After months of waiting, Telltale have finally released a trailer for their upcoming series of the Guardians of the Galaxy which has received a very mixed response.
Watch it here!
It appears that Telltale have stepped away from their iconic art style that’s prevalent in The Walking Dead and Borderlands releases and opted for a style similar to Disney’s Infinity games. As a fan of the developers, I prefer the scratchy and darker hues that Telltale have demonstrated and feel like GotG is going to be commercially driven – similar to the Minecraft series. We see the emulation of the property owners styles to fit into the mainstream expectations of the younger, more mainstream audiences rather than the comic book fans and hardcore fan bases. The characters appear very long and slender with a lot of block based colours and little defining features to portray itself as a Telltale game.
In all honestly, i feel the trailer demonstrates nothing of significant value. The action and comedy factors that underpin that Guardians of the Galaxy aren’t showing through and it feels more of a show reel of that characters we will be seeing through the 5 episode series.
What do you think of the trailers, are you excited or as wary as us? Let us know in the comment section down below!
“There’s A Reason We Woke Up Early…”
If ever were a movie to put off its’ audience by sheer propaganda-esque exploitation, then Passengers is it, a movie advertised within the inch of its’ life within every single cinema screening over the past four months or so, and a movie which seems to be once again a case of revealing too much to be a true success as a two-hour spectacle instead of a two-minute preview. With two of most bankable acting talents at the moment leading the way in the form of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, Passengers, directed by Morten Tyldum of The Imitation Game alongside a story by Prometheus and Doctor Strange screenwriter Jon Spaihts, is a traditionally cheesy sci-fi romance, one which gains kudos for attempting to subvert its’ narrative giveaways within its’ trailers with a nice juicy twist to get the film going, but ultimately succumbs to its’ fundamental 12A-ness and becomes yet another flashy yet forgettable piece of cinema.
Following in the footsteps of Allied recently, a similarly forgettable tale which just happened to feature top-end A-List actors, Passengers suffers primarily from a saccharin-sweet filled narrative at its’ core, one which above all, results in the concluding act of the movie being one hard not to shout “Cheese!” at, with a cliched resuscitation scene being the heart of such of a problem. Whilst Lawrence and Pratt have some decent on-screen chemistry, the absurdness of their celebrity appearance throughout the movie (Not one pixel of make-up is out of place) creates a difficulty in taking in the apparent science fiction notions the film attempts to lay on its’ audience, with obvious nods to Interstellar, Alien, Solaris, Moon and even The Shining putting the film in danger of being just a reel of scenes from better and more memorable productions. Whilst there are a wide range of issues with Passengers, the inherent friendliness makes it somewhat suitable for this particular period of the year, yet its’ plain-sailing approach sadly just won’t make it past the month as something memorable, a shame when considering the talent on display. Also, what was the point of hiring Andy Garcia? HE DOES NOTHING. Merry Christmas.
Overall Score: 5/10
“We’ve Got No Ship, No Crew, How’re We Going To Get Out Of This One…?
Taking the helm as only producer this time around, it is resoundingly safe to say that J. J. Abrams is the all-round geek saviour of the 20th century where long before breaking box office records and smashing countless other cinematic achievements with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mr. Abrams lit the fuse once again in regards to the nations’ love of Star Trek, with a brand new team of space explorers being offset with a brand new timeline, expanding the stories of the crew upon the Enterprise to new and exciting limits. Now, six years since the first Star Trek reboot, Star Trek: Beyond continues the blockbuster success of the franchise, where although it could be regarded as the weakest of the three so far, Justin Lin’s directorial space debut is solid and sometimes spectacular summer popcorn fun featuring everything you would expect from an array of actors each used to their own talents on and off-screen in the six years from which they first began their voyage into deep space, albeit if the series itself is beginning to feel ever so slightly formulaic.
