Time Lapse Movie Review

Time Lapse

I saw an awesome movie on Netflix called Time Lapse.

The movie was directed by Bradley D King and starred Matt O’Leary as Finn, Danielle Panabaker as Callie, and George Finn as Jasper.

Finn, Callie, and Jasper live at an apartment complex. Finn works maintenance for the apartments and moonlights as an art painter. Callie is Finn’s girlfriend and she assists with collecting rent and other random tasks. Jasper is their sketchy friend who gambles on dog races a lot.

Finn and Callie are called to check on Mr. Bezzerides who is late on his rent. Callie goes over and finds something strange.

The three of them investigate and find out that Mr. B has created a form of time travel.

A gigantic camera is set up at Mr. B’s house, bolted to the floor. The camera is aimed out Mr. B’s window at the living room window of the three friends.

Every day at 8PM the camera spits out a Polaroid, not of the current events in the apartment, but of what will be happening the next day at 8PM in the friends’ living room.

The group also discover that Mr. B is dead. His body is severely burned and slowly decomposing in his locked storage unit. Apparently Mr. Bezzerides was fated to die in one of the Polaroids. He attempted to alter his fate and died because he tried to change time. As Jasper says, “You don’t mess with Time.”

The group decides to cover up Mr. B’s death, claiming he is in the hospital to those who ask.

Jasper uses the camera in a fairly obvious way. 24 hours into the future he holds up a sign with a few winning dog races of the day on it at 8PM. The camera takes a picture and sends the information back in time. Jasper gets the info and then he knows which dogs to bet on. He bets on those dogs, wins a bunch of money, and then holds that sign up to the camera to ensure that he gets the information in the past.

Finn uses the camera to overcome his painter’s block. For weeks he’s been staring at a blank canvas, painting nothing. With the camera he can see the painting he does the next day. Knowing what he is going to paint he no longer experiences writer’s block (Yes, we’re dealing with the type of time travel that violates causality).

Callie doesn’t seem personally get much out of the camera, but she’s happy to have the money that Jasper is making and that Finn is completing his work.

The camera continues to violate causality by showing events that wouldn’t naturally occur. The three main characters feel they must faithfully reenact those events or they will suffer the same fate as Mr. B in his storage room. Conflict ensues as the next day’s events start getting weirder and weirder. I won’t spoil that part of the movie for those who are interested.

I loved Time Lapse. It has all the weird stuff I look for in a movie. It offers a lot of the same stuff that Memento, Sliding Doors, and About Time had. If you enjoyed those movies then you will probably like Time Lapse.

I should warn you that there’s a significant amount of gun violence in the movie and a little bit of sexual content. The violence was enough that my wife didn’t finish watching the movie. Personally, I felt that the conflicts escalated too quickly to a lethal level, but it didn’t significantly detract from the other excellent aspects of the movie.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Time Lapse. Check it out on Netflix!

-GoCorral

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Mars’ Oasis

Mars' Oasis

Mars’ Oasis is a large settlement of 50,000 people in the Shacklack Desert. The city is built around two oases, a large one full of water, and another minute oasis full of a magical liquid called Dythalid. When objects are immersed in Dythalid for an entire month they acquire magical properties, while the Dythalid is consumed. Metals that go through this process become Dythalidium and have the same properties as Dragonsteel. Plant material that goes through the process becomes Dythalidare and has the same properties as ironwood, but can still be consumed for 1d8+3 healing for each serving eaten. Minerals that go through the process become Dythalidem, a crystal that radiates blue light as well as enough heat to protect against cold temperatures as low as 0˚ F. Other liquids that go through the process become Dythalidos, a liquid that explodes under pressure or when the smallest spark touches it. Dead animal products that go through the process become Dythalidon, a virtually weightless substance that still provides ample sustenance if consumed.

Naturally, the liquid is unbelievably valuable. An equal amount by weight is needed to change an object into a Dythalid substance. Dythalid is sold by the government of Mars’ Oasis for 1,600 GP an ounce to citizens of the desert. It is sold outside of the city for more, but this is illegal and carries a very severe punishment that is kept in vague secrecy. Civilians are terrified of this punishment but the fugitives who sell Dythalid to outsiders think the worst that can happen to them is starvation in a prison cell.

