Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Newest Obsession: Stranger Things

Have you heard about Netflix's Stranger Things? I bet you have because everyone is talking about this web series right now. I myself became aware of this series last month because there were so many articles about Eleven swimming on the internet. However, I just started watching it last week. I really want to finish the entire season in one day but I had work to do last week so I'm only on episode five right now. Hopefully I can catch up soon!

In case you don't know, Stranger Things is a Netflix original series whose first season, which contains eight episodes, was released last July. The story starts when a boy named Will (Noah Schnapp) goes missing in a mysterious, supernatural way. When Will's family and friends desperately try to find the boy, a girl, who is also mysterious, called Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) arrives in the small town and crosses paths with Will's best friends: Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin). As the mystery evolves, the people around Will start to realize that Will's disappearance has something to do with the government, an extra-terrestrial force and is somehow related to Eleven.

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The premise of this series might not be new at all. I happen to be a fan of mystery stories that require us to play detectives in order to solve the mystery and supernatural stories which involve mythical creatures, so this one is, of course, very appealing for me. But what makes Stranger Things such a huge hit is, I think, because it is made and presented in a really good way. Here are some things from Stranger Things that forces me to sit in front of my laptop and watch.

It's very well-acted

Winona Ryder's performance as Joyce, Will's mother, is a winning performance. She plays a single mom who seems like she has always been shaky, even before her son disappears. Will's disappearance just makes her worse; it shatters her. And Ryder portrays this very, very well. This character makes me think and reflect on my own life as well. When I see Joyce, her story, the reasons behind her behaviors and actions, on screen, it's easy for me to believe her and root for her. But when I see someone like her in real life, someone who is known to be falling apart because of their problems, it's easy for me to think that they're just weak people who can't control their emotions. Seeing Joyce reminds me that everyone has their own story, their own reasons behind their decisions. We shouldn't judge people if we don't know what they're going through. So that's how powerful her performance is; it makes me learn something!

We know Winona Ryder is a great actress even before Stranger Things, but we didn't know about Millie Bobby Brown's talent before. The character that she plays, Eleven, is just so iconic. Don't be surprised if you see many people sporting Eleven costumes this Halloween. Who can forget her buzz cut, her deadly stare and her mysterious silence? That little face of hers sheds the darkness from her past and the trauma that she has. I mean, how can a twelve-year-old girl portray such a dark character so well? Millie Bobby Brown is such a talented actress. I hope we'll see more of her in the future.

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It uniquely combines innocence and horror

The 1980s set, the child characters and the alien-related theme of Stranger Things remind me a lot of the classic movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which, as you all probably know, is about a friendship between a boy and an alien. However, those elements from E.T. are combined with elements from horror and monster movies here. So, yes, you'll find an innocent friendship between two beings like the one in E.T., but you'll also find scenes where people scream as their bodies get dragged by a mysterious monster that are similar to scenes from Alien movies. Such an odd combination, but it works for me.

The complex and relatable characters

As we get deeper into the world of Stranger Things, the characters reveal themselves as complex and layered characters with so many interesting sides. I'm always fascinated by round characters like these. My favorites are Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), Mike's older sister who starts off as a girl who tries to be someone else in order to fit in but grows into a brave girl who fights for what she believes in; Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), Will's mysteriously quiet older brother whose looks resemble young Luke Skywalker hahaha; and Hopper (David Harbour), the cop with a wounded soul who handles Will's case.

The killer soundtrack

The original score of this series has this disco vibe that somehow captures the extra-terrestrial theme of the story. I really love the score. The theme song that is always played during the opening credit is stuck in my head. Some old songs from the 80's that are played in the episodes are pretty catchy as well. The most unforgettable one is definitely The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go.

Last but not least, the mystery

The story that this series offers is the kind that makes you question so many things at the end of every episode. What has happened to Will? Where is he? Where is Barb? Who is Eleven? What is it that they're doing with Eleven and the mysterious creature in that mysterious lab? What is that creepy creature that lurks in the woods? What is that other creepy thing that Hopper finds in the lab? The list of questions just keeps growing as you finish every episode and it makes it almost impossible for you to stop watching. For fans of this kind of story, Stranger Things is very, very entertaining to watch.

If you have already become a fan of this hit series, do you have other things that you like about it? If you haven't started watching, are you interested to start watching now? Not yet? Well, this trailer below should be able to convince you.

Hope you enjoy my blog post! :)

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