Does The Wheel of Time Live Up to the Hype?
On November 19th Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time will air its first three episodes on Amazon Prime Video. Showrunner Rafe Judkins and his team of writers have plotted out eight seasons from the sprawling amount of source material contained in the 14 novels.
“Obviously I want to stay as close to the books as we possibly can. These are really beloved books,” Judkins said during the show’s SDCC panel. Whether or not Amazon can pull off a faithful adaptation remains to be seen. The recent history of translating books into series has had mixed results. A Discovery of Witches, produced by Sky One in the UK was meticulously accurate, while Shadow and Bone for Netflix created new characters and plotlines, forging its own distinctive narrative.
The Wheel of Time certainly looks cinematic with a fair amount of swords and sorcery throughout, it appears to be a Game of Thrones Light for the Young Adult crowd. The storylines are human and diverse enough that nearly everyone can relate to at least one of the characters, and Amazon is hoping the series will become addictive.
However, The Wheel of Time has not been without its challenges already. Matrim Cauthon is one of the central characters in the saga. In season one (8 episodes) the character is played by Barney Harris, but in season 2 he is replaced by actor Dónal Finn. How do you suppose people would have felt if Jon Snow had been played by two actors? This will without a doubt be a jarring transition for the fan base, and it doesn't bode well for the production as a whole.
That being said, the teaser trailer for The Wheel of Time has been viewed more than 11 million times since its debut eight weeks ago, so anticipation and excitement are running high. The budget for the first season has been reported at $91 million. (more than ten million dollars an episode).
Amazon is betting big on fantasy programming with the $465 million, Lord of the Rings due to begin its run in September of 2022. If The Wheel of Time is the appetizer then The Lord of the Rings is the main course, so let's hope Amazon is capable of getting it done without alienating millions of fans.
After repeated production delays due to Covid-19, (including the death of dialect coach, Andrew Jack, aged 76, to the disease), director Matt Reeves' gritty new film, The Batman is set to spread its wings and land in theaters March 4th. But you have to be asking yourself, do we really need another movie about the Caped Crusader? Remember, this is the same project that was originally slated to have Ben Affleck reprise the title role, as well as pen the script and direct it! (yikes)
But with Ben out of the picture, Reeves was free to explore the depths of Gotham City with a new cast and some fresh ideas. “I’d felt that we’d seen lots of origin stories, we’d seen things go further and further into fantasy...but one place we haven’t been is grounding it, to come right into a young Batman, not be an origin tale, but refer to his origins and shake him to his core.”
The result is a film that is truly visceral, where the fighting is brutal and almost personal, and the Dark Knight is more out of control. “So many people connect to him on such a deep level, and for so many different reasons,” Pattinson observed while discussing the role at a panel for DC Fandome. “The first conversation I had with Matt about it I just knew there was something radically different from anything we’ve seen in the Batman movies before.”
As one of the screenwriters, Reeves admits to also trying to create a new iteration of Bruce Wayne. “This version of this character...this guy, almost like if you think of Bruce Wayne as this recluse rockstar in a decaying manor.” Pattinson had, on his own, carved a path leading to the same representation of the brooding billionaire. “He doesn’t have as much control over his personality. The delineation between when he’s Batman and when he’s Bruce is not so clear...he gets lost in it, he’s not sleeping, and he’s becoming this quite sort of odd creature.”
Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Gotham district attorney Gil Colson, told SiriusXM radio that the film uses various alternative rock bands (like Nirvana) to mold its intense, shadowy tone. “It’s so raw in that way,” Sarsgaard explained. “That’s what I feel like about this. It is not sanitized. It’s got a raw power to it, a raw emotionality.”
Where Christopher Nolan’s depiction began to explore the duality and darkness of Batman’s psyche, Reeves' version is immersed in it. The hero is gone, behold the anti-hero that fans of the comics will appreciate immensely.
So the answer is yes, The Batman might just be the best version of the monumental character that we didn’t know we needed. It might in fact be a masterpiece.
Sources: DC FanDome, Indywire, Deadline, Screen Rant