Dythalidium is used by the nobles of the city, but is too expensive to give to the soldiers who could easily desert and sell their armor and weaponry for a fortune. Select super soldiers, called the Dythalidee, are chosen to be guards of the Dythalid Oasis from birth. They are always extremely exceptional in every aspect, resistant to mental corruption, have psionic abilities, Dythaldium weapons, Dythalidare armor, and know all the secrets of Dythalid. No Dythalidee has ever fallen in combat.

The city needs food to survive. A little grain does grow around the oasis, but the people need water to drink as well as for irrigating crops. There isn’t enough water for livestock and people to drink, so few beasts are kept at Mars’ Oasis. A special fruit bearing cactus known as Sithica grows throughout the whole Shacklack desert. It is poisonous in its normal form, but if soaked in Dythalid one of the fruits can support someone for a week. The Sithica fruit is the only known substance that does not consume the Dythalid in its incubation period. These fruits are the staple crop of Mars’ Oasis.

The government of Mars’ Oasis is based around a caste system. The lowest caste is slaves, next servants and laborers, moving up to merchants, craftsmen, artisans, and specialists, then nobles and other people from rich or powerful families, the final caste is the royal family who has control over the Dythalid pool. Taxes go through the castes. King Mero III taxes the nobles, the nobles tax the merchants, the employers tax the servants, and the owners take everything they can from the slaves. King Mero decides where the money goes, usually into the army.

Mars’ Oasis needs a good army. It has a constant struggle with the desert environment as well as the other inhabitants of the desert. Bavastatner, the oldest of the blue dragons, lived in Shacklack and his progeny are one of the biggest problems for the people at the oasis. A dragon slayer’s guild has come into existence to deal with the problem. They provide free weapons to the public whenever the city is under attack and King Mero III himself is an accomplished member of the guild. Brass dragons also help against their worst enemies, but only when required.

An enormous formian hive has been set up in the desert. The hive has 25 queens and almost 10,000 workers in it. These outsiders are seeking to enslave the other humanoid species of the desert. To counter the ant encroachment Mar’s Oasis has welcomed a group of Dionysus missionaries. The chaotic clerics are able to keep the lawful Formians away from the city proper whenever they decide to attack.

Previously, undead were an even bigger problem than the blue dragons. In the east of the desert a powerful lich lived in an enormous stone monolith surrounded by legions of undead. The people of Mars’ Oasis, never knowing the lich’s true name, called it the Bane. The Bane sent huge armies of undead to attack the city every few years. The Bane didn’t seem to have any particular goal beyond getting more corpses to make more undead to attack the city to make corpses. It may have wanted control of the Dythalid pool, but the pattern of the attacks were never aimed at that area or any specific area of the city.  Recently the Bane was defeated by the exiled members of the Alliance. King Mero III planned to reward them, but ordered them to leave the city when he discovered that the exiles weclomed an undead in their midst.

Prior to the defeat of the Bane, the mages and clerics of Mars’ Oasis had been thinking of different tactics for driving the undead off for centuries. The most basic tactic is using lots and lots of clerics to turn and destroy the undead. The most effective tactic the mages have created so far is the Rot Reaver. It is a monster that eats and controls undead. It is a little on the black side of magic, but it was seen as necessary to fight the thousands of undead that attacked the city.  With the defeat of the Bane, the mages of Mars’ Oasis are now tweaking their Rot Reavers to prepare for a conflict with the Dragovinians.

Other dangers that threaten the city include lamias, manticores, dragonnes, basilisks, sphinxes, hyenas, giant insects, braxats, dune stalkers, sun giants, asabis, brown dragons, stingers, harssafs, witchknives, and all different kinds of lizards. These creatures never attack in large groups and are usually just one rogue monster that has got the suicidal idea that it can attack an extremely militaristic civilization on its own and survive.

Mars’ Oasis’s army has 3,500 people on active duty patrolling the city, making weapons and armor, and out in the desert killing any monsters they can find. The men are all able to turn undead due totheir clerical or paladin training. They all wear at least breastplate armor and carry masterwork bows and weapons. All of them are trained for killing undead and desert monsters. Their other equipment includes a bead of dryness to store water, cold weapons, potions of healing, holy water, and an oil of gentle repose to be applied immediately upon death to prevent being turned into a zombie or other undead monster.

