Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random Discoveries

So I flip on the TV to watch something mindless while I sort through some old microsettes (gasp!) to see if I could locate something... but that's not really important.

I caught the last half hour of FX playing Peter Pan, Hogan's version. Of course, I come in right at the "Split my infinitives!" scene. Sigh. I kept it on though, and had a nice moment watching the fairies rise up from the trees having just re-read a similar passage from Barrie's screenplay. Anyway, I noted they removed the Lost Boys' introductions to Mrs. Darling and also Slightly's late entrance to be adopted by Aunt Millicent. Yes, I know films on TV are edited. I just found it interesting that it does, in fact, become expendable if need be. For although (knowing they should be there) I missed them, the flow of the overall story is not compromised.

I then changed the channel at the end and voila! A story idea outta nowhere. Well, to be fair, I suppose it's been brewing a long time and it just took a more coherent form. And, just having written it down (yes, just after that last sentence) I suppose it needs a little work. I'm not really sure if it would work best as a comedy or as a thriller. Perhaps it's a connection to a different novel (not Peter Pan releated) I know I'll eventually write. Time will tell.

Update: The new tidbit definitely doesn't connect with the other idea. The tone is entirely different in each piece. But they deal with the same subject matter - the so called paranormal.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Should We Close the Window for This??

I just found out (and therefore do not have much information yet - but I didn't want to wait to report) that DQ Entertainment, among other projects including The Jungle Book, is soon releasing a a CGI Peter Pan series. It's apparently called The New Adventures of Peter Pan.

I'd be happier about it if it weren't for the fact that the description has the expression "New generation Wendy" (as it takes place in the 21st Century) and it also includes Captain Hook. The fairy's name is also misspelled (and she , too, should not be around like the Captain.)

Here's the blurb:
The new adventures of Peter Pan brings alive the Magical World of Neverland and 21st century London. Neverland is defined by imaginations running wild, the place to go for big adventures, and a place ruled by a boy who never grew up. New generation Wendy and her brothers and their loving dog Newfie are joining forces with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell to face their long time foe captain hook and his pirates in a never-ending battle to save Neverland from unimaginable evils.
For the record, the site did not captialize Captain Hook in the blurb, not me.

There's supposed to be a video of it released soon. I'll keep you posted.

I wonder if they know that "DQ" will make people think of Dairy Queen.


I've found a billboard featuring the new set of shows from DQ. WHY does Peter Pan have (essentially) Disney's outfit? Click to make the picture bigger... not that it will make Pan that much larger, however.


Thanks to JAQ [Neverpedia] for finding the site's better image of their Peter Pan. He pointed it out in the comments. He also mentions how his outfit is actually leaves. Hooray for that, but it still seems Disneyesque to me.

It's almost horrifying to see the London Eye there.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Yesterday the Syfy channel had a marathon of the first season of their show Merlin. I wound up watching an episode and a half or so (before going to dinner) with Bart’s dad at his house.

First let me say that I don’t think it’s a great show. But then again, it’s not a bad show either. Interesting enough to watch and better than much of the fodder out there. I’d watched a few episodes prior to yesterday and so had Bart’s father. He felt the same way.

Bart chimed in eventually when he joined us. But Bart had questions. To be fair, so did we. In fact, we pounced on him to tell us the names of the ‘major’ women of Authurian legend. I couldn’t remember the name of the one female character in this show and Bart’s dad had been in the dark in terms of who she might be.

For you see, Syfy’s Merlin is not your typical King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The first time I watched I’d been utterly confused. Utterly. For they’ve shaken up the story quite a bit. In this version, Uther Pendragon (Arthur’s father) still lives. Arthur is his teenage son. Odd, right? For unless Arthur succumbs to heavy amnesia later on, he already knows his heritage and the “sword in the stone” - a staple of the story - seems negated entirely. Merlin (also a teen) plays servant to Arthur and he must study and practice his magic on the “down low” [as well as hide it from Arthur] because Uther has banished from Camelot. (He had a run in with Nimue in the past.) In fact, yesterday we watched an episode where Merlin is responsible for the creation of Excalibur (and winds up throwing it into a lake to protect it - but no Lady of the Lake reached up to claim it.) As you can already see, it’s far from the standard.

