Friday, January 30, 2009

lost: s05 e03 - jughead

So everyone's still bouncing around time, but not so much as before. Locke finds the rest of them, then goes to finish his convo with Richard. Sawyer has no idea what's going on. Juliet doesn't have much to do but be calm and reasonable. Daniel knows way more than he's letting on, and is possibly jumping around more than other people, or at least did so in the past. Also, Daniel is in love with Charlotte, and she's got the brain-asplody. Richard, looking the same again, is in charge of the british soldiers, who turn out to be the proto-Others, based on the secret code called Speaking Latin, which anyone with a degree in medicine, science or philosophy can break. They've landed in the 50s, two years before Locke is born, and he's insisting to the Richard who hasn't met him yet that he's the new leader of the Others, even though these are the old Others, who seem to be rather trigger-happy over something involving someone having come to their Island to do experiments and attacking them... even though this is, like, 20 years before Dharma is supposed to have existed. Meanwhile, Daniel is taken to defuse a bomb which looks like it's been caught-- it's haging from a scaffold only a few feet above the ground, but it's got a cracked casing, and he's trying to convince them to let him burry it because it's too dangerous to try to open it up with the seal busted. It'll be okay, because 50 years from now, it's okay. See?

Meanwhile, Miles is getting no love except from some dead ghosties, and is otherwise pretty much ignored, which he points out. And Charlotte keeps getting dizzier and sicker, and Daniel "won't let anything happen to" her, which is a sure sign of impending doom whenever it's said. She goes all bleeding and twitchy at the end.

And Desmond is trying to find Daniel's mother, and instead finds a girl who went loony and was trapped jumping back and forth through her own timeline-- Desmond knows what it is, but the people who care for her apparently think that Daniel just made her crazy somehow, and then ran away and left her. And all the funding came from Charles Widmore. So he confronts Widmore and gets the addy for Daniel's mom, and Penny wants to leave it at that, but knows that Desmond won't give it up if he can help his friends, so off they go to LA to find the lady.

Oh, and one of the soldiers is a very young Widmore, and he was a jerk then, too.

So, more crazy, more superdense plotting. It's everything we love about Lost. I especially liked that we got to spend so much time with the Freighter People, who have been pretty marginalized since the cast split up. And I liked when Daniel tried to get tough in his twitchy, slightly crazy way.

We're back to the main crew next week. I'm really not handling this waiting-between-episodes all that well...

games: aggravation and nuclear war

Aggravation is a game we've played before: You get a board with little holes in in a definite pattern, you get four little marbles that are vaguely the colors of vegetables, and you have to make it all the way around the board without getting sent back to the start. Like Chinese Checkers meets Sorry. The fun part is that you can only leave Base and start around the board if you've rolled a 1 or a 6, and those are both the rarest rolls. You can't get into Home unless you've rolled exactly the number you need to get there. You can't jump your own pieces. There are shortcuts around the board, but they're places where others are likely to try to go, and you can get bumped and wind up back in your Base to start over. If someone else lands in the same spot, you're back to Base and have to start over. 

It's fun, more than aggravating, but it's also fun to point out how aggravating it is, and after everyone has their dudes on the board, it gets meaner and therefore more fun. Personally, I like these sorts of games with different colors that all look the same and definite rules with lots of possibilities-- probably because one of the first games I ever played was Parcheesi, which is similar. 

Aggravation is a quick game, and can be played with up to six players, which makes it more fun.

Nuclear War is one of those weird topical games that came out back in the Cold War-- toward the end when it was starting to be a joke, I guess. Basically, you have bombs and you have delivery systems, and the goal is to wipe out all your opponents' populations. No one knows what your population is-- that's determined by random card-passing at the beginning-- and no one knows what bombs and rockets / planes / space platforms you have. There are secrets that come to the fore as you replace spent cards, and some of them are against you, and all of them means someone is losing population in any number of ways-- defection, plague, rebellion, mysterious vanishings. There's even something that allows a virus to keep wiping out everyone until the one card that can stop it is played, and something that brings dead people back to your hand as zombies. 

