"Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage."
-- Ray Bradbury
There is a fire kindling in the scorched black square in the centre of my red brick fireplace, underneath the stockings. To the right of the fire, on a coffee table, there is a book and on its cover is another blazing set of flames. Both fires have been a source of warmth.
Mr. Bradbury has left this realm for over a decade, having spent 70+ year emptying his bright beacon of an imagination onto a page via typewriter. Even if a progressively digital world will be eager to dismiss the old-man styled warnings which he sang of and for them, he will remain a port in the storm of life for any dreamers and storytellers. His traditionalism and screen bashing aside, when he was still with us, he tried experimenting with mediums for telling tales. He worked in movies writing screenplays, he adapted books into theatre plays and, like Douglas Adams, attempted to bring his literary arsenal to the computer interactive medium... in 1985.
The Game (1985)
For a text adventure, that is a sequel to original novel, it does a decent job with its story while resembling what it's genre would become after maps and humour developed. The game leaves all sense of navigation up to you, along with memory, inventory and connecting pieces of story. The game gives images to cities, places, faces and symbols only described in text before it. They certainly felt the color orange was integral to the design.
It is a simple sci-fi city setting. This is an old tale trying to seem relevant in a post-Blade Runner world. It does a decent job of fulfilling both given (if you keep in mind) their limitations.
The game starts with a forking path, one path is hidden and the other leads into a city park where a tiger eats you.
Now that is how you set a tone.
Looking like rust coloured chalk outlines on a blackboard, images which accompany the text descriptions rotate and change with the location. The inputted words/actions are orange but distinct (at least in my version, Google images show a broader pallette). The sounds are droning but there is an atmosphere which, at the time of release, was the most you could hope for.
Some modern gaming instincts rise up when cornered.
The more you play of the game, the more you see how it is linear and if you fail enough times you'll learn their isn't much purpose of a replay value once you get to the end. Making this a satisfying piece that wraps up and fulfils an audience, had to have been the biggest task. I salute to these old early craftsmen brave enough to tackle a novel with their relatively infant medium.
Really the title screen might be the biggest eyesore of all.
In-game the game has serviceable presentation, enough feedback from input that it carries a narrative. As for the cover art, what is shown on Wikipedia is an orange polygonal cone from the blender templates assaulting some poor tomb of text. There is also a match.
Someone needs to answer for this running orange syrup.
There's a game called Fireman for the Snes, I imagine a hybird between this game and the Ghost Busters game with the proton-pack you wield like a flamethrower in GTA.
Evidence submitted in support of nonsense.
This imagined game is one where you play a fireman out to find and burn secret stashes of books in chests or homemade libraries. Promotion will mean you get to drive the red firetruck. As someone who played more than a normal amount of educational games (unironically) an educational game where you burn books should be out there.
10 points for YA fiction,
20 point for Shakepseare,
30 points for any of the Stoics.
50 for any of the Manifestos
...I suppose what I'm really asking for is for side-story in this universe being given the Wolfensein treatment. The tag 'Burn the Firemen!' ought to bring in the kids.
3 Stars - Would play again and love a 3D remake.
“Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
The Movie (1966)
Well the movie is a certainly 'a picture' as they might have described it when it came out. The production design holds up well, it is well shot, the acting is campy and the props look like an Eastern European take on futuristic western firemen.
Bring the whole family. As educational as a trip to library.
The main villains acting is really a highlight here, bringing a formidable antagonist to life in such a strong way, condensing some scenes of the book into monologues during actual book burning is an adaptation using its power of visuals and music together.
Ladies and Gents, our main cast.
I don't enjoy the main actor playing Montag or Clarisse or his wife. So much of the film is dedicated to them, so when they don't connect you just want to see them interact with this odd mad world they occupy. The dialogue is fine, the directing solid but something between the director and this content did not resonate. The intent shows affection for the material but it was a big project with many moving parts.
I also had a different vision of the firemen uniform but once I realised it was just black with helmets, then I realised I couldn't have done any better. They look like some grounded Wizard of Oz reboot and they are the marching soliders outside the castle.
THIS is what we can become. Beware people.