And that’s partially what makes this series interesting. It’s just changed up enough to make it fresh.

So anyway, there we sat, trying to figure out who the teen girl in the castle might be. We had a ton of fun (really) trying to figure it out (for as you can guess they don’t seem to say her name often enough) as well as sorting through and discussing what we knew about various Arthurian versions and variations. [Yes, we did figure out the character’s identity.]

If you’re wondering why the purist in me isn’t fuming about the mangling of the story, it’s because the tale of King Arthur happens to be one of those rare cases where it’s acceptable to change facts around. For there isn’t a definitive version. Okay, yes, there sort of is one, but it’s not (ahem!) set in stone as the absolute. Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Artur is often considered the primary work of it. But then we also have a following for T. H. White’s The Once and Future King. Arthur, you see, started out as a folk tale which various storytellers told and retold and along the way items or characters (or their relationships or their names) thus varied. No ONE author created and penned it. Precisely why we found ourselves saying things like “Well, did Uther get Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, then, or no?” "Is the Lake Lady Nimue ?" (Some tales combine these mystical women, others don't.) A very fun way of passing the time, as this new spin on the legend played on.

Oh. One other thing -

Bart: Who’s he?
Me: That’s Arthur.
Bart: THAT’s Arthur??
Me: Yep.

Arthur is a “good looking blonde guy” who behaves like the popular high school jock. Merlin is a “hot in the geeky way guy” who’s a tad bumbling. All three of us held the opinion that the casting seems reversed. The guy playing Merlin should be Arthur and vice-versa. We are, of course, basing our opinion on the Arthur & Merlin we’re more used to… i.e. we usually know Arthur as being unsure of his prowess and Merlin being a confident protector. But then… this is not your typical Camelot.

(If you think hammering out Arthur is bad… try Robin Hood. See here.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Poison Pen Belongs to....

I recently read that the Maleficent movie I mentioned in this post (which I had said could go "either way") has just taken a step toward terrific.
Linda Woolverton is writing the script!

Woolverton brought us the sequel to Alice in Wonderland (Burton) and also penned the reworking of Disney's Beauty & the Beast. She's certainly got the knack for sprucing up classics. And in each (Alice & Beauty) she has strong (but not overpoweringly so) women. It will be such fun to see what she does with the Mistress of All Evil.

I'm thrilled.

Bart just hopes that the "Bad Fairy" is not played by Helena Bonham Carter since Burton is likely to pair with Woolverton again. Not that he has anything against Carter, contrariwise - he wants her to win an Oscar for her Queen of Hearts, remember? It's just that he feels one of the greatest animated villains of all time should be played by an older and distinguished actress. He always put Anjelica Huston in the role. I agree... it should be a "mature woman."

Conjure it up, Ms. Woolverton!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Daring Another Darling...

This one just recently came across my desk, so to speak, but it's long gone.
There is, I suppose, hope for it to come back.

DARLING - a new musical derived from the Peter Pan story.
It had been semi-staged in January 2009 at Pace University as part of the Pace New Musicals Workshop.

It's not direct presentation of the story. The decription from the site is:

"Darling follows upper crust teenager Ursula Morgan in 1929 Boston as its society boils in the weeks before the Crash. Neglected by her excessive, self-absorbed parents, Ursula encounters Peter, a charming rent-boy of uncertain age, on the run from the Captain of Police who pursues him for a heinous crime he may or may not have committed. When she is offered the opportunity to run away with him, she takes it and finds herself swept into a seedy underground of jazz, sex and a mysterious white powder called Fairy Dust…"

Seems interesting. I've often thought of what Peter Pan might be like in a modern setting as a musical, since so far I'm not fully on board with "direct" musical adaptations.

The site says it had sold out performances. Kudos.

