The BurnettWork https://theburnettwork.net Genre entertainment has never been this fun! Sat, 07 Sep 2019 21:04:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://i2.wp.com/theburnettwork.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/cropped-Robservations-Icon.gif?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 The BurnettWork https://theburnettwork.net 32 32 114431728 Willow Talk: Willow reviews STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. https://theburnettwork.net/willow-talk-willow-reviews-star-trek-the-motion-picture/ https://theburnettwork.net/willow-talk-willow-reviews-star-trek-the-motion-picture/#respond Fri, 06 Sep 2019 15:37:16 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6922

Imagination Connoisseur, Willow Yang, shares her review of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. Buckle up, buckaroos … this is gonna be a bumpy ride!

Greetings Rob,

This might be the last letter that I’m going to ever write to you, considering that you might have be banished after this. I’m sending you my thoughts on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I know that I’m going to break your heart, seeing that it’s your favourite feature film of the franchise, but I have to be honest: I didn’t love it. And no, I’m not attempting to troll you here, as much as much as I wish I was. If you do care to proceed onwards, here are the reasons why The Motion Picture didn’t really work for me. (And just to give you some details, the version that I watched was on Youtube, listed as ‘Star Trek I: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition’, with a runtime of 2 hours and 16 minutes.)

My primary issue with the movie is its pacing. There are definitely episodes from The Original Series – Mirror Mirror, The City on the Edge of Forever, Space Seed, to name but a few examples – that I thought could have probably benefited from being longer. The plot of The Motion Picture however, seemed like something that could have comfortably fit into a 50-minute episode. The movie felt very indulgent, filled with long, lingering shots of scenes and imagery that, while beautiful, didn’t really do much to advance the story. From the very beginning, even before the Paramount logo appeared on screen, there is an over 3-minute long sequence of the stars set to a sweeping score. There is a long, extended look at the exterior of the refitted Enterprise. I understand that there are many fans who adore the scene; unfortunately, I just don’t have the same fetishistic feelings towards spaceships, and found it to be a little gratuitous. The same can be said for the entire second act of the movie, which was delegated primarily to lingering shots of V’ger. I really hate saying this, but I just found myself getting bored.

The plot itself of a human-made machine that has acquired sentience and returned back to Earth in search of its creator felt reminiscent of the Season 2 episode, The Changeling, while the scope and sense of dread and wonder evoked memories of The Doomsday Device and The Immunity Syndrome. However, I felt that the movie lacked the charm and warmth that have made the aforementioned episodes far more enjoyable for me. Spock described V’ger as being ‘cold’ and ‘barren’; to be honest, that was how I felt about the film itself. Ironically, for a story that’s supposed to celebrate the beauty and greatness of humanity, I really found the human element to be lacking. I remembered Kirk for his charisma and vitality; even though I applaud the movie for trying something new with his character, I was disappointed to see him being so passive and subdued. And while Spock wasn’t exactly known for being ‘warm and sociable’, I still found him to be too excessively frigid, and even a little disdainful. It was as if all the time that he had spent on the Enterprise and his profound friendship with Kirk, had been forgotten. McCoy was the only character from the trinity who was able to bring any warmth and levity; unfortunately, I thought he was quite under-utilized.

More than anything, I felt an absence of interactions and connection between the characters. Everyone just seemed to be off on their own instead of working together cohesively on this tremendous undertaking. I don’t want to see the crew staring with bug-eyed fear and awe at the view screen; I want them to do some talking, to actually speculate and try to figure out what they were dealing with. I want to see more of the rapport between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. I would gladly trade the long shots of V’ger’s aurora borealis cloud for an extended conversation between the trinity, and their philosophical musings over this incredible discovery. I want to hear more from Uhura, Chekov, and Sulu. Had I watched The Motion Picture without having already seen The Original Series, I really don’t know if I’d be able to remember most of the supporting cast members.

