Stranger Things is reconfirmed among the phenomenon series of the last few years, returning with a third season more beautiful and more awaited than ever. Let's go over it together (strictly without spoilers) between strengths, flaws, curiosities and a ton of Easter egg.
SPOILER ALERT: the article DON'T will contain spoilers on the plot of the third season ma will be full of references to the previous two. If you haven't looked at them yet, don't read on. You have been warned.
Synopsis of Stranger Things 3
We are located in the small town of HawkinsIndiana, which once again proves to be a magnet for supernatural events just as much as it is Cabot Cove for the murders. The promotional images of the third season reported the words "A summer can change everything"And the promises were not rejected: the whole story takes place in thesummer 1985, covering a much shorter time span than usual and introducing many changes in the dynamics between the characters. To upset the lives of Hawkins citizens is the construction of a gigantic shopping center, lo Starcourt, which puts small traders in the area in difficulty and attracts the interests of rather shady characters. In all of this, as already aired in the trailer, something has come back from Upside down and he made himself comfortable, determined to stay.
Will the young protagonists manage to unravel the mystery and stem the damage?
The characters and their stories
While Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) is facing Bob's loss and struggling to move forward, the police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) drowns his feelings in alcohol and does not react well to the interest shown by his foster daughter Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). The four original co-stars - Will, Mike, Lucas e Dustin - the first loves are growing and they are experiencing but also the absence of them, with all the tensions that this causes within the group.
Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), Mike's older sister, works as an intern in a local newspaper and shows us a clear cross-section of sexism: her superiors relegate her to the role of a girl who brings coffee and sandwiches, not taking her seriously and "forcing" her to follow the instinct as a reporter to prove his worth. Her boyfriend also works with her Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), Will's older brother and a prudent part of the couple.
They return Maxine "Mad Max" Mayfield (Sadie Sink) and stepbrother Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), who obtain more prominent roles and prove, each in their own way, fundamental for the development of the plot. While Max definitively overcomes the frictions with Eleven, Billy works as a lifeguard in the city swimming pool, to the delight of the bathers.
We also find the beloved Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), who has now abandoned the role of the school's most popular boy: having failed to enter college, he found work in a Starcourt ice cream shop. Behind the counter we also find Robin (Maya hake), Steve's former classmate and girl full of surprises, as well as talents.
Finally, the honorable mention goes to Erica Sinclair (Priah Ferguson): Lucas' unbearable little sister torments Robin and Steve but turns out to be much more interesting than it seems at first glance.
Production of Stranger Things 3
The twins are confirmed as directors Matt and Ross Duffer, award-winning creators and co-producers of the series, but only for four out of eight episodes: to replace them behind the camera we find Shawn Levy (known to the general public for the saga of A night at the museum) is Uta Briesewitz, known for directing some episodes of Orange is the New Black, Jane the Virgin, The 100, Jessica Jones (of which you find the review Thu) and other Marvel series. The format returns to the original division into eight episodes of less than sixty minutes, except for the last one which exceeds one hour and a quarter, allowing you to pull the strings of all the plots left open.
Although the ending may have been self-contained, it was decided to insert a cliffhanger after the credits and some references to a possible continuation. The Duffer Brothers themselves have said they want to end the series with the fourth or, at the most, with the fifth season but we know that there is nothing certain when Netflix and any petitions of the fans are involved.
The new season came out on July 4th and this date does not seem to be casual, since the salient events take place during Independence Day, complete with fireworks and patriotic spirit on display.
After a start with a bang and a rather waning, if not disappointing continuation, the third season comes to bring a breath of fresh air and to give new three-dimensionality to almost all the characters. In general the rhythm of the episodes is well balanced and leaves no room for yawns and long ice cream breaks, although I found the first episodes slightly more tiring; it must be said that the take-off of the second half is forgiven for the slight slowness of the beginning.
Please Stranger Things 3
The technical sector
Really good the direction, which ensures sharpness even in fast-paced scenes and in fights, preventing the viewer from missing some important detail. Good also the management of the many parallel plots and the introduction of many supporting characters: this allows you to follow the various fragments of the plot that will join only at the right time, keeping a good rhythm in the narrative.
