My favorite LOTR movie scenes

My forced house arrest is giving me LOTS of time to watch movies, and because I was in a geeky mode I had a The Lord of the Rings extended movie marathon last weekend! I think I am not the only one who puts this movie franchise at the top of the list of BEST movie adaptation of a fantasy novel ever. I still got emotional while watching it from beginning to end (I think was pretty hormonal at that time but hey, my love is still overflowing for everyone who made this impossible project possible).

I am a fan of epic battle scenes, and I just had to take a snapshot of these on my computer:

Battle at Helm’s Deep

In the movie The Two Towers, the people of Rohan sought refuge at Helm’s Deep to protect them from Saruman’s incoming army. Unfortunately, when King Theoden was still under the spell of Wormtongue (Saruman’s spy and envoy), he unjustly banished the Rohirrim, therefore weakening Rohan’s defenses. All that’s left were the elderly, women, children, Legolas, Gimli, King Theoden, and Aragorn. After Gandalf exorcised Saruman’s spirit from the king, he left Edoras, and promised to return on the 5th day of battle. Spirits lifted when the Elves led by Haldir came before the war and extended their help. Even with the Elves by their side though, the good were still on the losing end from the monsters until Gandalf came with the Rohirrim on the crest of the hill at sunrise, therefore blinding their evil enemies as they charged down the hill and won this battle. Woot!

In the movie The Return of the King, the city border, Osgilliath, has been breached, and Sauron wanted to bring down Minas Tirith, the land of the kings, and humankind’s last defense against war. The winning ‘team’ from Helm’s Deep and reinforcements from other cities came to the defense and King Theoden’s inspirational speech to the troops was very moving. It mattered not that they were outnumbered, but the passion and courage of mankind to defend good and its people made the Sauron fleet tremble. Love it!

Stardust movie review

In my list of best fantasy movie adaptations, Stardust ranks second after The LOTR trilogy! Here’s why:

Stellar, effective cast. It doesn’t necessarily follow that if the movie casts the big names, the roles fit the actors. This movie, however, just overflows with a lot of passion from the main players (Michelle Pfeiffer & Claire Danes) to the supporting ones (Peter O’ Toole, Ricky Gervais, Rupert Everett, Sienna Miller, Henry Cavill) and to the lesser known ensemble that made up the hilarious King’s sons, Ditchwater Sal., etc. Ben Barnes (hello, Prince Caspian) plays a bit role too. But the best actor of them all is a relative unknown by the name of Charlie Cox, who played the adorable dweeb turned well-rounded hero, Tristan. He’s the humble hero you’ll cheer on and grow to adore. He’s just radiating sincerity and humility. Good job, Charlie!

Stunning visuals. Every fantasy movie needs help from its digital and production arms. I never thought that the book that I love would transform into a grand scale filled with multi-million sets, lush landscapes and breathtaking cgi. In the dvd’s bonus features, author Neil Gaiman exclaims how he sometimes feels the guilt of seeing how much work it takes to translate his imagination to its closest, tangible, realistic form (he was referring to the 40-foot pirate ship of the set). The period costumes of the village of Wall were quite fitting for a provincial setting, the Stormhold castle of the three witches as elegant and elaborate as the mirrored Versailles structure the director, Matthew Vaughn, was inspired with.

Rich storyline. A movie that’s all fluff would fail to impress, but having three separate quests to all converge at one exciting point towards the climax was excellently handled by the wonderful screenplay and seamless editing. ย I was literally out of breath at the Yvaine-sadly-walks-to-the-wall scene because Lamia, Tristan, and Septimus were all chasing after her! How that was presented on the big screen was bloody brilliant. Noteworthy also is the swordfight of the already dead and limp Septimus against Tristan. How Tristan defeats ugly Lamia in the climax was not exactly in his hands. Stars do what they do best!

It’s faithful to the book, but the embellishments just made it richer. Gaiman calls it an ‘adult fairy tale,’ but this lighthearted film will appeal to kids and ย the hopefully less jaded adults. It is about courage, identity, and humility, and above all, love that shines through hopelessness, love that endures all evil.

Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman

Ladies of light and ladies of darkness and ladies of never you mind,
This is a prayer for a blueberry girl.
First, may you ladies be kind.
Keep her from spindles and sleeps at sixteen,
Nightmares at three or bad husbands at thirty,
These will not trouble her eyes.
Dull days at forty, false friends at fifteen–
Let her have brave days and truth,
Let her go places that we’ve never been, trust and delight in her youth.
Ladies of grace and ladies of favor and ladies of merciful night,
This is a prayer for a blueberry girl.
Grant her your clearness of sight.
Words can be worrisome, people complex, motives and manners unclear,
Grant her the wisdom to choose her path right, free from unkindness and fear. Let her tell stories and dance in the rain, somersault, tumble & run,
Her joys must be high as her sorrows are deep.
Let her grow like a weed in the sun.
Ladies of paradox, ladies of measure, ladies of shadow that fall,
This is a prayer for a blueberry girl.
Words written clear on a wall.
Help her to help herself, help her to stand, help her to lose and to find,

Teach her we’re only as big as our dreams.
Show her that fortune is blind.
Truth is a thing she must find for herself, precious and rare as a pearl.
Give her all these and a little bit more:
Gifts for a blueberry girl.

*Illustrated by Charles Vess, dedicated to my infanticipating friends ๐Ÿ™‚

The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

I finished this book in less than two days! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Kanes found out that it’s a very long road to heroism, and there are no shortcuts to saving the world. A lot of detours are needed to be equipped to accomplish the final task of facing the god of Chaos, Apophis. When darkness fell, all hope seemed lost but of course, goodness prevailed. The ties between human and gods have been severed for the rest of Egyptian history, and the triumph of humanity made a pretty satisfactory reason on why the gods stopped inhabiting their hosts!

It was an epic journey! Rick Riordan will not fail to astound you with the exciting adventures that are in store in this last book to close his Egyptian-themed narrative. The House of Life family has grown, and the cute toddler and kid magicians are adorable. Good thing they weren’t killed off (but other adults were early on). This book though, reeks of teenage romantic tensions adults might find awkward. I certainly found some moments of Carter and Sadie as annoying because their dramas made them make the mistakes, but yeah, it’s part of the story! The book is still very funny and very witty (Don’t worry, be Hapi), still a very informative piece of work on all the Egyptian gods given modern characterizations. My favorites for this book are Thoth, the god of knowledge and Zia when she hosted…someone (okay, no spoilers).

You’re going to be in a shock at the twist towards the end. I’ll give one word as a clue that’s part of a chapter title: schizophrenia ๐Ÿ˜‰ Even I still can’t wrap my head around that possibility, but with divine interventions, I guess nothing is impossible! As for Sadie and Kane, it’s expected that they already possessed great powers were put to test. They were truly blessed with gifts that were unimaginable in their lifetimes and their ages. It was cool. And am sure it won’t be much of a spoiler that they got their official love lives back when they restored Ma’at (order) after the near apocalyptic end.

Every Riordan series is breathtaking it always needs a review/re-read. Maybe it will be a different experience to read The Kane Chronicles in one sitting! I kinda forgot already about the other two, and there weren’t too many references to the past as this is a totally new adventure.

Sigh. What an exciting life. Exasperating, yes, but really exciting. I’d like to start over again!

Angel by Cliff Mcnish

If you’re ever wondering what it feels like to be one, this book gives a sneak peak.
Freya Harrison and Stephanie Rice are two girls who are obsessively dependent on their belief in guardian angels. Bordering in psychological disturbance, these two try to live their lives normally, both hoping to blend in the teenage crowd despite the angelic visitations and encounters. In an effort to fit in a normal high school life, they suppress the visions and presence of the angels, until they crossed paths and their lives and their encounters all suddenly made sense.

The author’s imagination soared fantastically in his depiction and understanding of angels. Of course, the cliches are there; androgeny, bathed in ethereal light, saviors from road accidents. McNish though, brought in something new: an anti-hero, an angel who got tired of giving. Dark and repulsive, he exhausted himself totally and ended up bitter. This is the freakiest element, and the most curious of it all. The resolution to the bad angel’s redemption is pretty expected, but it is an experience to read through his interactions with the girls to complete the story. It’s kind of an open-ended narrative, because there weren’t explanations on how Freya became one of ‘them’. Hmm. I’m not sure it’s inspirational, because along with great responsibilities are sacrifices and tests of generosity. There are too many sad souls in this world to ever be attended by a guardian angel. If you feel you have one then you’re extremely lucky. I felt it once in my life too, when I was in high school. I guess the angel was too busy with other wards when I got into my recent leg injury. Oh well.