We declared ourselves to be random small nations and made up the story as it went-- when the only thing in a missile was propoganda, we said they were getting showered in leaflets; when bombs went off without missiles, we said there was testing or accidents; when there were only missiles, we said the people were getting desperate and were loading the rockets inside eachother in a last-ditch effort. 

Again, a fun, quick game, and not terribly hard or terribly complex-- and you get to nuke your friends! Not politically correct, socially insensitive, very low-budget, and fun because it's so obvious, if you can find this beastie, I say go for it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

movie: repo - the genetic opera

Oh my god, the badness. It makes no sense. They sing for no reason-- even given that they're in a musical, there's huge swaths-- like the whole first twenty minutes-- where they don't need to be singing what they say. They repo organs, okay, sure, but there's only one guy in charge of all the reposessions, he's got a sick daughter, and he tears things out and throws them around. It has Anthony Stewart Head wasting himself in something that was probably abour half-baked as far as his plot went. It had Joan Jett for absolutely no reason. It has Paris Hilton in probably the best movie she's ever done.

It's utter crap.

But it's also really pretty, and I want Sarah Brightman's holographic eyes and all the eyeliner in the world. And I'll probably go around the whole rest of my life saying 'reeeeeeeppppoooooooooommmmaaaaaaaannnnnnnn' and 'epilogue!' for no other reason than because it's catchy and rediculous. 

Fun, but i think it rotted my brain.

EDIT: Also, there's Paris Hilton's face falling off in totally the least useful way, visually. And there's various incesty-flavored interactions. It would have been better with choreographed dance numbers. And the potential romance bits totally didn't happen, replaced by the afore-mentioned incesty bits.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

find: real-life scifi

Classic Lunar Exploration Art from here, over at io9.

I love these old pictures. It made everything seem so reasonable and innevitable, which was very exciting. It's still exciting-- and I'm hoping the world can get back there, what with our lovely new Pres being so hope-inducing and all. He's got other things to worry about now, but I still maintain that being able to live off-planet indefinitely is a sort of safety valve: it can ease overpopulation, give us options in the event of asteroids or other such catastrophies, and the space program has always spun off interesting and useful new tech that can't help but make things better.

This pretty and futuristic little dohicky takes the steam that comes off boiling water and makes it into water again, directly to the roots of little growing greens like grass and herbs, and serves as a centerpiece the rest of the time. Not necessary, but nifty.

news: catching up on geeks of doom

Vital Video for the new Watchmen movie! 
Down at the bottom of the list of all the promos, there's the youtube video of the 70s new report that talks about the tenth anniversary of Dr Manhattan. Pretty nifty. I think this guy playing him is a little too built, but that might just be my interpretation of the art. I wonder if he'll be naked? He was always naked in the comic...

I'm so excited! This is the one where everyone makes out before it all goes south in death and drama in the next one! Really, that's all I wanted out of this book, and it's all I want out of this movie, but I was glad to see a little character development of Malfoy, and I'm looking forward to that, too. It's going to be fun.

And has put them into the SciFi Friday slot, which is woefully empty now that they've bumped SG1 and SGA, and now that BSG is ending soon (all fo which is their own fault). I hope it's fiercely successful. The story isn't done yet, and I hate unfinished stories, especially sweet ones involving strong women and pretty vampires that are different enough from the norm to make it interesting. (also, it's on DVD now and I needs must own it)

GofD is running a Coraline Prize pack with all sorts of neat things.
Just enter your addy and contact info, and off you go! This is another movie I'm really excited about-- I mean, anything with Neil Gaiman's fingerprints on it and I'm there, but the trailers look wonderful-- charming and clever and a little spooky in that quirky way we all have come to expect.

