Archive for the ‘the Reviews’ Category

08-10-2014 12;06;48AM

AMC Stubs Member Swag, “Don’t freak out, it’s just a mask.”

Part of me cringed that I subjected myself to two Michael Bay movies in one month, but surprisingly enough, this one wasn’t as bad as the Transformer franchise—don’t get me wrong, it was still Michael Bay doing Michael Bay, but it was the higher end of the low expectations. After god knows how many script rewrites resulting from leaked scripts exploding the internet in mass rage, mostly about the idea that the turtles weren’t going to be turtles, but extra-dimensional aliens that simply looked like turtles, because according to Michael Bay, they were originally aliens, after which Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird set his shit straight and we were given the mutant turtles we were meant to have. Now, the story, if you have not been watching the new ‘Ninja Turtles’ cartoon on Nick, you may be slightly thrown by the story as it is (I’ve only seen it enough to recognize it as the source), since it will slightly conflict with your memories of the cartoon and/or comics (kinda like how the ‘90s movie conflicted with people that never read the comic and only knew the cartoon), but it’s not that much of massive change (especially when you keep telling yourself what he originally planned, you’ll be ok with it).

We start off with a cel-shaded prologue through the start credits that gives a brief profile of the turtles being trained to protect the city while they hide beneath it (not to get into a thing of constantly review the 3D quality of movies, but this was actually impressive to see—well enough that I almost started wishing I had money to upgrade my PC enough to see what my cel-shaded games look like in 3D—still not saying he did the 3D as well as it could have been, but it was at least a lot better than ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’), we also get very brief notes that the Foot Clan lead by the Shredder is terrorizing New York. Credits/prologue ends, and we introduce Megan Fox’s ass in the role of TV news reporter April O’Neal who is interviewing a guy at a shipping yard about a recent robbery of chemicals which are hyped up to “you can’t even get this stuff on the black market” level. We then introduce Will Arnett as our comic-relief who begins the usual sexually objectifying of Megan Fox as is normally expected of any female in a Michael Bay movie (but it’s Megan Fox, and that’s pretty much her leading skill in acting), which then moves the scene over to reveal that April is only a fluff-piece reporter, who is only hoping to break in as an investigative reporter (she apparently doesn’t know why even Clark Kent quit the Daily Planet to become a blog writer—the internet is the new news source).

So nothing happens and her day ends with a bike ride home conveniently going by the shipping yard that happens to be getting robbed by the Foot, but then, someone stops them, and her camera-phone does badly with low light (worst product-placement ever), so all she gets is the vigilante’s calling-card of graffiti Asian symbols. She goes back to the office with this story and Whoopi Goldberg laughs at her absurd existence, and then so does Will Arnett while continuing to humorously attempt to get in her pants while she doesn’t notice.

We cut to a dude tide-up in ropes, who then gets attacked by dudes, that he beats ups because his choreography was designed to hit people and theirs wasn’t (it was actually a bit worse than a Star Wars light-saber fight where all the blows are nowhere near anything). He then breaks the ropes, and tells cheek-bones (played by Minae Noji) that her dudes suck, and she blames their sucking on the vigilante sucking less than them and it just wasn’t fair. So Shredder (played by Tohoru Masamune) who can understand English fluently but chooses to only speak Japanese ‘cause he just that kind of dick and wants to make you read stuff, tells cheek-bones to bait the vigilante by attacking innocents (like Michael Bay attacking your childhood innocents by making your favorite cartoons into his movies).

Conveniently, Megan Fox’s ass stumbles upon the Foot attacking a subway station, taking hostages (that she becomes a member of), and setting bombs (in a subway station that they’re in—why wouldn’t that be a good plan). Just in time to stop Megan Fox’s ass from getting shot by cheek-bones, a train comes, lights go out and everyone is beaten up. Lights come back and the vigilantes are only glimpsed climbing up a construction shoot that goes all the way from the subway station to the top of a multi-story building (I have no idea if that’s normal to have, but ok). Megan Fox’s ass follows them and starts taking pictures where Michael Bay comic-relief starts to spew until she passes out (which is understandable, Michael Bay comic-relief is a lot to try to take in).

