11 December, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows... Part two... of Part one

Okay, I'm going to sum up the rest, as I waxed on a little long in the first part, and I have other things I want to blog about (Fangbanger/VILF conference, Dawn Treader, Love at First Sight... yikes, lots to do, and oh yeah... my thesis... right).

So I'm going to jump into the ministry scenes. 

Things I liked: getting flushed into the ministry ('Ron's' face and comment of “that's disgusting” was rather funny, and broke the tension of that scene with a truly 'Ron' comment), I also liked the muggles being crushed in the fountain (well, I didn't like it, but it was effective), and I loved the distraction outside of Umbridge's office; those bumbling devices were flippin' hysterical.

I also liked the small prop touches of the horror books in Umbridge's desk: When Muggles Attack and the like; clever. I thought the chase at the end was very well shot, especially the shots on Ron. It was super intense, and beautifully done with the slow motion movement. Also, it is here in the courtrooms that we first see and hear the true horcrux. I rather liked the noise that it made; an ear-splitting, high pitched squeal, like the noise a TV can make when it's on the fritz. It was enough to be annoying and thus show you that its menacing, bothersome, and not at all just a pretty trinket. I also like the way that it moved when the trio were trying to destroy it, or when Harry, Nagini/Bathilda, and the locket were all in the same room (3 horcruxes in one room! Oh my!) and it jumped a bit on his chest. Very cool.

Right... getting distracted. 

Things I missed: I was once again bothered by the lack of Moody-- it should be a big deal that Harry steals the eye out of the door, because it shows that Umbridge was somehow involved in his murder, and again, gives us that lovely scene where Harry buries the eye, which would be the only thing we have that resembles a funeral for Mad-eye.

On to the forest
Ron's splinching. Great acting on his part, and even more on Hermione's part. This scene also showed quite well how the trio works. Hermione immediately did what was best for them and for Harry to succeed- I think she's kind of like Harry's producer; he's not gonna get done what he needs to get done unless she's right next to him organizing it. So she takes them to the forest of Dean instead of sticking around London, which immediately puts Hermione in charge of the situation when Ron was splinched, but it also showed how much Ron meant to her based upon her reaction, and her immediate move to protect them once Ron was out of harm's way, and I loved how Harry immediately took her place by Ron's side to comfort him whilst she was putting up the protective spells. The whole scene was maybe 20 seconds long, but it flowed seamlessly with tension, love, and showed the workings of their relationships. For further discussion on Hermione, check out my friend Ashley's blog. We saw it together the first two times and discussed it at length; we agreed on most parts, so it's fun to see her expand on aspects, particularly Hermione here, because I really think she kicked arse in this film.

Phew...we're safe... and bored.
The forest. This part of the film is contentious between fans and the lay-viewer, I think. Yes, it runs a bit long. Yes, it could have been edited here and there-- but I think that is its beauty. We're supposed to get bored, and frustrated... just like Ron. I liked the device of the radio in the film. It was a constant buzz that annoyed Harry, and frankly annoyed me after awhile too! I was like 'SHUT UP' and I think that's the reaction we're supposed to have. Get bored. Get frustrated. Now you're on par with the characters. I think that was neat for fans, and they understand the emotion at that point, but I can also see how that would be tedious and wicked boring to a lay-viewer.

Hermione and... Harry? Wait... what?!
The haircut. Lovely little moment where you can see how the relationship of Harry and Hermione (always supportive, but not inappropriate) really gets to Ron who views it as a threat. She is doing something intimate, touching his head, holding his trust as he trusts her to not mess up his 'do,' but in actuality, every snip of the scissors seems like a cut to Ron and his positive feelings which are quickly receding.

After Ron leaves, and the Awkward Dance
This is where Ashley and I differed. Well, at the start, anyway. The first 10 seconds of Hermione and Harry dancing was horrific. I was mad. Why would they insert this? Why would they show an element of Harry's character that I firmly believe would never exist? Harry would never do that to Ron, and it makes him look desperate and pathtic. I say on the first ten seconds, because that's where its inappropriate. He looks at her all sexy-like, and it makes the viewer go, 'wait, wait...what is he doing?!' but then the tension breaks by his horrible dancing and you realize he's just trying to lighten the situation and be normal with his friend. That part is great! The tension was too much! We needed a break! But goofy dancing would have sufficed. Not 'I'm gonna mack on my best friend's girl' first. Gross. And wrong, Harry, wrong. I watched the 'Making of' special on ITV (sorry, only in Britain), and Radcliffe actually talked about this scene. He said “it's the only time in the whole series that you think, 'wait, what's he doing, are they gonna? Are they...? Oh no, no, phew...” so he obviously saw it as weird and out of character too... so why is it there?! I have no answer. I guess just to throw a twist in it, but I'm not cool with that twist. It makes Harry seem a bit seedy, especially with the line from Hermione, “Don't ever let me give you a haircut again.” I feel like that line was actually, “Don't try to put the moves on me again, Harry. It blows.” I agree, Hermione; I agree.

Godric's Hollow... something different.
I'm glad they didn't come via polyjuice; that's a change I support. We'd lost our friends for too long in the ministry, and I'm glad we got to see Harry go through the emotions of going back there, and not someone else acting as Harry. I still really miss the plaque outside of the Potter's house, but the rest of this whole scene was lovely. The emotion of finding the Potter's grave, the creepiness of Nagini/Bathilda, getting the Rita Skeeter book, finding the Hallows on Peverell's grave, breaking the wand... a lot fit into this scene, but it didn't feel rushed. 

Frozen pond, I think I see something shiny in there!
Holy crap that whole scene made me cold. and I loved how the horcrux tried to kill him underwater. Extremely well shot scene. But Harry, really, why didn't you take the locket off before you jumped in the freezing water?

Ron's back, let's open the horcrux.
Very cool. At first it kind of weirded me out; I know it was just a dream, but just seeing Harry and Hermione making out and naked (all vital bits covered) was a bit of a shock, and not what I was expecting. But then I realized that was the point! It's supposed to weird you out! It's a personification of EVIL! The smoke effect, the evilness writhing, the terrible beauty of the scene that came from it... it was ethereal and awkward and wrong... everything I imagine a horcrux really is! I thought it was well done, and gave Ron a great moment of kicking the sh*t out of it; you could see at what point he would no longer stand for it, and Harry and Ron were proud but okay after it... “Imagine, only three more to go,” that breaks the tension... nice.

