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  1. #1096
    Senior Member Vworp Vworp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xalfrea View Post
    I think Diamanda Hagan of TGWTG.com put it best when it comes to Classic and New Who.

    Classic Who-subpar special effects, good practical stuntwork
    New Who-good special effects, subpar practical stuntwork
    Really? No argument on the special effects, but I'm curious how she came to the conclusion about the stuntwork. Unless she just means that there were more 'real' stunts performed on old who (out of necessity, because of the limitation with special effects and budget) - but they weren't necessarily very good a lot of the time.

  2. #1097
    Senior Member edhopper's Avatar
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    Best episode so far this season. Feel like new Doc knows the greater good takes bad acts and choices. Maybe Clara has to come to realize that.
    But she did make a good Doctor.

    Could Promised Land lady be a future Doctor?

  3. #1098
    Senior Member Cyke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I'm more interested in the stage craft and use of models to create effects. To me that's much more impressive, because it's a lot of hands on work to achieve those effects--and not just sitting in front of a computer screen all day and manipulating images. And it speaks of another time, when there were people who had developed this craft. And now that kind of skill may die out, because it's all done on computers now.
    That's a rather simplistic view of the work that's done with CGI. Artists still need actual, tangible 3-d sculptures to reference. They still need direction and storyboarding. They still need to get the mechanics and physics right. They're still clocking in hours upon hours of overtime to get the textures and movement right, they still have to match up their work with set designers, costumers, and stunt coordinators. They still have to follow the constraints of a budget, they still need to follow the director's orders, and they still need to mesh it well with the show's pacing and lighting. It's not the removal or the replacement of practical effects, but the complementing of practical effects. CGI, just as much as puppetry and costume design and set design, is a craft as well. Show me a costumer who spent 80 hours building a Dalek, and I'll show you a CGI artist who spent 80 hours studying, measuring, and incorporating that same newly-built Dalek into more complex scenes like space travel or opening modules of the hull. Additionally, a CGI artist can provide a visualization or map to assist a practical effects artist with their designs, ie the interiors of new monster costumes for actors to wear or ship models for filming or planning a stunt-heavy action sequence. One CGI artist from, say, the Colin Baker days was probably putting in the same work week hours as one of today's CGI artists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    Actually, when I watched this episode I realized that a lot of the miniature stuff could have been pulled off in the '60s (note the reference to THE ADDAMS FAMILY). The other things would have been harder to do, but not impossible.
    Thing only walked around in the 90s' movies though, so that's fairly modern (and on a movie budget with CGI, too). In the 60s, Thing was always either Ted Cassidy or Jack Voglin's hand out of a box on top of a clothed table to hide the actor, and could teleport from box-to-box for humor and convenience; compare that to the hand sticking out of Clara's purse while she's still clutching it. Not impossible in the 60s, but definitely not done back then, either.

    Besides, I still stick to my claim that it's the most creative use of a TARDIS prop anyway. We've seen the ship propelled in many, many ways, but not by finger-walking for sure. Plus the episode took great pains to make the most of the "bigger-on-the-inside" gags than any other episode.

    On a side note, newer technology breeding better tricks isn't confined to CGI, either. Newer fabrics, materials, plastics, techniques, etc. have also allowed for more complex physical effects than were ever possible in the past, too. But those new capabilities also mean newer opportunities for more creative practical effects, too.
    Last edited by Cyke; Today at 12:09 AM.

  4. #1099
    Senior Member Xalfrea's Avatar
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    Agreed. I hate how people who are anti-CGI always assume that its easy because you just sit on your ass in front of a computer screen all day. As CGI movies from the likes of Pixar, Dreamworks, and Disney have shown, it's really not that simple.

    Mathieson has reported that, sadly, he has no interest in being showrunner. At the very least he should come back the next few series to write more episodes.

  5. #1100
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    You two are kind of taking the little bit I said, distorting it, bringing in things I never said, blowing it up and then attacking the monster you've created.

  6. #1101
    Senior Member Coin Biter's Avatar
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    To a degree I've felt like Moffat, despite his great talent as a writer of individual episodes, had disappointed as showrunner. Not this series, however. In my opinion it's been the strongest since Eccleston, stronger perhaps. There's been a welcome astringency, a lack of sentimentality and a characterisation of the Doctor that, shorn of the romantic subplots, has really worked. It's not just that Capaldi has been great at delivering the lines written for him, but that they have been great at writing for him.

