Asta 2

Gates, Tardis's, Surfboards, and Hot Looking Guys - The Usual SciFi Trappings

Even though it’s early, time for the weekend in review. Well, more like the Saturday in review. Thus far today I have eaten breakfast and made plans to watch some very bad TV with k_julia. We’ve decided it’s best to suffer celebrity crushes and the low points in their careers together. Which reminds me to say “Hi!” to my friends in Vegas. ;)

So, yesterday, I spent more money than I should have. I went to an arts fair with a friend and her mother and we both dropped quite a bit of money (by our standards) in one jewelry booth. It was hard to resist since the woman does nice work and her prices are about half that of other jewelry makers who do a similar style of work. Still didn’t manage to find a dark blue pendant which, of course, was what I was looking for. Of the two she had one had flecks of gold in it (I’m not a gold person) and the other was almost black it was so dark.

After shopping it was on to Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer. I have found that one’s enjoyment of a movie is helped a lot if you go in with exceedingly low expectations. This film doesn’t require any in depth analysis. I’m not sure I can even remember the plot or if there was much of one. The world was in jeopardy and the Silver Surfer was part of that. Actually, if there was one part of the film I genuinely liked it was the Silver Surfer. By FF standards he was a relatively well developed character. Not being familiar with the FF comics or the character of the Surfer, I couldn’t be certain at the beginning where they were going with him, but I suspected he wasn’t evil. Lawrence Fishburn did an amazing job of instilling the character with pathos. I still am uncertain why the Surfer, who was so haunted by his actions, needed Sue and Reed’s love for her to realize he could turn against Galactus (sp) and end it’s destruction. He was already sacrificing himself for those he loved; why not just make the suicide run earlier? Of course there would be no movie.

Once again, for such a big budget film, I thought the effects looked cheap and outdated. Especially when Reed gets all stretchy. Yet, the Surfer looked pretty damn cool. I was even impressed with how they maintained his look when he became separated from his board and was no longer CGI. I’m guessing two at least two different effects houses were used here.

Oh, I almost forgot, the dancing. I almost had to cover my eyes I was so embarrassed for Ioan. And I have a deep suspicion that is how he dances.

Other than that all I can say is this film was a bit better than the first (which I know is not saying much), Ioan looked very pretty, Johnny was more sympathetic, and Jessica had the worst wig… which may be why Reed kept looking at Victor the way he did. ;)

Next Friday will be the last episode of Stargate:SG1 EVER. ::cries:: Yes, yes, I have already seen it, but it will seem so much more final when it airs on my TV. My thoughts on the second to the last episode EVER, ‘Dominion’ are here. Nothing to add and looking back it seems to be one of my better write ups.

danceswithwords and I also watched SGA’s ‘Vengeance’ and discussed whether or not to post about it. Since my Buffy days I have had the mantra, if you don’t like it then just quit watching it and stop bitching about it. I also hate people who are hypocritical. So, with those two things in mind, I’m not posting about SGA. People do enjoy the show, I’m happy for them, and I don’t wish to lesson anyone’s squee. Still being a staunch BSG fan I know how negativity can get in the way of one’s enjoyment. And I fully admit for certain reasons I will definitely check out the first couple eps next season, but if I’m not wowed they’ll most likely be no Stargate in my future accept those direct to DVD films I can’t wait for. Yes, I did just type that.

Keeping with the theme of not posting when you don’t like something, some of you may have noticed my silence when it comes to Doctor Who. I haven’t been happy with the show since the first couple of eps of the season/series and was tempted to quit watching at one point. Luckily, I read some minor spoilage and it was enough to keep my going through this season at least. Last night, in part due to beccatoria’s before the cut comments, I decided to catch up on the last two episodes of ‘Who’. Much to my delight they were very good. Especially ‘Blink’ which I felt was a great hour of TV, period.


Blink

When I heard that the writer of this ep, Steven Moffat, had also written, ‘The Empty Child’, ‘The Doctor Dances’, and ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ I had high hopes. Those are some of my favorite episodes of the series. Moffat has a gift for being able to combine terror with comedy, staying true to the characters we know, while also creating new, extremely well developed characters who immediately gain our sympathies.

