Doctor Who – Into The Dalek Review (or “Oh Doctor, Not The Daleks Again”)

August 30, 2014

“Oh Doctor, Not the Daleks Again!”

I believe that was the headline of an article in The Sun newspaper back in 1988 before Remembrance of the Daleks was transmitted for the first time.

The notion behind it was of course that the Daleks had been done to death and really didn’t need brought back again.

You could certainly imagine that headline would be used in 2014. After all, in the nine years since Doctor Who came back to our screens, the Daleks have featured in ten stories before their latest appearance in “Inside The Dalek“. And now that makes three appearances in the last year.

It’s too much, isn’t it? It gets boring and repetitive.

But I suppose part of that comes down to this supposedly scientific formula for introducing a new Doctor. People look back at Tom Baker’s first season and think that the successful way to introduce a new Doctor is to settle him in with some established monsters early on. Personally, I think good stories will do, but what do I know, eh?

And maybe I’m being too judgemental. Maybe in spite of everything, the Daleks will seem fresh and interesting and this will be an exciting story.

Or failing that, maybe Peter Capaldi will continue to impress in spite of the mundane over-reliance on a monster that desperately needs to disappear for a while.

Doctor Who – Into the Dalek Review: What’s This One About?

As someone who seeks to avoid spoilers, I didn’t realise how literal the name of this episode would be until I watched it. But yes, this is a story of the Doctor going into the Dalek.

We’re inching closer to Pudding of the Daleks with each story…

Thoughts – Nothing Groundbreaking

I don’t want to seem like I’m being negative about Inside the Dalek because on the whole it was a decent 45 minutes of Doctor Who.

"See you in a few weeks mate"

“See you in a few weeks mate”

But the reasons for my enjoyment were not really because it was an awesome idea.

Indeed, I thought it came across like the sort of thing you’d listen to in a Big Finish Audio. And not the pre-2005 glory years but rather the post Nu-Who “All Our Best Ideas Will Be Used On TV” style Big Finish.

Decent story though it is, you could certainly imagine it being done with Colin Baker and Nick Briggs shouting at each over the medium of audio.

And maybe that’s me being harsh; after all, it did at least try to do something different with the Daleks, and offer an alternative to the usual format. That at least is worth commending.

But ultimately, the Daleks are not exciting or interesting anymore. All they do is shout, occasionally try to sound profound and sympathetic and exterminate some no-mark extras who you have no emotional attachment to and therefore don’t care if they get shot.

They just have no appeal to me anymore and I believe they need to disappear for a few years. Unfortunately, commercial considerations will outweigh creative ones and they’ll probably be back again before the season is done.

The New Doctor Again

So if the plot didn’t light up my life this evening, what did?

Mostly, I’d say it was Peter Capaldi.

I could be getting ahead of myself, and I probably am, but because he just seems so well suited to the part, I think he has the potential to be my favourite ever Doctor. I want to watch the show for him as much as I want to watch it for the show.

"Oh for fuck's sake. He's probably right"

“Oh for fuck’s sake. He’s probably right”

That never happened with Eccleston, Tennant or especially Smith. Hell, I just found Matt Smith to be annoying after a while.

But Peter Capaldi? He’s fantastic. He is what the Doctor should be. In actual fact, it’s like he’s the Doctor made to appeal to the kids who started watching in 2005 and have now grown up. It’s a bit like the way the Harry Potter movies began to take on a more adult form by the end, or how the WWF Attitude Era grabbed back the fanbase who watched it as kids in the late 1980s/early 90s by presenting a more gritty, adult style.

I don’t know if he’ll appeal much to young kids, but he appeals to me and presumably anyone who has ever seen The Thick of It. Indeed, his style of Doctor is almost Malcolm Tucker without the swearing, and that’s exactly what everyone wanted when it was announced that he was cast in the role.

Is he too harsh? He could be – and his absolute lack of empathy towards the death of Ross would suggest that he might be – but he’s ably assisted by Clara because she works as a yang to his ying. Like last week, Jenna Coleman has shown how much better she is as a companion when she works alongside someone she actually has chemistry with.

