Saturday, May 6, 2017

Murdering the Orient Express

***Spoiler Alert***

Everyone did it.

Okay, that isn't much of a spoiler because everybody knows it.

This is frankly one of Agatha's weakest stories in that she really didn't play fair, yet in a decades long career, this is the one that pretty much became her signature work.

Why?  Because they made a movie of it.

Now, they have made a new one.

And in truth I may even go see this one, knowing what the answer to the riddle is.  As I have repeatedly stated, "a story succeeds or fails in the style of it's telling."

And style is everything when it comes to the telling of this story.

Oh, speaking of style. This week a hilariously stupid critic tweeted:

Movie called "Orient Express" – and I don't see any Asian people on here 👀👀👀👀👀
— Rebecca Theodore (@FilmFatale_NYC) May 3, 2017

The internet laughed itself sick at her idiocy.  Anyone who is half as smart as New York Lefties claim to be would have eventually said, something like, "Okay, I admit it, Europeans are TECHNICALLY Asians."  But SJW women are fundamentally incapable of even attempting to make a joke unless it features the words, "my vagina."  So, she took the bent that Orient Express should be, Race Bent, to conform with SJW sensibilities and insanity.

Race Bending is a term I wasn't familiar with until this week, although it's impact has been devastating in any SJW dominated entertainment venue.

Meet Lancelot
And if you still watch Once Upon A Time you know I'm not kidding.

Captain America's Sad Girlfriend's New Boyfriend
In Nineteen. Forty. Seven.

Race Bending was the natural result of the SJW proclivity for declaring that if there is a disconnect between their fever dream fantasies and the actual world as it is and was, then reality clearly has it wrong.

I mean, like next you're going to be telling me that there are only two genders, right?

Race Bending is the ultimate in Cultural Appropriation.

As is typical of SJW Convergence, they destroy what they move into as instinctively as a beaver builds a dam.  The Orient Express is supposed to evoke a sense of mystery, intrigue and adventure from an utterly lost world of elegance, beauty and luxury.  In the case of Orient Express, the setting is better than half of the story

The sad truth is that they DID Race Bend Murder on the Orient Express anyway.

They just hadn't done enough of it so far as the SJWs were concerned.

SJWs can't settle down and enjoy something unless they can do some good, solid, moral preening first.  They have to approve of a movie's commitment to Social Justice Ideals and Progressivism before they can actually shut up and watch it. And so far as this critic was concerned they simply hadn't done enough of it.

Like I said, I am happy to give it a watch but only because Branagh is directing it.  The nineteen seventy four version will be very hard to beat just on the strength of it's cast. Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery and Sir John Gielgud were the first names that came to mind.  As opposed to Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.  Normally I wouldn't say they could stand in the footprints of these giants...but they do have Branagh directing and he can paint on a huge canvass.  Visuals will be the all and the everything in this movie.

So I probably am going to find time to see it...despite the glaring lack of Asians.

Footnote: Cataline Recommends

The Last Express

Not to be confused with Murder on the Orient Express.

This one is something of a hidden treasure.  It slipped under the radar when it was released because Broderbund's marketing team walked out in mass right before it was released.  There was a brief and terrible period in the nineties when live actors were being used in games like Seventh Guest and Gabriel Knight II. 

Last Express was green lit during a technological bottle neck. The Doom Clones (what we would call FPS games today) were still competing with the old school adventure games in the King's Quest model.

Nobody was quite certain which form had the legs the survive long term.  Yeah it seems silly today but there was a brief pre-quake period when people were wondering if the Doom Clones would run out of steam.  There was never any narrative to speak of, it was just the same game in different skins every time.

 The problem with adventure games is that CGI wasn't really there yet either, Consequently, actors were getting hired for super cheap green screen productions.  And the quality of their performances showed exactly what they thought of that. It was a bad situation all the way around for adventure games.

The Last Express moved beyond that by using animation.