I think Moffat’s villains are fascinating for several reasons. First, he seems to have a thing for masks or facades (which makes me wonder about childhood trauma ;) that obscures the thing – human, machine, alien – underneath. Second, his villains aren’t exactly evil. In ‘The Empty Child’, Jamie and the others were victims of the war and an alien presence that was trying to make things right, but just didn’t have all the information that they needed. In TGinF, the ship was following its protocol to survive. And, in ‘Blink’, even the Doctor admits that these creatures are rather benign in their means. They do rob you of the life you have, but they still give you the opportunity to live. It’s less about consciously doing something wrong and more about survival. When their visages turn into those of monsters rather than angels it’s only after their existence is threatened by Sally and the Doctor’s plan.

The statuary was only slightly less terrifying than a little boy walking around in a gas mask asking, “Are you my mummy?” (And in a strange twist of fate, both episodes I ended up watching late at night, alone, in the dark.) We are all defenseless when we close are eyes for a moment or turn our back. Yet, when we open are eyes or turn around we expect things to be just as they were when we last looked. The terror comes from how things can change in a blink of an eye. The show’s director and designers made fabulous use of those split second transitions and placing us in the character’s POV.

Now here is where you can feel free to throw things at me because the other thing I really liked about this episode was the lack of the Doctor and Martha. I’m going to blame Tennant getting on my nerves in so many episodes on the writing and directing. The guy obviously needs structure, here he had it and I liked his performance . There was an excellent balance of humor, fear, and menace in his Easter egg messages. He didn’t need to be flip or shout to get his message across. Even in his final scene in which he and Sally meet face to face, there was the usual Doctor craziness, apparently involving lizards in London, but no wackiness. It ended on just the right note.

I do think there are some plot holes in the time travel storyline with past and future events influencing current ones. But because it was apparent to me that a lot of care and thought went into writing this, I am willing to hand wave some points that on closer inspection would probably not make sense – such as the possibility of Young Cathy and Old Cathy coexisting for a period of time.

There were also many small moments that I loved. A nod to the DVD/internet/blogging generation with Easter eggs a huge part of the plot. The guy in the DVD store talking to the TV and getting upset (rightfully so!) because the women never go to the police…thus sending Sally running to the police. And I loved Martha intruding on the Easter egg to mention that she’s been forced to get a job in a shop and support him. Hee!


Utopia

Captain Jack! As I remembered him before Torchwood gutted his character! Derek Jacobi! Awesome!

Again, we get more of a toned down Doctor here. Perhaps it’s due to Jack’s presence since he was always the one who was a little over the top during the Ninth Doctor’s reign. I loved that Jack is (understandably) pissed off and hurt that the Doctor left him behind and he lets him know that. I was concerned they were just going to fall into old patterns and not address this. I also very much appreciated how when the Doctor reveals that Rose is very much alive he and Jack embrace. Any hard feelings are pushed aside for a moment because they are the only two people in the universe who can share the memories and affection they have for Rose.

I’m actually surprised (pleasantly) that they have kept Rose’s memory alive all season. I really thought they’d address her absence and what it means to the Doctor in the beginning and move on. But they bring her up every chance they get and Jack’s reappearance gave the Doctor a real opportunity to talk about her and everything that’s happened. There were no quips or avoidances. The two men really did talk and both I think were much the better for it.

I don’t know if I was meant to feel sorry for Martha here, having to listen about Rose, being the third wheel in some ways, but I really didn’t. I’m still very disappointed that she went from being a strong, independent woman looking for a little adventure, to love sick puppy. At what point does she realize that the Doctor is not over Rose? And, frankly, I have to wonder if she’s using Rose as an excuse - he’s not interested in her because he’s not over Rose yet. Accept, I honestly feel if Rose had never been part of his life he still wouldn’t look at Martha in that way.

