Monday, June 28, 2010

24 Season 1: 4AM-5AM Retro Review

Janet, Janet, Janet... I feel like they dropped you into the 24-verse out of an episode of "Three's Company." This whole night has been a terrible misunderstanding, I swear. Jack and Chrissy didn't mean to kidnap you and leave you for dead in the middle of a deserted road. Boy, aren't we all going to have a big laugh when Mr. Roper finds out! Wait-

As they wheel an unconscious Janet into surgery to repair her... everything, Jack is wheeling himself around the pre-dawn streets of L.A. in pursuit of the squad car carrying a terrorist with information. What's Jack going to do? He certainly wouldn't dare intrude upon the LAPD's jurisdiction and bust the terrorist loose for his own investigation-- of this I am certain!

Back at the hospital, doors burst open and through them stride Teri Bauer and Alan York, concerned parents and sweaty middle-aged folk. They run around yelling "Excuse me!" and "Hello!" as they breeze by a desk marked "Information." This is like watching someone run into a library and yelling "Knowledge! Where are you!" Dude, come on! Anyway, after getting no immediate help, our intrepid duo run into an area they're not allowed to be in and find Janet more hooked up than Tiger Woods at a strip club (zing!). Just at this moment Jack calls Teri and asks the very basic question "Where is Kim?" Teri starts babbling like a Gilmore Girl on a caffeine high and you can see Jack calculate ways he can return to being "separated" from this chick. A five minute long conversation ensues where Teri whines and Jack yells and then apologizes. Jack does this while he follows the squad car carrying the informative terrorist back to the police station (which I suppose is in Alaska given the time it's taking for them to get back to base).

And Kim is dumped in the back of Ira Gaines luxury sedan and our smoothest of criminals tells the Stoner Bros. that there's a change of plans! Ah, I love a bad guy who knows how to improvise. But seriously, a change of plans seems to be one of the most common tropes of this genre. It makes me wonder why bad guys even bother making plans. They're always changing them, what's the use? I want a scene where Ira Gaines' five-year old daughter is sitting at home with an uneaten birthday cake listening to her daddy's voicemail message saying "Hey kiddo, sorry you can't turn five today, there's been a change of plans." Asshole.

David Palmer is back in some zone of familial bliss as he's telling every woman within his line of sight to go to bed. But nobody's listening to him because the polls open in three hours! Oh, come on- go to bed, people! The show may be called 24 but I don't need 24 hrs of inane political banter. Sleep! Spare me this idle chit-chat for the 8AM hour. Oh and Sherry asks David to not remind their daughter that she was raped, even though the press is set to run with the story of how Palmer's son killed the rapist by pushing him out of a window. Sherry is mom of the year, people. She's always putting her kids first, always making sure that the family is a tight-knit unit. And she's always on her laptop, is she playing online poker or something? Multitasker!

Jack phones Nina to tell her he's planning to spring the terrorist out of the precinct. But like I predicted, he wants to do it the right way, through the bureaucracy. He asks Nina to get in touch with a completely fabricated TV named dude called "Ryan Sealy" at Division to give an override on custody. Man, Division is all sorts of powerful. I wonder if Division consists of white-haired men in robes, casting villains into The Phantom Zone. General Zod, you're going to Division, buddy. Anyway, Nina fills in a little subplot by telling Tony that Jack knows he's a snitch, and to remind the audience that Tony is mole suspect #1. Tony gives her Ryan's phone number and stares at her menacingly as she walks away. Tony, I've only known you for 4 episodes and I hate you. As we wait for those slow wheels of bureaucracy to turn, Jack does some vintage Bauer persuading (no, not torture, some very good reasoning and emotional pleading, folks) and convinces the shift sergeant to give Jack a couple of minutes with the suspect. And as Jack walks into the interrogation room, we see George "W.B." Mason trot into the precinct, accompanied by searing lead-out music.

