Torchood: Children of Earth:
Five days of pressure-cooker action!
A very good ‘event’ miniseries. Plenty of twists, drops and shockers.
A very primal theme, echoing for everyone.
Felt the aliens & their reasons fell down a bit at the end. Was kinda hoping they were Future Humans, looking for life extension through the kids, with no kids of their own as a prior life extension sterilised them, with all the prior extensions coming in trade from their ancestors to the 456, who they themselves became. Something like that. There was a lot of mystery, little pay off.
Similarly, the means of killing them, while filled with the necessary dramatic horror, seemed to only work because it was horrible. Folding the phase-whatsit back onto the signal always seems like a crude way of doing things.
Cool to see the dad from the Fires of Pompeii back as Frobisher; he was a particularly wrenching character, and events simply take a baseball bat to his life. Apparently the soothsayer from the episode will be back as the New Doctor’s latest companion.
Jack’s daughter was an excellent addition – that said, the actress playing her would-not-stop-smiling. Seriously.
Didn’t see Rajit coming – thought he was going to be the new Owen. Lois could be the new Toshiko, Martha the new Owen – apparently, despite the fact that all the characters, apart from Gwen, are dead, or off-planet (Jack), apparently Davies has a fourth series planned. Who could replace Ianto – he was the Donna Noble of Torchwood.
Krod Mandoon and the Sword of Fire:
An interesting BBC series, as a parody of Fantasy.
Felt there to be almost entirely American good guy side. Also, the ‘troop of idiots’ is a little old. Conan the Barbarian wasn’t an idiot – not book smart, he had so much cunning and guile it didn’t matter.
A lot of toilet humour.
But, some interesting ideas, satires and funny lines.
Stealing the show is Matt Lucas as the Bad Guy – he deserves it too, and many of his best lines seem improvised. A hilariously evil character, he is George Bush, Saddam Hussein and Sauron all in one. He juggles his parodies perfectly, from insane tyrant to odd child from moment to moment.
Overall, an alright watch, throughly fun and feckless.
Saw Angels & Demons. Good.
Haven’t read the book and I’m not particularly compelled to do so after seeing the film. But it is an ok film.
Imagery is very powerful at every level. The Vatican, the anti-matter bomb, the branded keys. Every shot is a painting, every scene setting elements of plot & theme alight. Viewing a character referring to the Church as a Bank through the circle of MB hood ornament. Viewing a saviour character descending from the sky in a parachute under an exploding sun. Etc.
So its worth watching it for that.
The themes are handled cleverly. They ultimately present a character who sees faith as ‘a gift he has not yet been granted’, and acting on the part of innocent people intelligently. He doesn’t really run around with a gun too much and though the explanation for his non-execution is tenuous, Hanks plays a steady character.
The villain was … complete. The reasons the pseudo-villains gave was understandable for not exposing him right away. I found it wearing at times – where did the Camerlengo get the time to rig a car? Why didn’t he take the journals? As obvious a villain from the start he was, the confirmation of the not-Illuminati angle was a relief; I am sceptical, at best, of super-secret societies running the world. Overall, I find that point of view overly optimistic, and share Alan Moore’s that:
- Yes, there is a conspiracy, in fact there are a great number of conspiracies that are all tripping each other up. And all of those conspiracies are run by paranoid fantasists and ham-fisted clowns. If you are on a list targeted by the CIA, you really have nothing to worry about. If however, you have a name similar to somebody on a list targeted by the CIA, then you are dead.
- The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.
- “The Mindscape of Alan Moore” (2003)
The hidden path across Rome angle therefore is weighty premise. Yes, it says, we hide within plain sight – and you need an extremely complex network to work that out. So, wait, couldn’t we not articulate out entire system of communication through the public statues in the churchiest city on earth?
In essence, I often feel such scenarios are the equivalent to building a simple device, then building a wall around it, a moat of piranhas below and autonomous spinning discs of death above. And then the whole enterprise eventually becomes weighted towards the further building of the wall, the feeding of the piranha, the maintenance of the discs and nothing about the original device.