In particular, the continual criticism of her appearance by the Doctor works to great comic effect, and brings out the best in both of them. Lines like “Ach your hips are fine; you’re built like a man” and  – in response to her asking him how she looks – “Sort of short and roundish, but with a good personality, and that’s the main thing” are genuinely funny and really add to events.

When it comes to the main cast, Doctor Who is currently in top form.

Random Observations

  • Now I know that there are only 45 minutes for the writers to work with, and that any ending would have to be a little bit contrived, but I still thought that Clara’s ability to work out exactly how to bring back the Dalek’s memory seemed too
    I was going to make this a caption about the obvious blue-screen, but instead I just want to say Capaldi looks like a mouldy potato here.

    I was going to make this a caption about the obvious blue-screen, but instead I just want to say Capaldi looks like a mouldy potato here. Or Frank Skinner.

    convenient and rushed. She might have travelled with the Doctor for a while, but that doesn’t make her a genius.

  • I did like the way that they’ve finally begun to give her a character and a proper life outside of her time with the Doctor
  • And speaking of that, the story did a good job of introducing her new – I would assume – love interest,
  • I don’t know what’s going on with Missy, beyond a hope that it’s not a female Master. Oh please don’t be.
  • While the direction of the story was of a more than acceptable standard, this is the second week in a row where I’ve felt it’s been too obvious that Capaldi is standing in front of blue-screen.
  • It would be really churlish of me to say “It’s a bit too much like the Invisible Enemy for my liking”, as I really doubt that similarities to that story are uppermost in the minds of the people making the show in 2014.
  • What isn’t churlish though, is to say that the line about the Doctor being a “Good Dalek” is too similar to the exchange between Eccleston and the Dalek in Dalek.
  • I don’t think I commented on the new theme tune last week. Do I like it? Not that much, but then nothing other than bringing back the Peter Howell version would please me.
  • Another gripe: How come the Dalek was able to shoot the other Daleks without taking a hit itself?
  • Oh yeah, and one more thing…how come they were all dry again when they moved into the next room after being soaked in that pool of animal remains?
  • At least the writers are being honest about the Daleks reappearing again, with the Doctor saying “Until next time” to it. That makes a change from “OMG, the entire Dalek race has been destroyed forever again”.
  • Next week’s episode looks like it might be good, but seeing as it’s a Mark Gatiss story, I’d say the prognosis isn’t all that great. I’m a glass half full kinda guy though so I’ll approach it with a positive outlook.

Doctor Who – Into the Dalek Review: Final Thoughts

So it has its good and bad sides to it.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve come away from watching it tonight believing the Daleks need to go away and stay away, and that Peter Capaldi is an amazing Doctor.

Those were my expectations, so they’ve been fulfilled.

And I enjoyed it on a general level, so on the whole I can’t complain.

Enjoyed reading this Doctor Who review? Why not check out my book on Amazon. Stuart Reviews Doctor Who: Book One – The Classic Era. It’s available for a great price and can be read on any mobile or tablet device. Plus, you get a free preview of it so you can try before you buy. Get it here


Movies: Under The Skin Review (or “Well If Paul Likes It…”)

August 30, 2014

Back in the day, my friends and I used to hold a weekly film night. Taking turns each week, one of us would bring along a movie that the others hadn’t seen before in an attempt to broaden their horizons.

Some of the efforts brought along were good (like Gregory’s Girl, The Firm, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and All About Eve) while others were not (like Bubba Ho Tep and The Grapes of Wrath – the latter of which was a blind choice my be and under-the-skinone I’ll regret for the rest of my life. Boring doesn’t even begin to describe it).

It was during this period that I discovered just how bad I thought my friend Paul’s taste in movies was. He brought along the likes of The Fountain and Videodrome, which I either sat, open-mouthed at how awful they were or just fell asleep through boredom.

It’s still a recurring joke now that I like to bring up at almost every opportunity. If I see a film and think it’s rubbish, I’ll say “I bet Paul liked that” and the thing is, he usually does!

Anyway, last night I watched Under the Skin, and upon hearing I was watching it, I got a message from Paul to say “Under the Skin was one of the best films of the year so far!”

“Oh bollocks”, I thought.

Under the Skin Review: What’s It About?

A mysterious woman drives around Scotland, seducing and feeding upon random blokes.

