Every Sunday night, come back for our round up of all the big news from the past 7 days as regards the Movie and Television industry. This week we will be covering the likes of Fantastic Beasts, Star Wars, Marvel and more.
Monday 25th December: 'Doctor Who named the best BBC TV show of Christmas Day 2017'
According to a report from the Radio Times: "Doctor Who has been named the best show on TV this Christmas Day – but the Queen’s Christmas message was the most watched programme on the day." They go on to say: "In a poll of over 1000 RadioTimes.com readers, Doctor Who was named the best show on TV this Christmas Day, followed by EastEnders’ festive shocker in second and BBC1 favourite Call the Midwife in third."
Doctor Who was the sixth most watched show in the United Kingdom on Christmas Day with an audience of 5.7 million viewers. EastEnders was the fifth most watched programme with just under 6.3 million viewers.
This comes as no surprise as the regeneration of Peter Capaldi into the first female actor to take on the role of the Doctor was televised at prime time on BBC One. To hear our review of the above episode 'Twice Upon A Time', scroll down.
Tuesday 26th December: 'Black Panther: Killmonger Pushed Michael B. Jordan To ‘A Dark Place’
In an interview with 'Empire' Magazine, Erik Killmonger actor Michael B. Jordan talked about the rigorous process of getting into the zone to play this role. 'I have given it my all to bring the best possible big-screen iteration of Killmonger to life – so much that the character stayed with me, even after principal photography on the movie had wrapped.'
He continues to say: “It took me to a dark place. Honestly, I can’t really go through all I went through to get into it because I want to keep that close to me. But it stuck with me afterwards… Chadwick’s a very talented dude. There’s a lot of physical moments and action sequences throughout this film that cause us to really challenge ourselves, and also fall deeper into character.”
He spoke about how his influences for the Marvel character was the likes of DC supervillain The Joker- in particular the legendary Heath Ledger portrayl.
Wednesday 27th December: 'Popular 'Star Wars' actor Alfie Curtis dies aged 87'
It's with deep regret to write that actor Alfie Curtis, popular for his role as Dr Evazan in the Cantina scene when mocking young Luke Skywalker. This character also appeared in recent 2016 Star Wars spinoff movie, 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'- although the actor did not reprise his role here.
On Tuesday night, Mark Hamill tweeted :
"Alfie Curtis made the #Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina scene (one of the most memorable I've ever been a part of) even MORE memorable. As horrific as he was on-camera, off-camera he was funny, kind & a real gentleman. Thanks Alf- you'll be missed. #RIP,"
Rest in peace Mr Curtis.
Thursday 28th December: 'Blade Runner 2049 Director says 4 hour cut will not be released'
The 'Blade Runner 2049' director previously revealed that the first cut of the film clocked in at a huge four hours, and the filmmaking team very briefly considered releasing the movie in two parts. Denis Villeneuve said he won’t be releasing the four-hour cut, saying it “doesn’t work” as a finished film, and adds that while the first cut was strong, he doesn’t particularly miss what came out of the extended version.
"Even if sometimes I’m cutting my favorite shots, I still strongly think that when it’s cut on the floor of the editing room it should not go back to see the light of day again. "
Friday 29th December: Fantastic Beasts release new photos of Johnny Depp as Grinelwald ahead of sequel, 'The Crimes of Grindelwald'
The first image, in the slideshow above, has Johnny Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald along with the first look at a new character, Vinda Rosier (Poppy Corby-Tuech), who’s described as “one of Grindelwald’s most trusted followers, a loyal servant to his cause and often at his side.”
The second photo released shows young Dumbledore' s office, including the man himself portrayed by Jude Law
The synopsis of the film reads: "Magizoologist Newt Scamander joins forces with wizard Albus Dumbledore to battle the devious Gellert Grindelwald in 1920s Paris."
Saturday 30th December: 'Star War's' musical maestro John Williams to score 'Solo: A Star Wars Story's opening theme'
'How to Train Your Dragon' composer John Powell, whose involvement was announced last July, will compose the remainder of the film’s score. The anticipated Star Wars standalone movie- to continue the new saga of films including 'Rogue One'- stars Alden Ehrenreich as a younger version of Harrison Ford’s roguish smuggler.
