23 February 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Kobol's Last Gleaming (1x12-13)

Leoben's prophetic words come true. The fleet finds the lost planet of Kobol. Unfortunately, the Cylons had also found it. One ship with VP Baltar crashes on the planet where they will be awaiting rescue into next season. Adama has a plan to take out the Cylon Basestar using the captured Raider, but President Roslin has other plans. She convinces Starbuck to steal the ship, return to Caprica and get an old relic that the scriptures say will show the way to Earth. At first Starbuck refuses, then Roslin tells her that Adama "made it up" when he said he knew where Earth was. He doesn't really believe in it. Religious Starbuck accepts the mission, and all hell breaks loose.

Adama decides Roslin is dangerous and stages a coup. Lee gets in between the strike force and Roslin, and is arrested.

Boomer realizes she is a Cylon, no matter what Baltar says. She shoots herself in the face, failing to suicide. She then accepts a suicide mission to destroy the Basestar. She succeeds, meeting about a thousand of herself on the way.

Instead of accepting Adama's congrats, she shoots him twice in the chest...


Wow! surprising ending, and a great setup for the next seasons first arc. Taken as separate parts, the first half is a bit slow with lots of build up, but together, this is one mighty fine piece of drama with believable surprises and high stakes. The crash sequence is very well done, and the hues and colors of Kobol make it look like it really is another world. This is another example of Galactica hitting a perfect stride. 5 out of 5 hies to Kolob.

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Man-Bat

Dr. Kirk Langstrom first became the Man-Bat in 1970. He has since appeared in Batman: The animated Series and The Batman.

Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a scientist specializing in the study of bats, develops an extract intended to give humans the bat's sonar sense and tests the formula on himself because he is becoming deaf. While it works, it has a horrible side effect: it transforms him gradually into a hideous human bat.

He first clashes with Batman when he tries to steal the chemicals needed to reverse his transformation, but his control over the new animalistic instincts resulting from his bat-like state is tenuous, and Batman is forced to subdue him in order to administer the antidote.

Langstrom later refines his serum, enabling him to retain his human intelligence while in bat form, and allowing himself control over his transformations. He works for a while as a detective and independent crime fighter as Man-Bat, while he and Francine marry and have a daughter, Rebecca. Eventually, however, his instability returns and he is left unable to control his transformations. In this condition, he clashes several times with Batman in the Batcave (which he finds by following other bats through the network of caverns; he does not recall its location in human form, and he never knows Batman's secret identity), believing — erroneously — that his daughter is dead and that Batman is somehow responsible.

Although he briefly regains control of his transformations, this appears to have changed. He begins to suspect that his cures missed an element of the serum, and he's losing control to his bat side. He believes he has slaughtered his own wife, son, and daughter.

The Dark Knight returns in 146 days!

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Colonial Day (1x11)

On top of everything else, we learn that Roslin can be a politician. Tom Zarek had quite a sympathetic following who sees him as a "freedom fighter." That view, on top of his favors for ship captains using former prison labor has earned him great popularity. He manages to get himself a nomination for the office of Vice President, which would put him in charge after a simple assassination. Roslin, desperate to prevent his win, drops her own man and get Baltar in the race. As a renowned scientist, Baltar is quite formidable, and wins out in tight race. So now, with a terminally ill president, Baltar is a heartbeat away from leading the last of the civilization he doomed, and he may not be the puppet Roslin hopes for.

Decent episode, we see lots of the pleasure ship Cloud Nine, which is a nice change of scenery. This episode was also well though out, because as bad as Tom Zarek is, we aren't sure if Baltar might not be worse. The episode ends with Adama and Roslin sharing a dance on Colonial Day. These two are about to have a major falling out, they just don't know it yet... 4 out of 5 veeps.

22 February 2008

An Iron Age Dawns

Once, Twice, Three times a lady. Looks pretty nice.

21 February 2008

Charlie's Beak to Appear in Wolverine

Charlie from Lost (Pippin from LOTR) will be playing the mutant Beak in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. Wraith is also slated to appear. This mutant crew is starting to get a bit overcrowded.

20 February 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - The Hand of God (1x10)

This is Galactica's tribute to Star Wars. The fleet is almost out of fuel, and a recon mission happens upon a huge asteroid of fuel... swarming with Cylons. Adama decides its time to "punch the bully in the nose." They come up with a brilliant plan and destroy the Cylon asteroid base.

Apollo got to lead the mission as Starbuck was still grounded from her previous crash injuries. Apollo took his Viper through a mine shaft and dropped a bomb right in the refinery. An exciting moment.

This episode also featured some excellent Celtic music that has come to be the Adamas theme. There are some great moments between father and son, and once again, seeing a victory is a moving sight. 5 out of 5 asteroids.

Oh yeah, and Caprica Boomer is pregnant!

I found a clip, but unfortunately, the only one I could find was a home made music video. Just buy the DVDs already and watch it!

19 February 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (1x09)

One of the series "lighter" episodes deals with the discovery of XO Colonel Tigh's estranged wife, alive, in the fleet. She claims she was knocked out during the attack, and just regained consciousness. This story is deemed suspicious by Adama who orders her to be screened by Baltar. President Roslin orders Baltar to screen Adama due to her suspicions planted by Leoben in the previous episode.

Ellen Tigh's test comes back negative, but we learn that Baltar has rigged all of the tests to come back negative so he doesn't have to deal with any angry Cylons.

