155 Responses to Carry On Carry On London

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  1. It hasn’t started filming yet, but they reckon it could be out before the end of this year?

    MARK OF QUALITY, THERE.

  2. G&T Admin

    The Carry On films were all shot *very* quickly, though – then churned out two a year at their height. If anything, the fact that they’re not aiming for a long production period is a good thing, and true to the spirit of the original films.

    I’ll say what I always say about the film – done well, it could be fantastic. But it’ll be so incredibly hard to do well…

  3. > It hasn?t started filming yet, but they reckon it could be out before the end of this year?

    To be fair they already have the script and the sets…

  4. I do like Ed Bye. Seems a sound sort of fella in interviews.

  5. G&T Admin

    Ed’s one of my favourite interviewees on the Dwarf DVDs, yeah.

    “They were put in there… BY GOD.”

  6. Yes, he comes across really well.

    He’s been involved in some crud since Red Dwarf IV, mind. I’m not a big fan of Carry On movies* so I don’t hold out a lot of hope for this.

    * Read = I hate them with a passion.

  7. I thought the original London idea had been scrapped and it was now going to be called Carry On…To The Next Round? It was going to centre around a reality show.

    As long as Shane Richie and Vinnie Jones aren’t in it.

  8. >It hasn?t started filming yet, but they reckon it could be out before the end of this year?

    MARK OF QUALITY, THERE.

    X Files 2 only needed what, 3 months to record?

  9. > X Files 2 only needed what, 3 months to record?

    That’s why it just looks like an episode. Not that I’m bothered. ANY new X-Files is welcome. Even with Billy Connolly in it

  10. >X Files 2 only needed what, 3 months to record?

    It’s not just about shooting, though, is it? It’s cast, pre-produce, shoot, post-produce, find release date, market, etc. etc.

    I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m just saying that it seems quite a short time from greenlight to release, which is never a good sign. I know that’s a tradition among Carry On, as John said – but back in their heyday, the films were being churned out by a consistent team of good comedy writers and performers, so the lead-in time to each shoot would naturally have been shorter.

  11. I thought Carry on had died a horrible death with the arrival of Columbus so this came as a surprise to me..

    On reflection I’d say that over the years, Carry-On has provided me with more entertainment than any other movie franchise. Yes, there’s far better-funnier movies, but as a series, it’s been there all my life.

    I’d love this to work but things are so much different these days it’s hard to see how they can make a modern version whilst keeping to tradition!

    Still, judging by the concept and the few character names mentioned, they’re having a good go.

    Looking forward to this developing.

  12. > I?m not saying it can?t be done, I?m just saying that it seems quite a short time from greenlight to release

    Well, it already had the greenlight once…

    It’s a short time for a big movie. For a comedy with little in the way of special post-production required (and, no doubt, no budget for anything but the most economical of post production periods) eight months isn’t unreasonable. Plus the article’s likely carrying some OTT optimism from the press release anyway.

    Kevin and Perry was announced in June 1999, I think, and came out the following April. Which, okay, IS longer, but not by much. And they hadn’t already done their pre-production once!

    Worth noting that if we’re seeing this news, the production is probably also half-way through a locked casting process already.

  13. >Kevin and Perry was announced in June 1999, I think, and came out the following April.

    … and was shit ;-)

  14. ? and was shit ;-)

    Sick as it was, that floater gag cracked me up.

    Actually I liked the whole thing although the Ibiza thing was corny. Which was kind of the point I suppose.

  15. I don’t think trying to keep the Carry On franchise going is possible really. It was such a product of its time, when being “saucy” was seen as quite shocking. Seaside “naughty” postcard humour is not really worth much nowadays. And if you modernise it it stops being a “Carry On” film. Now you could do a retro 1950’s London Carry On, heavy on the irony and post-modernism, that might work, but do they have the time and budget (and inclination) to do that now?

    From what I can gather, Ed Bye IS still involved with it. Best of luck to him.

  16. I think they should do it in the style of Mitchell & Webb’s recent Carry On Hospital sketch.

  17. G&T Admin

    Well, this is the thing. I can’t judge for anyone else, but I still find innuendo funny. Which is what makes me think that the film is at least possible to do well. Although I rather like the idea of doing it as a 50s/60s retro piece in some ways.

    But there’s two problems: the cast and the script. Firstly, how the fuck do you replace one of the finest comedy ensemble casts ever? And secondly – it’s very easy to forget how skillfully the scripts were written. It’s incredibly hard to do that kind of humour right, and – until the end, at least – they got it right pretty much every time. Talbot Rothwell was amazing. It’s something that’s so easy to get wrong…

  18. I love innuendo too even if the PC brigade frown upon it sometimes and this is probably a big problem. Carry on was built out of double meaning and saucy postcard humour. I assume the intention is to regain some of this style but bring it up to date, take it too far (the likes of Julian Clary for example) and it becomes crude.
    A retro version set in the 50/60’s would be a wonderful idea but surely this would push the budget up way too far (costumes, vehicles, sets etc) at least set in modern times, everything would be readily available, having said that, they have obviously dabbled with history in the past.

    Strangely, I think the script wont be the major problem, it’s the cast that has to be right and perhaps for the first time ever there will be absolutely no continuity of cast avalable.

  19. G&T Admin

    I don’t think political correctness had anything to do with innuendo, to be honest; it was a natural result of greater societal openness around sex. David Baddiel said it best when he explained that ‘pussy’ in the 70s mainly meant cat, with undertones of vagina, but that nowadays it mainly means vagina with undertones of cat. In fact, that recent Mitchell and Webb sketch also showed this.

  20. Fair enough comment I suppose.

    I would argue though that for innuendo to work at all or even exist, those understanding it would have know the alternative meaning. Whilst innuendo may have changed in structure from the 50’s to the 70’s, I’m sure the alternative meanings to ‘pussy’ were well known (and were widely used in the 70’s)..
    I think the difference is that back then, older people especialy, never openly used these terms. I can recall my parents tittering away to a number of things whilst under the strange impression that neither me or my brother understood.
    Innuendo covers a multitude of subjects and I think some of the references if used now (updated or not) would enrage the PC.

    As for David Baddiel..
    Much as I quite like him, I do think he’s full of shit at times. He’s very good on history but does tend to re-write bits to get a point across..

  21. Actually, I think I may have mis-read your point there..

    I wasn’t saying that political correctness had anything to do with Innuendo, just that these days, Innuendo could be effected by the PC. Innuendo goes back centuries as does the use of the word Pussy..

  22. I remember being in a car once with a mate and an elderly lady who was talking about her cat, referring to it as her ‘little pussy’. She said it completely inocently… and more than once, I just couldn’t keep a straight face. I tried… but then the chuckles started and took a while to stop.

    Thing is, even when I was laughing I don’t think she would of got the joke (actually it was more than just the term and my dirty mind, just the way she said it was funny- you know when a tone or phrase can just tickle you.). Bless her heart, she was one of those few individuals who somehow manage to retain their innocence all the way through life. And it wasn’t as if she had led a sheltered existence either. Far from it, yet she’d somehow comeout the other end with an almost childlike innocence.

    As for innuendo, yep like a bit of it myself. Considering the sheer filth that’s in a lot of recent programmes, (Bo Selecta being an example) you wouldn’t think the saucy humor of the Carry Ons should be an issue in this day and age, would you? But I guess the Carry ons would be viewed as more mainstream and therefore mor subject to the scrutiny of the PC folk.

  23. G&T Admin

    I proudly class myself as one of the politically correct folk. All it means is I don’t discriminate against people. Anything else is twisting the term, as far as I’m concerned.

    There is VERY little in the Carry Ons that is offensive. There’s the very, very occasional bit of racial material, and there’s also Terry Scott as Doctor Prod in Carry On Matron, who is rather too close to being a comedy rapist – but neither of those is essential to the spirit of the Carry On‘s at all, and most of them aren’t dodgy in the slightest. If you look at most of the films, it’s often women in charge – take a look at Carry On Camping

  24. G&T Admin

    Suggs is doing a benefit concert for disabled black lesbians. It’s Madness gone politically correct.