Classic SciFi comes to film in Rolland Emmerich's Foundation Adaptation.
I have a hard time reading Azimov's long fiction, and a long series of long fiction kinda makes me shy away like a nervous horse, but I love the short fic, and it's such a visual thing-- all of hard scifi is-- that a good movie can do wonders for speeding up the story and translating it into something I can digest. Just don't make it suck, you hear me, Rolland? This is SciFi Law here, the basis of huge chunks of the genre, and you better treat it as such. I'm getting so tired of big-budget shiny scifi that looks good but has no soul. No connection to the characters. It's supposed to be about the people, not just the guns.

Even more-classic SciFi is on the way up, too! My brother had these books, and I used to look at the covers and wonder why the women were all naked and the guys got all the rayguns, but they're some of the basic scifi stories out there. This could be really neat... though it's Disney, so it might be really sanitized. But still, I love that there's still this idea of an alien-populated Mars that we might be able to go to.

That's two of my fav geekeries together: GTD and new-vamps. Now if he and Neil Gaiman would work with Tim Burton to make a movie about vampire monster-hunters starring Dough Jones, I could die happy...

Which is super-nifty. I wanna see a kracken! Movies are so good-sounding lately...

Which I still maintain didn't need to be made, and makes me worry for Keanu's starring role in the new Cowboy Bebop movie. Here's a whole bunch of random WTF moments in TDtESS. Also: how come Jennifer Connolly, who is a long-time standard of genre fic and who is a genuinely good acress, keeps getting stuck in the turkeys? If someone remakes this again next year and casts Liv tyler in her role, I think she should rethink her casting agent.

not really scifi, but still exciting:
The VM movie is closer to being in the works then ever before! Rob Thomas has been working on s script, and he's looking for the moolah to get it paid for! I'm hoping for first-season VM, with all her insights coming from ghostly hallucination-dreams. That was kind of scrapped for the second movie, except for, like, one episode, but it was one of the details that I thought made it different from being just any old detective show. Without it, it was still really good and amazingly well written and complex, but it didn't have that little fizzon of weirdness that set it apart.

lost: s05 e01 and e02

Okay, I'm pretty confused, but with everythign happening at once and big new plot devices moving into place, I'm thinking it's okay. Like when the show was new and shiny. I'm excited for the confusion because it means new things are happening and we're actually getting somewhere, which is great.

Here are my fav parts:
- Desmond is still sliding back and forth through time (even though I thought he was past that? didn't they save him before his brain melted and stop the disjoint?) and it's maybe caused by the fact that Daniel is apparently also darting around time and now the whole island is. Which is just brilliant. 
- Not only is the Island skipping all over time and space (that computer looks like it's tracking it everywhere), it's picking up all the anachronisms that they've already found-- so far the plane with Mr Echo's brother, and if that's happening, then maybe we'll get to see the bear and the Black Rock and whatever else. Which is very exciting. I love that it's physically going to where these things are, rather than being all Bermuda triangle-ish and dragging things to it. Nice turn-around!
- Sweety-faced old lady from Desmond's crazy is now all over Ben, who's trying to be a goodguy... in so much as he's the same as he was, but now the Losties are finding themselves on his side.
- Hurley continues seeing dead people-- and I'm rooting for him to start seeing dead people that he never knew, like those English soldiers that Locke just killed, which would mean that he's not crazy and he actually is somehow tied into the mind of the Island. That's probably not going to happen, but a girl can still dream. Also, I love that his mom believes him. And I love that the dead people know things that he doesn't know.
- Jack is in with Ben, who seems to be trying to get him clean, and that's great. Sayid is against Ben because he thinks Ben was manipulating him (and probably was), but he's such a cool assassin, this is fine. It makes a new devide.
- And what the hell is up with Sun? She's got a little daughter, but she's globe-trotting, talking to Widmore, out to get people, being all cold and hard... It's like she became what Jin was before the Island out of the trauma of seeing him asploded. But what's she doing? Everythign she says sounds like doubletalk.
- And who's out to get Kate? And why is she now seeing Claire, who looks pretty much the same as she did before? Is she getting Hurley's power, or something Hurley-adjacent? Did Claire learn to astral-project after she went all spacy with a ghost?