The name of the city, Mars’ Oasis, comes half from the oasis and the other half from Mars, the Roman version of Ares. In 700 BCE he led a group of Roman soldiers to the dark side of the world and then back around. They fought many orcs, goblins, monsters, and demons on their journey. Ares gave the Romans peace at the end of the journey in his Oasis. Out of the fires of the desert a lake arose with many desert nymphs to become the legionnaires’ wives. From those Romans and nymphs the indigenous humanoid population of the desert has sprung.

With the war between the Alliance and Xoria, Mars’ Oasis is suffering under a constant barrage of diplomats requesting that they enter the war with the Aliiance.  This is due to Mars’ Oasis unique experience in defeating dragons and undead of which Dragovinians are a hybrid. Until now, Mars’ Oasis declined to join the war. The milieu of threats within the desert kept the Mars’ Oasis army busy enough without having to deal with threats outside their immediate region. The situation is about to change though. The Alliance exiles vanquished the Bane and recently slew Bavastatner. Additionally, they negotiated a peace treaty with the formians. Removing the three primary threats to Mars’ Oasis frees them up to join the war against Xoria.

-GoCorral

Jord

Jord

Jord is a city for the common hill Dwarves of Cimmeria. It holds a community of over 36,000 Dwarves in its stone halls. The city proper lies beneath the confluence of the Cogardes River and the Delain Tribute. The city plan is dictated by the numerous grottos created by the rivers’ previous underground paths. The Dwarves expanded the original caverns to make a more livable and pleasant area for their daily activities. Conditions are ideal for the bearded folk, and a population of some 3,000 other races live above the city proper where the fertile soil is farmed and produce is sent below.

Jord is a royal city state ruled by a Dwarven king with all state powers focused in him. The king’s word is law and Dainlin, son of Doerlin, is the king. He has been for a hundred and fifty years. The main efforts of his reign have been in expanding mining operations and selling more metal to the Magical Lands and less to Xoria. He prefers to supply defenders in wars over offenders. In keeping with this policy, King Dainlin officially joined the Second Alliance against Xoria.

The city’s main exports are metals, stone, gems, and mushrooms. All types of metals are mined in the deep parts of Jord. Adamantite, zinc, iron, and copper veins all exist directly below the city. Mithral, gold, silver, and tin can be found at the Flower of the Deep mine to the northeast. The stone that is excavated is most often granite, but a large marble deposit exists close to the Flower of the Deep. Dainlin developed an expansion there a few years ago after eradicating the indigenous Drow population.

The mushrooms of Jord are grown with the advice and help of a large tribe of Myconid that live in the unworked caverns of the city. The small amount of Dwarven druids who live in the city assist the Myconid with magic and alter the fungus slightly to get all sorts of shapes, colors, and flavors. These odd delicacies are savored by the upper class in the Magical Lands. The Myconid circle leaders also make plenty of potions that are sold to the neighboring city states.

Jord’s alcohol supply is prodigious and almost matches that of Satronwook. Most of the grain alcohol is made on the farms above the caverns, but wine has to be imported. Luckily Dwarves aren’t fans of sissy wine, so not much is needed. They do need to import honey for mead though. Acquiring a colony of giant bees is one of Dainlin’s unexplored projects.

Jord’s military power was and is strong because almost every citizen is ready to arm themselves at the drop of a hat. Every person has a suit of armor and a weapon and most have magical, masterwork, or special material arms and armor. The police force of the city reports to Dainlin directly. The militia is well-equipped and well prepared with potions of cure and other things for every conceivable domestic disaster. 2,000 Dwarves participated in the defense of Phoenix and were captured when the Alliance abandoned the city. Rather than suffer a second defeat by bankrupting themselves to ransom the soldiers, the Alliance let the Xorians keep them. The Dwarves have been put to work as slaves, rebuilding the shattered defenses of Phoenix.

Jord is home to the third largest museum in the world, with only those of Troy and Damascus being bigger. It’s most famous exhibit is the mausoleum of dwarves, where all the renowned bearded folk hope to be laid to rest. Jovy, the human pirate and founder of Lordodo, is present at the mausoleum. He was given an honorary place there as “his beard rivaled that of any dwarf.” The museum holds many fine pieces of art, a gem collection, and a few minor artifacts.

