Saturday, 22 December 2012

Time's End - Good Things Can Come Out of the 'End of the World'


You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?

On the run-up to the 21st of December in the year that is 2012, a drastic event was set: An event in which time for the human race would run out. The end of the world. The end of time for all of Earth's inhabitants. Of course, this all turned out to be complete and utter drivel and we're now back to getting on with our lives as opposed to worrying about yet another end of the world prediction. Man, I can't stand these things, they always disappoint. I'm not saying I want to get killed along with the rest of our humble, diverse race, but a zombie apocalypse would be pretty awesome. As long as said zombies are more like the ones in the original Dawn of the Dead - in other words completely and utterly hopeless unless they come across an edible treat too imbecilic to avoid being consumed like a buffet of blood and guts. Ahem, I seem to be getting a tad sidetracked, here, and for no good reason. You may be wondering, 'why are you rambling on about the end of the world and zombie apocalypses? What is the actual point of this article?' Well, reader/spam bot, I'm writing this to inform those of you who don't know that something brilliant has finally come out of one of the end of the world hoaxes. And because zombie apocalypses are awesome. No more worries for the living, only mindless justified violence and survival.

Before I get sidetracked yet again, the point of this article is to inform you, under no endorsement from its creator whatsoever, that a rather interesting fan project has been generated by both the phenomenal conceptualisation of the brilliant The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, as well as the countdown to the end of the Mayan calendar that allegedly predicted our final days (nice one, Mayans). This project is titled simply, Time's End. This is a re-arranged remix album that was released for free on following a countdown that lasted three days (hey, kinda like Majora's Mask's apocalypse countdown, funnily enough) and ended at what might well have been the end of the world in reality (it wasn't). At the end of the countdown was a pretty stellar collection of tunes based on Nintendo's black sheep installment in the Zelda franchise. It was a beloved black sheep, of course, as it spawned this fan project that would cleverly tie-in with what was supposedly to be the real-life version of apocalyptic events. Again, it wasn't, but we got a pretty awesome remix album out of it.

Having listened through it twice, now, I can safely say that Time's End does the classic gaming masterpiece justice. Haunting melodies and recognisable motifs paired with alterations to the original soundtrack make for some listening not so much delightful as enjoyable. Majora's Mask really was messed up, and this fan project greatly emphasises that fact. Even if you're not a fan of the game, or gaming in general for that matter, it's well worth checking out Time's End as it is, as aforementioned, completely and utterly free. Or, if you're particularly nice, you can even donate to the creator of the project on Bandcamp with a 'pay what you want' dealio. Heck, it's worth checking out the site if only to see the awesomely disturbing animated image of Majora's demonic mask at the top of the page. So yeah, get on it, and most importantly, enjoy.

In other news, I've got a preview of upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special The Snowmen in the latter stages of the writing process at the time I type these words, so be sure to look forward to that. Speaking of things to look forward to, I hope the next end of the world prediction will come with more brilliant celebrations along the lines of what we've received this time around with Time's End. Dare I say it, I can't wait until the next end of the world.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

TV Review: Doctor Who 7.05 - The Angels Take Manhattan

When the Angels come for Amy and Rory, we'll be the ones Weeping...

When it comes down to it, The Angels Take Manhattan is one of the most important episodes of Doctor Who in a very long time. Certainly the most important since Matt Smith made his debut as the eleventh Doctor alongside Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as Amy Pond and Rory Williams respectively in Steven Moffat's brilliant introductory tale as newly crowned show-runner, The Eleventh Hour. Over two years following the stellar debut, one that would introduce us to who would become two of the franchise's most beloved companions - not to mention one of the quirkiest incarnations of The Doctor himself - it's time for the former to say goodbye in the epic finale of the first half of broadcast series 7. Naturally, this particular 45 minutes of televised media has a lot resting on its shoulders, which begs the question: Does it succeed in offering a worthy farewell to the Doctor's two most active companions since the reintroduction of the show seven years ago? Short answer: Yes. As for the long answer, well, you'll just have to read on...

Naturally penned by head writer Steven Moffat and directed by the brilliant Nick Hurran, who both also crafted this series' thrilling opener Asylum of the Daleks as well as two of the best episodes from last year's series, The Angels Take Manhattan immediately held a huge amount of promise prior to its broadcast, and not just because of the key plot-point that is Amy and Rory's leaving. Granted, good ol' Moffat has had his fair share of slip-ups over the years as head writer, but the Ponds' final voyage is no such thing. In fact, it makes you realise Moffat's strengths as a writer of more dark escapades as opposed to his usual timey-wimey business, which he went rather overboard with in last year's finale. Some of Moffat's best stories thus far have been the chilling, slow-paced ones; The Empty Child two-parter in Christopher Eccleston's series; the legendary Weeping Angels debut Blink; and two of my all-time favourites, The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon (perhaps my top Moffat stories altogether). His latest goes for a film noir style, fitting in with the series' blockbuster theme. With the aforementioned Nick Hurran as director in tow, you can expect it to look pretty amazing. And you know what? It absolutely does.