On the other side of the Twilight Zone, the Stoners are cruising back to Casa de Gaines to get their money. The boys challenge one another with an erudite debate over the virtues of Hegel and Marx and the "Master/Slave" dialectic as applied to their present situation. Weed makes people so philosphical.

As this mind-bending stuff unfolds, George Mason has his own Aristotelian debate with Jack about who's the boss. George wins the rhetorical exchange and goes to interrogate the terrorist. Jack laughs (he literally laughs!) at George for taking control of the investigation.

Ira Gaines has his own wacky situation in the backseat of his Caddy. Kim tries to alert a lethargic motorist in a nearby car to her dilemma, and Ira has to throw Kimberly in the trunk to make the rest of their trip back to his crib less troublesome. Come on, Ira, you should have tossed her in the trunk in the first place. What was the upside of keeping Elisha Cuthbert within your sights on the drive home? Oh yeah, stupid question...

Back at the police station, Jack and the terrorist chat clandestinely about Kim and her plight. So, the terrorist can lead Jack to Kim, all he needs is to get sprung right out of custody. Well, if you can't get a lawyer to bail you out, the next best thing is Jack Bauer. Jack does a bit of goofy play-acting to get the dead cop's partner to let him back into the room, and then Jack insults the cop in order to get all three men on the floor in the holding room. They start hugging aggressively. I am drinking seltzer as I watch this. What else am I supposed to do? Amid the scuffle, the terrorist swipes the key card (another friggin' key card? This whole show is based on magnetized cards!) and once everyone leaves his holding room, so does the terrorist!

At the Hotel California, David calls the meddlesome reporter to talk things out, to see if maybe they can come to some agreement about obstructing justice concerning Palmer's son being a killer. They fail to find a happy medium between hiding the truth and telling it publicly. I predict in the future, a U.S. President will sell out his/her kid to maintain his/her office. And he/she, arrgh, SHE WILL RUIN HER LIFE DOING IT! Phew... there, I couldn't hold onto this "unfrozen caveman" conceit any longer. Sorry. Okay, back to being ignorant...

Jack expertly breaks out of the Police Station with the terrorist and they joyride around LA until they find Ira Gaines' car with a dead body in the trunk. Oh no, wasn't Kim in the trunk no less than 30 minutes ago? Jack is about to start rummaging through parts to make sure it isn't his little angel when George Mason rolls up on the scene. George's entourage takes the terrorist back into custody and Mason tells Jack "I'm taking you in, you loose cannon, I'm gettin' too old for this shit, I'm three days from retirement" blah blah blah. But then Jack pops the trunk and shows George the mutilated body. George accepts this trophy from Jack and decides to not take him into custody. What? Usually when a person is found with a cut up body in their possession they get cuffed and hauled off.  I guess George thinks this shit's kinda cool. Don't encourage Jack to cut off people's body parts, George. And definitely don't bring any hacksaws to the office, ya dig? Heh.

Gaines, meanwhile, is the owner of multiple cars, as he pulls up to his secluded abode and meets the Stoners to discuss the meaning of life and death. Apparently the Stoners are unaware of the difference between the two, particularly concerning the condition of one Janet York, who is not dead and is very much capable of talking to the police about her joyride of mayhem. Before the Stoners can tell Ira Gaines that Janet is a zombie, Gaines goes ahead and changes the plan yet again! He decides he's not going to pay the Stoners for their time, but that he's going to kill the really stoned one and "promote" the other, sensitive one. Gaines sincerely congratulates the undead Stoner for not being the one he chose to shoot. I don't know why, but I'd really like working for a guy that involved in his employees' emotional well-being. Ira, you deserve an Edible Arrangement for being boss of the year.

