Friday, February 23, 2018

Book Review: Frankenstein (Or the Modern Prometheus)

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I would say it's probably a safe guess that most people have heard of FrankensteinOr at least, Frankenstein's Monster.  He's only one of the top most famous literary monsters in history.
But the true monster of the novel is not the  monster we're all accustomed to seeing in the monster movies.  This becomes almost immediately apparent in Mary Shelly's original and brilliant novel, Frankenstein (Or the Modern Prometheus)

Frankenstein is one of those books that made me wonder, why haven't I read this before?  It's one of the best books I've ever read.  Of course, it's hard to replace Mr. Tolkien's works in my heart, but Frankenstein up near the top of the list for me.  

The story opens with letters written by a Captain Robert Walton, an explorer in the Antarctic, to his beloved sister back home.  Walton is possessed of a passionate craving for discovery, and this desire has pushed him beyond whatever obstacles have plagued him until he finds himself stranded in the ice.  He is faced with the choice of pushing onward, or turning back.  But in the midst of his own drama, he witnesses two mysterious men pass nearby his ship on dog-drawn sleds, one pursuing the other.

When one of the men collapses, Walton brings him into the ship and there attempts to nurse him back to health.  The man, Victor Frankenstein, begins to forge a close friendship with the captain, and relates his sorry tale, which then leads us into the main story.

We are taken through a detailed account of  Victor's childhood, which at first seems like a simple sentimental backstory for our protagonist, but trust, me, almost every detail of this backstory becomes important later on in the story. 

As a young man, Victor is influenced by his intent and passionate personality, his desire to learn and experiment with God's creation, and by the outdated science books he reads without knowing how flawed they are.  His early wondering soon flower into a solid idea once he reaches college, and he begins his quest to accomplish the impossible- to create life using the mysterious scientific process he has discovered.

After two years of obsessive labor that takes him to progressively darker places, Victor is finally successful in building his 'perfect being', which he designs to be beautiful.  But as soon as the creature awakens, Victor is struck by the horror of what he has done.  He has gone against nature and God in one of the most blatant ways possible, and now he cannot take it back.  After a harrowing night spent hiding from his monstrous creation, Victory manages to elude it and finds it gone in the morning.  He believes his troubles and sins are safely buried... but soon finds that he cannot be so easily free from the dreadful crime he committed.  

This book, though technically a "horror" novel, does not read like one.  It's a slow burn from start to finish: and though the plot in itself is fairly predictable in this day and age, its mastery is in its prose, and the feelings that prose invokes in the reader.  Victor, the narrator, often waxes poetic on morality and philosophy, which makes this quite the  thought-provoking piece as the story progresses. 

I think my favorite aspect of this novel is the characters.   They have a stasifying depth to them- even the Creature which Frankenstein creates.

Victor Frankenstin is a charming, likable young man with a loving, devoted family.  But his obsessive personality and hubris leads him down a road of self-destruction that he could have easily walked away from had he had the sense to look around him.  I got the sense that Victor may or may not have always been just a little bit insane, because of the way his mind works.  He's a strange fellow, but the reader comes to both love and despise him as the novel goes on. 

As for the Creature (whom I came to think of as "Adam", since that's who Victor intended him to emulate), he was a surprisingly compelling character as well.  He is not the groaning, lumbering, Hulk-like beast as most movies tend to portray him.  No, the Creature quickly proves himself to be not only intelligent, but cunning.  His primary education, once he had taught himself to understand both language and reading, were Milton's Paradise Lost, Plutarch's Lives of Illustrious Greeks, and Goethe's Sorrows of Werter.
He is strong and quick, even graceful.  He is intuitive to human nature, and once he becomes Victor's foe, sets out to systematically drive his creator mad with grief.  But before that, I as a reader had already come to greatly sympathize with the Creature, for when he first awakened into the world of the living, he had a childlike innocence that, if nurtured, could have shaped him into quite the heroic figure. 