I also LOVED when Ron comes back and Hermione is just pissed. She grabs anything she can get her hands on (the leaves... love it when she throws a handful of leaves), and demands her wand back from Harry in order to (presumably) curse Ron. It was such a great girl moment; stupid boys, Harry covering for his dumb friend... love these little moments where you see their friendship and their comfort with each other. I also enjoyed the following scene where Harry mildly mocks the cheesiness of Ron's ball of light story, and when they were testing out the new wand on the flame, all of a sudden there's a huge burst of fire rising in the tent, and then the calm it and quickly assure Hermione that nothing is wrong. Fab.

The Lovegoods. Love that hippie fellow...
Great art direction, props, casting, and costuming. Xenophilius was great. This is the scene where we get the legend of the Hallows from Hermione. I wondered how they'd do this, and while is was rather a departure from the Potter canon (it looked more like Tim Burton), I loved it. It was beautifully animated (the lace, the sparkles...), and gave all of the information we needed well, and showed it; didn't just tell it (it annoys me in the past films that when something needs explaining, Hermione just conveniently has the answer, and the filmmakers have acknowledged this in past interviews and articles. She's the information giver, (i.e. “Of course! Nicolas Flamel...”), so it was nice to have it shown to us in another, beautiful way.  I wish in this scene we had the explanation of Ravenclaw's diadem, and I find it problematic that Hermione didn't keep them around Xenophilius's house until the Deatheaters saw Harry, thus protecting Lovegood, but overall it was an enjoyable visit to the Lovegood's tower house.

Skipping ahead a bit... the snatchers get them, Hermione curses Harry, and they're carted off to Malfoy manor.

At Malfoy Manor
Things I liked: I love John Hurt. Even moreso since working with him in Love at First Sight, but I thought his performance of Ollivander was lovely. I didn't like Luna's outfit here (a jumper/playsuit? Really?), but her performance was also pretty fab. The scene where Bellatrix is torturing Hermione is possibly one of the best. It's so forceful and uncomfortable to watch; it's violating and inhumane... it really gives the emotion to the act, particularly with Ron and Harry powerless to help down in the dungeon. I also loved Dobby's parting line, “Dobby didn't mean to kill, only maim or seriously injure.” Classic Dobby.

Things I missed: why on earth didn't Harry disarm Draco for the wands? There's such a big point put upon the wand lore of ownership at disarming, ownership through changing hands etc. that I do think that Harry has ownership of the wands as he literally ripped them out of Draco's hands, but it would have been much more clear, and a rather rockin' hero moment, if Harry dramatically disarmed Draco, thus clearly winning the wands.

Oh Dobby... RIP my friend
This scene was beautiful. It was shot in Wales (yay!) and provided a beautiful, but lonely and desolate setting to lose our friend. I thought Radcliffe's acting was a bit forced and awkward here, but I loved the separation of Harry from Ron and Hermione. Ron's priority was to be with, and take care of, Hermione in that moment, and they left Harry on his own. I thought this an important distinction; that in the end... it will be Harry. Perhaps that's just my reading of this moment... but the clear begging for help, and granted there wasn't much of anything that could be done, but there was no move from them to help... that's what I read from it. I thought the burial scene was lovely, and once again the music featured heavily here with that gorgeous cello solo as Dobby's requiem.

Dumbledore's tomb. Let's wrap it up, folks...
I'm glad they ended on this scene. We had the emotional turmoil of Dobby's death, the horrific escape from the manor, and for the moment we know that our heroes are in trouble, but safe for the time being, so we needed that tiny lead to make us go "Oooooo" for the next film, and we get that with Voldemort's theft from Dumbledore's tomb. I thought the tomb was a bit cheesy, blatantly CGI, but the shot of Voldemort's face onto Dumbledore's was lovely. It wasn't disturbing or horrific to see a dead Dumbledore; it was smoothly transitioned from Voldemort, who we were watching and expecting anyway, to our old friend, who appeared to be sleeping. Smooth scene, and we now know that Voldemort has the wand, and nothing is okay yet....

AND IT ENDS. Ugh... I know that's the point, and of course that's what you expect from a split film.... but lordy it left me hanging and I canNOT wait for the next installment. The clips and shots I've seen from the second installment look good and intriguing; I'm wondering about the final battle as from the one shot I've seen it looks like it takes place in the courtyard, with no one around, and that bugs me... again, I want more hero worship.  Where are my hero shots of Harry! Well, I shan't make any judgements yet; I'll just have to wait until July!

24 November, 2010

Harry Potter review... part one... of part one

Harry Potter, book seven, part one. Eeeeeeeeep.

Initial thoughts- I really enjoyed it. A few decisions I'm not sure why they made them, and a few things I thought really necessary that weren't in there (hero worship of Harry), or one or two scenes that needed a few more lines/moments for import, depth, and believability, particularly for the actions that need to happen in part two (Ginny & Harry, Moody, Godric's Hollow, Dursley's, Kreacher...).

So I'm breaking my normal template, and instead of doing the pros and cons, I'm listing overall points, and then going through plot events, and commentary on them. It should be in order as we go through the film.

Music: The score is beautiful. Particularly the repeated notes in close succession that run throughout the score; it builds tension in every scene, even when that scene may be quiet. For example, 'Obliviate' has rapid notes that get you rather riled up, put you on edge, but it's a sad and quiet scene. It goes right into 'Snape at Malfoy Manor' where the quick notes continue. In 'Ministry of Magic' it's almost comparable to a ticking clock its so constant, driving, and measured. It's a frantic and frenetic feel due to fast notes, on similar tones, and contributes very well to the scenes. And who didn't shed a tear at the cello in 'Farewell to Dobby'? I might need to do a whole post on the music...

Costuming: There were some great moments. Mundungus looking skeezy and slimy, Fleur's over the top wedding dress, Xenophilius and Luna's outfits at the wedding (also love the hippy dippy dancing which Lynch choreographed herself, based off of Rowling's descriptions of the dancing from the book- win!), Fred and George's dapper outfits (I didn't notice if the coats were dragonskin, but they were snazzy nonetheless)... and then some raised eyebrows at costumes I wasn't 100% on board with, like Luna's when she's in the dungeon (it looks like a child's romper playsuit from the 80's)

Such. An awesome. Shot.
Cinematography: Some of those shots were simply beautiful. The one that stands out the most in my mind is when Harry and Hermione are on that rocky cliff just after Ron leaves, and Harry is silhouetted against a sun-setting sky... it's gorgeous. Well-framed, and it's from a distance to give the audience some perspective on his pensive mood from afar which lends ample emotion. Also, in Grimmauld place, there's a slow retreat of the camera from the trio as Hermione says 'We're all alone...' emphasizing their solitary position in the wizard world.


Now to plot discussion....

