Wednesday, 12 May 2010

LOST 'Across The Sea' Review

"There is nowhere else. The Island is all there is."

Where to start? It could be argued that this episode of LOST was one of the most important of the entire season, neigh, the entire show. We got answers, but as one character puts it at the beginning of the episodes, 'Answering your questions would require more questions', or something to that effect. What we're left with at the end of 'Across the Sea' was a bit of a slow episode which didn't advance the main story, yet in a strange way, backs up and reinforces past ideas.

After last week's absolutely barnstorming (yes that's a real word...I think...Nick?) episode 'The Candidate' we're ripped away from the current timelines we've been watching and we get treated to another origin episode similar to 'Ab aeterno'. This is no ordinary origin story though, oh no, this is the mother of all origin stories; it's Jacob and the Man in Black!

It may have just been me, but as soon as the episode opens with the shot of the pregnant woman, I immediately thought 'Jacob and MiB are brothers', of course the scene builds up to that quite quickly and whilst the mysterious lady conveniently manages to come up with a name on the spot for the first one out, 'Jacob', she fails to give us a name for the other baby (not so subtly wrapped in a black fur towel instead of a white one like Jacob...we get it, one wears black and one wears white a lot...I thought the Lost writers thought more of us than to keep ramming this point home. This peaked with the reference to an in joke about the pebbles being made by Fake-Locke to Sawyer. Leave it! - Rant over.). The weird lady that helped the brothers' mother then proceeds to bludgeon her to death for no reason other than maybe she looked at her a bit funny?

The rest of the first half of the episode plays out quite slowly with us learning a bit more about the relationship between the two brothers and how it's been made so they can't leave the Island or kill each other. Again, no explanation is given for why and how but we'll roll with it. We learn that Jacob doesn't lie (something that I think has been mentioned in previous episodes) and that the Man in Black likes to play with different coloured rocks and really wants to know what's off the Island ('Nothing' says his mother...I smell a lie). Something I've always admired about LOST is it's character development surpasses that of so many shows (rivalled by the excellent Breaking Bad) yet they rushed so much of this very important origin story, namely that of the weird woman who has taken the brothers under her wing. We're never given any reasoning for her motivations in killing the mother and why she hate's outsiders so much. Disappointing. I did enjoy the inter-play between the two brothers though, the kid actors where actually alright in my opinion. The highlight of this portion of the episode is the introduction of the light under the island. The whole scene was a bit cheesy but I found it really effective.

'Across the Sea' kicked into gear in it's second half when we're back with the adult Jacob and MiB, seperated on the island after MiB has discovered who is real mother is and that the others on the Island can help him escape. Once again outstanding acting from Mark Pellegrino and Titus Welliver, these two really play off each other well and add a massive depth to the characters, especially Welliver as the MiB. You can really see the anger in his eyes after his village gets burned down and the general desperation to get off the Island.

We learn in this portion of the episode pretty much exactly what the Island is. It contains a light inside it which is the same light that is inside everyone, it keeps the world going seemingly and must be protected at all costs by Jacob, if it is exploited by man then the light will go out not just on the Island, but everywhere. Right. Got that? Good. Me neither. It's a clearer way of explaining what was hinted at in previous episodes that if the MiB gets off the Island then something very very bad will happen, but we still don't know why it will be bad if MiB buggers off.

We learn to sympathise a bit with MiB a bit here, something I didn't think would happen after last week's episode. We learn why he turns a bit bad and is the way he is, his mother was murdered and he was lied to his entire life. In my opinion I really don't see a good/evil battle here. Jacob has an angry and whiney streak and appears to be just as responsible for the deaths in the previous episode as the MiB. The MiB wants off and he's willing to use humans as a means to an end to achieve this (as evident in The Candidate) but Jacob just seems disinterested, he doesn't seem to hold much value with humans, this has been something hinted at in previous episodes. I kinda like this ambiguity but I can't help but feel that we need some kind of conclusion to be drawn about this.

The episode wraps up with one of the more forced conclusions to a long standing mystery we've had so far (the whispers being dead people stuff aside). Jacob and MiB get in a bit of a scrap and Jacob throws his brother (yes, still 'brother' name given yet!) into the stream with all the light at the end. What comes out? The bloody smoke monster! I enjoyed learning how he came into this particular power, although from reading other blogs I can see opinion is mixed. So Jacob finds MiB's body on the other side of the mini cave (some people have theorised that the smoke monster isn't actually the MiB and that whatever it is simply took the identity of MiB, but this doesn't hold up to much scrutiny since we've seen Fake-Locke recount his childhood and his mother issues) and then takes him back to their house cave place where we get one of the most convenient answers in the entire series. MiB and his Fake-Mother are the Adam and Eve skeletons from Season 1! Putting aside the fact that Jack clearly states in that episode that the skeletons appear to be between 40-50 years this a slip up by the writers or could it be explained by all the time travelling the island appears to have done?

With only 3 hours of LOST left there's still a lot that needs to be done, though to be honest it's got to the point where there's so many unanswered questions i've forgotten half of them. It seems to me the finale is building to a show down between Jacob and MiB, hopefully in their normal forms as I do think Welliver and Pellegrino own these two characters. I couldn't honestly call what's gonna happen next. Just gonna enjoy the ride!