My thoughts: Overall, this the kind of episode I love. It's a noir-style piece of storytelling-- plots thicken, mind games are being played and those empty streets of L.A. are a cool backdrop to it all. This was a lean episode in terms of plot, even if 90% of Teri Bauer's scenes comprised of her freaking out about her flawed relationship with Kim, whom she assumes is dead. Teri is a disaster, I'm sorry. I never understood Jack's relationship with her, and I just want her to go away. I wonder if the writers feel the same way.  Otherwise, this was a truly enjoyable hour. Zombie Janet is set to eat brains in the next hour and Tony will probably continue glaring at the backs of people's heads with villainous disdain. I love this show.

78 comments:

Brian Pelts said...

Ira, Ira, Ira. EVERYONE knows the trunk is where you put duct-taped jailbait. Or at least, I do.

It's too bad Ira doesn't know how to Force-choke. Then he could have killed Stoner #1 with his mind, then turned to the other one and been all, "You are in command now, Admiral Stoner #2." Then Stoner #2 could just give a curt head nod to the handy body disposal team always stationed on the bridge in case of subordinate cock-ups.

It seems to me that everyone tends to stonewall Jack when he asks nicely for permission, then once he goes all el lobo solo and the bodies start piling up, then yeah, it's cool Jack, whatever you need. I should start trying that tact to get my ideas listened to at MY work.

Adam said...

Ah, yes- Stoner #2 is Captain Needa! How could I not have seen this Vader Human Resources model at work before?

And as for rewarding bad behavior, that seems to be the entire premise of 24. If you follow the rules, people will die... well, people die regardless, but a lot MORE people will die.

I also love how Jack sells the notion of saving "that black guy" by saying to George "We're gonna look really bad if we don't keep the black guy alive." And George is nodding along, thinking about how to cover his ass properly. I loved that scene.

Brian Pelts said...

As Mason pointed out in the first hour, Jack's learned how to play the game. Heh.

And no, Stoner #1 is Captain Needa. #2 is Lieutenant/Captain/Admiral/Regional Manager Piett.

Adam said...

That's right- Stoner #1 dropped in too close from hyperspace and alerted the Rebels of... what the heck are we talking about?

Long day, my friend. How are you?

Brian Pelts said...

I'm living in a temporal flux. I spend all day at work watching University of Oklahoma football from the 40's through 90's, then I come home to spend an evening in the RETRO-VERSE. I need Geordi to reverse the tachyon flow or something. How are you doing, Fearless Leader? And WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYONE? You finally get one of these retro-reviews up before midnight and they're all out in the Twilight line or something...

Adam said...

They'll show up, I have faith. They're probably busy watching the trailer to the new Harry Potter movie on an endless loop. Hey, Sacknicks, quit polishing your 3-D glasses and get back here!

I'm doing great, just trying to keep up with a very hectic schedule and then I get to do this weekly dip into the vortex. Speaking of TNG, maybe I should roll out some retro reviews of that show, or something else to augment the amount of content here. I have to admit, the only thing I'm watching on TV anymore is the Military History channel's unending shows on WWII. Talk about a tachyon dispersal field. Didn't old Jim Kirk fight the Nazis at some point too? Space Nazis... I hate these guys.

Spencer said...

"I predict in the future, a U.S. President will sell out his/her kid to maintain his/her office. And he/she, arrgh, SHE WILL RUIN HER LIFE DOING IT!"

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

And before that, this president will probably lose a son, which will cause her to talk like she's orgasiming for the rest of her life....

Spencer said...

@Adam-

Hey, you could always do some watch-and-review things on one of my series. I had to ask, since you were complaining about the lack of content here.

Brian Pelts said...

What are you people talking about? A lady President? It'll never happen.

Spencer said...

Allison Taylor: It WILL happen, DAMMIT!

Brian Pelts said...

I don't know who this person is.

Spencer said...

Allison Taylor: I AM GOING to be the PRESIDENT of the UNITED states. And WHEN that HAPPENS, I assure you, I will do EVERYTHING that's in my power to put you in jail for the REST of your life.

Adam said...

@Spencer- welcome home, buddy.