Beginning with a portrayal of a day in the life of our beloved Enterprise crew, Star Trek: Beyond begins rather slowly and then ascends into a two-hour survival mission against the ominous yet dedicated figure of main antagonist Krall, played expertly by everyone’s favourite Bond hopeful, Idris Elba, and his pack of cronies, hell bent on bringing destruction to those who wronged them in the past. If anything, Krall’s role in Beyond is all too small, where although Elba’s performance is enough to make him an effective bad guy, the script just doesn’t allow his character to become complex enough to make him memorable. Of course, the one-two of Pine and Quinto brings the bromance factor to the table, sidelined by the cling-on (no pun intended) of third wheeler Bones, whilst the bad-ass duo of Zoe Saldana and Sofia Boutella gives the female characters an extensive role to bring to life. Of course, overshadowing the release of Beyond is the deeply saddening loss of Anton Yelchin, an actor lost too young and an actor whose roles in films such as Green Room and the Star Trek franchise means he will not swiftly be forgotten. Beyond is Star Trek to the T. A classic adventure with some great thrills, if not entirely up to the mark of its’ predecessors within the 21st century revival trilogy.
Overall Score: 7/10
“Could We Go Back To Texas Now?”
Oh boy, it’s glad to be back. Taking a much needed couple of weeks off from the cinema during the over-long Easter break, my return to the big-screen begins with Midnight Special, the newest film from the mind of Jeff Nichols, best know for films such as Take Shelter and the critically acclaimed Mud a couple of years back. Erasing the horror of my last venture into the cinema before my break, with Batman v Superman still hurting my mind every time I think about it, I ventured into Midnight Special hardly knowing anything about it apart from the incredibly solid A-List cast featuring the likes of the brilliant Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton as well as the newest Sith Lord himself, Adam Driver being on the payroll. Mixing in-between genres quicker than you can say space invaders, Midnight Special is a strange, quirky movie, one that undeniably revels in showing off it’s love of movies like E.T and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in fact, it’s love of Spielberg in general, yet it ultimately fails to live up to the great man, coming up short in many aspects that could have perhaps made it a future cult classic.
Delving right into the mix of things, Midnight Special begins head-first into the action, with little characterisation to begin with being offset with ambiguous plot threads ranging from a mysterious cult, to the involvement of the FBI and DEA, and finally, the kidnapping of a young child, one whom may not be all he seems, ripping a plot device used so effectively in Rian Johnson’s Looper, a film which bears minor similarities to Midnight Special, along with a hint of last years’ Tomorrowland, particularly in the film’s slightly over-long final third. Mix in a element of A.I, and the recipe completes the blueprints to Midnight Special, a film which begins well enough but then slightly descends into generic sci-fi territory, with added corny CGI thrown into the midst. A solid sci-fi, but nothing extraordinary, but hey, at least it’s better than Batman v Superman.
Overall Score: 6/10
“All We Can Do Scully Is Pull The Thread, See What It Unravels…”
Typical. You wait fourteen years for one of your favourite shows to return and then you get hit with two new episodes within the space of just twenty four hours. It’s like London buses. Kind of. If the first episode was let down by its’ extreme determination to shove as much in your face as humanly possible with the return of the shows’ overlying mythology, then the second adheres to the secondary X-Files plot basis with the return of the “Monster of the Week” stories whilst featuring a heavy dose of looking back in regards to the long lost William, the son of both Mulder and Scully whom they gave up for adoption in Series 8. From the off, it is fundamentally wonderful to witness a programme as loved as The X-Files back on the small screen, and those that may have been let down by the premiere of the latest series will hopefully have their faith restored with “Founders Mutation”, an episode in which it reminds us of the good old tales of the paranormal in which the original series made its’ name. And oh, with added blood and gore.
After the supposed suicide of a scientist, Agents Mulder and Scully, recently back on X-Files duty, unravel the strange circumstances regarding his death, eventually resulting in the discovery of a laboratory in which testings are made upon young children, each with extreme genetic deformities as well as dangerous and powerful paranormal powers. Sounds like an atypical episode of The X-Files does it not? And in proper succinct fashion with classic monster-of-the-week episodes, “Founders Mutation” does what X-Files has always done best; show off a creepy story with a rather mind-boggling plot but keep it together with the chemistry of its’ two leads. If Duchovny and Scully were in danger of being recognised as actors who had perhaps just decided to “phone-in” their performances within this latest series, then this episode alone shows off how inherently excited and proud they must be to back in the show that quickly made them household names in the 1990’s. They’re having fun and so is the audience, with a script so stark-raving mad it verges on X-Files satire with the violence being turned up way past eleven it makes a Tarantino flick look harmless. It’s X-Files 101 and I love it.