Nice to see how the horror component it appears more evident and the graphic contents are proposed in a more explicit way, although the restriction remains fixed at VM14 for Italy. The feeling we have is that the series is maturing together with the spectators: if initially there had been some doubts in the slice of audience not accustomed to this genre, now the habit allows you to raise the bar a little bit and step on the hand without nobody gets too impressed. In my opinion there is still room for a bit more courage but I appreciate the attempt.
While the lighting sector we know it never disappoints, confirming one photography cured which contributes to accentuate the dark and retro mood of the settings, the CGI it finally amazes and shows significant improvements in the management of the various creatures, even in the most splatter scenes. Wonders of a bigger budget, perhaps.
Also from the point of view of morals there are no big surprises and they remain really well done, although perhaps they have lost some of the sincerity of the first season. Needless to say, many brands are riding the wave of success of the series and have launched collections dedicated to it, from Nike ad H&M.
The actors and the growth of the characters
The most obvious advantage of this third season is to be found in the human component, both as regards the actor's skills and the development of their alter ego.
To stand out above all is David Harbour (whose talent has already been highlighted in the Hellboy review, which you find Thu), improved exponentially compared to the already good ones performance from previous seasons. His character is tormented, frightened, insecure and manages all these uncertainties with unusual violence, almost as if he were a caged animal. You may not like Jim Hopper and it is often difficult to empathize with him, but his acting skills are undoubted.
As for the other characters in the series, I really appreciated the focus on the personality of Eleven, with her clumsy attempts to find herself and discover her passions. After two seasons spent being used as a weapon or being kept hidden, we finally see El becoming aware of and aware of herself, enjoying her adolescence as a normal girl (however ordinary an teenager with superpowers). To help you along this path there is Max, the friend of the heart who acts as her guide and confidant, also starting her in the world of comics.
But Robin is the real find: Maya hake she is a daughter of art (her parents are none other than Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman) but the young actress already has her own personality and a characteristic interpretative figure. After the debut in the adaptation of Little Women by the BBC, it also proves to be up to a more contemporary role than that of the young Jo March. Keep an eye on it, it would seem to have all the skills to go far.
Irony and serious matters
Among the issues touched on in Stranger Things 3 there are finally also slightly more delicate and controversial issues: among the shy steps of the screenwriters we can find sexism, discrimination in the workplace, homosexuality and domestic violence, with even a hint of adultery to season the all.
The many moments are also appreciable memabili kindly offered by Will Byers, although his character ends up straight in the section Defects of this article. It could be summed up this season with "Will, one of us!" because, while everyone is struggling and trying to manage their love lives, he has only one question: "But couldn't we play D&D?". And when things don't go as planned, colliding with insuperable obstacles, he also has the back-up question: "Can we now go play D&D?". Will the Wise and the wisdom of a master. It would have been fun, too, if it hadn't been the character's only hallmark 90% of the time.
Defects of Stranger Things 3
Plot and character writing problems
The flaws of this third season are, in my more than syndicated opinion, few and not particularly heavy in the economy at all. Except for one.
The only one I really feel to condemn is the Will's failure to develop: net of meme that he is giving us and for which we have to thank him, his personal growth does not seem to take into account the past traumas and his character still seems stuck in childhood. His lack of interest in girls and the "delay" with respect to the experiences of friends is not at all a defect, indeed it is appreciable that this difference in maturity has also been represented. The real problem is the rendering of the character who, for most of the season, is one-dimensional and repetitive. Even his reactions to the behaviors that hurt him are extremely instinctive and childish, to the point of clashing compared to the rest of the group. Even Dustin, who has always been portrayed as an eternal naive big boy, this season has an evolution that far exceeds that of Will. There are many characters who live in the shadow of a trauma this season, but the young Byers is the only one who is flat. instead Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) has not arrived and intervenes only in passing in the events.
Another flaw is given by the interaction of the characters with each other: in short, the team is not a team. We are faced with a clear fragmentation of the groups that act and investigate separately, without communicating with each other. All the time I was left with the feeling that, if the characters had made a simple phone call, the season could have ended within 4/5 episodes. It must be said that if this had happened, the vision would not have been so satisfying for the spectator, once the initial annoyance had been overcome. Be patient for the first few episodes and the ending will pay off.
Anyone can translate Russian if he can play the guitar
You read that right and no, I didn't suddenly go crazy. In the second episode there is a short exchange of lines that made a handful of linguists cry, in which a character claims to be able to speak perfectly three foreign languages: Spanish, French and Italian (German, in our local dubbing). Having played for 12 years in the school band, he claims that his ears are "little geniuses", so what would be the problem in translating ... the russo? This is better not to comment on it, come on.