    It's been terrific. I can't praise it highly enough.

  7. #1102
    Senior Member Cyke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    You two are kind of taking the little bit I said, distorting it, bringing in things I never said, blowing it up and then attacking the monster you've created.
    Hey, that monster was created from a combination of CGI and modern costuming.

    Anyway, I admit that I exaggerated a tiny bit about my original point, but the point was that I was very impressed with how the sight gags worked in that episode, and that those sight gags could have only worked with today's techniques and technology. Twenty yaers from now, we'll have the 36th Doctor pulling off jokes that wouldn't be possible today, and I'll be watching out for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coin Biter View Post
    To a degree I've felt like Moffat, despite his great talent as a writer of individual episodes, had disappointed as showrunner. Not this series, however. In my opinion it's been the strongest since Eccleston, stronger perhaps. There's been a welcome astringency, a lack of sentimentality and a characterisation of the Doctor that, shorn of the romantic subplots, has really worked. It's not just that Capaldi has been great at delivering the lines written for him, but that they have been great at writing for him.

    It's been terrific. I can't praise it highly enough.
    I suspect that my problem with Moffat under Smith could be the same as my problem with RTD, in that as showrunners and head writers, they get *too* involved with their creations. Yes, it's admirable for RTD to write 2 dozen episodes in a row, but there's strength in stepping back.

    I think Moffat this season has shown that. Many of the excellent episodes, like these last two, were guided by but not dictated by Moffat, and he's had to depend on the writers he's chosen. And good for him for making those choices, because they've worked. I think this is a really strong season and, imo, only the first two episodes are clunkers. Series 6 was too conspiracy-driven, and Series 7 was just all over the place. Here, we have the show hitting its groove.

    ---
    With that said, on to the reviews!

    -For the Mummy on the Orient Express, I know there's been a big deal made about Clara's deception and the Doctor's coldness, both of which were addressed in Flatline, and so both characters are probably going to have to face up to their "bad habits" by the season's end.

    -One stray thought from the Mummy: if there's an ongoing but unspoken theme of primal fear this season, I'd like to posit that one fear is that you could be surrounded by the most capable people in the world and they still can't help you. The Mummy's victims called out for help in vain, and even though they were in crowded train cars, they were simultaneously isolated, too. Even the Doctor couldn't save them. Few believed them. People with authority doubted them in their faces until it was too late. There has to be a better way of putting it, but the fear that no one can help you even though you've flagged them down is terrifying.

    -As for Flatline, I love the byline by the AV Club: If "Fear Her" was actually good. Anyway, this episode didn't really push much in the way of season arcs (that scene at the end was really tacked on), but it did push forward the Doctor/Clara dynamic, thankfully following up on last week's events and giving Clara even more incentive to stay (a good rule of thumb for the nuWho companions is that any one of them could and should be a match for the Doctor, since he can't always be there). She proved herself to be sure, especially with the rather creative solution in recharging the TARDIS. But early this season, the Doctor asked, "Am I a good man," and this episode he makes the rather ominous statement, "Goodness has nothing to do with it," further driving home the point of his darkness.

    -The episode was kind of clunky in portraying said-darkness, though. When the Doctor finally emerges out of the Lament Configuration, he goes back to his usual classic screaming -- which would normally be fine, but throughout the adventure, he was giddy, curious, jokey, sometimes playful, with very little build up or foreshadowing of his temper. Maybe the point is that his anger can flip on like a light switch, but even if that was the point, I'm not sure how well Capaldi sold it there.

    -As for Capaldi himself, is this episode considered a Doctor-lite episode? The previews certainly made it look like such, but Capaldi still had half the episode, regardless of being trapped in the TARDIS. The point of the Doctor-lite episode is to reduce the workload on the actor, but screen time is screen time no matter the filming location, and it seems that he put in just as much work as usual.

    -Anyway, for the episode itself, I'd have to say it's one of the more effective monster-of-the-week episodes we've gotten lately. There's the usual chases and such, but the pacing and direction were superb, as were some of the observations made like the wrong people living (harkening back to Voyage of the Damned). It's like a better lit version of Library of the Dead, too. Fenton exists just to antagonize, but my vindictive side wishes the Doctor yelled at him for being so devoid of imagination that psychic paper didn't work -- after all, the graffiti artist was the wrong recipient of his condesension. And the Doctor put it nicely: a painting so good that it saved the world.

