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Posts posted by R.CAllen

  1. I’m pretty sure they give the Discovery an A because they have to pretend it’s a new ship and not the old one in order to avoid public involvement in the Temporal Cold War from ENT. They don’t want to admit these guys came from the past. Time travel is illegal.


    re: the aging thing; it’s been inconsistent through the years (we see that Data in ‘All Good Things’ is basically the same but has chosen to put the skunk stripe in his hair) but I think it was established maybe in the episode where we meet Data’s mom and she turns out to be a robot that Soong-type androids age naturally. It’s like the contractions thing with him. It changes depending on the needs of the episode.

  2. short version: all in all I did not like it


    * Beverly shooting a guy who’s shooting back at her? Sure, okay, fine. But did I really just see Doctor Crusher disable a guy with a shot to his foot and then coldly reload her weapon in order to blast an injured and disoriented man into smithereens!?!? Come on, man! This is Doctor Crusher we’re talking about! That guy is very clearly a guy! Those guys were talking to each other in ǃKung or whatever. He is, no sorry, WAS a sentient being! I get what the show is trying to do but come on already! It’s like if they did an F Troop (‘65-’67) reunion — holy cow I had no idea the first season was in black’n’white — and had these characters scalping the Hekawai tribe and handing out smallpox infected blankets. I get what’s happening but even so it’s kind of a step too far!!!!1! I mean they have the conversation with Riker & Picard at the end of the episode to clean it up but come on!


    * Got to give them credit for putting the episode title on screen. It’s not in the upper lefthand corner but beggars can’t be choosers!!!!!1!


    * “Laris, these things from my past ... [cut!] ... they’re so dear to me. They’re mementos of dear friends ... [cut!] ... old and new ... [cut!] but they’re memories.” Wow, the rest of this scene is certainly garbage but it might’ve helped if they’d just let the garbage play out properly instead of editing and snipping it together into what they must have assumed would be SLIGHTLY MORE APPEALING garbage. Just have Patrick Stewart talk to us, plain and simple!


    * The fact that he’s still not bringing the dog with him shows just incredibly bad instincts on the part of the show. Although, yeah, for practical purposes in terms of filming it makes a lot of sense to ditch the dog. But nevertheless and nonetheless, come on! They’ve established that Picard’s got a dog named Number One. He should’ve brought the dog with him in the first season, yeah, but it’s never too late to rectify that mistake and make the dog part of the show on a weekly basis.


    * Are they rewriting ‘Best of Both Worlds’ here with the thing about adding a three? The Hellbird thing? Was that in the actual episode(s)? I don’t remember it at all. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming my memory is failing me rather than them doing some Brad Meltzer / Geoff Johns / J. Michael Straczynski nonsense with rejiggering the established past in order to provide key plot points for new material.


    * Naming the planet after himself but making sure to spell it differently so as not to have it be the planet ALREADY named after himself from back when he was working on ENT!? Okay, baller move. (Or, wait, is it a correction of that planet’s spelling!? Either way, good!)


    * “Guess I can’t expect a junkie to know when to quit.” Okay, twenty minutes in and after metatextuallly laden line after metatextually laden line this is the first one with any real teeth behind it.


    * “If I were you I’d lower my expectations.” Okay, that’s two for two!


    * Have to give the show credit for doing a proper we-are-now-going-into-outer-space thing. This is the only thing they ganked from WoK which didn’t fill me with abject despair, sure, because this is just proper Star Trek. It’s just a thing Star Trek does well.


    * The Captain Shaw stuff is another metatextual touch that’s ... great!


    * “That went well.” I’m always a lot more fond of the truthful and understated “That could’ve gone better.” but ADR’ing that in is I suppose one of many necessary evils.


    * We don’t see her ears so I suppose that’s Rafi’s half-Romulan granddaughter!?


    * “This stolen weapon is an act of war. You are a warrior.” Okay, this is either a great misdirect to the audience or just them putting their cards on the table and letting you know it’s Worf, they know you know it’s Worf, let’s just enjoy being teased with the prospect of seeing Worf again.


    * Picard gets told by one of his oldest friends to trust no one in Starfleet. The context in which he’s told this message involves a tipoff re: his time w/the Borg. And then he’s like, okay, time to spill the details to an ex-Borg in Starfleet. Why? (I get that it’s necessary and I get that there’d be no show if the main cast weren’t all singing from the same hymn book. But, still, why?) (Yeah, the previous scene with the Deep Space 4 thing established that Picard’s kind of dotty. But Riker’s still on the ball! Riker’s the one who knows about the Borg connection and lets Picard in on it during that dumb bar scene! What’s going on here!?)


    * Okay, TNG has to stop 9/11s is a surprisingly strong and simple idea, yeah. It’s a little Mark Millar-y, true, but I think it has real promise.


    * oh wow it’s so Wrath of Khan. Who cares!? Literally whooooo cares. Not me! Everybody comes out and tries to do Wrath of Khan, everybody says in the interviews they’re trying to do Wrath of Khan, but in my entire life you can count the amount of Trek stuff inspired by Wrath of Khan which was actually factually good on maybe one finger. It’s a single episode of VOY inspired by Wrath of Khan which is worth watching. That’s it. It’s called ‘Counterpoint’ and they take it to new places — it’s helped that there’s romantic tension between the Khan and Kirk figures because the Kirk of VOY is a lady and the Khan of the episode is character actor extraordinaire Mark Harelik — but that’s not something this show can do. Even if that’s what they’re aiming for (and unless I miss my guess that’s exactly where this is headed; Gates McFadden is going to be a Khan figure to Patrick Stewart’s Kirk, we’re getting Evil Dr. Crusher, congrats, we’re probably going to find out she spent Season 2 of TNG doing Evil Science For Evil) I have little to no faith that’s a bullseye they can hit. All this episode was doing and all it can conceivably promise for future episodes is just ersatz imitations of what the people who made the show and the people who watch the show remember of Wrath of Khan. None of these people are Nicholas Meyer, none of them have the distance from the material to reinvent what they’re given in the way that he did, all they can do is drop references. All they have available to them is pastiche. It’s not homage. It’s not even fromage. It’s frottage.


    * Picard and Riker’s whole dynamic isn’t that they’re together! It’s rare that an episode groups the pair of them together! They’re not Kirk & Spock. Picard’s up on the Enterprise while Riker’s down on the planet or on the alien ship. Sometimes it’s vice versa and so Picard is on the alien ship or the planet while Riker is on the Enterprise! The entire episode here is an unsuccessful attempt at generating a nostalgia for a buddy comedy adventure relationship which never actually existed for the characters themselves. This is what it does in between all the other nostalgia it’s generating. The whole episode is like a prayer wheel spouting out nostalgia every which way! Why? I hate to make this point again but the principal creative forces involved with the creation of every season of this show were all in their late teenage years AT LEAST by the time TNG premiered — hold the fort, scratch that, Terry Matalas wasn’t even twelve when ‘Encounter At Farpoint’ aired so I’m wrong, this point is wrong in this particular instance, he’s just on the cusp for it to be okay for him to feel this way about the show. Have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Have to assume that it’s genuine feeling and not a cynical cash grab! My bad! That’s on me!


    * I mean, the first season was like a Michael Jan Friedman book and the second season was like a Michael Jan Friedman book and now we’re in the third season and, hell yeah, the feeling that this is all just a page-by-page adaptation of some expanded universe material is still just as strong. Gets stronger the more you’re familiar with the books, of course, but it’s there even in the parts which don’t specifically mirror them.


    * Every dumb dumb on the Internet is creaming their jeans over this episode — I imagine, I only know what you guys have posted here in this thread, haven’t looked at the reaction anywhere else but I can venture a good guess — and it’s just the same as all the previous ones! It’s just slower. If the people who made the first two seasons had the good sense to do the SFX scenes of the spaceships at a more relaxed pace and let the music play out a little longer you’d have loved them too! The episode has the same dumb mess for the Michelle Hurd character that she gets every time she’s shown up so far, the same dumb mess for Seven of Nine that she gets every time she’s shown up so far, same haphazard intermixture of what Starfleet is and what it stands for as the previous two seasons have offered, and in terms of what-happens-where it feels like a beat-by-beat repeat of the Season 2 opener in nearly every way. Did covid make everyone lower their standards?


    * I don’t know. What is this show even about? Taken as a whole, I mean. What’s it about? It’s a show about ... what is it about? ... it’s a show about Picard killing people. Picard killing himself (multiple times!), Picard killing Data, Picard killing his mom, Picard killing Q, I’m probably forgetting a few significant people Jean-Luc Picard has killed over the course of the past two seasons. And, yeah, of course, if I asked the people who make the show they wouldn’t say that’s what it’s about about. They’d look at me with their dead eyes and say something stupid like, “It’s not about Picard killing people. It’s about trauma.” or whatever. But it’s about him killing people!


    I’m not saying you can’t make a good TV show about Jean-Luc Picard killing people. Sure, most of the good Jean-Luc Picard stories don’t really have that going down. They’re more likely to be about him nobly explaining why it’s wrong to kill people! Occasionally there’s a good one where he’s killing people with phasers every which way, yeah, I’ll grant you that. I enjoy watching Jean-Luc Picard coolly and calmly firing that phaser into the chest of the recently assimilated crewman in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) as much as the next man — I, uh, I don’t count him cracking the spine of the Borg Queen in two as him killing anybody, think about it, she’s the Borg Queen, she can’t die like that, she says as much when Picard points out that her and all the Borg on that cube from ‘Best of Both Worlds’ were all destroyed + we see Borg Queen(s) after that too — but I’ll point out that was a story specifically about Jean-Luc Picard coming to grips with the fact that it’s wrong for him to kill himself, kill his crew, kill his friends, all because he’s in pain and it hurts less to kill and die than to grow and change.


