I need to post some updates on a couple of the movies I have seen recently. Tony and I went to see Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World the other night. It was a good film. I am not sure that it is worthy of all the Oscar talk – but that is probably just marketing. I was very impressed with the historical accuracy of the ships and the tactics involved in sea battle. So many films just show a ship in the distance, cut back to the good guy ship, cut to the other ship closer and then cannonballs start firing. This film paid attention to the details like removing rear wheels from the cannons when firing for the mast at close range and the manuevers required to fire on a ship or catch a faster one.

I did find it rather lame that they changed the story from the original one in which the enemy ship was American. I guess it was a much easier to sell the ideas of our (now) allies the British fighting against our (now) enemies the French. In actuality, the French and Americans were allies during this time period and England was the enemy. Oh well, a little revisionist history is expected in film and in our current culture of “you’re either with us or you are a supporter of Bin-Laden.”

RATING 7 out of 10

Whale Rider is another film that I saw while I was working and I was impressed. It is an indie film about a young Maori girl (a New Zealand tribe) that fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize. It is a male-dominated culture and he refuses to allow her to take part in the tribal rituals. Many obligatory scenes are set up, and we all see the pre-destination, but it is the transformation that the viewer witnesses that is so powerful, and a payoff that is well worth the viewing. You WILL cry along with Keisha Castle-Hughes as Paikea.

Rawiri Parate did a great job as her stubborn grandfather, the tribal chieftain.

RATING 9 out of 10

I also saw the movie Holes the other day. It is classic Disney. The story is the same as many others – a kid has a hard life, has one hardship after another, has harrowing close calls with death and eventually destiny or fate conspires to make all his dreams come true. Jon Voight was funny as all get out as Mr. Sir and Tim Blake Nelson is always a hoot. Shia LaBeouf is a great newcomer as the lead character Stanley Yelnats. It is a fun movie to watch and is suitable for all ages.

RATING 7 out of 10