There are times when limitations can be frustrating and detrimental, and times when it can actually be a very good thing. Personally, for me, The Motion Picture felt like a case where being limited to a shorter format could have actually improved the story. There are some great themes and thought-provoking questions posed in the movie: the compelling examination of what it is to be human, the richness and beauty and wonder that our emotions bring to our lives, the power of just being able to feel something as simple as holding another person’s hand. Unfortunately, all of this is muddled amidst the long stretches of imagery and special effects that felt more like fanservice than what’s necessary to communicate the story. For every minute of great scenes like Spock speaking to Kirk in sickbay and weeping over V’ger as he finally embraced his own humanness, there just seemed to be ten minutes of ships gliding slowly through space.

If you have managed to make it to here, I just want to be clear: I didn’t hate the movie. I thought that there was still plenty of good things in it to commend. Even though I’ve been bagging on the extended visual scenes, the effects were stunning and undoubtedly awe-inspiring for their time, as was Goldsmith’s epic score that invoked so much beauty and wonder. I appreciated the characters of Decker and Ilia. The story required that I cared for them, and I did; their relationship helped bring some much-needed humanity to the film. Even though I did not love the depiction of Kirk, I still respect the attempt to develop his character. I like that he is able to be more vulnerable and flawed, that he could show remorse and guilt when a transporter malfunction killed two of his crew members, that he could express doubt over what he was doing. And in the end, even though I personally did not love the movie, I recognize that my opinion is just one of a million. There are plenty of people who do appreciate and love the visuals, the epic cinematic scope, the lingering, seductive shots of The Enterprise and of V’ger, and I applaud the filmmakers for creating something that has clearly brought great excitement and joy and wonder to many others. Unfortunately, I just personally felt that it might have been done at the expense of plot and characters.

Yours sincerely,
– Willow

P.S. Just to let you know, I really did enjoy The Wrath of Khan. Thus, if you could refrain from exiling me from the PGS community, I’ll write up my review for it soon.

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A little change can be a good thing. Too much change can be, well, a problem. https://theburnettwork.net/a-little-change-can-be-a-good-thing-too-much-change-can-be-well-a-problem/ https://theburnettwork.net/a-little-change-can-be-a-good-thing-too-much-change-can-be-well-a-problem/#respond Thu, 05 Sep 2019 14:04:53 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6902

Imagination Connoisseur, Dean Micetich, sends in his thoughts on adapting Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan” books for the big screen. Just how much change from the source material is acceptable?

(edited for clarity)

Hi Rob and the PGS,

I wanted to write to you about adapting novels to the big screen and Tom Clancy Jack Ryan books in particular. I am a huge fan of the books and first three films.

Now, I know when a novel is adapted into a script elements of the books are dropped or changed and this is done for two reasons:

1st, is to keep the film run time down to around the two hour mark, however there have exception like Token’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy;

2nd, is because a novel’s flow of action does not always translate to the big screen, so things are dropped or changed for better pacing.

(Spoilers for anyone that haven’t seen these films – but they came out over 30 years ago. LOL!)

A perfect example of this can be seen in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. In the book the Brits play a larger role than just getting the photos of Red October out of the Soviet Union. They also play a role in keeping the Soviet Fleet away from Red October and it from a British aircraft carrier that Jack and a Royal Navel Captain leave to meet up with the USS Dallas before going aboard Red October.

This was all cut out to make the film flow better and also give it a little more tension with Jack getting aboard the Dallas.

Again the same thing happened with PATRIOT GAMES and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, they don’t take away from the main story being told. Though it would have been fun if they had kept the Prince of Wales being rescued and not some Duke or Earl but I can see why they did it. (Though I understand that Prince Charles is a fan of the book so go figure.)

All three films had a great cast with Alec Baldwin, James Earl Jones, Harrison Ford, Sean Bean and Sean Connery just to name a few. Are they any better than the books? No, I would say they are just as good.

After CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER came out the next book to be adapted was going to be “Cardinal of the Kremlin.” Though they found this was too hard to adapted for film and it would better be suited as a mini series for TV. This is something I will come back to.

So the next book they chose was THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, while the film was still in development, Harrison Ford (who had signed on to return) had creative difference with the director and left the project.