  25. ‘ha-ha’

    I agree John…

    My whole point being, bringing into modern times could take it beyond the ‘saucy’ innocent days of Carry-Ons before…

    Personally, I think if you’re offended by Carry on, you shouldn’t really watch TV or Movies at all…

  26. But you just know it will be a luvvie fest and far less real ‘sauce’. It’ll be about as offensive as a little puppy.

  27. I’ve just got this image now of it being one long Mrs Slocombe gag…

  28. Oooh, I forgot to stick a cock up my cunt! I mean my pussy. And not a cock, I meant tuna. I forgot to feed my cat.

  29. I think Geri Halliwell’s mum has it on DVD. She hasn’t got around to watching it, but it’s on the to-do list.

  30. Heh, even the cover is rude. A censored sign which doesn’t quite cover their nipples.

    One of the actresses has a quite slim pretty face, so I’m assuming it’s a couple of actresses in fat suits rather than getting a couple of real big ladies in the role? Kind of a shame if it is, it’d be nice to give a couple of big girls as chance…. they’re mostly sidelined in TV and cinema. (Ok the Fat Slags are rather grotesque roles, but even so.)

    Never mind.
    I haven’t seen it.

  31. Yeah, two pretty well-known actresses in what are, apparently, not-great fat suits.

  32. Yeah, two pretty well-known actresses in what are, apparently, not-great fat suits.

    I didn’t check the names and I’m not all that good at recognizing actors. (Well I am sometimes. I recognized the actor who played Baltar’s lawyer in BSG season 3 as the guy who played Badger in Firefly. At least I think it was him (although his faked accent was different in that one…Irish I believe…) He turned up recently in another show too… although I can’t quite remember which. It was either Bionic Woman or Supernatural.

  33. Sweet fucking Christ.

    “It?s refreshing to see that just one year after the series ended, the BBC were in fact looking after the property as they?ve always said, and not leaving it to rot.”

    NO. IT IS NOT REFRESHING AT ALL. FUCK THE FUCK OFF.

    Victoria Wood sketches and The Curse of Fatal Death are one thing. But considering licensing it out for a Carry On film is not “looking after” the property. It’s washing your hands of it, and admitting that it is, and always will be, a joke.

    See, when people moan about RTD, it’s worth considering stuff like this. THIS IS THE FATE HE RESCUED US FROM, PEOPLE. Hate his episodes if you want, but give the man SOME credit.

  34. > So, is Ed Bye still attached to this, I wonder?

    Well, he’s still attached to THIS –

    With his groinal attachment (cock).

  35. Carry On Doctor Who? Fuck my arse. That’s incredible.

    RTD does indeed deserve appreciation for bringing Doctor Who back in its current form. I do still think he’s a bit of a tit, his scripts are often shite and there are far far more talented people on the Who team who would do a MUCH better job than him…and then there’s Torchwood.

    But yes, things could have been much worse.

  36. >and then there?s Torchwood.

    Which he created and wrote the first episode of. And nothing else.

  37. John Browning created the M1911. Just because he didn’t shoot people with it himself doesn’t mean that I don’t blame him for inflicting its horrible design upon the world. ;)

  38. G&T Admin

    Although Everything Changes is one of the best episodes of the first series by far. I really wish RTD had time to write more of them – the series would vastly benefit from more of his input.

  39. But Torchwood isn’t a horrible design. It’s supposed to be a Buffy-esque adult-orientated sci-fi alien-busting action show. The problem is in the execution, casting and in having Chris Chibnall as the main creative force behind it…

  40. Aye, you are quite right Seb.

    Just every time I hear clunky dialogue ladened with thudding unnecessary gay innuendo in a poorly structured illogical weak sci-fi story… I think of the bits of Doctor Who which make me cringe….which in turn seem to have sprung forth from the brain of RTD. I’m making connections where there is in fact just coincidence.

  41. >Although Everything Changes is one of the best episodes of the first series by far. I really wish RTD had time to write more of them – the series would vastly benefit from more of his input.

    He also did a re-write on They Keep Killing Suzie which sounded like it improved it no end.

    I don’t understand the anti-RTD sentiment, until Voyage Of The Damned as far I was concerned he could do no wrong.

    People are very quick to knock RTD, and say they don’t like his episodes, but they never say why. Articulate criticism seems to never get any further than “He’s not as good as Steven Moffat”, which for a fandom that has endured 15 years of navel gazing that meant the average pre-2005 fan can probably eulogise at length about the merits of Robert Holmes, Malcolm Hulke or Glen McCoy, is pretty disappointing.

    RTD is great.

  42. I don’t like his Doctor Who scripts because they are so often weak sci-fi populated with pop-culture cliches, illogical concepts and a deus ex-machina ending.

    They’re also often puerile, incredibly smug / self-congratulatory and filled with laboured and unnecessary references to sexuality.

    I did like Queer as Folk (which was quite rightfully and suitably preoccupied with sexuality) and Dark Season and his writing in Doctor Who does sometimes strike gold…but more often than not gets on my tits.

  43. > deus ex-machina ending

    Doesn’t happen. Myth.

  44. Depends on perspective, but I’d say that Rose receiving magical TARDIS powers which turn a Dalek Armada to dust is Deus Ex Machina in the sense that it’s an unexpected / artificial way to solve the situation.

    Same goes for the Doctor using “anti-plastic” to kill the Nestene, pressing a button in Platform One (concealed beyond spinning blades), Mickey somehow hacking in to the missile flight controls from a laptop in World War 3, the TARDIS turning a Slithene into an egg in Boom Town, the Doctor healing everyone in New Earth by mixing together all of the cures in the universe which are then somehow transmitted by touch, the Doctor’s ageing process being reversed through the power of positive thought…

    You could argue that RTD has the right to invent these conceits as it is his show, but they’re all really sloppy writing. Feels like he writes himself into a corner and has to invent some previously unseen maguffin or make huge leaps in logic to get out of it.

  45. First, I want to say this: Jimbotfu, you are not alone in thinking this.

    >Doesn?t happen. Myth.

    I probably shouldn’t do this again, but, really. Rose Tyler accidentally discovered the Magical TARDIS Power! that enabled her to come back to the Satellite O’ Lame and power up to become SuperSailorMoonRose, the better to spew TARDIS Magic! all over everything, thus making everything better (making the Daleks go bye-bye with a flutter of her eyelashes, reviving everyone who was important to the plot and making everything happy ever after, including a totally-not-kissing-tee-hee-giggle-ain’t-they-so-cute-together). No “nigh-omnipotent power/force/thingy introduced in the tail end of the season’s story arc that just so happens to make everything all better without any but the vaguest rules as to how exactly it works ‘cos all it is is the author exercising the mystical power of writing himself out of a corner” there?

    With respect, sir, that is the very embodiment of “deus ex machina”, cuddling its definition close like Rose and the Doctor will almost inevitably be brought back together to do because it’s Destiny of some sort: The phrase deus ex machina describes an artificial, or improbable, character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot (such as an angel suddenly appearing to solve problems).. If the phrase “deus ex machina” needed a picture to illustrate it, modern encyclopedia makers might very well include a picture of Rose Tyler glowing and saving everyone in “Parting of the Ways”. (At any rate, they would if I ran the world =P .)

  46. G&T Admin

    *dons that fire protection suit featured in TV Burp*

  47. My thoughts exunctly and presactly, Arlene.

    *edit* The end of series one still makes me cry like a big girl, though. I could bash any era of Who for different reasons, but I still love it to bits. :)

  48. >Rose receiving magical TARDIS powers which turn a Dalek Armada to dust

    The same magical TARDIS powers that were foreshadowed in Boom Town, and which she spent most of the episode trying to figure out how to harness? Not a deus ex machina.

    >the Doctor using ?anti-plastic? to kill the Nestene

    The same “anti-plastic” he held up and showed to Rose halfway through the episode and presumably spent ages beforehand formulating? Not a deus ex machina.

    >pressing a button in Platform One (concealed beyond spinning blades)

    The same button he figured out about halfway through the episode that he needed to go and press? This was a crap plot device, because it revolved around needlessly manufactured tension (the button was in a stupid place), but it wasn’t a deus ex machina.

    >Mickey somehow hacking in to the missile flight controls from a laptop in World War 3

    Unrealistic? Yes. Deus ex machina? No.

    >the TARDIS turning a Slithene into an egg in Boom Town

    You’re right, actually, the TARDIS has NEVER exhibited extreme levels of power through the BLACK HOLE it harnesses. Oh, wait, it has.

    >the Doctor healing everyone in New Earth by mixing together all of the cures in the universe which are then somehow transmitted by touch

    It’s a solution. He figures it out. A silly solution, perhaps, but it doesn’t just magically appear from nowhere. He’s the Doctor, he’s smart, it’s what he does.

