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Nine: Okay, so I liked it. Really liked it, actually. Sue me. Daniel Day Lewis was his usual unusual self (he's an alien, I swear! Or... some sort of strange primordial force!) The musical numbers were gorgeously done, Marion Cotillard was touching and beautiful and owned my favorite number, the angry strip tease! An underrated movie with an undeservedly bad reputation. Granted, I don't really care for Fellini, so I didn't really care whether or not it was like him. (If you're going to use symbolism, isn't it antithetical to use it like a blunt instrument? I'm looking at you, too, Kurosawa!)

Terminator Salvation: ZOMG, someone made a movie out of Terminator fanfic! Seriously, I didn't dislike it, but... didn't it seem like the premise of a fanfic plot to anyone else? Especially in the fact that it centers on an OC who touches and saves the life of every iconic, major character, gets a bitchin' gorgeous girlfriend, is half-awesomely kickass robot who overcomes his programming or destiny or whatever and makes the ultimate sacrifice at the end? I liked Marcus, but found that I kept wanting more of Kyle, and John and Kate. Especially Kyle because, jeez, Anton Yelchin is awesome, peeps!

True Blood 3x02: Spoilers )

Peace, Ghani
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So... I've been sort of absent lately, and that's mostly because I've just felt sort of blah lately, between the heat and just general anxiety issues. Went to get my hair cut last Friday; my sister's regular hairdresser was snotty to her and I ended up with just some random woman who... really didn't seem to know what she was doing. Needless to say, it doesn't look great (which is why no pictures, when you got such lovely ones of me back in December!)

I also realized that I've basically lost all of that built up immunity I've had for going out in public, which is depressing, honestly. I used to go on trips to see my friends and do a modest amount of shopping. Sighs. I suppose, when things even out again with both mine and my sister's lives, I can start the process of building it up again, but... there it is, le sigh.

Shutter Island: A Short Review - Spoilers )

Night at The Museum 2: An Even Shorter Review - Hank Azaria, I love you! Greek kick-ass power! The movie was cute, though I'm not sure why the filmmakers thought kids'd be so captivated by the romance between Larry and Amelia Earhart. A nice way to spend a couple of hours, not outstanding but pleasant.

Alice in Wonderland - You Guessed It, A short Review - Loved it. Was surprised at how much I loved it, even though everyone I know recommended it. I adore Mia Wasikowska. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter was excellent!

Haven't gotten out to see any of the summer movies (see: above). Was hoping to see Prince of Persia or A-Team (my childhood demanded it!), but it didn't happen. Last Air Bender is still on the horizon and of course Harry Potter!

True Blood 3x01: spoilers )

Doctor Who: Love, love, love the new season. Matt Smith, you are a wonder! And to think I ever doubted you or Karen Gillan! It took a bit for the season to get going, in my opinion, but it's been absolutely divine since "Time of the Angels"! Oh and River Song! I could not love you more, though I already do from what I knew of you in last season, and I'd thought that was impossible back then!

Peace, Ghani
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Okay, so there was new Doctor Who and... whoa. That was pretty intense. Beautifully so. By far the best of the specials (though I did love Michelle Ryan as Lady Christina), though admittedly not without faults of its own.

Waters of Mars )

I've also gotten me sweaty little mitts on the newly released Boosh tour DVD, Future Sailors. I admit I watched it with some trepidation because the reviews (of the show itself) have been almost overwhelmingly negative. Then again, most of the reviewers added that they disliked season three as well and that the boys are getting "too far from the zoo," both of which I disagree with.

So, what did I think of it? )

ETA: I had never heard of the Honey Monster until watching the Mighty Boosh Future Sailors Tour, so I Googled it. Holy crap! How come we don't have a pornographically named pseudo-Muppet mascot; we get stuck with Dig'em (on the Honey Smacks box, the American equivalent of Britain's Sugar Puffs), the jive-talkin' frog. But I still didn't get it: why the Honey Monster hatin'? And then I found this advert of the Honey Monster crimping. Ahahaha! I guess the boys didn't think imitation was the sincerest form of flattery after all!

Peace, Ghani
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So, my sister had a dinner to go to tonight, which meant I was able to watch Lancelot and Guinevere much sooner than I'd thought, hooray! And since it was the pure awesomeness I was hoping it was going to be, I just had to write a review!

