Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

A few weeks ago, I went to see the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie with my family.

The first promotional poster
Surprisingly for a sequel (the third, actually), it didn't try to drag a story farther than it needed. Instead of bringing back William Turner and Elizabeth Swann, it focused on the search for the Fountain of Youth.

"The ship is ours!"
I liked it a lot.

Gibbs: "So the Pearl. Any idea on how to get her out?"    
Jack: "We shall need a crossbow, an hourglass, three goats, one of us must learn to play the trumpet, whilst the other one goes like this. [waves his fingers]"    
Gibbs: "I know a man with a goat."    
Jack: "Good, I can go like this. [waves his fingers]"     
―Joshamee Gibbs and Jack Sparrow

Doctor Who Hidden Messages: Update for The Rebel Flesh

For the last four weeks, the official Doctor Who website has been hiding messages in a feature called the Fourth Dimension, a notes and trivia file for the Series 6 episodes. The messages have been italicized words in each episode page.

Here's what we have so far.
  1. All the secrets you seek can be found here on the Webb
  2. We found your message! you’re alive but what secrets ‘D’you mean my friend?
  3. I mean I glimpsed him! And may the gods help him or perhaps you can
  4. To see what I saw click on the spot beyond the Doctor’s home planet.
By clicking on the period following the word Gallifrey in the final entry, you're taken to a video called Analysis Lessons.

Analysis Lessons is an anagram of Lonely Assassins--another name for the Weeping Angels. Does this mean the Weeping Angels could be appearing later in Series Six or Seven? Maybe. We'll have to see...

Update for the Rebel Flesh: The message for the Rebel Flesh simply read: Message Interrupted.

Doctor Who: The Rebel Flesh

Hello! Sorry this episode review is a bit late. The latest episode of series six aired on Saturday, May 21. As BBC America is a week behind the UK, I won't see the following episode, The Almost People, until June 4. The Rebel Flesh was written by Michael Graham, who previously wrote the Series 2 story Fear Her. The episode was quite good, as well as a bit freaky.

Here's the official synopsis.

A solar tsunami sends the TARDIS hurtling towards a futuristic factory on Earth, where human doppelgangers are used to mine dangerous acid, as the time-travelling adventures continue.
A second wave hits and the "Gangers" separate. They can remember every second of their "originals'" lives and feel every emotion they've ever experienced. But are these memories stolen or have they been bequeathed? Are the Gangers merely faulty machinery that must be shut down or are they living, breathing, sentient beings? Can the Doctor convince the terrified humans to accept these "almost people" and prevent an all-out civil war before the factory explodes? 

It featured another appearance from the mysterious Eye-Patch Lady...
The Doctor looks at the flesh
The episode was concluded with a Ganger of the Doctor stepping out from behind a pillar in the room where the originals were hiding from the angry Gangers.

The Ganger Doctor
Jimmy: This is insane. We're fighting ourselves.
The Doctor: Yes, it's insane. And it's about to get even more insanerer. Is that a word?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Return To Satellite Five---Part 3

Here's part three. Sorry about the text changing colour at the end; I can't figure out what's making it do that, and I can't get it to stop. Anyway, I'm pleased to announce my writer's block is completely eradicated.

