Almost exactly a year ago, the Star Wars saga was triumphantly rejuvenated by the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, a film that I really enjoyed and was happy to call “almost certainly the best Star Wars film that anyone could possibly have made in 2015,” despite being somewhat frustrated by the sheer metric tonnage of nostalgia and fan service it contained and just how far it was content to ride on the coattails of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The film’s best assets were its new cast and characters which offered an injection of new life and new hope to the franchise, but The Force Awakens itself was too busy revisiting the past and reheating the same themes and plots of the original trilogy to really get the best out of them. Still, it set things up nicely for Episode VIII assuming that the filmmakers can take advantage of what they now have in their arsenal.
Before that film, however, comes a cinematic intermission in the form of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which clearly positions itself as being a tale from and about the Star Wars universe while not being a part of the main saga itself. Such anthology tales could prove to be the future of the franchise as a whole, with new films headlining Han Solo and Boba Fett already in production, so the importance of Rogue One to the health and wealth of Star Wars can hardly be understated. Read the rest of this entry »
Contains spoilers for season 1
The second season of Hannibal started airing in the UK this week, and to be honest I’m a bit surprised the show got recommissioned. It’s such a gruesomely dark and utterly impenetrable affair that’s it hard to imagine how it could possibly attract the size of audience sufficient to keep the network and studio interested in making it. Those twisted souls who keep faith and continue to be absorbed by the show (such as myself) do so almost like visiting the Tate or Guggenheim to view an exhibition of the works of a particularly unhinged genius: we can admire it without really understanding it, but often the best moment of all is when we head outdoors again at the end and can relish the return to fresh air and sunshine after the complete gloom and despair of what we’ve seen.
The ending of the first season confounded the expectations of those of us who thought we knew how the series would go based on our knowledge of the Thomas Harris book Red Dragon from which the series was inspired. Rather than having Dr Hannibal Lecter incarcerated in a basement cell at Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, showrunner Bryan Fuller’s reimagining of the story instead left FBI profiler Will Graham staring out from behind the wrong side of the prison bars after being framed for Lecter’s own appalling serial murders. Worst of all for Graham, even he didn’t know for sure whether he did or did not do the crimes of which he is accused, thanks to Lecter’s comprehensive shredding of his psyche. Read the rest of this entry »