    What’s my point? I guess my point is that if you’re going to make a show about Jean-Luc Picard killing himself and killing his mom and killing Q and killing Data you might try to make it as good as, I don’t know, there’s no way they can make it as good as ST:FC (‘96) but try to make it at least as good as the TNG episodes where Picard kills people. Remember the two-parter where Picard pretends to get himself killed and goes undercover and plays space pirate in a gambit to recover some kind of artifact or do some sort of intelligence thing I forget the precise details Robin Curtis was in it not going to look at the wiki to check you’re on your own here. Do you remember that two-parter? The show should be at least as good as that two-parter. I think that two-parter is actually one of the few times on TNG where Riker and Picard are out there doing action action action together. It’s not too bad of a two-parter! It’s the one about the gambit! Don’t recall the title, sorry.


    I mean. I’m all set. I’m locked in. Not going to quit. I’ll happily watch this show continue. That might be the wrong adverb. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I am as capable as anyone of sticking my tweezers into the morass of this show and plucking out the little flecks of joy sprinkled and speckled throughout. Because, after all, maybe they ARE trying to make the show as good as that two-parter and they’re just failing again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. I’m rooting for them! I believe they’ll eventually trip their way into some kind of artistic and aesthetic success beyond the bare minimum anyone can reach with such accomplished collaborators at play to execute their respective visions — what am I saying? I’m saying there’s a lot of money for the SFX and the actors are good! can’t blame the actors! — okay, this sentence kind of got away from me. I have a confession to make : I kind of like watching Picard kill people. I’ll watch Picard kill Riker and Picard kill Troi and Picard kill Worf and Picard kill Geordi and Picard kill Doctor Crusher (legitimately putting all my chips down on Picard killing Doctor Crusher before the season is out; he might bring her back to life again by sacrificing his robot body so she can live or whatever but that death is happening) and Picard kill a bunch of halfbaked new characters besides. Dredge up anybody you want from the old show(s) and have Picard kill them too! Do an epic crossover with some of the other half-disappointing new Trek shows. Let’s have Picard ice those people! I’ll watch Picard kill his own son, sure. Let’s make it happen!

  3. 1 hour ago, Hobbes said:

    I am just wondering how everyone feels about HP and JK Rowling.


    I can’t speak for everyone! I can only speak for myself! I’m the only one who can talk for me, me, precious me. I wrote up something on this subject several years ago, not sure if I posted it or not, in any case here you go:


    H-h-h-h-hot J.K. Rowling takes :


    1) She's just jealous! People pretending for their own personal gain to be a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth is HER right! Not theirs! It's the sort of thing one does if one wants to sell one's book for children or if one wants one's work to be judged solely on its own merit! All these trans kids are just ganking Joanne's little trick to be credited as she sees fit! How dare they do something that she's already done twice over!? Boo on them for trying to be happy! That's HERS! Happiness belongs to her alone!


    2) She stole the Dursleys from Roald Dahl and has also taken his anti-Semitism wholesale as well. Except it's not the early-to-mid 20th century any longer and so open hatred of Jews is no longer fashionable or excusable in polite company. In fact, it's frowned upon in many circles! J.K. Rowling considers herself quite a supporter of us, I'm sure! (Goblins notwithstanding, naturally.) So she had to latch on to a different despised minority to have seething paranoid fantasies over. Thinking that the trans people are lurking in the bathrooms used by little girls to defile them is ridiculous, sure, but so was imagining that the Hebrews have snatched away the Eucharist for themselves and are befouling it in secret or are somehow in simultaneous control of both international finance and the Bolshevik conspiracy.


    3) Remember that bit in the 5th book where Harry and Dumbledore are trying to find one of the Horcruxes and they're on that little island and there's a cup in a well and Dumbledore drinks its contents and it sends him into spasms of delirious pain and then Harry tries to help him by filling the cup with brackish water from the edge of the island and giving that to Dumbledore but that just hurts Dumbledore more and more and he has to keep doing it, he can't stop? A sort of analogy comes to mind! I'll state it simply : cup = Internet. Water = Mumsnet, Facebook, wherever this poison ferments. Dumbledore = J.K. Rowling. (Something that she admits as being generally true of his role in the series, if memory serves.) Harry = terfs. The semi-analogy breaks down, of course, because Dumbledore is a makebelieve person who died fighting makebelieve evil and J.K. Rowling is a real person who will live in real luxury as long as her hundreds of millions of dollars last her out.


    [someone pointed out, think it was Elizabeth Sandifer, that technically Rowling has had four (4) male pseudonyms if you incl. Newt Scamander (look at the movies! look at what kind of guy was cast in the role and what that character goes through in the movies!) and Kennilworthy Whisp]


    I’d also add this is me now in 2023 typing, just to clarify that the vivid descriptions of Harry’s headaches, the ones that he gets re:Voldemort, are so specific and detailed that one can’t help but imagine Joanne Kathleen Rowling experiences similar symptoms (I’m not the only person who’s asserted this, it may have been discussed by her in interviews, it’s certainly something that because of the popularity of the HP franchise has been gone over in the medical literature, I’m pretty sure there’s a mnemonic acronym to identify kinds of migraines which is related to Harry Potter, it may even actually be H.A.R.R.Y. P.O.T.T.E.R.) and that while this is of course much more common for women than for men it’s EVEN MORE COMMON for female-to-male transsexuals to experience these sorts of awful aura migraines (citation needed, uh oh, I’m unsure if I’m actually on solid ground here; as always take everything I say with a grain of salt) and that Joanne Kathleen Rowling has said that part of her reason for being so vocal on this *cough* *spit* “issue”/“question” is that she thinks she would have been pressured into being trans as a youth because of her tomboy nature. What’s my point? I think that a full picture of what sort of person Joanne Kathleen Rowling is should be starting to emerge to anyone paying careful attention here and that while it’s always suspect to assert that the bigot is secretly bigoted against themselves (cf. the dumb dumb half-witticism of talking about how gay homophobic pastors are or whatever) there might be something there. Am I wrong? Maybe. But think about it. Like, for example: Oprah is a billionaire but she’s not, like, a skinny billionaire. Oprah can look like whatever she wants, she can pay people to force her to exercise, to keep food out of her belly. Oprah has talked at great and eloquent length over and over about her struggles with food and dieting and stuff. But there’s obviously some things she values more than being skinny. What things? I don’t know, just going to speculate here : her privacy, her dignity, her sense of self-respect and self-control, her unwillingness to treat her own self as a barnyard animal, whatever. I think that Joanne Kathleen Rowling is kind of the same way but with being trans instead of being skinny. She’d like to be trans! But there’s other things she values way more so this tension is what prompts her to such ludicrous public displays on the subject. Same way Oprah used to go on and on about all sorts of quackery! This might be a bad illustrative example. I don’t know. I’m just spitballing.


    1 hour ago, Hobbes said:

    How much of this behavior gets a pass because of societal norms?

    I’m not, like, a judge. I’m not the king!!!!1! I don’t decide who gets passes and who doesn’t. And even if I did, well : Hobbes, if you want to have a username that’s taken from Orson Scott Card I don’t see how this makes any material difference to the world whatsoever! If somebody wants to play their Harry Potter computer game or walk around with their Hufflepuff tattoo I don’t see how this is any worse than, as you point out, any other genuine contributions to real suffering which we all make whenever we interact with the world entire. Is there ethical consumption under capitalism? Was there ethical consumption under feudalism? When caveman Grug licked sap from the bark of a tree was this a no-no? I don’t know. I’m not the mayor!!!!!1


    1 hour ago, Hobbes said:

    Does Card get more of a pass because all in all, because of his age and his upbringing, his views are more tolerant than most other from that environment whereas Rowling doesn't because of her more liberal upbringing and her having more power and influence?


    I guess I’d be more inclined to give him a pass (again, what does this mean!?1? I’m not in charge!!!11!) because he’s probably going to die soon and go live the life eternal on Planet Kobol or wherever.

  4. Long overdue! There’s been so much new stuff! But, what am I, on your schedule!??? Nope!


    I haven’t seen Oops! All Spider-Men (2021) or Hawkguy (‘21) or the Sam Raimi Dr. Strange or the new Taika Waititi Thor or Moon Knight (‘22) or the G. Willow Wilson Ms. Marvel tv show. Haven’t seen a lot of things yet. They keep making more things! And, of course, I’m not counting anything that’s not a movie. Made that choice since the very beginning. I mean, that way lies madness — watching each and every episode of Agents of S.N.O.O.Z.E (‘13-’20), tallying up all the little shorts they made for the home releases and then trying to decide on the precise level of quality inherent in the one they did with Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Bradford and Titus Welliver, watching the Netflix shows, eventually coming to the inevitable and inescapable conclusion that the aesthetically finest thing in the entire MCU is this promotional video where Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd hambone while shouting “Ants! Ants! Ants! Ant-Man!”.