She then realizes that the turtles are her pets from when she used to hang out with her dad in his lab that blew-up (this was apparently all a thing—welcome to info dumping—it doesn’t end here). After getting fired by Whoopi Goldberg for talking crazy she then goes to see her dad’s ex-lab partner who’s apparently rich-balls. This then rolls into an info dump that pretty much just spews out the rest of the plot so much you could just stop watching now ‘cause you already know everything that’s going to happen for the rest of the movie. So when the next scene is of him chillin’ with Shredder, despite what the music suggests, you’re not really surprised (it was pretty much a “no shit” moment).

Megan Fox’s ass then gets a message to meet the Turtles where they take her to meet Splinter (played by Tony Shalhoub for some reason—it’s really the most disjointing voice that just doesn’t fit at all). We then go into an info-dump that gives more detail of the turtles’ origins making the prologue a bit pointless (I really don’t think Michael Bay really understands the point to prologues to begin with). This then closes with Megan Fox’s ass conveniently realizing that her cell is being track at just the moment the Foot finds them. An absurd fight between Splinter and Shredder happens that makes the Yoda fight in Episode 3 look normal. Shredder expertly wields the armor that was just made for him like a scene ago, which seems to allow his bones to bend oddly (or it’s just a result of CGI fighting where they seem to think that moving fast makes you look like you’re made of rubber—I had this same issue with ‘Man of Steel’). Everybody almost dies, but not so much that we can’t go off for a couple days continue the rest of the story and come back and save you later when most people stopped even wondering if you were still alive or not.

All but Raph is taken, so he and April (because she knows where the lab partner’s rich-balls house is) go save the rest of the turtles then go all the way back to the city from where ever they were and stop the Shredder and lab-partner from poisoning then curing everybody. A large roof-top fight between the Turtles and the Shredder begins while the countdown for poison spewing starts (because no one can just poison spew without a countdown, there are traditions and protocols that must be followed). After slightly beating the Shredder with the flash-back spew reference they stop the count down. Shredder gets back up and just knocks down the spewer instead (‘cause screw those countdown protocols), which Megan Fox’s ass then threatens to drop and destroy the cure if he doesn’t stop (because that’s good threat that completely works in her favor and wouldn’t just get the whole city killed). Shredder falls to his doom, and the Turtles and Megan Fox’s ass disappear into the sewers. Splinter who we forgot was dieing is ok now, and we close with comic-relief, and no post-credit scene.

So… on the Michael Bay Grading Scale: 5 out of 5, there was just so much Megan Fox ass in 3D that you almost forget this is supposed to be a movie intended for kids. On the Everyone Else Grading Scale: 3 out of 5, which is pretty good in his case, the jokes weren’t as bad, the story wasn’t as bad, but it was still really bad. At best, I can say that it was way better than I thought it was going to be and would at least be a fun movie to take your kids to without too much regret, and isn’t anywhere near as painful to watch as any of the Transformer movies (at least the odd choice of voice actors are synced correctly, whereas Transformers usually just makes me think they’re all ventriloquists, or Popeye).

They gave me a button!

They gave me a button!

Ok, I have a thing about reviews, I do try to avoid writing any reviews on something if I have too much trouble finding anything positive to say about it, but at the same time, I also try to avoid reviews when I have too much trouble finding anything negative to say about it. I try my best to give every detail of the good and the bad, but this… it fanboyed the shit out of me, and I got nothin’ for the bad—I’m really trying to think of something bad to say, I swear. But, because I promised you a review, here we go anyway.

First, to reference my last review, I saw this in 3D, and it was fucking beautiful from beginning to the very, very end (I included the post-credit scene in that ‘very’—which you better remember to stay for).

It starts off with a prologue set in 1988 with Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) as a child. He’s lost in his head listening to his Walkman, with a tape labeled “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” we zoom out and reveal he’s sitting in a hospital when his grandfather comes to get him to see his mother who is at the very final stages of cancer—sorry, but you’ll have to just tough it out, you’re about to find yourself crying during a prologue (I know, right). She dies, and he storms off breaking down in front of the hospital, where a huge ship suddenly tracker-beams him up. End prologue… you can stop crying now.

Flashforward to the present and we have an interstellar Indiana Jones, who gives us a song and dance number that puts ‘Spider-man 3’ to shame. While he’s nabbing a metallic orb, he is interrupted by Korath and his people who apparently also want the orb, but wish to arrest him so their boss, Ronan the Accuser, can question him, which is then interrupted by a BA escape scene which is only mildly topped by a later escape scene.

This results in Star-Lord now having two different people looking for him, working for Ronan, Gamora, daughter of the Mad Titan, Thanos, wants the orb, and Yondu Udonta, revealed to be the crime boss that abducted him and “saved” him, wants him captured so he can kill him, and he wants the orb, but to sell.