Spoilers for 2x04--duh! )

Peace, Ghani
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So, yesterday, my sister and I went to the movies; we still had some monies left over on our gift certificate and, seriously, she has been bugging me about when Wolverine was going to be released since the trailer leaked from ComicCon last year. She is a Liev Schreiber whore, and also a lesbian; you... figure it out, I've given up! Anyway, we decided to do a night show, which we almost never do, because of convenience and also because we wanted a nice, electrified audience, which you usually don't get at a noon matinee show. Which also meant lots of people which meant a bit of anxiety for me, but once we got our tickets and grabbed our favorite seats (we got there a half an hour in advance; really it's the only way I can go to a movie without a full blown panic attack! ;-P) it was awesome.

Yes, I truly, truly liked Wolverine, much more so than any critic I've read (and sometimes I wonder, from the things they've been saying, if we were even watching the same movie) and most likely more than most of my flist. I like Hugh a lot, he's charming and handsome and though not his biggest fan, I am a die-hard X-Men fan so it was a no brainer. Especially because I am indeed an insane Gambit maniac and a fan of so many of the actors individually. Hugh was fantastic, Lynn Collins was a huge surprise, Dom Monaghan for his very small bit was amazingly touching and beautiful, Will.i.am was funky, Ryan Reynolds is, well, freakin' Ryan Reynolds. And Liev. I have to say, my sister finally converted me. I don't think I'd call it the best performance in the movie because Hugh so owns the role of Wolverine, but the strength he was able to bring, and the depth of character--that's how you do it! That's how you use that kind of material to build a real, complex character. Danny Huston was fantastic, but maybe I expected too much from him and it wasn't a complete home run, though he was still pretty spectacular!

And Taylor. You are Gambit now. which means he exists in the real world and I now want to have his really human babies instead of just little pencil and inked ones! xP

The story was mostly a mix of Origins, which I've yet to read, and some very familiar stuff from Weapon X, which isn't an insult: to be true to its sources is the greatest compliment I can give it. I especially loved how it was actually a direct prequel to particularly X-2: X-Men United, which I haven't heard that many people address.

Spoilers under the cut )

So, as you could probably tell by now, I liked it. Others have questioned my taste in such matters, feel free to do the same but I'm not apologetic for it. I loved Ghost Rider and the Daredevil director's cut. And Punisher: War Zone. The comic book genre, and especially Marvel adaptations, are my life's love so when one hits all the marks like this did, I will gush. And it's a testament that Wolvie's not exactly my favorite of characters and I still thought the movie held up as a film.

So, I got the Deadpool ending! Anyone get Wolvie in Japan?! Cut for spoilers and a very silly anecdote about my sister predicting the Deadpool ending )

Peace, Ghani
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Homer: Kids, kids. I'm not going to die. That only happens to bad people.
Lisa: What about Abraham Lincoln?
Homer: He sold poison milk to school children.
Marge: Homer!
-The Simpsons

Okay, so I adore anthology show Masters of Horror. Not only does it showcase new and upcoming talent in the genre (who aren't Eli Roth, my nemisis), but it gives a chance to those who have worked pretty thanklessly for years. I don't think I've ever sat through one I didn't enjoy on some level. Erm, until last night that is. Actually, I was really enjoying the first half, but then realized where it was all going, and at a snail's pace as well, and not only felt dissatisfied, but rather alarmed by its message.

It's not unusual to find political satire in horror; hell, like sci-fi, it seems ripe for it. I've seen quite a few on Masters of Horror itself, such as the amazing, surprisingly touching and sharp Homecoming, so when my sister turned it on last night and the opening scene involved the lead characters listening to a political talk show on the radio, I knew what I was in for. Or thought I did at least.

It got progressively stranger from there. The parents of a ten year old daughter don't think it's odd or creepy at all that an older gent, who is behaving so strangely I'd have a hard time not laughing in his face, offer the kid a lollipop of his favorite flavor, cherry. Um, yeah. Wjat they do find creepy and odd is a portrait of George Washington in their deceased granny's basement. Yup, folks Washington. George. The. The little girl screams when she catched sight of a beam of light only highlighting his eyes and the father proclaims that he was always scared of the painting. Yup, George Washington, the very same historical favorite who could ruin any Ouji reading at any happening slumber party just by his presence via the board; he's just not scary!