Under the Skin Review: Who’s In It?

Scarlett Johansson. There are others of course, but she’s really the only one needing mentioned here.

Under the Skin Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

Well the reviews are mixed. If you go to imdb, you’ll see it only gets 6.4 from just under 32,000 votes. The thing is, I don’t think that’s from people giving it a 6 or 7; I think it’s from people either giving it 10 or 1.

From what I can gather reading the reviews, people either think it’s a masterpiece or a lot of boring old toss.

My mate Paul thinks it’s a masterpiece, my brother – who suggested we watch it as he loves the book it’s based on – thought it was extremely boring.

What category do I fall into?

Under the Skin Review: My Thoughts

As a rule, I don’t like films that try to be arty. 2001: A Space Odyssey ranks as one of my least favourite films of all time. For me, the basis of a good movie is a strong plot; I watch these things for the story and the dialogue.

Under the Skin doesn’t seem to have anything resembling that; at least not in the traditional sense.

At first, I thought “What’s going on here”, as long arty direction shots were mixed in with seemingly random set piece like Johansson’s character driving around Glasgow looking for the M8 and then suddenly sitting on a beach near Arbroath watching a Czech surfer try to help a man save his drowning wife from the sea.

It didn’t make sense.

Neither did the weird ritual – I assume – murder of the blokes she picked up on her travels in some sort of black pool of fluid.

And yet…and yet I was strangely captivated by it.

As much as it didn’t make sense in a traditional way, it also kinda did. The set piece at the beach served to show that (and I’ll put this bit in white text in case it spoils it for you) as an alien she had no traditional human emotions like empathy, especially as she simply ignores the screaming toddler left alone after its parents drowned, and this was hammered through more with her nonplussed reaction to the deformed guy in the van.

The director deserves a lot of the credit for that.

In a movie without any significant dialogue or plot, it still manages to keep my attention, because it’s the imagery that tells the story. There’s also a greater sense of reality to it, with hidden cameras in the van allowing Scarlett Johansson to ask genuine members of the public for directions. That lead to the sort of earthy Glaswegian comments like “Yous are looking for the M8? It’s down past Asda by-ra-way” that no script writer would have the balls to write. As a Scot, I found it hilarious, but I imagine people from a different country might struggle to understand what they are saying. Certainly, I don’t think I’d have found it quite so amusing if those passers-by were Londoners.

If I was to criticise the direction for anything though, it would be that although I found it amusing seeing a guy wearing a Hibs shirt being murdered, I didn’t want to see his erect penis; that put me right off my dinner that did. Oooft.

Scarlett Johansson deserves a lot of credit for making her character quite believable to. For an actress who – let’s be fair about it – has never really set the heather alight with her performances, I thought she was very good.

The only thing from an overall point of view that I did find a bit lacking was the stuff with the motorcyclist guy. It didn’t really feel all that necessary to the story, such that it was.

Under the Skin Review: Summing Up

If you’d told me what this was about before I watched it, the chances are I probably wouldn’t have bothered with it.

But I’m actually glad I did.

Though not my type of thing by design, Under The Skin – in large parts thanks to Jonathan Glazer’s vision, but also down to Scarlett Johansson’s performance – turned out to be a pretty decent example of doing something different with film.

Against all the odds, I enjoyed it.

And most worryingly of all, I actually think I agree with my friend, Paul. It wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was still worthy of praise.

The world will never be the same again.


Hey, did you know I’ve published a book? Check out my thoughts on Doctor Who in Stuart Reviews Doctor Who – Book One: The Classic Era, available at Amazon



Movies: Into the Storm Review (or “Fails To Deliver The Gimmick”)

August 29, 2014

Into the Storm describes itself as a “Found Footage Disaster Movie”, but it’s not.

And if you were wanting to judge it on what it says it as rather than what it actually is, then you’d come away from it feeling a bit disappointed.

If the idea is that we’re watching a film that was pieced together by some documentary maker to bring to the screen the story of a freak tornado storm that hit the Oklahoman town of Silverton, then it fails to deliver.into the storm

From a directorial point of view, it seems to flip back and forth between spectacularly good “found footage” and standard invisible camera stuff. I do think they tried to cover it by suggesting there was a mute, unnamed character with them filming the whole time, but the idea is ridiculous. There were no camera wobbles or anything that would suggest this was anything other than a regularly filmed movie.

