Tag Archives: Karen Gillan

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014 movie)

Marvel Studios

My rating: 3.5 of 5

An unlikely band of misfits and unsavory types is thrown together–mostly by their own greed and/or hatred of each other, surprisingly enough. And in the midst of their joint efforts at prison breaks, selling of stolen goods, and running for their lives, they somehow manage to go from being at each others’ throats to having each others’ backs. Which is good, because they might just be the only thing standing between the galaxy and total destruction.

I’ve probably stated this before, but I’m generally not a big fan of superhero/comic-based stories–and Marvel ones in particular. I actually mostly watched Guardians of the Galaxy because Karen Gillan is in it. That was a bit of a disappointment; I felt like her character ended up being pretty flat. *cries* But I did enjoy other aspects of the story and characters. It was weird to me that the entire main group of characters are really not what would typically be considered good people–thieves, bounty hunters, traitors, and individuals bent on revenge. But they made for an amusing and sympathetic group, I have to admit, and the tension between the characters is a big part of the enjoyment of the film. Obviously, Rocket and Groot are the best (and funniest) part of the whole story. But with that, I also have to give fair warning that this is PG-13, and it shows in the humor–as well as in the language and the violence, although it’s not particularly bloody or anything. I think one of the things I loved the most is how integral music and dance are to the story throughout. Plus, it’s an origin story of sorts, which I generally enjoy, so there’s that. Overall, the whole film has a funky, off-kilter flair that feels almost indie, although that’s immediately belied by the impressive visual production, which is quite attractive and fun. While it will probably never be my favorite movie, I think Guardians of the Galaxy was a funny, quirky tale that I did enjoy and will likely watch again sometime.

Written by James Gunn & Nicole Perlman/Directed by James Gunn/Produced by Kevin Feige/Based on Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Music by Tyler Bates/Starring  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, & Benicio del Toro

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Doctor Who, Series 7

BBCdoctor who series 7

13 episodes + specials

My rating: 5 of 5

*SPOILER ALERT*

The Doctor has left Amy and Rory to their own devices for too long, as is rapidly clear to him when the three of them are kidnapped by the Daleks to clean up a mess the Daleks made for themselves–and unsurprisingly, the Doctor is as worried about “fixing” Amy and Rory’s marriage as he is about surviving this mess. Obviously, he succeeds on both counts . . . with a little help from a mysterious souffle-making girl by the name of Oswin Oswald. The Ponds are naturally swept up into the wonder of traveling with the Doctor again, while still trying to balance their normal life as well, which isn’t the easiest of tasks. But seriously, how could they choose one or the other? Years later (well, it’s hard to tell, with a bunch of time travelers), the Doctor is on his own again (vowing never again to get involved or care) when he once again encounters Miss Oswald–living a completely different life with no knowledge of their former encounter (nor of the fact that she had died then). Tragically, Clara Oswald dies this time also, but the Doctor is left with the niggling feeling that something impossible and wonderful is going on, a feeling that is remarkably confirmed when he receives a phone call on the TARDIS line–from Clara Oswald, living in the present day with once again no knowledge of their former encounters. Well of course the Doctor has to get her to travel with him then, doesn’t he?

I enjoyed the 7th series of Doctor Who so much! Although it really felt like 2 series kind of smooshed together. The first 5 episodes with Amy and Rory (and River, some) are fantastic, very much tying in with the former series involving this wonderful family. I really love the vibe between them all, the way they really are family; it’s different from any other Doctor/companion relationship I’ve seen, and it’s wonderful. I think the way Moffat tied up the Amy/Rory arc of the story was very well done, especially in how true it was to the character of all the individuals involved. There was an inevitability about it, and a rightness as well, that made the ending of their story satisfying, even though I was very sad to see them go. They might be my favorite group in Doctor Who to date; maybe even one of my favorite character groups period. The special episode between the two parts of the series, “The Snowmen”, is one that you really need to watch to get a full appreciation for the story as it goes ahead from there, even though seeing the Doctor (especially Matt Smith’s Doctor who always seems impossibly chipper) being depressed and lonely is pretty depressing to watch. Which is probably why perky, demanding Clara Oswald is a welcome new companion. It’s hard to understand exactly how she and the Doctor relate to each other, possibly because she’s sort of a chameleon, changing to suit the occasion a bit. Whatever the case, the dynamic between Jenna-Louise Coleman and Matt Smith works really well. The story writing for this part is mostly episodic, although there is an overarching plot. The scripts are interesting (including a fantastic episode written by Neil Gaiman!), and they highlight the characters effectively; I don’t think there was one episode this series that I didn’t enjoy.

