Ahhhhhhh, Wednesday night was time for the very awesome tradition of the Doctor Who Christmas Special! Fun for the whole lot of geeks in the house. And after the very humdrum OMG can we just fast forward please Christmas season that it has been I was waaayyyyy looking forward to it.
To the point where I have been watching Dr. Who non-stop since, like, Thanksgiving (with so many 50th Anniversary marathons this has been easily possible), reliving the entire history of life with the Ponds and catching up on life post Ponds (more thoughts on that in a moment).
First, with regard to last year's Christmas Ep I am going to say it is my least favorite in quite awhile. I would say The End of Time was possibly my favorite, although I was a total sucker for the Doctor's rendition of A Christmas Carol in 2010. I found the 2012 Ep and (re)introduction to Clara to be a bit light hearted. I mean, I think that there is possibly no way to make snowmen scary. Even with teeth. So, fast forwarding to this year and knowing that I was going to go through the inevitable process of realizing that the Doctor as I know him is about to be no more and the Doctor as I will know him is about to emerge I braced myself for not only a Christmas special but an ending.
And as with most Whovian endings, at least mine, Sam braced himself for the temper tantrum. Oh, yes, I have them. I huff and puff and snarl and cross my arms over my chest and pout and say things like uggghhhh I HATE the new Doctor! I HATE him and I'm never watching this stupid show again! And Sam rolls his eyes and says you say that every time and I stomp out of the room, up the stairs and go to bed.
And so it was.
Now, to review my own life with THE Doctor, I never watched the show as a younger person - meaning (gasp to all hard-core Old Whovians) I didn't start watching the Doc until 2006 when it turned up on our side of the pond and Sam forced me to sit down and watch this show that he used to love when he was a kid to which I thought - Oh, God just stab me in the eye with its goofy damn special effects and funny music and grainy picture quality.
But, in between all that, I actually ended up liking the adventure and by the second episode the goofy, British-ness was part of what made it so endearing. I was hooked. A Whovian convert!
And then....they changed The Doctor? They CHANGE the main character????? They do WHAT? Sam absolutely thought I was mad for not knowing this. Oh, I hated David Tennant. HATED him. He's too young. Too clean. Not grumpy or worldly enough.
Fast forward. Not again!??? But, I LOVE David Tennant! Matt Smith? WTF is this?????? A bow tie???? I love David Tennant how can they DO this? This guy is a kid! He can't be the Doctor? I hate him! Do you hear me? Hate him!
So, sure, it was inevitable.
Fast forward. Oh jeez, this guy is as old as I am. WTF is he gonna do running around with Clara? Look at him. He isn't even wearing anything interesting like a scarf or a fez. Blah. I'm bored already. Hmmphhhhh. Boo.
I'm still in recovery. It will take a bit.
The Christmas special itself I thought was a good one. I wasn't too keen on the Clara on earth trying to cook a turkey parts but I realize that was an integral part of the story for her to go back home for minutes to pass while centuries passed elsewhere. It just always bums me to see the boring, drab lives the companions lead. LOL. Too close to the rest of us I guess. Anyway, I always like the concepts of the vast span of time and the eternity of the Doctor and his struggles and I thought this Christmas ep did a great job in bringing all of that together.
Plus I totally dug Moffat's answer to the regeneration limit. Rules? LOL. Reset button. Bwwwaaaaa!!!!! It is almost like the sword fighter scene in Indiana Jones, right? Bang. Move on.
So, what will be up for Clara and the old dude, I mean, Doctor? I must say, I am lukewarm at best on this one even after calming down from my very predictable, usual, bratty response. It is partially because I am still unsure about Clara too. I just don't know that I like her all that well. Yes, yes she is super bright and cute as a button and maybe that is part of it. She isn't flawed enough for my tastes. OK, bear with me. I adored Rose because she was, well, basically if she were to grow up in these parts she would have been trailer trash. LOL. I say that with love, as we are ALL trailer trash in these hollers. My point is she was a survivor and could scrape it together when the shit hit the fan. Donna was the ultimate buddy companion. Martha was in love but got over it and became a goddam warrior. Amelia was a dreamy little girl who never stopped believing. All were flawed in some way and that made them special to me.
The reaction to Clara always seems to be - I like her! I really like her! This reaction is normally being communicated by straight men and they all sound like Scotty ogling the Enterprise upon arrival. Sam says she is "spunky" which led me to look up the definition of that particular adjective. Spunky: feisty, plucky; displaying animation, vigor, or liveliness. Fair enough description I guess. But, that isn't enough for me. I'll have to wait this one out and see how it plays.
As for the Doctor, I'll see how that plays too. It isn't like I don't have several centuries for this one to grow on me. ;)
Dear Santa, hear my prayer: Please allow me to someday be enlightened enough to pick a proper movie to see on Christmas day. One that will entertain me, lift my weary spirit, make me believe in the magic of the all-mighty, bright and shiny, benevolent God that is the Large Format Digital Experience featuring Bigger Screens, Bigger Sound and Bigger, more Luxurious Seats thereby providing me with the Ultimate Entertainment Experience... Amen.
We have a tradition. We normally, as in more often than not, see a movie on Christmas day. This started as a way to combat boredom and the inevitable OK so now what? feeling that always seems to creep in on the Big holiday. It does help from a distraction standpoint and is a nice way to cap off the holiday that doesn't involve gorging yourself on a huge meal and company you don't really want anyway. Well, there IS the popcorn, but....
Anyway - so, the problem is that we have been on a half a decade run of really shitty, down right depressing Christmas day movies! LOL.
