Monday, May 31, 2010
Just a quick rant. The Pink Panther 2. Seriously? Not only is it an atrocity to have someone else besides the iconic and inimitable Peter Sellers play Inspector Clouseau on screen (regardless of the actor and/or talent in the role*), they have the gall to simply tack on a 2? The original (or, no, rather the real series of films) had fun titles: Return of the Pink Panther... Revenge of the Pink Panther... Not that I think they should have used one of those, but how about ANYTHING besides a lame 2? (Not to mention letting the series alone in the first place.)
Just the other day Josiecat told me she remembers a movie called Another Cinderella Story and complained at the lack of creativity and effort.
I do long for the days when sequential story titles were creative. Not that it doesn't happen now, but it's a rare flick that comes along that isn't just 2. Often they have subtitles. Which begs the question why it needs the 2.
Okay, rant over.
*Granted, Alan Arkin and Roger Moore also played Clouseau, But there's a stipulation for each. Arkin's version hadn't been in the "series" with Pink Panther in the title and didn't feature the same characters. Moore had a cameo with the character having undergone plastic surgery. Certainly these aren't part of the Pink Pantheon of Clouseau and no offense, but who remembers them? They're certainly not in the best-loved and cherished list.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Let me present a paradox: The novel and the film are the same, but altogether different.
It’s as if they are telling the same story two different ways. I had expected the book to be unlike the movie (or vice-versa), but I didn’t realize so much of it had been changed in the adaptation. To be clear, the basic idea of each is identical. Computers are being used as a form of psychiatric treatment by way of the DC Mini, a device that allows therapists to access (that is to say record and enter) patients’ dreams. The device is stolen and used to drive some people insane (by projecting the dreams of a schizophrenic onto their pscyhe) and ultimately unforeseen-ly merging dreams and reality. It’s up to those who created the device to ascertain who pilfered and abused them and then set things right. That’s the nutshell. How that concept plays out, though, turns out to be not the same at all.
The main difference, as I see it, comes in that the film version of Paprika presents itself as a mystery. The characters don’t know who is behind the theft and are thrown on some red herrings (albeit related to the actual misdeeds) along the way. In the book, it’s easy to see 'whodunit.' No, it’s not because I knew so from the film. The novel flat out states who is responsible. And the characters guess immediately, too. I have to say I missed not knowing what in the hell is going on along with the characters.
Another big difference is that part of the central focus of the movie is really only a bit scene in the book. In the film, it’s amplified to a delightfully sickening proportion and keeps re-occurring (as per the driving force of the plot.) The “scene” is the Parade. I kept waiting for it to show up. I’d gotten nearly all the way through the book and it didn’t even have a line of it. Then, finally, a parade is mentioned, but it’s not at all like the movie. And it has no bearing on the plot in the book, other than being one of the manifestations of dreams combining with the real world. Rather curious, since it factors into the very fabric of the film. (I'd mentioned to others such as Josiecat and Buttercup who love the movie along with me and they, too, couldn't fathom how the Parade could not be in the book.)
I found that many, many characters and events are taken out for the movie. In my other post I had said that the background and traits of a character in the book belonged to someone entirely else in the movie. I suspected, however, that the movie’s guy would show up in the book, as the plot sort of dictates that he must. (He’s an investigating policeman.) Well, I’m happy that I’d been right. Konakawa did show up in the book and does in fact play a very important role. In the movie, though, he’d been combined with the other guy for the purpose of simplification. I’d suspected that. And yes, this pared down combo works quite well.
Yet another character changes nearly completely. In the film Inui is the Chairman and confined to a power-chair. In the book his personality is the same but he's not the biggest cheese nor is he crippled. (Yes, the change is justified as per the movie's particular plotline.)
I would sigh with relief each time a part of the movie appeared in the novel. Like the creepy 32-foot Japanese doll. Yup, it’s in both of them. Other specific parts of the book are in the movie, too. Whether it be the state/condition of a character’s room, Paprika’s outfit, a particular pose or a fact about the way the DC Mini devices are utilized, it had been a joy to see how small bits of the book made its way into the film.
