What is the Monday Morning Moan? Just a compilation of the week’s most groan-worthy moments. Have you had your cup of coffee yet? You’re going to need it. This week we talk about love in films about science (like Interstellar, The Theory of Everything, and Big Hero 6); how Moffat’s monopoly on Doctor Who could be its downfall; the destruction of two great shows: The Simpsons and Futurama; and Star Wars‘ journey into information overload.
Call me old-fashioned, but when I think of science, I think of something involving facts, hypotheses, and the ever-present journey of discovery. When I think of love, I think of an emotional response, primarily a feeling with little empirical data to support it. The two can be together, and you can have a love of science, but when you try to make love the answer, then you’ve crossed the line. This weekend, we saw the releases of three science-based films: Big Hero 6, Interstellar, and The Theory of Everything. They each have very different stories, and each carries its own message and view of science, but what they all share is one very big flaw: Love.
Love can’t be quantified, and we often do inexplicable (and sometimes insane) things out of love. Things that defy reason. Science can’t defy reason, or else it wouldn’t be science. In the final third of Interstellar, there is a part where Matthew McConaughey’s character comes to the realization that everything is possible with love. Love can transcend time, space, gravity and any law of physics that you can fathom. I rolled my eyes so hard, that for that moment all I could see were all the people fawning over this “revelation” in my periphery. And I was watching this at the IMAX. The Theory of Everything has similar moments, but the main jist of it is that love played a more important part in Hawking’s research than the actual pursuit of knowledge did. It’s almost insulting to say a great man’s contribution to science was all merely left to chance and love. Pffft. At least Big Hero 6 is an animated Disney movie, so the crushing amount of sentimentality is pardonable, but when your robot malfunctions out of some inexplicable glitch (usually “love” or emotion-based), then you’ve reached the Disney threshold. At least this film has an excuse, and it’s that it was made for kids, but the other films have none.
Doctor Who’s Faultful Finale
This weekend we saw the season finale of this season’s Doctor Who. Did it catch you by surprise? Yeah, me neither. Oh, Missy was the Master? Saw that coming since episode three. Let’s be honest, this season was almost as bad as the second half of the last season. One of the few things this season and the second half of the last season have in common is Clara. While she is one of my least favorite companions (right below Martha Jones), she is not solely to blame for the lackluster season. But what’s changed? Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. The new Doctor could come as quite a shock to the system because he is not as whimsical or happy-go-lucky as Matt Smith’s Doctor. This new Doctor is much more fatalistic, understanding that not everyone can be saved. He is also much less interested in romantic entanglement, making his companion a true companion and not just a person with whom he has a lot of repressed sexual tension. Capaldi’s Doctor is what made this new season interesting, and is the opposite of the problem. So what else has changed? Nothing, and the problem isn’t something new, but something old: Steven Moffat.
The biggest problem with this season was the writing. Usually, Moffat doesn’t disappoint and gives us great twists and turns up until we reach the game-changing finale. This season’s finale, and over-arching plotline build-up, felt like they were put together with little forethought. Most of us figured out who Missy was early on. No surprise there. Cybermen? Well, all the trailers early on in the season made us realize we hadn’t encountered them yet, so when we got to the final two episodes, they weren’t a surprise at all. Nothing in the end really adds up. It feels like it was all strung together at the last minute, given throw-away lines to explain all the inconsistencies and unanswered questions. The emotional climaxes felt fake and forced, and all I felt was numb. I get it, Moffat, writer’s block is a bitch. That doesn’t mean you have to take the easy way out. If you’re feeling burnt out, I’m sure there is no limit to the amount of talented writers who would love to create fresh, new story lines. Just focus on Sherlock for now.
Simpsorama: The Worst of Both Worlds
The title card appears, done in classic Futurama style, with the title “Simpsorama.” The quote underneath it is, “A show out of ideas teams up with a show out of episodes.” This is probably so on-the-nose that it’s painful. I’m a huge fan of Futurama and mourned its many cancellations. I’m also a huge fan of what The Simpsons once was and its heyday in seasons past. Putting them together should have been a seamless blend (and I’m not just talking about animation), since they were both created by the same team. For the most part it was, but then the show actually began. I understand the purpose of crossovers, and that’s to promote both shows involved (like it did with the Family Guy/Simpsons crossover) and bring new viewers to the show from the fan base of the other show. So how are you suppose to promote Futurama? This show is hard to kill, but as of right now it’s floating in the dead sea of shows on Netflix. This tease is only made worse when you finish the episode and are left feeling only dissatified.
The main problem with this episode is that it wasn’t given a double time slot. The Family Guy/Simpsons crossover was given a one hour time slot, which is why it was actually able to have a decent story. The Futurama/Simpsons hybrid was only given the general 30 minute time slot, so all there was really time to do was introduce every character, give a weak and forgettable reason for the crossover to be taking place, and have each character do their signature line or shtick. Then it’s time for the credits to roll, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Cue disappointment.
Star Wars Episode 6.5: The Force Takes A Nap
J.J. Abrams, unopposed lord of everything sci-fi, has been working on the latest installment of the Star Wars saga for some time now. Thanks to (probably Sith) spies, we have had a new piece of leaked media every week. It will eventually get to the point that someone will be able to make an edit of the film with every leaked item, spoiling it for all of us. To be honest, I’m tired of it all. Hearing about the film, having people spoil any surprises it holds for us, but most of all, I’m already tired of the title. This week, Abrams went ahead of the leaks and released his own, giving us the title of this long awaited film: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Somewhere between the last film and this one, the force apparently fell asleep. Honestly, I don’t care to find out why or hear more about it until I go see the movies. Being a huge original trilogy fan, I don’t want this experience spoiled. This will be the first time I go to the movie theaters to see a Star Wars film (because I don’t count the prequels), and I don’t need some overly anxious twat with a camera phone to ruin it for me. The whole situation is enough to make you turn to the dark side.