Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 07:38 on 23-03-2012, Axiomatic
Watching Sovereign of the Damned, Alasdair?
permalink
at 06:41 on 23-03-2012, Sunnyskywalker
Oh, very interesting about Kimba! I had not heard of that. Just when I think they can't do any more to prove themselves bigger intellectual property bullies, too.

As far as the Hamlet parallels, I think it isn't much looser an adaptation as some of the others, if that's what they really were thinking. Eg, I haven't seen the Princess and the Frog yet, but from what I've heard, it has very little in common with the original tale except the prince-turned-frog part. Not that it could be, the original being so short, but I think "wannabe restaurant owner in New Orleans" is a bit of a stretch from the original "princess with a golden ball," and I don't remember the princess turning into a frog first. (The end of The Frog Prince, Continued, yes, but that also sounds not quite like what Disney did.) So why not animal Hamlet with a happy ending? (Also, there's a suck-up counselor in both, for another mark in the "squint or miss them" parallels. Though he doesn't die either in Disney's version.)
permalink
at 06:23 on 23-03-2012, Melissa G.
From what I was given to understand, The Lion King was a rip-off of Kimba The White Lion. This little article thing sums up the similarities between them. There was a similar theory when it came to Atlantis and Nadia Secret of Blue Water. Basically...Disney rips off anime...OR DO THEY!?
permalink
at 00:57 on 23-03-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Oh god I am watching the best anime ever. I just saw Count Dracula mug a New Yorker.

EDIT: And then he bought a hamburger!!!
permalink
at 00:48 on 23-03-2012, Michal
Well, Mufasa's ghost shows up at one point. And Timon & Pumbaa are supposed to be Rosencratz & Guildenstern-like but they don't actually act much like Rosencratz & Guildenstern at all and don't die.

Um.

That's all I got.

Maybe they thought the scene where Gilgamesh and Enkidu go see the queen while holding hands would be too controversial?

Gilgamesh: History's first bromance.
permalink
at 00:13 on 23-03-2012, Sister Magpie
I've heard the Hamlet reading before but I still don't get it. His father is killed by his brother so his brother can take over the throne. And nothing else from Hamlet.
permalink
at 23:07 on 22-03-2012, Dan H
Plus they did okay with The Lion King, which wasn't based on a well-known story as far as the public knew (at least, I don't remember it being marketed as "kid-friendly Hamlet").


I'm just commenting to say that I am such a *colossal idiot* that it never occurred to me that The Lion King could be seen as a Hamlet retelling.

In my defence, they did make some slight variations. Like only the bad guy dying. Although I think if you try really, really hard you could sing "I have of late - but wherefore I know not - lost all my mirth ..." to the tune of "Can you Feel the Love Tonight."
permalink
at 20:09 on 22-03-2012, Sunnyskywalker
To clarify, I wonder if studio execs think a scene where the heroic leads essentially skip in together and go, "Mommy, we want to go on a quest..." and she tells the best friend to take care of her baby wouldn't be manly and heroic enough. Real heroes don't have mommies. Or hold hands. With anyone ever. And not acting within extremely rigid gender roles on screen would end civilization or something, so it's too scary to fund.
permalink
at 20:04 on 22-03-2012, Sunnyskywalker
Maybe they thought the scene where Gilgamesh and Enkidu go see the queen while holding hands would be too controversial?

Now I'm trying to think of which other widely-known texts are not being adapted twice every five years. It's too bad they botched Troy so badly, because now Sean Bean probably won't ever get to star in The Odyssey (or, given their renaming pattern, perhaps it would be called Ithaca), and that might have been fun. And where are all the Oedipus Rex movies? Everyone's heard of Oedipus! There's a sphinx, a prophecy, a dude killing a stranger who happens to be his dad in a fit of rage, incest, and eyeball stabbing. Where's the modernized adaptation where Ed doesn't know about his sealed adoption and ends up killing some jerk CEO who cut him off in traffic and marrying his wife, only to have the company tank?

Anyway, I think at this point Disney has established "princesses" as practically a brand in its own right, and anything with a title like "A Whole Bunch of Princesses Engage in Practically Canonical Song-and-Dance Numbers" ought to fit their model just fine. Plus they did okay with The Lion King, which wasn't based on a well-known story as far as the public knew (at least, I don't remember it being marketed as "kid-friendly Hamlet").
permalink
at 18:59 on 22-03-2012, Michal
Two words: brand recognition. Studios don't want to take risks, they want to stick to familiar franchises or stories that everyone has already heard of.

So where's my Epic of Gilgamesh movie?
permalink
at 17:32 on 22-03-2012, James D
Hackneyed? How so?
I thought it was pretty original, not so much that it was time travel, but rather how it worked. Plus I liked the flying fortress idea.
And I felt the characters were all quite well-written, not with tremendous depth necessarily, but they all had distinct personalities and weren't too cliche. I guess without really hashing out the finer points we might just have to agree to disagree.

