Clone Wars was very good, I thought, but then again I'm a loyal fan of Genndy Tartakovsky and I'm pretty sure he'd have to rape baby crocodiles with a chainsaw in order for me to find his work offputting. He is one of today's rare animation directors who has a deep understanding of how to link two dimensional design and three dimensional design. The stylization was excellent.
A lot of fighting, though. Fights generally go on too long for my taste, even when the warriors are executing extra-impossible ninja-style coolio moves (as Jedi, especially cartoon ones, are wont to do). Littlestar found the endless fighting especially tedious, and uninvited herself from the screening of the second Clone Wars series.
As far as bridging the gap between sequels goes, Clone Wars did a better job than The Animatrix, a more random and indulgent dip into miscellaneous facets from the Matrix universe with only one story contributing concretely to connecting up with the plot of the next film. (Then again, this retrospective point of view may owe something to the fact that Revenge of the Sith did not suck as badly as the God-forsaken two-part conclusion to The Matrix series, The Matrix: Fully Loaded and The Matrix: Load Blown.)
Anakin Skywalker was easier to buy in cartoon. Even in love.
The coolest part was when the Separatist battleships came out of hyperspace right in the middle of the Republic starfleet, and two of the ships crashed and made a big explosion. Cool!
Six Feet Under
Littlestar and I watched Season 1 over the course of about two weeks. It's cute, I guess, although we both felt a little bit unclean afterward for indulging in a soap.
"It's a comparatively intelligent soap..." Littlestar pointed out.
"I kinda wish that genius girl Nate's doing had a bigger rack."
"...A fact which may be wasted on you."
"She's all pointy."
I liked the idea of having an opening elipsis in which someone dies, but was disappointed how quickly the show descended to connecting this prelude sequence to members of the cast as a dramatic hook. It made Los Angeles seem like a very, very small city indeed and thereby strained my credulity.
My step-mother "warned" us that the show contained "graphic" homosexual love scenes. This turned out to be a couple of guys kissing...with their shirts off. I know, I know. It's hard to imagine. On television, no less -- where they can be seen! Jesus Murphy Brown.
(I bet watching Six Feet Under is what turned Mr. Sulu gay.)
In another shocking scene too rancid for Springer, two clothed men are seen in a medium long-shot gyrating as if bum-boinking. I mean, that's practically gay porn right there...on the same HBO that children watch!
On a less sarcastic note, I thought the gay storyline was interesting. David's struggle with his sexuality and its slow introduction into his familial life was believable and modern, rather than stilted and didactic. It's too bad he broke up with Keith. He seemed like a solid fellow.
The coolest part was when David told off that motherfucker from Kroner in the greasy spoon, and threatened his life. I cheered. The reversal of cruelty was delicious.
My brother says he has Seasons 2 & 3 on disc, so I'm hoping he'll bring them by to dinner tonight so I don't have to download them. My connection is currently busy with other items.
That's right, FBI. I'm ignoring the warning screen. I'm watching this shit without commercials, and I feel fine. Eat my shorts, HBO. You may say I'm stealing your property, but I say you're tricky pale-faces who stole my soul with your flash box.
Firefly & Serenity
I have never deleted six gigabytes faster. You people are insane.
The strongest point in the franchise was probably the final episode of the TV series (Objects in Space), in which a lithe black man in red leather named Mr. Early craftily sneaks aboard Serenity and with icy confidence some philosophical whimsy efficiency smacks the crap out of the crew in an attempt to capture River, the simpering space-ninja.
To my mind the somewhat plumper cold black man hunting down River in the movie seemed like a cheap imitation of Mr. Early, with none of his panache.
The earthy fiddle music dotting the incidental music in the TV series was a nice touch, I thought, especially during the silence-in-space sequences. In contrast, this tone was missing entirely from the soundtrack of the movie, which also seemed to labour to find ways for Serenity to be constantly dipping into the top of an "atmo" so that the foley artists had an excuse to use sound (tanging laser blasts, booming explosions, roaring engines, airy swooping -- the whole nine).
