Final Countdown!

It’s March 15, and you know what that means–it’s officially one month until Doctor Who returns! And look at what we have to look forward to!

Ice Warriors! Mondasian Cybermen! A trip to Egypt! The Fourth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver! David Suchet!

Allons-y!

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The 1943 PotO Plot Twist That Almost Happened

As the title should make you realize, we’ve got another Phantom of the Opera post on our hands. Strap yourselves in.

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite Phantom adaptations is the 1943 movie with Claude Rains–despite its numerous departures from the book, it still manages to tell a good story (and Claude Rains gave a good performance to boot). But there was one change it almost made that would have drastically altered the story.

To be honest, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m going to talk about it again. When Universal was first working on this movie, they had the idea to make Erique the long-lost father of Christine. The backstory here was that Erique had abandoned his wife and daughter in order to pursue his dream career as a violinist at the Paris Opera House. Part of him, however, always felt guilty for abandoning his family, and when Christine came to the opera house as a singer, Erique recognized his daughter and sought to help her pursue her dream as a roundabout way of making up for abandoning her as a child. Of course, he had to do this secretly since he couldn’t just go up to her and say, “Hi, I’m the dad who abandoned you and your mother to go off and pursue my selfish desires; sorry about that.” The studio censors ultimately put the nix on that angle because they felt the Phantom’s growing obsession with Christine would start to make the relationship seem more incestuous than paternal.

Here’s the thing, though–if you watch the movie with the view that Erique is Christine’s father, there isn’t anything that really jumps out as incestuous. In fact, there are a few suggestions during the course of the movie that what the Phantom feels for Christine is not romantic at all. He denies to Christine’s tutor that he is secretly paying for her lessons because he is in love with her, and when he’s leading her to the underground lair, he’s speaking as if to soothe a frightened child. When people figured out that Erique was the Phantom, they all assumed that his interest in Christine was due to being obsessively in love with her, but imagine the shock and surprise that would have been on their faces had they learned the Phantom was terrorizing the opera house in order to make his daughter the star he knew she could be.

I think one of the biggest clues they were going to use for this reveal is that Erique knew the lullaby Christine had heard in her childhood. They way they eventually explained it in the movie was that Erique had come from the same area in France as Christine, and lots of people there probably knew that lullaby. I always thought this was a lame explanation, but the writers probably had to come up with something at the last minute after the “I am your father” storyline was retconned.

All in all, I think it was a shame they ultimately didn’t go this route–it definitely would have made for an interesting twist that you don’t see in other Phantom adaptations. And, frankly, they had already deviated so wildly from the book that it wouldn’t have made any difference.

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Wolverine Tribute

This weekend saw the release of Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Wolverine. I haven’t seen it yet, but I keep hearing great reviews for it. And I know I’m going to have mixed feelings about it–it’s another Wolverine movie! But it’s the last one with Hugh Jackman! How can this be a good thing?

Either way, I wanted to post this video as a tribute to the irascible mutant even if it’s not a particularly serious video. This was recorded in 2014 when Hugh Jackman visited a radio station to promote X-Men: Days of Future Past. This video was actually what made me decide to look into the X-Men movies, and I am so glad I did.

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French “Beauty and the Beast” Adaptation was Totally Worth the Wait

Long about three years ago, I stumbled upon a trailer for a French adaptation of Beauty and the Beast starring Lea Seydoux as Belle and Vincent Cassel as the Beast.

I thought the trailer looked amazing and decided to put it in the Netflix queue. Well, it took Netflix three years to actually make this movie available. Don’t ask me why; it was annoying. But the good news is that it finally became available, and I finally got to watch it, and it was completely worth the wait.

This version is more in line with the French fairy tale–Belle’s father is a merchant who takes a rose from the Beast’s garden; the Beast issues an ultimatum that if the merchant does not return, he will kill his entire family; Belle takes her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner; Beast tries to get Belle to fall in love with him; Belle must learn to see the man behind the monster. Because the story is already so well known, however, the writers added a few extra twists to surprise the people who know and love this tale as old as time.

