For several years now – long before the Lord of the Rings films were released, anyway – we've been going to the movies as part of our Christmas day tradition. Last year, for example, we saw Pan's Labyrinth before heading to a fantastic turkey dinner with friends.
Having family and friends to eat, drink, and share with is always wonderful – it really makes Christmas special – and we wouldn't trade that for the world. But sometimes, in the middle of Christmas's warm glowing warming glow, we like to steal a couple of hours to be by ourselves; and films offer us a great excuse to do just that.
This year, we were alone for Christmas. First time in the new house, but all our friends and family are either not based in Ottawa or are gone home to visit their own families. Which is fine – we're quite happy to spend the whole time with one another. But we still made time for our tradition.
We were hoping to see the Golden Compass – a nice fantasy film in the vein of Lord of the Rings or Narnia (which, let's be honest, sucked) – but one of our friends wants to join us for that, so we resisted temptation. But what to see instead?
We opted for a viewing of Sweeney Todd. Neither of us knew much about it except that it was a musical, was directed by Tim Burton in his inimitable style, and that it involved murder. Neither of us knew just how dark and depressing it would turn out to be. I don't want to give anything away – it's really an excellent film and it would be a shame not to experience it for yourselves – but it's not exactly Christmas-day fare, if you get my meaning.
In fact, we were even a little traumatized by the whole thing and had to find something to wash the blood off.
Luckily, we had rented a few films the day before and had been holding on to Stardust to enjoy on Christmas night. Which we did, and it was fantastic film. Which sort of surprised me, because I remember it didn't get very good reviews when it was released.
In any case, we were both pleasantly surprised by this enchanting fairytale. It might not quite rival Princess Bride for humour and quotability, but it definitely holds its own, and the characters in this imaginative universe are all charming. Robert DeNiro's pirate captain is so fun to watch.
Blood-curdling has its place, but heart-warming is definitely the way to go on Christmas day.
Now, I'm off. Today we're hoping to watch the Lord of the Rings series (extended editions) from start to finish. I'll let you know how it goes.