The information I got at the time was from a neighbour who worked at Pinewood studios – and the rumour was that Ford left the project as the director wanted change the story so much that it no longer followed the book. Needless to say, I never found out the truth, but with Ford gone Paramount decided to do a reboot and have a younger Jack Ryan at the start of his career. Paramount also brought on a new director. They also change the villain from a middle-eastern terrorist to neo-Nazis. As they believe that terrorists did not have the capability to do such a thing. Sadly, before the film could come out, 9/11 happened and it was proven that terrorist can be organized to do such horrors.

The film was not successful, due (in large part) to 9/11. The American people were not ready to see a story such as this while they were still trying to heal – even though the film’s release had been pushed back for over a year. The other problem was that a young Jack Ryan early in his career just did not work with this story. If he had been the deputy director of the C.I.A., like he was in the book, it would have been more believable.

Fast forward 12 years. With the next Jack Ryan film, Paramount decided to reboot again and this time decided not to adapt any of Clancy’s books. From me the film was a hot mess and just did not work. As there have not been any sequels, I am guessing the film was another flop.

Last year we got the Jack Ryan TV show, which was another reboot. Again there was no adapted of any books but they did keep the core and general back story of Jack. However they have kept the show in a modern day setting. I did enjoy the series, but I felt like it was lacking something. With a modern setting I don’t think they could adapted any of the book as it just work not work with today’s world.

However saying that, I think it would be possible to adapt books into a series as a period show with each season being based on one book – starting with Patriot Games (set in 1981) and going though each book in chronological order. This way we could get the great story of Cardinal of the Kremlin and the others that could not be adapted for film, but can for TV.

This would give us 9 season of great spy and political thriller stories and 21 years of one man’s service to his country. (I am only counting the books Clancy wrote on his own and not the Jack Ryan jr books.) As for the issue of someone aging over 21 years, they could put the actors in prosthetic to age them up or leave a few years gap between seasons. That a little unrealistic thing to do in the real world and most likely require some MCU planning. LOL

If the show was successful enough they could even do two standalone single season spin-off series following the lovable-but-rough John Clark’s adventures in Without Remorse and Rainbow 6.

Will we every get another Jack Ryan book adapted for the big screen? It’s possible, but if they keep the modern days setting it just won’t work. The books are a product of the time they where written and it’s better to set the films / TV show in that period as well.

Either way I look forward to see what they do for season 2.

What do you think Rob?

Regards
– Dean M.

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Is it smart to make future projections based on past work – of both Star Trek and Star Wars? https://theburnettwork.net/is-it-smart-to-make-future-projections-based-on-past-work-of-both-star-trek-and-star-wars/ https://theburnettwork.net/is-it-smart-to-make-future-projections-based-on-past-work-of-both-star-trek-and-star-wars/#respond Thu, 05 Sep 2019 12:53:07 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6885

Imagination Connoisseur, Paul Morgera, just finished binging Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and has some questions.

Lots of questions.

Hi Rob!

It’s Paul again.

But instead of writing to you about my disdain for STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, I want to get your take on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

I just finished bing watching ST:DS9 for the last couple of weeks on Netflix. I had not watched it since it finished its run back in the day. I must say I enjoyed it thoroughly. The first couple of seasons weren’t the best, but they still had a few episodic gems within them. Things really got moving after the third season in terms of quality and overall good storytelling.

The character arcs were excellent. It seemed that each character had more than a few episodes where the focus was on them. The writing was excellent. I am wondering why I didn’t pick up on the quality of this series when I first saw it back in the day. My guess is that Star Trek: The Next Generation was still fresh in my mind as a great series and at that time nothing could measure up.

I am a person that usually doesn’t like to rewatch TV series because my memory is pretty good at remembering all the twists and turns. This kind of diminishes the enjoyment for me. The films and tv series that I can watch multiple times are few and far between. ST:DS9 has become one of those series.

I have always liked Star Trek. I remember watching the original series reruns on TV during the 1970’s. It would usually come on during the evening. Those episodes are also on my list as great rewatch material.

I hope the Star Trek: Picard series really hits it out of the park.

