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Dec. 25th, 2007 @ 04:44 pm stars of wonder
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
Tags: ,
Season's greetings, y'all.

It has, for the record, been a good day -- gifts, cinnamon rolls, and a movie. I'm probably not going to do a swag report, but rest assured that I received from my parents two oddly thoughtful gifts: a flying alarm clock* and a car GPS system, "so you won't get lost wherever you end up."

The movie was National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which was everything I expected: dumb but fun, and with a sort of light-heartedness about it that I can respect.

The rest of the day has been Yuletide stories. Seriously, go read the Yuletide archives. There is some fantastic stuff in there in a lot of fandoms you don't normally see written.

So... how was your day, everyone?

* When the alarm goes off, it releases a little whirligig, and the alarm won't go off until you put the whirligig back. Ingenious, and also a family joke for some months.
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From:insanepurin
Date:December 25th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you had a wonderful Christmas~~~ ♥

Puri got candy, coal, and a Shaymin~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
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From:kouaidou
Date:December 26th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
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I really think people are too hard on the National Treasure movies. I mean yeah, it's far-fetched, but when you get right down to it, are they actually bastardizing the history significantly more than your average Indiana Jones or Da Vinci Code (which is seriously way less light-hearted about it)? Just because more people in this country happen to know the history in question to begin with...

(And y'know. God forbid a movie try to use an adventure concept to get kids interested in their own country's history. Or to admire heroes whose primary skills come from their brains.)

(Apologies for ranting on your journal. I'm not ranting at you, I've just been thinking about this for the past few days. I will take it back to my own journal eventually!)
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From:eiviiaru
Date:December 26th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
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No, no, I get you entirely. I think the National Treasure movies are very silly, but they're silly in a way that's so stereotypical it's archetypal and has often been done more dumbly by other sources. (Like the pulp serials -- come on, can you honestly tell me that those were more intellectually rigorous than National Treasure?)

The thing I think a lot of people don't appreciate about the National Treasure films is that they have a respect for their characters and situations that a lot of similar films don't. I love the fact that there's never some stupid deus ex machina to destroy the treasure/knowledge -- that the discoveries always end up actually being beneficial to the world! -- and the fact that most of the original cast recurred in Book of Secrets. It creates the feeling that the protagonist's personal relationships are actually of value to him, and the fact that Benjamin Gates is a dude of integrity even when he shouldn't be is one of the things I appreciate about the films.
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From:kouaidou
Date:December 26th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
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Also: the plucky comic relief character is also fucking useful.

(Yes, it's in a *tappatappatappa* "I'm in" kind of way, but it's better than the way that role is usually done.)

And the other characters actually seem to like having him around, and banter with him as an equal or at least respected member of the group. Words cannot express how much I appreciated this.
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From:eiviiaru
Date:December 26th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
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Definitely. Riley's hacking isn't exactly done well, but it's not done any worse than in most movies, and the fact that he has a substantive role to play (above and beyond the "Comic Relief Saves the Day" moment now required by law in every film containing a comic-relief character) and is diagetically treated all right is very nice, yes. It's satisfying in a way that no "comic-relief character realizes he's a comic-relief character and bitches about it" schtick could be.
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From:kouaidou
Date:December 26th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
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As basically ridiculous as the setup for it was, I was really very fond of the scene in Book of Secrets where he offered to stay behind. I felt it wasn't so much "I'm the comic relief character and therefore less important" as "I'm the technology guy and your skillsets are going to be much more useful in this here ancient cave" as well as "what we're about to see, while cool and all, is going to mean way more to you guys than it will to me."

And then when Ben got his obligatory "hero moment" in offering to stay behind, it was only after the platform started crumbling and they needed to save as many people as possible, so it made sense. In that and in the final scene with the villain in the water room, I think they managed to do a pretty good job of conveying the idea that Ben truly wants to do the right thing (more surprisingly, they actually conveyed it through his actions and not through other characters talking about what a good guy he is).

Also, Helen Mirren's character was the perfect embodiment of Every Female History Professor I Have Ever Had. The fact that her office was in Holzapfel Hall on the UMD campus didn't help. In general I just love the idea of a movie that is so awash with characters who speak so passionately about history, linguistics, document preservation, etc. If it doesn't make converts out of kids who would not ordinarily care about history, I believe it will at least make those oddball kids who do care about history a bit more confident in themselves.

Also, your comment about the treasure actually being beneficial made me remember a thought I'd had watching the movie -- I wonder if the fact that the president we saw in that movie, a history geek with an optimistic outlook, was elected indirectly as a result of the treasure in the first movie being found. I mean, I'm sure it solved a lot of economic problems, resulting in a more hopeful national outlook, and like Einstein and the atom bomb in the 50s, I figure it probably inspired a lot of in-universe passion about history and the founding fathers.

Man look at all that I just wrote. Me and this movie just need to get a room, I swear.
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From:pedroluchini
Date:December 26th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
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* When the alarm goes off, it releases a little whirligig, and the alarm won't go off until you put the whirligig back. Ingenious, and also a family joke for some months.

...I need one of these.
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From:entropicangel
Date:December 26th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
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ewww, National Treasure *makes shielding cross with fingers*