It all started with Matt Damon. Damn him. That guy has made some great movies. Unfortunately, the ones we have seen on Christmas day are not any of them. The Good Shepherd. Yup, in 2006 we trudged through the snow to see what was touted as "the greatest spy movie ever" and were treated to the slowest, most depressing, most boring life a spy has ever known. In 2010 we sat through the Coen brother's rendition of True Grit. I personally had truly high hopes for this one. Having watched the original 57 thousand times as a kid I couldn't wait for a Coen twist. Some additional character development, some great plot maker that threw the original story line on its ear.... Waiting....Waiting....
This year we knew we were golden because we got our crappy Matt Damon movie out of the way at home! See Elysium review in prior entry...
So, we picked something we couldn't go wrong with. A legend. With Keanu Reeves! And we plopped our tired asses down with a bucket of popcorn for Sam to finally see a good Christmas day movie. So, the plot description "a band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun" pretty much sums it up. Oh, and there is magic. Can't go wrong, right?
Oh....god....why must I be prone to horribly depressing Christmas movies that don't even make sense?
Please note that for purposes of this review I am not taking into account culture, belief, tradition...or even the accuracy of the same. But, first...boring....yawn...why does it take SO long to get to the action? And the point? Second, I don't understand the culture, beliefs, traditions of ancient Japanese society. OK OK, so I guess this review is taking those into account. My, modern, feminist Americanized brain cannot wrap my head around it all. Nor do I want to. But, I could get past it if the action was good. Maybe.
How about the completely, non-climatic end to the ruthless shogun? Or the ruthless dragon-lady, witch thingy? Or how about the lack of tactical logic and planning from a continuation of your society perspective in allowing these dudes that just defeated an army to go belly down on their own daggers as dictated by the emperor's displeasure over a situation the he created in the first place? Blllaaaahhhhhh!!! My gypsy mind cannot compute.
To be fair, this movie is a remake of an ancient tale and prior film versions have been produced so it isn't like I didn't know where the whole thing was heading.
Still, it would be different if the road traveled at a slow speed toward the illogical cliff of customary practice involving stabbing oneself with a Kool-Aid dagger were a little more...entertaining?
On the upside, we DID get to see a preview for Non-Stop, which is the latest Liam Neeson action movie coming out. It looked absolutely horrible...in that wonderful, loud, full of crazy stunts and one-liners delivered by angry ,aging, action stars way. And I will know exactly what I am in for when we see it. Unless there are snakes. I wonder if there are snakes on that plane?
Ahhhhhh...the season of DVD. A chance to catch up on everything you missed because you were too busy to get to the theater.
***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS SO DON'T READ IF YOU CARE***
What I really wanted to rent yesterday was 2 Guns but alas, it was sold out at Redbox. So, we came home with Elysium, being the good science fiction people that we are...
Now, I generally do not read movie reviews because I am of the humble opinion that they SUCK. Well, except mine of course. So, what I'm saying is a may have a vague idea what a movie is about but I bring one home with an open mind.
So, Elysium takes place in the future. A future in which we have done the inevitable and screwed up our planet but unlike in Firefly where all these other planets get prepped for human habitation there is one massive space station that houses all the rich, happy people while everyone else gets to live on the now fucked up earth.
Being a District 9 type movie (same director) I was fully expecting all the moral questions of what happens in an elitist society, how expendable human life must really be, to what limits does power and the threat of losing it push people, etc. etc....
My initial problem with this movie is that it has been done. Many.Many.Times. There really wasn't anything new to the questions or any new spin on the answers. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and that is that. Matt Damon's character is the same guy that we see over and over. The anti-hero who just can't seem to stay out of trouble despite the fact that he half-heartedly tries. And they want you to care about him because deep down somewhere he has a heart, had dreams, really does have a soul.
And then there is the cool as a cucumber Jodi Foster character. Of course we are supposed to hate her! I mean, my gods could there be anymore of an (attempted poorly) extreme example of the contrast between the world of Elysium and earth? She wears crisp, white suits, her hair is cut short and is a perfect, molded to her head white-blond, the sharp edges of her facial structure even more accentuated by the hair and the clothes. This woman is cold and they want to remind you of that with each scene. So, why do I say attempted poorly? Because OMG the black and white extremes of this movie....blahhhhhhh.....OK, we get it. The rich and powerful have left earth and don't give a shit.
To make matters even more neat and tidy, Elysium has these machines that can cure any illness or defect. People have them in their homes, like MRIs or something. Got a broken leg? Just hop in and get all fixed up. These machines can fix other things too. Including cancer and someone getting their head blown half off. Ahhhhhhhh.....Well, of course they can. What a convenient well I can see where this is all going addition to our plot.
But, what bothered me most about this entire couple of hours of my life that I will never get back is that when the movie climaxes and our hero does what he is meant to do and all the unhappy little people of earth are now Citizens of the great Elysium I turn to Sam and say:
OK, so now we have a population problem on Elysium, the earth is still shattered and the guy that built the only place left is dead? All the little people of earth who have continued to excessively breed and kill each other have now been saved and are taking over the BRAND.NEW.BRIGHT.AND.SHINY.WORLD. They have overthrown the entire royal lot and....
I'm not saying there should always be answers in Sci Fi (or any movie). I'm not even saying there should be happy endings - although this movie definitely made an as Disney-like as you can get attempt at one, which is another reason it was uber annoying.
I'm just sayin....blaaahhhhhh. Yawn.
Escaping reality - one movie, book, fantasy at a time :)