Scridgemour opening: Brilliant. It was so up close, in our faces, it was like he was addressing us, the audience as well as the magical population. He was focused, and intense, but blatantly shaken whether by fear or fury, so we could see that he was strong and capable, but also under threat in some way.

Saying goodbye to family: Hermione's section had me shed a tear just five minutes into the film! I'll point it out elsewhere, but I really thought she stepped up her game in this film, and Hermione really shined in this film. Hermione is strong, confident, capable, and kickin', and Emma Watson plays her well. There were still a few moments where the overacting reared its head, but Hermione also overreacts sometimes, so it wasn't too disturbing. It was really good to see the characters on their own, having to sever ties... you really got the idea that they were consciously making the decision to leave, that they knew the consequences, but this is what they were deciding to do.

7 Harrys: I loved seeing the range of acting from Radcliffe. You could clearly tell which one was Fleur (and not just by the bra), Mundungus, etc. And the CG effects on Hermione as she's turning into Harry is pretty fabulous (apparently that was a new way of filming involving glow paint and tons of cameras to capture every moment of transformation from one actor to Dan Radcliffe). I also loved Moody's lines in this section. They gave him a few more than he has in the book, and I think this worked well; we hadn't really seen Moody since the 5th book, and this brought him back into our minds, and in two lines gave us humor as well as seriousness of the situation and his obsession with the mission at hand.
-However, I missed the moment after Moody dies. There was little weight to that scenario. I like the group of them having a shot of fire whiskey in his honor, a bit of mourning, etc. I feel like all of that sadness went to Hedwig and none to Moody.

Limited Polyjuice: First at the wedding where Harry is Harry and not Barny Weasley, and then in Godric's Hollow, they don't use polyjuice like they do in the books. I'm VERY glad for that. I think we needed more face time with our trio, with our heros, and while the ministry bit was certainly necessary for them to use polyjuice, and it gave some nice humorous moments to an otherwise very serious scene, it was enough of us not being able to see our heros' faces. Plus I loved the line 'I'm not coming back here as someone else...' when Harry arrives in Godric's Hollow.

Doubting Dumbledore? I don't doubt him much yet... during this half of the book, we should have known more about Dumbledore's past from the obituary and segment in the paper from Rita Skeeter's book, Elphias Doge's conversation at the wedding, and Hermione should have read out to him the section in Rita Skeeter's book about Grindlewald and Dumbledore being friends, about 'For the Greater Good,' about Dumbledore needing to go home to care for Ariana. None of this is set up, so I'm quite curious how they're going to wrap all of this up.

It's also good to remember though how quickly ground can be made up in film though. (i.e. that one line in the beginning of New Moon about Jasper messing with emotions; it made up for it not being touched upon in Twilight). In one flashback, they can bring everything up to speed regarding Dumbledore's past... we'll just have to wait and see on that front.

Really? Not convinced...
Grimmauld Place: Loved Ron and Hermione's interaction. Their relationship, unlike Harry and Ginny's, is growing, believable, and it functions. Messing about on the piano, Ron wiping the drop of blood from her cheek in the diner, holding hands as they fall asleep... it works. And works well. I also loved Dobby assisting Kreacher in getting Mundungus Fletcher. It brought Dobby back into our minds (we hadn't seen him in a few films either), and gave him great character as he shoved Kreacher out of the way to say 'and then Dobby noticed... and then Dobby said...' it showed us how keen he was to help Harry Potter and his friends, and how important that friendship was to Dobby. I was very sad, however, to lose the change of heart of Kreacher. I love that he loves the trio after they give him the locket and treat him well. I love the idea that he made them soup, tidied the house etc., but I also recognize it wasn't necessary, and we didn't have time for that in the film. A sad loss, but an acceptable one.


Things I missed: The change of heart in Dudley. I feel like Dudley's realization that Harry isn't 'a waste of space,' is the first step to the reader/audience realizing the seriousness of the situation. If Dudley can recognize that something is wrong, and Harry somehow plays a role in making it right, then we know that something is up even in the muggle world. Also, Harry can own the title of 'The Chosen One' all he wants, but when others acknowledge that title, or his role in the fight at this point, that's where his true hero points accumulate. Like when Spiderman's mask is removed, or Will Stanton states that Bran (from The Dark is Rising) is the Pendragon, it's the acknowledgement of your hero status from others that removes any conceit, makes it a clear and true fact, and thus raises Harry's hero capital.
-I also really missed the plaque from Harry's house commemorating Voldemort's first fall there with messages of 'Good luck Harry...' etc all over it, the statue in the middle of Godric's Hollow honoring the Potters, and POTTERCAST! Oh I missed Pottercast... All of these things let the audience see how important Harry is. They all recognize it, and it makes him even more heroic because he doesn't acknowledge it. He is just getting on with his business, while the world holds him on a pedestal; this makes him humble, honorable, and uber heroic. I miss that! I like a little more hero worship in my life!

The letter from Lily: I think this is a big deal in the book, as we later see to what lengths Snape would go to in order to get a memento of Lily... but I can also see why it wasn't necessary in the film. It wasn't a make-or-break moment, we still have the doe which symbolizes his love, I do wish we had more of their past; that we knew Snape and Lily were friends growing up, or there was some sort of history there. I know it will all come out in 'Snape's Last Memory,' but maybe one or two instances where this could be set up so it's not so out of the blue in the next installment may have been helpful.

Lordy... I'm only in Grimmauld Place and it's running this long. Going to stop here for this one; next one up in a day or three (it IS Thanksgiving, it might take me until Friday. Plus I'm up in Leicester, England right now at the Vampires, VILFS and Fangbangers conference. There will definitely be a post about this too, I'm sure, as there are some really interesting papers planned, and I'm curious to see what's to be said about Twilight and the supernatural world in emerging scholarship).

More soon...

19 November, 2010

Clooney's New Film: The American

Yes, I've seen Harry Potter. Yes, there will be a post. But it takes me time! Surely you know that by now :) I'll try to get it up Sunday or Monday.

But in other news...

So I've just come back from a screening of George Clooney's new film, 'The American,' about an assassin trying to get out of the business while on assignment in Italy, after a bit of a debacle in Sweden.

The screening was for bloggers and online media staff, and apparently someone at the publicity company had me on their roster as a film blogger (sweet!) so I got an invite.
Firstly, the screening experience was interesting and had me asking a lot of questions. Who organizes them? What points are given to the organizers? How do they find their audiences? I've asked, and I'll let you know when I have some interesting updates.  It was neat though. I went with my friend Jen, we walked in, and were offered a glass of wine. There was little socializing, which I found odd because we were obviously all bloggers and media people, about to see the same film, you'd think there'd be some networking going on...nope. So then we went into the screening room which had THE MOST comfortable seats ever. It was like temperpedic memory foam seats... very nice. I also found it odd that there was no introductory speech, no welcome etc, no press pack handed out, and after the film there was no discussion. Everyone just left. Huh.