Taylor- wasn't that President Zachary Taylor? Didn't he die eating rotten cherries or something? Oy, I'm tired. I'm going to watch a little Pacific theater on Military History and then nod off. I'll be back in tomorrow!

Spencer said...

....What about my idea?

Spencer said...

Alright, alright, I won't push you with it. It just seems like it'd be a funny thing to do. I'm begining a minimates(lego people) series, and there's plenty of things that you could make fun of.

Dr. Alice said...

Harry Potter trailer... scary Voldemort with no nose... *ahem.* Where was I?

Oh, right. Another nice job, Adam. I really enjoyed the police station scene and Jack's interaction with the cops. All told, this is one of those episodes where the writers are cutting to different plot threads every three minutes. "MEANWHILE, on the other side of Los Angeles, -"

- Kim's in a trunk!
- The Palmer kid is going to be thrown to the journalistic wolves!
- Janet's in surgery!
- That nice, loving dad Alan York finally caught up to his daughter!

Etc. All of which is interesting but makes it difficult to find a central plot thread in this episode to focus on. I agree with you about the noir-ish feeling of this episode. The L.A. locations were actually used to decent advantage in this season, I thought.

singingdoll said...

"I predict in the future, a U.S. President will sell out his/her kid to maintain his/her office. And he/she, arrgh, SHE WILL RUIN HER LIFE DOING IT!"

to back away from retro-verse right now, wasn't there sort of more than one president/president-to-be who did this? and isn't that other one sort of... coming up this season? When you think about it, 24 is bookended by presidential figures selling out their families to preserve their honor (and paying the price, via divorce, broken families, etc.). just sayin'.

best metaphors of the review:
"find Janet more hooked up than Tiger Woods at a strip club (zing!)"
"Teri starts babbling like a Gilmore Girl on a caffeine high"

and according to my 8th grade history teacher (who actually was a brilliant, brilliant man), Zachary Taylor died after eating freezing-cold berries and cream after spending the day in ridiculously hot weather. the combo of hot and cold temps killed him. literally. according to the almighty wikipedia, the berries may have been rotten, as you say. so it's a tossup. :)

Brian Pelts said...

*sigh* Fine. I'll depart the Retro-Verse.

I think Palmer and Taylor differ in that Palmer never compromised, while Taylor's downfall was what drove the last part of Day 8. Or maybe I just like President Cerrano more than President Pun'kinhead.

Spencer said...

@Brain- I don't know, I like to think that he sorta wavered in Season 3, which is understandable.

BauerLuver said...

Will we ever have 2-hour specials on 24? Just thought I'd ask...bye the way, fabulous review. "More hooked than Tiger Woods in a strip club" and "Weed makes people philosophical"...I need to take a moment to die laughing, excuse me...

singingdoll said...

I agree that Palmer never went off the deep end quite the way Taylor did. But they made similar sacrifices for the office/for justice and their families suffered as a result.

*re-entering retro-verse*

Brian Pelts said...

I think given the total clusterfuck that was his immediate family, Palmer should be commended for not saying "fuck it" and liquidating the lot of them at Thanksgiving dinner.

BauerLuver said...

I feel sorry for Teri. All she really is is a concerned parent freaking out about her kid's stupidity, which really isn't her fault, though it comes off a little annoying to us.

Brittany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittany said...

* "Knowledge! Where are you!" - I actually DID chuckle out loud at this one.
* …starts babbling like a Gilmore Girl on a caffeine high... HEY. HEY. Let’s just get one thing straight. There’s nothing wrong with people who do this. If you don’t like THEM, then you don’t like ME. Truly. I kid you not.
* "Hey kiddo, sorry you can't turn five today, there's been a change of plans." Funny.
* Jack does some vintage Bauer persuading... Vintage? Really, vintage? As in four hours ago? ;)
* This whole show is based on magnetized cards! I know, right? Word. It’s the reason I was so atypically excited to get my first “key cards” at work.
* I guess George thinks this shit's kinda cool. He he. This is funny.
* And definitely don't bring any hacksaws to the office... HACKSAW! I’M GONNA NEED A HACKSAW!!! :) x a million
* Ira, you deserve an Edible Arrangement for being boss of the year. Dammit, why are you so funny.
* Teri is a disaster, I'm sorry. Ouch. You shut thy mouth. She may be...well...a little out of sync with the rest of the show’s characters, but she is really a good person. Jack loves her. I think. No yeah he does. So SHOVE it.
* Tony will probably continue glaring at the backs of people's heads with villainous disdain. Heee. But he does it so well. It’s classic. (P.S. the thought of him glaring whilst holding his beloved Cubs mug suddenly makes me very...nostalgic.)