Prediction for next week's episide 'What they died for': Some kind of massive connection occurring between the two different universes due to the consequences of 'The Candidate'. Hopefully we'll know the rough outline for the finale too.

Friday, 17 August 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

In the summer of a seemingly endless run of threequels and sub-par blockbusters, many film-goers have been left disappointed by the soulless cash-ins on display. Amongst the last of the blockbusters is The Bourne Ultimatum, the follow up to 2002's Bourne Identity, and 2004's Bourne Supremacy. Paul Greengrass is back in the directors seat, and Matt Damon returns as the eponymous protagonist, Jason Bourne. The story of a CIA trained assassin with amnesia, trying to track down the people who engineered him in to the super weapon he is. Bourne is drawn out of the shadows by a journalist who publishes a story on him, and is soon being hounded by the government again. Damon is supported by a stellar set of co-stars including Paddy Consadine, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez, Albert Finney, and Joan Allen.

The film starts off with Bourne on the run, and the pace doesn't relent for the 2 hour running time. The key here is tension. It's all a big game of cat and mouse. At times, Bourne is the target, with the Government surveillance teams tracking him down, but he's just as likely to reverse the roles, and beat them at their own game. The hunt for Bourne takes place across the globe. Moscow leads to London, leads to Morocco, leads the New York. One is led to wonder how a wanted man can get on international air travel, yet that isn't important in the grand scheme of things. Any lapses of belief are vanquished by the solid plot and action. He doesn't wear expensive suits, deliver snappy one-liners, or bed any woman he comes across. All of these make him a more believable action hero.

As stated, tension is the key to this film. The traditional action scenes are frenetically cut, giving a sense of urgency to the proceedings. Hand to hand fight scenes provide relentless brutality. Some fights take place in such close quarters, that it boggles the mind how the camera crew managed to fit in there. While the previous Bourne films included 1 major chase scene, Ultimatum excels itself. Here, there is a free running inspired on-foot chase, a motorbike chase, and a barn storming car chase in down town New York. The ending of the car chase involves a chassis melting grind, which results in a major mangling. The film keeps the speed until the denouement, which, although predictable, still keeps the audience enraptured.

Greengrass has developed a film making style that thrives on the use of hand held shaky-cam. It serves to put us amongst the action, but it's also one of the major downsides of the picture. In the action scenes, it's perfect, but the speedy cuts continue during conversation scenes. No shot in the film must have lasted for more than 5 seconds. It's a mind boggling technique, which keeps the pace up, but it could be at the expense of a few audience headaches. Throughout the course of the Bourne series, Matt Damon has morphed into the major action star of the 21st century. He turns in a constantly tense performance, and looks beleaguered by the chaos around him. With his flexibility - he can star in any genre - it would not be surprising if Damon becomes one of the biggest names in Hollywood for years to come. But please Matt, let the Bourne series end on a high. It couldn't possibly top Ultimatum, the final part of one of the finest action series ever.


Friday, 3 August 2007

Are you IV real?

So, GTAIV has been delayed, until at least May 2008. Hands up who didn't see that coming? While I was hoping it would meet the deadline, I had a sneaking feeling that it just wasn't fully done. Rockstar set a date, right down to the exact day, so they should honour that. The consumer shouldn't be the one left to wait because they messed things up and needed some more time to polish the game. I had heard that it looked a bit rough at a preview session, so the extra time might be beneficial. Looking at it another way, I'm glad. It'll mean I can give all the other autumn and winter releases a good beasting. I'm looking at you - Halo 3 and Rock Band. I doubt that Bungie and Harmonix will screw us over like Rockstar have done.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Second Comic - "May Contain Spoilers"

Okay, so it doesn't actually contain any spoilers...but whatever. Enjoy!

So the book comes out tonight at midnight. Anyone going? I shall be there, as shall Nick. We imagine a situation like the above could occur...we shall report any tales of banana soddomy on here.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Loverly Simpsons Clips

Found this on youtube, thought it would be good to share.

It's from a BBC interview with Matt Groening and Al Jean. The clips are brilliant, really can't wait for this film.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Table Tennis...with waggle.

Pilfered from: Joystiq

So, Rockstar are bringing Table Tennis to the Wii? I only briefly played the Xbox 360 version, it never fully appealed to me. The graphics were the main pull for me. So now that it's coming to the wii...where's the appeal going to be? Okay, using the wiimote as a paddle might be cool for a bit, but it just seems like it's going to end up as wiisports tennis but more serious.

Nick says: I like Rockstar Table Tennis on the 360. It's simple, someone can pick it up and get to grips with it in 10 minutes. But it's also very deep, with there being many subtleties, involving the spin and focus shots. I don't doubt that it'll be fun on the Wii, but it'll lack the main draw of the 360 version. The graphics. They're what make the game. The Wii version will basically be Pong with added waggle.

First comic!

First comic! Bit of background? Well, Ken Kutargi is the 'father of the playstation'...but over the years me and nick have noticed an ever decreasing descent into insanity. This is, after all, the man who said that people will work extra hours at work just to buy a Playstation 3. And, i can't prove it, but i'm sure he had some hand in the Wii actually selling some consoles.

Anyway, thoughts etc in the comments section below!