Tag Archives: Helena Bonham Carter

TV Review: Wednesday

STORY

Wednesday Addams punishes the boys in the school who bullies her brother Pugsley Addams. As a consequence, she is expelled. The concerned parents admit her to the Nevermore Academy, a school for the monstrous outcasts where they studied but were accused of a crime scene. Incidentally, the event recirculates with Wednesday’s admission when a creature begins to take lives and she uses her psychic instincts to solve the mystery.


ORIGINS

The Addams Family was neither a novel nor did it start as an amination show but the gag cartoons that were published in The New Yorker from 1938 until the 1950s. All the characters were unnamed until the 1964 television show ‘The Addams Family‘.


PRODUCTION

Wednesday hampers a toolbox that was decorated for Tim Burton to utilize when his turn comes to work on the project. The Addams Family and Tim Burton crossed paths but never joined hands which was a sad chapter just like Leo Messi was not lifting the World Cup before it finally happened.

Back in 1991, when Tim Burton was focused on directing Batman Returns, he was approached to work on The Addams Family. He passed on the project due to scheduling conflicts and The Addams Family and its sequel were produced establishing cult status with the audience.

20 years later, Tim Burton was planning to write and direct The Addams Family film, perhaps a reboot, but got canceled due to creative differences with the producers. Then Miles Millar and Alfred Gough acquired the rights, wrote the pilot, and forwarded it to Burton. He became interested and joined them.

It took thirty years for Tim Burton to work and complete a project that looks to me to be the most fitting project he ever happened to work on before. It was a love story that was waiting for its romantic moment to bring the two together.

When the strings are pulled rightly, there is every chance of playing the right notes. Producers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough are well known for creating ‘Smallville‘. Tim Burton has the reputation for many excellent Gothic fantasies. And then his decades-old collaboration with the musician Danny Elfman, the musical notes that ideally fit in Tim Burton films.


CASTING

Wednesday. (L to R) Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Adams, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, Luis Guzmán as Gomez Addams, Issac Ordonez as Pugsley Addams in Wednesday. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

With Tim Burton on the director chair, I would have loved to see Morticia and Gomez Addams played by Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia and more particularly Luis Guzmán as Gomez were quite interesting choices. I felt that spark was missing between the two which was quite a thing between Raul Julia and Angelica Huston in those two films. But here, Catherine and Luis looked pretty odd together.

Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester was an imposing choice. Christopher Lloyd‘s Uncle Fester was character-driven and someone on whom the story was centered around. In a quite different setting, this Uncle Fester was more jolly and exciting. I want to see more appearances in the next season. It was a pleasure to watch Christina Ricci in the show who was Wednesday Addams in the films.

My kudos to whoever decided to give the titular role to Jenna Ortega. This has to be the best-ever casting of Wednesday Addams to date. Let me tell you how I think that Jenna did this role better than Christina.

Christina’s Wednesday lacked the body language of a melancholic personality that defines Wednesday. Plus, the writing of her character in the film didn’t guarantee any growth. Wednesday being the center stage of the plot and a tv series of eight episodes at stretch, Jenna had enough time to grow as Wednesday and answer all our questions that were related to her character that was visibly missing in the films.


WHY WEDNESDAY? WHY NOT ADDAMS FAMILY?

I will continue my point about Jenna’s Wednesday because this leads to a whole new level of storytelling. The films heavily focused on couples as well as Uncle Fester but not children. When my generation watched these films back in the 1990s, we had this feeling about the girl that her side of the story didn’t make rounds and that had a lot of potential to grow due to her sadistic personality. I felt the writers of the films missed the chance.

But this chance was smartly grabbed by Millar and Gough with the creme of the plot centralizing the hows and whys of Wednesday’s character. And this is why her parents were almost out of the frame.

The makers installed the character of Enid Sinclair who struggles to befriend Wednesday and there develops a strange bond between a cheerful roommate and a morosely black soul. The makers also built a rigid mother-daughter relationship. The screenwriting of the show also restricted the fan-favorite Uncle Fester’s character to a very brief appearance. Convincing the audience to stick with Wednesday without Fester is a win.


DANCE

Of course, I have to mention that iconic dance in my assessment. A dance that was actually shot with Goo Goo Muck by the gothic rock legends ‘The Cramps‘ playing in the background but the TikTokers perfectly remixed the dance video with Lady Gaga‘s Bloody Mary and is now called a TikTok Remix of Wednesday Dance. Jenna choreographed the dance herself and the most astonishing fact about the dance is that the dance steps pulled the right strings of Wednesday Addam’s cold-blooded personality. The dance visibly reflected her oddness.

In one of her tweets, Jenna confirmed that gothic rock legends Siouxie Sioux and Lene Lovich, actor Denis Lavant, first Wednesday actress Lisa Loring, and the dance number from Sweet Charity called The Rich Man’s Frug by Bob Fosse were the inspirations behind this dance.


CLOSING REMARKS

I felt that the finale lost control of the pace and hurriedly strove to a conclusion. But in any case, there is a lot to happen in the future seasons. I really want to watch Grandmama and Cousin Itt.

