Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-01-08 Entry: "B5 And Werewolves"

Tonight's viewing begins with "In The Shadow Of Z'ha'dum."

Vir has a meeting with Mr Morden, substituting for Londo (who's been called back to Centauri Prime on urgent business) - and Morden asks the obvious question "What do you want?" Vir, being Vir, just wants to live long enough so that he can see the day when Mr Morden's head is on a pike, and he can look up at it and wave... important to know!

Station security is concerned by the sheer number of Narn refugees coming through the station. While Garibaldi is talking to the Captain about it, he finds him going through crew manifests of the Icarus (Sheridan's wife's ship that disappeared), and sees Mr Morden was part of the crew. Sheridan wants him captured and questioned about the Icarus.

The Ministry Of Peace makes its first appearance on the station, and they recruit for the Night Watch on the station. Recruits wear the colours of the Watch, promote peace, and inform their superiors on people who may not be embracing peace. Jack Allen ends up joining... which'll pay off later on...

Franklin has started taking stims to handle the pressure of the number of injured refugees.

Morden stonewalls - claiming he escaped the explosion but lost his memory. Garibaldi resigns over holding a guy without charging him. The Centuari claim him as a guest and thereby covered by diplomatic immunity. Sheridan engineers a way for Talia to scan Morden against her wishes, and she catches a glimpse of the Shadows accompanying him. Finally, Delenn and Kosh claim he has to be released because everyone on the station is in danger if he doesn't.

Unfortunately, Delenn has to come clean to Sheridan - telling him about the First Ones. And how some of them stayed behind, for when the Shadows returned. 10000 years ago was the last war, and 1000 years ago, they returned to their places of power, but were struck down by an alliance including the last of the First Ones that stayed behind - the Vorlons. Delenn's question from Chyrsalis is revealed here: "Have the Shadows returned to Z'ha'dum?"

Kosh shows Sheridan the images of the Icarus' mission to Z'ha'dum, how it landed there, and how they awakened the Shadows.

The Shadows lost last time because they moved too quickly. This time, they're moving slower, because they don't know how much anyone knows... and there aren't any First Ones left to aid the younger races this time, so tipping their hand with Morden could be a bad thing, as the Minbari aren't ready.

Sheridan catches a glimpse of the Shadows when he tweaks the monitor, and relents, letting Morden go (after a looooong monologue about Churchill's decision to let the bombing of Coventry go forward in WW2). And Sheridan asks Kosh to teach him to fight Shadows... and Kosh's reply? "If you go to Z'ha'dum, you will die."

And then there were 6 episodes left... but the next one is kinda' slow, from what I remember, before we get 5 extremely good episodes which I'm not going to want to break between... so I'll hold off on them until tomorrow.

Instead we'll change gear completely, and go to "Hue And Cry," an Ealing comedy from 1947, and the first in the collection I got for Christmas. I seem to be building up a whole stack of "classic" films that I've never seen, so I should probably watch a few of them!

It's basically about a bunch of kids who discover that a band of criminals are using a children's adventure comic to pass secret messages to each other about crimes they're planning to commit.

Although it's billed as a comedy, I only got one really good laugh out of it, and that came right at the end - you see, the climax involves hundreds of kids chasing the crooks through the London Docklands, and getting involved in punch-ups and hair pulling and other shenanigans to bring the crooks down and have them arrested. Right at the end, we return to the choir from the opening scene, but this time they've got black eyes, plasters covering cuts, and in one case, an audition for the invisible man! I'm not sure how he can sing under all those bandages!

The picture quality was pretty good - there were a couple of scenes showing a lot of scratches, but on the most part, it's from a pretty good print. I'm just disappointed that the set as a whole just has a single disk of extras at the end for the nine films - there's no commentaries on these films, but then I'm comparing to the gold standard of the Fox Studio Classics line of disks.

It was clearly filmed just after the war though - there's a lot of ruined buildings on show in this film, and one of the kids (choirboy Alec) sits around making bombing raid noises. The kids' meeting place is a semi-ruined house on their estate, and they play around and amid piles of rubble.

The scenes of masses of kids running through the streets vaguely reminded me of Mr Smith Goes To Washington, and I had to check which came first (Mr Smith, 1939). I'm not sure it was really that similar, as its been a while since I saw Mr Smith, and they were delivering newspapers rather than running after criminals...

Hopefully the comedy in this collection will pick up as the films go on... this was the first Ealing Comedy, so they've got a while yet, and there's a lot of classics in here, including the orginal The Ladykillers and The Man In The White Suit (which I've seen bits of here and there, but never all the way through).

But now, a change of pace, and Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed. After the first part (seen here, but not commented on as I was very drunk), this picks up with Brigitte, infected and on the run (after killing her sister in the first one).

Unfortunately, there's another werewolf hunting her, and although she's shooting up with monkshood to slow the transformation, her sister tells her its a futile effort.

When the chase and the drug lead her to collapse in a snowdrift, she wakes up to find herself in a drug rehabilitation center, prevented from using monkshood, and finding the transformation slowly progressing. Of course, she could have the drug if she'd only comply with the freaky nurse guy who wants to have sex with the all-female patients in return for supplying them with their drug of choice (Eric Johnson - Whitney from Season 1 of Smallville).

However a young girl, Ghost, appears to have her run of the center, and could provide a way out...

Lets be fair, this film is really freaky, moreso than the first film, and the imaginings of her dead sister are an interesting way of illustrating Bridgette's inner demons, pushing her to give in to the change.

The star of this film (and the original) is a little funny looking - she's not the most beautiful girl in the world (okay, I'll admit, her sister was a babe) but she's pretty tough, and they make it easy to want her to win out in the end.

And Ghost is also pretty freaky... she knows more than she's letting on, the relative who's in the hospital suffering severe burns appears afraid of her, and her cut-out cartoon pictures are extremely strange. But she also has comic books about werewolves, and thinks Bridgette can be a hero.

Bridgette and Ghost carry this film, and they do a pretty good job of it... the ending is surreal and freaky, but that suits the tone of the film up to that point, so it's understandable that that is the correct direction to take it. And although it's fractionally anti-climatic, it leaves the story open-ended for a sequel... of course, the next film seems to be a historical prequel, so I'm not sure where they're going with this.

And no, however good this is, it doesn't jump to the top of my all-time greatest werewolf films... although it's pretty high up there. Lets see - An American Werewolf In London probably has the best transformation scene of any film, but is otherwise weak; An American Werewolf In Paris is entertaining but ultimately weak; The Howling probably has the best werewolf I've seen so far. But top film so far is Wolfen, and you don't see any transformations, or any psuedo-human-wolf-hybrid type creatures in that. But the wolves are really vicious.

Oh, and Jenny (Sabrina's best friend from the first season of Sabrina The Teenage Witch who mysteriously disappears - played by Michelle Beaudoin) makes a brief appearance here...

And because I'm still up, and can't be bothered to find something good to watch, I'm going to put on the two-part pilot episode of Mutant X... now, lets be fair, I slagged this show off good and proper when it was airing originally, but I got a huge discount on the first season, so thought I'd see how it holds up to a repeat viewing...

But I'm going to stop part way through, get some sleep, and give my opinions in the morning...

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