Brittany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spencer said...

@Brittany- Sorry, I just want to endlessly make fun of the dramatic way she talks.

Cirroc said...

....Cirroc now MORE confused !!!!

....WHAT episode of '24' did Jack become a vampire???? :

http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-vampire-crash-txt,0,4980779.story

Spencer said...

@Cirroc- Without looking up the link, I'm going to take a guess that this is about The Lost Boys.

Dr. Alice said...

I'm going to mention here that George Mason became my favorite character of Season 1 (I finished watching it last week). I started to warm to him in this episode a bit, as I saw his ability to assess a situation and thought his judgement and management skills were a good balance to Jack's man of action. He's a little dry and sarcastic but that doesn't bother me. Any other George fans out there?

Brian Pelts said...

*raises hand*

Spencer said...

@Dr.Alice- I like the guy enough, but he's not my favorite. He does have the funniest line in the entire series.

BauerLuver said...

He's so human, and that's what I love about him. Very well played, too. Did you guys know that Xander Berkeley (George) ans Sarah Clarke (Nina) are married after they met on the show and have two kids?

Adam said...

@Doc- I'm a huge HUGE Mason fan- you're right on all accounts- brilliantly acted and such a flawed but heroic character.

Dietcoke said...

Okay, Adam. I think it's official. I love you. Anyone who was as annoyed at Teri as much as I was is my soul mate.

At this point in the story I hoped something seriously bad would happen to Teri and Jack could go back into the arms of Nina. Of course this is when we thought Nina was all manner of good.

I was convinced at this point that Kim was NOT Jack's daughter but the child of some mailman that Teri had a fling with. What else could explain her dumb blondeness?

Spencer said...

Well don't get me wrong, I like George. He's just not my favorite. I think I prefer Bill, but that's probably because he had much longer to grow on you.

Adam said...

@Molly- Your 8th grade teacher is right- I did a little Wiki research on Zachary Taylor and he had basically a violent gastroenteritis attack which his doctors apparently made worse with bleeding and other brutal medicine. There's a conspiracy theory that he was poisoned too, but we don't deal in theories here, so scoot, you lousy conspiracy mongers!

Also, thank you for your praise- I really appreciate it.

@Brittany- Can't quit TJS, eh? Good! Don't try to do it again! I'm here to torture you with comedy and to keep you on your toes with references to academic trivia. And Pelty is here to clean up the mess.

@Dietcoke- oh boy! Love! I'm taken, but thank you very much for giving me the ego boost. :)

@Spencer- If you can get Legos to reenact the high speed car chase from THE FRENCH CONNECTION, you got yourself a deal, bud.

@BauerLuver- a 2 hr special? Not a bad idea... not a bad idea at all! Also, I meant to say that it was your comment re: Mason that I was agreeing with 100%- I got caught up in the deluge of comments!

And thanks to you all for keeping the conversation going. To be honest, these retro-reviews are more fun than the "current" ones. I get to spend more time on them and you're all really game with your comments. Game on...

Spencer said...

@Adam- I don't know about that, but at some point in the next few days, if you could at least watch the first episode of a lego-ish action drama series that I'm finishing up tonight, that'd mean a lot. Then, you can decide if it's something you'd have an interest in making fun of and/or reviewing.

