«Stylized visual works but the story is too confusing for me. 3 stars.»
Question Mark Series Premiere
«"Clear the hotel."
"I just found blood on the floor."
Story/Script: Story? Well, it certainly made sense, but it was still pretty confusing. It seems more like the characters are just performing actions than doing their jobs or living their lives. It seemed to be your average cool detective story, with the point being to find the perpetrator and their motive. Still, often I confused characters, settings, and time when certain things were happening, alot of this due to the snazzy but flawed special effects. The intro seemed pretty inconsequential, despite the fact that it was some guy raiding a facility. We never heard anything about it again. The fact that there isn't much insightful dialogue doesn't help too much either. There's more "I'm so cool I'm in a secret agent show" dialogue than there is helpful dialogue to help us understand where it's going, like my favorite line that I quoted above. Still, I understood what was happening, and it was pretty entertaining.
Screenplay: A lot of the camerawork seemed botched, often due to the aspect ratio and other times due some bewildering special effects. It could used some heavy editing as well. There were some great shots, but they were mixed in with strange, jerky ones. The characters were also somewhat alienating, from a lack of important close-ups or random shots of them from weird angles. The scene where two of them are having dinner actually made me laugh a little, just from the strange angles and weird expressions of their faces.
Acting: Some good, some bad. The female assistant at the agency was really weak, it seemed like she didn't really know what she was saying. Daniel also had this problem, though his performance was a bit better. The bad guys, meanwhile, had pretty generic bad-guy sounding voices and could use something to make them distinctive.
Sets: A mixed bag, with some being wonderfully constructed while others look like cardboard stand-ups, like the driveway of the Simpsons. It also threw me off how some parts of the set in the intro were clearly detailed while other parts had just been filled in with orange to complete it.
Costumes: These are fine, actually a plus.
Music: Fine as well, it could be used to greater effect though.
Misc.: The special effects were overused, and while some were good (like when you showed the slow motion sequence of the gun firing), many of them were flawed in some way. I hope in future episodes you focus more on character development and dialogue than on fast cars, slow motion cameras and clocks.
Overall, you've got lots of potential and great ideas that are held down somewhat by a desire to impress audiences with your knowledge of SE. Try to spend a little more time working with them and meanwhile make the characters and story the main focus.
«Review part 2 of 2
Like Norrie said in his review, it was like you were trying so hard to use all these different effects and techniques that you forgot about other aspects of the film. I would recommend for the next episode just taking a step back and taking it slow, adding effects where needed but in general keeping things simple. Don't just add an effect because you can.. Add it because it will add to the film.
Overall, this was an interesting pilot for a nice looking series, and there were a lot of things in this film that simply blew me away. However, it seemed as if you just tried too hard to impress and as a result that actually took away from the film. We know you can do these effects, but it's now up to you to show you know how and when to use them. That is when you will truly impress us.. or me anyway Good luck with the series and keep on filming
**** - 4 stars»
«Review part 1 of 2 (since TMU hates my long reviews )
Ok, finally I have a chance to sit down and give my review on this.. Well, there were two sides to it I thought. Visually some of the effects were absolutely incredible, in particular the slow motion shot of the gun mechanism. I enjoyed the VO performances too. Ben carried his role extremely well. The music choice was brilliant, really suited the look and feel of the film extremely well. I really loved some of the sets and camera shots at the beginning, in particular the shot of the guy's silhouette against the orange-lighted helicopter area as the door opened, really well done there.
Now here's my quip about the film. I thought you tried too hard to incorporate all these different effects, camera shots, outside editing techniques, and without intending to sound cruel, I thought a lot of it was a bit of a mess. This is no disrespect to how you edited the film, I thought a lot of it you did really well, but you seemed to mash together so many different aspects that I ended up finding the whole thing a little confusing and overwhelming. The aspect ratio was a little annoying. I didn't understand why it kept changing or why you squashed it up to such a small area in the centre of the screen and stretched the image.»
«This is a comment by Daninsky - Thanks Daninsky
This is what he says:
well first thoughts after watching it:
I loved the intro sequence, the use of primary colours in the movie reminds me strongly of Soderbergh's works, but not necessarily in a bad way.
What I missed was a unified style to the show, we seem to go from school of camera use to another in every other sequence.
Personally I'm for not keen on that currently modern, semi documentary style incorporating a lot of close-up's and subjective cam (the new "Battlestar" is a prime example for that).
The overall impression was that you try too hard to emulate known styles like "24" (or if you prefer comics "XIII", also a lot of your camera angles appear not to serve a real point but to be simply chosen because they are possible.
The FX of the loading gun was interesting, tech wise, but it broke the already incoherent style of the series further, I think you should be more careful with incorporating such gimmicks.
Your cast sounds mostly solid, and I guess the actors will take on a more lifelike look and movement once you got more used to the software.
Bottomline, it's a promising start that felt a bit long but with all that necessary character introducion most pilot episodes do.
«As a bluntly-honest person, I so wanted to so give this a 4/5, but this was quite different to what I'm used to seeing on TMU, and even on national television. This series is like a British version of NCIS or 24, or in a word, a serial of James Bond. Anyways, I loved the effects that you've put into this movie with Vegas Pro, kid. The storyline, though it took me two times of watching to understand it, was quite an undertaking, and risque for a series premiere. The VOs were great, although they could've used a little more emotion, though. A 5...out of 5!»
«Great directing. A little confusing in the beginning, great camera work, good filters that add a lot to the ambient.
Good choice of music and a top class actors crew.
Loved how you showed the mechanics of the shooting weapon
Great job! I hope to see the next episode soon! »
«Although you did try to fit a lot of things at once like Norrie said, I have to say that you did a good job at doing them. The aspect ratios did confuse at first, something I think you need to fix in future projects as well as sound levels.
But overall, you did very well, especially for a first movie.
Good job overall.»
«Oh well, I'm going against the flow here.
That confused the Hell out of me. Maybe I was distracted by the use of every conceivable visual effect possible, maybe it was the rapid jump cuts all over the place, maybe it was the constantly changing aspect ratios, but I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
It was like you had a new box of toys and wanted to play with them all at once.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I think there might have been a good opener there if you'd have set it up a bit more simply.»
«While the comparisons to "24" will be inevitable, this is pretty original and very well done, Dean.
The score was spot on, as well as the delivery by the cast (one of Ben's finer roles to date) terrific editing on all fronts with some nice cutscenes.
Nice thinking debuting at TmuTheater...»
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