I kind of feel sorry for Millie Bobby Brown, even though I’m certain that this is not going to last.
Today’s sweet and spunky, sixteen-year-old Emma Watson will be tomorrow’s thirty-year-old, Critical Race Cultist Emma Watson. She appears to be headed strongly in that direction already. And given the world, Brown inhabits there’s really nothing I can foresee that will derail her from arriving at that destination.
Nonetheless, I can currently feel a little sorry for her, she’s far too young to recognize a good project from a bad one, and apparently, nobody else in her life can recognize them either.
Witness; Godzilla King of the Monsters or her to-be-released-next-year project; Enola Holmes.
No. Wait. My mistake. Enola Holmes has been bumped up from a theatrical release next year to a Netflix launch in two days. Yeah, dumped on Netflix is always a sign of quality. Clearly, it was testing about as well as you think it would after you see the trailer.
Hopefully, you can make it to the end of it.
It started off by breaking the 4th wall. This is called non-diagenesis and it’s usually a very worrying sign. It strongly suggests a screenwriter who has bitten off more than… Hang on a second, checking the credits… he can chew. The screenwriter appears to be a man despite what his picture would indicate. Although this movie is based on a series of young adult novels by a (presumably) woman named Nancy Springer. Full disclosure, I have not read these books, but I did do a little thumbing through and the prose appears to be quite competent and highly engaging.
Regardless, non-diagenesis is tricky to get right. I’m not saying it can’t work, I’m saying it can be tricky. Sometimes. In a musical, for example, the songs are (generally) non-diegetic. The story halts for a moment and characters sing and dance.
The books were written in first-person. This is completely diegetic (if tricky in its own right). However, having Millie Bobby Brown turn, face the camera and narrate is non-diegetic. The story halts so she can tell the audience about things.
There is respect for authorial intent and there is fucking things up in bringing them to the screen.
I’m not saying breaking the fourth wall can’t work. Obviously, it can. When Richard III makes an aside to the audience, he is taking you, the audience member, further into the story by making you his co-conspirator. The evil king-to-be clearly trusts and values you. You are now part of his plot to bring down his family and place himself on the throne. You are now part of the story.
That is not the same as narrating.
In this case it is narrating and doing so breaks rule one, “Show don’t tell.”
It’s a bad start.
Worse still, this feels like a blatant invitation for the audience to hold Enola in as high a regard as the universe that she is the center of, does.
Anyway, we see (and have explained to us) that Enola and her mother (Helena Bonham-Carter) are Victorian manic-pixie-dream-girls. Then her mother vanishes without a trace and she heads off to London to collect her older brothers Sherlock and Mycroft.
She’s smarter than her socially superior boyfriend. Smarter than either of her brothers, (especially Mycroft). And generally loved by everyone she meets in the trailer unless they are bad people.
Basically, I’m sure she’s yet another feminist Mary-Sue.
Yeah, it’s gonna suck.