We then go to Rocket Racoon and Groot who are scanning people for possible bounties, and come across Star-Lord with his fresh new bounty who’s visiting the Broker to sell the orb to, and then throws him out when he discovers Ronan wanted it.

Gamora, flirts, kicks, grabs, and runs quick enough to make things look clearly too easy, and she and Star-Lord wrestle while Rocket and Groot get in the middle, only to be finally interrupted by Nova Corps (aka Marvel’s Green Lantern Corps).

They’re thrown in prison, and a lot of people want to kill Gamora for helping Ronan destroy anything that wasn’t Kree. We then meet Drax the Destroyer, who has the biggest grudge and is only stopped by Star-Lord convincing him that Gamora would serve as bait for Ronan.

We then dive into the next BA escape.

They’re out, and headed to the Collector (you remember him, he was in the ‘Thor: the Dark World’ post-credit scene where we first hear the phrase “infinity stones”). The collector opens the orb and finally reveals what it is, right before his slave makes it go boom making the heroes of the story realize that it would be safer if handed over to the Nova Corps (well, Star-Lord still wants to sell it, without getting arrested), but before this is a thing, Ronan shows up because Drax is an idiot, and coincidently, Yondu arrives, resulting in the orb being taken by Ronan, everyone else captured and making deals with Yondu.

Deals are struck, and a plan to take on the now infinitely powered Ronan with the help of Nova Corps opens up to a huge battle in every direction. Gamora takes on Nebula, who really didn’t get much foreground story use until now, and ends with Nebula falling into nowhere (safe to assume we’ll see her in another movie). Rocket is outside helping Nova Corps in massive dogfights, that is going more south than not. And then, ending in the most touching speech from Groot that will have you in tears… again… sorry. Tears everywhere, Rocket blasts Ronan and Star-Lord and crew take on the infinite power and kaboom him to death… to… death.

More crying… so much crying… so, so much crying—and yay, most everyone is alive except everyone who’s dead, lets party, and stuff. We give vague explanation that the big badaboom didn’t kill Star-Lord because his daddy is a BA (*cough* Jason of Sparta *cough*), and now his ship is fixed and Nova Corps is cool with them for now.

We’re on the ship, more tears and crying, “Awesome Mix Vol. 2”, and onward to new adventures!

Now sit and count how many people stay before the end credits while you sit and wait like a good little fanboy/girl. Now I won’t reveal the post-credit, but just to squash one of the rumors so you don’t find yourself crying from disappointment later, a scene with Nathan Fillion as Nova does not happen—I’m not saying it won’t still be a thing later, I don’t give up hope that easily, but it’s not a thing for now. So just be cool, clap your hands, and say you believe and someday it will happen. The scene you do get is funny more for people my age though, for the rest of you kids, just tell you parents about it so they can explain it to you.

And, that’s about it… see… that was the most commentary void review I’ve ever done… it just feels empty. If it wasn’t for all the damned crying, I’d barely have anything at all.

So… um… the rating 4 out of 5, it didn’t give me shit to bitch about, resulting in a boring review—that shit ain’t coo’. Plus, so much crying making me so wet for so completely the wrong reasons—I’m not really sure what the right reasons are, but those can’t be them. The best thing we can really say about how awesome this was, is that it hopefully will open up the door a little wider to allow space operas to be a thing again. This world sucks, and we’re very in to looking far upward as our escape right now—give us something to look at. ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ aren’t the only franchises available, Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers, and even another try at John Carter (with a less idiotic marketing agency maybe), and so much more are still there, let’s let the awesomeness of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ be that thing that smacks Hollywood awake and gives us what we want (possibly in TV too).

 

English: Bumble bee & Optimus Prime

English: Bumble bee & Optimus Prime (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Watched ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ yesterday in 3D. Now, most movies I’ve seen in theater lately, I’ve seen in 3D (obviously excluding the cheap shows), but I mention the detail of this one being in 3D because it was the first time I was significantly disappointed. For pretty much the whole movie, I could have been watching it in 2D and it wouldn’t have made much difference. I’m not even just talking about the lack of things flying off the screen (which this did lack), but it’s also the lack of significant depth. In a lot of movies, my stance on 2D vs 3D and how 3D is significant, is that the added depth puts you a bit more in the story, but with this, I still just felt completely disconnected from beginning to end. I saw ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ in 3D (no, I didn’t do a review, and this is probably the closest you’re gonna get), and that was damn near the most amazing thing I’ve seen so far, and a completely opposite from ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction,’ and I’m glad that was what I used to be my little girl’s first 3D movie experience.