Jack was written so well here, he’s the character we remember – charming, funny, flirty, wanting to get in everyone’s pants – but there is also a new dimension to him. There is anger, for becoming immortal and having no idea how or why, for having to be stuck on earth for 140 years, waiting for his next encounter with the Doctor to get some answers, and for believing that it was a choice by the Doctor to abandon him. I always thought Jack got left behind by accident. How could the Doctor or Rose know what had happened to him? Yet now we find out that the Doctor did know and saw him as some sort of abomination. Huh? I’m still unclear on why Jack should be feared. That part of the talk seemed odd and a bit lame.

Another thing I’m confused about is if Jack has been part of Torchwood yet? Torchwood ended with Jack inside the facility, hearing the Tardis, seeing the light, and then disappearing. But ‘Utopia’ begins with him chasing down the Tardis with the Doctor’s hand strapped to his back. It made me wonder if when they return to earth the Doctor deposits Jack back in time a bit. Although, that would mean there would be two Jack’s in existence at the same time and there was a mention of that being a bad thing. Maybe they were just sloppy with continuity, but they tied so many things together from past eps here that I find that hard to believe.

Derek Jacobi was AWESOME. Did I mention that? ;) He’s just such an incredible actor and he was perfect here. It’s a damn shame that they felt they had to have the Master regenerate. I suppose it’s possible they could only get Derek for one ep and had no choice, but I doubt it.

I admit I have little knowledge of the Master other than he was a bad time lord and enemy of the Doctor who was supposedly dead. Nifty use of the watch which I assumed was just an object the Doctor chose to hold his consciousness. I guess every time lord was issued one. I also did not pick up on YANA – “You are not alone.” Considering the havoc the Master seems to intend to created, gee, Boa, could you have maybe been a little less vague?

Since there are two episodes left in this season/series and they’ll be shooting another, I’m guessing the Doctor gets the Tardis back and they get out of there. Putting the not really a cliffhanger ending aside, my one big gripe with the ep would be the other (?) human race. Besides having bad teeth how are they different than us? Sure, they are pissed off, but they are being left to fend for themselves and are on the verge of being abandoned to die so I can see how they are all about the killing and destroying in revenge.

Happy (belated) Birthday to abbylee! Hope you had a great one. :)
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V. quickly since I'm not supposed to be here - but did you not watch 'Human Nature' and 'Family of Blood'? You really, really should - *excellent* episodes, and also provide background stuff for 'Utopia' and answer some of your questions here.
I've actually watched every episode this season. I know the majority of people loved the two episodes you mentioned and since I was in the teeny tiny minority who didn't, I just refrained from posting about them. My big question on 'Utopia' was was how Jack's entrance didn't match his exit on 'Torchwood' and nothing at this point can seem to answer that.
since I was in the teeny tiny minority who didn't, I just refrained from posting about them.
Aaah. I was mostly thinking about the Martha thing re. those eps - how The Doctor was as much 'over Rose' as he's going to get for a long time, and he still didn't fall for Martha. I think she kinda accepted that he'll never *love* her. (Can't blame her for being infatuated. I mean who wouldn't be? Jack sure is and he knows its hopeless too.)

how Jack's entrance didn't match his exit on 'Torchwood'
As far as I recall he was sat in the hub when he saw the hand twitch and heard the Tardis - all he had to do was shove it in a backpack and jump on that lift thing they've got, which would take him to the surface in seconds. And then all he has to do is run... OK, so it didn't materialise *inside* Torchwood, but he could have had speakers or something... *curses bad memory*
I don't know if Martha has quite accepted it yet, but I hope hearing Jack's conversation with the Doctor about Rose and the Doctor's choice to leave Jack behind is what she needed to realize she has no permanent position in the Doctor's life.

Actually, to my recollection, the TARDIS did materialize in the Torchwood facility. After Jack heard it, he turned around and there was a bright light and a rush of air sent paper flying. That's why I don't understand him being outside running towards it unless maybe he isn't part of Torchwood yet.
I like DT toned down, too. He spent a lot of 'Utopia' running from place to place, racing against time - but he didn't do the hysteria thing, which proves it really isn't needed.