    >the Doctor?s ageing process being reversed through the power of positive thought?

    … and through the power of the Master’s own satellite network. You know, the one that was pretty much the plot point of the ENTIRE STORY.

    Look, you can call RTD’s plotting lazy, cheap and simplistic if you want, because sometimes it is. But don’t use that phrase, because it’s simply not applicable, and it just makes it sound like you’re copy-and-pasting your argument from the sheep on Outpost Gallifrey. It’s received opinion of the worst kind, it happens all the time, and I’m sick of it. In fact, using the phrase “deus ex machina” in connection with RTD’s plotting is far, FAR lazier than any of his plotting itself has ever been. Please look up what it actually means before you try and use it again. This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.

  49. >Rose Tyler accidentally discovered the Magical TARDIS Power!

    AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGHHHHH! NO SHE FUCKING DID NOT! IF SHE HAD DONE THAT, THEN YES, THAT IS WHAT IT WOULD BE. BUT SHE REMEMBERED – they used a fucking FLASHBACK – THAT THE TARDIS HAD PREVIOUSLY EXHIBITED SUCH LEVELS OF POWER, AND SPENT AGES TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO OPEN IT UP AND MAKE USE OF SAID POWER.

    STOP GETTING DOCTOR WHO WRONG!!!!

  50. >*dons that fire protection suit featured in TV Burp*

    I really am sorry if this thing turns ugly, but I’m more than a little tired of being told that basically it’s my problem for being “hypercritical” or needing to “lighten up” and just enjoy the ride, even though that ride includes blatant insults to my intellect, like a Tunnel of Love that features repeated punches to the skull. After all, it’s just sci-fi! Who cares if it pays only half-hearted lip service to internal consistency, kinda-sorta, maybe, when it can be bothered? Especially when it used to be really awesome, or at least follow its own rules more than half the time, and break them exponentially less egregiously? (That last phrase doesn’t look right. But it’s the best I can come up with at the moment.)

  51. >just because a device is introduced or mentioned earlier in a text doesn?t mean that its appearance isn?t a Deus Ex-Machina.

    Erm, yes it does, actually. That’s the entire fucking definition of the term.

  52. > I do still think he?s a bit of a tit, his scripts are often shite and there are far far more talented people on the Who team who would do a MUCH better job than him

    Aside from Moffat I don’t think anyone else that’s written for the new series so far could have come close to matching what RTD has achieved running the show. Even Moffat, as great as he is, probably wouldn’t have been the right person to kickstart proceedings. But it would be good to see where he took it now. Unfortunately I can’t see that happening though, he’s got other things on his plate. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the new showrunner is ONE of the writers on season 4 (Helen Raynor?).

    As for the ‘anti-plastic’ thing, its mention is one of my favourite moments of episode 1. The way Eccleston says it is probably part of that though, the way he’s so pleased with himself! But I remember the first time I saw it and when he said ‘anti-plastic’ I thought ‘that’s it, that’s Doctor Who!’ It’s really fresh.

  53. >The same magical TARDIS powers that were foreshadowed in Boom Town, and which she spent most of the episode trying to figure out how to harness? Not a deus ex machina.

    Yes, the first use of Magical TARDIS Power That Has No Rules Whatsoever totally justifies the second use of Magical TARDIS Power that, I feel I ought to repeat, has no rules whatsoever and can be called on to do anything the writer needs it to do, including get him out of a tight plot corner. That’s exactly what a Deus Ex Machina is, for goodness’ sake.

    >Please look up what it actually means before you try and use it again. This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.

    I did. It fits quite well in places.

    >AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGHHHHH! NO SHE FUCKING DID NOT! IF SHE HAD DONE THAT, THEN YES, THAT IS WHAT IT WOULD BE. BUT SHE REMEMBERED – they used a fucking FLASHBACK – THAT THE TARDIS HAD PREVIOUSLY EXHIBITED SUCH LEVELS OF POWER, AND SPENT AGES TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO OPEN IT UP AND MAKE USE OF SAID POWER.

    And finally found it, unless I am misremembering, hallucinating or just too unhip to get it, by kicking or hitting the TARDIS console and making it fly open at just exactly the right time, giving her complete and highly improbable access to the TARDIS Magic. Sounds accidental to me.

    edit: Thanks loads Jimbotfu for also arguing the point, altho’ you should probably get rid of that last sentence.

    >Erm, yes it does, actually. That?s the entire fucking definition of the term.

    edit 2: Electric Boogaloo: Did you even notice the link I posted? No, that’s not the only aspect of a Deus Ex Machina, or even the most important one as far as I can tell. It’s the “get out of plot corner free” card aspect I object to, not when it was introduced, because when it was introduced doesn’t matter when the thing that was introduced has no rules or limitations on its power whatsoever.

  54. >Erm, yes it does, actually. That?s the entire fucking definition of the term.

    That’s what the two lines in the dicitonary say, but in reality a plot device can be a Deus Ex-Machina if it exhibits uncharacteristic or unheard-of properties.

  55. Woah woah woah there…

    Seb, just because a device is introduced or mentioned earlier in a text doesn’t mean that its appearance isn’t a Deus Ex-Machina. It’s the FORM and EFFECT that it has which is important.

    We’d heard about the power in the heart of the TARDIS, but did we know it could destroy Daleks or turn a Slitheen into an egg? No, we didn’t. You might as well have a magic “do anything” box which gives a solution when you open it. Just because you know about the box doesn’t mean it isn’t a Deus Ex-Machina event when it’s opened and saves the day by employing some previously unheard-of power.

    Same goes for the master’s satellite network. Yes, we’d heard it mentioned… but the was it was harnessed at the end was a COMPLETE Deus Ex-Machina. It employed a previously unheard of power.

    Same goes for the Doctor’s magical “heal everything” potion which suddenly appears at the end of the episode to make everything better. Hang on…does mixing together medicines make them cure multiple diseases? Err…no, but now it does. Can medicines be communicated by touch? Err…no, but now they can.

    And I’m not regurgitating views, I’m airing my own. So (on this point alone) I do believe that you can get bent, daddy-oh. *edit – that probably sounded nastier than I meant. In my head it sounded like a lighthearted flippant 1950’s teenager-style Happy Days thing. Like ‘sit on it, Ritchie.’ Apologies Seb, I wasn’t having a go.*

  56. Yes, the first use of Magical TARDIS Power That Has No Rules Whatsoever totally justifies the second use of Magical TARDIS Power that, I feel I ought to repeat, has no rules whatsoever and can be called on to do anything the writer needs it to do, including get him out of a tight plot corner. That?s exactly what a Deus Ex Machina is, for goodness? sake.

    No, it isn’t. A deus ex machina is the sudden appearance of a character, event or object, whose existence in that particular context or at that particular instance would previously not have been expected, resolving the plot somehow.

    In Boom Town, the Doctor used the heart of the TARDIS, because he already knew what it could do. In Parting of the Ways, Rose attempted to do the same thing, having seen previously what it could do. The fact that she failed, but managed to succeed by accident, is neither here nor there (and is quite a common and overused mock-tension plot device, but a deus ex machina it is not).

    And the fact that the power of the TARDIS “has no rules” is entirely your opinion and interpretation.

    And to be honest, frankly, I can’t help but feel that your opinion is somewhat coloured by your distaste for Rose as the Mary Sue that you perceive her to be – as betrayed by your little rant above – and that if it had been someone other than her saving the day, you wouldn’t have been half as annoyed…

  57. >a plot device can be a Deus Ex-Machina if it exhibits uncharacteristic or unheard-of properties.

    Well, no. Surely every property is unheard of until the first time it’s mentioned? The very first time we discovered that the TARDIS could travel through time, was that a deus ex machina?

    It’s if those properties contravene previously-established rules that they become problematic.

  58. Did you even notice the link I posted?

    I saw that it was Wikipedia, and so decided that it probably wasn’t the most reliable of sources. I preferred to rely on my own knowledge of Classical literature and narrative conventions. But thanks anyway.

  59. > Seb, just because a device is introduced or mentioned earlier in a text doesn?t mean that its appearance isn?t a Deus Ex-Machina.

    To reiterate Seb’s point – yes, that’s exactly what it means.