    For my purposes, well, any of the television that I waited for the trade and watched in one or two sittings counts as a movie. I’m not counting WandaVision (‘21) as a movie because I watched each episode week to week. Not a movie! But a lot of the other stuff I’d just get on the stationary recumbent bike and plug away for a couple hours, take a short break, have a bite to eat while watching the rest of an episode, then get right back on the stationary recumbent bike again and finish up the final few episodes. That’s a movie! That counts as a movie to me. Even if I watched the second half of the season the next day, well, that’s still a movie. Sometimes I like to give myself a little break in the middle of a movie. There’s no referee here!


    23. Loki

    I watched this in July of 2021. We’re halfway through February of 2023. I gotta level with you. I no longer really remember what I thought of this one beyond a vague recollection of not liking it all that much. And yet fortunately for me, fortunately for you, fortunately for us all, my phone is like Pepperidge Farm®. It remembers! I forget but it recalls what I tippy typed into it! Oh, is it fair to rank it dead last? Well, life’s not fair.


    • re: Avengers "What they did was supposed to happen."
    • Pilot repetitive, characters rehashing the same info over'n'over
    • Another one of those "Why didn't we know this before?" questions, where Tom Hiddleston asks Owen Wilson this about the TVA. And this is AFTER he saw the li'l movie in the lobby!
    • Just a long stretch of scenes where Tom & Owen watch select pieces from one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, then a recreation of a minor historical incident probably unknown to 90% of its audience (but not to, like, the AVClub and its ilk), followed by MORE stuff from the movies
    • As if that's not enough, well, soon after that is a bit where Tom watches some more bits'n'pieces on his own.
    • Costume Designer Christine Wada!!!


    • Wait, they brought in Kate Berlant for two (2) lines???


    • Again, with the showing us AND telling us! We see a flashback to young Sylvie followed soon thereafter by a scene of her telling Loki the info the audience has already received in the flashback. (I suppose we get a teeny tiny smidgen of new information w/how Sylvia grew up, but it's barely barely there and it's the LAST thing she says.)
    • The prospect of bringing back the secondary characters Taika Waititi (sp?) threw away, raised by Jaimie Alexander (sp?) being in this episode; it's a good one. Hope we see the Warriors Three again!


    • Paying Richard E. Grant to scream "Glorious Purpose!" rather than investing any real thought in how to craft a story whole, out of its own independent elements; sure, why not


    • We've reached the point where the lowest-hanging fruit on the tree branch of extratextual oomph is just ... MCU audience. So, Taskmaster is extratextually us. Kang (?) is extratextually us. That's it. That's their one move. We're just going to keep seeing it, over and over. That'll be the extratextual meaning behind their antagonists.
    • They capped their show w/the ending from the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes!!!!????


    22. Falcon And The Winter Soldier

    Again, same deal. Don’t really remember much beyond not liking it! I’ll just paraphrase what I’ve got in my phone. I kind of think the choice of Wyatt Russell for a role here was a huge waste — he’s such a good actor, he’s not his father of course but nevertheless and nonetheless he’s so good, he’s so funny — because he gets one good line (“What’s with all the knives?”) and basically nothing else. I gather that they’re bringing him back for more stuff in the future so fingers crossed. I liked Zemo throwing that pole through the lady. Deeply disliked how the show juggled the always difficult problem of consistency versus continuity which has plagued writers of mainstream interconnected superhero narratives since before the Bronze Age — examples: the exchanges of "Why didn't we already know this?" twice, once w/Isaiah Bradley and once w/ Dr. Nagle vs. deciding to reveal Bucky as an explicit supersoldier — but I can’t really speak more about it because I didn’t bother to type up the details in my phone. I blame my phone. I deeply disliked the bit of dumb banter which was something like "Think Karli's gonna throw in the towel?" followed by "I think she's gonna double down." and I thought there was something earlier about playing cards, that sort of thing always brings to mind the Futurama joke. I liked Sharon Carter's underground gallery of real paintings w/the fake ones on display in legitimate galleries around the world; thought it went well w/the general theme of the series. At the end there where they showed us Buck and Sam having a heartfelt chat where they effortlessly throw the shield around Sam's makeshift training course AND THEN showing us the training montage establishing that he is bad at it and gets better through practice; well, I thought that was real dumb, juggling scenes like that, just plain dumb.


    21. Eternals


    Not good! I guess my chief complaints are these : numero uno, characters just bopping and bipping in and out of the narrative according to arbitrary demands! Dane Whitman, yeah, and Kingo, sure, but even and especially how everyone’s introduced all at once but then held offscreen except for the bizarrely ill-dispersed flashbacks. So all these people come on board, then they’re gone, then they’re slowly and unsurely salted back into the meal at non-regular intervals. Sometimes they die, yeah, but death’s the end of some character’s appearances onscreen but not others. Gotta put these characters before us, gotta keep them before us, gotta make sure to take them away from us properly. Every other blockbuster these days feels less like a story and more like a transcription of a D & D campaign where not everyone manages to show up all the time for game night!


    Secondly, they really just tried desperately to save this movie in post. Tons and tons of ADR’d lines. They figured out how to make the movie after the movie was made, they figured out what motivated these characters after the movie was made, they figured out what the movie lacked and awkwardly inserted what they needed into the movie to try and make it all come out in a wash. Just make a bad movie from the beginning, instead! I’d love this movie more if it felt like they sat down, wanted to make a bad movie, and committed to that badness in all its manifold and myriad ways from jump. It doesn’t feel like that. It feels like a movie where everyone involved had a different and only somewhat overlapping vision for what kind of bad movie they were making (the actors are delivering semi-concussed performances w/the exception of Kumail Nanjiani! the director is making a beautiful picture about a woman going through a break-up while reminiscing about all these lovely vacations her and her soon-to-be ex went on! the writers are ripping off the Make A Wish kid who delivered the best line in Thor: Ragnarok (‘17)!) and someone sometime had to gather it all together after the fact into a coherent whole. I suppose that’s all movies, really, all big Hollywood blockbuster make’em’ups, yeah, but this is the most artless and rambling attempt at it I’ve seen so far from these folks.


    Thirdly, well, I thought I had more to moan about here but I’m going to switch tacks and talk about what I liked about the movie. It’s mostly because of the relative paucity of quality Eternals comics out there that I can say definitively that this is better at being a movie than most of ‘em are at being a comic. It’s a better movie than the Gaiman comic is a comic, it’s a better movie than the Gillen comic is a comic, is it a better movie than the Kirby original!? Maybe!? If you look at all the times Kirby noodled around with this general concept, if you counted up every time he tried to offer the reader his definitive take on mythology, well, if you had to rank his Eternals among those then where would it be? I don’t think it’s better than any of his Fourth World stuff, I don’t think it’s better than his Thor run, I don’t think it’s better than his 2001 series, I don’t think it’s better than the stuff in his Fantastic Four that’s roughly aligned w/this, I don’t even think it’s better than, like, Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers. All it’s got is basically the thumb of Arishem! There was no big thumb of Arishem in this movie reaching out to the audience, though, so I guess the Kirby original beats out the movie, in the end.


    The movie’s interesting on that old Wendy Doniger level, the line about how every bad movie has really good metaphysics. The movie’s visually interesting. Not on the level of action sequences, no, but there’s plenty of interesting stuff to look at. The movie is not aurally interesting, soundtrack’s a big nothing, none of the deep cuts are bangers. The characters are honestly less compelling than the Kirby originals and those are pretty much ciphers to begin with.


    I guess the big thing that the movie deserves credit for is … the twist!? I didn’t see that twist coming! I figured Salma Hayek wasn’t really dead, right!? I assumed she’d be the bad guy. More fool me! I guess I don’t really have the requisite skull space to confidently predict where this movie was going. I mean, what is the end of the movie about!? It’s about Green Ranger and Blue Ranger having a tiff because Green Ranger wants to use her powers to turn Gold Giant into White Giant instead of listening to the orders of Red Giant. Blue Ranger decides at the last second not to stop Green Ranger because he loves her (hey, idiot, if you stop her then everybody’s mind wipes and you can love her even more on the next planet!) so I guess it’s all about the power of love!!!?? Love conquers all, folks, love wins, love is grand, let’s turn this immortal sociopath into a human so she can experience true love! Druig should’ve brained Sprite again afterwards! Don’t use the power of love! Use rock! And, paper covers rock, after all, so that’s what this movie’s true love really is : paper. Dollars!


    20. The Incredible Hulk

    19. Guardians of the Galaxy / More Guardians of the Galaxies

    18. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings


    Pretty rough stuff! There’s a tweet, a tweet on twitter, something like : “marvel got two kinda of movies, cool ones to watch while you are stoned, and the hat ones”. The fundamental problem w/this movie is that Shang-Chi, the original Doug Moench & Paul Gulacy stuff, it’s way more of the latter than the former. It’s a hat one! It’s all Bruce Lee rip-offs and spy movie rip-offs! There’s a real mismatch at play here because they decided to make their movie a cool one to watch while stoned. It’s all about Shang-Chi’s magical homeland! They decided they needed a Wakanda, they needed a K’un-Lun, that’s not what Shang-Chi needs! That’s not what he’s about! The appeal of Shang-Chi is not that he has MAGIC WEAPONS! The appeal of Shang-Chi is that he’s Bruce Lee!


