The predictable isnt on the list of things that writer-director George Miller has been dubbed during the past 40 years of his career. The man who directed the gleefully nasty Mad Max movies including 2015's iconic action comedy Mad Max: Fury Road also directed the deeply odd family-movie sequel Babe: Pig in the City, the Oscar-nominated historical drama Lorenzos Oil.
While these films may vary in tone and focus, it may be simpler to take them all as a single body of work by considering that theyre all fables. Some are directed more towards children, others more towards adults, but in all cases, Millers stories are about mythical quests and the individuals who are using them to find themselves.
The Djinn in the Nightingales Eye, adapted by A.S. Byatts' 1994 short story, is a modern-day scholar who accidentally frees a bottled djinn (Idris Elba), who regales her with three millennia of his adventures, loves, and losses, in stark contrast to the furiousness of Fury Road's restrained excess and practical effects.
Alithea, who is completely unprepared, gets her first glimpse at the djinn, who has a bit of difficulty adapting to the size of 21st-century hotel rooms.
Apart from the Alitheas name change, the scene is a very literal Byatts words in the story:
And out of the bottle in her hands came a high-pitched buzzing sound and smelled of woodsmoke, cinnamon, and was it genuine, of something that might have been incense, but was, and flew out of the bathroom in a great paisley or comma, I am seeing things, said Dr. Perholt, and she found she could not follow. The bathroom door was slammed with what she slowly made out to be an enormous foot, a foot
The foot began to change shape. It swelled briefly and then it widened a bit, so that Gillian might have gotten round it, but decided it would be safer not to. It was now the size of a large armchair, and was drawn back, still diminishing, so that Gillian could follow.
Miller leaves out the part Byatt goes on to describe, about how the massive djinn, folded uncomfortably into her bedroom, is wearing a short robe that does not cover his genitals. Or how, as he shrinks down a bit at a time to fit on her bed, he leaves his junk until the last, so at one point hes almost hidden behind the mound of his private parts, which he then shrank and tucked away. It was
Three Thousand Years of Longing will be released on August 26.