Furthermore, I was surprised when I read this book to find that the physical description of the Creature is completely different than the classic aesthetic with which we are familiar.  Far from the flat-headed green monster, Victor describes having built the Creature to be beautiful; limbs in perfect proportion, long luxurious black hair, perfect teeth, handsome face, etc... it's just the fact that the Creature has been instilled with an unnatural life that makes him ugly.  Granted, when the Creature finally blinks to life, his skin is grayish and shriveled, his lips black, and his eyes a disturbing dun-white... but aside from those things, what truly makes him vile is the fact that he was not ever mean to exist. 

For this review, I can't think of enough cons to do my usual PROS and CONS section.  Victor's ambitions border on the blasphemous at times, but the point of the book is to show how wrong he was.  There are a few instances of God's name in dialogue, some of which are undoubtedly in vain- but many of them seemed to me as being actually spoken to God in a kind of plea. 

If you're looking for a book that transports you to another time and place, that questions the roles of hero and villain, look no further than Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (Or the Modern Prometheus).  It's well worth the read... and another read... and another. 

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By the way, for any who have read the book and are frustrated with the fact that there are so many blatantly inaccurate adaptions, check out Hallmark's 2004 two-part mini series.  Of all the adaptions of this novel, that one is by far the most accurate.  It deviates from the book in several places, of course, but for the most part they got it right, though it being a film rather than a book, they had no means of delving into the moral and philosophical musings that characterize the original.  They get the Creature right (he stole the show!), and I very much approve of the casting for Victor and his friend, Henry Clerval.  

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-Emmarayn Redding

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I'm Back! | My Summer

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Whew, man, has it been a long time since I blogged!  I feel terrible.  0_0  It was just the other day that I was opening a new window in my browser that the blogger icon caught me eye, bringing the memory that I've been meaning to post here jolting back to my mind.

Life has been pretty busy since I got back from Montana, but there'll be more on that later.  First things first, let me tell you about my experiences at Trails End Ranch!

My summer in 2017 was a wonderful experience.  First of all, the camp where I worked is located in a beautiful spot, partially in the Custer National Forest as I mentioned in my last post, but there were plenty of open, rolling hills that, once you climbed high enough, you could look over for miles and miles.  The waving grasses and Ponderosa pines permeate the air with an enchanting scent reminiscent of vanilla, and blue birds light the forests with their bright feathers and lovely songs.  

See the source imageThe Medicine Rocks lay not far from the camp, and that place is probably the most enchanting and inspiring place I've ever been.

This summer, I ended up working as the Arts and Crafts Director, of "Craftmaster", as I referred to myself.  When I went there, I had expected to be made a counselor for one of the older kids' cabins.  But, due to my plantar fasciitis (a condition that makes it extremely painful to walk/stand for long periods of time) I ended up using crutches for the first several days of staff training.  I knew I wouldn't be able to handle following a group of kids around those hills for very long, and the camp directors, Jim and Kim, knew it too.  So they put me in charge of crafts all summer, which turned out to be the perfect job for me.

In the mornings, I would get up and walk across camp, email my family using what little internet connection there was, then head over to the dining hall for a cup of coffee.  I would do my devotions, and sometimes play a few tunes on my pennywhistles.  The way the music echoed off the hills was so surreal, I could have gone on for hours.

As Craftmaster, I went to the craft cabin each day and prepared art projects for the kids to try throughout the day.  Usually, after breakfast, I'd get a couple groups of Trailblazers, which were the youngest groups of kids we got (third grade and up).  With the help of their counselors, I'd set them up with whatever projects they wanted to do, then once their hour was up, I'd clean everything up and get it all ready for the next group.

In the afternoons, if any of the older kids (Explorers or Adventure Teens) had chosen Art as their 'path' for the week, they would come in and I would teach a special art class for them for three hours.  We covered all sorts of fun things in that class, from drawing realistic portraits to doing Fresco  and creating our own Super Hero characters.  Sometimes I would take them all outside and we'd find something from the hills to sketch.