Maybe that was on purpose though, to not give any preconceptions about the film; but as this was my first proper screening, that was my reaction. I just figured that someone was paying for renting this room, someone was paying for the wine... I thought there'd be a bit more production and ceremony in it; but it's possible that it purposely wasn't there, so nothing would taint our experience.

Anyway, onto the film...





If you've seen The American (it was released in the US September 1, but doesn't come out in the UK until November 26), and if you've read this blog, then you may know where I'm going to go with this post.... analysis, pros, and cons... my first questions is, 'Really? This is the best that they came up with? With that talent and what I'm assuming was a healthy budget?' I mean it wasn't horrible, it wasn't even bad, but it certainly wasn't good and it had the potential to be really lovely!

Let's start with the name, shall we? Because I often wonder from the start why they change titles when based off of an original work. Why remove the familiarity of the title? Sometimes there is very good reason, and I happily admit that, but I'm not sure on this example. After that, I'll then go into pros and cons.

So it's called 'The American,' when the work it was based off of is called 'A Very Private Gentleman,' ... the first really has little implication on the film. Yes, they ask him in Italy if he's American, twice, and for Americans abroad that's a question that resonates (with me, at least), and yes, there is a spaghetti Western playing on the TV perhaps suggesting that he is a cowboy in his tiny, Italian village... but that's where it ends. His character has been living abroad for years; 'The American' has very little reference for the audience at this point. The film does not make an overarching political statement about Americans these days, or anything of the sort! It is about a dude, yes originally from America, who is an assassin and has been living abroad for what we can deduce is YEARS (the film opens in Sweden, then moves to Italy. He is fluent(ish) in Italian, and we have no reason to suspect he's been in America for some time)... but it's not actually much of a statement about him as 'an American' as it is about him as a man, or perhaps him as an assassin.

Whereas if it was entitled 'A Very Private Gentleman,' that would intrigue me. That almost implies an opinion from and outsider, as if someone was being interviewed about an incident and they stated that he was just “a very private gentleman.” This lends intrigue to the title, and makes you immediately think that there is more to this person than the description. There must be. It lends interest instead of stereotype. Perhaps I'm sensitive to this point, but 'The American' seems like a cop-out title to me. It does not contribute to the story. I want to know about the story of this assassin with a soul, and 'A Very Private Gentleman' does much more to intrigue me to finding out that story.

Good points:
  • The cinematography was excellent. I almost think that the production company hired some small, aspiring Italian filmmaker to camp out on the hilltops to get some of those establishing shots in the wee hours of the morning or in the twilight hours of the evening. They were beautiful! Rolling clouds, gorgeous lighting, and striking angles. Also, there was a steady shot of a road from an aerial point of view that is still causing me to wonder how they got that shot. A suspended crane? A plane with a somehow wicked, really steady camera attached?
  • Of course the setting was brilliant. As well as the premise. Basically Clooney is a bad-ass assassin who can put together a gun in less than a minute, and he's in Sweden and Italy...gorgeous, and somehow mysteriously hot. Plus there are a few scenes of him doing push ups, pull ups, and sit ups (lots of ups) topless... of course that appeals. You have the bad boy elements with some rockin' abs, plus the distinguished awesomeness that has come from Clooney's career, age, and experience.




ProCons (Not good nor bad)
:
  • The story... it wasn't bad, but it wasn't good.
  • Premise: assassin wants to get out of the business, but how does he do that without getting killed himself because he knows too much? Intrigue, international locations, gorgeous, sexy, mysterious....
But yeah, it ends there.


Cons:
  • There were far too many moments that were unearned. The shoot-off with the Swedish assassins, hot on his tail... too quick and the climax unearned. Too fast.
  • The tale of the hottie assassin lady- that's how it ends? Really? She kicked ass, and you get rid of her that quickly and easily? Lame. You could have done better.
  • The boss-man. Clooney kept reporting to this guy through the WHOLE film. All of a sudden he shows up, decides Clooney's character is too much of a risk, wants to kill him, and there's barely a shoot off. There's a mini chase, and suddenly it's over. There are three shots, and only two go into the bad guy, so we can clearly infer what's going to happen next... end revealed... blerg.
  • The prostitute. Sure, it showed that he wanted something else in his life, but he didn't even care when she was sleeping with other dudes. Did he really care about her? Or was he just playing a part like he was when they went to dinner and he seemed happy that they were assumed a couple? The realistic 'girl' in me can't help but say... 'honey, he's not honest with you, he's just sleeping with you to feel good, he even told you that... how long do you think its going to last, and at what cost to yourself?'
Okay, rant over for now. I guess its good that I had such a strong opinion about this film, but more than anything it just made me mad that they had such an opportunity to make a film to be proud of with a good story, a huge leading man, gorgeous shots, and an emotional conflict... but they lost it at story and conflict. There could have been SO much more.

13 November, 2010

Travel, Filming, Harry Potter Premiere, and a Screening...


Oh what a week... well, four weeks, really. I left October 15 for the States to do some recruiting for my university- telling people about my life in Bangor and answering the questions of potential students.  I went to school fairs, and visited colleges and high schools. It was uber fun, believe it or not. Particularly my visit to Mary Washington, my old undergrad Uni, where I gave a lecture on my work, and taught a seminar class on C.S. Lewis where we read a section of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  I then had them write a script from those pages, tell me where the camera was, who was talking, why they made those decisions, then we watched those two scenes in the BBC adaptation from the 80's and the more recent Disney one. SUCH fun.

The trip took me to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg VA, Washington DC (where we dressed up my friend's dog, see below picture, who currently has a cone on her head (hahaha... I mean... uh... awww), and we went to the Rally to Restore Santiy), then Lancaster PA, and New York City. Whoosh... 'twas fab though, and I even got some work done on my PhD. Go figure.



I left the US on Sunday, arriving back in the UK on Monday, and then this past week was a week of ridiculousness in London. I landed Monday around 8am, went to a really skeevy B&B and slept for a few hours, walked around the town of Shepperton, and then went to bed for real as I was spending two days on a super busy, super famous film set at Shepperton Studios.... Captain America. I was doing some observation and running with the AD department there. Sadly I'm not allowed to say ANYTHING about it (I literally had to sign my life away), but it was awesome. After the film's out I might be able to post about it... I don't know. But it was fab. 

