Smallville: Season 10 – A Review by Film Nerd

Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Cast: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Justin Hartley, Callum Blue, Laura Vandervoot, James Marsters, Michael Shanks, Terrence Stamp, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, John Glover, Michael Rosenbaum

Synopsis: This was a whole season dedicated to building to what the Smallville franchise has promised all along, the origin of Superman.   From the first episode there are hints to the Superman we all know so well, the man we can believe will fly, in red and blue spandex.   Over the course of the season, we reunite with old friends,and are teased almost every step of the way to the final iconic image.

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Smallville Season 5 – A Review by Film Nerd

Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, John Glover, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, Erica Durance, James Marsters

Synopsis: Starting with a bang, this season starts with both the creation of the Fortress of Solitude, and visiting Kryptonians determined to free one General Zod from the Phantom Zone.   After seeing their ship land, Lana becomes obsessed with astronomy and this alien craft, and obsession which draws her closer to Lex.   Chloe is now a junior reporter with the Daily Planet, and often plays sidekick to Clark in his various adventures.   Once again Lionel’s agenda is a complete mystery, with many acts of good potentially hiding from the world his end game.   Early in this season w are also introduced to Milton Fine, whom literally melts into being from the Kryptonian craft.

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Smallville: Season 4 – A Review by Film Nerd

Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Jensen Ackles, John Glover, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, Erica Durance, Margot Kidder, Jane Seymour.

Synopsis:   Three months after the events of the season 3 finale, Clark returns to Earth as Kal-El, on a mission from Jor-El to collect three Kryptonian stones.   He has no memory of being Clark Kent, and is discovered on his return by one Lois Lane (Durance).   She is in town to investigate the apparent murder of her cousin Chloe, but sticks around to regularly spend time with her very much alive relative.   This season sees Lex and Lionel also after the Kryptonian stones, Lana in a new relationship with Jason (Ackles) whom she met in France but indeed seems to know more than he lets on, and also Chloe finally learns Clark’s secret, and without him actually knowing it, helps him keep it.

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Smallville Season 3

Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Sam Jones III, John Glover, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, Camille Mitchell, Terence Stamp, Rutger Hauer

Synopsis: Clark starts the season in hiding and high on red Kryptonite trying to escape the pain he feels over the events that ended season 2.   He is dragged back to Smallville and atonement however, and to his not-to-be romance with Lana.   Meanwhile, the conflict between Lionel and Lex gets more intense, with more seeds being sewn of greater tension between Lex and Clark, spurned by the secrets they both keep from each other.

Initially with this season, I will admit I was quite frustrated and had to push through the first few episodes.   I have understood the need in drama for characters to go through periods of darkness, but Clark’s foray down this path I found uncomfortable to watch.   It is how I feel every time an otherwise good character becomes a real dick (thoughts of Iron Man 2 spring to mind).   Not saying there were not some great moments.   Jonathon makes a deal with Jor-El, leading to him having powers like Clark such that he can bring him home.   This deal has repercussions throughout the season, and this story arc in itself becomes quite exciting, in fact it is the lynch pin for the season finale.

There are other fantastic elements to the season.   The best example is the further exploration of Lex’s relationship with his father.   This season gets to the crux of the shared animosity they have for each other, as well as making their run-ins increasingly severe.   The audience throughout remains firmly on Lex’s side, however Clark accurately comments on more than one occasion that Lex is becoming more like his father as time progresses.   This storyline is responsible for some of the biggest jaw dropping elements of the season.   Basically, those elements that have the most significance to the origin of the Superman story we know is to develop are where the series really hits its stride.

Not every element here is gold though.   Once again, I am having trouble being drawn into the Lana/Clark storyline.   For me it is too repetitive, and personally I cannot wait to get to the introduction of Erica Durance’s Lois Lane, as from that point we will have a relationship to observe that actually has a future, as opposed to the current angst-ridden storylines.   Attempts are made to give Lana her own story arc this season, with her recovering from spinal injuries and meeting a new love interest.   These never really fly though (pun not intended), and her character only gets a good showing again at the time that Clark decides he will tell her his secret.   This is thwarted though when he learns how much Pete is struggling with his knowledge.