Speaking dubbing, personally I found him quite a dancer: when very successful characters alternate with others less expressive, the difference is very noticeable and the result is not optimal. An obvious example are the dialogues between Joyce (voiced by an impeccable Giuppy Izzo) and Jim (who has a less inspired Alessandro Budroni than I expected). I admit to having watched it in the original language, as I imagine it has already emerged from the fact that it refers to Eleven and never to Undici (voiced by a convincing Chiara Fabiano), but I wanted to give the series a chance and I looked at the last episodes in Italian. The result, in some points, is very close to animation (both as a vocal approach and as a characterization of the characters) and I find it a shame.
While watching, a particularly alert eye may come across a couple of oversights that I would consider distracting errors rather than real flaws. If the series had not accustomed us to an almost obsessive attention to detail, there would probably have been no obvious forgivable smudges if compared with others franchise.
Contrary to what happened with a known glass of Starbucks forgotten on set, here we find ourselves in front of a much less evident slide: in the fifth episode there is a scene in which some characters appear Red M & M's. "So what?" You say. Due to mass alarmism towards the dye amaranth, which was believed to be carcinogenic, in 1976 the company decided to stop the production of red-colored chocolates (although they did not contain the offending substance) and to replace them with orange ones. It was only in 1987, following a popular mobilization from a University of Tennessee student, that Mars Inc. decided to reintroduce them permanently. Since the events of the third season take place in the summer of 1985, the only explanation (alternative to the oversight) is that that package of M & M's remained in the vending machine for nine long years.
Another inattention concerns quantum physics: during an episode the WRONG value of the famous is explicitly said Planck constant. As highlighted in a tweet of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in fact, the value reported in the series is that updated to 2014 and not the one known in 1985. For completeness, we note that it was further corrected in 2018. A little variable to be a constant, can't you find?
Easter Egg and curiosities of Stranger Things 3
One of the most talked about features in the series is the constant presence of Easter egg and references to the cult of the 80s. In this season we find so many that we have to collect them in a separate article, so I'll just leave you some samples.
The television / cinema quotes
Among movie posters, fragments shown explicitly, sub-references and tributes, there are many films and TV series mentioned in the third season. Day of the Dead (released on July 3, 1985) e Back to the Future are the two that catch the eye but some scenes follow sequences of famous films such as Alien e Terminator. Note also the bizarre patterns of the shirts chosen by Hopper that, paired with his mustache, immediately bring the mind back to Magnum PI and if you want to see a real one mashup between the two series, a fan thought about it.
At some point a touching reference to appears The Neverending Story but I will not tell you where or which characters are involved, so as not to spoil the surprise and let you fully enjoy one of the most loved scenes by the public.
Without making spoilers, in the sixth episode is said the telephone number of one of the characters. Noting that it did not start with the canonical prefix "555-" to which Hollywood has accustomed us, some spectators have decided to call it and have had a nice surprise. Driven by curiosity, I wanted to check it myself and I report the translation of the message that I heard with my ears, obviously censoring the name of the character in question.
"Hi, this is ***'s residence. Mom, if it's you, please hang up and call me between 5 and 6 in the afternoon, as agreed, okay? If you are Joyce ... thanks for calling, Joyce. I tried to track you down. I have updates. They're about ... Well, maybe it's better to talk about it in person. It is not a good thing or a bad thing, but it is something. If you're neither my mother nor Joyce, you think you're awake to have my number, don't you? Well, I have news for you: you are not awake, you are not special, you are only one of the many, many idiots who called and this recorded message is the closest point to me that you can reach. So, on the beep, do me the favor of hanging up and never calling again. You are a parasite! Thank you and good day."
For those who have already seen the third season, refer to this link to listen to the complete recording of the answering machine. If you haven't looked at it yet, do yourself a favor and avoid the spoiler.
What is the name of anpottery company on Lucas' hat? You should know that Ariostea, founded in 1961 in Castellarano (RE), was also the sponsor of the homonymous Italian men's team of Cycling on the road. In this regard, it cannot be excluded that Lucas was riding the current fashion and wearing a cycling cap. The strange thing is that the Italian team has been playing in professionalism for only a year, in the period in which the events of the third season take place, yet Lucas seems to have already come into possession of the merchandise official. One thing is certain: Ariostea was aware of this detail, judging by them social profiles.
