Month: March 2009

8 unanswered ‘Battlestar Galactica’ questions

Posted by – March 20, 2009

***Warning: There are lot of spoilers here that you should not read if you do not want to know what does/doesn’t happen in the final episode of Battlestar Galactica***

This may have been the best unfulfilling ending to a great television series I’ve ever seen. The first hour and a half up through the climactic ending at the Cylon colony was extraordinary. There were surprises. The way they weaved in the opera house visions with the blocking and plot setup was masterful. The last half hour or so of “Daybreak: Part 2,” however, wasted more time continuing flashbacks that didn’t reveal anything important than it spent explaining all the big mysteries the show spent building up and even concentrating on in Season 4.

1) How does Hera save everyone? I loved that they had this episode prepped to be a big climactic straight-into-the-Death-Star style ending — roll the hard six and all that. And that part of the episode, the centurians, the ticking clock, it was all great. I was pumping my fists, yelling at the TV, etc. But all they’ve done since the opera house visions right up to Kara’s plea to Adama to go the colony has been to build up what a huge role Hera would play in saving mankind and Cylonkind. Well, what did she do? Nothing. The only explanation here is basically that she was a plot device for them to believe in. So the story they had invented around her in the prophetic visions was an end to itself to get them to the point where Kara would intiate the emergency jump sequence. Not impressed.

2) Where did the second Kara Thrace come from? This is the big one. The entire final season has beaten us over the head with the mystery of how there were two Karas, that she had a brand new version of her own viper that was unscratched, and she couldn’t remember how it all occurred. Absolutely no closure or even a vague attempt to address that issue in this episode. This is a case where I don’t necessarily mind that it wasn’t settled. But why did they make such a big deal about it if there wasn’t going to be an answer?

3) Who left the original note for Adama? Originally, someone left a note for Adama telling him that there were 12 Cylon models. With all of the models revealed, there still haven’t been any consciously human-friendly characters revealed who were simultaneously aware of the number of Cylon models.

4) Where do the projected visions come from? According to this episode, not only can Cylons and humans both see visions, apparently the visions are conscious and they can project them through time, as demonstrated through the Baltar/Six moment at the end.

5) How are there two Earths with the same continents? They already found one Earth halfway through this season. Now, they have found another one. Both planets were show from space and have the same continent shapes as the real-world non-BSG Earth. The answer to this one is obviously pure coincidence.

6) Why did Brother Cavil shoot himself? In the most bizarre moment of the finale, Cavil just shoved a gun into his face and gave his character an easy out from a situation where he was heavily invested.

7) How is Kara Thrace the Harbinger of Death? She was supposed to bring about the end of humanity. Well, that never happened.

8) Where was the music coming from? This is probably part of the same lingering mystery as the visions. Once again, it was a major plot point and dangling mystery carrot throughout the last season.

I welcome anyone to chime in on any of these who has theories or explanations. The ultimate answer to most of these questions just has to eventually come down to, well, the more open-ended it’s all left, the more fun there is to be had in imagining solutions and and ways these events occurred. Still, why on Earth would these question not only be raised, but called out repeatedly in the opening flashback sequences?

My final five hopes

Posted by – March 13, 2009

My hat is off and on the floor to how great the second half of Battlestar Galactica¬†Season 4 has been thus far. Not only have they managed to make all of the expected reveals; Ron Moore, Mark Verheiden, and everyone else have made everything more interesting with each week. I’ve still got five remaining hopes/theories about how things are going to play out before this series ends. Tell me how these scratch you:

1) ¬†We’ll still get to see reptile people. If Dean Stockwell is messing around with cloning or whatever he’s doing now with Hera, there’s still a chance something will go horribly wrong and we’ll finally get to see one of the lingering elements from the original series put into play.

2) Billy will come back. Since Baltar suggested in last week’s episode that there is a life after death for everyone, that means he can still come back and halfway fulfill my theory that was blown by him not being one of the Final Five.

