Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Repeated Meme: You May Still Be Here Tomorrow, But Your Dreams May Not

Idea Proposed and Used to Death during the New Series: We are now three for three this year for stories about fathers who are having trouble relating to their sons and wind up bonding with them. Did I mention that my least favourite film in the world is Nine Months?

Central Premise Recycled From: "Rose," which has to be completely deliberate. Also the idea that babies have a secret inner world as galaxy-conquerors who view the rest of us as peasants is a running gag in Family Guy, among others.

Reference to Moffat's Back Catalogue: Small child, the abovementioned parenting issues, Doctor as saviour of children, River bloody Song (and just when I was starting to like her...), creepy nursery rhymes, running gag where people assume two straight friends are a gay couple (c.f. the recent Sherlock Holmes).

Craig Screws Up the day with Wuv: And then saves it again.

Russell T. Davies Called...: He wants to know who's condensed his entire era into fifty minutes. Neil Gaiman would also like bits of Anansi Boys (cool guy who gets away with things paired with normal guy who tries to do the same things but can't get away with them) back.

And from Lawrence Miles: Babies feature as characters in both of the FP audio series.

Murray Goldwatch: Has gone back into soundtrack-for-kids'-movie mode.

Nostalgia UK: Arguably, the saucy slapstick comedy-of-manners in the abovementioned running gag about gay marriage. And Lynda Baron (she of Captain Wrack's Cleavage).

Inside Jokes: The phrase "Spare Parts" is repeated over and over. When a little girl asks Amy for her autograph, then looks excitedly towards the Doctor, one can't help but suspect she's telling her mother "I just met Karen Gillan and Matt Smith!"

Teeth! On the Mat!

Hats! Stetsons are only cool if they've been given to you by John Wayne.

Fish! Alas no. I miss them.

Small Child! Lots and lots of them, not even counting the co-star.

Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: We're going to get another lot of Cybermen, these ones rusty. Aren't we.

Title explained here.

The Repeated Meme: Complex God

Idea Proposed and Used to Death during the New Series: Alien species visibly based on real-life animals-- to the rhinos, cats, vultures etc., we can now add a naked mole-rat peson.

Central Premise Recycled From: "The Mind of Evil," crossed with "The Curse of Fenric".

Reference to Moffat's Back Catalogue: Small children with father issues. The Girl Who Waited.

Amy Screws Up the day with Wuv: In a callback to "The Curse of Fenric," the Doctor has to destroy her faith in him before it kills them all.

Neil Gaiman Called...: He wants his labyrinth, and his quirky take on Greek mythology, back. Oh, and Joss Whedon would like his cowardly but cunning demon with wrinkly skin, floppy ears, and kitten obsession.

And from Lawrence Miles: Who also featured a minotaur in one of the BBV Faction Paradoxes.

Murray Goldwatch: Oddly suited to the setting.

Nostalgia UK: Eighties hotels.

Inside Jokes: Not from the show, but from Greek myth-- the hotel's spa is called Pasiphae (Minos' wife, and famously the mother of the minotaur). The clown, there to frighten someone who isn't there anymore, may be a reference to the fact that Ace was afraid of them.

Teeth! On the naked mole-rat person!

Hats! On the clown!

Fish! In a bowl! Eaten by the naked mole-rat person!

Small Child! Return of Amelia Pond, also, Rita imagines herself being a small child scolded by her father. We also briefly see a small girl in the flashing montage of images as Lucy confronts her fears.

Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: The naked mole-rat person.

Todo sobre violence and murder

Echoes in the Darkness: American telemovie about one of the longest murder investigations in crime history. Watched this hoping for some serious badflick potential, and it delivered (the first half in particular is a you-can't-look-away progression of bad dialogue and worse characterisation, and it's filmed so much on the cheap that, despite the action starting in 1979 and ending in 1986, the filmmakers couldn' apparently be bothered to put authentic Seventies clothing on the actors for the early bits); however, the fact that it was a true story made it oddly compelling and gripping, mainly for the lacunae. What was the murderer's real motive? Was there more than one murderer? As neither of those accused are talking, we'll never know, and so you can also get some intriguing speculation out of the viewing experience.

Todo Sobre Mio Madre: Complicated story about a woman, after the death of her son, going in search of his father and building a new multi-generational family unit in the process. The film is a celebration of the way in which we make communities through friendship ties which can be stronger than blood, and of gender diversity (as the new family includes a lesbian couple, a transsexual, a nun pregnant by another transsexual, and a HIV+ baby) but I think you have to be better versed than I do in the cinematic oevre of Bette Davis to actually appreciate it fully.