This is going to be a fun season, I can tell. I'm just sad it won't last the full 24 eps.

nu who: news

We already know that the Bionic Woman is the current companion (which still sits strangely with me, as I wanted to like the new show and pretty much found myself bored and depressed and rooting for Starbuck the Crazy, and I'm not sure how much of the blame is due to writing / editing, and how much is due to her being boring)-- and I think that qualifies as at least a potential problem.

Now, however, there's actual problems with my next fix: the plot-integral red bus is busted up to the point that it can't be used, and as it was shipped overseas, there's no second option. Major rewrites.

Hopefully, it'll turn out well, and then we can get the 'leaked' original script afterward to compare and contrast and see about what might have been, and it'll prolong the fix a little. 

I seriously don't know how I'm going to get through the year.

But I'm loving the idea of a bus that transports people to strange worlds. (If that's what it really is) I already love red double deckers-- they're so iconic-- and there's one in UnLunDun that makes me happy. There's even that one in Harry Potter. I like multi-text interpretations.

movei: penelope

Yay for modern fairytales!

This one has Christina Ricci as an hieress who's been cursed in the sort of situation that is apparently unslightly but not unheard-of: she's got a pig nose. The curse can only be lifted by unconditional acceptance by one of her own, so this is interpreted to mean that she needs to get married. She's been meeting eligible upper-class boys through a one-way mirror, and so far, even the ones who liked her as a disembodied voice run off screaming in fear when they see her not-that-terrible piggynose. And she's getting a little fed up.

Meanwhile, there's this dwarf with one eye from where he was attacked trying to get pictures of baby Penelope years and years ago, and they've faked her death to keep the tabloids off, so all these rich boys have to sign paperwork saying they won't talk, and the tabloids are getting fed up with not having any real solid info. Enter Blondy McAwfulpants who teams up with him to find a down-and-out blueblood to pay off for pictures. And then enter pretty pretty James McAvoy as said chump / Max in something similar to the agreement of Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You, though this is less with the bitchiness and more with the exaggerated 'deformity'. They hit it off when he's distracted and doesn't see her showing everyone what she looks like, so he doesn't run away. He tries to steal her favorite book out of all the books available, all of which are expensive first editions. And he comes back. Even after he's seen her nose. And keeps coming back until he deels bad about selling pictures of her, calls off the deal, and ditches.

She's crushed and rejected, but doesn't want to do this again, so she runs away, and even knowing very little about the world, manages to do pretty well for herself by being sweet and lovely and friendly. She makes friends with a grouchy bartender and a sassy delivery girl / Reece Witherspoon. And she exposes herself. Pretty quickly, too, though the movie says it's been weeks. Either way, people like her already, so it's less of a big deal than it could be, and she's suddenly very popular. 

While she's having adventures, Max is trying to get himself back together and gives up gambling, gives up drinking, and gets a real job before turning back to music, which he'd given up at some point in the past. He left telling her he couldn't marry her, which she takes to mean he can't deal with her nose, when he really meant that he didn't have the power to help her. 

She eventually comes home and agrees to marry Blondy McAwfulpants, who's basically been told he has no choice and tells her he's had a change of heart, but when they get to the actual wedding, she says 'no' and runs back to her room. Her mother's trying to get her to break the curse, and she says she's fine with who she is-- and the curse is broken. She's  one of her kind. So then her mom feels bad that she didn't love her unconditionally, which would have broken the curse right away (and still tries to tell her how to improve herself), and she finds herself in posession of a normal life. She starts teaching kindergarteners. And after a while, there's a Halloween party and Annie drags her up to where Max lives, and since she's wearing a mask, he doesn't know it's her. He's packing up to move, and as she's asking him questions and commenting on things, he figures it out and there's a really great grab-and-kiss before he knows that her curse is broken. 