In the slow hours, when I had no kids in the art room, I would set plaster molds (by far our most popular project), or create example crafts for kids to copy.  I spent a lot of time wood-burning two large signs for the camp.  The signs were to indicate the place where campers were supposed to set their things when we were preparing to go on a special campout under the stars once a week, and required a lot of painstaking detail with a tiny wood-burning pen.

Speaking of campout, I'll talk about that for a minute.  Every Wednesday, rain or shine, we would take all the kids out of the main camp area and set up in various forest glens, and spend the night there.  No tents, no pre-cooked food (unless it was a dry week when there was a Fire-Ban)  just us, our sleeping bags, and the stars.

See the source imageOn these campouts, I became a story-teller.  I bought a ratty old blanket I didn't mind getting soiled, and when I spread it out on the ground the kids knew it was time to listen to whatever tales I had for them that week.  Whoever was interested would come and squeeze onto whatever room there was on the blanket.

Inevitably, they would ask for scary stories.  As it turns out, I know waaaay more scary stories than I thought, and most of it is thanks to the fairy tales I've read.   Those old fairy tales are creepy things, man!  Bluebeard was a favorite, as was the Taily-PoThe Luck Child went over well.  One story I made up on the spot, based on Native American monster tales, and called it The Wendigo's Hunt.

I also did a retelling of Tell-Tale Heart, told as much in the style of the original story as possible, which was a ton of fun.  This one kid got so into it, his eyes looked like they were going to pop out  of his head.  Someone walked up behind him and grabbed his shoulders, and he nearly jumped out of his skin!  It was hilarious.

As Craftmaster, I actually spent a lot of time alone, and didn't have nearly as much of an opportunity to minister closely with the children as some of the counselors did.  But there were a few kids with whom I formed a close connection.

During the course of the summer, I became extremely lonely.  Not because of the amount of time I spent alone in a craft shop, but because I wasn't with my family.  But this sense of loneliness is not entirely unfamiliar- I've felt it many times before, and I think it might be God's way of drawing me closer to Him.

Now for some reason, a lot of the kids who chose Art Path were kids who were super homesick or painfully shy.  But as it happens, I was a really good person to help kids who were feeling that way.  I'm not shy, but I'm a good listener, and I'm usually pretty good about bringing people out of their shell.  And with the loneliness I was experiencing, it gave me the perfect starting ground for connecting with the homesick kids.

I was able to lead one girl to Christ this summer.  I can't tell her story here (I told her I wouldn't), but it was something that I will never forget.  I pray for her still, and I hope that if I ever meet her again I will be able to see how much she had grown in the faith.

Over the course of the summer, I met and got to know a ton of really cool new friends.  My fellow staff members were awesome, and came from all kinds of different backgrounds.  The mix of personalities is not something you'd find many other places, but we all got along and it was great to get to know so many people in my age group.  We had adventures and misadventures, conversations that could be both hilarious and touching, and a whole lot of "you-had-to-be-there" moments.  I'll probably reference them in future posts, so be prepared for the occasional Camp Story here and there.  :)

Overall, the summer was a fantastic experience, and I hope I can go back someday.

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Since I've been home, I've settled back into ordinary life pretty well.  As soon as I returned, I got what amounts to a promotion in my job at the library, so now I work every day with the title  Assistant Librarian, and am the primary employee there.  

My family and I went to the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which was great.  The ark especially was fascinating to me, particularly the parts where they had detailed life-sized models of the animals that may have been housed in the original for the year of the Flood.

I've been dong a lot of writing.  I try to write every day, and though I don't always meet that expectation, the writing sessions have been very productive, so I'm making a lot of progress in my book.

I'm working mainly on Rise of Ralienah, but I'll talk more about that in another post.  I'm very excited that the story is coming along so well.  I can't wait to finish the manuscript.  

In the coming weeks, I'm going to try to post a little more often.  No promises, but the truth is I miss blogging and it's sort of important for the work that I do, so it starts today.  :D  

I'm thrilled to be back with you guys, and I'm looking forward to the rest of 2018!

