I confess that I had a bad feeling about this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special as soon as I heard that noted comedians Matt Lucas and Greg Davies were among the main guest stars, and that one of the characters was King Hydroflax. This had all the hallmarks of the show lurching firmly into ‘silly’ territory, the kind of thing that I don’t take to at all well. My only hope was that the promised return of the divine Alex Kingston as the inimitable River Song would counter the potential downsides.
Even with that hope in mind, my first viewing of “The Husbands of River Song” did not go well. It really was very, very silly indeed to the point of being a wacky cartoon caper (there’s even a comedy ‘whoosh’ sound effect when River throws a head-in-a-bag to the Doctor at one point), and just to make matters worse there’s a heavy added layer of Douglas Adams humour to the whole thing – the kind of surreal shenanigans that only Adams himself could ever really pull off and that everyone else is best advised to stay well away from.
The resulting confection managed to hit all the wrong buttons for me, and in entirely the wrong order. To make matters worse, I even dozed off in the middle – although admittedly, this was at least as much to do with sinking into a food coma after Christmas dinner as it was a justified critical verdict on the show. Read the rest of this entry »
Considering this science-fiction blockbuster was based on a best-selling book and all-time genre favourite by Orson Scott Card, it’s amazing how little Ender’s Game seemed to trouble the box office when it came out last year, instead disappearing without trace in a mist of indifference from cinema goers, despite looking perfectly placed to benefit from the current mania of Young Adult dystopia thrillers such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. What was it, exactly, that put people off?
It might have been some highly provocative and controversial comments that Card himself made to the media about same-sex marriage just before the film’s release that saw him become something of a persona non grata in liberal arts circle and certainly made life difficult for the film’s PR team. I only know about that storm third- or fourth-hand and don’t know the details, so I’m going to avoid adding my ill-informed two cents’ worth about any of that; and I will also say that I have never read Card’s original novel so I’m not able to provide a compare-and-contrast between source and adaptation. This is going to be a basic ‘what it looked like on the screen to me with no baggage’ review. Read the rest of this entry »