Belch's Brief Reviews--Jun 23, 2001
It's great to be back in the reviewing saddle after two weeks of reruns. Of course, this may be the oasis before the summer rerun dry spell, but...eh...drink up while you can.
CARDCAPTORS#21: One Fateful Day
Although it was interesting to see how it all began, I was a bit disappointed that this adventure wasn't about Li and Sakura post-Mei-Lin or about Kero's evolution. Still, it basically showed us what I've figured all along--Cardcaptor Sakura is basically a Japanese version of the Pandora's box legend. Sakura is the girl who releases the demons on the world, and Kero is that little fairy of hope. In a way, Li is justified in being angry with Sakura in the beginning, since by opening that book she's d***ed the world.
It starts off with the two fighting a sand demon who's turning the schoolyard into a deadly vortex, and in the midst of that adventure Sakura has time for a twenty-minute-flashback to the day she first found the Clow book in the basement. Now that's something the real estate agent neglected to mention: "Well, as you can see, this is a two-story, split-level house with 1 1/2 bathrooms, three bedrooms, living room, kitchen/dining room, and den. And, oh yes, be careful going into the basement. There's slight water damage, a little exposed wiring, and an ancient book on a shelf that's a doorway to hell."
Sakura recalls how the Wind Card scatttered the Clow cards all over the place, meeting Kero, and capturing the fly card (in her pajamas, nonetheless). She snaps back to the present in thime to use the water card--at Li's insistance, though she figures all they'll get is a giant mud demon--freeze it in ice, and return it to its power confined.
Watch when they both reach for the card and their fingertips touch! You can't see Sakura's face, but she must be blushing. Hence the double meaning of her comment at the end about their fate. Mei-Lin, though absent and never mentioned, is definitely a strong prescence between them.
MEN IN BLACK: "The Endgame Syndrome" (part 1)"
This one is the series finale, and it makes up for some of the lackluster scripts of season four. When news of the invasion of an alien armada reach MIB, Zed realizes it's time to come clean and go public. After all, it's hard to keep the lid on the pot when the stew is boiling over and sizzling on the burner.
The aliens announce their plans to invade on the floor of the United Nations, and shortly thereafter a scout ship blows it up. Sure, the UN is a government money-squandering, international terrorist-coddling, perpetually nternally squabbling, practically useless organization, but, d***, that was a spiffy-looking building. Pity it had to be blown to rubble.
The MIB travel to Washington to talk to the president...which leads me to wonder if the series is set in an alternate world or a few years in the future, because the scripts tend to wonder away from the movie's continuity and there's a female president who...looks a little...like an...older...Hillary. [pained scream]
Zed, Madame President, K, and J watch helplessly as the Washington Monument is incinerated next. A few moments later J, sitting in the big chair in the Oval Office, gets a call on the red phone...from Alpha. He's the leader of the armada, along with an alien thug the MIB busted 6 months ago that was released on a technicality. Alpha, honestly, looks grosser than ever. Is it my imagination or is all the flesh missing from his lower jaw? I thought I saw his jawbone and lower teeth exposed. Yuk.
Dodgy line from X--when forced to bail out of an MIB aircraft at several thousand feet, he tells L he has "ejection dysfunction".
Great line from Zed about MIB and presidents being ignorant about it for 40 years: "Well, except Nixon. Say what you will about the man...but he knew how to keep a secret."
A couple of amusing secondary stories too. The worms completely misunderstand what's going on and think there's a coffee shortage (although if the world ends they're not far from wrong). "Give me French roast or give me death!"
And Frank becomes a daddy! When several d*** adorable puppies are left at his newsstand, he grudgingly is forced to take care of them. DYN that some woman thought Frank was a female who just gave birth? "That is wrong on so many levels."
J imagines himself president. Interestingly, James is the most common presidential first name there is, so he'd be in good company.
DYN that (at the UN) K is multilingual?
DYN that Zeeltor's pet senses odd weather and geological phonomena and gets fitful, much like a dog before a storm or earthquake?
Watch for the bit where Jeebs cusses at the armada and gets his head blown off by a laser.
Of course the kicker is the attack on MIB, reducing it to a smoking crater. There is a branch office in space, though (and from what I hear, an office in the back of a hair salon in Jersey-- ), so there's some hope. Still, Alpha's done the unthinkable. I'm intrigued to see what's next.
Last edited by DR. BELCH; 05-10-2002 at 12:40 PM.
I, too, am pleased with Part 1 of the MIB finale. If Part 2 is no worse, I'll consider it a worthy send-off for the series.
Not only is the story a good dramatic one, but the script writers have earned their pay (a matter I *always* take notice of.) I particularly appreciated this rather chilling exchange, right after Zed ordered MIB HQ to go to Code 14:
J: What's Code 14?
K: There's no Code 15, Junior.
So here's hoping that our favorite black-suited guys have survived the (seeming) destruction of their home base, that L and X manage to catch a ride, that Frank gets all the puppies to a safe haven, and that the Worms... well, I don't mind if they make it through. But I hope we don't get that "Worms' coffee-fixation accidentally saves the day" ploy again.
My Two Cents on, well, MIB...
...aka the one new/good thing on today's KWB (spent part of the morning registering for a jazz festival as a volunteer but got back in time to watch MiB)...
Enjoyed the episode overall, and it seems to be giving all the characters something of a final wrap-up (by featuring the whole cast-to-date in various parts).
I don't think the president looked at all like Hillary Clinton; I believe she's meant to just be one of those typical generic presidents that some movies/TV programs (like the "West Wing") uses for their own dramatic purposes/"to keep the show from becoming dated" (as an episode of "Earthworm Jim" stated, where Jim realized that the man he was talking to "wasn't the president"), and that they just happened to choose a woman to represent "President Generic". (And FWIW, I think the UN still has a (potentially) useful purpose, one which shouldn't involve kowtowing solely to whatever it is that the U.S. wants [and besides, the US govt. *isn't* paying the UN anything---we're behind in dues by $1 billion dollars...], but that's going off-topic (and no, I'm not interested in another off-topic debate---got enough of this already from another Internet forum [don't ask]... :-)
The worms mistake yet again some statement of someone for something coffee-related...wonder if they get to play some sort of major role in next week's episode.
My one nitpick with this episode: President Generic (for lack of a better name ;-) and the various Pentagon types seemed awfully quick to accept the whole MiB revelation; I'd have figured someone'd do the old "you're insane"/"why should we work with the likes of you *aliens*/*men in black* since we can handle this ourselves" bit...especially factoring in how (as Tommy Lee Jones stated in the original MiB movie) how xenophobic humans can be...
I think they "converted" quickly becuase they saw the alines, and the destructions they were doing. Besides - it's war! No one has time to think!