Viewers who are perhaps less than informed with the overarching mythology of the series’ earlier seasons may be rather alienated by the plot thread of William, but it was interesting to see the correlation between the investigation and our agents’ personal lives, one in which the discussion of their long lost child has been a good way to keep relations to the earlier plot lines established across the mythology. Perhaps the realisation of Scully’s DNA being part alien will tie into the rediscovery of their adopted son, something of which may in turn be exposed in the remaining four episodes. Whatever the ultimate goal of this ever-so-short revival inevitably is, whether it be to see if interest in the show is still rife today, fans across the globe are just happy to see its’ return and with “Founders Mutation” being a stark improvement on the first episode, things are only getting better.
Overall Score: 8/10
“I’m Always Happy To See You…”
Here we are at last. After fourteen years of a anxiety-ridden wait. remedied slightly by the second feature film in 2008, The X-Files finally returns to the small screen, once again helmed by the creative genius of Chris Carter and starring, of course, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Agents Mulder and Scully respectively. Picked up by those over at FOX for a six episode event, this ever-so short revival of one of TV’s greatest ever cult shows has a lot riding on it, particularly in the case for its’ hard-hitting fans, myself included, who have watched endless repeats of the first nine series, due in part to the wonder of Netflix, and who most definitely have questions to answer and notions to convey but most importantly, should be the sole basis and focus of the shows’ return. Sure, the series has a lot of plot lines to fill over the course of just under five hours worth of alien-goodness, but the main concern of the revival is its’ desire to not let the reputation of the past be tarnished by something not entirely up to scratch. So, speaking from the heart of a true X-Files fanboy, the first episode of the series’ return is everything you would expect, alien conspiracies, the end of the world, and men in black suits, but the real question remains; Is it any good?
Beginning with a heavy dose of X-Files exposition, which strangely enough doesn’t even scratch the surface on the underlying mythology of the series, “My Struggle” quickly delves into the lives of present day Mulder and Scully, with the former seemingly hibernating in a dingy, dark hideaway whilst the former continues to blossom in the career of medicine, yet these lives are swiftly combined once again when they are asked to meet up with celebrity online forecaster, Tad O’Malley whose heavy sense of paranoia and strong beliefs mirror that of a much younger and much fresher looking Agent Mulder. The rest of the episode then attempts to cram pretty much everything you could think of when it comes to the plot lines of original series. Men in black. Roswell. Alien abductions. Whistleblowers. It’s a strange and overly rushed start to the revival, with little chance for characterisation on anyone’s part, whilst the word cameo doesn’t even come close to the return of fan favourites such as Assistant Director Skinner and of course, spoilers incoming, William B. Davis as the rather aged and decrepit Cigarette Smoking Man, whose fleeing appearances seem rather thrown in for good measure.
On the other hand, the unbreakable bond of familiarity between the two leads is still fresh and ripe, even after 23 years, and its’ the two central characters in Mulder and Scully which makes the episode strangely hypnotic and engaging despite its’ rather obvious flaws. Beginning with a mythology led episode was inevitably going to be the way to go and for fans of the original series, it is undeniably exciting to witness its’ return in the 21st century with added conspiracies of governmental control on money, resources and even food. Those poor chickens. If it was any other show, it would have lost me, but the undeniable sense of happiness to see Mulder and Scully on-screen together for the first time in years cannot be disregarded and amongst a sheer ludicrous plot, slightly ear-bouncing dialogue, and dodgy CGI, the return of The X-Files is a time for rejoicing, not one for critcising. Welcome back Agents, it’s been too long.
