A few quick thoughts on “Loki”

Hm… A lot of this feels like setup for the upcoming Multiverse stuff (which I have increasingly mixed feelings about) more than anything else. Also man, it’s really pushed the MCU over into “needlessly convoluted and complicated” territory now, which I was always hoping they might be able to avoid for… well, a few more years at least.

I appreciate that Frigga (or well, her ghost) plays a large role here, and it amuses me no end that the much-maligned but actually totally one of my favourites Thor: The Dark World continues to be one of the most important films in the entire MCU.

One little throwaway line here, “You’re that criminal with the blue box!” strikes me as possibly being a nod to Doctor Who, but I could be wrong.

I enjoyed the D.B. Cooper bit more than I thought I was going to, but there is still only one D.B. Cooper conspiracy theory for me.

(Not sure if I’m gonna “review” this show every week, life is super busy, we’ll see.)

Toppled Statues

I found this incredibly striking image on Reddit yesterday. (Today the whole site is down, incidentally.) I think the photo belongs to the Toronto Star. I can’t stop looking at it, it’s stunning.

Not so long ago British folks also toppled one statue of a terrible man, whose name I shall not bother to mention. At the moment it’s in a Bristol museum, in much the same condition as it was when knocked off its pedestal:

And I love that. I think it’s the perfect way to display these statues: no longer towering over citizens and also covered in statements about what kind of person the subject was. Perfect! After all if a statue can be preserved for the sake of history, why shouldn’t the same apply to protests against that statue?

Final Space 3×12

Oh the timeslot has moved has it? Well that doesn’t bode terribly well for a fourth season I suspect, sigh.

The penultimate episode and everything has gone as wrong as it possibly could have. (But, no more Tribore, thank god.) Little Cato now knows the truth and Ash has gone full-on Anakin Skywalker, come-to-the-dark-side speeches and everything. I’m not so sure about her about-turn here, she seemed to be improving since meeting Evra so it feels like there’s a scene missing here. Just something more to bridge the gap between Good Ash and Evil Ash, I guess.

Everything between Gary and Quinn was very sweet here, it’s just a shame we haven’t really spent a lot of time delving into Quinn’s innermost thoughts this season. I really thought we’d get to know more about her past and her sister but we didn’t, and with one episode to go we may never will. I did love the little detail of Gary’s prison sentence holding the key to (what was almost and I guess still might be) the way out of Final Space though, it was a nice little way of tying his and Quinn’s relationship into the bigger picture.

Sheryl doesn’t deserve to be called anyone’s grandma as she’s still done very little to earn her redemption. Also she’s seemed so surplus to requirements this season I wonder if she’ll just die in the season finale. I assume somebody has to after all.

I wonder if Little Cato’s mother/the Queen of Ventrexia really was named “Apricot.”

In honour of “Cruella” here are some of the wildest things which happen in the original 101 Dalmatians

Not the Disney movie, the book!

It’s a very good children’s book but full of “What?!” moments, far many more than the Disney version or indeed “Cruella.” In no order:

-A lot is made about how it’s terrible for a dog to harm a human, but also Pongo and Missus (his wife, Perdita exists but isn’t married to him) meet a dog near the end who’s just totally down for murder. In fact he’s so casual about it one has to wonder how many troublesome humans he’s killed.

“Why not kill this Cruella?” said the Staffordshire. “And I’ll help you. Let’s make a date for it now.”

Pongo shook his head. He had come to believe that Cruella was not an ordinary human but some kind of devil. If so, could one kill her? In any case, he didn’t want his pups to have a killer-dog for a father. He would have sprung at Cruella if she had attacked any pup, but he didn’t fancy cold-blooded murder. He told the Staffordshire so.

“Your blood would soon warm up, once you started the job,” said the Staffordshire. “Well, let me know if you change your mind. And now you take a nap, mate. You’ve still got quite a job ahead of you.”

-Pongo is right! Cruella is said to be descended from what might be the LITERAL DEVIL:

“By this time,” the Colonel went on, “people were calling the place Hell Hall, and the de Vil chap plain devil. The end came when the men from several villages arrived one night with lighted torches, prepared to break open the gates and burn the farmhouse down. But as they approached the gates a terriffic thunderstorm began and put the torches out. Then the gates burst open—seemingly of their own accord—and out came de Vil, driving a coach and four. And the story is that lightning was coming not from the skies but from de Vil—blue forked lightning. All the men ran away screaming and never came back. And neither did de Vil. The house stood empty for thirty years. Then someone rented it. It’s been rented again and again, but no one ever stays.”

-And her husband (yep, she has a husband) seems weirdly chill with this.

They dashed towards Cruella and seized the hem of the cloak. It slipped from her shoulders quite easily—and fell on top of Pongo and Missis. Blindly they hurled themselves along the Outer Circle, with the cloak spread out over them and looking as if it were runing by itself. Cruella screamed. “It’s bewitched! Go after it—quick!”

“No fear!” said Mr. de Vil. “I think an ancestor of yours is running away with it. You’d better come indoors.”

