The Phantom of the Opera (Addendum)

These kinds of articles are always a bit awkward, so I’ll try to keep this one short.

I have made my opinion on the movie adaptation of the Phantom of the Opera clear already, and nitpicked both it and the original version on previous occasions.

However, I have discovered, embarrassingly late, that I have made a huge mistake when I wrote the first article on the subject.

And of course, the reason I’m writing this is the same as when I wrote similar addendum articles, for example about Die Another Day.

And that reason is this: I know that I have my faults. I can be condescending, arrogant, opinionated and get obsessively hung up on small, seemingly unimportant details.

I know that I’m not a writer. I am not a movie maker, I am not an expert in any aspect of creating a movie or a game or anything else I write about.

Bottom line is that I cannot make any claims of objectivity. I can, however, do my best to be honest. For all my faults, I am not a liar. I will not lie or knowingly spread information that I know to be incorrect.

It harms the point I’m trying to make and diminishes my credibility.

It’s true that I could, very easily, just go in and edit the mistake out of the article, and nobody would ever know.

But I think it’s important that, when I find that I am blatantly, obviously wrong, I should admit it and set the record straight.

Which brings me to the subject of this addendum.

(Spoiler: it has nothing at all to do with what I said about Gerard Butler. Sorry if you’re disappointed by this.)

I mentioned that I have an issue with the idea that the Phantom keeps a pipe organ in his secret hideout. And I stated that since this takes place in 1870, that means there was no electricity to supply power to the bellows of the organ. In other words, the Phantom would need someone else to work the bellows.

And as you probably figured out by now… that’s actually a load of crap. By the 1870’s, there were many different methods for working bellows in pipe organs, such as steam or water power.

And while I may have been right that electricity wasn’t an option (which I’m not completely certain about), my claim that the absence of an electric motor means you’d need another person is not accurate at all.

Now, this mistake would be bad enough, but the real annoyance for me is the fact that a simple google search would have told me this, and it would only have taken me about three minutes, if I had bothered to look.

But I didn’t, so I made a big, obvious, stupid mistake, and I apologize.

That said, that detail does not change the fact that the Phantom keeping a pipe organ in his lair is still very stupid and impractical, when compared to having a piano or harpsichord. Even when you play your hardest on a piano, it’s likely to be more quiet than a pipe organ. It’s also far better suited for composing and easier to maintain.

So, as awkward as writing this has been, I can at least take solace in the fact that while the detail was wrong, the main point is still valid.

Advertisements

WTFAW: Peter Pan (Pt. 2)

Dave: It’s time for a fan theory again.

Of course it is. What is it this time?

Dave: OK, so you mentioned the movie Pan in the previous article

Oh dear god, don’t tell me you’ve got a fan theory about that fucking movie!

Dave: No. But it reminded me about a fan theory about Peter Pan, which is today’s subject.

I know that is supposed make me feel relieved, but instead it just makes me worried… Alright, go ahead.

Dave: The theory is that Peter Pan is the angel of death.

…What?

Dave: He’s an angel, guiding the souls of dead children to Neverland, AKA Heaven. That’s why they never grow old. They’re all dead!

I’m going to save the obvious question for later. In the meantime, explain your reasoning.

Dave: It’s really straightforward. I’ll just quote directly from the book by J.M Barrie.

There were odd stories about [Peter], as that when children died he went part of the way with them, so that they should not be frightened.

Dave: There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room. It’s right there, clear as day.

Is that it? You have one line, taken out of context, as your support?

That quote is from the first chapter in the book, where Mrs. Darling hears about Peter, and remembers the stories she heard about him when she was young.

But the problem is, that these are stories, and are not necessarily true.

If Peter guides and cares for dead children, shouldn’t there be more Lost Boys? I don’t want to sound morbid, but the book was written at the beginning of the 20’th century. Kids dying before they grow up was a LOT more common back then than it is today.