Half an hour later, I take the lift down to where Amy, Rory, and Reid are waiting in the TARDIS. As I approach it, the doors fly open and Reid comes bounding out. “Your box is amazing!” he exclaims.
“I know, isn’t it?” I reply. Then, dropping down to his level, I lean in close. “It’s not just a box. It’s a time machine.”
Reid’s dark brown eyes get huge. “Really?”
I nod and stand, ruffling his hair. “Now, where do you live? I bet your parents will be thrilled to see you.”
Reid’s face falls. “My parents were upgraded,” he says. “They’re dead.”
“I…I’m sorry,” I say, unsure of what else to do. “Do you have any other family?”
A glint of hope appears in his eye. “Yes, my grand-mum. She lives in London.”
“Okay then. We’ll take you to her.”
We enter the TARDIS where Amy and Rory are talking quietly. They spin around when I enter, looking embarrassed. “What?” I ask.
“Nothing, just…nothing.” Amy replies.
“Fine then.” I walk to the console, typing the coordinates for Reid’s grandparents into the spatial location input. We begin to dematerialize, the time rotor rising and falling.
“What’s happening? Are we traveling in time?” Reid inquires, enraptured.
“No, just space. In the time and space vortex.” Amy replies.
“How is it bigger on the inside?”
“It exists in another dimension.” Rory explains.
I pull the scanner over and Reid watches the readings flip as we travel. “Why do you have a bow on?” he asks suddenly.
It’s a bow tie, not a bow. I wear it because it’s cool. Bow ties are cool.” Amy rolls her eyes.
It’s not long before we land in the back room of Reid’s grandparent’s house. “How’s the climate?” I ask. “Can people go outside now?”
Reid nods. “Yeah, it’s improving a bit.” I open the door and he steps out, then hesitates.
Will I see you again?”
I shrug. “You never know.”
“Keep an eye out for us,” Amy replies.
How do I explain all this?” Reid asks, gesturing at his general metal additions.
“Tell them you were very brave.” I reply.
“And don’t try to take it off or anything.” Rory instructs, his nurse side coming out. “It’s part of you.”
“I won’t.” There’s footsteps from another room, and Amy glances at me.
“We should go,” I say. “Thanks for your help.”
“Good luck,” Amy says, then walks into the TARDIS. Rory repeats it, then follows Amy. I smile. “Remember what Amy said. Watch for the magic blue box.”
“I will.” Reid says enthusiastically.
I walk into the TARDIS and bounce up the stairs. “So! Where now?”
“But Doctor, did you ever find out what that shadowy thing was?” Rory asks.
“Yes.” I reply. “It was a sort of virus sent out by the Cybermen, designed to draw in approaching ships.” I set a few levers and swing the scanner over.
“Sort of like a tractor beam?” Amy asks.
“Yes. No. Sort of. If it helps, yes.” I click a few keys on the spatial location input. “So where next? I heard the Lord Predator of Raxacoricofallapatorius, Haralto Wong Bopz Wim-Waldon Arlene, is having a birthday party. I've never been, but they're said to be exceptional. What d'you think, sneaking into a birthday party?
Amy smiles. “Hmm, we'd probably use the physic paper, pretend to be his best friends from Earth. And Gallifrey, but he won't know. Let me guess—the planet's some strange colour?
It's purple. How'd you guess?”
Amy smiles. “Just a hunch.”
I grin and pull the speed lever, sending us hurtling into the ever-spinning winds of the time and space vortex.

Return to Satellite Five---Part 2

Here's part two of my fanfiction. 

