Mini Reviews of The Weather Underground, The Good Earth movie, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Rob and Biz of Trumpy Productions have been having fun reviewing books and movies, so I decided to defend the honor of tdaxp and do both. To begin

The Weather Underground


The 70s were sick. Sick. I had to look up many of the claims of this documentary because they seemed so improbable. I’m a pretty knowledgeable guy, but the America of the 1970s is hardly the America I know.

For instance, from the documentary I learned this (verified from Wikipedia)

For a fee paid by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Weathermen smuggled Leary and his wife Rosemary Woodruff Leary out of the United States and into Algeria. The couple’s plan to take refuge with the Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver failed after Cleaver attempted to hold Leary hostage.

Me: *stupified disgust*

The Weather Underground is an excellent documentary of the terrorist successor to Students for a Democratic Society. It is an impeccable documentary of a great nation in crisis.

The Good Earth


Pearl S. Buck’s trilogy on the House of Wang – The Good Earth, Sons, and A House Divided – are some of the best books I have ever read. Coming in, I knew The Good Earth movie covered basically the first half of the first book, or the story of the marriage of Lung and O-Lan.

Movies rarely can capture the spirit of a movie. Contact did. The Fountainhead did. But could The Good Earth, a movie adaption of a book that still brings tears to my eyes?

Yes. While some characters have bee shifted — Lung’s sons are now The Tiger from Sons and Yuan from A House Divided — the relationship structure has been carefully maintained. Scenes which modern Hollywood might shy away from, such as the fate of Lung’s second daughter, are directly adapted from the book. O-Lan’s absolute loves, Lung’s touching simplicity, the conniving uncle, and all the rest are there.

When my father and I watch The Godfather together, he will always point out some minor scene and explain how much more meaningful it is in the book. Because of time, the same thing happens in The Good Earth. Off-hand comments and actions remain, largely divorced from their contexts.

Still, in spite of production troubles, The Good Earth succeeds at what no other movie I have watched has not: it does not overwhelm the book. My memories of the novels Contact and The Fountainhead are permanently colored by the movie adaptions. The Good Earthmovie allows me to remember the book as it always is.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


I still have The Silver Chair and The Last Battle to go, but so far The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the best Narnia book ever written.

Everything previous Narnia books do well, Voyage does better.

  • The Magician’s Nephew is funny? Voyage is hilarious.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is fantastic? Voyage is amazing.
  • A House and His Boy is a journey? Voyage is an Odyssey.
  • Prince Caspian is serious? Voyage is adult.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a meditation on death, told through a naval voyage by Caspian & Co to discover the fate of seven exiled Lords. Government corruption, cannibalism, horror, and the end of the world are all touched on. No stronger Narnia book has been written.

All three works – The Weather Underground, The Good Earth, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – get perfect scores from tdaxp