Friday, 29 January 2010

DOCTOR WHO hates my dad

Much has been made of the homosexual agenda that some people have suggested runs under the reinvention of the universe's favourite Time Lord under Russell T Davies, but there is a more insidious plot going on here - to undermine fathers. Call Fathers for Justice and have red powder thrown at the show's creators.

The evidence?

Rose's dad is a loser and a coward and, though he saves her in the end it's only after he's been shown time and again to let her down (see Father's Day)

'Are you my mummy?' asks the Empty Child, but he isn't asking for his daddy and why? Because the blighter's gone and done a runner.

The Idiot's Lantern features an abusive father, who is so bad he has to be sent packing in the end.

And I don't know why we have to 'Fear Her' in the episode of that name because it's the (again absent) father who turns out to be a monster to be feared.

Where is Donna's father? We see her mum and her Grandad, but her father? Nope, not a sign. Clearly another absentee pater.

Then there's 'The Doctor's Daughter' in which the Doctor gets a surrogate child and immediately disowns her and won't have anything to do with her. Good parenting image that one.

'The Next Doctor', well he just manages to forget that he has a son that needs rescuing. That's the kind of thing that slips the minds of all dads at one time of crisis or another.

But it's not just restricted to the main series either. In THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, Sarah is bringing up Luke without a dad (admittedly through a technicality) and Clyde's father is shown to be a right selfish git who is also absent. Maria and Rani both have non-absent fathers, but they are shown to be a bit rubbish and pompous.

And Captain Jack Harkness, what kind of a Dad is he, going around killing his own grandson in CHILDREN OF EARTH.

So, the next time that you want to go on about supposed gay subtexts in DOCTOR WHO spare a thought to the real victims of this show - fathers.

AVATAR biggest money grabber ever

James Cameron's AVATAR has lumbered past the impressive box office record held by TITANIC (made of course by James Cameron). It's no wonder that studios keep entrusting this man with more money than was lost by Icelandic banks to make his pet projects because his huge budgets bring in huge receipts.

But is AVATAR really a film?

Sounds like a silly question since it's showing in cinemas all over the world, but bear with me.

Films are about narrative, about character, about plot development and emotional involvement. AVATAR is about pretty pictures. HUGE pretty pictures...and in 3D. Watch in awe as cartoon creatures sweep over huge landscape paintings. Wonder as mountains float in the sky. Gasp at the beauty of a tree hundreds of feet high releasing its seeds. Fantastic images all, but do they add up to a movie.

The characters in AVATAR are cyphers, barely deep enough to be called characters. The plot is back of a postage stamp stuff and nobody develops at all. If it's a film then it's a bad one.

So how come it's made more money than the Mint?

AVATAR isn't a film it's a spectacle. It's intent is not to tell a compelling story, but rather to use what minimal story it can be bothered to come up with as an excuse to create those compelling, startling and wonderful images. It's no surprise that AVATAR is available in 3D and on the IMAX system because it is here that those images will have the greatest impact be they aerial journeys, mystical moments of giant machines blowing the hell out of everything in sight in an orgy of mechanistic (but nonsensical) violence.

The problem here is that success talks and AVATAR will make Hollywood think that throwing enough special effects at the screen is all you need to do make a great sci fi movie and that means we'll get more films from the likes of Michael Bay where eye-candy takes the place of mind candy and we really don't need more of that. Our only hope is the fact that the same year brought us the mind-blowingly brilliant MOON (infinitely better on 1% of the budget) and the entertaining DISTRICT 9 both of which acheived more with less.

So well done to AVATAR for making so much money in the middle of a global financial meltdown, but we just hope that the cost hasn't been too high and the damage too deep.

Vampires are the new black

Once upon a time the vampire was the forgotten man of the horror genre, but right now you can't walk into a multiplex or switch on a TV without falling over the blighters with the pointy canines.

The latest evidence of this hits TV in the shape of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES on ITV2, but it's hot on the heels of DAYBREAKERS at the UK cinema and in recent months there's been the oversexed TRUE BLOOD, MOONLIGHT AND BLOOD TIES. And that's without mentioning BLADE THE SERIES (which we don't like to do because people might try and watch it).

The blame for all this can be laid at the door of the impossibly successful TWILIGHT books, but that's not going back far enough because they are just part of a cycle that has been going on right back to Bram Stoker's gothic horror novel.

The thing is that girls love vampires. And we're not just talking about in the books and films either. Stoker gave his Dracula an irresistible sexual attraction that has filtered down through almost every vampire movie that didn't use the NOSFERATU template, but in recent years the vampire has become a tragic, lonely figure to be loved and cared for. This could be as a result of the love story between Buffy and Angelus in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (and ANGEL). Nobody thought that the romance between a young teenage girl and a man a couple of hundred years old was a bit icky there! Did TWILIGHT author Stephenie Meyer ever see that whilst the novels were congealing in her mind?

Look around you now and there's no end of 'good' vampires who are tragic figures just looking for a good (and preferably teenage - old habits die hard) woman to put them right. Bill in TRUE BLOOD doesn't drink blood, Mick in MOONLIGHT loves a reporter he first saved as a child (Freud would have a field day with that one) and Henry Fitzroy from BLOOD TIES only bites those who want him to (and he's royal too).

The shelves of the local Waterstones are overflowing with the literary works of a newly burgeoning 'gothic romance' genre that is completely dependent on young girls wanting to be the misunderstood thing that can save the lonely monster by doing nothing more than understanding him.

Dracula would be spinning in his undead grave.