Met at the Movies: Carmen

Georges Bizet wrote of Carmen, “I have written a work that is all clarity and vivacity, full of colour and melody. It will be entertaining. Come along – I think you are going to like it.” The Met’s 2014 Carmen is a welcome return for Richard Eyre’s wonderful 2010 production. It was brooding and atmospheric and claustrophobic and doom-laden and I did quite like it. Though I think, re-watching the 2010 version (Met Opera on Demand makes this far too easy), that I prefer the earlier version, as it has more vivacity and less unrelieved gloom (though even the 2014 version perks up for the irrepressible and almost Gilbert-and-Sullivan-esque comic quintet in act two). Continue reading

Doctor Who 8.12: Death in Heaven

Even more spoilers, obviously.

I wanted to like this as much as “Dark Water”. And I did really like it: the character beats with the Doctor and Missy, Clara and Danny, and the witty banter with U.N.I.T., were exceptional.

Kate Lethbridge-Stewart: Now that I have your attention, [gestures the Doctor forward] welcome to the only planet in the universe where we get to say this: he’s on the payroll.
Doctor [hisses quietly]: Am I?
Kate [aside]: Well, technically.
Doctor: How much?
Kate: Shush. [back to Cybermen] Any questions?

I could watch it over and over for moments like that.   Continue reading

Doctor Who 8.11: Dark Water

Yes, there are spoilers. Lots of them.

I have no idea how someone new to the program would react to this one, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Nods to everything from the Second Doctor stories Tomb of the Cybermen and The Invasion (which apparently gets an even more tangible link next week, when Kate Lethbridge-Stewart throws the head of one of the Invasion-era Cybermen at the feet of the new ones), to the setup of a standard Third Doctor vs the Master allied with alien invaders of Earth story, to the Cloister Bell as the first TARDIS key hits the lava (first heard in the Fourth Doctor’s Logopolis), to the introduction of Kamelion in the Fifth Doctor’s King’s Demons (though that involved an android briefly impersonating the Master, and not the other way around), to the young Chang who was suborned by the Master in the Eighth Doctor’s TV movie (“Doctor Chang!”), possibly to The Eleventh Hour (Missy walking through the 3W hologram as the Doctor walked through the Atraxi one), to Day of the Doctor (The Doctor: “You’re very… uh… realistic.” Clara: “Tongues?” The Doctor: “Shut up.” / Eleven: “venom sacs in the tongue?” Ten: “yeah, I’m getting the point, thank you.”), and to Time of the Doctor with Clara’s disagreement with something in another universe about what the important question is, not to mention multiple callbacks to episodes from this season. Then there are musical motifs: the Doctor saying “I feel like I’m missing… something… obvious”, cue ominous music, but not just any ominous music, that’s the Cyberman theme from series two. And a cheeky nod to Capaldi’s best-known previous role as the very sweary Malcolm Tucker (Doctor Chang, examining the psychic paper: “Why is there all this swearing?” / The Doctor, taking it back: “Oh. I’ve got a lot of… internalized anger.”)

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Doctor Who 8.7: Kill the Moon

First, when they make the “Strax Was Right!” T-shirts, I want one.

Second, on the madly bogus science, take a deep breath and remember that this is Doctor Who, where a box can vanish from one physical location and reappear in another, laws of conservation of mass be damned. I was in high school when Full Circle came out, and when Tom Baker said “definitely morphologically similar karyotypes”, I nearly switched my grade 13 credits to include biology because I had no idea what it meant but it sounded cool. And yes, Capaldi did mispronounce “prokaryotic” as “prokoryatic”. (See “The reason I’m writin’ / Is how to say chitin” for handwaving about a similar gaffe from Pertwee.) But so what?

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