Category Archives: lord of the rings

The Following: The Poet’s Fire

Most fiction (in any medium, be it books, television, or film) works on the premise of suspension of disbelief. The target, in this case, the viewer has to believe what they are seeing. It’s very important in science fiction and fantasy, because in stuff like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, the boundaries of reality are being stretched. But in a way, it’s easier in those realms.

In something like “The Following,” which is essentially based in the ‘real’ world, albeit a larger than life version, it’s even more important. The viewer has to not just believe it can happen, but they have to believe it could really happen, if you get my understanding.

This episode, “The Poet’s Fire,” opens with a nutjob in an Edgar Allan Poe mask (after just two weeks, an already old and tired gimmick for this EAP fan) sets a man on fire on a crowded city street with witnesses with cellphones and security cameras overhead. Seriously, if such a thing happened in the ‘real’ world, the media would go batshit crazy. I know it, you know it, and quite honestly, showrunner Kevin Williamson should know it too. Here, no one but the Feds and the cops that seem to blink at all.

And that’s just the beginning. The rest of the episode is spent flashbacking and overexplaining motivations we have already guessed. And then there’s the obligatory serial killer follower of the week, whose plot twist I guessed from jump street. The blind followers are getting a bit too convenient as well. Perhaps it’s Williamson’s comment on reality television and sheeple. Or just lazy writing.

“The Following” has ceased to be clever, to be unique, and even – and I’m counting the cast members I like in this statement – be interesting.

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Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman ~ I was really unsure what to expect when I went to see this flick. What I did not expect was to be one of the few males in the audience. Much like when I saw Wolverine, this was a chick flick judging by the audience. I don’t want to be sexist, but I’m guessing it was all about Chris Hemsworth, especially based on the number of negative comments I heard leaving the theater by women angry that he did not take his shirt off. He was pretty good in the film although he didn’t really have much to do with Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart eating up the scenery the way they did.

Theron rocks the house as Ravenna the Evil Queen in this reimagining of the Snow White story. This is her film, no doubt, even though it really should be Stewart’s or Hemsworth’s. And I know it’s early, but wait until Oscar time, I think we’ll see a nod for costumes and make-up for this flick. Charlize wears some outfits in this flick, she’s like Cher from hell. I loved it.

Kristen Stewart is a major problem for me here. She’s never impressed me, even in the Twilight flicks where she is supposed to rule. My major problem here? The whole idea of the Queen asking the mirror who the prettiest, and the mirror picking Snow White over the Evil Queen. I don’t buy it even for a second. I’m not being subjective here, but there is just no way Stewart beats Theron in this movie in the looks department. It’s just not believable.

I liked the dwarves, in that they were played by well-known actors. Cool to see Nick Frost, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, and Toby Jones among them. They were CGIed into dwarven bodies a la Lord of the Rings, which some of this movie resembles, and not in a good way. On the other hand, part of me kinda wishes however they would have gone with little people actors like they did in Mirror Mirror than doing it this way. Seems like they’re putting little people out of work, and in a worse light, it kinda feels like white folks putting on black face, ya know?

There are a great many things to enjoy about this film. One of them is the dark forest which is scarier by far than any depiction of any dark forest I’ve seen cinematically ever. And of course I loved the song over the closing credits, “Breath of Life” by Florence + The Machine, for once a perfect song matched to a flick.

But then there are things that infuriate me as well, like the loose ends and unanswered questions, regarding the troll and the mirror for instance. There was more to tell, perhaps we’ll see it in the deleted scenes of the DVD maybe. I also disliked the big LotR battle at the end, this didn’t seem to be that kind of movie. And that’s the problem, I don’t think the folks behind the scenes knew what kind of movie they wanted to make.

In the end, it’s visually stunning, but otherwise meh. Definitely worth seeing, but maybe more worth waiting for video release or OnDemand.

