Wayward Pines

Wayward Pines, executively produced by M. Night Shyamalan and Chad Hodge. I don’t have a huge aversion to M. Night Shyamalan, but that almost might be because I haven’t seen much of his movies. And what I did see (Sixth Sense and Unbreakable), I enjoyed. Alright, I also saw the Last Airbender just as a curiousity for how bad it is. It was… yeah. But I jumped right into Wayward Pines without any trepidation.

As with anything that has a big twisty plot, I’m wondering just how much I could say here. Should I go for full spoilers or try to dance around them? That would make it hard to talk about certain things.

I will try to avoid spoilers as the finding out of stuff is a big part of what makes the series fun. I will say that while there are twists, there’s no mind screwy type of thing going on. Everything will get an answer, and that is what I appreciate the most. I don’t have time to several season long mysteries. This is ten episodes that will get you an answer.

The show starts off mysterious with some deceptive editting used to maintain atmosphere and mood. Ethan Burke wakes up in a small town with no way out. The setup works really well and the slow build-up of the town is good. The only complaint I have is that in one case, the manipulative editting does not in any way match what’s actually going on. I am referring to a character specifically.

The style of the show changes several times throuhgout the run. I can’t list all of them because they would spoil, but it does run the gamut. I had a lot of fun watching this, and I enjoyed the atmosphere it built up. The small, creepy town had never had to much going on.

I do wonder about the possibility of a season two. It seems like the show was filmed in 2014 and only finally made it to air in 2015. Most of the actors might have moved on already due to the long delay. I would be mostly happy with just one season if it wasn’t for that last scene. Why always with the cliffhangers? Why? Oh, oops. Just mentioning there is a cliffhanger is a spoiler in itself, isn’t it? Well, you can figure it out by seeing the runtime of the episode is still not quite done.

Looking at Adaptations

A short while ago, I had an article on my thoughts about adaptations. Now I’m going to talk a bit on reviewing or judging the adaptations. Is it fair to judge the adapted works based on the original? Should they be seens as their own entity? Well, it depends. It always depends.

For me, personally, I find I enjoy most adapted works much better if I don’t read/watch the original work. I think that’s just because I don’t know what could be. Sometimes, lots of things change between the adapted works. Most of the time, though, it’s just some plots get cut out and characters get reduced. At times, the changes can make the new work confusing.

Of recent examples that are well known, I will talk a bit about Harry Potter. I read the books and saw the movies. The movies replaced a lot of fun scenes in the books with their own version. That, I’m fine with. Much of the explanations in the movie are lacking however. So much information was cut out, and not just things relating to the world.

The entire backstory for the main villain was gone. We never found out who wrote the Maurauder’s Map, things that made earlier setup in the movie seem wasted, such as Lupin’s deep knowledge of the map. Even just one line at the end would have done it.

Now, for the Hobbit movies, I have not read the Hobbit to completion. To clarify, I have read part of the Hobbit, up to the river water barrel escape. I also have not ready any of the indices or supplemental material. I enjoyed the movie, as ridiculous and over the top as they were. Not knowing what happened allowed me to enjoy the Tauriel parts more, though I did know she is a movie only character.

As far as if it’s fair to compare adaptations to the original work, I would say yes it is. After all, it’s an adaptation! Should all changes to the story be met with cries of how it is ruined, I think not. In fact, I’m not all that upset when adaptations take larger turns away from the original works. It gives surprises to people, might work better with the medium or any other number of things.

Thematic changes are interesting, though I don’t think they should be done. I’m thinking of I am Legend, here. The original work had an intent with its message. To just change it is pretty much changing the core of the story.

In short, keep in mind the original when experiencing the adaptation. Allow for flexibility in what they can present. Changing things isn’t bad, and sometimes, might be better. It’s been known to happen.

Spoils Before Dying

Ah, another adaptation of the Spoils book come to an end. The first one was The Spoils of Babylon, by Eric Jonrosh. This time it’s The Spoils Before Dying, by Eric Jonrosh. It is a jazzy 1960’s story of murder and intrigue. And… alright. For those that have seen the first season, you’ll know the real premise going on here.