Yet so much of the movie is not in the book. And vice-versa. The wonderful visual imagery of the film, especially the crazed dream sequences like the rippling hallway, Paprika floating around on a cloud, the roots of a tree acting as tentacles – none of these are described in the book. Instead it treats us to a whole host of other bizarre dream sequences and odd manifestations. In a way, it had been a joy. More outlandish places where Paprika and friends roam! Plus the book gives a lot more backstory (but of course) as well as a different driving force of the scientists being up for the Nobel Prize.
In the post about finding and starting to read the book I wrote: A place that exists via the internet and dreams, so to speak, in the film turns out to be a real place (in what we deem reality) in the book. Well, that never changes…not really. When I got to the end of the book, I saw where filmmaker Satoshi Kon obtained the notion to make the alteration…and thus another “satisfying connection” between the two arose. Actually, that happened quite bit - a sort of "A-ha! connection" creatively reconfigured from an event or idea from the book.
What really threw me for a loop, however, is that my two absolute favorite parts of the movie do not appear in the book. Well, again, not exactly.
At the very beginning of the movie, Paprika is shown moving in, through and about pictures. In a dream-like way, she uses billboards, video screens and such to ‘travel’ around the city. She can also manipulate reality to an extent. Absorbing herself into paintings and the like occurs throughout the movie. Nope, it's not in the book. However, seeing where this idea came from is very easy. In the novel, the therapists can become “immersed” into the dream they are watching on-screen and the concept of those monitoring the dream talking to those dreaming via a billboard depiction does happen in the book. And then, during all the turmoil of the climax, someone does indeed stick arms into a TV screen and pull someone else out. So again, it’s not exactly alien to the book. But using it as a constant, as an actual entering and a mode of travel happens only in the film.
My absolute favorite part in the movie is... well, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice to say it throws you for a loop when watched and later allows a very great (but simple) line. It’s just wonderful. And… it’s not in the book. If it is at all, it’s merely a suggestion of a hint of whisper misheard.
So, all in all, both are very enjoyable. But I prefer the tweaks of the movie. And I am not alone. For in the extra content on the disc, author Tsutsui says of the very part of the movie that had been my favorite: It’s not in the novel, but I thought it a great idea and I immediately wished I had put it in my book. The thing is it would have been overly complex in print. I would have been too afraid it could confuse my readers. It’s something that really takes advantage of the cinematic format. He may be right about it not working in print, I’m not sure. I’m just glad that the bit is well-loved by him, too.
I’d watched the extra/documentary content on the disc when I first saw the movie years ago, and I retained some of what had been there. For instance, I knew the author had liked the movie. I just didn’t recall specifics. So as I read the novel, seeing the resemblance and discord merging like the dreams and reality of the movie, I felt better about being confused, upset or disenchanted at having liked the movie a wee bit better.
What I (re)learned from re-watching all of them, however, is that the goal had never been to be exactly faithful to the book. Yasutaka Tsutsui said: Regurgitating the novel is boring. Also: I like it. The story is very simplified in the movie. I think it makes the story more forceful… I felt the core concepts of my story were very solid so I wasn’t worried about how loosely it was adapted…Because he left his imagination run wild, it became a visually stunning film.
Ah, okay. So the author wanted to see “another take” on his own story. Well, that is indeed what he received. As he said, the core remains. When thinking of both the book and the movie as story only, the tracks align pretty well. But the train cars running on them and their schedules are almost all from another station.
The reasons behind me being attracted to and so partiuclarly moved or inspired by this story, however, resonate much better in the movie. And a great deal has to do with what’s revealed in that cherished part. The one that Yasutaka Tsutsui had wished he’d put in the book.
So we’re left with two versions of the same story. Would my opinion have been different if I’d read the book first? I guess I’ll never know. Either way, I’m thrilled to have entered the fantasy realm of the tale of Paprika. Twice - like one in reality and one in a dream.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Before I do so, however, I'm happy to say that Peter Pan's plan of vengeful mischief is underway... and the characters have been more than helpful in providing the sundry details.
Which brings me to my convoluted statements above. I'd just been composing more of this book and came to another chapter's end. However, parts of it are missing. (As I mentioned in another post, I'd skipped a few chunks here and there in order to write the bits I'd a current passion to see on the page.) Since the chapter had not technically been done, then, I decided to go back and fill in the gap. First, though, I needed to refer back to Barrie, taking another peek at some facts in Peter and Wendy. Once I had what I needed, I returned to my novel. As I did so, sure enough, I'd "heard" from my fictional friends who let me know what to put into the story. One of the bits of advice in particular made me quite pleased. It just seemed like a great idea. Not only did it tie in bits of Barrie, but also a snippet from Peter Pan's NeverWorld as well. So I typed out a note of what the fairy added. But guess what. I'd already had that very idea in the notes that acted for a placeholder for the missing scene!