I have read that Wednesday and Enid may develop a romance in the next season. This is totally out of a syllabus stunt. A girl like Wednesday who lacks emotions and has zero-match with the completely opposite Enid, goes 360 and they become lovers, is not so Wednesday we know of.

Whatever happened to something called friendship? Why cannot the writers try to bring both of them in a bond where they find common grounds to somehow live through. Befriending has been a struggle so far so better to focus on friendship.

Wednesday is highly recommended to the fans of Goth culture and The Addams Family. The films and this show cannot be compared at all. They have different vibes and aesthetics on which different stories have been presented to us.

Wednesday has a lot of adventures or misadventures to excite us. I hope to see a Stranger Things kind of excellent follow-up of the show.



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TV Review: The Sandman

STORY

To those who are new to this Sandman world, the one fact you need to understand about this drama and comic book story of The Sandman is that the story is about a dysfunctional family called ‘The Endless‘. And they are seven siblings in different forms. And they are Death, Delirium, Desire, Despair, Destiny, Destruction, and Dream.

‘The Sandman’ centrally focuses on Lord Morpheus, the ruler of Dreaming and the king of dreams. One day, he is captured by the occultist Roderick Burgress and is imprisoned for more than a hundred years until he gets a chance to escape and return. But when he returns to Dreaming, he witnesses it in a terrible state. Along with his only remaining loyalist and librarian Lucienne, Morpheus travels to different worlds and timelines to restore order to his kingdom, clean the mess and fix the chaos that occurred in his long absence.


PRODUCTION

After decades of pulling attempts to come up with a perfect project to execute for either film or television for one of the most acclaimed comics of all time, Netflix eventually succeeds in shaping the best possible adaptation the global audience would have ever demanded. The show has its flaws but the most important valuation to observe is the graphic detailing and writing of one of the most complex comic book stories.

The show is handled with care by some influential writers of the film and comics. Allan Heinberg is well-known for Young Avengers and JLA series while David S. Goyer is widely acclaimed for writing the Blade and Dark Knight trilogies and co. writing Call of Duty video games. The main showrunner is Neil Gaiman, the writer, and creator of The Sandman. So when the God of this universe is running this show, then there is neither a question nor disapproval about dramatizing his creation.

I am usually against taking liberty from the major elements of the original writing that includes the fundamentals of the characters. But at the same time if the author or the creator doesn’t object or holds the creative control of the film or tv show based on his/her own writing, then even if I find the changes to be in the wrong direction, I find no reason to object because the creator himself/herself is the control head and approves the developments.


PLUSSES

There were many reasons that established the theory or a prediction that ‘The Sandman’ will be praised and accepted once it is released on Netflix. One reason is that the original work has a massive following. Then, as mentioned above, Neil Gaiman himself is the showrunner so whoever the director he chooses to execute their writings, he knows the job is done with satisfaction.

Another plus is the extraordinary production budget that is quite understood after the viewers have enjoyed the luxury of watching some stunning visuals. And then the casting is excellent. Tom Sturridge as Dream and Boyd Holbrook as Corinthian are examples of accurate picks. Even for supporting but important roles, very well-known actors like Charles Dance, David Thewlis, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Stephen Fry, Souad Faress, Nina Wadia, Gwendoline Christie, Meera Syal, and Jenna Coleman make rounds in a few episodes. If that wasn’t enough, we heard memorable voices of Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven and Mark Hamill as Mervyn Pumpkinhead too.

The continuity of the screenplay is intrigued with a thoughtful and metaphorical portion of understanding some dark elements of life. The episode with Dream’s sister Death is very touching and upsetting but is also my favorite of the show. A kind of perception in which a human is made aware of his/her death by the angel that begins with contacting them and communicating. The whole process is so well dramatized.

This is followed by Dream reminiscing about his centuries-old friendship with Hob Gadling when he grants a customer’s will to live forever back in the 14th century and keeps meeting him once every hundred years in the same bar. This idea touched me and began to question myself, what if time travel was ever true? What if all of us could travel to any timeline, meet random people, speak to them in different centuries, just like that. Those who are deeply concerned about dreams like me will agree to me that dreamers deserve to have a companion or a truly loyal friend in his/her dream. Such an idea can only exist in dreams and Lord Morpheus, the king of dreams, is the key to all this stretch.

Then there is Doctor Destiny‘s dystopian take on the human race circulating their lives around truths and lies that he tests at a diner. That whole episode is superbly stretched to make his point.


MINUSES

A few portions of writing and aesthetics are not to my satisfaction. Netflix with its cult application of political correctness makes the entire dramatizing of the original writing an agenda to moralize forced inclusivity. Although the creator Neil Gaiman has no objection at all, but this is not the first time at all. The direction clearly indicates making many characters homosexual has a purpose. I am not against this form of diversity, I support it, but there should be a method of addressing it through the story instead of dramatizing it like a protest.

