Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Like Batman!

Yes, it's true. I went to see the new Batman movie: The Dark Knight. This type of movie is not really my cup of tea, but it was my night out for my birthday and I wanted to see a movie. Being that there was nothing else I wanted to see and since I'd heard that lots of people (including my niece) liked the movie, I thought we should give it a try. Plus, it had the words, dark and knight in the title, both concepts which are my cup of tea.

Drum roll, please...

I liked it. I really did. At first, when it started out, I thought, "Uh, oh. I've gone in with too high of expectations. This is really hokey." But that feeling didn't last long. I had to laugh when Batman's car in the opening scene told him to, "Loiter," a version of "wait for it, wait for it!" Then the computer screen switched to, "Intimidate," which is what he went on to do (though that part was some of the hokey part). Still, even though I ended up liking the movie, I'm surprised that I did. At the end of it I felt like I'd gone through a blender. In my opinion, the movie was a giant mess. The action scenes, characters, and dialogue seemed to be all over the place. Luckily, at the time, I decided to just go with it. That turned out to be the right decision. It's quite possible that I should have seen some of the other Batman movies first, but I didn't, which might explain why I got a bit lost. It didn't matter, though, because the movie just grew and grew on me. I got really caught up in it - until one particular scene when I thought the movie was going to be over soon - but it wasn't. But that was okay, too. I quickly adjusted and settled in for some more action...and popcorn.

I particularly liked Batman's motorcycle, especially when it comes out of the car. There was just something very powerful about that scene - kind of like a birth. I don't recommend trying the stunt at home, though. You'll ruin your car, not to mention parts of your body.

Heath Ledger as the Joker did not disappoint. The hype that's been going around really has substance this time - he was good. Very good. Creepily good. It's almost too bad that he was so good. Besides the fact that our world has lost another young person to an unnecessary death, as well as a great actor, we have lost a good Joker. No actor that I've ever heard of will be able to follow up Heath Ledger's performance. He is the Joker. It seems an ironic twist that of all the great performances he's done, this is how we may best remember him. Maybe he'd like that, though. I think I might, if it were me.

I didn't have a problem with Christian Bale's altered voice as Batman...maybe because I'd heard so many people complain about it, so I was prepared. The only time it struck me as funny was that he sometimes sounded like he had a lisp. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a lisp, I'm just not sure Batman should have one. That would be for another story.

The ending fascinated me, as well. I won't tell you what happened, of course, but I must say that it made me think. I hadn't expected a Batman movie to make me think. Concentrate on what Commissioner Gordon say about the whole 'hero' idea. Learn it, live it, love it. I'm planning to.

And now, to the Bat cave!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Egad, We're Homeless!

We have officially sold our house. We are homeless! Well, not exactly…we are living with my sister for the next three weeks. It’s me and my husband, our 3 boys, my sister, her daughter, the new renter, 6 cats, one little dog, and my mom.


Life is going to be interesting, I think. But that’s what life is all about…suffering.

Anyway, in my last blog, I started chronicling about my trip back to Minnesota. To be honest, I’m kind of getting bored with that so I’ll only spend time commenting on our visit to Howe’s Caverns in New York, which we saw on the way back home. Having written about a world that takes place in caves, it only seems right that I should research these underground worlds. So, whenever I can, I visit any caves I can find. As proof, I plan to purchase a t-shirt for those caves I have visited (though on a few I will have to backtrack since I just came up with this idea). In any case, it should be rip-roaring fun.

Okay…so back to Howe’s Caverns. Like Niagara Falls, finding the caverns wasn’t as easy as I thought it should be. On the way to Minnesota, we took I-90. On the way home, we took I-80 through Pennsylvania and then cut upwards into NY…It’s cheaper that way (no tolls). On I-90 there were several signs for the caverns, but when we took the other way, there was nothing. When we were really close to the exit, we found one or two small signs for it. Again, to all you tourist traps, I need big signs - at least one telling me I’m close! When you’re driving 70 mph, you need something big and easy to read. Of course, I’m also not a big fan of giant billboards, so really, there’s just no pleasing me.

Can you just get to the caves part, Kristina? I can hear you saying that, you know, but the thing is, I wasn’t all that impressed with them. They weren’t very wild or majestic, simply underground. The walkways were nice and neat; there were even some stalagmites they let you touch. You can take a boat ride on a stream, too, all the way up to waterfalls, which, unfortunately, you can’t see. The best part of the tour was at the very end when we passed through this winding passageway. That was very cool. You can also pay more money and do real caving in parts of the cave, but only at certain times. I would probably have liked that more. The kids liked it, however, and they got caving helmets, so the side trip wasn’t a total washout.

When I was a kid, my family visited Crystal Caves in South Dakota and I remember loving it there. Here in NH, there’s a great place called Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves. It’s not one big cave, but a series of smaller ones you can inch your way through at your own pace. In one, you have to crawl on your stomach to get through. I totally loved that one and want to head back this fall and do it again, though I might have to cut back on the donuts. It’s a narrow space.

So, can I recommend Howe’s Caverns? Not wholeheartedly. I think it would be all right if you don’t like to get dirty or like your experiences well-organized and choreographed. There were several interesting and elaborate signs, however, along the way to the caverns that spouted an even better experience than Howe’s Caverns nearby called the Secret Caverns. You might try that instead…I think you might actually get to see the falls.

Try both, spelunkers, and let me know how it goes!