Entries tagged with “J.J. Abrams”.


In one of the episodes of the TV mini-series 11.22.63 developed for television by , co-produced by J.J. Abrams and based upon the novel by Stephen King, the main hero, and English teacher played by asks in class what would be the consequences of time travel, changing the past and thus influencing present and future. One of his students asks whether time travel in the question is based on electromagnetic field. The teacher tries to explain that it does not matter, and that the question is about the historical and moral consequences of our acts in the past, provided that we can do – somehow – the trip back in time. The student does not get it, the important aspect for his gadgets oriented mind (and maybe the minds of many of the kids in his generation) is about the technology.

When watching 11.22.63 one needs to avoid the kid’s way of thinking. This mini-series is not about technology and you get no explanation how the backdoor of an eatery in main hosts a gateway which when crossed you walk in a sunny day of the year 1960. You can return any time you want, just two minutes passed in 2016, although you can have spent minutes or years in the seventh decade of the 20th century. Each time you cross the gate, the effects of your previous actions are erased. You may have fallen in love, you may have killed somebody, you may have saved lives. It works only once, only the last trip counts.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2879552/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2879552/

 

English teacher Jake Epping aims high. He plans to do what probably many Americans who lived the period or know history would do if projected back to the 1960s – try to avoid the assassination of president Kennedy in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963 – the one event that is presumed to have changed the course of history to worse. It’s just that history is not linear, our guesses do not always fit the possible paths history takes or may take, and there will be surprises both on the way and the outcome of the imaginary actions taken to prevent the killing in Dallas. And then, one more important thing happens. Jake Epping will find love in the 60s, and this thread becomes as important in the balance of the story as the historical background.

 

(video source Hulu)

 

I did not read King’s novel, but I assume that much of the suspense in the series, as well as the questions the viewers are faced derive from the book. The final episode reserves some big surprises as well as a deep reflection on what is good and what is bad in history, what consequences small or big actions can have, what is important in life – the big scheme of things, or maybe the smaller personal feelings, provided that their are genuine and deep. The chemistry on screen between Franco and his sentimental interest played by add tremendously to the story. Maybe Franco is a little bit too likeable for the role, but I was satisfied with his acting performance overall. We do not learn new things about the JFK assassination, but we get an image of the 1960s which is built in credible details, better than in many other retro movies. Overall you may find ’11.22.63′ as good quality entertainment, just do not ask questions about the technology of time travel.

Una dintre slăbiciunile mele mărturisite este vizionarea serialelor ştiinţifico-fantastice. Oferta este foarte bogată, oferta de calitate este mult mai puţin numeroasă, cam ca în orice gen artistic. Şi totuşi, odată la câţiva ani apare câte un serial care mă face prizonier şi pe care îl urmăresc săptămână de săptămână, episod după episod, cu a cărui personaje devin familiar, ele încep să mă captiveze şi să mă absoarbă în universul lor. Aşa au fost acum aproape trei decenii aventurile spaţiale ale noilor generaţii din ‘Star Trek’ şi seria clasică a lui ‘V’ despre o invazie extra-terestră nu prea prietenoasă. Ele au fost urmate în anii 90 de ‘Dosarele X’ (‘X-Files’) poate cel mai bun serial al genului în care perechea de detectivi ai FBI-ului Fox Mulder şi Diana Scully care explorau fenomene paranormale şi aveau şi ei parte de întâlnirile lor de gradul trei au devenit subiect pentru nenumărate discuţii şi dispute cu prietenii şi internauţii pasionaţi. Serialul care pentru mine a dominat începutul de mileniu a fost ‘Lost’ care a evoluat de la o poveste de supravieţuire pe o insula izolată în mijlocul oceanului a naufragiaţilor unei catastrofe aeriene spre o confruntare de dimensiuni cosmologice care sfidează legile fizicii şi ale timpului. Cele două sezoane (2012, 2013) ale serialului suedez ‘Real Humans’ care abordează tema relaţiilor între omenire şi noua rasă a roboţilor creaţi după chipul şi asemănarea noastră reprezintă pentru mine un fel de punte de trecere spre ‘Westworld’ despre care scriu astăzi.