This was a Michael Bay movie so naturally it’s difficult to talk about it without it being mostly about the visual effects, while barely mentioning the story because, essentially, that statement is the entire basic concept of a Michael Bay movie: visual effects scenes with a barely substantial story speckled through it. So, let’s start with that speckled story.

This, in case you don’t know, is the fourth movie in the Michael Bay Transformer movies, we start with a vague and mostly pointless prologue of the Earth surrounded by ships, and invading a Earth filled with dinosaurs, the after about a minute of that, we cut to a scene in the arctic where they uncover dinosaurs covered in metal (try real hard to remember this because by the time anything about his is even vaguely hinted at again in the movie, you will probably have already forgotten about it—and if that happens, also don’t worry ‘cause nothing in a Michael Bay story is ever that important). Prologue ends, and first act begins, it starts off a few years after the invasion of Chicago that took place in the last movie, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon.’ There are signs everywhere telling people to report any suspected alien activity. Mark Wahlberg is a junk collector with his friend TJ Miller (from the show ‘Silicon Valley’ on HBO and a crap load of comic-relief roles), he goes into an abandoned theater in “Texas” (which I have been in before, and I’ve never been to Texas—weird), after rummaging through discarded theater stuff, they find a huge semi (I’m not sure how that was supposed to be considered normal), when the door was opened, spent ammo shells of many sizes spill out (and this is only vaguely glanced at, “Well that’s weird, eh, whatever”). So he buys the truck that the theater owner didn’t remember was there (vague nod at the first movie when Shia finds Bee at Bernie Mac’s car lot—that’s right, I’m making you go watch that bullshit now).

We then cut to some black op stuff where they’re hunting a Transformer on the Boblo Boat, which is revealed to be an Autobot because the black ops are on mission to destroy all Transformers for some reason (except the one helping them—he’s cool, apparently).

Back to “Texas” where we sort of meet Wahlberg’s daughter Nicola Peltz (from ‘Last Air Bender’ and movies/TV where her main talent is just being hot—do I need to remind you this is a Michael Bay movie?), she just got denied a scholarship and then here comes her father with a truck he just spent money on, “but don’t worry, it was the comic-relief’s money, but we’re still broke, so it doesn’t really matter.” We reveal that he’s actually not a junk collector, but a really crappy inventor, who understand electronics well enough to reverse engineer anything, but can’t seem to find any practical use for this to make money with (until the very obvious ending).

Next day, simply because, he already figured out the truck is a Transformer between scene-wipes because a car batter gives enough charge to activate the distress call. Hot daughter storms in the house upset that absurd-line-delivery dad wouldn’t let her call the government and get enough money to pay their bills and her school because he’d rather make money instead (Michael Bay plots—they’re fun).

And from this point shit just starts happening and the vague chance at story just got thrown out. Optimus is fixed, and black ops storm in, and shit hits fan, and hot daughter’s pedophile boyfriend who caries laminated copies of pedophile protection laws on his person at all times saves the day, which leads us into ending first act with flash-fossilizing the comic-relief (which left me with “Who the fuck kills the comic-relief in the first act?” to “Thank god, Michael Bay has no idea how to balance comic-relief at all”—I am still haunted by the garden trampling gag that just wouldn’t fucking end).

For most of second act it’s pretty much just people running around and stuff blowing up, with a barely crow-barred in, “Hey we made our own Transformers from that metal that you forgot about, and named one ‘Galvatron’ to give nerds a cheap boner.” We also reveal that the Transformer that the black ops are totally cool with is actually working for the “Creators” (which is never mentioned beyond this, strongly hinting at seeding a sequel—but I predict it’s a reference to the Quintessons—yes, I’m one of the nerds that got a cheap boner, leave me alone!).

Third act, we’re in “China” that had a lot of Detroit building scape for some reason (seriously, the Detroit People Mover doesn’t go to China, it barely even goes to Detroit, it’s entire purpose is to just get you from one parking structure to another to make parking easier, it’s basically just a giant middle-finger that circles downtown mocking everyone that wishes public transportation was a thing). We rescued the dinobots from the bounty hunter’s ship, and stuff blows up, and movie ends with Optimus launching into space to find out what the “Creators” are (see, sequel seed—most of this movie was just a sequel seed, not as blatant as the second movie where we just spent two hours mocking ‘Search for Spock,” but still, it was just set-up for another movie).

