Wednesday, 8 October 2014

To Boldly Flee: Because everyone hates plot holes

The year is 2012, Doug Walker has decided to stop writing Nostalgia Critic episodes, but not without leaving on a high note. The team still has a anniversary to release, and what better way to finish the character then with a 3 and a half hour long sci-fi movie. Time to, for the last time, re enter this world, To Boldly Flee.

So how does one go from... whatever you call Kickassia, to medieval in the form of Suburban Knights and then To Boldly Flee? Well...

Disclaimer: Spoilers to the plot of Suburban Knights

It has been one year since the battle with Malachite, the death of Ma-Ti has hit the Nostalgia Critic hard. On top of that, due to the S.U.C.K.A (Stop the Unstoppable Copyright Killers Act) bill about to be enforced and a ruling made by the Judge (due to Terl demanding Justice after the Battlefield Earth review), the critic is placed under house arrest. Infuriated by this ruling, Terl promises to "not rest until your body is in ashes. Oh, there's no place high or low. I've marked every by-way and path you know! I will climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow!" (and believe me, the high pitched voice starts to drag when he makes these speeches). After the conversation ends, The Critic is informed of Ma-Ti's character surviving in Spoon, Terl forms a temporary alliance with Lame R. Prick (I swear that's his name), who was the one who wrote S.U.C.K.A (and in true style of the actual bills its mocking, doesn't know a thing about technology) and captures Spoony who was being analyzed by two doctors who were put into federal custody for... (and this is directly quoted from the script)

Snob: assaulting a federal agent...
Sage: ...and a cop...
Snob: ...who they stole his gun from...
Sage: ...and used it against him...
Snob: steal a squad car...
Sage: exchange for...
Snob: ice cream truck...
Sage: ...and high-tailed for Tijuana...
Snob: ...where they were picked up by the Mexican Federales...
Sage: ...dressed as nuns.
Snob: They're gonna be gone for a long time.

Due to the studies by said doctors, the main cast discover what is known as a "Plot Hole" and it threatens to destroy the world (*insert "OF COURSE" here). So, the critics convert the Nostalgia Critic's house into a super mushroom powered spaceship to stop the Plot hole and who intends to use it. The story itself is much deeper then this as it uses as many Sci-Fi tropes, themes and references as possible. Everyone gets some screen time and lines in this film and in true to style, they all play out their roles really well. To Boldly Flee loves to reference the last two films, even if the references are... confusing, the point of the references is to make up for errors in Kickassia and Suburban Knights's scripts (apparently...) and in order to achieve this, they have Dr Insano state the cause is because of the "resulting explosion ripped a hole in the Space Story Arc Continuum" and that "Time isn't a straight line. It's more like a David Lynch movie: a wondering, meandering thing that goes in all directions. And if you're very lucky, by the end, you'll see some boobies and maybe some little people"... assuming that makes any sense out of context.

While the emphasis on costumes isn't as strong as in Suburban Knights, when costumes are used, they are used to make the joke better. Jesu Otaku playing out the role of Edward from Cowboy Bebob, the Nostalgia Critic's battle armor being the armor from Judge Dread. 8-bit Mickie playing out a character from Men In Black, Sad Panda as the Doctor (as in Doctor Who) among others. The same applies to the cameos (to which there are more then ever in this film). There are two times when the cameos are the most apparent, the first wave of plot holes, then people all over the world pointing out plot holes, a personal favorite of mine being this "MegaGWolf: Why is called American Football when they primarily use their hands??" It's a good question.

The villains also get a lot of screen time this time when compared to the last two films, not only does Terl get some good lines (even if they are long lines), General Zod (No I will not kneel before Zod), the Executor, Prick and the plot hole get some great lines, with one of my favorites being

Zod: (vo) The critics are quite adept. (cut to inside the ship as Zod looks around at the screen in front of him; Terl is behind him) Their homeowner strategy obviously puts them at quite a distinct advantage. Yes! We must fight fire with fire! (he turns around to address Terl) Terl, order your men to transform this vessel into a house!
Terl: A what?
Zod: A house. A fortress of solitude mighty enough to make the son of Jor-El cream his tights.
Terl: But why?
Zod: The critics got it right. They must make their work their home and their home their work. Transform this place at once.
Terl: But that would take hundreds of hours and manpower we don't have.
Zod: Nonsense. It can be accomplished with a simple George Lucas-style wipe. Observe!
The scene does a "Lucas-style" circle wipe into the duo in their new living room/ship, as they look around.
Terl: Wow! That was amazing!
Zod: Indeed.
Terl: I especially like the plant in the corner. (They look left as we cut to the houseplant in question)
Zod: (v/o) Yes. It really ties the room together.

The video quality has also been stepped up this time, the lighting has improved (mostly due to the primarily indoor sets) but also a higher grade of animation. The use of green screen, full animations for the space battles and the animation used in combat scenes (and the beaming). Some would argue that the Animation and Green Screen detracts from the experience that was the first two films and while I can see where their getting at, the use of them do make for a better experience in my opinion as it allows for more creative settings and with the theme being Sci-Fi, the creative settings and locations matter.

One issue I do have with the film though is the Audio errors at times. It becomes apparent that the team didn't work with external (in terms of attached to the camera) microphones so when someone is turned away from the camera, it can become hard to hear them at times or the audio sounds outright awful. The worst offender of this is in Dr Insano's Lab (and you can see why if you see the film). While I am a fan of the wider use of audio (more sound effects, a song ect), its scenes like Insano's Lab that can break the mood of the film.

 "Oancitizen: (v/o) Patience. For every two dozen Phantom Menaces, there is a Return of the King. For every two-bit Shyamalan, (here, we see...) a Stanley Kubrick is born. For every poor soul who groans during (likewise, pics of...) an Adam Sandler-funded Rob Schneider vehicle, there is a child (cut to a silhouette of a stag in shadow) crying life-affirming tears when Bambi's mom is shot. (at this point, we see Luke look around at more clips of films like Birth of a Nation, Night of the Living Dead, and A Trip to the Moon again) Somewhere out there, a film student is finding out what Rosebud means for the first time. A man is pausing as Fredo prays the Hail Mary on a boat over Lake Tahoe. A woman grasps her heart as Bogie's love flies off into the foggy night. All it takes is one moment to change a person. And that one moment... no matter how fleeting... is worth a thousand Transformers."

While I'm not a fan of Suburban Knights, I love To Boldly Flee. It wraps up the arc of the three films well even if there are plot holes (which can be explained by the giant plot hole that makes up the majority of the story arcs...). The comedy is well done and the use of anything and everything Sci-Fi makes this stand out. Its films like this that keep me interested in indie films as it shows the love, care and attention that indie films have, more so then a large chunk of Hollywood films. Audio aside, I can't recommend this enough, its long, but unlike films like The Dark Knight Rises (or Transformers 3 *cough) it never feels long. There's never a point where I say "Did this really need to be in the final cut?". If you have the time, I recommend it. It's funny, well written and by people who love making videos. Next Week, to temporarily fill the void that is Smash 4: Kirby Triple Deluxe.

All the artwork (except for the "cover") was obtained from the Chanel Awesome Wiki along with the quotes and spelling of Terl.

Now where can I find one of those knowledge syringes...

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