After the Disney/Star Wars debacle, some of us fans would like to spend our hours watching quality story arcs instead of no story arcs. (Sorry Rob, I had to get that dig into Disney/Star Wars, lol.)

You are right to say that this is the golden age of geekdom. The Madalorian is coming out soon, ST:P to follow, Clone Wars, all the Marvel films on the docket, and I heard something about a Lord of the Rings prequel or something like that. All in all, a pretty exciting time.

Tell me Rob, what is your favorite episode of ST:DS9? What is your take on the ST:P series? Will they ever make a another decent Star Trek movie or has that shipped sailed?

I am thinking of bing watching Enterprise. I have only seen a few episodes. Not sure what to make of the intro score. Doesn’t feel like Star Trek to me. What is your take on that series?

Well thanks for your time once again and keep on being the voice of reason in this social media wilderness. You’re kind of like the John the Baptist of social media geekdom, lol.

Take care,
– Paul M.

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Yes, but is it art? https://theburnettwork.net/yes-but-is-it-art/ https://theburnettwork.net/yes-but-is-it-art/#respond Thu, 05 Sep 2019 09:53:08 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6886

Imagination Connoisseur, CK, asks a fundamental question about filmmaking and filmmakers.

(edited for clarity)

Greetings Rob,

A few shows ago, I don’t remember the number, you said that movies can’t suck because there are hundreds of people behind the scenes that want to make the best movie. This is always true when we consider movies to be art, but now days are they truly? For me an artist is only interested in his art and acquiring material wealth it’s a distant concept; most of the famous artist lived and died poor.

So, how can all those hundreds of people make their best movie if they are driven by making money…its show business right?!

I remember George Lucas in a Charlie Rose interview where he was saying that he is making movies to explore his ideas and none of those movies will see the big screen. He is making movies for him and some of his friends. I can see art being made because those movies are not money driven projects.

If we can agree that movie business is a business we can also agree that the ones pumping money are trying their best to make an attractive product that will sell and make more money, and the rest of the staff are only employs working there to make a buck first of all and second they are making the best to have a better resume for the next job.

So…where is the art?

Do you remember SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL?….did you like the movie?…For me it was trash, a cash grab on the notoriety of the first SPEED movie. When asked by Jimmy Kimmel why he wasn’t a part of this sequel, Keanu Reeves said that he had read the script and it was a NO NO. So this actor could see that a crappy movie is about to be made but he was the only one??? Where ware those hundreds of people that are trying to make the best movie…I can tell you!…they ware to busy negotiating their contracts.

The second thing that has been on my mind for some time now is about false advertising of some movies. I have often seen trailers that depict movies to be one thing when in reality they are something else. Aren’t any rules against that?? Is it ethical?

If movies are products and the audience is the consumer that pay for that product, shouldn’t there be laws that protect us (from deception) and also make the industry more honest? If there are such laws why aren’t they enforced?

Star Trek: Discovery was announced to be cannon, but that was a joke. A joke that meant more audience for the show and more money for the studio, but – nonetheless – a false advertisement. The Star Wars sequels are also falsely advertised to be a continuation of the original saga. If that were true, they would have had to make those new movies within the confines of the original rules set by the original trilogy.

Reinventing, reinterpreting or even creating rules that conflict with the original lore removes the movies from the original universe. I have no problem seeing a reboot or a parallel universe saga where they can do anything they want, but they can’t insist that it’s a continuation (of the original story).

They should respect the rules of the game.

It’s like when you go to the market to get a six pack of Blue Moon and when you open one, you get some blonde beer instead of the Belgian White. On the label, it says that the beer is Blue Moon and on the label, you can see some things missing and some things added, but the rest is the same. How do you feel about that….especially if you don’t like it and you still what the “original recipe” Blue Moon.

Anyway….thank you for letting me rant with such passion!

Like always…best regards from Europe!

– C.K.

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There’s something missing from Rogue One and Solo … https://theburnettwork.net/theres-something-missing-from-rogue-one-and-solo/ https://theburnettwork.net/theres-something-missing-from-rogue-one-and-solo/#respond Thu, 05 Sep 2019 04:53:01 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6884

Imagination Connoisseur, Troy Williams, has a question about the where the “Star Wars crawl” was for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY and SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY. Does the decision to not include crawls in front of those movies help or hurt the franchise? Does it even matter?