Well, it was called The Washiontonians and did have a Headless Horseman-esque opening sequence in which a Revolutionary figure stalks and cuts a woman's head off, so we decided to wait and see. Where was this all going? Down the crapper, it turned out. You see, Washington, according to this story, was a cannibal. Remember the cherry tree? Well, that was a metaphor for virginity, and cutting down the cherry tree equated in eating the flesh of a virgin. seriously, folks, I couldn't make this up if I tried. and I wouldn't want to.

You see, in the end, our lesson was that people want to believe the myth of history, it's what survives, and some would go to any length to conceal "the truth" (used in the same vague manner as it was on X-Files, where they threw around the term weekly without ever defining just what they expected it to be). In a none too suble allegory (with emphasis on the gory), we're shown that governments are cruel cannibalistic monsters who eat the people they serve and turn inward on themselves. At the very end, we're told that "one George was swapped for another", and we're shown a dollar bill with Dubbya's face proudly smiling back at us as the characters comically all exclaim, 'No shit!'

I got over the idea that history was written by the winners when I was in my teens; after all, if that were true, what would we know about Auschwitz, Wounded Knee, or Billy the Kid? What my sister said after watching it was true: History sorts itself out; it's the present people are usually blind to. But, more than that, the paranoia of governmental mistrust runs so deeply throughout the story, it scared me. The end comes as the cannibals are gunned down by "the men who could cover up anything", like Roswell, we're told. The kindly professor who was in search of that elusive "the truth" tells our intrepid hero to get the word out, no matter what. I mean, the whole thing is fucking insane!

And it's offensive. Trust me, I'm not the model of a flag waving partior these days, but I do respect our history and the men who had the vision to set us all on a new course in life. While they refer to Washington's image as that of a "kindly old gentleman" in the show, I've always thought of him as the spirit of youthful, idealistic exuberance, just like our own country back in those days. How, in any way, their situation echoes our present day conundrum completely eludes me, to compare the war in Iraq with the Revoltuion is hilariously offbase and plain bizzare, to compare the respective leaders is worse.

And I have to wonder just how they thought history could be hidden quite so well when we know more about them than we really should do via letters (and don't tell me Adams was in any way involved in any of this because, for Gawd's sake, it's Adams!); our attempt to "humanize" them stripping them of a kind of pleasant mystique we've kept to.

And what's with Washington's fake teeth? Do people really find them ominous and terrifying? There's such a strange focus on the grotesqueness of his dentures, with close-ups of the cannibals mock pairs and one even having an almost orgasmic reaction to the originals. Are people really scared of this shit?! Is this, like, some rational fear that other people have and we just don't know about it?! My grandmother wore dentures and, aside from the contant click-clack that could get on one's nerves, I wasn't ever really mortally terrified of them. And the thing with the wood- it's old, guys! We know from historic texts that they didn't look bad! Well, why would they? He was rich, he was famous, would he really have disguting dentures? Think about it. Or, please don't, actually.

I know it's just a fantasy, but who would write this stuff, who would believe this is an accurate analogy?! I always knew the complete whackjobs were out there, I just never realized that someone who was as seemingly intelligent as to get his works published would be on the level of men who wear tinfoil hats so the CIA can't read their thoughts.

Peace, Ghani
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Finally got around to writing down a few thoughts about part one, which I recorded from PBS this past Sunday and...

It's not the worst-by a long shot-but the most disappointing of the Jane Eyre adaptations I've seen. I know I was expecting too much, and it's almost a problem that Toby Stephens is so fantastic, because I think the production lets him down. I actually think that Ruth Wilson has no chemistry with him--a very large problem in a romance story--and I was amazed in some scenes that he's giving the performance that he is when he's not getting that same level back; it's not an exchange, IMO.

This adaptation reverts a lot to telling instead of showing; the dialogue bombards us with the fact that Jane is withdrawn, she's thinking and/or feeling this or that, but very little evidence is shown for any of it. You're right, she is far too open, but on the other hand, possesses only shyness and not the sense of self-possession she learned in her latter years as a student at Lowood--I'm always sad this part of the story's continually given the chop because it doesn't the simplified idea that producers and writers want to put across, that, yes, it was miserable, the part they always emphasize and then cut away after Helen dies. But she also learned that sense of self-reliance, that she's gone through a bit of self-discovery, and has that strong, empathetic connection with the world around her.

