Posts Tagged ‘old

21
Mar
16

Why Can’t Old TV Turn Into New Film?

*****

Have I asked this before?  Why IS it that shows we loved in the past cannot properly be converted to new films which respect the source material?

Why, instead, do we get Michael Bay films that blow it up and piss on people?

As I sit here watching an old episode of Inspector Gadget with a nephew, I see material ripe for a feature film with iconic costume design.  And then I remember the previous attempt at a film about the old cartoons.  It wasn’t all that great or memorable to me.  [Though I did like the gadget woman.]

What legal mumbo-jumbo prevents movie makers from properly converting older concepts into new film?  Or, why must every movie maker insist upon some measure of “artistic license” to warp what is already good and what fans liked?  We fans of the old don’t need a lot of new looks and ways of doing things.  If you must fix or change anything, just work on the bits that maybe don’t fit the present if it’s a story taking place in the present.  Or, set the story in the past.  Is that so hard?  Even a certain science fiction film series has gotten away with saying it’s from a distant galaxy a long time ago though it looks futuristic.

And, if it’s a matter of the original artists saying they don’t want the film to be made, then respect that.  If they don’t want a film, why is it okay to warp the original material enough to make a lousy one?

Anyone else care to share some thoughts on this matter?  I’m all ears…and busy fingers.

30
Dec
15

Back From the Dark Side…of the Theater

*****

Put away the zit cremes and Ovaltine. Take a deep breath. And, get ready to go geek-to-geek with one more lengthy, nit-picking but honest assessment of the latest “blockbuster” movie.

Okay. I saw it, the big spectacle of 2015, the film so many have been waiting for with some trinket of a past generation clutched nervously between their sweaty hands, the movie seasoned adults are supposed to inject into their inexperienced kids so they will continue to pick sides and wage wars between dark and light, the epic 38 years in the making handed over to the Disney Empire and the guy who put together LOST.

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The Good:

If you miss Luke, Leia, Han and the rest of the heroes who survived the 70s/80s films, they’re ALL back. The only characters who have not returned are the ghosts, the desert people, the Cantina regulars and a few members of the Sith/Empire. [But, it looks like one of the old crew wanted to nip this thing in the can by taking the big plunge. Shh!]

The visuals are spectacular. The 3D isn’t throwing much in your face, but the depth perception tricks are used well, including some intense spaceship fight scenes which make you feel like you’re living through a video game. Just about every environment is covered from desert to forest to snowy mountains. But, when you have Disney money backing your enterprise… Well, as the founder of Jurassic Park says, “Spare no expense.” I’d expect no less with all the modern technology and countless technicians/artists at one’s disposal. I imagine a massive army of stormtroopers sitting at drawing tables and beside film-processing mach–er, computers.

Lupita cannot lose. After being spotlighted for playing a slave, she becomes the red carpet fashion plate who rarely if ever misses with all of her stunning and trendsetting outfits. Now, she’s my favorite new character in the latest installment of this series. [I was semi-hoping she’d be cast as a Jedi with some sort of tribal face paint and eggplant robe.] You would miss her if you did not know her voice. No big spoiler here; she’s the yellow Yoda of the story. [I love you, Lupita/Maz.]

Daisy Ridley is a lovely heroine (even if she resembles the younger prequel Anakin crossed with Padme). But, what do you expect from the female lead? Everyone loved Leia (even if some criticized the “bun” hairdo). I loved Padme (but not all of her outfits). And, she uses her natural voice (which is refreshing when I think of all the Brits and Aussies using American accents in films). [I am guessing she gets the accent from her mother?]

Boyega’s Finn is a complicated man. No, he’s not Samuel L. Jackson (nor Richard Roundtree) but a good stormtrooper…er, bad stormtrooper turned good. …He’s with the Rebellion! Anyway, he’s a nice addition to the cast/story. [I like him slightly better than Lando. You know, Finn’s dad. Shh!]

Racial diversity is more apparent. And, women, well, two women, are added for more powerful roles…though one doesn’t do much. But, it’s a slight improvement on the original trilogy. [What about the “prequels?” There was a female bounty hunter in one of those, and she was badass.]

The whining I hated with the two previous trilogies is gone! Well…not exactly. There’s still a little whining and tantrum throwing by the Dark Side. It’s just restricted/sent to a private space sans rubber walls where the villain can slash the place apart. [It’s not like anyone is ever going to use those computers again, anyway.]

The star Jedi is NOT the one to strike the big, successful blow against the enemy! That’s right, it’s one of the smaller potatoes…who just happens to be the best pilot with dark hair.

A new R2 is used well. The little rolling ball of excited chatter is more likable than Number 5 from Short Circuit. [If you don’t know who that is, you’re obviously a prequel baby.] He’s sure to spawn a whole line of toys, speakers, other gadgets and remote control replicas.

