'A WRINKLE IN TIME' AND THE JOURNEY OF HOPE LARSON

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HULK READ IT LAST WEEK AND IT MARKS THE ABSOLUTE COMPLETE TRANSITION TO THE NOVELISTIC APPROACH THAT LARSON STARTED IN MERCURY. THE BOOK IS SO DENSE, SO DIALOGUE-DRIVEN, AND SO CAREFULLY ARTICULATED THAT IT IS TRULY UNLIKE ANY OF HER WORK THAT HAS COME BEFORE. ADMITTEDLY, THIS IS ALL PART OF THE POLITICS OF STRICT ADAPTATION, BUT IT ALL HAS THE REMARKABLE EFFECT OF THE WAY THE BOOK OPENS UP IN THE KEY VISUAL-DRIVEN SECTIONS. MEANING ONE ZIPS THROUGH THE DIALOGUE OF THE STORY ONLY TO SUDDENLY FIND THEMSELVES DROPPED INTO EXPANSIVE, FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS. AND IN DOING SO IT GENUINELY CREATES A SENSE OF AWE. HULK THINKS THE EFFECT OF THE TWO MODES IS BRILLIANT. THE FOLLOWING MAY SOUND OBVIOUS, BUT SINCE THE STORY IS ACTUALLY SEQUENCED, THE TRANSITIONS ARE THUS EXPERIENCED. AND THUS IT HAS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF THE EFFECT OF SOMETHING LIKE STARDUST WHERE THE GORGEOUS VISUALS SORT OF “HANG AROUND THE TEXT.” THAT’S MERELY VISUAL COMPANIONSHIP IF THAT MAKES SENSE. AND THE WAY THIS WORKS MAKES READING A WRINKLE IN TIME SOMEWHAT UNIQUE. HULK FEELS LIKE HULK STILL HASN’T CLARIFIED THIS RIGHT…. HMMMM… HOW TO PUT IT?… IMAGINE SITTING IN A MOVIE THEATER AND YOU ARE WATCHING A SMALL, DIALOGUE-DRIVEN MOVIE. AND THEN SUDDENLY YOU ARE BEHOLDING IMAX-SCALE VISUALS SHOWING THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE. THAT’S THE TEXTURAL EXPERIENCE OF READING THIS BOOK. WHILE CHIGGERS FEELS LIKE A TONAL HYBRID OF TWO STYLES, A WRINKLE IN TIME FEELS MORE LIKE JUMPING BETWEEN THE FORMS WHEN APPROPRIATE. IT’S THE DENSITY OF THE NOVELISTIC MERCURY INTERRUPTED BY SUDDEN BITS OF LYRICAL ILLUSTRATION LIKE SALAMANDER DREAM. THE POINT OF ALL THIS COMMENTARY? PEOPLE ARE RIGHT TO BE EXCITED, ESPECIALLY FANS OF THE ORIGINAL BOOK. AND THE GRAPHIC NOVEL ITSELF IS THE NOT JUST THE ENDGAME FOR THE PROPERTY, BUT A KEY PIECE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE UPCOMING FILM ADAPTATION.

BUT WITH ALL THE EXCITEMENT OF RELEASE THERE IS ANOTHER COMPONENT OF THE MAKING OF A WRINKLE IN TIME THAT HAS JUST AS MUCH IMPACT ON HER LIFE. LARSON SPENT THE ENTIRETY OF 2 YEARS WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING THE BOOK. AND WHILE THE EVERY BIT OF THAT EPIC UNDERTAKING SHOWS ON THE PAGE, SHE READILY ADMITS THAT THERE HAS ALSO BEEN A SENSE OF REAL IMPACT ON HER LIFE. FOR THOSE WHO NEVER REALLY STOPPED TO THINK ABOUT THE LOGISTICS OF WRITING COMICS, THE PROCESS IS QUITE LITERALLY LIKE ANIMATING AN ENTIRE MOVIE BY YOURSELF. FORGET ABOUT THE RIGOROUS PLANNING AND CAREFUL CONSIDERATION, THE ACTUAL TIME REQUIRED FOR ACTUAL EXECUTION IS JAW-DROPPING. IT IS NOT ONLY A DAUNTING, FRUSTRATING ENDEAVOR, BUT ADMITTEDLY A FAIRLY A LONELY ENTERPRISE. ONE SITS THERE DAY IN. DAY OUT. WRESTLING WITH THE TINY DETAILS. IT EFFECTS YOUR MOOD.  IT EFFECTS YOUR HEAD-SPACE. IT EFFECTS YOU. AND LARSON ADMITS THAT HER EXPERIENCE WITH WRINKLE IN TIME HELPED HER REALIZE THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE THERE WAS A PRESSING NEED TO EXPLORE OTHER CREATIVE ENDEAVORS.

