We stared into the untempered schism and all we saw was this dodgy CSO effect

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Jack Graham

Jack Graham writes and podcasts about culture and politics from a Gothic Marxist-Humanist perspective. He co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper. Support Jack on Patreon.


  1. Richard Pilbeam
    July 13, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    I'm still puzzled by Moffat's religious… thingy. I don't know what to call it.

    The Angels being angel-shaped made aesthetic sense when they were hanging out in people's gardens and some old ruined caves. Put them anywhere else – like, y'know, a spaceship – and they stop making any sense.

    The clerics… aren't. At all. They're a squad of drivelly gung-ho space marines. Makes no sense in any context.

    Then we get the monks. Same deal, only they're Ringwraith-a-likes. You can pass it off aesthetically since "monks" suggests ancient, scary people in cowls… but they still have no real business being monks.

    Taken together, it suggests… something. I have no idea what. Either he's trying to engage with religion to give his stories a more "spiritual" edge, since he's a very straightforward materialist (cf. "Silence in the Library"), or he's just randomly throwing the references around because it sounds cool.


  2. Jack Graham
    July 13, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Yeah, the Angels only really make sense in the context of graveyards and old houses. Theoretically you could do something interesting by moving them into a clashing context, but Moffat just dodges the problem by coming up with an alien planet that's basically just a statue repository… so it's okay to have alien statues on a ship because the ship happened to crash on the planet of the statue people? Weak.

    I differ from just about everyone else I know in thinking that 'Aliens' is the least interesting movie in the series (unless you count the Predator crossovers). The Series 5 Angels story goes with the same sequelitis logic. More is better, supposedly. Except that the impact of alien statues (like a Freudian alien bio-killing-machine) is actually lessened by sending in throngs of them against people with machine guns.

    The Clerics seem to have just been chucked in. It's like the writer is aware that space marines have been done a zillion times, so he renames them a bit in order to try and trick us. It's like pitching a story about an undead bloodsucker from Eastern Europe and saying it's not a cliche because he's called Zacula the Zampire.


  3. Richard Pilbeam
    July 13, 2011 @ 11:39 am

    I'd say Resurrection was the least interesting, but I can't be certain because that would involve watching it again.


  4. Richard Pilbeam
    July 13, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    Alien Resurrection, that is. Resurrection of the Daleks is a masterpiece by comparison.


  5. Jack Graham
    July 13, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    Oh yeah. Apologies to James Cameron. I'd genuinely completely forgotten Alien Resurrection.

    I think that says a lot.


  6. Richard Pilbeam
    July 13, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

    Well, that's what happens when you hand a previously worthwhile SF universe to a hideously overrated writer who doesn't understand what made it good and sees characters purely as conduits for self-consciously clever dialogue.

    Funny how these things work out.


  7. John
    August 4, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    Jack – have you ever seen the Van Gogh sequence in Akira Kurosawa's "Dreams?" (with Martin Scorsese as VVG) If so, how would you compare/contrast the portrayal and conception of VVG in 'Dreams' vs 'V & the Doc?'

    Apart from the obvious: in one, he's being chased by an invisible alien, and in the other, he isn't…


  8. Jack Graham
    August 4, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    I must shamefacedly admit that I haven't seen it.

    I'll get back to you on this.


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