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Is it just me or does the good list weaken as it reaches its end? Well, let’s get to the rest of it.
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The Bad:

In seven words, it’s Star Wars, the Vader saga, revisited. If you watch the Darth Vader trilogy and the new film together, you’ll pick up on matching character looks/types and repeated dialogue.

In five words, there is no new story. Well, that’s not entirely true. There are a few small surprises, tiny kernels of continuation forty years after Darth Vader falls. But, you’d think more would have changed. And, as they say in the movie, the Empire is gone. So…why are there still stormtroopers running amok under new leadership which looks EXACTLY like the old leadership? [Then again, what changed between World War one and two other than who started the fight and why?]

In three words, too much recycling. I think the crew (including the director) were so scared to try anything new after the barrage of hate mail flew at the “prequels” that they went a VERY safe route to please everyone. [I guess furry little creatures were too dangerous because there are none.]

Unfortunately, this hit rock bottom when the big surprise weapon was revealed. At that moment, my smile wilted. If you are following my train of thought, you can guess what awaits our heroes and devastates worlds. It’s been done! And, I am tired of this constant upgrade of power which only falls the same way the old power did, anyway!

I mean, seriously, J. J.! You put a toaster over the Tatooine lizard’s head. Some of the stellar visuals are reused…though perhaps at new angles or with new computer enhancements. Even the big surprise from The Empire Strikes Back is essentially given a face-lift with new characters in the scene. And, you killed one of my favorite characters!

If you’re going to kill one of my favorite characters, why not get rid of the stormtroopers, too? If anyone wants to use force, it’s me, using physical force to knock some sense into your head. [Don’t worry too much, you’re still better than the guy who ruined Transformers and who is probably raping the Ninja Turtles before a sequel to that remake as I speak.]

If you want the truth, J. J., I think you do better sticking with the revised Star Trek franchise. [I have only seen trailers and interviews, but it looks good.] I take no enjoyment from being a member of the hate police. But, I am rather sick of all the Star Wars “swag” and undeserved domination of science-fiction interest. And, even if you’re tired of hearing it, you slowly lost me on LOST. You spent all those years not telling people they were watching the Twilight Zone.

It’s still too quick and easy for the good guys to find the fatal flaw in the enemy’s plans (even if the enemy does some serious destruction first…and just as quickly/easily). Apparently, we come into the “story” at the moment when the “aha moment” hits. Again, that’s been used in the previous films. It smells of lacking plot to fill the space between “Here are your new cast members.” and “Here is how the enemy falls.”

The very first Star Wars to be made was the “best” chunk of a lengthy story possibly too big for Lucas’ mind to handle. He didn’t want to bore people to tears with a long, ongoing war. So, he cut it down to a highlight reel to sell tickets and save people from cardiac arrest (from too many hours planted in theater seats which were not as luxurious as they are now). Still, people felt the need to sell toys and related kids’ bedroom items before Christmas, stoking the fire of future collecting/hoarding/resale crazes. Then the story grew; it continued with a new stage of the same war waged on the snowy side of some planet and a third in a jungle occupied by little teddy bears with spears and rocks. And, in the end, the Empire’s emperor fell.

This is not the first rodeo for the “guardians of the galaxy.” [Yea, I used a Marvel title, also purchased by Disney.] Get on with the story. Write something new while properly representing the old; show progression. Or, tell fans you are remaking the originally released film with new effects/technology and let them decide how to feel about that. Me? I’d be looking for a red lightsaber if I saw another remake (though I do respect the effort to improve upon what may have been limited by technology at the time if it is closer to the artist’s vision and given his/her consent).

With a good writing team, this “story” could have spanned three films and saved the big explosion for the third (using a DIFF-ER-ENT weapon as the ultimate target). But, no, this is now Disney’s battle cruiser; and we know Disney has been recycling/rewriting old tales since Snow White. So, as I said, you get Star Wars in a new, shiny package with plenty of the old trilogy squeezed into one film for the old generation to pass onto the new. Heck, why watch the original films when Disney will repack them for you? I expect another “big weapon” to appear in the third repackaged film of this new series. Surprise me with something different. I dare ya.

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The Ugly…er, my final rating?

Out of 5 stars, I give this one 2 1/2, average. 5 star visuals with a 1-2 star story. Even 2 stars is generous for the recycling. And, as many already know, this isn’t the end of it. There are two more sequels to round out another trilogy. Knowing Disney, there are spin-offs in the works, probably throwing some more kid-friendly TV shows and movies to surpass what was once Droids and Ewoks. And, with that is sure to come even MORE merchandising which has already been insane. It’s enough to make you hate Christmas. And, we sure don’t need that.

