Thursday, September 18, 2008

Warp 9! Star Trek's totally for real!

Yes, we live in strange and wonderful times. Cats and dogs living together, soccer mom's for veep in the US and eclipses of the sun and moon. And warp drive! Got to love it. I'm a huge Star Trek TNG fan and have often wished I really lived in that society rather than our current one. Hanging out with Captain Picard would be a bonus, but it's just the general joy and scope and spaciness of it all that really gets me.

Anyway, it looks like warp drive is now not only for trekkies, but may one day be something for everyone:

In their scheme, in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, a starship could "warp" space so that it shrinks ahead of the vessel and expands behind it.

By pushing the departure point many light years backwards while simultaneously bringing distant stars and other destinations closer, the warp drive effectively transports the starship from place to place at faster-than-light speeds.

All this extraordinary feat requires, says the new study, is for scientists to harness a mysterious and poorly understood cosmic antigravity force, called dark energy.

Dark energy is thought responsible for speeding up the expansion rate of our universe as time moves on, just like it did after the Big Bang, when the universe expanded much faster than the speed of light for a very brief time.

This may come as a surprise since, according to relativity theory, matter cannot move through space faster than the speed of light, which is almost 300,000,000 metres per second. But that theory applies only to unwarped 'flat' space.

And there is no limit on the speed with which space itself can move: the spaceship can sit at rest in a small bubble of space that flows at "superluminal" - faster than light - velocities through normal space because the fabric of space and time itself (scientists refer to spacetime) is stretching.

In the scheme outlined by Dr Cleaver dark energy would be used to create the bubble: if dark energy can be made negative in front of the ship, then that patch of space would contract in response.

"Think of it like a surfer riding a wave," said Dr Cleaver. "The ship would be pushed by the spatial bubble and the bubble would be travelling faster than the speed of light."

The new warp drive work also draws on "string theory", which suggests the universe is made up of multiple dimensions. We are used to four dimensions - height, width, length and time but string theorists believe that there are a total of 10 dimensions and it is by changing the size of this 10th spatial dimension in front of the space ship that the Baylor researchers believe could alter the strength of the dark energy in such a manner to propel the ship faster than the speed of light.

They conclude by recommending that it would be "prudent to research this area further."

So ok, it won't happen soon. But just the thought of it makes me excited. Now I just need a holodeck and I'll be all happy!

The Hunt For Gollum

I've got to plug this movie. The trailer looks intriguing, the idea behind it likewise: to tell the story
of how Aragorn/Strider searched, and found, for the creature Gollum at Gandalf's insistance. It's an episode that is alluded to and mentioned in The Lord of the Rings, but we don't get to see it "first hand". Until now!

Take a look at the official website for this non-profit movie which will be released as a free download later this year. Since I know somebody who is on the production team, I can tell you they have and are still working very hard on this project. And no, none of them are getting paid. Rather they are blowing their own money to make the movie a reality. Also: orcs are not careful with props. Just so you know!

There's also a message board to discuss and ask questions about the movie.

Just judging by the trailer and the pictures: this movie looks great. I mean, look at that orc! I swear he looks right out of Peter Jackson's movies. I wish the movie-team the best of luck. Hopefully the release of the movie will bring them lots of positive attention and some well-paying jobs. Like, say, on that upcoming Hobbit movie for example...

All stills from the official site.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Asimov's Foundation Coming To The Big Screen?

Anyone's who has seen my list of favourite books knows I'm a fan of Isaac Asimov and his Foundation series. And now there's news that some old New Line people are going to produce a big screen version of the books.
The project marks the first undertaking for Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, who set up their own banner called Unique Features earlier this month after exiting New Line when the ailing studio was absorbed by its bigger corporate sibling Warner Bros. Unique aims to make two or three movies annually, with Warners handling marketing and distribution.
No word yet on cast, director or script writer.

I'm surprised it's taken this long to bring the books to the big screen. Sure, there will be big problems adapting the books. Some of the problems are touched upon in that Reuters story:

The politically inflected work, which features such characters as the prophetic Hari Seldon and a villain called the Mule, spans hundreds of years, essentially tracking the rise and fall of entire civilizations. Each book contains a new set of characters, which poses a multitude of challenges for a big-screen adaptation.

Additionally, Asimov's books tend to incorporate philosophical themes as much as action elements. Still, the very loose adaptation of his "I, Robot" collection of stories turned into a $340 million global hit for Fox in 2004. In 1999, Disney released the Chris Columbus film "Bicentennial Man," based on one of the author's short stories. That film grossed $94 million worldwide.

Now, I really really really hope they do a better job of sticking to Asimov's books than the makers of I, Robot. That was an entertaining little movie, but beyond some lip service to Asimov's "robot laws" there wasn't any Asimov in it. Too bad, since his robot stories would make excellent movies, even IF someone stuck to the actual written word...

One problem I can see with the Foundation movie/s is that people will think they rip off Lucas' Star Wars with all the Empire, emperor, galaxies, parsecs, rebellion etc stuff. When in fact Asimov was first out of the gate. Not that Lucas acknowledges that he owes that writer any debt. But whatever. I guess it could be said that they're all copying the Roman empire to some extent.

As for casting (always a fun thing to speculate on!), I've decided I want Bilbo, aka James McAvoy as the Mule. He's got the looks, the energy and the charisma imo. With some prostethics he'll be fantastic. And they need some kind of knock-off Harrison Ford for the role of Golan Trevize.

I'm happy the books have been picked up, but man, they better take the task seriously and make some damn good movies. I want spectacular FX and a better than great cast. No cheese please! Or at least nothing too smelly...

Lots more about Asimov and his books here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm back! And omgwtfbbq!!!??!!

So I had a holiday, went away, was totally internet free (or at least 99% internet free) for about a month. And yes, that felt weird. I get back, and what's the first thing I see? A Lost/Dharma video with Wickman/Candle/Chang seemingly talking to Daniel Faraday (at least it sounds like him to me) sometime in the past while a baby (Miles?) cries in the background, sending a message 30 years into the future about how it's imperative to reconstitute the Dharma Initiative.


Way to scramble my delicate brain when it's been out of the Lost marinade for a month. It's pretty much and omgwtfbbq???!!! moment defined. So did Daniel end up in the past, physically, when the island did it's disappearing act and he was still in the Zodiac?

I have no idea.

Screencap thanks to lostpedia.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Re-Watch: Whatever the Case May Be

I dislike this episode. A lot. The whole bank robbery flashback strikes me as totally out of character for Kate: in it she appears reckless and cruel and generally acting like an a-hole. I mean, holding up a bank and traumatizing a whole load of people just so you can get your toy plane back? WTF is that all about? To me, that's worse in some ways than blowing up the guy who beat up your mother. At least in that case, she had some cause for her actions beyond her own gratification.

I've read theories at The Fuselage about how Kate is supposedly time-jumping all over the place and that the reason for her wanting the plane so badly is that it's her constant (like Penny is Desmond's constant). I don't buy it. I just think it was an idea for Kate's character development that was executed badly. Even when we later find out that it was her childhood sweetheart who was connected to the plane, this whole episode still sucks imo.

