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8 timezones, 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 3 flashback films

It’s 6pm in San Francisco, just one more meal to eat and a few more hours to stay awake! I got up in Bristol this morning at 5am, 21 hours ago. I had breakfast at home before I caught the train and breakfast again at Heathrow. On the flight I found myself next to a guy going to the same non-profit technology conference as I am. He works for a group called People for the Equitable Treatment of Animals. Virgin Atlantic had forgotten his vegan meal, so he ended up with some gleanings of fruit and salad from First Class. I hope I didn’t offend him too much with my barbecue chicken lunch, or with the brie and ham sandwiches I had for second and third lunch.

The direct flight was almost ten hours long, so I had a mini film festival, watching three films back to back from of the interactive smorgasbord on offer. It wasn’t deliberate in my choice but, as it turned out, they all dealt with issues of relationships between children and adults and like so many stories told today, they kept moving back and forward on the timeline.

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about someone who begins life as an old man and goes through life gradually getting younger. It’s told through his diary as it is read to the love of his life at the end of her life. The earliest and latest years of his life are left largely to the imagination. It made me stop and think about attitudes to age and how people of different age relate to one another. I think it could have been handled just as well in about 2 hours rather thanĀ  the almost three which it took.
  • Slumdog Millionaire was well worth watching. Tough experiences of three children from the Mumbai slums are traced in flashback as one of them takes part in the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It mixes English and Hindi in an interesting way, but whoever did the subtitles didn’t forsee its success and plan to help people trying to read them on low resolution seat-back screens. I’ll definitely watch it again on a bigger screen.
  • The Reader is definitely not ‘family viewing’, but it does interestingly explore the relationship between a 15 year old boy and an older woman and the impact of guilt in their lives. The film is also a reminder of how much must of us take literacy for granted. The timeline does shift, but not so much as the other two which was a relief to my timezone shifting brain.

Prince Caspian


At the end of my 22 hours awake yesterday I went to watch the new Chronicles of Narnia ‘movie’ with some of the other IT guys here. We had talked about watching Indiana Jones, but some who had already seen it put us off.

Prince Caspian, as it turned out, was great. Although my long day meant that I dozed a bit near the start, once the action started, I was kept awake and entertained. It’s been years since
we read through the Narnia books together as a family, so I really couldn’t remember the plot to tell you how faithfully Disney kept to C.S.Lewis’s book. I quite enjoyed The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe especially with a knowledge of the allegory involved, but it felt a bit too much like a kid’s film for me to really enjoy it. Prince Caspian is great for kids too, but Disney have definitely cranked up the special effects and made it a spectacular which allows it to better bear at least some comparison with Lord of the Rings.

Two scenes particularly reminded me of aspects of LotR: the spectral appearance of Jadis, the White Witch reminded me a lot of the way Galadriel looked when she was tempted to take the one ring, and the fantastically spectacular intervention of Aslan near the end was of course reminiscent of the scene where five Nazgul are overwhelmed by the flood waters produced by Gandalf and Aragorn at the Ford of Bruinen.

Go and see Prince Caspian in a decent cinema whilst it is still running. It’ll be a while before
most of us can afford the home cinema equipment necessary to appreciate the work which has clearly gone into the production. I’ll look forward to reading the Narnia Chronicles to our youngest three in a few years time, but I might just go and reread Prince Caspian to pick up the bits of the plot which I missed while dozing off at the start last night. I ‘ll also take a look around the web and see how allegorical C.S.Lewis intended it to be. If you know, feel free to add comments.