Archive for June, 2010

Fade To Black. The Finale Reviewed

June 7th, 2010

What made ’24’ great was taking an idea so simple people couldn’t believe it hadn’t been thought of before, and doing it perfectly. The simpler a situation the show was depicting, the better it was, the purer it was.

Day One, A Federal agent is torn between his duty to protect a Senator, and his duty to protect his family. That’s all Day One was. Try as you might you won’t be able to come up with a similar one sentence description for Day Eight. Certainly there are parts which have been just a simple, the most simple an idea was Jack’s fight for justice during the last 7 hours. Which is why these last 7 hours where the best of these last 24. Why certain parts of these last two where so touching, emotional and even moving, whilst others where simply plot.

Everything involving Jack and Chloe was terrific. Logan was mostly the usual delight to watch. The action, as so often in these final episodes was tense and dramatic. Unfortunately however a number of other moments either fell flat or where horribly guilty of missed opportunities.

The show almost tortured those final moments at the UN podium until Taylor pulled out. How much better, more dramatic and hopeful would it have been if Taylor, looking resolved, steely, but oddly calm walked up to the podium after the others had signed and made a speech mirroring her Inauguration speech seen in Redemption, declaring her values of openness, peace and understanding – those which had lead her to seek high office, and whilst the initial work done in forging this peace her guiding principles meant she would unfortunately not be able to sign the treaty.

However in the places that mattered there was very little too complain about. These two hours wrapped up the Day 8 story nicely and neatly. But why then do I still feel a little reserved in my judgement?. Perhaps this is why…

The end of 24 needs to deal with what happens to those who go down that road. Can they turn back? Can there be a happy ending? Or is there simply a dead end?

I wrote that 6 months ago when looking back on 7×24 and looking forward to Series 8. Previously i’d written how 7×24 should be the last we saw of Jack Bauer, (and possibly 24) as it was the most perfect closure and judgement Jack was ever going to receive. The viewer could decide whether Jack died quietly and peacefully with Kim by his side or if simply the Jack Bauer we knew died on that hospital bed and a different man woke. Nothing in the past 24 episodes has fundamentally changed that opinion, most especially because we are no nearer an answer to the key question I pose above.

Perhaps it is an unanswerable question, perhaps that is precisely the point.

Overall a very fine end to the day, if only a satisfactory end to the show as a whole.

Best then perhaps that 8×24 is not “goodbye”, but merely “fair well, for now”.

In the meantime, back to the boxsets it is, and I would like to salute everyone who has contributed to the show these last 9 years.

Thank you very much for so much fine entertainment.

Up The Ladder. Review of Episodes 21 & 22

June 5th, 2010

I’m not sure of how much interest my thoughts on episodes 21 & 22 will be to anyone whose already seen 23 & 24, but we’ll see. I felt compelled to put my reactions down to have a further bench mark to compare against when I finally review the last two. Also since I enjoyed these a lot more than previous episodes.

The last few episodes really hadn’t done much for me, I still wasn’t getting excited, because of all the procedural rubbish that was going on around the edges I was finding it hard to get emotionally invested (or connected). But in 21 and 22, as we see just how far Jack is willing to go, and is going. Suddenly I get it, i’m with it. I’m edging ever so slightly towards the edge of my seat.

It’s all a bit more guilty pleasure than it was back in the good old days of Series One when you gained some satisfaction from deciphering the plot and perhaps guessing a plot twist no one else saw coming, the 2010 breed is a little more “detach the brain and enjoy the ride”, but hey, if the ride is this enjoyable then sure i’ll let a few plot holes (Novacovic gave the order to shoot Renee, not the Russian Pres.) the size of Manhattan flash by me. Same goes for a little repetition (Logan undone by a microphone after a rough and ready encounter with Jack).

Really is worth ignored when where treated to such gloriously scenes as Jacks full on assault whilst masked and in full body armour wielding an AK or something similar. Any encounter between Jack and Logan is worth watching and 22 didn’t disappoint. Truth be told any scene with Logan scheming, and twisting and being so Machiavellian and Nixon-esque is worth watching.

A lot of the problems of previous episodes was still present in these episodes, I just found myself not caring so much.

The show has set itself up for a very promising end, lets see if it delivers….

Wait, you already know if it delivers. Lets see if I think it delivers…. (yeah, thats better.)

More than one 24 movie?

June 5th, 2010

According to tvguide.com, plans exist for Jack Bauer to become the next James Bond or Jason Bourne. While it is well-known across the “24” fan community that Bauer has movie plans, it is still speculated whether his excursion to the big screen will be a one-time thing or a regular occurence.

The article linked to above now cites Howard Gordon stating that Jack might become a regular visitor to the big screen:

“Our idea is to make Jack Bauer someone we can revisit on a regular basis.”

I’ll leave you to judge for yourself whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’m approaching it with mixed feelings. While I will probably miss the show on TV, I’m not sure how a show that fundamentally depended on real-time and a 24-hour time span can even successfully transition into 2 hours of screen time. Sure, we had “Redemption”, but I’m not a big fan of it, either. Redemption worked as a sort of a prequel to the following season, but a movie would be a stand-alone story and a whole different ball game.

The other reservation I have is about trying to raise Bauer to an indestructible status of James Bond, and that’s essentially what would happen if he became a serial movie killer. Is this really necessary? Won’t Jack become just another action ┬áhero? Won’t the essence of “24” get lost in the process? Knowing that Jack will come back for another movie would make any real tension impossible because you’d know he can’t die (once I stopped believing they’d ever kill Jack on screen, that seriously dampened my “thrill” watching the seasons). Kiefer Sutherland has been saying for quite some time that he believed that Jack could go on as a character even if someone else played him. I suppose this might be the beginning idea of that transition. Just like Bond.

Nothing is etched in stone yet, of course, as a “revisit” will likely depend on how well the first movie does. So we’ll see.

In the meantime, let’s try to look forward to the movie and the return of

“…some familiar faces”

in the (first) movie, notably Chloe O’Brian. I’m still hoping for Tony, too.

More details on the film include “cold war themes”, and Jack’s remaining status of a “fugitive from everyone”, at least at the start of the movie. So it’s probably safe to say that Jack still has it in for the Russians. Suwarow is still alive, after all.