Plus: Evangeline Lily is not a bad actress but she's crap at crying. Fake fake and fake again, everytime she tries it. Dominic Monaghan however has me welling up in the scene with Rose, when he cries thinking about what happened to Claire.

There's a small flash of something island-myth-mystery in this epi though, when the first beach camp is being washed away and Sayid says:

SAYID: Everything is getting washed out to sea. This can't be normal. The tide shifting so suddenly, rising in so short a time.

JACK: There's a lot not normal around here. At the rate this beach is eroding this fuselage is going to be underwater in a matter of days. We need to get all this stuff off the beach before nightfall.

Hmm. Did the island want to clean up the beach? Who knows. Probably we never will.

And there is Shannon helping Sayid translate Rousseau's notations. It's all a song, La Mer:
La mer
The Sea
Qu'on voit danser le long des golfes clairs
That one sees dancing along the clear gulfs
A des reflets d'argent
Has silver reflections
La mer
The Sea
Des reflets changeants
Changing reflections
Sous la pluie
Under the rain

La mer
The Sea
Au ciel d'été confond
In the summer sky merge
Ses blancs moutons
Its white sheep
Avec les anges si purs
With such pure angels
La mer bergère d'azur
The sea, shepherdess of azure

Près des étangs
Close to the ponds
Ces grands roseaux mouillés
These large wet reeds
Ces oiseaux blancs
These white birds
Et ces maisons rouillées
And these rusted houses

La mer
The Sea
Les a bercés
Has rocked them
Le long des golfes clairs
Along the clear gulfs
Et d'une chanson d'amour
And with a song of love
La mer
The Sea
A bercé mon cœur pour la vie
Has soothed my heart for life
Though the English version of the song goes like this:

Somewhere beyond the sea,
Somewhere, waiting for me,
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing;

Somewhere beyond the sea,
He's (She's) there watching for me.
If I could fly like birds on high,
Then straight to his (her) arms I'd go sailing.

It's far beyond a star,
It's near beyond the moon,
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon.

We'll meet beyond the shore,
We'll kiss just as before.
Happy we'll be beyond the sea,
And never again I'll go sailing
Which totally sounds like a song about Desmond, who at this point in the story, is suicidal down in the hatch. Whether that is intentional or not I don't know. What meaning could there be to Rousseau's scribblings, coupled with a lot of mathematical formulas? I hope tptb bring this up again and that we get to see Faraday look at the maps, maybe coupled with a Rousseau flashback?

Screencaps thanks to lostpedia.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Miss Picard & Firefly!

Lost is the best show on TV today imo. But some days, like today, I miss those other shows I used to looooove and wonder why the heck they're not on anymore.

Star Trek TNG was my first real grown-up, sci-fi, TV-series love. Sure, the first couple of seasons often sucked because the characters, actors and writers seemed unable to break totally free of the grip of Captain Kirk and old Star Trek. But once the show found it's own voice and tone, it was awesomeness. I still miss it. Great cast, great show, great stories.

At least TNG had a good run. Not so for Firefly. That show's fate still pisses me off. How could tptb on the network treat it so miserably? They had a bona-fide cult hit on their hands but bungled it completely: showing episodes out of order, changing its time slot around... bah! It had a lightning-in-a-bottle cast, awesome and original writing and premise and the look that just carried it right over the top into perfection. I liked the Serenity movie just fine, but the TV-show was better. And there were so many stories that could have been told in that universe... at least a good 5 or 6 season run imo.

Firefly's cast was not just great, it was great to see actors that had flitted by on other shows get their chance to shine. I still think Wash and Zoe was one of TV's best romantic couples ever. And the whole dynamic between Mal and Inara, Kaylee and Simon, River and Jayne, with Book there as the mysterious holy man - wow, it was character driven and shone all the better for it, because those characters were characters I thought I'd never get tired of. It was a sexy, funny, smart, unique and captivating show. And I want to kick whoever took it off the air!

So I raise a glass to you, the cast of Firefly, the best sci-fi show post-TNG:

Nathan Fillion ... Captain Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds / ... (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

Gina Torres ... Zoë Washburne (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

Alan Tudyk ... Hoban 'Wash' Washburne (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

Morena Baccarin ... Inara Serra (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

Adam Baldwin ... Jayne Cobb (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

Jewel Staite ... Kaylee Frye (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

Sean Maher ... Dr. Simon Tam (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

Summer Glau ... River Tam (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

Ron Glass ... Shepherd Book (14 episodes, 2002-2003)

And has any show managed to amass such a collection of superb quotes in just one season? I think not!

Mal: "We're not gonna die. We can't die, Bendis. You know why? Because we are so...very...pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die."

Wash: "Everything looks good from here... (beat...playing with plastic dinosaurs over his console) Yes. Yes, this is a fertile land, and we will thrive."

(as Stegosaurus) "We will rule over all this land, and we will call it... 'This Land'."

(as T-Rex) "I think we should call it...your grave!"

(Stegosaurus) "Ah, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"

(T-Rex) "Ha ha HA! Mine is an evil die!"

Wash: (Off an alarm sounding from the console) "Closing in."

Zoe: "Planet's coming up a mite fast."

Wash: "That's just cause I'm going down too quick. Likely crash and kill us all."

Mal: "Well, that happens, let me know."

River: (looking at Jayne) "She's a liar."

Jayne: "That don't exactly set her apart from the rest of us. And the plunder sounds fun enough."

River: "She's a liar and no good will come of her."

Jayne: "Well, I say as a rule that girlfolk ain't to be trusted."

River: "Jayne is a girl's name."

Jayne: "She starts on that 'girl's name' thing, I'm gonna show her good an' all I got man parts."

Simon: "I'm trying to think of a way for you to be cruder. It's just not coming."

River: "Also? I can kill you with my brain."

Wash: "Little River just gets more colorful by the moment. What'll she do next?"

Zoe: "Either blow us all up or rub soup in our hair. It's a toss-up."

Wash: "I hope she does the soup thing. It's always a hoot, and we don't all die from it."

Mal: "But she does have an oddness to her. And I ain't just talking about her proficiency with firearms. Girl knows things. Things she shouldn't. Things she couldn't."

Jayne: "Wha-...are you-are you sayin' she's a witch?"

Wash: (sarcastically) "Yes, Jayne. She's a witch. She has had congress with the beast."

Jayne: "She's in Congress?"

Wash: (amazed) "How did your brain even learn human speech? I'm just so curious."

Wash: "Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction."

Zoe: "We live in a space ship, dear."

Wash: "Yeah well, if she doesn't give us some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn through, this landing is gonna get pretty interesting."

Mal: "Define interesting."

Wash: "Oh god oh god we're all gonna die?"

Mal: "This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

Mal: "Yeah well, just get us on the ground."

Wash: "That part will happen pretty definitely."

Screencaps thanks to Wikipedia (for Picard) and for the cast of Firefly/Serenity.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Monster Tidbits

WTF is the monster? If I could pick one mystery to get the answer to on the show, that's the one I'd pick.

