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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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literacy is friendly
children of dune - leto 1
Part A: A Challenge

From devin_chain, a challenge:

I wish for a multi-fandom _Tale of Two Cities/Scarlet Pimpernel_ Fic, Art, Vid, etc. Fest. Any rating. Any fandom. Slash, het, gen... whatever. First time, friendship, romance, h/c, darkfic, humor, etc. Writers pick either of the two works or blend elements of both. They go short as drabbles or long as novels -- series, even. I dream of vids, wallpapers, banners, covers, icons which bring your worlds alive.

Transfer the French Revolution to the Pegasus Galaxy, to Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital, to Hogwarts, to the Impala, to Metropolis, to Los Angeles before the Terminators, to Cardiff, to the Tardis, to Bandom, to your favorite wealthy RPS boys' concerts or trailers or hotels or mansions....

Class warfare. Caste systems. Mistaken identity. Masks. Cross-dressing. Doppelgangers. Doublecrosses. Decadant aristocratic gatherings. Beautiful clothes dragged through streets running with blood. Threat of the guillotine. Knitting. Playing the fop to disappoint those your character loves, and then secretly leading heroic missions. Your hero sacrificing her/his life - or something precious if you loathe deathfic - when no one expects that sort of act from her/him. Offering comfort to another while on the way to execution or loss. Belief a spouse works for the enemy and finding proof s/he does. An unhappy marriage which finds its happy resolution. Whatever other permutation you want.

If you're interested in such an event, copy and paste the above into your LJ, IJ, JF, GJ, etc. Post what you write/draw/edit where/when you want, but please leave a link in my LJ if you're so inclined.

Even if you don't want to participate, please consider passing it on. Add to the suggestions any way you wish.


Part B: Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, novels and movies

Okay, hmm. Finished the first two.

They're very readable, but I'm not sure about very re-readable. As in, this is not something I'll pick up to read my favorite bits very often, because it's just not structured for that.

I liked them a lot despite that. What drove me crazy was the layering of plots. Not that it was impossible to follow (these are not subtle books sometimes), because he telegraphed betrayal at all turns, but because it feels like some of them were shorted and not as developed as they could have been. And it took a lot of the power of multiple double crossing when you only had fifteen or twenty pages to comtemplate the horror and rant at the bad men. I want time to rant. I also really wanted at least one or two characters I could trust. Bourne and Marie Against the World is awesome, but to really appreciate betrayal, you have to contrast it to those who do not betray, and we were really late getting that. And there wasn't really enough certainty to be sure, though I tended to think Conklin was okay. Mostly by sheer will.

Plot - now this was interesting. The plots were different--very different--but I have to give the screenwriters credit, they kept the spirit of it very well, especially considering they had to update a *lot* to make this work for an audience who didn't live the Cold War or worry about Hong Kong, much less cell phones, satellite tracking, and everything that makes us paranoid by nature. The choice, and this has probably been talked about ad nauseum, is what I think made it work; shifting the enemy without (Carlos, etc) to within--the government. I have to admit, I've been thinking how I would have done it, and to play for the current audience and get the same feeling this book gives, I think this worked best. I'm also not convinced the plot--and God, that was some sweet convoluting--could have been carried on the screen very well. I mean, it could. If it was LOTR. In three movies.

Medusa they couldn't use unless they wanted to seriously age Bourne, and they're playing to a audience 18 - 50, who like action heroes in their mid twenties to mid-forties (generally speaking). Changing that to a modern brainwashing institute--which arguably, Medusa was, just updated to reflect what we think the government can do to us now--I got. Stripping Bourne's history (that could have been replicated, at least the wife and child, not to mention diplomat, in some way; it's not like we haven't had something that could be used to snap him in the last ten to fifteen years), I don't. But I have a theory, and that covers Marie.

We like our heroes in a way that actually is pretty contradictory. In this case, the movie gave us things that the books didn't in the same way or the same intensity: we have the guy who is evil (and deeply hot; do not judge, this is my apocalypse husband, people) and goes for redemption. That, my friend, is not going to be enough most of the time. Because evil needs to be punished and good is always good and you see why sometimes we are very weird about sexual morality.

