Thursday, December 15, 2011

Exciting blue lights

Fantasy novelist number 670:
"... OK, now the two wizards get into a battle. Now, how would wizards battle? Well, the great thing about fantasy is that anything can happen, so let's do something original and amazing. Oh, I got it: let's have them stand there and throw blows at each other, like two boxers except with blue lights instead of fists!"

Comic book writer number 2556:
"... OK, now the two wizards get into a battle. Now, how would wizards battle? Well, the great thing about fantasy is that anything can happen, so let's do something original and amazing. Oh, I got it: let's have them stand there and throw blows at each other, like two boxers except with blue lights instead of fists!"

Movie script writer number 7921:
"... OK, now the two wizards get into a battle. Now, how would wizards battle? Well, the great thing about fantasy is that anything can happen, so let's do something original and amazing. Oh, I got it: let's have them stand there and throw blows at each other, like two boxers except with blue lights instead of fists!"

22 comments:

Alex Greene said...

So you noticed that, as well. It struck me that pretty much every movie since the invention of CGI has gone down this road. It gives the CGI crowd something to do, and it cuts down on the lines the expensive actors have to say, apart from the occasional inarticulate grunt or scream for the closeups when they playact in front of the green screen.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember this being any different before CGI.

Anonymous said...

I had that very conversation in elementary school with my creative friends back in the 1960's

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Really? Hah. You'd think *somebody* would have come up with something.

I thought Harry Potter was good and imaginative, but mostly the battles were the same old thing. Just raw force, pretty primitive.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

"I had that very conversation in elementary school with my creative friends back in the 1960's"

It's uncanny, isn't it? The way one wild random bit of creativity thrown in the wind will start to grow exponentially.

When I was a kid, and we played wizards, we just stood there and pretended we were throwing blows at each other, like two boxers except from a distance and with fists made of imaginary blue light.

Things have gone so far since then, it's almost scary. Today, the official action figure from the Green Lantern movie has a fist made of GREEN light! Like, wow.

(P.S.: I should hurry and be the first to say it, because he who says it first wins the first fierce wrist-flick fire fist fight finally, so... EXPELLIARMUS!!!)

In your flat face, ickle Voldiekins! I win! I-win-I-win-I-win-I-win-I-win! Naner-naner-naner!

Shaved Blacksmith said...

I'm curious as to what you guys would do differently that you'd see as so much more creative. It's easy to bitch, Comic Book Guy style.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

"Things have gone so far since then, it's almost scary. Today, the official action figure from the Green Lantern movie has a fist made of GREEN light!"

I take everything back, that is revolutionary.

@Blacksmith: good point. Well, the sky is the limit. They could at least transform into different creatures that fight (dragons, snakes, whatnot). Or be transported into an Escher universe of stairs without logical gravity. Or enter the other one's mind or even body as a small sneaky entity. Or send a "magic virus" which works like a computer virus, only it infests the other magician's stronghold. Or use soldiers of chess pieces come to live, or toys, or magical critters. Or be frozen in the place while their minds play a big board game, and the one who loses dies.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Hey, buster, watch your tongue when you speak of the Great Ample Comicmeister, if you don't want to be awaken in the morning by a flaming blue Ryu No Hadoken!

Besides, I thought the Guild of Blacksmiths required all of its members to grow the mandatory beard? Hark! What disregard of yon rules doth mine dwarfish eye see?
(Sorry, but I need my daily dose of excitement, and, well, Talk Like A Pirate Day is long past, so Wizards Of The Winter it is for now!)

Okay, more seriously now, an example of creative movie even with very classic elements spontaneously springs to mind : the very cool elemental fights in Avatar - The Last Airbender. Simpler yet : how about dueling wizards occasionally trying to DODGE? It was already possible in Doom (© 1993).
Might explain why videogames today bring in more money than movies... :-p

There's so much that can be done with magic besides giant glowing fists headbutting, that I wouldn't know where to start. Maybe, say, with the training sessions of Dumbledore's Army?... Protego, Impedimenta, Petrificus Totalus, Locomotor Mortis, Expelliarmus, Expecto Patronem, Gravitatus Inversus... (Guess which witch uses that last one!)

It's too bad that most of what the movies chose to retain of Potterian wizard duels, is the wild random haphazardry of light bolts flying everywhere. Replace magic with technology, and you have a blasters gunfight in Star Wars, a.k.a. "John Wayne in the 24½th Century". The Great CBG is right : there's no valid alibi for bovinely jumping the Generic bandwagon stampede. Few things I despise with more commiseration than "creators" who are dead afraid to do anything other than "what's working right now with the public and/or on the markets". Intellectual cowardice, I call it (like I see it).

I've always been acutely (and painfully) aware of the chasm between often excellent sci-fi novels, and typically mediocre sci-fi films. Same applies with fantasy movies.
Heck, even the yawn-fest Dungeons & Dragons, which I saw for the first time a few days ago, bothered to do more with magick than mere light effects to replace babbling Rocky Balboa's big blundering bobbing baboon knuckleballs bathed in boiling bubbling dabbling applied phlebotinum. (Say it 5 times fast and earn my full respect...)