    Simu Liu is a very very gifted physical comedian (when he rings the bell during the bus fight!) and absolutely inept at delivering the ‘witty’ banter (when he’s putting a button on Ben Kingsley’s Planet of the Apes joke! when he’s setting up the karaoke callback at the end!). He can’t do it. You know how Hemsworth was super duper worried they’d recast the role of Thor for the sequels, well, they should give serious thought to recasting the role of Shang-Chi. The one thing they need these guys to do, more than getting themselves to such a level of visible fitness that it actually puts their overall health at risk, more than plausibly interacting with CGI nothing while wearing CGI nothing, more than lie with dead eyes to talk show hosts about how they love Marvel Comics and have dreamed since childhood of playing this specific superhero, more than any other single thing, is make the dumb dumb half-humour so the whole enterprise goes smoothly. He can’t do the dumb dumb half-humour! I hate the dumb dumb half-humour but even I have to admit that the only thing worse than it being in the movie at all is when it’s poorly executed.


    On the whole, though, not too bad! A lot of the action sequences are genuinely enjoyable! Loved seeing Zach Cherry again! Don’t understand the ending on basically any level but beggars can’t be choosers.


    17. Dr. Strange

    16. Ant-Man

    15. Avengers III

    So, in the big fight scene in Wakanda that caps off the first half of this two-parter pretty much all of the good guys in it look roughly the same from a distance : slender silhouettes of dark or pastel shapes. Maybe the only real exception to this is Mark Ruffalo in the Hulkbuster armour. He’s bigger! He’s shiny! And the movie has introduced Peter Dinklage as Eitri who is --- he was in a couple of issues of New Mutants!?? Well, apparently, he was in the Simonson run, yeah, before that but I don’t really remember him. My point is the movie gives us Peter Dinklage, we spend a lot of time w/Peter Dinklage on screen as this big big big guy with a big big big voice, Thor and Rocket Raccoon and Groot spend a sizable chunk of this movie with this big guy, and then once it’s time for the fight sequences at the end they teleport away without him and join the fights. My complaint here isn’t on the level of plotting or story or whatever because, after all, he’s just this old guy with broken hands whose role in the narrative/franchise is to supply the Hemsworth action figure with a new toy. My complaint here is that visually speaking having another really big guy during these fight scenes would make the fight scenes better. It’s good to have a giant man running around out there on the field. Don’t understand why, like, Michael Douglas wasn’t Giant-Manning about. Or if not him then anyone at all. That’s my complaint. The fights needed a big guy, the movie has a big guy, the movie kept the big guy on the bench. You gotta make fights good.

    14. Thor Ragnarok

    13. Spider-Man : Far From Home / Spider-Man : Homecoming

    12. Iron Man III

    11. Black Widow

    10. Iron Man

    9. Ant-Man II

    8. Iron Man II

    7. Captain Marvel

    A far better Shane Black rip-off than the actual Shane Black MCU film!

    6. Avengers II and Avengers I

    5. Cap II

    4. Thor II

    3. Thor

    2. Black Panther

    1. Captain America

  5. I keep trying to download the app (in direct violation of all the principles of good op-sec, everything I was taught but so clearly failed to learn! at Sarratt) and I keep getting the following message:




    My phone is kind of old, kind of messed up, my smart phone has gone dumb dumb dumb, space is at a premium. I keep deleting apps and I keep deleting content I no longer need (no! no! my precious content!) but the message remains the same. It never tells me how much I need to ditch; I can’t seem to find out how big “Walker Tracker” actually is. I’ll let you know if there’s ever any progress on this front but for the moment it seems that unassuageable technical difficulties block my path at every turn!

  6. I’m mildly to moderately faceblind with that there prosopagnosia so this is a constant struggle. Would probably be easier to write out a fully complete list of actors who I haven't confused with other actors.

    Nevertheless and nonetheless, uh, what comes to mind first for me? Don’t want to spend too much time here flipping through the old ImdB. Oh, Nina Siemaszko and Hope Davis! And for a long time I thought there were two Jay Karnes — yeah, I know actors have to go by pseudonyms and put their middle names in to avoid this very problem, what can I say, dumb brain is dumb — I thought there was the one who was on The Shield (‘02-’08) and the one that would pop up in various guest spots on other television shows. Oh, just thought of another pair who I recently confused doing a Google search for a bunch of old Pepsi® Max commercials. That’d be Tom Lenk and Fran Kranz. See. We could do this all day. It’s not just a matter of what people look like, really, if their resumés bear any kind of superficial similarity to each other my brain will mishmash them together. The battle never ends!

  7. I know next to nothing about all that. Didn’t read the books, don’t play the games, didn’t watch the show. Heard about the stuff, yeah, with what he supposedly said and did. But since the account I read, can't find it at the moment sorry, didn’t offer any precise descriptions of what exactly was said by Henry Cavill (oh, it was ‘toxic’? sure, sure, I believe you. how ‘toxic’ was it?) I am forced to conclude this was just standard movie star nonsense. Maybe coupled with an e-mail which was perhaps something along the lines of —


  8. I got the bivalent vaccine the day before yesterday. Feel kind of tired; injection site a little sore to the touch. Them’s the breaks! Still, excited to discover what kind of bivalve it’s going to turn me into. An oyster? A clam? A cockle? Mussel? Scallops? Won’t be able to eat myself, oh well. Not sure why I’m complaining; haven’t been able to manage that so far, not that I would want to, oh no. Yet nevertheless and nonetheless it remains an honour and a privilege for a pharmacist to transform me into an animal having a shell consisting of two halves joined together by an elastic ligament at the hinge, so as to open and shut like a book. At long last!

  9. On 8/22/2022 at 9:47 PM, R.CAllen said:

    There’s that episode of the animated series where somebody (the Mad Hatter!?) has hacked his way into Bruce Wayne’s dreams to give him nightmares for reasons and he figures it out because the voice in his head addresses himself as Bruce and that’s NOT what he calls himself. Same deal. When I hear the voice of Batman speaking in my head, when I’m reading the latest issue of Batman (Zdarsky’s doing great!), it is Conroy’s voice that speaks.

    Have to correct the record here. The moment I was thinking of was actually from an episode of Batman Beyond (‘99-’01). Got it mishmashed with an original animated series episode —written by Joe R. Lansdale!— where Kevin Conroy ZT”L realizes he’s been trapped in a dream world by the Mad Hatter because everything he reads is written in gobbledygook.

  10. Oh no! This happened to me too. I know exactly how to help! I can get you all your money back plus the shoes themselves. It’s very simple. All you need to do is send me twenty thousand dollars, cash, by direct courier. Mortgage the house, sell a kidney, whatever, don’t worry, you’ll get every penny back + interest. The important thing is you have to do this immediately. You can’t wait. Or else!

  11. Another dumb thing


    in the promotional tours The Rock was doing is when he talked about being a fan of the character even as a child. Really? I mean, it’s what they all say for every role of this type, they all go on the talk shows and stare dead-eyed into the camera and earnestly declaim to the world at large that as far as back as they can remember they’ve always wanted to be a T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent but in this case it’s extra egregious. You really always loved Black Adam, Dwayne? Is that going to come up on your show about your life? Are we going to see the version of you in the nineties [edit: that guy is in the movie itself as the Shazamified version of his son!!!1!] flipping through issues ofThe Power of Shazam!?!? I just don’t believe that Dwayne Johnson had even heard of Black Adam before Geoff Johns decided to retool the guy in the 00’s, sorry, he’s not Jack Black making songs about Young Nastyman, I don’t believe Dwayne Johnson engages with nerd material at the level of detail where this sort of second-tier villain would impinge on his consciousness.

  12. oh, yeah, the thing with

    Superman is so dumb both within and without the movie. It’s kind of hilarious that The Rock is out there giving interview after interview about wanting to beat up Superman and how the balance of power in the DC Universe is about to change and how Superman is vulnerable to magic. It’d be like, I don’t know, if Ray Park back in ‘99 was telling Starlog Magazine he was going to absolutely demolish Luke Skywalker. You’re not his bad guy, dummy! That’s not who you fight!

  13. I thought the movie was pretty bad!



    Don’t quite understand how Geoff Johns managed to inveigle all these huge corporate enterprises the Rock alone is a force unto himself, one must imagineinto filming a playthrough of a custom Mayfair Games DC Heroes module that he constructed for his own personal pleasure. I don’t know how how he did it! It’s an accomplishment all on its own. He got these guys to shell out cold hard cash for a movie where Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher, and one of those dumb dumb descendants him and David S. Goyer would pepper throughout their JSA run all fight a guy literally only him and a handful of retailers care about. Somehow this doofus managed to convince real people with real jobs to spend real money (lots of it! those shallow cuts on the soundtrack must not have come cheap!) on a movie starring a character he reinvented to minimal critical and commercial acclaim. Why did they do it? I don’t know. I guess they decided it didn’t really matter what the title character of a superhero movie is so long as the movie itself stands before the public naked and shivering as a piecemeal imitation assemblage of other contemporary superhero movies. They’d probably be right but I think it’s also pretty important to decide exactly what information needs to be exposited when and where in these kinds of movies they clearly decided to strip away any information about what exactly the deal is with Hawkman; prob. a good choice to just let the charisma of Aldis Hodge carry the day but that sort of good decision is imbalanced by so many bad ones, there’s line after line when they’re all in that car in the beginning about Isis’ (LOL!) necklace which it seems like they ... forgot to cut out when they cut out everything that stuff was leading to later???and they probably needed a different director too. Jaume Collet-Sera is pretty good at horror and at a certain kind of ersatz Hitchockian suspense, I just rewatched Unknown (‘11) and even though it’s not super duper great there’s still a pretty good scene with Liam Neeson in the hospital strapped to a gurney drugged into near-unconsciousness desperately reaching out for a pair of scissors in the breast pocket of a murdered nurse on the floor beneath him, still a good scene where Bruno Ganz and Frank Langella confront each other, my point is that this kind of blockbuster spectacle doesn’t seem to really be his deal. The parts that ARE his deal embedded within the movie are the best parts of an otherwise pretty dire movie, like it’s just fun to see Pierce Brosnan be Pierce Brosnan, tough to ruin Pierce Brosnan with a bad line, he just delivers the bad line in the best way possible, what’s my point, I guess I’m crediting the director for getting good performances from the actors in a bad movie. The core of the movie is kind of leaning as hard as possible into the adolescent power fantasy of superheroism, what if I were strong, what if I could go anywhere, what if nothing could hurt me, effortless triumph layered atop effortless triumph, but the core is surrounded by hastily tossed together garbage. They decided at the last minute they were going to tie the movie into other movies in addition to just imitating those other movies? Dumb. Gotta decide to tie the movie into other movies ahead of time, can’t hire Djimon Hounsou at the last second to show his face on camera for a moment, you gotta get value for money there.

