Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I'd probably known about the comic, but admittedly I'd never read it. And when I'd seen news of its release, I also admit that I dismissed it as something I need not see... because I mistakenly thought it would be along the lines of a "little wannabe rock hero climbs his way to the top into that all-important big competition" story.
I have to say, I am the target audience. I haven't had that much fun laughing with a film in the theater since Napoleon Dynamite. A special shout-out to the Legend of Zelda references. (The use of the 'Fairy Fountain' song is priceless!)
It's not a hyperbole when I say that it instantly moved into my top five favorite films of all time.
Needless to say, the series of graphic novels it's based on is now on my Wish List.
UPDATE: I have since read the books. Here's the post: Scott Pilgrim vs...Scott Pilgrim?
Monday, August 30, 2010
I'll of course be revamping that back-burned novel whenever I wind up getting back to it so as to make it a little less exact... but then, some of the places and 'objects' are heavily woven into the story! Besides, I had wanted people to be able to visit these places themselves (if the spirit so moved them.)
Makes me wonder if it's better to create a fictionalized city like Jeremy Strache's "Chicago" or if the realism adds that extra believability. Seems like there's good reason for both ways.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
...and my, how it's even changed the very way we think.
I recently took note of an actor (Chris Evans) in a movie and thought to myself... Wow, this guy would be perfect for the role of Zihn in a movie adaptation of my novel Midnight Chaser. (Should such an occasion ever arise.)
There's just one thing. They'd need to use CGI to make him shorter/smaller. Isn't it wacky? That such a notion would occur to me... and delightfully worse still, that it is in fact possible!
Also, it's the little things... Even though I had seen him in a film or two, I hadn't pegged him as my character before.... not until he sported facial hair and had a certain flair to his attitude.
So a word to the wise in terms of casting... sometimes perfection needs a little tweaking.
And to be honest, no matter who winds up playing him one day, CGI work would have to be applied to match a particular facial feature or two anyway.
For the record, that's my personal "photo" of Zihn. See here for more.
Yet another unforeseen "whoa" of the 21st Century.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
This season promised: Same town. Big changes.
That had been a huge red flag for me. I had thought it to mean a gimmick or some ludicrous twists. I'm sure there are some who feel that they have treaded into that realm. But I'm happily watching. They did make some huge changes. In a nutshell, in the season opener five or so of the main characters accidentally went back back in time to the founding of Eureka (on the celebratory Founder's Day, no less) and when they managed to return, they found they'd altered their timeline a little. The statue of Archimedes is now bronze rather than marble. One of the characters is married and had not been before (and thus he doesn't have the memories of his times with his wife, or even know her!) A child who had autism no longer does. The geeky-fun character is now the head of Global Dynamics... that sort of thing. Like they said, big changes.
And they're handling them well. The problems that are created from such mix-ups are just enough to fuel some new episodes. Yet they also do feel stand-alone.
Oh - one of the men (the founder, in fact) came back to the future with them, which also helped create the variances in the timeline. And right now, that is tonight's episode, they're going to be playing one of my favorite Time Travel cards. Someone has figured out that he's not who he claims to be (as they set up/falsified documents to give an identity for him and explain his presence) and the reason they have -- well, they've been waiting a long time for him. As in, people from the past had to 'catch up' to him in the future.
I've said more than I imagined I would... but suffice to say I'm giving a BRAVO! to the Eureka's storyline this season. It's more than a gimmick and it's working out (and in) very nicely to create a great deal of fun.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Looking forward to more - and finding out the answers to the mystery of the old-tyme Mystery Incorporated! (I speak of a clue from Daphne's locket...)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Oh. Here's an addendum to the Thursday's post...
Another reason to love Johnny Test:
The boy is in cargo pants!
I love cargos, too. The chances of seeing me in something other than cargos are pretty damn slim. (Though I wear cargo jeans [as you can see in my cartoon self above], but I do like his green pants!)
I don't know about you, but I need my extra pockets. Pockets rule.
