Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Never Never World.
Originally Barrie had another “never” listed for the name:
Never, Never, Never Land.
One too many? Barrie thought so, too, eventually.
In one of his many revisions to the play, it became just the two. Then, when it came time for the novel, he not only dropped one of the two but eliminated the space. The Neverland. Barrie preferred the book, so it seems a safe assumption that he preferred this name for the magical isle as well. However, his screenplay written about a decade later once again calls it Never, Never Land. Thus, he did not entirely abandon the moniker. Therefore, both are correct, depending on how silly you’re feeling at the time.
I chose to label the planet simply NeverWorld to remain consistent with the novel, as I continued the story in book form. Oh sure, I used a pinch or so from the play and a little more from Barrie’s unused screenplay. But I didn’t see the need for the extra “Never” in front of World. World is capitalized to help differentiate the new home as well as a nod to the original upper case of Land. In this way it is different, and the same.
In my yet-to-be-completed interquel Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between, I make a joke, of sorts, out of Never-Never-Never Land. Peter frustrates the fairies by becoming fixated on the repetition. “Isn’t one Never as much as anyone needs?”
So, if you’re feeling particularly verbose or better yet, silly… go ahead and say
Never Never World. But, technically, it’s “less correct.”
UPDATE: Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between is now availabe in paperback and e-book.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Descartes Variation #3
cogito ergo vos es.
("I think therefore you is.")
This one comes from the Terry Gilliam movie The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. It's spoken by the King of the Moon, who is under the delusion that he created all things...nay, is STILL creating all things. (And yes, I know it should be "you are" but hey, it's a quote and I already told you the King is crazy. [Loony, even.])
Old Saying, New Twist I
Old Saying, New Twist II
Old Saying, New Twist III
Old Saying, New Twist IV
Old Saying, New Twist IV.ii
Friday, March 27, 2009
Matthijs and I are hard at work with the very smart team at Strike on the prequel. We are all so much in love with Carpenter’s film, so protective of it, we’re doing all we can to avoid stepping on its toes. I jumped at this job because I hold the Carpenter adaptation to very high standards, and I knew it would be a challenge to create a comparable companion piece. Sort of a “Nobody better screw this up, especially me” mentality. Lucky for me, the people at Strike and the director have the same standards.
- quoted from his blog.
Bravo, sir! I salute and share your dedication to the craft. Can't wait to see the new pieces!
He's also the guy who penned the new go around for A Nightmare on Elm Street. Sweet.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The novel I’m currently writing has just passed the point of no return. Okay, I just wanted to sound dramatic. All that means is I’ve completed the “big” chapter. Now comes the aftermath of the event before the big payoff, so to speak. Darn this “sequential” writing I’ve gotten myself into… it will be nice when I can skip around again in time.
The trailer for Where the Wild Things Are has shown up on the internet.
Oh. My thoughts? Looks pretty good, but I didn’t get wrapped up in it, I must admit. Perhaps it didn’t get packaged quite right? After all, a trailer can do wonders. Three cases in point: The original trailer to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder depicted it as lifeless, pointless and dull. (Watch it. IMDB does not have the original. It's on the DVD.) No justice to the movie in the least. The trailer for Superman Returns had me drooling for it to come out - only to discover it belongs in the “Wish-I’d-Never-Wasted-My-Time” category. Bravo to whoever concocted that trailer for they worked a miracle. And then there’s the famous re-cut of The Shining, which proves that you can make a movie look like anything! So…no, I am not disappointed by Where the Wild Things Are, but it could have been a little more engaging. Let’s hope it’s of the Wonka variety.
Our opera season has come to an end. Last night Bart and I attended The Abduction from the Seraglio, a Mozart work. Perhaps you remember it from Amadeus. It’s the one with “too many notes.” But that certainly did not seem the case. Another memorable masterpiece of sublime aural and visual delight. Bravi, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bravi! We were all saying what a fantastic season it has been. Not one of the productions left anything to be desired. And some rarities, too!
It also proved a twinge bit sad, as it soon became time to bid farewell to our opera friends. Doesn’t that sound pretentious? Well, it’s really not. I just mean the wonderful people who sit around us. We’ve become quite fond of each other, catching up on our lives in the minutes before our mutual love of opera begins. And we discuss the pieces at intermission and afterward, too. But for the most part, we only see them perhaps once a month, actually, more like every month and a half. An odd relationship, but one I wouldn’t trade. Fortunately, we plan to get together with a few of them after London, so we’ll have even more to talk about (at their request.) We also have been out to dinner a couple of times with our usher. If you met her, you’d want to have dinner with her, too. She wants to hear all about London as well.
