Friday, January 07, 2005

Walk Like A Penguin

How I hate this wet winter weather, however easier the handling of my car is when it's not freezing. A few days ago we had a delightful layer of sleet on the ground. It fell from the sky in horizontal lines, curiously enough. Then it sort of froze over and after that it rained a bit and then some. Result: me walking like a penguin around town. It's so darned slippery that I just have to wobble ahead in order not to fall and break my skull. Oh, and as a result of all the penguining around my muscles are sore. Although some of that may be the result of the visit I payed to the gym the other day. :)

Ok, enough of the weather. Time to talk about nice ways to spend time not walking like a penguin in the rain. That's right, movies. All-around nice way to spend time sitting down, also when it's not raining.

I went to see Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera last night. I hate to admit it but I hadn't seen any version of it before and my expectations were kind of high. I'd seen some marvellous pictures of the movie production and the trailer was just plain amazing in all it's glitter and glam.

The glitter and glam didn't fail me, oh no. If this movie doesn't get at least a nomination for the best costume design Oscar, I'm going to be very disappointed. I was once again convinced that long cloaks and capes should be worn nowadays, too. I was so born in the wrong century!

And the jewellery! Ohmigod. The ever-so-famous Swarowsky Crystals were a big part of the costuming and staging. First of all, the huge crystal chandelier hanging from the Opera House's ceiling. According to the Making of -book it weighed so much that they had to make an extra reinforced roof to the studio to hold the thing. No wonder. But gosh, the piece looked absolutely gorgeous. Just the kind of Grand Glamour one would expect from a turn-of-the-previous-century Opera House. *sigh*

The leading lady's (Christine, played by Emmy Rossum) first grand gown is, as far as I can tell, a remake of the Empress Sissi's magnificent white gown in that famous painting of her. All the way to the jewelled flowers in Christine's hair. I could do nothing but gawk. Me want that pretty dress too!

All in all, however, I think I had my expectations a bit too high for this one. Not that I didn't like the movie, but it didn't move me like I thought it would. Of the characters I think the supreme diva La Carlotta (played by Minnie Driver) was the one I enjoyed the most. Minnie Driver made her a perfectly over the top character, which was exactly what the diva was supposed to be. Fun and outrageous. (And oh dear me what a voice!)

Christine was, naturally, a beautiful and delicate little creature, the Phantom was a dark, strong and agile man and the viscount was handsome and noble. Sounds like a cast of perfection (especially considering the fact that they did all sing their own parts), but something was lacking. Maybe it was the conflict in the facial expressions and the singing. I'm sure the actors were at least pretending to be singing when the scenes were filmed, but the final sounds were no doubt recorded later. So the result is a singing Christine who doesn't look like an opera singer singing from the top of her lungs. Which is a pity, because somehow this small detail does affect the whole picture. When there's practically no dialogue in the movie but the singing, the emotions and the power behind such beautiful performances would've deserved to be shown more clearly.

Nevertheless, the movie is well worth seeing and listening. (Oh, the shivers in my spine when the Phantom's theme was played...)

Last night was also the night of the monthly sf-fandom meeting ("mafia") and I decided to drop by the Pub Bremer on my way home to see if there still was someone I knew. Well, sure enough there was quite a crowd of local sf-people still loitering around and chitchatting about all things mundane, fantastic and in between. I ended up sitting at the pub for about three more hours and came home at midnight. A nice way to end the holiday season.

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