“And you could darn our clothes, and make pockets for us. None of us has any pockets.” How could she resist? - Peter and Wendy
No, Not Depp
TWOting a Horn
I'm Still a Test Subject
Thursday, August 19, 2010
But you know what? I so loved the first two movies of Narnia (tweaks and additions) that I trust them.
The last two times I thought they actually improved the book(s).
I still wish they could have had Jeremy Sumpter as Eustace Scrubb... but it's just as well, since he shot up rather tall before it went into production and thus became too big for Eustace. Of course, I'd wanted Sumpter as Caspian, too, but other than not having blonde hair, Ben Barnes is wonderful.
Bring on the voyage!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I've known about Peter Pan's First XI by Kevin Telfer for some time now.
But I've only recently gotten around to getting a copy.
I'm just reporting that I do have it... I have yet to read it.
I'm not so much in the mood for a non-fiction book.
It tells the tale of Sir J.M. Barrie's cricket team, the Allahakbarries. What's special about it other than being his and its nifty title? Well, the members of it, of course. It's a star-studded team of literary giants: A.A. Milne, P. G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome, Walter Raleigh and Arthur Conan Doyle to name a few.
I will get around to reading it... and I'll be sure to say what I think of it.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Allow me to go to Burton’s Alice once more. I’ll just be using it as an example for a moment. I find myself wondering about the previous history of the realm. Assuming that what the movie presents is true, I want to know more about the lives of Mirana of Marmoreal and Iracebeth of Crims (The White Queen and Red Queen respectively.) What of their childhood? I’m also curious about their parents. What had the land been like during their realm? At what point and why did the Red Queen move from chess pieces to playing cards? Also, why had Nivens McTwisp, the White Rabbit, entered into our realm in the first place? (i.e. when child Alice followed him down the first time)
So, then, when is enough actually enough?
My response would be it that it’s to be figured case by case. Of course, personal taste factors in as well. But it all boils down to story – is it worth telling… or is just knowing about it sufficient?
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The Night Visitors animated short is by Richard Ollive. Looking him up, I learned he also worked on Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Other credits include cult classic Heavy Metal and a (seemingly) lesser known Peanuts movie: It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown. I'd love for him to do more. Maybe he'd consider a faithful animated Peter and Wendy. ;)
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I've taken to saying "Fairfarren" as a salutation. I'd been getting bored with my usual "goodbye" words anyway. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton coined Fairfarren. It means "May you travel far under fair skies." It fits perfectly into the world(s) of Lewis Carroll.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
A theatre company, PuppeTyranny!, is doing an adaptation of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens this weekend in Philadelphia. Wish I could go out and see it. Puppetry, when done right, is quite effective. Here's a link to their site. I've got the image of it below, though, since it's likely to no longer show up in the future (as it is on an "upcoming" page.) I like that they say "forgotten prequel." And that there is a male fairy on his shoulder, who incidentally, looks (correctly!) mauve. I do have one question, though: Giant invisible goat? Umm...
Monday, August 9, 2010
He's an enigma, that's for sure.
Take this passage from Peter and Wendy, for instance:
Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze; but as those who read between the lines must already have guessed, he had been at a famous public school; and its traditions still clung to him like garments, with which indeed they are largely concerned.
Barrie gives us quite a bit of information about his pirate. We know he's the only man that Long John Silver feared. We know he served under Blackbeard. We know that school to be Eton. We're given a bunch of other sundry details. But as for his past and his real name? I bet you can believe I've tried to decipher the riddle. But every time a piece of the puzzle locks into place, another pops out. The identity of of Hook and his personal history is too convoluted, it would seem. I've pored over the details, but always come up short. Recently I had a revelation, one that I brought to the attention of Barrie guru Andrew Birkin. We discussed it a little bit, but even Birkin is unsure, or perhaps unable, maybe unwilling to hammer out the truth. And I don't blame him one bit.
I don't normally think about Hook. For most intents and purposes, he's dead to me. Since he met his demise in Peter and Wendy, I didn't have a need to over-explore him when writing Peter Pan's NeverWorld. Barrie gave me enough to remember and chew on with the rest of the characters, and a great deal of it has to do with the eternal boy alone.
