We’re all mad down here…

I absolutely love fractured fairy tales.   I think the easiest answer to why is because I think every story has several different tellings and due to things like the Christian coalition and coddling our children in hopes to not “traumatize” them, we only see one side of the story.  Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” is a story about a child who escapes into a world deep in her imagination but the story was a very frightening one.  However, companies like Disney capitalized on the madness in a humorous ridiculous way instead of really exploring the “madness” of it all, and this story of madness became a story of silliness.

…Which is why I think I love American McGee’s Alice so much.

By hiding the world from your children, they will never have to see anything horrific… except the one time they do… and they can’t process/deal with it because they are so sheltered…

I recently picked up a copy of Alice: Madness Returns which is the sequel to 2000’s American McGee’s Alice in Wonderland.  If you buy the Xbox 360 or PS3 version, you also get a copy of the original game (I greatly suggest picking it up and playing it – while outdated, this is still a fantastic quick play through).

I am only on chapter 2 and will have a much more comprehensive review later… but a few things I’d like to note:

While Alice still has her original blue dress with the white apron – which she starts in at the beginning of each chapter, Alice also gets a new dress as you progress through the chapters.  This one, the siren/mermaid dress is by far my favorite so far, though it is the second chapter’s dress and I am only on the second chapter.   Each dress signifies the theme of that chapter (siren dress = water level).

There is a lot more to do in Alice: the Madness Returns.  The original game is a fun quick platformer which would take maybe 6 hours at most to complete.   There isn’t any huge “replay” value in it which was remedied in its sequel.  Travel through the world and find all of Alice’s memories, pig snouts for the Duchess (didn’t I kill that bitch?), answering riddles, and find the mysterious bottles.  Even as watchful as I tried to be, I still missed 3 memories (out of 26) in chapter 1, a few pig snouts, and a few bottles.  I didn’t find a single radula either…  The chapters are long though, which makes me wonder, as I have not tried it yet, how much of the chapter you have to play when just searching for these items.  That could definitely be tedious (Chapter = 1 to 2 hours).

These are just my initial thoughts… More to come.  I’m excited to see what new characters pop up since most met their demise in the first game.

Published in: on July 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm  Comments (1)  

Game of Thrones: Episode 2 The Kingsroad


After the stellar first episode of Game of Thrones, Sunday has officially become the new geek night.  As we gathered again for episode 2, I found myself both nervous and excited.   What if the first episode was a fluke?  It should be no surprise that when creating a TV show, the premier and finale of a show are the “most important” episodes.  They build the show and set up for the next season.   If these episodes aren’t polished to be perfect, it can leave a sour taste in the viewer’s mouth and cause a promising TV show’s life to be cut short.  Would I find a series of mediocre episodes following the fantastic premiere of Game of Thrones?  My fears were quickly laid to rest.  While some events have been cut or shortened, which should be expected, the second episode shines as bright as the first.

The thing about books being made into movies and TV shows is that you end up having to condense everything.  That being said, there are so many things that COULD have been edited out that I am very thankful they didn’t.

The first scene that easily could have been edited out is the conversation between Robert and Ned.  They begin discussing how great it is to be together again, then to old stories about whores and bastards, and finally to Robert’s need to assassinate Danerys.  As a script-writer, I know the conversation surrounding Jon Snow’s mother as well as Robert telling Ned that Danerys should be killed, serves little purpose.  It’s a scene that the audience can get easily bored with because we already have several scenes that establish that Snow’s mother is not Caitlyn and that no one knows who his mother is.  We also already have a scene where Robert is alerted to Danerys wedding to the Dothraki Lord.  So why not cut this scene for say… some more nudity?  Characterization.  The fact that they left this scene alone absolutely thrills me because it means the writers recognize the power of this scene.  Not only does it show the differences between Ned and Robert but also gives us an intimate look at their relationship.

Why is this such a big deal?  Recently the show has come under attack for it’s “poor script” by the New York Times Ginia Bellafonte and renown Science Fiction writer Orson Scott Card.  Bellafonte argues that the “Game of Thrones is boy fiction”, though one can argue that if nudity and war makes it boy fiction then why is there such a huge female following for Tru Blood’s nudity and violence.   Card states “Combine that with the screenwriters’ aforesaid incompetence at creating character and relationship in a script, and what you have is a deeply ruined adaptation.” And yet we have a useless scene that could have easily been cut, but was left in to do exactly that: Build character.

On the topic of nudity, almost all the poor reviews of the series have been based on the amount of nudity in the series.  Card says, “Martin never, not once, uses sex pornographically,” which is something I highly disagree with.  There is a lot of graphic sex in these books and unfortunately, when you show sex on screen it’s going to end up looking pornographic.

That being said, my biggest complaint with these first two episodes is Danerys.  In the first episode, which was pointed out by several fans, Danerys is “raped” which is a huge disservice to her character.  In the books, Danerys is worried about her wedding night but greatly enjoys it as the Dothraki lord, Khal Drogo, takes her under the stars.  In the show, she is raped on a cliff, and in the second episode is seen crying during another sex scene.  They then have a scene from the book that shows Danerys asking how to please her the Khal.  Her lady servant then shows her how to ride like a Dothraki.  This scene made sense in the book because Danerys enjoyed having sex with the Khal but wanted more power.  The whole point is that she didn’t want to be “rode like a Dothraki horse”, but because of the way she is portrayed on the TV show her scene of asking how to please the Khal is confusing and redundant.  While I don’t think this scene should have been cut, I think that there should have been some visual change that would have caused Danerys to want to take part in the sexual relationship.

As Sunday approaches again, I am excited to see how life at the Wall and with the men of the black is going to be portrayed in “Lord Snow”.

Published in: on July 13, 2011 at 12:29 am  Leave a Comment