Now, I live in a country that was founded on Puritans and believe it or not, that still influences how we think. Evil should be redeemed. But die. You know, heroically. That's salvation. Except that also leaves you out a main character. Amnesia is a quick gap solution--again, I am of the country of people who believe abstinence is better than sex ed--in stripping the sin but keeping the guilt that requires redemption. And an unremembered sin is still a sin, but it's not nearly so bad now. Yeah. Just go with it. It also acts as punishment for the character--for his evil he's punished with losing his memory and living with his terrible acts! It sounds familiar. You might have seen it on Angel, modified.

Okay, I have no clue what they were doing with Marie, but I think that at least a part of it was that movie makers cannot imagine anyone being interested in the same couple more than one movie. It just doesn't work in their heads. It causes them confusion. Once you have the courtship (and man, I will say this; this is the best courtship in history. I'm a fangirl. The movie worked for me as a romance really, really well), the consummation, the rejection, and the final completion of coupledom, running off into the sunset together, what else is there? Marie used as a player would have strongly implied her presence in all three movies, since the first book, she's fairly pivotal as the mastermind behind Bourne finally getting his life back.

Seriously. It makes their heads hurt to have her in three movies; the tension, they say! (whereas I say, give me a steamy scene of them in Berlin while running and that would have made the movie that much better while they ran for their lives). I'm actually surprised she wasn't replaced, to be honest. And I do wonder if originally she was going to be replaced by Nicky and for some reason, they just backed off the idea. Maybe because of a fourth movie. Maybe because I'm still wondering why we never saw Marie's body removed from the river and Landy never received confirmation of events in India, which is still bothering me, since they wrote a pretty tight script. Maybe not. But I still want it, so there.

The other reason I think they cut Marie, and this has probably been said a few thousand times, is that the genre they wrote for is the single male action hero with angsty past. Occasionally with a (temporary) awesome female sidekick. Here, this was about a cool super guy. Giving her agency, to them, takes away his awesome. The awesome lonely hero with the angsty dead wife/girlfriend. So they moved his past up to present. It also pulls attention from him, which movie makers are always very nervous about.

And my last reason has nothing to do with those; I think they couldn't figure out how to translate Marie's career over to what they were doing now. Especially considering it was complex financial/banking and the movies just wouldn't have time to cover it.

What they could have done, and I wish they had, was play on the fact Marie was a chameleon herself and that was clearly established; she had less of a past than Jason on record. She could have easily been able to assist Jason in getting around Europe since she'd been traveling it for years. She could easily have had contacts Jason wouldn't have necessarily had, including falsifying papers or knowing how to get around border guards in less bloody ways. They could have easily given her connections to vaguely grey-legal types she knew from her teenage years or early youth, black market, you name it.

Given the information about her, flitting about the country with no set location, the possibilities would have been endless, useful, and also things Jason could not do and keep the lone action hero thing going. This made her pretty much Jason's ideal woman; someone who naturally never stayed in one place, changed her appearance with mood, probably multilingual, used to getting up and leaving at a moment's notice. That, I find frustrating. There was a lot to work with, and a lot that if that background had been given, she could have done in the second movie as well and amped up the plot. I find it frustrating. I really want to rewrite the entire trilogy from the ground up, badly.


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I can only nod along to everything you are saying in relation to the books and handling of Marie in the films, except I think one of the other reasons they killed off Marie was because they wanted the shock value. Nothing ramps up the tension and suspense in fiction like the death of a main character, and Marie was very a very important character. I remember reading one of the interviews with the director of the 2nd and third film, and his comment about how if he had known they would make a third film he would have kept Marie alive. From a plot of POV I can see why the decision was made, and it made a very deep and emotional impact on me at the time, but looking back on it the decision seemed lazy, a quick fix to get the plot going.

