First day of March Break proper, achieved. Accurately, I guess it really started over the weekend, but that went pretty well, all told. On Saturday afternoon, my Mom phoned and suggested we take Cal to see Miyazaki's (supposed) final film, The Wind Rises
. She had seen the trailer and thought it had a "gentle, musical" sensibility he'd respond to. I pointed out to her that it was a fairly adult-oriented narrative set during World War II which includes an earthquake, a train wreck and the main character's girlfriend dying of tuberculosis, but countered with the idea that we try My Neighbour Totoro
out on him instead.
So we did, and...he loved it. He's actually asked to watch it every day since, all the way through. This particularly odd, because it's fairly "realistic" (for a movie involving giant animistic forest-spirits) and has only two songs, neither actually sung by the characters. But yeah, he's into it. (English dub version, obviously.) He's even taken to saying things while watching it, like: "Oh, please don't sob, Satsuki!" and "The sky is blue" or "It's going to rain." All good signs.
On Sunday, meanwhile, steve and I were able to park him overnight with my Mom and go see 300: Rise of an Empire
, which is utterly ridiculous and wonderfully entertaining. I was never a massive fan of the original, which we re-watched recently because A) this was coming out and B) it was down to $6.00 on DVD, but this edition manages to avoid at least some of the traps of its predecessor: the rape/revenge subplot is backstory for one character, not a part of the text, and we get at least two women with agency, one (Artemisia, admiral of the Persian navy) played by the insanely gorgeous and gorgeously insane Eva Green.
History geeks would be right to point out that the actual Artemisia was not only the only one of Xerxes' commanders to argue against
attacking Greece, but also managed to survive the battle (by ramming her own tiremes after it was obvious where things were going, convincing the Greeks she couldn't possibly be working for the Persians). Here, however, she's the anti-Queen Gorgo, as devoted to the Persians' Evil Empire as Gorgo is to Sparta. She also turns out to be responsible for Xerxes turning himself into a nine-foot gilded giant with creepy sarcophagus-painting eyes in the first place, which is pretty choice--his Dad Darius, dying after the battle of marathon, tells Xerxes that "only the gods can defeat Greece," which Artemisia helpfully translates for him as "...so that means you should make yourself into a god-king, and go conquer that shit."
How? Necromancy and black magic, obviously. Step one: wrap yourself in linens soaked in evil nectars. Step two: wander the desert until you trip across a cave full of evil hermits. Step three: immerse yourself in a glowing pool of handwavium, then exit nine feet tall, bald, and multiply pierced. Hey presto! The hilarious part is that even after all this, Artemisia remains totally unimpressed with her ostensible lord and master, often telling him to chill on his throne like the pussy he is so she can go defend "the power I
Also great: the soundtrack, by Junkie XL, which includes a demented orchestral remix of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" run over the closing credits. And Eva wears a dress made out of human hair at one point, with matching gauntlets, which must be seen to be believed. She's not wearing it when she turns surrender negotiations with Athenian leader Themistokles into a rough-sex match, more's the pity, but that's still fairly intense. I particularly love the moment when he gets ferried back immediately after refusing to join her/get her off, and his second-in-command asks him: "Well? What did you learn?" Themistokles just makes a weird little twitch with his mouth and eyebrow, which might mean: "Um...first off, she cray. Also, we fucked."
Okay, I need to get back to doing a few more chores, then sleep. Tomorrow is Surrey Place, plus hopefully some writing. We'll see if Cal cooperates.This entry was originally posted at http://handful-ofdust.dreamwidth.org/520897.html. Please comment either here or there using OpenID.