Wolfe has the occasional urge to attack cliche genre fiction head-on, with varying results. Free Live Free turned out pretty well I think, The Wizard Knight turned out really well, but An Evil Guest turned out pretty poorly. Oh well.
permalink
at 17:25 on 22-03-2012, Andy G
"If they're going to do fairy tale retellings, why can't they at least try some different ones for a change?"

Two words: brand recognition. Studios don't want to take risks, they want to stick to familiar franchises or stories that everyone has already heard of.
permalink
at 17:22 on 22-03-2012, Arthur B
Eeeeh, I thought the
time-travel explanation
and characters were kind of hackneyed myself. It's one of my least favourite Wolfes.
permalink
at 17:20 on 22-03-2012, James D
Fair enough, I haven't read Pandora by Holly Hollander or Castleview yet myself. Maybe selective reading has colored my perception of the character of Wolfe's standalones. Still, I thought Free Live Free was pretty weighty. Not as weighty as Peace, but it was rather complex in terms of the mystery and the
time-travel explanation.
Also the characters were well-realized. It was his version of a potboiler thriller I guess, just as An Evil Guest was his version of a pulp horror/spy story, but he handled it much better and, dare I say, much Wolfe-ier.
permalink
at 17:14 on 22-03-2012, Sunnyskywalker
Finally started reading that Ron Moore interview. I had about the same reaction as Guy: wow, they could have used his advice in BSG! You know, the show where it took the writers three seasons to remember that since this fleet is out on its own, they should probably train more workers to process their fuel and other critical jobs, because working the same batch of people 24/7 until they drop is a bad plan which only people who aren't really trapped on their own would come up with. (Seriously. They never had a problem before that which drew attention to the immanent manpower shortage?) The show that introduced a prison ship which made a deal to do hard, dangerous labor in exchange for a measure of autonomy and then promptly forgot about them forever. The show that had a character taking over the black market only to promptly drop that forever too, even though being a crime boss would probably come in handy during election season.

If they're going to do fairy tale retellings, why can't they at least try some different ones for a change? (Two Snow Whites?) I haven't seen 12 Dancing Princesses lately, other than that YA novel The Phoenix Dance a while back (with a bipolar girl who wants to be a shoemaker instead of a prince, which was interesting). You'd think Disney, at least, would be all over a concept which included 12 princesses.
permalink
at 16:48 on 22-03-2012, Arthur B
Peace is heavy as hell but isn't from the 80s. ;)

There Are Doors is on the to-read pile, but I thought Free Live Free was pretty light going, as was Pandora By Holly Hollander and Castleview (which The Sorcerer's House was a very mild rehash of).
permalink
at 16:40 on 22-03-2012, James D
I disagree, I feel like his standalones like Free Live Free, There Are Doors, and Peace were much weightier than more recent ones like An Evil Guest or The Sorcerer's House or Pirate Freedom. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, except in the case of An Evil Guest, which I just didn't like very much at all. It just seemed kind of directionless and...missing something, I guess. There just wasn't a very good central conflict; the protagonist wasn't even privy to it, in a kind of sexist way.
permalink
at 16:22 on 22-03-2012, Arthur B
I still need to get around to reading Home Fires. I remember liking The Sorcerer's House but not quite feeling up to reviewing it on FB due to not having anything particularly substantial to say about it. I'm still picking apart how I feel about An Evil Guest and I might need to reread before coming to any conclusions.

In general I think most of Wolfe's standalones have come under the "lighter fare" category since the 1980s, so I don't think it's a new thing. Or at least if there's a new thing, it's Wolfe shifting gears to concentrate primarily on standalones.
permalink
at 16:08 on 22-03-2012, James D
Speaking of Gene Wolfe, anyone read Home Fires yet? I read his previous book, The Sorceror's House, and found it fun and well-crafted, though rather light fare compared to his weightier works. He seems to have shifted more toward writing that kind of thing in his later years, likely wanting to just enjoy the writing without having to work out labyrinthine puzzles 90% of the readers won't even get.
permalink
at 15:51 on 22-03-2012, Wardog
Awwww, Gene Wolfe looks adorably happy...
permalink
at 15:29 on 22-03-2012, Michal permalink
at 11:43 on 22-03-2012, Ibmiller
Funnily enough for my cultural context, I did see the film opening weekend, and thought it was dreadfully dull. I did like the exploding people, though.
permalink
at 09:12 on 22-03-2012, Wardog
It was bad. But on the other hand: Oxford and bears!
permalink
at 06:53 on 22-03-2012, Axiomatic
I went and saw the movie, and ye gods, it was bad.

It was like the director was waging a bitter crusade against the concept of pacing.
permalink