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Electric Dreams: The World of Philip K. Dick (10-part series starring Bryan Cranston)

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20 hours ago, Khrushchev said:

 

Screamers50.jpg

 

It was a shame that version nosedived so badly, as in among the trainwreck Peter Weller gave a great cynical, weary lead performance.

 

I’ve never seen this, is it worth a watch?

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Sure, if you love the short story i'd say it has enough interesting things in it to be worth a look.

 

It's based on an unused Dan O'Bannon screenplay from the early '80s that was eventually rewritten and done on the cheap in Canada by the very pedestrian Christian Duguay. The change in setting from Cold War is well done and gets some good world building. First half of the film has some good scenes that do create a nice bleak atmosphere, is quite faithful to the short story and Weller is great, but it falls apart over the last act. A few terrible changes to the original plot, awful acting from some key supporting characters throughout the film and increasingly poor dialogue really drag it down.

 

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Sounds like a real treat! 

 

I think Dick stuff is generally unfilmable as it’s written. He’s such a sparse word magician the things of his that ended up on screen which are really great have essentially very little to do with the source material beyond the initial themes to greater or lesser extents (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Truman Show, etc). If you filmed Second Variety right it would probably be a bit of an amazing plod, but stray too far from the plot and you end up adding a shitty sauce, which is what Screamers sounds like. 

 

So, I will seek it out. :quote:

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That's a good point, something I was surprised to find ploughing through his books after having already seen the films. I guess A Scanner Darkly is a good exception.

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55 minutes ago, TehStu said:

The rotoscoped style is perfect for the source material, great story.

 

This is what I'm hoping the director(s) try with this series - interesting visual styles/techniques to make some of the esoteric ideas stand out.

 

Spoiler

The "grapevine" between Teeps in The Hood Maker is an example - the director tried to show the thoughts/appeals for information moving between them, but this could have been even more visual.

 

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My favourite stories are Foster You're Dead (which I'm surprised they haven't done for this series, it's very Cold War-y but still relevant) and Paycheck (the film of which I opted not to watch).

 

Minority Report is one of my favourite films, but completely different from the story (which is pretty good too). It basically only nicks the premise and then goes in a totally different direction. That seems to be a good approach with Dick tbf.

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On 20/09/2017 at 20:03, ZOK said:

Sounds like a real treat! 

 

I think Dick stuff is generally unfilmable as it’s written. He’s such a sparse word magician the things of his that ended up on screen which are really great have essentially very little to do with the source material beyond the initial themes to greater or lesser extents (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Truman Show, etc). If you filmed Second Variety right it would probably be a bit of an amazing plod, but stray too far from the plot and you end up adding a shitty sauce, which is what Screamers sounds like. 

 

So, I will seek it out. :quote:

 

Yeah I'm reading The Man In The High Castle at the moment and finding it difficult to follow as it reads like it's written in short hand. 

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Spoiler

I think the point of the ending was to say that as much as we think we know about the universe. We can't know everything. Hence the time travel worm hole (?) time loop happenings at the end.

 

Not a very satisfying ending if you're after a hard sci-fi explanation. But that's what I took from it.

 

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6 hours ago, Misery Guts said:
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I think the point of the ending was to say that as much as we think we know about the universe. We can't know everything. Hence the time travel worm hole (?) time loop happenings at the end.

 

Not a very satisfying ending if you're after a hard sci-fi explanation. But that's what I took from it.

 

 

The thing is...

 

Spoiler

The ending is completely open to interpretation, as is the whole time loop/travel thing, because the story and the tale is just so woefully underexplored. Is it time travel, a time loop, genetic memories, the same person who's just had better health care in comparison? Was she the grandmother at the end, or the grandaughter? Was the end just chem-induced hallucinations as they died? Why did he want to die all of a sudden?

 

It was a bit shit, all things considered. I actually burst out laughing when...

 

Spoiler

Ominous murder bot managed to get as sinister as making his eyes glow red and demand "Who's the bastard now?!". And Anderson didn't know about the suits until he did know about the suits. And the woman is capable of piloting herself anywhere except Earth, seemingly. And surely the milometer on the spaceships would alert the Lazytown bosses to the fact the ship had been on an unauthorised intergalactic trip.

 

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This reminds me more of The Outer Limits than Black Mirror in terms of quality.

 

I'm enjoying it, but it feels like it's lacking in the bite/resolution department. I'm not familiar with the source material though.

 

The end scene to the first episode went on far too long to hammer home the ambiguity of the character motivations and subsequent dilemma for the slow readers.

 

The second episode... I liked it but it was aesthetically very cliche

 

 

 I chose to read the ending cynically as the bike was named Dreamweaver - seemed like the woman was leading the guy to his death, I can't get behind a magical "old-lady-wants-to-bang-her-grandad-on-a-magic-planet" ending.

 

- I would've  preferred a cleverer ending to the ambiguous one we got.

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Good and bad moments in the second one

 

Spoiler

The flashes of the bicycle earlier in the episode - was it Irma transmitting something to Norton, or his own memory of what happened/was going to happen?

 

Or was it a hallucination as he ran out of oxygen?

 

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I've only seen the second one and it was pretty dire. I've read a lot of Dick's work (although, to be fair, not in a while) and while I understand a lot of it is quite difficult to show in visual form, this just didn't seem to convey much at all.Instead it felt confusing and drawn out (but to give them credit, it looked nice enough). 

 

If you stripped away the nice sets and high production values, it would have been terrible. 

 

I guess it's why most films based on Dick's output tend to take one tiny concept of the story and then drop the rest of it.

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Three in and this series is a miss from me.

 

It's lacking an edge or bite to it's stories - tonight's was less science fiction, more... weird magic shit that made no sense, tied to an undercooked melodrama.

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On 4 October 2017 at 08:33, ZOK said:

I thought the this last one was great. Fabulous stuff from Spall throughout.

 

I’ve no idea what happened, mind you.

 

Spoiler

By going to the town that doesn't exist, two things happened:

- in the real world he never had a son

- his negativity washed off on the people of the town, making them talk about what went wrong

 

When he met the architect's daughter, she realised he was not suited to live there, so she let him go back to what was real

 

Great acting and some interesting visual stuff. I also loved

Spoiler

The low-key scene with Anne Reid as the journalist

 

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Crazy  Diamond - like those homes, teetering on the cliff edge of insanity. Enjoyable thanks to Buscemi's face.

 

Spoiler

Liked the contrast between the hi-tech QC lab and the black marketeers. Not sure we needed the flashback at the start though.

 

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On 18/09/2017 at 17:38, ZOK said:

It would have been amazing if they'd done Second Variety

 

That was the one that immediately sprang to mind for me as well. I hadn't heard of this until today! Looking forward to catching up now.

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Crazy Diamond best episode yet.  It probably helps if you dig the Syd Barrett references :wub:  

Crazy stuff, archetypal Dick really (traces of Gillam too).  

 

The previous one was good too albeit very different in tone.

 

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Have people given up on these? I loved Crazy Diamond, even though I didn’t know what was going on. But the latest one (future cop mind shifters) was just straightforward great SF telly. 

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