kaigou: pino does not approve of where the script is going. (2 pino does not approve)
[personal profile] kaigou
This is entirely starscream/recession's fault. Probably in retaliation for the APPLESAUCE.



Is that guy in the middle Matt Damon? Same smirk.

Long tunnel is long. Be foreboded! And just in case, the music reminds you.

Don't these people realize burning brands right near a horse's ear would piss off the horse?

Oh, look, it's what Hadrian's Wall wanted to be when it grew up.

Where is this filmed. No, seriously, where is this filmed.

So far, love the dialogue! Very snappy. That is, none at all. Hard to improve on silence.

Obligatory faint echoes of wolf howl. It's like adding salt to bread. I wonder if Hollywood knows how to makea movie without obligatory faint echoes of wolf howl when it's a forest.

So you get off your horse, and take him with you? This what, makes you twice as noisy for having a half more footprints?

Oh, look. Body parts. Heads. Was this filmed by the same guy who did Doomsday?

Scary moment! Smart guy. Running away is very smart.

It's an incomplete Peace Symbol.

Ahah, must be high fantasy. British accents? Hell, half of them could be Aussie and the average US audience wouldn't know. But look! Sounds brit! It must be important!

Smirking leader-guy: fear my mockery, for I come equipped with Eyebrow Action! it's like easy characterization: I Am A Jerk.

And the overly burly guy. Another obligatory casting call, right along with snaggle-tooth, big-nose, slightly inbred looking weaselly guy. And more obligatory wolf howls and yips in the background!

Oh, how strange, all dead body parts are gone. I would be more freaked if it weren't for Smirking Leader's emphasis on "mooooved" in "moved camp". Ahahah, I haven't a clue where your accent is from, but your delivery so far is classic stereotype. Go you, Smirking Leader! I hope you bite it, and obligatory wolf howls are telling me you probably will.

Assuming the bloody rag in the snow isn't a clue.

Glowing blue eyes. Weaselly guy is scared weaselly guy!

The horses appear to be the smartest characters we've seen so far.

So they borrowed the left-over blue lense treatment from that horrible SF version of Dune?

I feel like I'm watching a bad retread of 13th Warrior. Except in winter. In the Siberian forests, or wherever this was filmed.

Another shot of the head. I guess in case you didn't realize from the decapitation scene that it really was decapitation.

Opening credits! Nice music. Very... well, too elegant with the cellos in there, so I'm guessing not another one from Jimmy What's His Face. Or the guy who did Star Wars.

...aaaaaaaaand someone clearly had a lot of fun at the CGI stand for the opening credits.

Zoom in on Hadrian's Wall on steroids. Now the music definitely reminds me of Randy Edelman's work.

Way too much fun with the opening credits sequence. Dude, the camera's sideways.

Written by ... someone, err, two someones, who are not the original author. But isn't this where you'd put "based on work by" as well? Even if you did say "based on" in the segment previously. Either way you look at it, a haggle of graphic artists put a lot of post-production work into what was that, a minute?

Uhm, it's the opening segment from The Holy Grail! Wait, no, it's that bit from Lord of the Rings with the riders. Wait, no, hell if I know. All these fantasy segments look alike.

Chalk. Were segments of this filmed in Northern Britain? I dunno where else you get chalk just from scratching the turf. [ETA: Northern Ireland, apparently.] Or shorter: where was this filmed? Or is it all CGI? Don't tell me it was filmed in New Zealand, but if it was, man, that tourism board's working overtime on selling the country as a film spot.

Random people walking with baskets. Always makes me wonder where they think they're going -- just out for a picnic, maybe? Because I just saw the scenery in the opposite direction, and there's bloody well nothing there. Twit director at work, I presume.

Father's watching. *beat*beat* And your mother. ... Oh, yeah, that other person up there. Always nice when the first female introduced is entirely an afterthought.

There's a handbook somewhere, I'm sure, for "what goes in a busy castle courtyard". Lists of required props: like, people moving horses about, stacks of hay, and dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. Oh, and don't forget the barrels propped up over on the side, so artistically scattered just so. Hollywood apparently doesn't believe in storage cellars.