And that’s about it, other than the constant attempts of Michael Bay trying to use blowing stuff up as a plot device no matter how many times people try to tell him, “that’s not a plot device, that’s just stuff blowing up—it could have not blown up and it would have been the same difference to the story—except less boomier.”

I’m not sure how I should rate this, ‘cause somehow rating Michael Bay the same way I would rate other people just doesn’t seem fair—it’s like rating a special needs kid with the same grading scale of a genius. It’s like the Einstein quote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” But, I still expect a guy that spends and makes a crapload of money to be better than this, so, I’m going with two grade scales: On the Michael Bay Scale4 out of 5, there were at least a couple things in there that could have blown up that completely didn’t blow up at all; on the Everybody Else Scale2 out 5, not a single detail of the plot came together, it was all just set-up for the next movie, and seriously, look up the definition of “plot device,” the only thing it had going for it is when it actually mocked itself (which was both funny and sad), and when it crow-barred in nerd titillation (which was also a little sad).

 

 

Man of Steel

Man of Steel (Photo credit: MuseLed)

Finally watched Man of Steel

A short review on it… Zack Snyder is a confusing director—he keeps insisting on taking on action movies, but he really doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. He actually tells the story well, it’s when the action happens that he just starts falling into piles of clichés. This was one of the few comic book movies I’ve watched where I actually preferred the back-story act… it was well told, and actually made you feel for the character. But then when the action act started up, the clichés spewed out and punctured the movie with plot-holes and nonsensical physics and getting us to pretend to care about the wellbeing of barely significant characters even though every fucking thing was just leveled (“oh, look, those three guys are ok… too bad about the two completely fucked cities, but at least those guys are fine”). Completely leveled to the point that when Zod started saying he should have just let him build a Krypton, I was pretty much on his side about it, ‘cause, fuck, ya’might as well now.

Quick guess how they’re going to introduce Lex in the next movie… anyone? His usual thing is to point out that super humans are more dangerous than helpful… I’m pretty sure he has a good case going for him.

The CGI for a good portion of the action was just sloppy and at some points started looking completely cartoonish.

And the ending… when he gave himself a secret identity… half the fucking movie knows where his mom lives, but lets pretend the secret identity still makes any damn sense.

So… I’m giving this two ratings: Back-story act 4 out of 5, Action act 2 out of 5. I’m a storyteller by trade, I’m easier to win over with stories.

ZumiaoTemple complex - Ip man residence

ZumiaoTemple complex – Ip man residence (Photo credit: dhelling01)

Just watched ‘The Grandmaster’

Out of all the Ip Man movies that I’ve seen so far, this one is just odd. The storytelling of it was awkward and choppy, and just went off on tangents that I could barely even follow. The fight scenes were decent with only a few moments of unrealistic thrown in, but because of the odd story structuring, I had no idea what half the fights were even about… and I’m pretty sure only some of this can be blamed on the rum.

I give this a 3 out of 5, and I have no idea if this would have been different if I was sober.

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The Mark III armor as featured in the 2008 fil...

The Mark III armor as featured in the 2008 film Iron Man. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know how much detail I can really put into this review compared to any of the others I’ve done because there was seriously so much stuff happening in this movie I probably missed half of it from blinking. But I’ll do my best to cover what I can.

We start off the movie in a flashback on New Years Eve 1999, where Stark is still his old self. Avoiding spoiler, we’ll simply say that pretty much everything that’s happening is crucial to the plot… except for maybe the Y2K joke.

Bringing it back to the now, Stark is working on another design for an Iron Man armor that allows him to will the armor to him with implants that he just injected into himself (not Extremis, but for those that know that arc, you should really keep that in mind). All the while we are introduced by news that there is a terrorist going around blowing stuff up known as the Mandarin, which then leads us to the president introducing the new War Machine model now known as the Iron Patriot (not Norman Osborn, it’s still Rhodey, just with a name that they deemed better for PR).

Meanwhile, back at Stark Industries, Pepper and Happy are trying to get things running as usual when Pepper gets an unexpected visit from the guy in the flashback, Aldrich Killian, which shows her a project that he’s working on call… Extremis (told you to keep it in mind—over all, this is somewhat of an odd remix of the Extremis arc). After Killian shows off his stuff, Happy finds him suspicious and follows him.