Leave your thoughts and comments below …

Hello Master of Fun and Wonder!

Just a quick question. Wednesday on the John Campea Show, you, John and Kris talked about the lack of an opening crawl in front of ROGUE ONE and SOLO.

If it was up to me, I would have prefered the crawl be in those films.

Given that Star Wars has a history of revisions and changes (i.e. The Special Editions), do you think there’s a chance that there will be versions of ROGUE ONE and SOLO in the future that include the crawl?

Thanks Rob!

– Troy W. 
CinemaSurvey Movie Reviews

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Turning personal trauma into a love of genre entertainment. https://theburnettwork.net/turning-personal-trauma-into-a-love-of-genre-entertainment/ https://theburnettwork.net/turning-personal-trauma-into-a-love-of-genre-entertainment/#respond Wed, 04 Sep 2019 23:31:26 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6876

Imagination Connoisseur, Joel Sommers, shares his geek’s journey with other members of The Post-Geek Singularity.

Hi Rob,

I had occasion to recount the origin story of why I love comic books to a good friend and after I told the story, it occurred to me that you and your community might also find it germane to the spirit of your channel.

It goes like this:

When I was four years old, I suffered a traumatic eye injury. I lost the vision in my left eye, and remained hospitalized for another three weeks while being evaluated for potential brain injuries. In that time, my mother stayed with me during the days and when he got off work, my dad would take over night shifts. Each evening, he would show up with a different comic book and he would read it to me. By the time I was released, both me and my dad had kind of gotten hooked on the serialized nature of comic book stories. More over, this marked the beginning of my lifelong love for the medium. I particularly remember how taken I was with the Mantlo/Golden issues of Marvel’s MICRONAUTS.

I recovered. But since then, my dad never took any vacation days, except for the month of July, when he would take almost all the time he had saved up over the year. This is the month of my birthday and we would spend it going to see every cool movie that was in theaters. I turned 49 this year, so if you do the math, that means that my dad and I saw the original STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE together. And as the years rolled by, we saw E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC, SUPERMAN, and every other summer blockbuster of note.

This is how to forge a fanboy.

I remember the year STAR WARS: EPISODE VI – RETURN OF THE JEDI came out. By then I was 13, and getting to the point where maybe I didn’t want to spend all my time with my dad during the summer. But for that movie, he and I were so there, together. It’s one of my best memories, and according to him, it was also one of his.

Both my mom and dad are gone now. I’m an only child and not a day goes by that I don’t think about them. That fateful time after my injury crystallized a love of reading, of scifi and fantasy, of comic books–it was a genre mix that blossomed into a passion for books, movies, TV, and all speculative fiction.

Today, I do technical writing and technology consulting, and there is no doubt where the seeds for my life were sown. I hope you and your viewers find this little story as uplifting as my friend did to whom I told it a few days ago.

I’d love to hear any stories that you or your viewers have about seminal events that foretold their lifelong love of genre fiction.

Thanks for what you do, Rob~!

-Joel S.

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How hard should movie trailers work to sell a picture? https://theburnettwork.net/how-hard-should-movie-trailers-work-to-sell-a-picture/ https://theburnettwork.net/how-hard-should-movie-trailers-work-to-sell-a-picture/#respond Wed, 04 Sep 2019 23:15:47 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6870

Imagination Connoisseur, Brett Steinbook, wonders how Hollywood trailers balance creating excitement among movie goers with not spoiling a film.

Dear Rob,

I don’t like being scared and avoid horror movies (that aren’t set in space). I went to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as a teenager thinking I was going to see a cop drama, murder mystery. I left horrified, scared, on edge, senses heightened. If its not horror, it’s at least a suspenseful thriller.

My question is: how do you think Hollywood trailers are doing in the balance between preparing the audience for what they are signing up for (like pace, tone, genre, etc.) and not giving away the reason to go see the movie (the best twist, the funniest line, the ending, etc)? Or is that just an impossibly thin line?

thanks for your thoughts,
– Brett S.