AND SO. SHE WENT EXPLORING…

***

HOPE LARSON IS CURRENTLY KNEE-DEEP INTO MAKING HER FIRST SHORT FILM.

AND SHE IS VISIBLY EXCITED ABOUT IT. PRIOR TO OUR MEETING AT COMIC-CON, SHE AND HULK HAD A SHORT-TALK THAT TURNED INTO A LONG-TALK AND WE NEVER EVEN GOT TO THE SUBJECT OF HER GRAPHIC NOVELS. IT WAS ALL ABOUT HER TRANSITION TO THE WORLD OF FILMMAKING. SHE TALKS ABOUT THE MEDIUM WITH REVERENCE AND EXCITEMENT. SO OFTEN, THE KINDS OF PEOPLE YOU DISCUSS FILMMAKING WITH IN THIS CITY ARE THE SAME GROUP OF GUYS WHO KNEW THEY WOULD BE DIRECTORS SINCE THEY WERE 5. PASSIONATE FOR SURE, BUT THERE’S SOMETHING SO OBLIGATORY ABOUT THE WAY THEY TALK, AS IF FILMMAKING WAS SOMETHING OWED TO THEM. AND LISTENING TO LARSON IS ONE OF THE MORE REFRESHING THING ON THE PLANET. SHE TALKS ACUTELY ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MEDIUMS. SHE’S WORKING ON A PERIOD PIECE. PLUS SHE FINDS IT WONDERFUL THAT SHE’S DOING HER FIRST BIT OF WORK THAT’S “about the city I’m actually living in.” AND GIVEN THE NATURE OF THIS JOURNEY SHE’S BEEN ON THERE IS NOTHING THAT COULD BE MORE FITTING IN HULK’S MIND. LIKE THE PROCESS OF FILMMAKING ITSELF, SHE IS MOVING INTO THE IMMEDIATE. INTO THE PRESENT. INTO THE MOST NATURAL AND WELCOME CHANGE. IT PROMPTS SHE AND HULK TO TALK ABOUT LOS ANGELES AND THE DELIGHTS OF WORSHIPING THE SUN. HER WINTERS IN CHICAGO AND CANADA AND HULK’S WINTERS IN BOSTON HAVE TAKEN THEIR TOLL. SHE RELISHES IN THE THE BRIGHTNESS HERE. DESPITE ALL THE FAMOUS EXPRESSIONS OF THE BLINDING SUNLIGHT AND HIDDEN SEED UNDERBELLY, THERE IS STILL AN INESCAPABLE ALLURE TO THIS CITY FOR THOSE WITH THEIR FEET ON THE GROUND.

LARSON IS CAREFUL TO EXPLAIN THAT THIS TRANSITION IS “not about getting out of comics in the slightest.” SHE SAYS THE MEDIUM AND ILLUSTRATION ARE SO CLOSE TO HER FUNDAMENTAL IDENTITY THAT SHE COULDN’T IMAGINE IT NOT BEING A PART OF HER LIFE. THIS IS SIMPLY ABOUT EMBRACING A CONCURRENT MEDIUM. SHE AND HULK SPEND NEARLY HALF AN HOUR TALKING ABOUT THE OVERLAP AND UNDERSTANDING OF HOW VISUAL NARRATIVES ACTUALLY WORK (AT ONE POINT HULK STARTS PRETENTIOUSLY STARTS QUOTING TARKOVSKY’S “SCULPTING IN TIME” AND LARSON DOESN’T MISS A BEAT). BUT THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO MEDIUMS THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS IS SIMPLY THE NATURE OF THE PROCESS. THE SOLIPSISM OF DRAWING COMICS HAS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT IMPACT ON HER LIFE AND WELL-BEING THAN THE WONDERFUL SENSE OF COMMUNITY THAT IS BUILT THROUGH FILMMAKING.

