I’m a Comic Dork: Proof We Can Change

I’m not sure if I should be happy or disappointed that the highlight of my weekend was the new Avengers movie.  The Marvel (now Disney owned) franchise has been leading us, their public, with stories of individual comic book heroes for a few years, to present this ultimate concoction of big muscles and infinite possibilities.  With all the lead-up publicity to this movie, I was leery of it reaching my expectations but I was pleasantly surprised.

But first, I must preface any further comic talk by saying…who am I?

I was not raised with comics, unless you count the random Archie ones that lined the bottom of my toy box.  The most I knew about superheroes was that Jerry Seinfeld had his Superman figurine on the shelf in his apartment and that he was a big fan.  Then I met my husband.  To this day, I think his favorite gifts that I’ve gotten him are his Marvel and later the DC encyclopedias.  To me, these were huge and expensive books that I really didn’t understand.  But you have to understand that my husband’s favorite way to relax is to watch cartoons.  You can find him there with a bowl of cereal or ice cream, eyes glued to poorly dialogued cartoons pretty much anytime I’m busy doing something else.

As I got to know him, I saw how excited he would get about each new comic, movie, show, character, etc.  I know the guy is smart, but his memory is incredible.  He’d tell me about the alien names, fictional cities, weapons, character traits and abilities, all will ease.  He’s like a human cheat sheet.  It impressed me because so much of the comic world includes words that are made up, and completely unfamiliar to the dictionary you or I would use.  He would go on about how a line of dialogue was important because it drew from a movie ten years ago, or why a character acted a certain way.  Similarly, he does the same with series like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.  With what feels like fifty or more characters, he can elaborate on all the details that would sound to anyone else like gibberish.

Needless to say, I love the guy and I’d buy him superhero shirts as I saw them or little things I thought he’d enjoy.  Then I even started watching the movies with him, and letting him explain backstories or trivial information that he found crucial to a plot.  When a new movie would come out, there would be a forced viewing of the prequels, Continue reading

Jane Eyre in Black and White

Jane Eyre 1943

I find myself here again, late a night and somewhat in a sleepy haze.  I’ve proven again that my body is not as ambitious as my mind is.  I have fallen asleep on the couch again, this time watching one of the older versions of Jane Eyre, with Orson Wells and Joan Fontaine.  It’s actually my favorite version that I’ve seen, so I can’t blame the movie for the nap.  Instead I will let it guide me into a late submission of my daily blog.

Jane Eyre, notably one of the most popular and timeless novels in literature, can still grip me, and I don’t believe I am alone.  Charlotte Bronte’s story of a strong and often lost young woman can be heart wrenching, but still plausible, despite the fact that it was set in the mid 1800’s, in a world far different from ours today.  I’m not so literary that I can try to establish some new worldly significance of what I consider a masterpiece, but I will tell you why I appreciate the particular version I watched tonight.

This black and white version is from 1943.  It’s old enough that Elizabeth Taylor plays Jane’s school friend Helen, but pre-National Velvet, was clearly unknown and not credited for her roll.  This is the 7th or 8th movie version of Jane Eyre by the way, depending on who you ask, as it follows a Jane Eyre based zombie movie.  It seems that the varieties of adaptations since are virtually limitless too.

Orson Wells is Rochester in this classic and what I like about it, is that the script uses many lines straight from Bronte’s pen.  If you hadn’t read the book, you also wouldn’t get left wondering about important details, through the use of seamless transitions and plot lines.   One of the reasons for this is likely due to the fact that the screenplay was adapted from a radio version of the novel.  My husband took me to see the newest Jane Eyre in theaters last winter and since he is not terribly familiar with the story, I found myself wanting to explain portions because key elements seemed to be missing.  That was unfortunate.

The Orson Wells version simply feels as dark as it should; not just because it’s a grainy black and white film, but the imagery in conjunction with the silhouettes feels appropriate to the story.  There’s a certain dissonance to it, making the hardships Jane lives feel raw and not a shiny Hollywood version.  The soundtrack is a little exaggerated at moments but adds a nice touch overall, creating intense atmosphere amongst the characters.  Overall, it’s the perfect movie to enjoy on a rainy night such as this, if you aren’t already curled up with the book or your laptop reading blogs.