Robin Bland

Senior Member
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Robin Bland

  1. I thought this deserved its own thread, no...? Kasdan on when the movie will be set in the Star Wars timeline:
  3. For whatever reason - perhaps after Covenant - I just feel like I'm not willing to enagage at all. When it rolls around to release, I may feel differently, but it's the perceived expectation that this "official update" is somehow supposed to overwrite my own theories. It may well be, because of Villeneuve, that it's a perfectly serviceable SF film in its own right, but it's also also almost guaranteed to fail, because it won't match anyone's headcanon. Which, after 35 years or so will feel like superior storytelling to anyone who has concocted their own theories. Caveat - I reserve the right to be pleasantly surprised.
  4. I guess he's the archetypal "safe pair of hands," isn't he?
  5. More on that disturbance in the MouseForce...
  6. Definitely going to see this on the biggest screen I can.
  7. Real quick - I'm at work, but I'll be back to answer more fully when time allows - I heartily concur! Agreeing to disagree but wanting to know reasons why, find common ground and further illumination is the art of compromise, central to good democracries. It's an intellectual pursuit that no-one seems to bother with any more (certainly not in politics), which is maybe why the world is going to hell. Recrimination and soundbites are easier! But OS proves the former isn't extinct.
  8. I dunno, it's Villeneuve, it's gonna look nice. It'll probably be okay. But I'm really not sure i want any more info on whether Deckard is/isn't a replicant...
  9. Actually, i went out of my way not to politicize it, but characterize it as moral choices in writing. It's an issue of cultural sensitivity, not a political one. Also of what's appropriate for a family show - and, for the first time in my life concerning Doctor Who, i didn't think this was. (Just call me Mary Whitehouse. Google her, and Doctor Who.) i would've been as disturbed if this had happened to Clara, or Rose, Donna, Martha or Amy. But, because of Bill's ethnicity and queerness, and general underrepresentation of both/same in popular media, this adds in another level of perception that I think showrunners of very popular worldwide branded shows should be aware of. To not be is, frankly, that "white male privilege" - where you're unaware of the potency of some of the imagery you're using and how it might be read by certain sectors of your established audience. Bill mopping floors for years reads slightly differently from Clara, say, doing same. If it had been that alone, I might've groaned and rolled my eyes, but the whole episode was watching a loved character - a black woman - have to undergo a gunshot wound to the chest, extended mental suffering and loneliness and outright torture at the end. If you don't know that seeing a black woman deprived of her own voice, forcibly strapped to a table to undergo an unwanted medical procedure to change her appearance, a literal metal cage strapped to her head, isn't going to piss some viewers off - if you don't ask yourself those questions as you're writing - then I don't know what to say. Not something I expect to see in Doctor Who, with its overall message of optimism and generally good record (post 2005) on diversity. Without wanting be overly dramatic about it, that depresses me a great deal. You're correct in saying this may be a 'local reading' - but please don't forget, I'm not American, I'm European and even grew up learning your first language, German, in that general neck of the woods. I travel a lot, have lived in many places and am not seeing this solely from a US perspective. It felt to me very much like a a very clever piece of SF writing with no fully-thought-through ideas of how it might play internationally. That you feel this is an invalid piece of criticism to make - well, I'm sorry to hear that. I get as irritated by kneejerk and often baseless lefty accusations about popular media as you do; stuff that gets blown out of all proportion so, yes, it does wind up having a political dimension. I would've imagined that you'd know it's not something I do lightly, nor as a kneejerk reaction. They're genuine concerns - I waited a couple of days to make sure i had my thoughts in order, even watched the bloody episode three times to make sure I felt the way i did. So, apologies if my broadening of the reading has discomfited you somewhat. it sounds like it has. But - I'm saying this as gently as i can, because i consider you a friend with whom I've shared many stimulating conversations - we'll have to disagree on this one. I absolutely don't think I'm wrong to raise this. It's not some idiot rushing forward to prove how right-on he is. I really do think Steven Moffat crossed the line on this one, and it really, really saddened me. But, whatever. As always, just my opinion. I look forward to seeing how Steven Moffat resolves this one. Is that really Bill in the Cybersuit? (The eye shot says yes, and if it's otherwise - well, I'll deal with that then.) Does Missy come good and kill her former incarnation so she becomes... Missy? Whatever happens, I'm not sure Moffat will be able to turn the clock back on Bill's suffering in this episode, but I'm hoping I'm wrong. ... Leaving all that aside for a minute - why did the Doctor, once he realized the discrepancy in time zones, spend ten minutes explaining physics to the alien dude who just shot his beloved companion in the chest? As soon as he figured it out, he should've been in that elevator without stopping to give an info-dump. That bit sucked. John Simm was great as Mr Razor. the creepiness factor in all those dimly-lit hospital corridors was great, and floor 1023 (or whatever it was) was nicked straight out of Platt's Spare Parts. Oh, and just to add to the can of worms - Missy absolutely is, unequivocally is racist. She saw a blue guy and called him 'Smurf.' (I'll leave you to figure out whether I'm having a laugh there or not.) Knew you'd get it. Thanks. I won't be KMing this thread either! I hope my response fits. Thanks. I think she will. She really took to Bill. On another note, i now know I'm not the only one who reacted with horror and read those scenes the way I did. (Plenty of my UK-based friends did too.) But it's probably worth saying for the record that I thought all this before becoming aware that others did too - at first, I thought the Internet was going to explode with the positive reviews to that episode. i wonder what Marc Platt, writer of Spare Parts thinks? So much of that imagery was his, and especially the daughter scene, reappropriated for Bill...