This was an excelelnt episode, pulling a great many things together, but with plenty of humour and interaction and character as well. I'm really looking forward to next week.
The running around doesn't bother me. Nine did his fair share of that. But, you put it well, the hysteria accompanying the running was gone and not missed. If in the finale no one is chewing scenery I'll be hopeful for next season that the show is back on track. Now I just need a primer on the Master because I have a feeling I'll need to know something about the guy before next week.

The Wiki page on the Master is pretty succinct.

I want to know what has happened to his TARDIS. It could be posing as a rock on that seashore he was found on!
Mmmm. Cap'n Jack.

While I adored Derek Jacobi and especially EVIL Derek Jacobi (faints), I have high hopes for Sam Raimi. He was great in Life on Mars. I'm going to be expecting Gene to smack him upside the head though :)
For a second after the regeneration I wondered of they were doing some weird cross-over and the Tardis was on it's way to 1970's London. ;)
Well, since I accidentally encouraged you to watch, I'm really glad you liked the latest episodes of Who. Even I - embittered as I am about certain events on which I shall remain silent - was very impressed by the handling of many of the plot elements.

I went to see FF2 too. Out of a STUPID belief it would somehow be better than the first one (*curse you comic book shop man for lying to me!*)

It was...exactly the same as the first one, quality-wise, I think. I didn't find Johnny particularly more sympathetic. No, wait, maybe I did. I think that I did, or at least would have, if they didn't pull that bizarre Hollywood cliche by having whatserface the military chick show up as his date at the wedding for NO REASON. Because I have a special place in my heart to hate that storyline. Yes. Even in children's movies. Actually, ever since I was a child.

I think that Mr Gruffudd's american accent improved, just slightly, in this one.

The highlight was definitely Laurence Fishburne as the Surfer. Though I was left wondering, like you, if he actually had the power to kill Galactus, why didn't he do it earlier? Couldn't they have worked some McGuffin (liek the tachyon pulse, WTF?) to, like, give him extra powers?

In my head I fanwank it by saying he was hoping he'd get to see her again someday. But with such a visceral reminder - or perhaps, being forced to deal with the inhabitants of a world face to face for the first time in a long time - it became too much for him?

And, from what I know about the Surfer's storyline in the comics - which isn't a great deal - it's pretty much as stated. He's originally one of the heralds of Galactus but later decides to be a good guy instead. Probably why he's still floating out there in space at the end. Though I was quite amused that they gave us, like, twenty seconds of credits before the "teaser scene" like they weren't quite man enough to put it at the end of the credits like a proper teaser scene! :p
I was kind of pissed the military chick who, for no apparent reason, succumbed to Johnny's 'charms'. Her showing no interest in him was one of the things that made him more sympathetic to me - he seemed to buy himself a clue that he was an ass. ;)

If only Ioan would work on his dancing now. My God was that embarrassing.

Couldn't they have worked some McGuffin (liek the tachyon pulse, WTF?) to, like, give him extra powers?

See, that would have made it work for me. Otherwise we're left with a guy that allowed countless numbers of beings to be killed and planets destroyed until he saw how much Reed and Sue loved each other. Huh?

My friend asked me if we could go as soon as the credits started and I said I hadn't heard about anything at the very end and just as we started walking the Surfer reappeared. That was an oddball teaser. Have you heard that FOX is planning a Surfer-centric film?
I was kind of pissed the military chick who, for no apparent reason, succumbed to Johnny's 'charms'. Her showing no interest in him was one of the things that made him more sympathetic to me - he seemed to buy himself a clue that he was an ass. ;)

Yeah...me too. *sigh*

If only Ioan would work on his dancing now. My God was that embarrassing.

But oddly in-character for Mr Fantastic!

See, that would have made it work for me. Otherwise we're left with a guy that allowed countless numbers of beings to be killed and planets destroyed until he saw how much Reed and Sue loved each other. Huh?

I completely agree. But it wouldn't be the first time that the popular media has decided that their franchise's OTP was more important than, well, everything else EVAAAR. Even Farscape did that. Though they did it with the surprising and wonderful flair of adding that it was a completely reprehensible decision :)

Have you heard that FOX is planning a Surfer-centric film?

