Doctor Who – Hide

First of all I must acknowledge the fact that I did not write any comments on last week’s episode, Cold War, aka the one with the Ice Warrior on the submarine. I found the episode oddly uninvolving. I had looked forward to the return of a Pat Troughton monster and the Russian submarine stuff so it was a pity I was underwhelmed.

However bonus points do go to the casting of Liam Cunningham and David Warner. On a point of trivia Liam Cunningham was considered for the role of the Eighth Doctor back in the 1990s, and I am sure that David Warner’s name must have come up over the years as well.

But onto last night’s episode, Hide, Written by Neil Cross of Luther fame. Please be aware of spoilers below.

The Doctor and Clara arrive at a old country house in 1974 where a professor called Alec (played by Dougray Scott of Enigma) and his assistant Emma (played by Jessica Raine of Call the Midwife) are researching a ghost that has been seen at that location over hundreds of years. Right away I am receptive to this episode being set firmly in the time of Jon Pertwee’s tenure on the show and it is nice to see some good old fashioned tape decks and toggle switches. The house is suitable spooky and the atmosphere genuinely unsettling.

After an encounter with the ghost the Doctor decides to play a hunch and takes the Tardis back and then forwards in time on the precise spot so he can take photographs to assemble a slideshow. His nonchalance at visiting the formation of the Earth and zipping forward to its destruction unsettle Clara and she realises that “we’re all ghosts to you”. She asks the doctor if her body is buried somewhere out there. The Doctor uncomfortable allows that it probably is, avoiding the fact that she’s died twice already.

Back in 1974 the Doctor assembles his slideshow and we see images of a human woman running from something. The Doctor informs us that she is a time traveller who got caught in a pocket universe. Time is passing more slowly for her than in our universe. She’s been running for minutes but for us its thousands of years. Ultimately the doctor must go into the pocket universe and try to rescue her from that something.

I really enjoyed this episode. I put it down to the location, the period, the guest cast and a well written story. It has a good Petwee era vibe. A joke is made around the fact that in 1974 a companion is called an assistant. Neill cross makes some astute observations about the Doctor by comparing him to both war hero Alec and the something in the pocket universe. Meanwhile empath Emma warns Clara of the sliver of ice in the Doctor’s heart. We also discover the Doctor’s ulterior motive for meeting Emma.

If there is one thing that jars with me its Clara. I have to be brutally honest here and say that I found her a more interesting companion when she died at the end of every episode. A low point for me in this episode was her “Ghostbusters” joke at the start. Although she redeems herself slightly later on when witnessing the last days of Earth and getting a little upset.

But when all is said and done this is my favourite of the four episodes to date. On the strength of this one I hope Neill Cross returns to write many more.

Carrie remake trailer

I’ve just found the trailer for the Carrie remake movie that is coming out later in the year.

Ok, I’m saying “remake”, although I suppose it’s another movie based on the same source novel that the first movie was also based on. Oh, you know what I mean.

Anyway, check out the trailer…

You see, even though we all know how it turns out, I do want to see that movie. Chloe Grace Moretz (Hit Girl from Kick Ass) looks like she’s going to do a good job with the title role. Watch for the little smile as she makes the flag flutter.

And, perhaps most importantly, the glimpses of the story in the trailer make me want to go and dig up my old copy of the book and read it again. I think any trailer for a movie that makes me want to do that has done it’s job well.

Ruth Wilson The Lone Ranger posters

Two slightly different posters have appeared featuring Ruth Wilson’s character “Rebecca Reid” from Disney’s new movie The Lone Ranger.

Here’s the UK variant first. I kind of like the font better on this one.

movies-ruth-wilson-rebecca-reid-the-lone-ranger

Source: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/news/a472028/the-lone-ranger-first-look-at-luther-star-ruth-wilson-in-new-poster.html

And here’s the US version. Same photo but a different “scratchy” font.

ruth-wilson-the-lone-ranger

Source: http://www.flicksandbits.com/2013/04/10/ruth-wilson-character-poster-for-the-lone-ranger/44226/

The movie will be released on 3 July in the USA and then 9 August in the UK.

Doctor Who – The Rings of Akhaten

I suspect that this episode will divide people. It’s either the biggest load of tosh or it’s brilliant. I’m really not sure which, but I do know I enjoyed it very much.

I’m not sure why. All the ingredients would suggest I not like it.

But I enjoyed it very much.

This is the first of two Neill Cross written episodes for this series, a writer I know from the very dark and twisted BBC cop show Luther. I was expecting something dark and twisted here, and my expectations were completely confounded.

As always I will try to avoid big spoilers.

behold my leaf

Where to begin… Ok, the Doctor takes Clara to the titular Rings of Akhaten, a suitably science fiction-y location for the new companion’s second adventure. (Remember Rose got to see the end of the earth in five billion AD for example.)

They arrive on one of the many bits of rock orbiting a big red planet. (Or maybe it was a star. I’m not sure. Doesn’t matter.)

Clara encounters a scared little girl in a red robe who apparently is the Queen of Years. Clara helps her escape from whatever dreadful fate awaits her, only to discover the girl has to sing in a ceremony. No harm there surely, so Clara escorts the girl back to her minders.

The Doctor and Clara take their seats at he ceremony and enjoy the singing. For a while. There’s a fair bit of singing in this one. It was one of the bits I really should have hated but somehow found myself enjoying.

So all the nice alien folk are singing their god to sleep, because they don’t want him to wake up.

And of course…

In many ways there’s very little plot in this one. But I enjoyed it anyway. It was so ‘out there’ I just went with it and enjoyed the ride.

Towards the end Matt Smith does a Big Speech to the Angry God Thing that is very much from the school of Roy Batty along the line of “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe”. Opinion seems to be divided over it being his best moment ever as the Doctor, or “really, a big speech again?” Still, he was good.

Watch out for the cool creepy guys who ensure that he ceremony happens.

In an early sequence we see the doctor effectively stalking Clara’s parents from their first meeting onwards. Clara’s leaf from her book in the last episode reappears and becomes an important McGuffin. I’m really not sure what’s going on with that leaf. Perhaps we will discover more about it later.

The Doctor also mentions to Clara that he visited the Rings of Akhaten before with his granddaughter. Might the show be preparing the way for the return of Susan in this 50th anniversary year?

Next week… Ice Warrior on a Cold War submarine! I’m there!