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Can films or filmmakers go too far into unacceptability? https://theburnettwork.net/can-films-or-filmmakers-go-too-far-into-unacceptability/ https://theburnettwork.net/can-films-or-filmmakers-go-too-far-into-unacceptability/#respond Wed, 04 Sep 2019 22:53:00 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6883

Writer-producer-director, Robert Meyer Burnett, and the Imagination Connoisseurs of The Post-Geek Singularity take a deep dive into filmmaking and what lines shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to storytelling (and more) on this technologically-challenged episode, ROBSERVATIONS #213.

Join Rob, friends of the show and fans as they cover a wide variety of topics including …

•  Rob runs down his preferred order of new Star Wars films (those made after the Prequel Trilogy of films) in response to a last-minute superchat question from the day before.

•  Rob discusses a question posed by Imagination Connoisseur, Luke Beckett, who asks if there is a “fine line” of acceptability that films and their filmmakers should not cross.

•  What defines the acceptable or unacceptable? How much does one’s fear of their own mortality drive that judgement?

•  What is the responsibility of the artist to the audience?

•  Are these judgements (on acceptability) handled differently in the United States because of the Constitutionally protected right to free speech – even if it’s outrageous. Rob shares a point of view presented by the ACLU that claims the “right of free speech” was made part of the US Constitution in order to protect fringe arguments and outrageous expressions.

•  Who’s the boss at Rob’s house? The one with the cookies or the ones who get the cookies? The struggle is real, people.

… plus super-chat questions from viewers and more!

 

About Robert Meyer Burnett

Best known for FREE ENTERPRISE, starring Emmy winners William Shatner and Eric McCormack, Rob Burnett offers his own unique perspective on the entertainment industry in his daily Robservations video blogs.

 

(Originally aired: September 4, 2019 – 54:26)

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Why “write what you know” is hard when you’re writing about “the other.” https://theburnettwork.net/why-write-what-you-know-is-hard-when-youre-righting-about-the-other/ https://theburnettwork.net/why-write-what-you-know-is-hard-when-youre-righting-about-the-other/#comments Wed, 04 Sep 2019 19:31:41 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6823

Imagination Connoisseur, Stubble McShave, who often writes about writing, writes in to discuss how “The Other” is often presented in today’s media.

Hello Rob (aka ”The Master of Fun & Wonder”),

I wanted to talk about something that is sort of “the cousin” to verisimilitude. Writing or (in the case of movies and television) presenting “the other”.

The other is when you’re creating characters that are different from you in one or several aspects. It can be characters with another ethnicity, culture, gender, religious background or a group of people who has a special type of interest that differs from your own. A group with a special type of interest could be gun enthusiasts or toy collectors.

If you don’t present those people right, it can lessen the verisimilitude for the group of people that you didn’t represent correctly. Once you become aware of these things they tend to stick out. The movie or book can be great, anyway, but the believability in what’s presented to you lessens, especially for the group of consumers that’s misrepresented.

I will mainly focus on gender and ethnicity here, but it more or less relates in similar ways to the other groups of characters that are different from you, aka “the other.” The worst cases of bad presentations of “the other” are glaring to most people. However, there are more common examples of bad writing of “the other” that pass most people by without anyone noticing. I will give a few examples later on to illustrate my points.

Competent writers for movies and television usually have learned to be better at presenting other people than themselves. When people just start out in developing and writing characters for a book or a movie there are many that have problems with this. Generally speaking, men are poor at writing women and women are poor at writing men, although it’s usually more obvious with men writing female characters.

There are different levels of bad writing of “the other.” The worst one is, for example, when male writers or filmmakers represent women as a sexual object and not much more. This is something anyone would notice and most people would object to. Examples would be how some women were represented in the early Bond films.

There are of course other examples of this for other groups. Who doesn’t remember how nerds were depicted in movies during the 70s and 80s. They were presented badly in a similar way, by people who didn’t have a passionate interest in the nerdier things in life. Fortunately, we usually don’t see this anymore and if it would be featured in today’s movies most would react against it and call it out for not being believable.