Speaking of Pete, once again he is under-utilised in this story.   He has one episode that centres around his character where he goes off the rails.   He is then kind of forgotten until the season’s end, which is also I believe his final appearance in the series.   He puts in a powerful performance at this time, which shows there was a good actor wasted, and one can’t help but feel he was written out because the writers just did not know what to do with him.   The other external characters do much better.   Chloe remains a strong side-kick, and her own battle with the Luthors is a strong side story.   Her performance also remains strong, and it is easy to see how she lasted with the series until its end.   Clark’s parents may not get a lot of screen time, but as Clark’s moral compass, their role in the series remains influential as well as inspirational.   This season also features some great cameos, including Rutger Hauer, and Christopher Reeve makes his second appearance as Virgil Swan.   There is also a great episode featuring one Perry White as an out of luck reporter who manages to get a second chance, and hints at a bigger future in journalism.    A drop of the name Lois Lane in this season is also tantalising.

Season three has its flaws, as has the previous season, but by the final episode some really strong stories have been pulled together.   The obligatory cliffhanger showing multiple threads of story with characters all in dire situations is quite compelling, even if it does channel The Godfather given that it seems many of the strings have been pulled by Lionel Luthor himself leading us to these conclusions.

3 stars out of 5.


Smallville on IMDB

Season 3 trailer [youtube=]

30 Day Film Challenge Day 29 – Your Favorite Film As a Kid

Film Nerd’s Choice: Superman


Director: Richard Donner

Cast: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Terrence Stamp

Synopsis: Though not the first appearance of Superman on-screen, this is the first appearance of DC’s ultimate character on the big screen.   With a big name cast, amazing technology for the period, and enough dose of heartfelt origin story, Christopher Reeve’s Superman defined the character for a generation.

As a child, I was already a fan of both science fiction and of the superhero genre.   As a teenaged I became addicted to Marvel, but prior to discovering these comics thanks to a mate in the seventh grade, all I really was familiar with was the DC output (aside from the likes of Spiderman, of course).   I was a big Batman fan, but absolutely adored Suoerman, running around the backyard wearing a Supes cape, on one occasion getting stung by a swarm of wasps for my trouble.   It made no change to how often I watched this film on our taped from TV Betamax cassette.

We are talking about a period where film, fiction, and reality were close to being one for me.   I had little concept of acting or on rating acting skill.   In hindsight, I do find some of the acting, and some of the sentiment (Truth, Justice, and the American Way!) very much over the top.   It is the more experienced actors that gave the film a gravitas, but back then the names Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, and Terrence Stamp meant little to me.   The first and the last I lknew as those ones that appear before Krypton blows up, and Hackman I despised as representing all villainy.   Come on, in the end, i was there to watch a man deflect bullets and fly.   The technology was cutting edge, now it is dated.   But I still to this day can’t help but feel a level of magic watching the film.

Perhaps this is due to the element of the film that has best stood the test of time… John Williams’ score.   Another memory comes to me of this film, the night we were taping it from the TV broadcast.   My dad would usually press stop on a recording as soon as the credits started rolling.   On this occasion, I begged him to tape it through right until the end… which he did.   This once again lead me to many occasions of running around the living room with my cape on whilst the closing credits music played.   This started me on a life-long love of movie soundtracks, a collection I have which is now substantial… only really rivalled by my DVD and Blu-Ray collections.   In particular, it started a love for John Williams’ scores, which continue to impress me to this very day.

The film is a little dated, and perhaps bears the level of optimism of a bygone era.   It is also a piece of history, and I shall always be a fan.

5 stars out of 5.

Superman on IMDB

Superman on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

Smallville Season 2 – A Review by Film Nerd

Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Sam Jones III, John Glover, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, Camille Mitchell, Emmanuelle Vaugier

Synopsis: The reimagining of the Superman mythology continues.   We see the ups and downs of Clark’s relationships as he struggles to keep his secret.   meanwhile, with the discovery of cave paintings that bear similar language to that on the spaceship, more secrets of Clark’s origins are going to become apparent.

A review by Film Nerd.

This is a season of television that delivered on the promise of the debut season.   It starts to step away from the “freak of the week” episodic nature, though that is still there to a degree, but it leaves way for many more character driven episodes.   It gets in-depth into the difficulty Clark has keeping his secret from his nearest and dearest friends.   So much so, that the series also addresses one of my major irritations of the first season…   Best friend Pete is given a much bigger role, being the first friend to actually know the secret.   His reactions are also portrayed authentically, with him showing resentment at being kept in the dark, acceptance, then fear at the responsibility he now has to keep the secret.   As he now knows, he joins both Clark and his parents much more on his various endeavours.

