27 July 2007

nothing to report sir

not much going on around here, except that approx 50% of our blogging audience will be or has already visited in the weeks plus and minus this post. and so it seems pointless to blog in this situation.

or entirely pointy.

Finished HP7 (reading)
Saw HP5 (film)

Review: mixed. See FFB's point regarding the references in the film to WWII and various 1940s (and earlier) era films that incorporate the media-as-character/narration/exposition. Well done here. Effects kinda sucked--esp. in the last quarter. What happened there? I mean--it seemed like they just decided not to really 'do' the last quarter of the book, am I remembering right? Hm. It just seemed a lot more engaging/complex/interesting in the book. I suppose this is almost always the case. But I remember it being more visually interesting in the book.

I'm not a Harold Bloom like snob (okay maybe a wee bit snobby, but not Bloom-like) so I found book 7 satisfying in its genre. But it's not a well-written series. I yearn for well-crafted, well-written fantasy/anglophile work, and book 7 only made me cringe about 10 times, which is pretty good. Rowling can't do transitions (hence the 'endless series of previews' effect of the movies from the books) and she doesn't really foreshadow--she has the characters notice things that obviously will become important later--it's: Harry notices X, can't quite remember why it's important, shakes it off. reader: note to self. remember X. will be important.

These sorts of things can be done with more skill. But the books are worth the few hours they take to read. Still. yearning for quality fantasy stuff. and not in the Azimov vein. In the Marion Zimmer Bradley/Phillip Pullman/Neil Gaiman vein. Suggestions?


tenaciousmcd said...

You're right--the end of HP5 movie is greatly abbreviated from the book. I actually thought that mostly worked in the movie's favor, and I think the movie was generally better as a movie than the book was as a book. After a great opening, the book rambles around way too much--despite having the best villain of any HP--and I always thought the ending was a little flabby, as if JKR was trying to cram in a lot of ideas without great clarity.

I'll be curious to see how HP6 looks on film, since the book is a mixed bag: really annoying sections where we psychoanalyze Lord Hitlermort by finding out his mommy didn't love him, followed by a very gripping climax and a surprisingly moving ending.

I'm still about 100 pages short of finishing HP7.

Ruth said...

I'd recommend Garth Nix, if you havne't encountered him yet. His Sabriel/Lirael/Abhorsen trilogy is excellent, and his Keys to the Kingdom series, while aimed at a slightly younger audience, is also quite good. He's not as intellectually inclined as Gaiman or Pullman -- but more so than Rowling. And he's good at creating fully imagined alternative worlds.

Oh -- and on a rather different note, try Pamela Dean's Tam Lin. It's one of the many modern updatings of the ballad -- and a particularly good one, in my opinion. Set in a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, for what it's worth. And a fairly charming depiction of some of the social and intellectual aspects of such an environment.