Because I have never read the Maurice Gee novel and only have the vaguest recollection of the television adaptation (which my pre-teen kids loved at the time), maybe I would be a reliable witness to talk about the movie of Under the Mountain. I’m not attached to previous versions.
It is inevitable that many will bemoan that it isn’t faithful to the book and/or that it even veers away from the tv treatment (Jeez, they are different media, folks), and it isn’t without its flaws.
We saw it on Saturday night at a preview (the same time that Gee saw it for the first time too apparently) and enjoyed it. Sure there are plot holes and ideas which go undeveloped, some of the dialogue does seem to still belong in the mouths of children younger that the teens who are delivering it in this aged-up version, and the music really does overwhelm sometimes or telegraph how you should feel.
I suppose some don’t want their memories of the book sullied by it being brought into the age of cellphones. In that case they shouldn’t go.
But the Wilberforces are real creepy, there are three or four “in-jokes” for New Zealanders (and specifically Aucklanders) which had people laughing out loud, and my golly haven’t we got a beautiful and brooding city when you see it from the air -- as you do quite often here.
My wife liked it more than me but I liked it well enough, even though it clearly isn’t aimed at me. We do hope that Mr Gee hasn’t had to take to his bed for three days of weeping like that unlucky vintner. I doubt it.
We do know Megan’s niece and her friends -- indeed her demographic at which it is aimed -- will really get off on it. Frankly, that can only be a good thing.
I’m already over vampires, aren’t you? The Wilberforces seem genuinely freaky with no redeeming features like toned abs, eye-liner and emo-cheekbones.
But the loudest objections to Under the Mountain will perhaps rise like a chorus among the PC people in the following weeks, especially given the summer days ahead: at no time does anyone in a kayak or a boat wear a life-jacket.
Watch those Letters to the Editors folks, we could be in for a fun time. You heard it here first. The movie opens Thursday.
Elsewhere: New music at Elsewhere right now includes albums by Rupa and the April Fishes, a pub-rock band named after the late lead singer of Dr Feelgood, Belfast singer-songwriter Bap Kennedy, the legendary Guy Clark, the percussion ensemble Strike, a terrific Paul McCartney live CD/DVD collection (he looks and sings astonishingly well for a man who is 67) and more. Including a wonderful kids album (for adults I think) by Fatcat and Fishface (check the Yoko Ono-like sample track, it is witheringly accurate). All that and more is at Music From Elsewhere with sample tracks and videos in most cases.
I’ve also brought back Lawrence Arabia’s album to the top of the heap for reasons which will become obvious if you . . . read on.
Speaking of the age-defying McCartney, I’ve posted an article about a very interesting and largely lost album by his brother Mike here.
There are now more than 90 Essential Elsewhere albums which roam from deep reggae and jerky post-punk to sweet Mantovani and sour Captain Beefheart. That’s kind of record collection I have, “and I challenge all others to do the same” as they used to say at Telethons.
There’s a whole bunch of cross-linked stuff relating to movies, books and a television series about the Americans in Iraq; gangster and cowboy flicks and much more at Cultural Elsewhere. With relevant video clips.
Just heaps of stuff.
Later today I have tickets to give away to Lawrence Arabia gigs around the country (see here for dates), CDs up for grabs (McCartney, Fatcat and Fishface etc) . . . but only to subscribers.
I’m giving you the chance to join (it is free and the only time I trouble you is a weekly newsletter telling you wazzup at Elsewhere). You can subscribe right now here.
By the way, a new print run of The Idiot Boy Who Flew has just arrived. The first three print runs sold out. It’s holiday reading for all the year round, and the gift that just keeps on giving. Available through Public Address Books (see below).
Oh, and you should buy the new books by David Haywood and Emma Hart too.
Both are excellent, and they didn’t ask me to say that. I just said it.