 

sursa imaginii http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/775687-meet-the-stray-in-photos-from-westworld-episode-3#/slide/1

sursa imaginii http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/775687-meet-the-stray-in-photos-from-westworld-episode-3#/slide/1

 

Apărut după câţiva ani de ‘seceta’ serialul ‘Westworld’ produs de compania americană de televiziune pe cablu HBO reprezintă candidatul cel mai serios la acapararea interesului meu pentru gen. În concepţia şi realizarea sa se întâlnesc câţiva dintre cei mai importanţi creatori ai genului. Ideea iniţială este inspirată de un film scris şi regizat de Michael Chrichton (1942 – 2008), unul dintre maeştrii science-fiction-ului contemporan. Este cunoscut în primul rând ca scriitor, dar multe dintre romanele sale au fost adaptatate pentru cinematografie şi activitiatea sa de scenarist include în jur de 40 de scenarii de film. Mai puţin cunoscută astăzi este activitatea lui de regizor, deşi a semnat regia a şase filme de lung metraj. ‘Westworld’ din 1973 care împreună cu urmarea (nu prea îmi vine să scriu ‘sechelă’ deşi poate că acesta este cuvântul) sa din 1976 ‘Futureworld’ au stat la baza ideii serialului actual a fost şi primul film din istoria celei de-a 7-a arte care a folosit grafică computerizată bi-dimensională numită în engleză computer-generated imagery (CGI). Între creatorii serialului se află şi prolificul producător (şi regizor, dar nu aici, nu până acum cel puţin) J.J. Abrams al cărui nume aproape că nu lipseşte în ultimul deceniu de pe genericul vreunei producţii importante a genului science-fiction pe micile şi marile ecrane, iar scenariul este creat (împreună cu Lisa Joy) de Jonathan Nolan, cel care alături de fratele său, regizorul Chrostopher Nolan a contribuit la concepţia unor filme ca ‘Memento’, ‘The Prestige’, seria ‘The Dark Knight’ şi ‘Interstellar’.

 

  sursa imaginii https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/nov/03/westworld-fan-theories-are-the-future-of-tv


sursa imaginii https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/nov/03/westworld-fan-theories-are-the-future-of-tv


La prima vedere ‘Westworld’ propune o idee care seamănă cu ‘Jurassic Park’ – un uriaş parc de distracţii ‘cu temă’ în care vizitatorii sunt invitaţi să trăiască pe viu senzaţii dintre cele mai diferite de experienţele de zi cu zi. Din primele minute ale primei serii spectatorii îşi vor da seama că ‘Westworld’ este poate un parc cu temă, dar unul în care consumatorii nu vor merge împreună cu familiile şi cu copiii. Este recreată aici într-un peisaj care aminteşte filmele lui Henry Ford lumea Vestului Sălbatic, populată de roboţi masculini care se angajează în dueluri de pistoale pe care le vor pierde întotdeauna în lupta cu clienţii parcului şi roboţi feminini care vor satisface orice dorinţa şi fantezie sexuală a plătitorilor biletelor de intrare. Roboţii antropomorfi (androizi) sunt dotaţi cu toate dispozitivele care emulează fiziologia umană, iar programele care îi pun în mişcare includ emoţii specific omeneşti, cu o singură limitare – memoria lor este programată să fie ştearsă şi permanent regenerată, în fiecare dimineaţă soarele răsare pe un cer senin şi sunt reluate scenariile şi biografiile fiecăruia dintre roboţi. Peste noapte echipele de întreţinere refac daunele fiziologice ale duelurilor de pistoale sau luptelor cu topoarele indienilor în care roboţii au fost ucişi în ziua trecută sau traumele psihologice ale capriciilor sexuale la care au fost supuse roboţii femei. Asta, desigur, până când programele încep să funcţioneze prost, şi memoriile nu mai sunt perfect şterse de la o zi la alta.

