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Showing posts from January, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) - Teaser Trailer Reaction

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Oh boy. So Sony Pictures have dropped the teaser trailer for their upcoming Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: Far From Home (sequel to Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War and the as-yet-unreleased Avengers: Endgame, not The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, definitely not Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 and sadly not Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), and I have some thoughts on it.

Firstly, digging the trailer music. Took me a few seconds to work out what it was, but when I did, I absolutely loved it. Kinda hoping Michael Giacchino resurrects his one-off motif in Homecoming as the main theme for this flick (or at least the end credits). From a visual perspective though, this has the same weirdly-flat colour palette Homecoming had, the slightly iffy CGI (especially on the suit) and the oddly stilted direction - which, especially since Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse came out and blew everyone away, is even more disappoi…

Doctor Who: Time-Flight (1982) - Review

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And thus we come to end of Doctor Who's nineteenth season in 'Time-Flight', infamous as being one of the worst Who stories to ever grace TV screens. Complete with Kalid (either a culturally insensitive OTT baddie or a campy, nonsensical disguise for the Master), some pretty poor monsters (whose name I struggle to remember, but were essentially grey blobs with legs) and a frankly lackluster set. The Making Of documentary on this disc features almost everyone moaning about the poor production values, and singing the praises of the concord - a strange inclusion into the story.

For what's its worth, I actually quite enjoyed 'Time-Flight'. It's a bit rubbish, yes, but it's rubbish in that campy, silly, OTT way that only classic Doctor Who can achieve. The story starts off with an intriguing mystery with a missing concord, setting the scene at Heathrow airport, boarding a concord, and then gradually dissolving into nonsense once the characters arrive on preh…

Doctor Who: Earthshock (1982) - Review

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A staple of Classic Doctor Who, 'Earthshock' is regularly cited as a seminal episode in the series as a whole. Part One's shocking (pun intended) cliffhanger has become iconic in the show's history, while the ending to Part Four has become more memorable for it's surprisingly strong execution.

The sixth story in Doctor Who's nineteenth season (and Peter Davison's first), 'Earthshock' marked the return of the Cybermen - not seen since 1975's 'Revenge of the Cybermen' in Tom Baker's first season - in a brand-new iteration that would continue to return in 'The Five Doctors', 'Attack of the Cybermen' and 'Silver Nemesis' before the show's cancellation in 1989. Peter Davison himself has cited the Cybermen as one of Doctor Who's scariest monsters, so giving him to opportunity to face them in his first season (and the Daleks in his last) seemed appropriate.

I was able to watch the special BFI screening of &#…

Doctor Who: Black Orchid (1982) - Review

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I have very little to say about 'Black Orchid', so this will be a much shorter review than the rest. It's a much shorter story, with only two parts, but feels like a fluff piece. Very little action happens, and the mystery element is far too predictable. The script never fully indulges in the murder mystery element, and the four leads have very little to actually do. There's a lot of fun to be had here, and it's a nice break from the big alien threats in 'The Visitation' and 'Earthshock' either side of this story.

Peter Davison explains in the behind the scenes documentary that he wasn't a huge fan of 'Black Orchid', and that the lack of science-fiction elements made the story feel a bit "off" to him. Honestly, I have to agree. It's a gentle fluff story, and there's fun to be had here, but it's not particularly engaging. After all, the Doctor spends a lot of time wandering around a house. The production design is v…

Doctor Who: The Visitation (1982) - Review

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I must admit that as much I've not loved any of the stories in Season 19 so far, I have very much enjoyed watching each serial sequentially; its provided much more context for each standalone adventure, and I have a definite newfound appreciation for Peter Davison's tenure on the TARDIS than I perhaps did before. I hope a Season 20 boxset isn't far off (or maybe I'll have to buy those stories on DVD in the meantime).

'The Visitation', despite its issues, is actually a very strong story. It opens with a nice prologue to establish the setting and tease the threat of the Terileptil and its android, and then allows us to spend some time with the TARDIS crew. These kinds of prologues, to me at least, always feel like they should be pre-credits sequences, and I'd love to see an edit of the episode with that. The TARDIS scenes allow the story to slow down and focus on the characters though, something I think Season 19 could've used more of previously. Each ch…

Doctor Who: Kinda (1982) - Review

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I've seen 'Kinda' listed among many of the Doctor Who "Classics" - those being stories regarded by fans as the series' best - so to sit down and finally watch this story...I found myself a bit underwhelmed. Part of the issue here is more than likely the weight of expectations getting to me. I was really intrigued to see a Tegan-centric story, as well as exploring the Mara as the embodiment of pure evil. I'd heard about the more surrealist dream sequences, and a giant snake was just icing on the cake as far as I was concerned. The issue I had with the story though was that it's not nearly as tight as that. In fact, Tegan has very little bearing on the plot, while Nyssa's surprise faint at the end of 'Four to Doomsday' is brushed-off with a "oh, she just needs some rest". Based on the Behind the Sofa installment on this disc, I doubt we'll ever get to see that properly resolved.

Most of 'Kinda' instead follows the Doct…

Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday (1982) - Review

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The second story in Doctor Who's nineteenth season, 'Four to Doomsday' is a very run-of-the-mill installment, consciously designed from a production perspective for new leading man Peter Davison to warm into the role as the titular Time Lord. Three script editors were involved in working on Season 19; this story was pushed forward by Antony Root - editor between Christopher H Bidmead and Eric Saward - who felt that Terence Dudley's script was the only one vaguely ready for production. The first story, 'Project Zeta Sigma', was in a bad shape, and re-worked by Bidmead to become 'Castrovalva', and filmed much later on.

'Four to Doomsday' does certainly feel like a story that everyone signed off on without a huge fuss. It's a very by-the-numbers plot for a Doctor Who episode, setting up a mystery, a spaceship, and an alien who totally isn't evil but oh wait he is. The structure feels very familiar, and the twists not particularly surprisin…

Doctor Who: Castrovalva (1982) - Review

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To commemorate the Blu-ray release of Doctor Who's nineteenth season (from 1982), I thought I'd watch each story and give it a little write-up here. I haven't seen most of Season 19, so this new Blu-ray boxset was a must for me, even if I have previously not been a huge fan of Peter Davison's time as the Doctor. Davison himself is great, but I do think that early 80's Who can get a bit bland at times. Even Season 18 gives us a less interesting rendition of Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor to add to some fairly by-the-numbers stories. Season 19, however, is a bit more fresh and exciting with Davison as our new lead, despite venturing further away from the strong characters and horror-focus seen in the peak of Tom Baker's tenure (or even the more comic nature of his later stories).

Kicking things off here is 'Castrovalva', and I have to say that as enjoyable as it is, it does fall a bit flat by the end. It takes until Part Three to actually get to Castroval…

Doctor Who: Resolution (2019) - Review

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'Resolution' is that funny kind of episode that I can totally appreciate for what its trying to do, but it completely shoots itself in the foot for a variety of reasons. Firstly, kudos to writer / showrunner Chris Chibnall for attempting to do something different with the Daleks (without sacrificing the inherent appeal of them), but...this was not the episode I wanted. And I'd be surprised if many Doctor Who fans young or old were entirely satisfied with the reintroduction of the Daleks in this episode.

Expectations is probably a key reason as to why 'Resolution' just didn't do much for me. The episode doesn't feature a traditional Doctor Who title sequence...for no reason whatsoever. Seriously, why not guys? At least in 'The Woman Who Fell to Earth' it made narrative sense to introduce the characters before the alien element, but in 'Resolution'? I was expecting there to be a pre-credits scene, reveal the Dalek and then unveil the full tit…