Back home, after the end of the Christmas holidays. It’s been a slightly strange fortnight, with a very disjointed second week as one by one the household succumbed to plague*. I had a very enjoyable Christmas, receiving some excellent presents, and we managed to do quite a bit, but there were various things that didn’t get done and I am not returning to work feeling particularly physically refreshed, though it is fair to say that I certainly haven’t thought about much since the 20th, which is good. I will be catching up on Yuletide in due course.
Anyway, other people’s plagues are almost invariably boring**, so here are other people’s (person’s) seasonal reviews instead.[Unknown site tag]Frozen
A Christmas Eve matinee at Cottage Road cinema has become a bit of a tradition these days, and this year it was Disney’s turn, with a take on The Snow Queen
that happily had moved far enough away from the original that they couldn’t justify the title and I was able to enjoy it for what it was rather than fuming about it not being the proper TSQ. It wasn’t exactly deep, but it kept a slightly dopey me entertained for 90 minutes, with decent songs and strong visuals, particularly beautifully realised scenery***, though the too-large eyes for the female leads - multiple, which was nice - are a bit weird. I was amused that becoming a snow queen also involves a lower neckline and skirt with slit to the thigh. I’m being sarcastic, but actually it was a nice film, if not on the level of Beauty and the Beast
, which is an excellent film.
Incidentally, does the concept of “true love’s kiss” thus expressed show up before it was spoofed
? It was in Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty
as well.[Unknown site tag] The Hobbit II
AKA The Desolation of Smaug
Also at Cottage Road. It’s the fairground ride version of the book, but as I’m not that fussed about the book, I didn’t mind (and indeed it has finally inspired me to re-read it, which took some doing). As in the first film, I loved the visuals of the Kingdom under the Mountain, could have lived with it being half an hour shorter, and managed not to ask myself such question as “have the dwarves left the gas on for fifty years” during the film itself****. I could also have lived without the love triangle, though I quite enjoyed Tauriel as an addition otherwise – an infinitely preferable insert to the Laketown stuff. I was very
impressed with the animation of Smaug, which achieved both weight and fluidity and made me believe in him as a dragon rather than a man in a rubber suit. I am glad that he will get to be in the third film.
In short, I enjoy the Hobbit films as what they are – I quite appreciate why other people cannot. [Unknown site tag] Cinderella, Northern Ballet Theatre
The family theatre trip for the season, and great stuff (not least because we gave up on parking in the centre of town and split the taxi fare both ways). I don’t know a lot about ballet, but I like music (original, not Prokofiev), plot, and to come out wanting to leap about the sitting room. A delightful new version from a company who don’t get anything like the subsidy they deserve and consistently provide exciting and excellent classical dance combined with entertaining storytelling, we all came back dancing.
On the ballet front, I also enjoyed the television broadcast of Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty
. I am inclined to agree with the critics who suggested that if you’re going to introduce vampires to the story you might as well go the whole hog, but it was gorgeous nonetheless. I would have liked a bit more formal dancing and pointe work rather than bare feet (one day I will damn well buy myself a pair of pointe shoes to have a go in something better than slippers), which I felt would have added variety, but informality was definitely preferable to the original version’s final act of show dances by random fairytale characters. [Unknown site tag] Boxing day races, Wetherby
We lost. Well, we also won, but less than we lost. It was fun, and very cold.
*Life skills tip: if you find yourself feeling a bit queasy during a 3D film and there is the slightest possibility that this isn’t simply motion sickness, but motion sickness and a gastric bug, leave. Middle Sister did not follow this advice, and ended up in A&E. On the plus side, she managed to do this at a cinema with its own sickroom (OK, the sickroom belonging to the National Media Museum – lots of school trips, and IMAX).
**The exception being actual plague. Thanks to The Bridge
I have learnt that the Swedish for pneumonic plague is lungepest.
***The reindeer was basically an excuse to show how well they can do fur now.
****Though not to stop myself coming up with a Benedict Cumberbatch crossover idea, and I’m not even a Cumberstan.