    Verdict : bad but as always for every bad superhero movie I am absolutely slavering for a sequel; let’s go, let’s have him fight Tawky Tawny, let’s have him fight Woozy Winks

  14. Terrible news! A childhood favourite I think him and Marty McFly were the coolest in all the world as far as I was concerned way back when. (I remember looking up his character on a nerd wiki some few years ago and being astounded to discover he’s still a part of things, the character’s got a doctorate, it’s Doctor Tommy Oliver now.) As children we used to stand atop the mounds of snow piled in our schoolyard and pretend to be the Green Ranger summoning his Dragonzord by using a twig as the dagger/flute. Wait, that kind of sounds like the Four Yorkshiremen sketch. We was too poor to afford the toys! We were glad of our simple pleasures delivered to us from the skies above! And if you told that to young people today they wouldn’t believe a word of it, no, no. In any case, well, a sad day. 49! Uch.

  15. Haven’t really been keeping up with all the new animated stuff. There was an entire series set around Sequel Trilogy times which I completely skipped. Hated the look and feel of it. Couldn’t get through more than a few seconds of it. Haven’t seen any of the little micro-shorts for much the same reason. Saw the anime stuff; that was fun, looking forward to more of that. There’s a show whose premise reminds me a little bit of how as a little little kid if I had a bunch of identical toys I’d differentiate them from each other by giving ‘em different personalities when I’d play with them, that’s The Bad Batch (‘21-’??), haven’t seen any of it so far.


    Haven’t seen the Obi-wan show. Haven’t seen the Andor show. I imagine I’ll get to them sometime. I don’t really buy the hype about the latter, oh sure, it’s Star Wars for grown-ups, it’s for adults, right, yeah, it’s not that I don’t believe you or anything but pretty much everyone spouting that line probably said similar things about Rogue One (2016) so I’m going to manage my expectations here.


    But a bunch of mini-episodes about what Ahsoka and Count Dooku got up to before, during, and immediately after the Prequel Trilogy!? That’s my trash! You can’t keep me away! I thought that was all over and done with but it turns out there’s more of it! Yeah! Great! It’d be like if they announced, oops, the coroner goofed and Aaron Allston’s not dead so here’s his new Wraith Squadron book. Sign me up!





    Life And Death’


    * Like the makeshift droids the village uses. There’s one thatching that roof with her dad, there’s a different bipedal one walking the streets. Neat!


    * Kind of figured we were maybe heading for a little bit of a twist there. Maybe a reveal that the honoured elder was Ahsoka and the baby was named for her. Felt like maybe instead of showing us the birth of this character we were about to see her death instead.


    * Wait, if Ahsoka is the same shade of orange as her mother then what’s with her father being purple!? How do Togrutans reproduce? That guy seemed really psyched at having a kid but, well, not to be indelicate ... well, I don’t see any way around this. Guess somebody’s going to have to write a 40,000 word monograph addressing Togrutan sexual dimorphism, phenotypic traits, fidelity and infidelity, the ongoing undecided veracity of the old canard over infants resembling their fathers more than their mothers, Rakatan plans for the GFFA, Shaak Ti’s peculiar mortalities, it’s all gotta be connected.




    * Makeshift droids again! One of those 8D guys tending bar. Saw him walking in Ahsoka’s village too. A good clanky puppet design. And I liked the sort of MechWarrior-ish tractor thing. 2-TON.


    * Senator Dagonet’s guard. Neat hats! Nice Mortal Kombat masks.


    * When you put together Luke doing Force Choke to the Gamorrean guard in RotJ with Qui-Gon’s lack of moral disgust at Dooku’s use of it and, yeah, I gotta assume there’s others I’m not remembering at the moment I guess you have no choice but to come to the conclusion they never teach ‘em in Jedi schooling it’s a bad guy power for bad guys!?!? That’s just something literal children in the audience figured out but nobody within the narrative itself seems to realize it. These guys are all like, yeah, nothing dark side about this!




    * Like the Senatorial Guard combat droids.


    * Oh, this guy’s got David Bowie eyes. Neat!


    * Love Ki-Adi-Mundi’s specially made hood for his huge head.


    The Sith Lord’


    * Wait, Dooku was still a Jedi during the events of TPM!?!?!? What’s going on with the timeline here? How can he use Sifo-Dyas’ security code if the guy’s dead? Sifo-Dyas was on a mission for Chancellor Valorum when he was killed (“almost ten years ago” is what Obi-Wan says in AotC) so once they did the episode of the show where all this was established up until that point it still seemed somewhat semi-plausible it was an alias for Sidious; some fake Jedi Master’s name on a line item expense report whom no one ever met and who ‘died’ I kind of assumed the guy got merked shortly before TPM because that’s the movie where Chancellor Valorum stops being Chancellor Valorum. Does this matter? Nope! But it’s funny how Dave Filoni’s desire to untangle this stuff every chance he gets just makes the whole thing more of a mess!

    * Feel like the end result of all this is somebody doing some kind of definitive Prequels cut decades from now with all the animated stuff that happens during the movies interpolated in. Maybe with AI-assisted upscaling so it all looks live action!?

    * Yaddle talks normal!?!?!? Dumb! No way! Yaddle talks like Yoda talks! Yaddle is the same as Yoda!!!! Yaddle is not toad-brown like the guy from KOTOR (wait, I just looked this up to doublecheck and apparently sometimes Master Vandar was coloured green!?!? today’s a day of doubly shattered illusions!!! I’ve taken my first step into a larger world and I don’t like it! Not one bit! I wish I could go back to the way things were! I miss when my life was all lies!!!!1 Oh, the pain!), she’s not Even Piell pink, she’s Lady Yoda, she’s Rebbetzin Yoda, she’s Mrs. Yoda, she is Yoda’s Wife. I don’t believe these untruths of the false world. I take comfort in the fact that no one can change the true and eternal Yaddle. Not concept artist Iain McCaig. Not Opie Cunningham’s daughter. But why won’t anyone stop them from trying?!?!?1? Just to be on the safe side I have taken my Yaddle action figure from out of her mint condition packaging alongside her Jedi Council co-members Yarael Poof (hah!) and Depa Billaba and disregarding the choking hazard warning emblazoned on the box stuffed her figurine directly down my gullet so she can live forever safe and pure within my body.


    Practice Makes Perfect’


    * Okay, I think we now know why Ahsoka never tracked down Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, or Yoda near to or during the events of the Original Trilogy. She had brain damage from being repeatedly stunned unconscious over and over!




    * What do those clones think Leia’s dad is doing? Do they think he’s drunk? Saying that he’s open to bribery? Soliciting them!? Just talking posh jibber jabber in a way that isn’t even supposed to make any sense whatsoever?


    * Nice shot of the Y-wing flying out into the moonlit sky! There are spice miners on that there moon! Uh oh! They're disgruntled!


    * Love those farming droids! Love their dumb gangly legs! Love their R2 heads!


    * Oh, hey, neat design on this Inquisitor. And the way his head deflates when he gets decapitated! Voiced by Clancy Brown too.


    just about the series as a whole, I suppose


    Feels like the show is emphasizing a strain of thought that’s been pretty clear for a while now. Simply that the Republic was bad, the Empire was worse, the good guys are therefore not really fighting for something good in and of itself but merely the restoration of a profoundly unjust status quo ante. This would come up every now and then in the EU, yeah, but I gather that it seems to be the deal in a lot more of the live action and animated stuff over the past couple of years.


    I mean, if everything’s up to what some Senators and/or royalty think then that’s just incentive to do what happens over and over again during this show and the Prequels and the extended media taking place during this era e.g. lie to Senators, abduct Senators or their dependents, assassinate Senators, blackmail Senators, bribe Senators, basically just use violence or the fruits of violence to get what you want. The Senators don’t have Force powers!!!1! They can’t stop you! The political system actively encourages this sort of thing!


    Kind of apropos to watch this right after some dumb dumb who hated TLJ broke into the Speaker of the House’s ... house and nearly widowed her. I mean, at least the dumb dumbs who’d do that stuff during the Prequels generally speaking did it at the behest of Chancellor Palpatine or Darth Sidious (could there be some connection between these two separate individuals? Nah! Too farfetched!) but this real life dumb dumb is doing that stuff because of Facebook and talk radio and Fox News and Newsmax and Frank Speech and, like, websites. Not to mention the former President of the United States and multiple other current, former, and future elected officials!

