Sunday, April 11, 2004

Have you seen The 13th Warrior ? aka. Crichton's "Easters of the Dead" film adapation.

I love this movie! I sat down to watch it last night/this morning after an impromptu midnight nap and a wake up at 5 am too awake. So I said I'd watch a little of the movie and fall asleep. At the very least, turn it off after an hour, about when i was usaully get bored with movies. But not the 13th Warrior. No stretched-out Act II for this hollywood flick. It follows the structure of the book pretty concretely - and anyone whose read the book knows it's nothing if not a fun, quick, ride.

A common complaint I've heard of the film is "too much action, no plot," and I disagree. The simple plot is a classic Quest - find badguys, fight them, lose, win, lose again, kill them. It's Beowulf, for crikey's sake! Crichton wrote it as a homage to Beowulf and a way to make the story "exciting." And, I, for one, thank him! Now there's an exciting book and exciting movie (with a weak title) out to enjoy.

The movie felt warm, populated by thin but "interesting enough" characters, beautiful New Zealand backdrops (I'm guessing), and a steady pace that never let up. I especially like the way Antonio or Desperado as I always think of him keeps questioning the reality of the "Eaters of the Dead" creatures. He says first, "These are not men," when he sees firsthand their handiwork. Then, when he sees their actual bodies, he says, "They are men." Then, later, in their lair, amongst a thousand skulls, he finally concludes, "I was wrong. These are not men." The truth, of course, is that their not. They are pre-historic men, left-overs from another time.

(Aside: I'll never forget the first time I read the novel. In the backseat of my mom's car driving to Florida. My own adventure.)

Confession time, I'm a big Michael Crichton fan. Or at least, I was. I know, his prose sucks. His characters are like the worst cardboard-tasting slice of pizza ever, but the man knows how to spin a yarn. That's a great trait to have for novelist, [b]especially[/b] a bad novelist. A Crichton on an airplane makes the trip tolerable. When I was younger, I read his older (and much better) stuff like crazy - multiple times. And I've always loved the films made out of his books. From Jurassic Park that inspired the hell out of me, to the offbeat Congo, which no one seems to like but me, the old Sean Connery The Great Train Robbery - great book, okay movie - to Dustin Hoffman's Sphere, which I think turned out as best an attempt to film that book could have been. Also, Disclourse was fun. I like pretty much anything Michael Douglas does too. (What? I'm loyal.)

I did see the most recent Crichton film, though, Timeline and.. (*here PePe LePu strolls past with a visible trail of scent*) Peeee-ewww!! Sucked. Suffered from Hollywood-itis: terrible main actor chosen for "marquee" status; edited like a bad music video; lifeless, been-there-done-that-too-many-times-before battlescenes.

So, in conclusion, I liked The 13th Warrior. I have a feeling it might be the last good Crichton movie.

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