Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Going Along for the Ride

I went to see How to Train Your Dragon with my niece and nephew on the weekend and enjoyed it WAY more than I thought I would. Sure, the idea was cute, but nothing about the trailer made me think I'd like it. The trailer seemed to be mostly about the special effects and showing the audience that it was going to be in 3-D.

But it was actually a great story. Good pacing, entertaining, fun, heartfelt... enjoyable.

Once I stopped questioning whether or not it was historically accurate to have Vikings with Scottish accents and small details like why did only some of the main characters (the ones played by Clive Owen and Craig Ferguson) have Scottish accents? And once I got beyond the fact all the young people were dressed like Bratz dolls (particularly their footwear) -- I got totally caught up in the story.

So when questions entered my mind later in the film, like how come if it took him a long time to train one dragon, the others cooperated instantly when the story required them to... and how come the dragons understood English... By the time those questions came up, I was having so much fun I was along for the ride regardless.

It got me thinking about when/why we forgive "mistakes" in stories and when/why we're willing to let them slide. Any theories? Anyone else seen this movie?

And taking a slight tangent, okay maybe not so slight... I'm looking forward to the film The Trotsky more than I've looked forward to a Canadian film in ages. The link? The lead in The Trotsky is played by the same actor, Jan Baruchel, who does the voice of the main character in the dragon movie. (And he's also in another big film this summer... The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Plus he's from Ottawa and I saw the dragon movie in Ottawa... )

Wow, ramble much?

14 comments:

Eileen said...

Ramble on, Maureen!

I don't know why we forgive certain things in one book/movie and not in others. I'm a bit of a POV Nazi. I am particularly unforgiving of switches between first and third person in the same book. I think it's cheating. Pick one mode and stick with it, dammit.

Yet, I adored The Lace Reader, which does precisely that. I was completely willing to throw all my POV issues to the four winds and not even stay to watch them scatter.

Maureen McGowan said...

That's a great example, Eileen.

In a similar vein, Soulless is one of those real head hopper books. Switching POV mid-sentence, almost omniscient, but not really sticking to omniscient, either... just letting us know what EVERYONE is thinking whenever it suited the writer.

YET, I enjoyed the book. I think because it was so funny to me.

Maybe that's the bottom line. We'll forgive a lot if we're entertained. Bore me and I'll nit pick on every little detail. (Like that stupid last Indiana Jones movie...)

Eileen said...

Do not start with that Indiana Jones movie. Egad. Two and a half hours of my life I will never get back. That and Attack of the Clones.

I'm reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo right now and, unfortunately, it's not entertaining me and I'm starting to do the nitpick thing on it. The story starts in the wrong place. There are big info dumps. Maybe it's the Swedish thing. I didn't get "Let the Right One In" either and everyone else seemed to love it as well. Although in all fairness, I'm a big fan of IKEA and the whole meatball thing.

Maureen McGowan said...

LOL about IKEA meatballs.

Too bad about Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Now I'm curious and will read the opening in a bookstore...

The movie did spend a while introducing the characters before the story started too... now that you mention it. But we knew almost nothing about who she was... and why she was so interested in the reporter guy... and so many horrific things were happening to her (that I admit aren't really part of the plot, directly) that I went along with it.

Not sure I would have been so willing to in book form... But for me it worked on screen.

Maureen McGowan said...

Did you read Let the Right One In or just see the movie? (Was it a book?)

I enjoyed the movie... but mostly for the atmosphere and creepiness mixed in with all that innocence. But I liked Dragon Tattoo better as a movie. Let the Right One In was almost art movie-ish to me. Interesting, but not fully engaging. Not your typical vampire movie. LOL.

Eileen said...

Read more than the first few pages of GWTDT. It starts with this great moment that was really intriguing and then the next scene we're with the reporter guy and have like a 5 page description of this really complicated court case. Emotionally the scenes with the reporter dude are really flat and he's the majority of the book. The girl with the dragon tattoo is fascinating, but she's barely in the first half of the book.

I only saw LTROI. It may have been one of those things where I had heard too much advance praise for it. It was interesting and different, but it wasn't the best vampire movie ever (which I had heard it billed as).

Maureen McGowan said...

Ah... yes, they skimmed over that court case in one quick montage-like scene in the movie. Basically we see him coming out of the court... being hounded by reporters... maybe a flash of a headline... and then he resigns from his job.

