Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (1996) - * WORST 5 *

How about let's NOT remind me about how fisted I felt after watching this...
Genre: Drama Fantasy Mini-Series (UK)

Starring: Gary Bakewell, Laura Fraser (A Knight's Tale;Titus)

Directed By: Dewi Humphries ("Murder Most Horrid")

Overview: An average Joe runs into a waif living in London's Underground. She and her strange powers lead him into her world.

Acting: This entire three-hour, six-episode mini-series was acted out like a bad B Grade Comic Book. In all fairness the author's best work (and best known work) is, in fact, comics. There comes a time when a director has to step in and say, "Whoa, there. No. Do it again. " Well. where the hell was he? I ask. It's produced by BBC, and I gather their budget isn't high, but seriously, it's still a professional organization, isn't it? Only one actor in the whole series was worth her salt, Laura Fraser, the girl who played Door. The main character, Richard and the Bodyguard, Hunter, and that horrible Marquis were all so stupidly over the top that this gets a far below par rating.
Rating: 3

Cinematography: The Underground scenes were quite obviously the big ticket items. With a limited budget, the producers chose to elaborate on this, and appropriately so, given that most of the scenes take place in the Underground. I don't know what problem the cameraman had, but it seems as though he didn't believe in fixed angles, or really anything innovative. Too many scenes were shot too close, and shakily too, even outdoor scenes where there was all the space in the world. Also the camera's takes were choppy and too frequent. All this was so bad as to be distracting. The cameraman had a light meter at least, as there were no ultra-dark scenes; nothing so bad as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre night shots.
Rating: 3

Script: It's Neil Gaiman. This guy is famous for writing the ultra-gothic Sandman Comics in the early nineties. He's also done Angel, a short 4 issue side story Spawn comic series. This man has moved on to be an author of at least one book of short stories and two novels, including this, Neverwhere. He also helped develop the screenplay for this TV Mini-series. All this to say, he should have stayed in comics. The grand melodrama works a lot better there. There were a couple interesting characters (literally), but ultimately everyone was cheese.
Rating: 4

Weak! Suspension of disbelief in Fantasy is expected, but not beyond common sense. These people all have the power / curse having people forget who they are, and for some reason this Underground society never thinks of theft for the things they need. These people do stupid things and act on such a two-dimensional character perspective as makes them horrible caricatures of themselves. The obvious flaws are thrown to the wind. There's a scene where Monks give a key to someone, after some stupid cliché "challenges" including a RIDDLE, please! Anyway, these Monks sole task is to guard the key. They hand it over to Richard knowing full well it's going to the person they were in charge of keeping it FROM. Retarded and infantile!
Rating: 2

Mood: The only thing saving this Series is at least it stays true to itself. It's fantastical and full of stupid Sphinx Riddle style tests and adventures and trading favours for favours, and magic items and creatures and all that. Decent. Unfortunately the budget makes this suffer the way Zaphod Beeplebrox's second paper-maché head almost ruined the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Rating: 6

Don't even get me started on this poof...

Overall Rating: 36% (Never Anywhere!)

Aftertaste: Horrible! Hunter the bodyguard is the worst character in the whole thing. She gets into three fights and I laughed at how bad her and her choreographer had planned them out, oh yuck. She's worse than Jar Jar Binks of Star Wars Episode 1... Alright that's too harsh... Still I spit at this entire series. It was a waste of three hours, except for the fact that I am condemning it publicly. Hopefully you will heed the warning to stay the HELL away from garbage like this.
London's Underground? For Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Mind the Crap!