I've often toyed with the idea of presenting the past of this infamous sea captain. But so far I've had no real need to do so. I've yet to come up with a compelling storyline or reason to compose such a history. And even if I did, I'd still be faced with the challenge of interlocking all the componets.
I do have hints of Hook in my interquel Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between. So, for those of you wondering (or expecting) to see the first encounter between the flying boy and a Hook with two hands, sorry to disappoint you, but no, he's not seen in that novel. Why? Because it's simply not that story. Captain Hook meeting Peter Pan (or vice-versa) is a tale that takes place after the events of the novel.
The other day, while referring back to Peter and Wendy in order to make revisons to PP:BaB, I re-read the exchange between John Darling and Peter Pan. A red flag went up and I shared the new-found dilemma with my #1 fan, Anon, who also thought it utterly curious. In a nutshell, John seems to know Hook by name and reputation, but not the fact of Pan cutting off his (fore)arm and that it became replaced with an iron claw. How is that possible if Hook is not his true name? I knew I'd be seeing Andrea Jones, author of Hook & Jill in a couple of days (at the time) so rather than type it to her online, I got to present it to her in person. It rattled her for a moment or three. But she came up with a solution mighty quick. A plausible one at that. (I don't think it's my palce to share it.) Thank goodness, though, since it really did plague me.
At any rate, I told her that I came to a decision. Other than the semi-cryptic mentions in Betwixt-and-Between and the little bit that will arise in the third book of NeverWorld (no, I don't have Hook resurrected or anything of the sort) I am dropping my pen when it comes to James. Why? A few reasons.
1) The above mentioned "impossibility" of pinning down his past.
2) As I said, I've no story worth telling about him and given reason 1 and the amount of years I've had to think on it,
I don't foresee one coming up.
3) Andrea Jones already has a handle on him. She does such an excellent job bringing us more of the wonderfully wicked character of Barrie's that there is no need for me to do so. She's a pirate and I'm a Lost Boy, so to speak. I should note here that she has a backstory on Hook worked out. A small part of it appears in Hook & Jill. But then, her Hook is technically not quite the same as Barrie's. As I said in my review of her novel, she's earned the right to timeline tinkering. She owns a very magnificent alternate Peter Pan universe and I'm looking forward to seeing what unfolds. (Her solution to the "John Darling Problem" works in both universes.)
So, there you have it.
To the best of my knowledge, I won't be writing about Captain James Hook other than referentially.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I've been having fun with those lines. Yes, it is a quote from the book The Howling. I've shared it with just about everyone I've come into contact with since reading it. It gets at least a chuckle every time.
To be fair, I'm taking it out of context. Hence, the comedy aspect. Immersed in the actual scene, it is indeed creepy. I mean, hey, if you were in bed with your honey in a cabin in the middle of a woodsy nowhere and you heard a preternatural howling you'd be unnerved, too.
So... did I like this book? I'm sorry, but I have to give a wishy-washy answer: Yes and no.
First off, I'll say it's nicely done. It's very straightforward writing, with just the right amount of details and a good pace. I admired the chapter structure. Each one is quite short, while still creating a setting and mood, but as compact as it needs to be to deliver the punch of its events. Also, the novel is peppered just right with hints as to the identity of the werewolf so as to keep you guessing the entire time and switches your mental gears for second guesses. Of course, I knew the answer to this question having seen the movie. (And yes, the "answer" is the same in the book.)
But that's partially why it didn't fully grab me ― I knew what would come next. My fault, I know. However, shouldn't the book deliver the same thrill and terror? Well, possibly, but that brings me to another reason it fell slightly flat. It's one thing to read about hands becoming paws and another to see them do it. Truth is, I'm not much of horror reader. The same "revelation" came with Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart which became the movie Hellraiser. I immediately understood why they made the film. No matter how well an author will craft the words and set the mood, there's always just that much more in visual form for such things as transformations and guys with no skin. I'm not belittling anyone's skills. As I said, Gary Brandner does a good job of bringing the horror to mind. But for me... well, I don't want to read about werewolves, I want to see them.
