Friday, August 28, 2009

Patience is a Virtue

Yesterday reminded me why patience is such a practical virtue - quite the money-saver.

I've debated picking up Coldplay's album "Viva la Vida" for a while and never plunked down the cash. It wasn't terribly high on my album list, and I kept trying to remind myself not to be too impulsive. I hovered over it several times at the store, opting each time to not pick it up just yet.

Last night I popped over to Amazon's MP3 store to nab Junior Senior's wildly infectious "Move Your Feet" after hearing it on a buddy's inventive little flash video for it. There on the front page, at a special price of $2.99, was Viva la Vida. And not just Viva la Vida, it was the Deluxe Edition, which features the Prospekt's March EP: eight addition tracks consisting of two remixes and six songs dropped from the original album.

I got what I wanted and more, for about a fourth of the price, just by waiting several months. I need to use that as a reminder that I don't need the newest right now: that sixty-dollar 360 game will almost assuredly be rocking a twenty-dollar pricetag within a year, and that new album won't be more than a few bucks if I hold out a little bit.

Of course, any points I garnered for being practical are lost by admitting that I like Coldplay.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why destroy the magic?

I've long been a fan of fantasy author Terry Brooks, and his epic Sword of Shannara is still a personal favorite. In recent years my reading habits have moved away from his newer efforts towards more political, philosophical and classic writings, but something strange has come to my attention:

The Four Lands, with it's elves and dwarves, magic and high fantasy, is Earth, far in the future after a nuclear holocaust.

Seriously, was that necessary? Practically speaking, it doesn't add anything significant to the storyline, waving around in the air like some random, mutated appendage on an otherwise aesthetically pleasing creature.

It reminds me of George Lucas using the Phantom Menace to explain that the magical powers of the Force were the result of a high concentration of microorganisms in the blood stream. Nobody was screaming for a rationale behind the Force; It's the answer to a question only Lucas asked. It instead caused a backlash, because fans like the mystery and mysticism, the spirituality behind it.

This entry is a little bit disjointed, bore more out of frustration than any serious attempt at analyzing the trend of authors to turn their magic into the mundane. So it goes, I suppose - the Sword of Shannara remains my gold standard, even if I have to block the later absurdity out of my head.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Chronicles of Narnia Deserve Better

I'm honestly finding myself a little torn on these new Narnia films. It's great to see Lewis' masterpieces (and my childhood favorites) receiving big-name Hollywood treatments, but at the same time, they're just not getting what they deserve. Much like the newer Star Wars movies, there's a part of me that almost would rather them not have been made, if only because the lower quality in turn sullies the original's legacy.

Having finally seen Prince Caspian in it's entirety, I'm let down a little more than I was with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's not that either of them have been bad movies; in fact, they've definitely been "superior" movies. They're just not what they could be, nor what the stories are deserving of being. They just stray too far from the original works and suffer because of it.

Those gifted with the honor of bringing Lewis' works to life through motion pictures just don't seem to entirely understand the source material. I've seen numerous quotes from the director, screenwriters and even the actors where they miss the mark Lewis laid out for them, and it's evident in the resulting production. It's terribly frustrating to see a mediocre student given a paint set when there are brilliant artists who could work wonders.

That's all I'll say for now, but I may just have to delve further into this at some point. 20th Century Fox has taken over Disney's role as producer for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and there's talk of revising the script, so with any luck things will steer back on track. It's hard to watch someone's fantastic creation twisted and altered to become something a little less magical.