 

sursa imaginii http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20161020-would-sex-with-a-robot-be-infidelity

sursa imaginii http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20161020-would-sex-with-a-robot-be-infidelity

 

Malfunctionarea (sau în termeni de specialitate ‘bug’-urile) programelor care îi animă pe androizi este una dintre temele preferate ale sub-genului ştiinţifico-fantastic care se ocupă de relaţiile între roboţi şi oameni în viitorul apropriat. Este interesant de examinat însă perspectiva din care sunt abordate aceste probleme de programare. Paralela cu serialul suedez ‘Real Humans’ se impune. Ca şi în creaţia scandinavilor, o greşeală de programare sau poate o porţiune de cod introdusă în mod intenţionat în istoria programului şi ascunsă până la un anumit moment dau roboţilor androizi capabilităţi care erau până atunci categorisite între acele trăsături care îi diferenţiază pe roboţi de oameni. Ele se încadrează în două grupuri – ştergerea imperfectă a memoriei care permite roboţilor să recupereze – fie şi fragmentar – experienţele trecute, sau chiar să urce firul istoriei personale până la momentul genezei; şi capacităţile emoţionale care le acordă independenţa sentimentelor dincolo de scenariile programate a priori. În aceste condiţii apar premizele conflictului între speciile androizilor şi ale oamenilor.

 

sursa imaginii https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/oct/31/westworld-hbo-villains-ai-robots

sursa imaginii https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/oct/31/westworld-hbo-villains-ai-robots

 

Tehnologiile prezentate în ‘Westworld’ sunt extensii ale elementelor de inteligenţă artificială pe care le-am trecut în revistă în articole precedente ale rubricii CHANGE.WORLD. Vor trece poate 10, 20 sau 50 de ani până când sinteza ţesuturilor organice va reproduce într-un fel atât de perfect materia vie a corpului omenesc, şi programele de control autonom al androizilor vor fi atât de perfecţionate încât diferenţele dintre roboţi şi oameni vor fi imperceptibile, dar aceasta se va întâmpla probabil în decursul secolului în care trăim. Deasupra Lumii Vestului din serial tronează un centru de comandă , de întreţinere şi de reparaţii în care sunt create permanent noi biografii, personalităţi şi personaje care populează universul artificial al parcului de distracţii, sunt aduşi pentru reparaţii şi recuperare roboţii care au suferit răni sau traume în cursul unei zile, pentru a fi repuşi în funcţiune şi a juca rolurile de sclavi obedienţi în ziua următoare. Un fel de pupitru de comandă permite savanţilor şi tehnicienilor să controleze lumea roboţilor, într-o relaţie care aminteşte uneori raporturile de forţe între Olimpul zeilor şi lumea pământenilor, şi alte ori între stăpâni şi sclavi în lumile trecute în care destinul unei părţi din omenire era la cheremul alteia. Dincolo de aspectul de divertisment, ‘Westworld’ pune întrebări despre raporturile sociale dintre oameni şi androizi (sunt ele raporturi stăpâni – sclavi, sau poate Creator – omenire?), şi dilemele morale ale ‘consumatorilor’ (sunt posibile relaţiile emoţionale între speciile umane şi androizi? ce semnificaţie morală au relaţiile cu androizi atât de apropiaţi de chipul şi asemănarea oamenilor?). La aceasta se adaugă întrebarea recurentă în literatură legată de roboţi încă de la prima carte a genului (piesa de teatru ‘R.U.R’ a lui Karel Čapek din 1920) – este conflictul dintre oameni şi roboţi inevitabil?

 

  sursa imaginii https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/sep/14/westworld-first-look-review-move-over-game-of-thrones-its-cowboy-time


sursa imaginii https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/sep/14/westworld-first-look-review-move-over-game-of-thrones-its-cowboy-time

 