B. T. Ryback wrote the book and RSO created the music and lyrics, with Amy Rogers directing the show and Rob Meffe directing the music.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Directors LINE UP

Five directors.
Five different stories.
BUT only ONE set of dialogue.

What a wonderful concept.
Brought to us from Philips Cinema, and produced by five directors from Ridley Scott Associates, five film troupes are given the same set of dialogue, but with no story attached. They’ve each come up with their own interpretation. And there's a great punny ubertitle:
Parallel Lines

I’m eager to see it this when arrives April 8.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You Keep Using This Word...

Why is it that every generation (or so) takes a word that, by definition, indicates something “not good” and uses it to mean not just “good” but “very good/cool” instead?

When I’d been a kid, you heard, “Wicked!”
(Often coupled with “awesome.”)

Since then, we’ve had “bad” “ill” “messed up” and “sick”
(and probably some I’m not thinking of right now.)

It’s rather strange.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Furry, er, Slurry White Rabbit

There’s a line in Disney’s animated feature Alice in Wonderland that we’ve been curious about.

It’s said by the White Rabbit… but the trouble is what in fact does he say?

Bart, quoting him when pressed for time one day, said, Oh my fearing whiskers...!
I had thought it to be Oh my ears and whiskers...!
To settle it, we put on the English subtitles on the DVD. Lo and behold, the subtitles are not entirely accurate. For instance, Alice (unmistakably) says a bit more than is actually shown in the text. And when it comes to the White Rabbit’s lines some are missing as well. (Horrors!) It just so happens, of course, that the misheard line is not included.
Wouldn’t you know that there are yet more hearings of it?
Oh my fur and whiskers...!
Oh my furry whiskers...!
I’m willing to bet we can rule out that last one.

Can anyone verify the actual line?

P.S. - We saw Burton's Alice again... it's even better the second time. When a movie is able to bring you the same thrills (or more so!) at key scenes, that's an accomplishment! Also, Bart noticed a painting of the Griffin (fighting the Jabberwock[y]) in the Red Queen's castle, while I spied the Mock Turtle in another portrait. So at least those two are in fact represented... and it adds support to the guess of what happened to them.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flippin' Amazing...

This brings new meaning to the term "flip book" or skimming a book. The potential for both good and bad (for those who'd be devious about it) in another 21st Century gadget:

Johnny 5, eat your heart out. (If you don't know who Johnny 5 is, don't worry... the remake is coming...)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cause for PANic?

Well, a re-imagining of Barrie’s eternal boy is headed our way.
Brought to television screens by the Syfy channel.

You might be aware of their other re-inventings:
Tin Man (The Wonderful Wizard of OZ)
Alice (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

Tin Man had some interesting and rather fun changes and great little ideas in it. But ultimately the overall result fell flat. Both Bart and I had been excited for Alice, and from the ads it seemed rather cool. Unfortunately, that turned out to be pretty darn unwatchable. Eventually we just fast-forward through it, stopping at points that looked good. There weren’t any. Not even Kathy Bates as the Red Queen (of Hearts) could salvage it. [And it had no Cheshire Cat??]

And now they’re doing Neverland.
Sigh. OY. (Syoy)

Let’s at least hope for the best, shall we?

And no, I’m not going to approach it in the vein of “not true to the original” since it’s not intended to BE the real story. As I've said before, I'm not opposed to tinkering with a story to make into something else. I'm just a purist when it comes to having something try to BE the original and screwing it up... or when it's supposed to be a "part of" or "connected to" (a la a prequel or sequel) and has mistakes or isn't consistent with the original. But Syfy is reworking it entirely.

It will be on this fall, a two night event.

Here’s the article I read. It’s mentioned at the bottom of it - and there's not much more there on it than what I already told you: LINK

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Video CONtext

This is pretty darn great! Just keep watching... Bravo, folks at DK!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sorry, Kermit, Today It's Easy

I once saw a leprechaun.
As a little kid.

I woke up on a March 17,
looked out the window and... there!

Out on my street!

A fleeting glimpse of a faerie of Ireland!

