Showing posts with label dreamwatch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dreamwatch. Show all posts

Thursday, 26 January 2006

The Gemini Apes

The following is a reprint of a feature written for my online portfolio.

A fascination with media production began when I was bought an Hitachi portable tape recorder (its contemporary is an Apple iPod). I started recording off television, my favourite television shows, and listening to the sounds back without the picture (mentally envisaging a different version). I would narrate stories and record conversations and sounds. It became a form of education via entertainment.

This acute interest in "the theatre of the mind" also encompassed Radio drama! The catalyst was BBC Radio Four’s dramatisation of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (1981).

During the second year of the BA (Hons) Media Production degree I specialised in audio and video. And undertook a 10 minute audio documentary. Director Dirk Maggs kindly agreed to an interview concerning his successful comic book to radio adaptations, which included DC Comics' 'Batman: Knightfall' (1994) and 'Superman: Doomsday and Beyond' (1993).

In 1998 Dirk invited me to work on 'The Gemini Apes'. My role as a studio assistant involved foley and sourcing original and prerecorded material from The Soundhouse's extensive recording library. This included original content from Skywalker Sound.

Meeting Christopher Lee (he played the character of Drake) during 'The Gemini Apes' recording sessions, was truly a defining moment. This was prior to his career renaissance in 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Star Wars' prequels. He is a gentleman and formidably intelligent. Christopher regaled us with myriad anecdotes. One of which concerned Johnny Depp with whom he was shooting Tim Burton's 'Sleepy Hollow' (1998).

From a journalistic perspective. Breaks during the recording sessions were a plumb opportunity to network with writers from Starburst, SFX and Dreamwatch magazines.

Thursday, 14 July 2005

The Power of the Dark Crystal

Perusing the latest Dreamwatch magazine, I was delighted to note that the first sequel to The Dark Crystal (1982) is in production. This will form the foundation of a new franchise.

Jim Henson's original opus, inspired by the works of Brian Froud, enthralled me as a young child. However, that first fateful viewing at the ABC Cinema was a little too intense - Garthim and Skeksis anyone? Rediscovering it in 1999 I was beguiled by its lyrical beauty once again!

Synopsis taken from the novel The Dark Crystal by A.C.H. Smith:

In a faraway world a mighty astronomical event is about to occur, the Great Conjunction of the planet's Three Suns. At this time, the cruel Skeksis who rule this world from the castle of the Dark Crystal are frightened to learn that an ancient prophecy may be coming true: A survivor of the Gelfling, an elfin race they thought they had destroyed, is seeking to restore the missing shard of the Dark Crystal before the moment of the Great Conjunction, thus ending the tyranny of the Skeksis. Hidden in the valley of the urRu, young Jen the Gelfling has been raised by a tribe of mystics and knows little of the world outside, but know his Master's dying words have charged him with his mission to find the lost shard before it is too late. Traveling through many strange places and encountering many extraordinary beings, Jen races against time to unravel the mystery of his quest and save his world from the forces of evil.

The adventures of Jen and Kira outshone the Muppet antics of Return of the Jedi (1983). The latter was derided by Starlog magazine for blatantly reprising the former's mythological narratives. It's debatable that this was deliberate and certainly the comparisons are inescapable, but The Dark Crystal treats its target audience with greater intelligence.

The inevitable soundtrack score by Trevor Jones, which I still own on single vinyl LP, deserves masterpiece status. John Williams referenced its textured sounds in Revenge of the Sith (2005). As an amusing aside, I fondly recall playing with Masters of the Universe action figures whilst listening to The Dark Crystal Overture.

The Froud's, Brian and Wendy, often frequented my Mother's clothing store in Exeter and would insist that she served them. Wendy Froud's most famous puppet sculpt isn't ashamed of being green. Master Yoda. Love the Star Wars connections that criss-cross my private life.

Thursday, 12 August 2004

The Charmed Ones

At last my prayers have been answered! Trouble is my Titan Magazine budget is already maxed-out on Alias, Angel, Buffy, dreamwatch and Star Wars...

I've enjoyed Charmed in both its Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan years. Shame that Julian McMahon left. However, nip/tuck is genius.