Unfortunately, in the interest of romantic tension, one of my other irritations became more prominent.   The writers were consistently inventing excuses to keep Clark and Lana apart, despite many incidences that would draw them much closely together.   As such, the same repetition I hated with the freak of the week element was introduced in the Clark/Lana back and forth.      This did however give the Chloe character a lot of room to shine.   She gave some of the clearly most amazing performances of the season, especially when giving full vent to her feelings for Clark.

Once again, the complaints I have made are small.   This overall was a very entertaining twenty-three episodes.   As the season draws to a close, many secrets of Clark’s past, though perhaps intimately familiar to the target audience, become apparent to Clark.   Respect is given to the Superman films of the past in this process.   Christopher Reeve, perhaps responsible for the most iconic Superman portrayal to date, guest stars in one episode, and is the first one so far to utter the names “Krypton” and “Kal-el”.   Then Terence Stamp provides his voice for Jor-El, having himself been General Zod in Superman and Superman II.

Despite the season ending on a depressingly dark note, I will certainly keep tuning in for Season 3.   I am well behind in my viewing though, the tenth and final season’s finale airs in a weeks time!!

4 stars out of 5

Smallville on IMDB

Season 2 Opening Credits [youtube=]

Smallville: Season 1 – A Review by Film Nerd

Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar

Cast: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Sam Jones III, Eric Johnson, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider

Synopsis: The first season of a series that will this year see its tenth and final year.   It is a reimagining of the Superman mythology, following the story of a young Clark Kent as he learns to deal with his new powers.   To complicate matters, weird occurrences are par for the course in Smallville, largely as a result of the “meteor rocks” that fell on the town the same day Clark himself arrived.

A review by Film Nerd.

As promised in an earlier post, I am fulfilling my intention to start reviewing DVD/Blu-ray sets of television series in addition to my regular movie and convention reviews.   Given Smallville is coming to a close, I have started viewing the series from the original episode.   In its original run, I quite enjoyed it, but other life factors got in the way of me keeping up with it.   Hence the DVDs, I can now watch it at my leisure.

Marathoning a series has its positives and its negatives.   It is time efficient, and cliff-hangers are no longer a concern.   However, for shows that are just getting their start, and where there season and series-spanning story arcs are just being established, shows like this can get a bit “episodic”.   By this I mean that each episode is a contained story, and yet the formula can get very familiar.   In the case of Smallville Season 1, it was the repetition is in what way are the “meteor rocks” involved.   The concept that fragments of krypton fell all over Smallville when Jor-El arrives is itself logical and a clever conceit on which to build a series.   I did get a bit sick of hearing the term meteor rocks, which we all identify as kryptonite, irritated me a little.   Also, in this season there was an abundance of hinting gags at Clark Kent’s destiny.   By themselves, quite enjoyable, but in a long run of episodes a bit repetitive.

The are perhaps my only complaints however, as take these away and this is a superior television series, which succeeds in rebooting and updating the Superman mythology.   The characters are all well written and performed, with no one character being cookie-cutter good or evil.    Even Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) , future arch-nemesis of our hero, is here presented as a young man seeking to do good despite the darkness of his upbringing and past.   Clark himself (Tom Welling), though always well-intentioned, is clearly frustrated at the secret identity clause of his life, and is prone to making mistakes.   Kristin Kreuk’s Lana Lang was also refreshing, not your classic Mean Girls style Queen Bee, but a girl who is popular perhaps because she is not at all nasty.   Even rival to Clark’s affection for Lana, Whitney (Eric Johnson), though classic Jock to start with, is sympathetically portrayed and by the season finale quite difficult to dislike.   Best friends roles go to Pete Ross (Sam Jones III) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack).    Chloe is a well-developed character, given a larger role given her investigations of the meteor rocks, however Pete Ross is a little underwritten and does not get much screen time.    Finally Clark’s parents (Annette O’Toole, John Schneider) are really well-played, providing a moral compass while also not entirely sure how to respond to each new situation themselves.

The effects are generally quite good, though the CGI is on occasion a bit obvious.   This is forgivable given budgets and timeframes to complete episodes for television.   Most importantly, the stories themselves are often well told, and have an emotional impact and also raising some good moral dilemmas along the way.

Now I am gearing up for season 2!!

4 stars out of 5

Smallville on IMDB

Season 1 Opening Credits [youtube=]

Armageddon Sydney 2011

Revenge of the Film Nerds have continued their noble mission of exploring the world of Sydney geekdom by attending Armageddon at the Dome in Olympic Park this weekend.   Our reviews and photos are in progress, but please feel free to see what we have made available online so far….

Armageddon Sydney 2011

Film Nerd and Bride of Film Nerd Summary


Film Nerd, Matrix style