We get into the lift and it ascends, but not fast enough. I sonic the keypad, and we go even faster, cycling through the Floors at lightning speed. As we near Floor 500, Amy's mobile rings. "Hello?"
"Are you here?" Rory asks.
I snatch the phone. "Yes, get to the lift!"
We come to an abrupt stop, throwing Amy and I off our feet. The doors open and Amy and I grab Rory and Reid as they burst in, pursued by half a dozen Cybermen. I sonic the panel and we descend rapidly. "Are you okay?" Amy asks Rory. He nods.
"I'm fine."
"What about you, Reid?" I ask. "I'm the Doctor, by the way."
"I know, Rory told me." Reid replies.
We are all thrown off our feet as the lift jolts to a stop…at Floor 450. "No, no, no, no, no!" I cry. The doors open to show at least sixteen Cybermen. "You will be taken for upgrading. You will not fight or you will be deleted."
"Okay, we’ll come with you," I say, pushing the glitterguns into a corner with my foot and raising my hands. We follow the Cybermen across the hall to the other lift, taking it back up to Floor 500. "Doctor, do you have a plan?" Amy whispers, holding Reid's hand.
"I'm working on it," I retort.
"Well, hurry up or we're going to be upgraded. And I can guess what that means."
A Cyberman turns its helmeted head towards us. "You will not talk."
"Well sorry," I say.
The lift arrives and the Cybermen group around us as we exit. Floor 500 looks almost the same as it did last time I was here, the only addition is a large cube-shaped chamber built where the Controller used to stand. Four metal arms hang from the ceiling, an array of syringes, lasers, saws, and scalpels on the end of each one—a Cyber-conversion unit. I hear Amy catch her breath behind me as she realizes it too.
We’re lined up in front of it—Amy, Rory, Reid, then me. Amy is led forward, but before she can enter the machine, I whip out my sonic, disabling the converting arms.
“You will be deleted,” The Cybermen began to march towards me, arms outstretched. Amy picks up a piece of scrap metal from the ground and hits one of the Cybermen with it, giving me time to escape to the lift. The doors open and I jump inside, just as Amy is grabbed by the Cybermen. “I’m coming back!” I shout as the doors close.
“You’d better!” Amy retorts. The lift closes and begins to descend. When it stops on Floor 450, I run across the hall to the other lift, where the glitterguns are still heaped in the corner. I grab them and take the lift up to Floor 500, but keep the doors closed. Sonicing the screen in the lift, I hack into the security cameras.
Looking through the smudged, dusty lenses, I see Amy, Rory, and Reid being held by Cybermen, while others work on fixing the conversion unit. “So they got here through the void,” I murmur. “So these must be some of the last Cybermen from Pete’s World.”
Leaving the screen, I replace the sonic in my coat, then pick up the glitterguns. Opening the door, I walk out into the spacious room, ducking behind a large monitor. “What exactly do you expect to gain by upgrading us?” Amy asks.
“You are inferior; you must be upgraded.” A Cyberman replies. I stand up behind the monitor, trying to get Amy and Rory’s attention. Rory, who’s closer to me, notices and nods once. I hold up a glittergun, and he nods again. Knowing what I must do, I raise one of the glitterguns above the monitor, releasing a salvo of gold pellets into the Cybermen holding Rory. When they connect, they explode into showers of gold dust, getting under the Cybus Industries insignia on the chest. It crumples to the ground, and Rory breaks away, catching the glittergun I throw him.
By now the Cybermen have seen us, and begin marching towards us. “You will be deleted,” they chorus. Rory shoots at them, and several fall. “Hey Doctor! Stupid face! Get me out of here!” Amy calls from where she is being dragged towards the almost repaired conversion unit. Rory takes out the Cybermen surrounding her, and she runs over to me. “Got anymore of those guns?” she asks. I give her one, then release Reid. He ducks behind the monitor as Amy, Rory, and I take out the Cybermen. “They should’ve had these back at Canary Wharf!” I exclaim, slapping high-fives.
“Can I go home now?” Reid asks, sticking his head out from behind the monitor.
I beckon him over and take his hands—one flesh, one metal. “There’s no way to be changed back, I’m sorry.” I say.
“But I still want to go home,” Reid insists.
“We’ll get you home, Reid.” Amy assures him.
“Amy, Rory, take Reid back to the TARDIS.” I instruct. Shifting the glittergun, I turn back to her. “And you can take the glitterguns too.” I hand mine to them, and they start towards the lift.
“Wait, aren’t you coming?” Rory asks, stopping.
“Yeah. I’m just making sure this conversion unit can never be used again.”
They take the lift down, leaving me alone. I walk over to the conversion unit, studying the technology. It’s not refined, all the metal pieces pried from the walls of Satellite Five. I begin to work.

Return to Satellite Five--Part 1

Here's a remedy for writer's block: Write something else, completely unrelated. This is the Doctor Who fanfiction I wrote while suffering from writer's block. For lack of a better title, I'm calling it Return to Satellite Five.

