Relaunch: Topic: Repo! The Genetic Opera

Congratulations! You have arrived at the relaunch of Sketch-y Details. Exciting changes have already been implemented, with more poised on the horizon waiting for just the right moment to charge into the coding. For one thing, I figured out how to make the font size larger, which means even I can read my own blog now if I choose. New color scheme and layout, as well. I've also reintroduced Adsense; feel free to ignore it. Now, the significant change: it's a brave new blog format. While I was at no shortage for books, films, and miscellanea to recommend, I just didn't enjoy working on the blog anymore. It was a grueling, restrictive format that locked me down in a specific way and limited the topics I could even discuss within a specific category (writing only). The change: weekly connected topics. What does this mean? Every week, I will research and prepare a broad reaching investigation of a topic that interests me. For example, let's say the weekly topic was Scanners. Does this mean three posts discussing the movie itself? No. Since art is not created in a vacuum, why should I expect this blog to do the same. While Scanners would be the cornerstone of the discussion, the posts might be more concerned with literature that influenced the creation of the film (I see the Lovecraft mythos conceit of monsters all around us and we can't see as a major influence), or perhaps historical events that are connected (government sponsored psychic research being the obvious one). Maybe I'll use it as a segue to discuss Stephen Lack (the polarizing star of the film) and how his artistic output and philosophy influenced the film. Or perhaps look into the work of the special effects artists who created the memorable design and effects for the film. And what has Scanners influenced? Who steals from the Cronenberg playbook in music? Or literature? Or art? Or television? It goes on and on. That's the game plan. The first topic is Repo! The Genetic Opera. What kind of person decides a horror musical about organ harvesting in a not too distant future is a great idea? Better yet, who could actually spend the time to turn such a strange concept into something worthwhile? Terrence Zdunich and Darren Smith collaborated to bring Repo! alive as a stageplay. They composed a very inventive score that teeters between opera, musical, and various genres of rock/alternative music. The result is called an opera, a classification I take issue with. Investigating the website for the initial stageplay, it's clear from clips of "Zydrate Anatomy" and "Chromaggia" that at one point this was legitimately an opera based around rock music. The songs follow classic rules of theory and balance out in expected ways within the context of opera. While I can't be certain, it seems to me that perhaps in an attempt to open up the material to a wider audience, the score was changed in significant ways to tone down some of the more subtle opera elements and shift the music towards the more traditional musical an American audience would better understand. I'm aware that at some sites, my claim that Repo! the film was a musical, not an opera, was considered a personal attack against its fans; however, I find it insulting that my argument was met with the reaction that musical theater has no merit and therefore I hated the film. I think the score is the greatest strength of the film, and short of sitting at my desk-side stage piano and transcribing the score note for note from the film to better classify it, I'm willing to leave it at this: Repo! the film is closer to the German singspiel (the midway transition between the height of formal opera and the early stage musical, normally filled with romance or comedy - Repo! has both, sung through and intended for a wide audience; yes, it's widely regarded as a style of opera, but that does not mean A) every singspiel is an opera in a classical sense and B) that everyone who has studied theory and examined representative scores agrees with this wide regard) than it is to a classical opera, and that's a good thing. So, two men brought Repo! to life, then, right? Wrong. While Terrence Zdunich and Darren Smith composed the show and wrote the book, there was one other man who had a significant impact on the early development of the show: Darren Lynn Bousman. That means that the man who directed the Saw sequels for years was the natural choice to direct the film adaptation because he directed the first ever stage production of Repo!. Bousman was a perfect match for the film even if he didn't previously work on the show because Repo! is all about the look of the film. He knows how to frame a shot, how to do creative editing that advances the story, and how to pull a consistent style of performance from a large cast. So what can you expect when you buy (or rent, cheapskates) Repo! The Genetic Opera? It's hard to describe, so why not end with one of the most visually compelling moments in the film? Chase the Morning has singing spokesperson Blind Mag visiting with young Shilo, a girl so ill she cannot safely leave her house without breathing equipment. It seems Blind Mag might have a purpose for visiting with Shilo before her last performance at a Genetic Opera: CHASE THE MORNING
And that's how you effectively use CGI to enhance a film.

Labels: announcement, Darren Lynn Bousman, Darren Smith, Repo The Genetic Opera, Terrence Zdunich