Young kid trying to pull arrow (what is up with his hold? it looks like his palm's out, not in)... and then we skip to girls... doing embroidery! Of course! Why, hello there, boring gender roles, I'd almost forgotten why high fantasy bores me to freaking death. Embroidery. With british accents. And a lot of really ugly, drab, crudely-made clothing. Honestly, if someone can do fine needlework, why is everyone wearing clothes with such badly-finished seamwork?

Dialogue notes, shorter version: suck up! "I love the detail in these corners..." Oh, shut up. You're annoying me already, Ms Reject From Camelot.

Clearly the second girl shown is supposed to be a tomboy. I'm too busy noting she has cathedral-sleeves, or whatever it is where the elbow down widens -- and no undergown cuffs showing. You can't roll up cathedral sleeves, and you can't tighten them. Cold air goes right up them! Costume designer: so far, not really that impressed. Like I wasn't already unimpressed with the unfinished seamwork. You can be poor and still do nice seamwork.

I can't recall whether the book had these notes, but this segment annoys me: the women are silently doing needlework, but we hear the men making noise from somewhere else. Who the hell thinks women sit around doing silent needlework? Every quilting-bee I've ever met, every knitting and sewing group, is positively as noisy as a bar. Moving your fingers doesn't require utterly silent concentration -- hell, if middle-adolescent, I'd expect those women to be able to needlepoint blindfolded. And one hand tied behind their back. But regardless, yes, I got the gender roles. Thanks. Moving along, literally nothing to see here!

Boy with bow and arrow. Ten years old? Man, he sucks.

Marksman at ten? Uhm, several of my boy-cousins? Bow-and-arrow is the kind of thing you start picking up at five. Not like you can't start later, but it's a really simple technology, and easy to scale down. I think this is supposed to show me a loving family moment. Okay, it consists of boys and dad onlooking (oh, right, and Mom). I don't recall the books leaning this hard on the boys-as-focus.

Sean Bean. Sheesh, is he ever going to get a role where he's a) a good guy AND b) lives to see the end of the film? Because I don't think I've seen a film with him yet where he's still alive when the credits roll.

And the spunky young non-embroidery-happy girl gets a bullseye. Gee, I so did not see that one coming. This might count for characterization if I hadn't seen a bazillion other films with spunky female pre-adolescent characters.

Guard or whatever he is approaches... and wow, check out those sideburns. Did he just come straight from a Regency drama, perhaps?

"Do you have to?" I hate exchanges like this. Maybe they're supposed to make Mom look more compassionate, but instead she just looks like a twit. With kids old enough to raise their own kids, far as I can tell, and she doesn't know what the law is, or how inflexible it is? Wouldn't they have had this conversation enough times in the past that she'd either know what to say to change her husband's mind, or know there's no point in saying anything? (Now, if it'd been an older sibling who'd protested, that I could believe, but I'm so tired of the "Mom Is The Compassionate One" sctick.)

I just have to say that when an actor delivers lines while shaking the head slightly, or accentuating the words with a slight head-shake and drop of the chin... it reads to me like the person doesn't believe their own words. Like they're negating what they're saying, unconsciously, sort of like saying yes while shaking your head. But maybe we'll get lucky and this character will die off pretty quickly as well.

Uhm, so they mixed the bottom half of the little-kilt (not the traditional great plaid) and the top half of leftovers from the last production of Hamlet? Does anyone ever think about what people have to actually do in the clothes? Like, sit on a horse -- the skirt/kilt doesn't have enough flare for that kind of stance, from what I can tell, and there's no split. Maybe they ran out of fake leather fabric. Maybe one of maybe six people (including Kraehe, if she watched it) who'd even notice this.

I need more to drink.

I think the guy putting the arrows away is supposed to be Jon Snow. He looks nothing like the Jon Snow in my head. He looks... somewhere between too awkward in the face, and trying way too hard to be rugged. Maybe the actor thinks he's playing against type or something? I can't even think of who might fit my version of Jon Snow... but unlike LotR which nailed so many, this guy is so far off I'm hoping he's one of the other siblings. Or, uhm, a random red shirt.