From Infogalactic:

The game is notable for its unique art style, with characters illustrated in the "art nouveau" style popularized by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec that was in style in 1914, the year the game's events take place. Since illustrating a game of this magnitude by hand would most likely take an exorbitant amount of time, the look was achieved by using rotoscoping, a process that Mechner had used to a lesser extent in his earlier games. During a 22-day long live-action video shoot, every action by every character in the game was photographed by actors wearing distinctive makeup and costumes against a bluescreen on 16mm film and digitized. From this, a limited number of frames were selected and put through a patented process developed in house, where the frames first had all colour removed. Then, a powerful computer program created black-and-white line drawings of the frames, which were then coloured in by hand.[4][7] The finished product has 40,000 frames in total.

The Last Express is unique for taking place in almost complete
real-time, albeit accelerated by a factor of six.[6] The player can also rewind and occasionally fast-forward time at will. The game begins at 7:14 p.m. on July 24, 1914, and ends at 7:30 p.m. on July 27 (if the player has reached the proper ending). The only events during which the game does not proceed in real-time are times when Cath is sleeping or unconscious, as well as a few cutscenes. One of the game's most notable uses of this technique during a concert, in which two of the non-player characters perform a piano/violin duet that lasts approximately twenty minutes of real-time: the player character is free to sit down and enjoy the music, or move as he pleases. The game's some thirty characters have their own artificial intelligence and individual agendas, moving around to accomplish their goals, or changing their plans due to player intervention.[4] In this way, the game has a higher replay value than a similar-length linear game, with no two playthroughs exactly alike. Additionally, the game features multiple endings; about thirty are "fatal", in which Cath is killed or arrested, and four are "non-fatal" endings, of which only one is considered to be the proper ending.

It worked brilliantly. 

The story is Leftist friendly but you can probably get past that.  The action scenes are a chore to get through at this point but everything else still works. 

For a long time it was a gold dust title and I nearly broke down in manly tears when of my disks needed to play it was destroyed.  However it is now available on GOG.  There are mobile ports but I don't recommend them on the grounds that this one needs a bigger screen to be fully appreciated.

Bottomline:  If the Guns of August held any interest at all for you then you should give it a shot.  I highly recommend it.


Jew613 said...

I rather liked the Agatha Christie's Poirot's version of Murder On The Orient Express from 2010. The series star David Suchet had pushed for the show to become more religious within a murder mystery by this point and I think the episode was very strong because of it. It was a mix of the question of what is justice and a whodunit rolled together.

LBD said...

David Suchet is wonderful. He is a very serious Christian, although with some ethnic Jewish antecedents. He played Shylock better than Patrick Stewart did, although Stewart is a great actor.

The race bending is completely out of control in the theater. My husband and I love Shakespeare, and regularly attend the Ashland Shakespeare festival, and go to the Royal Shakespeare and the Globe whenever we can. It appears that the prime directive of all modern Shakespeare companies is now to get as many Africans on the stage at one time as is humanly possible, no matter how inappropriate the casting. It has gone beyond "colorblind " casting and now we have to imagine that the royal families of England, Scotland, France and Denmark were populated 50% by blacks. Cleopatra was of the Ptolemy dynasty, ethnically Greek, but now you would think it's against the law to cast any but a black actress in the role in Antony and Cleopatra.

P.S.: if you and I ever meet in person, I intend to physically wrest your apostrophe from your hands.

Mocheirge said...

Last Express really was visually amazing, especially when it was originally released. My dad and I played it a lot (and failed a lot because 1914 Serbs are terrible people).

I thought Gabriel Knight II was decent even with the FMV. It sure was better than its awful sequel, which killed any interest I had in checking out the original GK.

Mein Gott, those 3D models in GK3 were the most hideous abominations ever piped through a 3dfx VGA pass-through cable.

cavalier973 said...

To take a perpendicular tangent from "Murder on the Orient Express": I recommend a book called "The Cases that Haunt Us" by John E. Douglas. The Lindbergh Kidnapping is one of the cases (and is the case that inspires the events of "Orient Express".

Also, "The Last Express" was/is amazing, for an adventure game. The save game function was quirky and annoying, but otherwise, extremely fun.

Cataline Sergius said...

I liked the original Gabriel Knight with the hand drawn art and Tim Curry doing a ridiculous Cajun accent.

However I couldn't be bothered to play it today.

Figuring out what tiny action you had to do to unlock the next bit of game would be too boring and frustrating today.