Monday, May 31, 2010

Title... Title 2

I'd just been browsing through Netflix. On the page (I did not select it) The Pink Panther 2 showed up.

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

Racking Up the Spice of Paprika

Well, I’ve now both seen and read Paprika. With no offense meant to author Yasutaka Tsutsui, I think I liked the movie better. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. I did. Very much so. Knowing, however, that Tsutsui had been pleased with the movie makes me feel less guilty. More on that in a bit.

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

Worth Noting (Again)

For as many times as this happens, it's a wonder it still delights and surprises me. Actually, it's truly something special and quite a magical experience, so perhaps it's no wonder at all that so splendid an occurrence continually astounds me. What am I talking about? Let me explain.

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

Heck YES!

A while back I had an idea for a TV show... and now it's being done.
The thing is, I'd been told by many that it's a bad idea.
Are you ready for Napoleon Dynamite: The Series?
Ready or not, it's coming. And it's a cartoon.
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.
Let's hope it's SWEET.

Friday, May 21, 2010

JaPAN's Got the Neverland

I discovered this not so long ago.

Universal Studios theme park in Japan has an attraction/show based on Peter Pan.
It's called
Peter Pan's Neverland

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

Did He Even Know I'd Been Gone?

Truth is I've been ignorning Peter Pan for the past week or so... since I've gone in for another round of submission of Midnight Chaser.

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."

In Good Company...

What do
Stephen King
Anne Frank
William Faulkner
Margaret Mitchell

have in common?
(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

Twenty-TWO Thousand Leagues?

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

Seasoned Again

I'm very excited.
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

Married to It, Either Way...

Well, I've done it. I've seen the movie more times than I remember, but I have finally read the novel of The Princess Bride. It's always been on my list, but What with one thing and another, years passed... and I never got around to it. [That's a "mostly quoted" passage from the book. I've taken out the word "three" (as in "three years passed.")] Perhaps it's the "out of sight out of mind" phenonemon, I'm not sure. But somehow I just came to read it now.

My friend Buttercup lent me her copy of the book. (Yes, her moniker for this site is such because of that very fact.) She seemed to think the book is better than the film. I'll have to ask her when she comes over tonight (as well as return her book) to know for sure. In nearly all cases, I'd agree that the book is going to be better. In this patricular case, though, I'm going to have to accept that I like both versions equally, for different reasons.

First off, William Goldman adapted the book to screen himself. He did a wonderful job. From that aspect alone, the book had been a fascinating read. To see what he decided to cut (and realizing why) as well as what he added or modified had been quite educational. A lesson in editing/repackaging for sure.

I'm pleased to say that the "good parts" are all intact, including my favorite lines (though sometimes with minor tweaking.) The parts that are missing from the film, I'm also pleased to say, are "good parts," too. I mean, what fan of the characters isn't going to relish hearing the 'full' story of Inigo Montoya's and Fezzik's pasts? How did I survive not knowing about Buttercup's parents before? And the Pit of Despair (actually the Zoo of Death in the novel) is a whole other adventure I'd never known.

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.

Also a treat had been reading for myself the way in which the book is written. In another post I explained how the 'author' S. Morgenstern is but a literary device. William Goldman's The Princess Bride is allegedly an abridged version of a Florinese classic. Parts of the novel's texts are in red, in whoch Goldman tells not only what he took out and why, but also a little story of him and his father, who read the novel to him, a sick ten year old boy. (Those who know the movie can see the parallel with the boy and his grandfather. In fact, the very exchanges between them are nearly identical in the film - which is something I did not realize when writing the other post.) It allows for Goldman to poke fun at the book's rich silliness as well as touch on concepts without actually having to 'write' about them. There's also a new level of surreal achieved when realizing that the parts about him and his father and his own attempt to track down the book for his own son [and thus leading him down the path of abridgement] are actually only "somewhat true" themselves (e.g.. he doesn't have a son!)

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.

So for everyone who loves the movie, do pick up the book. You'll be treated to a lot more of the delicious Goldman/Morgenstern humor and a deeper understanding of the beloved characters and their world. You'll wind up loving both.

Thank you, William Goldman, for your work. It's truly remarkable and we're so glad it had not been inconceivable.

It's Gold, man!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Look! Google DIDN'T Forget!

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

Skipping About

Looks like I’m going to “skipping about”* in writing

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

150 Years of Mothering (and then some!)

It's QUITE the day.

Not only is it
Mother's Day
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!

So here's an extra special hurrah for both Barrie and mothers everywhere.

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.”
Chapter 2: The Shadow - Peter and Wendy

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Well Beyond the Between Stage...

Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between is still progressing nicely. I’ve just finished Chapter 11.  It always seems, though, that what with the characters adding more bits as I go, I’ll never reach the end. But I say that in jest. It’s not as if it’s stretching out too long or that the “new” stuff isn’t worthwhile. And there is an end in sight, especially since (as I reported last time) I’ve ‘outlined’ the rest of the book. That’s even more so true now since I’ve tinkered with what I did have in place. Nothing shifted. It just became tighter having listened to characters for the “missing” info and now there are more “bridges” between scenes. And I -have- deleted paragraph after paragraph of "placeholder" notes since those are now completed scenes. The wee hours of the morning always prove productive for me.

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

Another Great One Takes Leave...