  16. Wait, so what are my complaints!?!?




    I feel like there are maybe three distinct kinds of characters on this show. Three types. Here they are :


    1) People We Don’t Know. People we literally have no way of knowing because they weren’t in the books. The show’s got to get them knowable to us, make ‘em known, it’s got to do the job of introducing these characters to an audience. Half the work’s already done for the show because these new people we don’t know are in a familiar setting, y’know? But do we get to know them? I have spent hours upon hours of my life now with Arondir, Bronwyn, Eärien, Kemen, Valandil, Ontamo, Waldreg, Disa, Sadoc, Marigold, Largo, Nori, Poppy, Malva, Vilma, Dilly, Adar, all the stars are here! I don’t think I could pick half of them out of a police line-up.


    2) People We Do Know But Seem Substantially Different Than They Quote Unquote ‘Should’ Be. Some of that’s an inescapable outcome of recasting the roles but some of that’s down to the choices made by the storytellers to deviate from both the text and from, like, what happened in the last episode. Who are these people? What do any of them want? Elrond seems to want everybody to be his friend!!!1! Galadriel seems to want to die!!1! None of the kings or princes or kings-in-waiting seem to consistently want anything from one episode to the next track the choices made by Gil-Galad or the dwarves or Ar-Pharazôn and his son or Isildur or Queen Regent Míriel and it’s just contradiction piled atop contradiction in a way that matches with what they quote unquote ‘should’ want in any sense of the word. When measured in accordance with the preexisting text or in accordance with what one would assume they would want given how we’ve just seen them act pretty much all these familiar characters do things that seem deeply unlike themselves.


    3) People We May Or May Not Know That The Show Seems Determined To Give Over To The Audience As Indeterminate Smudges. Is that guy Gandalf? Is that guy Sauron? Who are they? Who will they be? Oooh, the mystery! The tantalizing mystery! Can you feel it? Can you feel the heat?


    So, the characters seem a bit lacking. I mean, is it unfair to compare this to the Jackson trilogy? Too bad! I’m going to do it! That’s got something like thirty characters and they’re very very very sharply defined. And that had less time and was released over a span of years! This show has more time, I haven’t counted but I have to assume what with every episode being well over an hour that we’re in excess of anything but the extended home editions here, and has been coming out weekly. I mean, even the Hobbit trilogy, well, I forgot who’s who among some of the dwarves but you get my point.




    Once again, gotta drag the Jackson trilogy into this. It’s unavoidable! It can’t be helped. If they didn’t want that comparison to be made they had to either run straight towards it full bore or deviate substantially from that vibe. Can’t have your cake and eat it too, Amazon Prime!


    The line on the Jackson trilogy was always, from the beginning, that they were making the movie for people who had read the books ten years ago and not for people who had reread the books ten months ago. They were constantly and consistently willing to deviate from the text in the interest of fun, fun was their watchword, speak fun and enter, so they’d make decisions about what would happen and the order of events on the basis of how fun they could get the final outcome to be.


    I feel like this show isn’t being made for people who read the books ten years ago and it’s not for people who reread the books ten months ago and they’re certainly not making all their decisions about how to run away from the text in the interests of fun. I feel like this show is being made for ... the children of parents who work in a STEM field who won’t allow their kids to watch Game Of Thrones or Game Of Thrones : Deep Space Nine!?!?!? I feel like they’re running away from Tolkien because sometimes Jeff Bezos or whomever would ask them dumb dumb questions like “What are the rings made of? Why do they want to make them? Who is Sauron?” and they’re well aware that an accurate and nuanced answer to those questions would be utterly imperceivable to the brains of execs and audience alike on so many levels. You can’t explain to power hungry idiots that wanting power is bad!!!1! Some of the answers to those questions might even be legally unaddressable on the broadcast itself. Because they don’t have the rights to everything they’d need to mention in order to adequately answer!




    Feel like I’ve talked about this week by week more than enough but even so here goes nothing : (1) episodes feel simultaneously overly long yet seem to have scenes missing (2) the amount of ADR’d/looped dialogue is way too much indicating that they fundamentally reshaped the series in post (3) plot is inadequately distributed amongst the characters so I’m constantly wondering where everyone is this week; it’s like if they did a hospital show and every other episode you’d just get the orderlies and the administrators but no patients and no doctors and then vice versa (4) an overt reliance on gimmicks and mystery-box style storytelling to hold the attention of the audience rather than trusting in the innate appeal of the material presented in a straightforward manner (5) again, may be a little unfair to compare it to something that it can never ever outpace but nevertheless and nonetheless here we go yet another example drawn from the Jackson trilogy, every set and every prop was made right there in New Zealand (except for the contact lenses which were made special in the states and flown in), multiple times over, in the scene where Pippin is stealing the palantír from a sleeping Gandalf there was a suggestion made by Billy Boyd that he should do the thing Harrison Ford did in Raiders where he swapped out the object and so he wanted to use a nearby jug to do it but Peter Jackson pointed out he couldn’t because the jug was Ian McKellen-sized and they’d need a slightly smaller one to fit with his hobbit shape or it wouldn’t look right on screen and the props department piped up and said they’d made exact doubles of the necessary sizes of everything in every scene just in case the actors needed them, everyone really really cared, the clothes on the stand-ins had slightly different thread widths to match up precisely with the clothes worn by the actors; what’s my point, my point is that everything we saw in the movies felt real and lived in and everything we see on the show feels fake and lifeless (6) I understand that some of this may just be me, I’m sure there’s an audience out there that’s super excited for Galadriel to take the One Ring and put it between her perfect teeth and slip it on Sauron’s flaccid peen then have the blood of the Maiar rush into him so he can boink her for hours upon hours until finally at long last he splurts out a simbelmynë-white sigil-map of the Southlands over her heaving bosom, but I don’t think the show manages adult themes very well!!!!1! (7) maybe it’s not their fault. maybe it’s just that Amazon Prime can’t make good shows!?!!1! What is the evidence that the guys who basically just run server farms and force poor people to work themselves to death in a hurricane know how to make good TV? On my end it’s little more than Patriot (‘15-’18), some episodes of Hand Of God (‘14-’17), some episodes of Goliath (‘16-’21), I keep meaning to get to Too Old To Die Young (‘19), I hear good good things about The Underground Railroad (‘21), Alpha House (‘13-’14), I don’t think I saw every episode of The Tick (‘16-’19), watched every episode so far of Ten Percent (‘22-’??), I bounced hard off of The Marvelous Ms. Maisel (‘17-’23?’22?’24?), I saw the Leafs season of All Or Nothing (‘16-’21), I hear good things about Small Axe (‘20), oh wait of course The Kids In The Hall (‘88-’??), I take it all back, so sorry, once you take that into account they’re kind of the only people in the world who do TV right. They brought back The Kids In The Hall! Automatic A++++ to them! Of little comfort to the beleaguered, of course, but whatchagonnado???

  17. Seventh and eighth episode!

    * Did they ... did they use one of those mouth-moving filters, the automatic ones for photographs, like with the Snapchats, the things the kids use, on the shots of Galadriel and Theo in Mordor from a distance? For the scene where they’re talking about darkness and dark deeds and goodness and hearts and whatever!? It did not look or sound like the rest of their dialogue in that scene!!!!1! This show has a bajillion dollars!!!! They couldn’t just do a reshoot?????


    * The restraint of the scene where Nori and Young Ian McKellen say wordless goodbyes to each other with the exchange of an apple is probably what makes it the best moment in the series so far for me. Just letting the imagery and the music and the weight of the moment do the work on their own without trying to gussy it up with a Fisher-Price® version of Tolkien.


    * Wait!? How can Celeborn —pronounced with a hard c too? whaaaat? apparently, all this time, ‘c’ has never ever been what I thought it was in Quenya or Sindarin!?!? Saruman’s name was Curunír and that was pronounced k-k-k-k-k-k-urinir and not Surinir like I have always assumed!? Tolkien once said that the most beautiful words in English were ‘cellar door’. Did he say it ‘kellar door’???— be dead!!!!! Her husband is in the books! Her husband is on screen! He gets one of the rings just like her and Gandalf, right!? (No, wait, I’m getting him confused with Círdan. ) I mean, how!?!?!?111!? Going to have to assume this one of those classic “no body = no death” things. I guess for the purposes of allowing the somewhat alluded to intimacies between Gandalf and Galadriel in the Hobbit trilogy the franchise/fandom just sort of decided to treat Celeborn like he was dead!?!?1!? Maybe that’s the precedent here????


    * is there a scene missing w/Isildur? We see him at the beginning with his friend and his dead friend and the queen, right? And then for the rest of the episode he’s just lost? Did he run off at the end of that scene? I don’t remember that happening. His friend convinces him his dead friend is dead under that collapsed house and that’s that, right?




    * Was this bit in the ‘Previously On’ segment where Queen Regent Míriel gets a faceful of embers in the prior episode? The one before last? I don’t remember it!


    * “I am good.” What!? Just trust the audience and have him name himself Olórin. Or if that’s too obscure and it shouldn’t be, not when you consider the fact that the pilot ended with the introduction of Celebrimbor under the assumption that everyone tuning in knew who that was and what he’d wind up doing have him say some mythos speak and end off with calling himself the Grey. Oh, wait, are they STILL trying to keep a mystery of who exactly this guy is? Is it important to Amazon Prime Incorporated that fans on the Internet argue back and forth whether he’s Saruman or Gandalf or Radagast or one of the Blue Wizards or whatever!? Why!? Duuuuuuumb. A dumb line.


