This Week in Geek (18-24/05/09)


Didn't buy anything, but I did repossess some of my old childhood books, including French young secret agent books - Langelot by Lieutenant X - which I'll have to tell you about some day.


DVDs: Flipped Battlefield, a 7th Doctor story I'd never seen before, and it's quickly become a favorite from the era. Perhaps not as heavy as The Curse of Fenric, but a great deal of fun. Certainly my favorite Brigadier story, ever. If there are problems with Battlefield, it's in the production, especially sound and editing. In addition to the usual commentaries and such, there's a comprehensive making of, raw rehearsal footage, and a chance for Jean Marsh to speak not just about this story, but The Crusade and Dalek Masterplan as well. And to fix the production problems as much as possible, a second disc has the story edited to movie length with restored scenes and fixed sound mistakes.

For nostalgia's sake, we sat down to watch Robocop in the middle of the week. Still works! Sure, it's the kind of gratuitous 80s sex'n'violence Paul Verhoeven always delights in, but Robocop stands out as one of his few good movies. I was surprised as the interesting compositions and subtext, for example. The commentary track (director, writer and producer) is a lot of fun, with plenty of making of, both recent and vintage, and retrospective features. Deleted scenes round out the package. There's an extended cut on the second disc that restores literally seconds of excised violence, but it's so similar, I don't know why that couldn't be covered in deleted scenes.

Next up: Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno! This thing surprised me in a number of ways. First, it really gets what it means to live in a wintry part of the world. I'm just saying that doesn't happen often. Then, genuine laughs. I guess I was really in the mood for jokes about jacking off. And then, of course, like Jersey Girl and I have to say Clerks II, it melted my heart. Smith does really well with his leading ladies, with Elizabeth Banks (who I didn't recognize from Betty Brant in Spider-Man) joining the ranks of Rosario Dawson and Joey Adams here. This is way too touching for what is, like Chasing Amy, basically a nerd guy fantasy. Instead of turning a lesbian, it's falling in love while making porn. And hey, best use of a Pixies song EVER. I want to watch it again just for that. The lack of a commentary track is disappointing only because Kevin Smith's are always very entertaining, but the DVD package makes up for it with a hour and a half of deleted and extended scenes, a fun and comprehensive making of documentary, a hour's worth of humorous webisodes, a Comic-Con Q&A, and plenty of ad-libs. You get a lot of funny for your buck.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 21 cards, all from The Sea Devils. It's my favorite Jo Grant story, so pretty up there for the third Doctor.

Someone Else's Post of the Week
It's the 10-year anniversary of Star Wars Episode One, and Great Big Nerd tells us why the prequels were so disappointing from a reasonable decade's perspective. He's right across the board.


mwb said...

I've got a fondness for the McCoy Doctor. He sometimes transcends the dreck and awful assistants he was often stuck with.

I would have loved to see him with better assistants and good stories to work with.

Siskoid said...

I'm actually a fan of Ace. Though she was saddled with ridiculous "teen-speak", there was actually an arc to her character. In that sense, she's Rose's precursor. Had the show gone another season, she would have been admitted into Time Lord Academy which is where the Doctor was headed with her.

Bill D. said...

Re-watched Battlefield about a week ago (just the 4 episode cut on disc 1, since it was from Netflix), and it's still my favorite McCoy story of all. When I just think of how much better it could have been (or at least looked, anyway) had they not been saddled with the infamous McCoy-era budget, though... sigh. Still, considering how little they really had to work with, they turned out a pretty fun story. And who doesn't love all the 3 and 4 callback references?

mwb said...

"I'm actually a fan of Ace. "

I'm meh on Ace partly because of the teen speak, but clearly you've mastered the art of drinking just enough to blot the painful memory of Mel.

In my meaner moments, I see Mel as a extremely annoying version of Zoe (which had a enough good moment to be likeable, unlike Mel.)

Siskoid said...

My Mel experience is (happily?) limited. I know I've seen Delta and the Bannermen, but that was back in the 80s. And other than that, there's her two stories in Trial.

She's surprisingly good in Vervoids, but the potential is quickly wasted in Ultimate Foe. It's all heresay from there.

Worst companion goes to Adric for me. Dodo doesn't have much to offer either.


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