Just a "pretend" from my past. Here's what 'really' happened:
My parents had a green car parked on the street. The sun streaked a green flash as I moved and my imagination filled in the rest.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I admit it. I’d been fooled by it.
What is it?
An amazing movie:
The Call of Cthulhu

How/why did it fool me? Let me tell you.

I’d been browsing around Netflix and it made a suggestion based upon other selections. It decided that I would like movies based on works by H.P. Lovecraft. I’m not a fan of Lovecraft, not in the true sense. I’m not NOT a fan, either. I’m peripherally familiar with his work. I’d probably like most of it, but what I do know of it sometimes goes a little far out there even for my disturbed tastes… so I never delved in headfirst.

The movie it suggested, From Beyond, had mixed reviews, but it seemed most of them were favorable. Many, though, called it a faithful adaptation. Anyone who knows me will know that to be a big selling point. I thought I might have seen it in college, shown to me by a friend obsessed with the horrifying twisted stuff of Lovecraft. Turns out I had… but it then led me to check out another Lovecraft based movie, none other than The Call of Cthulhu. I’d been even happier to read that The Call of Cthulhu had been much touted as the most accurate film version of a Lovecraft work. Even more delicious: a silent era movie! Instant Queue’d immediately. Bear in mind that I didn’t really read up on the stats of this movie.

One day I got around to watching it. I went into it with an open mind, quite interested in how the infancy of cinema would achieve the fiendish dementia of Lovecraft. I’d been amazed at how well. Everything about this movie screamed care for the story and filmcraft. The sets, for instance, had a broad scope and "delivered."One tracking-like shot (going backward!) in particular sticks in my mind. The whole show seemed reminiscent of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It maintained a high level of creepiness. And since I hadn’t read the short story it came from (but knew quite a bit about the character Cthulhu) I found myself drawn into the ever-deepening quest in the movie. The quest toward Cthulhu’s call, of course. And when the horrifying visage that IS Cthulhu the Great did appear on screen…whoa! Eat your heart out 1981 Clash of the Titans Kraken! Okay, yes, the effects 1981 were certainly much better… but hold your horses… The Call of Cthulhu is not actually a silent era movie! Come again? Thus, you see how I’d been fooled.

It’s quite true… the film had been made in 2005. Yes, yes, yes. I had seen that date on the movie description. I thought it meant the movie had been restored to its former glory. A logical assumption in this heyday of film restoration, no? Especially since I had also noticed that the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society had been involved. I figured it to be an archival project. Nope. A 2005 film made to appear like it had been made circa 1925. Impressive! I took on a whole new appreciation for the film. Wonderful skills across the board – from the lighting to the acting. A beautiful mimicry. And to know the boundaries… by which I mean how to make it appear as if it could have been done back then. Using the tools of the day to the hilt.

One reviewer said that it’s not accurate in that it isn’t scary. In order to be true to Lovecraft, he says, it would have to be frightening. Obviously he’d not be scared by it. I have to disagree with him. Few movies actually“scare” me, but I’m a regular at getting unnerved and creeped out. And boy howdy, if this one didn’t do just that! Actually, I think it’s partially the “silent era” quality of it that boosted the overall creepiness. For I’d also been impressed with the way they delivered the chills “back then.” Which in turn praises the filmmakers for understanding not only the look of a bygone style, but the innerworkings of it as well.

And you know what? The story's quite fun and freaky, too.

Bravo H.P. Lovecraft!
Bravo director Andrew Leman and team!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware... or Be Aware?

No need to
Beware the Ides of March.
Put in one extra letter and it becomes the Ideas of March.
Just ask Brad.

I’m not fearing this one, since ideas are just what came in the wee hours (two and three a.m.) of the morning of the so-called wary day.