I LOVE the first film with the passion of a thousand burning suns, and the second film made me ache because OMFG! I LOVED Marie and her death gutted me. And while the third film was BIG and EXPLOSIVES and LANDY! It lacked the emotions of the first two films, basically, it was awesome with explosives and action, but if it had been the first Bourne film I watched I don’t think I could love the franchise like I do. I think it says lots that the scenes that stay with me most are the ones in the first film; Marie and Jason at the diner, Jason at the bank taking down those guards, and so many more. Damn, now I want to go re-watch the film.

So, I remember you mentioning something about an AU with Marie going on vengeance after Bourne dies, and all I can think about is OMFG! YES! PLEASE! NOW!

*sad* trying to write it. I am hamstrung by the fact that movie canon does not give me a lot ot work with in terms of what they did for those years together.

However, this is fun, I admit.

Well, Marie learned how to drive like Jason, and then I wonder what else he must have taught her.
- Shooting (“Absorb the impact, don’t jerk. Pull gently.”)
- Some form of fighting (“Don’t get close. You are weaker. If you get cornered, go for the kill. You have one shot. Keep your movements to a minimal, don’t waste energy. You are smaller but faster.”)
- Camouflage (“You got an idea already. You need to learn how to cut your own hair. Wear shoes with heels, it changes your height. Makes it harder for people to spot you in a crowd.”)
- Weapon Improvisation (“Everything is a weapon. You don’t have a knife, use a pen, you remember what I did in your apartment? Cups and glasses can be turned into sharp objects. Have a nail file with you at all times. Everything you wear and carry can be a weapon.”)
- Electronics (“The green wire. Congratulations you have disabled your first industry standard security system. Do it faster.”)
- Brains (“When everything else fails remember, you are smarter than them.”)

It is FUN!

since they wrote a pretty tight script

Actually, the first movie had an airtight plot. Every single little detail is accounted for, if you go back and look. The other two, not so much. I think by 2 and 3, they wanted to be able to shorthand it some. Like, now that we know that Bourne is a superspy that can do anything, we don't need to see all the little steps. (Nor all the little steps of the other side.) Also, 2 and 3 brought the shaky cam. Which can be written off as, well, Greengrass. But it also can be a metaphor for Bourne becoming more and more derailed by these flashes of memory. It's harder for him to be focused and linear and sharp, because he has so much more confusion and turmoil in his head. Anyway, Bourne fleeing Marie's body in India, that's part of the chaos of his external and internal life. (I would totally love to see Jason/Marie again, but I'm afraid that if they brought her back I would have to call shenanigans. *sigh*)

The awesome lonely hero with the angsty dead wife/girlfriend.

That's totally the way I read it. Plus you make me thinky about her agency "detracting" from Bourne's in the male TPTB's heads. I loved the scene where she went into the hotel and sweet-talked the phone bill from the desk clerk. But I wonder whether any boys watching felt like Bourne lost potency when he admitted that hers was a good idea. Grrr.

*grins* I still find that cute. And it would have been *useful*, becuase she doesn't *think* like he does and they *could* have had her use that more to her and Jason's advantage. It's frustrating. Mostly, I don't want her dead, dammit.

I am a romantic. If they can make it into some kind of convoluted plot ot use him to do something? I am so there. *hopeful* I am just that kind of a girl. (also, I watched Buffy. I am all behind resurrection.)

A ha ha! Okay, the metaphysical in the Bourne universe would definitely be shenanigans! (But feel free to write that Supernatural/Bourne crossover. :-)

Oh, you made me miss Marie a lot because you're right, there was so much potential to her character. More than most people she would understand Jason's lifestyle because she's a nomad herself. She's a citizen of the world going from country to country and the missed possibilities make me ache.

Also, I'm pretty much a Jason/Marie shipper because I started with the book first when I was... 13? The plot confused me but the Jason/Marie thing never did and it shocked the hell out of me when they killed Marie.

I really want to rewrite the entire trilogy from the ground up, badly.

Oh, man, I hope you get to do this because I know it'll be awesome. You understand Marie better than the writers did. And that's from a trilogy that's already damned awesome as it is, if they kept Marie it would be far more awesome.

*spins* Thank you for posting the challenge! *hugs hard*

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