    -Can we give it up for Jenna Coleman for that scene where she pulls a mallet out of her purse, too?

    -Unique monsters are unique. The special effects are the best and most creative they've been in a long, long time, and I'd be surprised if this episode doesn't get some sort of technical nomination. But between the 2D aliens and the Doctor's comment about gas-based entities that shoot fireballs to wave hello, it makes me think back to how we finally got to see the Time War, and all we saw were people and Daleks shooting each other, rather than the beings beyond comprehension that Nine and Ten would dread about because the war was all sorts of multidimensional Hell. Granted, that was the end of the war and both sides could have been reduced to the equivalent of sticks and stones, but if there's ever a flashback to the middle/height of the war where all these cosmic entities and vessels beyond scale are doing battle, it'd be neat to see them together and the fragile but dependable TARDIS smack dab in the middle. Come on, old girl!
    Last edited by Cyke; Today at 02:20 PM.

  8. #1103
    Professional WorryWart Kyer's Avatar
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    Enjoyed all the Capaldi scenes and the villains (although was kind of hoping that they were not villains after all and were trying to contact us because something was threatening their dimension.

    Oh well.
    CGI never bothered me. Never understood the hate (unless its really, really, badly done to where you cringe while looking at it.) Even The Green Lantern's mask didn't make me blink.

    Did anyone else think "Superman!" when Capaldi tugged at the top of his jacket before striding out of the Tardis? Also the open jacket flipping which reminded me of animals making themselves look bigger when threatened.
    OPINION: Noun: O-pi-nion
    The belief in the ratio of the circumference of an aromatic bulb the essence of which can make people cry tears of sadness or outrage. Most commonly found in boiling substances when not hidden underground.

  9. #1104
    Senior Member Güicho's Avatar
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    So now it all makes sense, Thing is another Time-Lord living in a mini-Tardis.....


    And in an alternate reality Time-Lord ^ hands psychic paper to Companion.
    Last edited by Güicho; Today at 07:21 PM.

  10. #1105
    Senior Member Cyke's Avatar
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    I got to rewatch the episode and missed a couple other thoughts:

    -We got to hear the old Who doors, when Clara told the Doctor to open the TARDIS to show Brisby, which was lovely. I didn't think we'd hear that effect again, but then again, I was convinced we'd never hear the Cloister bell in nuWho, and yet it's appeared more times in nuWho's short life than old Who (even in this episode!)

    -This season must have a record number of folks riding the TARDIS at least once, huh? And the previews for next week looks like it'll add more to that total.

    -But on the same token, this season probably has a record number of folks who could conceivably become decent companions, or at least recurring characters. The odds of that happening for any of them are close to zero, but it's a nice balance to Twelve's darkness.

    -In addition to being an unimaginative Grade-A jerk, Fenton could also possibly be racist. The Doctor noted that many people died in this adventure, to which Fenton replied that only "graffiti scum" (or something like that) died. If Fenton means just his community service crew, that's one thing (though heartless nonetheless). If he means all the victims up to that point, that's even worse, and many of them were POCs. What a dick.

    -Twelve's hair kept changing length. When he banished the monsters, his hair was short and almost close-cropped. When everyone disembarked from the TARDIS at the end, his hair was at its usual length. Those aliens might have restored his hair's three dimensions!

  11. #1106
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    I thought there was something off about his hair, but I didn't study it to see what was going on there. I guess that explains the reason for this story. They wanted a story that would allow Capaldi to film scenes absent of any other actors and for Coleman to handle most of the scenes on her own without him. Maybe he had a wedding to go to.

    That's like the First Doctor when they set up stories so one of the actors could take time off--as they were filming almost year round back then.

    I thought the Doctor was unfair to Clara--moreso than usual--with his line about goodness. What does he expect of her? And I really didn't see what was so bad that Clara did in this episode relative to the Doctor. It was more that they wanted us to doubt Clara's goodness--but they didn't have a story to show that--so they just wrote it in at the end. An example of telling rather than showing.

    The Doctor is often like this--giving ordinary people crap for no good reason. I get the feeling that the writer knows why the Doctor has this attitude sometimes--but that gets left out of the script--so we're just left to scratch our heads and chalk it up to the Doctor being an alien.

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