'Stranger Things' and 'Eternals' - The Hit and Miss of Writing
For the last couple of weeks my blog has focussed on books - namely Tolkien's 'THE SILMARILLION' - and with 'THE CHILDREN OF HURIN' on its way to me, I will be returning to Middle Earth in the not so distant future. Okay. So what have I been doing instead of reading?
I've been watching!
Netflix's much anticipated STRANGER THINGS 4 was released on Friday. I wanted to savour it, draw the watching experience out, and I failed miserably. I couldn't stop watching.
It was brilliant.
In all aspects.
The writing and exploration of the different story arcs, all rising and falling so peaks and troughs complimented rather than struggled and fought each other, was both seamless and wonderful. The cinematography and special effects, sets, and attention to '80s detail was as ever brilliant - indeed 'the Upside Down' was genius, and some of the gruesome was "Woah..."
Blew my mind. And then there was the acting. They were all beyond brilliant. Every one of them brought the brilliantly penned dialogue to life, conveyed the humour, the darkness, the fear and light, the adventure that this show has become a beacon for. I couldn't fault it. The idea and storyline is brilliant, the writing creative and wonderful, the acting mesmerising, the special effects fun, the horror and fantasy dancing with reality just right. It's genius. I'm just so glad it's not over. I might have watched it all in just three days, but there's Volume Two on the near horizon. Something to really look forward to. I'm so excited.
If I were to give it a score out of 10 ... an easy 15 (and then I'm being harsh).
Stranger Things 4 watched.
I opted for ETERNALS on Disney. Massive budget. All star cast. A fantasy hero mix of mythology and superhero. All my favourite things, what could possibly go wrong? It took me three days to watch. An eternity, but I refused to give in. And the reason it was so poor - for me - goes back to the writing. It was as shallow as a deep puddle. Dialogue was awful, something that turned the acting of A-listers into wooden effigies of themselves. There was no ebb and flow to storyline, no peaks and troughs to pull me in, suck me under, spit me out, good writing seemingly sacrificed to big name actors and special effects, and boy did it show. I felt no connection to the Eternals at all. Indeed, the only time I cheered for them was when the sun made its heroic appearance.
3 out of 10 for the special effects.
In just one weekend I experienced the hit and miss of writing. Good writing - in terms of dialogue, character, setting, simplicity, is crucial in making art and film believable. It doesn't matter how good the actors you have, how big your budget, what studio brilliance you have to hand, sacrifice the simple art of pen and paper, keyboard and screen, the simplicity of words, and you end up with a mess. When the writing rings true, all else can be.
Watch Stranger Things.
Then do yourself a favour...
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