Why on earth you'd go about hiring someone like Georgie Henley and then not using her is beyond me!

We're told over and again that she's a magical creature, surely she must have bewitched him with her magic because did they mention she was magical? And yet, I see very little of that in her, the character as is written or the performance. This Jane wears her heart on her sleeve, the hesitation, and the self-possession, just doesn't exist in this adaptation. The scene with the gypsy, while I'm delighted by its inclusion and not so much so the changes, seems strange at how laid back it is. Angry--okay, now over it and chuckle indulgently.

There are some definite pluses, chief among them Toby Stephens--and he definitely makes it worth watching--and minuses. I just don't know why I keep expecting more from each new production when I know that they'll either cover the exact same ground as a previous one or go off into a direction that I don't really see as established in the book.

Peace, Ghani
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Okay, so despite all of the absolutely glowing reviews fans who went to the screenings gave it, I still had my reservations about Serenity, I admit it! A few well-placed, or in this case, badly-placed, spoilers plus an iffy advertising campaign had me kinda lukewarm on this one. Had Joss really dropped the ball the badly? In a word: NO! The movie is brilliant, so much more than I could have ever expected.

Wo de ma he ta de feng-kuang de wai-sheng dou! BIG DAMN SPOILERS ahead in the fake cut... )
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Okay, deep breath and where to start?! The opening scene -how fabulous was that?! We stared at the tv wondering who the Hell this person was -early guesses were Sawyer- and my sister guessed it about a half a second before the reveal, almost directly when I heard the explosion! Incredible! I could not have asked for a better opening scene.

I was not disappointed, not by what was in the hatch, not by the reveal; it was incredibly well done! I was expected a bit of a let down and I think that might have worked in my favor - what I like to call the Phantom Menace syndrome- so I was delighted to be sitting there in rapt attention as each turn unfolded.

What struck me perhaps the most was how much of a leap from the first season they took. Season One was fantastic, it was the genius ingenue teenager whereas the start of the second season felt like the adult, fully matured in direction and writing. I was reminded of the leap in quality from fantastic to superb that Alias took from its first to second season!

The flashbacks were really well done (how about Foxy's wig, huh? Bwahahaha!) and Desmond came across so strongly in his 'Tour de Stade' scene with Jack, he had me wondering aloud whether he'd become a regular in the flashbacks. Ha! Little did I know! What a welcome addition he is to the cast and, I'm sorry cos he might turn out to be evil, but that actor is super, grade-A uber-hawt (what is it about LOST and its jaw-droppingly good looking men?!)!

My complaint? It was too fraking short! I wanted another hour and I must admit being such a die-hard fan od Shaun Cassidy's television projects, I was not all that impressed with Invasion, alas!

So, did Desmond cause the miracle with Sara?! We know he was on a world tour marathon and must have somehow been brought to the island like the others, but is he one of the 'Others'? Who was he communicating with via computer at the beginning of the episode? Where did he get all that fresh food? What's the quarantine? I really admired Kate's courage in standing up to Jack to tell him she was going down into the hatch and the ballsyness of going and doing it! Where is she now? We only saw Locke. And Shannon and Walt, how freaking and fascinating was that?

From the very first episode, this is shaping up to be a bangers season! So cheers to Damon, J.J. and co.; you guys rock!

Peace, Ghani
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Great show, fantastic f/x and it sheds that touchy/feely Sixth Sense crap about helping the poor, evil spirits. Dean's set up in his car is one of the most wicked things I've seen in a while and the whole thing with him, at least, reminded me of early Buffy. And then there's Jared Padalecki. Not a fan. He plays boring and annoying too well. Which actually leads me to the main point of this post: Why the heck have heroes gotten so damned boring?!

Where and when did the idea come from in Hollywood that viewers, especially of fantasy and/or sci-fi, want to be the ordinary (read: boring, nagging, whinging etc.) one who doesn't want anything to do with the crazy doings around them? Right because I can escape my life enough without having a main character who whines that he's gonna miss his law school interview because he's out doing cool things, busting kick-ass ghosts, etc. Yeah, I can really identify with that. And that is SO sarcasm!

