Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Strange To Say

I've been watching the new Netflix series Stranger Things.  Created by the Duffer Brothers, it stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Matthew Modine and a whole bunch of kids.  It's set in early 1980s suburbs, so we're in Spielberg-land.

Since it's a series, and not a movie, it has two plots.  I'm three hours in (out of eight) and they haven't come together yet, though I assume they will.  First we see some sort of monster escape from a government facility.  We're not clear what this monster does, where it comes from, even exactly what it looks like, but we do know it kidnaps children and seems to take them to another realm.

Second, there's a young girl named Eleven--El for short--who has also escaped from (I think) the same facility.  She was raised in a lab and experimented on, and has telepathic powers.  The government (or whoever was holding her) will do anything to get her back, including murder people.  A bunch of nerdy boys who play D&D--and whose friend was kidnaped by the monster--find her and discover her magic powers.  Pretty busy time for them.  The boys agree to help her, and promise not to tell any adults what's going on, which is a good idea, since it would probably lead to them all dying.

Meanwhile, the main nerd has a teenage sister who's got a boyfriend pressuring her to have sex.  The kidnaped boy's got an older brother who secretly likes the girl, but is considered a weirdo at school.  It'd be your classic teenage romance if there weren't all the monster stuff happening in town.

There's decent action, and the kids are portrayed relatively realistically, considering the genre.  The period details are fine, though it's probably not that much trouble to bring the 1980s to the small screen.

The actors are fine.  Among the adults, Harbour as the police chief who's had troubles of his own, and now finds what he thought was a quiet town isn't so quiet, stands out.  Though Ryder gets top billing, so far her role, as the mother who lost her son, gets less attention that the kids get.  The other name, Matthew Modine, as the scientist who seems to be behind it all, has even less to do so far.

Certainly good enough to make it to the end.


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