I've mentioned the whispers before. Some of them are audible though hard to decipher, others are hidden in the sound and require special audio equipment to "tease out". When the monster first appears near the beach in S1's The Pilot, there are hidden whispers:


1. You aren't joking (1 sec)
2. What a lousy thing... (2 sec)
3. I don't care what we do to them (5 sec)
4. Whatever we do we best do it fast/right (8 sec)
6. we can undo (not do?) this (14 sec)
7. bring enough men to do it with/right (18sec)
8. How many do you want us to do it with (20 sec)
9. twenty-seven/tough to say (21 sec)
10. new idea (sped up, 23)
11. now your just winging it(23 sec)
12. We don't have time for loose ends (25 sec)

Left & Right
1. You aren't joking (1 sec)
2. What a lousy thing to go through (3 sec)
3. They're ruining the plan (5 sec)
4. Crash Victims (8 sec)
5. Maybe you (they?) didn't hear me (just before horn sounds 8.5 sec)
6. what do you want to do (behind the horn sound, 10 sec)
7. to them (11)
8. you know crash victims...can't keep our secrets/can't keep them secret(13 sec)
9. I wondered the same thing/I wanted the same thing (17 sec) (just before second horn sounds)
10. Why are you asking what I think? (20 sec)
11. that's not what I was doing (22 sec)

And later, when Jack, Kate and Charlie locate the cockpit and the pilot, there are more hidden whispers:


1. We could of handled it (3 sec)
3. Their now an intruder (4 sec)
4. Tell them that we located it and they will be soon be going (6 sec)
5. What are you going to do (9 sec)
6. Will you get going (11 sec)
7. There's no telling when they'll leave (13 sec hi-whisper. Something slowed down behind it too)
8. Do you know what to do with them if they don't leave (14 sec)
9. Do you remember what the plan was (17 sec)
10. look, now they've found another one (19 sec)
11. okay, stick to the plan (20 sec)
12. alright no sign of any's quiet (24 sec)
13. stand ready (27 sec)
14. Go for control of the window, we'll cover you (29 sec)
15. Keep them from suspecting anything (35 sec)
16. and don't let anyone else to know they're/we're here. (36 sec)
17. they've already seen (40 sec)
18. don't let them go free (42 sec)
19. don't matter (48 sec)
20 did you see the scared look on their faces (48 sec)
21. okay, follow them (56)
22. make him run for his life (1:01)
23. keep running, keep...damn he did get far enough (1:06)
[kate hiding in tree]
24 bet that lightning bolt scared her (1:28)
25. what we're gonna do is seperate you (1:31)
26. Do you like the way you left him to be eaten (1:33)

Left & Right
tell me when your ready(.5 sec)
2. We could of handled it (2 sec)
3. Their now an intruder (3 sec)
4. Their not leaving (4 sec)
5. Before you...(5 sec)
6. try and get to the tower..(5.5)
7. you hearing me at all (6 sec)
8. Interferance (7 sec)
9. hello (7.5 sec)
10. can you hear (8 sec)
11. there it is (arrows/eros? 8.5 sec)
12. I didn't hear anything (very faint, 9 sec)
13. quiet (10 sec)
14. look they helped their captain (11 sec)
15. hurry it up(13 sec)
16. Let him see you...then try to grab him (14 sec)
17. Kill all of them (26 sec)
18. I told you the plan (27 sec)
19. Kill the pilot, chase them away(55 sec)
20. They really got after it (1:17)

As usual, the whispers/hidden audio stuff is pretty mind-blowing. It's like we're getting some kind of blow-by-blow, listening in on a walkie-talkie or something. This also makes it sound as though the monster is controlled by someone/something pretty directly. Like a machine or robot of some kind.

And then there's this, from an old post by CrimsonRabbit in the "What They Said" thread at The Fuselage:

(Carlton and Damon say all of this in a smarmy "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" kind of tone.)

Carlton: All those flashes, Damon -- do you want to make a comment?

Damon: It's very interesting. They're very short and very brief and I will sort of leave to the audience to interpret what they will. My own interpretation, Carlton, would be that the thing all the flashes had in common were that they seemed to be moments from Mr. Eko's life. Some of which we may not have even seen yet. I don't know what I would intuit that the Monster was in some way an ethernet connection to his emotions and was in some ways downloading his fears and anxieties and --

Carlton: And analyzing them.

Damon: -- and then was somehow able not to attack him based on the fact that Eko did not seem particularly afraid of it. Which might explain why Locke was not savaged by the monster in Season 1. I don't know -- that would just be my theory.

Carlton: I would put a little bit of credence into that specualtion. The monster might be reacting to certain aspects of the character he is facing.
The convo is from the Jan 17th, 2006 Official Lost Podcast, post-"23rd Psalm", at 12:00 mark.

Would this seem to confirm somehow that the monster somehow judges the person he meets? As in: are they worthy to live? Or is it something else: does the monster somehow mirror the behaviour of the person it meets? So that if you are calm, then the monster is calm (like Locke in Walkabout), and if you are a murderous bastard then it attacks (like Keamy's men). But what about the pilot getting killed in The Pilot? Still can't figure that out, unless maybe Smokey malfunctioned? Though the whisper transcript above makes it seem that whoever controls Smokey wanted to kill the pilot, for whatever reason.

What do we know about the monster?
  • The first time we saw it in its "smokey" shape, it seemed to emanate from the ground
  • It seems unable to leave the ground, ie jump (it couldn't jump over the fence surrounding the barracks)
  • Ben has a strange room under his house that seems to be some sort of control room/way to summon smokey - could this be the control room of sorts where someone sits and "operates" Smokey?
  • It can assume various shapes
  • It seemed to read Eko's mind
But what is it? Mechanical sounds, unable to penetrate sonar fence, able to manipulate objects and take on various shapes, seemingly connected to the ground... Bah. I have no frikking idea!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Locke & Jack

Several lines of thought have cropped up for me about the general larger mythos and theme of Lost as I re-watch S1. One is that it seems to me that Jack and Locke were supposed to work together for things to go well on the island for the losties. There's the whole man of science/man of faith dynamic going on, and by S4 the two men can barely stand each other (at least Jack can barely stand Locke), but early on (like in White Rabbit) there is communication, understanding, respect. And both men, and the losties!, are better off for it.

Jack is the practical organizing kind of guy, the go-to leader who looks for shelter and water for the rest of the losties. Locke is the one who seems to be the group's shaman, the one who can offer advice and guidance and help the group even through his more solitary pursuits, like hunting. If they had been able to work together, could they perhaps have done better? But things kept pushing them apart and setting them against each other (the personalities of both men and their lack of communication skills not the least of the obstacles!): Ben, Jacob, Christian, the hatch, Boone's death, Jack's captivity with the others... one thing after another setting the men at loggerheads.

There's a thread at the Fuselage asking who won: Jack or Locke. I said I thought they both lost. And now I think they both failed because they did not work together. Will they be able to work together better now that Locke is dead? As usual: I wonder.