Pe măsură ce acţiunea avansează (am văzut până acum opt din cele zece episoade ale primului sezon al serialului) lumea lui ‘Westworld’ devine din ce în ce mai complexă, întrebările se înmulţesc, dilemele devin şi mai acute. Câteva dintre personaje mi-au devenit nu numai familiare, dar au început să-mi populeze universul sau poate eu am devenit parte din universul lor. Serialul beneficiază de interpretarea câtorva dintre actorii cunoscuţi ai cinematografiei mondiale. Anthony Hopkins este doctorul Robert Ford, creierul care a conceput această lume, Creatorul care da naştere noilor personaje şi manipulează vieţile şi destinele androizilor deja aflaţi în acţiune. Asistentul sau este Bernard Lowe (interpretat de Jeffrey Wright) care se confruntă cu o drama personală şi o criză de identitate. Ed Harris este Omul în Negru – personaj malefic şi unul dintre ‘consumatorii’ din Westworld. Două personaje feminine – androizii (androidele?) Dolores (ingenua actriţa Evan Rachel Wood) şi Maevie (excepţionala Thandie Newton) – produc un contrapunct emoţional şi ambele – deşi foarte diferite – se angajează într-un proces de descoperire a propriilor identităţi. Idealurile feministe capătă o dimensiune suplimentară, este vorba despre conflictul de autoritate şi relaţii sociale al femeilor secolului 19 combinat cu relaţia de subordonare între roboţi şi oameni.

Nu totul este clar în acţiunea acestui serial, în mod sigur nu până la episodul pe care l-am vizionat. Se pregătesc deja suprize, răstunari, evoluţii. Au fost puse şi vor mai fi puse întrebări acute despre evoluţia tehnologiei, despre pericolele perfecţionării inteligenţei artificiale în carcase atât de asemănătoare fiiintelor umane, şi cu o viaţă emoţională care emulează până la identificare şi pierderea propriilor identităţi comportamentul fiinţelor umane.

‘Westworld’ ne rezervă, sunt sigur multe surprize. ‘Westworld’ este o oglindă a lumii în care trăim.

 

(articolul a aparut in revista culturala Literatura de Azi – http://www.literaturadeazi.ro/ )

It takes time to build mythology. The original Star Trek was a TV show that ran for years and was followed by next and other generations of space-ships, commanders and crews, some of them memorable, other easier to forget. The latest generation on the big screen debuted in 2009 and are now at their third adventure and movie together. The one big achievement of ‘Star Trek Beyond‘ may be the fact that the team is now coming together, the characters have slowly won the hearts and minds of the fans, and if they did not erase the memories of the members of the old crew (mission impossible!) they have become at least compatible with them and have now a life of their own.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2660888/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2660888/

 

Screen direction for this 3rd series is trusted in the hands of Taiwanese director  of ‘Fast and Furious’ glory. As one may expect there is a lot of action, speedy editing, special effects which to a large extent are different than the ones in other Star Trek films. As many critics and viewers noticed since the previous installments, Star Trek and Star Wars starts to converge to something that is less specific to the worlds that each of the movie comes from and is closer to the Hollywood big action movies of the 21st century. Do I like this trend? Not really, but I cannot but admire the art direction and set decoration. The cities of the future will be fantastic if they will look like in this film, these are no orthogonal worlds, there are no right angles, but a number of dimensions that largely exceeds the commonly accepted figure of three. It’s a cheap bet that some Academy Awards are around the corner for the technical categories.

(I had some problems with the 3D projection though, especially in the lower-lit scenes. I cannot comment if this was because of the film or of the conditions in the theater we saw the movie).

 

(video source Paramount Pictures)

 

What about the story? Characters development? Some new and original villains we can cheer and feel sorry at the same tine after the final fists fight? None of these happen in too large amounts in this movie, it’s only the cliche that seems to gin ground, although the film enjoys some acceptable acting from , , and . The connection between the new frontiers explored by J.J. Abrams and the good old world that was imagined by Gene Roddenberry is pretty casual. There is some retro-technology as the heroes use an older model of the Federation space-ships to flee a planet the Enterprise crushed on, and there are some memories of the new Spock for his father who does not appear but in photographs (the late Leonard Nimoy).

The difference between my generation of fans and the fans of today (some are our grandchildren) is the almost infinite number of options the younger folks are exposed to. Yes, there is some evolution, coalescence, more consistency in the characters of the latest film in the series. The question is whether this does not come too late.