Anyway – cool historical factoids – spawns interest – probably Dan Brown tours around Rome – lots of nice Vatican screenshots. Good for Tom Hanks, good for Ewan McGregor. Interesting, but still fictional.
Prefer to read the Illuminatus Trilogy – it would cover the details of Da Vinci Code & Angels + Demons in ten pages. Then contradict it ten pages later.
A story I forgot to relate last week on the subject of Wolverine;
Apparently Frank Miller did a trend-setting run on the Wolverine comic, in which the following scene occurred – Wolverine chases a deer through the woods in a series of panels. Finally, he catches up to it, touches it on the neck – just to prove he could do it – then let it go. This was repeated by later writers a few times, until at one point an artist called Sam Keith had to draw it. And he did. And Wolverine was naked in every panel. Not tasteful-wild-gothic naked, but rather a full-frontal-explicit naked.
When he sent it in, the editors didn’t have time to get it redrawn, so they had to get in everyone there to start drawing flowers, bushes and trees with low hanging bows in every scene to cover up Wolverine’s junk.
When he was asked about this later, Keith commented that the script he was sent never said Wolverine was dressed.
Anyway, if you thought you had it hard with tasteful-Jackman escaping from the Weapon X facility, just pity the editors who had to airbrush Wolverine privates.
Other Sam Keith stories include:
When asked by a writer of a comic Keith was drawing was there anything he always wanted to draw, Keith replied “I always wanted to draw a fish with wooden teeth.”
Sam Keith had to send in a cover art piece and it was down to the wire on the time. Then the package arrived and the editors tore it open with joy – to find it empty. As one editor is calling Keith frantically, the other looks at the box, holds it up to the light, gets an exacto knife, cuts open the box along the seams, and finds the cover art drawn on the cardboard box inside. It had to dyed to be fit to print.
When the other editor got Keith on the line, Keith replied ”that he had run out of paper and didn’t want to bother anybody”.
Animal Man, Volume 1:
Very good. Very, very good. As always, when the main character is well explained & well preserved, I go for the issues about someone who dies at the end, such as When We Were All Animals, Coyote Gospel, The Death of The Red Mask and Birds of Prey. I really liked those ones – Morrison is a very powerful writer and creates figures comic and tragic. Buddy is becoming interesting in and of himself, and the apparently disparate mystery threads are unique, patient and wait like hungry crocodiles.
As previous posts have mentioned, my animal rearing is pretty much built in. As such, its interesting to see the theme of animal right carried over beyond one episode, and even then lumped in with the environment. Particularly given the impact thinking on this had on Morrisson’s own life, I have to at least respect, sometimes admire this treatment, and feel it a lot less prolesthising than I assumed it would be.
I await further development with interest.
‘Five Great Novels of Philip K Dick’ – “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch”, “The Martian Time Slip”, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, “Ubik” and “A Scanner Darkly”.
Have read first three of five.
Preliminary; Dick writes about drugs, schizophrenia, a UN dominated Mars, replicas being interchangeable with fakes and originals, and very in-depth illusions & hallucinations. Like Heinlein – very much a writer both of his time and the time he imagined.
More on that story later.
My Super Ex Girlfriend;
When reviewing Hancock earlier on this blog, I made the point that the most annoying thing about films like these is te fact that they effectively block a much, much better film being made on this concept for the forseeable future. The difference between My Super Ex Girlfriend and Hancock was that at least Hancock was good for the first part of the film – MSEGF was not.
The film derails from the start, being neither romantic or comedic. Seriously. I mean, I understand it can’t be all things to all people, but it could at least attempt to be one or the other. The ‘romance’ is confined to scenes of ridiculous sexual entendres on the ‘woman of steel, man of tissue’, the comedy to banal genital concepts.
I really did try to like it. I did like the concept that ‘G-Girl’ (a name I did not like) is a frazzled nutcase, the eventual end of a realistic Clark Kent. I did like the joint origin story. I even liked the fact that G-girl has ten different costumes (if you’re the only superhero in your world, you don’t need to brand – if someone kicks a nuke into orbit, they know it was you.)