    If you seed the solution, it’s not deux ex machina. It’s just not. The examples you’re raised can be lazy, silly, illogical, whatever else you want to call them, fine, but that’s simply not what the term refers to.

    If the hero is in a cell and finds the right key in his pocket, that’s deux ex machina. If he’s show stealing the key in act two, it’s not. Even if he steals it because “It’s shiny and nice”, even if the fact that it opens the right is sheer coincidence. Lazy, stupid, all of that, but it’s not the same thing.

    Nobody minds the slating RTD’s storytelling (I disagree, but it’s valid enough). But people keep repeating the term without fully grasping it. To criticise the improper use is not to automatically defend all the stories as well-constructed.

    No point going through ti all again, but the medical one in New Earth is my favourite example. The whole damn show is at pains to introduce the shows systems good and early, and to make very clear that this is a functioning medical facility with loads of drugs around. This is establishment for the finale, I’m sorry, it just is. Yes, it’s dumb that IV drugs are made to work this way; but it’s not what you’re calling it. It’s just silly. Which is a wholly different crime.

    If they were in an apartment block for welders, and the lifts were never shown to do anything other than travel, THEN they locate drugs and shower systems, that’s deux ex machina.

  60. Deus Ex-Machina can (and has often in criticism) been used to describe the way Bond uses a gadget which just so happens to fit his dire circumstance.

    The fact that Q introduced it earlier in the film has no bearing on it.

    And the fact is that without knowing what the TARDIS can do, the fact that its power can be harnessed so as to neatly resolves any problem in the episode’s narrative means that it has no rules. If you think it has, then YOU are the one who is inventing stuff.

    Going back to the Greek tragedies from which the phrase originated… the characters would know of the Gods and the powers available to them and would sometimes pray to them during the play…

    But when some bloke was wheeled out on a mechanical rig at the end of the play, dressed as a God who made everything better, it was STILL a Deus-Ex Machina.

  61. > Deus Ex-Machina can (and has often in criticism) been used to describe the way Bond uses a gadget which just so happens to fit his dire circumstance.

    > The fact that Q introduced it earlier in the film has no bearing on it.

    And this is where Wiki-quoting (where this example is idiotically listed) becomes a real problem – introducing an object to use later is the whole ball of wax. And it just goes to show that when any fool can edit Wikipedia, any fool generally will.

  62. You didn’t even look at the link, did you? I try, for once, to cite a source that might support my opinion in a reasonable way–that way, maybe we could discuss what a deus ex machina is and why it might or might not be in evidence here–and it gets ignored because–well, I don’t know exactly why.

    >In Boom Town, the Doctor used the heart of the TARDIS, because he already knew what it could do. In Parting of the Ways, Rose attempted to do the same thing, having seen previously what it could do.

    “What it could do” being defined as “I dunno, make everything better–it turns this alien into an egg ‘cos that’s the best way to resolve this particular story, but later blinks Daleks away into dust and casts Life2 on Jack because that’s what we needed it to do just then”.

    >And to be honest, frankly, I can?t help but feel that your opinion is somewhat coloured by your distaste for Rose as the Mary Sue that you perceive her to be – as betrayed by your little rant above – and that if it had been someone other than her saving the day, you wouldn?t have been half as annoyed?

    Perhaps I might have thought the two probles were intertwined–that the author’s overweening affection for his creation might move him to make her the hero somehow, anyhow, no matter if it doesn’t make sense–but no, I just hate hate hate Rose so much that I’d be totally okay with another character scoffing at the internal logic of the whole season. I’m evidently being unreasonable, but you were the one who replied to a post of mine with allcaps.

    On the bright side, Seb, you win. I’m bowing out.

  63. Deus Ex-Machina can (and has often in criticism) been used to describe the way Bond uses a gadget which just so happens to fit his dire circumstance.

    The fact that Q introduced it earlier in the film has no bearing on it.

    Again (I can’t believe how often I’m having to repeat this) – whether or not Q introduced it is the very thing that determines whether it’s a D-E-M or not. Seriously, how hard is that to grasp?

  64. >but you were the one who replied to a post of mine with allcaps.

    Because the post made me angry, because not only was it wrong, but you were being quite deliberately snarky based on nothing more than your dislike of the character.

    You didn?t even look at the link, did you? I try, for once, to cite a source that might support my opinion in a reasonable way?that way, maybe we could discuss what a deus ex machina is and why it might or might not be in evidence here?and it gets ignored because?well, I don?t know exactly why.

    I didn’t ignore the link, I’d read it before (and disagreed with some of it, actually) – but I don’t believe in using Wikipedia to back up one’s argument – unless it’s a WP article that itself directly quotes and references reputable sources. Because for all I know, you could have edited the article five minutes earlier to have it say what you wanted. I love Wikipedia and what it stands for, but you cannot use it as a reliable source. Its very nature prevents that.

    ?What it could do? being defined as ?I dunno, make everything better?it turns this alien into an egg ?cos that?s the best way to resolve this particular story, but later blinks Daleks away into dust and casts Life2 on Jack because that?s what we needed it to do just then?.

    Or, alternatively, it uses the power of the time vortex to regress things – the Slitheen back into its nascent state, the Daleks into component atoms, Jack back to a living being. I’m not saying it’s a perfect solution, but it’s all built around the same fundamental logic. Access to the vortex gives you command over the flow of time.

    I’m sorry if I’ve offended you Arlene, not least because I know you’re not an idiot. I just think you’re completely off the mark on this one.

  65. > You didn?t even look at the link, did you?

    To be fair, I did. Seb didn’t. We both came to the conclusion. But he saved ten minutes.

  66. You know, you really don’t come off well when you say things like that Andrew.

  67. > You know, you really don?t come off well when you say things like that Andrew.

    I come off better for, y’know, understanding the terms I use though, right?

    Heh – the Wiki piece quotes Aristotle: “the resolution of a plot must arise internally, following from previous action of the play.”

    Then uses the Bond example anyway. Genius.

    “The phrase has been extended”, it claims. Why not just write “I find it doesn’t allow me to criticise everything if I limit myself to the actual definition” and be done with it?

  68. That’s the Aristolelian definition, then it goes on to talk about definitions in modern texts and how the usage has changed.

    It ain’t wrong.

  69. But I must bow to your superiority, Andrew. You are quite clearly a splendid sort of chap brimming with social graces.

    *waves white flag*

  70. it goes on to talk about definitions in modern texts and how the usage has changed.

    Without citing a single fucking academic text to back up its assertion. So no, it doesn’t talk about “modern texts” at all. It talks about people who lazily apply it to popular media attempting to justify their misuse.

    Just because a load of people misuse something, it doesn’t mean the usage has changed. “Ironic” still just means exactly what it meant before Alanis Morrissette came along.

  71. > That?s the Aristolelian definition, then it goes on to talk about definitions in modern texts and how the usage has changed.

    Which, as I say, is a pretty questionable section of a user-edited site.

    > It ain?t wrong.

    Based on what research? I’ve met people who think ‘inflammable’ means ‘fireproof’. Seeing it used a certain way (generally by online reviewers who are trying to sound brighter than they are) doesn’t make it accurate.

    > But I must bow to your superiority, Andrew. You are quite clearly a splendid sort of chap.

    Hey, you didn’t let us get into who’s more qualified yet!

    I’ll start: bronze star for swimming widths, 1986.

  72. Funny…I’m sure I remember reading a book at uni about Bond films…and there was a whole chapter devoted to the Deus Ex-Machina elements of the gadgets.

    Could be wrong, though.

    Ah, ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. That’s pure irony.

  73. > It ain?t wrong.

    >Based on what research? I?ve met people who think ?inflammable? means ?fireproof?. Seeing it used a certain way (generally by online reviewers who are trying to sound brighter than they are) doesn?t make it accurate

    Based on this research (mine) and the facts therein:

    > Going back to the Greek tragedies from which the phrase originated? the characters would know of the Gods and the powers available to them and would sometimes pray to them during the play?

    But when some bloke was wheeled out on a mechanical rig at the end of the play, dressed as a God who made everything better, it was STILL a Deus-Ex Machina.

    (That pretty much explains it.)

    I think I’ll start calling him “DAVIES Ex-Machina”. Teee-heee-heee! *skips away*

  74. > and there was a whole chapter devoted to the Deus Ex-Machina elements of the gadgets.

