Posts Tagged ‘Adaptation’

Media Update 6/9/2016

June 9, 2016

Legally Blonde: The Musical

It has been a while since I watched Legally Blonde or its sequel. They’re both great movies and I consider them to be well-written movies about a main character (and some minor characters) finding their inner strength and exceeding everyone’s expectations. I consider the movie to be one of the first feminist movies that I watched and was conscious of. I think a lot of people consider Legally Blonde to be kind of a girly movie and I can see where they would get that. However, this is way more intelligent than your average chick flick or dick flick for that matter. The main character is Elle Woods who goes to law school for all the wrong reasons but proves to herself that she’s stronger and smarter than anybody thought including herself. She also changes the lives of several people around her who are able to find their voices as well and better their lives. On a side note, in no way am I belittling somebody who chooses to be a fashion major or women who go out for their MRS degree. The musical does an excellent job of adapting the movie and the recording I watched had a very dynamic and talented cast. The show is high energy and the music is incredibly infectious. The musical numbers also play around a lot with conventional musical structure. There are a lot of interesting things done for the sake of comedy or storytelling. For the most part, the musical stays faithful to the movie as an inspirational tale of law students banding together under the command of one plucky young lady. There are a lot of interesting, thrilling moments that work just as well or better in musical form. Check the whole thing out on YouTube while it lasts or catch a stage version.

State Fair

When I was in high school, our drama department always did a certain kind of musical. We didn’t do anything that would need an electric guitar but plenty of piano-driven, cute musicals. We did old time musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Anything Goes and Once Upon a Mattress. When it comes to that type of musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein are probably the most well-known team. They created musicals like The King and I, Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music. They specialize in some of the catchiest tunes around and lyrics that are pretty easy to remember because they flow well. I had heard of State Fair but I never had a chance to see it before now. As you’d expect the music is really good and very much like many of the musicals of its time. The first thing that struck me is that one of the main characters depicts the specific ennui and restlessness of being young perfectly. The story follows two young siblings who are both having trouble with their love lives back in their small time. Things start to change when they travel with their parents to the state fair and they each meet somebody who represents something completely new. The subplots have to do with the fair activities of livestock and cooking competitions which allow for more comic relief. The story is actually really interesting because I could not tell exactly where things were going and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Long time readers know that I have a soft spot for upbeat classic movies and this was definitely one of them. I definitely recommend this for musical lovers.

Shrek: The Musical

I remember when Shrek came out. At the time, it was an innovative look at fairy tales at the time with a slightly new take on The Tiger’s Bride. It basically added some heart and pop culture references to the classic transformation tale but the performances and heart pulled it off. It would end up being one of the last good movies for both Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. I saw an ad for the musical when I was up in New Jersey and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw. When the musical popped up on Netflix recently I had had time to let the idea percolate and I thought why not? So, the modern music like Smash Mouth is obviously replaced with show tunes which actually fits the story better. The visual design and script hit a lot of the same points as the original. I thought it felt more mature for a little bit but instead, I decided that it’s simply less juvenile and yes there’s a difference. Some of the songs are catchy but the lyrics are actually really fun and creative. The main difference from the original is that there seems to be a lot more exposition. We get more of Shrek’s, Fiona’s and Farquad’s backstories and the dragon talks now. In general, characters felt more developed and motivations were clearer. Both are refreshing and add to the story. The new jokes land a little better than some of the ones they replaced. There are also some really innovative special effects that were cool to watch. The actors are unknown to me but it felt like they put their own spin on things and didn’t just copy the movie too much. Check it out if you’re interested.


Music of the Week:

Slaughter – Spend My Life
The Jesus And Mary Chain – Head On
Creature – Pop Culture
May May- When I Enter Your Mind… (RIP Muhammad Ali)
Madeon – Pop Culture

Weekly Updates:

– I am loving season 2 of Person of Interest
– I finished watching season 1 of Better Call Saul and it destroyed me
– I got back into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries this week
– So many movies in theaters I want to check out
– So many things on the docket in coming weeks to talk about
– Youtube will definitely make another appearance soon
– Muhammad Ali meant a lot to me. But still we move on.
– Check out I Am Ali on Netflix. It’s great.

