Wednesday, May 26, 2004

On The Road... recovery! Yes!
And in good time too. Night shift today, followed by an M+M meeting tomorrow morning, during which I'm supposed to present a case of phaechromocytoma. Presentation just done, which exonerates all feelings of guilt as I blog, heh heh.

Did the EES save my throat, or would I have gotten well on my own eventually? Guess I'll never know. Nice to have my voice back. Choice of song to try singing today: Jamie Cullum's What A Difference A Day Made. :)

American Idol 3 concludes this week. Funny how I've hardly talked about it, considering my lengthy analyses of AI2 when Clay was a contestant. I don't know. The magic just wasn't palpable this time round. I thought Jon Peter Lewis had it, but he quickly fizzled and was eliminated. George Huff was quite interesting, but didn't survive the cut. With the multiple voting debacles and Jasmine advancing much further than she deserved, I've lost faith in the franchise, and the final outcome elicits nothing more than mild curiosity now. Diana or Fantasia? Who the heck cares?!

At least I have The Bachelor 4 to keep me entertained. This season's a bit different from the rest -- everyone knows who the guy is, and all the women are already hung on him. Bob Guiney is extremely likeable ( talk about an infectious laugh! :)), and it's fun to see how gorgeous gals fall all over themselves in his presence. There's hope for the underdog yet!

My Apologies

For not posting more about my medical exploits of late. In the interest of the Joint Venture ( shameless pimping, haha :P), I'll leave such accounts for a later date. But feel free to visit other medical links provided on the right. Guaranteed to provide hours of immense reading pleasure.

Just want to share something from Time magazine's 100 World's Most Influential People issue. Here's their profile of Peter Jackson, who's included in the list of Artists & Entertainers:

"In 1996, Roger Ebert called Peter Jackson's The Frighteners "a film that looks more like a demo reel than a movie -- like the kind of audition tape a special-effects expert would put together, hoping to impress a producer enough to give him a real job." Ebert couldn't have known how right he was. For in making the film, Jackson had amassed a gigaload of effects technology. He just needed the right subject in which to put his cybertoys to spectacular use.

The subject, we know, was the Middle-earth wars. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings books handed Jackson a quest story involving dozens of exotic species and hundreds of dreamlike or infernal settings. Over a seven-year stretch in his native New Zealand, Jackson brought this vast canvas to life, eventually earning nearly $3 billion in movie theaters and oodles more on home formats. He blended live action and computer animation in a way that could not have been realized, or even imagined, 10 years ago. Just as important, the trilogy infused the fantasy genre with a grace and gravity unseen on such a huge scale. LOTR was an artistic and financial coup so impressive that even the Motion Picture Academy was bowled over, giving the film a record-tying 11 Oscars.

Today the project sounds golden. But Hollywood didn't always think so. Disney-Miramax rejected Jackson's proposal, even at a compromised two-film length... potential sponsors had only to measure the $300 million Jackson needed to make the trilogy against the measly $35 million or so his five previous features had earned worldwide.

Jackson's duty, as he saw it, was to make a faithful translation of Middle-earth -- a kind of transmedial cloning. His triumph was to oversee a production as mammoth as his early films had been intimate, and to keep the grand scheme in mind while enriching each screen moment. Moveimakers appreciated the breadth and depth of his commitment. And studio execs learned that once in a while it's a good bet to trust a director's passion and vision.

Now that Jackson has all this power, what will he do with it? Remake King Kong , a monster film he has loved since his youth. And Universal Pictures is happy to bankroll the third version of a story that most people thought was perfect the first time around and the redundant the second.

This might seem to be the whim of a rich kid in a man's body. But the smart money was wrong before in underestimating Jackson's imagination and ambition. It would be folly to do so again."

-- by Richard Corliss, film correspondent for Time

Well said! My admiration for Jackson and his LOTR team isn't restricted to pure movie enjoyment, but extends far beyond, thanks to hunting down multiple documentaries and reading materials on their long and arduous journey in bringing this masterpiece to life, as well as an amazing eye-opening experience during my foray to Middle-earth itself last December -- breath-taking, gorgeous New Zealand, filled with the friendliest people I've ever met, and LOTR tours that offer huge chunks of encyclopaedic knowledge.

My recurring interest in Jackson is also influenced by the Wellington Rover LOTR itinerary. In addition to taking us to filming locations for Helm's Deep, Rivendell, the River Anduin, the Gardens of Isengard, and favourite cast / crew hangouts like The Chocolate Fish Cafe along the Miramar Peninsula, there's one feature that I'm not at liberty to discuss, but is forever seared into my memory. I respect Wellington Rover's wishes to keep this particular detail secret, but anyone who joins the tour will see it, and believe me, it's an indescribable feeling. After that, Peter Jackson will hold an entirely different sort of significance for you. :)

By the way, I passed the boat which will be used in King Kong -- it's a white-and-green vessel which was anchored along the coast the day we drove by, but we couldn't stop for photos. Our guide, Dan, says it will be undergoing a major overhaul ( including a paint job ), so it may look completely different. Still, I'll be looking out for it in the film.

LOTR: The Return of the King is out on video and disc. Go get it!

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