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Some pictures from my summer before I go...

Me during my first week there.  This was taken from the balcony of the cabin where I stayed during staff training.

On a women's retreat during staff training, I took a walk by the river.  I met a baby rattlesnake not far from where this picture was taken, and promptly decided I didn't have enough leg protection to go on any further...

More from the river...

We took a trip to see Mount Rushmore towards the end of the summer.  You can't see much because my phone's camera is awful, but there you go.

My desk in the craft shop.  I shared the building with the snack shack, so it worked out rather well for me.  That glass window you see to the far right is the ice cream display freezer.

Me in my craft shop.  You can't see it well, but I arranged all the paints according to their color values, and it looked great.  

We went to the Medora Musical after camp ended, and it was a lot of fun.  This is before the show started, but the set was super cool. Those buildings in the back are on tracks, so they slide in as the band stand slides forward.  

-Emmarayn Redding

Sunday, May 28, 2017

My Journey Begins/Farewell (For Now)

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Well my friends, the time has finally come.  Tomorrow my sister and I depart for Trails End Ranch at five-o-clock in the morning. For three months, Brethyn and I will work as counselors and as musicians for the worship team.  I am so excited for this!  I've wanted to do this for as long as I can remember, and now it's finally happening.
Every time I take a walk or a bike ride, I always find myself pausing to gaze toward the west.  I live in a valley, where the ground is so that if the shelterbelts didn't block your view, you could see for miles.  But in west you can see the hills begin to rise, and as the sun sets, that mystical sight tugs at my heart every time I see it.  I've always told myself, Someday... someday I will go there.  Tomorrow, that too will come true!  We'll head west across North Dakota and into Montana in what is approximately an eight-hour drive.  We'll stop by Medora, a western-themed town that has all kinds of cool sights to see, and finally end up in the middle of Custer National Forest at our beloved camp.

This will be the longest time I've been away from home, and it will also be the first missions trip I've ever done.  I'll admit that I've shed quite a few tears in my quiet moments at the thought of leaving my family.  They're pretty much my best friends, and even though I'm not a very social person, they are the eight special people I always love to spend time with.  But even though I'll miss them dearly, I look forward to this new adventure with hope and anticipation.  I'm leaving the Shire!  This is my adventure, and I can't wait to see where it will take me.  

Of course, this will be a very busy few months for me.  As a counselor I won't have much time for anything I usually do, like reading, writing, movie watching, etc... all those things will have to take a back seat.  As will blogging, as it so happens.  If I get a chance to blog during the summer, I certainly will- but don't be surprised if I don't post here again until August.  I'll miss all of you!  And I do hope to come on every now and then to catch up if I can.  But until then, I bid you all a very fond farewell- until we meet again!

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-Emmarayn Redding

(Image taken from the public domain.  Music copyright Patrick Doyle)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Rayne's Comedy Hour: Episode VIII

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Greetings, my readers!  It's about time for another episode of Rayne's Comedy Hour.  :D  Sit back and enjoy today's funny memes and jokes!

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-Emmarayn Redding

Friday, May 19, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Literary Characters

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I was originally going to do a post about my top ten favorite characters in general, but I realized I have so many I can't really do that.  So I'm splitting it up between literary and film.  If I get to film and realize I can't fit them all there, I may do another highlighting my favorite television characters as well.  :)
SO!  Let's get down to it!

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Sophie Pendragon

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Starting off our list we have Sophie Pendragon, née  Hatter.  She starts off the book as a timid and resigned eldest child, convinced that she will never amount to anything.  However, when she is cursed by a jealous witch to become an old woman before her time, her inner spitfire comes out, along with her strength.  She travels to work for the notoriously 'wicked' wizard Howl, and this is where we really discover her true character.  She is feisty and at times ill-tempered, but she has a good, motherly heart and her interactions with the people she comes to love are a joy to see.  I love her sensible mind, and watching her journey of self-discovery while hampered by her wizened appearance is quite entertaining.  In the later books, once she has come into her own, Sophie is and always will be a pleasure to read about.