Jem and the Holograms: An Adaptation

July 24, 2015

I’ve been thinking about the uproar over the upcoming Gem and the Holograms movie. I recently watched a few episodes so I feel I have a little more insight into the issue at hand. I realize that a few episodes do not make me an expert. I also realize that I don’t really have a dog in this fight as I claim no ownership since the show was absent from my childhood. If you page through my blog you may notice that I have discussed the top of adaptations before. My philosophy concerning adaptations is that as long as it’s a good movie then I can chalk any differences to a multiverse explanation. It’s an easy mental note to make and I find multiverse theories fun and exciting.

The other night I was thinking about live action adaptations of popular cartoons. I realized I have seen quite a few of them. They are a strange animal and they are a weird choice for a studio to make. I think it’s especially the case since reintroducing these shows again as cartoons has been very successful. My Little Pony, Transformers, GI Joe, Pound Puppies and probably even more have produced successful cartoon shows in the present day. Still, studios really want to make live-action adaptations. Why? It makes a lot of money by utilizing the combined might of nostalgia and star power usually.

I don’t know how Jem and the Holograms is going to work out but there is hope. Let’s look at two examples from the past.

Scooby Doo

I watched the hell out of Scooby Doo when I was a kid even though all of the episodes were made before I was born. The show was hokey, cheaply made and it heavily relied on a formula that they always followed. Even the longest episode wasn’t longer than an hour. The characters always returned to the status quo at the beginning of each episode as the teenagers rattled along in their van from mystery to mystery. The show never really changed but it remained popular. I’m ignoring Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo because everybody else seems to be ignoring it.

When the live action movie was released, they approached it in a curious way. They kept the archetypes that they had created but they also allowed the characters to grow. Instead of seeing the characters as they were on the show, we saw them at a later point in their life after some personal growth. It actually freed them up to not follow the formula exactly which was a more interesting choice. They also made the supernatural threats real instead of fake like they had been before. I thought it was a very entertaining movie although part of that was the good actors they chose. It was kind of like being told about a unicorn and going to look for it but at the same time expecting a cat with a horn glued to its head. Instead, you find a horse with a horn glued to its head. At first your disappointed but then you remember unicorns aren’t real.

Josie and the Pussycats

This movie is a much more relevant example as it was also a show about a band comprised of female characters. However, like Scooby Doo, they also solved mysteries as they travelled from gig to gig. They used the same cheap animation tricks but had the benefit of catchy music and Archie-like characters. The theme song remains a major ear worm for me and I held kind of a soft spot in my heart for Josie and the Pussycats.

The live action movie took an even more radical approach to the source material than Scooby Doo had. They updated the band to a nineties attitude and updated the music to reflect that. They cast popular young starlets (including the excellent Rosario Dawson) and set about making a movie very different from the show. The movie ended up being suprisingly good as it used a lot more satire and parody than the Scooby Doo movie. There is a lot of commentary on the recording industry and fame in general that makes a lot of sense. The movie ends up being smarter than it looks and is definitely worth a watch. It may not hold up as well as I think because I haven’t seen it in over a decade now.
So, will Jem and the Holograms be any good when it comes out? I’d actually held off watching the trailer until right now. Hold on for a sec while I watch it.

Wow, really? The movie looks fairly mediocre really. It has very little to do with the show, that’s for sure. I can understand the hate from fans now. The movie looks different enough that they could have called it anything but decided to bank on the Jem and the Holograms name. Again, I’m not really outraged because I was never a fan. Still, I’m very confused. The show had sci-fi elements to it and they had noble reasons for seeking fame and fortune and none of that is in the trailer. It’s definitely not a movie I’m going to see. I’ll be interested to see how it does in the box office though as they may have made a miscalculation or maybe not. There are enough young people who never saw the show who will love this movie. At least, that’s what I think.

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