And then they live happily ever after.

It's really adorable, without being at all sappy or insipid-- she's a strong, interesting character, and everyone else is clearly-defined and very much their own, even if the world goes a little more smoothly than the real world goes and there's never really any danger to it. I love that here's this classic cursed-princess, and she takes control of her own fate, selling her own pictures to the tabloid when her family-funds wear thin, and finding her own life in the world. And I love that the prince is broken and sad, and not really a prince at all, but still turns out to be the exact right one for her. And I love the way she's pert and smart and sharp in a way fairytale princesses rarely get to be, and he's tense and sexy and conflicted the way princes rarely get to be. It's great, and fun and sweet, and just enough different that it's worth watching again and again, and I think it could grow up with you. 

I do not love lovely Burn Gorman putting on the worst American Accent I've heard in years, though the very fact that he's in here makes me happy.

Plus, it's fun getting James McAvoy-induced whiplash when you think he went from Mr Tumnus to Wanted to Penelope in just a few years, and with other, more serious and more fluffy things in between.

classic who: revenge of the cybermen

Revenge for what? I don't know. This is the first time I've seen the silver beasties since we started out Grand Classic Who Project. I think there was something about them having been enemies of the buddha-faced aliens of the Golden Asteroid, so maybe that's what for...

So, anyway, having been freed by the Cheesy Time Ring, the crew lands back on the Space Station Nerva, where all this started ages ago in the future with the bug-monsters. This time, they've gone back in time to an earlier point, also in the future, where the station is highly populated by non-frozen people, because these people are all dead of a plague before freezing had been invented. Except, as the Doctor discovers almost immediately, it's not a plague so much as a biological weapon. So, of course, Sarah-Jane gets infected almost immediately. Hey, remember when she was a feisty feminist? Anyway, the Doctor has to get around all the bickering and paranoia to try to save her, because there's only a few minutes before she's dead. 

It just so happens that there's this mysterious asteroid that's actually a hollow world called Voga, full of the afore mentioned Buddha-faced aliens. The humans have been down and set up a transmat array, and the Doctor thinks he can widget it so that it'll filter the poison out of her before she's kaput, but parts are missing and he has to stay behind to do it manually, which means that Sarah-Jane and Harry wind up stuck on Voga while the Doctor is stuck on Nerva. There's a great moment when the Doctor gets blinded by a short, and there's such dispair that he's run out of time and she's going to die, and then when his vision clears and he sees that she's safe, it becomes such joy. That's why I like me some Tom Baker so much. And also really one of the main reasons I like David Tennant so much-- wild emotional swings conveyed without words and in minimal amounts of time. The Doctor is bigger than life, so it's appropriate that his emotions are, too.

So down on Voga, there's a miners-vs-thinkers social struggle going on, because it's always about miners. Head miner wants to sell off the gold that the whole place is made of of make his people rich, while head thinker, who has lovely long bouncy hair, wants to remain locked away from the world / universe because of past damage done to their people. Sarah-Jane and Harry are captured by miners on a ludicrously small train, and hauled into the middle of this arguement. And the Vogans know that the Cybermen are monitoring them.

Even though gold is toxic to the Cybermen, and they'd already lost a war with the Vogans previously. But we won't think about that too much.

Miner-man questions SJ and H and lets it be known that there were supposed to be only 4 survivors, and none of those 4 were these two. And we figure out that it's the Station the Cybermen want, to continue their guff with the gold-plated buddha-faced enemies they couldn't defeat before. This makes it a three-way musutal self-destruction: moners against thinkers against Cybermen, and the humans in the middle going 'wha? huh? Cyberwhatnow?' and the Doctor trying to keep the sides from killing eachother. There's a big bomb from the miners that is getting loaded into a rocket and sets a clock ticking.