And I once again want it to be Monday. Thanks, Heroes!
All right…I’m sure I have something I should be doing…
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Peter Pan at
Kensington Gardens site.
How much more excited can I be?
Monday, March 23, 2009
But how high did he have to fly?
Which two counted in all the floors?
Saturday, March 21, 2009
It’s reported that Thor will feature some other characters from the Marvel Universe as well. At first this upset me, but then I remembered: I had already deemed the same crossover technique quite cool in their other movies. (Granted, I have not seem many of them, as superheroes have worn on me of late.) Thus, how could I be miffed about them creating the very inter-connectivity of their comic books onto the silver screen? I can’t. Then I realized what actually made me sad. The only aspect of the movie I looked forward to had been the Norse mythology. You might recall I’m quite eager to see a big-budget well-crafted film using the Norse epics. So, I shall ride along, seeing how it plays out.
On the other side of the coin is a movie I had rolled my eyes at when I first heard of its forthcoming. A remake of The Thing. No no…don’t roll your eyes just yet. It’s not really a remake. It’s along the lines of a “quel” as I describe in this post. The opening scene in John Carpenter’s wonderful horror flick is being expanded. We know the Kurt Russell character and his camp had an adventure, but it begins with people from another camp. Thus, the new movie is their story. A prequel, but not quite. A gaiden adventure, nonetheless. If they tackle it with care and have a good script – just might work.
And, as if you couldn’t tell, the new poster for Where the Wild Things Are is here. The trailer is coming very soon. I’ll post a link when I can.
So… to recap: hopes dashed, an eyebrow raised and the wild things escape.
UPDATE: I've posted the trailer in Lil' Updates...
Friday, March 20, 2009
The book they discuss: Peter Pan, of course. I found myself delighted with the discussion. The panelists (Jennifer Byrne - Host, Bob Carr, Marieke Hardy, Judith Lucy, Jason Steger) range from Ms. Hardy who thought she knew the story to Mr. Carr who only read it as a child. It's a treat to see the full range of approach to the tale. To watch them playfully but sincerely scratch the surface and dig way beyond to discover the complex magic of Barrie's genius is wonderful. But don't take my word for it... let them tell you.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Why isn't there a movie of
in Kensington Gardens?
Wouldn't it look great either in traditional animation or CGI?
Just imagine it - done in the style of Arthur Rackham.
I vote YES.
(If one does exist, I have never come across it in my studies/pursuits.)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
She started up with a cry, and saw the boy, and somehow she knew at once that he was Peter Pan. If you or I or Wendy had been there we should have seen that he was very like Mrs. Darling’s kiss... ...Mrs. Darling screamed, and, as if in answer to a bell, the door opened, and Nana entered, returned from her evening out. She growled and sprang at the boy, who leapt lightly through the window.
- Sir J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy
The above is one of my favorite scenes from the novel of Peter Pan. Often in fantasy, children are the only ones who experience the supernormal. But here, Barrie specifically tells us that Mrs. Mary Darling saw Peter Pan. We also know that she had been aware of his existence. At first Mrs. Darling did not know, but after thinking back into her childhood she just remembered a Peter Pan who was said to live with the fairies. There were odd stories about him... It's understandable, then, why she would scream. Oh sure, who wouldn't when confronted with a leaf-clad boy suddenly in the room at night? But I don't think that is the entire reason for her crying out. Just imagine it. There, before you, is a childhood story come true. And I don't mean in the sense of Peter Pan as it is a story in our world such as on stage, in a book or on film. Within the world of Barrie, those don't exist. Yet stories are passed down about the little boy who wouldn't grow up. She had believed in him at the time, but now that she was married and full of sense she quite doubted whether there was any such person. Pan's a legend. Thus, it must have been quite a rush of conflicting emotions seeing him.
The scene is both in the play and not. In Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, Mary has a scene in which she catches sight of a boy at the window. Later she tells her husband George. He dismisses the notion. She goes on, saying how she had seen him before and proceeds to describe the events of the above excerpt.
