Friday, November 17, 2006

One Night With the King--and the Rooster(s)


Last night Papa Rooster and I went to visit "Grandpa Rooster" (thanks, Mary, for coining that term for me) at the hospital. He was still pretty out of it, but able to crack a few jokes while we were there--a good sign!

After visiting him, we went to see the movie One Night With the King, based on the story of Esther in the Bible. It came this close, we thought, to being a really good movie. The story line and pacing were good, the characters were appealing, and the love scenes were handled extraordinarily well, we thought, with enough sensual appeal to be realistic, while showing nothing more than a kiss.

However. Something was lacking in the cinematography and production quality. Some of the camera angles and sweeping panoramic shots from above felt gimmicky, when they were meant to feel majestic. There were a few too many long shots with tiny CGI (computer generated image) people. There were several points where the camera came in suddenly closer to a subject's face just as there was a crash in the music, then closer still with the next crash, and then (predictably, by now) with the next. There were a few close-ups that were just too close.

As for the acting, we both thought that the performance of the actress who played Esther was "uneven." She was certainly lovely, and at times very appealing as a character, but at other times, she needed a bit more direction. The King was better, but not always quite on. (And a bit too greasy, the Makeup Chairperson in my head thought.) But--John Rhys-Davies was wonderful, as you'd expect, as Mordecai, and John Noble was a dislikable villain as the Prince of the Medes. James Callis, who played Hamaan, was fabulous in that difficult role, and Omar Sharif was exceptional, as always. But our hearts applauded most of all the performance of Tommy "Tiny" Lister as the 6'7" Royal Eunuch and master of the harem. He was amazing, and one reason we will definitely watch this movie again.

And we will. In fact, we'll buy it for our family when it comes out on DVD. And I recommend that others go see it in theaters, certainly to support this kind of an effort, but also because...it's a good story.

Papa Rooster knew that I'd want to see it. Esther is one of my favorite books of the Bible because it reads like a great novel with amazing plot twists, ironic turns and unlikely heroes. In fact, I think it would make a great musical. There is intrigue, military potential (swordfighting), lots of great masculine roles, and can't you imagine a silly song and dance number with all the "candidates" in bathrobes, facial masks and curlers?

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Hen,

I'm so glad you did a review of this movie. I had heard spots for it on the radio, but they sounded kind of soap-opera-y, so I wasn't sure if it would be a movie I would want to see. I love queen Esther's story too. Maybe I will get hubby to take me.

blessings,
Jenny

Anonymous said...

I blogged about a hen today. I imagine you like that sort of thing.