Jul 212011
 

July 21, 2011

The voting is coming along nicely both here and on Facebook! keep going, guys. And when you’re done, please help yourself to a link or two. They’re on me.

I know, I know. I spoil you guys.

  • And speaking of things that are fun and bring us joy, every time a new harry Potter movie or book comes out, without fail, we get the psychos. Pat Robertson is already out in full force, but this gentleman takes the cake. Yeah, he’s a comedian, but the scary thing is that I’ve heard people who talk like him.
  • Rick Perry, possible GOP presidential candidate, started out as a Democrat. Hey, it IS Texas. He probably switched because they use liberals for target practice down here.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man is coming out next year, and we’ve already been treated to a blurry teaser filmed in a movie studio. That doesn’t mean we can’t look back on the old cartoon and guess at the kinds of things we can expect from a darker take on our favorite web-slinger.
  • Speaking of airheads, here’s Palin TRYING to look sexy. The result is akin to a mildly retarded beagle thinking it’s a ballerina.
  • And on the heels of the last article, Jon Stewart addresses Fox’s handling of the hacking scandal. See you Friday, folks, and keep voting!
Jul 072011
 

July 7, 2011

No, I’m not going to address the Casey Anthony trial except for one thing. All I’m going to say is that everyone stunned by the verdict needs to answer one question: is there reasonable doubt? Yes. Is there evidence to show she did it? Oh yeah. But go back and look at that last answer. Reasonable doubt? Oh yes. That’s the basis of our justice system. There were so many pieces of evidence that were not linked that while most of us might readily assume she was guilty, it’s an assumption.

  • I’ve been wondering how I can get my sugar AND caffeine hits in one easy-to-go package. Behold, caffeinated Butterfinger!
  • And finally, Neil Gaiman alone is already nerd fuel. Adam Savage of Mythbusters? Also cool. Adam Savage serenading Neil Gaiman as Gollum doing a spoke-word rendition of “I Will Survive”? The only way this could be cooler is if Gaiman was being knighted with a lightsaber.

Jan 192011
 
 January 19, 2011  Posted by at 12:01 am January Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  2 Responses »

It's yours if the new version is better...

January 19, 2011

Have you ever read the sequel to Macbeth? No? It’s really cool. The witches resurrect everyone at Hecate’s order in order to have them work out their differences at a lavish, magical banquet.

What about the stunning trilogy set after the events of “The Call of Cthulhu” wherein the narrator tracks down remnants of the Cthulhu cult and tries to close the cosmic seals keeping the Great Old One asleep?

No? Yeah, me neither.

There’s something massively appealing, though, about continuing a classic work. It’s not unheard of. There’s an unofficial sequel to The Catcher in the Rye. The Hitchhiker’s Guide has a volume Adams never wrote. Even the archetypical vampire, Dracula, got a sequel long after Stoker himself was dust. These books enjoy a measure of success, but they do beg the question of how you can go about making an adaptation of a famous work.

The internet is full of fan fiction, sure, but that’s not quite the same. It’s the same fanboy impulse to make things “cool” or appeal to the most superficial aspects of a work that gave us Star Trek Nemesis, a movie so full of itself it’s like a Star Trek matryoshka doll. No. Sequels, or even prequels, based on well-loved works have to do a few things.

First of all, though, they are sequels.

Think of the great sequels in film (Terminator 2, Aliens, The Empire Strikes Back, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Dark Knight) and now think of how they compare next to the originals. They build on the premise of the first and do something new with it. They balance the nostalgia for that first hit of McClane with that new rush of Joker.

So why can’t we take old, public-domain works and just make them our own? Why isn’t everyone looking for that new spin on the old classics?

Probably for the same reason horror movies almost always get a sequel.

Sequels can very easily fall into the trap of just rehashing the old story. Sometimes, though, it’s the story itself that’s intriguing. The first and third Die Hard movies have a very similar plot: bad guy fakes one crime to cover up a more profitable one.

Sometimes the characters are what drive the story. No one would want to read a story about Alice where she wasn’t somehow involved in Wonderland, but take Ellen Ripley and put her on a new planet crawling with xenomorphs and a scared little girl and you have one the greatest 80’s films.


Ripley by *ertacaltinoz on deviantART

One of the best ways to learn anything is imitation. We learn to talk by imitating sounds. We learn a sport by watching others play it, then trying to imitate their movements.

And we learn good writing by imitating the greats. It’s not a bad exercise. Fan fiction is, at worst, an attempt at literary wanking. At its best, it’s an homage and a way to develop your own style by seeing how the classics were built.

Try and write that final chapter to your favorite book. Take a short story and ask yourself, “What made it so good? And what happened afterwards?”

Mark Twain once said that stealing from many people is not plagiarism. It’s research. Why not borrow from the best?

Art is nothing if not the synthesis of the world around us into new forms and shapes.


Homage by ~insomalia on deviantART

Well, time for the links and randomness.

  • Some of you may have already heard about this, but a dog belonging to a flood victim in Brazil is so loyal that it remains with its owner… even though the owner is dead.
  • If you think you’ve got mad acrobatic skills like Spiderman… you’re about one bad decision away from a broken neck. Like this guy.
  • And finally, proving that digging into the past is never a bad way to make something great, here’s the Nostalgia Critic with a review of Neverending Story III. See you Friday, and make sure you vote on this week’s poll in the upper right!