    It happens in Bond films, just not with the examples you mention. In Moonraker Bond has an explosive and a micro-camera on him at just the right time, neither of which were shown to be given to him. The former got him out of a deathly situation. Could be seen as DEM. I imagine it’s ‘justified’ by the fact that for the last 9 films he’d been shown as having the right gadgets at the right time – in theory genre overrides the prescriptions of narrative. (Happens all the time.)

    But that’s a matter of taste, and very different from clear establishment of content.

    > But when some bloke was wheeled out on a mechanical rig at the end of the play, dressed as a God who made everything better, it was STILL a Deus-Ex Machina.

    Character belief isn’t the same as clear establishment. If James Bond believes that he’ll find a useful anti-killer-virus laying around in the villain’s lair, doesn’t make it the same as Q handing him a phial before he heads out.

    When a character is rescued by a god he prays to, but who is demonstrably unseen and useless until the climax, that’s DEM. If we show the gods through the play debating whether or not to intervene, it ain’t.

  75. I submit to your might and fury.

    Do what you will with my body but spare my eternal soul.

    My life is yours, Andrew. Now correct me ’til I fart.

    xxx

  76. (I would however argue that the powers of the TARDIS WERE previously unseen or ambiguous enough to appear so. Your interpretation is different, which is fair enough).

  77. > (I would however argue that the powers of the TARDIS WERE previously unseen or ambiguous enough to appear so. Your interpretation is different, which is fair enough).

    What, no more character attacks?

    I dunno, this unexpected twist wasn’t established in the earlier sections of the thread…

  78. >In Moonraker Bond has an explosive and a micro-camera on him at just the right time, neither of which were shown to be given to him. The former got him out of a deathly situation. Could be seen as DEM. I imagine it?s ?justified? by the fact that for the last 9 films he?d been shown as having the right gadgets at the right time – in theory genre overrides the prescriptions of narrative. (Happens all the time.)

    10 films, surely? (or are you excluding Dr No due to the lack of gadgets? ;-))

    Another example from Bond is his wrist-watch suddenly having the ability to turn into a revolving buzz-saw in the finale of Live and Let Die.

    Sorry. You can go back to talking about Doctor Who now. Maybe there should be a new term for *THAT THING THAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF A DOCTOR WHO STORY THAT CONVENIENTLY RESETS THINGS BUT CAN BE ARGUED IS NOT TECHNICALLY A DEUS EX MACHINA”.

    I vote for “RTD Cop-out”.

  79. G&T Admin

    > (I would however argue that the powers of the TARDIS WERE previously unseen or ambiguous enough to appear so. Your interpretation is different, which is fair enough).

    The powers of the TARDIS have been hinted at ever since year dot though, surely? Personally, I think it makes perfect sense that forcibly accessing the heart of the TARDIS (and, as such, the time vortex itself) could give someone brief and total control over everything. It’s even set up that when you DO force your way in you’re not long for this world. In fact, doesn’t Boom Town have a direct link to some things setup about the Heart of the TARDIS in the third ever story?

    As for The Doctor and his ‘Jesus moment’ – the character’s psychic abilities are WELL established, the psychic properties of the Arcangle network are also well established and so I have no problem making the leap The Doctor could harness psychic powers to sort out his artificial ageing (which incidentally, was setup 6 episode previously.)

    So, I’d go as far to say that not only was it not a Deus Ex Machina but it was a actually a very well thought out and satisfying plot conclusion.

  80. G&T Admin

    Also: could everyone who?s acting like a monumental dick stop acting a monumental dick? Thanks.

  81. >So, I?d go as far to say that not only was it not a Deus Ex Machina

    Fair enough.

    >but it was a actually a very well thought out and satisfying plot conclusion.

    Let’s not go nuts.

    >could everyone who?s acting like a monumental dick stop acting a monumental dick?

    What if it’s in our nature?

  82. G&T Admin

    > Let?s not go nuts.

    I’d certainly say that it was presented in a typically gaudy and unsubtle way, but there’s clearly a lot more thought gone into it than “THE DOCTOR IS LIKE JESUS”.

    Ok, so I’ll remove the “very” from my statement. I think that’s better.

  83. I do find it quite amusing that nobody’s yet mentioned by far the worst example of a convenient plot device – which was the “little green thing that he brought out of the TARDIS that magically stopped all the Cybermen”. It wasn’t a DEM, because we’d seen it, but it was a pretty fucking lazy cliffhanger resolution. Of course, RTD’s name isn’t on that episode. Even though he wrote it.

  84. Incidentally, I’d like to retract some of my earlier harshness from this thread. I still think you guys are wrong, and contributing to the widespread misuse of the term; but I was acting in a manner more akin to posting on a general forum, rather than a site I’m an editor of. So, yeah.

  85. Crikey.

  86. >> You know, you really don?t come off well when you say things like that Andrew.

    >I come off better for, y?know, understanding the terms I use though, right?

    I liked it

  87. Coo, what a carry on…

    Whilst I’m not getting involved in the re-defining of meanings argument I do think that RTD comes in for a lot of unnecessary stick.

    Given the job of resurecting Dr Who, he’s created a gem of entertainment in an otherwise very dull world of television and taken it further with Torchwood.

    As for contrived endings (and I dont think they are), surely this is in keeping with many episodes of classic Who anyway!

    Personally, I think who’s ever written or contributed to the series so far has maintained an exceptional standard throughout. If people are going to get angry over the standards of Dr Who, there isn’t much hope for the rest of television is there?

  88. My favorite part of this discussion is the intellectual bashing (oops, sorry, criticism) of Wikipedia whereas in other contexts the masses come screaming to the rescue of such a precious resource when I so much as dare to question it.

    I might frame relevant quotes here for use later on.

  89. But you do realise, Phil, that there’s a difference between a Wikipedia article that’s been stringently fact-checked, peer-reviewed and loaded with verifiable citations, and one that hasn’t?

    And it’s possible to like the site, support its aims, and put a lot of effort into helping make it better; while still acknowledging that it’s far from perfect and, as such, can’t usually be relied upon to back up an argument.

  90. I love wikipedia despite its obvious flaws..
    I think for a general outline on things it’s a very quick and useful resource but anything of importance is best further researched, precise definitions being a prime example due to embelishment.

    I was surprised that my Daughter would often say that wikipedia was used as a research tool at school and often got quoted. Amusingly though, many recent debates on meaning and facts appear to revolve around the contents of QI’s book of general ignorance.

  91. Anti-Plastic was not a deus ex machina, but it was a macguffin.

    This is important, because it says in what for many people was Episode 1: “This is NOT Star Trek: Voyager”

    Boom Town! & New Earth are not solved by a Deus Ex Machina, but they are resolved quickly. The TARDIS is a macguffin with phenomenal cosmic powers, from the third story with Bill Hartnell to the Paul McGann TV Movie this has been true, is it a catch-all solution, no. But turning back the clock, why not?

    The drug cocktail rain in New Earth does seem a little easy but it is stated that the drugs came from infecting the patients in the first place. I’ll buy.

    I don’t mind Rose as Bad Wolf at all and if she wants to turns Daleks to dust and bring Jack back who are you to argue with her? The point is she does these things with a human touch and not logically, so Jack is alive but with consequences and the genocide of the Daleks (albeit tempoary) is a step the Doctor cannot take.

    It’s about why, not about how.

  92. >But you do realise, Phil, that there?s a difference between a Wikipedia article that?s been stringently fact-checked, peer-reviewed and loaded with verifiable citations, and one that hasn?t?

    I realize that it’s much easier for a good article to deteriorate under many hands than it is for a poor one to be built up.

  93. I should also point out that the only times I’ve questioned specific Wikipedia articles in the past it’s to point out that there ARE no citations as to what’s being quoted.

    People don’t seem to realize that Wikipedia is not a source–used correctly it’s a well-organized summary of primary sources, and that’s all it can ever be. But I’ll be fucked over a rainbarrell if even 5% of Wikipedia’s visitors actually bother to follow citation links (when they exist) to verify that the information is even being interpreted properly.

