austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

That casts a magic spell

bunny_hugger's parents were to visit Wednesday, for several purposes. The first would be to return her rabbit, who'd been in their care while she was at Midwest FurFest.

The second would be taking care of the lawn, though. The leaves threatened to form drifts almost as large as the average snow drifts, if you can imagine, and they needed to be cleaned up before the winter set in. This would be the use of those lawn bags picked up the previous day. bunny_hugger and her parents tried to insist I didn't need to help, but I didn't feel comfortable just sitting inside or standing around watching, and I think that I've reached the point in our relationship that I can be expected to do minor chores.

I ended up raking; it turned out there was an infinitely deep pile of leaves tucked between her garage and the house. There was also cleaning the mesh off the pond and straightening out piles from around her backyard, none of which actually took all that long. I think we ended up filling up only one and a half bags. We did take the chance to take in some wood, to have a fire on Thanksgiving, although since everybody took in some wood --- including, for me, as much as I could carry --- it threatened to cover her living room up to four feet deep in wood. We'd have a good chance for a pleasantly long fire.

For dinner we went out to a Noodles and Company, for the noodles. This was, I think, my second visit ever to one, as they're not in my vicinity. The nearest appear to be somewhere around Baltimore. While I wasn't loking or thinking much about them, though, they've become among bunny_hugger's father's favorites. We may have overachieved in getting noodles to eat, but that's all right; it's a week for overachieving in eating.

We also talked about plans for what to do Thursday and Friday. They were to come over for Thanksgiving, of course, and we wanted to go to Greenfield Village for the holiday lights. Unfortunately, since I had to fly back Saturday, we could only go to Greenfield Village on Friday and would have to trust that the weather would hold up. They were good for coming over on Friday for those hours (they have to take care of two elderly and diabetic dogs, so must live around the dogs' schedules). For Thanksgiving, the mention that bunny_hugger and I were thinking of going to a movie might threaten the hours of their visit, though. If all four of us were to see the movie we'd have to eat dinner quite early; if just bunny_hugger and I were to go to the movie we'd eat early and they'd leave sooner.

So, bunny_hugger and I concluded the thing to do was go to see Hugo on Wednesday, cutting out any time constraints for later in the week. We'd still have Happy Feet 2 as a possible move to see later, too, if we had still more hours.

Hugo had in trailers looked like some Extruded Steampunk Product which somehow got Martin Scorsese's name attached to it. His appearance on The Daily Show corrected us about that; it's historical fiction based on the fact of silent movie pioneer George Méliès --- who apparently never made a film that wasn't crazy --- ended up working at a toy shop in a train station after his film studio failed.

The movie portrays the elder Méliès as (understandably) bitter over his past, and puts some cute kids in to solve the mystery of an automaton needing repair and then it connects to this film pioneer. It's a quite sweet movie, with a healthy amount of sentiment and beauty. It also features silent movies with loving, lavish attention. The major iconic pieces of silent films, the ones everyone has seen even if they've never seen any silent films, get attention --- the Lumiere Brothers' train approaching the station; Méliès's A Trip To The Moon and the bullet-spaceship hitting the moon; Harold Lloyd dangling from a clock face in Safety Last --- as you might expect, but, hey, there's even a movie poster for Charley Chase to be spotted.

It's a 3-D film, at least by intent, and the three-dimensional treatment is done not just to give the train station the depth that makes it beautiful, but also to make the silent movie clips come to new life. I must admit here that Méliès films are bizarre enough to start with; add in the non-realistic tinting that was often done to silent film stock, and then give it retrofitted three-dimensionality and you have a really wonderfully unreal thing to watch.

(This prompted us to wonder about why there aren't attempts to make movies with as stylized and unrealistic sets as Méliès films had. Any prospect of that, unfortunately, is probably lost to the ideas that movies should be either ``realistic'' or if going for an unrealistic tone should go for the hyper-detailed look of, say, 300. But when there's audiences that can't accept the spray-foam rock walls of every cave on the original Star Trek because they look too un-real, it might be impossible to get a paying crowd for movie sets that don't want to look like anything but themselves. I haven't looked at the comments for the 1990 Dick Tracy movie, as I try to avoid deeply crazy people, but I'd be willing to bet a healthy number of them slag the movie for its modest graphic design style of trying to use only eight key colors. And that's a stylization that's modest and quite well done.)

Anyway, in all, it's a quite sweet, lovely movie, filled with many gentle touches of humanity. We were both particularly impressed with a scene at the end in which Hugo faces the threat of an oncoming train, and how it's resolved in a way which is perfectly plausible and makes all the people involved look like better people. It's in that happy realm where there may be antagonists, but no villains, and while there's action sequences, there's not any that look like actual people couldn't do. It looks like something that could happen, and ends with the feeling that something like this should.

In the evening, bunny_hugger's rabbit was happy to be let out to exercise, and to rub his chin on all the very many pieces of firewood. Either he likes the feeling or he likes getting to claim them all as his. We didn't tell him they were meant for burning later on.

Trivia: From its founding in 1602 to its abolition in 1796 the Dutch East India Company paid on average an annual return of 18 percent on the original capital subscribed. Source: Empire: The Rise And Demise Of The British World Order And The Lessons For Global Power, Niall Ferguson.

Currently Reading: 2100 Needed Inventions, Raymond F Yates.

PS: Before Drawing A Graph, actually, I don't even very close to drawing a graph, but I take a long running start.


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