Just a little over a year ago I posted the teaser trailer for Foundation, a TV series adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s highly influential work of the rise and fall of galactic civilizations.
Well, we’ve got a new trailer and a premiere of September, so gird your space opera loins!
Already, I’ve seen chatter on the interwebs about some apparent departures from the books, some of which is also hinted at in the io9 piece on the trailer. However, as much as I enjoy the books, the initial ones are episodic to an anthological degree. After the initial part with Hari Seldon, the man who predict’s the empire’s collapse, we are thrust forward decades and centuries to a new generation of characters grappling with Seldon’s predictions and grand beats of the aforementioned galactic waxing and waning.
It’s all engaging, because Asimov enjoys cunning characters and a good plot twist, but it does mean we don’t get to grow to love the characters like we would in other ongoing novel series.
And yet, part of the whole magic of the Foundation series is seeing that centuries-long storyline unfold.
So I’m very keen to see how they approach the adaptation to make it engaging in the TV medium while being thought-provoing as it was in the books.
I really should come up with a symbol/repeatable post that I put up when things get busy, like the prolific writer and de facto pop culture historian Mark Evanier does with his Cream of Mushroom Soup posts. And perhaps it should be Viking-themed.
But while I mull that over… and work on both a script and some audio editing, here’s a darn fine Danish PSA.
And here’s the thing, due to a distribution kerfuffle, people here in the United States almost missed an opportunity to see it until Netflix stepped up — and we’re all better for it.
Many people may not realized just how many different adaptations of The Little Prince that have been made. It’s a story that touches all of us (assuming we’re not too much of the wrong kind of grown-up). And while some people of my generation may remember Stanley Donen’s musical version from the 70s (aka the one with Bob Fosse as the funkiest yet disturbing snake you ever saw), the story of The Little Prince is not, to my mind, a feature film length tale. Much like Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, it’s better as a compact and moving half-hour special — though look how thoroughly Hollywood has ignored that assessment.
So what I love is that the 2015 film version tells the original story, but wraps it in another story of The Aviator passing the story along to a little girl. The girl herself is being raised by a single mother who, while loving, has clearly been buffeted by events offscreen in ways far too many of us can imagine. And so she wants her daughter to be serious and “essential” to better survive this crazy thing called life.
What I love, and why I would urge all of you to give it a rewatch on Netflix, is how many lovely little notes are adding into this as the story unfolds. There’s great truth and depth beyond the dialogue that hearkens to Terry Gilliam’s ‘Trilogy of Imagination’ (Time Bandits, Brazil, The Adventures of the Baron Munchhausen). In this way, I find the film to be great family viewing, because adults can get references and moments understandable only by experience, but it doesn’t make the tale too scary or dull for kids.
And for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you will be treated to great voice work by Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, and more (the French version is similarly impressive from what I’m told for you French speakers). The score from Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey is exhilarating, and the mixture of computer animation and stop-motion animation just feels right.
At the end, you’ll find you’ve seen a film that clearly tackles themes of imagination and the human spirit, but softly meditates on how we face life and face death. And that’s no small feat to introduce to a child, or remember as a grown-up.
So I hope some of you make the time to watch it before it leaves Netflix and, yes, I am aware of DVD/Blu-Ray technology and already have my copy in preparation for its departure. But for those of you on the fence, you’re more likely to click over to Netflix than order a disc. So go ahead. Treat yourself to a little movie magic.
Since I did a post this past September about the “Star Trek Day” panels last September, I figured I’d post it here — and for those of you who can, perhaps you’d like to see some of them live.
I’m not sure if CBS/Paramount plan to make this a regular thing or if this was done, in part, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film Star Trek: First Contact. The action begins at 12 noon Pacific.
Although one of the big news items was that Q will be in season two of Picard, I have to confess, I felt it’d be surprising if he wasn’t in the series eventually. Don’t get me wrong, I was pleased to hear it — and since Guinan should be in the season as well, perhaps we finally learn more about their mutual animus for one another.
Perhaps because it was First Contact Day, I found the panel about First Contact to be quite illuminating, including a great story of how Alice Krige auditioned for the part of the now iconic Borg Queen and how Jonathan “Two Takes” Frakes got that nickname.
I also found the panel that explored Nichelle Nichols’ impact on screen and behind-the-scenes to be illuminating. I knew about Dr. King’s role in encouraging Nichols to stay in the role of Uhura, but I didn’t know about her work with NASA — and of course there’s some additional personal connections these actors mention.
The short version of why I like it so much is that it’s essentially an infinitely reconfigurable checklist. Or checklist of checklists. Or checklist of checklists of checklists. You get the idea.
That short explanation touches on one of the traps people can find themselves in, where an item might fit in two categories: say, “Stuff to do Today” and “Items to Research for Blog Posts.”
Their new “mirror” function allows for not just copying a task, but making it so any update on one of the mirrors updates all the mirrors. So you can your organizer can now go all Kwisatz Haderach: be many places at once.
Part of my new year’s planning? Updating my jumble of “Workflowy filing cabinets” into a leaner set of mirrored tasks.
I’m working on some longer pieces on New Year’s and resolutions, but in the meantime, while “success” might be a long journey, this TED video about traits researchers have found in successful people is under four minutes.
I mean, granted, that means there’s no time for nuance, but if you’re raring to jump into your New Year goal planning, this might help motivate you.
This video burst onto the Internet yesterday and is already over 5 million views. A lot of people have reacted in horror of the robot revolution they feel sure this heralds, but I’m thinking the more dancing, the less machinations.
The end of this week will feature the latest edition of my biennial Favorite Films list, so I suppose I have films on my mind.
Some of the earliest films I saw were short films, thanks to my dad and the Arlington County library which had them. And I do mean films! We had a projector at home, which was often used for birthday parties and other events. This inevitably meant those masters of movie comedy, Laurel and Hardy.