In creating Luke Skywalker, Lucas reinvented the reluctant hero, living in their backwaters part of the world, cautious to leave behind what they've always known and the people they love but ultimately accepting their destiny with grace, poise and dignity. Apparently, Hollywood has deemed this too old fashioned and created the new hero for us: the unlikable wretch. Han Solo has gained much more prestige as a hero mainly because of his anti-hero stance which seems odd because he himself steps up to it and becomes a hero beyond what he ever thought of himself capable of. Which leads me into...

Dune began a change with Dune Messiah and Children of Dune dealing with the fallout of becoming the uber-messiah but also introduced us to a hero who was more than his father could ever be, who could accept his fate with the strength his father never showed. Leto II became more than himself because he let himself be. This is postive; so when did we start going backwards?

Fast forward to 1997 to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a new hero for a new generation. Though she accepted her destiny with more reluctance than Luke, she still realized what it entailed and was surrounded by friends like Willow and Xander whose own lives were so uninteresting that they, like the viewer, were instantly sucked into that world. But Buffy itself changed as the years went on, to the point when the producers no longer understood that viewers were identifying with her because, although there were some major downsides to the whole chosen one thing, she was special. She was an ordinary girl who found she was extraordinary, one in a million. The same phenomenon is what keeps the Harry Potter gravy train rolling so why don't more producers understand that it's that factor that makes it appealing?

And here comes the new series of Doctor Who where Russell T Davies seems utterly convinced that there is no way we can identify with the Doctor save for an ordinary, modern day Earth girl, Rose, who has family and pouts a lot. The Doctor, an extraordinary character that boys all over the world wanted for years to emulate because he was special, he was unbelievable, wild, cool, has been sidelined, the neat-o companion watered down to what the production team deems the most identifiable personality. I like Rose a lot but she borders on Professional Mary Sue and I can only hope, when it's time for a change, that Mr. Davies realizes it's really time for a change.

So, my question to you is: would you rather, in a fantasy world, be the guy with the cool car, the weapons, the fake badges and credit cards who chases after ghosts or his dullard brother (who strangely seems to ignore the fact that his mother was stuck to the ceiling, cut in half and burning) that just wants to get on with his life going to law school and being completely, well, ordinary? The latter lacks the wit of a Han Solo or the conviction of a Leto II or even the pain of a Buffy. Why, Hollywood, why?!

Peace, Ghani
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Some little time ago, just last month as a matter of fact, a dream of mine came true. It wasn't what you'd call a monumental thing though it seems it to me: Earth 2, the short lived scifi series which ran from November of '94 to May of '95, was released in a comprehensive, complete series DVD set. While it lacked EPK (electronic presskit) material, it does include both deleted and extended scenes and a blooper reel, both of which I wouldn't have even dared to wish for!

You see, Earth 2 affected me profoundly when it first aired and does so even more now that I've lost my parents. Earth 2 was the first and only show in my lifetime that became a "family event" to watch; we all were sat down every Sunday night at 7 (though football was usually running over into its timeslot!) to see what was going to happen next! I was devestated when word came down that it had been canceled and I cried. Yes, I cried for a tv show, something I had never done and have not done since, because it had become such an intregal and exciting part of our otherwise mundane lives. Turns out there was bloody great reason it was canceled, which I didn't know at the time, but suffice it to say, if it had gone on, it would have been as great a travesty as the second season of SeaQuest DSV (see the greatest fansite for the show on the web: http://www.earth2tv.com/ for i8nfo on what would have been a disasterous second season!)

So, the question was: would the show still have the same impact on me now, 11 years later? The answer? No. It had a completely different though no less potent impact! I was able to understand some of the emotions I hadn't before, appreciate what they were doing with the storyline and characters. Characters I didn't care for previously, I've warmed to and episodes that I've held the most viscious rancor for for these long years don't seem quite as bad now as I can isolate the elements that bother me and appreciate it as a whole. It is no longer a wham-bam scifi show (with a brain) that I watched back in the mid-90s but a carefully plotted, character-driven scifi piece that was far ahead of its time.

It's no small wonder that Browncoats (fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly/Serenity for the uninitiated) in general have fond memories of this show as it definitely comes across as a forerunner for that sort of adult scifi. It uses elements and metaphors of the Old West as the pioneers on G889 make their way across a continent to their brave new world; the American West would also provide inspiration for Firefly. Earth 2 contains a running story arc, something very rare at the time and a dangerous choice as "mythology" was generally being blamed for X-Files not nabbing enough viewers as critics believed it deserved. As a matter of fact, that would have been eliminated from a second season all together, so frightening was the idea of establishing a weekly audience who kept coming back to see the advancement of a simmering, well-developed story instead of 'Ooh, shiny special effects!'

