Saturday, May 01, 2010

It's a beautiful day!

It could not be more gorgeous outside. Southern California smog is nowhere to be seen, the air is clean and there's a light breeze blowing. The mountains are clearly visible all around my home. Snow still clings to the tops, a nice reminder it's still spring and summer is a ways off yet. I took my dog for a long walk this morning and didn't want to come back. It's one of those days that just begs me to be out in it.

One of the questions in Millie and Kate's brilliantly evil asthmatic survey was about your favorite setting. I'd answered basically anything outdoors. I've been thinking about it since, because of how important this is to me in movies. I crave outdoor beauty, and movies are a place I look for that. Westerns are my favorite film genre, and a big part of that is the scenery. The Alabama Hills, Red Rock Canyon, Arizona, Montana, Utah... As long as there's wide-open spaces and not a city in sight, I couldn't be happier.

It's not just Westerns that boast the grand vistas, but a lot of adventure movies, most fantasy films, etc. One of my childhood favorites was The Island at the Top of the World (1974). I know this movie's effects may be dated by today's standards, but I still love this movie. A search for a lost son leads to a hidden island in the Arctic where a settlement of lost Vikings still live. This film captured my imagination when I was a wee thing, and it still sucks me in, because I still crave places like those shown in the film. From the exquisite matte shots shown in the opening credits:

I'm hooked. I want to go there so badly it hurts. I could just pause the dvd there and get lost in that shot. Outdoor beauty, the wonder and joy it brings, is a necessary ingredient to my happiness. I often will recall beautiful movie scenery (whether a real place, a matte shot, or a computer generated image) years after I've seen a movie more than the movie itself, mostly because it evokes such a strong emotional response in me, and those are the feelings that stick with me.

And besides beautiful scenery, a fun plot, Vikings, whales, and volcanoes, The Island at the Top of the World has the Hyperion... the coolest dirigible ever put on film!

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