Starcourt really exists
You understood perfectly well: the shopping center around which the whole series revolves is real. Of course, it's not in Hawkins - which we remember being a fictitious city - nor in Indiana, but in Duluth, a suburb of Atlanta (GA). For the more curious, I would like to call it your name Gwinnett Place Mall and that there is a YouTube video which allows you to take a tour inside, in case you don't feel like going to Georgia.
Scoops Ahoy really exists (now)
Taking advantage of the success of the series, the ice cream shop Baskin-Robbins has completely renovated its store in Burbank, California, replicating the Scoops Ahoy in every detail. Among the proposals there also appear to be evocatives "Demogorgon Sundae"and "The Upside Down Sundae". Find the photos of the makeover directly on their profile Instagram (remember to follow also we, while you're there).
As always, the season is saturated with references to brands and products in vogue in the 80s. What perhaps not everyone knows is that there have been real commercial agreements with some companies.
Among the brands featured in the new episodes, it immediately catches the eye Coca-Cola with her New Coke: this variety of the historic drink was on the market for a few months and went out of production on 11 July 1985, a week after the events of Stranger Things. The iconic can appears in several episodes and we even get to talk about it openly, criticizing its unusual flavor. Lucas, unlike his friends, seems to appreciate and who knows if they also appreciate modern consumers, since it seems to have been put on the market in a few selected cities.
The music of Stranger Things 3
Music plays a fundamental role in the series, both as regards the quotation loved by fans and acting as a glue in some salient events. The whole season is dotted with songs that went on the radio in those years: from Never Surrender by Corey Hart (June 1985) to the iconic ones Material Girl of Madonna e Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go of the Wham! (1984), from American Pie by Don McLean (1971) a My Bologna by Weird Al Yankovich (1979 parody of My sharona of The Knack, which I recommend to anyone who loves mortadella). The only discordant note is the presence of Heroes: instead of inserting theoriginal by David Bowie (1977), he opted for the cover by Peter Gabriel (2010) we had already stumbled upon in the first season.
Small curiosity: the actors who play Mike, Dustin and Jonathan cultivate a passion for music outside the set, pursuing a parallel career as musicians.
Stranger Things in music
Things get interesting when you consider the impact that the series has had on the world of music: many artists have appreciated the performance of the actors and they called them to participate in video clips of their songs.
- Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) was certainly the most requested, appearing in the music videos of various artists (from Sigma feat. Birdie ai Maroon 5, Via The xx) and making an appearance at a concert, rapping next to Adam Levine. The actress has repeatedly shown her talents while she was a guest of Jimmy Fellon, performing in a rap summary of the first season, in piece by Nicki Minaj and challenging Jimmy in one Beat Battle. While singing is definitely not his forte, with rap he is more than dignified.
- Natalia Dyer (Nancy) starred in the Wild Love by James Bay, in 2018. In an interview with ad NME, the singer admits that he struggled to keep his at bay fanboy interior in the presence of the actress.
- Finn Wolfhard (Mike Byers) appears in four videos: Guilt Trip (2013) and Sleep in the Heat (2016) of the PUPs, Sonora Spendtime Palace e Take on Me of the Weezer. He took part in the first project, playing a young version of the singer, even before he started filming Stranger Things.
- Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) appears in the video of Lost Boys Lifeof Computer Games and also in Swish swish by Katy Perry.
- Finally Noah Schnapp (Will), a few months after the release of the first season, appears in the video clip of LA Devotee Panic! At The Disco. Curiously, even on this occasion he is a prisoner and finds himself tied to a chair. Noah, like her colleague Millie, even made an appearance on a stage concert next to Brendon Urie.
Stranger Things 3
it is not without flaws but it remains an interesting and exciting season, which introduces new elements and continuously improves as regards the technical sector.
Although the plot is nothing overly surprising, this season there is everything: teenage loves, Russian spies, supernatural events, redemption and a shower of quotes that will drive the nostalgics of the 80s crazy. All with an almost impeccable musical column.
For particularly sensitive people, I recommend keeping a box of tissues close to the end.
As bad as it goes, you could always say that a demogorgon has entered your eye but, please, never forget that "Friends do not lie".