 

Am I the only one believing that the peak of the career of J.J. Abrams as director and producer was (up to now at least) ‘Lost‘ – the captivating series which dominated the TV screens in the second half of the previous decade? A couple of things are obvious beyond any doubt. Abrams is a passionate of science-fiction, and he has Gargantuan ambitions as he tries to make his mark on many of the major brands of the genre (and some of its action spins) from the MI series, then in Star Trek ( with the 2013 Star Trek Into Darkness) and now with the film that starts the last series in the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies – Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He did not convince me yet on the big screen that he is the same original thrilling creator that made of ‘Lost’ the series that made people change their weekly schedules even in the era of Internet availability of everything, but he certainly succeeded commercially and this film is ‘in danger’ of becoming the best cash machine in the history of the movies industry, displacing another film which was not IMO a masterpiece either – James Cameron‘s ‘Avatar‘.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2488496/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2488496/

 

It’s fun to watch the reactions as well. The enthusiastic fans who rushed to see the movie in the first hours after its premiere or in the first weekend the latest granted it a 8.8 average grade on IMDB. It will go down and I doubt that it will stay in the Top 250 (it’s now in the 22nd place). Some other mourn the new series and its success and prompt it as an example of the decay of the 7th art into an industry of mass consumption. The reality is IMO someplace in the middle.  ‘Star Wars’ belongs before all to the fairy tales cycle. Even the science-fiction and action labels apply only second, and you can enjoy them fully as a viewer only if you accept the fact that you are watching a film with emperors and princesses, with monsters and talking toys and animals who happily live, fight, love and die together. Seen from this perspective ‘The Force Awakens’ is a continuation of the series created by George Lucas , re-using and expanding its mythology, bringing back characters that we knew at younger ages, quoting from the precedent series. Its line of action is not very original and different from the one in the other series, but the demarcation between good and bad is the same, with the ambiguity of the two facets of the Force still being the principal philosophical line along which all the laser swords are fought and space-ships chase are run. As this is the first series in more than two decades that advances in time we are introduced to the new generation of Star Warriors which I guess will become dominant and will fight the final battles in the two series that are expected to premiere in 2017 and 2019.

 

(video source moviemaniacsDE)

 

J.J. Abrams has done a more than decent work, quite respectful towards the original series, especially the first films. There are no spectacular innovations in this film, the graphics and the visual feeling is very similar to the first movies. Some of the characters return and seeing again and is a true delight filled with melancholia. The new generation offers some interesting acting proposals, with on the side of Good as a Hunger Games-like young lead (who I suspect has some royal blood – to be discovered in the coming installments, the original ones had a similar secret), and playing the lead role on the dark side. There is a new robot in town as well, his name is BB-8, and an interesting future waits for him as for his human colleagues. Even R2-D2 makes a come back, and so does the Furry One. The ‘new blood’ and the action pace that can satisfy even fans of ‘Fast and Furious’ are good reasons to like this film. Again, however, the entry condition is to accept the convention. If you do not like the genre, it’s not ‘The Force Awakens’ that will convince you to become a fan.

As everybody is bracing for the second series of the new Star Trek series, I realized this is the right moment to see the first episode which somehow I missed a few years ago. I am a fan of the Star Trek TV series and movies, so there were little chances for me not to like this film. The passing of the torch from Gene Roddenberry who created the original series to J.J. Abrams makes a lot of sense to me, as I see in Abrams the successor of Roddenberry in creating science-fiction which keeps the right balance between science and fiction while adding human and in the best moments philosophical meanings to the action on screen, with an universal message that while the Universe may be infinite and the borders of knowledge just expect to be pushed further and further, the basic values that govern this Universe are the same, whatever form they wear.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0796366/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0796366/

 

The story in this first series of Star Trek is a prequel to where the original series started in the 60s. Same as George Lucas did with Star Wars, we are being brought to an earlier phase of the conflict between the Federation and the Romulans, and we get to know all the familiar characters of the original series at an earlier age. Rigorous science was never the strong point of Star Trek, one accepts the conventions in order to enjoy the show, so the space travel as well as hint of alternate universes Abrams likes is used here as well, and it’s not necessary to analyze it too closely to find some flaws. What counts is however the way the young actors build their characters and how they drive them towards becoming what we know that they will be in the series that began back in the 60s. The effects around are pretty standard for the space wars kind of movies, and the old tricks like the ‘transporter’ have kind of a ‘retro’ look. Here lies actually part of the charm of this film, and this balances to some extent the ‘teens on space ships’ moments, or even the ‘intergalactic sex’ scene (yes, there is one, not too explicit, do not worry).

