Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Count Zero, Jun 5, 2010.
^It's not Torchwood...
Good premise, nice idea, loved many one-liners (like Vincent asking Amy if she was also Dutch - because the actress is also Scottish). I thought the ending was a bit much though. I would've preferred to have some time shaved off there.
Reminds me of the League of Gentleman scene where the two local yokels are in the video shop...
"Don't like that Braddley Pitts; too much [air inverted commas] acting "
Maybe the doctor just got the TARDIS near a star on the way to burn off the posters?
Or the TARDIS is, you know, semi-intelligent itself.
Yeah! Maybe the time vortex went through a star.
I really liked the subtle way that they alluded to Rory's fate in this episode. One of the things I like least about RTD's writing is his tendency to patronise his audience by repeating dialogue. On the one hand a bit of exposition makes the show self-contained for those that want to dip into it every so often but on the other hand it wastes precious screen time for regular fans who just cringe at the level of repetition. If they are going to use subtle and different ways to get the message across then I applaud this.
I think "really subtle" is a bit of an exaggeration.
AMY: "You're being nice and I DON'T KNOW WHY!"
VINCENT: "You're sad and I DON'T KNOW WHY!"
Hmmmm... what could they be referring to?
But those were quick throwaway lines. 'Not subtle' would be if the camera had lingered on the Doctors sad expression for a few moments while somber music played in the background.
I'm rather happy they put those line sin myself. Good to know Rory hasn't been forgotten.
That wasn't the only allusion to Rory...when they're at the cafe/pub at the beginning and the Doctor sees the two of them flirting with each other he has a concerned look on his face and then kind of lets it just be. Obviously that look was his concern regarding Rory. I think I mentioned that in another post.
BTW Matt Smith is just in top form in this episode. One little bit that made me laugh out loud (amongst many others) was when Van Gogh was conveying to the Doctor, in a fairly animated fashion, how he can 'hear' colours - watch the Doctors face as he too then strains in earnest to 'hear' the colours. It's subtle, but incredibly funny.
Oh, I liked them too, I just think "really subtle" is a bit of an exaggeration. They don't hit you over the head, sure, but they're not exactly unobvious if you're paying attention.
U.S.S. Bones, I fully expected applause from you in response to the Doctor's line, "See my only definite plan is in the future I'm definitely just using the screwdriver for screwing in screws!"
I'm probably gonna rewatch it tonight so I'll look out for that
Ooh yes, can't believe I didn't mention. I will mark down any episode in future that does not adhere to this wonderful binding continuity.
USA's turn. Definitely a better historical episode than "Vampires of Venice". The baddie was so-so but I did enjoy the bittersweet sappy ending, moreso than I thought I would. Plus... Bill Nighy!!!
What was up with the Doctor's comment about his two headed godmother?! Was that just a throw away joke? A nod to Hitchhiker's Guide? Or a super subtle foreshadowing of a future storyline?
^^ I think it was a throwaway but who knows? She had bad breath. Twice!
I've been watching ahead of my US TV brethren, I gotta say I'd avoid spoilers if I could for the next episodes if I were you guys. Well, maybe not the next one() but the two after that.
The monster story was a bit muddled, but as so many others have said, the episode was ultimately very moving. Marvelous work by Curran.
I really enjoyed this episode. My initial reaction was that it was a bit too sedate, but upon reflection, it was a welcome respite after the action of the previous two-parter. Tony Curran was great as Vincent, and it was wonderful seeing Bill Nighy. I liked that Rory's absence (or rather nonexistence) was touched on here and there (such as the Doctor calling out "Amy, Rory" when he was going over what they were all going to do), and the visual nods to Hartnell & Troughton were nice. Even the monster, though CG, had an old-school puppety-costume feel to it. And the Doctor's rearview mirror gizmo seemed completely in tune with this Doctor.
I thought the scene where the three of them were looking up into the sky was wonderful, and in particular seeing how Vincent perceived the sight. I was also quite moved by the scene where he was in the modern-day gallery, though Nighy's character seemed to be doling out praise a little too thick, as though he knew somehow that it was really important to answer the Doctor's question very, very, very thoroughly. And the final scene was also very sweet.
Not looking forward to another pointless preemption next week and falling 4 weeks behind the UK. If people are away from home, they can bloody well tape it!! That's why they invented VCRs and such. It's so aggravating!
For my money this was an utterly stunning episode.
First, a word about the monster; honestly, the monster is no less silly than just about anything in Nu Who. It is the nature of Nu Who at this point and a part of the show. Also, it deserves some credit for being worked well into the physical comedy of Matt Smith with the mirror contraption. Overall, the monster could have been done better, but it was perfectly acceptable for its purpose in the story.
As far as I am concerned this is the finest character piece in all of Nu Who. When I realized where the episode was going, I was very unsure - taking on Vincent Van Gogh and in a time period so close to his historical suicide is an incredibly touchy idea when one stops to consider it. It easily could have gone off the rails into absurdity, morbidity, or disrespect. It has become clear to me though, that there is a certain theme running through all of Nu Who even early on:
That theme is taking historical figures and humanizing them. When Shakespeare appeared, I appreciated the subversion of focusing on the historical truth that he was in his own time a tacky and lowbrow entertainer who had a genius for words that flew over the heads of his contemporaries. Something that bothers me is how figures in history are enshrined in marble and treated with, in my view, the wrong kind of gravitas. The real Shakespeare, in spirit, is more there in Nu Who's portrayal of a rowdy cursing man than in stone busts in museums.
But the way Van Gogh is treated is divine. While it is true that the script is at moments thick and a bit sappy, if ever there was a misunderstood artist who deserved that, it is Vincent Van Gogh. For people who are not aware of the fine details of Van Gogh's death, his suicide was not quite the typical scenario one might imagine. Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a pistol in a field, but he failed to die at that moment; he believed the shot was not fatal and returned to town. Unfortunately, his condition grew worse and he died two days later.
The thing is, to me this does not bespeak a man who utterly failed to fight his demons. Vincent tried to turn back on his decision; it is a tragedy that the medical care available at the time was unable to save his life.
At the time of Van Gogh's attempted suicide/misadventure, his work was just beginning to proliferate and only a couple of years later, would have the chance to be exposed to the word at large. Bill Nighy's character was not overstating the impact of Van Gogh on art. Even though it's said that artists are never appreciated in their time, it's utterly stunning to realize how much Vincent changed the world just after he died. What makes the tragedy bite is that it wasn't a distant reconsideration of an artist decades or a century later but literally just after he was gone.
Above all, this episode treated Van Gogh as a real person, with reverence not for him being an icon or an important figure, but for being more human - in all of his troubles - than most human beings will ever be. The ending and bringing Van Gogh to the future to see the result of his works is kept from being camp and tasteless by the Doctor's superb explanation of the truth of life. That the good and bad will always be mixed together, and this is a truth to be faced head on rather than looking away out of politeness, embarrassment, or denial. (Did I mention that in this episode, Matt Smith has finished utterly and completely selling his Doctor? Signed, sealed, and delivered. "Overconfidence, this bag, and a screwdriver.".)
The way Van Gogh's view of the world is explained in this story is also one of the finest examinations of the nature and process of art in the history of popular entertainment. In a sense, I truly believe this one story does more to explain the nature of Vincent Van Gogh than any university course in art ever has.
That's just some of it; there are dozens of brilliant things I could point out that all went into the show. It's the natural result of when an idea, a script, and a cast come together flawlessly.
So yeah, it's kind of like that. This wasn't an outstanding Doctor Who episode; it was one of the best hours of television I've ever seen.
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