But it stopped me liking it at every turn. The protagonist’s love story was lukewarm at best, at no point helped by his ‘funny’ friend, whose innuendos on the face of fighting were jarring. What’s the resolve? The Lex Luthor guy gets to gets together with the Superman girl – both of whom are sociopathically insane – in the happy ending.
Ah, but there is the rub. The Lex Luthor guy? Professor Bedlam, (a name I did like) played by Eddie Izzard. A vitamin awesome in an otherwise palsied film. He has the best lines, and I greatly suspect that that is due to no small amount of Ad-libbing (like the few good gags in Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy being improvised on the day by The League of Gentlemen).
Essentially, there was a good sci-fi film in here at one point, as you would expect from the guy who made Ghostbusters, but it . . . died. On the operating table. Nothing we could do. We were able to transplant some of its concept organs into Dr Horrible though, awesome, so there is some happiness from the death of MSEGF.
And that is 500.
100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call;
Imagine your life is bad. Really bad. Dad dead, Mom married to uncle, bethrothed dead, etc . . .
Then a man approaches you. Knows you. Your life.
You don’t know him of course. He is a suit. An Agent Smith, a Noah ‘HRG’ Bennet, an Agent K.
But you don’t focus on him. You focus on the picture he has just handed you, of the person he claims just ruined your life. Maybe you don’t recognise the photo – maybe the person in it wouldn’t recognise you. However he has a suitcase filled with nondescript brown envelopes, filled with evidence that is, apparently, undeniable.
A torture? Apparently not. He gives you a gun, and one hundred bullets. He states it as such: shoot someone with this gun and these bullets, and they can never be traced back to you. Whether these bullets are fundamentally untraceable, or whether the police know the score when one of these bullets turns up on their crime scenes to shutdown or misdirect the investigation.
And he doesn’t say you have to kill the guy/girl/etc.
This leads to neat little Twilight Zone variations on each character. It could be very interesting.
Hellboy: Wake the Devil;
Second Volume of Hellboy. Interesting.
In summation; Defrosted crazy Nazis! More dispersion of German wartime resources in secret, secret bases and technology in line with an Indiana Jones idea of history. Indiana Jones here is the returning Hellboy, who has the one-liners of the above and all out destructive capability of Lara Croft, and more awesome than either.
The best part is a landscape and mindscape strangely liberated from pre-emptive character development. Hellboy is not entirely dissimilar to Col. O’Neill from Stargate; gruff rebuffs and hilarity – then he proves who is by what he does, like tearing his own horns out in the face of diabolik prediction. The villains get more character development, but, you’re still fairly happy Abe shot Rasputin with a harpoon gun in Book 1.
Art style simply unique – characters oscillate in scale and shadow in their chaotic world.
All in all, a good read, and Alan Moore approved.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Previous to this week, I had been unaware that the scripted, and indeed originally filmed ending for this film was that the Average Joe team lost. Apparently the director felt it to be the ‘right’ end. There was also apparently something else in the script about Steve the Pirate winning a saving throw fortune at Vegas’ Treasure Island, but I don’t know if that made its way into the original film. Call me idealistic, but I feel I prefer what made it into the cinema. Though I would have preferred if the ex-airport employee had gotten more character development.
Previous to this week, I had been unaware that after the credits of X3 – Last Stand, its implied that Professor Xavier has been ‘reincarnated’. I really hadn’t heard about it. All I heard since it came out was the implications of Magneto’s chess piece manipulation. Xavier’s reincarnation would be a weird little story: Hey, I’m back, I’m young, have a full head of hair, out of the wheelchair and kicking ass! Muhahahaha! MU-hahahaha! MU-HA-HA-HA-HA!
What a downer.
Yeah, the only ‘up’ points this week were the appointment of Hillary Rodham Clinton to secretary of state, the passing of the economic re-invigoration bill in both the democrat dominated Congress AND the conservative dominated Senate, and the conclusion of the ”Terry Pratchett’s First Year with Alzheimer’s” documentary on a very realistic, but ultimately, positive note.
But these are merely reality, after all. 🙂