Screencap thanks to lostpedia.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman and The Hobbit

Premiere has a great interview with Guillermo del Toro up now, and most of it deals with Hellboy II and GdT's general thoughts and ideas about movie making. But of course there is a bit about The Hobbit in there too:

The buzz around del Toro this summer will be nothing compared what's coming his way when he begins work on The Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit. After years of chatter about The Hobbit's big screen future, producer Peter Jackson and New Line officially announced in April that del Toro would direct two films based the Tolkien classic. The second film will lead directly into The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

"The first film will stand on its own, and the second will be a transition and fusion with Peter's world," he says (while, no doubt, a breathless Middle Earth fan contingency listens). "I plan to change and expand the visuals from Peter's, and I know the world can be portrayed in a different way. Different is better for the first one. For the second, I have the responsibility of finding a slow progression and mimicking the style of Peter."

It's a daunting project, to say the least, and del Toro, who read the book at age 11, isn't taking it lightly. He's moving his family to New Zealand and will start working on the screenplay over the next few months.

"I tried to read the trilogy when I was younger and failed miserably, and started reading it again this year," says del Toro. "The Hobbit came out of a very personal side of Tolkien, and I keep thinking of his experiences going through World War I. He went into it as a proper Englishman and saw a side of the world that was horrifying to him, and he came back in a different way."

The Internet is humming with rumors that Wanted star James McAvoy will take on the lead role as Bilbo Baggins, but del Toro says that's not the case — at least not yet. No new roles have been filled, though del Toro does declare, "I love [McAvoy's] work... He has a great sensibility."

"Discussions about casting are general at this point," he says. "It's impossible to cast a movie before you write the screenplay. After you write it, you can see who might work for certain roles and who wouldn't."

As for directing it, del Toro is going in with Hellboy-size guns ablaze.

"When the call came and asked if I would pledge half a decade of my life to do The Hobbit, I said fucking yes."

Sounds like a man ready to make an impression. Again.

And so the McAvoy rumours get fed just a little bit more! Today I also watched a bunch of clips from Hellboy II and the trailer for the movie, featuring Ron Perlman front and center. The more I see of him, the more I think he would fit perfectly as Thorin. And I also hope they choose a less prosthetic-heavy version of the dwarves for The Hobbit: I loved Gimli in LOTR, but I never really understood the need for all that makeup on John Rhys Davies since he'd have looked fine as a dwarf to me with just a beard. The trailers and clips are available here. There is a heaviness and dignity to RP, even when he's dressed up as Hellboy, that I think would translate well for Thorin. And the voice is just the best.

Photos thanks to

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Re-watching All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues

Yeah, I know: long title of an episode, isn't it?

This episode kind of marks the real beginning of the hatch, and the beginning of the others. Locke and Boone find the hatch "by accident", right after Locke and Boone have this exchange:

LOCKE: Don't you feel it?

BOONE: Feel what?


What is it he feels? The island telling him he's close to something important? Or the electromagnetism of the hatch perhaps? Anyway, this epi also marked the beginning of Boone becoming Locke's apprentice. Which was a storyline that made Boone a heck of a lot more interesting, but ultimately also made Locke seem a lot creepier.

As for the other storyline about, well, the others: it is interesting that we have yet to find out why women have trouble carrying to term on the island, if they conceive on the island. What the heck is up with that? It must in some way tie in with the foundation-mysteries of Lost (like the monster and it being so hard to find), since hints of it were put into the show right from the beginning. There must be something about the fundamental nature of the island that causes the problem. But what? And why the difference if you conceive on or off the island? Also, Sun conceived on the island, but her baby was ok once she left the island: had she stayed, she would have supposedly died before the third trimester.

Splendid bad guy that Ethan, btw. I kind of miss him too. Tptb gave him an almost alien vibe in this show, and what with the abducting of pregnant women, one might even think they were trying to throw us a red herring!

We also get further proof, as though we needed it!, that Jack's dad was a nasty piece of work and an sob to boot. I'm still wondering how much of Jack's dad is in that walking weirdness that is Kind-of-Dead-Christian.

Two other great moments: Locke predicting the rain, and Walt rolling all the numbers he wants when playing backgammon with Hurley. So much specialness in this episode!

Screencaps thanks to lost-media.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Re-Watch Raised By Another

This is possibly the creepiest episode of Lost, ever.

Claire's dream, Claire's flashback of the psychic's predictions, Ethan's appearance... cree-pee. Also very myth-heavy when it comes to Aaron, of course.

First we have the dream. Claire is in the jungle and sees Locke turning tarot cards.

[Shot of Claire's eye opening. We hear a baby crying and see Claire looking around. She sits up and she isn't pregnant. She hears the baby cry, gets up and walks into the jungle to find the baby. We see Locke sitting at a table with a lamp, tarot cards, a table runner, and crystals. He's dealing the cards [but we can't see what they are]. We hear the sound of a sword being unsheathed. There is wind and motion in the trees.]

CLAIRE: What's happening?

LOCKE: You know what's happening.

CLAIRE: But I don't understand. Why --?

LOCKE: He was your responsibility but you gave him away, Claire. Everyone pays the price now.

[Locke looks up and has one black eye and one white eye. We hear the baby crying and see Claire running through the jungle. She sees a crib and goes to it. It has a mobile with Oceanic airplanes hanging from it. There is shaking and a sound of the what the airplane might have sounded like when it was crashing. The planes on the mobile start spinning around, at least one is broken. There are a bunch of blankets in the crib. Claire starts digging through them and comes to a pool of blood. Her hands are all bloody. She starts screaming.
And then the psychic's foretelling of Aaron's future:

MALKIN: I can tell you, this is important.


MALKIN: It is crucial that you, yourself, raise this child.

CLAIRE: You mean with Thomas? Is he..

MALKIN: The father of this child will play no part in it's life, nor yours.

CLAIRE: So what exactly are you saying?

MALKIN: This child parented by anyone else, anyone other than you -- danger surrounds this baby. . .

CLAIRE: Danger?

MALKIN: Your nature, your spirit, your goodness, must be an influence in the development of this child.

CLAIRE: If Thomas and I don't get back together I'm putting this baby up for adoption. I just wanted to find out what would give the baby the happiest life.

MALKIN: There is no happy life -- not for this child, not without you.

CLAIRE: I don't. . .

MALKIN: It can't be another. You mustn't allow another to raise your baby.

CLAIRE: Okay, great. Thanks for taking my 200.

MALKIN: Oh, no look, take it. Ms. Littleton; I am begging you just to consider...

CLAIRE: I can't raise this child by myself.

MALKIN: You have to listen to me.

CLAIRE: Thanks for your time, and my money back.

MALKIN: Ms. Littleton, please. The baby needs your protection. Ms. Littleton, please.

And finally, Charlie's interpretation of why Malkin eventually seemed to want to send Claire on flight 815 to LA to put the baby up for adoption, seemingly against the advice he had previously given:

CHARLIE: A psychic?