There’s also something called paragon sexism/racism (or whatever ism you prefer). It’s when the creators of the book or movie say to themselves “Whatever I do I can’t be racist.” And to ensure this they have one character of “the other” that’s awesome at everything but don’t really have a developed personality. They usually don’t have much dialogue. This isn’t either that common any longer. You see it in inexperienced writers and it’s more frequent in video games than in narrative storytelling nowadays.

There’s another version of paragon sexism/racism which is when “the other” is the authority figure. He or she is the “straight man” to our hero. They usually don’t have an arc and they’re not fully developed as a character. There’s also usually just one there as well. I’m sure you can list the black police chiefs and female bosses in movies that otherwise just feature white male characters.

One thing that’s quite common is when you have a fully developed character of “the other” but there’s only one. You see this in several movies and books that’s been done for the last half century. It’s Leia in the original STAR WARS – EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, it’s Rey in STAR WARS – EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS, it’s Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings movies, it’s Trinity in The Matrix series of films, it’s Marion Ravenwood in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, it’s Padme in the Star Wars prequels.

They are fully realized characters but there’s usually only one woman in a world full of men. In the Star Wars prequels there were other female characters in the background but they were never in any scenes with speaking parts. One of the very few things I appreciated in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI was the intention to have more female characters. Although I didn’t think those characters were that well developed which is sad because I think the right intention were there.

Although I love several of the movies I’ve listed above they do have some problems with this. As a creator one should strive to have fully realized characters that are heroes of their own story and are allowed to have flaws and motivations of their own. One should try to avoid tokenism in that all African American characters act in a certain way or that all geeks have glasses and don’t like sports. We’re all complex unique individuals and the characters in a story should reflect that.

So what would I say have a good presentation of “the other”. I think the best we’ve seen in recent years is “Game of Thrones”, or at least the first three quarters of it. The notion of character arcs disappeared at the three quarter mark. In that show there were characters from different genders, ethnicities and beliefs that were presented as fully realized characters who were allowed to have flaws and character arcs. Everyone was human with warts and all. Many people would say that it was a sexist show and that I am wrong because of that. But I would say that they were fully realized characters who lived in a world that was dominated by men, at least in the beginning (later on the women were the rulers).

So what do you think Rob? How important are fully realized characters for Verisimilitude?

I will end this with a quote from Terry Pratchett:

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”

Thanks

Stubble McShave

P.s. Concerning pizza topping. Author Jim Butcher was once asked about what he preferred on his pizza. He answered “anything that was once cute”. I don’t think he’s a fan of the one with pineapple, but you never know.

(Editor’s Note: I found this interesting piece on things to keep in mind if you’re writing about people who do not look like you and the importance of empathy – if the subject Stubble has presented interests you, you might want to check this out.)

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Was the return of Dark Crystal worth the wait? https://theburnettwork.net/was-the-return-of-dark-crystal-worth-the-wait/ https://theburnettwork.net/was-the-return-of-dark-crystal-worth-the-wait/#respond Wed, 04 Sep 2019 17:31:40 +0000 https://theburnettwork.net/?p=6822

Imagination Connoisseur, Chris Wriglesworth, shares his non-spoilery review of DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE on Netflix.

Dear Rob,

I hope you are all of my PGS brethren are well. Just a quick letter today.

I have a confession to make, I’ve been avoiding all my You Tube shows and yes even yours until now that I’ve just finished the Dark Crystal Age of Resistance. Before I go out and read reviews or hear any other opinions, I wasn’t to just put mine out there to the PGS.

WOW!!! I’m blown away.

This is world building at it’s finest. The writers have crated a story of intense depth. The Henson company have brought this world to such a vibrant life that I sometimes forget that I’m watching puppets. The socio-political structure of the Gelfling society and how it interacts with that of the Skeksis and Podlings is masterfully told and represented. This is the height of fantasy film and story telling. I think world is now open for a lot more great things to come.

I highly recommend it to any fan of fantasy and look forward to your thoughts.

Peace and Long Life!!!
– Chris W.

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