In a nutshell, Cloverfield, this is not.

And that’s a pity, because it takes away from what is an enjoyable disaster movie.

It moves along at pace, it never gets boring, the acting is of an acceptable standard and the special effects are as good as you would expect.

If I was to criticise the plot for anything though, it would be that you could spot a mile off which characters would die. It really was that predictable, even though a lot of those deaths ended up being spectacularly dumb.

But that’s a minor criticism; on the whole, if you ignore the failed “found footage camera” gimmickry, this is a fun movie that you can switch off your brain for 90 minutes and enjoy.

I’d say it was worth your time.

Doctor Who – Deep Breath Review (or “Just Like My Unearthly Child Tagline, I’m Moved To Say That The Doctor Is An Utter Bastard. And Isn’t That Great?”

August 23, 2014

I like watching things without knowing what’s going to happen beforehand.

It baffles me that some people don’t seem to share that view and want to spoil things for themselves ahead of time, whether that be from reading plot details in advance or in the case of this new season of Doctor Who, watching leaked episodes in a quality unbecoming of the experience.

I just don’t understand why some people watched an apparently monochrome, low quality version of the opening story of Peter Capaldi’s reign as Doctor Who – Deep Breath – when it was accidentally put into the public domain a few weeks back.

What’s the point? Why not show the restraint to watch something in all its intended glory? Why ruin it for yourself?

It’s bizarre.

My brother asked me yesterday if I really knew nothing about this story before its broadcast, and I said that apart from it being set in Victorian England and involving Madam Vastra & Co, the answer was no.

He seemed amazed, but in my opinion, that’s how it should be.

Unfortunately, I’d forgotten that that wasn’t strictly true.

In actual fact – and assuming that nobody would be daft enough to read this review before watching it, and therefore operating under the assumption that I’m not spoiling this for anyone – I did know that Matt Smith was going to make an

What a bastard. Fantastic

What a bastard. Fantastic

appearance. And do you know what? That really pisses me off, because I shouldn’t have, and it ruined what would have been a terrific surprise.

Right now, reviewing this as I am mere moments after finishing watching the story, I can’t remember exactly how I came to know that. It was probably reported in a newspaper or on some website like Digital Spy, and that irks me. How is ruining the plot of a TV show newsworthy anyway?


Aaaaaaaanyway, here we are at the start of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doctor Who, and unlike every review I’ve written about the show, this is one I’m doing entirely based upon a first viewing.

It’ll be interesting for me to look back on this in the years ahead to see if my opinions on it will change.

Oh, and before we get into it, can I just take a moment to shamelessly plug my first book – Stuart Reviews Doctor Who – which is available to buy on Amazon for all Kindle, Tablet & Mobile devices. It’s great…honestly, and it gets 5 stars. Get it here

But back to Deep Breath.

Doctor Who – Deep Breath Review: What’s This One About?

A new, angry Scottish Doctor, a Dinosaur in Victorian London, robots looking for paradise, and a reference to an old story that I didn’t get until it was spelled right out for me.

Thoughts – The New Doctor

Ok, so let’s start with the new man.

Before I’d even watched this, I’d prejudicially made up my mind that I loved Peter Capaldi and was entirely sure that his take on the Doctor would be amazing.

Was I right?

Of course I was.

The first ten minutes or so of his character weren’t all that great, but they never are when a new Doctor comes along. Don’t get me wrong, this was hardly a “Three questions; who am I? Where am I? And who are you?” moment (oh…old story reference alert) but at the same time, it felt as though the lines given to him didn’t suit him as an actor.

Really, in his first few scenes, Peter Capaldi was sort of playing Matt Smith, and that was never going to work.

But from the scene with the tramp onwards, he was gold.

With the menace of a non-sweary Malcolm Tucker, but also with the gentle grandfatherly assurance of a William Hartnell style Doctor, Peter Capaldi – and I suppose Steven Moffat – have hit it out the park with this one.