CLAIRE: I know. It's embarrassing. And now after everything, he was just full of it.

CHARLIE: Or not. I mean, all he wanted was that no one else raise your baby, right? Maybe he knew. I mean, if he wanted it bad enough. If he had the gift, and I believe some people do, maybe he knew, Claire.

Couple all this with the fact that in S4, according to Hurley, Dead-Charlie has a message for Jack: "You're not supposed to raise him." I know the issue of what happened to Claire, and whether she's dead or not, and whether it was right of the O6 to lie and say Aaron was Kate's child, I know all these issues have been hotly debated in the Lost-verse. Why does Claire appear so calm in Jacob's cabin? Why is Aaron left in the jungle? Maybe Cabin-Claire have some knowledge that makes her sure that Aaron is better off, off the island? But I think that the set up here is too solid, and too well done. And that set up is that Claire is supposed to raise Aaron. Without her he is in danger. Which means he is in danger right now. Whatever orchestrated Claire's "disappearance", and whatever/whoever left Aaron in the jungle, is not working for the long-term safety and happiness of Aaron.

To me, this is a storytelling issue: tptb went through a LOT to make us hugely invested in Claire and Aaron and their rescue. Remember Desmond's vision (seemingly forgotten in the S4 finale) of Claire and Aaron getting on a helicopter? The vision that made Charlie willing to sacrifice himself in "Through The Looking Glass"? That was yet another big brick in the wall of "Aaron should be with Claire". For the show to reneg on that, and suddenly Aaron being fine with Kate and Jack... not happening imo. Again and again it's been reinforced that Aaron needs Claire.

Therefore, until other evidence surfaces, I remain convinced that Aaron leaving the island without her was not a good thing, at least not for his long-term happiness.

Now I know that Malkin the psychic eventually meets up with Eko and tells him he's not a psychic, that he's a fraud. But I don't think that's right. His daughter meets Eko, after she miraculously comes back to life after drowning and "dying". She has a message to him from Yemi.
Maybe we haven't seen the last of Malkin? Maybe he'll pay a visit to Kate in the season to come? Or, maybe, we will see that Malkin is working for The Others? Or Widmore? And that they somehow also foresaw the crash? Though that seems rather unlikely...

Ethan's appearance in the jungle at the end of the ep with Claire and Charlie there is the final creepy nail in the coffin. And right after we've seen Hurley tell Jack that Ethan was not on the plane. Whoa. Epis don't come much freakier than this!

Screencaps thanks to lostpedia and lost-media.

Re-watching Solitary

Another epi with not much island-mythos stuff, but some, mainly from Danielle.

Her crew got sick she said, and she killed at least some of them: was this the time-warpy sickness as experienced by Minkowski and other freighties in S4? That would seem to be likely. Although there is still the unresolved matter of the "vaccine" Desmond injected himself with and the "quarantine" signs on the hatch doors. What was that vaccine really all about?

First audible whispers turn up in this episode, when Sayid leaves Danielle's neck of the woods to find his way back to the losties.

Supposedly, in the original script for Solitary, Danielle says that her science team was doing research on "time". The network wanted that part cut though: guess the sci-finess of the show was still being kept down somewhat back then. But it does make me wish we'd gotten a Danielle flashback at some point. I guess that might still happen, if we get to see her and her science team through the eyes of someone else, maybe Ben or Alpert?

Too bad Mira Furlan apparently wanted off the show. And too bad tptb didn't really use her as much as they should have (imo) while she was on the show. She was an interesting, strong female character with a real link to the island and its mysteries and she was offed without any definitive explanation or resolution to her story, beyond her finding Alex of course. I miss her too. Just like I miss Charlie and Eko, even when I know their reasons for leaving may have been more personal than story-driven.

Screencap thanks to lostpedia.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Re-Watching Confidence Man

There's really only one question to ask after watching Confidence Man: How come no one killed Sawyer back in those early days? Sure not for lack of wanting to. I'd have kicked his ass myself given half a chance. I mean, being a tortured bad guy with a weak spot is supposed to be all attractive and that, but come on! Letting people think you have medicine for a sick woman but that you won't give it to her, when you actually don't have that medicine? That's selfish jerk-off behaviour.

One can only be grateful that tptb decided to pretty much totally redeem Sawyer by S4.

Another note of interest: how slimy is Locke for suggesting to Sayid that it was Sawyer who clonked him over the head, when in fact it was Locke who did that? And he even offers Sayid a knife! Bastage.

Also, it's interesting how much they paired up Kate and Sayid in those early days. Not as a romantic interest story really, more as comrades in arms. And Sayid seems to be the one guy who treats Kate with respect AND doesn't act all over-protective at the same time. Interesting.

Re-watcheroo: The Moth

This is a good epi, but light on the myth-stuff which is what I'm mainly hunting for when I'm re-watching. The Charlie FBs are good though, and it reminds me of what a great vehicle Lost was to launch Dominic Monaghan into an acting career beyond being a hobbit in LOTR. He really gets to use all his talent: drama, comedy, romance... and he really shines. His acting jobs since Lost have been scanty, but he will be in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as Beak. Can't wait to see him in that. And I hope lots more work comes his way after that.

I have such a soft spot for that guy after the way he portrayed Merry Brandybuck so well in the Lord of the Rings movies. He also seems like a real nice guy with a real, honest interest in the environment and environmentalism. Where ever he is right now and whatever he's doing, I wish him all the best.

But back to Lost: The Moth. The one convo in this episode that seems to have bearing on the larger mystery of the losties and their destiny is between Kate and Sayid:

KATE: What we're doing -- chasing some phantom distress signal -- what are the odds of this working?

SAYID: No worse than the odds of us surviving that plane crash.

KATE: People survive plane crashes all the time.

SAYID: Not like this one. The tail section broke off while we were still in the air. Our section cart wheeled through the jungle and yet we escaped with nothing but a few scrapes. How do you explain that?

KATE: Blind, dumb luck?

SAYID: No one's that lucky. We shouldn't have survived.

KATE: Sorry Sayid, some things just happen, no rhyme, no reason.

We shouldn't have survived. But they did. Why? And how? We know Desmond's fumbling with the button made the plane crash, but how is it that they didn't all die? Did something happen with time/space? Was there some kind of funny business there: looping, splitting into alternative timelines/universes or was it just that "the island wouldn't let them die"? I wonder. Which is pretty much all any of us can do until the show decides to answer the questions. Gah!

Screencaps thanks to lostpedia and lost-media.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Re-Watch Continues! House of the Rising Sun

Adam and Eve. Who are they? That's the main myth-tidbit in this episode. Jack and Kate find the skeletons at the caves, Jack takes the black and white stone from a pouch on one of the bodies. They've been dead about 40-50 years by Jack's reckoning. He also figures they went to live at the caves and ended up dying there.

Who are they? Is it Jack and Kate, somehow? Bernard and Rose? The black and white stones make me think of Locke and his backgammon convo with Walt. Mystery, thy name is Lost.

