“Dune” (Sci-Fi miniseries)

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Last week, I made clear my opinion of David Lynch’s Dune. That remains the only version of Dune ever released in theaters. However, in 2000, the Sci-Fi Channel released a TV miniseries adaptation of Dune. Fortunately, it’s not bad. The screenplay actually resembles Frank Herbert’s novel and manages to balance political intrigue with action. The show’s problems are mostly technical, particularly the acting and special effects.

Continue reading ““Dune” (Sci-Fi miniseries)”

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“Dune” (1984 film)

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I admit I’m not a fan David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune. I have many problems with the film, but the biggest is that it completely misses the point of the novel. Dune is not a hero’s journey. It’s not simply a grimdark Star Wars. Rather, it’s a story about the dangers of charismatic leadership and the interplay between political and religious power. In the movie, we don’t get to her Paul’s internal struggle, much less any hint that his jihad might have negative repercussions for the future. Indeed, in the final scene from the film, rain pours down as if to bless Paul’s victory.    Continue reading ““Dune” (1984 film)”

“The Shape of Water” by Daniel Krauss

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Most science fiction and fantasy movies nowadays get a tie-in novelization. Often, these adaptations reincorporate scenes that were deleted from the final cut of the film (as Jason Fry’s The Last Jedi recently did). They can also let readers peer into a character’s private thoughts, something notoriously difficult to do on screen (see David Lynch’s Dune adaptation). The Shape of Water novel by Daniel Kraus is something rarer and altogether more interesting. According to io9, Kraus pitched the story to Guillermo del Toro several years ago. Although Del Toro’s film The Shape of Water came out first, they agreed that each would tell their own version of the story through their respective mediums. In other words, Kraus’ book is not simply an adaptation of the film, but a unique and original telling of that story. Continue reading ““The Shape of Water” by Daniel Krauss”

Adding The Force Awakens to the Star Wars Ring

This article originally appeared on Legendarium Media

The Force Awakens is clearly soaked in nostalgia, to the point where some critics allege that it’s little more than a copy of the original Star Wars film. I addressed this claim in my last post. The film isn’t just a remake, reboot, or “requel” of A New Hope. The film mirrors the past, but often does so in new and interesting ways. Other times, the parallels do come across as straight up copying. Here, I attempt to understand what those similarities between the Original Trilogy and The Force Awakens do for the overall story. Continue reading “Adding The Force Awakens to the Star Wars Ring”

Did The Force Awakens Plagiarize Star Wars?

This article originally appeared on Legendarium Media

Every four years, Americans are confronted with a basic question during presidential elections: change or more of the same? In the 2016 presidential campaign, the winning mantra definitely seems to be “change” of some sort, whether on the extreme left or the extreme right. In Star Wars fandom, audiences voted with their wallets for “more of the same” in The Force Awakens. At least that’s the most prominent criticism of the film that otherwise earned over $1.9 billion at the box office and has a 93% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The basic plot points of the film mirror the original Star Wars and, to a lesser degree, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). Continue reading “Did The Force Awakens Plagiarize Star Wars?”

Childhood’s End

mv5bmtuxmjayntyynv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdaxmzk0nze-_v1__sx1129_sy889_I wasn’t a big fan of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End (see my full  review here). Despite that, I was interested to see how SyFy’s TV miniseries adaptation would approach the story. I came away with the impression that this was more of an update to the story than either a straight retelling or a creative adaptation. In that sense, it’s an interesting look at how science fiction and pop culture have changed from 1953, when Clarke first published the novel, to the modern era.

*** WARNING: Spoilers for both the book and TV show follow *** Continue reading “Childhood’s End”

“Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” (BBC TV miniseries)

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Mythgard Academy is offering a free podcast course on Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. In preparation, I read the book and watched the BBC TV miniseries adaptation. Here are my thoughts on the TV show:

I know this will get me in trouble with some people, but I actually liked the BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell more than I liked the book. To be fair, although I enjoyed the book, I don’t have a particularly strong attachment to it. If anything, I thought the book would have benefitted from a tighter narrative. Fortunately, the miniseries makes one change that really helps the pacing and increases the dramatic tension. Continue reading ““Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” (BBC TV miniseries)”

The Martian (by Ridley Scott)

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Last week, I posted my thoughts on Andy Weir’s The Martian. It’s easily one of the best science fiction books of the century. Fortunately, Ridley Scott’s film adaptation is very faithful to the novel. I won’t summarize the plot again (just read it here), but if you like the book, you’ll like the film. That said, there are a few notable differences that make the film a unique experience.

The film starts off before the accident that leaves astronaut Mark Watney stranded on Mars. We as viewers see the Hermes crew collecting samples before everything goes to hell. We see Watney struggle through those first painful hours when he’s still recovering from the accident. By contrast, the novel starts off after the accident, when Watney has already come up with a plan for survival. Continue reading “The Martian (by Ridley Scott)”

Jurassic Park

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Jurassic World is coming to theaters this today (June 12). Before I watch it, I decided to take another look at the original and see why it holds up so well…

There are thousands of reasons why Jurassic Park holds up so well over 20 years after its initial release in 1993: Steven Spielberg’s ability to evoke a sense of wonder; John Williams’ score; ILM’s restrained use of computer-generated effects; the fun dialogue (“clever girl”); and, of course, seeing realistic-looking dinosaurs on screen. Other reviewers have analyzed this movie to extinction, so I don’t want to waste time rehashing the obvious. That said, I do want to raise a few points about how the film was adapted from Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park. Continue reading “Jurassic Park”