Thursday, February 24, 2011

Somewhere in Time

Another time travel movie that didn't quite gel with me was "Somewhere in Time".

It's the story of 28 year old playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) who is strangely drawn to the portrait of young woman at the Grand Hotel. He learns that woman is a 1912 actress Elsie McKenna (Jane Seymour) and realizes that this woman was the same old lady that had given him a pocket watch way back in his graduation in 1972 and had requested him to go back to her. Go back - as in not only reuniting with her but literally going back in time - back to 1912.

Now for the aarrrrgh part - Collier through means of self-hypnosis wills himself back to 1912. In order for the suggestion to work - he has to ensure that all the objects he sees and the clothes he's dressed date back to 1912. Collier finds a Visitor's Book from 1912 with his signature in it and this convinces him that he can indeed time-travel.

Which he does. He finds Elsie McKenna and discovers that she is the love of his life and the feeling is mutual. However, he is abruptly yanked back to the present day when he unfortunately discovers a coin from 1979 in the pocket of his suit. The time-travel process has not only aged him but has weakened him tremendously.

The ending was also aaaargish - with a suggestion that Collier and McKenna are united in "heaven"????? after Collier dies heartbroken. And before you ask - why he could not go back in time again - that is obviously because his mind and body are too weak to do so. (Thank heaven for small mercies!!).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Time Traveler's Wife

Some were asking, given my fascination with time travel, how is it that I haven't blogged about it?

Well, for a start - I have somehow instinctively avoided the book when it came out, and never even bothered about the subsequent movie. Then one fine day I found the DVD in the Library and decided to watch it.

**********SPOILERS AHEAD**************
As I had kind of guessed the time travel part is just a convenient plot device. Henry (Eric Bana) has this weird "genetic disorder" where he time travels though not by his will. He first meets Clare (Rachel MacAdams) when she is six - and with the perfect innocence of childhood Clare has no trouble believing Henry is a time traveler. He keeps visiting her on and off and they share their first kiss when she is 18. However, from Henry's perspective he meets Clare for the first time only when she is 21, Clare is totally prepared for this visit while Henry is totally bewildered. I found this a little hard to analyze -how come Henry doesn't remember any of his previous visits - till I figured out that it is a much older Henry that had visited Clare before. Another confusing aspect is the story is told from Clare's chronological timeline rather than Henry's - so that makes it really hard to know who the "real" Henry is.

Clare undergoes several miscarriages and it is suggested (though not proven) - that the fetuses have time traveled. However, Eric and Clare eventually carry a daughter Alba to full-term. Alba is also a time-traveler though unlike Henry she can control the traveling quite effectively.

What I hated the most was Henry reappearing even after he is shot dead. Logically there is no person - so how can he time travel? Another illogical bit was that the same set of clothes are left for Henry always. (When he time travels it is without his clothes so he needs to find some clothes where ever he happens to land up. So he requests Clare when he had met her when she was a child to leave a set of her Dad's clothes for him.)

Finally, even if this were meant to be a "love without borders" kind of love story - it didn't turn out to be that compelling.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kalo Dant, The Clock and The Chair

In my last post I promised to talk about "Gypsy Folk Tales". This is a fabulous collection of tales from way back in 1966 by a Marie Voriskova. Now I don't remember any of the stories but do remember the main character Kalo Dant. Here is a sample of what the stories were like.

"Granny's Wonderful Chair" by Frances Browne is also a collection of stories - where Granny's chair tells enthralling tales evening after evening and also conveniently doubles as a mode of transportation to get from one place to another. Gutenberg has the ebook for free!

"The Cuckoo Clock" by Mrs. Molesworth also on Gutenberg is the story of a girl who comes to stay with her aunts. The house is magical and so is the Cuckoo Clock. There is a live cuckoo in the clock and the girl climbs up to visit. The cuckoo takes her to many lands - including the far side of the moon!

Also remember reading books set in post war Germany by Margot Benary Isbert. At that time I was really too young to understand the horrors wrought by the war.

What childhood books stick in your head even after so many decades have passed? Please do let me know.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Of this and that...

Haven't been able to blog in a while. We've been having some tight deadlines at work and after a long strenuous day I didn't really feel like looking at a computer screen all over again!

Some friends were discussing our favorite childhood reading treasures. I have always been a fan of Enid Blyton and I think my best book was "The Valley of Adventure". Summer holidays meant reading "Phantom" comics - anyone remember the purple tights and mask? Devil? Hero? the infamous skull cave and the famous "good" and "bad" rings? A kindly neighbor S used to lend me his set of comics year after year without fail. Wonder if he still has them.

They made a movie way back in 1996 starring Billy Zane and Catherine Zeta-Jones - but that was a miserable flop. I vaguely remember only appreciating the secret entrance through the waterfall as being the only thing they got right.

Also remember reading "Mandrake the Magician" - and the newspaper used to carry a comic strip called "Modesty Blaise" - that we weren't really supposed to read. Nilanjana has written an excellent piece on Modesty in her post.

Used to read a quaint book called "Granny's Wonderful Chair" and another one called "The Cuckoo Clock". A wonderful collection of "Gypsy Folk Tales" - these alone merit a separate blog post.

Talking about S - his father was a renown musician - and that got us discussing veena. I used to play the veena eons ago - but when I started travelling I couldn't cart it around and that was the end of my playing.

I love this song (couldn't find it on Youtube) - it kinda sounds like fusion music doesn't it?

(This site will take you to Music India Online - and that song is from Chitti Babu's
Tribute Volume 2 - song Sara Sara Samraika Soora)