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Babylon 5: Sleeping in Light (1998)
Something truly wonderful has happened
After five years of blood, sweat, tears and laughter, we get to the bittersweet moment of knowing that this is it. The final episode. The swansong of a science-fiction show that really looked to tell a story over time, rather than a collection of shorter stories designed for individual consumption.
Not only does it tell a wonderful story, it does so with a beautiful sense of understatement.
The music, which as been stunning all the way through the series is perfectly balanced for the mood, especially 'Sleeping in Light', which plays when we see Sheridan's final scene.
And then top top it all off, we have JMS himself flicking the switch to turn off the lights, setting the final sequence in motion.
If TV was poetry, then this was pure Shakespeare.
The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008)
Everything that the official movies should have been... and more!
Just got back from the European Premiere of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising.
All I can say is that if you are a gamer (CRPG, RPG or LARP), then this movie is for you. And if you're not a gamer? Well, it's still a great deal of fun.
The acting is certainly not Oscar-worthy, but in the whole element of the movie it adds to the charm. The humour is everywhere, along with some very nice touches (the tribute to Gary Gygax is especially well done, if you can spot it). The cast are very down to earth in their appearance, befitting the fact that they are ordinary people enjoying an ordinary hobby.
The quality of the movie's sound and vision are adequate, but again, it all just adds to the atmosphere that helps to define this movie as being the Dungeons and Dragons movie, written and performed by gamers for gamers.
Not afraid to use terminology specific to one system, they still manage to allow product placement to be a part of the movie, but in a very understandable and utterly fair manner. It also touches on some of the perceived prejudices that some gamers can have about other gamers and deals with that quite well.
All in all the movie is very much driven by an well-thought-out equal balance of character, plot and entertainment (the Bard is amazingly good value-for-money).
In the end it does make scoring this movie quite hard, so I have given it 2 scores.
Score (for non-RP'ers): 7/10 (A few moments could go way over your head, but the main sections of the movie just work so hard and achieve so much more.)
Score (for RP'ers): 10/10 (Everything fits together, in the perfect quantities, and with the perfect charm and sentiment)
To Steal the tag line from Akira...
... Which, by the way, I do not fully understand why it was used...
No TRON, no Matrix... It's that simple.!!! Whether or not you are a fan of either move (and I am not a fan of The Matrix), there is no denying that both films used the technology available to them to really bring something special to the big screen.
Tron's storyline need not have been complex, need not have been about following white rabbits and other nonsense, it was about a computer, modelled on every classic James Bond villain, who loves to toy with his victim usually to their ultimate downfall, and a human who, as fate decrees, has the knowledge and skills to defeat this menace.
No blood, no guts, no guns... just beautifully crafted sequences that please they eye of the jaded computer geek who had seen everything on their Spectrum or C64.
Films nowadays are not this wonderful, do not induce such wonderment in the young...
It is such a shame no lessons have been learnt!
Schindler's List (1993)
Perhaps the most important film ever made
When I first saw this film, the words of a close friend of mine echoed through my head. He had said to me that he 'could not sit and watch this film in one go without getting emotional'. My friend had Polish roots and felt affected by the very events the film portrays.
I watched this film and was disappointed... disappointed that this film did not feel so much like a movie, but more like a very harrowing documentary. I admit that I was able to what the movie in one sitting, but that fact is due to the sheer power with which the film has been shot. I, like I imagine my friend did, cried during the final scenes.
There are few movies that truly touch on the subject of prejudice without giving it the "Hollywood" treatment, but this film manages to ascend beyond such grandiose ideas and achieve its goal.
I hope that when I get older I will be able to dig out a copy of Schindler's List and show it to my grandchildren and say to them that the world used to be a terrible place, where those who were different were treated badly, but because of films of this quality we learnt so much more about the world around us and learnt to embrace our differences and what makes us individual, rather than what makes us weak or strong.
I could NEVER love this movie, because it is too upsetting to love, but I admire this move for the strength of its convictions and the story that it tells.