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The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries

Hardy Boys Nancy Drew 70s nostalgia

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#61 G-man

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 01:08 PM

So, I watched Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase and rather enjoyed it, for all its essence of the Scooby Gang.

Here, the movie decided to define Nancy as someone who was in River Heights under protest, her home town was Chicago, and that she was as much lashing out at the situation, as she was dealing with boredom.  That she is intelligent, brave, and righteous is a less than ideal mixture when one wishes she’d just fit in … and naturally, her inclination towards protecting friends by retaliating against their attackers lands her in trouble with the law.

I found this an interesting take, and certainly it isn’t out of character for Nancy Drew, but it is something that other versions tended to ignore.  Likewise, the movie delves a bit more into the death of Nancy’s mother, and the effect it had on the family – something else not really explored in the books – including Dad’s insistence of being in constant contact with his daughter.

So, I give them full marks for actually contributing something more to Nancy’s character and background than just an unfolding mystery.

Likewise, they updated the setting so it is contemporary, along with the contemporary high school social tropes of the in-crowd (centered around the scions of wealth and privilege within town), the nerds (who flock to Nancy); along with the redemption of the mean-girl.  Then also, there’s the focus on the small town, with a 2-man sheriff’s department, and the ongoing debate over whether or not they want a train to run through River Heights (Dad says no, Auntie says yes, who is right?  Hard to say).

Nancy remains observant, very intelligent, and bold; but also can jump to the wrong conclusions, and can be derailed when her father goes missing.  In which case, yes, Nancy needs her friends to pursue other lines of investigation on their own, as well as give her support so she can get her mind back in the game.

Finally, the scope of the mystery, and the goals of the villains, was very much in keeping with Nancy Drew (so, no murders).

All in all, I say this is a film worth checking out for Nancy Drew fans.

/s/

Gloriosus
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Edited by G-man, 29 May 2019 - 09:23 PM.

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#62 RJDiogenes

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 05:36 PM

I believe in sticking as close to the source material as possible, so I'm no fan of updating or modernizing classic concepts, but it sounds like they made some effort to stay true to the character.  I'm impressed that they didn't resort to murder.
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#63 G-man

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 03:00 PM

I agree with that sentiment.

However, given the evolution of the character and adventures in the initial run, to the 1959 transformation of the original text, plus the recent attempts to update the character for contemporary audiences (not to mention the TV and recent movie adaptions), I'm thinking that this is a property that never acquired the canonical purists of Star Trek.

Rather, thanks to her treatments, this is a character -- like many comic book heroes -- transcended her original tales, and became an icon in her own right.

Case in point, if only from the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew TV adventures, I knew who she was without having read a word of her print adventures.

OTOH, just how much of her appeal came from the period in which her adventures were set versus just the image of a capable, independent, contemporary girl having adventures in and around a small(ish) town?

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 01 June 2019 - 03:04 PM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#64 G-man

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 03:03 PM

That said, I prefer the original 1930s facsimiles of her adventures to the more recent editions and reimaginings ... although I still really liked this recent movie.

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Gloriosus
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Edited by G-man, 02 June 2019 - 07:50 AM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#65 Virgil Vox

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Posted 01 June 2019 - 07:36 PM

Quote

I confess, the first Nancy Drew I saw on film starred Emma Roberts, and the film struck me as being more a satire, than an straightforward adaptation.  On the plus side, it was that film that made me seek out the books ... and then seek out the facsimiles of the original editions, which were far superior to the version that's been around since the '50s.

I had the same feeling.

G-Man, I echo what you said about the newest movie. I felt that they did a good job of bringing Nancy into 2019 without losing the core of her character. Not only that, but the supporting cast was really good and I felt that the movie did a good job of setting things up for a series of movies, though I doubt that will happen.

I didn't like the arc that they put George through.  She gets bullied for wearing cheap clothes and not wearing make-up and at the end she pulls a "She's All That" and suddenly she is beautiful and happy. It just feels like a bad message to send to kids.

Quote

Nancy remains observant, very intelligent, and bold; but also can jump to the wrong conclusions, and can be derailed when her father goes missing.  In which case, yes, Nancy needs her friends to pursue other lines of investigation on their own, as well as give her support so she can get her mind back in the game.

I did like that aspect of the movie. Yes, Nancy is a super sleuth but she isn't perfect and needs friends. I also liked the relationship between Nancy and Deputy Patrick. He realizes that Nancy is a bright young woman and helps her instead of trying to hinder her or telling her she can't solve the mystery.

Quote

OTOH, just how much of her appeal came from the period in which her adventures were set versus just the image of a capable, independent, contemporary girl having adventures in and around a small(ish) town?