Farewell to a great actress.
Lynn Redgrave shuffled off the mortal coil yesterday.
She is, of course, to be remembered for her entire career...
but I shall forever sing her praises for bringing to life what I believe
to the best addition/rewrite to Sir J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan (Peter and Wendy):
Brava... and thanks again for the entertainment.
Rest in peace, fair lady!
May the "awfully big adventure" treat you well.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jeopardy! in Jeopardy of Wrongness Yet Again

Yet again, Peter Pan has shown up on Jeopardy! in the form of an answer.

They're not wrong this time... well, not entirely.

For I'm going to nitpick. And if you think it's wrong of me to nitpick this, consider that Jeopardy! itself often will nitpick. (e.g. a contestant adding an S where it should not be, or saying The Tree Grows in Brooklyn [as opposed to A Tree...])

The category had been "Disney Dogs" which, to me, implies that they are dogs by Disney. as opposed to dogs in Disney movies. Thus, all but two of the answers are mislabeld.

Correct repsonses (with, of course, "Who is...?" or "What is...?") in order were:
Pluto, 101 Dalmatians, Percy, Nana, Old Yeller.
Pluto - yes, a Disney dog. Pecry - yes, a Disney dog created for Pocahontas. The rest are all Disney adaptations.

Come on, Jeopardy!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Signs Point to Yes"

The movie.


It's Still There...

Can't go without mentioning the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.
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.

Still Standing...
96 Years Ago Today...

REdreaming of Elm Street

BRAVO! This is how a remake is done. Seriously. Excellent work.
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."

I went with my friend Buttercup. I've a scosh more years on her, so when she saw the original she'd been in grade school, whereas I saw the movie as a young teen. She'd been scared out of her mind, I found it loads of fun rather than frightening. At first Buttercup had not welcomed a re-do of Elm Street. But after seeing the trailer and realizing the potential for an update, we then had plans months in advance to go opening night.

We decided to watch Wes Craven's 1984 original again. So we did that earlier in the week. I found I'd forgotten, oh, say, 70% of the movie. Hey, cut me a break, I saw it (in full) about 25 years ago. Nice to refresh my memory and still spooky fun. Buttercup, however, had a different experience entirely. Once terrified of it (as so many were) she now saw it as the silly scare that it is. In other words, she can't believe it scared her, calling it "B-movie style." We were now both ready for the new. We discussed how interesting it would be to see how to make THAT scary again. How to use the modern world in that story. What elements of the Elm Street lore (from the first and rest of the films) would they incorporate? Would it still be cheesy good?

When the big night came, we already had a perfect scenario. We went to a theater we can walk to from Buttercup's place, so there we were walking in the greyish night, starting to drizzle. (And on the walk to her place, the journey seemed to take forever, road extending before me, as if I'd already landed in a dream.) Anyway, the theater we went to brought back memories, too. I used to work in a movie theater - and this one is a throwback, an "old school" theater lovingly intact. It really brought a time-travel/dreamy quality to the night. Rather than seeing a new version in a new and "modern" theater, there I found myself in a "retro" scene, bringing back fond memories of seeing the other Elm Street movies of the first series.

And the movie followed suit. A perfect blend of then and now. It takes quite a while for the title of the film to appear on screen and shows up at the best possible place. Let me tell you, right up through the title screen, I already knew this movie would be worthwile. And creepy as hell again. Take a note of the two title fonts/presentations. 1984's (on the right) is cartoonish. 2010 (above) is a more menacing in its matter-of-factness. In a way, it matches the tone of each film.

I'm very glad I'd watched the original again. The new movie has many references or even scenes from it. Yes, there are some of the very same moments. However, unlike the 2010 Clash of the Titans, when they occurred they're fresh. They're rewritten just enough to not be a rehash. I wouldn't have appreciated these great nods had I not seen Craven's again.

Storywise they also did some great rewriting. There's a definite spin on this version. However it didn't seem like a twist to be different for its own sake. Rather it seemed like straightening out a picture on the wall.

They keep Freddy's "one-liners." Something I dreaded. But you know what? They work. Even in this freaky, darker version, they work. Because they're truly delivered in the manner of a child-molestor. (As per the character of Freddy Krueger.) Utterly unnerving. Bravo to Jackie Earle Haley! A particular one-liner from the original is in this film - but whoa! They acutally manage to make it disturbing and pair it with a marvelous concept to watch unfold on the screen. One of them is quite an eye-roller, but easily forgivable since they upped the stakes (and F/X) of an homage-scene when saying it.

Freddy's new (but old) look is quite striking as well. They had re-studied burn victims to design his new visage. It's wonderful. (Which is a weird thing to say!) What they did keep from the first set of films had been great choices, retouched and recut seamlessly into a brand new (but eeriely familiar) story. Like someone discovered the puzzle pieces fit another way, too, and snapped in a little snugger.

There are one or two places where CGI is obvious, but it also doesn't matter, since it took on a dreamlike aspect that way.

Buttercup and I couldn't stop talking about it on the way home. All positive. The drizzle picked up and Buttercup decided to stop off at her place for an umbrella. She wanted to still hang out, but at my place, since she didn't want to disturb her roomate (and our friend) Josiecat. Hence, the umbrella. Meanwhile, I texted Bart and told him we'd be coming. On the way, the rain came down harder. And more so. Suddenly we trekked through a monsoon. Sidewalks were rivers. Droplets the size of thumbs. When we arrived, despite Buttercup's large umbrella, we were soaked. More so than you're thinking. Had to change clothes. (I just looked... my T-shirt hanging in the shower is STILL wet.) But we enjoyed it - like some kind of ethereal end to a wonderful Nightmare.