Bringing up the rear...my pennies worth on the mini. SPOILER

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Bringing up the rear...my pennies worth on the mini. SPOILER

Postby Urpling on Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:31 am

I've watch PKW twice thanks to Zhaantastic Her copy had been around the block a few times, but I got the gist of the story...even tho the resolution was terrible.

Did this lion-of-a-production know quite which audience it was roaring at? Did it use all that Cro-Magnon, adrenalin pumping action because fans like it, investors would be impressed or the demographic/new audience demanded it?

Well PKW had teeth, that's for sure. And I don't just mean the fireworks (and all the complex blocking/choreography, photography and editing that fight scenes demand). I mean that you only have to look at the opening sequences to see that we are dealing with a production that wants to be in movie theatres and not just our living rooms.

Now I know that a lot of people love all the whiz-bang stuff. I realise that you have to have tension and contrast. I prefer mine to be more sotto-voce. I like to be lured and stretched by "what exists at the very edges of our perception and beyond." (Michael Rabiger) Using up Australia's stock of pyrotechnics did not do that for me. I like scenes that ask me to fill in the blanks. I like multiple subtexts/plots. I like a script that trusts me to make all the subliminal connections myself.

I adore subtlety. The FS Seasons had subtlety. Even PKW had its moments. But if Jim is pimping to Hollywood he knows that subtlety won't get him a high-budget investment. For offbeat, tonal complexity he has to stays independent or find a very innovative studio.

Here are the things in PKW that really stunned me and I am eternally grateful for:

Rygel's torpedo spin in the opening underwater scene. I'm a total water baby myself and I was so absolutely 'there' in the water with the Dominar. His clothes were a bit strange tho'. They seemed oddly rigid. (When you're doing life-safety stuff, you have tread water and get your clothes off because they billow out one second and cling to you the next. Not very helpful. It's a bit of a struggle...but once off, clothing can be put to good use.)

Sikozu's harder look. It was wonderfully contemporary and fitted her character development.

The contrast of the Command Carrier's harsh lighting (on Scorpy and Braca) with the softer ambiance of the Eidolon's and the Water Planet.

Grayza's bump framing an early scene.

Ricky Eyres set-designs...that throne...the whole thematic spikes and Strelitzia Flower...picked up by the costumes and the shape of the Scarran vessels. Pure, delectable eye-candy.

'E = McHammer' and 'F...K OFF' on ze verm hol vepon blackboard.

"Eidolons, Jool, peace." Tongue. Ditto (sans tongue).

Bishan made me think of a malignant version of Toad of Toad Hall for some reason.

I sniggered out loud when Chiana asks Stark if the innocent Eidelon novitiate Pikal is propositioning her with the largest of his many visceral eyes. It gets bigger? It vibrates? Hmmmm.

After John's reverberating whistle in the Temple, declaring himself the guy with no brain. He can bring his empty head my way anytime...attached of course.

When Scorpy is outside the temple with John, persuading him to use the wormhole weapon, did I imagine it, or was Ben trying not to smile when a bird flutes melodiously in the background? Priceless, that sort of thing.

Sandy Gore (who played Muoma the High Priestess) is a beautiful actress. I could watch her forever. No wonder she was brought back from her appearance as the nurse Vreena from We're so screwed in S4. I feel the same about Paul Goddard (Stark) and Hugh Keays-Byrne (Grunchlk). They are so being their characters, not just 'projecting' it. You can see it in the eyes. Imagine the skill it takes to do that, take after take...surrounded by a crew...all done in a non-sequential shooting order. I couldn't do it.

I was touched by Aeryn leaning into her gun like a comfort blanket when D'Argo suggests that she'll come around to the idea of a having a child when she sees the little guy in person.

The crane-shot in Pilot's den after the Tregan gunfight. And the fact that John doesn't bounce right back up after landing on his back. I do enough sports to know how landing like that, without using anything to break your fall, can do more than just wind you.