It won't be longer than 30 minutes.

Adam said...

@Spencer- I will definitely check it out. Post the link here when you're done.

Adam said...

Or if you would rather, email it to me, whichever you prefer.

Spencer said...

Posting the link seems easier for both of us. What I'm going to do is create a playlist, so you can just go from video to video, if that's cool.

Adam said...

Yeah, that works. Thanks for sharing your creativity here.

Spencer said...

Haha, no prob.

singingdoll said...

Adam,

When are we gonna make our 24 youtube project?

And when is Richard Walsh getting his damned postage stamp? lol


EXITING RETROVERSE... AGAIN

I too love George Mason, almost as much as I love Bill Buchanan. I think George is a more complex, interesting character... but Bill. You can't go wrong with Bill Buchanan.

RE-ENTERING RETROVERSE... AGAIN

Adam said...

@Molly- I haven't forgotten- it's been a *really* busy time in my non-24 world. I just started a fantastic job, but it has been extremely time and energy-consuming. Aside from my Monday retro-review viewings, I don't even watch TV! But things are finally settling down and I'll be able to get some free time. I'll PM you.

And as for Walsh... soon! :)

Spencer said...

@singingdoll- Thanks for speaking my mind about Walsh. That makes you the tough one of all of us.

I want to keep talking about GM and BB, but I just remembered, "Holy shit, we're not supposed to discuss this."

@Adam- You sound like you're busy as hell, and between watching an episode of 24 every Monday and writing a review of it, that probably eats a chunk of your time.

I think most people would agree with me if I say that we'd all be fine if you took more time between each episode, and I know it's a schedual, but you could always wait an extra day every now and then.

Adam said...

@Spencer- Well, I think the schedule is important to keep, for both you guys and also myself. If I get complacent, I may end up missing more than just a day or so, ya know? Unless something keeps me physically unable to sit down and watch the episodes and write about them, I'll keep the schedule going. I want to keep the blog going and with everyone commenting so much lately, I want to sustain that rapport too. You guys are awesome, and you're talking to one another, which is something I've always wanted to see happen. So, busy as I may be, I'm dedicated to keeping the site a reliable Monday night destination for the real 24 fans that are left out there.

Spencer said...

You better not make me cry, mother fucker.

Adam said...

Ah, so close! Cry! Dammit!

Spencer said...

Also, I have nothing against you waiting a few days if you want, but if you want a time, I can post the link here at 11:00.

Adam said...

Yeah, post the link and if I'm still awake, I'll watch it tonight.

Spencer said...

Adam, if you're still awake, I'm really sorry about not uploading the rest of the episode to youtube yet. My software's messing up(as always), and it's just taking me forever to get things done.

But be patient. The event of your life will come soon.

Spencer said...

Now, one of my discs has screwed up, and I have to re-film a lot of scenes. Dear-sweet-god, kill me.

Spencer said...

Man, I'm so sorry.

I'll try to have the vids uploaded as soon as I can.

Dietcoke said...

In season one Jack was a pretty ordinary guy... and I mean that in a good way. Jack was just having a really bad day and we can all relate to that.

Hubby and I were talking about how different Jack became in the final seasons. In the later seasons Jack becomes a super hero complete with Iron Man costume in season 8. Jack was far more interesting in the earlier seasons. Your reviews are reminding me of that.

Brittany said...

Did you guys know that Xander Berkeley (George) and Sarah Clarke (Nina) are married after they met on the show and have two kids?

*pops out of recovery long enough to say...* Holy freaking crap, that is adorable. Totally unexpected and weird, but adorable. *pop*

Spencer said...

Adam, if you're reading this, words cannot describe how sorry I am.

My discs have messed up, my software's messed up, I've been busy all day. But the videos will come tonight, I promise.

Brittany said...