 

(video source muiemanelistilor)

 

The presence of Leonard Nimoy as old Mr. Spock living thanks to some time travel tricks to meet his young self played by Zachary Quinto ensures continuity and connects well with the older TV series. Young captain Kirk is played by Chris Pine and I probably need to wait for the next series to see how he evolves into the character of Kirk as I remember him. A few good actors I know from TV series (Karl Urban, John Cho) add good supporting acting to the cast. Reasonable action combines well with nostalgia, but this combustible is already burnt out completely in the first episode. I hope that the coming series will find something new and interesting that speaks not only to the captive audiences like myself but also to the broader ones who were less exposed to large doses of the older Star Trek series and movies.

 

 

I do not have too much time for TV series, so I watch less than a handful of them each season. J.J.Abrams is one of the producers I follow and I try not to miss the series created by him. For most of the time I was captivated by Lost, and I was disappointed when Alcatraz was discontinued. Now another one comes to its end, and although Fringe was far from Abrams’ best, it had enough reasons for me to follow it weekly during all its five seasons.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1119644/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1119644/

 

 

I am wondering whether how J.J. Abrams conceives his series. Lost started like a fictional version of reality show Survivor, to slide soon into science-fiction and then expand into cosmological saga, and this is where it started to lose me. Did J.J. plan this from start? To some extent Fringe followed a similar path. It started as a science-fiction and strange events investigation series, it included even political and anti-corporate messages which got lost in time, and many compared it with X-Files. I personally would have considered this the supreme praise, as X-Files is my preferred TV series of all times. It certainly had its oddities, and its funny science, but this was to some point an element of charm. In the second and third season the science fiction threads became more complex, with the alternate worlds and the communication between them succeeding to keep my interest awake. The romantic thread started or was predictable from the beginning, and it only became more complex in time with the addition of the different instances of the characters in other universes. With time travel an ubiquitous technology the last two seasons projected us in the future, and the salvation of mankind became again the goal of the action. Here I got against lost. Beyond the lack of credibility of the story, the thought that characters I became familiar and resonate with have to save mankind makes me slightly uncomfortable.

 

(video source Jack Smith)

 

There are however many good reason I loved and watched this show for five years. First of all the retro atmosphere was fun and I could resonate with. Semi-crazy scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) exits after almost two decades spent in a mental institution at the beginning of the series, and his retro leanings cover not only science, but also candies and ‘substances’, and the music and the feelings of my younger years. The relation between Walter and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) is one of the most amazing relationships father-son that I have seen on screen or read in literature ever. The love story between Peter and Olivia (Anna Torv) builds slowly but convincingly, and makes us resonate with them. A few more characters around are well constructed, and even the ‘invaders’ have a dimension of their own (I cannot call it human, can I?). Overall the characters are much better than the stories which are pretty routine action, and the simplicity and straightness of the relations between them balances the pomposity and sometimes the over-morality of the action. It’s one of these shows where I would rather remember the small details than the big picture.

I sat to watch Super 8 with the expectation of seeing  the science-fiction / fantasy film of the year. The director is after all J.J. Abrams, the director of the last Star Trek and the producer of my previous favorite science-fiction series Lost and of my current favorite Fringe.  No other than Steven Spielberg is the producer and rumors have that he had quite an active part in this production. And yet I was disappointed.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1650062/

 

Super 8 has a very spielbergian look, colors and cinematography-like. It is set in 1979, at the same period when Spielberg’s great science-fiction films were made. Kids are in the center of the action, and Spielberg likes and knows to make movies and maybe understands better kids than women for example. The first 15-20 minutes when we get to know the heroes are pure fun, as a gang of kids get together to make a film, kind of an homage to the films noirs of the 40s – all is fine as in a good Spielberg film. But, hey, wait a moment, this is a J.J. Abrams film, isn’t it? And actually trouble starts exactly when the aliens and the rest of the grown-ups world interfere. I mean trouble for the heroes, but also or merely for the film.