Episode Score: 7/10
The biggest film of 2015 is finally here after years, almost decades of an excruciating wait for a true continuation of George Lucas’s original trilogy, something of which would attempt to eradicate the wholly mediocre memory that the prequels imprinted on the Star Wars community, whilst expanding the well and truly cherished universe for a whole new generation of young children who’s experience of The Force Awakens may indeed be their first taste of Star Wars on the big screen. With George Lucas handing directorial duties to renowned sci-fi enthusiast, J.J. Abrams, the man behind the reinvention of the Star Trek series, The Force Awakens was already heading in the desired direction with Lucas finally understanding that money can only go so far and what was truly needed with The Force Awakens was to return to the imaginative and truly immersive spectacle the original trilogy portrayed all the way back with the release of A New Hope in 1977. Has it succeeded? Is The Force Awakens the magnum opus of the Star Wars universe many have proclaimed it to be? Not exactly, but one thing is for sure, it is a resounding homecoming and like the original trilogy, a whole lotta fun.
Beginning once again with the legendary line of “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, John Williams famous overture blasts onto our screens over the scrolling opening crawl that informs us of Luke Skywalker’s apparent disappearance and the rise of the First Order, a seedy, evil faction of the fallen galactic empire who are attempting to discover the location of the lost, legendary Jedi, an opening backdrop much more streamlined than the tax credit political nonsense that The Phantom Menace began with. So far, so good, and the film takes no time at all settling into the introduction of the both the film’s antagonist and protagonist with the Sith-ridden Kylo Ren being introduced through ruthless murder and an understanding of the force similar to that of Vader himself, whilst Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron comes across as the cocky, swaggering second shade of Han Solo himself, and already I’m sold. Within the first ten minutes of the film we are exposed to an understanding of the force unlike anything I have ever seen before and this is a riff played extensively upon throughout the course of The Force Awakens, resulting in a villain both ominous and ambiguous who is crippled by, excuse the pun, the force of expectation brought upon him due to his rather muddled family tree. No spoilers here.
Where Kylo Ren proves to be a real win in terms of the evil side of the force, the introduction of Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn are welcome entries into the Star Wars universe, with Rey particularly being a strong, independent, and well-developed female lead, expanding the rather limited female base of characters established in the universe so far and for that I’m glad. Following in the footsteps of the universally recognised R2-D2 also, is that of BB-8, the orange coated roller-ball who, along with the return of Chewbacca, brings the greatest comedic elements of the film, particularly in a scene where it responds to Finn’s thumbs up which resulted in the entire screening laughing in hysterics. As for the return of the golden-oldies, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo is the obvious winner with him not only getting the greatest screen time, but also the best lines, most of which hark back to the original trilogy or his relationship with his favourite Wookie, a true bromance is ever there was one whilst it is his character which takes the front-line in the film’s most shocking twist, a cinematic moment on par with “I am your father”, and one that is set to send shock-waves across the Star Wars universe.
As for the film’s production, The Force Awakens is a particularly handsome movie with spectacular scenes of vast, endless landscapes, gorgeous looking CGI spaces battles, and a unnerving attention to detail that highlights the love and dedication to which the film has been made with. Where the film ultimately succeeds is in its’ sheer diversity to the prequels, with the dodgy CGI of the early 21st century being totally outclassed with the use of practical, real life props, giving the film that rustic aesthetic which makes you feel these places actually do exist and aren’t created on somebody’s computer, a brilliant change of direction, and one that leaves me reeling for more. For all the film’s brilliance, there are certain degrees of similarity in terms of plot which reduces the film’s overall originality, yet one can afford to overlook such weaknesses and exhale in relief. The Force Awakens is a true return to the magical wonder of the saga’s original trilogy, incorporating new, interesting characters whilst working a winning nostalgia appeal with the return of the series’ most famous faces. A real triumph. How many years until the next one?
Overall Score: 9/10
The hype is real and totally worth it!
Usually in these duo reviews it seems that I’m the one to poke holes in the plot, but I don’t know if I’m “fanboying” too much while mentally blocking most of them out. There isn’t many films that I would say that I’d gladly sit in the cinema and watch again, back to back, but I would for this. If you haven’t yet, go see this film!