In other words, Neverland should be packed with kids, both boys and girls! Instead, we are told that the Lost Boys, as their names suggests, are orphans who got lost by falling out of their prams, and the reason that there are no lost girls is that girls are “much too clever ” to get lost like that.

Dave: Ok, but that is said by Peter, and he isn’t exactly the most reliable source. He could be making it up on the fly.

True, that’s possible. But you also said that this theory explains why the Lost Boys never grow old. The problem is, that they DO grow old. They mention that in the book you just quoted!

Also, let’s look at it this way. Consider the idea of an angel of Death, that guides the souls of dead children to the great hereafter. Now tell me, do you know what that job requires?

Dave: A scythe…?

A sense of responsibility and duty.

You know, those things Peter doesn’t have and actively rejects.

Seriously, what kind of batshit insane higher power looks at Peter and gives him any kind of responsibility over something as amazingly important as the transfer of souls!?

And what about Captain Hook, the pirates and the indians? Where do they fit into the theory? Are they also souls of dead people? We know that at the very least, Hook went to college at Eton, so we can assume he’s not just a spectral construct. So what the hell is he doing in Neverland?

Dave: Uhm….

And finally, that leads me to the obvious question I hinted at earlier. Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that this theory is true. That Peter Pan is the angel of death, ferrying the souls of dead children. It is reasonable to assume that the Lost Boys are therefore dead, right?

Dave: Yeah…?

Then would you care to explain to me how, if they are dead, they somehow join Wendy, John and Michael in returning to London, to be adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Darling?

I mean, if it were just the Darling children coming back, you could perhaps handwave it as them having a near-death experience or something. It’d be bullshit, but it would be somewhat harder to disprove. Here, six children randomly returned to life and materialized in a home in London.

Do you have ANY explanation for how the fairydust fuck that is possible!?

Dave: Uh…

Well?!

Dave: …No, I don’t.

I thought so.

This really is in a very special category of theory. Theories that are not only stupid, but also incredibly weak. One quote, taken out of context, and that’s it?

Don’t bring me theories like this, Dave. They’re so easy to disprove, you just make me feel like I’m bullying you.

Dave: Well, there’s one thing you could do to make me feel better…

What?

Dave: You could give this theory a pass.

Go fuck a garbage disposal, Dave.

Back to Main Page

Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

It’s been a while since I’ve done this.

A while back, I wrote about the movie ”Pan”, a prequel to Peter Pan, and I made it clear in that article that the movie was to be avoided.

Today, I’d like to do something similar with one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a very long time.

Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch this movie.

And I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing! You’re thinking ”How bad could it be?”.

And by all accounts, you should be right! After all, the 1971 Willy Wonka movie is a classic. While I may have my issues with it, I do concede that it is a good movie, and people like it for a reason.

And of course, Tom and Jerry are amazing, and are great childhood icons. Surely, mixing the two should be great?

Which is why it’s almost astounding this movie manages to be 79 minutes of missed opportunities and wrong decisions, to the point where it seems intentionally awful!

Now, making a parody of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory isn’t anything new. Futurama did it, Family Guy did it, Johnny Bravo did it… It’s not really that difficult. There is potential in the idea, if one takes advantage of it.

What we should have is Tom and Jerry chasing each other and wreaking comedic slapstick havoc in the chocolate factory. What we get instead is an less impressive animated remake the 1971 movie and a lackluster Tom and Jerry movie being slammed together with all the subtlety of a train crash.

For starters, almost nothing Tom and Jerry do in the movie affects anything or alters the story, and since we already follow Charlie as our main character, they end up being side characters in their own fucking movie!

Their meaningful contributions to the movie are as follows: They steal a box of Wonka Bars to pay back Charlie for giving them food. When Charlie tells them to return it, they put it in a back room in the shop they took it from. This means that it wasn’t sold along with all the others when the competition was at its peak, and it’s from a bar in that box Charlie gets his ticket.

Charlie buys the bar for a coin he found in a drain, and someone decided that instead of just being a random dollar, dropped in a drain, it had to be a coin dropped by Tom and Jerry. Later, they have to rush to the factory to bring Charlie the golden ticket, which had fallen out of Grandpa Joe’s pocket.