We move back to Pepper returning to the Stark house and being introduced to another new armor that Stark is “breaking in,” she assumes to be about Mk15, but is actually Mk42, which all becomes a reveal that Tony is dealing with PTSD from events that occurred back in New York in ‘the Avengers” (this is really about the only detail that seems to be even hinted about the other movies—if there was anything else, I missed it—oh, and sorry, there was only the most vague slight hint to Stark having a drinking problem… that was as close as Disney would allow it).

Back to Happy, things happen, boom. Mandarin takes credit, Stark threatens a terrorist. And now we bring the other person from the flashback in, and before we even know why she’s there, said threatened terrorist blows shit up, which gives Pepper her first moment to be a bit badass.

After huge sequence of shit blowing up, Stark is assumed dead, and we end up in Tennessee with a busted up armor. This leads us to the investigation of a boom that happened here similar to Happy’s boom, and as soon as you think shit is slowing down, shit starts blowing up again. Lot’s of blowing shit up going on in this movie—honestly, through this whole thing, I kept trying to figure out at what point Robert Downey, Jr might have gotten injured that caused a slight delay in production, and well, I stopped trying pretty early in… I couldn’t tell where he was using stunt doubles verses doing his own stunts, and there was so much going on that could have caused some injuries to happen.

Meanwhile, Iron Patriot is hunting down the Mandarin in all the wrong places and stumbles upon a trap that leads to his capture.

Back to Stark, the armor is on a slow charge and he has to MacGyver some stuff while he waits and starts to infiltrate the Mandarin’s hideout. Zapping, booming, and zapping happen, and Mandarin, stuff happens, Stark is captured.

Back to Rhodey still in the Iron Patriot, they eventually pry him out, Rhodey proves he’s pretty badass without the armor (best part about this movie is that all the characters that didn’t really get a chance to be badass in the other two, really get their chance here).

Then chase and rescuing of everyone, and final battle comes with the entire hall of armor out at once. The End (as close as I want to get to it without giving away every twist).

Stay ‘til end of credits (those that don’t already know this shouldn’t even be watching Marvel movies anymore). Final message is that “Tony Stark will be back”… I assume this is in response to the rumors that have been going around that Robert Downey, Jr was done with Iron Man, and no one knew if he was at least going to do the next Avengers movie or not… so, I guess that was telling us we have at least that… I think… or it’s saying they’re recast Tony Stark, but at least Stark is still a thing… I don’t know.

I heard rumors that there were supposed to be references to future Marvel movies in this one—references to Nova, and Ant-man—if these references ever made an appearance they were among the things that happened when I blinked, and I missed them.

Ok… rating, 4 out of 5, and I probably would have given it a straight 5 if it wasn’t for the internet filling me with so much stuff about the movie ahead of time, such as Disney axing Stark’s drinking problem (the writers wanted to mix in ‘Demon in a Bottle,’ but Disney drew the line on darkness there), I probably would have let it go easier if I never knew about it (internet ruins everything).

English: Statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh

English: Statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elementary’

On CBS, ‘Elementary’ has now run for 2 episodes. It is another attempt at a modernized version of Sherlock Holmes. If you’re unaware why I say “another,” we are nearing the third season of ‘Masterpiece Mystery: Sherlock’ on PBS (look, more reasons to support PBS—and the first two seasons are now available on Netflix), created and lead written by the guy that every Whovian has learned to worship, Steven Moffat.

Being that this one has come out so closely along with ‘Sherlock,’ it is a bit unavoidable to try to compare one to the other, and the key comparisons, I would say, would be in how the two do in dealing with the modern treatment of some of the two most famous characters in mystery history, Doctor John Watson, and Consulting Detective Sherlock Holmes. ‘Sherlock’ actually does the best at staying true to the original source, every story that has been written so far has been a detail-for-detail modernization of the original stories—it’s basically a set-up of, how would these mysteries happen in modern times, plus, how would someone with a mind like Sherlock deal with them now, basically, the deductive reasoning in a digital information age. Where as, ‘Elementary’ has been taking a few more liberties with the concept—Doctor John Watson is now Doctor Joan Watson, played by Lucy Liu, and Sherlock now lives in New York after a drug abuse past, and something yet unmentioned in details happened in London, and the stories so far are completely original.

