(November 17 – 23)
Okay, we’re back on chapter four of the novel this week. I’ve tracked backwards a few scenes and restarted midway through the chapter with a much better idea of both how to keep the pace up and where to go from here. This experience is making me debate whether I need to more plotting before I start writing each chapter. On the one hand, it would probably make the writing progress faster if I go in knowing what needs to happen in order to get from the start of the chapter to the end. On the other hand, I’m kinda enjoying discovering the story as I go …
This week I watched two movies of interest, each from from polar opposites of the cinematic scale (which is a thing I just made up). On Sunday evening I checked out The Wandering Earth, a Chinese ‘blockbuster’ that quietly got added to the service some months ago (much to people’s surprise). Given it was based on a novel, and sorta fell under the category of ‘world cinema’, I was expecting a measured, artful masterpiece which dwelled deeply on issues relevant to the meaning of life and future of humanity.
I was so, so wrong.
The Wandering Earth is, in fact, one of the most gloriously dumb movies you will ever see. It’s so dumb I had to double check the credits to make sure it hadn’t been directed by Roland Emmerich. It has terrible characters, bargain basement CG, and the most outrageously idiotic premise that I’ve ever seen in a movie. I loved every minute of it.
Friday’s horror movie, also from Netflix, was Head Count, which came recommended by a friend. This was genuinely superb. It takes the basic, almost cliched, premise of a group of teenagers on holiday who accidentally awaken a vengeful demon. BUT … this is that type of movie done exceedingly well, and also terrifyingly. The teens are, for one thing, extremely well written—none of your stock, irritating teen horror film characters that you actively want to see get horribly murdered. There is very little gore (and the only shot we see of the demon is probably the film’s only misstep) but there is a sense of menace and dread that starts early and keeps building. Very, very highly recommended.
A month or so ago I wrote about Doctor Who Unbound, and a particular episode which featured David Warner as an alternative third Doctor teaming up with Nicholas Courtney’s (ex)Brigadier. This week I found out that there was a sequel, Masters of War, which continues the adventures of the alt-Doctor and the ex-Brigadier and reimagines the Doctor’s first encounter with Davros (while also serving as a direct sequel to the Doctor’s first encounter with the Daleks). Totally sold on that premise!
It was pretty good, though the first half was far better than the second. I was getting quite into the mystery of ‘who Davros is’ and the underlying discussions over what it means to be a dalek versus what it means to be a human. Then it all got a bit spoiled by an alien invasion (and with aliens whose voices were thoroughly irritating). Things got mostly back on track by the end and the story turned into quite an interesting reinvention of the Daleks, but I wish the writers hadn’t felt the need to throw in the alien invasion to liven things up. Overall, pretty good though.