And the F/X, well, as this was done before the digital revolution (Jurassic Park was only a year before the series debuted), its ambition has to be admired even if some of the opticals are, to our modern eye, now pretty cringe-worthy. Again, it's scope, its granduer, was far ahead of its time!

Something that is not cringe-worthy are the characters, especially the females, who seem ahead of their time now, in 2005. Beautiful but not glamorous mature women, their complex relationships with their children, their fellow pioneers, always seemed so real to me but now that I've matured more, I can appreciate it all the more! Jessica Steen as Julia as she struggles with the emotionless life she's supposed to lead (it's in her chromosomes!) while falling in love with beefcake Alonzo (Antonio Sabata Jr.), making some of the most Gawdawrful decisions as she's backed into a corner and her ultimate redemption remains to me one of the most interesting and complex female scifi character arc!

The series isn't without it's rocky bits, as a matter of fact, after a ganbusters pilot episode, the following three episode storyarc is rather dreadful and I can just picture viewers slowly turning away as it developed each week. It hits its stride immediately afterwards however with a bit of awkwardness for an ep or two but that doesn't matter in the long run. And the long run was a mere 21 episodes with one helluva cliffhanger!

So, why, with all of this going in its favor, no season 2? NBC wanted to renew, UPN wanted to pick it up after NBC ultimately passed but again the ball was dropped. Why? Stupid fucking Universal who, unhappy with the ratings it was getting, brought in a new producer who wanted to change just about everything about it. And both networks knew the proposed ideas were shite as both balked when they saw the document. In the end, it wasn't the networks' fault but the actual makers of the show; they were its ultimate downfall.

Devon and Julia were to be taken out of their leadership roles and both of their romances would have come to a halt. They would have become more "caring, warmer" whilst Yale and Morgan were to get the ax. Bess was going to sleep with anything that moved and a cute widdle Grendler was going to join the party as well as a know it all teenage cyborg. The party would get a new, male leader and all story arcs would be gone. Nothing spiritual would remain and Alonzo would have super strength. What. The. Fuck?!

So, yes, in the end, I'm happy I didn't get THAT season 2 though my heart will always be a little sad for the season 2 I could have, should have gotten. And I still have the DVDs to pop in whenever I need my Earth 2 fix which seems something of a small miracle to me!

Peace, Ghani
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He's back... and it's about time! And how many times have we heard that since the Doctor's shaky would-be comeback in 1996? But, truly, what better a way to welcome him than with not just one of the most fantastic debut stories, not just the best (I've seen and I admittedly haven't seen all that have aired in the UK or, well, the rest of the series to come) of the new series, but one of the most solid, enjoyable stories in Who's history.

We start off with a serene view of the Earth from space, a little hint of things to come, and thrust our way straight into the mundane: the every day routine of Rose's life. This is done in a succession of fast cuts some have accused of being strictly for the MTV generation and, while I belong to that group, I felt it was so much more in keeping the pace of the story moving while loading you down with information. We meet Jackie, we meet Mickey. We see her with her friends, we see her working at Henricks department store. We get the impression that this is the ordinary, everyday girl of the 21st century going about her business in the span of moments.

And just as soon as we're catching our collective breath from this peek into modern life, we're thrust into the action, the world of the Doctor as Rose encounters the murderous Autons in the basemnent of Henricks and is rescued in a seat-of-your pants sequence that includes breathless dialogue that an aspiring writer such as myself aches to achieve!

It should be said, right off the bat, that the performance by Billie Piper is superb! Being from the states and therefore not knowing a whole lot about her or her celebrity (about the extent of it was the fact that a friend had her album, Honey to the Bee, for about a week before trading it in), so I came into it without the biases I would have had if she'd been a known figure to me. Whatever expectations I did have for her were completely blown away by the sympathetic, intelligent and completely believable character that she created. Her reactions are completely human, identifiable and I must say, it is nice to see a young attractive woman on the tele who has a real body, not a lollipop on a stick!