As obvious as the statement is, this is undoubtedly a Star Wars film. What I mean by that is that it feels like a continuation of the originally trilogy. J.J Abrams decision to use more costumes and animatronics instead of relying solely on computer effects is a noticeable improvement, bringing a more organic feel to environments and sets.
The return of the previous cast is a welcome sight and a good measure of the passage of time. good to see that none of the previous actors have forgotten their roles despite it being 32 years since they were last in their characters shoes. Moving on to the new characters, as Dan said huge praise for Daisy Ridley’s character Rey, loved the character progression which was done at the right pace. Along with Oscar Isaac’s character Poe which immediately resembled a Han Solo personality and humour but thankfully not to the extent which he mirrors him. John Boyega’s character Finn slightly recalled me to how Luke was in the original film. Its often hinted throughout the film that there is something special about him but he struggles to become it but that’s not say that his character doesn’t also make loads of progression. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who left the cinema wanting a BB-8 for Christmas. The lovable droid despite only commuting with limited gestures was hilarious and adorable even more so than I dare say R2-D2.
No Star Wars film is complete without the Dark Side. Though I admit I was originally sceptical to Adam Driver as the First Order’s Kylo Ren, however, he did an impressive job…while the mask was on. Without the mask he just didn’t seem as big nor as threatening, yet maybe that was deliberate. What Kylo Ren can do with the force though brings a new evil with the Sith (torture) and I love his character for that.
One little complaint I have would be with Gwendaline Christie’s character, Captain Phasma. Despite being one of the most advertised characters her role was minuscule with hardly any dialogue. She didn’t even fire her blaster once! Hopefully she will have a larger role in the future upcoming films.
The fight choreography is perfect for the setting of the film. No force triple back flips or over the top dance fighting which is how it should be. Every swing has the characters emotion in it, along with the amazing camera work and epic music it creates truly enjoyable fight scenes.
After watching the film you can clearly tell that J.J Abrams is a huge fan of the original trilogy and directed “The Force Awakens” for fans. Its safe to say that he hasn’t let us down at all. There are throw backs to the previous films but not so many that we are chocking on it or that it disrupts the pacing of the story. I am really looking forward to seeing what happens next and hopefully it continues with this momentum.
If this had came out before I did my top 5 this would’ve easily been my number 1!
“Clara Said “Don’t Take Revenge.” You Should Know I Don’t Always Listen…”
Every now and then, certain programmes attempt to remind you why you, as the viewer, readily choose to invest so much time and effort, both mentally and/or physically, in such a programme in order to fuel such the heavy, and sometimes rather unhealthy, addiction that has been created from such dedication. In the case of Doctor Who therefore, a programme in which I began watching as a young child, with bundles upon bundles of Classic Who VHS’s keeping me company throughout my younger years, it is a feat unparalleled when a show almost 53 years old can keep on pulling out surprise after surprise, hit after hit, without every feeling the need to slow down and say, “hey, we’re running out of ideas here.” Although Series 9 has been a consistently strong and inventive addition to the Who canon thus far, this week’s episode truly hit new sumptuous levels, with “Heaven Sent”, showing how our most beloved of Sci-Fi shows has once again hit that high watermark, peaking in similar brilliance to some of the best ever stories that have been told over the past five decades with it ticking all the right boxes in what makes Doctor Who well, Doctor Who.
Acting as a straight-forward continuation from “Face the Raven”, with our beloved Twelfth not having any time at all to grieve at the loss of his loving companion, “Heaven Sent” immediately sets out its’ genre-bending tones in the first few scenes. Alone, lost, and completely out of his depth, we witness The Doctor being menacingly stalked by a creature simply known as The Veil, a manifestation of one of the Doctor’s memories in which he witnessed a dead woman, still cloaked in her veil, being surrounded by a hoard of death-mongering flies, with its’ full form slowly following our Doctor in every step he takes throughout a clock-work maze, utilised and set up by some form of unknown entity in order to gain the Doctor’s deepest confessions. Not only does “Heaven Sent” fully ramp the horror element of Doctor Who up to eleven, with the presence of the Veil making me jump on at least two occasions, it also manages to add an even deeper level to the character of the Doctor, with the fear of death highlighting a more human side to our favourite Time Lord whilst expanding on the very nature of the Doctor’s escape from Gallifrey all those years ago, something of which has been leaned upon ever since “The Magician’s Apprentice”.