So far, about the only resemblance that our new Sherlock in ‘Elementary’ comes to the one that most of the fans know is in his detective techniques. But, of course, this is the part that should be considered important (although the relationship between Holmes and Watson is important too, but I’m still letting that get flushed out a bit before I say anything—although, if this becomes another bit of the male and female characters start doing it and making all stories later just awkward, then I will greatly mark them down—it’s just too cliché for me, and I say all this with the concern about the set-up so far in mind). Both shows have actually made sure to quote Sherlock’s “attic theory” (though ‘Sherlock’ quoted it in detail, where as ‘Elementary’ mostly paraphrased), so at least with this in mind, we can at least assume that at some level the writers are trying with some effort to keep Sherlock “thinking” like Sherlock, and for at least two episodes, I have not yet seen any noticeable flaws in this

So, my rating for the show so far is 4 out of 5. I can’t give it a full 5 because the changes so far are just making me too uneasy (mainly with Watson, I just so see a future relationship set-up going on that bugs the crap out of me). And I honestly would give it a 3, but the fan-boy in me resists—as some friends may know, a lot of my school-days short-stories were modernized Sherlock Holmes stories, this is one of the key things that gave birth to D’arc Lyte (although, I get a little more noire with him, he does use more of a deductive reasoning style still).

Arrow’

Green Arrow using one of his trick arrows in B...

Green Arrow using one of his trick arrows in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On CW, ‘Arrow’ is now only one episode in—I know, I’m writing about it already, which must mean I was impressed… or dramatically horrified. And it is actually the former; I came in with doubts and was greatly disproved so far.

If you don’t know, ‘Arrow’ is based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, the character that also appeared in the series ‘Smallville’ to serve more or less as the closest they could get to a Batman-type character without actually being Batman (he was put in right after Nolan’s Batman jolted the popularity, the timing made it a bit obvious what the motives were).

In ‘Smallville’ his back-story was that he was a rich kid who’s parents were killed in a plane crash that left him stranded on an island, until he returned to use the power of money against the criminal element. This version, is slightly different—this time he was on a ship with his dad, his girlfriend’s sister, and some guy that I don’t even know if he got more than a single line—the ship was stuck in a storm while Oliver did his girlfriend’s sister, and then the boat flipped, suddenly we’re in the water, and the dirty sister’s gone in the depths, and daddy and un-named friend are in a raft. Details are given gradually through jumbled flashbacks in the episode, but eventually, it’s revealed that daddy killed his friend and him so Oliver could live—it sounded as if this should be mysterious, but little was hinted at the why—and then Oliver got to an island where he lived for 5 years until picked-up by a boat.

It is very vaguely hinted that a lot more went on during his time on the island, such as the panning over to a mangled mask of what most comic readers will recognize as Slade Wilson (a.k.a., Deathstroke). However, we are so far left with only the vague hints, simply, something happened, and he went from being a typical spoiled rich-boy brat, to a hardened fighter who can handle himself rather well with a bow, and a grudge attached to a yet to be explained list.

My doubts in this show were based largely on ‘Smallville’s’ handling of the character. Though, I didn’t hate the way they did it, I just didn’t think they did it in a way that would have allowed the character to be able to survive too well on its own—apparently I wasn’t completely alone on this idea, hence the slight re-write. Plus, the promo trailers they were showing were just completely confusing and out of context and with the ‘Smallville’ take on in still running through my head, I just had no idea what was about to happen with what looked like a hot mess.

But my doubts were shot down with at least this episode. This episode showed a dark and gritty (almost complete opposite in setting from ‘Smallville’s’ brighter side) character that had no issues with killing (definitely different from most comic book-type characters). How well will this dark grit hold up will be left to see, since I’ve seen shows in the past that were really dark for the pilot, only to lose it completely afterward, and the director of this episode, David Nutter, actually directed the pilots of a few of the shows that are coming to mind—so, I’m for now still not getting my hopes too high… or at least trying not to.

But, my rating so far is 4 out 5. I swear, I will some day give something a solid 5, but for now, 4 stands because, one, I’m getting nervous about a show I already like… and I hate that; and 2, the sets in the show bug me… reusing the Luthor Castle from ‘Smallville’ was one thing, but the office, too… really? That was a freakin’ sound-stage, that’s not a budget thing, that’s a lack of originality.

Jericho

Jericho (Photo credit: Seetheholyland.net)

‘Revolution’

Third episode of Revolution is coming up tonight (and will either be playing or passed by the time people get around to reading this), but this mostly is my over-all gist of the show so-far. I didn’t want to really say anything after the first ep, because it really didn’t do more than just barely introduce characters, but now that we have two eps in, we have a little more story established.

