Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Platypus Likes PIxar

Thought for the day:

With the exception of Pixar, why is anime so much better than American animation?

Ok, so that question needs a lot of clarifying, but it's something I've been tossing around this past week.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Withering Highs: The Platypus Reads Part XLVIII

The next book in the queue for the year is Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." However, while I'm gearing up to teach that, I have begun reading the next selection, "Wuthering Heights."

"Wuthering Heights" is not exactly a relaxing novel. In the main, it makes you want to shout or commit some act of violence. How Heathcliff survives as long as he does without getting shot in the face is a testament to the overall placidity of the English character and the fervent dedication of the author to her work. In spite of its stress-inducing tendencies, however, "Wuthering Heights" is a favourite high school reading.

Prior to this read through, I only had vague impressions of the novel left over from college. Then, I believe I had to polish the book off in something like a week or two and then discuss it for six evidently less than memorable hours. I don't remember disliking it at all, but the book only left a smattering of impressions. Taking a little more time this time, "Wuthering Heights" is beginning to sink in. I'm still in the middle of the novel, so it will take some time before I can finish it and completely gather my thoughts, but it's definitely turning out to be another one for the list of "High School Book Worth Re-Reading."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Use the Platypus, Luke!



George Lucas has spent the last decade revisiting and completing his prior work. For the most part, these attempts have been ill-received. While he's on a roll, however, there is one film that I wouldn't mind him revisiting: "Willow."

What can I say? I like "Willow." The film was never as big as Star Wars or Indiana Jones, but it was a decent bit of imaginitive fantasy. "Willow" uses all sorts of fantasy cliches without feeling like a mere re-imagining of "The Lord of the Rings." That, in itself, is something. Sure, there's halflings and trolls, but that's about it. The rest is Lucas' typical mish-mash of myth, pulp, and Americana. There's nothing very deep, but it was a fun movie. That's Lucas at his best -fun.

Given the past decade, I'm not sure how much we can expect from the creator of Star Wars. If Lucas did revist the world of "Willow" we could probably anticipate something in the vein of "The Phantom Menace." Just the same, I think I'd like to see him give it a try.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Platypus Pastimes

Thoughts from a weekend of art and entertaiment:

1. What are Mike Mignola's religious views? Del Torro's ex-Catholicism has been highly fruitful for his movie-making career, and he dumps a lot of it into the "Hellboy" movies. Mignola's work contains some strong Catholic undercurrents and I know that he helped out Christian comic book author Doug Tenaple (sp?). I can't wait until we get to see where he's going when volume 9 comes out.

2. Everything Pixar does seems to be some sort of commentary on the Imago Dei or, at the very least, what it means to be human.

3. The endings of Hayao Miyazaki's movies are often a tad confusing to an American audience, but man are they worth it if you take the time to do an extra viewing or two. I wish Disney could divest themselves of their California-American worldview and do some stuff that was as deep and meaningful as the movies that come out of studio Ghibli.

4. Sci-fi is alive and well, but the space program is on the verge of mothball-dom. Why is that?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here and Everywhere? The Platypus Reads Part XLVII

Once you accept Hamlet as the archetypal modern hero (or anti-hero), you begin seeing him everywhere. Case in point, my wife and I were watching "Phantom of the Opera" the other night. There's a line toward the end of the movie where the Phantom sings: "Down once more to the dungeon of my dark despair; down once more to the prison of my mind." All I could think of was Hamlet's line to Guildenstern and Rosencranz: "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space, were it not that I had bad dreams." Here, once more, was the star-crossed prince, slighted and overlooked, falling back within his own mind to recreate the world as a play, with himself as the main character, and wreck his revenge. Of course Christine is no Ophelia, and that alters the whole course of the story.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Platypus in a Nutshell: The Platypus Reads Part XLVI

Thought for the day: Hamlet is the great modern hero because he lives almost entirely in the nutshell of his own head.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Platypus Got "Dance Magic"

Over the past few years, my wife an I have been sharing books, movies, and music that meant a lot to us when we were growing up. On my wife's end, that means "Anne of Green Gables" and anything by E. Nesbit. For me, that means cult classic eighties and early nineties fantasy movies. A few of my favorites that we've viewed so far:

"Labyrinth"
"The Dark Crystal"
"The Princess Bride" (a shared favorite)
"Willow"

Still on the list is "The Neverending Story." If there's anything we're missing, feel free to chime in.