  10. Your theory works for me! I may hang back on this one. The trailers look lovely but I may wait for it to come and go from cinemas before I approach it - with caution.
  11. Three great SF movies, right there. And yeah, Thelma and Louise. Gladiator too, if you like that sort of thing. Truth is with Scott, every time he's handed an excellent script, there's a resultingly brilliant film. He will interpret that script superbly and bring it to the screen with peerless, impeccable polish. It's when he's responsible for developing the story himself that things fall apart. He's a consummate visual storyteller, one of the best there's ever been. But don't let him be responsible for the script.
  12. Didn't enjoy this at all, though as usual, I think it's a sterling piece of writing. Here's why. Acts of violence have been carried out on women of colour and women in general for centuries, by stupid men and stupid male-led institutions. But this is only a story right? Right, and Bill is a character I’ve got to know over the past ten weeks. One I’ve sat down to watch the joyous exploits of with my 12-year old daughter who, some of you may recall, was so happy that she was represented by Bill, that Bill looked a bit like her - they’re have similar hair, they're both “mixed race.” The episode begins with Bill having a hole blown in her chest. Not a bullet wound - a huge, gaping hole. My first thought was, “What about your duty of care, Doctor?” I hated seeing Bill, as a Doctor Who companion, have all agency removed from her as a character within this story. I see why this happens - Bill is scared of Missy, of Missy betraying her, but Missy’s already done so - in a previous incarnation. Clever writing. Okay. So she does what she’s told by the first person to befriend her, actually the Master, who uses all her hope against her. She ends up mopping floors for months that turn into years. I keep hoping it’s going to get better, because that’s not an image I enjoyed, either. Time dilation, though - clever writing. The script knows we’re invested in Bill, because it keeps reminding us that Bill’s waiting for the Doctor to rescue her too. We all have faith in him. But then the episode ends with an act of violence that might be one of the most extreme I've ever seen in Doctor Who. Doesn’t matter that it happens offstage. It might actually be the most extreme act of violence ever inflicted upon any companion ever in the show, because it’s protracted. It’s not being blown out of an air lock like Katarina, or being vaporised like Adric. It’s concentrated and enduring. Against her will, Bill has been forcibly turned into a Cyberman. Not just any old Cyberman, but one of the creepiest, blank-cloth faced versions, her voice removed, in permanent pain but it’s okay, because she has a device on her head like a metal, mental cage that makes her not care about it. Uh-huh. Think that through for a minute. At first, I wonder if it’s a double-feint, and this isn’t Bill. But the camera goes into an extreme close-up that takes us through the eyehole so we see Bill’s tear. “I waited,” she intones. So did I. Mercifully, I didn’t watch that ep with my little girl. She’s away for the summer and she hasn’t seen it. I’ve told her we'll watch it together when we have the whole story. Because that’s my duty of care, as a parent, not to let her watch something that I worry will upset her. She’s a right tough little bugger with a very high tolerance for extreme imagery (she is her father’s daughter) so maybe this is just me, worrying for nothing? Seeing things that aren’t there? Reading in unintended layers? Many fans cried "Cop-out" when Clara was restored last season after her noble death in Sarah Dollard’s Face the Raven. I'm pretty sure that - no, scratch that - I'm hoping that part 2 of this story will do what Steven Moffat says all his two-parters do, which is to go off on an unexpected tangent and tell almost a different, if related story that nonetheless ties up the loose ends of part 1. That Bill will be restored. Because I can tell you this - if Bill doesn’t get the same treatment as Clara, then that’ll put me in a quandary. I don’t know how I can help but perceive that as a double standard. At the end of World Enough and Time (great title), this all left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. This dramatic riff, used with such admirable effect by its original author Marc Platt in the audio play Spare Parts has been used twice in the show now, once by RTD (with various characters, all female: “Sally the Cyberman,” alt-Jackie and Yvonne, boss of Torchwood) and now with Bill by Steven Moffat. (RTD credited Platt for what he borrowed in Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel.) The RTD handling was fairly careful - we didn’t know Sally, but by empathizing with her, the viewer could fully comprehend the awfulness of alt-Jackie’s fate. Even that