THE ENTIRE SUBJECT ACTUALLY STARTS AT TANGENT. NOT SO MUCH ABOUT LARSON’S WORK, BUT AN OBSERVATION OF CULTURE AT LARGE. THE LAST 70 YEARS OR SO HAVE INVOLVED A LARGE SCALE MARCH TOWARD SPECIALIZATION. MEANING A PERSON EITHER DID THIS OR THEY DID THAT AND IT WAS ALL BUILT ON A SPECIFIC TRACK. BUT WITH THE EMERGENCE OF THE INTERNET AND THE SINGULARITY OF HOW NEARLY EVERYTHING ARTISTIC OR EXPERIENTIAL THESE DAYS IS RUNNING THROUGH SOME SORT OF DIGITAL INTERFACE (OR AS HULK CALLS IT “THE ALL-SEEING DIGITAL EYE”) IT SEEMS THAT WE NOW HAVE A UNIQUE CAPACITY FOR LATERAL ARTISTIC MOVEMENT WITHIN MEDIUMS. THE DIGITAL EYE EVEN MAKES THE OVERLAP BETWEEN TECH-HEADS AND ARTISANS ALL THE MORE BLURRED. SPECIALIZATION IS DYING AND IT’S ALL THE BETTER IN HULK’S MIND. AFTER ALL, SPECIALIZATION IS THE KIND OF THING LEADS TO THE LUDICROUS NOTION THAT A YOUNG, FEMALE COMIC BOOK ARTIST MIGHT NOT “have the right to tell stories.” AND BEYOND SUCH GENERALITIES, THE TRUTH IS THAT THE EXPLORATION OF FILMMAKING FEELS VERY APPROPRIATE FOR ANYONE THE WORLD OF COMICS. GIVEN THAT THE MEDIUM AT LARGE SEEM TO BE THE WELL-SPRING OF INSPIRATION FOR MOVIES THESE DAYS, IT ACTUALLY MAKE ALL THE SENSE OF THE WORLD.

AS LARSON AND HULK WALK BACK FROM THE NAMELESS WINE BAR, HULK OBSERVES A LITANY OF PEOPLE IN COSTUMES GOING ABOUT THEIR WAY. AND IN THAT LANDSCAPE OF EVERYTHING BECOMES RADICALLY CLEAR AND CONFUSING AT THE SAME TIME. THERE’S LARSON, A RENOWNED COMIC ARTIST MAKING A FORAY INTO FILMMAKING, WHO IS WALKING DOWN THE STREET WITH A REAL-LIFE COMIC BOOK CHARACTER WHO WRITES ABOUT MOVIES FOR A LIVING, WHILST BEING AMONG THRONGS OF FANS DRESSED AS FAVORITE COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS WHO HAVE MADE NOW EARNED THEIR GREATEST POPULARITY THROUGH MOVIES. THE REFLEXIVISM IS EVERYWHERE, BUT THESE ARE THE TIMES WE LIVE I. DOWN IS UP. UP IS DOWN. BUT IT IS PRECISELY THIS KIND OF BLURRED ENVIRONMENT THAT MAKES ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS ALL THE MORE CLEAR: THE MCLUHAN-ESQUE NOTION OF THE MEDIUM BEING THE MESSAGE ARE BECOMING LOST. AS THE SYSTEM CRACKS AROUND US, IT IS ARTISTIC INTENTION, THE PHILOSOPHY OF THEME, AND THE GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT THAT SEEMS TO SHINE THROUGH.

IT IS IN THOSE CAPACITIES THAT HOPE LARSON AND THE HUNDREDS OF GREAT ARTISTS LIKE HER MANAGE TO STAND OUT MORE THAN EVER. LARSON’S JOURNEY HAS BROUGHT HER TO THIS UNIQUE CROSSROADS AND IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS BOTH COMPLETELY NEW AND THE EXACT PLACE SHE AS ALWAYS BEEN. LIKE THE THEME HER WORK SO CLEARLY EXPLORES, IT IS PLACE OF TRANSITIONAL DILEMMAS AND UNCANNY AWARENESS.

AND LUCKILY FOR US, THE JOURNEY GOES EVER ONWARD.

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