No. But oooooh. If Lawrence Fisburne voices again, I'll definitely go and watch that.
There are some in-character things I just never need to see! ;p

I don't think a franchise's OTP should EVER take over. However, if it happens on a series, there is still ample time to focus on other characters and stories. So while the OTP may end up taking up too much focus, there are usually other things to distract you (assuming it's a good show). But when it's a movie, a ninety minute one and one that was trying to convey the message that it takes a team working together to win, then saying it all came down to the love of two people is...odd.
I've actually been kind of fuming hardcore about the Silver Surfer movie - yes, I am a geek, and have read the comics - but I've been trying to decide whether or not to post on it. A lot of my irritations are either geeky or political, and while neither one of those is necessarily a barrier to posting, but... sometimes, you just don't feel like regurgitating all that bile, you know?

But, in short form:
1. Sue Storm annoyed me, because she was transformed into that tired old cliche of the girly nag, wanting to "settle down." And Jessica Alba should SUE whoever did her hair and makeup, my god. Awful.
2. The FF's celebrity problems! Gee whiz, let's feel sorry for this whiny bunch. Boo hoo, superpowers suck!
3. This one's geeky, but important: in the comics, the Silver Surfer's job was actually a "herald" of Galactus - he showed up to WARN the populace of a target planet that Galactus was coming and that they might want to consider getting the hell out of Dodge. In the movie, not only does he NOT do this, but he apparently had the power to stop Galactus at any time, as per the ending, which sort of makes him a compliant accomplice to mass murder. Wow, way to gray up the character! Now I'm supposed to find him sympathetic? Grr!

And I loved the first movie, so I was very annoyed. If it weren't for Julian McMahon's reappearance as Doom, I would've called it a total loss. So disappointing.

And SG-1 will be ending this week! I feel like I'm losing a recently discovered old friend. : (
I definitely would be interested in you posting your (more in depth) thoughts about FF2. I'm still getting over you are a fan of the first one! ;)

I know you don't watch BSG anymore, but Tricia Helfer had to start wearing a wig because the bleach was causing her to lose her hair. I have never, ever been distracted by her wig. Apparently SciFi/Universal is more willing to spend money on a decent wig then FOX on a, what? 100 million movie? And I didn't realize how bad her makeup was until I saw it on the big screen. My favorite may have been the vertical strip metallic eyeshadow. O_o

The celebrity angle was rather odd. Sue is lamenting that she and Reed can't raise a family in the environment they are currently in, yet I didn't really see that they were being hounded by the press or public. Sure, there was the helicopter at the wedding, but whose idea was it to have the wedding outside on top of a building? That could have been avoided. And when Johnny and Ben were out having a beer did anyone bother them? They either needed to have them all embrace the celebrity as Johnny did or have their lives be miserable and this film was not going to go to a truly dark place.

The Surfer was a herald? Huh. That could have been interesting. And as you have already seen I am utterly confused by the ending. Why did he not act sooner? I really think the film was trying to tell us that Sue and Reed's love made him see the light and finally act and...just...no.
I definitely would be interested in you posting your (more in depth) thoughts about FF2. I'm still getting over you are a fan of the first one! ;)

Oh, I liked the first one a lot. Not just because of Julian McMahon, although he was probably the reason I originally went to see it, just to see him play Doctor Doom. : ) But I'd gone in with low expectations and was surprised how much I enjoyed it - to my eye, it got everything major about the characters right from the comics, and was just plain fun - it That's what makes their story unique. was really refreshing to see Johnny Storm reacting to having powers with wow, cool!, which I honestly think would be a realistic reaction.

The celebrity angle was rather odd. Sue is lamenting that she and Reed can't raise a family in the environment they are currently in, yet I didn't really see that they were being hounded by the press or public.

Exactly. The whole point of the FF in comics is that they're public figures - they have no secret identities, everyone knows their names and address. That's what makes their story unique. They're local heroes, and New Yorkers just accept them as such, along with all the other celebs on the streets - like all the Marvel comics, The Fantastic Four was written to be set in the real world, and incorporated the attitudes of real-world New Yorkers into its story. But the movie got the celebrity part of the concept confused with Hollywood-style celebrity, I think - it's pretty clear that the the moviemakers weren't New Yorkers. They just didn't "get" it, and gave Sue no real basis for her complaints. Not like we actually saw the team DO anything superheroish during the movie!