I don't know about you, but I am fascinated by this part of the novel. With more freedom in a book, Barrie chose to include it as an actual event, rather than a recount by Mary. What a thrilling danger element it brings to the story. Without a doubt, we are shown there is a Peter Pan. And he is stalking the house. The "threat" is real. Would you want to be in Mary Darling's tumbling mindset as she leaves the house on that fateful Friday? I think not. Poor dear!
Yet I have never actually seen her nursery encounter on screen.
In the silent movie, Mary definitely sees him at the window. We watch her startled reaction. She then relates his previous visit to George. But it is not shown. Granted, it could be because the movie is primarily the play. However, the novel version had been around for 13 years. Since the media of film would have allowed the cut-to, it could have been done. Not a complaint, just an observation. Kudos for her unmistakably noticing Pan in any visual capacity.
The same cannot be said of the famed Mary Martin version. Yes, Mrs. Darling has her obligatory lines about seeing the boy, but we are not shown anything.
In the Cathy Rigby production, the face at the window scene is also cut to merely a mention.
P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan circumnavigates the issue. He has reworked the beginning of the tale, mostly by removing many of the events leading up to and incuding the nursery medicine scene. Though I would have liked to have seen the medicine, the film works quite well here as it is. The "threat" and veracity of Pan's existence is shown, as we can see him lurking, watching, from outside. Actually, part of 'Mary in the nursery' is in this movie. For Hogan rewrites the encounter as happening to Wendy. (If you've seen the movie, you'll understand why.) It's rather clever, though, allowing us to actually witness the catching of him and his shadow. So I got to see what I wanted "real-ized" in part. And nicely done. I must say, however, that I believe Hogan would have brought to life Mary Darling in the nursery alone with Peter Pan scene perfectly.
Disney also shifts the scene to Wendy. We do not see or hear anything about his visit or shadow until just before Mr. and Mrs. Darling leave. Wendy requests that she not shut the window and then explains. Mrs. Darling is noticeably disturbed and worried. She mentions it to George on the way out. And thus is all that we see of Mrs. Darling relating to these events. As for her belief in him, it opens saying Mrs. Darling believes Peter Pan is the spirit of youth. Which is then differentiated from John and Michael, who thought Peter Pan to be a real person. Her anxious face and gestures as she leaves just might prove she recalls. Next, Disney does include Peter Pan lurking on the roof. He appropriately appears quite devilish at first. And yet, Disney's can be interpreted as having been Wendy's dream.
I'm just reflecting on a very powerful scene, remarking that it has never truly been shown. It's a shame, since it's quite stirring.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I shake my head in bamboozled admiration. I am in awe of the ability to create such vignettes. You see, my short stories leave a lot to be desired. At least I think they do. It’s not that I am entirely dissatisfied with my pieces, but I feel they are noticeably lacking aspects I observe in others’ pieces.
I believe I am most intrigued by the ability to tightly cram a world into a handful of pages. Since I am prone to novels, it amazes me that a story environment can be paradoxically discarded and brought to life in quips. Of course, the descriptions will vary from story to story and author to author, but nevertheless, the knack to compactly include setting is most impressive.
Next is the poignancy which can be instilled in such a short amount of space. The “punch” of a short story, whether it be vague understanding leading to great pontification or sharp recognition of a common condition eloquently stated is also a notable achievement.
I suppose it’s not surprising that my writing efforts wind up on the longer side. I’ve been called “Prologue Boy” by my friends. And sure, I’ve had to concoct short stories for classes, taught the basics. But wouldn’t you know that I’ve wanted to expand some of them?
So I will leave short stories to those who have the wherewithal to write them.
(And no, the picture is not what I am reading.)
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Do you feel guilty if you don’t finish reading a book?
For the most part I do. Maybe it’s just the author in me, but I feel like I owe to it a fellow writer to read the whole story. Maybe the good (or better) part is just around the corner? Then again, I’ve stuck with some and never felt the satisfaction I’d hoped to find. (No, I can’t think of any examples.)
However, a librarian friend of mine (whose blog "for a change" is listed in the sidebar) told me how silly it is to continue reading a book that is not being enjoyed. Too many other books to read, she said. Why waste time? I can see this argument, certainly.
So I’m sometimes in a mild “moral” dilemma. Do I owe it to other writers to complete their tale? Or can I put it down without regret? And if I do put it down, how do I know that it won’t “pick up” just on the next page?
