Archive for December, 2006

Pirates of the Carribean - Dead Man’s Chest

Oh dear. How far off the mark can Gore Verbinski be with his follow-up to his surprise hit, Pirates of the Carribean. While the first film was a well paced and well judged piece of entertainment, this time we have an over-long series of set pieces with minimal storyline. It’s too intense to be enjoyable and too fast to follow with any ease.

In addition, the characters become even more 2D (if that was possible?!) and their relationships from the first film may as well start from scratch. The only light in the film was Bill Nighy’s portrayal of Davy Jones, but even this can’t lift the film out of mediocrity. Coupled with so-so effects (which frequently suffer from the Star Wars-esque cartoony look) means POTC2 is a massive missfire.

It also seems that any successful film now seems to demand a mammoth two-part sequel that forces the audience to pay up twice to see the full story. Occasionally this works (Kill Bill), but more often than not it’s a massive waste of fimgoer’s money and time (POTC2, The Matrix sequels etc). Also, it’s usually a sign of a bad editor or director who can’t put together a tight story with a decent run-time - and given the plot of POTC2, there wasn’t enough story for one film let alone two.

4/10

Posted on 30th December 2006
Under: DVD, Fantasy | No Comments »

Doctor Who Christmas Special - and is Tennant off?

This year’s Christmas Special had a tough job to please fans this year - while those who are blindly dedicated to the new incarnation of Doctor Who will continue to extoll the virtues of the series, those of us who are a little more discerning are beginning to see the cracks appearing and they don’t look pretty.

While 2005’s Special had a big job to do in introducing the new Doctor, this year the producers decided against introducing the Doctor’s new assistant following the departure of Billie at the end of series 2. Instead we had Catherine Tate screeching her way through the episode as the titular Runaway Bride, Donna. Yes, she was irritating, but that was how the character was supposed to be - so I guess Tate was perfect for the role. We also had the usual Tennant gurning and plot holes bigger than the inside of the TARDIS; both of which should be familiar to viewers.

The big problem is that The Runaway Bride had an uphill struggle following the disappointment that is Torchwood - and Russell T Davies and co. will have a lot of work to do to restore this viewer’s faith in the Who franchise. Thankfully, while the trademark plotting and scripting issues seem to be rubbing off on Torchwood’s parent series, at least Who continues to be enjoyable, I just hope that the producers pull their fingers out and give us something to be proud of in the coming series.

And, just two days after the Christmas Special was broadcast, there are rumours abound that David Tennant is hanging up his pin-striped suit before the end of the fourth series - whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but given the hit-and-miss nature of the scripts and show direction over the past year it certainly doesn’t come as a surprise. I’m more than happy that Doctor Who is back, and that is thanks to Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner - but I’m beginning to feel that it’s already time for a new pair of hands to steer Doctor Who away from the pantomime it is slowly becoming and Tennant’s departure might be a good time to make some changes at the top and reinvent the series all over again.

Posted on 28th December 2006
Under: Television, Science Fiction | No Comments »

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