Nov 30, 2005

Goblets and Games: my Mini-reviews of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Zathura

We splurged and saw not one, but two movies this weekend. Both were very enjoyable and I definitely wanted to give them the nod.

Firstly, Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire. My 9-yr-old son and I both thoroughly enjoyed this film. My impression was that this fourth movie was a much more successful attempt at capturing the captivating content of the wonderful book than the third movie. Between the two, I'm a bigger fan of the story from Prisoner of Azkaban. However, the Azkaban movie failed to explain and immerse the audience in many of the ultimately more important aspects of the continuing story.

In any case, even though Goblet of Fire still seemed almost rushed at times to cram as much of the written content into 2.5 hours as possible, the creators did a better job of capturing the book. Whether you've read the book or not, be sure to catch this one. It is a visual treat, and the theater-scale presentation is well worth the price of admission.

My whole family also caught a showing of Zathura this weekend (yes we're spoiled, but hey I work for it). I must say up front that I was not excited to see this movie. I was really jonzing for Harry Potter, but both Heather and Zack insisted. I'm very glad they did.

I'd been under the impression that Zathura was going to be a rehash of Jumanji set in space. I'm not a great fan of Jumanji, although one can't overlook its visual merit. I was quite mistaken. Same premise - some children find a board game with incredible powers to transport and transform - but this movie was flawlessly executed. Zathura was most certainly one of the best movies I've seen this year.

The film has that early-80's-Spielberg-like ability to transport oneself back into the mind of a child - to again see the world from a child's eyes. The adventure is charming, magical, and wondrous - like Christmas morning, but as a pseudo-pulpy space adventure. Take your kids to see this movie. If you don't have kids, go to see this movie anyway - the thoroughly captivated children sitting with you will be yourself and your companions.


Woah - over a month since my last post! I haven't lost interest with the blog, just lots of extenuating circumstances. See, for me the creative process takes a lot of energy. Perhaps my inspiration threshold is higher than others or something. Is that just an eloquent way of saying that I'm lazy? The latter might be more accurate!

The long version: Cold #3 of the season (or the 3rd return of the same one?) really kicked my butt. I'd been skipping gaming sessions, not playing World of Warcraft, going to bed early instead of hanging out watching DVD's with my wife, etc. Just pretty much sucked out my motivation and energy. Antibiotics and one week later, I'm feeling pretty much myself again.

Factor #2, for the last week or so at least, was finally hitting level 60 in WoW. I'm still on my level 60 honeymoon, and loving the WoW. Being able to finally hang out with my guildmates that I'd fallen so far behind is just great.

Without a wonderful group of people to hang out with, a MMO could be a boring game. Raiding with the Twilight Alliance bunch though? What a great group of folks. We're a casual guild, but we attempt some difficult game content. Most guilds would look at me, a recent level 60 with my crap gear and, admittedly, rusty instancing skills, and say "yeah, maybe you'd better stay behind for a while."

Not these guys. I'm welcomed into the raid, and everyone does their best to help me to learn and progress. The family atmosphere we have is really amazing. We've got a great diverse bunch, including lots of women (which I think is really refreshing), and just generally a hilarious bunch of gamers.

My most recent example? We were raiding Zul'Gurub last night, and one of eeeevil bosses that we slew, Bloodlord Mandokir, dropped the third best bow in the game - Mandokir's Sting - as treasure. Most guilds run a points system, and only give out epic gear to the best of their players and/or the ones that contribute the highest amount of hours raiding. Not my guild. These guys really want to help out everyone, working very democratically to pull the guild up by its collective bootstraps. They happily presented this bow to me (as the sole hunter on the raid but still the newest level 60 in the bunch), with well wishes. Great bunch of folks. No, they don't need to worry about me putting my time in to "pay back" for this bow - I'll be there simply because they are the kind of people that they are.