Sunday, May 14, 2017

Geekdom Madness 2017 - The Real Game: Editors/Perfect Intellect

Happy Mother's Day! This week: keen minds compete!

Let's reacquaint ourselves with the combatants:

MATCH 1: Editors


Luna Lovegood was created by JK Rowling for the 2003 book "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". In early drafts of the story she is referred to as "Lily Moon", though this was changed before the final draft likely to avoid confusion with Harry's mother.

Rowling has stated that the character took her by surprise in the writing, but became one of her favorite characters in the series due to being fun to write and an interesting foil to Hermione Granger ("She's slightly out of step in many ways but she's the anti-Hermione. Hermione's so logical and inflexible in so many ways and Luna is likely to believe ten impossible things before breakfast."). The character's uniqueness also won over the fan base and she remains a favorite with them as well. Rowling considers her one of the "Big Seven", the characters she considers the most major characters in the series (the others being Harry, Ron Weasley, Hermione, Ginny Weasly, Neville Longbottom, and Draco Malfoy).

For the film version of the series, Luna Lovegood was portrayed by Evanna Lynch. A huge fan of the books, being cast was something of a dream come true for her. The same could be said for most of the production; Rowling's one note to the director after having lunch with Lynch was "Perfect!" Lynch has reprised the role in all official material.


Charles Foster Kane was created by Orson Welles for his 1941 film "Citizen Kane". It was his first Hollywood motion picture - he was courted after his infamous 1938 radio production of "War of the Worlds" and was given unusually free reign to develop his own story.

Welles infused Kane with bits of his own life, as well as those of several wealthy and successful media tycoons of the time period. William Randolph Hearst, in particular, saw quite a few unsettling similarities to himself in the footage he was able to see before its release, and he did everything he could to try and bury the film before anyone saw it. While Hearst seems the primary inspiration, Welles consistently stated he was but one of many.

The famous "Rosebud" element was added by Welles' co-screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, inspired by both a bike that was stolen from him during childhood and an old Kentucky-Derby-winning racehorse, both symbolizing the loss of youth (rumor that it was also Hearst's pet name for his mistress Marion Davies - or indeed a very specific part of her - have been consistently denied).

While Citizen Kane was not a box office success, it recieved very high critical acclaim and was nominated for 9 Academy Awards (though it was snubbed of all but the Screenwriting award). It is considered by many modern critics to be the greatest motion picture of all time, and even those who disagree that it's the best will still freely admit it's one of the best.

In addition to co-writing, directing, and producing the film, Welles himself stepped into the role of Charles Foster Kane. Any depiction or impersonation of Welles that is not of his older, heavier, do-anything-for-money years is of this performance. Interestingly, aside from his weight, the old-age makeup was fairly accurate to how Welles would actually age.


MATCH 2: Perfect Intellect


Leeloominai Lekata....Leeloo was created by Luc Besson for his 1997 film "The Fifth Element." Besson had actually started writing the story more than 20 years earlier when he was just 16, inspired by comic books by writers and artists such as Jean "Moebius" Giraud and Jean-Claude Mézières (who would then in turn be hired to work on the production design).

In Besson's original teenage draft, Leeloo was a "sand-girl" who had "all the beauty of youth" despite being 2,000 years old. Throughout his life, Besson refined the story, the universe, and the script. Her nature as the Fifth Element seems to point to that element actually being love (or, as Besson once stated, the physical act of love). As the elemental stones are opened by their elements in the ritual, so is Leeloo "opened" by a declaration of love. Much like the "love-it-or-hate-it" reception the film garners, Leeloo is seen as both a strong (powerful, plot-important, and fairly independent) female character by some, and a weak (needs rescuing more than once, rarely displays her power, and attention drawn to her physical beauty) female character by others.

Leeloo was portrayed by Milla Jovovich, who was hired out of nearly 300 actresses who auditioned for the role. Jovovich and Besson created the "Divine Language" from the film from bits and pieces of other languages, and could quickly speak it fluently with each other. Sometime before the films; release, Besson left his longtime girlfriend Maiwenn Le Besco (Diva Plavalaguna in the film) and married Jovovich, though they divorced a few years later.


Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his 1887 detective novel "A Study In Scarlet", which was originally printed in the magazine "Beeton's Christmas Annual."

Doyle has stated that the character's inspiration comes from a Royal Infirmary surgeon named Joseph Bell, who was noted for drawing broad conclusions from minute details and for whom Doyle worked as a clerk in 1877 (though Bell would later tell Doyle "You are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it!"). Other both real-life and fictitious deductors may have served as partial inspiration.

Doyle would write 3 other novels and 56 short stories starring his detective. While hardly the first fictionalized detective, Holmes has nevertheless become the defining example in literature, and is credited with bringing the fledgling art of forensic science into the eye of popular culture.

Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed in numerous ways in numerous adaptations and cameos. The most famous is arguably Basil Rathbone's portrayal in no less than 15 motion pictures between 1939 and 1946, who codified the look and mannerisms of the character for many people. Other actors to portray Holmes in film, radio, and television include but are not limited to: William Gillette (the very first actor to portray Holmes in an official capacity), Harry Arthur Saintbury, Eielle Norwood, John Barrymore, Clive Brook, Arthur Wontner, Orson Welles, Alan Napier, Carleton Hobbes, John Gielgud, Ronald Howard (no, not THAT one), Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Douglas Wilmer, George C. Scott, John Cleese, Leonard Nemoy, Larry Hagman, Roger Moore, Christopher Plummer, Peter Cook, Vasily Livanov, Charlton Heston, Frank Langella, Peter Lawford, Tom Baker, Peter O'Toole, Ian Richardson, Jeremy Brett, Larry Moss (as "Sherlock Hound"), Nicholas Rowe, Michael Caine, Clive Morrison (the only actor to play the entire canon on radio), Matt Frewer, Richard Roxburgh, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Pryce, Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller, Ian McKellen, and John Oliver. Also of note is Brent Spiner's character Data portraying Holmes in several episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and Barrie Ingham portraying Basil of Baker Street, a mouse who is Sherlock Holmes in all but name and lives beneath Holmes himself in the 1986 Disney Animated Canon film "The Great Mouse Detective."


Final Verdict
Each match has a contender whose popularity amongst my known demographic is far beyond the other. Part of me wants to be proven wrong. In any case, the Quarter-Finals should be interesting.

As always, make sure you're viewing the WEB version of the site and vote in the polls on the right-hand side of the screen. Polls close Friday at 5:00 p.m., and results posted on Saturday. Feel free to discuss your picks in the comments below.

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