June 6th, 2010


Doctor Who: "Amy's Choice"

I really do wish I were liking this season more, especially given Steven Moffat's increased involvement, but instead we're already halfway through and it still feels incredibly lightweight to me, like someone decided to make a TV series out of the old Doctor Who comics that ran in the Radio Times. It should have found its voice by now, but if this is the voice it's taking, I'm less than enthused.

In "Amy's Choice," we finally get the Amy-centric story I've been craving since "The Eleventh Hour," since Amy has been pretty much relegated to the background in most of the episodes since. And when the episode stays focused on Amy, it's actually pretty good. (There's also a great deal of humor in this episode that works, from Amy not being able to run as well as the Doctor and Rory to the whole Rory's ponytail grace note.) It's just everything else that stumbles, in my opinion. The set-up is interesting--a choice between two worlds, one a dream, the other reality--and promises to give us a deeper peek into Amy's character and motivations. And then it falls apart spectacularly due to a script much too reminiscent of the Pip and Jane Baker-scripted era in the mid-1980s, where everything in Doctor Who suddenly looked and felt like a carnival, its villains more disturbed carnival barkers than threatening antagonists.

Collapse )


When I first saw ads for Splice, the new film by Vincenzo Natali (Cube), I thought it looked like just a retread of Species, but I was wrong. Splice is everything Species should have been, had that film not chosen to be a misogynistic sex-obsessed clunker instead. (It's also better than Cube, which I found interesting but unenjoyable.)

Splice is being marketed as a horror film, but don't let that fool you. It's actually a thoughtful science fiction allegory about parenthood, one which I'm sure will resonate even more strongly with viewers who actually have children (me, I'm childless, but I feel like I still got it). It also helps to have studied Freud, but you won't enjoy the film any less if you haven't.

Unfortunately, Splice is undone by its climax, where this thoughtful sf film does in fact turn all horror-movie. In my opinion it was entirely the wrong way to end this story. And for this lifelong horror fan to say that going all horror-movie ruins a film is a rarity!

But for the most part, I found Splice surprisingly good. And that's another rarity: a genre film that isn't a sequel or a remake, and that is actually smart, well acted and filled with emotional resonance.