TV Diary: everything I watched on 25/3/05

Zatoichi is covered in the Blind fighters post below. A very good movie.

Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas: An odd mix of animation styles, making some parts look as if they are in different realms of reality, which is sometimes apposite and sometimes just looks messy. It’s also an odd mix of new elements, bits from the classic stories and swipes from Homer, and has almost no trace of its Middle Eastern origins. Mostly it’s nowhere near as exciting as it wants to be.

The Simpsons: the one where Homer writes a song about how he hates Flanders. I generally like to resist the binary old Simpsons good, new Simpsons rubbish line, but this is very poor. A rotten guest-shot from David Byrne. I like the line “We could do Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus Village?” “And fight the crowds?” They head for a ranch instead, and Lisa does her PC thing, but has no interest at all in the horses, which is out of character. A couple of good gags, but a bad episode.

Girl With A Pearl Earring: precious little happens, and I guess the book has loads of stuff going on in the mind of Scarlett’s character, but instead here almost every word is treated as Portentous. She doesn’t get much to do, and it’s pretty inconsequential, so she works hard on her performance, but I don’t think it achieves much, and Mr Darcy is no use at all, of course. It does look quite nice, but this seems like very empty filmmaking to me, trappings of artistry substituting for substance. Possibly not helped by being quiet, and me therefore hearing out of tune karaoke from the pub below me.

WWE Smackdown: This is at present all about building up for Wrestlemania next month. It’s almost the only patch in the year when the writers seem to be concentrating, these days. I enjoy the simple things: Big Show lifting a 300-pound opponent above his head, by the throat, with one hand, and smashing him down. Girl With A Pearl Earring could have used something like that. Another highlight is a debate between the WWE champ and the #1 contender – heavyweight stuff, though only in the literal sense, of course.

Smilla’s Sense Of Snow: the book had its flaws, mostly to do with the gradual deterioration of the plot in the latter parts, but a bit of action adventure and spectacle probably plays better on screen than in type. I’d watched Ormond playing Guinevere yesterday, and this is clearly a far meatier role, and she handles it well. I don’t think it does a great job of capturing the sundry other characters, though, despite some good actors like Jim Broadbent, Richard Harris. A major one is Gabriel Byrne, which is a problem, as usual. It does the job very well, I think, though there is an obsessive mood that gets a bit lost.