I’d been working, of course, on Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between. Since I’d just completed a run of four scenes in a row, which, when working out of sequence from time to time is something of a rarity, I decided to go back and fill in one of the “placeholder” scenes. But in order to do so, I had to refer back to Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens… but I also knew what the next scene after those four would be… SO, I found myself jumping into Peter and Wendy as well in order to verify and check on what Barrie had written about a location in the Neverland. I even found myself back in his screenplay. Naturally, I came across much that I will be sure and incorporate into the new tale. I then had a bit of other research to do, springboarded from Barrie’s words and soon enough I’d be back in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. And then, of course, I’d find even more to use… which in turn led to a slew of thoughts and ideas for other parts of the book.

As you can tell, I’d suddenly been teeming with material, both from Barrie and my own which had been Barrie-inspired. And to think -- I had wondered what I should tackle next after finishing those four continuous scenes!

I’ve also recently had a burst of inspiration to create a cover for Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between.
So far those who have seen it are quite enthralled.

Oh... and yes, I did fill in that missing section last night, too. So this chapter of Peter Pan’s life is coming along very well. The characters are always one step ahead of me. Let's hope it stays that way.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hogan's "Indians"

As I sat and revised a scene from my interquel Peter Pan: Betwxit-and-Between involving the "Indians" in the Neverland, I got to thinking that I never addressed the "Redskin" characters as portayed in P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan. Now's a good a time as any.

Much like Hogan's movie itself, I had mixed feelings.

In the plus column: I'm quite pleased that he included them at all, since the way this movie repackaged the story the Indians could easily become unnecessary. I'm especially pleased how well he handled them. He presented them quite realistically, while still capturing some of the fantasy ideal. Tiger Lily is played by Carsen Gray, who is a Native American. She speaks real Iroquois to Captain Hook, too. Later, in the gathering in the Indian Village, we see a ritual given a real weight and significance, but not without being peppered by a dash of Barrie whimsy. Even cooler is that the tribal leader is a woman. A choice that makes one take notice and think.

In the minus column: Even though I loved the matriarchal figure addition, it sorely lacks Great Big Little Panther and some other "braves." I, for one, would love to have seen a depiction of him on all fours with his scalps. (Ew, I know, but hey, the Neverland can be a dark place.) And what of Lean Wolf? Point being it seems like there'd been a lot of wasted opportunities. There's even a place for them to fit in... Barrie gave it to us, in fact... oh yes, the Pirate-Redskin battle. But alas, this film does not have the scene where Tiger Lily stands guard over the Underground House. I'm not sure why they disrupted the flow that way. I suppose one could argue that as Barrie has it, it's a bit cumbersome. But even if true, this film had touted bringing the book faithfully to life for the first time. It just seems odd to exclude it. (Time constraints, I bet.)

And I have to say, I'm not so fond of switching Tiger Lily's affections from Peter Pan (if there had ever been any for him in this movie) to John Darling. As I saw it, it merely served as a way to introduce the "I'm turning pink and I'm invigorated!" nonsense early on so it wouldn't seem so jarring and "what the pink?" later on...

But all in all, I'm glad with what we do have in the movie.
I suppose my real issue is that there had simply not been enough of them.

Fortunately I get to "see" more of them... so back to writing...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Silbling Removalry?

Just had this thought.

Don’t worry...
I do not intend to do anything with it story-wise other than ponder it.

It can be argued that John and Michael Darling are sort of extraneous to the story of Peter Pan.

Argued, yes. Won, I don’t think so. For as “tag along” as they are, they do serve a very important function in the tale. Among other things, it is their forgetfulness of their old life in London (such as not putting down the right answers about it on Wendy’s quizzes and thinking Wendy is in fact their mother) which prompts Wendy to realize they had been in the Neverland too long. Thus, the journey home begins.

But -

What if John and Michael weren’t in the Neverland? What if Pan had said “no” when she asked if they could come… and he forced (either by “roughhousing” or pure charm) Wendy to come on her own? Would she have stayed with him then, with no sounding board, so to speak?

Something to ponder.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's Okay to Be Two Dimensional...


It's in 3-D!

Be excited, damn it!