One question for those who have seen the film: [Don’t read this if you have not seen it.] Why doesn’t Leia sense Luke’s presence when he contacts R2-D2 (if she can feel what happens to Han and is able to feel Luke throughout the original trilogy)?

If I could:

1) I would erase four of the previous six films, removing the bits from A New Hope that repeat in The Force Awakens and salvaging the good parts primarily from The Empire Strikes Back with traces of Return of the Jedi to complete the chapter. You could squeeze six weak stories into two good films or spread the pursuit of bringing down the enemy over three stronger than weak films.

2) And, yea, I’ll say it, I’d cast someone else as or rewrite Luke’s script so he doesn’t seem so whiny and naive with unbelievable luck. If there’s one character in the first trilogy to be made that bothers me the most, it’s Luke. [I’d love the films if the focus was on the relationship between Han and Leia.] C3-PO is a close second. He’s the robotic equivalent to Donkey in the Shrek films. I’d say he’s as bad as some think of…

3) I’d keep Jar Jar Binks in the prequels. Not because I want to further anger those who hate him but because he’s perfect for Disney who created Goofy and now holds the keys to the whole shabang. Cheers to Lucas on ensuring a luxurious retirement!

4) I’d keep the pod race but remove the lucky shot from The Phantom Menace.

5) I’d strip the Clone Wars down to the bare bones, re-purposing the sickly General Grievous (who was a bit of a disappointment), saving Count Dooku (who is just about as good as the actor was in the Lord of the Rings films) and sparing viewers the madness that is the excess of troopers along with the dragging factory and arena showdown scenes (except for the bit when Mace Windu chops off Jango Fett’s head).

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In short, see the new film to enjoy the ride. Just don’t invest much in it. Don’t hate the “prequels.” But, why are they considered such a failure?…for being different from the future? Is it possible the first three chapters of the six-part saga were changed to once again hopefully please more fans than they originally would have? At least, J. J. won’t be called a TRAITOR! [I’m just throwing in a word repeated in a few of Boyega’s scenes for whatever reason, not calling anyone a traitor, presently.]

And, for those of you who have had no interest in the Star Wars movies whatsoever, bless your hearts. You might have the last semblance of imagination to create new stories that span the stars. May the creative force, divine inspiration, be with all who read these words and use it wisely.

 

31
Aug
15

New package, Same Product, Still Losers

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That’s a quote (I think) from Megatron in the second season of Beast Wars.

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It randomly comes to mind as I think about the concept of mail, letters, keeping in touch with those we care to converse but can’t quite reach by phone or in person for whatever reason.

I think back to a time when I first learned how to write a letter.  It was a very important matter that came in two varieties.  I wrote my first classmate as a pen pal, and we both laughed as if it was cute.  But, that didn’t last.  I wrote my first business letter and got one of the best surprises of my life.

The years roll by…and I would write letters in high school the way some kids pass notes in class.  No one really appreciated the effort.

More years roll by, and I see something in a magazine about pen pals.  I gave that a try.  And, lucky me, I met a gal who liked to doodle on envelopes the way I did.  We stayed in touch for a while.  But, I started to feel like I was back in grade school, only talking kid stuff and never really connecting with the person on what mattered at my “age.”  I needed more of a persona, mature connection, someone I could sit with and cry about adult matters.  Not a crazed toy and video game fan who only wanted to discuss the latest product as if she was working for the company.  So, I let that go.

Then came the age of the internet, and I learned the ropes of email and online chat.  I’ve approached countless strangers from around the globe and emailed a handful.  That handful comes and goes like the tide.  Faces change…heck, I don’t even get to see faces.  I didn’t see faces when I wrote on paper.  And, I don’t often see faces on the computer screen.  That much hasn’t changed.

But, what HAS changed is how–in this age of quick and easy responses–more time seems to escape me between contacts.  I go longer periods without hearing from someone I like and wonder if they haven’t just floated off into deep space or read something they didn’t care to read and took off like a scared gazelle.  I feel like I am stuck on an island sending out messages in a bottle.  And, how foolish I am to think I could keep speaking with any one who has the guts to respond just once.

Heck, it might even be my own fault sometimes….no, I do my part.  At least, until technology fails me.

How do I end this emotional rant?

How about…

Sincerely, the friend you haven’t met yet,

Writingbolt

09
Dec
14

Go to Sleep, and Wake Up with a New Website…Again?!

I swear, blog sites don’t sleep or stay the same for long.  You go to bed and wake up the next day with a new sandbox.  Here I am expecting to see my familiar controls, and they’ve changed, AGAIN.  The last time, certain features were on the right.  Then they went to the left.  Now, the icons changed, again.  I wonder if it would freak me out as much if I didn’t come here as often.  Maybe I’d miss a few changes and only experience one.  At least, I can still find my “fingers and toes.”

