QUADRIVIUM

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Posts Tagged ‘myth

Has Lost Ever Had a Master Plan?

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We have asked from the beginning whether Lost creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof ever had a master plan for the show’s tangled web of mysteries. Committing to a show that would take (and has taken) years to reveal its secrets hinged on whether or not the initial mysteries really pointed to something bigger. After all, we’ve had our hearts broken before. Twin Peaks collapsed after wrapping up the mystery of Laura Palmer’s demise. The X-Files limped on into mediocrity. Many expected Lost to simply implode on itself, another casualty of creative minds spinning an intricate tale without a clue as to where it was all headed.

For many, Lost assumed the mantle of cult phenomenon as early as its fourth episode, “Walkabout.” As the mysteries unfolded into the third season, cracks started to show. Once audiences followed Jack to Thailand to get his tattoos, we began asking the question in earnest: Is any of this actually going somewhere?

David Fury, who wrote the famous Locke-centric “Walkabout,” dashed any such hope back in 2005, telling Rolling Stone that most of the show’s early plot developments were created on the fly. Ain’t it Cool News recently asked first season co-producer Jesse Alexander if the notion of time hopping the castaways to 1977 (a major story arc last season) was ever discussed during his tenure in the writer’s room. His answer? An emphatic “no.”

Meanwhile, various comments throughout each season’s DVD commentaries or special features hint that the series writers have spent significant time mapping the show’s trajectory. Lindelof and co-show runner Carlton Cuse have insisted in interviews, most recently this past Monday for TVGuide.com, that they developed a mythology with a specific story conclusion in mind. That conclusion, they maintain, has never wavered, only shifted to accommodate characters and events as they developed.

So the question is: how much of Lost’s enigmas and unanswered mysteries find their answers in this developed mythology? Will we learn what makes Walt so special? Had the writers always determined to “move” the island? What’s the real significance of Jack’s cryptic tattoos? 

While considering just how much the writers have known from the beginning, allow me to posit that, not only did Lost never have such a detailed master plan, its success was never dependent upon having one. What we fail to realize in maintaining faith in a master plan is that the business of network television usually doesn’t allow for that kind of creative mapping.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by taj

December 14, 2009 at 9:42 am

Ever wonder if they’re just making it all up?

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I’ve been hammering out a small editorial that takes on the notion of whether or not the creative minds behind Lost ever had a master plan detailing the evolution of the best show on television*.

After three drafts, I’m close to the final version, but a new interview from the show runners, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, may have rendered my efforts moot.

It appears evident that, after Cuse and Lindelof negotiated an end date for the show, things seemed to develop with a greater sense of direction.  However, this new interview makes some significant points about the tension between telling a good story, and doing the business of television.

Then, there’s this little nugget:

TVGuide.com: Have you always known what the end of the series would be? Has it changed at all?
Cuse:
Always is the operative word. We developed a mythology, as I said earlier, in the first season and between the first and the second season, and we’re actually moving toward that exact end point. I mean, that has not changed. Certain details of how the show ends have evolved over time but that’s mainly on a character level as we’ve gotten to know the characters and seen how the actors interact. So there are parts of the ending that are still living and breathing, but the actual mythological endpoint has been constant since we developed the show.

Given Blogcritics’ editorial rules, I can’t really share the thesis of my little essay right now, but suffice to say, this one quote throws a monkey wrench into my entire argument.

*a title Lost shares with the BBC’s recent reincarnation of Doctor Who

Written by taj

December 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm

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“It’s never been easy!”

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Why do you find it so hard to believe?

Written by taj

October 7, 2009 at 3:29 pm

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Still no release date for The Prisoner

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the_prisoner_2009According to both AMC and IMDB, The Prisoner has no official release date.  Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellan star in the remake of Patrick McGoohan’s cult classic.

AMC’s web site only mentions the November 2009 time frame, and IMDB hints that the mini-series will span six episodes.  Other than that, details are scarce.

Producers have touted the new mini-series as a reimagining of the original, which has angered some purists.  At the San Diego Comic-Con, the creative team seemed to express that Patrick McGoohan supported the project before his death.

The nine minute trailer unveiled at the Con suggests the reimagined tale broaches themes of identity, faith and belief, and concepts of freedom–all useful components in modern myth making.

If Battlestar Galactica is any indication, remakes and reimaginings can work, and sometimes even surpass the original.

In The Prisoner, “Number Six” (Jim Caviezel) finds himself trapped in an isolated environment known as “The Village,” whose inhabitants refer to themselves by number rather than name, under the control of the enigmatic “Number Two” (Ian McKellan).

You only think you’re free…

Written by taj

September 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm

James Cameron’s Avatar Trailer Disappoints

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Last week, after 12 years of anticipation, the general public received its first look at James Cameron’s follow-up to TitanicAvatar

Given the sudden deluge of promotion after a long absence of any real PR for the film, high excitement just might plow over any inherent weaknesses the film may contain.  Granted, at this point, every observation is mere supposition.  That said, the trailer hints that trouble lies beneath the film’s glossy IMAX veneer. 

At just a hair over two minutes, the trailer crams in a collection of stunning imagery, almost no hint of plot, and barely a whisper of character.  Most of Avatar’s visuals thus far resemble other films.  We’ve seen giant mech-warriors wage bloody war; we’ve seen gargantuan creatures devour humans.  Even the floating rocks resemble a scene from a Final Fantasy game. 

Reaction, depending on who you read, is a little mixed at this point.  People coming out of the 16-minute “Avatar Day” IMAX preview last Friday have raved at the presentation.  Kyle Smith’s initial enthusiasm praises every taste of eye-candy, and seems hungry for more.  USA Today quotes one viewer in Alexandria, Va. who called it “mind blowing.” 

On the other hand, the two-minute trailer released last Thursday left many viewers doubtful.  The glimpse left film critic and author Jeffrey Overstreet underwhelmed.  Disappointment rounded discussion in an Ain’t it Cool News Talkback forum, one talkbacker even calling it a “blueman version of Last of the Mohicans.”

There’s no question the stereoscopic IMAX 3D rendition will amaze anyone with eyes.  The visuals, though tainted with unoriginal particulars, still look gorgeous.  Cameron has always shot his films with layer and depth; working his magic in 3D is the next logical step.  The film, however, should not have to depend on the way it’s viewed.  A CGI Gollum still managed to enthrall without the aid of 3D glasses, or a 50-foot screen. 

I’ve written before that Cameron’s films provide an experience more than a story.  Telling/selling a story at that level means ensuring that the experience serves the narrative.  Flip that notion, and you wind up with something more like The Phantom Menace

Avatar premieres December 18, 2009.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed. 

(also posted at Blogcritics)

Written by taj

August 24, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Lunatics

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“A lunatic is easily recognized. He is a moron who doesn’t know the ropes. The moron proves his thesis; he has a logic, however twisted it may be. The lunatic, on the other hand, doesn’t concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits. For him, everything proves everything else. The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.”

Umberto EcoFoucault’s Pendulum

Written by taj

August 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm

James Cameron gets the machine rolling on Avatar. Finally.

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avatarposter-2The trailer is said to hit IMAX theaters and stream on the ‘net on August 21.  For now, though, here’s is the first official teaser poster. 

Avatar premieres December 18.

Written by taj

August 4, 2009 at 10:40 am

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