John Williams’ has been associated with Star Wars since it began in 1977 when he wrote the memorable score for A New Hope. That score, and its iconic main theme, went on to win Williams his second career Oscar. Overall, Williams has written the complete score for all eight of the main Star Wars films,The only Star Wars franchise film without a Williams musical contribution is Rogue One.
'Solo: A Star Wars Story' is due for release on 25th May 2018.
Sunday 31st December: Box Office Roundup: 'Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi surpasses $1bn at the Global Box Office'
Along with it's huge takings at the box office, it is also now the highest grossing film of 2017 domestically (USA), beating out serious competition from Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 and Disney's: Beauty and the Beast for top spot.
It just narrowly beat Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which remains in second place with $50.5 million, pushing the reboot of the franchise past the $150 million mark domestically. Similarly, The Greatest Showman brings in some $15.2 million while the final outing for the Pitch Perfect crew bring in $17.7 million.
On our last note for this year, we want to wish our readers a very Happy New Year- hope you're looking forward to seeing what 2018 brings- we'll be here to cover all the details so stick around!
With 3 returning companions, 2 dying Doctor's and 1 leaving showrunner, it could be safe to assume that Doctor Who Series 10's Christmas Special had a lot to accomplish... but strangely, nothing really happened.
25th December 2017, the day that we've all been simulatenously dreading and anticipating. The demise of the 12th Doctor and introduction of the 13th- played by Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker, respectively. However depending on your views on such incarnations, you could be dreading or anticipating either. In my case, I was seriously fearing the regeneration of the 12th Doctor. I had fallen in love with Capaldi's take on the Timelord (regardless of the poor writing he has received- he has delivered some astonishing pieces of acting e.g. the Zygon Inversion Speech, the entirity of Heaven Sent and World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls to name some of the standouts), however I was also anticipating the fantastic casting of Whittaker for the 13th Doctor.
Twice Upon a Time is a fitting end to the long tenure that showrunner Steven Moffat has been at the helm of for over 7 years. However I can't help but feel he outstayed his welcome by a year or two. Some common Moffat-tropes were apparent throughout his writing of this episode that have just weakened the fluidity of the episode in replacement for a quick witty line here or there- the most prevalent being the unrealistically sexist take on the 1st Doctor, portrayed by David Bradley (originally William Hartnell). Moments such as the 'smacked bottom' line and 'good spring clean' cross's one's mind when thinking about the most unnecessary additions to the script. I cannot recall a single moment in Hartnells tenure when a line like that was uttered- I think Moffat misunderstood the time of release was the 1960's, not the time period of which the Doctor is from. In fact, in 'An Unearthly Child', The Doctor states he merely 'tolerates' the 20th Century and so obviously doesn't uphold any of the sexist views so common to that period. A true fault on the part of Moffat. In terms of acting however, Bradley does encapsulate the majority of what Hartnell did so well- create an serious, enigmatic yet loveable presentation of the Doctor that counterbalances the 12th Doctor perfectly.
As mentioned at the top of this article, the plot leaves a lot to be desired. This final episode is more of a character piece that follows the two Doctors on their journey to regeneration. We begin on the snowy caps of the South Pole with a few bits of witty dialogue between the 2 Doctors, then to the World War 1 battlefield where we meet the Captain played by Mark Gatiss. Then we travel to the Testimony Tower, then to Villengard and then finally back to the battlefield. It all seems a bit of a ramble for a simple story of 2 Doctors refusing to regenerate- we could have had a simple piece set between the South Pole and the Battlefield.
Villengard and the inclusion of Rusty the 'Good Dalek' from 2014's 'Into the Dalek' was almost pointless apart from providing some closure to the Series 8 subplot of is the Doctor a good man. The Twelfth Doctor said it himself, he doesn't know what to do when it's not an evil plan. The episode lacks what all others have- some sort of villain that provides some stakes. Even if the stakes arent' as high as episodes such as 'The End of Time' or 'Time of the Doctor', I left the episode feeling as if nothing really happened until the last act.
