A week in film – 2016, week 32

Another week, another series of mismatched viewing. My actual life has been a bit of a series of events tenuously connected by me for the past seven days and I’ve reflected that in everything I’ve watched, trying to calm down and relax by indulging every whim like I’m a spoilt toddler. It’s for this reason that I’m well on track for another ill-advised binge (to be fair, my first in ages), and I’m stubbornly resisting new things.

The one episode of Friday Night Lights I’ve watched this week wasn’t quite cutting it for me, so I decided to move away from teen angst into some solid, dependable, twentysomething angst. I’ve finally watched that episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where Skye gets her powers, for starters. I’m not sure why I felt the need to do this, particularly, other than realising that it’s now on NowTV and I could watch it, all from the comfort of my bed. This second midseason finale is actually not a bad episode – there’s some tense stuff going on, and Bobbi and Hunter get to have a bunch of scenes together (I miss those two). The final sequence with the obelisk/actual is pretty solid as well, and the death is SAD. I’m not sure it’s convinced me that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a good show, but it has reminded me that I enjoy it a lot.

Then I moved on to Arrow. God, I love Arrow. I know I shouldn’t. Objectively, the opening of the first series is pretty rubbish – the narration is overblown and often infuriating, and it is incredibly melodramatic. But the cast is charming (and I’ve only just got to the point where Felicity shows up, hooray!). I’m happy to see a bunch of characters I don’t get to see in later series Arrow, and I’m eagerly anticipating a bunch I do. Basically, I started watching it two days ago and I’m already five episodes deep. I have a full-time job. I have things to do. This is not sustainable.

It’s not just superhero shows, though. I have actually seen something new this week. Though I’m not overly surprised that I didn’t love Finding Dory. Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to. But, in a potentially shocking revelation, I’m not overly keen on Finding Nemo. There are bits of that original film I really like – the ocean landscape and the supporting characters for starters – but the main cast and the actual story never really did it for me. These aren’t characters I love like Mike and Sully, who I was sad to be slightly bored by in Monsters University. I feel like I may have slightly outraged people for saying that. The fact is, I watched Finding Nemo a lot as a kid and some of the goodwill has been lost – and it wasn’t earned back by this sequel. I’ve never found the need for it to exist, really – the first film, though not incredibly groundbreaking plot-wise, is at least concise. This isn’t to say that I didn’t find things to like about Finding Dory, because I know that I was never bored – I didn’t fidget, I didn’t look at my watch. But, aside from a couple of laughs (Idris Elba and Dominic West as sealions; most of the Bailey/Destiny scenes), some effective emotional beats towards the end, and some amazing visuals, it doesn’t feel like it ever really got off the ground. It seems odd to me that the preceding short, a beautiful little film about a baby bird learning to feed off the ocean, carried more charm and more memorable moments than the following feature. But that’s the way it is. Fans of the original might really like it, but for me it treads far too similar ground.

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