For example, Belle had extra motivation in taking her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner. In this version, we learn that Belle’s mother died giving birth to her, and Belle blames herself for causing her mother’s death (she also suspects her siblings think the same thing even if they’ve never told her to her face). Her unwillingness to be the cause of her father’s death, too, is what prompts her to return to the Beast’s castle in her father’s stead.

The Beast’s story is the one that sees the most changes. While staying in the castle, Belle’s dreams show her how her captor was once a prince, a prince whose love of hunting was rivaled only by his love for his wife (yes, you read that right. The Prince was married before). The ultimate goal that the Prince pursued was the Golden Deer, but his wife asked him to give up his quest because she didn’t like spending so much time alone in the castle while he was off hunting with his buddies. At first the Prince agrees to give up searching for the Golden Deer, but he later breaks his promise and continues his pursuit. When he finally corners and shoots it, the terrible truth is revealed–the Golden Deer was the true form of his wife, who was really a wood nymph (dryad?) who took human form because she wanted to experience love. As she lay dying, she begs her father, the god of the forest, to spare the Prince’s life. Instead of killing the Prince, the forest god curses him to remain trapped in the form of a beast until a woman’s love should set him free…but since the only woman who loved him was currently dead, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. Oh, I should also mention that the wood nymph was pregnant, so in addition to being trapped in animal form, the Beast had to live with the guilt of knowing he was responsible for the deaths of his wife and unborn child.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this version. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had heard mixed reviews of it, but it was incredible. The biggest complaint seemed to be that the love story between Belle and the Beast didn’t feel very well formed, but come on, people–this is a fairy tale. In fairy tales, people usually get married after two days; no one seriously expects fairy tale romances to be an accurate reflection of reality! Also, I think several complaints came from people who were expecting something more in line with the Disney version of the story. The fact is that Disney was not the first to adapt this story, and they won’t be the last. And as far as adaptations go, this 2014 version is definitely one of the better ones. In fact, part of me wonders if I’ll find the live-action Disney version underwhelming after this sumptuous, stunning film.

Eh, I’ll probably still like it. But after watching this and Jean Cocteau’s 1946 masterpiece, I’m starting to think no one can adapt this story quite like the French.

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Some “Beauty and the Beast” Music

Unless you’ve been living under a very impressive rock, you probably know that the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie is coming out next month. That’s all well and good in itself, but recently my Facebook memories brought the song “If I Can’t Love Her” from the Broadway version back to my mind. Now it’s my understanding that this song won’t be in the movie, which makes me said because it’s an awesome song. So I decided to share it here.

This particular version of “If I Can’t Love Her” is taken from the Beauty and the Beast: A Concert on Ice special from 1996. Personally, I have always thought James Barbour had the perfect voice for the Beast, so I definitely hold a special fondness for any version he performs.

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What Love Really Is

Normally I post this around St. Valentine’s Day, but since this weekend saw the release of a certain movie involving the color grey that spreads some pretty bad misconceptions about love, I decided to go ahead and share the commentary from Yours, Mine, and Ours that defines what love really is.

“It’s giving life that counts. Until you’re ready for it, all the rest is just a big fraud. All the crazy haircuts in the world won’t keep it turning. Life isn’t a love in; it’s the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and ground round instead of roast beef. And I’ll tell you something else–it isn’t going to bed with a man that proves you’re in love with him; it’s getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world with him that counts.”

 

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Mauve Alert! Peter Capaldi Announces He’s LEAVING DOCTOR WHO!

Peter Capaldi announced today that the 2017 Christmas special will be his last appearance as the Doctor. He will be regenerating to make way for a new Doctor in 2018, which will also be seeing Chris Chibnall taking over as showrunner from Steven Moffat.

I am not taking this well. I feel as if he’s being forced out of the show because all the nuWho fangirls hated that he was older and not a pretty boy. The Doctor was never supposed to be your boyfriend! Watch some classic Who and get an education!

And if they use his departure as an excuse/opportunity to cast a woman as the Doctor because something something diversity, something something open-mindedness, I will be so done with the modern series. So. Done.

On the other hand, I suppose I could try looking at it as another opportunity for my dream-casting of Hugh Laurie as the Doctor. But…drat it all, we just got Capaldi! I’m not ready to let go yet!

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