Although in the past, Steven Moffat has been criticised by many for introducing plot lines and stories that although look fun and mean well, actually end up making no logical sense whatsoever, “Heaven Sent” shows the brilliant side of Moffat, with its’ timey-wimey plot all coming clear in a final act that ranks high amongst some of his best work for the show. Within the midst of the Inception-esque mind-bending science fiction and fabulous inventive writing, is the performance from Peter Capaldi, a performance that not only can be regarded as the best so far within his tenure as the Twelfth Doctor, but one of the greatest in the series to this date, with the Pertwee/Tom Baker hallmarks being fully embraced in an episode that attempts to put our Doctor well and truly through the wringer in a similar vein to the Fourth Doctor’s venture into the Matrix within “The Deadly Assassin,” an episode in which our beloved Time-Lord is also companion-less and also returns to his homeland of Gallifrey. The only negative thing to say about “Heaven Sent” is that because of its’ sheer brilliance, next week’s “Hell Bent” has so much to live up to, but for now, let us sway in the remarkable abilities of both Capaldi and Moffat with “Heaven Sent” certainly earning the right to earn a place in the hall of fame of great Who stories. Roll on next week!
Overall Score: 10/10
“Turn Your Weapons To The Capitol! Turn Your Weapons To Snow…”
Looking back at my time growing up as a teenager, it is rather fair to say that in terms of cinematic experiences that was forged during my development from child-minded youngster to well, child-minded adult, that I, and many others of similar age, were well and truly spoiled. I mean come on, we had the reinvention of fantasy epics with The Lord of the Rings, the angsty teen family friendly years of Harry Potter, and the re-invention of both the Bond and the Batman films, with The Dark Knight still being a huge turning point in terms of my understanding of what makes a truly great cinematic memory. This complete spoilage of greatness during my own personal childhood has only received further gratitude in recent times when examining the recent implosion of child-targeted franchises hoping to fill the gaps that series’ such as Harry Potter vacated when they came to their concluding tales, most of which have seen that the teen-led dystopian universe is the right way to go. Although The Hunger Games series definitely is the leader of the pack when it comes to such, beating the Divergent and Maze Runner series’ hands down, its’ concluding tale in the form of Mockingjay – Part Two is an unfortunate mess, leaving the legacy of such a franchise ending with a whim, rather than a stage of defiance and strength in a vein similar to its’ titular character.
If you aren’t already well and truly versed in the plot-lines of the whole Hunger Games saga, there really is not much point attempting to try and explain almost seven hours worth of backstory right now except from the fact that the entire series is basically Battle Royale with cheese (yes, I loved that too Pulp Fiction fans) where aside from the rather important and intelligent notions of dystopian futures, uprisings and a fight against tyranny, something of which would give George Orwell a run for his money, The Hunger Games franchise has always seemed to be rather misplaced in my own personal point of view due to a variety of reasons that seem to come full circle in its’ concluding chapter. Firstly, aside from Jennifer Lawrence well and truly embracing the role of Katniss Everdeen, a character in which is meant to symbolise a role model for many fans of the series, there really isn’t one other character in which I can truly say I feel heavily invested in both emotionally and mentally. Because of this, the entirety of MJ Part One was rather a significant bore, with way too many scenes of exposition and explanation and much too less of actually getting to the point, highlighting the argument for why these concluding parts were not just made into one film rather than two.
Such a problem continues in MJ Part Two, where scenes of excruciatingly dull dialogue are played out far too long too often in comparison to scenes of vital importance which are sped through way too quickly, resulting in a sense of continuous questioning and a jump between states of sheer boredom and utter confusion. Thankfully, with Lawrence in the titular role as the Mockingjay, such scenes are saved from total extinction with her performance as the “girl on fire”, continuing her rather brilliant start to life as an actress, whilst the seedy, ice-like figure of the wonderful Donald Sutherland as the ruthless autocratic President Snow is also a trait in the film’s favour. Amid scenes of sheer tension, particularly one in which our heroes and heroines venture into the city’s sewers, is times in which the film’s fundamental dark subject matter come into force, particularly in one scene in which we witness a mass gathering of children being blown to pieces, and it is here where the age-old question of classification comes into account, with MJ Part Two, being definitely in the category of top-end 12A’s. In other words, do not take your seven year old child to see this. You may scar them for life.