Amongst all the characters, the one actor that I am not convinced of selection is Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar. Because she looked more angelic than the devil in the role. If the showrunners were adamant to go for a female Lucifer then they should have picked an actress with a lot darker persona. A female Lucifer had to be someone with more devil or gothic vibes. Any of Eva Green, Krysten Ritter, Cate Blanchett, or Helena Bonham Carter would have made superb Lucifer.


COMIC ADAPTATION

This is actually another ‘PLUS’ element but I want to address it separately due to a broad detailing a comic geek can speak and emphasize. We comic book readers generally have been raising this matter for a couple of decades that a television show or a film usually doesn’t do justice while translating the comic pages into this medium.

Because it is hard to deliver the same impact to the viewers that the readers had when they read that all. And it is admirable to observe how ‘The Sandman’ successfully developed a lot of moments from the graphic issues. And at some scenes, even the whole dialogue of a few particular scenes is delivered in the same way.

I wonder how every Sandman reader would have reacted when Death showed up to Dream followed by a conversation when they were sitting together.

Or when John Dee was thanked.

In a very interesting sequence, imprisoned former queen of the First People, Nada briefly appears whose eyes catch Dream’s figure passing from her prison and calls him Kai’ckul. The whole scene is pictured in the comics and will definitely proceed in the second season as showrunner Allen Heinberg has confirmed to one of the sources.

The terrible state of the Dreaming after Lord Morpheus returns is all accurately depicted.

Desire’s tall naked statue Threshold, the fortress of Desire is taken from the beginning of the second volume, The Doll’s House.

Dream’s centuries-old friendship with Hobb Gadling was well translated from the pages. The entire table-talk of centuries constitutes from issue#13.

The whole 24-hour diner episode happened in issue#6 called 24 Hours which is considered one of the darkest and the most horrific tales in comics history.

The whole Dream vs Lucifer challenge is well dramatized. In fact, comics had a lengthier challenge if I am not mistaken.

Dream’s meeting with ‘The Three‘ had a darker portrayal than comics.

Dream and Corinthian face-off exactly happened in the convention just like issue#14.

Even Corinthian stabbing Dream’s palm was covered.

Gilbert getting scared of Corinthian was different in the show. He actually lost his stature when Corinthian joins him in the elevator.


CLOSING REMARKS

There is so much to talk about ‘The Sandman’. But I hope the quality that the showrunners have settled the story in and the aesthetics that has mesmerized us audience shall be maintained for the future.

I am hoping that the show must be stretched to at least five seasons to cover all the aspects and elements of the writing. The Sandman is the best adapted comic book-based television show that I have watched. I recommend all the viewers who loved the show, to read the original content.

The Sandman is a 75-issue storyline that was written in seven years. This was followed by many spin-offs and Neil Gaiman wrote a few of them. But ‘Overture‘ and ‘The Dream Hunters‘ are those that must be read. Especially, Overture because it is the prequel of the entire Sandman story.

To those, who are very interested to watch a fantasy drama, The Sandman is currently the best I can think of to recommend.

Film Review: The House (2022)

Netflix’s The House is an anthology film about three stories centering around the house. Presented in stop-motion animation, the stories reflect on human elements that try to survive or play games on the others to invade your space. And this paves a way for those who want to present their ideas through stop-motion because it is a beautiful art. So far we have usually observed using this medium for humor and entertainment but making things very dark and sensitive like The House has rarely happened. So I appreciate the makers for this.

There is your despairing corner of childhood that is stored somewhere in this film. Some picks of episodic agitation of your loneliness that you watch in one of the stories. A part of privacy that is invaded and irritates you; your complaints and your angst that keep building the nerve but you tolerate until it becomes intolerable. You, somehow, see yourself in at least one of the three stories and compels you to think the ugliness of the greed and the individual negative energy.

The observer can come up with many theories from these stories. The first part was more consortium of brainwashing that resulted in punishment and abandoned the children. I think some magic spell befooled them and their children at a tender age were lost to survive on their own.

The second part was my favorite and I liked the developer’s frustration that built in time after those unexpected guests had no plan to leave at all. The conclusion of the story pressed an unwanted truth that people who are not like you drive you insane and transform you. You become like them. It was a sorry ending but very thoughtful and disturbing.

THE HOUSE. Susan Wokoma as Rosa in THE HOUSE. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

The third story can be observed from many angles. One was Rosa’s stubbornness and will to survive on her own in the house and believing that she was right to stay in the house after the disaster. Rosa was the only one who was serious to make the money when there was no hope while the other tenants had understood that the house is sinking at any time so live it on your own whatever is left. And then the key factor Cosmos was the one who made Rosa’s survival certain. Do you need to listen to someone who is the least interested to you? Should you let go of your childhood home in a natural disaster situation?

There are anthology films in which the story fails to give any meaning but The House is murky and embezzles your mood and emotions to think what if you are a part of an invasion? What if you have to speak or communicate with people you don’t want to? What if there is no escape?

The House is like a root canal. With the horror elements, this film agonizes your assumptions. The dancing parasites in the film are a marvelous exaggeration of your repeated failure, the thing that needs to leave mocking at you. Watch this remarkable surrealist film.

Ratings: 8.7/10