February 09, 2008

Sinister lions and spherical chickens.

I tried to watch the Chronic(what)cles of Narnia movie last night, but wound up turning it off before the end. I'm now arguing with myself about whether I can stand to finish watching it tonight. I can, as I explained last night to Katie, set aside my general annoyance about the imposition of heavy-handed Christian allegory on the juvenile general public -- how I can do that I don't know, but I probably shouldn't think too hard about it in case it stops working. I can set aside my annoyance at the addition of corny Hollywoody bullshit that wasn't in the original story, like pointless high-suspense escape scenes and characters whose dialogue is supposed to be funny but just winds up being anachronistic and interrupting even my embarrassingly eager suspension of disbelief.

The thing that made me shut off the movie last night, and is still making me hesitate to finish watching, is not those. It's the fact that Aslan is voiced by Liam Neeson. Don't get me wrong; I like Liam Neeson, and Aslan can totally be a melodious, gracefully-aging Irishman. I'm really okay with that. But I just fucking watched Batman Begins, and I can't handle the sudden shift from sinister to beneficent in the same incredibly distinctive voice. It's exacerbated by the fact that, and this is inherent in the story and really can't be helped by the best efforts of the poor special-effects people drafted to make talking animals as uncheesy as they could manage, the animation of Aslan's face is just kind of embarrassing. I feel bad for the animators, so I look away, and then I get the voice without the visuals and I'm thinking, ack, danger, get away get away avoid the guys in black at all costs!

And they made the excellent call not to cast Cate Blanchett as the White Witch, because even though she'd be totally great everyone would be thinking of Queen Elizabeth. Or Galadriel. Or both. It's kind of like how as soon as Hugo Weaving walked onscreen in the Lord of the Rings, everyone in every theater thought, "Missster Anderrson" at the same time. So they cast Tilda Swinton, who is more Cate Blanchetty than Cate Blanchett and totally awesome and scary, but there's the matter of my high school English teacher who made us watch the movie version of Orlando in which Tilda Swinton plays Lord Orlando and Lady Orlando, and so she perpetually reminds me of a) how much I didn't enjoy that book and b) how everyone in my class loved the movie but only because of the scene where Orlando as a guy is kissing some girl and we were all 14 and going "omg omg girls kissing each other and we get to watch this in class you have got to be kidding me".

While busily arguing with myself about all of these totally inadequate reasons for not watching the last 40 minutes of the movie, I discovered that the internet can, if I pay it, provide me with a squishy spherical rooster. Or a spherical shark, or a spherical duck, though not a spherical cat. I desperately want one and see no good reason I shouldn't get myself one, but I am totally unable to pick which one. The giraffe, pig, and sheep, which are my top choices in that order, are all presently unavailable. I think I lean toward the rooster out of the remaining options, and then I look again at the shark and it's just hopeless. That shark is pretty priceless. And the duck! How can I ever choose, when they're all so close to perfect spheres?

Man, my life is difficult. I've got it almost as bad as my sister, who apparently spends her days wandering along the beautiful inspiring California coast and quoting Robert Frost at people. Jesus.

Posted by dianna at February 9, 2008 07:51 PM

You've actually really thrown me by naming the actor responsible for Agent Smith and Lord Elrond. I'd known that the same guy played both and that it was impossible to watch Elrond and not hear him saying "Misster Anderson." And I'd known that Hugo Weaving was the name of the guy responsible for doing such an interestingly fantastic job in V for Vendetta with just a mask and a voice to work with. But somehow I'd never connected all three voices together as belonging to the same person. My mind is kind of blown.

Also, I think -- although I haven't seen the Chronic(what!)cles movie* and am unlikely to because, as discussed, I have a much harder time getting past the whole issue of religiosity, I think I'd have an easier time swallowing Liam Neeson as Aslan because he so often seems to play characters who are sort of interestingly holy or at least feel that they're called by something higher. I always think of him as Oskar Schindler, Michael Collins, Priest Vallon, Alfred Kinsey. And who could forget Qui-Gon Jinn? I guess to me his performance as whatsisface in Batman Begins is sort of in that vein.

Also, whoever thought of taking a giraffe, which is a nonspherical animal if I've ever seen one, and making it spherical is an effing genius. The shark and the duck are adorable.

*It never seems to stop being funny.

Posted by: katie at February 9, 2008 08:24 PM

Those globular beasties remind me of my 4-foot plush squid. Mayhap he needs a squishable friend?

Posted by: Chris at February 9, 2008 09:25 PM

yeah, i'm going with the carrot full of bunnies. half the price, three times the number of bunnies.

but the shark is goddamn adorable. it's funny that the shark is sooo much cuter than the whale. but i think it's because whales don't eat you (unless you're not a real boy, pinocchio). so a round shark just offers more delight than a round whale.

Posted by: michele at February 10, 2008 09:51 AM

The carrot full of bunnies is pretty amazing, but for me it lacks a certain enormous, spherical something. I've opted for the rooster -- I'm just so entranced by the red dangly throat things! I may come to regret this after the first dozen cock jokes, but, well, too late now.

Chris: A four-foot plush squid? Holy crap. If I weren't already worried about how I will fit into my bed once it's occupied by this rooster, I'd ask where one obtains such a marvel. Oh, what the hell. Where does one obtain such a marvel?

Katie: I'd forgotten that Hugo Weaving was also V. My mind is kind of reciprocally blown by this information. Also, he gets a lot of props in my book for getting through that one enormous diatribe of V-words without cracking up, flubbing it, or taking off his mask and jumping on it out of sheer annoyance.

Posted by: Dianna at February 11, 2008 11:07 AM

I can't find the website from which I bought my beloved squid (her name is Elvira), but in searching for it, I *did* find this website:


Their squid is much smaller at a meager 20", but still have some cool stuff including an impressive variety of octopi. Personally I like the plush man-o-war jellyfish.

Posted by: Chris at February 11, 2008 05:46 PM

My personal favorite from the website Chris found is the plush fishing-bobber pillow. It wins my prize because the ad copy justifies its existence by claiming that it's the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for man-who-likes-to-fish in your life. Finally, a way to bridge the divide between Dudes Who Fish and the world of decorative throw pillows.

Posted by: katie at February 11, 2008 06:37 PM