Will the kids like him? I’m not sure. I’m writing this before I’ve read anyone’s feedback on his performance, so I don’t know for sure, but I doubt he’ll have the same appeal as David Tennant or Matt Smith to people of a certain age, and in a sense I feel he’s more aimed at viewers like me. I’m more than happy with that though.

Some of his lines cracked me up, and in particular, his exchange with Clara in the restaurant about the self obsessed egomaniac had me laughing out loud. Just brilliant.

The question of whether or not he’s a proper bastard is yet to be answered, but right now he certainly seems to be.

The Matt Smith Cameo

Like I said above, I don’t think Capaldi will have the same appeal as Matt Smith in certain quarters, and so, having Smith appear to convince Clara – and by association the viewing public who maybe hadn’t already decided Capaldi was awesome –

What a moment this would have been. had the press not ruined it in advance

What a moment this would have been. had the press not ruined it in advance

that he was a man who was vulnerable and needed to be given time was a smart touch.

Long term readers of my Who reviews might think “Hold on Stuart; you had a go at the writers for doing something very similar in both the Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani“, but I think it’s different. Here, the audience identification figure – as Clara was in this episode – is being assured that he’s someone who must be given time and that she mustn’t judge by his older appearance (which is the thing that the kids will probably hold against him). In those other two stories, the new leading man basically told the viewer “You might think I’m a shite actor, but you’re stuck with me, so stick that up your pipe and smoke it”. It’s really not the same thing.

Anyway, Smith’s final appearance was handled very well, and I was impressed with him. I was less impressed with Clara not bothering to say goodbye to him, as she just hung up the phone. What a bitch!

If only that bit hadn’t been spoiled for me beforehand…


Speaking of Clara and her role as audience identification figure, I thought she was written for far better than in the past here.

My criticism of her last year was that despite being played well enough, her character was empty. There was nothing to her other than being the companion. We knew nothing about her.

Deep Breath managed to add some layers to her character, and with an actor that she actually seems to have some chemistry with, Jenna Coleman thrived.

With the news that she’s set to leave at Christmas – and once again, may I thank the press for ruining that one ahead of time – I’ve gone from being not fussed at all, to quite disappointed. On first impressions, these characters seem to work well together, and it’s a shame they’ll be split up.

And What Of The Story Itself?

It’s very easy in a new Doctor’s first story to forget about the plot and concentrate on the new man.

Not the best special effects. #BarryLettsCSOLoyal

Not the best special effects. #BarryLettsCSOLoyal

While I don’t think the plot was forgotten about per se, I do think it existed merely to help form the character of the new Doctor and his dynamic with Clara, and I’m happy enough with that.

There was nothing particularly groundbreaking or clever about it, and as a flowing narrative it won’t be remembered along with the classic stories, but then again I have no problems on that score.

It’s set the scene for what’s to come, and incidentally, I have absolutely no idea where they’re going with that new story arc with Heaven.

Let’s hope it’s more Bad Wolf than River Song though, eh?

Random Observations

  • Surprisingly, I enjoyed the use of Vastra and Jenny here. They helped Clara and the audience understand the new Doctor that little bit better.
  • I’m not sure about Strax though. He’s clearly a comedy character, but I think that comedy is wearing a bit thin.
  • The scene at the end is very like the final scene of The End of the World. I’m sure that was not an accident.
  • From an effects point of view, there were a couple of scenes – particularly the opening one with the dinosaur in the Thames and the one with the Doctor standing on the roof – that looked shonky. In that latter example, you could so clearly see he was standing in front of a backdrop that you might have been forgiven for thinking it was Barry Letts and Season 8 all over again.
  • The “You’ve redecorated. I don’t like it” line should never be used again. Ever.
  • I’ve got to be honest; I didn’t see the Girl in the Fireplace reference until it was so obvious that a blind man couldn’t miss it. That’s a shame.
  • Ok, I’ll be pedantic; when a Giant Cyberman walked across Victorian London, at least they came up for a reason for why it wasn’t recorded in the history books. How will they explain away the dinosaur?
  • The main villain robot looked a bit too much like a cross betwee the Gunslinger from A Town Called Mercy, and Richard E. Grant’s Great Intelligence for my liking.
  • If they keep talking about how much they miss the original TARDIS interior design, why not just bring that back?
  • In a weird coincidence, I was watching an episode of Black Books the other night that included the guy who got his eyes removed in this episode. Not a very exciting coincidence I’ll admit, but a coincidence nonetheless.
  • Though they were no doubt written with Clara being the audience identification figure in mind, some of her lines about changing the Doctor back seemed at odds with what we know she knows about him.
  • As a native of the same country, I love that Capaldi is being played as an angry Scotsman.