Sarah-Jane and Harry get into trouble, and there's much running from guns and slogging through mines. The Cybermen dock and the Doctor is stot down-- only that's totally just the cliffhanger, and it's eimmeidately revealed that it's a stun ray. He wakes up with the last two humans and three big bombs strapped to them. The Cybermen want to send them down to the center of Voga, then to blow them up, and the aster-world with them, scattering gold dust all through this region of space and making their ship malfunction... no, wait, ending the war with them victorious. Yeah.

More slogging through both real and set-built caves, much mud, several film-stocks, lots of pretending it's not as cold as it is, everyone moving around in different directions, and then they're suddenly all together again. Except the Doctor's still all a-bombed. And Srah-Jane's now captured on the Station, having gone back trying to warn the Doctor wbout the rocket. 

Side note: this invasion is, like, six cybermen. One of them is a little chubby, and one has a really nice kaboose. All are not terribly mechanical in voice or action or logic, and I guess I've been spoiled by images of millions of seven-foot-tall cybers, but six normal-sized ones mostly look dumb.

Anyway, onward. Cybermen have beamed down (??) and are slaughtering the Vogans, regardless of class. Some of them are taken out by brave sacrifice and their own cyber-bomb, allowing the Doctor to continue on with his attempts to stop the coming war. Which he dould be really good at by now. But the explosion allowed the Doctor time to disarm the bombs, and now everything's peachy, though Sarah-Jane didn't know that when they ordered a detonation and she tried to stop them, getting herself tossed asside and then tied up. The Cybermen notice the lack of explodedness, and decide to use the Station as a massive bomb, and commence loading it with explosives. By this time, the rocket is ready, but the Doctor goes all fair and loyal and asks for 15 minutes to rescue Sarah-Jane and try to stop the asplody. Which I loved. Very dramatic, and the loyalty was just great. When he gets there and does save her, there's this great moment when she has to remind him that it's a good thing that he saved her, and he looks sweetly embarased and chucks her on the shoulder because they aren't allowed to hug on what's still basically a kid's show.

So they fail to stop the Cybermen, and get tied up again. The rocket is launched. The Doctor gets the thing under his control, and there's drama as he steers them through a gravity asist to freedom. They tell the Vogans to send the rocket ofter the Cybermen, and they do-- and then it's over. Because that's how these things work. 

The Tardis catches up with them, and they all board and head out. And that's the end of that. They've gotten a telegram from teh Brig that says he needs them urgently, and so they head on back.

Asside from the fact that blowing up the gold doesn't make any sense, it was a fun, fast-paced story, and there weren't any lags or boring parts. It was four eps, and we watched them all together, so it kind of reads like a fun movie-- lots of action, not too much running through corridors and getting thrown back in jail, multiple plotlines that come together in the end, and the usual suffen ending that I've come to know and tolerate. I've missed the Brig, though, so I'm glad we'll be getting back to Earth to spend a little time with his gruff disbelief and short temper. I believe this is the last of Harry... and I'm kind of alright with that. He wasn't bad, but his habit of calling everyone 'old girl' and 'old chum' got to be a bit much, and he never really came in much use, though he at least seemed to enjoy himself.

fringe: bound s01e11

I totally didn't report the catching up I did, but before the midseason break, Olivia was kidnapped by men in unmarked black cars. That means she was held captive when this ep opened-- only not for long. Creepy Mask-Face gives her a spinal tap, then she tricks the soft-hearted Evil Interns into letting her loose for a cup of water, then punches her way free in true action star style, and I was cheering that she didn't need to be rescued (no matter how sweet it would have been to let Peter be the knight in shining armor for once). Along the way, she steals some samples and burries them, then calls in for backup and is greeted by Infernal Revenues who tase her and take her into the hospital, where they chain her to a bed.