Hola Spencer - I think I'm doing that "butting into other people's business" thing, but I just want to let you know that I don't think there's anything for you to feel sorry or worry about. :) I'm sure Adam will be content to check out your creative endeavours whenever they happen to come together. He sounds like a pretty busy guy himself, and I know he understands that life happens, so I wouldn't sweat it in the least.
:)
That being said, you're a very smart and creative kid - and holy shit, any of you Star Wars fans should check out what Spencer had to say about the franchise in last week's post. It was some seriously insightful stuff, even if you don't feel the same way.
Alright, I'll go away and stop being a mom now... ::grimace:: ...sorry about that, btw.

Spencer said...

@Brittant- Thanks very much. And you may like it yourself.

Adam said...

@Spencer- totally cool, don't worry about it. My day has been so crazy busy with work that I wouldn't have had time to give you feedback today anyway. I look forward to seeing your movies when they're good and ready. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere!

Spencer said...

Well, the episode's going to pull through, it just might end up being more parts than I intended.(That's the problem with me software- putting discs together.)

BigEasy said...

Dude, love it. It's been a while since I commented, but I'm loving the retro reviews. The whole "Knowledge! Where are you!" bit got me literally laughing out loud.

Love it!
Stephen

Spencer said...

Alright, here's the whole first episode, from part 1 to 4, to anyone who wants to watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Spencer24sony#grid/user/EA5070138781A17D

Spencer said...

Alright, this is episode one, from first video to last, to anyone who wants to watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Spencer24sony#grid/user/EA5070138781A17D

Spencer said...

Sorry for the double-posting.

Brittany said...

@Spencer - I checked out your link and watched the first episode (I am NOT joking when I say that I have a seriously low attention span); it was pretty neat. I was expecting faceless Lego dudes but apparently these little guys actually have faces & expressions nowadays! It looks like you have a pretty complex, well thought out storyline so far. An admirable undertaking.

Spencer said...

@Brittany- Thank you very much. And hey, the people who watched the STAR WARS prequels probably didn't have a low attention span, and look how those movies turned out.

Spencer said...

Also, thanks for your very nice advice on the previous review.

Brittany said...

Yeah, well, you know. Even I have my moments.

Spencer said...

That's the first true thing about yourself that you've said.

Spencer said...

So, how'd everyone's 4th of July go?

Brittany said...

I would've said 2 thumbs up for the lake, boat, steak, and fireworks; but I slept through the parade so grand total = 1.5 thumbs up. Hope yours was swell.

Spencer said...

Mine was the usual. All of my aunts and cousins got together at my grandmother's house. Fairly boring, but my mom bought one really big firework that everyone liked.

It would've been nice if the computer connected to the internet, but the best parts were playing hide and go seek and me walking around the neighborhood.

Adam said...

@Spencer- I've started to watch your movies- I'm sorry I haven't sat down to watch the whole thing all the way through yet. I promise to get to it later tonight. Stay tuned.

Adam said...

@Spencer- I've finally watched the videos, here are my overall thoughts:

You've got narrative down pretty good. Most characters have clear motives and they are distinct. Conflicts between the characters makes sense too- albeit through a cynical take on human nature. Everyone has a story, and that's a good basis for the overall plot.

From a technical side, this is very rough. I'm not holding it against you- but if you plan your shots more and do some more "professional" editing, the story will flow better. As it stands, you have a lot of dialogue that takes place within "wide shots" which can slow down the pace of things. Consider doing reverse angles when characters talk, and do more close-ups. Even though these are not animated faces, they take on their own life when you get up in their faces.

You made me laugh out loud with the line "Which basically means go fuck yourself"- well done.

Also, if you can, try to take these guys to different locations- it all feels like they're inside the same room. You had natural lighting in the beginning and then went to indoor light for most of the rest of the show. Try mixing that up a bit more.

But let me stress that the story is interesting. I get the characters and that's the key to it all. You've done well with your resources, keep it up.

Brittany said...