Am I the only one who cares?

11
Aug
14

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Have you ever heard someone say that about some machine, toy, phone, “doodad” or gizmo? You know…the title of this piece. It’s something I haven’t heard myself in a while. But, that’s just because I am no longer a kid surrounded by elderly folks. Those who said it to me have passed on, already. But, the message still rings true now and then.

There was a time not too long ago when adults of the ’60s looked at the toys and technology of the ’80s–particularly television sets–and said, “They sure don’t make them like they used to.” This was shortly after Americans took a break from bitching about the “China-men” making inferior products. But, even today, if you listen to some of these millionaire business types, where would they be if they didn’t have their production lines overseas? Not too long ago, there was a big stink being raised about lead paint on toys. Lead paint; something I haven’t heard about since childhood when there was considerable concern about kids eating paint chips from older houses. [But, if you get me started on lead paint and the Chinese labor force working for the U.S.A., we’ll be here all week.]

The point I am slowly trying to make is…

If you look at modern technology–everything from lawn equipment to household appliances to your “newfangled” flat TVs and razor-thin-ready-to-snap-at-any-moment computers–you don’t see many–if any–lifetime warranties. You’re lucky if you get a five-year warranty. What amazes me is how some manufacturers will avoid a fuss and let you have a replacement (sometimes at an additional expense even if it’s considerably smaller).

Back when, replacements didn’t come so easily. You didn’t trade in a $100+ phone made from nuclear waste that does everything from flash a light under your bed to manage your banking/spending every two years. You bought a phone that plugged into the wall and was glad it was still working when the power went out. Now, you drop your “phone” (and I use the term lightly) in a puddle or on the sidewalk (because you have to have it with you at all times), and you’re lucky if you aren’t forking over another $200+ for a replacement.

[You see how the price shot up in just a few years? There was a time when you expected a fairly standard price for a phone. The technology didn’t change in two years, and what you had worked just fine if you didn’t take it outside and throw/drop it everywhere, you klutzes. AND, your hand didn’t vibrate or glow in the dark after holding your phone for a few hours. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating about the hand glowing in the dark.]

There was a time when you bought something with little fear of it not working in as many as ten years or more. You trusted a name that built a reputation for itself. You trusted the materials with which the item was made.

There was a time not so long ago when cash was so scarce, they called it the Great Depression, and countless lives were in financial jeopardy. Back then, they didn’t have “smart phone plans” to worry about. They didn’t even have video entertainment. How in the world did they live?!…you kids might ask. Well, I am fairly sure there was probably the same business scheming going on then as it is today. It just came under a different label as it drove people broke. But, whatever it was, I am sure it lasted the people a few more years than a computer telling its user, “It’s been two years. Replace me.”

You know what piece of technology hasn’t changed much since the dawn of time? Mankind. We may have lost some hair and body mass (ha). We may have learned to stand up straighter and use different words now and then. We may have changed the way we eat our food, dress and clean ourselves. We probably earned a longer life expectancy from working less and sitting on those asses people have been pointing and shaking their heads at, lately. But, we can be just as dumb as our ancestors.

How dumb are we? Well, we’re so dumb that we will slap anything on our skin or trust another human being to make us look young, “pretty” or “handsome.” We’re so dumb that we take pills as directed by other humans only to suffer side-effects we should have seen coming (but we didn’t…because we’re so dumb). We’re so dumb that we will burn a plant in our mouths or wash one down our throats to fight stress only to risk the lives of others around us and put that stress on our bodily organs, anyway. We’re so dumb that we move just like cattle as we chase the latest things because the ones someone stopped making last summer are now obsolete.

Can you replace your grandparents or siblings so easily? I think not. No matter what insurance policy you buy, pill you take or defense system you install, you don’t have a lifetime warranty or even a two-year warranty. Your number could be up tomorrow. [That’s another fairly old piece of lingo, by the way. Your number being up. For those of you born after the cellphone, it means “you could die.”]

So, the next time you think about buying some new gadget, trinket or Macintablet or reach for a fresh (or freshly charged) battery pack, remember what ol’ Writingbolt just told you. You can either drain your bank account (which was filled with your life force applied to that thing called work…of whatever kind you employ) every few years chasing stupidity. Or, you can wise up and rethink the way this world appears to be going. Buy something more reliable. And, invest in those around you who are worth more than any self-destructing wireless “life-distactor.”

Maybe it’s time we all slowed down to think instead of trying to be the one who throws him or herself into a wall the fastest. Yeah. That sounds dumb. Just give it time. I’m sure it’s out there on YouBoobTube, already. And, it’s getting a billion hits.

There was a time when hits were something your older brother…




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