I also, to be honest, liked the movie a bit better. Not for the visual aspect. There are quite a few differences in the film from the novel. The basic story is just the same, however. But the elements brought to this tale on the screen really enhance it. Instead of being just a regular person tormented in an isolated town, we get a popular news anchorwoman. (And yes, that becomes purposeful in the film.) In the book she is sexually assaulted (again, a little too much description for me) whereas in the movie she meets a guy (a mysterious informant) in a sex booth and has an encounter with him turning into a werewolf. (Sorry to spoil that for you, but I think you would have seen it coming.) The trauma of not knowing how to deal with seeing someone become a wolf before your very eyes and then being attacked by it is, to me, much more engaging than dealing with a rape only. (I'm speaking dramatically and for the purposes of story only. I am certainly not disavowing the terrible ordeal of such a heinous crime.) The two incidents work together in the movie, whereas the attack and the character's "get away and rest" in the book don't click as puzzle pieces quite as well.
Then again, some parts of the book had it over the movie, too. One of the characters (missing in the film) I quite liked. But she also had a touch of the "standard" about her. And the climax (when the secret is revealed) is handled ever so much creepier in the novel. However, it also immediatley goes to "Gee, I'd rather see it."
Did I find it scary? Well... no. But then, I don't find the movie scary either. Werewolves don't frigthen me. You'll probably find me rooting for them instead of their victims. (Yes, coming across one in real life would terrify me as much as the next person.)
I want to watch the movie again now. Fortunately Bart said he'd like to see it again as well. I'm itching to remember/see how the film characters manage a particular situation, one that does not show up in the book. (Well, it does, but not in quite the same way.) Just in general I'd like to a do a compare/contrast.
All told, it's a good story. Both the novel and book follow roughly the same path, though not without horror cliches. But cliches, if crafted well, can work beautifully.
I wonder how the next transformation will go... will the Hollywood remake be a hybrid and create the ultimate tale of werewolves? We'll have to wait and see... and one night
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
For those of you who don't know, it's a TV game show. Contestants are surprised at the beginning of their ride by host (and cab driver) Ben Bailey, told that they will win cash money by answering general knowledge trivia along the way to their destination. Three wrong answers and they're kicked out of the cab and lose the money they'd accumulated. They have two "Shout out" options - a mobile call or asking someone on the street. If you haven't seen it, it's a delight (assuming you like trivia shows.)
Peter Pan had been the subject of a question in a recent episode I'd watched. Ben gave the title of an earlier draft of the play, The Boy Who Hated Mothers and wanted to know what it's now known as... Yes, the players answered correctly. Ben then commented, saying thank goodness it had been changed!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Now I can move on to the major revisions, the kind that will alter the story structure a bit. Actually, I have already tackled some of these changes along the way. While editing and looking right at a part that is known to be getting an overhaul, it only made sense to plink away at it then. I imagine the minor changes would have gone much more quickly if I didn’t fiddle around with the story aspect as I went along, too. Plus, I had already redone two chief chunks of the tale before handling the little bits.
At any rate, I can already see that it shall be (and is) a much better novel than it had been at first draft. I’d be worried if that were not true! I even managed to strengthen some ties between Barrie’s two books. Anon had wondered why I didn’t include one of Peter Pan’s skills in the mix. I hadn’t wanted to make a one-for-one back history. After all, at least some parts had to remain indigenous to Barrie lest I would ruin their impact, especially the scene where Pan demonstrates that particular skill in Peter and Wendy. But as I revised, I realized that this skill had actually been included all along and apparently neither one of us noticed. I simply re-tooled what had been written so as to subtlely hint at what happens in Barrie’s. As it now stands, Peter Pan will have developed this ability as time goes on… and thus in Peter and Wendy we are shown how well. It also gave Pan a little more fuel to his emotional fires and woes in the Betwixt-and-Between novel.
So all in all, it’s shaping up. Soon enough it will be off to Andrea Jones, author of Hook & Jill. Even though there is no actual appearance of Captain Hook in this tale, she has agreed to take a look at it anyway. (Yes, that's meant as a tongue-in-cheek comment.) What luck to have access to such an esteemed Barrie enthusiast.
Thanks Anon, Andrea, and any who want to read this book!