….and, no, it had absolutely nothing to do with Sarah Palin.
Tonight, although the world was pretty much back to normal and Atlanta decided to venture out again, The Guy I Am Currently Dating was still stuck inside his house, due to an excessive amount of ice in his driveway. Since our plans for tonight involved a trip to the movies, I decided to have movie night on my own.
I started off with “The Young Victoria”, a lovely period piece about the coming-of-age of the future Queen Victoria—a historical figure I know relatively little about, despite my great love for both the intrigue and drama of the history of the British monarchy, and literature/drama/fashion from the Victorian era. It focused not only on the political intrigue of the time, but on the love story between the young queen and Prince Albert, depicted as one of feminism, idealism, and equality, in a society when none of the above were popularly-held ideas.
Though some will likely find the story a little dull, as it focuses on character development much more than action, I thought it moved at a fast pace and was thoroughly engaging. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of historical drama, period films, or quaint love stories—or anyone who sat through Showtime’s “The Tudors”.
Next, I decided to watch “Eat, Pray, Love”, based upon the book of the same name, which I read while in New York last month. Although I didn’t hold particularly high expectations for the book, it was enjoyable enough; it was something I could relate to, and so I figured I’d give the film a try.
Unfortunately, the author’s words simply don’t translate well to the screen, and after reading the book, the mental image I’d formed of the main character has little to do with the casting of Julia Roberts. It almost seems as if a different type of character—one 50 pounds thinner, 15 years older, and with lips that announce collagen injections gone wrong (I haven’t seen such painful-looking lips since Goldie Hawn in “The First Wives Club“.)—was created with the casting of Julia Roberts, and although Julia is typically very endearing, it actually makes the character far less likable than the one portrayed in the book.
The most annoying artistic choice, and the one worthy of the title of this post? During a scene where the Julia Roberts character first arrives in Italy and discovers the wonder of a good meal, she is in an Italian trattoria, and they have a sweeping operatic aria playing in the background.
This would be a great choice, given that Italy is the birthplace of some of the greatest operas in the world, and there are many recognizable Puccini and Verdi choices to be had. However, this film chooses one of my favourites, The Queen Of The Night’s aria (“Der Holle Roche”), from The Magic Flute. For those who don’t know, The Magic Flute is a great opera written by Mozart—in German!! In fact, the choice is an indirect slight to Italy, since at the time, many composers and opera fans considered Italian more low-brow, music for commoners.
I believe this sense of annoyance is what sci-fi geeks feel when Star Trek opts for a plot device that is just scientifically impossible. *laughs* If you’re going to make a film about a woman who falls in love with Italy, it would be a good idea to actually use examples of things from Italy. (Why was music from “The Godfather” playing when they were in Naples? I thought that family was Sicilian? However, I could be wrong.)
I didn’t make it much farther than that in the movie, since I’m kind of tired, and the film wasn’t worth staying up until 4:30 to finish. I’ll watch the rest tomorrow. But, unless you’re bored and have a free rental code from Redbox, don’t bother with this one. It’s more work, but much more entertaining, to actually read the book.