Where is this filmed? No, seriously, where is this filmed? Fog that makes the hills disappear... or else someone's working overtime on the really-subtle background CGI.

Big foreshadowing moment. Or something. Lots of shots of bored-looking guys.

If you need someone to help you to draw out the sword, the sword is too freaking big.

Father will know if you [look away]. Geez, it's like Big Father. If the guy has eyes in the back of his head, why does he die in the first book?

Rite of passage. Watch someone be beheaded! Followed up with moral about condemning and executing. Another lovely family moment.

Thousands of years. Y'know, I hate that trope in fantasy. Why does everything have to be thousands of years? Human beings have only had recorded history for five thousand years, and look what's happened to our technology in just the past two hundred. If you've had recorded history for that long, would you really still be heating your living room with an open fire in a metal grate?

This is where the music lets us know that Dad's proclamation is far off the mark. Ominous! And somewhat heavy-handed. Also, why do the older brothers/guys have short hair, but the kid needs a haircut badly?

Close-up of dead elk. GEE THANKS, DIRECTOR.

Quick dialogue. And in case you missed it the first time, another close-up of dead elk. OKAY I GOT THE POINT.

Next, close-up of dead dire wolf mommy. More shots of tense-looking guys standing around silently.

"Freak" seems awfully... colloquial. Not to mention in pausing I notice at least two expressions from some of the others: a slight smirk, and a near eye-roll. Is that characterization, or just not realizing the camera's caught you as well?

Holy crap, that guy's mutton chops are actually long enough to tie in a bow under his chin? If you want a chin warmer, grow a fricking beard!

Dad's just not seeming like a very likeable person. Interspersed with what I think is supposed to be hints at tension but just comes across as... I don't know. Not very informative, and it doesn't help that Sean Bean is the only one who can hold the camera with any charisma. Everyone else looks kinda lost.

Handing out of the puppies. More interfamily tension! Boy, I'd hate to be watching this if I had absolutely no clue of even the general plotline.

Random shot of overhead bridge. Uhm, why?

City establishing shot. Dead guy. Are those body parts in those jars? Must be. This show's definitely got a thing with body parts.

Chick onlooking. I think she's picking at her fingernails. Not to mention standing in a position that if it's really cold, would only make it worse -- leaning against, and leaning on, solid stone. Actress must have on silk long underwear or something. Or it's all CGI.

The guy playing the twin brother looks very... I don't know. Like he's one of those discount models you see in jeans ads for Sears and Walmart.

Random exposition dump! Zzzzzzz. Combined with disinterest in the characters, because their reaction shots look like they're hearing the story for the first time. Just not quite getting the right vibe, or maybe they're just not comfortable enough with the roles yet. Dunno. But the dialogue sure isn't happening.

And the guy still looks like Standard Hollywood Leading Man Number 72.

Oh, look, it's leftover set building from some Rennaisance Festival. At least they did manage to make the women's hems all dirty.

Well, at least the scissors resemble Viking scissors. Suitably Nordic, even if the world's map seriously reminds me of Great Britain.

More ominous music! With slight military tone. Also, long shot of what must be bushes but from this distance looks like green sheep. Hell, for that matter, I haven't seen a single sheep or cow. Wouldn't there be massive herds to feed a castle/holding of that size? Yes, there would, says I, not to mention who the hell wants the king to visit -- it could bankrupt you, and leave you starving because you had to slaughter every cow and sheep to feed the king in the manner he's accustomed to. Which clearly won't be a problem here, seeing how we have yet to see a single sheep or cow. Or even pig.

Still, several hundred people showing up to visit is my idea of a nightmare.

Nice segment with Bran climbing like a monkey. How convenient to have the rocks stuck out like that in the wall. Also, really stupid when it comes to castle design. So once we break through your gate, we don't even have to find the stairs -- we can just go right up the wall to your battlements! Yeah.