Mortimer Folchart

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In Inkheart, we are introduced to Mortimer "Moe" Folchart, the father of our main character Meggie.  Moe is a kind and loving father, utterly devoted to his daughter and his books.  However, as the series goes on, we also see him as a grieving husband, a guilt-wracked atoner, and finally as a flawed and at-times confused Robin Hood-esque hero.  I absolutely loved his character devolopment.  The things he lost and the things he gained shaped him into the man he eventually became, and the journey is difficult but fascinating.  His complex relationship Dustfinger is probably the most interesting relationship in the entire series.


Thomas Covenant

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Thomes Covenant, of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, is one of the most unlikable characters I've ever read.  Selfish, cowardly, and at times cruel, he is 'hero' only by designation, and throughout his first trilogy he fights it with every fiber of his leprosy-ridden being.  So why is he on this list?  Because I love the journey that he takes.  Covenant, it is explained, once lived a happy life as a young author, married to a beautiful wife and father to a healthy baby boy.  But when it was discovered that he had contracted leprosy, he lost everything.  His job, his respect, even his family.  This, understandably, left him bitter and disillusioned.  So when he is suddenly swept away into a fantastical world called the Land and tempted with the possibility of healing, he rejects it utterly.  Though he is prophesied to be a hero who can either save the Land or doom it, he refuses to fight against the evil of Despite.  But at the same time, he is touched against will by the loving people who defend him and help him no matter what the cost, and eventually their kindness begins to prevail upon him.
Thomas Covenant is difficult to love, and yet I do, because of the man he eventually becomes.  I don't want to give away too much of the series, because even though it's pretty dark and rather adult, it's worth the read for anyone who loves high fantasy.  Suffice to say that by the time I got to the second trilogy, I loved every minute spent with his character.


Lucy Sabine

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Raised in China as the orphaned daughter of English missionaries, Lucy is a child of two worlds.  After the death of her caretaker, she is drawn into the world of the English, as well as a tangled web of intrigue and old feuds.  And as she learns to navigate the peculiar land of her own people, she also harbors the secret of the stranger she married and lost in one night, Nick Sabine.  
Moonraker's Bride is one of my favorite books of all time, and one of the things I love most about it is Lucy's steadfast, innocent personality.  She is bright, sensible, curious, and at times blundering.  I can't really even describe her very well- you'd have to read the book to know.  Here's a quote that sort of sums her up:  

"Like Cinderella's slipper, she was made of glass, or crystal, for you could see all the way through her, and you saw nothing weak and nothing bad, only courage and love and unselfishness that took your breath away."

"... I'm frightened.  You speak as if I were so special, and I''m not, I know I'm not.  I get angry and scared and unreasonable, oh and I tell lies and I've been a thief.  You don't know what my page in the Recording Angel's book is like."


Peet the Sock Man


I can't really talk much about my favorite character from the Wingfeather Saga without giving away to much about the story.  This is unfortunate because Peet is just... darling.  He is noble, intelligent, and devoted to his family, yet also ridden with crippling guilt and self-loathing. His character arch is heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time, and you should really, really read this series so I can talk freely about this already!


Howl Pendragon

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A scoundrel through and through, Howl is a vain, childish, petulant procrastinator and womanizer.  But despite his cowardice and selfish behavior, he is also brave and loving.  He's the kind of guy that would steal your heart, but you would know that you could never marry him.  The three books in which he plays a part are wonderful stories in their own right, but they also serve as means to explore his character bit by bit.  Again, I can't really go into his character without giving away too much about the first book, so this little blurb here will have to do.



