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Non-Review Review: Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2 doesn’t quite have the same charm as Despicable Me. It’s not that there’s any aspect of the production that is noticeably weaker, it’s just that the original film had a much stronger hook. The story of a supervillain who adopts three young girls as a means to an end, only to find himself coming to care for those kids, might seem a bit cliché (okay, it might sound a lot cliché), but it worked because the film had a solid emotional core.

Despicable Me 2 doesn’t have the same emotional core or stakes. There are subplots and character development (with the sequel going to a lot of effort to make sure almost every returning character has something to do), but the stakes don’t seem quite as high. It’s stunningly well-animated, it’s consistently funny and the cast are as charming as ever, but it just feels a tiny bit shallower than the first film.

You're hot and you're cold...

You’re hot and you’re cold…

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Doctor Who: The Last of the Time Lords (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Last of the Time Lords originally aired in 2007.

I just need you to listen.

No, it’s my turn. Revenge!

– the Doctor and the Master

I like quite a lot of The Last of the Time Lords. I think, for example, that Russell T. Davies does an exceptional job creating a version of the Master that manages to remain true to the character’s pantomime roots, while also seeming a credible threat and dark mirror to the Doctor. I also think that Martha’s character arc has a fairly logic and fluid conclusion. On the other hand, there’s a great deal about the resolution to The Last of the Time Lords that feels a bit rushed, a bit convenient, a bit tidy.

I’m quite fond of Davies’ writing style, but I’ll concede that he tends to favour theme and character over plot and structure. The Last of the Time Lords does an excellent job illustrating this, providing a bunch of fascinating thematic and character-based moments, but positioning them in a plot that doesn’t really work.

You know, for once I actually feel sorry for the Master...

You know, for once I actually feel sorry for the Master…

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