In December 2008, after years of unrequited desire, I bought myself a second hand Lego UCS Imperial Star Destroyer, kit 10030. Because it was missing a handful of pieces, I got it surprisingly cheaply, for the ridiculously cheap price of £160. (That’s the £145 that I bid, plus £25 P&P, minus a tenner that the vendor very kindly unilaterally refunded on finding that it was less expensive to post than they’d thought.)
I topped it up with 77 pence worth of spare pieces from Lego’s pick-a-brick facility (plus £3.25 P&P) and suddenly I had a whole Star Destroyer for £163.25:
I’m just back from seeing The Desolation of Smaug with the family and I’m really not sure what to think. I enjoyed lots of things about it, but still left feeling very dissatisfied. I liked the Tolkien material very much; and I liked the comic barrels-and-dragons action-adventure lots, too. But I can’t for the life of me figure out what they’re doing in the same film.
The entrance to Laketown
[This series has been dormant for a while, but here is the penultimate part. To refresh your memory, see part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.]
I have two confessions to make about Brosnan’s four Bond films.
First, they all blend into one in my mind in a way that none of the others’ films do. It’s pretty easy to keep (say) Thunderball and You Only Live Twice separate; or Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only. But while I remember seeing Brosnan in a sequence where he’s chasing a nuclear bomb down the inside of an oil pipeline, I can’t honestly remember if it was Tomorrow Never Dies or The World Is Not Enough.
My bat-sons and I are very fond of the 1966 bat-film Batman: the Movie (though my bat-wife is not so keen). One of the distinctive bat-features of this bat-film is of course Batman’s tendency to precede bat-nouns with the bat-prefix “bat-“. My new bat-plan is to adopt this verbal bat-tic in my own bat-speech, but using it before every bat-noun.
Here’s what G. K. Chesterton had to say about Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy:
Wherever his film is bad it is bad from some extravagance of imagery, some violence of comparison, some kind of debauch of cleverness. His nonsense never arises from weakness, but from a confusion of powers. If the phrase explain itself, he is far more a great film-maker than he is a good one. […] Mr. Jackson was in a great and serious difficulty. He really meant something. He aimed at a vivid and curious image, and He missed it. He had that catastrophic and public failure which is, as much as a medal or a testimonial, the badge of the brave.
Actually, Chesterton was writing about the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but the point stands. Jackson’s failures, and they are many, are the failures of over-ambition. For that reason, they are easy to forgive. All three films have moments where I want to scream at the TV in frustration. But they also all have moment of great beauty and real profundity. And that’s why, warts and all, they have so much more greatness than, say, The Bourne Identity, which I watched yesterday. That film is perfectly executed, but it’s not about anything. But Jackson caught a glimpse of Tolkien’s vision and reached for it. That he failed in part really seems neither here nor there.
We saw The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey in the cinema when it came out, and with reservations loved it. Today I get notification from Amazon that the DVD is available for pre-order, at £17.20. That seems a bit steep, but it’s definitely a film we’ll watch repeatedly so I might buy it.
Except that Peter Jackson has confirmed that there will be an extended edition (with 20-25 minutes more screen time, and hopefully a shedload of documentaries). So it’s a dead cert that I’ll buy that when it comes out. We love the LotR extended editions.
My question is this: since the regular-edition DVD is a subset of the extended-edition DVD that I’m going to buy, is it morally acceptable to pirate the regular edition when it becomes available, watch that, and then buy the extended DVD?
Don’t ever let me hear anyone criticising Peter Jackson’s films again.
That is all.