-Cruella’s henchmen in the book are called Saul and Jasper Baddun, and they’re obsessed with a television game show called “What’s My Crime?”

Two ladies and two gentlemen, in faultless evening dress, had to guess the crime committed by a lady or gentleman in equally faultless evening dress. Stern moralists said this programme was causing a crime wave and filling the prisons, because people committed crimes in the hope of being chosen as contestants. But crime is usually waving and the prisons are usually full, so probably “What’s My Crime?” had not made much difference. Both the Badduns longed to appear as contestants, but they knew they would never be chosen unless they committed a really original crime, and they had never been able to think of one.

One of the contestants “stole two hundred bath plugs from hotels” a bit of a far cry from “murdering a hundred puppies” like the Badduns plan to do. (They end up really enjoying prison because all the cool criminals are there.)

-Mr Dearly (not Darling) has some sort of very high-up government job which makes me incredibly suspicious of him.

At the time when this story starts he was rather unusually rich for a rather unusual reason. He had done the Government a great service (something to do with getting rid of the national debt) and, as a reward, had been let off his income tax for life. Also the Government had lent him a small house on the Outer Circle of Regent’s Park—just the right house for a man with a wife and dogs.

All sounds a bit dodgy (dog-dgy?) if you ask me.

-Cruella is punished not with death or prison but by her hair turning hideous.

“She won’t look very well in anything,” said the cat. “You’ve heard of people’s hair going white in a single night, from shock? That’s happened to the black side of her hair. And the white side’s gone green—a horrid shade. People are going to think it’s dyed. Well, I’m glad to have finished with the de Vils.”

-There’s a child, established as being two years old, who just randomly roams about near roads with only his dog for supervision.

When they reached Dympling they went for a walk round the village and met Tommy Tompkins out with the Sheepdog. So the little blue cart was returned then and there—rather a relief to the Dearlys, who wouldn’t quite have known what to say to Tommy’s parents.

(He also can communicate with said dog.)

The book has a slightly religious bent. An open church is what saves the puppies from death, though they don’t know what a church is. Cadpig, the youngest puppy, muses on this in the novel’s closing sentences:

She often remembered that building, and wondered who owned it—someone very kind, she was sure.

And considering that Cruella is descended from Satan himself… turns out this novel is actually a battle between heaven and hell as played out via dognapping.

On “Cruella”

(spoilers ahead)

Cruella is not a particuarly bad movie or anything, it just feels so unneccessary and ultimately pointless. The outfits are STUNNING-

-but the problem is, the original Cruella De Vil is just a flat-out irredeemable woman. She’s a nasty rich bitch with no compassion for any living thing. She’s a vampire bat and inhuman beast who ought to be locked up and never released, one could say. And this film tries so hard to make her sympathetic but why? We know the story, we know that a few years after the credits roll the woman formerly known as “Estella” will be skinning puppies and abusing her only friends. The fact that she has an evil mother who killed her adopted mother with a Dalmatian (no really) doesn’t exactly excuse her, you know?

So basically Cruella the movie had to scramble around to find another irredeemable woman to blame and that’s Emma Thompson’s character, the Baroness, Cruella’s unfathomably evil biological mum. The Baroness is obsessed with fashion, mistreats her underlings, is rich enough to never face consequences and would definitely skin 101 puppies to make a fur coat. In other words… she’s Cruella De Vil.

So I keep wondering, why couldn’t they just have run with that? Cast Thompson as Cruella… and have Stone be Estella/Cruella Jr, her daughter. Because you’d barely have to change a single thing in the script, a few names and that’s it! Estella could go through the exact same journey, have the exact same fear of turning out like her mother. Then she can get a true happy ending, no dog-murdering in her future, while Cruella Snr gets punished for her assassination-via-Dalmatian ways. You could even have the fun of not revealing in the marketing who Emma Thompson is really playing and wait for the reaction when it turns out Cruella is a sequel, not a prequel to 101 Dalmatians!

Anyway Disney no longer return my calls.

Final Space 3×11

Jeez Avacato is a bit of a dick in this one isn’t he? That sounds like a bit of an odd thing to say about a character who has commited multiple murders and assassinations but there ya go. One tends to overlook his war crimes because he’s a cat and cats are just like that.

Elsewhere we meet a dead Gary in a horrific and yet IMHO rather touching scene, and also Bolo gets his head ripped off before the opening credits have even rolled! Yikes. Sorry I spent this whole season thinking you were bound to be revealed as super evil, Bolo. This whole episode was a great tribute to zombie movies and I note it had very few out-of-place jokes, excellent.

I was convinced this episode being called “The Dead Speak” was a reference to the now-infamous opening crawl of The Rise of Skywalker. Perhaps it is? Also upon seeing the title I was hoping Fox would be the dead person who got to speak, but no, awwww. :(

Happy 10th anniversary, Call the Midwife

Long may it remain one of the most quietly (one might even say sneakily, considering the current state of the BBC) radical shows on televsion. Pro-NHS, pro-abortion, pro-women, pro-LGBT, pro-disabled lives, pro-socialism. This all sounds incredible when I write it down but please, please do not underestimate the importance of this show…!