After that, I spent Thursday in central London because I had a screening that evening, so I caught up on some work, and then went to the Harry Potter premiere in Leicester Square on my way to the screening in Piccadilly!  I didn't attend the film, so don't throw flames at me just yet, but I had to check out the mayhem while I was there as I had yet to see a Harry Potter premiere live and in person, and it seems vital somehow.  You can't study fantasy film adaptations, live in the UK, and not at least check out one of the premieres to see what goes down.

 I love anything where that many people can come together and get excited about the same thing. It's such a rockin' energy. So as I approached the square I could hear the crowd (and this was at 2pm; the actual activity didn't start until about 5pm), then turned the corner and saw the masses already assembled; some in costume, some with signs, all excited and pressing to the front of the gates to get a better view of where the stars would be walking in just a few hours. 


There were banners of the characters all over the place, torches with actual flames shooting out of them, stories-tall posters advertising the film, huge screens showing the cast arriving, clips and videos to get the fans pumped, and arches emblazoned with the Deathly Hallows symbol surrounding the square. I killed some time in a pub off of the square, chatting with a nice American on a semester abroad who was there to cheer and hopefully spot a star at the premiere, and then I headed back out into the fray just after 5pm.  As I walked out of the door, I was forced to go left due to the cattle gates, and as I rounded one of the gates who did I run into? RUPERT GRINT. Not kidding. He was just hitting the end of the row signing autographs and taking pictures. I tried to get a good picture of him, but I didn't have my camera out when I first saw him, and by the time I got it on he was a bit far away and every picture makes him look like soup. So take my word for it that he was there, looked good, and you can google image that one. I'm sure some reporter or fan got a photo more clear than my soupy one.


But then as I kept walking towards Piccadilly, I looked to my right about halfway down the gates, and there was Emma Watson! Sadly I didn't see Dan, it would have been nice to have the set (to quote Slughorn), but I'm glad I got to see some of them.  All in all it was wicked fun to see what a Harry Potter premiere is like- watch the excitement, and even grab a glimpse of the cast.

It was also neat to compare it to the Twilight premiere I went to in Leicester Square back in 2008.  If anything, I think this crowd was more controlled than the Twilight gang two years ago.  There was excitement, and palpable energy to be certain, but it didn't have as much of a manic edge, in my opinion, as the Twilight fans had.  I remember hearing the Twilight fans screaming from about three blocks away... it was chaos. Hormone-charged chaos. This was a little more controlled... controlled is the wrong word... focused? Intense? Less 'I wanna rip my shirt off,' and more 'I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it,' kind of a feel. 

After that, I met up with my friend Emily and headed down to Piccadilly Circus for the screening of Love at First Sight, a short that I worked on in June starring John Hurt (He's an absolute legend... and Mr. Ollivander in Harry Potter) and Phyllida Law (TV Goddess, and Emma Thompson's mom) at the BAFTA theater. It was such fun. It was great to see the individual pieces we shot over three days cut into a seamless story. I need to make sure I can post about it, but when I can I'll put up some more pictures and talk about the process. It was good fun, and a good night to chat about what the hell I'm doing with my life after I finish this PhD (because someday, I will finish this!). I'm thinking I'll be working in development for a bit, and see how that aspect of the process works, and if that's where I'm happiest and my skills fit, and hopefully head into producing while doing that. We shall see! 

Okay, not the most coherent post I've written, but that's pretty much where my brain is right now! Tuesday I'm heading back to London for a screening of George Clooney's new film, The American (just coming out in the UK), so I'll blog about that, then my friend Ashley from TwiCon is coming to visit, and next week I'm giving a paper at the Fangbangers and VILF conference at DeMontfort University in Leicester. Which I haven't written yet. It'll be fine... 

More soon! And I'll try to get all of these pictures up on my website soon.

UPDATE: Pictures are up on MaggieParke.com

27 September, 2010

Studying in the UK-from my perspective, anyway

Handy article where this pictures is from.
So a  ton of people have been asking me about my program in the UK, and why I chose Wales over the thousands of other Universities in the world. I'm afraid I don't have a 'tied up in a pretty bow' answer, but I can tell you a bit about why it worked for me, and why it made sense over some US programs I was considering.  For those that don't know, I did a semester abroad as an undergrad at Bangor University, loved it, came back to do my MA in Arthurian Literature (studying King Arthur in Wales...yeah, awesome), and am now at the end of a PhD in Film and New Media at the Creative Industries department.

Three main reasons why I came to Wales:
1) Location
2) Academics
3) Cost

I'll tear those down.

1) Location- I think it's fabulous to live abroad for some portion of your life. It gives you a better view of the world, takes you out of your comfort zone and you learn more about yourself, your limitations and your capabilities. Plus you get some great stories out of it!

Now why did I choose this location? I've been obsessed with Wales since I was about 8 and I read The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper. I thought Wales was this secret, magic place where legends still live...and it's kind of true. There's no where else in the world where I feel this sense of wonder when I look to the hills. I love the language, the culture, and the fact that it's not overrun with tourists like parts of Scotland can be. Wales is a little more tucked away. Plus, my town is on the ocean, with Snowdonia National Park in the backyard (big, gorgeous mountains).

Bangor, between the sea and the mountains
Bangor is a small city that I can walk from one side to the other in about 45 minutes, but it's uber well connected to big cities and airports. I love that, because I feel like a part of this community. In London I think I'd always feel like a visitor, but here, it feels like home. But I do need to travel to maintain my sanity, I simply was born with itchy feet, so it's great to jump on a train and be in London in three hours, Manchester in two, Liverpool in an hour and a half, and Dublin in two hours (yes, I'm closer to Dublin than London). I love it here. It's gorgeous, it's friendly, and I'm living in the location where my childhood dreams of fantasy and adventure were born.

On set of Olivia's Army getting hands on experience
2) Academics. I knew what area I wanted to study (Film and New Media), and what I wanted to look at within that area (Event Films), but I didn't have a definite title in mind when I started, and didn't know what holes yet existed in the field. I had to go see this work in progress to discover where the holes were and thus find my topic. I can't really do that at any US program. US programs have much more structure- there are classes, TA programs, language requirements etc. whereas with most UK programs it is purely self-led research.  My research was observing, it was holding a camera, it was working in production.... hands on and real-life practical application stuff!

This self-led aspect can also be the kiss of death as you are the one organizing your time, you're often questioning what exactly you're paying for since the onus is on you to find your topic and do your degree, but that's also where the joy of discovery is.  I would never have found this topic unless I did it the way I did it! I had the freedom with this UK degree to travel, spend time on film sets (Twilight, obviously amongst others), talking to authors, observing game designers etc. and it was through this fieldwork that my department supported, that I found the topic that I could explore: the fandoms in event film adaptations.