Created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, & Donald Wilson/Head Writer & Executive Producer Steven Moffat/Starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Jenna-Louise Coleman, & Alex Kingston

 

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Doctor Who, Series 6

BBCdoctor who series 6

Created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, & Donald Wilson/Head Writer & Executive Producer Steven Moffat/Starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, & Arthur Darvill

14 episodes

My rating: 5 of 5

*SPOILER ALERT*

Newlyweds Amy and Rory find themselves waiting at home, settling into normal life for a bit–but it’s not as though the Doctor’s keeping quiet. No, he’s plastering himself throughout history like a big, flashing “look at me” sign. Then they get an invitation to meet up in Utah of all places, where they encounter not only the Doctor but also River Song who had apparently also been invited. But in the middle of a nice picnic reunion by Lake Silencio, they are interrupted by (of all the absurd things) someone in a spacesuit rising up from the lake and killing the Doctor. Devastated, the three friends return to town . . . only to run into the Doctor, alive and well! Also significantly younger and completely unaware of what’s just taken place. So it’s off on adventures again, but with Amy, Rory, and River very concerned about the Doctor’s future–when they have time to worry about anything besides the creepy, unmemorable invasion that’s overtaking the earth and the fact that Amy may or may not be pregnant(?).

I really enjoyed the sixth series of Doctor Who. I think it’s a solid follow-up of series five, keeping the same characters and deepening their relationships in a very enjoyable (sometimes quite suspenseful) way. Overall, I think the suspense level was higher in this series than perhaps any other series I’ve seen so far–it worked really well that way. There’s a lot of overarching storyline this time, which is fun. I really love how the whole thing with River Song, which has been previously intriguing but maddeningly mysterious, is gradually unfolded over the course of the series. She really is a most enjoyable, fascinating character–plus she brings out all sorts of interesting sides to the Doctor that you’d never see otherwise. The growth of Amy and Rory both as individuals and as a couple is really neat to see too, especially as they go through all the craziness with the baby together. And even though there is definitely a huge overarching plotline to this series, there’s a nice variety of episodes presented as well (bonus points for a Neil Gaiman episode!). I’d definitely recommend Doctor Who, series 6, to anyone who has enjoyed the previous series–but I’d certainly recommend watching at least series five before trying this series or you might be a bit lost.

 

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Doctor Who, Series 5

doctor who series 5BBC

13 Episodes

My rating: 5 of 5

*SPOILER ALERT*

Alone in the house one night and frightened by the strange crack in her bedroom wall, young Amelia Pond prays to Santa for help (not sure how effective that is, but seriously, how adorable?!). But when someone does come, he’s not exactly Santa . . . more like some extremely weird man who crash lands a blue telephone box in her yard and eats fish sticks and custard in her kitchen, calling himself the Doctor. Then this Doctor leaves, promising to be back in just a bit. Twelve years later, Amy Pond is busy living her life, but she’s never forgotten her raggedy Doctor who promised to come back for her. And when he does return, Amy gladly joins him in his TARDIS and runs off to see the stars. But living so long with a crack in the universe in her bedroom wall has made her into a most unusual girl. . . . And the crack in the universe isn’t just in her bedroom anymore; it seems to be pursuing them throughout time and space.

I really loved series 5 of Doctor Who, although I think the transition from the fourth series was a bit much for me. Seriously, there are a lot of changes here: new Doctor, new companion, new head writer for the show, new production style . . . even the TARDIS is different! It’s rather a lot to take in at once. Not to mention that after the tenth Doctor’s being so dark and moody at the end, having the eleventh Doctor being so bubbly and random–childish even–is difficult to get used to at first. But after the initial shock, I found this series particularly enjoyable. Matt Smith’s Doctor is fun and amusing, while still retaining the essential character that has been consistently at the core of the Doctor throughout the show. He’s zany and unpredictable at times but kind, personable, and surprisingly good with kids–yet he retains the enigmatic, age-old weight of time and life buried beneath the surface. And Amy Pond is an incredible companion in that she can see that–not just the attractive, energetic, youthful-seeming man, but also the ancient, sometimes sorrowful Time Lord. It probably helps that she’s known him since she was little, but I think that’s also just her character. She’s amazing, easily one of my favorite heroines, full of independence, stubbornness, and kindness as well. I really love her relationship with Rory too (spoilers). And might I add that retaining River Song as an important part of the story in several instances definitely helped to tie this series in with the previous series (besides the fact that she’s just an amazing character and an interesting wild-card figure in the story). As for the actual episodes, the writing is excellent–consistent in feel to the previous series as far as content goes. They’re largely character driven (always a plus) and deal with both our world and other planets, past, present, and future–but consistently drawing out character development and consideration of interesting issues regardless of setting. (My favorite was probably the van Gogh episode!) I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who has enjoyed the previous Doctor Who series, and would note that those who haven’t liked those previous series might actually want to consider trying the fifth series as well.

Created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, & Donald Wilson/Head Writer & Executive Producer Steven Moffat/Starring Matt Smith & Karen Gillan

Note 7/3/16: Upon re-watching this series, I am once again impressed, perhaps more than the first time I watched it, by several aspects. In particular, I love the fairy-tale feel that is developed in everything from the writing to the characters to the video angles and production style. It’s lovely, quite captivating. Additionally, the dynamics between the characters is just brilliant. Basically, this is an amazing series, even in comparison to other series of a show that is in itself amazing!

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