In complete contrast to The Wind, this short story is really just a sketch, a thumbnail, and not even the thumbnail. It is the RBT episode that fleshes out the character and concept. I’m not sure who to credit for the improvement. This is the only directing credit for Alun Bollinger, so probably not much attributable to him. Certainly Bradbury expanded the story for his screenplay. I think, though, it is David Ogden Stiers who really sells it. I normally don’t care for him without the Boston accent (like in that really mediocre Star Trek TNG episode), but he is great here.
He has walked to the house of his friend Stockwell. This is risky and unusual because in the year 2053, street-walking is against the law — I mean literally walking down the streets, not the kind of street-walking that is still prosecuted by fascists in 2014 .
He is dressed all in black and has brought similar clothing to Stockwell. Stiers reels off Bradbury’s flowery dialogue, and it is the rare occasion that it actually works. They are giddy as they set out. Stockwell has never seen dew on the grass, or the over-grown sidewalks. This despite the fact that the houses do have windows. Bradbury even gets a laugh out of Stockwell taking a header over a root.
Stiers is grilled on why he is outside. The drone can’t understand the concept of going for a walk, seeing the sites, or getting some fresh air. The drone orders Stiers to get in, finally showing that it is not a small drone but was supposed to be a full size helicopter.
The helicopter lifts off and shines a spotlight on Stockwell telling him to disperse, which unless he is dismembered, I’m not sure is strictly possible. I think he probably takes the long way home.
- I really did think it was a mini-copter drone. Just turned out to be a sketchy special effect.
- Hmmm, didn’t realize Michelle Forbes was in that ST:TNG episode in a pre-Ro role. The presence of Lwaxana Troi is enough to stop me from revisiting it, though.
- NZ-LOTR Connection: Director was 2nd Unit DP on all 3 movies.
- Next week: A Sound of Thunder. If they manage to screw that up . . .