This Week in Geek (3-9/05/10)


Two buys this week, including Sherlock Holmes on DVD, but that was a given. What I'm most excited about is the BBC's new Royal Shakespeare Company release of the geekiest Hamlet of them all, starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart! Man, I can't wait to add this to Hyperion to a Satyr's rotation. Gotta find 182 minutes of downtime to watch it!


DVDs: After watching Sanjuro a couple months ago, I knew I wouldn't wait too long before showing Yojimbo. Toshiro Mifune's crusty ronin charmed the pants off us. Yojimbo is the much darker companion piece (the original, made the year before), getting laughs from its violence almost throughout, though Kurosawa's jokes play out more as a matter of framing and camera reveals. As a first-time watcher, I sometimes had difficulty keeping track of the rival gangs and businessmen, but not enough to hamper my enjoyment. Solid kickassery, though Sanjuro will always be my first love. As with that film, expert Stephen Prince reads the commentary track, and does a better job of it. A 45-minutes documentary provides the best anecdotal bits from surviving cast and crew. Even without these features, watching a Kurosawa film is like going to film school.

Some weeks ago, I started watching the Battlestar Galactica revamp. I'd seen the mini-series way back when, and nothing since then. It gripped me right from its first actual episode and wouldn't let go. I'm a big sniveller when it comes to rewatching stuff I've previously enjoyed, crying at all the good bits (I admit it!), but rarely do things get me on the first go. BSG did. When I finished Season 1, I naturally started on the path to "flipping" it, but after a couple of commentary tracks, it dawned on me that the producers could let spoilers slip for the next season. So I dropped that and watched the next boxed set, which ended a cliffhanger I couldn't ignore, so I didn't go back to Season 1's extras. I just kept going, on and on, until I finished the saga, the last half-season pretty much in two sittings. And now I'm more than happy to start over and go through all the extras. Future geekly roundups will discuss individual DVD sets further as I do. At one point, SBG was considered to replace Star Trek's daily reviews on this blog, but thinking back on it, I don't think I could manage to ever give a bad review to an SBG episode. I've got to walk away from it first... if I can only get All Along the Watchtower out of my head...

RPGs: Since the last roundup, my gaming group got back together to continue our Doctor Who RPG campaign (we'd rocked it on Spring Break, but not since) for two sessions. Now, I'll admit to freely adapting elements of Jason Vey's Saving the Forgotten campaign's story beats (I thank my players in advance for not researching this), and both episodes took root in StF. The first, on a deserted post-Time War Skaro didn't work as well as I wanted to. My fault for letting the Dalek travel machines fly, thereby robbing the players of combat opportunities. I wanted to see how well combat could work with DWAITAS (my players have more often succeeded with talking and teching). The story re-introduced Susan to the Whoniverse and by the end, I'd killed her off and in a surprise move, handed her sheet over to Julie, who'd been an observer and sometime guest-star (episode 2) to regenerate as she liked. She cast Kelly Riley in the role, and found this great outfit for her to wear:
Julie is one of DWAITAS' successes in that she never role-played a day in her life before taking a guest role in episode 2 and picked it up the rules very quickly and naturally. Our second session would be the real test, I suppose. Set at Woodstock (using the actual soundtrack as a timeline and basis for the story), it featured a Fabricant from GURPS Creatures of the Night - a temporal accident changes a time agent into this man-machine creature - lacing acid with nanites that vibrate to the sound of rock'n'roll. Our new Susan did well, meeting her chosen Gadget, a PET CAT called Ian (hey, let's take this system through its paces) [Scan, Telekinesis, Restriction: Only was a kitty can do/tell]. This time fighting was actually useful (it causes Attribute attrition that less fight-worthy characters can exploit). Anyway, good times, which will have to keep us 'til May 30th (working around schedules), but that gives me time to plan out the big arc pieces coming.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 15 new cards, finishing up Mawdryn Undead.

Hyperion to a Satyr entries this week include:
Act I Scene 4 - Zeffirelli '90


Jeff R. said...

No bad review to any of the episodes? That you liked the ending is a bit surprising, but that you could have liked "The Woman King" is nigh-incomprehensible...

Siskoid said...

On the one hand, it all blurs into one for me, so there's that. I see it as a whole and I loved the whole.

Yes I liked the ending.

Radagast said...

"Gotta find 182 minutes of downtime to watch it!"

Yes, yes you do - I'm no Shakespeare fan, but this is the most approachable performance I've ever seen of any of the Bard's work. DT is stupendous, the rest of the cast just as great, and you do not feel like it's anywhere near 3 hours long. Needless to say, I recommend it highly to anyone.

Siskoid said...

That's great to hear!

I was disappointed with Patrick Stewart's Claudius in the old 1980 BBC production and can't wait to compare the two.


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