D'Argo's reassurance to Pilot: "It's alright Pilot, you're a few thousand mistakes behind the rest of us."...I so know how he feels!

The juxtaposition of Ben saying to Staleek (as Fran hauls him to his feet), "Yeah, it's always good to see who wears the britches in a relationship!"...that was one for the crew and fans! [grin]

Clever how production saved money by having Rygel unconscious rather than anti-graving his way 'round. (Like he gets carried out of the Scarran vessel.)

The CG of Moya crashing and ascending the water...the wormhole weapon...(Ben pointing to x-marks-the-spot on green screen [grin]. The matte painting thingumy-cum-CG, when Moya deploys her docking web, was a bit dodgy.)

Was the water cold for the actors inside the drowning Moya? How long did it take to set all that up and film it? TeamFS outdid itself again. We go from the one-take cascade in the Command Carrier (in S3) to this! My god.

When Captain Braca is trapped in the Temple with the Eidelons, surrounded by yet another Scarran insurgency, Claud says: "We should disassemble the weaker munitions...make our own shot-grenades." John agrees by saying, "Arts and crafts...she's gonna be a great mom."

Guy's music, as John looks pensively at Aeryn and Stark before he goes off to see the Ancient (Einstein) again just sends shivers up and down my spine. That, and sound Guy Gross creates as John lies comatose during the signing of the treaty...oh God. (It's at the beginning of track 19, on the CD...which is then followed by gentle choral strains.)

I loved the hints at a fusion between TalynJohn and MoyaJohn with the recollections of the displaced Dreadnought from S3 and the wound on the left temple.

The wormholes-to-the-stars billboard in John mind-theatre with Scorpy was homage to the art department...and the Homebush car park!

Ben's torment in asking Pilot to build him the wormhole-maker and the scene when Ben is doing his 10 min take with the device was so intense that I didn't notice anything but the story, even on second viewing. I would imagine that Ben would know the techniques of delivering loads of lines all at once (but with more time to learn them!) because of his theatrical background. What makes it even harder is working your stuff into a ballet of grips and gaffers, sound, cameras (for as much coverage as possible), knowing your own marks for correct focus and exposure (along with the rest of the cast).

I prefer the more dynamic (dutch tilty, floating, filtery, underexposed) adventurous camera work of Tilse, Barry and Catherine Millar to Brian's more static approach but he had the creds, kudos, time and motivation to make it all happen. Brian longed to be back 'on the floor'. Who can begrudge him any of that?

Having said that, I got confused over the storyline. I was looking for a consistent message. The high use of weaponry throughout the story, followed by the negation of same stuck me as being a bit contradictory. But this is exactly how our human psyches work. We long for peace and yet we remain conflicted. Things pull us this way and that. It's as if we live in our own quiet war-zones. So it's hardly surprising that we can't generate lasting peace out there in the world. The ambivalence about war in the mini doesn't therefore surprise me. Homo sapiens sapiens has some way to go on that score and our lives and stories reflect that.

One last thing...the wonderfully schmaltzy ending...John coming 'round...talking to the baby (who looks like girl to me and not a boy) and Aeryn's response...is just the sort of intense and quiet scene that keeps me totally immersed in a story.

If you can grab my heart, you've got me hooked. PKW had some of my heart, but not all of it.

Like any film production tho', I just can't begin to imagine all the hard work and logistics that went into making it.

Hoo-mans might have some way to go when it comes to inner and outer peace, but my God, we certainly know how to make moving pictures!

Like those Oscar winners rattling off a list of the people working with them on the film...(can you imagine the Farscape staffing list, from catering to producer?)...I take my hat off to the collaborative process that is TeamFarscape. It deserves all the approbation it can get.

Can we ever have enough of this kind of excellence?

