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Archive for the ‘Words Words Words’ Category

I heard recently that Disney is working on a 3-D animated movie “King of the Elves”, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. I loved that story – one of the very few Fantasy stories by this author – and always thought it would make a great movie, but not an animated one. I rather thought it to be an actor movie with very frugal visual effects, a story about an old man who encounters the race of faeries in his garden, becomes their king and helps them in their struggle against the trolls. A story similar in tone to “La soupe aux choux” (“Cabbage Soup”), one of the greates Louis de Funes’ movies – about an old man who may have met someone out of this world, but at the same time it all could just be figments of his imagination, induced by age and loneliness. Imagine how powerful would that be if Terry Gilliam got to make it…

But it’s not the Only American Python working on it, but Disney – and not even Pixar Studios, but the same Disney who gave us “Dinosaur” and “Chicken Little”. I’m a little frightened by what will come of it, especially that Philip K. Dick was really unlucky when it came to movies based on his works.

Dick's Adaptations on Chart

Dick's Adaptations on Chart

“Blade Runner” (Ridley Scott, 1982), based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” – masterpiece, “Citizen Kane” of Sci-Fi movies, the greatest film ever made… but as far from Dick’s novel as possible. The time, the place, the characters are all different, not much is saved from the book. Granted, the story is better than that of Dick – let’s face it, “Do Androids…” is pretty mediocre work of his – and the setting, the costumes, the music by Vangelis all add up to the unforgettable atmosphere, but again – it’s a great Ridley Scott movie, but not much of a Dick adaptation.

“Total Recall” (Paul Verhoeven, 1990), based on the short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” – a good Schwarzenegger action movie, with lots of shooting, running, bleeding and eyes-popping in the non-atmosphere of Mars, but again – the story was just the first 10 minutes of the movie, or so. Not much of Dick is left – only at the very end there is a sentence added seemingly just to invoke this “or is it a dream?” Dickish feeling.

“Screamers” (Christian Duguay, 1995), based on the short story “Second Variety” – a solid action movie with Peter Weller of “Robocop” fame. Not too far from the story this time, but forsaking the twist ending for a more positive one… or is it? The fatalistic mood of Dick’s work is well preserved.

“Impostor” (Gary Fleder, 2002), based on a short story of the same name – the greates example of a perfect Dick adaptation – 10-pages long story expanded to a solid feature action film, perfectly preserving the its apocalyptic mood, and modyfying the twist ending to be even more twisted and awesome. Unfortunately, the movies premiere was overshadowed by a much bigger Dick adaptation of the same year, namely…

“Minority Report” (Steven Spielberg, 2002), based on a short story of the same name – a Tom Cruise vehicle widely appreciated, but mostly by the people who never read the story. There nothing left of Dick in it, save for the idea of three precogs reporting crimes before they happen. Everything else, sadly, is not Dick, but Spielberg in the worst sense – political thriller is turned into a family drama. Not good. Not good!

“Paycheck” (John Woo, 2003), based on a short story of the same name – say what you want about John Woo, Ben Affleck or Uma Thurman, I loved this movie. It’s exciting, thrilling, and it takes the brilliant idea of the story and turns it even better – at the same time more believable (of two fantastic contraptions from the story the movie uses only one, with better effect) and more exciting (from six items in the story to twenty in the film). Another good example of good Dick adaptation.

“A Scanner Darkly” (Richard Linklater, 2006), based on the novel of the same name – beautifully rotoscoped and very, very faithful to the novel, this is the case of a movie even slightly too faithful – “A Scanner Darkly” is a novel that needs a little more rearrangement when adapted to silver screen than Linklater gave it. I read an alternate, Charlie Kaufman’s (of “Being John Malkovitch” and “Adaptation” fame) script based on the book and it would be better if Linklater went with that one.

“Next” (Lee Tamahori, 2007), based on the short story “the Golden Man” – never seen it, never will. The trailer is enough to convince me that it’s as far from Dick in terms of both story and quality, as humanly possible. Plus, Lee Tamahori is the guy who killed James Bond in “Die Another Day”, so thank you very much, I’ll pass.

Aside from “King of the Elves”, other upcoming adaptations of Dick’s works are “Radio Free Albemuth” (where Philip Dick is one of the characters), “The Adjustment Bureau” (based on “Adjustment Team”, one of Dick’s best short stories), “Total Recall” remake (why???) and, further down the road – grab onto your seats, everybody – adaptations of “Ubik” and “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said”, two of the best novels by this greatest Sci-Fi writer of all time. Those last two are being coproduced by Halcyon company and Isa Dick, the author’s daughter herself! Ain’t that just shiny?

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La Melena

La Melena

Ok, maybe not “The Happiest Day of my Life”, but most certainly one of such – I didn’t have that many small but great things happening to me in one day in a long time, and that’s why I’m smiling wide all since this morning.

First of all, I finally registered my new car, which I bought from my sister about a month ago. Now it’s legally mine (well, 10% of it, to be exact, but it’s me who drives it and it’s my house it stands in front of). My cute white Fiat Panda :)

After the registration I went to work and learned that my friend from my previous company got a job in my new company! That’s great news, especially since she was certain it wouldn’t happen, because the competition was very tough, but I was sure she’ll make it – and she did! Way to go, Ola, can’t wait to have you here!

But the greatest thing that happened today was a message I got from Karolina “La Melena”, a flamenco dancer from the group La Pasion whom I admire greatly. And not only was this message from her to me personally, but also – it was about Toastmasters! Wonders never cease…

And that’s still not everything! Today I wrote my first (of many, hopefully) work of microprose, or “twitter novel“, or “nano fiction“, how some call it. It was inspired by Patryk’s answer to a table topic question on yesterday’s Toastmasters meeting. It goes:

I travelled to the 22nd century for a cure for cancer. They told me they have it since some guy took it from thin air some 100 years before.

Exactly 140 characters.

And it all happened before 11 AM! What a day!

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