And then there's Christopher Eccleston, who I did have very high expectations for indeed as I knew him as an actor and was off my head with excitement when I'd heard he'd been cast! He blew me away. Rarely has a Doctor been so on his game in his debut episode and rarely have I seen Chris act with such giddy enthusiasm for the material. To be fair, rarely has the material so lived up to a new Doctor's performance (Twin Dilemma, Time and the Rani, the TV Movie; I won't go on...), but Rose not only rises to it but uses itself to showcase both of our new main characters!

The Doctor's a strange sort of duck: he moves from his dizzy enthusiasm to dark seriousness in a flash, a bit of a bi-polar there! But that only gives so much more weight to the character, to know that he's not just a grinning idiot, that there's something lurking just beneath the surface. The cut-fast editing only serves to heighten this impression as it moved so quickly from the smrtly written dialogue when Rose is grilling him ("So what you're saying is the entire world revolves around you." "Sort of, yeah." "You're full of it!" "Sort of, yeah!") to the emotive and tremendously moving (no pun intended!) Earth spinning speech!

The humor is superbly handled, with snappy back-and-forths like the one mentioned above, the scene with Jackie in her bedroom, the tussle with a plastic arm in the living room, the Auton Mickey (a fantastic and completely outrageous perfomance by Noel Clarke!)

Complaints have been made about the underscore but I personally took to it: what better way to usher in this fast-paced, snappy story than with a thundering techno beat? It made the editing, which I felt was spot-on, stand out wonderfully and highlighted all the right moments. The effects were wonderfully retro without looking camp or like too much like a wink of the eye to the old series. Where they fell down, frankly, I felt, was where they were trying to look too realistic, like the Nestene Consciousness, which was far from looking awful but kind of had that bad generic CGI feel to it.

Speaking of the ol' Nestene, yes, our friends are back and animating plastic like never before. This is where one of my only gripes comes in: we are told that the Consciousness is animating the mannequins with thought control, so we are to assume that they would be otherwise normal window shop dummies. So where did they get those nifty built in guns? In both Spearhead from Space and Terror of the Autons, we've seen one plastics factory or another infiltrated, pumping out custom made dummies to aid in the Nestenes' plans but that is absent here making it rather, well, a bit of a gaffe. I suppose one can imagine, as the Consciousness has clearly been on eArth sometime, that they've gone through all of this off screen; it's a nitpick that bothered me personally.

That said, the scene where the Autons come to life in the Queen's Arcade is simply stunning and Clive, we hardly knew ye (though I happen to know some spoilers about that website, which has so much promise, of his going to good use in a later episode...) I particularly loved the brides menacing Jackie; a foreshadowing of the episode Father's Day, perhaps?

While the Autons menace however, it seems as if the Consciousness holds onto the Doctor forever, giving no clear indication as to what it actually plans to do with him as Rose makes up her mind to help. Now this I love: a girl actually explaining HOW she can kick butt instead of just doing it because she's a girl and GIRL POWER and Buffy TVS and all that! Her line about her short gymnastics career was one of my favorite of the show as it highlights something I caught onto from the first moment: that we're getting a sense of realism along with out fantasy. I can believe in Rose, I can believe in her abilities!

It is in the lair of the Consciousness we get our first hints about the Time War as well and perhaps even the Doctor going rogue (?) during the mysterious battle ("I was there! I couldn't stop it!").

Rose's enthusiasm to help and sense of fun about it all is also extremely refreshing and contagious, her grin as they run to the Millennium Wheel infectious! Her final moment, the final moment of the show with the remixed theme playing is totally uplifting and a sign of great, great things to come!

Peace, Ghani
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Many spoilers to follow:
It was the middle of last year when rumors started to surface of Padme's fate: That Anakin was going to kill her, Force-strangle her and throw her against the wall as nothing more than a rag doll. Some fans felt this wasn't far enough for Ani to descend, that he should rape her to conceive the twins; then, he would truly be "badass" and "kewl." Ew. Meanwhile, we few, we proud PT fans had an adverse reaction. After the tender love story, the devotion he'd shown, how could he commit such a heinous act?! And then it turned out to be true, though not exactly in the way it had been described, and the fur really started to fly. 'It's totally out of character! It's what Lucas believes is best but I can't see it!' On both Anakin and Padme fandom fronts, a cry went up: "How could he?"