(To be honest the DVD I borrowed was so unclear, I missed an awful lot of the sort of details that I am always keen to scrutinise. I can't wait to see the PKW when it's released in the UK...on my birthday! [grin])
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Postby scapecadet on Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:14 pm

Hi Urpling, yet another wonderful insight which I find myself agreeing with, altho I doubt I would be able to put it so well myself. I think most people here see the +s and -s of PKW and that is why we regret not having S5. But as a springboard to further FS/movies it was excellent. I saw it once on my PC, which left me a bit detached (sound, not being able to watch it in one piece etc), then I watched it on a recorded DVD, where the quality was obviously not so good and the ads were just maddening!!!
So I too am eagerly awaiting the DVD issue (happy birthday to you in advance, my son will be 6 on 17 Feb, so you share the birthsign).
I was so spellbound by the wormhole weapon scene, even before I knew how it was made - it was really powerfull. I would love to know, tho, exactly when this 'one take' scene starts and ends - anyone?
And as for the smile - you know, I thought I was crazy and missing something, because that was not a comical scene and yet John did look like he was sharing a private joke with Scorpi - your theory about the bird may well be right.

Roll on 14 Feb and hope that Amazon will deliver on time (I also ordered some other DVDs for my son's birthday, so I need them to be on time)
PS I would really love to be able to watch it on a large LCD screen with a group of avid fans - that would be something, I think.
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Postby Emram on Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:19 pm

Was it really necessary to post that five times, cadet? :D

You could have just typed it in capitals the once, if you wanted to get your point across!
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Postby scapecadet on Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:43 pm

Emram wrote:Was it really necessary to post that five times, cadet? :D

You could have just typed it in capitals the once, if you wanted to get your point across!


Well, how kind of you to point it out to me :twisted: Let me reply by referring you to your own post regarding Sazzmo's nitpick - repeated twice. We do seem to have a Poltergeist playing in our playground. Rest assured the repetition was not reflecting the gravity and importance of my opinions. I have already posted a message about this problem on the Site forum, so let's hope it gets sorted. I noticed other people's posts from yesterday being repeated too.

PS Or are you just trying to get back into SunKrux's good books by being as sarcastic as her Sarcastic Overlordship? :wink:
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Postby Emram on Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:49 pm

Yeah, I didn't realise how widespread it was, as this was the first post I looked at today! I was only joking, anyway.

And I'll try anything to get off Sunny's "List"!
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Postby BritAngie on Wed Jan 05, 2005 7:56 pm

Just found-if you post and it says "error" and mentions debug mode. Just do back then copy your post to you clipboard to save you tyoing it again if it is lost. Then go back again to the thread and refresh it and see if the original post did get through. Chances are it did and you won;t have to try again. :)
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Re: Bringing up the rear...my pennies worth on the mini. SPO

Postby Stykera on Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:49 pm

Urpling wrote:"Eidolons, Jool, peace." Tongue. Ditto (sans tongue).


That bugged me no end, funny though it was. It was characteristic of a general tendency during the miniseries for Stark's friends to dismiss him as an annoyance but tolerate him as a plot device.

It reminds me of my violent cat Wolfie, who tolerates my mother's Bichon Frise when I dogsit him only because he gets to beat him up and generally use him as a cat toy.

That's Stark: Chiana's cat toy.
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Too much action?

Postby iwtv on Thu Jan 06, 2005 3:42 am

I thought this was an interesting topic. I haven't really thought about it, but the PK Wars were very high on the pyro scale. NOT THAT IT CHANGES THE FACT THAT IT WAS FRELLING AWESOME. Personally I rather enjoyed the tension created by the scenes. I think that's bcz it *wasn't* subtle and *didn't* have underlying plots/themes: it was pure go-go-go; a refreshing change, if you will. And that's not to say there wasn't wonderful, calm and absolutely important scenes, like D'Argo and Chiana in space and D'Argo literally breathing life into Chiana. Nonetheless, the mini was definitely an adrenaline rush. 8)
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Re: Bringing up the rear...my pennies worth on the mini. SPO

Postby Urpling on Thu Jan 06, 2005 8:09 am

Stykera wrote:
Urpling wrote:"Eidolons, Jool, peace." Tongue. Ditto (sans tongue).