I see the cartoon series my little nephews regularly watch on TV : all insufferably stuck in the ass of the Harry Potter-born magickery fad. All with magically-powered generic "cool-and-trendy" teen heroes tediously trading tripe of trembling light bolts, all way LESS good than in DragonBallZ's kamehamehas.
Count them with me : Winx Club, W.I.T.C.H., Huntik, Monster Allergy... generic, generic, generic, S.O.S.!
Any REAL difference between Bakugan, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh, and that other Whatsitsname? If you spot one, do wake me up. Christ might be risen (or born, these days), but originality is virtually dead. Even Avatar was a complete plagiary, as it turns out.

Anyway, this guy pretty much invented it all 100 years ago, way before CGI... including the ancestor "black screen" technique! :-)

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Give me a few years, and I'll (hopefully) finish and publish something both fresh, and scientifically plausible (well, almost!). The secret truth about so many "mythical" creatures, starting with the allegedly cruel Rhine Maiden, and all the way to the ubiquitous medieval Devil en personne. It's all there in my draft notes. All I need is the time to sort it all out and polish it.

Problem is, my family's pressuring me to "drop all these silly ramblings and start working a REAL job".
I for one am glad J.K. Rowling "wasted" HER time. Apart from an overly simple writing style aimed at kids, she's all good.

Oh, BTW, for a (very) small and modest sample of what I can write off-blog, here's one short story I've already published online. In just one paragraph (you'll know it when you reach it), I casually ridicule half of literature's super-heroics and prodigies, before just dismissing them. And I wasn't even really trying to be original, I just improvised.

A Marvel no-prize to the first reader who guesses what Harry Potter et Al could do with the mighty spell "Yportne"...
(My own formula. Most easy to understand, but a beehatch to master, stricly for the most formidable Dumbledores. Wizardlings, don't try it at home!)

P.S.: Eo, you should write more novels. I yearn for some decent competition! ;-)
It's like in Politics : lack of real/competent competition breeds automatic lazy blandness.

neeraj said...

"Yportne" means "knowledge", or sometimes also "order" or "information" ... very mighty ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure those ideas have all been done too, Eolake. The chess pieces coming alive was even in Harry Potter, but I'd bet it had been done before that too.

Dave Nielsen said...

"Yportne" means "knowledge", or sometimes also "order" or "information" ... very mighty ;-)

I'm pretty sure it's just entropy backwards. No need to overthink it.

Dave Nielsen said...

Or be frozen in the place while their minds play a big board game, and the one who loses dies.

I think the Grandmaster in Marvel Comics might have done that one.

neeraj said...

"I'm pretty sure it's just entropy backwards."

Yes, I'm sure - was it immediately.

That's why I have written my comment above, just to point at the scientific fact that the complementary backside of "entropy" is something like "knowledge, order, information".

(Especially in the relatively simple case of "Greens paradox" in Thermodynamics: entropy and information are even quantitatively the same, just with opposite sign.)

Right, no need to think about it further ;-)

Dave Nielsen said...

Nice save.

Anonymous said...

That's why I have written my comment above, just to point at the scientific fact that the complementary backside of "entropy" is something like "knowledge, order, information".


Uh, no, it isn't.

Yes, I'm sure - was it immediately.

Why do you talk like Yoda? Not that I believe you understood until it was pointed out to you, you're just trying to cover your ass.

Anonymous said...

P.S. You can't apply the Green Paradox to an unrelated field. You can't swap them around thinking that they're work with anything.

neeraj said...

"unrelated field" ?

I don't know what you mean ... of course, I have not explained it in all details, because that's too long and too much off-topic for here. Please look into a book about Thermodynamics.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Ah-HA! Those who do not waste all their brainpower flaming or trolling have it right... but they haven't tried to describe what the "Yportne" spell would do.

In perhaps the most famous online HP fanfiction, written while the hiatus between books #4 & #5 was getting unbearable (Rowling was raising her newborn baby, you have to respect that), there was that most creative duelling jinx : "Egami rorrim". It caused the target to wrongly perceive right and left sides. All one had to do afterwards, was take a step sideways, and then get missed by all following aimed spells.

So... your final answers, fellow mayvenim?

P.S.: I also invented a new Quidditch move, "the kamikaze zero". It is most spectacular. In brief, it allows the Chaser to win a game by scoring 160 points, and is considered unstoppable.

Dave Nielsen said...

but they haven't tried to describe what the "Yportne" spell would do.


I assume it would be the opposite of a Big Crunch. If so, not a spell even Dumbledore wants to mess around with.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what you mean ... of course, I have not explained it in all details, because that's too long and too much off-topic for here. Please look into a book about Thermodynamics.

You should maybe do that, as the Green Paradox is an economic theory and nothing whatsoever to do with thermodynamics.

neeraj said...

Maybe you are talking about some other Green ...

I was talking about the mathematical physicist George Green (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Green), he has nothing to do with economics.