Alright (Spencer). I got through two more segments. I have some more thoughts, if you’re interested in serious critique in the earnest attempt to improve your art. If not, then tune me out. I’m NOT a video expert or critic, so these are amateur analyses. But when you’re dealing with me you get my honest opinion, not some sugar-coated version. Main suggestions from parts 2 & 3:

Voices: A couple of characters have distinct voices (Alex is slower with less pausing, he sounds weary; “Dairy” seems to have a unique personality and a voice that fits it); but in large part they all sound alike to me. It’s not only an issue of making the voice deeper, higher, or whispering. It’s about the cadence. There seems to be the same speech pattern – speed, pauses, inflections – for most of the characters’ voices. Which (aside from them being Legos) makes it harder for me to tell them apart.

Hearing understandability: For some reason I always have a hard time hearing the WORDS that people on TV are saying, and the same is true here. I’m not sure if a more level recording would help (not that this one is bad), or even captions? No, these are probably terrible suggestions to fix the general problem of “I missed some words and then couldn’t figure them out for the rest of the video.” I just kept thinking, “Craters? Craters? Like the holes that meteors make when they hit the ground? Or is this a new word for ‘Thugs’?” Of course, maybe it’s just me.

Visuals: Since the characters are Legos and therefore can only hold one’s eyes for so long, it would add interest to have a more visually detailed backdrop for the eyes to wander to during long dialogue scenes. I’m thinking pretty darned simple, but still more dynamic than a blank white or gray screen. Perhaps if you’re not an artist, you could pull up a fitting background scene on your computer and then prop the Lego dudes up in front of it. (On the other hand – maybe the screen would look AWFUL on camera. Test it out before wasting any further effort on that idea.)

So there you have the main suggestions that were running through my head as I watched these segments. I’m not proposing that you redo these scenes, necessarily; it sounds like you’ve already put a ton of effort into them as it is. BUT it also sounds like you’ve got grander aspirations than these four little clips, and in the interest of promoting THAT, I’ve included my serious observations as well as my general point that the story itself has got some good meat to it.

Question: Do you ever have anyone proof-read your “scripts” before you film them, to enhance the dialogue/plot BEFORE you go through the effort of filming it? And do you ever have “practice videos” where you record like two sample minutes of the project and then bounce THAT video off people, so any suggestions can be taken into account BEFORE you go through the work of filming the whole thing?

Just some things to think about. Feel good about what you’ve done, though. You’ve got something. Both project-wise and skill-wise. And (bonus!) you’re young, so you’re ahead of the curve and have plenty of time to get even better.
:)

Spencer said...

I certainly understand what you're saying. For one thing, and I hate to say this, but...I didn't write a script for this. I usually always write what I'm making, but this was an exception. Now before you start calling me Uwe Boll, let me point out that, let me at least say that what I plan to do for this series is think for a few days about what's going to happen, then film what's in my head and decide what to say. The good thing about every line not being 100% pre-written is that it might come out a little more real.

And for filming my computer, I don't see it working. It'd be great if it did, but the screen would look bad. (And besides, aren't my pretty grey walls in the background enough for you?) I plan on trying to take these guys outside more. Obviously, some people are gonna have to stick around at the agency, but I don't see why Alex can't kick some Crater-ass in my backyard for an episode or two.

For voices, I'm trying, Ringo, I'm trying real hard to be the sheppard. The main challenege that I focused on throughout making the episode was giving the characters, or most of them, different voices. But now that I've hopefully gottent that covered, I can give more attention to patterns and pauses. I did try to give Alex and Walton slower, wiser voices, while giving the president a more edgy voice. I can't do anything about Jamie, though. I don't voice her, my computer does. Sadly, my computer's not a laptop, so she's bound to the agency for now, lol.

Spencer said...

And by the way, you're not supposed to know what the Craters are yet. That's one of those "You'll have to watch the next episode." sorta things. You see, that's how you manipulate your audience. But the fact that you were thinking "Like the holes that meteors make when they hit the ground?" tells me that you're thinking EXACTLY what I want you to think.

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