Doctor Who – Deep Breath Review: Final Thoughts

The main aim of Deep Breath was to introduce the new Doctor, and Steven Moffat achieves that spectacularly.

Peter Capaldi is assured and pretty much awesome already in the part and on initial impressions, has the potential to be one of the best Doctors of all time.

That’s fantastic.

It’s also great that Clara finally seems to have some purpose to her character and that Jenna Coleman works well with the new leading man.

On all those scores, Deep Breath is a success.

Judged on the merits of a stand-alone Doctor Who story though, the likelihood is that Deep Breath will never be considered a classic, or at least not by me.

Still, it did what it set out to do, and I enjoyed it a lot.

So I’d say it was a success and a strong start to the new season.


Remember!!! Get Stuart Reviews Doctor Who over at Amazon. I have no doubts it’ll be the best $9.99/£6.14 you spend all week.

BoJack Horseman Review (or “Is NetFlix’s New Original Comedy Worth Your Time?”)

August 23, 2014

Sitting at home with nothing to do after work last night, I put on Netflix, aiming to watch an episode of White Collar, but before I got the chance, I was hit with the advert for a new, animated NetFlix Original Series, BoJack Horseman.

Half way through the first episode, I tweeted that this dark comedy about a washed up TV star, voiced by Will Arnett – who happens to be a horse living in a world where animals and humans are like…well, like humans – didn’t have a laugh in it bojackand was actually a load of rubbish, and yet at the end of the first episode I decided to stick with it and watch the second one.

Now, less than 24 hours later, I’ve binge watched all 12 episodes and am writing a review of it.

That’s quite the turn-around.

I think what I liked about it – and let’s not get carried away here folks; I liked it but I’m not for a minute suggesting it’s amazing – was that it was a story told over the course of the entire series. That’s different to just about every animated comedy I’ve ever watched, where each episode is self-contained.

But by telling the story over that length of time, it allowed the characters to develop, for the comedy to vary and for a proper story to unfold

While laughs were at a premium – especially in the first episode, which might be enough to put people off giving the show a fair shake – and some of the set pieces weren’t exactly original (I’ve seen the “Character goes home to dysfunctional family for father’s funeral” plot done in at least three shows recently) the story was engrossing enough to give the show that “One More Episode” appeal.

That’s not to say it wasn’t funny though. Some of the characters – like the Penguin Publisher – and some of the set pieces – including the David Boreanaz house episode and the Navy Seal bit – were excellent.

BoJack Horseman Review: Should You Watch BoJack Horseman?

On the whole, I’d say this is worth at least trying.

It certainly helps that all 12 episodes are available instantaneously, as I think I’d have lost interest in this if I had to watch it over the course of three months. Instead, by being able to watch it over the course of a few sittings, I was able to enjoy it more.

I’d give it a thumbs up.



p.s. Did you know I’ve just published my first book? Stuart Reviews Doctor Who is available now on Amazon. You can check it out here

Stuart Reviews Doctor Who – Book One: The Classic Era – Now Available on Amazon

August 13, 2014

Hi guys,

Just a note to say that Stuart Reviews Doctor Who – Book One: The Classic Era is now available to buy on Amazon.

You can get it here*Version*=1&*entries*=0 and it’ll work on your Kindle or tablet.

It’s available for a very reasonable $9.99/£6.14SG_Cvr

As a result of this – and because Amazon wouldn’t let me publish something that is fully available in the public domain – I’ve had to take some of the Doctor Who reviews down.

But there’s still plenty here for you to read and sample.

The book also includes my Stuart Reviews Stuff Doctor Who Awards, including my ranking of companions, cliffhangers, best and worst guest stars, most embarrassing moments in Doctor Who are more.

So if you’ve enjoyed my reviews over the years, please consider buying a copy, and of course leaving a review on Amazon.