It's moments like these that shine when writing. It truly seems as if some other realm is indeed being accessed. Perhaps there is "something else" going on... or else I am just that scatter-brained. ;) Thank goodness for the notes, eh?
Either way, it never ceases to be magical. And it's a great reassurance that I probably do indeed "have it right."
Okay... back to writing...
Monday, May 24, 2010
The thing is, I'd been told by many that it's a bad idea.
Are you ready for Napoleon Dynamite: The Series?
The thought of it being animated crossed my mind, but truthfully I had wanted it as live action. Of course, live action is not entirely feasible and animation makes a great deal more sense. Fortunately, most (if not all) of the original actors will be reprising their roles.
Why did I think a Napoleon Dynamite show to be a good idea? Simply because I wanted to know more about the characters. Specifically the minor ones, like Trisha and her parents. Episodes of this wacky town would allow for expansion of all facets of it. I'm hoping the creators see the potential to develop their other oddballs, too.
When the ads for the movie aired, I had asked, "WHO on EARTH would ever go SEE that?" I'll be honest. It looked stupid. But then there'd been the great fan base that sprang up for it. Still, I'm not always a fan of what's popular, so I still had decided I need not bother. However, my friend Lemonie and best friend Laughter asked me if I'd seen it. They sang its praises. I thought perhaps I'd just been missing something, that whatever had been great about the movie didn't show through in the ads. Fortunately, this had just been about the time of the re-release with the added ending. So Bart and I went to see it. I'm happy to say I'd been grossly wrong. We adored the movie. I loved everything about it. From its subtle humor to its compelling characters and quirky lines. I've now seen it quite a few times. And when I show it to people who have not seen it, I warn them and apologize in advance. Of/for what? The fact that it makes me laugh. A lot. That they'll be wondering what's so damn funny when nothing funny seems to be happening. But I can't help it. For instance, when Napoleon is standing there waiting for the bus. There's just something hysterical about his very presence there. Hats off to Jon Heder for that. Maybe it's partially due to the fact that I can generally identify with Napoleon. I'm not that strange, no. But I certainly hear my own drum like him.
And so, I found myself wanting more. But a sequel just wouldn't work, that's for sure. Hence, my thinking a TV show would be good.
I, for one, am very glad they're doing it. It's got my vote.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Universal Studios theme park in Japan has an attraction/show based on Peter Pan.
I bet it's a lot of fun.
I can just imagine the splendor of the starry sky featured in Disney's ride of Pirates of the Caribbean in a setting of the Neverland with Pan flying all about. It's only 25 minutes long, so it's not like a re-do of the play. But that's just enough time for a grand battle with Hook.
What I find curious, though, is that if this image from the website is to be believed, it doesn't look anything like the Universal movie. (Universal Stuidos partnered with both Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios for the only film version of Peter Pan.) Perhaps I'm wrong, but aren't the attractions meant to "replicate" the movies on which they're based? It's possible that since it's a joint venture now appearing at just one studio they had to make changes. Or maybe this is just a promotional piece made before the fact, so to speak. (At least it the hook is on the correct hand and Pan's in leaves!)
Meanwhile, Peter Pan is still bringing me tidbits that I need to fill in that "adventure" he's gotten himself involved with...or, to be more accurate, stirs up himself. So hooray for that. It uses a few things from elsewhere in the Betwixt-and-Between story, too, and that's always good. I'll keep listening to him and writing it down...
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Fortunately, though, the boy hasn't held it against me. Perhaps his splotchty memory didn't even register I'd been gone. That section I said I'd be skipping for now...? He's given me some of the very details I needed as soon as came back to the story and re-acclimated myself to what I had on the page.
Looks like I'll be skipping back to it. And yes, I am rather pleased with what he told me of his "mischievous plan."
(Besides being an author.)
Their work has been rejected numerous times, of course…
often with nasty remarks.
This is simultaneously disheartening, encouraging, hilarious and sad. Take a gander at what’s been said of many classics and/or their writers.
