On the Christmas Round-Up

Ah, Christmas. It’s over. I think I can breathe now.

What an incredible Christmas! At Electronics Boutique, we would do as much in a single day as Payless would do in an entire week. There were moments of extreme insanity. I know people keep talking about the terrible recession we’ve found ourselves in, but I didn’t see it. Sales were stronger this year than last. Great stuff.

Yesterday was insane. People returning the games they didn’t want. People redeeming the gift cards they were given. Honestly, yesterday was busier than any day during the Christmas shopping season. Simply insane.

The one thing I was looking forward to the whole Christmas season was Christmas Eve. Sci-Fi was showing the Paul McGann Doctor Who film, and I hadn’t seen it since May 1996. (Yes, I took the plunge and bought a DirecTV system in the fall. Really nice, really nice.) If I could just make it another day, that would put me one day closer to seeing Paul McGann as the Doctor. I went ahead and taped it, went to Chameleon Circuit and printed out a video cover for it, and now it’s filed away on my shelf.

Impressions after five years? I never thought it was a bad film, though Daphne Ashbrooke never really clicked for me. (Honestly, I thought she was at her best when the Master had mental possession of her and her eyes were black.) Eric Roberts was okay as the Master. The thing had a simply fantastic look. Yes, it looked completely different than anything Who had done before, but there’s nothing wrong with that. No, the story doesn’t entirely hang together (and the Seventh Doctor suffers a “stupid death”), but that’s nothing new in Doctor Who. There’s one aspect of the eighth Doctor’s personality that I’ve never seen picked up elsewhere, that habit of dropping hints to random people on their futures.

I did some mental comparisons between the TVM and the McGann Big Finish audios. It seems to me that the McGann audios are the one place were the four-episode structure isn’t appropriate because that structure isn’t representative of his “era.” And had the TVM gone to a series, it wouldn’t have been structured the way Doctor Who had been structured in the past. I can’t imagine FOX broadcasting Doctor Who as a series of multi-part half-hour episodes. I can’t imagine any American broadcast network doing that today.

I went to see Lord of the Rings on Christmas Day. Damn, but that film was brilliant. I’ve read the novels eight or nine times now, and I can’t think of a movie that so clearly captured the spirit and feel of its source material. This is Tolkien’s world, and what changes there are I understand. I understand the need for the time compression (the first book spans about fifteen years between Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday and Frodo’s departure from the Shire, while perhaps months pass during that time in the movie). I understand the need to dramatize the Saruman/Gandalf confrontation at Isengard (the books might be Hobbit-centric, but the story isn’t) instead of simply having Gandalf relate the tale at the Council of Elrond. I can understand the need to end the film with Boromir’s death (which opens The Two Towers) instead of with Frodo and Samwise’s departure (which occurs first in the books, but isn’t as dramatic a breaking point). I have to admit, there were moments that had me in emotional straits. Gandalf’s fall into the chasm. Boromir’s fall at the hands of the Uruk-hai and his death in Aragorn’s arms. (I also feel that’s the one scene where Tolkien is improved upon; Boromir’s death in the book is fairly flat, but evokes genuine emotion in the film.)

Oh, and how can I forget the Balrog? The whole Moria sequence was downright exciting and creepy.

Damn, I’m going to have to go see LOTR again. And to think next Christmas we’ll get another film, so if Episode II sucks (as I fear it might), I know they will be another brilliant genre film coming at the end of the year.

I haven’t been to see Harry Potter as yet. I read the first book, I liked the first book, but I haven’t felt the overwhelming need to go see the film. But I will, and probably soon.

Oh, one final note. Next time you’re in Waldenbooks, look to see if they have the Deep Space Nine: Millennium trilogy trade paperback. Flip through it to the end and you’ll find a timeline I compiled. My first published credit. 🙂

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