    * has Sauron been running back and forth between his time as Lord Himmelfarb and hanging out with the rest of the Eurythmics!? Hopping on top of a fellbeast to save transit time? Or is that guy not Sauron? Is he just one of Sauron’s servants like the other two, uh, Helmet Lady and Horn Lady?


    * Twist dumb. Double twist somehow even worse. Figured there was a twist coming but assumed they’d zig instead of zag here and go for something else.


    * Rings made of mithril and Galadriel’s dagger!?????????? What!? No!!!!!!1 Why would Galadriel allow them to go ahead with making the rings in the first place? What’s all this nonsense about two rings and three rings? There’s more rings! There’s a whole song about the rings! They sing the song during the end credits! Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t they supposed to win a long drawn out war against Sauron’s forces and then they take him in chains to the city and there after centuries of confinement, beautiful of aspect and apparently sincerely penitent, he gives up enough of the secrets of the ages to allow them to forge the rings for everybody all at once!? That makes sense. They all go into it with their eyes open! Sauron is supposed to trick them by forging the One Ring! He’s not supposed to trick them by having a secret identity! This is so dumb! Aragorn carried all this guilt over how his ancestor didn’t destroy the Ring but it’s all his dumb dumb elven adopted family’s fault! Galadriel could’ve just copped to it before they even made the rings, stood up and said “Whoops. My bad. How was I to know that the Enemy would be paddling around the ocean on the off chance I’d decide to reject the light of Valinor? Sorry sorry sorry. Gorthaur clearly wants us all to make him some jewellery and we can no longer trust the evidence of our senses as to why that’s a pressing concern. Let’s not follow his plans! Let’s all just go into the West and diminish instead.” but her big big idea is to give Sauron MORE RINGS!?!?!?!? Dumb! Long across the ages you have fought the long defeat, Galadriel? Huh? WHOSE FAULT IS THAT!!!!!!!?


    * Final verdict : giving serious consideration to just skipping Season 2 and watching the Shannara (‘16-’17) show instead!!!!!1!

  18. Yeah, I saw the 2nd episode.


    • Wait, if they’re leaping him back to the nineties then ... isn’t the original Quantum Leap program in operation at this time? It’s 1998. What’s to stop him from trying to rescue Dr. Sam Beckett the old fashioned way!?!? He can just go to the complex and tell Al all the details of what Dr. Sam Beckett needs to do to leap, right? No need for Ziggy to guesstimate things. His team back in the present day presumably still has the records. They feed that to him and he hands that off to Al then Al gives it to Dr. Sam Beckett. Speedrun it! Fool God and win big!


    • Wait, he’s an immigrant? Okay, another bad thing about not keeping with the status quo where his body is still in the Quantum Leap complex is now they can’t do a thing where an evil Admiral/Senator/cabinet member thinks the project is some giant boondoggle (he assumes Ziggy is just generating the output, there is no time travel) and seizes Dr. Ben Song’s body under Patriot Act rules or whatever. Well, I assume they could’ve still done it regardless of whether Dr. Ben Song is a natural born U.S. citizen or not but the story has extra resonance if he isn’t.


    • Oh, that’s Carly Pope!!!1! Young People $%#^&ing Carly Pope. Later season of 24 Carly Pope. That’s Carly Pope!


    • Oh, and José Zúñiga! Most recently from this year’s season of Westworld, he’s the Vice President, Ed Harris delivers the “I’m what you call ‘neurodivergent’” line to him. But I think I recognized him from the JJ Abrams MI.


    • Wait, Ben Raab is working on this show? Comics Ben Raab? Okay.


    • Omigosh they brought back the same actress from the finale! Susan Diol! The Vidiian scientist lady from VOY! The one of Al’s many many ex-wives who Dr. Sam Beckett manages to retcon into his only wife? The one who didn’t wait for him when he was a P.O.W. in that one episode before the finale which I don’t remember? Oh well, I guess I know which episode I’m going to rewatch after this one.


    • Half an hour in and the episode is already doing a better job at being a pilot than the first episode. Or maybe it’s better to say that it’s doing a really good job at being a second episode??? The status quo is being set up very well and the episode itself is about about how the very thing Dr. Ben Song brings to help those around him when he leaps is so crucial to the proper functioning of the team he left behind. Probably also helps that instead of it being, like, a generic CBS show like it was last week about an undercover cop foiling a heist it’s an astronaut show this week.


    Okay, this time around for a chaser I watched the episode with Al’s ex-wife that wasn’t the series closer. It’s the Season 2 finale! It’s great! I don’t think it’s one I’d seen as a kid. Dr. Sam Beckett leaps into what at first he assumes to be the body of a woman (in an episode that will end up being all about the body of a woman!) but then quickly comes to understand it is actually the body of a partner, a man charged with a mission to heal the mind of another, and Al subverts him from that goal for his own purposes. Al not only wants to rejoin with his beloved but more crucially wants to bring meaning to his years of caged loneliness — his time as a P.O.W. in Vietnam were in some way his own leaping — and ends up only seething with jealousy at the tool he’s crafted of Dr. Sam Beckett. Al is so outraged at 25 years of longing that he almost cuckolds himself with his best friend! I don’t know. I found the episode very powerful! Dean Stockwell’s performance, the needle drops, it’s entirely possible Ghost (1990) ripped it off (or vice versa!?!?) it’s so good! There’s a running shtick of Dr. Sam Beckett wearing numerous disguises in his work as a policeman which dovetails so well with the series as a whole, y’know? This episode could’ve worked as a series finale if there hadn’t been a renewal, it’s that good, it’s sort of a definitive thesis statement for the show.


    tldr = getting better! high hopes for episode 3!

  19. Sixth!


    • Arondir doing Home Alone (1990) on the Orc army. Fun!
    • Did they ... did they skip a scene where Theo sees where the sword is hidden!?!? The last we saw of it Arondir was wrapping it up in cloth and taking it away from the village, right? Right after he breaks a hammer trying to smash the sword to pieces on the anvil?
    • Did the ... did the Queen Regent and Isildur have any preexisting relationship? Have these characters talked to each other at all? Why’s she just telling him to go? Like, lady, lives are on the line. Did you come all this way to hang back with your bodyguards!?!?!? Go! Everyone should go! You should go! Kill some orcs! Save some villagers! Your ancestral line that even now sleeps beneath the mount of the Meneltarma on beds of gold would be ashamed! What, you want to live forever!?!1? Sounds like SOMEBODY’S jealous of the immortality of the Eldar!
    • I feel like this is sort of obvious but I gather just about half of everybody here is ending up as a Nazgul by the time we get to Season 3. Theo’s going to be a Nazgul. Not the kid himself probably the grown-up actor who’ll play the role. Lord Himmelbrand’s going to be a Nazgul. Isildur’s friends going be Nazguls. I thought last week Bronwyn was going to be for sure Nazgûlling it up, still can’t rule that out, she could very well end up as as a Nazgirl with a Morgirl-blade.
    • It was neat-o to have Galadriel do the thing where she dodges a spear on horseback once but it was real excessive to have that happen twice in one episode. When, I don’t know, when Legolas does the Bruce Lee move where he knocks out an opponent without even looking he doesn’t do the exact same thing fifteen minutes later!
  20. 5th!


    • Profanity, even if interrupted prior to completion, seems utterly out of keeping w/Tolkien’s sensibilities. And, hey, you me and any Bavarian senior citizen with access to an edit bay can easily see dwarves defecating but surely surely surely elves don’t poop!?!?!? How would that even — their digestive systems — internal organs — if they can survive off the merest crumb of lembas for weeks then naturally — the Elven intermixture of feä and hroä — just doesn’t seem possible.


    • What? Mithril is made from the light of a lost Silmaril? Dumb! Stupid! This is like when they decided Death Stars and lightsabers had their energy generated by the same crystals! Duuuuumb! (I do not think the obvious etymological connection between the two words is enough to justify the conceptual intertwining of these two distinct things.)


    • All in all though : the best episode so far. Everyone showed up for once! Things are happening! Songs are being sung! A fun action sequence! Hands are being clasped to biceps! Can’t complain too much. Love to see warthogs thrown through the air back down to the forest floor! Love to see the hand which did the throwing healing itself by the innate arcane arts unlocked from deep within the instincts of an embodied Maiar!
  21. Saw it.

    I think that the main guy and Ernie Hudson are doing great but everyone else suuuuuuuucks. Maybe it’s not the actors’ fault. Maybe it’s what they have to work with. Don’t like the new Al, don’t like either of those two doofus mcgoofuses, not sure if there’s anyone else ‘on’ the show to like or dislike. I do like the main guy a lot! If they decide that one of the ten Star Trek shows they’re doing takes place in or around the ENT era they should make him the captain! Or give him a two-episode arc on SNW where he’s a Jellico figure! Be the guy on Quantum Leap you get to captain an Enterprise! Just one of the perks of the job!


    So, what are my complaints?


    1. extremely bad dialogue! At one point there’s the following exchange between two characters -


    TECH PERSON: The past five years we’ve been trying to figure out how to send someone to a single point in time and then bring them right back. To take the work of Sam Becket and make it work so that you don’t get stuck in the past.

