Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Happy Holiday!

Are you enjoying your Heaven-Opening Day? Not a bad day to sleep in, though it's not advisable to stay in bed too late when you've got class the very next day.

I finished Watership Down while on the crapper last night; it was as good as I remembered it. I was surprised at how much it reminded me of "Battlestar Galactica": a ragtag group of rabbits is forced to abandon their home and go on a lonely quest: to find a shining patch of real estate known as Watership Down. Hazel is a good stand-in for President Roslin while Bigwig takes the Bill Adama role. Richard Adams's novel doesn't offer us a true analogue to the Cylons until we get to the part where the Sandleford rabbits encounter the sinister warren of Efrafa (pronounced Eff-ruh-fuh, according to Adams's footnotes). Once that warren's chief rabbit, General Woundwort, becomes an enemy of the Sandleford bunnies, we see the Efrafans harrying our heroes in a most Cylon-like manner-- relentless and efficient.

There are several interesting fight scenes in the book, especially toward the end, and while I was reading, I couldn't help thinking that it would be cool to make a short film focusing primarily on those fights. The novel has been made into both a movie and a TV miniseries, both for children, but with today's CGI I think we could craft realistically rendered rabbits that fight in kick-ass bullet-time style à la "The Matrix." Brian dePalma meets the Wachowski Brothers. You know how bullet-time photography works: the camera whirls through a scene, which plays out at wildly different speeds to represent the slow or quick passage of time-- sometimes the stress is on the lovingly rendered details; at other times the stress is on movement and impact. The motion capture technology allows the viewer to experience the slowed moments as a kind of gritty 3-D action.

Imagine the climactic fight inside the new warren at Watership Down: Bigwig, in the main chamber, bites the scruff of an Efrafan opponent's neck and flings him side to side in maddening fast motion, then lets him go: the film slows down to show us the enemy's flight-- the startled look, the basso scream, the helpless tumble through the air with ropes of blood expanding and disintegrating as the rabbit whooshes toward a wall-- and then the action speeds up right at the moment of impact, and we switch to an outside view of the warren, with the Efrafan's corpse exploding out of the ground (yes: through the wall of the warren!) and sailing on for dozens of yards due to the force of Bigwig's throw.

This would also be a great opportunity to show off some Yuen Wo-ping-style rabbit kung fu as the critters kick and bite and scratch at each other-- the dodges, the whirls, the aerial somersaults and corkscrews, the raking claw strikes all lovingly rendered in bullet time, with heavy-hitting sound effects that put us in the middle of the hurtfest, each blow connecting with the meaty thud-and-crunch of a baseball bat slamming a watermelon.

I'd pay to watch that.

But enough with the lagomorphic ruminations. Once I get sufficiently motivated, I have to grab lunch and schlep over to the office for more school-related follies. I lingered a bit yesterday to correct some student journals and enter homework grades, but I have voice recordings to look over and more transcription to do. The weather is cooling down, finally, but the office remains warm and stuffy, and the damn mosquitoes are still out, which is annoying as hell at night. That reminds me... I need to buy some more cans of bug spray. The Korean brand F-Killer is quite good, even though those spray cans always feel only half-full when you buy them. Luckily, a little goes a long way.

And on that pestilential note...


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