My supervisor with the art director for Doctor Who
It's not completely on my own though. The biggest piece of advice I can give students thinking about studying in the UK is make sure you get along with your supervisor. They are the navigator of this carriage ride.  They're like the 'options' button on Googlemaps: They won't give you a plan of what you need to do, but they will look at your plan, ask questions to develop it, ask how you want to get there, and help you avoid major delays, roadworks, and speedbumps! Okay, I took that metaphor a bit far, but it works.

The staff here are knowledgeable, experienced, well-known in the academic world, and supportive of new ways to research (it's no longer just sitting in a library... my research is out THERE, in the field, in the production process).

3) Cost. Not gonna lie, it was an attractive selling point. International tuition at Bangor is about $14,000 a year, and it's a 3 year degree for a PhD, and a 1 year degree for an MA. Most US programs run about $40,000 a year, and can take 5 to 6 years for a PhD and 2 for an MA. I also got two scholarships so I'm paying less than half of that fee; I've still taken out loans (federal loans, which apply to school in the UK), so yes, I will be in debt, but it's a fraction of what a lot of my friends are in debt for, and I get to live abroad, doing exactly what I want to do.

So there are my reasons to go to the UK. It's not for everyone: you have to be self motivated, innovative, and be able to take and create initiative, but if you can do that, then this degree is rather rockin'. Make sure you have a good supervisor, make sure you're in a town that's on a train line so you can get to cities and travel when needed/wanted (you're living abroad... you have to make time for travel!), and follow the path of your own interests until you find a hole in the research!

I hope that helps, gang. FYI I'll be touring the east coast in a couple of weeks (mid October to beginning of November), heading to NACAC fairs in Philadelphia and Baltimore, as well as college and high school visits in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Let me know if you think I should come to your school, or let me know if you're coming to one of the NACAC fairs and want to know more!

Happy researching all :)

Helpful links:
British Council
Search Engine for UK and Ireland schools
Bangor University

16 September, 2010

Editing an Anthology on Twilight...

So now for something completely different...

I'm in the throes of final revisions of the essays for my forthcoming anthology of Twilight criticism, co-edited with Natalie Wilson (of Ms.Blog), and it's a doozy. I just figured I'd run through it as a few people asked me about the process.  We think it will be called Critical Essays on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga and its Impact on Popular Culture, it will be published by McFarland, and hopefully out this spring or summer.

So to take it back a bit, it started during TwiCon 2009, where I met Natalie (I was not a head organizer for TwiCon, but I did put together the academic panels and papers there, and Natalie gave a paper on the female role in Twilight).  We knew we wanted to do something with the exposure we experienced at the convention to other academics who were looking at the  Twilight Saga, and an anthology of essays seemed to be the best move. There was a lot to say about it over a broad range of topics, people have very strong opinions about it (I'm not sure if you know that or not :-p), and it's rare to find people with whom you can have an academic conversation about the work and not just gasps, swoons, snorts of disapproval, or scoffing at the subject matter. Not many take the analysis of Twilight seriously, so it's brilliant when you meet a huge group of people that not only discuss it, but discuss it knowledgeably, clearly, with appropriate context and reference to other works and its implications on society.

So we put together a call for papers, requesting an abstract-- basically a summary of what they planned to write about, and a biography of themselves (always handy to know backgrounds, histories of your contributors, etc.). We received a ton. And when I say a ton, I mean a ton. It took an age to sort through them, let alone organize, mark, and prioritize favorites. It was tough because we couldn't just pick our top twenty; we had to pick ones that worked well with each other, flowed from one to the next, complemented the work, but also ones that filled in the gaps in the existing research (which wasn't too hard as there's only one other work of Twilight criticism out there, Twilight and Philosohpy, and that leaves a wide range of topics to explore).

We picked about 25? 30? Somewhere around there. We were aiming for a finished group of 16-20 essays, so there were still going to be cuts, and some authors inevitably withdraw due to a multitude of reasons.  Natalie and I split up the essays, each becoming sole editor to half of them.  We worked with our authors to develop and improve their essays, and eventually switched and read each other's essays so we're now familiar with every aspect of the pieces going into our anthology.


Joys of this process:

  • working with someone accountable, with a good head on their shoulders, and with great insight into a different aspect of the Twilight Saga (Natalie focuses on gender, and the female role; I focus on film practice-- so quite different!), so working with Natalie was great.
  • I loved reading all of these new takes on a work I know so well and having it challenge my own perceptions of Meyer's novels (wait until you read the essay on the role of parents and ageism; very cool, and it made me look at Charlie, Renee, Esme and Carlisle in a whole new way). 
  • I love that there will be a finished product at the end; too often with a PhD you have nothing 'completed' at the end of the day. It's a constant, drudging process. With this, I have multiple finished drafts, comments included, new drafts coming in, and eventually there will be a clean product that many participated in and hopefully all are happy with!


Hurdles:

  • Deadlines. Organizing 28 people. Keeping track of different versions. Keeping track of email addresses!
  •  Learning how to pick and choose (there were about five essays I would have killed to include because they were about the filmic aspects of the work, but it just didn't fit in this work... thus I'm hoping to put together an anthology focusing on the adaptation of the event film in the near future... but after I finish this bloomin' thesis).
  • Sanity! There are so many bits and pieces that need to get done in order for this to come together on time; so time management, keeping people happy, encouraged, on time, and creating a good piece all while working on my thesis, producing some shorts for Elfin Productions, going to work, and surviving grad school- it was a hurdle indeed!


We still have a lot to go: final versions of the essay, dedication, introduction, formatting... and then we submit to the publishers (McFarland), and I'm not sure how long they have it before it's released, but you can be sure I'll share all of the info as I get it on here!

Things upcoming on my plate: I'm starting my final year of my PhD which means writing up my thesis, I'm working in the international office focusing on international student recruitment from the US, I'm producing a short for Elfin and assisting on other bits and bobs with them, I'm giving a paper at 'Vegetarians, VILFs, and Vamps' conference in November at DeMontfort University, and heading home for a work trip in October, and for a family visit at Christmas. BUSY. But that's the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it. :)

Ta ta for now, and let me know what you think about popular culture as a discussable thing. Have you been laughed at for dissecting and discussing Twilight? Do you think it silly to investigate? Worthwhile? Why or why not?

12 July, 2010

A Little Bit Country...