I can only think of one book that I gladly put down with no intention of returning to it. No offense to the author. I rather liked some of the book. It’s just that he didn’t provide enough of that storyline for me. It’s a pretty common premise: boy apprentice to a wizard. However, this boy, to the wizard’s amazement and incredulity, employs a different form/procedure of magic than is known to the wizard. Meanwhile, a large ship is found and on board is a sword of unknown metal and craftsmanship. It seems invaders are coming from another dimension. This type of novel is normally right up my alley. However, the other half of it related the shenanigans of the princess and the men who loved her and the rest of the palace court. I did not so much like them. Any of them. I suffered through their scenes, wishing and longing for the boy to return soon. Eventually, he burst away in a puff of color. Yes, you read that right. “Oh great,” thought I with rolling eyes. The next bit…yep, the princess. I skimmed ahead to see when I’d get to hear about the kid again. I skimmed further…further…but no, he didn’t show up for the rest of the book! I then realized it to be a series. From the tiny summaries I learned he would not return until one or two books ahead. I still had a good third of the novel left to read. All featuring the characters I did not care a whit about and had become a chore to read. So, I simply said “No.” And I’ve never regretted it.
How about you? Do you feel you “have to” finish a book?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I have to admit I have not yet perused the full transcript, but I certainly plan to do so. Mystery Man very nicely (and thoroughly it seems) summarizes the historical meeting of the minds. He even has some concept art. I especially enjoyed reading that they did not so much abandon ideas as factor them in to later stories/films, like what “sort” of woman with which to pair Indy.
So go ahead and take a trip into the birth of a legend…
The “Raiders” Story Conference by Mystery Man
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Descartes Variation #2
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum.
(I think I think therefore I think I am.)
It's not just comedic. In reference to character, it makes sense. I've spoken before about characters taking on a life of their own and "telling" the story. Think of it in terms of fictional people. They think they think, too. (I think.) What, do you think?
Old Saying, New Twist I
Old Saying, New Twist II
Old Saying, New Twist III
Old Saying, New Twist IV
Old Saying, New Twist IV.iii
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Ever see him depicted with pointed ears? Sure you have…Disney, for one.
But does Pan in fact have this fairy-like trait?
As with the flying pirate ship and living shadow, the idea is rather charming. But as usual, I’m concerned whether the charm can hold up against what is actually written.
Peter Pan is a special boy, no question. But he is a boy, no question. In other words, he is a human child. A human child that had once been a bird, sure. But according to Barrie’s work, we all began that way. What makes Peter special is sincerely forgetting he’d become a boy, then flying back to Kensington Gardens. Once there, he’s told by Solomon Caw that he’s a Betwixt-and-Between. Neither boy nor bird.
Birds don’t have pointed ears. (In fact, birds don’t have readily visible ears.) So it cannot be his avian nature which produces the trait. And little boys don’t, normally. Hence they do not exist within Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.
As for the text of Peter and Wendy, aside from insisting that Peter Pan is prone to putting his hand up to his ear to listen more intently, Barrie says nothing about his ears.
The story of Peter Pan and Wendy began on stage. But, the original batch of stage productions did not present Pan with elvish ears either.
Thus, it seems Disney is the first appearance.
Also note that neither TV series Fox’s Peter Pan & the Pirates nor Peter Pan no Bōken make him elfin.
Fox’s no Bōken
Given Barrie’s other somewhat cryptic details about Pan, it stands to reason that he’d have mentioned something as noticeable as elvish auditory appendages.
Friday, March 6, 2009
J. Michael Straczynski had this to say:
Meanwhile, on a wholly different note…not of triumph but of annoyance….because so much of the Forbidden Planet screenplay was leaked out, Warners and I have decided to chuck the screenplay in its entirety and start over. This is the direct result of the leaks that showed up on the nets, including detailed script reviews of a project that was barely a week old, and which would effectively destroy any anticipation of the movie because by the time it finally reached the screen in 2010 or thereabouts, the story would be old news. So we're starting fresh, and we're going to keep a tight lid on the script this
So to the sites that say, "Where's the harm, it's not like they're gonna toss out the script because we blew the contents of same all over the nets," well, yes, that's exactly what it's like, and it's precisely your responsibility that a year's worth of work was destroyed.
So we start anew, with the determined hope that the next draft will be even better, and far more secure, than the last one.
Let’s hope it’s for the better, eh? Come on now, InterWeb Info Stalkers, don’t cause another delay. I really want to see this movie!
