Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"Random Reviews"

Early yesterday morning before I went to work, I turned on the Turner Movie Channel to find them playing the 1925 silent version of Doyle's The Lost World. I had never seen this entire movie. Over the years I'd seen clips of it "here and there", and maybe 15 minutes of so of it at some scifi convention in my younger days. Plus I'd seen various photos from it in Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine or some such thing years ago. So as I sat there drinking my coffee and attempting to get woke up, I watched the better part of it.

I'm sure that had I seen this old movie, say, 35-40 years ago when I was a little kid and big time into monsters and dinosaurs, I would have enjoyed it much more. But those many years now of high-tech special effects have jaded me a bit at quirky-looking brontosaurus's.

It's not that this film wasn't a masterpiece of its time. In fact, such stop-action photography is a painstaking effort to make anything non-animated appear to be so. Had it not been for this film we would probably never had King Kong or the multitute of other such movies afterwards. Even certain themes used in this 1925 flick were used again and again in other movies. Probably the most notable of those would be that a gigantic, prehistoric beast (or monster) is captured and taken to a large city, only to escape and wreck major havor upon its citizens. This occured in King Kong, and Gorgo, and 20,000,000 Miles to Earth (among others).

The difference between those movies and the original Lost World was that the creature actually escapes when the bridge its walking across collapses and it falls into the river to swim safely away (instead of the gigantic beast being killed by, usually, The Army). But, naturally, not until it destroys a few buildings, stomps on a couple people and maybe has one of two along the way for lunch.

And even though I didn't enjoy seeing it today as I would have long many years ago, I can still appreciate the efforts that went into creating such a film in a time when the movie industry was very young and such techniques were still experimental, rather than now, "old hat".

Somewhat of another disapontment to me recently was the reading of the 1990 Malibu Graphics' trade paperback collection of Cat & Mouse. I had several TPBs lying around unread and wanted something that was new to me, so I pulled this one out of the stack and read the back cover blurps to find that the characters were placed in, of all currently relevant newsworthy cities, New Orleans!
"How wonderful!" I thought, as the illustrations could be of many historic buildings that have now been either destroyed or damaged due to Katrina's wake.

But alas, no. Although the stories were well written and illustrated by the team of Roland Mann, Mitch Byrd and Steve Butler, it concentrated mainly on the characters themselves instead of their surroundings.

It's not that the backgrounds are poorly drawn, for they are not. But they are of the sort that they could be from anywhere or any city, and play such a minor part in the tales.

What a shame that this just doesn't "hit the mark"; it could have been a collection of stories of historical referance. But it was simply another "crime-fighting duos" book. And, I can't really blame its creators for they had no knowledge of what would happen to New Orleans those 15 years ago when the book came out. But it just could have been so much more to many of the New Orleans' displaced residents today.


At 4:14 AM , Blogger Adele said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:52 PM , Blogger ~D.Puck' said...

Is the best comments I can get "spam"?! If so, maybe it's time to close down this blog!

At 5:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there. Roland Mann here. Thanks for the nice things said about C&M. Y'know, we THOUGHT about really trying to give real streets and such--even took a couple of trips there...but ultimately decided it was "best" to keep it as generic as possible. Our fear was that anyone outside of X miles from New O. wouldn't be interested.
One of our running jokes was that the Superdome "floated" around the city. :)


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