Monday, 24 January 2011

The Cape (A Review of the First Two Episodes)

Now I know Morf (Over at Pulp Monsters, the makers of  Pulp City) wasnt "keen" on the Cape - so I watched it initially expecting to hate it.

Certainly there were elements which were naieve, and its a fact that its been "trimmed" down from the shooting script I read last year. I reckon its original running time would have been somewhere around the 68 minutes mark (without adverts) rather than the 45 minutes and change it actually ran on the network.

HOWEVER I think the first two episodes of "The Cape" were really entertaining - great fun in fact.

The first (Pilot) episode really did suffer from pacing issues, it raced along with little or no character exposition - BUT (theres always a big but isnt there LoL) IMHO it didn't really suffer from this - the missing exposition would have merely been characters whining how crappy thier lives were anyway, so it was nice to see things get down to the "meat" of the actual action.

A couple of minor gripes with the acting, Vinnie Jones LITERALLY didn't seem to know where to go or what he was doing with his Character "Scales" - which tells me the Director was not giving Vinnie enough attention - Vinnie is not a natural actor, and always needs pushing in the "direction" thats needed for the character. Its particularly difficult with "non-comic" Super characters, as the actor has very little to go on beyond Series Bible/Script/and Director - and if one (or more) of those key areas are lacking - we end up with "wooden" acting.

Also throughout the Pilot, poor old David Lyons (Vince Faraday/The Cape) seemed a little lost - maybe that was how the character was meant to be "reacting" to his world falling apart - or maybe David was suffering from BDS (Bad Director Syndrome) like Vinnie was.

Simon West who directed the Pilot Episode, is more known as an Executive Producer rather than a Director - and I have a sneaking suspicion in the Pilot of the Cape we are seeing why. He seems OK at directing the broader scope of whats going on - but it seems that his attention to his Actors needs are suffering as a consequence. Time will only tell I suppose.

James Frain as Peter Fleming/Chess Camps things up nicely, he is a competent and established actor - who does well in any environment his work puts him in. So he seemed to be "immune" to West's mis-direction.

When we move onto Episode Two "Tarot" - we see a BIG change in pacing. Obviously written and edited for its time allotment. Its a much more satisfying "ride" for the viewer. The Actors seem much more at home in their Characters skins, and Deran Sarafian (whos directed Episodes of Lost, Fringe, and Night Stalker) handles his actors and the action well. Even the few moments of humour come across well.

Cain (the main Baddie in this episode) is excellent, creepy and full of malice - I hope we see more characters like him in the future.

Overall a weak but readily recovered start to the Series, I just hope "The Cape" goes the distance.

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