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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Watched 2012. Directed by Roland Emmerich, it stars John Cusack (among others) as a dysfunctional dad who is divorced from his wife, and has written various books including one about the end of the world. The film starts in present day 2009, with an Indian scientist discovering that an increase of neutrino emissions from the sun is heating up the Earth's core. After confirmation it is believed that this will cause the Earth's tectonic plates to destabilise, along with a shift in the magnetic poles. From there we get the governmental view of what is going on, along with the personal view of a number of characters' stories. And so the story unfolds. I'd heard a lot of negative reviews of 2012, so started watching with low expectations. Essentially you have a bunch of we've-seen-it-all-before characters e.g. the aforementioned dysfunctional dad who you know will reconnect with his ex-wife and kids, who are then placed in some amazing effects sequences. And that's about it. For me that wasn't terrible, but neither was it great. Also bear in mind that it's a bum numbing 158 minutes, so you may want to take a cushion if watching at the cinema. If you get off on big effects and forgettable characters then you may want to catch this at the cinema. The rest should probably wait for the DVD, or until it makes it to TV. 3/5 (Average)

Also watched the first two episodes of The Prisoner (2009). With essentially the same backstory as the original series it stars James Caviezel as a high ranking US government agent who has decided to resign. Following his resignation something happens to him, and after an unknown time he wakes up in a desert, and then spots a man being pursued by a group with dogs and guns. Caviezel's character helps the man after a serious fall. The man describes himself as "93" (ahem... 9 subtracted from 3 is?...) and asks him to tell "554" that he escaped, just before he dies. Caviezel's character buries "93", and after some further wandering in the desert he stumbles across a peculiar village in the desert. And so the story unfolds. My own personal backstory is that I was Prisoner obsessed (the original series of course) in my early twenties, after straying across it on repeat on late night television. I had never seen anything quite like it, with its sixties nuttiness, and themes that hadn't dated. I bought the DVDs, the soundtracks, and even stayed at the fabulously weird Portmeirion. My love for it has not waned, albeit my obsession did after a year or two. So I was very curious when I heard mention of the remake, and saw the trailer. Subsequent to it being on TV though it has had a mixed reception, so as with 2012 I started watching with low expectations. I quite like it so far though. It does manage to capture the confusing nature of the opening of the first series, along with the menacing and paranoid atmosphere. Caviezel is a favourite actor of mine, although I'll freely admit that he's typically wishy washy in acting style, and (perhaps inevitably) not a patch on McGoohan's No. 6. McKellen is a wonderful No. 2, and a great casting choice. But already with the second episode though things have started to drift and weaken, so I wonder if subsequent episodes (of the 6 episode series) are going to maintain the style and atmosphere. Strange that this was only 6 episodes, although I've not looked into why this is. Also interesting that this is a co-production with ITV (was this shown on ITV?). I get the feeling that they had wanted McGoohan to play "93", as they end up with a sort of look-a-like. Although it seems that McGoohan wanted nothing to do with the series, and his death in early 2009 ended any involvement. So up to this point I'm surprised how good it is, but there are still four more episodes to go.

Also watched the first episode of the V remake. As per the original 80s series, a number of spacecraft appear above capital cities around the world. Human-like aliens emerge, and profess they want to help humanity and make peace with us, although a number of people are suspicious and claim they have evidence to the contrary. And so the story unfolds. I remember watching this the first time around, although I wasn't enthused by it and don't remember a lot of the detail. So far though the remake is definitely of interest, and I will keep watching.