academy Awards


Finding Neverland
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban
The Incredibles
Napoleon Dynamite
Ocean’s 12
The Passion of the Christ
Spider-Man 2
The Village


Arrested Development
Extreme Makeover Home Edition
StarGate Atlantis
StarGate SG-1

I hadn’t seen a single episode of any of those shows before 2004. Now I’m a huge fan of all of them.

Tolkien vs. Rowling

At, someone posted a Harry Potter versus Lord of the Rings thread. While I did enjoy the third film, I don’t believe Potter holds even a burnt out candle to Lord of the Rings. Here’s what I said:

J.R.R. Tolkien was a professor of language, who didn’t take a real place and make a false place or a parallel dimension or any such thing.

Tolkien, in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings created a WHOLE WORLD, with histories, and races, and wars, and all sorts of incredible characters and they even had their own languages. Languages that fit logically with the characters. The Black Speech of Mordor is very harsh, while the Elvish tongues of Sindarin, etc. are very beautiful. Tolkien’s novels were released 50 years ago this year for the first time. While the Silmarillion was started in the trenches of World War I, I believe in 1917, it wasn’t finished or published until 1976, after Tolkien passed on. The Hobbit was out in the mid-30s. It took Tolkien 15 YEARS to craft THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Tolkien carefully crafted the entire book to the full. It is something that people of nearly any age, with a brain, can get into and enjoy. If you can’t, I feel sorry for you.

J.K. Rowling, like it or not, needs to tighten up her writing. Remove all of her “said Harry angrily’s,” and “said Harry really angrily’s,” and replace them with simply “said Harry.” Not only will that save ink, but also paper. The Order of the Pheonix has about 20,000 of those words. That is the length of a short story. No wonder the book appears to be so long. It’s not really. It’s just got a lot of extra wording padding it, making it appear longer than it is. The problem isn’t that she USES those explanations for how a character is talking. It’s that she uses them ALL THE TIME.

Also, given that Potter hasn’t yet ended, to compare the entire SEVEN BOOK Harry Potter to the ONE BOOK Lord of the Rings (as intended, although LOTR is actually SIX Books, with an appendix of what happens next as well), is foolish. You do not know what will happen at the end of Book Seven, and the whole series is dependent on that, like it or not. The end of The Lord of the Rings is perfect. You are happy, but sad as well, because you realize the price of freedom and at what price everything they fought for had. You see all the other people that were untouched by the war, that you don’t know if they even care or know anything about the hardship you went to to bring that peace. You want to read it again, to have these adventures and meet these friends, and you can, because the books are so long that you can’t possibly remember every little thing at first. And the films compliment the books wonderfully. They capture the spirit of the story written by J.R.R. Tolkien. You can sit down and watch all three in roughly 12 hours depending on food breaks and what not. Or you can spend a few weeks on the books, and travel with the characters, and you end up investing yourself in at least one of the characters. The one that you see yourself in the most. For me, reading it for the first time years ago, that was Sam. I realized this when I got to “The Choices of Master Samwise” and he had to make the decision to take the Ring and go the rest of the way alone.

Harry Potter hasn’t had any of that as of yet, and I don’t think it’ll end up being more than Voldemort making one last try at returning, and being stopped for the last time, no more than a typical evil wizard story told time and time again. Granted, it should be bigger than this, but that we won’t know for probably 3 years.

Beach Party and Harry Potter 3

Saw Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban on Friday morning at 12:01am. It was really good. I wasn’t really surprised by that, I thought it would be. I saw it with a great group of people.

Hit the beach yesterday. ROCK!

Got Window Clings! Need a car for mine.

Lots of people showed up, and we ate lots of burgers, played some Ultimate Frisbee, and Threw around a football, a frisbee, and a volleyball, all simultaneously.

Laura Neiser showed up. Haven’t seen her since 2003. She was at my table on the fall Antioch Muskegon retreat. Such an awesome person. Hope she’s on team on a future retreat. She has a way with words that can put things in perspective, and make things work. She’s one of the most memorable candidates I’ve had at my table. So reserved, yet so kind, and a strong person, but very faithful. If she’s reading this, she’s probably got tears in her eyes..that’s cool, she’s like that, which is awesome. She sees the beauty in things.