‘Paper Girls’ Review: This Comic Adaptation Is More Than Just ‘Stranger Things’ With Time Travel – Mashable | Gmx Pharm

Let’s get that out of the way: paper girlthe image comic created by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, was released in 2015 – a full year before the Duffer Brothers release. stranger things premiered on Netflix for the first time. And neither team is the first to try it Amblincorethat’s a term I just made up to refer to the flood of youngest media committed to the magic of 80’s movies brought to you by a few people called Ste(ph/v)en.

And although the story begins in 1988, it would be inaccurate to say so paper girl takes place in the 80s. Our young protagonists are 80s kids through and through; Aspiring US Senator Erin (Riley Lai Nelet) has a dream sequence in which she faces off against Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential debate. Mac’s (Sofia Rosinsky) most prized possessions are her brother’s battered Walkman and carefully curated mixtape (Call for Danzig). But by the end of the first episode, they were drawn into a futuristic conflict and thrown into 2019, Dorothy-style. It’s not spoilers to say that 1988 is a long way off for the rest of the first season.

So yes, if you start paper girl, the Prime Video series based on the above comic, you’ll see teenagers on bikes cruising around unsupervised – the perfect scenario to spot something odd and decide to investigate for yourself, without involving pesky adults. Completing this season will draw you into a larger story, one whose scale dwarfs the small town at its epicenter. And yes, there are some pretty wild looking Technicolor clouds heralding an ominous incursion. But that’s where the similarities to the Netflix juggernaut end β€” and the comparisons should end, too.

Credit: Amazon Studios/Legendary Television.


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Focused Erin, tough Mac, geeky Tiffany (Camryn Jones) and downtrodden rich kid KJ (Fina Strazza) are paper girls who forge an uneasy alliance on their delivery routes in a small Cleveland suburb. It’s the early hours after Halloween when we first meet her. The sounds of New Order’s classic “Age of Consent” play about the juvenile delinquents of Stony Stream, Ohio who are still on the move causing various riots. Chasing down someone who will mess with them out of paper girl solidarity sets them on the path of a “time war” waged far in the future between ideologically opposed factions; a blackout and a mysterious fuchsia glow in the sky conjure up the specter of a Cold War-era nuclear standoff. But within minutes they have stumbled out of a strange vehicle into 2019, confused, traumatized and forced to stick together.

What would you do if you had to explain to your wide-eyed 12-year-old self why you are in your place in life?

Between Erin’s sensible nature, Mac’s perverted stubbornness, Tiff’s technical know-how, and KJ’s pragmatism, the kids might have gotten along on their own by the usual rules of this type of story, but there’s a refreshing insistence on finding an adult who guides them in every new one situation helps. The parental role here is played by Erin herself – occasionally in moments of reluctant guidance, but mostly in the form of the adult Erin, in her 40s, still living in her mother’s unmodified home when the girls land in 2019.

Ali Wong is a revelation as “Old” Erin, from the very first moment of her refreshingly realistic anxiety attack mindfuck – i.e. the reaction a normal person would have when confronted with their 12-year-old self appearing out of nowhere to criticize theirs life choices. Wong infuses adult Erin with an exhausted resignation that pays dividends throughout the season, arguing with her younger self about how to handle her situation and then sliding into an angry exchange about the direction her (her) life took.

A tween girl and woman, both Asian, sit on a bed.

Riley Lai Nelet and Ali Wong, both as Erin.
Credit: Amazon Studios/Legendary Television.

That’s the real charm of paper girl, right here: What would you do if you had to wide-eyedly explain to your 12-year-old self why you are where you are in life? What would you say to your future if you weren’t so excited about where you ended up? So many time travel stories emphasize not interfering with the older or younger self, and rant about grandfather paradoxes and butterfly effects. This story briefly nods to those theories and tropes, but refuses to explain reasons why an older self might not remember time traveling and meeting myself when I was 12.

As each of the four paper girls discovers what their future holds, they find something that just can’t be calculated. Twelve is old enough to have some fairly mature ideas about what kind of person you want to be, but young enough that β€” if you’re lucky β€” you have no idea how stubbornly and inevitably life can get in your way your goals and dreams. The young cast strikes a good balance between looking childish and growing up fast as they confront their own future; Rosinsky’s Mac is big-T tough but showing the cracks, while Strazza holds KJ’s cards up early and mixes a potent cocktail of trauma and denial into her work late in the season.

The paper girls look out of a window

Credit: Amazon Studios/Legendary Television.

all this said paper girl struggles this debut season. The pace feels right in the second half, even as big emotional beats arrive at unexpected moments and are all the more powerful for that; The motivations of the antagonists are unsatisfactorily muddled after one season terminator-style hunt. Also, the casting of a particular TV comedy that’s popular on the internet regularly fails to achieve the mismatched threat grades it’s clearly aimed at.

Stephany Folsom, who was a co-author toy story 4 and Thor: Ragnarokprotected paper girl through development, previously served as executive producer and co-showrunner left the series last year without giving a reason. (The sudden announcement came after filming had already begun.) It’s hard not to wonder if there were creative tensions behind the scenes. It’s even harder not to wonder what this show is about with time travel, mechas, and motherfucking dinosaurcould have done with anything close to a stranger things Budget instead of the CW genre show sandbox it seems to get by with.

The comics’ gargantuan, gory tardigrade battle on the edge of Lake Erie may have been a victim of VFX budget or simplification of the time travel mechanics. Anyway, I feel robbed, and so should you. At first, though, they were a fun side note ant mannow that – tardigrades deserve more love in comic book adaptations!


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But this is a show with an enormous heart and a beautiful setting to explore the tension that settles in that moment when childhood is over and puberty hasn’t quite begun. These Hawkins kids can beat up Kate Bush and spread their hands one at a time all they want, but that’s never happened before stranger things Scene like the one where Mac, Tiff, KJ and Erin try to decipher a tampon leaflet. Hopefully the paper girls are worth going through this awkward phase.

paper girl(opens in a new tab) debuts today on Amazon Prime Video.(opens in a new tab)

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