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The perfect, imperfect ending
Reading some reviews of the finale of what has undoubtedly been one of the seminal sitcoms of our generation has been
challenging. For some viewers it appears that Bays and Thomas have deliberately tried to hurt them (at least as they see it). They appear let down that the story ended how it did, rather than the idyllic "happily ever after" they were looking for.
But actually, "happily ever after" would have left a bad taste in the mouth. Yes, Barney and Robin got divorced (which was handled very maturely by the way). Yes, the friends do drift apart over the years. And yes, the mother dies. But do you know what? Haven't we all seen these things happen? This is real life, which is what has made HIMYM such compulsive viewing for the past 9 years.
For those who thought the ideals of the series were romance and soul mates, and were therefore "betrayed" by this ending; perhaps you'd understood the ideals wrong in the first place. This has been a comedy for our time. A time when relationships might not be neat and tidy, love might not last forever, and the story is rarely straight forward. But laugher, friends and a great bar will always see you through!
My only regret is that there will be no more episodes. I have relished every minute of these series and would still watch any right now. Kudos to Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for finishing on such a high. Hopefully "How I Met Your Dad" can live up to this exceptional standard.
Sleeping Beauty (2011)
Er, what was that?
When writing a review for IMDb you have to select whether or not that review is going to contain spoilers. On this occasion however I can confidently say that this review will not contain spoilers, mainly because I've no idea what just happened!
I like a good art house film, and totally understand storytelling in which "less is more". It's nice to be treated with enough respect by a writer/director that I don't have to have everything spelled out for me. But Sleeping Beauty took this to the extreme being giving away virtually nothing.
This film consists of a series of seemingly unrelated snippets; Lucy's flatmates, the Birdman, the various temp jobs, and then ultimately the strange/erotic sleeping arrangements which the film is sold on. I've no doubt that the writer and director have something they want to say through this (no one makes a film for no reason and I love art-driven film because that reason tends to be more meaningful that the box office take) However, you can't put a few streaks of paint on a canvas in the style of another great Austrailian artist, and then down tools with "Can you tell what it is yet?"
In some ways you'll find this film even more disappointing because in some ways it's very good. It is so beautifully shot and Emily Browning puts in a good follow-up to Suckerpunch. On this occasion there just isn't enough to bring those bits together into a coherent whole. In much the same way as we would all deride CGI heavy films that don't hit the mark; being pretty isn't enough if you don't have the substance behind it and they just forgot to put in enough ingredients to make a complete film this time.
Green Lantern (2011)
An almost beautiful movie
Some people have some difficult baggage to deal with in their lives. Hal Jordan is one such man, but I can only conclude that he dealt with it all before this film began. The potential of this film was nearly infinite. Take a character who is chosen without reason or logic to accept a power that allows him to do virtually anything at any point, and then pit him in a literal battle of wills with a power we all instinctively fear. Magic, right? Not quite if you do it like this.
The difficulty is trying to work out how it didn't work. All the major elements are there and, although I was somewhat surprised, even Ryan Reynolds was an excellent choice for Hal. He plays it as flippant and yet complex...and then the script fails to do either.
Where was the struggle? In fact, where was it in any of the characters? Each lacks in their own way right from Silestro to the love interest. The result is a film that, as the marketing people played on, is much anticipated, but then leaves you wondering "was that it?"
I love a superhero film. Reason being that, for a brief moment and with millions of fans across the globe, we get to access a part of ourselves that is more than we can be. We do this by watching a character who can do the same. But not in this case. The plot is there, the actors too, the premise is a given, but the delivery is poor. Next time (and I believe there will be one) find a writer who can create a character in the same way Jordan can create a chainsaw. It's not subtle, but it does what needs to be done.
What a great series!
There are very few series that have successfully navigated the dangerous waters between cult UK series and good US equivalent. Doctor Who itself failed in this mission with the sparkly-yet-pointless McGann/Roberts remake in the '90's. The fact that Torchwood has managed to cross the water is a huge achievement thanks to some brilliant writing and gifted actors.
If you could make a sci-fi "24" this would be it! I've really enjoyed the series to-date and, contrary to some previous posters, I haven't watched any of the original Torchwood series (so obviously had no idea what was going on...oh wait, yes I did!) There are definitely episodes that make this a new chapter. Without giving out spoilers it's safe to say you'll find out your own piece of the story, and for an adult viewer of modern sci-fi it's good to discover something different.
The only difference between a 9 and a 10 on this review would have been the realism of the US side. I'm not a US citizen as you'll note, but something tells me not all CIA operations rooms look like the set of 24 nor do all "clandestine" operations work in the same way (I assume!). This, and only this was a draw back.
I suppose really this could have been an awful lot worse and still received a good review. Just for having the bravery to tackle a series predominately about death sets this apart as an original piece of viewing. No longer do you have to watch the predictable "girl next door" sitcom or the wildly unrealistic possibility of alien invasion. Sci-fi found philosophy, and they made this, and it'll make you think!