Other than that, this epi mainly makes me yearn for Jin and Sun to get on better terms with each other, because their tortured love story pre-island and early-island is hard to watch. I want mellow Jin! Not psycho hitman Jin.

And what's with Kate's breakdown when she chooses not to go to the caves? WHO CARES? It's not like she's leaving Jack and betraying him or something, it's not like they were married for crissakes. And yet it's overly dramatized at the end of the ep. But I guess it was just tptb's way of showing us that it would not be a simple romance between Jack and Kate. Instead we got the triangle. Yay.

Funniest scene of the epi though: Charlie standing on the beehive. Yes, I do miss Dominic Monaghan. "That is the most crap idea ever!" Delivered perfectly. I do hope we get some more Charlie in the seasons to come. He looked good when he visited Hurley after all.

Screencaps thanks to lost-media.

Re-watch: White Rabbit

This is yet another myth-heavy episode for Lost. That doesn't mean it doesn't have pure fun in it though: the comedy duo of Charlie and Hurley is absolute perfection. The scene when they run after Jack, wanting him to deal with rationing the water, and the two of them just standing there aghast when he doesn't want to deal with leader-stuff, is flat-out hilarious. I've loved Hurley's more recent odd-couple pairing with Sawyer, but seeing him with Charlie again makes me miss that dynamic a lot.

White Rabbit also has what is either a throw-away line or a hint at some huge mystery/conspiracy that will crop up in the story much later. Claire remarks to Kate that she can't find any hair brushes in the luggage. Why would that be? Is it just an odd occurrance? Or is there something important there? Did someone scoop all the brushes for some nefarious purpose? To get the DNA off them perhaps? To do what with? Fake a wreckage and be able to provide DNA-proof of who was on board? To clone the survivors? What?

There's a flashback scene with Jack's mom telling him he has to go bring his father home. She is pretty harsh on him, as this is sometime after Jack gets his father busted for boozing it up on the job. Made me wonder how guilty his mom must have felt when the plane crashed and Jack was presumed dead. Both Jack's parents sure did a number on him. No wonder the man is so screwed up!

Recurring themes are a big thing on Lost. In this one we have the oft shown theme of Jack being the reluctant leader, and also trying to save people and not exactly succeeding in the best way. That scene, with Jack swimming out to save the drowning woman, only to instead find a drowning Boone, and end up in paralyzing choice: let Boone drown or save him and then try to save the woman? Of course he can't let Boone drown, but that means he's too late to save the other. Kind of reminded me of the S4 finale when he gets some of the people off the island but not all... Again, he kind of succeeded, but not quite. And again he beats himself up over it of course. This episode also lets us see what an a-hole Jack's father was when alive ("You don't have what it takes, Jack.") and we get to see dead-ish Christian seemingly lead his son to walk right over a precipice. Only for Locke to save him.

Dead-ish Christian is one creepy mo-fo in this episode. He is silent, he seems stiff and has an odd posture: kind of like he's still inside the coffin. Back kind of hunched, arms close to his sides... It reminds me of Men In Black when the alien wears the dead guy as a suit. Why is he so odd there? Later on he appears more at ease... almost as though this early on he is not quite "formed" yet. Is it Smokey learning how to look human? Is it a clone learning how to be Christian? Is it a somehow non-formed vision Christian? Is it the actual body walking around? In the scene when he disappears into the foliage, it would seem that he melts into it more than walks through it. IE more spirit than body. What really gets me is how different he looks here than he does in the mobisode "So It Begins". There he talks to Vincent and seems more alive-ish. Not as corpsefied. This would fit IF that scene in "So It Begins" is actually the opening for Jack's eventual return to the island, and not his awakening after the plane crash. You know, with the time loops and all that weirdness in play.

Christian is dressed in a suit and white sneakers, just as in Walkabout. No boots or relaxed clothing as in S4's "Cabin Fever". Poster lostmio at The Fuselage has some interesting thoughts on this. He comments that while alive, and in most of his dead-ish appearances, Christian doesn't do "casual Fridays" wear, he's always in a suit. Until Cabin Fever, when he's in the cabin with Claire. lostmio wonders if this means that this is a new entity, different from the Christian seen before. It is certainly a very interesting observation.

White Rabbit also has one, no make that two, of the best pieces of dialogue ever written for Lost imo. The first is the conversation between Locke and Jack in the jungle:

JACK: How are they, the others?

LOCKE: Thirsty. Hungry. Waiting to be rescued. And they need someone to tell them what to do.

JACK: Me? I can't.

LOCKE: Why can't you?

JACK: Because I'm not a leader.

LOCKE: And yet they all treat you like one.

JACK: I don't know how to help them. I'll fail. I don't have what it takes.

LOCKE: Why are you out here, Jack?

JACK: I think I'm going crazy.

LOCKE: No. You're not going crazy. Crazy people don't know they're going crazy. They think they're getting saner. So, why are you out here?

JACK: I'm chasing something -- someone.

LOCKE: Ah. The white rabbit. Alice in Wonderland.

JACK: Yeah, wonderland, because who I'm chasing -- he's not there.

LOCKE: But you see him?

JACK: Yes. But he's not there.

LOCKE: And if I came to you and said the same thing, then what would your explanation be, as a doctor.

JACK: I'd call it a hallucination. A result of dehydration, post traumatic stress, not getting more than 2 hours of sleep a night for the past week. All of the above.

LOCKE: All right, then. You're hallucinating. But what if you're not?

JACK: Then we're all in a lot of trouble.

LOCKE: I'm an ordinary man Jack, meat and potatoes, I live in the real world. I'm not a big believer in magic. But this place is different. It's special. The others don't want to talk about it because it scares them. But we all know it. We all feel it. Is your white rabbit a hallucination? Probably. But what if everything that happened here, happened for a reason? What if this person that you're chasing is really here?

JACK: That's impossible.

LOCKE: Even if it is; let's say it's not.

JACK: Then what happens when I catch him?

LOCKE: I don't know. But I've looked into the eye of this island. And what I saw was beautiful.

[Locke gets up to leave.]

JACK: Wait, wait, wait, where are you going?

LOCKE: To find some more water.

JACK: I'll come with you.

LOCKE: No. You need to finish what's you've started.

JACK: Why?

LOCKE: Because a leader can't lead until he knows where he's going.

That significant exchange still seems to me to echo through the seasons of the show. The other is Jack's speech at the beach when he returns:
It's been 6 days and we're all still waiting. Waiting for someone to come. But what if they don't? We have to stop waiting. We need to start figuring things out. A woman died this morning just going for a swim and he tried to save her, and now you're about to crucify him? We can't do this. Everyman for himself is not going to work. It's time to start organizing. We need to figure out how we're going to survive here. Now, I found water. Fresh water, up in the valley. I'll take a group in at first light. If you don't want to go come then find another way to contribute. Last week most of us were strangers, but we're all here now. And god knows how long we're going to be here. But if we can't live together, we're going to die alone.
Live together, die alone. Now that is a great tag-line for any show.