is at a remove, because she’s not our Jackie. Steven Moffat’s used it again, this time giving the viewer no perceivable get-out, no equivocation, at least for this long, cliffhanger week - the beloved companion got turned into a Cyberman and it’s as painful and awful a fate as we’ve always imagined it to be. He underlined this, in horrific terms, throughout the episode. That’s the concept - the worst imaginable fate befalls the identification figure of the show. What Moffat’s not factoring in is the difference between Bill and, say, that alternative version of Jackie - and the underrepresentation of minority groups in mainstream media since forever. (Bill represents two - she's a black lesbian.) Bill gets a substantially different treatment from Jackie, from Clara, from Amy (even from RTD's Martha who was posh). But he uses Yvonne’s tear, her tether to her past, human life, just to ram home Bill’s fate, which was a moment of such extreme manipulation I actively hated it. Maybe this will be undone. Maybe the Doctor will pull something timey-wimey and make it unhappen. But I can't unsee it. I’m pis$ed off because it feels like a writer whose work I really like and admire has written himself into a corner, and it’s not just any corner. It’s the insensitivity one I’ve often been on fora actively defending him from for years. Right now, it feels as if I was wrong. Of course, to be moved this much by a fictional character in a fictional world is testament to how powerful the writing is. Yet I’m honestly stunned that a writer of such calibre would be unaware of how this could read. Maybe there’s a way out of this that will negate the events of World Enough And Time that I’m not conceiving of. That’s the beauty of Doctor Who, isn’t it? You didn’t see that fantastically imaginative piece of writing coming, a sleight-of-hand ending that fixes evil and allows for new hope. Still have to explain this to my kid, though. Maybe this seems a little too strong. Perhaps you didn't get that reading from it, or feel it's oversensitive, or feel it proves that the writing - how much we care about Bill - is doing it's job. I’m a white dude (I’ve got colour in me, but not enough for it to matter, I present as white), so why should I care? My family is black - my wife, my child (even though she’s half-white, society sees her, like Bill, as black). Still, they live in a day and age when none of this stuff “matters” or where they're told not to complain because they're on TV now. Except it does matter, as positive representation matters in all media. Or as my wife often ruefully and sadly says, she’s never surprised at depictions of extreme violence against black people in popular media compared to their white counterparts. There are so many layers to that statement of course, and how it’s said in our household (often with resigned humor). I couldn’t help feeling betrayed by what happens to Bill in this story. It actually threw me out of my immersion in same from the moment she was first shot, in such a graphic fashion. I keep substituting Rose, or Donna or Amy or Clara... Would they have been treated like this? (I don't think this would've occurred on RTD's watch with Martha.) Clara got a magic smoke bird through her chest - compare and contrast how nicely that was shot with the visceral horror of this take. I fully expect the Doctor to dole out the same treatment to Bill as he did to Clara - but this time, maybe he won't, because of all the criticism Moffat took about not allowing Clara to stay dead. That's my fear. By the end of this episode, I was dumbstruck and yes, really, really pissed off. Everything Steven Moffat built into the character, all the good stuff carefully layered up by himself and various other fine writers this season builds to this. If this is Bill's ultimate fate - I don’t think it is - just, no. What were you thinking? If it isn’t - even then, I’ll question whether this was a wise move. They say you should write for yourself, but in a position of responsibility you have to consider how a scene will play. How will this play to a black kid? To any kid of an ethnic background or who might feel themselves to be queer, who aspires to be a companion of the Doctor? He won’t save you after all. It felt like Moffat burned the contract. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself there. We'll know next episode. But although this episode bore the usual high standard of clever Moffat writing, there were many moral choices throughout I profoundly disagreed with. Cool SF concepts aside, I found it relentlessly grim, mistaking darkness for drama and not in Spare Parts class. I did enjoy seeing John Simm back, but I really wish it had been under different circumstances. I'm hoping his Master may be the reason for some sort of late-in-the-day change of heart on the part of Missy, but we'll see. Really looking forward to the resolution of this one.