They intersperse the stuff with him with the girl's life. We don't know who she is or why we should care about her... but she'd interesting and it's a real mystery what she has to do with the main story for the first half of the film. Then when it all comes together, it's satisfying.

I totally get what you mean about LTROI. It was a slight let down for me, too.

Eileen said...

This is so interesting! I may have to see the movie and finish reading the book and compare them. In the book, you have at least a little sense of how they're connected, but you sense that there's going to be more to that story.

Plus, what's with all the open relationship stuff. Our hero is a big of a man ho and there's this scene where the two girlfriends are having breakfast together and everyone is ever so very civilized and open-minded and it's boooorrrring. :-) I would have preferred a catfight.

Maureen McGowan said...

Wow. This is interesting.

Yes, I guess in the movie there is a hint of their connection, too... but not really why she gets so interested, or what her deal is.

And they totally skipped over the reporter man ho thing. The only woman we ever see him with is her. (Hope that wasn't a spoiler.) We do see her with someone else... She had a girlfriend in her world before it joined with his... But don't want to give too much away if you're not that far into the book.

It does sound like they handled the movie better... And I'll bet if they do make a Hollywood version that they'll cut even more.

Sinead M said...

I saw LTROI as well and had the same reaction, had heard great things and found it very meh... interesting ending, but getting there seemed to take days.

I almost bought Girl with the dragon tattoo and now will not. My attention span is so short these days.

And Maureen, have not seen How to train your dragon,but have heard great things from both adults and children. Always a good sign.

Maureen McGowan said...

I don't even remember the end of LTROI. Thinking about it, I barely remember the actual story -- not a great sign.

I just remember the bleakness of that apartment building and the cold darkness and the paleness of the kids and the creepiness of the blood collecting...

GWTDT was a huge bestseller.. so book must have something. But I'm not inclined to read it, either. Especially since I saw the movie already.

HTTYD was pretty great. Your girls probably too young for it, Sinead... maybe in a few years.

Eileen said...

LTROI ends with the two of them on a train running away from a fair bit of carnage in a swimming pool. I wasn't entirely convinced that the little girl existed. I thought at the end that she might actually be another personality that he'd created to help him deal with the bullying. Or, as has been suggested before, maybe I was thinking too much. :-)

No sleeping around for reporter guy in the movie? I'm only halfway through the book and he's sleeping with both his business partner at the magazine and with the missing girl's cousin (or maybe it's an aunt?). And that's another thing! Everyone in the book is related and he keeps referring to them by their last name. "Mikael had dinner with Vanger." Which Vanger? Henrik? Martin? Harald? Cecilia?

Maureen McGowan said...

There was definitely some implication that he was involved with the woman at the magazine... But mostly in the way she looked at him... And we saw that scene through the POV of the tattoo girl... Although not sure if we knew it was her yet... I think we saw it through the POV of someone taking his picture and trailing him. You got the impression there was more between them than the magazine -- especially from her side-- But nothing else. At least not that I remember.

And I don't think he slept with any of the Vangers... Again, a scene with lots of drinking and flirting... but I don't think it went anywhere. OH... I think she invited him for a night cap after dinner with her and her brother or cousin? (I do admit I got some of the relationships mixed up) But he turned her down. I'd forgotten about that.

The end of the vampire children movie is coming back to me now... I had totally blocked it out. Maybe for a good reason. Carnage in pool. Yes... blocked it out. ;)

That would've been cool if she was in his imagination!

I saw a very cool film at the TIFF a number of years ago that I never saw released... Runaway, or something? Yes, Runaway Runaway on IMDB" that had a twist kind of like that.
I don't think the movie was ever released but is probably on DVD. I really liked it... Was surprised it didn't hit the theatres.

out of the wordwork said...

Off topic cuz I didn't see LTROI but as to what makes me forgive things in movies...

I was surprisingly entertained by How to Train Your Dragon - I loved Jay Baruchel and am looking forward to The Trotsky. All this to say: I'll forgive a lot of problems in a story if I can get behind and cheer for the main character. For example: I knew the Blind Side had a lot of problems but I totally loved Sandra Bullock in it and she carried the movie for me.

But to totally destroy my theory: when I saw Sherlock Holmes, I was really anticipating it but it left me 'meh'. And I love anything and everything Robert Downey Jr. does. So, even with an interesting character played by an interesting actor, that one didn't do it for me because the plot just wasn't there.

So many factors.

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