in Uncategorized

Reviews

I’ve been asked to review a bunch of different things, but I don’t have a whole lot to say about any one of them. So, instead, I’m going to give you a few paragraphs on each and hope that’s enough Stallion to help you get by.

THE HOBBIT

20130104-223306.jpg

I saw this the day before it came out in a special screening. No 48 frames per second, no 3-D, just the movie itself.

I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

I don’t have a lot more to say on the subject because most of it’s already been said. Yes, the movie feels padded. There’s just not enough source material to sustain three films of this length. Thus there is a 90-minute masterpiece embedded in this above-average three-hour movie.

Still, there’s plenty of stuff in the extra 90 minutes that’s actually kind of fun, particularly the rise of the Necromancer and the introduction of Radegast the Brown. I probably could’ve done with a little less time spent in Bilbo’s hobbit hole, and there are moments where it feels like their journey is taking place in real time.

But it’s Middle Earth! Why begrudge any extra time spent in this marvelous world?

Some of the scenes work as well or better than anything in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, particularly Bilbo’s exchange with Gollum in the “Riddles in the Dark” sequence. Andy Serkis is in fine form, and his ring–enslaved creation has never been creepier. It’s sad to know that that’s all the Gollum we get, although it leads me to believe that Benedick Cumberbatch’s Smaug is going to be a wicked delight.

My fear going into this was that the movie would be something fundamentally different from Tolkien’s lighthearted story. I’m pleased to report that that’s not the case. All of the original story is intact, and the additions are consistent in tone and theme with Tolkien’s tale. I can’t imagine that anyone familiar with either the original books or Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy will be disappointed with the respect and skill with which Jackson approaches this first installment. I eagerly await the next.

BLOOD AND CHROME

20130104-223417.jpg

For this one, no more installments are necessary.

I do feel a responsibility as a completist to review this latest addition to Ronald D Moore’s Galactica-In-Name-Only milieu, which serves as a prequel to the reimagined series sequel to a previously failed prequel, Caprica. That makes it the middle child, and it deserves to be neglected.

Visually, it has more whizbang that either of those two series, but there are no ideas behind it. The characters are wafer thin, and the warped philosophical musings at the center of Moore’s first attempt to adapt this material have all been discarded. Given that I despised Moore’s take on the Galactica premise, the fresh start could’ve been a good thing had there been some other intellectually hefty morsels introduced as replacements for the dreck we were fed the last go round. Nope. It’s all empty calories this time out.

The one exception was in a scene where a human–Cylon hybrid, voiced by GINO series regular Tricia Helfer, addresses a Cylon sympathizer and asks, “Just because you agree with us, did that make you think we would hate you any less?” For a moment, it gave the Cylons a chilling sense of menace that they woefully lacked throughout the Galactica remake. But the moment passed quickly, and there’s little reason to suspect many more like them if this generic space cowboy shoot-em-up goes to series.

I really hope it doesn’t fly, because I’ll feel obligated to watch it and write more snarky reviews. Although writing snarky reviews is always kinda fun in its own right.

THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN: SEASON 2
20130104-223433.jpg

Yes, this is what you’ve all been waiting for – a review of a 40-year-old TV show that I already reviewed once before. But I’m having a lot of fun with this one. I’m using it as my standard viewing material on my phone during my elliptical and treadmill time at 24 Hour Fitness, and it’s perfect for that purpose. It requires no intelligence; it’s nice and nostalgic, and there’s so much filler in each episode that I never have to worry about missing anything.

All the plot twists are obvious from miles away, and you wonder how people tolerated such pedantic writing in episodic television for so long. Something this poorly paced would be laughed off the screen in the 21st Century.

Although there are some really astonishing time capsules in this series. For instance, in one of the episodes, Steve Austin is assigned to be the bodyguard for a foreign female prime minister, and he tells her, sounding quite reasonable, that a lady could never be a leader here in the US, that a woman’s place is in the home, and, no way, he couldn’t imagine ever having a female boss. So there!

To hear a sympathetic hero spout something so troglodytic and politically incorrect seems ridiculous – yet, paradoxically, it’s also a breath of fresh air. No one is allowed to be macho on TV anymore, unless they’re supposed to be jerks. Steve is very much a product of his time, and while I don’t agree with his point of view, there’s something charming about seeing that viewpoint represented without critical judgment. Good guys are no longer allowed to believe things that are out of step with enlightened opinion.

It just goes to show that television has pushed the envelope in many ways, but it’s also become more sterile at the same time. Plus there aren’t as many bionic people.

So, to sum up, Hobbit good, Blood and Chrome bad, Six Million Dollar Man bad but good, and macho besides.

Have a nice day.

Tea Party Tax Hikers
Cult Mormon Thoughts

Leave a Reply

  1. You and I disagree on the Order of the Arrow ordeal but I do anticipate seeing your name listed in my inbox. You are a talented writer.

  2. How are you getting the Six Million Dollar Man Season 2? We got season 1 on netflix no problem, but no dice on season 2. In the mean time we’ve substituted it with Knight Rider (go David Hasselhoff…) and The Fall Guy (gotta get Lee Majors in there somewhere…) Both are horribly cheesy but good.

  3. Hello Jim. Fun reviews.

    I similarly thought that The Hobbit was way too long. Some very nice visuals and a feeling of returning home. But still way too long. I watched a DGA screener of the movie, so no 3D or 48 fps, but I don’t see much need for either. On the other hand, Life of Pi clearly will benefit from being seen on a big screen in 3D.

    I regularly write DVD and Blu-ray reviews for Home Theater Forum, which included a review of the Complete Series of Six Million Dollar Man a couple of years back. Some of our thoughts are similar. It’s definitely not the super amazing show I remember all the kids at school loving back in the 70s. But it has its charm. (I actually enjoyed the first hour of the pilot just for the acknowledgment of how serious his condition was after the accident. It’s more than unnerving to have repeated hospital scenes of Steve Austin without his legs, his right arm and his eye, including one where he begs a nurse to kill him.)

    • I thought that was cool, too, Kevin. The pilot is, in many ways, far more interesting than the subsequent series, especially the prickly Darren McGavin character that bears very little resemblance to the milquetoast Oscar Goldman. It’s impossible to reconcile that first movie with the series, continuity-wise.

      I’d love to read your review. I think we may have watched an episode or two together back on DeKalb Drive all those years ago.

  4. Speaking of Languatron, I see that an Amazon marketplace seller is offering Langy’s “Blood and Chrome” book for the reasonable price of $49.31 (plus an additional $17 for one-day shipping). If you need to occupy your mind during treadmill, this could be your ticket.