In the very near future I’ll also be publishing Book Two, which will focus on the Modern Era, and most importantly of all, will include my Stuart Reviews Stuff Colossal 246, ranking all the stories from worst to best.

The Inbetweeners 2 Review: (or “Cutting to the Chase – Is It Funny?”)

August 6, 2014

I could spend 800 words going into detail about The Inbetweeners 2, and if I did, part of that would be to say that it hasn’t really changed from the existing format – with Neil being stupid, Will lusting after a girl out of his league, Jay boasting about sexual conquests that never happened while really being belittled by his family, and Simon stuck in some sort of dysfunctional relationship that he needs to get out of – but that format still has legs and it’s what any fan of the show wants toinbetweeners see from a new movie.

So I won’t bother.

Instead, I’ll just answer the one question you’ll all be asking.

Is it funny?

Answer: Yes, it’s hysterical, almost from beginning to end, and unlike the first movie, it doesn’t sag or feel drawn out.

I’m not going to spoil it for you by telling you my favourite bits; that would diminish your experience.

This is a tremendous effort from the Inbetweeners gang, and one that any fan of the show will want to see.

So if you like it the TV show, go to it as soon as possible.


Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy Review

August 2, 2014

When I have reviewed Marvel films in the past – and let’s face it, one in every three films made these days seems as though it comes from the Superhero studios – I’ve found that I’ve reserved the higher praise for the ones more grounded in reality.

I think that’s because I find the likes of Spider Man – set as it is in modern-day New York – or the 1960s America based X Men: Last Stand more relatable than the likes of Thor. Also, I think generally Marvel struggle to write good dialogue and plot for the ones set out in more fantastic settings.

So with that in mind, I was pretty sceptical going to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Hell, I’ve never even heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books.

Would my reservations be proved correct?

Guardians of the Galaxy Review: What’s It About?hr_Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_29.jpg

A human – taken from Earth as a boy in 1988 – living his life out in the far reaches of the universe comes to accidentally possess a very powerful, galaxy destroying weapon. Along with a rag-tag bunch of misfits he meets in his travels, he must ensure it stays out of the hands of those wishing to do harm with it.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review: Who’s In It?

Plenty of well-known faces (and voices) take part. The lead star is Parks & Recreation’s Chris Pratt, and he’s joined by the likes of Batista, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and Glenn Close.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

Generally very highly. Imdb has it currently rated at a colossal 9.0 from over 20,000 votes, while Rotten Tomatoes has it with an approval rating of 92%. Critic reviews are mostly high too, with only Time Magazine seeming to mark it down.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review: My Thoughts

At first, I wasn’t too sure about it.

For the opening 15 minutes, it didn’t seem to inspire me, and the setting and characters looked like they wouldn’t appeal.

But then I began to enjoy it; I began to really enjoy it.

This didn’t feel like a Marvel film because it doesn’t involve anyone who could be considered a Superhero. The main character – Peter Quill – is neither a God, nor a mutant, nor even someone who has been surgically transformed into something more advanced. He’s just a regular guy in space. And the people he teams up with aren’t world beaters either. Sure, you’ve got a talking tree who can only say “I am groot”, a wise-cracking, gun-toting, talking racoon and a literal thinking, humourless muscle man among his associates, but none of them are particularly special either.

So it was different to the norm and therefore didn’t suffer from the problems associated with the likes of Thor.

In fact, this seemed more like a Star Wars type movie than a Marvel one

And I liked that..

As a story, it wasn’t the most original or complex one you’ll ever see, and the characters weren’t exactly deep, but I think it was clear that they weren’t aiming for that to be the case.

Instead, I suspect what Marvel wanted to do was to present a film that was exciting, humorous at the right times and just generally fun throughout.

And it did exactly that.

The sound track also added to it as well and gave it some character.

If I was to be critical of anything, it would be that the villains weren’t the most exciting bunch (and Karen Gillan’s attempt at an American accent was a bit “Dick van Dyke in Reverse”) but I suppose by being so bland, it made the well cast protagonists stand out even more.

On the whole, I came away from this having more than got my money’s worth. It’s definitely one of the best films Marvel has ever produced, and it really is one that lives up to the imdb fanboy hype.

Give it a shot and you won’t be disappointed.