 

(video source movingpicturesnet)

 

Here is the problem of this film as I see it. There are too many Spielberg ideas here, and too little of J.J. Abrams. It looks like the master threw a basket of ideas, many ideas, good ideas, and the apprentice did not really succeed in putting them together in a convincing one story line. There are too many quotes in this film, from Humphrey Bogart passing through the special effects a la 50s and reaching to E.T. Many pieces of magic, a few scenes to remember, but here I am a few weeks after I saw the film and I cannot remember well the story line, which means that it did not really matter. Many people will like the film, and I also liked the passion for cinema and for alien encounters, but the overall impression is of a collection of beautiful scenes wrapped in a conventional and unconvincing story. A miss, maybe a miss to remember, but still a miss.

 

With its third season ‘Fringe’ became my uncontested preference out of the TV series choices currently offered on the not-so-small-any-longer screens. Sure, one may say that the offer is not great at this moment in time, but I need to say that Fringe does get better and better. What started like a series of investigations on scientific, retro-scientific and most often para-scientific subjects, with a triangle of heroes (father – son – platonic girlfriend) certainly too naive and too ingenuous to be true, but unfit enough to the real world in order to solve unreal mysteries developed gradually into something completely different.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1119644/

 

Comparing ‘Fringe’ with ‘The X-Files’ is one of the preferred games for critics, fans and haters. It may actually be a fact that many of the followers of Fringe are recruited from the audiences that were following agents Mulder and Scully 15 years ago, and that the relation between Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham almost plagiarizes the sexual tension between the other FBI guy and girl. But then the universe or better say the universes where the two series happen differ radically. I believe that ‘Fringe’ owns much more to the creator of the series J.J.Abrams and it resembles more and more to his huge success ‘Lost’ although frankly speaking it did not yet reach the depth of the ocean around that island. The third season gathers and provides logic to many of the facts prepared in the first two seasons, with its story of two parallel universes which are doomed to clash because the rules of separation were at some point in time broken. It also blurs the good vs. bad system of reference, providing an ambiguity which is not deprived of a certain sense of humor. Not only is the clash of the Universes originating in actions performed by one genius scientist on this side, but also the other side politics where the Towers never fell and the Kennedy’s are presidents cannot be that bad, not to speak about the fact that the FBI was dismantled and Fringe police is the one that took its place.

 

(video source ZonaFringe)

 

For a TV series (or a film, or a book), even for a science-fiction or fantastic one, in order to be really good it must have a human dimension that the viewers or readers can identify with. To its credit, this never lacked in ‘Fringe’. When emotions are let to run the show it gets much better than when moralistic or mystic explanations are called in help. One of the best episodes of the season involves a couple of old people who have lost each of them the other in the alternate universes. He appears to her and she appears to him as ghosts, and never did a ghost stories seemed so true and so moving to me. The relation between Walter and Peter Bishop goes through the ups and downs that any relation between father and son can go for almost two seasons, to be amplified and to receive a very different perspective in the third one. Supporting characters around have each their own stories (sometimes more than one as we have the characters in this universe (‘ours’) the ones in the parallel one). One memorable such character is Phillip Broyles, acted by Lance Reddick which was also wonderful in ‘The Wire’ also in the role of the big-heart chief of the police unit. John Noble, Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv are playing the main roles in the triangle around which the whole series is being built.

 

(video source FRINGEPROMOS)

 

Can it get better? I certainly hope so. We have again a disppearance to solve in season 4, and another central character to bring back. There are certainly many science, retro-science and especially para-science mysteries waiting to be brought into light. Dr. Walter Bishop did not probably run dry on the tool-set of tricks of the 70s, and certainly not on the nostalgia or appetite for candies. The Watchers will certainly continue to play a role in making sure that the equilibrium of the universes is being preserved. And beyond all I hope that the moments of real human emotion will not be missing.