Actually, the kid playing Brandon... in another ten years, he'd be closer to Jon Snow in-my-head than any of the other guys I've seen so far. Who cast these people, anyway? It's really starting to feel like I'm looking at an army of seconds -- as in, not first-picked. Not bad, but hardly a first-pick. Or maybe it was just that LotR got so many of the good ones already.

If any of the puppies die, I'm out of here.

So little girl weaves through crowd to get up closer, as camera pulls away... and reveals 'crowd' is about ten people. She could've just gone around them. This feels like someone was trying to fake a Russian Stalin-era cast-of-millions but with only thirty extras. Or less.

Not to mention the spunky heroine thing so far has nothing unique or different to show me -- since it's relying on visuals instead of anyone's internal thoughts to flesh things out -- and thus, I am really bored. Spunky, skilled, spirited, otherwise-completely-ignored daughter. I got it already!

It's like someone took the generic medieval and went a little bonkers on it. "And then one that looks like a dog!" "And then one that looks like a boar!" "Also, an elephant!" "Shut up, James."

Oh, we finally get names, when the family lines up.

No idea who the blond kid on the horse might be, but a smirk like that says everything. Well, not everything. But it doesn't help that his features are a little... too regular. Anyway. Screams bad guy, or at least, kid up to no good.

Only good point so far in this scene is Sean Bean's momentary capture of his daughter-character and removing the helmet. He doesn't act like he's aware the camera's on him, posing for the camera or giving any meaningful looks -- but that's also why, as an actor, I really like him. Also, no head-shaking.

I can't recall what the book-king was like, but movie-king is clearly a king. He's short and fat.

More gender roles! Sheesh. Girls are pretty and boys are being asked to show their muscles. At least Spunky Girl has the right bored expression for this reaction shot.

Now that the king's introductions have finally told us who's who -- uhm, sort of -- we get the youngest giving us more exposition for who's who. And I gotta say, the Twins look like they've had just a little bit too much plastic surgery. Stretched awfullyt thin across the cheekbones. Give that woman a damn sandwich, someone.

Cripes, the Queen walks like she's used to heeled boots and jeans. And she holds her shoulders like she's used to modern bras. That's the kind of thing that creates a dissonance of anachronism, where there's nothing really one can put a finger on -- because we don't usually notice the way people walk. (I do, but only because I did historical reenactment and got educated on the ways people walked as a result of the garments they wore daily.)

Not to mention, I thought the Queen was supposed to be beautiful. Like, entrancing-beautiful. I don't know, like what's-her-face from LadyHawke (oh, yeah, now there's a serious now-obsolete reference.) Michelle Pfieffer, I think? Luminous, was the impression I recall from the stories. I mean, there's got to be a reason she's entranced so many men, right? Not to mention some kind of nobility, right? I dunno. Could be off. But I still think she could really use a sandwich. Or eight.

Scene between the King and Ned: best scene so far. Clearly actors who have, y'know, a clue how this acting thing works.

Except that this is followed up with marriage. Kids as pawns. Yay for high traditional fantasy. Now I'm remembering another reason I'm lukewarm on the genre.

Twin-brother, strolling along (with obligatory hand on obligatory sword-hilt, of course) -- I just figured out what's getting me about him. It's the haircut. It's layered. It's a standard modern men's cut, as opposed to the rougher kinds of cuts you'd see from crude shears. It's too... modern. Not to mention looking quite blow-dried.

Who's the actor playing Tyrion? He has a presence much like Sean Bean's. Or maybe it's just that the writers/adapters liked his character enough to give him lines that don't sound like regurgitated Shakespeare.

Another scene with the King & Ned. Full of portents! And you know this because of hte music.

Omg, bad bleach job. Like, really obvious bleach job. And a dress that's hanging on with a prayer and a really bad costume design. Who comes up with this crap?

And in walks an even worse bleach job. His hair's completely fried.

...Followed by creepy. The incest, it is all over the place. It didn't feel this overwhelming in the books, probably because it wasn't so much squeezed into one scene. If this were anime, I'd be shutting it down from the fanservice between the last scene and this one. I mean, not that I have a problem with T&A, but it needs to, y'know, have a reason for being there that's better than any other reason.