Many changes have come to Jord since the city joined the Alliance. The city has focused on the exportation of weapons and armor to the other Alliance cities to the exclusion of Dainlin’s other pet projects. The capture of the Dwarven army has put an additional emotional strain on the citizens of Jord. They have pleaded with the King to defy the Alliance’s decree to not ransom prisoners. While Dainlin wishes to do just that, he will not as long as the Alliance forbids it.

In addition to the capture of the Dwarven army, the Battle of Phoenix also allowed for the recovery of the Fierce Axe of Dwarvish Lords. This Axe symbolizes the unity of all four Dwarf races, Hill, Mountain, Deep, and Duergar. The Axe instigated a Kingsmoot where all four Dwarven Kings gathered at Highhold in the Terror Mountains. The four kings agreed that King Torngar of the Mountain Dwarves would rule as High King as long as the entire Dwarven race joined in the war against Xoria. The Dwarven war machine has now begun to turn in earnest and will soon strike back at the Xorians.

-GoCorral

Dradelden

Dradelden

Dradelden was a colony established by the Amazons of Pontus around 800 BC and later became the last remnant of their country when the Persians successfully invaded. Since the Attic War the Amazons have been led by their strongest warrior until her death, at which point a tournament is held. The winner is declared the new ruler of the Amazons. This tradition held true even after the Amazons joined the Xorian Empire when King Jevaninada I married Queen Anajakaze. After the death of the married pair, Jevaninada II respected the tradition, but with the condition that the queen who succeeded his mother be made a Dragovinian. The new queen, Ashabodai, ruled for several years until she was slain at the battle of Phoenix. In the next tournament the council of the Amazons forbade Dragovinian Amazons from competing. The winner and new Amazon queen, Jittehalong, still nominally holds power in Dradelden, but she is forced to take orders from Jevaninada’s subordinates.

Dradelden is famous for the horses that are bred here. After the death of Achilles his horses, Balius and Xanthus, were captured by Paris. Upon Paris’s death they were left unattended in his palace stable until an Amazon, Anathilea, who had escaped the battle with the Achaeans, snuck in and liberated them for herself. The horses would have rebelled against her had they not know she was related to Penthesilea, the one woman Achilles’ loved. All the fine horses in the Dradelden stables are descended from those first two studs.

The excellent stables of Dradelden improved their stock of horses through selective breeding until a godly zenith was reached with no room for improvement. At that point new blood had to be called in. A group of Amazons were sent to the Whitewood Forest to capture some of the unicorns that are known to dwell there. Enough were brought back to breed with all the best horses of the Dradelden stables. Now the city has some of the smartest, fastest, and strongest horses known to humankind. Another oddity of interbreeding the unicorns with horses was unaligned unicorns. The common unicorn is white and values goodness and a few magical beast experts speak of black unicorns that value evil. The professional horse breeders at the Dradelden stables have managed to breed unicorns of any alignment and color.

Despite its vassalage to Xoria, Dradelden has kept a strong and unique warrior tradition. Every girl child that survives to the age of six is taken from her parents to a female agoge. All these girls are taught mathematics, poetry, and gymnastics from a young age. Once they are deemed ready by their teachers the girls learn how to use swords, spears, axes, bows, and any other weapon imaginable in combination with a shield. Most of the graduates of the weapon academy choose to use the weapon of Penthesilea, a two-handed battleaxe. Under the original terms of vassalage to Xoria the soldiers trained at Dradelden were not required to serve in Xoria’s main army, but could choose to defend only Dradelden. This remains technically true, but the Amazons must also obey their queen, who has ordered them to continue serving in Xoria’s main army. Many suspect that Queen Jittehalong has been threatened by King Jevaninada II.

As one would guess, because the women of the city are becoming soldiers and leaders the men take the backseat in society traditionally filled by women. Growing food, serving the upper class, caring for the horses, and the variety of other menial tasks required to keep a city going are all performed by men. The only semi-high class job that men are allowed to do in the city is slave trading. This is upsetting to outsiders used to a patriarchal society and confrontations between Queen Jittehalong and Xorian dignitaries have grown in frequency since she took office.

There are many farms around Dradelden that the city relies upon for food. They grow the grains and root vegetables that keep Dradelden’s citizens’ bellies full. Lately more and more of the food has been sent away from the city to feed the soldiers in Eastern Cimmeria. This has put a strain on the city, which only twenty years ago had a famine due to an arsonist burning half the town’s crops.