  94. > 10 films, surely? (or are you excluding Dr No due to the lack of gadgets? ;-))

    I said “the last ten films”, as in the previous films to that one – those that would influence audience expectation before Moonraker. T’was deliberate. Unless you’re counting Casino Royale… :-)

  95. The thing is that while Wiki is generally good for checking trivial stuff such as “how to make a toga”, academic topics tend to fall into mediocrity or downright inaccuracy. I study international relations, so I’ll discuss topics in that area-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_internationalism
    “Liberal internationalism is a foreign policy doctrine that argues that liberal states should intervene in other sovereign states in order to pursue liberal objectives.”

    wrong, wrong, and brimming over with wrongability. Liberal internationalism advocates the spread of a liberal democratic word system which is based on free trade, liberal economics, democracy and international institutions. The manner in which it is spread is hotly debated within liberal internationalism and shouldn’t be portrayed as its primary tools (which I would argue are more systemic and structural)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_peace
    “The democratic peace theory has been extremely divisive among political scientists. It is rooted in the idealist and classical liberalist traditions and is opposed to the previously dominant theory of realism.”

    It isn’t ooposed so much as it disagrees with realism’s ‘billiard ball’ concept (which, quite frankly, is bullshit)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereignty
    “Following the Thirty Years’ War, a European religious conflict that embroiled much of the continent, the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 established the notion of territorial sovereignty as a doctrine of noninterference in the affairs of other nations. The 1789 French Revolution shifted the possession of sovereignty from the sovereign ruler to the nation and its people.”

    Wow. The two most important events in the history of international relations summed up in a few sentences. There is nothing about the consolidation of sovereignty over a period of a century, the German micro-states, nor that the last sentence is so sweeping that it can be interpreted in any way. To say that sovereignty has shifted to the people is total garbage outside of liberal democracies, and even that is a dubious claim if you consider the nature of sovereignty and its symbolic nature in the international realm. Could you really claim that the North Korean people have any say over the nature of their sovereign rights? Or the Tibetans?

    Anyways, I could go on and on and on, but since even these base ideas are not done right, I shudder to think how shit that Israel-Palestine page is.

  96. Well, sure – you can explain anything with common sense…

    :-)

  97. >while Wiki is generally good for checking trivial stuff such as ?how to make a toga?

    The rest of your point is taken (and agreed with) but I wanted to isolate this as, from what I understand, this is exactly what Wikipedia does NOT want to be consulted for. It desires to be a collection of helpful, informative facts…and not a page for advice, hints, tricks, etc.

    Yet that’s really what it’s best at being.

    The individual entries on Wikipedia are really just fan-pages. Some are well-researched. Many are worked on in teams. Some reek of amateurism. But they’re all just fan pages, spurred on by the desire to talk about (and collect “facts” about) something for which the writer has enthusiasm.

    I’m fine with that.

    But how it elevates those entries in so many people’s minds to be an “authority” on the topic is beyond me.

    …basically my problem with Wikipedia isn’t Wikipedia itself, it’s the fact that an extremely small number of people who use the site understand its inherent limitations, and, therefore, neglect to account for them.

  98. Indeed. I link to wiki in certain circumstances, I must admit- but most of the time it’s because it has something about a TV show I like.

  99. Batman couldn’t exist without the ultimate Deus Ex Machina provider – his utility belt. Some writers treat it like Mary Poppins’s fucking bag!

    The sonic screwdriver being able to do just about fucking everything in recent times (except open a deadlock seal! which in itself works as a highly convenient plot device) can work in a similar way. The Doctor suddenly being able to control the Tardis with it is pretty fucking convenient. However, that’s not a Deus Ex Machina. An example of that would be if, at the end of The Doctor Dances, instead of the nanogenes turning everyone back to normal (‘everybody lives!’) the Doctor says ‘hang on a second’ runs off and comes back with some random instrument that he presses and, hey presto, the gasmasks have turned back to faces.

    The resolution of the Rise of the Cybermen cliffhanger is one of the top 5 worst moments in new Who, surely! There’s no proof RTD wrote that part… I just hope he didn’t. The best resolution to a cliffhanger ever is ‘go to your room!’

  100. Incidentally, I?d like to retract some of my earlier harshness from this thread. I still think you guys are wrong, and contributing to the widespread misuse of the term; but I was acting in a manner more akin to posting on a general forum, rather than a site I?m an editor of. So, yeah.

    ^_________________^

  101. G&T Admin

    Arlene, is there any way you could clarify what you mean by your last comment? I genuinely don’t understand it.

  102. It’s a smiley face. A very big smiley face. It was meant to be a sort of “Yes! Thank you! This makes me feel a lot better.” smiley but I suppose I ought to have been a bit clearer.

    edit2: The Editationing: Also, I ought, perhaps, to add a :( in re: some of my own conduct. It only seems fair.

  103. >I said ?the last ten films?, as in the previous films to that one – those that would influence audience expectation before Moonraker. T?was deliberate. Unless you?re counting Casino Royale? :-)

    No,I’m counting:

    1) Dr No
    2) From Russia With Love
    3) Goldfinger
    4) Thunderball
    5) You Only Live Twice
    6) On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    7) Diamonds Are Forever
    8) Live and Let Die
    9) The Man With the Golden Gun
    10) The Spy Who Loved Me

    Moonraker being the eleventh.

    Unless I’ve misunderstood again and you just chose the number ten because it’s a nice round number.

    EDIT: Sorry, I misread your reply. My point is that you originally said “for the last 9 films”.

  104. I are a stoopid. Yes, should have been ten films. Post-pub response. Sorry Pete.

  105. G&T Admin

    I see your smiley now, Arlene; the quote had squashed it flat!

  106. G&T Admin

    Going back to Who for a minute – whilst I don’t really have a problem with most of RTD’s endings, I often think that it doesn’t matter quite as much as people think it does anyway.

    If a show is funny, if a show is well-characterised, if a show has some nice twists, if the show is saying something interesting, if the show has lovely dialogue – and I think most of RTD’s Who scripts are like this – does a slightly dodgy ending ruin all that has come before? I would say no.

    My problems with something like Tooth & Claw aren’t the ending – it’s the fact that I’m not that keen on the bulk of the episode. A dodgy ending doesn’t matter so much if the rest of the episode is great – but a great ending where everything is tied up neatly doesn’t save a bad show.

  107. >If a show is funny, if a show is well-characterised, if a show has some nice twists, if the show is saying something interesting, if the show has lovely dialogue – and I think most of RTD?s Who scripts are like this – does a slightly dodgy ending ruin all that has come before? I would say no.

    If the writer has done well enough to get you invested in his story and his characters, it seems like a bit of a waste that said story doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion. You can twist and turn a story all you like as a writer (and in such a way that the audience will greatly appreciate it), but you have to have it end in a way that that warrants all the hype. RTD’s problem is he focuses on huge grandiose schemes (whereas the more successful stories are more scaled down), corners himself into the tightest corner and then resolves everything far to easily.

    So, yeah, it’s not hugely important (your Sky+ could cut off ten minutes before the end of the show and you’d rave about the episode without seeing the end) but it IS important.

    A recent case in point was when I saw The Prestige for the first time. I really enjoyed it…up until the last scene which twisted the story in a completely stupid way. It infuriated me and now, when I talk about it, I can’t resist mentioning how annoying it was. Because, for me, it hugely spoilt my enjoyment.

    That said, as either you or Ian mentioned in an article a few years back, the resolution for the cliffhanger ending in Tikka to Ride, doesn’t spoil Out of Time one iota. Maybe it’s because Out of Time WAS the ending.

  108. Did Jimbotfu resign his G+T membership over this discussion?

    I mean, granted, I could see getting annoyed by an argument like the above (even when you’re legitimately losing), but I’m not used to people deleting their accounts without the courtesy of a big, farewell, “poor me” post to punctuate the gesture.

  109. He’ll turn up…one way or another.

  110. G&T Admin

    Jimboftu emailed us to ask for his account to be deleted. A shame. It’s always a shame to see people leave, particularly when they seem to be an alright sort of bloke, and they haven’t been too much of a twat. We told him he’s welcome to come back at any time he sees fit, and I hope he takes us up on that.

  111. Yeah, he was actually a decent enough guy. Not that we have a shortage of those around here, but I’d much rather someone else deleted their account. Like Ben Paddon, or Dave.

  112. Shocker. Didn’t realise that the above was *that* heated. Hand in your badge and your gun at the door.

    Goodbye Jimboftu, we hardly knew you.

  113. >I?d much rather someone else deleted their account. Like Ben Paddon, or Dave.

    Prune my wastrel

  114. >Prune my wastrel

    Ewwwwww…!!

  115. I have this image of dummies being spat out.

    (that’s a pacifier, for those of the United States set)

  116. when I saw The Prestige for the first time. I really enjoyed it?up until the last scene which twisted the story in a completely stupid way.