I did a bit of work with Elfin Productions on a short called Little Bit Country for Virgin Media Shorts competition, and it's just been released for general viewing! It stars Tim McInnerny (Casanova, Blackadder) as the Dad and Richard Southgate (the UK production of Spring Awakening, the show in which Glee's Jonathan Groff started).  It was really interesting coming into this project. Adam Coop (the director of Little Bit Country) was the first AD for  Love at First Sight, the short I worked on a few weeks ago with John Hurt (Mr. Ollivander from Harry Potter). Adam is lovely and I'm quite happy with this short film.  It was really neat to read over the different versions of the script, see how the camera crew was brought on, the difficulties that we encountered with locations, sound, and the dozen other things that occur when filming anything, and finally see the finished product that I'm quite happy with.  Virgin shorts competition is very strict on its time allowed, so the cut is a bit choppier than the director wished, so he's doing his own cut that will be more around the 4-minute mark that he can circulate around festivals that will have all aspects he wants, and not be cut short due to time.

When we watch a film, either a professional one like Twilight, James Bond, Iron Man or something, or a video randomly posted on YouTube by the dude down the street, we hardly ever think about the process. How did that actor get there that day? Was he excited? Hungover? Did he go over details of his character with the director right before "action"?  How did they find the location? Who paid for the cowboy hats? How did they get the ability to show magazine covers and play artists' songs in the short?  All of these things were investigated and explored!  So, it was nice to come into this one a smidge late, see how the script developed, and see what needed to happen in order for this short to make the deadline for Virgin Media and now how to make the 'director's cut' of a slightly longer version that can circulate on the festival circuit, as that is where it is heading next.

Crazy, huh? It's wicked interesting to look into though.  There's a lot I don't know about these things (i.e. I know many bits very well, but not every single particular aspect of film making), but I'm learning more and more about which aspects I think I'd be good at (development and marketing), which aspects I'd be bad at (sound),  and where I'll be going from here. Every day on set, and every little hurdle that contributes to a final product adds to my investigation of event films in a very practical manner. I get quite frustrated with people who preach and teach about how it is in the film industry and what certain aspects may mean, but really, they've never been on a film set or actually worked in film, so it's good to put these pieces together and see if and how they reflect each other.

Anywho, check out the video, it's 2 minutes long, and rather adorable. It's a story we're probably all familiar with in some way. You've got a passion that you're hesitant to share with certain people (*cough*Twilight*cough*... some people just don't understand, and I'm sorry for them), so you hide that passion, and what happens when you're caught? Well check this out and let me know what ya think:




Bit from the site:






I'M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY. ARE YOU? 

A Little Bit Country is about an inevitable part of growing up: the terrible sinking feeling when your parents find your secret stash hidden in your wardrobe – and confront you one morning across the kitchen table. Gut wrenching and universal, this is one teenage rite of passage that has happened to us all... although maybe not quite like this…



04 July, 2010

My Eclipse reactions and ponderings- Finally!

Alrighty, I've seen Eclipse (finally... stinkin' UK delayed release...) and I am pleased, bordering on impressed, with the film's final product. The progression of the talent, the story development and the improved tone were most impressive to me.

The first thing I'm impressed by how much they were able to fit into a two hour film in order to provide background information, plot progression information, and fan-demanded information. Let's review: trip to Florida, virgin conversation, proposal, tent scene, Jasper's background, Rosalie's background, Leah's backstory, reiteration of main points like talents, wolf telepathy, body heat, the make out scenes, punching a werewolf in the face, the jealousy and anger of the Volturi, Riley and Victoria's messed up relationship...

The list goes on. I'll go into a few comments though in my normal manner.

The storyline- cheers cheers cheers to Rosenberg. She had a lot of ground to cover, and she did it well. The story progressed smoothly, and I was most impressed by the one-liners that, ironically, were not in the book, but fit perfectly in the film. She inserted a few lines that took the tone from that scene in the book and worked well in the film. Two lines in particular I'm thinking of: First when Jacob is leaning smugly and shirtless against the VW, girls everywhere swooned, and the tension is cut with Edward saying, “Does he own a shirt?” and when Jacob enters the tent and says, “You're just mad because I'm hotter than you.” These lines give the snarky edge to Jacob and Edward's relationship, without superfluous dribble and, frankly, the extensive exposition from the novel. Yes, they are different from the books, but the tone is spot on, and that's good adaptation- making it work with the pre-existing material and the feeling that exists in that moment from the book, and matching it visually with concise, even if different, words. When those lines were said, we got the anger, jealousy, humor, and poking fun while really loathing the other person quite appropriately.

The acting- Stewart didn't stutter in a horribly awkward way and in fact seemed supremely confident with her character; Lautner didn't bury all of his lines in monotonous tones and really showed his leading man capabilities in scenes like the kiss after the tent and the bedroom scene after the fight; and Pattinson didn't just look sad and tortured; there was contentment, happiness, jealousy, fear, and anger... and Jackson Rathbone finally had a few lines to develop his character beyond someone who just looks constipated and 'in pain' most of the time.  Also, the relationships really showed through for me, particularly with Jasper and Alice. I loved the little peck she gave him after they did their battle practice in the woods.

The wardrobe/hair/eyes- I know, it's a bit trivial in the long run, but these can often be the things that people take notice of if it's poorly done, 'wrong,' or different from the books and thus can be a necessary branch of adaptation studies. If we can see the line of the contacts around the actors' eyes, it removes us from that moment of the story; we become critical and say 'oh, I can see the contacts' instead of 'ah, he's just hunted, it must be okay to be around Bella...' etc. etc. The eyes were very well done. Black when they needed to hunt, and the gold was lovely. I think it may have been CGI-ed on this one as it blends well into different shades of gold.
Jasper's hair is finally good, Rosalie finally fits the bill of stunningly beautiful, Alice is dancer-like and svelte and isn't wearing matronly outfits, And the vampire pale-ness no longer looks strikingly fake. Carlisle's hair still needs some work... but meh, not too shabby overall.

The sparkle- finally! No tinkling bells in the background when he sparkles! I hated that cheesy effect. It made the sparkle a gimmick, whereas this one it was simply a fact; something that just happens when he's in the sun. No big deal was made, and there were no stupid tinkling bells.

