I wrote some words (Schmoesknow.com article prompts)

Bit of an experiment – I took a handful of recent Schmoesknow.com pieces, didn’t read the articles themselves and wrote my own versions to see what they’d turn out like.  The Ready Player One photos one is probably a bit on the long side, but there we go.  Also I had to pretend I was writing that before the second trailer came out.

Any and all (constructive :p) feedback is welcomed.

Ready Player One Photos released

I am very much a child of the 80s (and 70s for a bit).  I have four framed posters on my livingroom wall : Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Raiders pf the Lost Ark and Back to the Future.   I’d have Terminator, Gremlins, Top Gun etc too if I had room.  I also grew up with computers, arcades & games and was a fully paid up member of the Commodore club.  From Vic20 through to Amiga 500/600, it was C= all the way until I shifted to PC when Doom exploded into existence.

The point of this brief glimpse into my early and middle childhood is that when I read Cline’s novel, it was a major case of “right up my alley.”  It’s no Shakespeare or Wilde, but it is thoroughly enjoyable and positively stuffed with pop culture references from my formative years.  However, this isn’t a book review, it’s a reaction to the photos that have just been released ahead of the second trailer dropping this weekend.

I’m already seeing some departures from the book (as we did in the first trailer – there’s no car race in the novel, for example) but, as with any adaptation, some things just don’t work well on-screen.  Let’s face it, two…”entities” (spoilers sweetie) playing Joust on an arcade cab wouldn’t be that enthralling to watch – there was a nod to the combative ostrich game in the first trailer if you were looking closely, though.

More importantly, the tone seems to be absolutely spot on.  Wade’s hideout, deep in the Stacks, where he escapes his overbearing aunt and her often abusive partners to take refuge in the Oasis is pretty much how I imagined it when reading.   As is the more expansive shot of part of the Stacks exploding (I’ll refrain from being specific due to potential spoilers).

The photo of Parzival and Art3mis (the Oasis avatars of Wade and Samantha) with the Oasis librarian android is new.  I’m guessing they’re looking at a reconstruction of the Oasis’s creators – Halliday & Og – at work developing and testing the VR world.   Given there would have to be a bit of exposition regarding the Oasis itself, not to mention Halliday, this seems like a smart way to chronicle it.  It should also flesh out Og’s character too, which would be a nice addition.

The final photo is a little confusing to me – that’s Samantha looking over a crowd of people jacked into the Oasis.  The only scenario I can think of where there were swathes of folk gathered together inside the Oasis, she was right there with them, so it’ll be interesting to see what’s going on there.

In summary, these photos are simultaneously making me excited for the film and reassuring me that Spielberg has a handle on the material.  Like I was ever worried about Spielberg though, to be fair.

What say you, Schmoeville?  If you’ve read the book, are you reassured and looking forward to it?  If you haven’t, does the premise interest you and do the photos help?

Favourite performances of 2017 – Film

My choice for my favourite performance of the past year also doubles as “most likely to shut people up.”  Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman.

While Ms Gadot was hailed as the best part of Batman vs Superman by a significant proportion of viewers (whether they liked the film as a whole or not), there was also a pretty vocal wariness about whether she could carry an entire film.  They needn’t have worried.  Throughout the film, she proved naysayers wrong at every turn.  From curiosity, through incredulity (about not sleeping with someone for warmth/companionship), joy, anger, frustration and to, ultimately, sorrow, Gal expressed it all with competence and, occasionally, subtlety.

Combine that with the physicality she’d already demonstrated in BvS and her ability to play both the straight woman & comedian (though never at her expense) and I was thoroughly impressed with her performance throughout.

Is she in the running for an Oscar? No, but she absolutely silenced the “just a pretty face” crowd.  And she didn’t need a lasso of truth to do it.

Favourite performances of 2017 – TV

I’m going for a last minute entry here – the late Anton Yelchin for Trollhunters.

Granted, a lot of it has to do with the world Guillermo del Toro has built and the script writers providing him with a fantastically relate-able character, whatever your age. I’m 44 – I should be relating more with Blinky (Kelsey Grammer’s character), not some high school kid.  But, just like Hiccup in How To Train Your Dragon, there’s an instant connection to young Jim.  Whether it’s balancing home, school and, well, being a Trollhunter, his relationships with his friends and family or simply being in peril, you get it.  And that’s in no small part due to Yelchin’s performance.

Given Season 2 only recently dropped on Netflix, I’m going to be a bit vague for fear of spoilers, but Jim has run into enough situations for Yelchin to run the gamut of emotions to portray.  And he nails it every time.

So long Anton.  This performance is a fitting legacy.

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