In the Second Alliance War the Amazons were initially led by Queen Ashabodai in the battles around Phoenix and subsequent siege. During the Battle of Phoenix, Ashabodai was killed by Logan the warlock during the Battle of Phoenix. After the battle two tournaments were held to decide who the next queen should be, one in Dradelden and one in the warcamp outside Phoenix. A human won the Dradelden tournament and a Dragovinian won the Phoenix tournament. The two champions faced off to determine who would rule the Amazons and the Dradelden champion won. Jittehalong was crowned Queen of the Amazons. While she remains loyal to the Xorians, she is clearly irritated that she must take commands from male Dragovinians. Every offer to turn her into a Dragovinian is refused.

-GoCorral

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 25

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 24

Boom! Navillus is back! There’s also some more recent history with the Night of a Thousand Kings where Hrotomak is unseated, replaced by the mercenary, Jizero, and other stuff in the Upper Maw. Someone finally stands up to the Grez at Bronze Port. Not much for me to add on this one beyond that. In the future I’m hoping that Jizero and his descendants will do something cool in a campaign. Or really anything from the Night of a Thousand Kings. Pretty much anybody can claim the Najar throne now and I’d love to have an adventure centered around people scrabbling for little bits of power related to that. Oh, and of course the Blockade finally ends in this post.

730 NA: In the ruins of Prestounasi the Leaguers rebuilt. From the ruins of the old the city was reborn, New Prestounasi. As Prestounasi was rebuilt more Hykman workers completed construction on the Hobgoblin city of Vassal at the site of Nanatok as well. Meanwhile, more forces were conscripted in Hykma, fueling the growing militocracy. The Rana continued to expand the Shanties, having reached Domicilius, they continued to grow between there and The Hearth.

731 NA: In Balkus, the Bastards of the Tattered Book eyed Proaxium hungrily. They raised a fleet and sailed to the island, raiding the city. Knowing the cost of slaying the Humans on the island to be immense, the Bastards left them mostly alone (aside from plundering their belongings). But the Metal Dwarves… some were certainly killed, but the majority were sold into slavery and scattered about the world. The raid a success, the Bastards sailed away.

The Merfolk horrified at what the Blockade caused, apologized profusely to the Dwarves. The Merfolk lifted the Blockade. They took over management and protection of Proaxium with Dwarven blessings and the great institution was restored to its former state. With the new knowledge available at their fingertips the Merfolk researched military submarines. Submarine fleets were constructed in Drolfo’s Cove and Cyflenwi with a regular fleet to match in New Tortuga.

The Grez ice expanded onto the Hearthland continent.

732 NA: The Grez froze the northern area of Hearthland including Bronze Port and Tylraniria. Then they sent all their armies at Bronze Port. The Hero and the skeletons joined the attack. The city fell to the onslaught of undead. The Grez sent a short message to the Metal Dwarves, “Your decadence is your undoing.”

733 NA: The Metal Dwarves called for help from their brothers on the Upper Maw, but the call went unanswered. King Hrotomak had other concerns on his mind. Najar was undefended and ripe for the taking. Seeking the Imperial throne King Hrotomak took his armies from Cynelle and Syluk and marched on Najar. As the core of defenders were at Bronze Port, Hrotomak captured the city easily. The men went through the city finding vast treasures that the Grez left untouched. They city was devoid of any living being. All the Humans, frozen so long ago, had either decayed or animated to join the invasion of Bronze Port.

King Hrotomak came upon the old throne room. He sat upon the chair and found it to his liking. Behind the royal chair was a curtain that covered a thin volcanic shaft. The shaft went down, down, down, to the heart of the dead mountain. When Hrotomak thought he was alone in the room he heard soft whispers coming from behind him, welcoming him.

734 NA: Hrotomak’s victory was short lived. Reinforcements arrived from the cities of Cynelle, Alixria, and Alrdia, singing the praises of the King of the Red Peaks. These praises became damnations as the reinforcements turned upon the celebrating Dwarven armies. The ensuing battle was ruthless; the Najarns stormed the throne room and cut down King Hrotomak the Conqueror. His “unified” nation separated and devoured itself. The Night of a Thousand Kings descended on Najar, as lords and laymen, both Human and Dwarf, laid claim to the seat at Navillus’ feet and were in turn cut down by friend and foe alike. A terrible laughter seemed to echo through the city, up out of the deep crypts.