I really think the film was trying to tell us that Sue and Reed's love made him see the light and finally act and...just...no.

Yeah, it was just badly done. As I recall, the original story involved some kind of intervention from above by a race of aliens called the Watchers and a device called the Ultimate Nullifer, which Reed used to force a standoff, kind of like a nuclear peace agreement. The Surfer was basically a conscientious objector - he spoke out in favor of sparing Earth, and Galactus (I should mention here he's a big giant guy in the original) strands him on Earth, still with most of his powers but unable to leave. I forget exactly how he manages to ensure that Galactus doesn't just go back to his home planet and start chowing down, but I do remember that the Surfer's essential story after that was moping around the Earth, thinking about his lost love, observing humans and doing occasional good deeds. So in spinoff terms, he's sort of like Angel crossed with Illyria on a surfboard.

But WTF with the Sue dying scene? Reed does nothing! It's all down to multiple-powers Johnny and the Surfer - as a superhero movie, this one was mega-weak. Doom had more gumption than any of the heroes. Blah.
t got everything major about the characters right from the comics, and was just plain fun - it That's what makes their story unique.

The "That's what makes their story unique" part isn't supposed to be in this sentence - please ignore this weird cut-and-paste error. Damn Firefox for making it so hard to see where the cursor is!
But the movie got the celebrity part of the concept confused with Hollywood-style celebrity, I think - it's pretty clear that the the moviemakers weren't New Yorkers. They just didn't "get" it, and gave Sue no real basis for her complaints.

Excellent point. Honestly, most celebrities are left alone most of the time. It's the handful that decide they need to travel with entourages and make spectacles of themselves that have trouble with the media (and secretly want it I believe). I mean, George Clooney is a huge star, but how often do we see him outside of a charity event or press junket? So, yeah, I don't see why Reed pitched the idea of moving to some small town when, other than the wedding, I saw no hints of them being bothered.

Reed sitting on his ass while Sue was dying was bizarre. She dies and screw the rest of the world? The man is whipped!
I lied; I had an incredibly nerdy nit to pick with SGA.

I hadn't realized that Moffat also wrote "The Empty Child," "The Doctor Dances," and "Girl in the Fireplace." Excellent observations about the themes in both those episode and "Blink." He seems to be very, very good at creating atmosphere, and sophisticated plots that depend on us understanding and having sympathy for one-off characters, too.

Yet now we find out that the Doctor did know and saw him as some sort of abomination.

That actually didn't surprise me that much; the Doctor saw Jack running for the TARDIS and actively avoided him, and wasn't pleased to see that he'd managed to hitch a ride. Past plots on the show have hinged pretty heavily on the forces of the universe being in balance, and I can see the Doctor regarding Jack as an abomination, not because he wants Jack to die but because he fears what his immortality could unleash, and avoiding him because he knows he's responsible. (Actually, the whole Key to Time series of episodes hinged on a struggle between the dark guardian and the white guardian and the balance for the universe, and I seem to remember the Master being involved with the final episodes, though I could be wrong; it's been a long time.)
Hey, I like your nit picks, especially when I share them. :)

It did seem clear that the Doctor was trying to ditch Jack. He wasn't thrilled when he saw him passed out, well, dead actually, on the ground. I just couldn't put the sudden cold shoulder together with him having purposely left Jack behind in Season 1.

Past plots on the show have hinged pretty heavily on the forces of the universe being in balance, and I can see the Doctor regarding Jack as an abomination, not because he wants Jack to die but because he fears what his immortality could unleash, and avoiding him because he knows he's responsible.

That's a very good point. Jack is an unknown quantity now (though the Doctor had a 140 year window to check in on him) and the Doctor has plenty experience of dealing with the unknown and what that can lead too. Plus, the Doctor played a role in his still being around - not just the power of the Tardis bringing Jack back, but not finding a way to destroy him if he really thought he could be a threat. Then there's guilt. He's left so many people behind in his life/lives.