It's a little difficult to be excited when it's nearly every single time now. I don't dislike 3-D. But I'm no big fan of it either. Especially since it's become the norm. In my opinion, 3-D used to mean something. Back in the day, with the red & blue glasses, it had been a gimmick. And it never really worked for films. Not very well, I mean. Yes, red & blue does "work," though somewhat crappily, and I fondly recall staring at my brother's King Kong poster, marveling at how the airplanes attacking him popped off the wall. And then the 'polarized' technology came about... and I fondly recall watch a movie at Walt Disney World in (OMG!) 3-D! It had been a truly new experience. Crystal clear images coming at me. (I distinctly remember lightning zipping my way, coming from the fingertips of a witch making me rather pleasantly uncomfortable. Maybe it's just because I like characters who can throw lightning from their hands.) But it had been wondrous, magical and exhilarating to see something THAT amazing. For quite a while since then, 3-D had only come out a few times of that caliber. But recently, it's ubiquitous. And it's starting to become rather annoying. Not everything has to be in 3-D.

Take, for example, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. From the previous post, it's no secret that I loved it. Yes, I saw it in 3-D. I had been under the impression that the intention had been to create it in that fashion. But to tell you the truth, both Bart and I didn't need the 3-D. Yeah, okay, it had been kinda cool. But the fact is it didn't enhance the experience. Nothing in it really seemed to require that it be "comin' at ya." When we next see it, we're going for 2-D. The last handful of movies I've seen in the 'third dimension' had this same shrug of "yeah, okay, whatever." Coraline is one exception. That film used the 3-D very naturally, with very few "LOOK! It's COMING TOWARD YOU! OooOOOOoo!" moments and the ones that did exist were seamlessly ingrained into the action at the time.

And giving 3-D to movies that hadn't already been intended as such? Like the upcoming Clash of the Titans. That went through a process as an afterthought. It hadn't been filmed with a 3-D nature in mind. But it's coming out that way anyway after being doctored in a computer. (Yes, I appreciate and marvel at the technological ability. And in some cases [such as the re-issue of The Nightmare Before Christmas and the upcoming Star Wars represented in "three dimensions"] can actually seem quite appealing.) But to do it all the time? I believe Alice had been 3-D'ized after the fact, too. We're already infested with remakes. Do we need to be flooded with "see it AGAIN in 3-D!" too?

In essence, they've sucked the joy (and reasoning) out of seeing something in 3D.

Here's a quote from William Friedkin, in response to whether or not The Exorcist will be repackaged in 3-D. (He said emphatically "NO" by the way.) He makes a very good point:

I don't like 3-D. I don't believe there is any film that I have seen and loved that would have been improved by a scintilla in 3-D. To me, it's just a gimmick. To me, the art of cinema is the same as the art of painting. The artist takes a 2-D medium and gives you the illusion of depth. If you look at any of the great paintings, you have the illusion of depth. Which is part of the art. The same with the great movies. I don't believe that Citizen Kane or Gone With the Wind, or any damn picture that you can name, would be better off in 3-D. I think it's a gimmick. And it reminds me of what happened when Cinemascope came in . When everybody predicted that every picture ever made was going to be in Cinemascope. Because it's not that way. It was meant to get people out of the house. I find 3-D distracting. I'm in the minority, I know.

And now they're talking about giving us 3-D TV at home?

It's just not fun anymore.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wonderland in Spades!

Alice in Wonderland may very well be, and for me, definitely is Tim Burton's greatest work to date. There's no contrariwise.

I loved this movie, from beginning to end. I adored all of it, the costumes, the sets, the character portrayal and the... story.

Yes, the truth is, this is not an adaptation of the book by Lewis Carroll. Then what is it? Well, if you want to get downright technical, it's a sequel. And coming from a guy who has tinkered with a literary classic, it's a brilliant sequel.