Rejections of 30 Famous Writers
I already knew such "atrocities" occurred often, but it's good to remember during the process of submitting my work (as I am now.)
Monday, May 17, 2010
So you know that "phenomenon" of two film houses making the same movie? Such as the two upcoming Treasure Island flicks? Well, it's happened again.
It seems that both Disney and Fox are having a go at the Jules Verne classic
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The low down on Disney's:
It's actually been in development hell for a while. You know the drill, bouncing around directors and stars attached, budget concerns, script rewrites/polishing, etc. Word had been that they wanted to take a spin on it (imagine!) and present more of a backstory for Captain Nemo. Reportedly at one time played by Will Smith. Well, none of that (it would seem) is true now. It's on track again with an adjusted budget, new director David Fincher and a new script to be written by Scott J. Burns. I'm hoping for more of a straightforward approach.
The low down on Fox's:
How about a semi-straightforward approach? That's how Fox will plunging the Nautilus. Though said to follow the story's structure, it may take place in the future. I'm neither keen on this idea nor soured by it. Depends, naturally, on how it turns out. No director has been set, but the script is by Travis Beacham, co-writer of the remake of Clash of the Titans. Let's hope he's the one who wrote the few good bits scattered around that movie.
Looks like I'll have to read it again. If memory serves, I think I read an abridged copy as a kid. I've got plenty of time... neither have even begun filming.
And for the record, I have fond memories of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at Walt Disney World. I'd been there at age 13. I'll tell ya'... what a genuine thrill to enter the Nautilus, see the Lost City of Atlantis, mermaids and be crushed by a giant squid for "real!" Bravo to the Disney Imagineers who came up with that one! Sadly, though, that ride has been replaced with a Finding Nemo attraction. Don't get me wrong. I loved Finding Nemo. Granted, I have not been on its ride, but I somehow suspect that I'd much perfer the Jules Verne adaptation. And I sincerely hope that people note the twisted appropriateness of the replacement. Indeed, the Captain has left those waters.
Just trickled into a website devoted to the lost ride: Submerge!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
As I indicated in this post and here, I'm quite enthralled with the movie Paprika. Back at the time of the posts, I'd shared it with other people. One apologized when next I saw her. For she didn't bring the movie on account of she needed to watch it again. No one I've shown it to disliked this film.
At that time, the book on which the movie is based had been unavailable. I'd have been amazingly lucky to find even a copy in the original Japanese. Not that I can read Japanese anyway.
Lately, I've had a resurgence of Paprika. Having heard about it from me and Banky, Josiecat wanted to see it. (I'd shown it to Banky a long while back.) Josiecat immediately wanted to see it again. I can still hear her saying "amazing." She said the next day she told everyone about how cool the movie is and that they need to see it. Naturally, then, Buttercup heard about it from Josiecat, and, yes, Buttercup watched it, too. Same effect. Both the animation and the story, loved undeniably. Even with me a veteran of it, I still made new discoveries. Josiecat has since seen it again. She wants to be Parika for Halloween.
Well, it prompted me to seek the book once more. Lo and behold, a new English translation recently-ish came out in the UK. Need I say that I sent for it? It hath arrived. Imagine my excitement to read it - the basis of that magnificent movie. From the DVD "extras" I learned the author adores the film, saying the film reduces his book down to its essence while making the story its own. In other words a good adaptation. Most of the people who've written reviews agree it's a faithful rendition, and that the book enriches the whole experience.
I usually read in transit, so I'll post again when I'm through for sure. So far, I am quite happy. It's wonderful to see how the film has rearranged the material. I've already noticed what a great job it does with character's relationships with and opinions of other characters which the author can do with words. There are two "Aw, shucks!" though. A place that exists via the internet and dreams, so to speak, in the film turns out to be a real place (in what we deem reality) in the book. Also, the backstory of one of the characters from the film belongs to a different character in the book, one that does not appear in the movie. I'm only a few chapters into it, so these may yet reconcile with the film. My guess is that the movie character is in the book, but has been combined with another to simplify the tale.
I'll find out, guaranteed.
Oh - there is now a waiting list among my friends for my book.