    THE NEW ‘AL’: Yeah, Ian, I know. I’ve been here since the beginning.


    And then that person CONTINUES explaining stuff she already knows! They decided to justify the exposition by ... making the character who exposits annoyingly self-righteous!? This is just one example. It wasn’t even really the nadir of the episode. The whole episode was kind of chock full of dialogue of equivalent or worse quality.


    2. it’s, like, real dumb!


    • Dumb that it’s set in the present! Gotta set it a few years into the future! Or maybe decades in the past so they can go back earlier into the 20th century while still having a relatively young protagonist? Or even go into his future but OUR past?


    • Dumb that his ‘Al’ is his wife!


    • Dumb that the bad guy in this looks like Adan Canto from Designated Surv Vor (‘16-’19), Sunspot from X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), but it’s not him!?!?


    • Dumb that they’re not doing the thing where the guy who he leaps into gets leaped (leapt? lept?) into his own body; that could actually justify the amnesia thing they’re doing since on the old show the person he leaps into would experience that in Sam’s body


    • Dumb that at one point the wife, no, the fiancée, the new Al lady, she directly addresses some guy in the past!?!?


    • Dumb that at one point the guy, the main guy, Quantum Leap, new Quantum Leap man, Dr. Ben Song, he starts apologizing for things he doesn’t remember doing and were maybe even unalluded to in dialogue to him!?!?!?


    • Dumb that he says that he wished he’d gone into teaching but he has amnesia and it’s not like she called him “Dr. Ben Song” to his face!? He doesn’t know that was an option! All he knows is that he speaks a lot of languages! His amnesia is a convenient plot device which is dispensed with whenever they please!


    • There was something else that was real dumb but I forget what it was. Oh wait! Now I remember! Quantum physics! They shoved quantum physics in Quantum Leap and #$%^ed it up! That’s not how it works! That’s not how to best use it for dramatic effect! Go read Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen!



    My complaints aren’t just “It should be like it was on the old show!” but more like “The way it was on the old show was a good way of doing things and they seem to have pointlessly replaced that status quo with a state of affairs which feels awkward and unnecessary and unfruitful for serialized sci-fi serio-comic drama!”.


    The whole episode was so bad that it made me worried I was maybe seeing the original through rose coloured glasses. So I chose an episode at random and gave it a rewatch. It was one of the later ones where they broke their longstanding rule about not involving famous historical figures. The one where Bakula is Marilyn Monroe’s bodyguard! Only thing I remembered about it from watching it as a kid is Dean Stockwell leering at Marilyn Monroe skinny dipping.


    Turns out : really great stuff! Stephen Root was in it! I found myself actively invested in trying to figure out who was going to be saved and how — is he going to save Marilyn? is he going to save the new assistant who loves Marilyn Monroe, the one whose favourite Marilyn Monroe picture is Bus Stop (1956), is he going to save Karina Longworth from taking her own life in despair after Marilyn commits suicide? is it going to somehow be about fixing the life of the guy he’s leapt into? — in a way that I just didn’t care at all about the guy doing the robbery or that guy’s cancerous wife or the undercover cop or whomever else was around in the new pilot.


    And there’s a nuance to this old episode that I assume I just didn’t get when I watched it in syndication aged 8 or 9. When he rejects her advances and says, “It’s not that I don’t want to. I mean, every man on the planet wants you.” and she responds with, “They don’t want me. They want Marilyn. But I’m not her. She’s somebody that I put on like a cashmere sweater or a mink coat. Somehow, I think you’re the first man I’ve ever met who really understands that.” This alone justifies them breaking the formula and going with a big historical personage, y’know, they found a good reason to tell THIS story.


    Oh, and something else! Al being from the future and being a rakish guy older than (and superior to!) Sam means that he’s often dressed bizarrely – oddly tailored/embroidered suits, weird bolo-esque ties, handkerchiefs – and with a cigar or drink in his hand. It automatically conveys to even an inattentive or new viewer that Al’s not a part of things, the state of affairs becomes known without a word of dialogue, even if you miss the opening credits you’re pretty close to being on the right page! Having that character be a romantic partner of the opposite sex who is the equal of the Sam Becket stand-in from our own contemporary year throws that all away. (About the one thing I liked that was new was the bit where it’s established that the plan was for them to be in each other’s roles.)


    also, if they don’t have Dr. Ben Song’s body present in 2022 then they can’t do an episode where he leaps back into his past self and his fiancée is torn between her feelings for the man he is now and the man he was when they first met. Or whatever! My point is that the new element they’ve added combined with the old element they’ve subtracted adds up to an actively worse set of circumstances then if they’d done one or the other. On the old show they almost never addressed the Leapee in the complex with Ziggy and ... there was a professor guy, right!? who’d fix Ziggy!??? ... but I think it came up from time to time.


    tldr = did not like it but am hopeful for next week, y’know?

  22. 4th episode!


    • Love the little dwarven helmets whose fronts open’n’shut like cupboard doors!
    • Calling my shot now, placing my bets. Figure there’s good odds that this Adar fellow is Eärendil.
    • Lego® Duplo®-las catching an arrow in midflight and firing it back. Love to see it!
    • Feels to me like the juggling of the different people in the different places is, just, deeply inexpert. Main cast kept offscreen! Whoever does show up gets dealt short shrift; it felt like there were multiple scenes missing during the dwarvish sections! I counted three instances where little half-lines of dialogue were looped/ADR’d into the tail of a sentence in order to beat into the head of the audience something or other which must have seemed important to some exec but felt relatively unneeded to me, just stuff we already knew or was better illumined elsewhere in the episode e.g. the relation of the Southlands to Morgoth, Elrond’s father’s deal, the timing of events on the show. I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my hearing is going. Maybe this is a great way to tell a story. Sure doesn’t feel that way to me!



    • oh, wow, that’s second Naevia, y’know, slightly less hot but better actress Naevia from Spartacus (‘10-’13) as the Númenórean Queen Regent. Neat!

    • Look, I’m not saying it’s great. The writing reminds me a little of the following : 1) point’n’click mystery games 2) Terry Brooks novels 3) neural network outputs 4) Seattle area newspaper advice columns (“Dear The Stranger, I am a 198-year old veteran of my decadent island nation’s naval service. I’m unsure how to encourage my children to follow in my footsteps and am somewhat ambivalent about my larger society’s commitments to eternal race war. My son is hesitant to continue in his chosen career which disappoints me greatly yet I am nonetheless very very proud of my daughter for getting into our local pagan equivalent of Stanford after she was initially waitlisted. How can I best serve Manwë and Ulmo in our fight against the Enemy, Melkor?”) and 5) that Warcraft movie made by David Bowie’s kid. But, still! I’m enjoying it! If you dump ships and horses and scrolls and swords and magnificent vistas and cityscapes on screen in just about any old order I’m going to be pretty entertained! Love to see loathsome creatures snarl and snap at the camera! Love to watch colours and shapes! Love to hear sounds!

    • something like half the characters on the show didn’t show up this episode!?!? I mean, it’s not so bad, at least the elves in Lindon get alluded to via both dialogue and set dressing. But that guy’s whole deal is his relationship with that lady and neither her nor her kid rate a mention? Either his buddy or the Watchwarden should’ve at least been all like, “Told you so! This is what happens! This is the fallen nature of Man made manifest!” but instead they’re just making escape plans and getting their carotids sliced open by orcs? Dumb!




    • The episode starts off great specif. allusion in the voiceover to the thing where a pre-Copernican and/or pre-Yom Revii physical universe were once the actual factual state of Arda; clear illustration of theme on the nature of evil being a pointlessly spiteful and deliberately malicious destruction of creation’s beauty given form and shape via intentional action what with the other children getting their rocks off and then just wrecks it for me by doing one of my least favourite things! The thing where a character says something and we don’t get to hear what they’ve said! I hate it! Stop it! Stop doing this!
    • oh, wow, that’s Crassus from the final season of Spartacus (‘10-’13) as the Watchwarden. Neat!
    • I don’t know. It’s ... pretty good!? Kind of videogame-y but whatchagonnado!?!?!?1? Maybe I just have nerd blinders over my eyes, can’t see the flaws, but I liked it a lot. Or maybe the problem is that the nerd blinders have slipped off my eyes. Maybe it’s that I’m insufficiently versed in the canonical lore, y’know, it’s been a First Age since I’ve really had a solid handle on what happens to who in what order. In any case, it helps that it’s got the right vibes. And there’s a certain playfulness at work in how it handles things like violence (vide the killing of two orcs in one thrust by Finrod; Galadriel using the outstretched sword of her second-in-command to vault her way to a headshot on that snow troll; or how uhhhhh whatshername, ummm, trans milf who wants to get btfo’d, she’s dressed in blue, okay, Bronwyn, ImdB says Bronwyn, and her son Theo despatch that Morgoth-worshipper) which is the one thing I kind of figured would fall by the wayside when they were picking’and’choosing what elements of the Jackson stuff to keep and what to ditch.
    • Still kind of weirded out by the casting of Not Cate Blanchett and Not Hugo Weaving and ... Not Ian McKellen (!?). Sometimes there’ll be insert shots of, like, Galadriel where it seems they’ve digitally retouched her face to make it appear more like the role’s originator? Or chosen a lens with a different focal length!? I don’t know. Sometimes the actress looks like herself and sometimes she doesn’t!? Weird. Weird weird.
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