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Yet another coward on this list.  Is that a bad sign?  I don't know.  Whatever the case, it is Dustfinger's weakness that makes him interesting.  He's one of those characters you can't help but pity and wish to help, even after he's betrayed the OTHER characters you care about.  His arch, alongside Moe's, is very satisfying to watch.  And although not everything happened in his story that I wanted to happen, Dustfinger goes down as one of the most memorable characters I have ever read.



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The deuteragonist in the Nine Kingdoms trilogy, Miach and Aaragorn were tied for second place, but Aragorn beat him for  it because LOTR has such a special place in my heart.  That being said, Miach is such a sweet, sweet cinnamon roll I think I may still  be a little in love with him.  Or at least I would be if he wasn't so perfect for his love interest, the swordsmaiden Morgan.  He the youngest prince of Neroche, Archmage of the land.  Though generally disliked by the court because of his reclusive behavior and frazzled appearance, Miach a kind and whimsical soul, if perhaps a little closer to insanity than he'd like to admit.  But despite a traumatizing past and an inner tendency towards darkness, Miach nobly fights back his demons and walks solidly on the path of light, maintaining the realm and defending it from the evil that once nearly destroyed him.  His devotion to his family and his true love is pure and sweet.  His relationship with Morgan is one of the most well-done fictional romances I've ever read.



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Need I really say much about this one?  Aragorn is such a great and memorable character.  His journey from ranger to king is subtle and compelling, and his interactions with those he fights for are beyond reproach.  He is a true man of integrity, and since I've recently been re-reading the Appendices of Return of the King I've been impressed once again with how awesome he is.  ^_^


Beleg Strongbow

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Again, I know.  This fellow makes it onto a lot of my lists, but what can I say?  He's my favorite character ever.  I don't even know what it is about him that touches me in such a way, except that his honesty and devotion to his friend is so admirable. The voice of reason in an otherwise twisted and emotionally-trying tragedy, Beleg shines as a paragon of a true hero.  His prowess in battle does not make him arrogant, he stays true to his convictions and does not condone the actions of his dearest friend when it would be easier to either call it right, or leave him behind.  But against all odds, Beleg stays with Turn when he is needed most, knowing that it is his duty to try to protect his young friend from the terrible fate that looms over him.
Although it's difficult to pin down exactly what it is that solidified him in his position as my favorite character, it's going to take one INCREDIBLE character to usurp him.

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I hope you enjoyed this list!  Make sure to catch my next list, in which I highlight my top ten favorite film characters.  
What are some of your favorite characters, and why?  Let me know in the comments.  Have a nice day!

-Emmarayn Redding

(DISCLAIMER: With the exception of Peet the Sockman's portrait, I own none of the artwork contained  in this post.  All credit goes to their respective copyright holders.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Movie Review: The Phantom of the Opera (1990)

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Image result for phantom of the opera 1990Before Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote his own Phantom of the Opera, Arthur Kopit began writing a musical adaptation of Lerox's novel.  It was not produced, but after the success of the Lloyd Webber show, Kopit's musical was translated into a two-part non-musical miniseries for television.

This, I must say, is the most beautiful adaptation of Phantom that I have ever seen.  Of course the Webber musical will always have a special place in my heart, but this version has now become my favorite.  

Vastly different from the book, this story paints a much more sympathetic portrait of Erik, who we see here as a sensitive, soft spoken, intelligent- if more than a little unbalanced- individual.  
Christine, a young peasant girl, arrives at the Paris Opera House with a letter from the Comte d'Chagny, who was enchanted by her singing in a village festival and arranged for her to have singing lessons.  Unfortunately for Christine, the Comte's friend Carriere, who used to be the manager, has recently been dismissed from his position and replaced by an Italian couple.  The new managers wife, Carlotta, does not believe that Christine can sing and instead assigns her to the costuming department, leaving Christine with little hope of ever making it to the stage.  This is a double blow for her, as she finds out that the Comte, with whom she was more than a little infatuated, has a reputation for being a womanizer, and she is not the first girl he has sent to the Opera House for lessons.
Image result for phantom of the opera 1990Meawhile, Carriere goes down below the theater to inform his long time friend, the Phantom, that he will no longer be able to help him since he has been dismissed.  Incensed at the injustice done to his friend, Erik takes an immediate disliking to the new manager and Carlotta, and is faced with the problem of what he is going to do now that his only ally has been ousted.  
But when he hears Christine singing after the theater closes, he knows he has found a new purpose, and immediately offers to become her teacher on the condition that she tell no-one.  A relationship begins to blossom between them as he guides her, inspiring her with both skill and confidence so that she can someday take her rightful place on the stage.