That bugged me no end, funny though it was. It was characteristic of a general tendency during the miniseries for Stark's friends to dismiss him as an annoyance but tolerate him as a plot device.

It reminds me of my violent cat Wolfie, who tolerates my mother's Bichon Frise when I dogsit him only because he gets to beat him up and generally use him as a cat toy.

That's Stark: Chiana's cat toy.


You make a very fair point indeed, Stykera! Oh I'm so glad that you're rooting for Stark. Yes, I would have gone in a more metaphysical direction with the character, rather than the emphasis being on the unkind, comedic stuff. I would have put the insane/funny and the mystical together for Stark, like the writers did in the early eps.

I guess I just liked the rhythm of the that bit with the tongue...in fact all D'Argo's tongue-stuff...but I hate the way D'Argo bashes Noranti in the face in DWTB...what the frell was that? To me that also qualifies as a Wolfie v dog scene!

I have to say that I've enjoyed what the writers have done with all sorts of tongues throughout Farscape! :wink:
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Re: Too much action?

Postby Urpling on Thu Jan 06, 2005 8:23 am

iwtv wrote:I thought this was an interesting topic. I haven't really thought about it, but the PK Wars were very high on the pyro scale. NOT THAT IT CHANGES THE FACT THAT IT WAS FRELLING AWESOME. Personally I rather enjoyed the tension created by the scenes. I think that's bcz it *wasn't* subtle and *didn't* have underlying plots/themes: it was pure go-go-go; a refreshing change, if you will. And that's not to say there wasn't wonderful, calm and absolutely important scenes, like D'Argo and Chiana in space and D'Argo literally breathing life into Chiana. Nonetheless, the mini was definitely an adrenaline rush. 8)


I guess that I don't need any more action that I already get in life...with my challenging days at work and my sports/hobbies...lots of adrenalin!

Having said that, iwtv, I do know what you mean tho' about needing mental cruising speeds...you don't always want to have to analyse stuff...it's important to just enjoy something for what it is...(I feel that about works of art, for example.). I guess that's why I love my sporting activities. My brain's not nit-picking...it's just alert and relaxed and thoroughly enjoying itself! You're right, iwtv, it's important to have a balance...in all things... :D
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Postby scapecadet on Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:08 pm

BritAngie wrote:Just found-if you post and it says "error" and mentions debug mode. Just do back then copy your post to you clipboard to save you tyoing it again if it is lost. Then go back again to the thread and refresh it and see if the original post did get through. Chances are it did and you won;t have to try again. :)


Thanks, BritAngie. I was going back and copying onto a new message and trying to submit again.. did not think of refresh as I took the message at its word and assumed it failed. No problems today, so far, but will know what to do next time. Any ideas why it was happening to several people over the couple of days?
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Postby scapecadet on Thu Jan 06, 2005 12:12 pm

Stykera and Urpling, I am with you on Stark. I definitely felt there was more to his actions in Bad Timing (he was just lurking around, sitting in corners and watching..) - it was either mysterious/significant and intended to lead to something or it was a sign that the writers did not quite know what to do with him and used him more as a prop. I think he had a real potential to become very important (even more than Noranti) and I was disappointed it never came out that way.

-- So more power to Stark in future FS, please (if anyone's listening)
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Claudia: Quit. Prompting.Me.Woman!? WOMAN!!??
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Postby Emram on Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:57 pm

Now that Stark has found peace, it means his character can go one of two ways. Either he won't feature in future Farscape, or he will be a key figure - finding peace may have taken him to the next level of his spiritual journey, whatever that may be (his version of the Delvian Seek).