    I thought it was great. Perhaps because I’d figured it out already. ;-)

  117. Can’t you start up another anonymous blog and, you know, *cough* not tell us the address?

  118. (although I disagree about Scarlett; I thought she came close to ruining the film every time she appeared)

  119. > Can?t you start up another anonymous blog and, you know, *cough* not tell us the address?

    Aaaah – how do you know I haven’t? :-)

    To be honest, working for ITV AND GNP I’ve been too busy to keep the a blog updated.

  120. >I thought it was great. Perhaps because I?d figured it out already. ;-)

    At the risk of spoiling it for people who haven’t seen it, which twist do you mean? I spotted the Bale one fairly early and was fine with that. The Jackman one was the one that spoilt it for me as it was nothing less than a cheat.

  121. You mean as regards the Tesla machine?

    I don’t know, at the risk of bringing up the whole “it’s not a cheat if you get clues” thing again (actually, I say that, but it’s less relevant to the earlier deus ex machina discussion than it is to discussions I’ve had lately about the last Lost episode) – but there were clues, they’re just not really ones that you spot until after you’ve seen it once already. For example, perhaps the biggest one is the apparent non-sequitur of the very opening shot of the film, with all the hats.

  122. SPOILERS – MAYBE.

    The Bale one was the one I twigged far too soon, and which ‘mattered’ most as a twist. But, as I say, I think the film survived that potentially-fatal flaw by virtue of its other qualities.

    The Jackman one I don’t call a twist – as Seb points out, it’s seeded early, but I’d argue that the early clues don’t matter so much when, as we approach the final scenes, we’re in little doubt as to what Jackman’s deal is. It’s not played for the revelation of the unknown to us, just to the characters. We know what’s coming, we just can’t believe it.

    When it’s revealed we’re left confronted by the sheer cost of the thing. It’s a character and ‘cost of sheer will’ ending. I understand completely people feeling that the movie skipped into a different genre with that development, and that hat can feel unsatisfactory. But AS it was set up early, and as it was played not as trick conclusion but character beat and artistic statement, I was more than happy with it.

  123. (I hasten to add, actually, that I hadn’t really figured out the Jackman twist – well, kind of, but not entirely. It was the Bale one that I’d got, as well. But I thought it worked, because of the further implications they drew, such as the fact that each of them was in love with a different woman)

  124. BIG FAT SPOILERS

    >You mean as regards the Tesla machine?

    Uh huh. A bit of research tells me that the novel had a similar (but not identical) “twist” but, since the rest of the story seems to have been changed quite significantly, it surprised me that the Nolans didn’t tweak it.

    >For example, perhaps the biggest one is the apparent non-sequitur of the very opening shot of the film, with all the hats.

    Yeah, and I kept on thinking back to this as I was trying to work out the “trick” (pretty pointless, as it turned out). At one stage, I just assumed that Tesla was pulling a big con by buying lots of cats and hats so to get money from Jackman.

    >It?s not played for the revelation of the unknown to us, just to the characters.

    The problem is that the film begs for that kind of analysis and is part of the reason why I really enjoyed 95% of it. It’s about “tricks”, so to reveal that the biggest trick isn’t a trick at all, but “magic” (and so late in the film) felt like a cheat. I’d have a similar problem if Jonathan Creek stumbled upon the mechanics of an ingenious crime and discovered A WIZARD DID IT.

    I was expecting a reasonably logical solution. And the film ended.

    >But I thought it worked, because of the further implications they drew, such as the fact that each of them was in love with a different woman)

    Yeah, I agree. Think this worked reasonably well because a)the hints were there and b)it didn’t take you out of the “rules” of the universe.

    This thread was about Carry On films at one point.

  125. > It?s about ?tricks?, so to reveal that the biggest trick isn?t a trick at all, but ?magic? (and so late in the film) felt like a cheat.

    Ah, this may be the crux of the thing. Partly because see it as ‘technological fluke’ rather than ‘magic; but mostly because I didn’t read it as a reveal, just a confirmation of what we’d already realised – with Caine’s fear of the gadget, and the hats and cats. (The hats, of course, can’t be part of a con, because they’re not being presented to Jackman by Tesla.)

    As I say, I totally get the genre switch throwing people, but it’s so in tune with what the film is about – and, I didn’t think, played as a twist, exactly – that I really liked it. It’s about violent sacrifice, it’s about ego, it’s about the ‘real magic’ his audiences want being, in fact, genuinely horrific…it totally plays to the film’s substance.

    It it were M. Night Shyamalan, where the tale is all cos the substance is less, it’d bother me more, I guess.

  126. I really like The Prestige. Granted, this is partly skewed by the fart I’m rather fond of Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale, but it’s also a case of it being a bloody good film. I can’t now remember when I got the twists – but I’m not totally sure that’s important (as long as they aren’t immediately obvious).

    The genre switch isn’t a problem, the whole film is nicely paced and beautifully shot – did you realise they only use one purpose built set in the entire film? (Can’t find where I read that now)

    I think it perhaps depends on what you want from a film. I’m not someone who spends all my time trying to work twists out – I like to watch and enjoy – if I get the twist before the end it’s generally a mark of poor writing.

    The very last scene – where we see all the bodies – was very very eerie in cinema, although not as much on the DVD. As Andrew says, the whole film is about Angier’s ego and greed, and Borden’s much humbler and cleverer experience. As he says at one point, you have to live as the magician you are, never let that drop – Borden with his dual exterior lets that happen perfectly.

    I also like the fact that Borden allowed Angier to kill himself over and over again. The whole film just works so well.

    So that’s my half asleep rambling.

  127. > this is partly skewed by the fart

    *snigger* He said ‘fart’…

  128. See, I said I was half asleep! :)

  129. Brilliant brilliant film. There aren’t any real twists though, they’re more like tricks that become more obvious as the film goes on. Even though you know the twists by the time of the ‘reveal’ scene under the stage it still shocks you to realise what lengths both Borden and Angier went to. Nolan cleverly made it so the film didn’t rely on the twists, that it wasn’t gimmicky at all.

    There’s nothing more satisfying than watching it a second time. The moment that chilled me second time round was at the start when they do the bird trick and the little kid cries ‘he killed it!’ you realise it mirrors what Angier later has to do night after night.

    It’s also great spotting (or trying to spot, sometimes it’s difficult) which Borden brother is which during each scene. I must admit it took a third viewing for me to twig that when Borden somehow quickly appears in his wife’s room, even though he was just outside, that his twin had obviously come through the window, or was already there!

    I like to think that maybe Tesla’s machine didn’t really work at all and that the real Transported Man was still done with Angier’s drunk double (that way the events of the film can happen without a sc-fi element). The bodies at the end were fake just for Borden’s benefit. Angier also had to drown his double that last time, anything to fool Borden into thinking it was real.

    You could literally spend hours discussing The Prestige, I’m sure, and that’s why it’s so great.

  130. I enjoyed The Prestige. I think people tend to get huffy about Twist Endings because, well, some people see ’em coming, others don’t. I worked out about halfway through The Sixth Sense that Bruce Willis was a ghost, because all of the clues are stuck right under your nose with Post-It notes attached to them saying “This is a clue to the twist ending in which Bruce Willis is revealed to be a ghost”. I’d worked out The Prestige as well, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.

    I think that, as gamers seem to put undue value on the length of a game over its quality, film boffs tend to place far too much stock on “predictability of the plot”. This seems silly to me. When you’re given a slice of Battenberg, you know what it’s going to taste like. You know what the basic ingredients are, and you know that when it’s finished you’re going to be left with a plate with crumbs on it. But that doesn’t make the battenberg any less enjoyable.

  131. > you know what it?s going to taste like. You know what the basic ingredients are, and you know that when it?s finished you?re going to be left with a plate with crumbs on it

    Sounds like my average sexual experience. Just replace the Battenberg with cunny.

  132. G&T Admin

    Do *all* women have an issue with cake being shoved up their fanny?

    All the ones I’ve met aren’t keen.

  133. >I think people tend to get huffy about Twist Endings because, well, some people see ?em coming, others don?t.

    Perhaps, but not me. Fight Club, for example, knocked me for six. The Usual Suspects twist; pretty good. American Psycho twist; logical but not really executed with flare (ironic considering the subject matter). The Sixth Sense had, unfortunately, been more or less ruined for me so there was an inkling already there.