Faust: Classic of the Expressionist era, and with a brilliant performance by Emil Jannings as Mephisto, effortlessly segueing through the character's various personae-- mysterious, debonair, buffoonish, sinister-- without losing track of the evil underneath. Based more on the Goethe than the Marlowe version (albeit with some input from the Book of Job) this version comes across as a gender-inverted take on the story of Jesus, as Gretchen suffers and dies for the sins of Faust, but, in doing so, Faust himself is redeemed and sacrifices his life in her name. Worth seeing, but make sure you get the DVD version with the original German edit-- the overseas edit is decidedly inferior.

Movie count for 2011: 106

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Repeated Meme: Rory's Choice

Idea Proposed and Used to Death during the New Series: Alan pointed out the other day that pretty much every episode this half-season has been ripping off The Doctor's Wife one way or the other. I'd say it's a bit early to begin recycling it, but it did wind up held over for a year, so maybe not.

Central Premise Recycled From: The Mind Robber crossed with Amy's Choice and squeezed into the B-plot of The Doctor's Wife, via the New Adventures novels (in which, early on, Ace got left behind by the Doctor and picked up somewhat later, during which time she'd turned into an embittered warrior woman). Though mind you, that could describe this whole half-season so far.

Reference to Moffat's Back Catalogue: Duplicates, Amy duplicates, get 'em while they're hot. Plus wibbley-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff again, and Amy Having Issues about her relationship with Rory versus her relationship with the Doctor. "Duck." One character's timestream moving at a different rate to the other's.

Amy Screws Up the day with Wuv: Well, it's more like "everybody else screws things up out of Wuv for Amy," but she's central to it anyway.

Joss Whedon Called...: He wants both his kick-ass warrior woman and a plot based around a person working against their own doppelganger/alt-universe/future self back.

And from Lawrence Miles: Different characters experiencing time in different ways? Hello, The Judgment of Sutekh.

Murray Goldwatch: Pretty good this week; Gold is always best when he's going all introspective and Bear McCreary with the bells and percussion.

Nostalgia UK: Those robots were straight out of The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy film, and a quarantine facility cum leisure park is a rather Adamsesque/Red Dwarf sort of idea.

Inside Jokes: The Doctor's proclivity for taking his companions to rather dangerous leisure planets is well established.

Teeth! No, though robot-Rory has a fetching smile.

Hats! Old Amy's chapeau.

Fish! There's an aquarium, though we never get to see it.

Small Child! No, though everybody's likely to think the title refers to little Amelia.

Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: The robots obviously, though there might be a market for a limited-edition Amy Pond Up the Menopause.

The Repeated Meme: Gotta get off, have to get, gotta get offa this ride...

Idea Proposed and Used to Death during the New Series: In the entire 26-year history of the original series, there were thirteen appearances by children under twelve, only two of which were actually central to the story (OK, you could argue that Pangol in The Leisure Hive and Benton in The Time Monster were pretty central, but their screen time as children was limited). In the six-year history of the new series, we've had 22, ten of these in the Moffat Era alone (and I'm not including metaphorical children like Nephew or alien eggs like Bron, though I did include the kittens in Gridlock). Haven't we made up for enough lost time already?

Central Premise Recycled From: Really, wasn't this just Fear Her given a second draft and a change of gender?

Reference to Moffat's Back Catalogue: Vulnerable small child (in pyjamas no less) with a connection to an alternate reality; Doctor as saver of small children; father issues; creepy mechanical/doll things; nursery rhymes; "everybody lives."

Amy Screws Up the day with Wuv: Not so much this episode, probably because somebody else is screwing things up with Wuv instead.

Neil Gaiman Called...: Joss is on holiday, and Neil would like a word regarding several plot elements of The Doctor's Wife, to say nothing of Sandman: A Doll's House.

And from Lawrence Miles: Creepiness with an eighteenth-century look. Plus he invented one of those "civilisations of pure thought" that the Doctor namechecks.

Murray Goldwatch: I generally like his original songs (with the exception of "You Put The Devil In Me"), and the creepy nursery rhyme is good, though the incidental music which follows Amy and Rory around the dolls' house is a bizarre mixture of suspenseful and bombastic.

Nostalgia UK: Toy soldiers, plus the decor on the council estate has a brilliantly retro feel (although young George must be the only child on the estate whose parents buy him no branded merchandise whatsoever).

Inside Jokes: "Snow White and the Seven Keys to Doomsday"; also the Doctor refers to "empires of glass," which is undoubtedly a ref to Andy Lane's Missing Adventure The Empire of Glass (spoiler: the title refers to Venice). It's not a Doctor Who inside joke, but one of the tenants' names is Rossiter (as in Rising Damp).

Teeth! On the bulldog!

Hats! I did wonder at first what the Amy-doll was sprouting out of its head.

Fish! Not on the menu tonight, though George owns some dinosaurs.

Small Child! Erm... pass.

Item Most Likely to Wind Up as a Toy: The creepy dolls obviously, although the tragedy is that they will probably wind up as 5-inch action figures rather than actual doll replicas of the creepy dolls (although if future generations want a cool idea for a limited-edition collectible, there it is).

Title explained here.