Clearly a different country. They're all wearing a different color. All the same color, but at least it's not gray-brown.

She's got to be freezing in that outfit. Except I barely notice it, being a little too absorbed by the bad bleach job.

Oh, look, a bunch of Conan extras.

Zzzzzz. The bleach-brother is too whiny to be of any interest. Not to mention the whole exposition thing layered on with woman-as-pawn and then slathered in a thick layer of bad Shakespeare. Not just exposition, but exposition that makes the girl out to be a complete moron! Not to mention in her place I'd have slit his throat a long time before now.

(I mean: "I'd let his whole tribe fuck you..." doesn't seem like a big price to me. Now, if he'd said he'd let the whole tribe fuck him then I'd know he really was willing to pay the price.)

Thing is, when a character is supposed to be reprehensible, the best ones are done by actors with charisma that makes you want to watch them, regardless. This is why Keaten and Ledger did such amazing turns as bad guys in the Batman movies -- because on their own, they already have such presence. The bad guys so far, in this show, have little to no presence, and fancy costumes and non-American accents don't really compensate -- so I'm left not really repulsed by the bad guys, so much as just bored with the posturing. And posturing is really just the outward fakery of being able to act, but without the inwardness of understanding the character.

The bad bleach jobs don't help.

Alright, the daughter needs to be smacked. Several times. And then given glasses, because the prince is possibly one of the uglier-looking actors. Or maybe that was just the smirk. (I thought in the book he seemed handsome, until his real character starts seeping through.)

These guys really don't know how you stand in these clothes. So many of the younger guys are slouching. They're walking the way adolescent girls walk when they don't want anyone to know they've started growing boobs -- that kind of slouch. You stand like that in a jacket cut like these, and you get that rise in the small of the back, and the ripples across the middle-chest in the front.

The guy playing Tyrion is one of those rare ones who can actually make another actor look good. It's almost making Jon Snow interesting. Now if only I could ignore the fact that the way Snow is slouching, and the fact he'd probably have major back pains by thirty from trying to swing a sword with that bad posture.

"Now we turn and walk away, because that's what it says in the script." I hate that kind of move.

More exposition! At least Tyrion is interesting enough to make the exposition worth it, and characterization along with it. Even if it does make Snow look like a moron. What is up with the exposition in this show? Does it always require making one character look like an idiot?

If the beheaded boy was a "true Ranger" then... I'm not impressed. I didn't actually see him do anything, y'know. Woodcraft, hello. Something. But I guess this is weasel-boy's ephitat, or whatever the word is. Regardless, I think this is supposed to be a combination of foreshadowing with a dash of exposition. Where's my fast-forward button?

Cripes. How long is this first episode, anyway? Don't tell me I have another hour of this.

Winter is coming. I think that's been repeated several times now. Guess we had to get the tagline in there, just so you'd be reminded. Or something.

The queen's hair... wow. They can't do seams, someone on the costume-design team is majorly obsessed with dresses that require wrapping around the neck and cross in front -- what the hell is this, an upside-down redux of the cross-your-heart bra? -- and apparently braiding is also a technology beyond them. I mean, it looks like a freaking snaked crawled up on her head and died. Plus she's got a side-part, another more-modern kind of stylistic element.

The queen's entire get-up screams "early 90s Ren Faire."

The red-headed daughter looks like someone braided her hair with a weedwhacker. I was about to snark about this being someone's idea of 'best dress up,' but then thought that instead maybe it's supposed to show us how backwards and ill-refined it is in the frozen tundra of the north! And stuff. Look, they can't even do braids! Like some of the most exquisite needlework and tapestries didn't come out of the Nordic areas and the upper stretches of Russia. I mean, what else do you have to do when it's snowing? Other than that, that is.

That's what it is! The blond prince is like a knock-off Draco.

Wow, have a scene with Sean Bean and suddenly it's obvious just how bad the other actor is. Or maybe I'm just stuck on the fact that the Twin-brother looks like he belongs in a Miami Vice wannabe.

Do these people never clean up their mantle? Some poor schmuck had to've spent hours dripping the wax just so. Bloody hell. How many different visuals are required to tell me they're backwards? Look! They don't even clean!