Right now, I’m having a love/hate relationship with it. I like it, mostly because frankly, it takes little for me to like anything with even the slightest hint of scifi, plus, it does have enough drama going on to make you care about the characters and want to know what’s going to happen next. But, main issue is that it is incredibly unoriginal. Not even because of the post-apocalyptic concept in general, I mean, the way it’s actually being done, I feel like someone just carbon-copied ‘Jericho’ or ‘Jeremiah.’ When Uncle Miles talks in his slow, nonchalant none-caring tone, instead of seeing a battle-ready badass, I see Luke Perry.

Of’course, I don’t say this because I really have an issue with another ‘Jericho,’ or even any other of the many post-apocalyptic themed shows, I actually liked them (‘Jericho’ was a bit boring and a bit difficult to get into, and I wouldn’t list it on my list of favorites, but I do still watch it whenever Syfy re-runs it). The main issue I have with this is that from seeing what it resembles, we can also predict how the show will result—not in story, but in chances of there being a next season. With it being on NBC, it might at least get a second season—though, if it was Fox, we’d already know not to bother getting too attached, ‘cause we’d be lucky if they let it finish the first.

This flimsy life-line that the show’s being given bothers me more because that seems to be the over-all state of sci-fi on television at all, so any hit taken to the genre, is a hit that is truly felt.

So, my rating I guess will be based more on my hopes and expectations for the show than on my actual enjoyment of it (if you’re a scifi geek like me, you’ll watch it either way). For now, 3 out of 5… and I feel like I’m pushing optimism greatly with that.

Weeping Angels

Weeping Angels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Doctor Who’

Episode 5 of season 7, the mid-season finally, “the Angels Take Manhattan.’

Normally when most shows take a mid-season break, they leave on a note that was barely different from any other episode, but Doctor Who seems to be going out of its way to leave an impression that sits with you waiting for the next episode. Last season, they had an all out war at Demons Run that ended with Amy and Rory’s baby being taken, their kid then turned out to be River, and now… we just killed Amy and Rory.

Since ‘Blink,’ the Weeping Angels have been one of my favorite monsters of Doctor Who, and have suggested to many people who aren’t Whovians to at least watch that one ep. So, hearing that it was going to be a Weeping Angel episode already had me excited, but adding in with it that it was going to be Amy and Rory’s end… well, damn. Though we all knew the time had to come, but still… started growing rather attached to them… I have Karen Gillan on FB… their characters were just by far some of my favorite of the entire Doctor’s companions together or apart yet. But yet, they’re gone now.

If you haven’t seen it yet, and it’s still collecting dust on your DVR, I won’t say how it ended exactly, but there’s Weeping Angels, so, if you remember how they work (though their last appearance didn’t really get much into it—too distracted by the crack in the wall), you already know there’s going to be some crazy timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly stuff going on. And of’course, we have River doing her thing (you know, I really wish they could give her a spin-off, she’d be so much more interesting than Captain Jack—even if we already know how her story ends).

The story in general, they’re chillin’ in present time New York, Rory gets zapped by an Angel baby (‘cause they have those now), gets sent back to the 1920s (so it gets to have a pulp-fiction mystery vibe to it—‘cause those are the best vibes), runs into River who was doing whatever River does when we don’t see her. While reading all this in present-time in a book (can’t do DVD Easter-eggs all the time), the Doctor and Amy decided they might want to join in. So, they do that. We’re all in the 1920s where there’s a guy collecting Angels, that really isn’t an issue much; the issue is actually the aforementioned book. It’s filled with spoilers! Though, they don’t read the book itself anymore, ‘cause that would make it carved in stone and unchangeable, can’t do that. But they read chapter titles… good idea at the time, until you read one that suggests that Amy might die soon. Doctor has a tantrum about fix points, and paradoxes happen, and we’re fine. And, the end… I told you I’m not saying how it happened; now don’t make me have to relive it… I’m still crying damn’it!

Well… we are now Amy and Rory free, and we are sitting in wait for the new companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman. I’m not sure how long the wait will be, though the Christmas episode trailer is already up on BBC, I don’t really expect to see her appear there—Christmas companions never seem to stay after the episode.

So, um, I guess we have a rating to give… um, 4 out of 5, I would give it a full 5, but it made me cry… that’s not cool.