Thursday, December 16, 2004

"Who's Your Daddy?"

I don't refer to something spectacular that I've done, but rather to a new "reality" TV show that Fox announced last night. Apparently some young woman is going to search for her natural father. Eight men will portray him, one of whom is the real deal. If she picks the correct one she wins $100,000. If she picks the wrong one then he wins the cash. I would ask if Fox could sink any lower except that I believe if I did then the answer "Why, yes. Yes, they can!" would be demonstrated in the near future. So instead let me ask this, "What's next? A 'reality' show about dying cancer patients?"

I heard about this on the radio this morning. Mo Lewis from BXR was talking about it and mentioned that he was appalled by it, but would likely be riveted by every episode. To Mo I say "Say No Man! Don't give in to them, you can beat it!". The rise of this drek which passes for "entertainment" is due, I believe, to a) it's cost (cheap when compared to paying a crew and actors apparently) and b) the American public keeps watching it. Fortunately I have expanded basic cable now so I can see real entertainment instead.

Speaking of which I saw the premiere of "The Legend of Earthsea" with Danny Glover, Isabella Rosalini, Kristin Kreunk and Shawn Ashmore (the later two I don't recognize). After the first part I was uneasy. It was a classic fantasy story but the flow of time seemed skewed, which interferred with my suspension of disbelief. There seemed to be several places where in one scene only days had passed and in the next scene the passage of time seemed out of whack with that.

This jumping around time-wise is a perfectly acceptable technique in a book since it seems pretty evident nearly immediately that events in this chapter are out of sync with the events in the previous chapter. It needs to be done well in order to work best. George R.R. Martin did it constantly in the "Ring of Ice and Fire" books. I want to say that China Mieville did it in the Bas-Lag books as well but that doesn't stand out so clearly in my mind so I could be mistaken.

But in a film that needs to be done carefully I think in order to contribute to the story or atmosphere. However after the 2nd part I was less uneasy and it was, overall, well done and enjoyable. I'll need to read La Guin's book in order to render a final opinion but I do think that the film portrayed what I knew of her work. I'd read "The Left Hand of Darkness" in college and her work was multilayered. Perfect for a college literature class since there were so many themes which could be interpreted in so many different ways. And the Earthsea film got at least some of this across. However I think that the editing may have chopped the wrong parts, although to be fair in some books it's very hard to pick out what can safely be cut without affecting the story. It could very well be from what little I know of her work that this was an impossible task due to the nuances of the story and it's length (no idea how long the book is).

Well I should get back to packing.


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