French Fry Diary 331: Herr’s Sweet Potato Chips

Doctor Who: The Big Bang

This is it, the finale. Last episode it was truly a 1966 “Batman” cliffhanger – The Doctor was imprisoned in the Pandorica by all of his greatest enemies and Amy had been shot, supposedly killed by the Nestine/Roman/Auton Rory at Stonehenge in 102 AD.

After the scenes from last week we get the caption that says 1894 years later to see Amy as a child praying for someone to come and fix the hole in her bedroom wall. This is significant as it skewers the rumors that the Doctor actually picked up Amy from the 1980s rather than the present day. Do the math.

What we see is very similar to the opening of this season’s first episode “The Eleventh Hour” – except there’s no Doctor, and no stars in the sky. With other things like star cults and Nile penguins, it becomes quickly apparent that this is an altered timeline. Young Amy is led to a museum by a path of Post-It notes Alice-style where she opens the Pandorica and is confronted by her older self. Cue title sequence.

My first reaction is that Steven Moffet was just watching a bit too much Bill and Ted. There is a lot of Bill and Ted time travel buggery going on here. You know, jumping back and forth in time quickly to make sure what you need is where you need it when you need it. It’s fun. Once. Not several times. But I have to say, Moffet covers his bets and makes sure everything is explained regarding these elements.

There are lots of cool bits in this episode. It felt sooo good when Rory punches the Doctor in the mouth. It’s even cooler when River Song makes a Dalek beg for mercy. And Rory seals his image with the ladies with perhaps the most romantic artist’s rendering ever. There were scary moments of premature realization when I thought maybe Amy was an Auton or perhaps DoctorDonna. There’s also the fez that the Doctor wears for a short time, “It’s a fez. I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool.”

There’s also an overlong backwards rewind through this whole season by the Doctor. In this we learn that not everything we have seen was the Doctor in his present time, at that time. It also serves to explain what I at first thought was an editing glitch in the Angels two-parter. When the Doctor is sans jacket, then with jacket and then sans jacket again – the jacketed Doctor was the Doctor from the future rewinding backwards.

“The Big Bang” was a somber and less special effects dependent finale than its first part, but it worked for me. It does suffer somewhat from Lord of the Rings-it is, in that it has far too many endings. The bad news is we don’t find out who River Song is, yet, so I cannot collect bets or pay folks off. I still think she could be the Rani…

So until Christmas… remember, in the words of Professor River Song, “the Doctor lies.”

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Prince Caspian

I think at some point I should actually read some of the Narnia books. I’ve seen previous versions of some of the series made for TV, as well as 2005’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and I always walk away with a feeling that I’ve missed something. It’s not that I’m thick or something and don’t get it – it’s that I feel there are elements that may have been in the books that ain’t making it to the new media.


That feeling hit me again tonight when I saw The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Now for all intents and purposes, and especially to the uninitiated, this is a sequel to the 2005 movie, and that may be for appearances. But, point in fact, this is the third in the Narnia series, and the connections made to its predecessor just aren’t there in the books. But as I said, I haven’t read said books, so it didn’t bug me much. It did however make me wonder what else had been tampered with in the translation.

Obviously the stories are quite old and needed to be updated for contemporary audiences I suppose, or possibly for more current tastes and trends. Specifically, the Lord of the Rings was hot so the powers-that-be in Hollywood seem to have made Narnia more like that, and believe me, after sitting through this 144 minute film, it really wants to be LotR. And I just find that ironic because Lewis and Tolkien were contemporaries who, by some accounts, really didn’t care for each other much.

It’s not great, but then again, it could have been much worse. The special effects are pretty spectacular and the performances quite good, but there are problems. Most notable among them are the thick accents of the Telmarines. I found myself wishing for captions at several points during the film. And then there are minor things like how Susan’s quiver never runs out of arrows.

All in all, it’s probably a good family film. Beware of a large body count, even though it’s ‘fantasy violence.’ Of course that’s a term I have never understood. How is getting run through with a magic sword less graphic than Bruce Willis shooting up a room with an Uzi anyway? Anyway, good flick, worth seeing, but maybe more worth the wait for DVD.