Another remake with merit is A Nightmare on Elm Street. I spoke about this one briefly in this post. It’s rapidly becoming more than a dream project. The director (Samuel Bayer), script (Wesley Strick) and location (right here in Chicago!) are set. I read a little about the changes to this one. Just enough to whet my appetite, unlike those who have to devour the whole feast like FP. Elm Street is being “updated.” That can be a dirty word sometimes. Or at least hackneyed. But in this case it seems they are using their heads. For instance, in this day and age of instant access to info, it stands to reason that the likes of an event such as your parents as teenagers taking down a child molester/killer would not be a hushed up secret to the Elm Street kids. In other words, they might as well just look it up instead of dragging the riddles of the past out of their parents. One of the kids will now have a podcast. Sounds about right. Bring it on. [Currently April 16, 2010]
And the other horror remake which I guess I am on the fence about, but holding slight hopes for is Hellraiser. Recently, Gary Tunnicliffe took a stab at a redesign of Pinhead, the head honcho Cenobite. I didn’t think he did too bad a job. No, I didn’t love it, but I could “see” it. Apparently, I had been dead wrong. Hellraiser creator Clive Barker spoke out about it, citing his reasons why the new version entirely missed the point of the character. And having heard him explain, it became clear what part of it didn’t sit right. I’m not going to outline it here (nor is there a picture) for this character, his visage and details are certainly not for the faint of heart. Quite horrific. If you’re interested, it’s out there in the ‘net. I just rather enjoyed an author saying, ‘Nope. That’s not my character.’ Let’s hope they find a suitable re-design. (Or maybe Pinhead should remain the same? [It should be noted that Tunnicliffe had stated that Pinhead did not need reinvented but tried it for the sheer challenge.])
Lastly, Heroes will be back for another season after Fugitives.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
No, not that one, not yet.
I’m talking about Heroes.
You might recall from these posts that I had acquired a severe disdain for the declining quality and storyline during the Heroes: Villains arc. Fortunately, the show began to redeem itself and by the end of it my fondness returned. I had also read that the writers had a meeting to discern what went wrong and how to fix it. The article outlining the issues can be found here.
Well, their summation of the problems proved correct. All the characters are no longer squeezed into every episode, allowing for better and deeper character and situation development. The characters are people we care about with real problems (who just so happen to have extraordinary abilities) once again. The heart of the show has returned.
Is it the absolute greatest? Well, no. But I’m entertained. When it’s Tuesday or Wednesday and I’m already wishing Monday would arrive, then the magic has definitely returned.
Bravo Tim Kring and associates! Perhaps I should also give a good deal of credit to Bryan Fuller, who returned to Heroes after his offbeat and wonderful Pushing Daisies had been pushed off the air.
And for those of you who are thinking “But they keep repeating certain elements” (such as some kind of agency rounding up people with powers) I say, yes, that’s a valid point. But the way I see it, it’s an aspect of Time itself. Certain scenarios will always happen, no matter how much future and past travelling (or illustrations) done. Think of Time as a house. There are certain support beams that cannot be removed or the structure will fall. You can move from room to room, build extensions or remodel and redecorate each one, but eventually walking past the major structure will occur…again. Time will always try and repair itself, just like Claire.
(Now just bring Hiro and Ando back to an episode - they’ve been gone from the screen too long. And let’s hope Hiro can restore his power. [I think I know how to do it!] The “heroes” will need it/him!)
Monday, March 2, 2009
He taught some of us to read and others to play
His sense of wonder proved enough for us all
And his wisdom is known by the short and the tall
It’s a nice dose of laughter which this doctor prescribes
And each chuckle is a powerful lesson cloaked in disguise
Whether tackling Capitalism, Racism or the Polluted
His creations are sheer genius - it cannot be refuted
His drawings are zany, askew and bizarre
And we all love them just as they are
Many don’t realize he made political cartoons, too
As well as for advertising - look it up, it’s true
Thank you, Theodore Geisel, for the imagination you shared
You’re a true gem, an inspiration, a man who obviously cared
Look here! It’s Google! Look how it’s unfurled
Celebrating this day when he came into the world
And if you’d not seen “In Search of Dr. Seuss” when it aired on TV
Make sure that you do, I recommend it highly - and it’s on DVD
One last side note I would like to mention, if I may
The year of his birth is also the premiere of the play*
*Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up