I've been completely and utterly spoiled, I've read every bit of information from every official source that I could. And I've come to believe that it is absolutely perfect for what Lucas was trying to achieve!

You see, in the OT, Vader is a figure of fear, of loathing: He tortures his daughter, among countless others; kills indiscriminately in the name of the Empire; wounds and makes ready to kill his own son, fully aware of his parentage this time, if he does not join him in ruling the galaxy. And there's the crux of it: The same choice he offers Padme and that she rejects, blindly trying to bring him back to anything rational. She can't. Luke can't, not until the end of the next movie when Vader kills the Emperor, not to atone for his countless sins, not to put the galaxy to rights, but to save the only person who unconditionally loves him. Because, as Lucas himself points out, children teach us to love unconditionally, something Anakin could not even grasp when he had a hold on Padme and covetously sought to hold on to her forever.

Not that it has to do with love. Lucas is very careful to point out that it is fairly early in the picture that Anakin's lust for Padme turns into his lust for power and knowledge. Under the guise of "saving" his beloved, he will become all powerful. This may be terribly hard to swallow for those who have loyally followed Anakin's journey through the course of the past two movies but it is in no way out of character. Think of all the world leaders who started out *just wanting to do good* and where they ended up- a mild example being the fact that Robespierre was ardently against the introduction of the guillotine in the senate as he claimed, one could say foresaw, that it would become to quick, to easy to execute criminals. He ended up wearing the machine's likeness on his cuff-links as a sign of his power.

Padme said it herself in AtoC: That living the lie would destroy them both and so, it seems, it has. While whispers of Palpatine's counsel are definitely darkening his heart, the twists and turns are already there, laid out by the first two movies of the PT. It was anger that slaughtered an entire tribe of Tusken Raiders, not love; love is never a justifiable rationing for indiscriminate killing.

As for Padme's part, is it believable that a strong character with an even stronger sense of self would lose herself in this. Completely. She did the moment she married him, knowing full well the implications. They are a young couple, their thoughts are in the here and now, not how everything is going to work in the long run. I must admit, I was sorry to see the senate petition side story go as it's a vital part of the forming of Palpatine's opposition as well as a part of the story that would involve Padme at work.

But does the movie work without it? In a word, yes. Treason is a perfectly understandable reason for Anakin to suspect Padme but a young man's inherent sexual jealousy and need for possession is much more potent, in my opinion. It's an extremely instinctual biological thing as the rash young man he is to want her to himself, whether that envy materializes in suspicions over her activity in the senate or her alleged closeness with Obi Wan. It's not necessarily that he believes that Padme and Obi Wan are creeping, it's that urge to possess, an almost animalistic pissing contest with any male that comes close to her.

And Padme's broken heart: Chauvinistic plot device or melodrama at its height? She could not survive this movie, not without a mention as to her fate in the OT (and anyone who thinks that lies in Leia's recollections in RotJ are adding too much with their own imaginations); I would not leave her to the EU nor would I want her death to be off-screen. Do people die of broken hearts? My father did, last year three months after my mother passed on; he lost his will. Is he excused from his fatherly duties of looking after his mentally ill daughter because he is male and therefore didn't have the same drive that a mother would have? Now which is the chauvinistic assumption? She knows the twins are safe and cannot bear living out something she believes -knows- that she helped to create, even with the best of intentions: love.

So, the ultimate question lies not in whether we find it sympathetic or the right thing, but that, as terrible as it is, it is still realistic. I for one applaud Lucas for taking this very risky path, of sticking to his guns that darkness is, in fact EVIL and not cool, that it is a destructive, unfeeling entity. That Anakin became that entity.

Peace, Ghani

EDIT, Post-RotS: Watching the movie, I understood the most fundamental reason of all when it comes to the choices Lucas made concerning Padme's death: She could not, for the stories sake die of physical wounds because that was what Anakin misguidedly was trying to protect her from in the first place. His vision would have been true and some would argue that it would be more fateful if he indeed caused with his actions the very thing he feared most. To me, it's more tragic that it was indeed his actions that caused her death but not in the straight-forward way of damaging her physically, but wounding her spiritually and emotionally with the choices he was making in her name. It is still a self-fulfilling prophecy but not one that Anakin could ever have dreamed of nor can he, in his new Sith state, ever understand it.


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Jean: A Legend In My Own Mind

March 2017

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