Ellen is basically a powerhungry idiot that brings out the worst in Tigh, including his alcoholosm, and contantly tries to make him jealous by flirting in front of him. I highly doubt she really is a Cylon, but she does do quite a bit of harm to the fleet through the next season. Poor Tigh, if it weren't for her, he would be a half-way decent guy. He did after all save the ship by launching Vipers on a hunch at the end of the episode. So, you can at least see why Adama keeps his sorry @$$ around.

Decent episode, some good chuckles, but nothing super fantastic. 3 out of 5 Tighs.

Wolverine Vs Spock!?

Yesterday, I was reading an article on IESB.net about Star Trek's new release day being close to that of Wolverine... Bad move they think (for Trek). Anyways, the article mentioned a comic book crossover between Star Trek and X-Men iin the 90's. WTF!? This was the first I had heard of such a crazy idea. What a bizzare crossover. I guess it was successful enough to warrant a crossover between X-Men and The Next Generation. Did anyone read this?

Who do you think will win the box office showdown? and MOST IMPORTANTLY, Whats next? Superman vs The Smurfs?

Two More Hombres Tango with Logan

Fan favs Gambit and Deadpool are rumored to be joining the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Movie (along with Sabretooth, Blob, and Silver Fox). What is the plan for them? Will they also be spinning off into their own Origins films? Are they just glorifief cameos to build buzz like Angel in X3?

I am excited to see these characters, but I would probably prefer a good X4 to a prequel. But thats just me.

Ink Blots - Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Where Happy Feet failed miserably to make a statement in the midst of entertaining, Nausicaä proves Miyazaki always had a special talent for masterful and meaningful storytelling. It also demonstrates many of Miyazaki's trademark elements, such a beautiful flying animation, a strong female lead character, a dude with a big mustache, and an old woman.

Nausicaä is set 1,000 years after the "Seven Days of Fire," which destroyed human civilization. A toxic jungle infested with bugs sprouted up which constantly encroaches on the remaining human settlement. Princess Nausicaä finds herself trapped in a conflict between the Pejites and the Tolmekians. The Pejites are baiting a swarm of giant potato bugs called Ohmu while the Telmekians are trying to revive a giant God Warrior (which caused the original devastation).

Nausicaä, being the peace loving girl that she is, is just trying to save her Valley. She discovers that the toxic jungle is actually purifying the world, and in a way, the bugs are helping too by protecting the jungle. The world is trying to find balance and restore itself.

The films greatest feat is that it never preaches, while dealing with a potentially preach subject matter. The Ohmu are an awesome creation and the whole world is imagined with a depth of mythology that draws you into the story. The film reminds me a lot of Princess Mononoke, but not quite as polished. On the other hand, its is less existential as well. Another nice touch is the 80's style (fitting as it was made in 1984) synthesizer music. It gives the movie a bit of a retro feel, while the themes and setting of the movie are more timeless.

This is a great gateway film into anime or at the least into the incredible world of Studio Ghibli films (though technically this film predated the studio). Nausicaä may only be in the top 5 of Ghibli films (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Whisper of the Heart and Grave of the Fireflies are better, but they are also perfect films), but that still qualifies it as an A, and well worth your time.

PS, avoid the edited down version Warriors of the Wind, which cut 30 minutes of "slow-moving" story. Never mind that the edits removed the story. Miyazaki was pretty unhappy with the adaptation and made Disney promise "no edits" in their current North American distributions of his films.

18 February 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Flesh and Bone (1x08)

In this episode, we catch up with the Cylon model known as Leoben. This one likes to play games with your mind. Bill Adama first met up with him in the miniseries, and upon discovering his Cyloninity, beat him down with a flashlight. After revealing the known identities of the Cylons to the fleet in the last episode, old Leo was discovered. Starbuck is brought in, and torture ensues.

Leoben claims there is a nuke in the fleet, and then he gets water boarded to reveal the location. He refuses, then admits it wasn't true. He also tells Starbuck she will find the planet Kobol (lost origin planet of the Galacticanians) and that it will lead to Earth. This actually is true. He also says that Adama is a Cylon.

At this bit of news, President Roslin flushes him out the airlock claiming that he is trying to poison their minds. And he was successful, Roslin will quation Adama. More importantly I will question him. Even now there is
one unknown Cylon. Is it Bill Adama? Doubtful. Lee or Zach? I would say no... but now that we know some of the others crew are Cylons of a different type, I suppose anything is possible. Even if he was outright lying, which I wouldn't put past him, he did put some thoughts in my mind.

This episode also showed Roslin starting to have visions from her alternative cancer therapy. The visions will get worse, and she will play a role in finding Kobol. This episode deepened the mystery and mythology of the show. And I really enjoyed Roslin treating the Cylon kindly, only to kill him moments later. 4 out of 5 airlocks.

17 February 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Six Degrees of Separation (1x07)

This is a brilliantly devised episode. A woman (Cylon model 6) resembling Baltar's love machine appears in the fleet and accuses Baltar of being responsible for the aiding in the Cylon attack... which is true. But the evidence and scenario she presents are phony. Therein lies the dilemma. Baltar knows she is a Cylon but cannot tell how he knows, so he has to do a reverse evidenceless accusal, which seems desperate.

Eventually, the evidence is proven fraudulent, exonerating Dr. Gaius Baltar and protecting him from future true accusations. The fleet will pay for keeping him around later. Why this all went down is not really explained. Is Baltar really a Cylon and part of the Cylon plan? Or are the Cylons just giving him more credibility so they can use him later? I still don't really know. All the explanation given is that God is looking out for him.

The episode also paints a pretty cowardly picture of who Baltar really is. He is completely self-serving and amoral as opposed to being a Hitleresque evil dude. This one earns 5 out of 5 Mr Nice Gaiuses.