That’s it. And seeing as none of this was required in the original to move the plot, it’s just a forced way to justify why Tom and Jerry are in the movie.

As for the rest of the movie, they spend it trying to keep Slugworth from getting his hand on an Everlasting Gobstopper, after seeing him sneak into the factory.

They also meet Tuffy, here playing an ”Oompa Loompa intern” working in the factory, who decides to help them warn Wonka about Slugworth.

Now, spoiler warning for those of you who haven’t seen the 1971 movie.

”Slugworth”, just like in the original movie, is actually working for Wonka, in order to provide a test of character to the five children.

So, when he meets Tom, Jerry and Tuffy (who, again, also works for Wonka) does he explain this to them? After all, it’s not like he has any reason to keep it secret from them, right?

No, instead he tries his level best, not only to stop them from reaching Wonka, but also get his hands on a Gobstopper for NO REASON other than to fool the audience that he’s a villain!

This makes no sense!

(Which incidentally is a phrase that sums up this entire movie)

And when the truth is revealed, his “accomplice”, Spike the Bulldog, breaks the fourth wall by shrugging and says “who knew?”.

Fuck you, movie. Fuck you a lot….

What this means, however, is that everything that happens after the 36 minute mark, when Tom and Jerry follow Slugworth into the factory, is ABSOLUTELY POINTLESS! There is no urgency, nothing they do changes anything from the original, and most of the main story progresses without them interfering, and there was no need for it WHAT SO PISSING EVER!

All they manage to do is get cat fur on a wall, which is used to justify denying Charlie the price, since he ”brought a cat into the factory”.

Of course, this is ignoring A) that Charlie didn’t bring Tom into the factory and B) that this justification is unnecessary anyway since Charlie drank of the fizzy drink in violation of the contract he signed.

Speaking of, the scene where they sign the contract? That incredibly crucial plot point, that is part of the test of character later, where Charlie has the chance to do the right thing, even when treated unfairly, which earns him the price?

That scene is LEFT OUT OF THIS MOVIE!

But oh, we still got the fucking tunnel scene! Except now, it’s TUFFY driving Tom and Jerry in a second boat, following the boat with Wonka and company.

And now TUFFY does the whole creepy-monotone-poem schtick, though without decapitated chickens this time. And wouldn’t you know it, it comes out of nowhere, makes absolutely no sense, doesn’t fit with the rest of the movie at all, and is never brought up again after it’s finished. So I’ll give the movie kudos for that. It’s just as stupid and unnecessary here as in the original.

But again, THAT scene, they left in, but the scene with the Chekhov’s Gun-like contract was left out! See what I mean!? Pretty much every single decision made in this movie is wrong!

So this leads me to a very simple question:

Who the hell was this movie made for!?

It wasn’t made for fans of the 1971 movie, because it’s just a less impressive version of that, taking away, among other things, the charisma and warmth of Gene Wilder. I may have my issues with his portrayal as Wonka compared to the original book, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the greatest things about the 1971 movie.

It wasn’t made for fans of Tom and Jerry, because again, they’re pretty much an afterthought in the movie, and we get very little of the whole cat-and-mouse dynamic we got from the show.

It’s not for young children because the movie hinges on them having seen the 1971 movie first, and what kind of cruel parent would choose to show them this instead of that movie?!

Even if you just want a movie to keep the kids quiet for a while, there are so many other, better and LONGER movies you could show them!

The only reason it exists is because someone said “Nostalgia is hot right now. Willy Wonka is nostalgic. Tom and Jerry is nostalgic. Combining them makes double nostalgic. Double nostalgia = $$$

So, don’t watch this movie and for the love of God, don’t show it to your children. It’s a waste of money and it’s borderline child abuse.

In a way, I suppose it’s fitting that it’s so bad. Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in part to condemn television for making children dumber.

Show this movie to your kids, and that’s exactly what’ll happen.