Obviously as I am not a die-hard fan of the series, MJ Part Two was never going to fulfill all my expectations entirely, but the fact that the concluding chapter of this franchise is made in such a terrible fashion upsets me personally on behalf of its’ core fans. It’s messy, it’s overlong, it features the worse love-triangle since Twilight, MJ Part Two for me, was a severe let-down from my already mediocre expectations, ending on a sour note rather than a show of brilliance that the first two in the series brought with it. At the end of the day, it may be a suitable end to the Mockingjay series for some, but for me, Mockingjay – Part Two was a wholly mediocre affair, too hell bent on getting too much done too quickly whilst reeling on the lack of assured substance and depth that may have been accomplished if made into one film rather than two for the sake of the accountants. And boy, that ending was truly terrible.
Overall Score: 5/10
“I Will Die, And Nobody Here Or Anywhere Else Will Suffer…”
Here we go then… The departure of Jenna Coleman as long-term companion Clara Oswald has been big news in the Who fanbase for many months now, thanks in part to the overblown nature of the world in which social media prevents such things as spoilers and secrets (Screw you Daily Mirror!) when it comes to high profile shows such as Doctor Who, yet not many would have guessed that the departure of Coleman would have been done so nonchalantly and without warning in an episode that firstly, was not a series finale or mid-season break, but was not in fact penned by the lead writer, with newcomer Sarah Dollard being handed the task of crushing the hearts of many Clara fans out there within the Whoniverse, and given the chance to pen the final scenes between our beloved Twelfth Doctor and his latest favourite human, Clara Oswald. Coming from an eagle-eyed Who fan where even the writing or directorial credits announce something rather epic is set to happen, the untimely demise of our latest companion was a shock to say the least, albeit if it ends up serving a slightly different purpose in the next few weeks left of Series Nine.
Much like the latter end of Series Three, “Face The Raven” seems to be similar in form to that of the rather excellent “Utopia”, whereby a first-thought standalone episode may in fact hold the beginnings of an epic trilogy, where this time its’ focus is set clearly on the end of the line for Ms. Oswald as well as a possible return to Gallifrey, judging by the clips at the end of the episode which show the destination to which The Doctor is sent via that of a teleportation bracelet. Although the rather far-out plan spearheaded by an unknown entity forcing the Doctor into a sudden change of scenery featured way too many holes in terms of clear-cut explanation, the fact that “Face The Raven” is set to be part of a bigger story in the long-run means the two remaining episodes will hopefully clear up such mind-boggling plot-lines and explain why the character of Ashildr, played with confidence once again by the wonderful Maisie Williams, was ever needed in the first place (So much for her as the new companion too don’t you think?)
If anything, “Face The Raven” felt strangely enough like a return of the Russel T Davies led Who, with the sets in which the unknown Diagon Alley-esque streets were presented feeling rather 420p, leading me to believe we had returned to 2007 and David Tennant as The Doctor, a notion not helped by the return of Davies era creatures such as the Judoon, yet witnessing Peter Capaldi looking rather suave in his Pertwee-inspired velvet coat gave a soft reminder that we were in fact back in 2015, with Capaldi once again showing his awe-inspiring range of emotion with his sheer heartbreak at not knowing what to do in order to save his long-term companion, a devastating loss that is set to have major repercussions in the weeks that follow. Whatever you do, don’t make THIS Doctor angry. Although Clara’s death in this week’s episode of Doctor Who seemingly marked the end of the line for our latest companion, the means to her end ultimately felt strangely uncertain, albeit managing to play rather effectively on the heartstrings, suggesting more is certainly set to come within the next few weeks in the concluding parts of Series Nine, a series which just keeps getting better and better.