I thought the Western motifs were laid on way too thick. While I liked the idea of grounding scifi in some dusty, septic, rusty elements of reality, I found it just made me giggle when the people of every moon turned out to speak with exaggerated drawls (intermittently) and make (irregular) use of 19th century-style colloquialisms. I mean, I think you can communicate that frontier je ne sais quoi without necessarily putting everyone in ten gallon hats. Also, the uniformity of cultures was a bit boring. (That they can help, unlike the way they probably couldn't afford to vary the landscapes any further -- every fucking moon was eastern California...holy Star Trek, Batman!)
I heard some fans talking about "plot twists" when the movie came out. It turns out these twists are all of a kind: <spoiler>major characters die.</spoiler> All I can say is: cheap, Joss. Very cheap.
Also: why did the whole cast have to lose 20 lbs. to be in the movie? What's up with that? The little engineering girl went from being cute to looking sickly. The Shepherd was fasting, I guess.
Speaking of Shepherd Book: what ever happened to the revelation from near the end of the TV series that "he's no shepherd"? I was pretty sure that was going to lead to something in the movie...connect up with why the shepherd got such special treatment from the Alliance ship they ran into around mid-season. Turns out not.
Considering the religious undercurrent of the franchise, I'm surprised they managed to do the whole run without once saying "Jesus."
I liked the way the sets of the interior of Serenity were all connected together. The muddy lighting, however, often made it difficult to see which set we were in at any given time. For some reason this effect was exaggerated in the movie, in which the corridors were cast in almost complete darkness. The kitchen had a good colour/lighting balance. The bridge was like a half-glimpsed messy closet.
The big turny thing in the engine room? Um.
The Reavers were an interesting idea. Too bad they were wasted on such a ridiculously contrived plot-point on which the movie ended up hanging -- <spoiler>that our lovable ruffians are all about to sacrifice their lives in order to let the whole stellar system know that the Alliance accidentally made the Reavers</spoiler>. Why? Because a) the people "deserve to know the truth" and because b) we are led to believe that this is the secret the Alliance wanted to kill River for, and now, presumably, they'll allow their escaped schizoaffective killmonkey go on her merry way.
Littlestar pointed out that the Reavers were basically made into Orcs for the purposes of the movie. They came, they screamed and gibbered, they lined up at the doorway to be shot. Super.
You have a culture of hyper-aggressive sadomasochistic cannabalistic fetishists that scour space hunting for playthings, and reduce them to scarred-up inarticulate cosmic pirates. Klingon extras. SOCs. They might as well have been a CG swarm.
Nice, Joss. Daring!
Speaking of daring or lack thereof...there are a number of actual and latent love affairs that developed or were in the process of developing onboard the ship through the course of the TV series: the Righteous Captain and the Elegant Whore, Wash and Zoe (married), Jayne and his own cock (single), Kaylee and the Captain, Kaylee and Simon, and -- of course -- Simon and River.
Out of this list, which does Wheadon choose to explore?
You guessed it -- <spoiler>Captain Reynolds admits he has a crush on the shipboard prostitute with a heart of gold.</spoiler> Wow. Will scifi ever be the same?
I kinda liked those big skyscraper-like Alliance ships with green windows. Why weren't they in the movie?
The coolest part in the franchise was when Captain Reynolds' apparent wife went all busty-psycho and stalked around the ship incapacitating everybody and showing her cleavage. Like I said, it was neat how the sets were all connected together.
Doctor Who, Series 27
The newest version of Doctor Who is a big hit around here. The balance of interesting premises versus tongue-in-cheek groundedness makes even the weaker episodes palatable. I like what they've done with both the theme music and the incidental music. The dialogue is sharp, even when it's about goofy scifi conceits.