Screencaps thanks to lostpedia and lost-media.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Re-watch: Walkabout

This is one of S1's great eps imo. The budding friendship between Hurley and Charlie when they try to spear fish, Locke's flashback to his dead-end job and jerk of a boss, Sayid reclaiming the photo of Nadia and partnering with Kate, Locke going boar-hunting, Rose telling Jack she knows Bernard is alive... it's a pivotal episode.

Also, two of the show's pivotal characters have their own pivotal moments in it. (Ok, that's enough pivotalness!)

Jack sees his dead father for the first time, standing on the beach in a suit and white tennis shoes. He follows him, and eventually finds Locke carrying a dead boar. This heralding the recurring appearance of Christian on the show, though we still don't really know what kind of entity he is.

Locke has his own vision. While hunting for boar in the jungle he comes, seemingly, face to face with Smokey. We never see what Locke sees in the scene when he meets the monster, but his face is filled with awe and wonder. Later, he told Jack that he looked into the eye of the island and what he saw was "beautiful". I'd love to see this scene again, from the other side: to see what Locke saw. I think that Locke's fate on the island was set once he met the monster and lived. Whatever it was he saw, it solidified his belief that the island is a very special place, and that he himself had a special destiny on it. Of course, the fact that he was able to walk after the plane crash must have been the start of this whole "special/miracle/destiny" theme that Locke keeps coming back to in regards to the island. And really, it's not hard to understand why he is so convinced that the island is "beautiful" when we consider how it changed his life.

One interesting point about the scene with Smokey is that the scene kind of hints at that it wasn't Locke who killed that first boar, but the monster. It's not explicitly shown, but we do hear a pig squealing as Smokey stomps around.

Jack and Locke's scenes in Walkabout, with Christian and Smokey, are crucial to the whole inner-most mystery of Lost imo. Could it be that they both saw some manifestation of the island that day? Or did they each see a "representative" of two different factions perhaps? Do Christian and Smokey represent opposing forces somehow? Just like Locke and Jack came to oppose each other on the island. Jack eventually rejects any wider implications of his vision of his dead father. Locke embraces his vision of the monster completely as proof of his own, and the island's, "specialness".

In the last two seasons of Lost, I do hope that the visions both men had in this episode are re-visited and that we the viewers will finally find out more about the true nature of what they both saw that day.

Screencaps thanks to lostpedia and lost-media.

Here Doggie!

I want a Vincent flashback. That's all there is to it. Even after just re-watching a few eps from S1 of Lost, I am forcefully reminded of how important that dog seemed way back then. And the more recent mobisode, "So It Begins", reinforces that yet again.

What was Vincent up to all those times he was just off in the jungle by himself? Was he reporting back to Christian a lot? Did he run errands for him? Was he somehow acting as Christian (or Jacob's?) eyes and ears when it came to the Losties?

Has Vincent seen and interacted with Smokey somehow? Can he too hear the whispers on the island? What else can he sense about the place?

How come Walt didn't ask about Vincent when he saw Hurley? Maybe because he'd already asked Locke/Bentham about him when he came to visit?

So many questions. Did tptb just use the dog as a device to get people to run off into the woods, and get us to think they were being watched (as when Jack, Charlie and Kate set off to search for the cockpit), or will it turn out that Vincent actually has a more important role to play? The scene with Christian from "So It Begins" certainly seems to point at something like that.

Screencaps thanks to lostpedia.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pan's Labyrinth & The Hobbit

I loved Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies. Somehow he, and his fellow script writers Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, managed to make three glorious films out of my three favourite books. Books I had thought to be pretty much un-filmable. As something of a LOTR-book geek, I did of course have some issues with some of the the choices that were made. For example, I did not particularly like the way Pippin's and Merry's story with the ents was changed around, or how Faramir allowed Gollum to be beaten. And the whole debacle of removing Saruman's death scene from the theatrical release, well, the less said about that the better.

Still, I loved the movies. The world was full and rich and real and felt true to Tolkien. Some of the scenes that were added, like Arwen's vision of her child and Eowyn's song at Theodred's funeral, were beautiful additions. And the casting, the music, the CGI, all of that was pretty much flawless. So when it became obvious that PJ would not after all be returning to make "The Hobbit", I was worried. Who would take over? Sam Raimi seemed to be the hot name for quite a while, and I was ok with him doing it. The first Spiderman movie was very good, though the others have been lacking imo, and his sensibilities seemed like they might fit with the more "childish" world of "The Hobbit".

But then the announcement came: Guillermo del Toro was the chosen one. And I was very, very happy.

The first del Toro movie I saw was Chronos. It weirded me out so much that I couldn't watch the whole thing. Then I saw Blade 2 and thought it was a horror-excess show that went over the top into ridiculousness. (I'd actually quite liked the first Blade movie.) But then came Pan's Labyrinth.

Pan's Labyrinth (the Spanish title: "The Faun's Labyrinth" is really a lot better), is one of those rare fantasy movies that does not flirt with cheesy or jokesy stuff (like Willow for example: a movie I love, but it does walk very close to the edge of cheese-dom). It's a straight up, seriously told, deadly earnest fairytale. A real fairytale, like the old ones, where there is death, danger, fear, as well as magic and a sense of wonder. It is a fantasy movie that creates its own believable world, full of weird creatures and strange happenings, yet remains absolutely real no matter how fantastical the surroundings. This is exactly the kind of storytelling and the kind of director that is needed for "The Hobbit": someone who can take on fantasy and fairytale and keep the sense of reality and danger ever-present. Just like Peter Jackson managed to do with LOTR.

The world of Pan's Labyrinth is populated by strange beings: the Faun, fairies, gigantic toads... but there is nothing Disney-esque or cute about any of the creatures. Even the fairies are more insect-like than pretty, the Faun looks like he is made of earth and wood and roots, the toad is slimy and grotesque. This to me is also important as it pertains to "The Hobbit": cutesiness must be avoided at all costs. Elves are not cute, dwarves are not cute: forget all about the Disney-verse of pastels and big eyes! Even though "The Hobbit" is a book written for children, it is an old-school fairytale just like Pan's Labyrinth: there is real death and real danger, there is constant peril for the child at the center of the story and there is, at the end, incredible sadness and loss. No glorious happy ending with a shiny "happily ever after". Anyone who has seen Pan's Labyrinth knows that its ending is full of sadness and pain and even horror, but also suffused with happiness. All of it mingled together. Just like in "The Hobbit": Bilbo survives the battle and the dragon is defeated, but at a great cost. Thorin dies, many others die too, Lake Town burns and it is a very changed hobbit that brings his share of the dragon hoard back home to The Shire.

Another big plus for GdT is his familiarity with puppets, miniatures and CGI. He has said repeatedly that he favours "real" effects rather than computer generated ones for The Hobbit. That is, he'll favour puppets, humans in makeup and that kind of stuff over computer graphics. Anyone who has seen Pan's Labyrinth knows that GdT is a master at this kind of thing. The Faun and The Pale Man are masterpieces. It's hard to even understand that they are a human, Doug Jones, covered in prosthetics and makeup. This is the level of achievement needed for the creatures of "The Hobbit": the wolves, the dragon, the spiders, Beorn.