Related imageBut things begin to heat up when Phillipe d'Chagny finally arrives, truly and thoroughly smitten with the girl he sent for lessons, and determined to win her heart.  Carlotta discovers how beautifully Christine can sing, her husband Choleti refuses to heed the Phantom's wishes concerning the Opera House, and the police begin combing the catacombs where Erik lives, searching for the body of one Mr. Joseph Bouquet...

I think the thing I loved most about this version was the characters.   The story almost seems like a Gothic fairy tale. Christine is naive, innocent, and loving.  Though she is very feminine and not afraid of it, she is not quite a damsel in distress either.  Far less so than the Christine in the Webber version.  Phillipe (the Raol-equivalent) is interesting due to his conflicting nature.  On one hand he has his reputation as the pretty-boy womanizer, and on the other hand his love for Christine is pure and true, and he does his best to be worthy of her.  
As for Erik, I loved that in this version he seemed more human.  He was capable of carrying on a normal(ish) conversation with someone, and was not consumed with self-pity, which I found quite refreshing.  His sense of humor made me laugh several times, and his tenderness toward Christine was very touching.  And yet, for all those good qualities, you could just tell that his mind is not all there.  Something is dreadfully broken in him, and one wrong blow could unleash a terrible threat.  
His relationship with Carriere was refreshing as well.  It was nice to see that his whole life did not always revolve around Christine.  He had a friend, and a business to run as well before ever knowing she existed.

One thing I found very interesting is that you never actually see his face, which I think keeps the mystery intact.  The viewer is left to imagine what could be so horrible, and is therefore not disappointed by something less than what they imagined.  

PROS:  Everything I just mentioned above.  I can't get over how much I love this movie!  

CONS:  A few scattered swear-words, though not as much as movies nowadays.  
One flashback in which you see a man and a woman lying in the grass together, and they do not appear to be fully clothed.  Nothing shocking is seen, though the characters are unmarried.  
**SPOILER** At one point we see a woman attempt what appears to be an abortion by drinking some sort of medicine, but she is stopped and she delivers the baby safely.**END SPOILER**
**SORTA-SPOILER**  In the Phantom's lair we see a crib, in which a headless doll rests.  The head of the doll is hung in front of a portrait of someone who appears to be Christine, and it is never made clear why this is.  It seems very suggestive of magic of some sort, but it is not elaborated on and frankly I have no idea why they included it in the film, except perhaps to make it seem more 'eerie'.**END SPOILER**

Some minor violence (gunshots fired, a few people hung), but very very little blood.  

OVERALL:  If you like the Phantom of the Opera, watch this version!  I can't find the official rating, but I would rate it a very light PG-13.  In terms of quality, I give it a solid Five Stars!

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-Emmarayn Redding

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Beautiful Music: I've Seen Hell

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Welcome!  This month's beautiful music is I've Seen Hell, by Martin Phipps from the soundtrack for BBC's North and South, an adaptation of  Elizabeth Gaskell's novel of the same name.  If you like Charles Dickens or Jane Austen (or both!), I recommend this miniseries.  I'd recommend the book too, but I haven't read it yet.  The library never has it available.  But for now, enjoy this haunting track at your leisure!

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I hope you enjoyed it!  Let me know if you have any favorite songs you'd like to share in the comments.  :D  Have a great day!

-Emmarayn Redding

(DISCLAIMER:   Music copyright John Michael Talbot.  No copyright infringement intended.)