The flashbacks- I loathed the thought of them because the more I watch Twilight, the more I dislike the ones in the first film; I found them cheesy and contrived. These, however, were very well-handled, and I think that's because of their authenticity. In Twilight, they were sepia-toned, there was seemingly contrived wardrobe (i.e. Rosalie's ruffled collar, and cliche pageboy caps), and inappropriate mardi-gras wolf hats on the Quileutes... the Eclipse flashbacks seem more factual. The story of the third wife, Rosalie's backstory, and Jasper's- they all looked appropriate, they weren't filled with soft-focus cheesiness, and they very much set the tone of the characters and gave them some depth and believable history. It gives a lot of substance to the being. We were able to see Jasper's compassion, and his struggle with killing vampires when Maria ordered it, and Rosalie's dark past was well-handled, as well as her sensitivity and slight humor when she reminisces on killing Royce in her wedding dress as 'theatrical.' As one movie-goer remarked, “You forget how long they've been around; it was neat to see the history.”

Anna Kendrick- Jessica has a minimal part in the novel, but graduation plays a big roll. It was clever to incorporate Kendrick into graduation as an integral player. She has the talent, the recent Oscar/Golden Globe buzz from 'Up in the Air,' and can really carry a scene. It was nice to see Summit give her that kickin' graduation speech to mark the meaning of choices, decisions and the future that we know is playing so thoroughly through Bella's mind, but through the words of Kendrick.

The sex- Yes there's a big debate out there right now about abstinence and the message and all of that.. but I'm not going to go into that. From a film-critic point of view, I think it was pretty great. They spoke as teenagers speak, acted as teenagers act: with passion, intent, awkwardness, and honesty. Their chemistry was real; you could feel it and believe it in every kiss, embrace, hair touch, forehead kiss, boob-grope and chest-stroke. It was nice to see the filmmakers bravery in taking this challenge: a charged and heated topic in the fandom and with the parents of the fandom, and just showing what needed to be shown. Like any other part of the book, they took the tone and information from the page, and translated it to the screen, and I think the tension and anticipation that we all loved from the books was there in spades. I missed the 'this would be difficult on a couch' line, but that's just a smidge of nostalgia; the line wasn't necessary for the scene to work- the making out and the tension was necessary, and they got that.


I also greatly enjoyed the opening scene in the meadow. In the first film their relationship moves so fast, the ending was satisfactory, but it can seem quite rushed. By this film, they are utterly devoted to each other, and its scenes like this that illustrate the natural partnership that they have. They just look so comfortable and easy with each other. It's lovely, and I think it has the feeling of attraction, suspense, and subtle eroticism of that first meadow scene from the novel that fans were looking for in Twilight's meadow scene. They're so stinkin' cute

The 'virgin' conversation: Just awkward enough. I loved the movement through that scene too. How Charlie just stood his ground, determined to make it through this conversation and Bella is continuously moving towards the stairs, fleeing as fast as she can, but still giving her dad the information he needed to stop worrying.

Choices- I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of Rosenberg's thought process to change Bella into a wicked stronger character in this one. We all love Bella, but she really can be a bit pathetic; always in need of rescuing, protection, and always needing a man. In this, she still needs protection and still needs her men, but she is more definitely her own person. She gets angry at Edward for lying to her, goes off with Jacob against Edward's wishes because it's her decision and what she needs to do to be with her friend, and my most favorite Bella moment is the speech in the meadow at the end where she says 'yes, I love you' blah blah blah, but also 'I don't fit in here, I'm not normal, I belong in another life, your life.' Meaning with him, but also as a vampire. It so clearly makes it her decision and not dependent just on being with the man, but flourishing and becoming her own person on her own terms in a life of her choosing. 

It's best in that scene, but also in that conversation with Rosalie on the balcony. We see Bella, the strong capable human who survives and holds her own in superhuman situations, and can see how she can fit into this other world. Well done. I hope Meyer was down with it as it changed Bella's central being, but I think it changed it in a way most people imagine Bella anyway; we all want to defend and champion her, but it can be tough with her actions from the text at times. This Bella in Eclipse gives us all of the fodder we need to illustrate her as a strong leading lady (who still needs some rescuing, but so do Edward, Seth and Jacob as she sacrifices herself left right and center to save them).  

Parent relationships: They are so underplayed in every aspect of the story (they're not very active in her life), and there are some really lovely moments that are played up in this film effectively in order to show what Bella is giving up in order to be with Edward. There's the easy, touching scene with Renee, the success of which has a lot to do with Stewart's performance, and of course all of those lovely 'Charlie Moments' like where he utters 'super' and tries to have some serious conversations with her. I love Billy Burke; such a rockin' guy, and great actor. 

Also the Carlisle and Esme moments where you see their parental tendencies in their family.  Carlisle tries to appease the Volturi and keep the peace when Edward loses his temper ("if you had arrived half an hour earlier..."), and both he and Esme were the ones in shot, ready to take responsibility for Bree.


Well good on ya for making it this far.... but I'm going to stop there for today.  There's so much more going on in my head that I want to sort out; These are just my initial thoughts of the film, but there's so much more to consider in the adaptation of event films.  I'm thinking about the marketing, the cross advertising, Volvo is tied in, Burger King, and how the imagery has changed in the promotional materials; colors changed from the cold iciness of Twilight to the soft, warm browns of New Moon, and to the steely grays for Eclipse (see image from My TwiLife), the lines, the storyboarding process (Slade and Rosenberg worked together to adapt this one where she would have the script, he would get it and storyboard it, and he would give it back to her to adapt the script to fit the shots; very cool process and unusual for this saga at this point).

See, I'm waxing on again... okay. Stopping now! Would love to hear your thoughts, and I'll be mulling over a few more in the next few days... and hopefully seeing it again a few more times!

28 June, 2010

Twilight Week at In Media Res

In Media Res is doing a week of posts on a Twilight theme. Five 'curators' are posting videos with a short commentary putting the video in context and commenting on it.

It's a neat set up, and I'm the first entry, Natalie is the second (my co-editor for the forthcoming Twilight anthology). There are a couple of quite notable people writing this week- exciting build up to the exciting event of Eclipse's release!

Enjoy!

18 June, 2010

Website updates! Pictures! Statistics! And Info! Oh my...


You know, it was about stinkin' time I figured out how to work my own website. After owning the domain for a year and a half, I finally sat down tonight, watched a slew of tutorial videos, and figured it out. It was not hard. I am just impatient and expect all things to come to me easily... but they do not, and that causes frustration, until I go 'oh just do it already...' so I did!

SO in conclusion, everything is now in one place. My stats are there, info about what I've done and where I'm going with this whole PhD and producing malarky, and probably the most-interesting-to-the-general- public aspect is that there are lots and lots and lots of pictures from the set of Twilight, the UK premiere in Leicester Square, Vampire Baseball in Oregon,  the Breaking Dawn release in New York, TwiCon 2009... all sorts of fun things to explore!

So yay for finally figuring out that aspect of my New Media degree; now I get to play, make it shiny, and see what other fun elements I can add to it, right? Right.