Sunday, September 29, 2013

Once Upon A Time 3.01 Review: Sometimes You Just Need to Believe

All those that have yet to watch the season three premiere of Once Upon A Time, entitled ‘The Heart of the Truest Believer’, that wish to do so devoid of spoilers, then now would be the time to exit the premises. As always, there is a chance that this blog contains spoilers regarding the episode, as well as previous episodes. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
So we finally managed to get to Neverland. Can’t say I’m all that excited about it, Peter Pan was never one of my favourite fairy tales. I do have to say though that the young man that plays him in this series provided the best performance of the episode. How is it that a young actor such as himself can do better with the terrible writing this series emits, than actors almost twice his age? Maybe it has something to do with the ability to believe that you are the character in this world, and to be as imaginative as possible. Though that wouldn’t explain just how terrible Henry is played most of the time.
Aside from Pan, the highlights of this episode were any time Emma, Hook, or Neal popped up on screen, but I’m biased when it comes to them because they’re my three favourite characters. I have to say I’m just glad they each had a fair amount of screen time, because that’s not always the case of this series.
One of my problems with this series is that I think that a show that started off as being lead by this one character, should keep her in the loop for most episodes, and not be distracted by all these extra characters that get focused on far too often. This show is very much reminiscent of the structure Lost had by focusing on one character for an episode, and then different ones onward. And I get that the creators of this series were apart of that one, but it becomes tiresome when I’m being sold one thing, and I only get that one thing every so often.
When it comes to CGI efforts, this series is never very good, I can almost always tell when something is fake, and it rather bothers me because it takes me out of the moment. You’d think a series that knew it was going to heavily involve fairy tale characters would know that fantastical scenarios would be involved in that, and would either find good CGI people, or use real things to create it. I can only wonder how difficult it is for the actors.
That leads me to another issue I have with this series, the acting. I do have to give some thought to whether it’s the writing that makes it so bad in this series, but I find a lot of the time that it’s either over-acting, or just horrible people cast as these characters. These people are bringing an imaginative world to life, and it takes a fair amount of vision to actually make that believable to the audience, and I just don’t think that’s coming across sometimes. Sure there are a few gems that seem to be able to act their part, but most of them don’t seem to be able. And these are actors that are very convincing in other roles they’ve played, but I’m just not seeing it here.
That brings me around to the writing. Can this series not get some better writers? Strictly from this episode alone we have these terrible lines for that one Lost Boy, and then the ridiculousness of crying over a poppet. There’s the terrible back and forth between the Evil Queen and Snow White, and then between Prince Charming and Hook. And don’t even get me started on Mulan, Aurora, and Robin Hood. Plus could that toast to Baelfire/Neal have been any more pathetic? I was writing better scripts when I was twelve, and I had a pretty big imagination back then.
Was anyone else beyond happy when Tamara and Greg were killed? I know I screamed ‘Thank God’ when it happened. And boy am I glad Rumplestiltskin did not permanently save Tamara, because that would’ve been like dangling the fruit in front of me, and then ripping it away. Not only were these characters terrible, in both writing and acting, but also they served almost no real purpose. The whole Home Office thing that was just a ruse to get Henry to Neverland was beyond ridiculous. Did the writers just pull that out of their ass? Because honestly, that’s how it felt to me. ‘We’re going to go this way, no wait we’re going to go this way.’ Make up your mind, and stick to it, if you want to go one way, make damned sure there’s the ability to go that way and nothing blocking your path, continuity wise.
In general, this episode was all right, nothing fabulous about it, and nothing last season’s finale didn’t falsely get me excited over. For future episodes, I’d really like more work on the writing, acting, and definitely much more Emma. Oh, and please stop making the Charming’s ridiculously naïve, when Snow was such a bad ass in the Fairytale Land that Was.
My rating: 3 out of 5.

Best Lines:
“I will not be capsized by a fish!” – Charming shouts over the mermaid calling the storm, in a brief line performance that actually struck well with me.
“Actually, I quite fancy you from time to time, when you’re not yelling at me.” – Hook referring to Emma, and did anyone see the brief look that passed over her face when he said this?

Okay buckaroos, that’s all for now, I’m off to go watch Revenge, and then get some more Buffy in before I have to get to sleep so I can actually be aware for work tomorrow, stay tuned for one more review.

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