Jul. 1st, 2006 10:01 pm
dc: (Doctor)
Now that was a football match, a beautiful display of talent. I was a little worried at the start that perhaps France would not sustain the improvement they had shown, but they were better than ever. Zidane was a joy to watch, completely controlling the ball. Brazil were never really on their level, despite some flashes of their skill. In the 27th minute of the match, I suddenly realised that France were going to win... and so they did. At the end, it was good to see Robinho congratulating Zidane. It’s matches like this that make watching the World Cup worthwhile.

I am beginning to wonder if the spirit that appeared to Zidane and told him to come out of retirement knew something. ;o)
dc: (Doctor)
Well, I can’t say surprised is a good description of how I felt about Doctor Who, since it worked out pretty much as I thought it would after I saw last week’s teaser: if the teaser featured the Cybermen so prominently, there really could be only one big surprise, and that was hinted at by the extermination effect. All the way through, I was impatient for the void ship to open and reveal the Daleks. Not a surprise, then, but bloody good fun. I was enjoying it to much to be sure I wasn’t dreaming it, but that was the Black Dalek back again, wasn’t it?

Good to have some old-fashioned Who again.

On other matters, I wasn’t too surprised with how the England-Portugal match turned out. I thought Portugal would win, but struggle a bit without some of their best players. I did think the commentators who seemed to be looking forward to penalties as England’s best option were a little insane. England win against Portugal on penalties? Not a chance.

I see Ukraine didn’t put up much of a show against Italy (I missed the match), which is a pity. And now I go to watch the match I have been eager to see for the past few days: Brasil-Italy; and I really don’t want either to lose. Both, at their best play beautiful. I think I’m edging to hoping France wins (I would like to see Zidane get another crack at a final), but I think Brazil will win.
dc: (Doctor)
OK, so I was wrong about Argentina going through. The unexpected substitution of their keeper obviously did restrict their options a bit, but I still don’t know WTF the manager was thinking of with his team selection and remaining substitutions. I keep thinking that if Messi had been brought on, it might not have gone to penalties and Germany might not be going through to the semis. I wonder what the Argentinian press will have to say about the tactics today?

Now that Germany have got through, working well together as a team (desperately trying to avoid using words like machine and well-oiled), I really expect to see them in the final; and they will be tough to beat.
dc: (Doctor)
At the start of the competition, Ronaldo was being written off. Too slow, they said. Too many pies. Past it. Within the past ten minutes, he became the player who has scored the most goals in World Cup finals.
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Exterminate All Heathens!)
The other night, I made a reference to the Battle of Santiago because I walked in, switched on TV and there were Portugal and Holland squaring up to each other, Figo sticking the head in one of the Dutch players, stuff like that.

Well, I just walked in again, having had a long, hot bath (one of only two things which reliably relieves the muscle pain), just in time to see the BBC show some footage of that Chile-Italy match. In fact, they showed more footage than I had previously seen. Sanchez’s slug — as Coleman said, a perfect hook — which felled one of the Italian players, that I had seen. I had never seen the sequel, a few minutes later, when the victim took his revenge and was sent off. As bad as the blood was at times on Saturday, it was nothing to the events in Santiago in 1962, when at one point police (or the army, it was difficult to tell) went on to the pitch, and when ultimately the match was abandoned. As the referee headed for his changing room, the players were still trying to knock lumps off each other.

Anyway, while simmering in the bath, I was thinking about Saturday’s Who. (It is less stressful than thinking about my parents, who are driving me up the wall. Neither of them seem to pay adequate attention to their health, and will they listen...?) It was so bad; I am still a little taken aback that such a pathetic episode got made. (Well, made now; in the mid-Eighties, it would very likely have seemed at worst average.) Also, I am a little worried at the commissioning of an episode like this and what it might mean for the future of the series.

The big problem was that the unfolding of the story was handled so simplistically, with no suspense whatever. Kids are going missing... little girl is drawing them... the drawings are moving... so the kids are trapped in the drawings — and all of that was before the titles! Doctor & Rose turn up, find out kids are missing, see the little girl... Oooh, it must be something to do with her. The Doctor says the mother is frightened, which was just as well, since the actress wasn’t going to tip us off about that. Oh, bugger this, it isn’t worth going on.

I am not entirely sure that I would not rather watch “The Gunfighters” — or even, maybe, “Mark of the Rani.” I would sooner see “Fear Her” than “Time and the Rani” or “The Happiness Patrol,” but if you have to resort to comparisons with unmitigatedly dire offerings like those, there is not a lot to be said in favour of an episode. Damn it, some of The Tomorrow People was better than this!

Ah, well, it is only a TV show. ;o)
dc: (Doctor)
There was excitement, tension, action, and joy at excellent performances. What a pity I am not talking about Doctor Who. What a load of shite! (And I feel I am being kind, at that.)

On the other hand, the Argentina-Mexico match was much better than I had expected, because Mexico went out there and did their best to win rather than try to hold tight against Argentina. Their tactics meant that Argentina could not properly get into their preferred rhythm for a while, but as the game went on in was clear which side was the superior. In extra time, Argentina got the winning goal, and it was another beautiful example of stunning expertise delivered with little time for thought.

(Meanwhile, I have not seen much of the Portugal-Holland match, but on the basis of the couple of minutes I have seen, they seem to be trying to work themselves up into a re-enactment of the infamous Battle of Santiago.)

But Who... What were they on when they commissioned that story? It was not so much that it was derivative, much of Who could be described like that, some of the best of it too; it was that it was really not well done, not at any level. If you want a story of psychological tension, you need to take some time to build it up, not simply present a situation and have the Doctor say that the mother is scared. If you want to have an evil child, you need to have an actress who can actually make you believe that she is (possessed by) evil, and the one last night simply could not. (The less said about the silly deep voice, the better.) If you are going to use a fairly unoriginal idea like people being trapped in drawings, you need to do something interesting, or at least fun with it.

Still, the trailer for next week looked interesting... )

Ah! Antici.....pation!
dc: (Doctor)
As if things weren’t annoying enough, last night, just before shutting down, the main hard drive crashed. Bugger. No data lost (only / is affected), but it is annoying, especially as I am in the middle of so much. I took one of the secondary drives and installed a new Fedora version on it (Mepis was on it, but while it is OK and pretty much works perfectly, there seems to be a glitch I can’t get to the bottom of so that Firefox’s font sizes can’t be adjusted in Preferences (and CTRL-+ really buggers up some pages). In general, its handling of fonts isn’t so easy on the eye as other recent distros. This Fedora distro has its quirks, but the display side of things is superb, so it can be used productively without my eyes getting worn out. More than they already are, anyway.

While the software installation was going ahead, I got watching the Argentina-Serbia & Montenegro match, and got completely drawn in. If every team played like Argentina did today, football would be a joy to watch. They didn’t just completely gub S&M, they wiped them out 6-0 (it could have been 7-0), and they did it while playing with an easy style that was a delight to watch. It reminded me of some of Brasil’s performances (some of Brasil’s best performances). I would not be at all surprised if Argentina go on to win the World Cup. And the thought that England could beat them, if they are on today’s form in future matches, seems more than a little risible.

This, I suspect, will be the only time anyone hears me rave about a football match. ;o)

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