The glass woman of Testimony seemed like it was going to be a large revelation for the incumbent Doctors, since Moffat stated in the preview for this episode: "What their purpose is, what their plan is, is going to be a big surprise to the Doctor". However all that was revealed was that they were taking the souls of the deceased and giving them new bodies- much like the process of regeneration (oh and that whole Harmony Shoal thing with the brains for the past 2 Christmas Specials- a plot thread that was never picked up).
Obviously, this was all a way for Moffat to bring back one of his and the 12th Doctors most popular companions, Clara Oswald. Yes, somehow the glass creatures also had the ability to restore the memories of his until now, forgotten companion. This was not something touched apon throughout the episode and something that could have given them some more depth and allowed for people to speculate on any possible cameos later on. Alternatively, although it wouldn't be as accessible for general audiences, a replacement for these glass creatures could have been the Monks from the Series 10 3 parter- a good way of closing off that part that was otherwise left on an underwhelming note. As for my opinion on the return of Clara, I couldn't say I was pleased yet I couldn't say I was overtly against it. It was inevitable and I think since Moffat and Capaldi announced their departures, we knew somehow, she would return.
Speaking of departures, we had 3 departures to deal with at the end of this episode. Capaldi, Bradley and Moffat. Surprisingly, I think they were all handled- on the majority- very well. Moffat didn't go overboard with his grand finale, he kept the final moments quiet, reflecting and simple. The inclusion of the WW1 truce was a nice addition that added some form of human goodwill that was perfect for Christmas viewing. As for the the other revelation of the episode, the identity of The Captain as a relative of Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart was (although predictable), a nice touch that brought together a nice balance of classsic and modern Doctor Who.
Next we had David Bradley of whom was regenerating into Patrick Troughton. Moffat did this exceedingly well as he refrained from any silly expressions and let Bradley perform a simple yet beautiful take on the regeneration. One thing to highlight was the transition from 16:9 Colour to 4:3 Black and White- truly magical.
Finally, the big one, Capaldi to Whittaker. When we heard Capaldi utter the words 'Time to leave the battlefield' we knew it wasn't long til we would be saying goodbye. As we entered this current iteration of the TARDIS, the sinking feeling in my heart grew stronger. I was indeed worried at how Moffat would approach this regeneration but since hearing Capaldi initiated changes to the script before the final scene was filmed, I knew it should be safe. And I wasn't wrong, Moffat delivered a spectacular albeit a slightly weaker take on the 'Time of the Doctor' speech from the 11th Doctor. However what we were presented with was nothing other than mesmerising. As Capaldi strolled around the TARDIS shouting things for the forthcoming Doctor to remember, and the gorgeous score from Murray Gold (Breaking the Wall from Heaven Sent- I mean what else could it have been!) I was falling more and more in love with Capaldi, only to let him go much like he let the Doctor go. My favourite line being about the Doctor's name and how some children may hear it- an idea proposed by Capaldi himself at a convention.
The final scene could be one of the most marvellously directed pieces of Doctor Who I have seen. As the light shone infront of Jodie, it created a silhouette of our new face of Doctor Who, we saw her face in the reflection of the TARDIS console dual-screen. Then a closeup of her eye, mirroring that of the clip released this August to announce her casting, then finally a panning up shot of her smiling over the console- "Oh, brilliant!". What followed, although slightly cliched on Chibnall's part was indeed shocking. A more grand take on Matt Smith's entrance as she was flung about the TARDIS console room until one final explosion sent her flying down to the streets of the United Kingdom once more. What happened to the TARDIS? How will she survive? Where will she land? All we know is that we'll find out in the Autumn of 2018- and here at ASO, we cannot wait.
As editors of our website 'A Space Oddity', we would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday and a spectacular New Year!
Keep a look out for our review of this years 'Doctor Who' Christmas Special 'Twice Upon a Time' in which we bid farewell to current Doctor, Peter Capaldi and say hello to Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.
Also coming soon will be our much anticipated review of 'Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi'.
Best wishes to all- whatever galaxy you're in.
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