Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Widow's Might

Here's the opening of another recent independent Christian film. This won Best of Festival at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Fest, and is simply a great movie. Quality stuff this is, excellent in many ways. It's unique, honest, and hilarious. Family-focused, God-honoring. And most of the characters actually play themselves, which strikes me as simply refreshing. :-D

Preview from John Moore on Vimeo

Pendragon; Sword of His Father - Reflections

Sierra, you asked what I thought of the Pendragon film, so I think I'll devote a whole post to it!

It was with great excitement back in December that I unwrapped the cellophane from the movie and finally began to watch it with my family! Procrastinator that I am, I've been meaning ever since then to do a review. For now, this is not really a proper review - it is, rather, some recollected thoughts.

What an ambitious film! An epic, historical story like this usually takes millions of dollars to make, and Pendragon; Sword of His Father was done on a fraction of that (about $80,000, I think) These folks (two families of cousins and some friends) raised lots of the money, and did a great job with what they had. While the production qualities still had room for improvement, the story was well-thought-out and biblical, and I was caught up in it, only jarred now and then by little things.

Things I liked:

Costumes - They did a great job on these! The weapons in the mass-battles looked a bit fake, but decent knowing some of them were made from cardboard!

Sets -Much of it is outdoors, and of course God's creation is beautiful. ;) But the other sets were well-done. Marvelous details. I love the distant shots of the fortress of Arfon!

Plot - I was surprised by the challenges presented to the characters, especially near the end, which went so much deeper than most action flicks these days! Hard questions were asked, which, in different forms, Christians still struggle with today.

The last sword fight between two main characters - Effects during that were amazing, and the choreography looked much better than some of the slower ones earlier on.

Things that bugged me a little:

Accents - Only a few characters tried to have anything near a British accent, and that only occasionally. I know, it would be hard to get so many volunteers to work up good accents, but I wish they tried. Loving accents as I do. ;)

Some of the acting was very well done, some needed a little work. Cadeyrn and Brotus were probably my favorite, as far as convincing me they were truly the characters.

Other odd little things here and there, which I don't remember at the moment, still announced that this was a low-budget film. Probably one of these is the large-scale battles, though the stockade battle was pretty well-done. They handles the violence tactfully (this is not LotR), but the scale just didn't seem quite big enough...


So, if you don't mind some production flaws in independent films, and if you have a good imagination, and if you love to get caught up in historic epics made by and about Christians with vision doing hard things for the Lord - you'll probably enjoy this one. I liked it, and look forward to what Burns Family Study will produce next!

Sierra, I think you'd like it. :-)

Spoilers Ahead!!!!!

A funny side note. There's a moment when Artos emerges from burning rubble, after two intense fights, miraculously alive but wounded (at least his arm and side are bloody, and he would have to have some burns too). The second time I watched the film, with some good friends of my family, Cate mentioned in laughing frustration that, in that scene, Winneveria seems more interested in hugging Artos than in tending to his wounds. Perhaps it's a bit understandable, because he seems fairly alive. But later that night (we were being crazy and stayed up too late) while watching another very good film (beginning with the initials TOoD), we noted this phenomenon reoccur in almost the exact same way! A young man is wounded in a desperate sword fight, and afterwards the young lady stands by and lets him declare his love for her instead of hurrying to staunch his wounds.

Hmm. If a godly young gentleman were about to propose to me, but was also badly hurt, what would I do? Hopefully I'd help him, and he wouldn't lose his nerve to ask later. Hopefully...

(Edited March 12 :-) Thanks, Channah, for the correction!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gearing Up To Write

After babysitting several times a week for a little over a month, on top of all the family stuff and ministry and activities I'm doing, I think things are finally slowing down a bit.

Time to dive back into fiddling with stories. Muhahaha!

My most recent manuscript, which I finished in rough-draft form in November, is currently being edited by my youngest brother for a school project. So I think my first story to attack in my spare time is Melod's Song.

Melod's Song is about a young orphan boy with a great sense of humor, a cheery outlook on life, and an overwhelming store of corny jokes and off-key ballads. His ambition is to be a famous bard and entertainer, but his quieter, deeper hope is for home and family. Fleeing the evil Shamen, he accidently finds himself in a hidden stronghold called Stormyrock, where dwells a community of friendly, seemingly-harmless, book-loving outlaws of all ages and types. Melod feels this might be his new home. But on the wild coast, more dangers loom than the perilous cliffs. Melod must dig out the mysteries behind Stormyrock, discover who doesn't want him there, and find his place before more lives than his own are distroyed.

How was that? I'm still working on writing gripping and accurate summaries. ;-)

It's strange work, trying to edit and re-write and smooth out one's own novel. Ideally, re-reading it all through should be the first step, but it's very hard not to get distracted and start re-writing the first chapter. For the fifth time. And things like flow and pacing are tricky little critters to pin down, examine, and fix. But I'll have a go at it, and see if I can't fill in some narrative holes and smooth out inconsistencies.

Too bad the scones are nearly gone! I ought to try my hand at biscotti. That would go well with tea and writing.