With the last two episodes, it's time to actually focus on the mystery.
Episode 7 gets into the mystery, and brings things up to date. It seems without a family, the show has to get into the case. But there still isn't really a full Chambersian influence yet, the Yellow King stuff is just dressing. You could swap out with any other names and get the same things. Certainly no hint of anything supernatural. That all said, although this looks to be just humans being capable of bad things, this is not going to end well.
Episode 8 and... it remains dressing. It's just people being people, and this reaches its rather desultory conclusion. It's hard to say the case is about anything, and certainly there isn't really any feeling of achievement when the final pieces drop. Indeed the last clue/trail is just what needs to happen because of plot, not because of the long lengths of detective work they've been doing. And then in the final moments, the show goes for a human connection again, and gets on firmer, if wishy-washer, ground.
There's decent acting in this show, but nothing crime wise that hasn't been done before, and the Lovecraftian angle is overrated. The only reason to watch is for the characters, but that isn't enough to drag this out over eight episodes.
Friday, 31 October 2014
With the last two episodes, it's time to actually focus on the mystery.
Thursday, 30 October 2014
This show is having trouble expressing what it wants to be about.
Episode 5 has some attempt at cosmic horror, a little different from episode 1. This is wrapping up the 1995 portion of the story, and giving us more about the present day case. There's also a big (for this show) action piece, in which we clearly see people are lying, but they are the heroes, so that's all right, it's all over now... but it isn't.
Episode 6 shows that this show isn't about the crime at all. Which it hasn't been all along, but this episode puts that front and centre. The personal lives of the leads come tumbling down, and the mystery is completely incidental. There could be anything going on, and the detectives would still act the same way. This is where it is "true detectives", because it is truly about the detectives and nothing else matters.
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
And so it rolls on.
Episode 3 is just them going places and talking. What is supposed to be happening here? What is drawing people in? It's only because of the context that I'm still watching, and I can see it has potential, but huge slabs of nothing is happening. Most of the action is around the personal lives of the cops, although there is now the promise of something relating to the case actually about to happen. But I'm not sure I believe it, even when I will see it.
Episode 4 is... did I watch these in the right order? What does this have to do with where episode 3 left off? We do get some advancement of the plot, as such, but it's largely 'in the way filler'. We need to talk to X, well first you need to contact W, and then go to R, and then P, and then Z, and then... really? How is this not padding? Even the character arc of the leads is abruptly advanced. Was this written by someone else sneakily?
At least we're halfway now...
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
I've heard many people say True Detective is good, and that there's a Lovecraftian connection with the King in Yellow and that, so let's give it a go, with reviewing two episodes at a time... which gives me a nice wee series of posts.
And I'm not going to use the L work again, the King in Yellow is from Robert W Chambers, so Chambersian it is!
Episode 1 reminds me a lot of Hannibal. Similar style, and the first murder victim involves deer antlers. It's a slow build, and I'm sure I lost the connection between some of the plot points at one stage and wondered why they were investigating an older case. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey do not play compelling characters (in that I don't feel compelled to keep watching them), and if it wasn't for the Chambersian connection I know is coming, I probably wouldn't get past episode 1.
Episode 2 continues the slow build. I hope the entire season (of just eight episodes) isn't just slow burn of the mystery, as that's already getting tiresome. The two leads aren't getting much better, and the characters do not seem to have any sense of subtly. We do finally get a proper name check of the King in Yellow and Carcosa, but a name is about all it is. The previous cliffhanger worked in that it told us why this series is set when it is, but this one is just a very lame reveal.
Monday, 27 October 2014
Right at the beginning we have several things which irritate me and will probably never be resolved. Good start, episode! One fairly innocuous one I can mention: since when has the TARDIS has a GPS "you have arrived" announcer? And why will it never come up again?
The whole forest out of nowhere is a more interesting set up than what I thought was going to happen based on the trailer last week. I thought the Doctor was going to take them on a school trip, instead it's a magical mystery tour in the present day... in which a massive reset button is pushed at the end and conveniently no-one will ever remember, despite the number of digital footage and such around.... eh, what? Then again, no-one remembers the Daleks or that there was a huge alien spaceship...
On one hand, this is a nice tight story in which we get to focus on just a few characters and developed. On the other hand... WHERE IS EVERYBODY? Yes, they get told to stay inside, but rubbish! Any opportunity for people to get out and loot will be taken, let alone people just getting out and enjoying the new surroundings. Then again, we are talking about a planet which 100% voted to kill a new moon creature. The Doctor Who New Series Earth sucks.
This is all because the story isn't about the forest (and I totally picked that the forest was a good thing early in the story), it's about Danny and Clara and the relationship with the Doctor. With the kids providing colour commentary. And being annoying. Yeah, those are some damn irritating kids, and I'm sure we will be subjected to them again. And no-one minds they know about the TARDIS and such now? Anywoo, once again Danny and Clara and that's nice character development... but it's repeated character development. This is just Danny finding out about the Doctor again, we've been there. And, to be honest, The Caretaker did it better.
This story took a while to grow (sic) on me, but once I got into the groove of it, I did settle back and enjoy it. It's not a brilliant episode, but it's better than many others this season.
Next week: The beginning of the End. Again.
Sunday, 26 October 2014
We turn now to the American remake, because god forbid the idea of Hollywood coming up with their own ideas.
The plot is largely the same as the Korean version, except... and this is a big except...
I don't know if this is because the American writers didn't get it, or they thought Americans wouldn't get it / be able to put up with it. The original is two hours, this is one hour forty-five, and the missing section is basically: the emotional core. The characters, in the original, have time to develop the emotional link, and we think there is something there. Here, it's just "they are together, because they are man and woman and this is how movies work". There's nothing. And the villain of the piece doesn't get any real fun, and doesn't get to fully establish himself either. It feels a lot less personal here than in the original, and that just pisses me off.
Josh Brolin is fine, but everyone else is largely one-note, because of this drive of the plot to be about the action and miss the point of the story. And yes, they re-do the corridor sequence, but of course make it longer because this is the remake. I can see that being the one piece of this movie that people will talk about as they do the original.
If this is all you see, fine, but check out the original for the actual movie.
Saturday, 25 October 2014
I've heard about this Korean movie, so let's give it a go. It gets... weird.
A man is heading slowly on his way home, via the police station because he's kinda over drunk. His friend gets him out, but then the man disappears. He's locked up in a room for fifteen years, then suddenly he's released. And so begins his revenge streak to find out what happened to him. And along the way, he finds a woman to love. The reasons why are slowly unveiled, and in the last half hour... I am so not going to reveal any of that, except to say I didn't see that coming, and admire the movie for going there.
One of the main reasons I heard about this was the corridor fight, which is a side on view we have while the man fights his way past a crew of guys, in one long uncut shot. There's a lot going on there (although you can spot various moments where the blows aren't quite hitting, and a few moments where they give various actors time to catch their breath). It's a decent sequence, although I suspect there are a lot better sequences out of Korea these days.
The acting is decent, with the actor playing Woo-jin Lee (the nominal villain) probably having the best parts. Min-Sik Choi as the "hero" Dae-su Oh has a lot to do both physical and mental, and I can't imagine it was easy.
This is a part of a trilogy? Hmm, I might try to find the other two some day then. In the meantime, there's something else I have to watch...