My god, the eyemakeup.

More close-up shots of bloody things!

First sign of people of color, and they're looking like ignorant half-dressed over-sexualized savages. Really not scoring any points here! Not to mention the fighting-over-one-woman to reenact sex. Major eyeroll. Is this supposed to contrast with the over-layered, highly tense and gender-stratified northern gathering? Could we do it without the superfluous T&A -- uhm, not to mention the guy playing what's-his-face (with the makeup) looks anglo, but with a tan. Unlike the random noisy drunken half-dressed savages.

Dragon's eggs! I'll never look at an artichoke the same way again.

Oh, holy crap, I didn't even realize this in the book (but I thought Denerys was a brunette or had black hair, like I can remember now) but that's just too much with her walking through a crowd of staring half-naked, dark-skinned savages. But it's okay! Because the guy she's marrying is clearly just a white guy dressed to look savage. With a tan. I think that's supposed to make it okay that they end up together.

Even if he does look like he stepped out of one of the later Conan movies.

Sheesh, is this this actress' first role? You want the part, you gotta strip. A lot. And get pawed. A lot.

Not to mention if your brother's been pawing at you, wouldn't you be kinda already innured -- in the sense of being able to shut down completely? I mean, abuse and all that, often leads to a kind of dullness/numbness. Her reactions here just don't make sense. (Not to mention, I could've sworn they were in a tent the first time. Like, y'know, civilized human beings. I mean, I got the impression the horse-people were a lot like Mongolians or maybe Bedouins, and that's not exactly Lord of the Flies -- those are two very intricate and developed cultures.)

And back to the North. Lots of fur. Amazing amount of wool, when you consider we've yet to see a single sheep.

The dialogue track with Tyrion remains the best, so far. I really do think the adapters just might find him the most interesting character, so wanted to show his best (or just most interesting) sides/qualities. Including the double-entendres, however crude.

"A loyal friend. A LOYAL friend." Repeated for the benefit of the cabbages in the audience.

Puppy. If the puppy dies, I'm outta here. SRSLY. I hate it when authors kill animals. I don't cry, but I do turn off completely, especially if there's any hint it's done solely for the sake of creating angst in the reader.

Oh, look! More rock-climbing outcrops on the outside of the turret. Do these people only defend the north against things that aren't capable of climbing, or lack opposable thumbs? "To the battlements! The sheep are attacking!" in which case, there's no danger by having stones turned ninety-degrees to their brethren in wall-building. Now, if he was climbing by using those arrow-slots as footholds, that might be different. But honestly, who thought fake rock-climbing widgets was a good idea?

And we end on that note, along with another heap of incest.

One thing that bugs me: from what I vaguely recall from the books, I got the impression that the twins might be incestuous, but they were actually a couple that also really did love/hate each other, if in a delicate balancing act. Equals at it, at the same time (unlike the faux-cest the show gave with the other set of siblings over in bleach-blond-land). But showing two people having sex doesn't necessarily indicate any kind of equality; in fact, it's more likely to imply dominance (especially the back-to-front position the show chose). Since visual here is supposed to be doing half the characterization, this visual fails because it's implying a quality or imbalance to their relationship that I don't recall being the case.

Or maybe I should say: if I'm misremembering, and the impression of dynamics are what I'm supposed to be getting, suddenly the couple just became a helluva lot less interesting. She's just a demanding two-timer who's still a pawn and/or not making any of the important decisions, and he's the pretty boy who runs the show. I mean, I could've sworn the issue was actually that Bran overheard something of major import, and not just that the twins were incestuous.

But anyway. Unless an actor shows up with some kind of chops more than Sean Bean, I might watch for Tyrion, but that's about it. The rest of them can go hang, and the characters who I recall as liking the best -- Denerys and her horse-tribe husband, and Jon Snow -- are too flat (where they're not stereotyped PoC nonsense, that is).

Maybe it's just that these flaws existed in the original, and it's only driven home when it's a visual that doesn't give you the option of revising it in your head to something less offensive... or boring.
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kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
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to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

October 2016

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