As soon as each episode was done Littlestar and I both wanted to watch another, which meant we tore through the whole brief season very quickly, and we are shocked and appalled to learn how long we have to wait for things to resume on a regular schedule. We're both looking forward to the Christmas special, and seeing the new Doctor find his new wardrobe and show us his attitude.
I am not looking forward to the rumoured launch of the "dramatic" spin-off series (can't remember the title, some butt-stupid anagram of "Doctor Who") starring Captain Jack & Friends, which will apparently be combined with the events of the Christmas Special. I hear it will be set in 21st century Cardiff, and involve people who screw one another investigating strange (and possibly alien) phenomena...sort of like if those dorks the Lone Gunmen from The X-Files got laid.
I don't have much curiosity about the spin-off, as it sounds fairly retarded.
Other rumour mongers tell me that in the 28th Series the Doctor will be joined by his Aibo, K-9, which I remember being fond of as a lad.
The coolest part was when Rose went all pan-chronologically ape-shit and said something along the lines of, "I can see every atom of your existence, backward and forward through time forever -- and I divide them!" and then dissolved the Dalek armada into pixiedust. (Then they left Captain Jack behind, which was a real highlight of the series for me. So long, sucker!)
I have always loved the TARDIS. I'm glad they didn't mess up the sound it makes.
I have just received Season 1 and Season 2 of the new incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, but have not yet watched it. As an act of prelude Littlestar and I watched the original 1978 movie version last night, knitted and pearled by Glen A. Larson (whose other brainchildren include Quincy, M.E., Magnum, P.I. and Knight Roder).
Much like Firefly Larson's universe is fed by a steady undercurrent of latent Christianity, and I wonder how much (if any) of that particular aspect of the vision survives in the remake. It is exposited early on that human history is some six thousand years long, and that thirteen races of men (twelve civilized nations and one lost tribe) were dispersed among the stars by a superior intelligence. Strong, politically right wing family men of strong moral fibre shoulder the responsibility to reunite the survivors of the Silon Holocaust with the lost tribe in defiance of the simpering of frail peacenik boobs.
Lorne Green's Commander Adama's righteousness is predicated on his absolute knowledge that the Silons (subtext: Communists) abhor freedom, and that they will not stop until they rob every being, human and alien alike (American and Foreign), of their freedom to freely choose being free. The Silons "cannot understand justice" and "will never learn", and thus it is encumbant upon right thinking members of the surviving human race to kill or be killed in a holy jihad for the ownership of space.
The humans Adama is hauling around are distracted by gambling, booze and whores in a crafty trap set up by the Silons who, despite their reported inability to grok humanity, are able to deceive masses of people by manipulating their vices and readiness to fall into sin.
The casting follows the standard twentieth century television logic that the fairer one's hair, the more easily acquainted one is with sinning. Wholesome people have brown hair (or white hair that used to be brown), and their stalwart sidekicks have black hair. Reckless space jockeys and whores have blonde hair. The Silons have reflective heads, like Kojak, and eyes like KITT.
The scads of lumpy grey spaceships that comprise this fleet of survivors would be easier to follow if the exact same motion-control coordinates weren't used for 75% of the pans, leading to a muddling consistency in the model photography. The soundtrack is offensive in its repetitiousness: the same laser "ba-zang!" noise and the same concussive explosion ("ker-plow-wow!") are used for every exchange of fire, without modification. A loop of anthematic brass cycles up every time Adama waxes Heston.
My wife and I both cracked up laughing when the robotic monkey-dog thing lumbered out to nuzzle the lonely white child Apollo was working through in order to date his widower mother. Is there a mechanical daggit in the new version? If so, I hope its arms aren't twice as long as its legs.
Man, I used to really dig Battlestar Galactica when I was a kid. But then again I also thought Galactica 1980 was high art so it is obvious my critical faculties were...undeveloped.
At any rate, I'm ready for the new one. I'm unRARing it now.
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