The heart of the fiery mountain in Najar began to beat once more. Throughout the world the children of Old Najar, whose blood ran thick with ancient oaths sworn by their ancestors at the feet of the Black Prince, felt that ominous beating beneath their skin and in their very souls. The Dark Lord had returned.

The Night of a Thousand Kings ended with Mercenary Captain Jierzo sitting upon the Red Throne. King Hrotomak’s son, Tenzomak, escaped to Syluk. The old city-states of Najar devolved to fighting amongst themselves as they did when Najar fell to the Hero and the Grez.

Although the Metal Dwarves’ call for aid to the Empire Dwarves went unanswered, there was a different power that cared very much about the trade route that the Grez interrupted. The Frugal Profiteers sent out messengers and their mercenary armies assembled at Tylaniria.

The isolationist Dwarves, when threatened, reacted quickly. A massive force was assembled in the depths of the Tiers and then poured out across the icy desert, to Bronze Port. The Profiteers, communicating with magic, moved at the same time across the ice between the cities. The Dwarves slammed their hammers upon their shields outside the cold gates of Bronze Port, proclaiming the land as still theirs. The Dwarves and mercenaries sustained many losses, but the Grez were defeated and forced to flee from the city, back to Reesrevoton.

-GoCorral

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 26

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

People should post books they read on Instagram instead of food they eat.
People should post books they read on Instagram instead of food they eat.

I finished reading a book called The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro that my step-mom had gotten me. I’m going to be delivering some spoilers about the book in this post, so be forewarned. If you’re interested in Kazuo Ishiguro’s writing or King Arthur stuff I’d recommend you finish the book on your own before reading this post.

The book is set a generation or so after King Arthur, when all his knights are getting old or dead.

The book follows the journey of a married couple, Axl and Beatrice, who are traveling to their son’s village.

A mist covers England clouding people’s memories. People forget things after the simplest of distractions. Old memories are difficult or impossible to recall. And the problem affects everyone.

The memory mist springs from a dragon and it becomes the quest of Axl, Beatrice, and a few people they meet on their journey to slay the dragon.

The dragon slaying is all fine and good and I loved reading those parts. It may not be a traditional King Arthur tale, but I love reading new takes on old things and it hit a home run in being a King Arthur story.

What bothered me about the book is what has bothered me about a lot of books, the ending is sad.

I remember a conversation I had with my dad when I was in high school. I asked him, “Why do modern stories have bad endings? Ancient stories always have the good guys killing the bad guys and everyone living happily ever after. Like King Arthur.”

My dad said something along the lines of, “Modern stories have bad endings because they’re more real. Fairy tales like King Arthur are fine for kids, but grownups like stories that are real, that they can relate to. It’s cathartic.”

That answer was good enough for me back then, but I’ve done some more thinking on it since.

First, bad endings are not solely the province of modern stories. Oedipus Rex is a perfect example of an ancient story with a horrible ending. Romeo and Juliet is based off the Greek myth of Pyramus and Thisbe. The Iliad has a powerful ending, but no one really gets what they want. Hector is still dead and Achilles still feels empty.

The second thing I realized is that it isn’t so much the sadness that makes stories feel real. You can’t just have something bad happen to someone and expect people to start feeling empathy for that character.

No. What makes stories real is having characters on both sides of a conflict who could both be described as good.

The Greek myths are perfect examples once again. Achilles is the hero of the Iliad, but so is Hector. They’re both great admirable people (at least to the Greeks. I don’t think someone with the epithet, “the Mankiller,” would be very popular today),

They’re both heroes in the story, but they have antithetical goals. One must die for the story to reach resolution. And that’s what makes it sad.

The conflict doesn’t always need to end in death and the characters don’t always need to be diametrically opposed, but ultimately the “villain” of an adult story must have real motivations for what they are doing. And most real motivations are fundamentally good. People do things to help themselves or the people they care about, not because they want to hurt other people (sadists are exempt).

An easier separation between what I’ve called good and bad endings in the past would be children’s stories and adult stories.

Stories need to be simplified for children which can mean having a villain who is just villainous for no good reason (Jafar, The Star Wars Emperor, Mordred from King Arthur, etc.).

But back to The Buried Giant!

Early on in the book Axl and Beatrice encounter a woman who tells them about a mysterious island that is clearly some sort of allegory for Heaven.