*Note: The movie Paprika is not for everyone. It's certainly not a kid's movie. It does contain nudity, but not gratuitously (believe me I wouldn't like it so much if it were) and it also has many disturbing images. So before you rush out to rent it, make sure you can handle the oddities of anime.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Truth be told, I wish I could have experienced the story without knowing it already. For as I've said, it's a marvelously faithful adaptation. One of the better book-to-screen transfers out there. Yet it would have been nice not to know the identity of the "man in black" or what the great plan for storming the castle would be. Even though I adore all the actors and their performances, I could not help but use their faces and voices while reading the book so I couldn't really form my own perceptions. Fortunately it's all wrapped up in a little more info and background than the movie is able to give, so it did have a freshness as well.
There are a couple of changes in the film which I think work much better than the original story. Both come at the end. Don't worry, the book and film have very similar endings. For all intents and purposes it plays out to the same effect. But it seems that having a chance to revisit it, some new ideas came to Goldman. For one, when Westly is lying on the bed after being mostly dead he does not have the powerful moment of standing up as he does in the film. Also in the film, Westly suggests to Inigo that he'd make a good Dread Pirate Roberts - but not in the book. I'm glad these changes were made, as each moment is much more effective and logical.
Thank you, William Goldman, for your work. It's truly remarkable and we're so glad it had not been inconceivable.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Apparently some parts of the world (United Kingdom, I'd imagine!) were treated to this heading for Google this past Sunday, to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Sir J.M. Barrie's birth.
I really like how it's as if the Lost Boys are about to watch a makeshift theatrical production. And the hook as an "O" is neat. But alas, they've got Tinker Bell glowing green and Wendy is obviously Disney-influenced.
So glad they did "celebrate" it, though! It would seem an awful shame not to...
Monday, May 10, 2010
Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between.
In two ways.
First, after I complete these next couple of scenes, I’m going to jump ahead in my story and write a later scene next. Not uncommon for me. I’m most passionate about seeing certain bits and really don’t want to wait any longer. The section before it will require more thought and planning – and a little listening to the characters – to get it right. It’s the part where Peter Pan devises his great plan (just to have a little fun) and while I know key elements and the outcome, I just don’t want to delve into the details at this time. Right now I’m too focused on the scenes afterward. I’ve been looking at them in notes form far too long.
Second, I had said in an earlier post that I might have changed my opinion on an aspect of the Peter Pan story. The idea switch does not affect the contents of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld thank goodness. But it would have made a difference in this novel. Well, it doesn’t really matter anyway, since I’m skipping it. As it turns out, it had been something I might be able to work in… and although I thought I had a place for it, it really doesn’t add anything to the story. Since it’s in danger of convoluting it, it’s getting the axe. Besides, I don’t think I want to “clear up” that particular mystery of Barrie’s. This novel already fills in many gaps. So what’s my opinion now of this aspect of Pan? I suppose I lean toward what I might have written for this novel, but I still have doubts. Obviously if I answer it fully, it will come in another book.
*You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. Chapter 3: Come Away, Come Away! - Peter and Wendy
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Not only is it
but it's also the
150 Anniversaryof the birth of Sir J.M. Barrie.
Given his history with his own mother as well as the way mothers are so integral not only to his most well known story of Peter Pan, but in all his work as well, it's quite a staggering coincidence. How perfectly lovely that the calendar should conspire for this synchronization!
She went from bed to bed singing enchantments over them, and little Michael flung his arms round her. “Mother,” he cried, “I’m glad of you.”
Thursday, May 6, 2010
So, yes, it’s coming along rather well. In fact, I’m pleased that with each “re-evaluation” and each scene/chapter done, it shapes up to be an even better story. Let’s hope my ‘test readers’ think so, too.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Come on, Jeopardy!!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
It showed up "by magic" on this date in 1912.
It's a little more special for me now that I have seen it in person. When I mentioned it today, Bart reminisced about the (literal) joy and wonder of having it appear suddenly just around the bend. After walking for hours in the Gardens, soaking in their beauty, wham, there it is unexpectedly. It's an astounding piece of work. Wonderful sculpture indeed. But just not quite "Pan." I've said it before in my other posts.
96 Years Ago Today...
Bravo to writer Wesley Strick [as well as the other screenwriter Eric Heisserer] and director Samuel Bayer and the entire cast, crew and F/X crew. Thank you for a great time at the theater.
As you probably know by now, most of the time I'm rolling my eyes at remakes. But I've also said that sometimes it's warranted, and I said A Nightmare on Elm Street remake would be one of the few good choices. This new version is a true "reboot."