Exactly. A character like Nancy can be updated with the times without losing her appeal.
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#66 RJDiogenes

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Posted 02 June 2019 - 05:00 PM

View PostG-man, on 01 June 2019 - 03:00 PM, said:

OTOH, just how much of her appeal came from the period in which her adventures were set versus just the image of a capable, independent, contemporary girl having adventures in and around a small(ish) town?  
I think pretty much all characters are products of their era and should remain there.  That's why I don't understand these shows that place Sherlock Holmes in the present-- you can't really be the world's first consulting detective or invent forensics in the 21st century.  In the case of Nancy Drew, female adventurers were almost a novelty then, but now they're a dime a dozen.
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#67 G-man

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 11:16 AM

I’d argue that your point is more true of some characters/concepts than others, RJD:

Taking your example, Holmes is best situated in the 1890s/1900s as what made him so extraordinary was his pioneering forensic analysis in crime solving.  That is when Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, and hence when his adventures took place.  When brought to present day, or the future, he might still have a big brain, but law-enforcement (when given the time and resources) is employing those methods that made him distinct, thus he becomes redundant – there are now too many people like him engaged in this particular field of endeavor than there was at the time of his creation.  Hence, the whole idea of him being the foil for a supervillain (or criminal mastermind) is so attractive to those writers who want him to remain relevant when they bring him forward to present day, or the future.

OTOH, Nancy Drew was an intelligent, observant girl who wasn’t afraid to act.  Likewise, the crimes she was investigating were more concerned with fraud, and other “white-collar” crimes, that were being perpetrated against friends, neighbors, and acquaintances … which still occur to this day.  When you take that, and combine it with the fact that the publishers/ghost writers purposefully decided that this precocious teen remain contemporary with the times (not to mention the 1959 update/revamp), instead of limiting her adventures to the 1930s, the Nancy Drew adventures never became tied to a particular era … just an “any-town” named River Heights, hence giving her a greater capacity to be adapted into our current era.

/s/

Gloriosus
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Edited by G-man, 03 June 2019 - 12:21 PM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#68 RJDiogenes

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 06:10 PM

View PostG-man, on 03 June 2019 - 11:16 AM, said:

I’d argue that your point is more true of some characters/concepts than others, RJD:  
Sure, there's no question that some characters can be migrated to the modern era (or modified in other ways) more comfortably than others.  But the question is, why modify an existing character-- especially an iconic one-- when it would be better to create a new one and add to the collective culture?  For example, would Veronica Mars have worked better if they called her Nancy Drew, or are we better off with this new cult favorite?  Going beyond that, Star Wars began as an idea for a Flash Gordon movie and Watchmen was originally a re-imagining of the old Charlton characters.  Aren't we better off that new concepts were created instead?  My feeling is that it's always better to create something new than muck around with something that already exists.
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#69 G-man

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 08:17 PM

I cannot disagree with that sentiment.  

I always appreciate works that were inspired by, or even are derivative of, other works; and I do profess a preference for original works ... but that doesn't stop me from appreciating a well done adaptation of a classic.

Yamato/Star Blazers 2199 is an outstanding example of such a remake, that remained faithful to the original story while also folding in original subplots that give it a greater depth and complexity within the same run time.

Why muck about with something that already exists?  To get all high falutin' on you, retelling and reinterpreting established tales has been around since Homer.  Heck, a lot of Shakespeare was the retelling of already existing tales ... it's just what we do.  The only difference is that the tales we're now retelling, are ones that we grew up on and remember.  With copies of the originals still extant that can be reviewed by any who so desire.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#70 RJDiogenes

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 06:13 PM

View PostG-man, on 03 June 2019 - 08:17 PM, said:

I always appreciate works that were inspired by, or even are derivative of, other works; and I do profess a preference for original works ... but that doesn't stop me from appreciating a well done adaptation of a classic.  
Agreed, quality is always the deciding factor.  I can name a bunch of re-makes and re-imaginings that I love, from movie Bond to One Million Years BC to the Dan Barry version of Flash Gordon to Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated.  Sleepy Hollow is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. But I think every one of them would not have been compromised, and doubtless would have been improved, by evolving them into an original concept.

Quote

Why muck about with something that already exists?  To get all high falutin' on you, retelling and reinterpreting established tales has been around since Homer.  Heck, a lot of Shakespeare was the retelling of already existing tales ...
I'm pretty sure all of Shakespeare was derivative.  :lol:  But even there, aside from the histories, new characters and stories were built upon the precursors.  Retelling and reinterpreting past works is great, as long as you make it your own.  In fact, the mention of Shakespeare brings up another example of that:  West Side Story.
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