This Week in Geek (13-19/04/09)


A couple of DVDs this week... the latest from the Cohen Brothers, Burn After Reading (which I haven't seen yet), and A Few Good Men (which I of course have). I don't know why a Rob Reiner/Aaron Sorkin classic isn't in my collection yet, though it may have something to do with the three stars. It's not that I don't like them in certain parts (and they're certainly good in this movie), it's that they all come with a perceptual baggage that made me ignore A Few Good Men til I saw it in a bargain bin.


DVDs: Flipped Classic Who #146: Terror of the Vervoids, the penultimate chapter of Trial of a Time Lord, and once again, I didn't think it was that bad. Trial has a terrible reputation, and Bonnie Langford as Mel an even worse one, and coming into both with completely fresh eyes... it really wasn't that bad. Oh, the story is pure nonsense, with terrible Pip&Jane dialogue, plot holes galore and rubbish monsters, but the performances save the piece. The 6th Doctor is probably at his most charming here (probably how he should always have been portrayed) and Mel is feisty and smart and only slightly theatrical. Plus: Pussy Galore is in it! As for the DVD, another strong package with a pleasant commentary track, making of feature, a feature on what stories were scheduled had the series not gone on hiatus the previous year, and a really entertaining half hour about Doctor Who's best and worst cliffhangers (which I plan to watch again soon, it was that fun).

In for a penny, in for a pound, so I decided to also flip The Ultimate Foe, the last chapter of the Trial. Problematic at best, the resolution was written in three days by Pip&Jane after Bob Holmes died and script editor Eric Saward quit the program. It's a wonder it works as well as it does, but the tacky tacked on happy ending, obviously a JNT afterthought, is terrible. The extra space on the DVD is put to good use with an extra commentary by Saward, deleted scenes, an excellent one-hour documentary on Colin Baker's doomed tenure as the Doctor, news footage relating to the hiatus, the awful "Live Aid" style music video of "Doctor in Distress", nerdfans fight back on a public forum show, and more.

Finally, I flipped Future: Into the Wild Green Yonder, the quite possibly last Futurama direct-to-DVD movie, and probably the best since Bender's Big Score. It takes a major poke at activism (Leela falls in with eco-terrorist feministas) and its targets, with plenty of laughs, unintrusive character call backs, and sometimes disturbing imagery (the robot cabaret show... brrr). And heart. Written as the last ever of the series, it gives the audience an emotional resolution, while also leaving an escape hatch for further adventures. I hope we get them. The DVD has a few extra, low-animation comedy bits in addition to the usual animatics, rowdy commentaries, deleted scenes, and drawing lessons. The mockumentary on the making of the program falls flat, however. Nice DVD menus all around though.

Misc.: Last night, I participated in a charity triviathon for a women's shelter. It's this big annual thing, with a couple of brainiac (and publicly high profile) teams usually sharing the trophy between themselves. So our goal was two-fold: Be in the Top 20 (out of 75), and be the loudest team there. We got 18th place, which is quite good, and loudest by a landslide. We also found out we don't know enough about John the Baptist's mother or 21st century French poets. Did my geek knowledge come in handy at all? Well, I was the only who knew the name of the river Achilles was dipped in (the Styx, yes like the band), so that's something.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 22 cards, covering all of Terror of the Vervoids and more besides. It's the tail end of an expansion, so it's now about checking card rarities, and seeing what I can reasonably fit (6 slots left).

Someone Else's Post of the Week
Bully does it again! Which Marvel heroes should be the mayors of which real world towns? Let the elections begin!


Bill D. said...

Trial has its share of problems, to be sure, but I think it's a shame that it was Colin Baker's last official outing as the Doctor because I think he really came into his own with this season/story. Still overly theatrical and pompous, but passionate about what's right and just, and a lot quicker to smile and laugh. Also, the Doctor/Peri relationship was GREATLY improved (so long as you don't watch the cut scenes, anyway).

Well, I liked it, anyway.

Siskoid said...

I agree with everything you just said.

Austin Gorton said...

Glad to hear the final Futurama film goes out with a bang. I haven't made the time to watch it out, but I'm more eager than ever now.

Also, A Few Good Men is my third favorite film of all time, so kudos on that purchase. It's probably also the only film starring Demi Moore that I own. :)

Siskoid said...

Dude, what about Ghost?!

I'm kidding. It's also mine.

Toby'c said...

"It's a wonder it works as well as it does, but the tacky tacked on happy ending, obviously a JNT afterthought, is terrible."

I don't disagree, but given that Holmes and Saward's ending would probably have gotten the series cancelled, I can't say I hold this one against him.

Siskoid said...

By the tack-on, I mean the sudden revelation that Peri wasn't dead after all, just doomed to marriage to Brian Blessed. I doubt omitting the cop-out would have caused the show any (more) hardship.

JNT green-lit Peri's lobotomy in the first place and chickened out. Just compounding mistakes there.


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