Tim Burton had said that what annoyed him about Wonderland is the episodic nature - one silly situtation or character after the next without any "point" or cohesion. I think we can all see it from his perspective. Well, he wanted to present an Alice with a new throughline moving in and around and about the old locations and such. I'd been happy about this approach when I first learned of it a year or more ago. But I'd also been skeptical. (Post.) I've made it clear that most times I'm on the fence with Burton. He's a (creepy) delight but often he seems to focus too much on the whimsy and winds up with half-baked stories. Not so very long ago Bart and I had some friends over and we watched The Corpse Bride in Blu-Ray. A very cool, fun movie. But yes, we found ourselves picking apart the story. "How come she could...." "But he knew of the..." and so on. What I'm really trying to say is Alice in Wonderland does not feel half baked. Contrariwise. It feels fully formed, etched out and fleshed out.

Johnny Depp, naturally, is wonderful. I'd read his "take" on the Mad Hatter before going in to see it. And he delivered that idea beautifully. Hatters were actually loony, we know, from the mercury they worked with to make their chapels. Depp felt that the "utlra silly and fast paced" loon version of the Mad Hatter would not actually be the case. Instead of just affecting his "witty" side, all faculties and range of emotions are heightend and exaggerated. He's a much more vulnerable, likeable character (and who doesn't love the Mad Hatter to begin with!)

I found this movie 'empowering' to women with no giant red flag to do so. Yes, there's a red flag for this aspect, but it's kind of like the ones on the end of a toothpick. Very ingrained into the story and subtle. And without the additional material brought to the tale, the impact of the strong female would lost.

And this is the first surrounding story that I truly admired. By "surrounding story" I mean what's put at the beginning and/or end of the Wonderland wackiness in attempts to give it that reasoning or point that Burton desired. An example (and probably my favorite hitherto) is the 1985 television version. In it, Alice is "too little" for the afternoon tea with the adults... she needs to learn senese and manners and such according to her mom, before she can attend. So, of course, she goes to a place of nonsense and social abnormality and escapes having become more rationale and civil herself. Yeah, that works. But the "surround" of Burton's works much better. Granted, Burton's only works on acount of it being a sequel. Nevertheless, it's achieved magnificently.

So we need to give a major BRAVA! to Linda Woolverton. What an incredible 'adaptation!' But then we also know she does a fantastic job with fairy tale type stories. She's the genius behind the amazing restructuring of Beauty of the Beast for Disney.

Mia Wasikowska is wonderful as Alice. In the trailers and such I had my doubts, but she couldn't be sweeter or stronger. Just what one might expect an Alice on the cusp of womanhood to be. Brava!

Helena Bonham Carter is to be commended for her performance. She took a two dimensional monstrosity and turned it into a compelling, sympathetic and fully formed entity. Yet she still retains Carroll's outlandish scary and comic qualities. Bart wants her to get an Oscar.

My only complaint... and it doesn't even qualify as one is some missing characters. The gryphon, the Mock Turtle, the Cook and the Duchess. You won't find them here. Why? I'm not sure. Oh, yes, the White Knight of the Chessboard is gone to (and Humpty Dumpty - but hey, I can see why. It's utterly silly in the first place and he probably shattered at the hands of the Red Queen.) And that, I suppose, is what happened to the others - killed in the ruthlessness of the Red Queen's rule. I'll buy that and think of it that way. But how about a line for Hatter or the Caterpillar: "If only we could consult the Gryphon, but alas, the Queen has cut off his head for insolence." Something! But, as I said, it's a minor complaint for an otherwise brilliant work. But compared to the landmine plotholes which can be found in some of his films, it's not even an issue.
I will be attending this movie again.

Just one other thing. The title of the movie is not right. I told you, it's a sequel. It's not Alice('s Adventures) in Wonderland. It's a tale that happens after Alice has already visited both places (i.e. also the Looking-Glass World.) So what should the title be? You'll know when you've seen the movie. And if you don't, change one syllable by removing two letters to put in a single one.

Oh - and Hatter: Poe wrote on them both.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pan Through the Looking Glass...

Gee, am I looking forward to THIS, or what?

Chicago's own Lookingglass Theatre Company will be re-staging
J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.

Yes, a new adaptation by Amanda Dehnert, who will also direct.

