Two Quick Reviews

Yesterday I mentioned that I saw a couple movies over the weekend.  Here are couple tidy little reviews…

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader I read this book when I was probably about 10 or 11.  That’s quite a long time ago.  I remembered a few things about it, but mostly just that I enjoyed it the most out of the seven books in the C.S. Lewis series.  That being said, it was probably the least of the three movies that have recently been adapted.

I think that what the movie suffered from was a lack of adequate narrative tension.  The Dawn Treader is a story that I recall (and granted it was twenty years ago, but still) having three significant narrative arcs: (1) Lucy and Edmund are growing up, and realizing that their days of childhood adventure in Narnia are nearing an end, (2) Caspian is coming of age as the King of Narnia, and heads out on this expedition to the furthest reaches of his lands, and (3) Lucy and Edmund’s cousin, Eustace, joins them for this trip into Narnia to learn more about himself and how to treat others.  It’s a noble endeavor to take on all three threads on the big screen, but difficult to do in less than two hours.  What ends up happening is that none of the three threads feel thoroughly explored (least of all the Caspian thread).

It’s a decent movie, but overall, I have to admit that I’ve been a little disappointed by the Narnia franchise.  It could be that I just enjoyed the books too much at too young an age for a movie adaptation to feel adequate.  I’m not sure what the plans are for the continuation of the this series.  There are four books left, and it’s not clear to me how or if they would all be produced; Book Five is out of sequence with the others that have been made to date, and Book Six is actually a ‘prequel’ to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The movie still made plenty of cash, and my prediction is that they will continue.

I also fired up the Boxee over the weekend and pulled Futurama: Bender’s Big Score out of the instant Netflix queue.  As near as I could tell (and with absolutely no research) this was the first in a series of Futurama-direct-to-DVD features that came between the time they were canceled by Fox and later resurrected by Comedy Central.

What can I say?  It was funny.  I was actually fairly impressed with the way that they tied together a few different threads over the course of 90 minutes. They did a very funny job of lampooning sci-fi time-travel stories, which can so wrapped up in the paradoxes that time travelers are creating, a viewer can barely keep the time continuum straight.  Those stories also have the distinct advantage of killing and resurrecting whichever characters they want, so long as they can come up with a (barely) reasonable time-travel-y justification.  This Futurama movie had that going for it all the way.

From the mind of Simpsons creator Matt Groening, I have to say that overall, as a series, I like Futurama more than The Simpsons. The latter has some hilarious and epic TV moments, but if I had twelve bucks and could only buy a season of one or the other, I would probably buy a few gallons of gas instead.

After I got home, though, I would probably opt search the ‘nets for on-demand Futurama first.  There are few more Futurama movies on Netflix that are available to stream.  I imagine I’ll get to them sooner or later.


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