3) Starbuck is Saul’s daughter. This could also mean that there are millions of Starbucks, according to his wife. But it would be a great final bow to tag onto their relationship in the series.

4) The whole cyclical prophesy deal will somehow encompass the the original series and create some kind of breathing time-pattern deal wherein there will be an infinite number of new BSG series to follow when this one concludes — all variations of one another.

5) Jimi Hendrix will somehow play a role in the finale when we find out what that song deal is all about that diagetically integrated “All Along the Watchtower” into the series.

‘Watchmen’: The Movie: The Review

Posted by – March 8, 2009

As far as I’m concerned, the triumph of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is finally delivering a mainstream blockbuster film that ends with Richard Nixon presiding over a country just through the threshold of world peace. For that vision and bold decision I will remain eternally grateful. Shot for shot, it’s a gorgeous pictures to look at, but that same obsessive focus is really Watchmen‘s critical undoing for me.

Strangely enough, nearly all of the major fears and skeptical reservations I had about this movie were proven to be for naught. Patrick Wilson, who I couldn’t envision in the nerdy Batman role of Nite Owl II, turned out to be one of my favorite actors in an otherwise mediocre landscape of performances. Among other cast members exceeding my expectations were Matt Frewer (one of my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation villains of all time) as Moloch and Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach.

I also went in with trepidations about an issue pointed out in the Variety review, which said “the film seems to yield to the very superhero cliches it purports to subvert.” In preparing a superhero film for a broad audience, faithfully bringing Watchmen to the big screen for had to mean assuming a hefty cache of awareness in its audience, for whom in many cases Watchmen would be a coming out party of sorts for the post-modern superhero story that succeeded originally as a comic book miniseries because of its appropriation of a single popular genre to encapsulate a discussion on the military industrial complex, international U.S. hegemony, and the resulting ideological framework that the aftermath of World War II produced to justify everything from the use of the atomic bomb to Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars missile defense system.

It’s hard for me to weigh how much credit to give the film for that surgical exploration of wrongs necessitated by rights and deaths necessitated by lives. I was worried that that would be lost in adaptation, however, much as James McTeigue’s V for Vendetta completely hijacked and cannibalized the original political message of his source material. Preserving — if summarizing and muting at times — Watchmen‘s look at the moral relativism demanded by militarism and global market capitalism in the context of a story about superheroes does earn a few points.

What ultimately settled my opinion on Watchmen, though, was a simple question: Five years from now, if I’ve got Iron Man and Watchmen sitting on the shelf next t one another, which am I probably going to watch? Watchmen was pretty, but the enjoyment I derived from it was the same as looking at someone’s notebook of Watchmen fan art. It repeated back to me a lot of things that I enjoyed about the books and that it was fun to see someone recreate on a gazillion dollar budget.

I should note that the new ending, in retrospect, was one of the few exceptions to that problem — even if events and skewed character directions after it veered off into Wacky Town. Whereas I was anticipating something totally ludicrous and Ang Lee Hulk-ish, the revamped finale actually found a way to do something sensible and interesting with Dr. Mahhattan’s character that I really appreciated. It’s just too bad the film couldn’t stop there before making Nite Owl II do his best Darth Vader “Noooooooooooooooooo!” impression and then mess with continuity and Dr. Manhattan’s ultimate fate in a way that still hasn’t made sense to me.

So I don’t know if I’d see it again or even buy it when it’s out. If I were having a night with a bunch of comic book friends, I would probably partake in the viewing just as a source of conversation about a common topic that we and Snyder obviously put a lot of thought into. It’s also worthy to mention what a triumph getting this movie into theaters at all was historically in the scheme of comic book movies. This one just felt too much like a a compressed summary of gorgeous frigid compositional homages with some mostly mediocre acting.

But at least Zack Snyder’s Watchmen and I will always have Nixon.

Video game history

Posted by – March 2, 2009

I’m serious. I don’t care how bad the reviews are. This game lets you fight orca whales with a samurai sword. There’s something to be said for that.

Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad

Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad

(Source: IGN)