There's not much to know about it yet, but here's a quote from

Artistic director-elect Andy White stated, "Our first show, Peter Pan, looks at life through the prism of childhood — with wonder and awe, yearning for flight, fear of pirates and fearsome crocodiles, and all the delight and terror that might accompany any child's dreams."

What intrigues me the most, however. is that the article says
from the books by J.M. Barrie.
Does this mean she'll be incorporating some of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens? I doubt it, actually, but nevertheless I'd like to see it happen. Assuming the inclusion is warranted. It again makes book plural later in the post (and also on Lookingglass Theatre's web page) though it's probably just an oversight:

"Nationally-known director Amanda Dehnert will direct her adaptation of Peter Pan, the classic tale from J.M. Barrie's books of the boy who wouldn't grow up. Bombastic, playful, and darkly comic, Dehnert's adaptation brings innovative theatricality, aerial arts, and a soulful understanding of yearning and regret to this legendary childhood adventure of pirates, fairies and fantasy. [Dehnert's] student production was developed at Northwestern University's Theatre and Interpretation Center in 2009 and resulted in a sold-out run on campus. For Lookingglass, she is creating a new adaptation that will feature Lookingglass Ensemble members."

Sounds promising, no?

It begins October 20, 2010.

I'll be looking into it further, and of course, attending. Perhaps I can go with Andrea Jones, author of Hook & Jill.

Read the whole article and more about Lookingglass Theatre's upcoming season here, or go to their site:
Lookingglass Theatre Website

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hit or Myth?

I’ve brought up this subject once before in this post. But a couple of things have happened since then that I feel I have to put in another two cents. For another film is in the works which has a great deal to do with the original two cents from the first post.

So here ‘goes:

Clash of the Titans. The remake.

To reiterate what I said before, when I first heard of this redo, my first thought had been: WHY? Yes, I’m pretty much annoyed with a remake of this movie. Even though it’s now passé in terms of its F/X, there is a marvelous charm to the way it IS depicted… I’ve already expressed my appreciation of Ray Harryhausen. Sure, it could, I suppose, use an “update” through no fault of its own. But (and here’s the two cents) why THIS story? Why bother to update something that doesn’t need to be redone? By which I mean — Greco-Roman mythology is teeming with other tales. Leave Clash of the Titans as is. They don’t (although it does make my stomach turn a little) have to keep in direct line with other mythological stories. After all, Clash is already a re-written hodgepodge. (The Kraken isn’t even Greco-Roman.) Point being, if you want to do a mythology film, give us something new by ransacking the multitude to choose from in order to do it. [For more ranting on this, it’s in the other post.]

After seeing the pix and the trailers for it, I’m not as excited as I could be. I’m not exactly disappointed, either. It just looks too “gritty,” along the lines of 300 and Gladiator. Although I can see why a myth film might look as such, I’m not so much a fan of the look. Also, having seen what’s been presented, it doesn’t so much look as if it’s been expanded beyond the original too much (which had been a "selling point" for me.) But I’m still hoping I’m convinced otherwise. [And no, I’m not going to see it in 3-D, since the original film hadn’t been intended/filmed as a 3-D movie… and in this case it seems more like jumping on the bandwagon than trying to re-capture magic as they did with The Nightmare Before Christmas and as is wanted to do with the original Star Wars trilogy.]

ANYWAY, I’ve read an article about another mythology movie in the works. And it’s doing exactly as should be done… i.e. creating a new story based around elements from the wealth of characters, objects and situations.

That film is War of the Gods, and it’s being done by Tarsem Singh, who also did The Cell and The Fall. The Cell I found visually stunning, but the story had left a lot to be desired. I thought it missed the mark entirely. Bart and I watched The Fall quite recently. We liked it. A little disturbing, but in the good way. Also visually stunning. So given that the story bits are borrowed, and that mythology needs to be visually stunning, perhaps we can look forward to this movie. War of the Gods centers around Theseus leading men into battle against the gods.

But I ask you… why can’t we just get Theseus in a good Labyrinth and the Minotaur movie?