December 2003 Archives

God Bless Neill Cumpston

Totally not work-safe, spoilers for those poor souls who haven't read the book, and *long* way from politically correct. But I do so love this review of _Return of the King_. Just the dedicated over-the-top-ness of it all is somehow admirable. And I'm glad I wasn't eating when I saw it, either. (This is from the same man who once said of _Blade 2_, "it kicks ass with a boot made of burning meat." Now _that's_ some serious movie reviewin'!)

The Club Dumas

One of the better supernatural thrillers I saw a few years back was _The Ninth Gate_, a rather understated film about a mercenary rare-book dealer (Johnny Depp) hired by a collector (Frank Langella) to investigate what he believes to be a forged copy of a mysterious book rumored to have the power to summon the Devil himself. Only recently, I discovered that the movie is actually based on a novel, originally written in Spanish by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, entitled _The Club Dumas_. While I do recommend the film, I've always thought it suffered from the bane of all but a select few supernatural thrillers: the lame-ass ending. The novel, on the other hand, I recommend without reservation. It turns out that about half the plot was simply dropped from the film (understandably so, but much better to have it in) and the ending is much more satisfying. The book is more literary, complicated, and intellectual. Not surprising, given the different media, but the story benefits from the added twists and turns, and sly textual self-awareness. It's one of those stories _about_ stories that's lessened when that element is removed, as it is in the film. So rent the movie -- really, it's good! -- but do yourself a favor, and read the book first.