The red flashing light had been blaring for several minutes - an S.O.S. We all stared at each other, unable to comprehend the scenario. Suddenly, the whole TARDIS groaned and jerked. The lights flickered off completely, however, the crimson siren continued to flash, illuminating our faces. The lights flickered back on, still wavering slightly. All but one area...a pool of darkness, radiating outward from the base of the console.
“Amy, Rory, get away from the console,” I ordered, motioning them back.
“Doctor, what’s that?” Amy asks warily, her eyes fixed on the shadow. It’s darker than the other shadows, seeming to swallow the glass Floor and the console. Without taking my eyes off it, I back up to the stairs, not answering her question. “Get by the door,”
Rory and Amy do as I say as I fumble in my coat for my sonic screwdriver. Pulling it out, I point it at the console. A few levers slide and click, and the lights return on as the darkness slowly vanishes. “So...that’s it.” Amy starts back towards the console.
“No, stay back.” I approach the console, touching it lightly. “What’d it do to you, old girl?” I murmur, and Amy rolls her eyes. “Doctor. What was that?”
I spin around to face her. “I don’t know. But never mind that, we’ve got big problems.”
“You mean bigger than a shadowy thing in the TARDIS?” Rory asks.
“Yes.” I reply shortly, pulling the scanner over. It’s surface is covered with multicolored swirls, flashing the word, ‘error’ over and over. I push it aside and circle to the navigation panel, where the atom accelerator is spinning wildly. Amy notices too, shooting me a look.
“Doctor, what’s going on?”
I lean against the rail, rocking back on it. “Basically we’re spinning through space with no way to control where we’re going.”
Amy pauses. “So basically we’re lost?”
“Yes. Basically.”
“Just making sure.” Amy crosses to the other side of the console as the TARDIS shudders to a halt. I stand up and jump down the stairs to the door.
“Wait--is it safe, Doctor?” Rory asks.
“Well, we have no way of knowing,” I reply.
“And we’re still going?”
“Of course,” Amy answers. Rory shrugs and follows us out the door.
We emerge into a grimy hall, countless doors stretching down it. I walk down the hall, eyes fixed on the numbers at the end. 216, above which is written 'Bad Wolf'.
"This is Satellite Five!" I exclaim.
"You've been here before?" Amy asks.
I nod. "Yeah, there were Daleks and I regenerated."
"So...not good, I'm guessing?"
"Not good at all," I reply. "But why would we come here?" I approach one of the doors. It's rusted shut, a thick layer of dust and grime on it's surface. I taste the dust, and Rory grimaces. "This has been here almost sixty years. It's been a long time since I was here."
"Oh. So what do we do?"
I turn from the door. "Go to Floor 500. From there we can do a scan and see if anyone's here."
The lift opens, squealing as the panels slide back. We step inside the small padded room and begin to ascend. A crackly voice speaks around us. "Welcome to the Gamestation. Sunspot activity is expected in half an hour."
We rise steadily for a few moments, then the lift shudders to a halt. The panel above the door says we're only at Floor 400. The panels slide open to reveal a hall almost identical to the one we left. "Is this Floor 500?" Rory asks.
"No, this is Floor 400." I reply. "Something stopped the lift."
"Is anyone there?" Rory calls. "We're friends."
"Friends?" a voice calls from the shadows in the end of the hall.
"I think it's just a kid," Amy whispers. I nod. "Do you need help?" she calls.
"Metal men came...they took me for—upgrading, they said."
"Cybermen," I murmur to Amy and Rory. "How did you escape?"
"I didn't." Metalicy footsteps echo in the hall, and a boy steps out of the shadows, his legs, arms, and part of his face encased in metal. "I ran before they could finish."
"Oh, good job!" I say, my mouth dry. I scan him with the sonic screwdriver, then check the readings. "The metal is merged with his skin."
Rory steps closer. "But you're still human. You have emotions."
"Can you take me home, please?" the boy pleads, a tear streaked with oil trickling down his cheek.
"Yes." Amy says, giving me a look. "We will get you home."
"But right now we need to deal with the Cybermen infestation." I say. "Where are they?"
"The top level,"
I snap my fingers. "Right, Floor 500."
As we start towards the lift, Amy turns to the partially converted child. "What's your name?"she asks.
"Reid," he replies.
We ascend without further interruption until we reach Floor 500. The doors begin to open, but Amy them again. "So what's the plan?" she asks.
"Um...Reid, go with Rory, scout around and gather any information you can."
"Okay," Reid says, taking Rory's hand.
"Um, why me?" Rory asks.
"Because you're Rory the Roman. Now go, and don't get upgraded."I answer.
"Amy, will you be okay?" Rory asks.
"I'll be fine. Go, stupid face." Amy and I stand back as the doors open, and we give Rory and Reid thumbs up as they go.
"What are we doing while they're there?"Amy asks, straightening.
"I've got some glitterguns in the TARDIS, we can get them." we begin to descend.
"And what exactly are glitter guns?"
"Guns that shoot gold dust. It disables Cybermen—suffocates them." I explain.
I look up as the lift stops. "Doctor, this isn’t where we left the TARDIS."
"I know, I know," The doors kaleidoscope open, and we step out.
"Is anyone here?" Amy calls.
"You will be taken for upgrading!" a grating, mechanical voice shouts. I spin around and try to open the door, but it's deadlocked. "Run!" I cry, grabbing Amy's hand. We run into one of the rooms, sonicing it behind us. "Will that stop them?" Amy asks breathlessly.
"No, but it'll buy us time," I run to the center of the room, where a long disabled Anne-droid is gathering dust, surrounded by it’s contestant’s stands. Flipping open a panel in the back, I sonic through the settings. Metal footsteps tell me the Cybermen are in just as I finish. Shutting the panel, I drag Amy to the ground, out of range.
"You are the weakest link—goodbye." a bolt of energy shoots out of the Anne-droid's mouth, disintegrating the three Cybermen. "Yes!" Amy shouts. We run out through a door in the back and, finding another lift, descend rapidly for Floor 126.
We jump out of the lift and into the TARDIS. "Call Rory, see what he's found," I instruct, running into the storage room in search of the glitterguns. Just as I find them under a pile of togas, Amy runs in. "He's about to get upgraded!"
I hand Amy the glitterguns and take the phone. "Rory? What've you found out?"
"Well, they say they're the last of the Cybermen that were in the void. Do you know what they mean by that?"
"Yes, I do. Anything else? Why they're here?" I reply impatiently.
"They came to upgrade humanity. And I'm about to be upgraded, did Amy tell you?"
"Yes, she did, and don't worry, we're coming. Is Reid with you?"
"Yes, they're going to complete his upgrade."
"All right, we're coming. Try to get to the lift."
"I can't; you have it."
"Oh, right. We're coming!" I toss the phone to Amy as I run through the control room. "We're going to get Rory,"