  13. Fantastic! Congratulations - to all of you! This is where the trip to "strange new worlds" really begins...!
  15. Ouch The debate on whether Unca Ridley's still got his marbles is going run and run.
  16. Putting this here as well as the BR thread as it's relevant. Read the comments too...
  17. All this
  18. This is why we need him
  19. Wow, I'd never, ever thought of any of that! Thanks, Kenman! You can be sure those nasty studios aren't going to see any more of my hard-earned green stuff! Srsly, dude? Please don't make me explain that we enjoy it... and that we just hope for better. I think that's an okay thing to do. In the specific case of this franchise, lamenting the direction the story has gone in is an absolutely valid response given Unca Ridley's cloth-eared, unimaginative manhandling of the mythology into god vs. angels dreariness. I also trust Vie's reviews and criticism, in case you missed that too. For the record, I do actually go out of my way to support smaller ventures in the arts, outside of all this Hollywood SF&F/geekery that we talk about on here. I guess we all consider ourselves patrons of the arts in one form or another. Discussion of same is what you get for your patronage, and as long as Scott continues in a direction I'm not happy with, I have a right to discuss that with my learned friend here [points at Vie] and express displeasure. Coz that is wot frenz do
  20. I understood you the first time, Sim. But to take you at your word and further play devil's advocate, diversity - in the sense that it should include the entire spectrum of the human race - includes all the "misunderstood." It includes ignorant, vulgar, antisocial a$$holes. It includes Nazis, warmongers, rapists, pedophiles, psychopaths, mass murderers and serial killers. Or, at what point do you draw a line and say, actually some of those are monsters who wear a human shape? Do you include them all? Do you call out behavior that willfully pushes against any kind of progressive forward momentum for society? Or do you say, "Oh, that's just Pete, ignore him?" Diversity must, by definition, include both the best and the worst of us. All just people. Consensus tends to answer the questions of what's acceptable in most human societies for us, at least as regards the latter few examples. But you have to have an agreed scope of tolerance, of what constitutes "fairness and equality for all." I guess that's what society in the West has been struggling with for the past couple of years, to some extent - the openness of the question, and where the demarcations lie. In the fictional world of Star Trek, those questions have long been answered, at least in human society. This is what manners and protocols exist for - they're an undercurrent of unwritten social rules that we all agree to abide by. A social contract. (One not observed by our "terrible American president" who seems to believe he's above such things.) Nonetheless, perhaps it's stating the obvious to say that not all societies practice equality equally. As regards Trek, yeah, it was often very holistic, very Californian (no disrespect to Californians) in its depiction of human behaviors, I agree. Viewers from elsewhere might not necessarily agree with them or aspire to them. But that was the basic zero setting of the show - its principles overall were very humanist. And its worldwide popularity would seem to point to a general acceptance by audiences outside the US of those principles. I could go on, but it's time for bed. Zzzzzzzz
  21. Sonequa in EW: "Well, I would encourage them to key into the essence and spirit of ‘Star Trek’ that has made it the legacy it is — and that’s looking across the way to the person sitting in front of you and realizing you are the same, that they are not separate from you, and we are all one." Robin Bland, yesterday: "Star Trek in all its incarnations has been a flagship show for diversity. In terms of racial representation in a white-dominated Hollywood, it was mostly always ahead of the game. I think that is one of its greatest strengths - showing that all people are actually "simple" people. We're all just people. That is simultaneously one of the simplest and greatest truths I know. It's one of the reasons why I've loved this show all my life." While I'm not usually given to quoting myself, I think that if you don't comprehend that fundamental aspect of Star Trek, you're not a "fringe critic." You're not a fan of the show and what's it's about. I'm not sure if you're stupid, willfully unenlightened or a racist. Maybe you're just a nihilist.
  22. Facehugger soup? Crunchy battered chestburster 'n' chips Alien egg "surprise" omelet with acid cheese (have your jars of TUMS ready) Roast tongue (colloquially known as Red Snapper, but unrelated to the Earth fish of the same name). Comes with hot saliva broth. ...In fact, imagine if ALIEN 6 was about a couple of Engineers who are actually chefs! They decide to take their roving restaurant around the galaxy and end up crashing on LV-426. Turns out their "food truck" is the derelict from the original film, and its cargo is their fridge. Indeed, the raw materials inside are actually programmed at a genetic level to entice new investors into sampling the delicious treats the Chefs concocted...? It's one of those eggs that attempts to communicate this message to Kane, but it all goes a bit wrong. And then, full circle, we understand that actually it's all been a terrible misunderstanding, the Aliens are just a manifestation of the COSMIC GOOD FOOD GUIDE that got out of hand? Even David la Fassbender missed this. They could re-release ALIEN with sub-titles and we begin to see that in fact the Big Chap is begging the crew of the Nostromo to help him set up a new food truck... That'd be nice and neat, Unca Ridley! It'd all match up. No more of those pesky mysteries that clearly sent this once-great franchise in totally the wrong direction.
  23. Exactly what I thought... And it's exactly what we thought and don't need...
  24. OMG There will be an ALIEN 6! (Scroll down)
  25. It's officially Ron Howard