It would be a shame if Stark is no longer in any future FS, as he had the potential to be one of the greatest characters in the show - his sometimes rational, sometimes crazy, sometimes sensitive, sometimes violent nature meant he had a very broad range of possible reactions. Paul Goddard played him extremely well, and is too talented to leave Farscape.
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Postby thoth on Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:43 am

As much as I agree that Stark was treated horribly by the other characters, isn't that the point? Sometimes family members do terrible things to the ones close to them without taking it seriously until it's too late. They have always been dismissive and diminishing towards him and that trend finally culminates in the scene in which they abusively force him to cross over Yondalao and take his memories against his will, something which John begins to regret only moments later. This marks the turning point in how they treat him, casting him in a more sympathetic light, even if they basically want him for what he has in his head. Rapidly, Stark ceases to be the slapstick comedic relief and becomes a full character in his own right.

Emram wrote:Now that Stark has found peace, it means his character can go one of two ways. Either he won't feature in future Farscape, or he will be a key figure - finding peace may have taken him to the next level of his spiritual journey, whatever that may be (his version of the Delvian Seek).

Yeah, I think that if they do anything at all with Stark in the future, it needs to be something pivotal. They can no longer play him as the "hey, look who we just found in the looney bin! It's Uncle Stark!" I'm still buzzing about what ideas Rockne O'Bannon might have in where to take the franchise after reading the short story "Horizons." One thing that definitely stuck out about that story was something that had also been occassionally dropped throughout the series itself. In the world of Farscape, there is an implicit belief in the afterlife shared by many species, like Nilaam's death ritual granting D'Argo a glimpse of "the other side." In "Horizons" there are continuous references to some sort of event the crew had experienced that, for one, made Rygel unafraid of dying. Some kind of near-death experience shared by the whole crew? A descent into and return from "Hades"? In fact, when I first got the soundtrack for PKW in the mail and saw the track listing "We All Die," I thought it reffered to exactly this event, taking it literally when in the actual dialogue it's simply rhetorical.

Still, it didn't surprise me that they continued these hints in the mini-series, like when D'Argo gets hit by a wall of water and Chiana quizzes him on what he might have seen of the afterlife, as well as D'Argo's line to Stark "Damnit, Stark, this IS the other side... I was hoping to go back." If Farscape continues, it would not be remiss if the mysterious event alluded to in Rockne's story were portrayed, allowing Stark to play just such a pivotal role when it comes to this kind of subject matter, like some sort of heavenly tour guide. I know it's corny, but what comes to mind is a kind of family reunion in the afterlife with Zhaan, D'Argo, and Jool standing together giving the living crew of Moya some sort of reassurance at some important plot juncture (but NOT coming back to life).

Personally, I've read a lot of rumours floating about that the creators of Farscape had a secret about the Farscape plotline they would keep right until the very end, when it would be revealed. In an internet chat interview Claudia Black was asked if the mini-series revealed what that secret was, responding that it contained SOME aspect of that secret somewhere. Could "confirmation" of an afterlife in the Farscape universe be just such a secret and could D'Argo's references about "the other side" be part of it? Well, that's whatI think, and if Stark will figure at all in any furture Farscape, it's that.
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Re: Bringing up the rear...my pennies worth on the mini. SPO

Postby stlscape on Fri Jan 07, 2005 5:52 pm

Just clarifying a couple of points:

Urpling wrote:I loved the hints at a fusion between TalynJohn and MoyaJohn with the recollections of the displaced Dreadnought from S3 and the wound on the left temple.

The exact placement of the wound was Ben - he insisted that the generic "wound" in the script *had* to be on the left temple.

Urpling wrote:I prefer the more dynamic...adventurous camera work...but he had the creds, kudos, time and motivation to make it all happen. Brian longed to be back 'on the floor'. Who can begrudge him any of that?

Per an interview with Brian, he directed PKW at the insistence of the investors. They were familiar with him, but apparently not with the "regular" FS directors and wanted to go with a known-to-them quantity; he had not intended to direct the mini himself.
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