It's all to make an I-Don't-Like-You point, of course, since the one in charge is the one she sent to jail sometime I don't remember ago in the past.

So she's free, and pissed off and sporting a nice bump on the head the whole ep. Peter's concerned about her to the point where when she says "Who care about me?" (meaning there's more important things to worry about), he says "I care about you!". Olivia looked stunned, then awkward, Walter looked pleased as punch, and I went "Squeeeee!" so much that I had to back up and watch the next part over because I was distracted.

They're looking for the killer of two epidemiologists by way of two giant spiky slugs, who they've already established is the same person as her kidnapper thanks to the evidence she hid. The trail leads back to Agent Loeb-- the dude who had the heart-bug, then who got Crazy Brit out of the German jail by way of teleportation right before Liv was kidnapped-- and his wife, Meg March of Little Women fame. While she's breaking and entering and getting caught and pretending she's just being neighborly, Peter's being asked to be a criminal in the stead of the FBI who can't, and is getting wire taps. They pick up a call from Meg March to Hubby Heartworm where they decide to kill Olivia, and manage to warn her-- and it's MM who winds up dead, but HH doesn't know that, and they trick him into 'meeting' her. Liv uses the crime scene pics as a not so delicate way to break him so he'll confess, which he does, but says that he was trying to save her, that they were the only chance (for what, he didn't mention), and that she doesn't know what she's done.

Very tense.

He's hauled off, and Liv can finally relax, but what he said makes her look all lost-puppy, and Peter stands too close trying to get her to relax / let it go, and Walter keeps insisting that Peter was a little more worried than might be expected when she was missing. Which we didn't get to see.

Not a bad ep, but it seemed a little like a well-edited two-parter that was condensed into a one-parter for whatever reason. Lots of stuff going on, lots of movement, lots of tenseness, but not alot of time for reactions-- it would have been nice for a little emotional growth while she was missing, but she wasn't missing long. If she was checked out in the hospital, it wasn't mentioned. She went right back to work. You'd think that JJ could make it emotionally dense with only a few characters the way he did on lost, but I guess that's not what he's going for here. X-Files is what he's going for here, and he's got the questions and misdirections feeling down perfectly... just not the pacing, though it is improving as the season moves along. Maybe they just haven't quite settled their writing team yet.

And why did her sister move in with her? She's got to be a plot device waiting to happen. Like, she's being paid to spy on her or something. That'd be sweet.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

x-files: i want to believe

Way after the fact, yet again, but man. What a rough movie. Literally rough, like even after six years it couldn't get finished right. 

I really love the X-Files. I watched it from it's second episode (I was away for the premier) to it's last, and I was really excited about finally getting the closure we all wanted... and it wasn't there. No wonder no one liked it. I came into this knowing that no one liked it and knowing that it was basically a character study and had nothing to do with the series' main points, but still-- it came across as cold, heartless, isolated. Maybe that's what he was going for, our Chris Carter who hates us, but still-- if so, he undid himself, because there was none of the sparkle and the tingle that we love between these two characters, despite the fact that DD and GA knew what they were doing and were fully in character and were trying really hard to make it work. All that snow just sort of repressed the emotional contact that a character study needs, and without it, there's little for us to care about. And it was full of weird darknesses that were not syched with the rest: a pedophile priest? I love Billy Connolly, but even he couldn't really make it work with the scraps of muguffinness he was given. Russian frankenstiens? Why? Because that dude was in love with another dude? Then why did they keep steaking female body parts to rebuild him with? Mulder and Scully breaking up? He didn't fight for her and she gave up on him too easily, adn then they were just back together and all was forgiven? And that poor sick kid, waht was his purpose? Scully kept on with his treatments, which, given the deal she made, would seem like she wasn't giving up and she wasn't running away any more, and then... she does?