    A good twist ending should survive the first viewing though. Obviously, it’s not the most important thing about a movie (something Shyamalan seems to have forgotten with each subsequent outing) but, executed well and logically, and it improves the reading of the films on repeat viewings. Fight Club remains one of my favourite movies, I still love the ending of The Sixth Sense, American Pyscho remains endlessly entertaining.

    To repeat, my problem with the ending of The Prestige was not that there was a twist. As Andrews says above (and I’m inclined to agree) “twist” is probably not the right word for the reveal to Jackman’s trick, but certainly the right term for the reveal to Bale’s.

    My problem was that the Jackman “revelation” suggested a fantasy genre that hadn’t even been hinted at in the preceding two hours. The entirety of the film was about tricks, after all, so to explain a trick as a genuine bit of magic is, ironically, disappointing. Mr Flibble and others, don’t seem to think the “genre switch” is a problem which is fair enough, but a quick look at IMdb shows that I’m not alone in feeling cheated.

    >I?d worked out The Prestige as well, but that doesn?t mean I didn?t enjoy it.

    Didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it either (best film I’ve seen in weeks), even though I didn’t figure it out. However, I’m impressed that you figured out that that the way Jackman was performing his trick was that there wasn’t a trick; it was simply down to Tesla inventing a duplication machine. It’s akin to the revelation that Quidditch is actually performed using wires attached to broomsticks.

    I guess there weren’t even “hints” or “clues” of the Jackman thing. The multiple cats and hats as mentioned above were integral to the Tesla storyline and were shown several times. Unfortunately, when watching I got the notion that there was slightly more to it than that. That Tesla (Bowie was awesome, btw) was conning Jackman and was, possibly in league, with Bale).

    For me, it remains a cheat and a frustrating ending to a good film.

    As for the Battenberg analogy, Ben. Uh-hmm. I’m surprised that someone who writes doesn’t see the value in surprising their audience.

  134. >I?m surprised that someone who writes doesn?t see the value in surprising their audience.

    Yeah, but the risk is in taking it too far – otherwise you get accused of not playing fair, and of cheating your audience by pulling something out of the blue. *cough*

  135. G&T Admin

    As for the Battenberg analogy, Ben. Uh-hmm. I?m surprised that someone who writes doesn?t see the value in surprising their audience.

    Without wishing to speak for Ben here, I think I get what he means – it’s similar to how I feel about RTD endings. I think that far too much emphasis is placed on a plot’s twists and turns – a film can be hugely enjoyable without them. That’s not to say that twist endings can’t be fucking amazing – I love Fight Club, too – just that a film can be hugely entertaining even if you know exactly where it’s going, if it does enough else right.

  136. G&T Admin

    Do *all* women have an issue with cake being shoved up their fanny?

    I’m scared. This is terrible, I’m not having a cake-fanny. Yuk!

  137. Cake is a made-up drug

  138. G&T Admin

    Erm, back to Carry On London for a minute – I’ve only just found out that the script was written by Peter Richardson and Pete Richens, of Comic Strip fame. Which makes me slightly more hopeful about the quality of the script. I STILL worry about the cast, though…

    Frankly, I wish they’d do a new Confessions film – I’m watching them at the moment, and they’re good fun (and genuinely sexy, although I get turned on by 70s totty). Simon Pegg would be *perfect* as a replacement Robin Askwith, although he wouldn’t want to do it in a million years, I’m sure…

    And I’m having great fun planning who the girls would be. WHILST PLAYING WITH MY COCK.

  139. I?ve only just found out that the script was written by Peter Richardson and Pete Richens, of Comic Strip fame. Which makes me slightly more hopeful about the quality of the script.

    Really? Good God, man, have you not SEEN Churchill : The Hollywood Years?

    PRx2 haven’t done anything of worth since the first half of Four Men in a Car. I didn’t know they were involved in this, but Christ, now I’m even less optimistic.

  140. G&T Admin

    Really? Good God, man, have you not SEEN Churchill : The Hollywood Years?

    I must admit, I haven’t – in fact, I’ve not seen anything of theirs since For Men In A Plane (which I admit was pretty poor, as far as I recall). So you’re probably right, and my mind has been clouded by my Comic Strip boxset.

    It’s just that I’m eternally optimistic about writers if they used to produce stuff I enjoyed – and at one point, I would have said they were the ideal writers. Fifteen years ago, admittedly.

    Maybe they should have got whoever wrote the bawdy 70s-style hospital sketch in Mitchell & Webb – possibly M&W themselves – to take a crack at it…

  141. I must admit, I haven?t – in fact, I?ve not seen anything of theirs since For Men In A Plane (which I admit was pretty poor, as far as I recall). So you?re probably right, and my mind has been clouded by my Comic Strip boxset.

    Well, there’s no doubt they’re responsible for some of the finest comedy of the last few decades – my feelings on the utterly sublime Strike! are well-known, and I’ve also got a massive soft spot for A Fistful of Travellers’ Cheques (among various others – I love The Comic Strip generally), and I think The Supergrass is sorely underrated. But like I say, after Four Men In a Car – which worked for about fifteen minutes – it’s all been downhill. …Plane was terrible, sex actually was even worse, and Churchill was an utterly abominable attempt to recreate everything that had made Strike so perfect…

  142. G&T Admin

    I’ve not seen Sex Actualy, although nothing I’ve heard about it makes me want to. You’re definitely right about For Men In A Car though – it trails off alarmingly. (Although I *love* that shot of them all on the hill, waving their mobiles around trying to get a signal.)

    I keep meaning to write a deconstruction of Five Go Mad In Dorset – these aren’t generic things their parodying, they’re *specific* references to actual Famous Five books. The main plot comes from Five Go On A Hike Together, for instance

  143. >Yeah, but the risk is in taking it too far – otherwise you get accused of not playing fair, and of cheating your audience by pulling something out of the blue. *cough*

    Touch?. But at the risk of waffling on even more (too late), I stress that I have no problem with things being pulled out of the blue as long as they make sense to me within the context of the film. A lot of the films mentioned above took me completely by surprise with their endings, but they make perfect sense and enhance my viewing the second time around. I’ll begrudgingly admit that I haven’t watched The Prestige a second time yet (I’ll buy it on DVD at some point, I’m sure), but I don’t think that ending will work for me any better or alter how I view the film. We shall see.

    >Without wishing to speak for Ben here, I think I get what he means – it?s similar to how I feel about RTD endings. I think that far too much emphasis is placed on a plot?s twists and turns – a film can be hugely enjoyable without them. That?s not to say that twist endings can?t be fucking amazing – I love Fight Club, too – just that a film can be hugely entertaining even if you know exactly where it?s going, if it does enough else right.

    Yes, I guess the brings us back to the point made in the *middle of this conversation* (so What is It? etc). RTD endings work for some people a lot more than others. Personally, I like the guessing game that comes with unpredictable plot twists; they just need to seem to be logical as well.

  144. > Actually, and in all seriousness, I used to be interested in shoving Twirl bars up vaginas. This was until I was informed sharply that it was a recipe for thrush.

    That’s not technically a recipe, it’s a serving suggestion.

    :-)

  145. If anyone is interested, The Prestige is available (possibly for today only) for the, quite ridiculous, price of ?1.99 on Play.com

  146. G&T Admin

    Going WAY back up the thread for a minute:

    There is VERY little in the Carry Ons that is offensive.

    I’m making my way through the Confessions films at the moment – and there is very little that’s dodgy in the first two films. But last night, I watched Confessions From A Holiday Camp, and whilst there’s a huge amount to recommend it – including a scene set with a grieving family in a hearse that’s a fantastic bit of comedy, and probably the best thing in the entire first three films – there’s also some DEEPLY unpleasant racial material about a black girl. Including such deathless lines as “She looked like angry walking black pudding”, and a terrible “spade” reference. It’s obviously not meant with any malice, but it’s deeply, deeply ignorant. I keep forgetting things were as bad as that in 1977. Political correctness gets a bad rap for no especially good reason, but it means that stuff like this just DOESN’T happen in films any more, at least in this context – and a good thing too. (Of course, it reflects the kind of thing that was acceptable to some people at the time, which is interesting in itself.)

    But still – it’s interesting that moments like these underline how little material there is that’s offensive in the films. So when moments like that hit you, they *really* hit you like a bolt out of the blue.

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