Stranger Things which was once charming, is now lavish in every aspect.
Stranger Things which was once charming, is now lavish in every aspect. Being 12 years old in the first season of Stranger Things was like being suspended in mid-air. Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will (Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, and Noah Schnapp) were floating off the edge of their childhood, the ground no longer under them. They were old enough to be alone together, but still young enough to desire their parents, to maintain secrets, and to be afraid of going too far. They were children until they encountered monsters, and the monsters were gravity, which knocked them down.
It’s a difficult type of beauty to keep up with. That weightlessness is only fleeting for those who are lucky enough to experience it, especially for children who love fiercely and care deeply about everything, as these children do. Despite the fact that the fourth season takes place three years (or six months) after the first (and almost six years after the third), the actors have aged almost six years since the show originally aired. In the span of a single day, shoulders expand, voices sink, and limbs appear to thin and extend past the ends of sleeves and trouser legs. The fact that they have been hit is inscribed on their bodies.
The seven episodes that will be released this week range in length from 63 to 98 minutes, and two more will be released in July, clocking in at roughly 1.5 and 2.5 hours, respectively — the latter being longer than most feature films. The first season, which aired in the summer of 2016, featured a charming tale and concept (despite the gore). It was evocative of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, but it was also a delectable and tight series of hour-ish segments that felt addicting, unmissable, old-fashioned television. It might have been the pinnacle of binge-watching, and the finest application of Netflix’s brilliant-yet-diabolical “just let it roll to the next episode” technicality.
Stranger Things has grown unwieldy as a result of the addition of increasingly lavish and ambitious “wowza” VFX scenes. Even if it wasn’t, this programme has entered the realm where, if there were were any rails to fly off of, they’re likely long gone, much as you can occasionally witness a successful author’s novels becoming thicker and more deferentially edited. The budget has expanded, the running time has inflated, and there is more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more-more There is underwear available. There are Funko Pops, Mad Libs, and beauty palettes to choose from (“Try on every bright and subversive hue now”). Nobody would cry “boo” if the Duffer Brothers made the season into two six-hour movies, a comic book, and three View-Master reels now that the programme had its own whole season.
Some Stranger Things have remained the same. There are four tales, beginning with the fracture at the conclusion of season 3, but they are divided by geography, which makes the divides more severe than normal. There’s an Eleven narrative, a Joyce-and-possibly-Hopper story, and a Mike/Will/Jonathan story, all of which are set in separate locations outside of Hawkins’ primary area.
Dustin, Steve, Nancy, Robin, Lucas, Max, and Erica are back in Hawkins for a fantastically terrifying, sometimes humorous, and pretty extravagantly nasty Scooby-Doo-style monster adventure. If mall culture was the focus of the third season, this one focuses on the very genuine fear that developed up around Dungeons & Dragons and the assumption that it had killed off the hobby.
However, by removing these people from the season’s liveliest and most thrilling portions, the season loses its grasp on some of the characters who were formerly crucial – like Mike, Jonathan and Will, Joyce and Hopper. They all have tales to tell, but none of them have the vigour of the banter between Steve, Dustin, and Robin, which is as amusing and well-executed as any of the show’s richest and most satisfying passages. To put it another way, the series’ uneven growth might be summarised as follows: The program’s writers recognise Joe Keery as Steve and Maya Hawke as Robin as MVPs on a show where he was originally cast as a toolbag and she wasn’t.
Stranger Things And Sadie Sink, who portrays the equally late-added Max, performs a lot of the most difficult emotional work in this segment, and she does it really well.
Eleven, on the other hand, is complex, as it usually is. Millie Bobby Brown is still capable of dealing with the vast range of challenges that El is subjected to. This season is (again) concerned with uncovering her past of trauma at Brenner’s hands (Matthew Modine). It’s not so much that this tale is bad as it is that it’s far too long – an issue that also plagues the account of what happened to Hopper after Joyce closed the gate at the conclusion of season 3. Both storylines spend the whole season focusing on what could have been done in a single season.
While 75-minute episodes aren’t technically “too lengthy,” they are when three of the four plots drag into the season’s midpoint. (Unfortunately, the Mike/Will/Jonathan plot never quite works.)
You can see all the money that made news recently – $30 million each episode, according to The Wall Street Journal. You can tell where the money went: blown-out monster scenes and sweeping views of dark planets, not to mention some clearly horrible murders that must have cost a lot of money to be so awful. You can see where it was spent on the basic exercise of doing more of everything for a longer period of time, resulting in episodes that are nearly twice as lengthy as the first season’s.
Stranger Things fourth run isn’t a flop. There are exhilarating times in that Scooby Doo narrative for this gang of mates who still simply want to defend the world from whatever is trying to sneak in through holes in the walls, trying to get into their thoughts, trying to harm their friends. They use walkie-talkies and motorcycles to communicate, or they hide, or they pinch a Lite-Brite (as you’ll see). They are each other’s lifelines; they are each other’s only connection to the outside world.
They are no longer suspended in mid-air like they were as children, and they will never be. They’ve already fought wars, and it’s taken a toll on them all. It has led them to believe in atrocities that most people are happy to dismiss.
But it’s also caused them to commit to acts of heroism that most people would be too cynical to anticipate, as well as sacrifices that most people would never consider. They’re taller, wider, and more experienced, so they’re not astonished when they see a monster.