It’s said that you can live on the island and never see the other people living there.

Only a couple that is truly in love will be able to interact with each other on the island.

A couple’s truly in love status is tested by the boatman who brings people to the island. He asks couples a series of individual questions before permitting them to travel together.

The woman that Axl and Beatrice meet describes that happening to her and her husband. They answered the questions and then the boatman said the water was too rough to bring them to the island at the same time.

Thinking she would get to see her husband on the next boat, she said, “Fine,” and her husband went first.

When the boatman came back he informed the wife that she had failed the questions and that she would not be seeing her husband on the island. She left in a rage and wandered England before eventually telling her story to Axl and Beatrice.

Our protagonist couple talk about the island constantly. They are concerned that they won’t be able to answer questions about their love for each other if the dragon’s memory mist prevents them from remembering why they originally fell in love.

In the final chapter of the book they talk to the boatman. The boatman talks to Beatrice first and then to Axl. We only hear Axl’s conversation.

The boatman is very casual and brings up a fight that Axl had with Beatrice once. Axl explains the fight, but is suspicious that he and Beatrice will be denied joint entrance to “Island Heaven” if he tells the whle truth (the reader never learns the whole truth).

The boatman agrees to take them both to the island. Axl hops in the boat with Beatrice.

And then the boatman says, “I can’t take you both at the same time. The weather is too bad.”

Axl’s face darkens. He knows he failed the questions, but he doesn’t want to say goodbye to his wife. He stays in the boat.

Beatrice tells Axl she’ll be fine. They can just meet when the boatman brings the next boat.

Not wanting to upset his wife, Axl gets out of the boat and trudges towards shore.

And the book freaking ends there.

I understand that sad endings are sometimes more realistic, but this felt more like the author screwing with me.

Couldn’t they have been allowed to go together? Couldn’t we have learned a few more specifics about what Axl and Beatrice fought about long ago?

Nope! Ishiguro does the smart thing. If you have questions that don’t need answering in a story, then don’t answer them. People will come up with their own answers and those will always satisfy the readers more than anything you can come up with.

So does the boatman come back and take Axl to be with Beatrice? It’s possible, but my own answer to that question was, “No.”

And that’s a sad ending.

-GoCorral

The Longest Ride Movie Review

Another movie that my wife and I saw together (Oh my God! He never writes movie reviews!).

Unlike Cinderella this movie had the level of passion I’ve come to expect from romance movies.

The Longest Ride is another Nicholas Sparks book turned to a movie. It seems like he and Stephen King get every single one of their books optioned into a movie script.

If you’ve seen The Notebook this is more of what that movie offered. It even has a story within a story like The Notebook.

The Longest Ride starts by establishing a budding relationship between Sophia, aspiring art student, and Luke, professional bull rider.

On the way home from their first date at a secluded lake Luke and Sophia spot a crashed car off the side of the road. They pull an old man from the wreckage. He’s a bit out of it, but he has enough sense to ask them to save a box from the backseat of the car.

They rush him to the hospital. Somewhere in there Sophia tells Luke that she’s moving to New York for an art internship in two months and she’s not sure she wants a serious relationship.

They get the man to the hospital and Luke leaves. Sophia stays and opens the box to find dozens of letters written by the rescued man, Ira, to his wife, Ruth.

When Ira awakes, Sophia tells him she read one of the letters and he asks her to read the rest to him as his eyesight no longer allows him to read them to himself (Ruth is dead and can’t read them to him either).

From there the movie tells two parallel storylines of the romance between Ira and Ruth and the romance between Luke and Sophia.

Luke and Sophia have the drama of Sophia’s plan to move to New York, Luke’s persistence in bull riding even after a serious injury, and the culture clash between their two worlds.

Ira and Ruth are two Jews that escaped Nazi Europe and fall in love in the USA. Ira joins the army to fight the Nazis and sustains an injury that sterilizes him. The main conflict in that story is Ira’s inability to have children and Ruth’s desire to fill that void anyway she can.

Both the stories are fun in their own way and while one segment is going on I started to develop a thirst to find out what was happening in the other segment.

If you’ve seen one Nicholas Sparks movie you’ve seen them all. You probably already know exactly what’s going to happen in this movie. My wife and I happen to like Nicholas Sparks movies, so I’d definitely recommend this to anyone else who enjoyed other adaptions of his work.

-GoCorral