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Doctor Who Hidden Messages: Update

For the last four weeks, the official Doctor Who website has been hiding messages in a feature called the Fourth Dimension, a notes and trivia file for the Series 6 episodes. The messages have been italicized words in each episode page.

Here's what we have so far.
  1. All the secrets you seek can be found here on the Webb
  2. We found your message! you’re alive but what secrets ‘D’you mean my friend?
  3. I mean I glimpsed him! And may the gods help him or perhaps you can
  4. To see what I saw click on the spot beyond the Doctor’s home planet.
By clicking on the period following the word Gallifrey in the final entry, you're taken to a video called Analysis Lessons.

Update: Analysis Lessons is an anagram of Lonely Assassins--another name for the Weeping Angels. Does this mean the Weeping Angels could be appearing later in Series Six or Seven? Maybe. We'll have to see...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Doctor Who: the Doctor's Wife

Courtesy of the Whoniverse Blog
The latest episode of Doctor Who is one of the best yet.

Auntie and Uncle introduce Irdis to the Doctor

Written by Neil Gaiman, the author of Coraline and Stardust as well as many other suspenseful novels, it was creepy and disturbing at times, yet funny at others.

Neil Gaiman, Suranne Jones (Idris), and Matt Smith (the Doctor)
Idris turned out to be the soul of the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) trapped in a human body by the House, a sentient asteroid. It also featured the return of the Ninth and Tenth Doctor's coral-like TARDIS interior.

The Doctor pilots the TARDIS
And here's an important quote:
Rory: At the end, she was talking. She kept repeating something. I don't know what it meant.
The Doctor: What did she say?
Rory: "The only water in the forest is the river." She said we'd need to know it someday. It doesn't make sense, does it?
I have a feeling 'river' refers to River Song, the mysterious time traveler living in close reverse to the Doctor. 'Forest' may refer to the first episode featuring River Song, Forest of the Dead.
And, finally, here's a funny quote:
The Doctor: The House deleted all the bedrooms. I should probably make you two a new bedroom. You'd like that wouldn't you?
Amy: Okay. Um. Doctor, this time could we lose the bunkbeds?
The Doctor: No! Bunk beds are cool. A bed. With a ladder. You can't beat that.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Doctor Who: Curse of the Black Spot

Last week's episode of Doctor Who was entitled Curse of the Black Spot, and it featured the siren, an other-worldly creature that turned men to dust with a touch of the hand that appeared on the ship of Captain Avery, an English seaman turned pirate.

The Siren  
The Doctor and Captain Avery

Amy was very cool.
Amy prepares to save the Doctor from walking the plank.

Captain Avery: I'm confused!
The Doctor: Well, its a big club — we should get t-shirts.
—From Doctor Who: Curse of the Black Spot