I don't know. It's unfocused. It's lacking the humor that kept the show light enough to bear and the humanity that kept us invovled in their lives. I could have handled Mulder and Scully having problems, being as how this is, like, almost a decade after he went into hiding and they aren't married and she's in an opressive job and he's kinda going stir-crazy. I can handle that he'd want to get back in the field and do something, and that she might not. I can even handle the lack of mythology in favor of a new idea. But I can't handle that they'd ever be so blase about eachother's emotional involvements, and this thing that should have brought them back togther, back to where they started so they could find eachother and themselves again, it just pushed them further apart, and that fact was never dealt with, just... pushed aside. And I can't handle the tiny scraps being thown at us-- remember the other psychics you worked with? remember that kid we had? now that that's out of the way, let's never mention them again-- or the poor writing that dealt with the entanglements we were left with by not dealing with them at all-- al mean, seriously, you've been in hiding all this time close enough that a helicopter can bring you back and now you're totally forgiven on this basically small-scale case that doesn't even affect the FBI much at all? Come on.

It feels like Chris Carter doesn't like us. Or that he's grown bitter and jaded to the detiment of this idea that was so great when it started. I can see where this could have been great, but the parts aren't tied together well enough and the characters are manhandled through this loose and messy plot, and it basically just left me not caring. It's like a third season meh-episode blown up into something that can't support it's own length. And there were only three deleted scenes, so I'm not convinced that it's a failure of the editing. If it turns out that people are upset enough to want another one to make up for it, and the next one is good, I'll be greatful for it, but I don't particularly like it. Don't hate it, but I'm sad it wasn't good.

classic who: genesis of the daleks

Back from winter hiatus and starting in slowly! We missed a month of Classic Who, but we're back with the place all Daleks come from.

Which turns out to be pretty bland and grey and more than a little Nazi-ish. See, there's this war between the Kaleds and the Thals (who we met on that weird planet with the spitting plants), and it's been going on for centuries, using up resources and becoming more hopeless and more prinitive as it goes. The Doctor is dumped there with Sarah Jane and Harry by the Timelords who are being all pompous and imperial and telling him he needs to stop the Daleks before they happen, one way or the other. They're immediately gassed and separated, and, of course, wind up on different sides of the battle, with the Doctor and Harry helping the Thals and trying to find a way to stop Davros and Sarah-Jane taken as a POW and put to work with a mutant who might be cute except for his desperate need of a bath, who goes all sweet on her because she's pretty and he's tired of destroying anything beautiful.

There's running about, being captured and escaping, political struggles, and the usual arguement between science as a weapon and science as a tool for betterment, and the Doctor eventually gets the scientists to believe that Davros and his need to weaponize things is a bad idea. 

There were neat things here:
- the Daleks were originally invented because the Kaleds realized that they were mutating (because of the war?) and their ultimate form would need a sort of encounter suit to continue existing-- but Davros took it to the next level and 'purified' the test subjects into the Daleks we all know and hide from, free of pity and full of raging and unstoppable belief in their own superiority.
- the Doctor is faced with the necessity of offing all the Daleks while they're still being formed-- mass alien infanticide-- and he can't do it. He's paralyzed in Tom Baker's tensest moment yet by the horror of being such a destroyer. And, having watched the new series religiously, I know it won't be the last time.
- Davros makes the daleks pitiless... and then they figure out that he's flawed and too swayed by emotion and turn on him in one of those ironies that are so great on TV.
- Sarah Jane's Muto friend is sweet, always putting her safety before his, and being very brave for the people he's only just met, even when it means going against his own people, and against the resistence the Doctor drums up along the way (I just hope he gets together with the cute pixie-girl that led the resistence; that's be a sweet and openminded way to rebuild the civilization after the Daleks are distroyed-- this time).

The cheese-factor was low, and it was fun seeing Sarah-Jane climb scaffolding like a monkey and encourage the Doctor to be ruthless. Overall, a good serial, though a little slow in the beginning, and needing a coat of paint in some color other than grey on both sides.