Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan

They look damn good in a baseball cap, though.

Yeah, a city famous for never going dark is the perfect place for beings who require dark places to live.

I dislike “The Angels Take Manhattan” even more than I did last week’s “The Power of Three”, but it’s not a worse episode: On the contrary – the heady heights it climbs to are wonderful, but only serve to underline the depths of inconsistency and stupidity it falls to, especially around the last act of the episode.

Like “The Power of Three”, the episode suffers from having too many ideas to squeeze into 40 minutes – the most glaring of which, of course, are the departure of longtime companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams. I loved these characters, and was hoping that “The Angels Take Manhattan” to be a climactic, dramatic swan-song.

Which is where we run into the big problem. This episode isn’t about Amy and Rory leaving, it’s about…well, the Weeping Angels in Manhattan. Both these ideas are rock-solid concepts for classic episodes, but they just don’t work as well when crammed together, and neither the malevolent statues or ebullient Scots can get enough focus. (more…)

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Doctor Who: The Power of Three

“Invasion of the very bad mystery story…”

Well then, Doctor Who, the venerable British sci-fi television show. I’ll put my All-Star Superman hat on to introduce it…

Powerful aliens. Blue box. Horrible war. Human friends. Doctor Who! (more…)

Dredd

Grrrr! Grumble growl grrrrr.

In this modern age of movies, of $200 million budgets fast becoming the norm, of Man of Steel and Pacific Rim losing huge amounts of money for their studios despite critical and financial success, of Peanuts The Movie and Finding Dory and Transformers 4, Dredd feels like a breath of fresh air.

It’s not a movie for everyone: An independent movie, adapting a long-running British comic with a good-sized fan base. Written, directed and produced by people in this fan base, for a sum of money that I have to refer to as “low budget” despite being several times more money than I’ll ever see in one place. A cast of accomplished character actors playing out a tightly focused story, with minimal characterization and next to no symbolism or message.

Though it’s by no means flawless, Dredd is one of those movies I support on principle. I thought that movies like it were the whole point of all this geek-culture-becoming-the-norm deal: niche films that get wide theatrical releases and big advertising campaigns like broader and more mainstream movies. But lately those have been few and far between, and so it’s nice to have the movie out there out there. (more…)

Black Mesa

It’s not Half-Life’s birthday – Blocky Scientist doesn’t get a candle.

It says a lot about video games as both an art form and a medium in general that Black Mesa, fan remake of landmark first-person shooter Half-Life, was even thought of, much less made. In Hollywood, remakes have never really been popular, even in the drought of intellectual property that has afflicted the film industry in the past decade – the logic usually being “How much could you change the original while still repeating it?” from an artistic standpoint, and “Why would people pay to see this when they could just get the original?” from the marketing side.

In video game territory, though, remakes are a near-necessity at this point. The trend of shunning backwards compatibility will continue into the next decade (I’m exclusively a PC gamer, in case you didn’t know), so remaking old video games for newer formats is the only way anyone without an obsolete system can play them – and since games more often than not sell themselves on looks, updating the game’s visuals is practically a necessity. I will try to focus solely on the changes to Black Mesa, rather than rehashing the original.

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