February 17, 2020 Family Day

On Netflix I caught Killing Heydrich or The Man With the Iron Heart.  It is a WWII film about one of the planners of the Final Solution.  Played by Jason Clarke, he is a man that early on in his career got involved with the wrong woman (a General’s daughter) and was court martialed as result of a failed affair.   He marries another woman instead played by Rosamund Pike.   She is a confirmed Nazi supporter in the late 20s and thinks Hitler can bring back pride to the Fatherland.   The story is somewhat disjointed as it starts near the end of the story with an assassination attempt but then roams back in time to show background.    It didn’t work for me.  We shift from the life of Reinhard Heydrich to the mission of the Czech resistance to have an impact on the Nazi occupiers.   Pike is sadly underutilized which is a shame.  It reminds me that I need to see A Private War, in which she stars.   I like war films and there is real value in the production design as they didn’t scrimp on making this look authentic (the townspeople, the cars, the uniforms etc).   Still it could have used a more directed story.   I can’t recommend it.

I decided this past week to re-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I think seeing Tolkien brought this forward, and remembering back to the Best Picture Oscar that Return of the King got.   Like the books, my main complaint about these movies then, and after seeing again is that they are too long.   There is just way too much time wasted.    There is a pre-occupation with male men kings who are in some way incapacitated by a force external to them.   Then there is the ongoing journey of Frodo and Sam.  I had forgotten just how important that Sam really was.   Smeagal was a new level of CGI at its time (Fellowship of the Ring was 2001 – almost 20 years ago now).   Andy Serkis plays him very well, but still it is never ending.  Then in the final movie itself, it is never ending.   Stories are closed out, only to come back with more.   And then more still.   There are epic battles with so much going on.  So many of them.  With the overwhelming Orc numbers you would think that more of the featured characters would fall.    This set the stage for pieces like Game of Thrones and the fantasy genre.    I admit that I much prefer The Hobbit book to these books and movie, and Peter Jackson made a mistake in elongating The Hobbit story when putting it on film.   It was a self-contained easy read with a story that moved along.   He slowed it right down to squeeze every movie-going penny out of it.  A shame.  Another epic science fiction movie is coming, Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival and Blade Runner 2049).   Looks good!

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