The TV world was well portrayed. The adaptation really is undone by this being a futuristic tale and while they navigate it fine, it didn't feel it was where the creative interest lay. Every adaptation is interested in the bookless world but none can find an secure anchor in Montag and chooses to voice grand statements about what it means.
Relevance of image will depend on time of day, mood and topic of latest news report.
The scene with all the books burning is exceptional, and horrifying but entirely convincing and a real marvel for the props department and how perfect the books seemed to burn that they threw in so much footage of it.
The magic of movies.
The simple problem is that Bradbury's novel is quite short and straightforward, personally I don't think it warrants an adaption any longer than 60 minutes, and I think it will take many liberties before you can make it sing louder in a visual driven medium.
Some thing are better when cut short rather than allowed to fade, cool, die buried below a mound of white ash. While fables about of a phoenix are our sought out after burn.
2 Stars - Would watch drunk or just have the last third on repeat.
“The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
The Book (1953)
Reading the book made me feel, or at least had me intrigued enough to want to feel, that I am Montag feeling the heat and soot gather to my face. After serving some law for so long its purpose matters none to me, I simply march homeward indifferent. His sombre approach matches how I imagine I would feel and act in his position where the story starts. I probably would have talked to Clarisse the same clumsy way he did. I imagine I also would be react to his wifes behaviour with no reaction. And maybe I would also doubt, maybe I would steal what I swore to destroy and then buckle under my normal.
It read slightly different, I swear.
The book is still engaging with sharp visions of a media controlled future. Billboards, robots and TV have replaced ideas and censored fine print. I suppose the idea is more that literature is what is destroyed. Are there no notes, or graffiti or are they all audio logs?
The focus is razor sharp and the level of emotion well judged. The prose may be a little too flowery in its descriptions by modern standards, especially since this book gets grouped in with some big dystopian downers, but sparks still fly off of this one.
Bradbury kept the scenes small and contained, only ever seen through Montag as he and you grow increasingly wary and apart from this world. Too many scenes take place in Montags house, more than any other, while the language does its best to create a suffocating environment. But these smaller tensions may put off some readers eager for dystopia cautioning.
*swells with pride* My current collection of Bradbury books.
Bradbury himself would later discourage writers toward the novel, instead encouraging short stories and even screenplays, declaring the subconsciousness to be the best compass. He believed it was all already in you and you need only lay the path. So it is funny that his most famous novel (and still best remembered) is such a grand summarisation of his beliefs and fears of the future. His searing hot, cautioning of the advancing world burning the paper and ink of ideas, of human history and internal fantasies would burn ashen and scatter to the wind.
4 Stars - Would throw at children in the name of education.
“But you can't make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can't last.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
The Other Movie (2018)
I tried watching the 2018 movie for this blog, my account tells me I made it to the end but my eyes left the screen some time before. With a good set of ingredients that should have brought it to life, strong cast, proven director, decent budget, with all the fire and fury and.... it wasn't great, not even good, a real misfire. I hope no real books were harmed in the making of this film. They attempted to update it and their efforts are onscreen.
A mock pantomine of the original work, bearing the same names, fragments of the words and the occasional eschewed heated visual taken from the text.
There is alot of modern lens overlay to the events. There is social media. They burn computers and hardrives, Michael shannon writes on rolling papers, the teenage girl is now a sexy hacker.
It is strange how both films seemed to feel is essential that Clarisse become aged up and be a romantic interest for the main lead, which to me misses a great deal about the storys point (and emotional anchor for the protagonist). Considering Bradbury later described Clarisse as himself within the story, I don't think it was a girl next door situation.
Scenes from Mandalorian season 3.
This is a movie where the best thing the movie can do is let people know that it is based on a book. The best outcome of giving your time to this flame colored fluff, is to go and read a book on it at a later date. To make sense of how a trippy pool of wax looked prior to the burning. The movie is an ash heap arranged to look like a little grey rectangle book shape. Or whatever Amazon is doing with them.
A kindling pile.
Take that however you will, it seems to be closer to normal in recent times.
1 Star - Would burn with pleasure.
I feel like Bradbury really got given a good effort to jump to the visual driven mediums, but nothing sings like his typings.
His collections of imaginings are amibtious as they are pure and instilled with the most vocal celebraton of imagination.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
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