This is a fictional account of a person making a movie based on his books. An actor (Will Ferrell) is playing the author Eric Jonrosh. Everyone in the show is actually playing actors hired to make the show version of the book. In that manner, it makes perfect sense why the same actors are playing different characters in the second season. Eric Jonrosh obviously has production posse.

And the show is also a comedy. The first season, The Spoils of Babylon, I think they were trying to hide it a bit more, instead pretending it is a so bad it’s good production of the book. This season, I feel as if they’re a lot more open about being a comedy. The style is much the same: ridiculous characters played completely straight. This time, they do a lot more strange stuff for no reason other than to be funny.

Still, much of the humor comes from just how serious everyone takes what they are doing. It’s funny because they are not trying to be funny.

The beginning and ending sessions where Eric Jonrosh introduces the episode is always fun to watch. And I still haven’t gotten tired of the wide shots. One gag I feel is overused is the sudden jump cuts to different angles of one event that is going on way too long. At least one of those happens per episode. It always makes me smile, though, and the snapping scene was hilarious.

The plot plays like a 1960’s murder mystery. The lingo they use and the over-the-top metaphors add a lot to the charm and humor. This show has that 60’s look through and through. Stuff seems to happen for no reason, and you just roll with it at the time, but the entire story does come together in the hilarious parody charm.

I didn’t expect The Spoils of Babylon to get a second season. In fact, I only found out about this season from one of the actors appearing on a talk show. I am really glad I did, though. I like the style of this show from the gag credits to the author notes. The Spoils Before Dying is just my kind of slightly off.

Adaptations

Welcome to another of my rambling pieces. This time, it’s all about adaptations. Adaptation, taking a work for one medium and turning it into another. Most common one is from book to movie. Others are from movie to video game or ┬áTV series to movie. Fans of a work will usually prefer one over the other. What I’m curious about is how are adaptations judged?

Now don’t take what I say as some well-researched scientific information. This is mostly what I’ve read from here and there. For most people, it seems that if they’ve read the original work, they will tend to prefer it over the adaptation. And there is a reason for that more than just, uh, what’s the proper term for preferring the original? But yeah, there is a reason more than that and that is because different mediums inherently present information in their own way.

Look at movies. They tend to be one and a half hours to a max to three hours at most. And in that time, they have to introduce main characters, main villains, set up the world and give the characters a reason for what they’re doing what they are. Then, since a movie tends to cost a lot, they have to throw in some big climax.

Movies can augment the world with sound, dramatic camera angles and visual effects. They will paint a picture for you regardless of what you’ve imagined previously. Subplots need to be cut out of a movie to have good pacing and not make it seven hours long. That means a direct scene for scene making of a book is unfeasible, so movies tend to cut out a lot from the books.

Now books also have their lengths. Officially, a novel is 40 thousand words or more long. Some books tend to go up to 300 thousand. I’m talking the Song of Ice and Fire’s. But even a 40k word long novel can pack in a lot of things depending on how it is written. Novels give readers the chance to fill in the world with their own imagination and can fit in as much as the author wants without regard to cost for hiring actors, making sets and such. They can have minor characters drop in and out at whim.

Books also have the freedom to explore the history of places and emotions of characters through narration, something movies cannot do unless they want to have someone speaking over the entire film, and let’s face it, I would consider that lazy moviemaking. So books are also richer in history provided.

When it comes to adapting things to video games, well players expect to play it. Sometimes video games aren’t adaptations of the story but some continuation or side story. That would give the level designers more room to work with. Otherwise, they’ll need to fit the events of the story to stages. And as a video game, players will probably want to play the most iconic parts of the story for themselves. Overall, adapting to a videogame means trying to make the story still understandable while not being too heavy on cutscenes.

Next time, I’ll talk about my opinions on judging adapted works. That should be fun.