In short: anyone who wonders whether GdT can make a Hobbit movie worthy of the book, need only watch Pan's Labyrinth. It is one of the best fantasy movies ever. I'd say it's the best fantasy movie since LOTR. The fact that del Toro does seem to have longstanding and deep connection to the book, makes the fit even better. Of course, it's way too early to know if this movie will be a classic, but I do think that GdT has the tools to make it one.

For a closer look at how his mind and imagination work, take a look at his amazing sketch book at the official Pan's Labyrinth site.

And finally, there is a rumour that long time GdT associate Doug Jones, might be up for the role of Thranduil, the elven king. That's him in the picture right there. In Pan's Labyrinth he was hidden by makeup as the Faun and the Pale Man, and initially I thought he might be too weird looking for the role. Yet in this particular shot from IMDB, he looks potentially Elvish: those clear, big eyes just do it for me I guess, as well as the pronounced cheekbones. We'll see. If he is eventually chosen by del Toro, I'll just trust his judgment, as well as the judgment of PJ, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, his co-producers.

Photos thanks to IMDB, TORN and the official Pan's Labyrinth site.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Re-watch: Tabula Rasa

This, the third episode of season 1, really doesn't have much island-important material in it, at least to my eyes. The main "mystery" it deals with is Kate's background, and the fate of the marshal on the island. Sawyer attempts to kill him with the only remaining bullet in his gun, but somehow misses his heart, leaving Jack to clean up the mass and presumably euthanize the marshal.

The one exchange that seems to me somehow to speak to the nature of the island and the deeper questions of Lost is Jack's line to Kate: "Three days ago we all died. We should all be able to start over." Except they didn't really die. Did they? Unless you buy the "purgatory" idea for the show (which has been shot down again and again by tptb). To the outside world they died three days ago. And maybe, maybe, in some alternate timeline of a weird plot twist another version of 815 crashed into the Sunda Trench three days earlier. But all that stuff we won't know anything about until the last season of Lost imo.

Also, the name of the ep "Tabula Rasa" hints at a connection with the philosopher John Locke (yeah, name does sound familiar...):

Tabula rasa (Latin: blank slate) refers to the epistemological thesis that individual human beings are born with no innate or built-in mental content, in a word, "blank", and that their entire resource of knowledge is built up gradually from their experiences and sensory perceptions of the outside world.

Generally proponents of the tabula rasa thesis favor the "nurture" side of the nature versus nurture debate, when it comes to aspects of one's personality, social and emotional behavior, and intelligence.

And here's the reference to John Locke:

In fact, our modern idea of the theory is mostly attributed to John Locke's expression of the idea in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding in the 17th century. In Locke's philosophy, tabula rasa was the theory that the (human) mind is at birth a "blank slate" without rules for processing data, and that data is added and rules for processing are formed solely by one's sensory experiences. The notion is central to Lockean empiricism. As understood by Locke, tabula rasa meant that the mind of the individual was born "blank", and it also emphasized the individual's freedom to author his or her own soul. Each individual was free to define the content of his or her character - but his or her basic identity as a member of the human species cannot be so altered. It is from this presumption of a free, self-authored mind combined with an immutable human nature that the Lockean doctrine of "natural" rights derives.

And if you want to compare and contrast John Locke and, say, Jeremy Bentham:

Bentham's attack on Blackstone targeted more than the latter's use of tradition however. Against Blackstone and a number of earlier thinkers (including Locke), Bentham repudiated many of the concepts underlying their political philosophies, such as natural right, state of nature, and "social contract." Bentham then attempted to outline positive alternatives to the preceding "traditionalisms." Not only did he work to reform and restructure existing institutions, but he promoted broader suffrage and self (i.e., representative) government.

Just more things that make you go "hmmm". And make you think that the writers of Lost use Google a lot.

Screencaps thanks to Lostpedia and lost-media.

Re-watch Continues: Pilot Part 2

Re-watching both parts of The Pilot, really drives it home how great a show Lost was (and still is) and how different it seemed when it crashed into my home once upon a time. Freaky, scary, funny, gorgeous and unpredictable.

Scattered thoughts
Holloway looks so damn different than he does now. Is it just that Sawyer has longer hair now and more scruff? Or did he lose some weight too to make those cheekbones "pop"? Something happened. And he dropped the smoking habit at some point. Just as well! Evangeline Lilly also looks different. Weight-loss probably accounts for some of it, and the fact that the eyebrows are plucked differently. Jorge Garcia has also changed: I know he's still a big guy, but I think there's some weight loss there too, and maybe something with the hair? Longer? Different hairline? I don't know.

And oh, now I remember how I detested Shannon! Good bitch-role! And how I wanted to punch Sawyer in the nuts... I mean gut... for most of S1. His redemptive arc has been very well done on the show: I'm glad he doesn't give me hives anymore! Also, his relationship with Kate has had a good arc to it as well, from The Pilot's mocking/flirting thing, to the exchange between them on the helicopter in "There's No Place Like Home". The dynamics between Sun and Jin are almost gut-wrenching in these early eps: he's so controlling and hard. I can barely stand it. I hope that's a couple that will eventually get a happy ending in spite of exploding freighters and the like. (Come on! Jin can't be dead yet, can he?)

And the polar bear shows up and gets shot, poor thing. WTF are those polar bears doing on the island? Did Dharma bring them? Or did they end up there some other way, maybe the same way The Black Rock and Yemi's plane ended up there: somehow attracted by the island or ending up on it when it moved? (Though I'm still not sure whether the island moves in time and space or just in space or just in time... gah, this show can be totally, mind-achingly frustrating at times!)

Locke and Walt
The scene with Locke and Walt on the beach when they talk about backgammon is so excellent. It makes me think that NOT bringing Walt back next season for more interaction with the island and, hopfully, Locke would be a crime. The relationship between them was excellently played by the actors and very well-written as well. It seemed to hint at so many things... I just hope tptb don't just drop that storyline (again!). And the dialogue in the scene: two sides, one light, one dark... The island anyone?

At the end of the scene, Locke asks Walt if he wants to know a secret: what was that secret? Was it that Locke has been in a wheelchair until the crash? Is that what he told Walt? I can't remember whether we ever found out what that secret was.

Claire, Jin, sushi and Aaron
Maybe the episode's most mysterious scene is the one where Claire eats the seafood Jin brings her. The baby has not moved since the crash, even though she has eaten since then. Then she eats this, the first food "of the island", and immediately Aaron kicks and Claire feels with certainty that it is a boy. Is that scene somehow greatly significant? Was Aaron in dire straits and then became "possessed" by the island somehow when Claire ingested the food? Did something important happen there? Reincarnation? Possession? Or just a baby finally getting enough energy after the shock of the crash to kick his mommy again?

The line of the episode, it may even be the tag-line of the show, is Charlie's question (yet to be completely answered):

"Guys, where are we?"

Screencaps thanks to Lostpedia and lost-media.